Vegan Confession: I Gained 7 Pounds by Eating Tater Tots and Vegan Chocolate Bars (Over the Past Year)

Vegan Confession: I Gained 7 Pounds by Eating Tater Tots and Vegan Chocolate Bars

From the time I was my heaviest back in 2008 when I got married, I reached 178 pounds. That may not sound too heavy for a guy, but at 5’9”, I was actually “overweight” according the height/weight chart.

And I know… many people don’t like to take those charts seriously. But I do, on a personal level. Because at my heaviest, I also had health problems like eczema; as well as constant sinus pressure, and reoccurring sinusitis, and pet allergies.

My theory is that with the extra weight on my body, along with it came health problems.

Vegan Confession: I Gained 7 Pounds by Eating Tater Tots and Vegan Chocolate Bars

On Thanksgiving Day of 2008 (a few months after getting married), I became like a faithful Jew and gave up pork and shellfish. That was the beginning of the slippery slope, as I found myself becoming a vegetarian by December of 2011.

By April 2013, I became a full vegan, and in the process, I accidentally went from a size 34 to size 31 pants. That summer I got down to 153 pounds, without even trying.

That means I lost 25 pounds in the process of getting healthy. Yet losing weight was never my goal; I just wanted to be healthy.

As you know, all my previously mentioned health problems have disappeared and remained in remission since becoming a vegan.

For the majority of these past 3 years of being a vegan, I leveled out and remained right at around 155 pounds. Until this past year…

With my vegetarian wife being pregnant from July 2015 to April 2016, she began craving “fun food”. So I began picking up vegan chocolate bars at Whole Foods Market on the way home for work.

Vegan Confession: I Gained 7 Pounds by Eating Tater Tots and Vegan Chocolate Bars

It began a normal thing for us to go through a whole bag or two of tater tots over the course of each week.

Keep in mind, we were still eating our normal healthy meals too. But ultimately, both the chocolate bars and the tater tots contained oil; which we typical avoid. Not to mention, the chocolate bars also contained extra sugar as well.

Remember what I always point out about veganism:

Being a vegan forces a person to consume 0% of their daily cholesterol; as the amount of cholesterol even in the fattiest vegan foods (cashews, avocados, and even oil) still never reaches 1%.

Even so, I was at 162 pounds when my daughter was born 3 months ago; which is about 7 pounds is heavier than I’m used to.

My size 31 pants were so tight in the waist that I asked my wife more than once if she recently had begun drying our clothes on a higher heat setting.

Nope. It was the all the vegan chocolate bars and tater tots over the course of the past year.

Chocolate Tater

Four weeks ago, I nixed those items from my diet, along with all fried foods, and gluten.

While I haven’t publicly announced I am now gluten-free in addition to being a caffeine-free vegan, it’s working for me so far.

I’ve lost 2 of the 7 pounds so far and I physically feel better.

So yes, it’s possible for a vegan to gain weight just by eating foods with more oil and sugar.

Granted, it took me an entire year to accidentally gain those 7 pounds. Now the question is, how long will it take to lose it all?

I refuse to buy a bigger pair of pants!

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I Invented the Vegan Frosted Chocolate Coffee Cake at the Whole Foods in Franklin, Tennessee

I Invented the Vegan Frosted Chocolate Coffee Cake at the Whole Foods in Franklin, Tennesse

If you ever visit the Whole Foods in Cool Springs (Franklin, Tennessee), just turn to the right as soon as you walk in, and go all the way to the back of the store, where you’ll discover their bakery department; which is where I ordered my son’s vegan birthday cake a year ago when he turned 4.

Once you are standing there in front of their bakery display, you’ll notice a few containers of chocolate coffee cake, marked “VEGAN”.

That’s because of me. You’re welcome.

I invented the vegan frosted chocolate coffee cake about a year ago.

After we had bought my son’s birthday cake last year, I then specifically looked in the Whole Foods bakery to see if they already make some kind of vegan cake on a daily basis for my wife and I to casually enjoy.

Turns out, they did: For about 2 bucks, I could get a small vegan chocolate coffee cake; which serves about 4 people.

But there was no icing.

So I asked the baker if they had any vegan icing they could put on there for me, being familiar with the fact they indeed make vegan icing because of my son’s birthday cake.

The baker went to the back, and returned with my piece of vegan chocolate coffee cake; this time with icing.

To get the icing, it does cost around a dollar more, since they charge you by weight; but it’s worth it.

I made a habit of having them frost it for me and it wasn’t before long that they just began including the icing on those cakes anyway; keeping them in stock not only for me, but for the general public.

Therefore, I take credit for making it possible for vegans in to walk in to the Cool Springs Whole Foods and pick up a vegan treat.

My name shall go down in history.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971): Family Friendly Movie Review

For the past several weeks now, my 4 year-old son and I have been listening nothing but the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, on the way to and from school and work each day in my car.

I’m pretty sure he and I have all the words to the songs pretty much memorized by now…

Willy Wonka blank meme phot

When it comes to musicals, they’re not really my thing. However, the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (not the Johnny Depp version) is the exception. It has remained, by default, one of my favorite movies since I first saw it 25 years ago when I was in 2nd grade.

This past weekend, I was able to get my hands on a copy of the DVD so I decided it was time to see what my son Jack thought of it. Not to mention, I was anxious to see it again; it had been at least 15 years for me; plus my wife had never seen it all the way through.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was rated G, back in 1971, when it was first released in theatres and that is the rating that the DVD upholds as well. It was given that raiting only 3 years after America’s movie rating system was set in place. In certain regards though, the ratings system was much more liberal back then.

I think if this version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory were released today, it would at least be rated PG; possibly even PG-13.

Willy Wonka Nick Shell

Just for the boat ride scene alone. Enough said, right?

In addition to this part of the movie being extremely suspenseful, Willy Wonka screams about “by the fires of hell a glowing” as footage is shown of an actual chicken getting its head chopped off.

However, my son was completely unfazed by the boat ride scene. He actually seemed to like it!

For Jack, the “most inappropriate” part of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was actually some of the lyrics to one of the Oompa Loompas’ songs:

“What are you at getting terribly fat? What do you think will come of that?”

Right now we are currently teaching him how it’s not okay to say that someone is fat. So I imagine it seemed like a double standard to him when the Oompa Loompas used that phrase.

Other than that, there’s also the fact that all of the other children appear to die while in the chocolate factory. Granted, Willy Wonka (somewhat generically) assures Charlie at the very end of the movie that all the kids are okay.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971): Family Friendly Movie Review

It just depends on whether or not you want to believe a bipolar candyman who uses the labor of little people whom he supposedly rescued, then who turns over his candy factory to a young boy whose grandfather stayed in bed for 20  years who magically was able to sing and dance the moment his grandson found the last remaining golden ticket.

While there are some elements of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that may be a bit inappropriate for a 4 year-old, it’s still a movie that I ultimately had no concerns about exposing my son to.

In fact, most of the movie is perfectly appropriate for a 4 year-old. The chocolate, the absurdity, the songs, the pure imagination…

It was even better than I remembered it! Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a bit creepy at times, but still I think it’s less creepy than The Wizard of Oz.

willy-wonka-gene-wilder-chocolate-factory-237937

My 2 Year-Old Just Wants Chocolate Instead

February 22, 2013 at 9:43 pm , by 

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

I recently pointed out that you only want to eat the same few meals for dinnerthroughout the week.

Similarly, you’re that way with treats too.

Your favorite treat is “fluffy,” which is simply a small cup of whipped creamyou eat with a straw, while Mommy and Daddy drink coffee at any given coffee shop.

However, we thought you would be excited last Saturday when we told you we were going for a special treat at Sweet Cece’s, which is a pay-by-the-ounce frozen yogurt joint.

Your response:

“No, I want chocolate instead.”

I tried to explain to you that Sweet Cece’s has chocolate flavored yogurt, but you stuck to your guns on the issue.

When we arrived at Sweet Cece’s, I pulled the lever on the machine, letting you watch the chocolate frozen yogurt fall into my cup.

It freaked you out. You were afraid of it. Maybe you thought it was a snake?

So while Mommy and I enjoyed a nice frozen treat, you chose a small bag of random chocolate toppings, like brownie bites and M&M’s.

Honestly, you were just as happy with your chocolate toppings as we were with our frozen yogurt with those toppings.

Jack, we tried. We tried to get you to give delicious yogurt a chance. But now we know, you prefer the toppings.

So you got your wish: You got “chocolate instead.”

I don’t know, maybe we’ve ruined you on free sample-sized cups of whipped cream at coffee shops.

Maybe the consistency of frozen yogurt or ice cream throws you off because it’s colder and thicker than whipped cream?

Eventually I think you will change your mind. As for now, you get your brownie and you get to eat it too.

 

Love,

Daddy

Readers’ Expectations 8: The Biological Chicken, Sweaty Dexter, and Tyler Perry with a Hickey

Sometimes I feel like Dear Abby, except that the questions and comments people type into search engines to get to Scenic Route Snapshots are a bit on the incoherent side.  Here’s the newest batch:

“I haven’t failed; I’ve had 10,000 ideas”- Right.  You’ve had 10,000 bad ideas.  Or another way of looking at it is this: The glass is half full.  Yeah, full of bad ideas!  Zing!  Next…

“biological chicken”- We live in a time where most chickens are no longer biological.  Ever since the Droid Empire took over our planet, most of our food is simply projected figments of our imagination, linked in to the Droid scanners.  Even still, tastes like chicken.

“They’re always sweaty in Dexter”- That’s because the show takes place in Miami.  Similarly, they’re also always sweaty in most reality dating shows on VH1, but that’s for a different reason.

“bacon egg sandwich, grapes, chocolate”- What are you, a ten year-old boy?  Does your mommy know you’re playing on the Internet?  Admittedly, I could see how that could make for mouth-watering breakfast on the right kind of morning.

“beer scripture fellowship”- Jesus and His disciples drank wine.  But that was so like 2,000 years ago.  It’s time for Christian men in Bible studies to switch to beer.  Nothing like reading through Habakkuk with a Heineken in hand, I always say.  Fat Tire and Phillipians, anyone?

“what to do to bad people”- Sarcastic remarks and physical injury only fuel the fire, so I’ve learned from the past.  My new thing is to sincerely pray that they enter into an authentic relationship with Jesus as their Savior.  Then they may end up on my side and fight Satan with their negative vibes.  It’s a win-win.

“how to compliment a classic song”- Man, that’s a tough one.  Just a shot in the dark, but you could try this: “Hey it’s ‘More Than a Feeling’ by Boston…  I love this song!  This song rocks!”  Change the title of the song and the name of the band as needed.

“Can black people get hickeys?”- Good question, but I’ve got a better one: Can black people “get” camping or Monty Python movies?  Even better question: Can white people “get” stomping or Tyler Perry movies?

My Categories: Nostalgia, People, Storytelling, Spirituality, Writing, and Recaps

What’s my writing style?  Spumoni.


If I was smart, I would listen to the authors of “how to be a writer” and “how to have a popular website” books when they clearly tell me, “Find your niche and just focus on it alone.”  Then I could be like the fortunate clever-minded writers who all now have book deals simply because of the popularity of their WordPress websites:

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/

http://stuffchristianslike.net/

http://1000awesomethings.com/

Here’s the problem though- I’m not attracting just one type of reader.  I’m luring in several different types of people who are both completely unrelated to each other and yet at other times couldn’t be more alike.  It sort of reminds me of the way that MSN’s home page (http://www.msn.com/) is set up.  Their main categories are news, entertainment, sports, money, and lifestyle.

By default, I have ended up emulating that concept, only mixing it up with my own alternative, off-beat main topics.  Instead of the mainstream-friendly Neapolitan (chocolate-strawberry-vanilla) topics, my twisted version is more like Spumoni (chocolate-pistachio-cherry). *Ironically, Spumoni came first (from Italy), but by the time it became popular in America, it evolved into Neapolitan.

I have come to the conclusion that there are ultimately six main categories I write about: nostalgia, people, storytelling, spirituality, writing, and recaps (of TV shows, mainly).  (“Uncategorized” is an additional generic title given to all my posts as well.)

Of course I struggled with making “Jewish references” and “humor” their own separate categories, but just like a few other “should I make these their own categories?” categories, certain topics aren’t simply things I write about; they’re a part of everything I write.  It would just simply be redundant; stating the obvious.

Being able to read through an entire one of my posts without coming across the words “Jew”, “Jews”, or “Jewish” somewhere in there is about as rare as biting all the way through a Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookie without eating a chocolate chip.  And I would hope that there is at least a little bit of irony that comes across as humorous in most of what I write as well.  I shouldn’ have to label it “funny”, otherwise I may be defeating the purpose.

This is just a cool picture. In reality, I do not actually offer newsletters (unless you subscribe to this site; that would count), competitions, free ice cream, or much more.

So who am I attracting on a daily basis?

Fans of LOST, Dexter, The Bachelor, and/or The Bachelorette.  Jewish people.  Christians.  People who grew up in the 1980’s.  People concerned with healthy living.   People who found my website by searching one of those things and then saved my website in their “Favorites” and forwarded the link on to their friends.

In other words, my readers are as random as I am.  Random Spumoni.  Takes one to know one.  Welcome to the club.

The Randomness of Easter

Back in 2004 when I was in Bangkok, Thailand, I was riding in a taxi with my friend Jessie.  We were on our way to visit a Thai museum and she was asking me about American holidays.  Describing what Easter is to a Thai native is somewhat confusing when it’s said out loud:

“Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus coming back to life after he died on a cross.  But it’s also a way to stimulate our economy because everyone buys a bunch of chocolate candy, sends gifts to each other in ‘Easter baskets’, and purchases some sort of pastel colored dress or suit and tie for the church service that Sunday.”

She asked me, “But what do Jesus and chocolate candy have to do with each other?”

The answer?  Here’s the best I can do.

The LSD tripping Easter Bunny and the general populations’ collective excitement over the candy and the traditional gift giving serve as a vehicle to force the non-religious to identify that there is some sort of significant meaning behind Easter.  They may not fully understand who Jesus is, but they at least know that a lot of other people recognize Easter as the day Jesus came back from the dead.

Americanized Easter is a vehicle that is not against Christian Easter.  It points people in the right direction.

This past Easter it occurred to me just how big of a deal that Easter is to Americans, with or without the solid understanding of what the day is actually celebrated.  My wife and I spent the weekend with my family back in Alabama.  We literally had to leave the church service because there wasn’t enough room for everyone to sit.

So we left the Baptist Easter service and hung out at the Methodist church next door.  Because everyone that’s ever gone to church shows up on Easter.  It’s a major American holiday.  More major than I realized.

I kept hearing “Happy Easter” from everyone and seeing it as status updates on facebook.

Even last night Jimmy Kimmel was talking about his mom still giving him an Easter basket, though he’s now 42.  And he talked about how someone stole his friend’s seat before the church service started and all he could think about during the mass was punching the guy who stole the seat he was saving for his friend.

Funny.  And it shows that behind all the silly American traditions, that even the famous and influential Jimmy Kimmel recognizes there’s more to Easter than what’s on the surface.  In his joke he specifically stated that Easter is when we celebrate Jesus.

And I can relate to Jimmy.  I often want to punch annoying people in the face.