6% of America is Now Vegan, While 4.1% of Americans Now Identify as Gay (LGBT)

Has America underestimated the growing presence and underground influence of its own vegan population? Does America even care that we vegans have arrived, ordering our six dollar coffees with coconut milk instead of dairy? Or does America just assume we all died a while back from a lack of protein?

According to Top Trends in Prepared Foods 2017, which was released in June 2017, there are currently 6% of Americans who identity as vegan; and that is up from just 1% in 2014.

That means the number of vegans in America has increased by 500% in just 3 years! Try to fathom that.

Meanwhile…

According to Gallup News in a study released in January 2017, currently 4.1% of Americans, or 10 million people, now identify as LGBT; and that is up from 3.5% in 2012.

There are more vegan Americans than there are gay Americans.

No, it’s not a competition. But I do compare those numbers to prove a point:

It is safe to say that the American vegan population is larger than most people realize. And as relevant as the LGBT community is in our nation and its culture, I feel that comparing the numbers of both groups shows how surprisingly popular that veganism has become in our country.

With the current population of America being 323.1 million (323,100,000), that means 6% is 19,386,000.

Yes, there are now over 19 million vegans in America and 10 million are gay Americans.

That means there are arguably nearly twice as many vegan Americans than there are gay Americans.

No, I am not conflating veganism and homosexuality. I have no interest in implying vegans have struggled in any comparable way that the LGBT community has. I do not feel that way at all.

Instead, this is my point: No one else seems to be noticing or caring about the massive invisible influence that vegans have on America.

Just imagine the millions of Americans over the past few years alone who, like me, have quietly bowed out of the system; the system of depending on meat, dairy, and eggs for nutrition.

It’s a bold move. It’s rebellious. It’s counter-cultural.

Imagine the effect that must have on America’s economy. Imagine how grocery stores have already adapted to this shift. Imagine how restaurant chains must be hurting, as they have lost 6% of their customer base.

Vegans aren’t taking over America. But we are the reason you can easily find cashew milk ice cream in most large grocery stores now.

Yeah, that’s a real thing. Cashew milk ice cream.

Advertisements

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 7th Birthday

7 years old today!

Dear Jack,

It was still completely dark outside this morning when you walked into the bedroom and quietly asked me, “Daddy, can I open some of my birthday presents now?”

As your sister munched on a waffle, you preceded to unwrap your gifts from Mommy and me; all of which were explicitly Pokemon-themed.

This marks your first birthday in which stuffed animals nor Lego blocks were part of the excitement. No way. You’re seven now. This is serious stuff:

Everything is Pokemon!

Out of all the money spent on your birthday gifts, you appeared most excited and proud of the Pokemon binder we got you to hold all your cards. That was less than 10 dollars well spent!

You even asked me, “Daddy, how did you and Mommy get my name on the folder?”

I didn’t spell out how simple a concept it actually was; that the binder and the sheets only cost a few bucks each from WalMart and that Mommy simply printed off the Pikachu picture and then typed “Jack’s Pokemon Cards” from our printer.

As you spouted off a constant news reel for the rest of the morning about all the Pokemon cards you now have, I heard you say you were “organizing all the Pokemon cards according to how they evolve” and that you now have around 400 cards.

Mommy and I visited you for lunch today at school, just a few hours later. You told us that you had already traded some of the cards you got this morning for your birthday from us.

And I guess that’s the whole point- it’s fun to trade them, even just hours after getting new ones!

We are so proud to have you as our son. You are one intelligent and creative boy. Out of all the little boys in the whole entire world, we’d pick you every single time.

Happy Birthday, Jack.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 2nd Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 3rd Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 4th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 5th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 6th Birthday

Dear Holly: Your All-Business Approach to Having Nonna Take Care of You

1 year, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend I took you and your brother to Alabama to spend time with Nonna and Papa, which gave Mommy a chance to get caught up on work back in Tennessee. I was there with you, of course, but I couldn’t help but notice you chose to rely on Nonna for your needs instead of me.

Whenever you got hungry or felt you needed a diaper change, you simply took it upon yourself to walk over to your travel bag, pull out what you needed, then make your way across the room to Nonna.

With no words necessary, you simply looked up at her without even a smile on your face; but with a diaper in one hand and a fruit pouch in another. It was simply implied:

“Alright, Nonna. You’re the head matriarch figure in this room so I guess I’m supposed to bring this stuff to you. Let’s go ahead and get to work then.”

It’s slightly fascinating to me that you’re wired to having the most mothering person in the room take care of your physical needs. Whenever it’s just you and me at our house, you obviously solely depend on me for these things. You know good and well I am more than qualified to serve you.

But apparently, I become the 2nd most qualified person for the job if Nonna is in the room.

Obviously, you’re not old enough to comprehend that Nonna is actually my Mommy.

That doesn’t matter. You just know you’re better off having her open your bag of organic cheddar crackers instead of me.

Or maybe, this is your way of giving your Daddy a break. Maybe you’re just that intuitive; to realize that Daddy wouldn’t mind being off-duty every once in a while…

Nah. 

You know me too well. I’m always on the clock for you.

Love,

Daddy

 

Are American Restaurants Still Ignoring Vegans as Potential Customers? As a Millennial Vegan Daddy Blogger, I Say Yes.

Today I was contacted by a brand promoter for Applebee’s, who invited me to participate in their newest campaign, “There’s No Shame in Being a Meat and Potatoes Man.” I would have received a gift card for my family to dine at Applebee’s, as I promoted the following options for the modern Meat-and-Potatoes Dad:

Topped Steaks & Twisted Potatoes Line-Up:

  • 3 Steak Choices:  6 ounce USDA Choice Top Sirloin, 8 ounce USDA Choice Top Sirloin, 12 ounce USDA Choice Top Sirloin
  • 3 Steak Topper Choices:  Tavern Mushroom & Onion, Savory Herb & Butter Sauce, Creamy Horseradish & Gravy Topper
  • 3 Twisted Potato Side Choices (pick 1):  Twisted Tots, Loaded Potato Casserole Back, Loaded Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 Perfect Side: Fresh Broccoli

Hey, I would have appreciated the free meal for my family and would have had a lot of fun promoting Applebee’s here on my blog. One small problem, though…

I am a vegan and my wife and kids are vegetarians.

It’s not that big of a deal that I don’t eat meat. Not eating meat or animal products (for health reasons, not necessarily for animals’ rights), is becoming somewhat normal. In fact, this past summer Moe’s Southwest Grill actually hired me as a freelance writer to promote how vegan-friendly and vegetarian-friendly their menu is.

Some restaurants, like Moe’s Southwest Grill, are able to perceive a shift has occurred in the eating habits of health conscious Millennials, like myself, and how that has an effect on my family’s spending habits at restaurants.

When you Google “how much of the American population is vegan?”, one of the top answers that shows up is an article from onegreenplanet.org, which claims that there currently 6 million vegans in America!

And that in itself is a 6% increase since 2014, when only 1% of the American population identified as vegan. That’s a significant increase!

Isn’t 6% of the population significant enough that restaurants would at least try to cater to folks like us?
My guess is, apparently not. Apparently there are people who are better than I am at math (and who have done enough market research) and have decided that vegans aren’t worth the trouble to get in their restaurants; even though we currently account for 6% of the American population.
Imagine all that collective money that American restaurants aren’t making from families like mine. Oh well.
With that being said, here’s my casting call to any restaurants out there who would like a Millennial vegan daddy blogger with good SEO on his blog to promote the “vegan-friendly” aspect of their restaurant.
Any takers?

How to Make Your Family Car Last Longer: Guest Blog Post from Peter of Voice Boks

Having a car is like having another family member – it may not need as much care as a newborn, but it still requires lots of attention. And unless you want to change cars at the end of each year – most of us can’t even dream about it – you need to put in some time and effort into it. Luckily, you won’t have to spend a fortune on regular car maintenance, but if you come up with a viable and sustainable plan, your car will definitely last longer than it would otherwise. Only with proper care can you make the most of your family car, so here are a couple of ways to improve its lifespan significantly.

Clean it regularly

Car hygiene might not sound like the most important thing in the world and most people don’t even clean their cars as often as they should, but it’s definitely one of the things that will make it run longer. The reason for this is corrosion – a simple chemical process that occurs naturally in a car without us even noticing it.

Corrosion is the biggest threat to any car’s health, particularly when it comes to older models, and a continual exposure to water, dirt and snow will speed things up quite a lot. That’s why washing your car is crucial because it not only minimizes corrosion, but also lets you realize whether certain parts of the car are covered in rust. So, hit the nearest carwash or do it on your own – but don’t forget to include the kids, as well!

No more pedal to the metal

Driving a fast car is every man’s fantasy, but if you’re driving a family car, you probably have other priorities in mind. Going 100 miles an hour sounds like a lot of fun, but not when your kids are screaming in the back seat, scared to death. Therefore, put your racing days behind you and slow down when driving your family – it’s not only a safer, but a smarter way to drive.

Whether you’re stuck in traffic or driving on a highway, it’s your job to be somewhere as soon as possible, especially if you’re late for a parent-teacher conference or a football practice. However, if you’re always pushing your car too hard, you’re putting it under an immense amount of pressure and even the most resilient and trustworthy models, such as the amazing 2004 Honda Element, won’t enjoy this. So, take it easy, don’t rush and keep your kids’ and your car’s safety in mind.

Hot and cold

Proper temperature regulation isn’t at the top of everyone’s priority list when it comes to everyday driving, but it should be, particularly when you’re starting a longer drive or planning a road trip with your family. And since most road trips take place in the summer, driving somewhere with your kids without a working A/C makes absolutely no sense. But, there’s more to it than comfort.

There are two huge problems a faulty A/C can cause – an expensive repair that’s going to make your mechanic several hundreds of dollars richer, or, alternatively, a complete engine meltdown, which is an even worse scenario. People who don’t check and repair their cooling systems from time to time are more susceptible to breakdowns, so try to prevent these problems by avoiding potentially dangerous situations and maintaining your cooling system on a regular basis.

Regular checkup

Speaking of proper maintenance, don’t forget to have your car checked by a professional regularly. Even though you can do some of the simpler things on your own – checking the water level, replacing the oil, making sure there’s enough windshield washer fluid, inflating your tires, etc. – you should definitely find a great mechanic who’ll be in charge of your car’s maintenance. And if you manage to find one with some extra experience in family cars, even better!

Maintaining your car can have a couple of surprising benefits, too – you’ll feel safer knowing there’s nothing wrong, while your kids can be sure daddy’s always going to be there to drive them wherever they need to go. The only problem you may have is a lack of time – if you work all day long and try to spend some quality time with your family during the weekend, you won’t have enough time to take your car to a mechanic. That’s why more and more people contact a reliable mobile mechanic who can come to your home, do the checkup and fix whatever needs to be fixed right in your garage!

Other ideas

Some of the other ways to make sure your car is reaching its full potential include packing less weight in the trunk, parking it in the garage during the winter, driving more smoothly than usual and replacing tires as soon as you notice signs of wearing.

Peter is a parenting and lifestyle writer for Voice Boks magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

SEO Spotlight: Advertise Your Start-Up Company Here on My Blog for $100 (or I’ll Ghostwrite It for $350)

When you Google the term “daddy blogger”, my website shows up twice in the top 20 you see. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m one of the 20th most popular. More importantly, it means I have good SEO, or search engine optimization.

Are you looking for affordable and relevant ways to get the word out about your new business? You’ve probably realized by now how important it is that your website is SEO friendly; meaning that people are able to easily find your product or service when they type in key words in a search engine; which can easily direct them instead to an online ocean of competition.

You need other websites to link to that have healthy SEO; websites that have been around much longer and are already connected to other larger websites.

The website you are currently visiting is one of those. My SEO is so good that I receive weekly solicitations from start-up companies asking me if they can write a “guest post” on my blog. (I email them the link to this blog post when they do!)

Obviously, people are asking this because I already have want they want: Great SEO!

Imagine the hard way: The thought of having to Google all the other most popular “family friendly” websites, then emailing the author asking permission to do a guest blog post to boost your own SEO, then hope they actually say yes…

Or, there’s me over here.

I’m saying, “Hey, I’ll do it for 100 bucks.”

That’s right. You write a casual article promoting your product or service with a link to your website and include a few relevant photos, and I’ll feature you in my “SEO Spotlight” series.

Not only would you be getting a platform in front of my already established readership base, and not only would I be promoting the post through my social media channels, but perhaps the greatest benefit is that by being linked and promoted by my SEO-healthy website, it gives you an SEO boost as well.

Afterwards, you would pay me $100 through PayPal.

If you would prefer that I write the feature post for your product or service instead, I would charge you $350 total instead; for 350 words.

That’s the going rate. That’s what these other companies have already been paying me.

Primrose Schools Executive Function Skills

Lexus Father and Son Road Trip

Toyota Family Road Trip to the Boonies

XFINITY Entertainment on the Go

Moe’s Meals on the Go

Trail4Runner.com

Chicago Metro Home Inspections

Museum Hack

Superior Honda

Brian Leach

So, are you in? It’s only 100 bucks. You’ve got to have a budget for this kind of thing anyways. Do you really feel like soliciting other bloggers to do this for free? Or paying a higher fee to someone else?

Here’s my email: nickshell1983@hotmail.com

Manhood in the Making: Hiking with My Son and My Dad, On His 61st Birthday (at DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne, Alabama)

I could think of no better way to spend the morning of my dad’s 61st birthday than to go on a hike with him and my son, near the woods I grew up in.

Growing up just 5 miles miles from DeSoto State Park (connected to Fort Payne, Alabama), I joined the Cub Scouts when I was in 1st grade, which helped me realize back then in 1987 it wasn’t sports that got me excited; but instead, the great wooded outdoors.

Hiking and exploring nature became my sport. It became a crucial part of my masculine identity; not baseball or basketball, though I did end up (unsuccessfully) playing both.

My dad served as the Scout Leader for our Cub Scout troop, which only reinforced what it meant to be a “Shell man” in our family. (Our last name is Shell.)

So it’s no surprise that, 30 years later, with my own son being in 1st grade himself now, this hike symbolized as a right of passage. Granted, I’ve been taking my son on hikes where we live in Tennessee for years.

But this hike was special: It connected us together as the three Shell men of our family.

And we just couldn’t have planned for it to be as perfect and adventurous and it ended up.

It was just chilly enough for my son and I to get to wear our slightly silly hats, but the sun shone on us the whole time.

All I had really remembered about the trail from when I was my son’s age was at the end, there was a dam. But there was much more than that.

Much of the trail made its way along the side of cliff, with the river down below. It was like every step of the way was a picture worth taking and putting on Instagram.

We encountered some man-made structures along the way that were apparently built around a hundred years ago. They only added the mystery aspect of our adventure.

Because that’s an important part of going out for a hike in the woods: Secretly hoping to make some kind of cool discovery.

My son made a few discoveries of his own, with no help thanks to me.

He was truly fascinated by all the moss growing along the side of the mountain…

But he surprised me when he showed me the baby snake he found as well. We’re still at least pretty sure that snake wasn’t actually poisonous.

As we made our way closer to the dam, which served as our arbitrary motive along the way, we accidentally found a cave in the rocks.

My son showed zero ounces of fear as we entered it; only eagerness to explore!

We imagined how, surely, Native Americans must have slept there; and how even now, it was likely a retreat for forest animals as well.

As we exited the cavern, alongside the waterfall from the river, I showed my dad and my son a shortcut to the dam, so we wouldn’t have to backtrack because of our cave detour.

It involved us having to hold on the side of the rock cave while walking across a narrow ledge with the river below. Was it dangerous? Well, that’s sort of the whole point.

I see so much value in a young boy receiving guidance and confirmation from the older men in his life. He learns firsthand how we can tackle a challenge like this, with our help, and overcome it.

That’s got to be good not only for his growing self-esteem, but also his identity as a confident 1st grader.

To me, this is what being a dad is all about. This is the most important stuff; everything else is just details.

So truly, there was no better way to spend last Saturday morning, on my dad’s 61st birthday, than to hike an old trail across the side of a mountain and a river in Alabama.

Fathers pass on certain values and less to their sons that no one else can, in the same way. That’s something I am very aware of.

This was no leisurely hike. No, this was manhood in the making, for my son.

And I would like to believe that 30 years from now, he’ll look back on our hike and realize how it served as an expression of his dad for his son.

Sometimes as a father, it takes a hike in the woods to supplement “I love you” and “I’m so proud of you”.

Looking back, I can see that with my own dad when he took me on those hikes. And now I continue that cycle for my own son.