This is 36: I Hate Onset Diabetes Enough to Prevent It (Inside the Mind of a Crazy Vegan Dad!)

Something peculiar I have learned over the years about my active, plant-based lifestyle is this:

The most outspoken (and predictable) demographic who opposes my lifestyle consists of overweight men who have onset diabetes.

When they learn I don’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, or drink soda, and that I haven’t for over 4 years, they scoff at the concept. They basically mock me for “not getting enough protein.” They insinuate that because my kids are vegetarians, I am depriving them of proper nutrition as well. They have clearly told me on multiple occasions that there is no way I can possibly be healthy, since I am a vegan.

Have you processed the irony yet? These claims about my health are coming from overweight men with onset diabetes.

People who are officially not healthy are confidently telling me how unhealthy I am.  What?!

No other demographic is more openly opposed to how I live my life.

I don’t argue with them, though. I choose to let them continue to believe their version of reality. I am so confident in my beliefs, that I have no desire to try to convince them that my way is superior to theirs.

My motivation is to not become like them, in both their closed-mindedness and in their physically unhealthy state of being.

For me it’s pretty simple. I know that both an increased intake of processed sugar and meat lead not only to onset diabetes, but also prostate cancer.

I refuse to become another stereotype 20 years from now.

Therefore, I eat only plant-based foods, just 6 “food groups”:

Vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

I consume zero percent of my daily cholesterol (which is a default of the vegan lifestyle), while still consuming at least my minimum of daily protein and fat intake. My doctor has confirmed I am healthy and getting enough protein; and that I am healthier than most men my age.

Not to mention, I am perfectly in the healthy weight range for my age, height and weight. In other words, I am neither underweight nor overweight.

But what I eat is only 80% of it. The other 20% of what helps me avoid prevent diseases and health issues is the fact that I faithfully exercise and work out.

Being the busy full-time working husband, dad, blogger, and YouTuber that I am, I make my hour long lunch break at work my time to work out.

It’s basically a Triathlon of running 2 miles, along with either mountain biking or skateboarding.

This particularly diet and workout plan is what works for me personally. Before I became the crazy vegan, I was not consistently happy with my health.

I have nothing to prove to overweight men with onset diabetes.

I only have something to prove to myself:

That I indeed have much control over preventable diseases and health problems.

-Nick Shell, vegan, age 36

 

Top photo: Jasmine Moreno

 

If you found this blog post mildly intriguing, then you will definitely enjoy…

Top 10 Reasons My “Diet” is Consistently Successful and I am Still Healthy & Fit at Age 36 (from a Non-Vegan, Non-Vegetarian Perspective)

This is 36: Taking Shifts with My Wife, As the Baby Sleeps in the Car

As you know, our family recently spent a week down in Destin, Florida for a family vacation over Memorial Day weekend. As you can imagine, with a 1 year-old little girl in tow, we largely had to base our schedule and activities around her sleep schedule.

For example, on the way down to Florida, we left our home in Tennessee immediately after an early dinner so that we could get to our condo in Destin by 1:30 AM. This created an environment for our daughter to be able to sleep through the entire drive. Granted, we only stopped once during the 7 hour trip for a bathroom break; to help ensure she didn’t wake up.

Since this formula proved effective, we did the same thing for the drive back home from Florida. That’s right- just 2 bathroom breaks during the 14 hour round trip.

Uh… impressed much?

We continued to cater to our daughter’s slumber throughout the course of our vacation.

One day we took a day trip over to Pensacola where one of my brothers-in law and his wife have recently moved. After we toured their new home which is currently under construction, everyone decided to walk through some of the model homes in the surrounding neighborhoods.

So my mother-in-law and her husband (who were also in town for the weekend), my brother-in-law, his wife, my wife, our son, our daughter, and I successfully toured two model homes.

But as we drove to the next neighborhood, our daughter had fallen asleep in just a matter of minutes. I volunteered to stay in the driver’s seat of the 2017 Toyota Prius Three as our daughter took her afternoon nap behind me in her car seat.

There in the driveway of that model home, I pulled out the classic 1984 Ride the Lightning album by Metallica to enjoy for myself. Fortunately, the symphonic distorted electric guitars helped keep my little girl asleep. She’s not too picky when it comes to music, yet.

Even after my wife and son returned from the tour of that model home, they returned to the car, only to inform me that there was yet one more model home to visit before we made our way back to Destin.

Honestly, I didn’t mind one bit. It was peaceful and relaxing for me. It gave me not only a chance to think, but a chance to help my wife out by giving her some time to see something new and exciting and to take a break from constantly caring for a baby.

Of course, it was no surprise that less than 24 hours, my wife would be taking the next shift of “chill out in the car while the baby sleeps.” Because for lunch the following day, as went out for Mexican food for lunch, our daughter had fallen asleep in the car.

So I took my wife’s order, then eventually brought her food to her roadside, while the rest of us ate inside the restaurant.

This is just how it has to be right now. We’re used to it.

This is 36.

This is 36: The Face of a Dad Whose Family was All Asleep by 9 O’Clock Last Night

Bragging rights! Over here, everybody look at me…

Last night, my whole family was in bed and asleep by 9 o’clock. Seriously, are you not getting jealous reading this right now?

The dishes were done by 8:23 PM, by which time our son had fallen asleep. By that point, our daughter had been asleep for nearly an hour.

Forget Netflix. 

The parents just went straight to bed and instantly blacked out.

Glory!

No cries in the middle of the night from the baby. Since turning a year-old, our daughter has been doing a great job sleeping through the night without even waking up for a “shifting gears” cry around 10:50 PM; which is the time I am more likely to finally get to bed.

Perhaps her diet of more solid foods, and no more formula, is helping with that.

I say it’s a status symbol, as a parent at age 36, with a Kindergartner son and a 1 year-old daughter, to be able to fall asleep at 9 o’clock.

Contrast that to a year ago, when our daughter was too young for me to start applying my cruel and evil (yet extremely effective!) Cry It Out method.

Being able to sleep for over 8 hours, on a week night, is such a prize.

Because it’s not like my wife and I catch a break on the weekends. There’s no such thing as “sleeping in” for us. And once we’re up, we’re working all day long…

Between running errands, getting housework done, feeding the kids, entertaining the kids, and getting them to sleep for naps; plus feeding ourselves and cleaning the dishes… I would argue that we work at least equally as hard all day, as we do for our full-time jobs during the work week.

So yeah, it’s a pretty big deal for the whole family to be asleep by 9 o’clock on a Tuesday night.

This is 36.

This is 36: I Am Raising a Son who is a Different Boy than I Was

In hindsight, I now realize in some ways, I was a late bloomer. Back when I was a young boy, I was quiet. I lived in fear of anything outside my comfort zone. I didn’t have any self-esteem issues as a kid, but I really just didn’t care to peek outside of the box of what I already knew.

I remember how at the end of each school year that would pass, my teacher for that grade would tell my parents, “Nick has really come out of his shell this year…”

(And yes, that’s funny because my last name is Shell.)

Finally, by the time I got to 8th grade, I was out of my shell. When I graduated high school, I chose to go to college in Virginia, which was 8 hours away from where I grew up. And during those years, I chose to spend two summers on the other side of the world, teaching English in Thailand.

The way I see it, I was starting to make up for lost time. What things did I miss out on as a child because I was too… comfortable?

But now, I’m fundamentally attracted to what is outside of that same box I used to fear to peak out of. Like I recently said, I want to die as the most open-minded old man you know.

As for my son, he will not experience that same kind of character arc from his childhood to his adulthood. Because, he’s already there, when it comes to being eager to explore the world.

He’s not shy. He’s not quiet. He loves to experience and try new things.

I can easily spot some of the reasons he’s so much more mature than I was at his age.

For every year of his life, he’s traveled to California with my wife and me, to visit my wife’s side of the family. He “grew up in daycare” so he was socialized starting at 7 months old. Not to mention, he’s grown up in a major city. He’s used to the fast pace of Nashville.

I think what might help me understand why he and I are so much alike, despite the 29 and a half year age difference, is this:

He’s not the boy I was. He’s the boy I am now.

This is 36.

This is 36: Our Living Room has become a Children’s Playroom… but It Doesn’t Matter because We Rarely Have Guests Over Anyway

It could just be my perception of reality, but I feel like it used to be that people would actually visit together at each other’s homes: “We’ve got company coming over this afternoon… time to clean up the house!”

These days, if you get invited over to someone’s house, you undeniably have to ask yourself a very important question, “What modern day pyramid scheme am I being invited to join?”

As far as inviting people over to our house, my wife and I both work full-time; both of us commute about 2 hours round trip Monday through Friday. Saturdays are consumed with buying groceries and going to birthday parties. And Sunday is for church, cleaning the house, and attempting to chill out as a family.

The thought of preparing our house for guests, on top of that? I’m sure my family is not alone in feeling this way.

I can say that because, for the friends who we do hang out with on a regular basis, we rarely visit at each other’s house. It’s easier just to meet up somewhere in the middle, where there’s something for all our kids to do.

Therefore, it’s no bother that for the next several years, our classy living room will be occupied with pink strollers and American Girl dolls; as well as dinosaurs, Legos, and Pokemon paraphernalia; thanks to a 1 year-old little girl and a soon-to-be Kindergarten graduate.

The funny thing is, we have a bonus room upstairs that could easily be “the playroom”. But it’s not central to where the action is: The kitchen is the epicenter of our home and the kitchen is adjoined to the living room, which has now used as a playroom, more than a living room.

I guess playing equates with living when only half of the 4 members of the household are adults.

Even in the rare event we did have guests over, our living room converted into a playroom would simply be… expected. Because this is the norm.

This is 36.

This is 36: I’m No Longer in Denial that It’s Difficult (and Stressful!) for Our Family to Make It To Church on Time

Is there any such thing as a family who doesn’t struggle to arrive to church before the service actually begins? Perhaps equally challenging is to show up without being stressed out or upset with each other.

The pastor of The Bridge Church, Josh Howerton, brings this up frequently- how ironic it is that it’s normal to fight in the car all the way to church, then put instantly put on smiles once the car ride is over and you walk through the doors of the church.

Last Saturday night, I decided to attempt to prevent this problem. And it actually worked- as simple as my plan was. Here’s what I did…

First, I initiated the conversation with my wife, acknowledging that our family is habitually late for church, and it’s typically a stressful morning, and that I wanted to do my part to change that.

So I asked her specifically what time we all needed to be up in the morning, so that everyone would have ample time to get ready in time.

Then I set my own alarm to the new time, to ensure that I led my family in our slight routine change.

I have to admit, it was a peaceful morning. It was enjoyable, actually. We even got to church early enough for one of the church greeters to take our family’s picture; to make up for the fact we forgot to do an obligatory Easter picture of our family for Facebook the week before.

So apparently that’s what it takes. It requires specific planning. But it all begins with the parents recognizing that an easygoing, on-time car ride to church is not the default.

I feel I am no longer in the denial of believing my family is the exception to the rule when it comes to the cliché stressful car ride to church.

And because of that, I am proactive enough now to change that for my family.

Here’s to getting the family to church on time and without the stress… for the 2nd time in a row.

This is 36.

This is 36: The Story behind My 1 Year-Old Daughter’s 1st Face Palm at the Mexican Restaurant

By now you’ve probably already read the first entry in This is 36, which explains the motivation behind this new series; how being surprisingly pie-faced on my 36th birthday at Tito’s Mexican restaurant in Spring Hill, TN serves as the perfect symbolism of my life at age 36.

As my wife and I were looking through the other pictures from that night, we found another photo that actually has enough merit on its own.

The picture is from when I decided I wanted my wife to take a picture of me with our kids, after we had finished our sopapillas for dessert. I of course am wearing the cartoonish Mexican birthday sombrero, while my son is undeniably proud to be squeezing his little sister, who is smooshed in between us.

Yeah, I know… The real reason she had her hand on her face is that she was getting tired, as her bedtime was growing near.

But if you’re looking at the picture without knowing that, it easily looks like she is doing a “face palm”, as if to communicate her embarrassment to be stuck in the middle of the two of us goofballs.

It’s just hilarious to imagine a little 1 year-old girl face palming, as if she’s embarrassed to be seen in public with us.

After all, this picture is a pretty accurate illustration of what life is like for her. So much of her time is spent alongside her brother and me. We naturally feel obligated to entertain her, serving as her constant court jesters.

Ultimately, if she doesn’t learn to adopt the silliness which surrounds her, she will likely be doing the face palm a lot more as she grows into her tween years.

But I have a feeling, she will end up joining us in the daily circus.

This is 36.