Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I Am Now Officially an Overweight Vegan (176 pounds, 5’ 9”, Age 36, Medium Frame)

I am fundamentally opposed to New Year’s Resolutions. I have always said that if a person is truly ready to make a change in their life, then why wait for some arbitrary date on a calendar?

So for me, the first day of the rest of my life was not January 1st, but instead, it happens to be January 8th.

Last night after I took my shower and put on my size large t-shirt, I couldn’t help but notice how tight it felt. So I did something I rarely do: I weighed myself on the scale.

It took me a moment to accept my reality: I now weigh around 176 pounds. The most I’ve ever weighed was 178 pounds, and that was when I was in my late 20s and still eating meat, eggs, and dairy.

The lowest I’ve ever weighed since high school was 153 pounds; easily fitting into size 31 pants. Check out this video I made just 2 and a half years ago in May 2015, to see me in the ideal weight range for my height:

But there was a subtle change that began just a couple of months later, once my wife got pregnant with our now 20 month-old daughter back in July 2015. As my wife began eating more during the pregnancy, so did I… and I never stopped!

For over two years now, I have been slowly and steadily gaining weight; yet remaining faithful to my diet consisting of only vegetables, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. That means no meat, no eggs, no dairy.

In two months from now, it will be 5 whole years that I’ve been a vegan.

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this “vegan weight gain”. I first brought it up in September, a month before I became a stay-at-home dad, in my first Dad Bod post.

What’s interesting, as my wife recently pointed out, is I’m actually eating one less meal a day now that I work from home and take care of our kids. Back when I worked at the office, I always had a huge bowl of oatmeal; full of protein and saturated fat, thanks to the nuts and unsweetened cocoa I put in it.

But now that I’m constantly caring for a 20 month-old daughter all day long, plus a 7 year-old son before and after school, plus writing and shooting videos whenever I get a chance, I just don’t have much time to eat… until we all eat dinner as family each night; which is apparently when I make up for any lack of calories.

I am convinced that my strategy to get back to my ideal weight is to aggressively eliminate empty or unnecessary calories; especially during dinner, which is my biggest meal. It’s important to me that I don’t go hungry, but instead, that I stop eating once I get enough food. I need to do a better job of telling the two apart.

Just imagine the irony of an overweight vegan. Imagine all those well-meaning, yet concerned people telling me over the years, “Well, just make sure you get enough protein…”

Uh, yeah, that’s clearly not a problem for me.

And in case anyone is skeptical that I am indeed overweight, perhaps because I don’t “look” overweight, just check out the height and weight chart. For my height of 5’ 9” and having a medium frame, I officially became overweight once I crossed 170 pounds. That was about 6 pounds ago.

What’s my motivation to get back into that ideal weight range where I was back in May 2015? It’s not about self-esteem. My confidence is not effected by my weight gain.

Instead, it’s important to my identity that I have control over my own body. In the same way I refuse to let other people control my emotions, I now must refuse to let my overeating habits effect my weight.

No kidding: As I was putting this blog post together, my daughter who was sitting on my lap, looked up at the picture below of my belly, and in all sincerity asked, “Baby?”

I am an overweight vegan. We do exist, yes. But I do plan to change that.

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SEO Spotlight Guest Blog Post: Review of Baltic Amber Necklaces for Teething Babies, by Baltic Wonder

DISCLOSURE LANGUAGE

Baltic Wonder sponsored and wrote this article; I received compensation for my time and platform. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. Baltic Wonder believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Baltic Wonder’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Since I really can’t do an honest review of an amber necklace unless I actually use it, I decided to go through with it. I researched Baltic Amber and how to get an authentic one, and then bought one.

When it arrived, I was still skeptical but excited to see if what the natural mamas have been raving about was true. As luck would have it, my baby was just getting a bit fussy again after her last round of teeth cutting. It was the perfect time.

I put the necklace around Julie’s neck. I watched her to see what she did and really she didn’t notice there was anything on there. She went on her way to play with her push rocket.

It wasn’t too long after that she started to fuss. I knew it had to be the teething because her face was getting red and her temp was 99.5.

I immediately thought that the necklace wasn’t working and I should just take it off. I stopped myself though. I figured it wasn’t doing any harm and well, I should give it a good amount of time, so I can give it a chance.

As the day went on, Julie was o.k. She had the mild temperature and some fussiness, but it wasn’t anything as bad as it was the last round. At the end of the day before bedtime, I took the necklace off.

In the morning, I put the necklace back on her. Her temperature was gone, and she slept through the night. That was nice, but since I took the necklace off, I didn’t attribute her good night to it. It was just a coincidence…. Or was it?

Julie wore her Baltic amber necklace all day and again, didn’t even notice it was on her. She was calm all day and ate pretty well. When I woke up the next morning, after another nice night, I looked in her mouth. There was another tooth coming through!

Before jumping to conclusions, I had to try the amber necklace again through a teething phase. Instead of waiting for when she started a mild fever again, I just kept putting the necklace on every morning. It’s been a year since I first put the necklace on her, and we’ve never had a problem with teething. She almost has a mouth full now, and I honestly believe that our easy time through teething is because of the amber necklace.

SEO Spotlight: Review of Baltic Amber Necklaces for Teething Babies from Real Baltic Wonder

How Baltic Amber Necklaces Work

It may be too good to believe, but you might as well try it for yourself to see if it works. It won’t harm baby, and you never know, it may actually work.

Baltic amber teething necklaces are made out of fossilized tree resin. This resin has Succinic Acid, which is an oil that has been used to treat many illnesses and boost immunity. Colds, fevers, inflammation, headaches, and pain have all been relieved with amber for centuries in Europe and the Middle East.

When a baby wears the necklace around her neck, the body warms the beads, and this releases the oil onto the skin. It then seeps through the skin and goes right into the bloodstream to do its magic.

What’s important is that you purchase an authentic amber necklace. The amber beads need to be high quality, or it won’t have enough of the treatment oil to help. The best beads come from the Baltic areas of the world, such as Lithuania. It’s where the beads for my necklace were sourced, and it worked for me, so I would recommend that as a reliable location for authentic amber beads.

If you’ve used amber necklaces, comment below to let me know how you like them. If you haven’t and end up trying it because of this review, come back and let me know if it worked for you. It’s always great to see mamas come together and help one another with all of the baby stages that can be a real struggle sometimes.

* We are giving away 10 Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces to 10 random users. To be a part of the giveaway you must:

· Follow us on Instagram @realbalticwonder

· Make a comment on the posted blog.

· Make a comment on the following picture of our Instagram:

I Used Rosemary Essential Oil for Hair Loss for 12 Months and This is What Happened…

I do not sell essential oils, nor am I a shill. I’m just a YouTuber who accidentally stumbled into the underground world of men’s hair loss. I realized it was a niche for me and ran with it.

By listening to my subscribers, I learned there was a demand for a normal guy like me to publicly experiment with rosemary oil, in an attempt to see if it would slow down, stop, or even reverse my hair loss.

My level of hair loss is fairly minimal. I am considered on the Norwood scale as a Norwood 2.5 Vertex, meaning I’m between Adam Levine and Heath Ledger, with some minor thinning.

I was the perfect candidate to test out the rosemary oil on my public forum. I wanted my subscribers to see the progress, if any, happen in real time over the course of a year. So that’s exactly what I did.

Here’s me on Christmas Day, 2016:

And now here’s me exactly one year later, on Christmas Day 2017:

I wasn’t interested in making the judgement call myself. I left it up to my nearly 2700 subscribers to determine whether the rosemary oil had any kind of effect on my hair.

The slight majority of my viewers determined the rosemary oil was indeed effective in at least preventing further hair loss:

I definitely think your hair is thicker!
Your hair’s looking thicker than before sir… Looking great 👌
I so believe it is aiding you in maintaining your hairline, in conjunction with your diet.
The most interesting twist here is that you’ll continue using the rosemary, given your “baldness advocating,” skepticism of hair loss treatments, not wanting to be a “slave” to any product, often-expressed desire to go bald, etc. It’s helped you retain the hair you have and slowed down the balding process, imo. How long will it remain effective? Only time will tell.

The irony of this experiment, as pointed out in the comment above, is that one of the main themes of my channel is that I constantly remind my viewers that my hair does not define my identity or my confidence level. So if indeed the rosemary oil experiment was successful, it serves as a bit of a paradox for a guy who ultimately doesn’t care if he goes bald.

Hey, I’m 36. I’m amazed I still even have hair. I always assumed I’d be bald by 35.

So after 12 months of applying rosemary oil, was it effective? You be the judge.

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2017

Why Do Jews and Muslims Not Eat Pork or Shellfish? Preventative Health Reasons.

Before switching over to a kosher diet 9 years ago on Thanksgiving Day 2008, I always assumed that the reason Jewish and Muslim people didn’t eat pork or shellfish was more arbitrary; something to the effect of simply showing obedience to God by disciplining their eating habits.

But after eliminating all pork (ham, bacon, sausage) and shellfish (shrimp, scallops, clams), and seeing for myself how it was causing my eczema (dyshidrosis) to finally start clearing up after nearly a decade, even though it’s “medically incurable”, I realized that this whole kosher thing actually had a scientific purpose.

In the same way we all know now that beef is worse for our health than chicken, certain “bottom-feeder” animals are naturally less healthy than others for us to eat.

It easily makes sense that a pig, which will eat nearly anything and has no sweat glands, is naturally going to be less nutritious to the human body, as compared to a cow; though beef is red meat, cows eat only plants.

So indeed there is a scale of uncleanness in the animal kingdom, that helps us to understand which are most likely to increase our chances of getting cancer and disease.

I believe we all know by know what the black strip is along the back of a shrimp, right? When it comes to seafood, shellfish are the bottom-feeders who eat all the rotting remnants and feces. Even catfish fall into this category.

The more I learned about this, and realized that by eating only plants, I didn’t even have to worry about the “scale of uncleanness” anymore, it was a natural transition for me to switch to the Mediterranean diet, then vegetarian, and finally vegan.

So nine years ago I became kosher, and for the most recent half of those years I’ve been vegan.

The eczema has been gone for many years now. And the sinus infections. And the pet allergies.

Coincidence? I submit it is not.

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: What I Eat During the Day, As a Vegan

The thought seemed intimidating when I was first immediately launched into my new career as stay-at-home dad:

“But what will I eat?”

Turns out, the answer was simple. I eat the same stuff I ate every day back when I commuted nearly an hour away to an office; only minus the oatmeal with trail mix and a banana.

I eat a little less because I am a little less hungry, and I suppose that might have something to do with the fact I’m not getting outside to exercise as much. When I worked at the office, I took my breaks walking or biking or running outside; as for now, I have an 18 month-old daughter and cold or hot weather to consider.

My calorie consumption begins each morning with a cup of instant organic iced coffee. (Honestly, it’s only 2 calories; but I’m not counting!) The entire container only costs about $5, the same amount of just one Starbucks latte.

While I could opt for the unsweetened vanilla almond milk in the fridge to add some flavor and creaminess, somehow along the way I discovered I genuinely like the taste of cold, black coffee.

But I do bring out the unsweetened vanilla almond milk about an hour later for my official breakfast, which is the manly vegan smoothie I invented. My recipe is high in protein and total fat, but contains very little saturated fat and zero cholesterol.

The ingredients, in addition to the almond milk: A whole banana, a cup of frozen blueberries, a half cup of plain oatmeal, a teaspoon of chia seeds, a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa or carob powder, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Then I put that all together in the blender for about 20 seconds.

My lunch is quite predictable for me as well. There’s a brand of organic ramen noodle available at Whole Foods and Sprouts, called Koyo. They are around a dollar a package, and I cook 2 of them for my lunch. They are also high in protein, like my smoothie. I typically go with the “low sodium” version, but if it’s not available, I don’t let it bother my conscience: I usually consume under my daily allowance of sodium, since I don’t eat meat.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, I may go for another cup of coffee, but I’m typically not really hungry after having consumed so much protein and good fats earlier in the day.

Depending on what’s for dinner, I may start prepping for when my wife and son get home. What’s really great is when my wife has already put together a crock pot meal the day before and placed it in the fridge. I can have that heating up during the afternoon so it will be ready for dinner. Plus, I can throw together a festive salad.

If I do stray from my ramen noodles routine for lunch, it’s only to finish off any leftovers from the night before, like my wife’s homemade vegan pizza; and maybe a bowl of cereal as well.

And consider, this meal plan is coming from a guy who said most of his life, “I got to have meat! I need more meat! I’m still hungry. I could never be a vegetarian. I couldn’t do it. Especially not a vegan!”

Obviously, there was dynamic character growth in the person narrating this story.

But I have embraced my identity as a manly vegan; and here more recently, as a stay-at-home dad as well.

3 Non-Romantic Reasons I Love My Wife

On the surface, it’s easy to see why I chose to spend the rest of my life with the woman I married over 9 years ago. She’s universally beautiful, she’s unselfishly kind, and she’s humble yet confident in herself.

I am a lucky man. I have the ability of knowing in all confidence, I made the right decision.

Not only did I choose the right person to marry, but I made the right decision that fateful night of October 5, 2006, when I spotted her in a crowded room full of hundreds of people and decided to take a chance: I walked up to her and attempted to woo her with my interesting stories, my charming, yet off-beat personality, and my average looks.

It worked.

Now here we are in our mid-30s, having been married nearly a decade, and having produced two blue-eyed, Dutch-looking children despite our DNA.

So while I could easily write 841 words on the romantic aspects of how much I love my wife, I’m instead going to take a different direction. What about the non-romantic reasons I love her?

What about the reasons that would be symbolized not by a heart emoji, but instead, by a house or a stack of money, or by a clock or even a skull?

If for no other reason than to challenge myself as a writer, I now present to you 3 non-romantic reasons I love my wife.

  1. We make a good business team.

I feel like this isn’t emphasized when a couple becomes engaged, but marriage is a business, and it needs to be ran that way. The longer we are married, the better we become at running our family’s business.

During our first year of marriage, before kids, we were able to pay for my wife to go get her Master’s Degree, without going into further debt. That investment paid off, as my wife has since then, consistently made considerably more money than I have all these years. My wife also handles our family’s weekly budget.

On my end, I have been faithfully building my experience as a writer (thanks to this blog) since 2009, and as a YouTuber for the past 3 years. Now at present day, we are seeing the possibility that my “side hustles” (as a blogger, ghostwriter, SEO expert, social media influencer, and YouTuber) are starting to pay off. I actually speculate that by January 2019, our monthly mortgage payment will be covered from my YouTube earnings alone.

My wife is the detailed accountant and investor. I am the creative entrepreneur. Together, we run a family business.

            2. We make a good parenting team.

In the same way we are counterparts as co-business owners, we function the same way as parents. My wife is the nurturer, the schedule keeper, the travel planner, the head chef, and the laundry engineer.

Meanwhile, I am the disciplinarian, the head of communication, the chauffeur, the before-and-after school program director, and the “wake up at any hour of the night to get our daughter back to sleep” technician.

We are not great at doing each other’s roles. Instead, we embrace our individual parenting strengths as part of our own identities. We’ve got a good system. And we’ve got good kids.

Whereas I see marriage as a business, I see parenting as a talent management agency. We have two young recruits who we are responsible for molding into respectable and independent adults, preparing them for the real world.

        3. I want to be around her even during the predictable, seemingly uneventful, non-                          Facebook-status-worthy moments of life.

For me, it all comes back to the famous line in our wedding vows: for better or for worse.

Yeah, I’m totally cool with slowly aging alongside my wife for the next 40 years as we live happily ever after, until ultimately one of us finally dies first, leaving the other person with the insurance money- and unimaginable sadness.

But what about the in-between of better or worse? Not everyday can be a Michael Bublé song. Many days are more like Huey Lewis, when he sang, “Yes, it’s true, I’m so happy to be stuck with you.”

I love my wife for the moments in our life together that are just normal and forgettable; the B-roll footage that no one would care about watching if our lives were a reality TV show on TLC, called Our Crazy Vegetarian Life. Being grateful for your spouse through all the filler moments, which honestly, make up most of our time on this planet, is what real love is all about.

So maybe I’ve failed to hold true to the title of this article. Maybe there really is something romantic about building a life together, running it like a business, creating and raising mini-me’s, and choosing to love a person until the day you die, even if most of those days don’t have fireworks and champagne.

Maybe there’s something undeniably romantic about the unromantic parts of loving the person you married.

If so, consider me a hopeless romantic.

Photo credit: Mohamad Alaw.

About the Author:

I am an accidental stay-at-home vegan daddy blogger based in Spring Hill, Tennessee. I have no spare time, but by default, my hobbies include playing guitar, singing, songwriting, mountain biking, skateboarding, running, and going on road trips across America with my family in vehicles that Toyota and Lexus provide for free because it’s smart advertising for them.

Additionally, I enjoy making videos for both of my YouTube channels: Nick Shell, which is a mentorship program for younger men who are psychologically dealing with going bald, and Family Friendly Daddy Blog, which celebrates and explores ethnic diversity based on DNA test results.

5 Ways to Predict If You Will Go Bald and 5 Ways to Deal with It If You Do (The Nick Shell System)

If you’re a guy who’s starting to see possible signs of a receding hairline and you’re trying to figure out if you will indeed go bald, then you’ve come to the right place. I am a YouTuber with nearly 2500 subscribers and over 1500 videos devoted to the this topic. Hi, my name is Nick Shell.

While I’m not a professional or an expert on the topic, I have accidentally stumbled upon some findings, which I have turned into my own original theories. Based on my constant interactions with my subscribers, it appears my theories on predicting hair loss are accurate at least 80% of the time.

Some of the things you are about to read have not been published in print, until now. I call this The Nick Shell System. I am the owner, discoverer, and creator of these ideas. According to my theories, here are 5 ways to predict if you will go bald.

  1. Check for signs of balding or thinning. (Norwood 3 or beyond, or diffuse thinning.)

If you look at your hairline and it’s either straight across with some minor receding on your temples, which is classified as Norwood 1, or your hairline makes a “V” shape but there are 90 degree angles at the corners, which is classified as Norwood 2, then there is no need to fear yet. This is normal. As you progress into adulthood, it is expected for your hairline to naturally mature a little bit like this.

As long as you see no thinning spots, especially at the back of your head, then you are safe. Otherwise, this is considered “diffuse” thinning, and therefore overwrites the Norwood system; indicating you are indeed balding.

However, if your hairline makes an “M” shape, and the corners of your hairline are rounded off (which is classified as Norwood 3), then you officially have a receding hairline and have begun the first stage of the process of balding. It is common for some thinning to also accommodate the Norwood 3 stage.

2. Use a photo of yourself at age 1 to see a prediction of what your hairline will look like at age 35.

I discovered that a boy’s hairline when he is exactly a year old serves as a projection of his hairline and hair density when he becomes 35 years old. I figured this out, completely on my own, when I remembered that if you double a child’s height when they are 2 years old, it serves as a prediction of their height as a fully grown adult. My mother did this with both my sister and me; the results were 100% accurate. I did this with my own son, and it is predicted he will be one inch shorter than me.

Using this logic, I imagined there was likely a certain age of a boy where his hairline would be the same as when he becomes a mature adult. I knew this could not be based off of a newborn boy’s hair, because I know the first coat of hair falls out within the first couple weeks or so.

I found that age 1 was the more accurate stable predictor. From there, I settled on age 35 as the predicted future hairline because that happens to be the age in which men typically show more obvious signs of hair loss, or not.

By recording a video of myself at age 35 (which for me was last year) alongside a photo of myself at age 1, I demonstrate how my theory holds up.

3. Determine whether or not you could grow a full beard by the time you were age 18.

Another one of my findings from being a “Hair Loss YouTuber” is that typically, men who lose their hair sooner in adulthood were the same boys in high school who were hairy enough to grow a full connected beard before they graduated high school; like around age 16.

I define “full beard” by the fact if you didn’t shave for a day, then the next morning you had visible stubble all the way across your jaw line, chin, and above your upper lip.

If this was the case for you, it is more likely you will be at least Norwood 3 with some thinning by your 35th birthday; meaning you will likely lose most of your hair throughout the rest of your life. However, if you struggled to grow a full beard in high school, and envied the guys like me who could, chances are that you’ll keep your hair.

I discovered this concept after spending my first summer in Thailand back in 2003, when I couldn’t help but notice most middle-aged men still had all their hair, but struggled to grow even a mustache or goatee.

It’s in your DNA to either be balding and bearded, or to keep your hair but have minimal body hair.

4. Consider how close to age 35 you currently are.

As I’ve already mentioned, the exact age of 35 for a man is an important in predicting hair loss. Another finding I have realized is that most men who are Norwood 3 with thinning by the time they turn 35 years old are the ones who go on to continue losing their hair for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, a man who still has the straight across hairline (Norwood 1) or the “V” shape (Norwood 2) and has no thinning, is most likely to keep most of his hair for most of his life.

This is another way to determine whether a man has either the “balding and bearded” genes, or the “full head of hair but struggled in his youth to grow a beard.”

5. Accept that your race and ethnicity increases or decreases your chance of balding.

Going back to how I noticed the concept of how the Thai men kept their hair but couldn’t grow beards, there is truth in that certain races are more prone to hair loss but less likely to grow thick body hair in their youth.

Based on hundreds of interactions with my YouTube subscribers, this seems to be how it works:

Balding and bearded: European, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Indian

In-between both categories: African

Full head of hair but struggle to grow body hair in their youth: Asian

My theory on this is the less Asian you are, the more likely you are to be in the “balding and bearded category.” So for example, a Mexican man is less likely to lose his hair by age 35 as compared to a Norwegian man, because Mexicans’ DNA consists of Aztec and/or Mayans, who were descendants of Asians.

This would be similar to a Filipino man, whose DNA is likely a mix of Asian and some European.

Now that I’ve shared with you my 5 ways to predict hair loss, I want to close with 5 ways to deal with it if you fall into the “balding and bearded” category:

  1. Take a prescription drug to maintain the hair you still have.
  2. Get a hair transplant.
  3. Have tattoo-pigment done, in which the appearance of hair is tattooed on your scalp; given that you keep your hair extremely short.
  4. Try the “natural” approach by experimenting with applying essential oils like Rosemary and Argan Oil, become a vegan, exercise regularly, avoid stress, and stop smoking if you do; all of which may help slow down the balding process.
  5. Accept your fate and new identity as a confident and stylish “balding and bearded” man, by choosing to completely own the “shaved head” look, or at least a buzz cut- I recommend no longer than a #2 guard all over.Personally, I identify as a “balding advocate”, meaning that once I move beyond my current “Norwood 3 and thinning” stage around my 40th birthday in 3 and a half years, I plan to start shaving my head. I always expected to go bald; I just thought it would have already happened by now.

I definitely fall into all 5 of the categories of “balded and bearded”:

It was 6 and a half years ago on my 30th birthday that I first noticed my signs of balding, including thinning in the front and back of my head, in addition to the Norwood 3 hairline. My 1 year-old photo perfectly matched my hairline and density at age 35. I could grow a full beard 20 years ago, at age 16. I am already past age 35. And I while I do have 23% Mayan/Aztec DNA (according to my DNA test with MyHeritage), the majority of my DNA is German, Dutch, Sephardic Jewish, and Middle Eastern.

I am not ashamed to transition to my identity as “balding and bearded” in a few years. I think it will actually be pretty cool.

That’s it.

If you have found this article helpful, or at least intriguing, I invite you to check on my YouTube Channel on hair loss, simply titled, Nick Shell.

You can join a growing community of men who are learning to focus on what they can control and not on what they can’t; especially when it comes to hair loss.

Let’s continue the discussion there!