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.

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What Do Vegans Eat for the 4th of July? Just Ask Me, The Manliest Vegan on the Internet!

It’s understood in our American culture that a real man takes pride in eating bacon, sausage, and beef.

Especially on July 4th. He simply (and ironically) laughs in the face of high cholesterol and onset diabetes.

Why? Because it’s manly to eat meat.

And because… ‘Merica!

How else could a man possibly get enough protein?

However, I am currently taking America by storm, as I am stumping both scientists and sociologists alike…

They are being forced to take notice that I am in deed the manliest vegan on the Internet, yet I am still alive and well.

Miraculously, I am perfectly in the correct height/weight/age range. I not overweight nor underweight. In other words… I’m getting enough protein.

How is it that I am not a walking skeleton? Why does I seem so happy and content in life? 

I am currently baffling our nation, as Americans everywhere are trying to wrap their minds around the fact that I haven’t eaten any pork (which includes bacon and sausage) in 8 and a half years, any meat at all in 5 and a half years, and no eggs or dairy in over 4 years.

My protein comes from six sources:

Veggies, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

So what does a manly vegan eat on July 4th? Whatever I want, as long as it consists of veggies, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

For this July 4th, my wife made a vegan lasagna (containing noodles and veggies) and some vegan sausage by Field Roast Grain Meat Co. as well. And I liked it.

I didn’t feel left out. I didn’t feel victimized. And I didn’t feel jealous.

Why? Because I am the manliest vegan on the Internet.

Instead, other men surely felt left out that they are not part of my manly vegan club.

(Mic dropped.)

 

I Used Rosemary Essential Oil for Hair Loss for 6 Months and This is What Happened…

On a daily basis from December 25th, 2016 until June 25th, 2017, I faithfully applied rosemary oil onto my scalp. I also included other oils as well, along with pumpkin seed oil in pill format.

1 ounce almond oil (carrier oil)

18 drops rosemary oil

3 drops rose hip seed oil

3 drops sage oil

3 drops lavender oil

-Plus one pumpkin seed capsule daily (but 2 daily for the first month)

The results? Inconclusive.

6 Months Before…

New hair did not grow in. However, there is no obvious evidence that my hair continued to thin either. So I can’t prove it didn’t maintain and keep the hair I still have.

But obviously, no… it did not serve as some magical cure for hair loss that people on the Internet want it to be.

6 Months After…

Believe it or not, I’m now technically more popular as a YouTuber than I am as a daddy blogger. For the past year and a half, I have been making about 3 videos a day about hair loss on my YouTube channel.

My original intention was to create popular videos for children to watch with their parents, like my Jack-Man series…

 

As well as my Uncle Nick series…

 

But the free market decided otherwise. What people actually chose to spend their time watching were videos where I casually talk about hair loss.

I hit the 1,000 subscriber mark back in February, and now I’m over 1600. What that means is this: I make supplemental income now, as a YouTube. It’s currently over $50 a month, as YouTubers get a cut of the revenue from the commercials that play right before my videos.

And that number of subscribers is growing daily.

 

So while you know me as the daddy blogger, there are over 1600 YouTube subscribers who know me as an accidental expert on hair loss. Pretty weird, huh?

 

Did using these oils help my hair loss? I provided pictures though, so you can be the judge.

And in case you’re interested in trying out some shampoo that contains some of the oils I use everyday, here’s a link to Amazon.

Dear Jack: The Mad Rush to Get You to Your 1st Violin Lesson on Time!

6 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Today was a pretty interesting day…

This morning was an exciting in itself, as it made the first morning that you and your sister got to ride in the 2017 Toyota Highlander we are driving this week. With almost with no words necessary, you immediately adopted the 3rd row seat as your own.

Your sister was jolly as usual, enjoying the view up at you from her 2nd row seat. You loved how I let you out; through the back hatch door, so you could just jump out.

But while it was a good morning, it ended up being sort of a strange afternoon…

I received a call from Mommy while I was at work, which was unusual. She explained she was stuck in stand still traffic on I-65 and that it would be impossible for her to be able to pick you up in time from your school, then take you to your first official violin lesson. (A couple of weeks ago you got fitted for your violin, but today was the big day to actually start learning how to play it.)

Mommy told me your violin lesson would be beginning at 4:00. That only gave me 40 minutes from that point to finish up at work, drive to your school, then rush to the music academy where your lessons would be taking place.

Normally, to drive from Cool Springs to Spring Hill, on a good day, would take a solid 45 minutes… if I was lucky. But because the Interstate was essentially shut down, I would have to take the back roads instead; which only increased the challenge.

By the time I was pulling out of the parking lot, it was 3:25 on the dot; that gave me just 35 minutes to get your to your violin lesson on time.

It take a miracle to make this happen!

With a little bit of high tempo inspiration from Metallica pumping through the speakers (because, of course, who else?!), and the power of the 4Runner’s V-6 engine, I took advantage of my ability to make it through every about-to-change-from-green-to-yellow traffic light.

I can honestly say I didn’t speed, because in Nashville traffic, that’s just not an option: there are too many cars in front of you even if you tried. It must have been because I left work at an unusual time, far enough ahead of rush hour traffic, that I was able to achieve the impossible:

At 3:58 PM, with 2 minutes to spare, you were flying out of the back hatch of the 4Runner!

I still think that we must of cheated the laws of physics to get there on time, but somehow, we arrived with moments to spare!

And what can I say? Hey, you’re a smart kid. You soaked up every word your violin teacher, Gabrielle, had to say.

Tonight, after Mommy read you a bedtime story, you impressed her by giving her a violin lesson of her own.

So yeah, it was a pretty interesting day.

Love,

Daddy

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

You’re likely reading this because you fall into one of two categories: Either you’re a fellow vegan like me… or you’re simply curious to see what a Thanksgiving looks like without the traditional turkey and dressing.

Well, I can’t speak for most plant-based families out there, but I can definitely tell you what our family did for Thanksgiving this year.

We had a very vegan, and Mexican, feast.

Why Mexican? The main reason is because it was the easiest menu for my wife to plan and prepare; not to mention, we were travelling with the food for 3 hours from Tennessee to Alabama.

The other reason, though it could arguable be a coincidence, is that my side of the family is part Mexican; so it simply seemed natural to do so.

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

When we drove in the night before Thanksgiving, my mom made some homemade Michoacán style “tacos” for my wife and me to try. The recipe was one that my Grandma (who was full Mexican) passed on to my mom.

Plus, we made vegan pancakes. Not to mention, avocado toast. And some breakfast muffins, using chia seeds as part of the recipe.

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

The next day for our actual Thanksgiving Day feast, we had a taco bar. My wife cooked up 3 pounds of Beyond Meat (made from pea protein) for the main filling. Plus, my mom prepared black beans, pinto beans, and refried beans. We of course had veggies to dress the tacos, as well as avocado, which serves as a high-fat cheese substitute. There was also some really healthy black rice with almonds; so hearty!

My mom also made some bean salads for sides and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

There was so much food that we still had enough left over to have the meal again the next day. Both times we had the meal, we had guests over. We didn’t tell them it was vegan, but they seemed to enjoy it just the same.

So, there you go. That’s what we had for our Thanksgiving feast. And it worked so well, we plan to repeat our menu again for Christmas!

Whatever brings you to this blog post today, please know that you are welcome here. No pressure at all for you to adopt the wildly strange and counter-cultural lifestyle I have lived for many years now.

Just enjoy the scenery and scratch your head in wonder. It’s okay. This is a safe place.

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

Special Guest Vegan Blog Post: Vegan Broth Recipe by Oriana Maoloni of The Health Madam

The following is a special guest blog post, by Emma of The Health Madam.

Hello and welcome to my healthy lifestyle blog! A blog dedicated to posting information and recipes on nutrition and health, for individuals and families alike. I have a keen interest in nutrition for myself and my family. What to cook or bake, that makes me feel good about what I’m serving, is one of my biggest challenges and concerns. I’ve taken some favorite recipes, whether they are for vegan, meat, poultry, fish or baking, and added other nutritious ingredients, without compromising the flavor.  Along with cooking more nutritious meals, my family and I try to make physical fitness a part of our life, everyday.

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Vegan Broth Recipe

I created this vegan recipe from only vegetables and fruit. I freeze off any of the broth leftovers, and use it at a time when I need a quick and nutritious meal. It acts as a good base.  For the meat lovers in my life, I add beef, ham, chicken, pork or fish, which all work well in this vegan broth because of its subtle flavour. Barley or beans, which are both high in fibre, also do well in this broth. Leftovers are brought back to life when added to this broth. I use organic ingredients whenever I can. I sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast before serving (available at most health or bulk food stores). Nutritional Yeast is high in folic acid and tastes just like cheese.

Vegan Broth Recipe – Ingredients:

  • 1-2 medium or large peeled and chopped yams
    This simple recipe makes a hearty and nutritious vegan soup that can be enjoyed in the winter as well as the summer.
    This simple recipe makes a hearty and nutritious vegan soup that can be enjoyed in the winter as well as the summer.
  • 1 large peeled and chopped onion
  • 4-5 peeled and chopped carrots
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1-2 peeled and chopped garlic cloves
  • Handful of chopped herbs – basil, rosemary, oregano (optional – you can add one, all or your own preference)
  • Few stalks of chopped celery
  • 1 -2 Large peeled and chopped apple, pear or both
  • Filtered Water

Vegan Broth Recipe – Instructions:

In a large stock pot, I throw in all the ingredients. I fill the pot almost to the top and bring to boil and let simmer for a few hours. I then remove from it from the heat and using a hand blender, blend all ingredients until uniform. I only take out the amount I need, add whatever other ingredients I might like to add, and season to taste. The longer the soup is left to stew, the better the flavour. I add seasonings after all other ingredients are in the broth, especially leftovers, to avoid over seasoning.

Jill Shell’s Friday Night Vegan/Vegetarian Pizza Recipe: Family Friendly (Mommy) Blog

Jill Shell's Friday Night Vegan/Vegetarian Pizza Recipe: Family Friendly (Mommy) Blog

Let’s talk pizza!  Our family LOVES pizza and our favorite restaurant to dine at currently is Mellow Mushroom.  They are vegan and “family friendly” and we’ve been to several here in the Southeast (in Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Alabama, as a matter of fact).  Pizza is often a staple for us on Friday or Saturday nights when we are up for something quick and easy to make.  Now I don’t claim to be Betty Crocker, so I will tell you now that 9 times out of 10 I do buy my pizza dough (as opposed to making it).

Where we live you can buy pre-made pizza dough from Publix, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s.  Whenever possible, I generally buy our pizza dough from Trader Joe’s because it is vegan, the ingredients are simple and pronouncable, it’s really good and you can’t beat the price ($1.19 here in Nashville).  I try to make a trip to TJ’s about once every other month and stock up on essentials like pizza dough (it’s perfectly fine to put it in the freezer and then thaw out the day you will use it).  And I will say that not only can you use the dough for making pizzas and calzones, but they are great to make into breadsticks to go along with soup in the winter.

To make a vegan veggie pizza, here’s what I do:

1- Preheat the oven to 400* and grease a medium sized pizza pan with a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

2- Pat the dough in your hands and pull from each side to stretch it out, and then spread it out onto your pizza pan.

3- Add the sauce of your choice (we generally buy jarred organic pasta sauce from either Kroger, TJ’s or Whole Foods . . . sometimes you can get it for $2.19 a jar at Kroger and all of the ingredients are ingredients that are real).

4- Cut up veggies of your choice and sprinkle randomly over the sauce . . . our veggie pizza staples are onion (cut into thin, long slices), multi-colored bell peppers (cut into thin, long slices), and tomatoes (cut thin) to layer on top.  Sometimes we add mushrooms, but those are only for nights we feel a little crazy and step outside of the norm.

5- Slice up some Kalamata olives and sprinkle all over.

6- Shake a little salt, a little cracked pepper, and either an Italian herb blend or simple oregano other the entire pizza.  If you have fresh basil, go ahead and cut some of that up and spread it over the pizza.

7- Toss it in the oven for 10-15 minutes (depending how crispy or soft you like your crust).

8- Eat and serve with a side salad.

Jill Shell's Friday Night Vegan/Vegetarian Pizza Recipe: Family Friendly (Mommy) Blog

For Jack’s pizza, we tend to go a much simpler route (because he is 4 and a very picky eater).  I generally break the dough in half and put the other half in the freezer for another night.  I grease the pizza pan, work out the dough in my hands and spread it onto the pan.  I add the sauce (and I try to opt for a sauce that specifically has some kind of extra veggie, like a sauce with bell peppers or mushrooms).  Then I top it with mozzarella cheese . . . or almond cheese which still has casein in it so it’s not vegan, but seems a bit better for him than the mozzarella.  I bake it anywhere from 10-15 minutes and serve his with cut up apples or a side of applesauce.

Here again, if you are not into the whole vegan thing (I get it, I really do) and just want to make a good, meaty or cheesy pizza . . . just follow the first few steps and then add your preferred toppings.  Or if you are a super meat lover and want to try inserting a veggie option in every now and then, try this, you won’t be disappointed (unless you are, then in which case, I can’t help you there; I can just vouch that we like it)!