As the World’s Manliest Vegan, I Proudly Endorse All-Natural, Essential Oil Based Products from Jack Black (Courtesy of Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End); Also Featuring from Prep U

As an accidentally popular Nashville-based daddy blogger and YouTuber who happens to be The World’s Manliest Vegan, or at least The Manliest Vegan on the Internet, I’m not “get a free family vacation to Disney World” famous.

But I am “get a free trip for myself to Florida to see the Grapefruit League Baseball Series” famous.

I’m also “famous enough to get a free car with a full tank of gas for a week” anytime my family goes on a road trip or takes a vacation.

And to my delight, I’m also at the point now where on any given day, my wife may announce to me, “Nick, some company set you a package in the mail…”

This week, I got a care package courtesy of the newly opened Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End, including all natural, vegan-friendly products from Jack Black that they sell at their location:

Jack Black Charcoal Body Bar Messaging Soap

You may remember how about a month ago, I did a special video there when they gave me my first ever clean head shave.

Well now, a month later, they’re still keeping me in the loop. Apparently, they learned how passionate I am about all-natural products; ones that are based from essential oils, not weird chemicals.

Coincidentally, I also happen to receive a care package from Prep U:

Prep U Body Wash

Prep U Active Dry Powder

Prep U Body Spray

Prep U Natural Deodorant

The Prep U product line is specifically made for pre-teen boys; though I must say, their deodorant is my new favorite, of any brand! It works so well.

In case you didn’t know, about a decade ago, I stopped using personal products that contain shady ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate. I also stopped using deodorant that contains aluminum.

I am a dyshidrotic eczema survivor. In order to be healed of my disease, I had ultimately become a vegan (5 years now) and only use all natural products.

So as you can imagine, the products sent to me this week by Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End are obviously an extension of my identity and completely inline with my own brand image.

In addition to being all natural, they also smell very clean, in a classy, subtle, masculine way. In other words, not like Axe body spray.

For me, this is like Christmas in June. I’m the 37 year-old dad and husband. I don’t get nice stuff for myself. My money goes to my family- and my attempt to pay off the mortgage early.

Getting these care packages this week made me very grateful and very happy, as you can see in the picture below.

Thank you Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End. I am honored to serve as spokesman for natural products for men!

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3 Awesome Kid-Friendly Vegan Restaurants in New York 

By guest blogger Eathen Smith, as part of the sponsored Hotel Planner campaign.

The environmental, health, and social benefits of vegan food have never been more obvious to a new generation of health-conscious parents and restaurateurs. Both are on different sides of the restaurant counter but are equally determined in their efforts to promote healthy food choices for children.

Vegan menus for kids are still difficult to find, but there are numerous kid-friendly vegan restaurants in New York City. The number of hotels and transportation near some of the restaurants makes the city perfect for time restricted parents. Here are a few vegan-friendly restaurants found throughout the city;

Experience Convenience and Vegan Delights in Queens

Vegan-friendly, homemade, fresh, delicious, convenient, and attentive staff are all words that have been used to describe Bruno’s Restaurant. It is located near Howard’s Beach in Queens and is close to JFK Airport.

Large portions of food are the norm at Bruno’s Restaurant. The vegan-friendly menu includes fresh salads, pizza, pasta, and Italian desserts. Friendly staff also go above and beyond to provide a wonderfully warm and inviting atmosphere. There are plenty of transport options nearby, and taxis are recommended for late evenings.

Looking to stay nearby? Hotels are conveniently located all over Queens and can be reached within minutes.

Convenient Mexican Vegan on the Lower East Side  

JaJaJa Plantas Mexicana is a walk-in restaurant located on the Lower East Side of New York. The vegan menu rates highly among locals and visitors. There is a park across the road for distracting the kids while the family waits to be seated. The wait is worth it when the menu arrives. It is made up of unique Mexican food such as vegan chorizo, black bean burgers, and cauliflower rice. JaJaJa is located above a train station and car parking is plentiful making it perfect for a quick exit. The modern decor of JaJaJa is complemented by fun music, convenience, and an excellent location.

Upper East Side Vegan Experience  

Le Botaniste is for families with slightly higher budgets but provides delicious vegan food on the Upper East Side of New York. The restaurant offers a fast and convenient restaurant experience. There are lots of vegan food options at this restaurant, and a family with children can be in and out of Le Botaniste in minutes. The Tibetan Rice Bowl is a favorite choice for vegans. It contains coconut curry, brown rice, and veggies. Bowls of green vegetables, quinoa cookies, and assorted bowls of food are just a few of the other menu items.

Exceptional and tasty vegan food in New York City will continue to convert carnivores. The choices for kid-friendly vegan food is phenomenal, and there is something for every budget. The convenient restaurant locations near hotels and public transport make for an easy meal and decreased waiting times. Creative vegan delights from some of New York’s best have the potential to change a new generation of eaters and bring joy to conscious parents.

Image via Flickr by WoodleyWonderworks

A “Work Date”with My Wife at ENAR 2018 in Atlanta (Featuring the 2018 Mazda CX-5)

Last week during Spring Break, our family opted not to go somewhere slightly exotic, like Destin, Florida; as usual. Instead, I dropped my wife off at the Nashville International Airport for her flight to Atlanta, then I drove our kids to my parents’ house, in Fort Payne, Alabama; where I grew up.

My wife went to work immediately, as she was there to help represent Vanderbilt University’s Biostatistics Graduate Program in at the ENAR 2018 Spring Meeting. (In case you happen to be out of the loop, ENAR stands for Eastern North American Region of International Biometric Society.)

I spent the first day of Spring Break at Ruby Falls with our son (more on that in the near future, so stay tuned…). But the very next morning, I left early for Atlanta; in the 2018 Mazda CX-5.

This SUV was the perfect size for my 3 hour scenic drive down Lookout Mountain into the Rome, Georgia; and eventually Atlanta. I appreciated not only the great gas mileage it got (25 city, 31 highway), but also how well it handled all those sneaky curves on my route.

As a stay-at-home dad who works from home as a Social Media Specialist and Influencer, I haven’t commuted to an office since last October. So I do admit, it was nice being able go back and forth between The Beatles and Tom Petty for a few hours. There’s a part of me that misses that 2 hour round trip everyday to work, where I could sort of just think about my life as I listened to good music.

Thanks to the trusty GPS, I had arrived at lunch time at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta. My wife met me right away at front doors, where I introduced her to our new ride for the week, and from there we drove just about 5 miles away to our favorite vegan restaurant in Atlanta: Cafe Sunflower in Buckhead.

Our lunch every bit as magnificent as we expected; so much so, that we went back again the next day for lunch! Though my wife is an amazing plant-based chef, I love being able to take her somewhere nice where she not only doesn’t have to cook, but a place that is also as committed to our lifestyle as we are. (My wife has been a vegetarian and I have been a vegan, for well over 5 years now.)

Afterwards, we headed back to ENAR 2018, where I took photographs of Vanderbilt’s booth; as I will be writing an article for Vanderbilt’s website to promote their presence at the event. I was proud to see my video series on display on the monitor, as one of my many roles working as a freelance Social Media Specialist is to create promotional videos for companies.

Over the course the past few weeks, I had interviewed several current students and professors from Vanderbilt’s Biostastics Graduate Program, then made a series of short promo videos. Not only were these playing on a loop during the whole event, but I will eventually upload them to a YouTube channel that I will be creating and managing for the department.

I also also very proud to see my wife there in her role, as well; serving as a beautiful model and spokesperson for prospective students. More importantly though, she had helped coordinate the booth for the department, including all the logistics in getting it there, along with other Vanderbilt employees.

After a hard day’s work, we took advantage of a special attraction there at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta: They have a restaurant called Polaris, on top of the hotel. You have to take a special, exclusive, elevator there. And the over the course of an hour, the entire restaurant spins; so you get to see a 360 degree view of Atlanta. We will definitely go there again!

The next day after ENAR came to an end, we headed back to Cafe Sunflower for lunch again, then took a different route back to my parents’ house in Alabama. Our adventures were far from over, as we would be taking a family trip to Rock City the next morning.

I was very grateful to be able to have a “work date” with my wife. Sometimes, or maybe I should say usually, it requires some creativity in being able to plan fun dates when both parents work and have young children.

Perhaps at some point, our lives will be a little less crazy. As for now, we are truly making the most of what we have!

To check out the entire trilogy of blog posts about the cool trips my family took in the 2018 Mazda CX-5, just click the related link below:

A “Work Date”with My Wife at ENAR 2018 in Atlanta (Featuring the 2018 Mazda CX-5)

My Family’s Road Trip to Rock City in Chattanooga in the 2018 Mazda CX-5 (Featuring the Original New Theme Song I Wrote)

My Road Trip with My Son to Ruby Falls in Chattanooga in the 2018 Mazda CX-5 (Featuring the Original New Theme Song I Wrote)

Dear Jack: You Took Care of Your Sister While I Was Sick This Week

7 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

I don’t get sick… especially ever since I became a vegan over 5 years ago, when even most of my allergy and sinus problems went away. However, this week has been the exception to the rule.

Exactly a week ago, right as the dogwood trees turned from white to pink, it was like I was overtaken by the flu. (I can’t be sure what it’s like to have the flu, since I’ve never had the flu before; nor have I ever had a flu shot.)

My body began aching all over. My throat swelled up. My appetite went away.

And when Mommy checked my temperature, it was 103!

Last Friday, especially, was just a blur to me. I remember Mommy had to stay home because I pretty much just stayed in bed all day and slept. I really couldn’t do anything else anyway; I couldn’t even stand up straight or walk, without falling over.

For the past week, I have been living off of allergy pills and smoothies. Each day, I have felt a little better. Finally, today, I feel mostly back to normal.

Yeah, apparently it was just a really bad reaction to the pollen. I wasn’t actually sick; in terms of needing to go to a doctor. I didn’t have the flu. At least I don’t think so.

I can easily imagine how much worse things would have been for me if I was still eating dairy. I would have ended up with a sinus infection. Instead, my sinuses were completely clear. I am a vegan out of necessity- and it’s times like these I am violently reminded of that.

During all of this, you have been a major help to me. You could see I wasn’t myself.

So you took it upon yourself to help your sister. You filled in for me.

You helped get her snacks. You helped entertain her by getting her craft supplies. You even helped her rest after she got tired of playing.

It’s been a rough week, but you made it a little better for me. Thank you!

Love,

Daddy

My 2018 MLB Spring Training Grapefruit League Toyota Grand Slam Road Trip: From Orlando to Fort Myers in the 2018 Toyota Camry (Part 2 of 3)

After waking up at Loews Portofino Bay at Universal Studios, I began the 2nd day of my road trip across Florida by rushing downstairs to call dibs on the Toyota I would be driving that day.

It was the 2018 Toyota Camry that had drawn my attention. Not only is it a sporty (and fast) looking car, but I’m a sucker for red interior. As I began loading up my gear, I realized I wouldn’t even need to find and choose a driving partner for the day, as I noticed someone else’s gear was already loaded up.

Of the 8 of us automotive writers there for the event and 5 vehicles to choose from, my driving partner and I found each other simply by the process of choosing the car first.

Ray Logan, of 50Bold.com, had also chosen the Camry, and therefore, he had chosen me as well. It was no surprise that Ray and I hit it off quite easily.

Our mission was to take the Camry from Orlando to Fort Myers, where we would be watching the Orioles play the Twins at Hammond Stadium.

The midpoint stop on our journey was a vegan shop in Sarasota called CROP (which now that I am looking closely at their sign, stand for “coldpressed, raw, organic, produce”).

Of all days to be introduced to this wondrous place, it just happened to be my 5th anniversary of being a vegan. So as you can imagine, the owner was truly able to celebrate with me.

I explained to him how I have been free of dyshidrotic eczema, constant sinus pressure, and pet allergies for the past 5 years in which I have not consumed any meat, eggs, or dairy. While he was obviously happy to hear this, he wasn’t surprised, as he also personally believes in the power of plants alone.

It was such a thrill for me to be able to stock up on all kinds of manly vegan goodies for the 2nd half of the road trip. I enjoyed a HeartBeet Burger, a peanut butter and banana smoothie, chia coconut pudding, and some delectable vegan chocolates.

Yeah, I may have went overboard, and but hey… what a fun way to celebrate 5 years being healed of eczema (thanks to my vegan lifestyle) than to stock up at Crop!

By the time Ray and I made it to the game, food was no longer on my mind. But having gotten a little too much sun from the game the day before, we decided to hang up in the shade up at the top of the stadium; enjoying the game from a nearly aerial view.

After a good time at the game, we made our way to The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village. I loved how right there at the balcony near my bed, I had a nice view of yachts on the water. It made me think of the 1983 Jimmy Buffett song, “One Particular Harbor”.

I admit though, I felt kind of guilty not being able to share this amazing hotel experience while my wife was back home with the kids. Either way, I slept like a rock.

And I would need every minute of that solid sleep for the adventure ahead the next day in the Toyota C-HR, with a new driving partner.

This was an action packed road trip, for sure.

Work hard while playing hard. That was my theme.

To read all 3 parts of My 2018 MLB Spring Training Grapefruit League Toyota Florida Road Trip series, just click on the link below for the ones you haven’t read yet:

An Awesome Dad Vacation (Part 1 of 3)
From Orlando to Fort Myers in the 2018 Toyota Camry (Part 2 of 3)
From Cape Coral to Manalapan in the 2018 Toyota Camry (Part 3 of 3)

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I Lost 11 Pounds in the Past 2 Months, From Overweight to Optimal (A Testimonial about Vegan Weight Loss)

Exactly two months ago on January 8th, 2018, I was very vocal and public about the fact I had become overweight, as a vegan. I was getting too much protein, and fat, and sugar.

I wanted to make sure it was common knowledge, and beyond anyone’s doubt, that with a BMI of 26. At 5’9″, I was officially 6 pounds overweight, at 176 pounds.

So I decided to cut out empty calories, and even extra protein, like the chia seeds in my morning smoothie and the mixed nuts in my oatmeal. I started eating whole apples and oranges. I switched back to just balsamic vinegar instead of oil-based salad dressing. I began drinking tea at night, lest I be tempted by anything more alluring.

A month later, which was a month ago in February, I had lost 7.5 pounds (at that point 168.5 pounds) and lowered my BMI to 24.5; which meant I was no longer overweight.

So what progress have I made since then? I lost another 3.5 pounds (now 165 pounds); which means my BMI is now 24, and I’ve lost a total of 11 pounds!

Here’s something that some fitness freaks won’t like hearing:

I haven’t been working out at a gym.

The weight I have lost has been exclusively because of the empty calories, and well as the extra calories, I’ve been cutting out of my diet.

I still haven’t reached my goal, though. For me, it’s about comfortably fitting into every pair of size 31 pants I own; as I was able to a few years ago.

That means I’m aiming to get down to 156 pounds; which would be a total of 20 pounds lost since January 8th of this year. That’s another 9 pounds to go.

And then once I reach my goal, it’s a matter of maintaining that weight.

I feel, though, since my formula is clearly working, I should be able to maintain the weight loss as long as I remain faithful.

This is my personal story about vegan weight loss.

How I Cured Dyshidrotic Eczema in 5 Steps and Have Remained Symptom-Free for 5 Years (But No One Cares Since I’m Not a Medical Expert)

If you Google “dyshidrotic eczema” right now, you’ll learn “this condition can’t be cured”, and “it can last for years or be lifelong”, and “the cause is unknown”. Hmm. Well, let it be known that I, Nick Shell, cured this skin disease 5 years ago, and have remained free of all symptoms for 5 years now. And I even know the cause of the disease. This is my person discovery. This is what I taught myself:

Dyshidrotic eczema is caused when certain people (often with Type A blood, like myself) whose bodies can’t process added sugar (from processed foods) or heavy metals (from bottom feeder animals like pork and shellfish), have no way to naturally detox themselves quickly enough. Therefore, the toxins attempt to release themselves through the skin; often in the palms of a person’s hand. To be cured, the person must change their diet in a way that draws out the toxins and helps their body sweat at a higher rate.

Time to celebrate my cure? No, because no one cares about my discovery. Here’s why:

I am not a medical expert and my cure does not involve using doctor-prescribed Big Pharma medications. Therefore, my cure will never be taken seriously by the rest of the world.

Most people will never learn about it. I will die years from now, having discovered the cure for a disease that more 200,000 Americans suffer from every year, and yet I will not be known for proving the cure.

But I’m okay with that. Because what really matters is that I can help people anyway. I am about to share the 5 secret steps to curing dyshidrotic eczema.

This system is the result of me being in a place of extreme desperation, praying to God, “I will do anything to be cured of this. Just let me know what to do. If you need to use me as your unlikely spokesman, I’ll do it. I will tell anyone who will listen.”

He answered my prayer, not by instantly healing me like the way he did the blind man, but by guiding me through trial and error.

Each sequential step helped improve my condition more, but it wasn’t until the final step that I realized my dyshidrotic eczema was completely gone and has not resurfaced in 5 years.

Perhaps it is possible for some to only have to do the first couple of steps to be cured. But in my case, I had to do all 5, starting in this order:

Cut out all processed sugar and replace it with whole fruits.

I was addicted to sugar. I realized though, I wasn’t eating fruit. Once I started putting entire bananas in my oatmeal, and in my smoothies, and cutting up apples and oranges for snacks, I learned that I wasn’t crazing sugar anymore. Plus, the natural unprocessed sugar from the fruit wasn’t making my condition worse, as I was now adding more fiber to my diet because of the fruit.

Start eating dark green vegetables every day.

I started eating a big salad every night with dinner. But I don’t mean iceberg lettuce and some carrot shavings. I mean a mixture of dark green roughage, including spinach. I learned this was helping to detox my body, especially as it also adding more fiber to my diet.

Begin Heavy Metal Detox treatment.

At Whole Foods, I found a small bottle called “Heavy Metal Detox”. It basically just consisted of a concentrated form of chlorella and cilantro. It cost around $25 and lasted about a month. I used it for somewhere between 6 to 9 months. It helps draw out the toxins from the body.

Here is a link to Amazon, so you can find the best deal on Heavy Metal Detox.

Visit a sauna 2 to 3 times for a week.

My wife found a local place where I could go and intensely sweat for about 30 minutes, at least twice per week. I did this for about 3 months, alongside the Heavy Metal Detox treatment. I ran outside a lot that summer in the sun, but that didn’t compare to how much the sauna helped.

Cut out certain types of meat, and maybe even all animal products, from your diet. (And stop wearing jewelry that contains nickel.)

I realized that my eczema had kicked into high gear once my wife and I got back from our honeymoon in New England, where all I ate for an entire week was scallops and shrimp. That also marked for the first time I had worn metal jewelry: my Tungsten wedding ring, which contained nickel. I then taught myself, using Google, that “bottom feeder” fish contain more nickel; as does Tungsten.

It was clear: the combination of wearing jewelry containing nickel and eating an abundance of shellfish containing nickel, had propelled my eczema into its worst version I had ever experienced.

That’s when I thought back to how in the Old Testament, how the Jewish people weren’t supposed to eat “unclean” food; like pork or shellfish. (The same goes for Muslims and Seventh Day Adventists.)

So I stopped eating pork and shellfish altogether. That drastically improved my condition.

After a couple years, I sort of accidentally, by default, become a vegetarian; since at that point I was already eating so much fruit and vegetables, and had learned to live without pork and shellfish.

Then about a year later (which was almost exactly 5 years ago now), I randomly decided to go an entire weekend without eating any eggs, milk, cheese, or yogurt. During that 48 hour span, all my sinus pressure cleared up, my sinuses drained this weird red plasma stuff, and I wasn’t allergic to animals anymore.

Obviously, I have remained a vegan ever since. And all these health issues, including dyshidrotic eczema, as well as constant sinus pressure, Sinusitis, and pet allergies, having remained gone since.

Five years.

So today, my goal is to provide hope for all the other people in the world right now, suffering from dyshidrotic eczema.

You come to a point in your daily agony that you finally give up on those lotions and creams from the doctor, which only temporarily help the condition.

You come to the point where you’re finally desperate enough to try anything.

Fortunately, my 5 step cure could be a lot worse.

I am Nick Shell. I discovered the cure for dyshidrotic eczema 5 years ago and have remained symptom free ever since; as I also cured my sinus issues and pet allergies.

But remember, I will never be famous for this. I will never even be invited on a talk show, to share my cure with the world. The medical community will never acknowledge me, as my cure does not involve a prescription drug created by Big Pharma.

I am just a crazy guy on the Internet, who served as my own human Guinea pig until I was cured. No one cares.

No one cares except for those who will read this and realize my cure is true.