Been a Vegan 4 Years Now and Nobody’s Impressed (How American Masculinity is Associated with Eating Red Meat and Pork)

No one will read this blog post. It will not show up at the top of anyone’s Facebook feed, like the way pictures of my adorable 11 month-old daughter do. Because ultimately, this blog is irrelevant to most people.

My dedication to the plant-based life is unanimously met with the sound of crickets chirping; especially since I have zero desire to try to convince anyone else they should become a vegan.

To go 4 years without eating any meat, eggs, or dairy products is nearly un-American, not to mention, un-masculine.

Our American culture subconsciously associates masculinity with eating meat: In particular, red meat and pork.

So for a man to deny himself of that form of protein… it isn’t considered noble, by most. Instead, it is met with confusion, at best.

To be exact, I haven’t consumed pork (which includes hot dogs, BBQ, and bacon) or shellfish (shrimp, scallops, lobster) since Thanksgiving 2008; over 8 years now. Nor have I eaten any meat (including fish) since December 2011.

I didn’t go vegan all at once; I accidentally stumbled into it after realizing my eczema (dyshidrosis), constant sinus pressure and sinus infections, and pet allergies disappeared once I cut out all animal products.

A couple of months ago I declared myself as the manliest vegan on the Internet. Granted, it was a tongue-in-cheek proclamation. Yet still, no one denied it.

Because really, A) no cares about the lifestyles of vegans except for vegans themselves and B) there are so few masculine vegans on the Internet to care enough to rebuttal my claim.

But in the rare event anyone is actually reading this, take a look at me.

It is very obvious I am not lacking protein. It is very obvious I look healthy.

And that’s with me consuming no meat, eggs, or dairy for 4 years now.

I have no health issues, nor do I require any medications or supplements.

My protein and “good fats” intake (which contains 0% of my daily cholesterol) comes from vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

As for Vitamin B12, that is derived from the mushrooms, seaweed, and Kombucha I regularly consume.

Plus, my daughter is turning 1 year old this month. So obviously, my plant-based lifestyle didn’t interfere with my ability to father children.

I am an image of a healthy man. I just happen to not consume any animal products.

Yet our society continues to believe that eating red meat and pork is masculine. Our society continues to question whether vegans get enough protein.

Well, at least you know about one exception to the rule now.

But then again, no one will actually read this.

Dear Holly: Our Walk in the Park at Aspen Grove

10 months.

Dear Holly,

Last Saturday was such a beautiful day so we made good use of it. We met up with our friends Mohamad and Lena, and their daughter Hanna who is just a month older than you. We stopped for lunch at Noodles & Co., the same vegan-vegetarian-kosher friendly place that your brother Jack and I dined at after we saw Rogue One back in January at the Green Hills Mall in Nashville.

We all took a moment to appreciate Hanna’s awesome new shirt that her parents found for her in downtown Nashville. Jack said, “Daddy, I keep thinking that’s really her arms and legs. It looks like she’s really playing the guitar!”

After lunch, I suggested we drive right across the other side of I-65 and take a walk in Aspen Grove Park; which is right behind my office, where I take my mountain bike, skateboard, or just go running during my lunch breaks.

Fortunately, we took our double stroller to push you and Jack. However, he let you have it all to yourself since he wanted to check out the creek that followed the trail.

For me, there’s nothing like being able to take a leisurely stroll through the park on a nice day. There’s a reason the saying goes, “Well, it’s no walk in the park…” when referencing a tough situation.

That’s because a walk in the park is a standard measurement of happiness and inner peace. It’s a universally enjoyed occurrence.

And hey, if you can share that experience with people you care about… even better.

I watched the wind blow through your blonde hair, as you took the whole experience in. Ultimately, you were ready for a nap. But you just couldn’t bring yourself to the point of falling asleep.

You saved that for two minutes into the car ride home.

Love,

Daddy

FACT: I Am the Manliest Vegan on the Internet

There is no dispute. No one is even looking into it. Instead, the entire world simply unanimously accepts and agrees that I, Nick Shell, am the manliest vegan on the Internet.

What makes me such a manly vegan?…

First off, I am emotionally intelligent regarding my vegan lifestyle. Because I am fully secure in my beliefs, I have zero desire to try to convince others to become vegans. In fact, I would rather other people didn’t become vegans, especially not other men, because it keeps me more unique in my identity. (Approximately less than 0.5% of the American population are male vegans).

Second, I am a committed husband (been in love with the same woman for 10 years now; 8 and a half of which we’ve been married) and an involved father (hence, the daddy blog).

Plus, I am healthy and active. I am not a slave to my body; my body is a slave to me. I get plenty of protein (from vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds) and I am always on the move:

I run and I go mountain biking regularly, plus I go hiking and exploring with my son.

Next, I am a decisive leader and a good communicator. I don’t fear change, I embrace it. I always have a few back-up plans.

I am undeniably confident, yet aware of my weaknesses, which I am always working to improve.

Granted, I am very aware of my skills and talents, making sure I utilize them as part of my identity.

Most people have a hard time thinking of just one other male vegan they know. Even if they can think of a male vegan other than me, then the question becomes: Is he manly?

That question quickly evolves: But is he manlier than Nick Shell?

So far, history shows that the answer has always been… no.

As a blogger and YouTuber, I figured I might as well make it official in this announcement today:

I am the manliest vegan on the Internet.

FACT: I Am the Manliest Vegan on the Internet

Dear Jack: Your Parapharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

Thank God.

It is because of God’s grace that this story has a happy ending.

You are okay now, but it was one intense weekend.

Saturday morning Mommy left your baby sister and me home while you two were planning on picking up the groceries (as our pantry and fridge were empty) and then to the doctor for a check-up regarding your Strep Throat (as you missed nearly every day of school last week because of it).

What was expected to be a forgettable doctor’s visit actually resulted in them sending you immediately to the Emergency Room in Nashville; which is about an hour’s drive from where we live in Spring Hill.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

As Mommy called to tell me this urgent news, she also informed me that her phone didn’t get charged the night before, so she only had 17% charge on her battery.

Six hours passed after that brief and urgent call, with me not knowing any news.

As the afternoon proceeded, the hunger started kicking in- not to mention, I realized that Grandma’s plane would be landing soon at the Nashville Airport; as she had coincidentally planned for visit for the next two weeks, all the way from Sacramento.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

It was about that time Mommy called me, having found access to a phone charger at the hospital, and informed me that you would have to stay overnight and possibly have surgery the next morning. Your Strep Throat had yielded a potentially fatal condition:

So I quickly packed an overnight bag for myself and a diaper bag for your sister, and miraculously made it to the airport in time to pick up Grandma, even with an unexpected trip to the gas station as I remembered I only had 1/8 a tank of gas in my car.

From there, I had to find my way to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. It may not seem like a big deal, but I had never driven there from the airport; only from our house, coming from the other direction on I-65.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

Mommy called me and reminded me to pick up some dinner, since none of us had eaten in nearly 12 hours. Fortunately, I was able to stop at a Qdoba and pick up some burritos for us while Grandma stayed in the car with your baby sister.

Once we finally arrived, I traded places with Mommy, so she could take Grandma and your sister all the way back to Spring Hill.

That surgical holding room became our living quarters for the next two days. And despite the circumstances, you and I made the most of it. I enjoyed the time we got to spend together, just hanging out- something I know we don’t get to do enough of.

You ended up not needing the surgery, as the antibiotics in your IV helped reduce your neck paralysis enough over the weekend.

Dear Jack: Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

I love you so much.

Crazy enough, I never had time to be afraid. I only had enough time to take care of you. And pray.

Monday afternoon you were able to come home- and by Wednesday, you were able to go back to school and I could easily see you were proud to go back.

And even though you never said it out loud, you were so happy to see your sister again. Neither of us had seen her in over two days, actually.

Dear Holly: It’s So Rewarding to See You When I Come Home

“Can I hold Holly, Daddy?” is now like your new catch-phrase.

Thank God you are okay. I just keep saying that over and over.

Love,

Daddy

Your Retropharyngeal Abscess/Our Weekend in the Surgical Holding Room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville

The Manly Vegan Vs. 48 Ounce GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha

The Manly Vegan Vs. 48 Ounce GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha

Kombucha has been an important part of my manly vegan diet, going on 4 years now. On average, I drink at least three 16 ounce bottles of Kombucha each week. It’s full of probiotics.

I personally don’t believe in taking supplements, as I believe that would make me a hypocrite: If my whole diet is based on only eating healthy food, I figure I must be doing something wrong if I have to depend on some processed form of nutrition.

But Kombucha is a live and active culture. I always feel great after drinking it- and I believe it further strengthens my immune system, after a previous lifetime of process foods filled with an overkill of protein and cholesterol.

Kombucha is my consumable vice. And I’m proud of that.

The Manly Vegan Vs. 48 Ounce GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha

Last month at Whole Foods, I noticed they started carrying 48 ounce bottles (1.4 liters) of GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha. I thought about how fun it would be to see how much of it I could drink in one setting.

Last Thursday, my wife ended up having to buy her lunch, which cost $11. Our rule is that if one of us has to spend money on food for lunch, the other person gets the same amount as an allowance.

It was quite obvious what I would be spending my money on: The 48 ounce bottle of GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha cost $8.99.

In the event there is no world record for the amount of Kombucha consumed in one setting, I decided to clumsily document the event.

I made it over half-way, yet not quite 2/3’s. I could have done more, but it was starting to turn into too much of a good thing; as I began feeling a bit disoriented.

Buy hey, if anyone beats my record, I’d definitely be up for drinking the entire bottle, or more, if necessary.

 The Manly Vegan Vs. 48 Ounce GT’s Synergy Trilogy Kombucha

Nick Shell’s Self-Help Therapy Guide to 2017 New Year’s Resolutions: 7 Traits of Choosing to Be Victorious Versus Allowing the Default of Being a Victim

For most of my life, I’ve looked back on the previous year thinking, “Man, I was immature back then. I’ve learned a lot in the past year. If only I could go back and live it again knowing what I know now…”

With that being said, I feel that now at age 35, I have created a plan to keep from feeling that way. During the past year, I have formulated and applied my own self-help therapy guide consisting of 7 comparisons of someone who chooses to be victorious, as opposed to allowed the default of the victim mentality.

I believe these have everything to do with whether a person finds success living by their New Year’s Resolutions.

By consciously living by these principles on minute-by-minute basis, I feel like I am really in control of my life. I am simply more independent in my thinking; serving as my own therapist.

These 7 principles are the epitome of the concept: Focus on what you can control, not on what you cannot.

Victors versus Victims

1.       Victor: compliments others vs. Victim: criticizes others

2.       Victor: embraces change vs. Victim: fears change

3.       Victor: forgives other vs. Victim: holds grudges

4.       Victor: always learning vs. Victim: thinks they know everything

5.       Victor: accepts responsibility for their failures vs. Victim: blames others for their failures

6.       Victor: has a sense of gratitude vs. Victim: has a sense of entitlement

7.       Victor: sets goals and develops plans vs. Victim: never sets goals

After applying my “choose your mindset” theory for the past year, I felt a sense of graduation of my program when I was able to successfully upload a video on my YouTube channel entitled (can’t offend me).

In other words, I made a public social experiment out of myself by proving that if I simply made the decision that for the rest of my life, I would no longer grant anyone the authority to offend me (or “hurt my feelings”)… for any reason, by any person.

Through personal application of these concept, I fully realized that if I choose it, only I truly have the authority to grant others to offend me. But without my permission being granted, other people have no power of my emotions.

I alone control my emotions; my emotions do not control me.

What it all comes down to is something called emotional intelligence.

It only makes sense that a person who is constantly offended is allowing themselves to be the victim by default. Therefore, it only makes sense that a person who never seems to be offended is therefore making a conscious decision to be victorious.

I am so grateful for the benefits of living my life this way. I have never before felt so in control over my own life, despite the things I truly have no control over.

Feel free to ask me any questions about my “7 Traits” if you are interested in trying it out for yourself.

Nick Shell’s Self-Help Therapy Guide to 2017 New Year’s Resolutions: 7 Traits of Choosing to Be Victorious Versus Allowing the Default of Being a Victim

Dear Jack: Rogue One Star Wars (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 3/3) *No Spoilers*

6 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: Rogue One Star Wars (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 3/3) *No Spoilers*

Dear Jack,

Our Weekend of Manliness! concluded as we left Monster Jam and made our way towards The Mall at Green Hills; a place you had never been to before.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

On the way there though, we made a quick stop to Army & Navy War Surplus; as I am currently interested in replacing my current overnight backpack with a military version; since we travel to California at least once a year and I want something more durable as a carry-on.

Thanks to one of your aunts giving you Regal Cinemas gift cards for Christmas, everything was free!

Dear Jack: Rogue One Star Wars (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 3/3) *No Spoilers*

The time had finally come… the time for us to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I had only heard great things about it. Nothing prepared me for how amazing of a movie it is!

Just about 20 minutes into it, I was already ready to see it a 2nd time!

It made me so proud to be able to take you to see it. The Star Wars franchise is such an undeniable part of American boyhood. I feel it’s a responsibility as your dad to introduce you to all thing Star Wars.

What a convenient decade for you to be a boy! At 6 years old, you are old enough to be able to appreciate these new Star Wars movies. Your 1st introduction was a year ago, when I took you to see The Force Awakens.

Dear Jack: Rogue One Star Wars (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 3/3) *No Spoilers*

And as much as I loved that one, this new one is even better. Ah, what an amazing, must-see movie!

After the final credits rolled, I looked over to you and asked, “Well, how many of your Sour Punch Rainbow Straws did you eat?” I always assuming you took care of at least half the package.

You explained, “Just four; one of every flavor.” Apparently your agenda is to savor the rest over the next couple of weeks, as Mommy and I rarely let you eat candy. It’s such a commodity to you.

At that point though, it was time for us to find some dinner- as it was nearly 7 PM. Earlier in the week, I had proactively reached out to a really nice restaurant there at The Mall at Green Hills called Table 3. I offered to feature them on my blog in an exchange for a free meal for us.

I never heard back from them. I take that to mean they’re doing well without any additional positive publicity. Oh well, it was worth a shot. Never hurts to ask. The law of averages, you know…

Dear Jack: Rogue One Star Wars (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 3/3) *No Spoilers*

So instead, we landed at Noodles & Company, and boy am I glad we did. We were so pleased with their selections!

They very easily catered to our manly dietary restrictions; with you being a vegetarian and me being a vegan. You got their kids’ meal: Mac and Cheese, Go Go Squeeze, and a fun Rice Krispie Treat. Granted, I made you eat some of my broccoli from my Thai Curry Bowl with tofu.

Dear Jack: Rogue One Star Wars (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 3/3) *No Spoilers*

It was the perfect ending to our Weekend of Manliness! Unsurprisingly, after such a busy day, you quickly fell asleep in the back seat.

And, I’m already planning our next Weekend of Manliness! for just a few weeks from now…

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Rogue One Star Wars (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 3/3) *No Spoilers*

Weekend of Manliness! January 2017 Series:

1st Snow of 2017

Monster Jam 2017

Rogue One Star Wars