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.)

 

Processed Meats Cause Cancer… Really, That’s News? (7 Reasons We Still Meat)

“Doesn’t anyone notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

I admit I was pretty baffled when a “news story” went viral yesterday, referring to the new report that shows processed meats are linked to causing cancer.

Sorry, but I have to reference Mugatu from Zoolander on this one:

“Doesn’t anyone notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

How is this a news story? How is it not common sense that eating processed meats leads to cancer?

It’s this simple: There is good fat and there is bad fat. Good fats prevents cancer, bad fats cause cancer.

(Your homework assignment is to watch Forks Over Knives, on Netflix; which is where I first learned this.)

Good fats come from plants, like cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and coconuts. Good fats contain zero percentage of your daily cholesterol allowance. Good fats are good for you.

While there is a microscopic amount of cholesterol in good fats (plant fats), it’s impossible to reach even just 1% of your daily intake of cholesterol from those alone.

Meanwhile, bad fats come from animals. Animal fat contains a bare minimum of 1% of your daily cholesterol.

But it’s not just meat that’s the problem. One regular size chicken egg contains about 68% of your daily cholesterol allowance. And that’s just one egg. Nobody eats just one egg.

So imagine if you eat 2 eggs for breakfast, you’ve already more than maxed out on your cholesterol for the daily allowance, and that’s not even considering the cholesterol in any cheese or meats for the rest of the day.

Yes, I know… I’m the crazy vegan here. But I am really all that crazy? 

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2015/10/13/surviving-2-5-years-as-a-vegan-10-frequently-asked-questions-faqs/

At this point, people deflect by making a lousy and unscientific claim that vegans don’t get enough protein.

The thing is, when you nix animal products from your diet, you are forced to eat from six food groups: veggies, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, and seeds.

They all contain protein.

And I am healthy, living proof that a human being can exist as a vegan (without the dependence on any animal products) for the past 2 and a half years; not to mention I have been a vegetarian for the past 4 years.

The best I can figure, we as a nation continue to consume meat (and all other animal products; including eggs and dairy) for these reasons:

1) It’s more convenient.

2) It’s the social norm.

3) We are emotional connected to consuming animal products.

4) We think it’s necessary for our nutrition.

5) We think it’s cheaper than eating “health food”.

6) We haven’t been properly educated on the subject.

7) We don’t know specifically what to eat instead.

Let me address those personally from my own journey…

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2015/10/13/surviving-2-5-years-as-a-vegan-10-frequently-asked-questions-faqs/

1) To be fair, I agree that eating animal products and other processed foods is more convenient. But to me the convenience isn’t worth me being unhealthy again, like I used to be when I ate that way.

2) Being a vegan makes me a minority (only about 2.5% of the American population), but I never minded being “the weird one” in the group. My “alternative lifestyle” is not really socially acceptable, but that doesn’t change anything for me.

3) The emotional connection I had to eating animal products was the hardest part for me to psychologically overcome. But that’s all it is… just emotions. I am stronger than that. I control my emotions; they don’t control me.

4) I’m living proof that a vegan can easily be healthy, and my personal doctor agrees.

5) Is it cheaper to eat meat? Well, I save money by not buying meat or dairy or eggs, for one. Plus, I’m pretty much unable to eat out at restaurants, so that saves money. According to my wife, our grocery bill is about the same as when we did eat meat. Not to mention, I require no medications either.

6) Thanks to scientifically based documentaries like Forks Over Knives on Netflix, we all can learn the truth.

7) Read vegan recipe blogs like Oh She Glows to learn quick and easy vegan meals. That’s how our family got our recipe library.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I am here to enlighten anyone who is curious!

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat): A Starter Plan

This week I had someone ask me a very relevant question. I have to admit, I feel honored that someone would come to me for my take on this!

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

“Hey Nick. [My husband] is trying to loose weight and I am trying to eat healthier along with him. We are trying to eat less processed foods and more vegetables and protein. We will still eat meat but do you have any tips or websites of healthier food plans or recipes?”

So today, I am going to simplify this for anyone else as well who is wishing to stay fuller but eat healthier this year.

Yes, I am a vegan and have been for more than a year a half, a vegetarian for over 3 years, and kosher for over 6 years. See Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later.

But let me be clear, this is not propaganda to try to convince people to adopt my lifestyle. It was a gradual process of several years for me. That’s why I am sharing this plan which actually includes meat.Because back in 2008, when I first starting changing my lifestyle, I was still eating meat.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

So this is an invitation to adopt part of my lifestyle.

I propose that you give up all dairy, eggs, and high fructose corn syrup for an entire month. I want you to see what life is like when you free yourself of those ingredients alone. From there, you can decide whether this is something you would like to maintain.

I want to clarify why I am suggesting you specifically eliminate all dairy, eggs, high fructose corn syrup, and soda from your diet. See Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Ben Wilder, 6 Months Later.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

Specifically, I am going to focusing on the concept of avoiding cholesterol from dairy and eggs, but focusing on “good fats” from plants. Plants do contain a small amount of cholesterol, but never enough to even register as 1% on the food label! That’s pretty cool. See I Survived A Year Of Being A Vegan, Part 1.

My plan also helps you avoid processed foods.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

There are 7 things I’m saying you can eat, and 5 that you can’t:

Can eat: vegetables, fruit, grains (rice, pasta, oats, etc.), beans, nuts, seeds, and yes… meat.

Can not eat: dairy, eggs, high fructose corn syrup, soda (even diet), and fruit juice.

See 5 Reasons Your Facebook Friends Are Going Vegan.

I am a vegan who is telling you that if you’ll abide by the rest of my criteria, you can still get away with eating meat.

Granted, it will still largely increase your chances of cancer, diabetes, and stroke in the long run…

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

But for someone who is new to this whole “plant-based lifestyle,” I’m not going to tell you to get rid of meat… yet. That part will work itself out later on your end.

Dairy (anything containing milk):

This mucus-like substance is a product of the endocrine system. When we get sick, we typically produce an abundance of mucus to help wash out the foreign substance and infection. So imagine how your body reacts to having a foreign mucus from a different species in your body. That explains why so many people notice their allergy and sinus problems greatly diminish once they eliminate dairy 100%.

Not to mention, milk products contain the fat from the animal as well. The more dairy you consume, the higher your cholesterol… more on that in a minute.

The 0% Cholesterol Substitute: Switch to almond milk. Substitute cheese with cashews for pasta dishes (mix ½ cup almond milk with ½ cup cashes, in a blender, for a sauce) and avocado for Mexican-type dishes.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

Eggs:

The main reason to stay away from eggs is the cholesterol. I challenge you right now to walk over to your refrigerator and check out the daily cholesterol intake of just one egg. It’s going to most likely be close to at least 60% of your daily intake. And again, that’s just one egg!

The 0% Cholesterol Substitute: In baking, switch to applesauce and/or chia seeds. You’ll still be able to bake just fine without the eggs and dairy; my wife has been doing that for quite a while now.

High Fructose Corn Syrup:

This is the most processed form of sugar. When you consume high fructose corn syrup, your body spends the rest of the day searching for the rest of the food that naturally came with the corn it was derived from.

In other words, you are constantly hungry because your body knows it was tricked.

The 0% Cholesterol Substitute: Eat whole fruit. Bananas, oranges, apples… whatever kind of fruit you want.

Historically, the human race has depended on fruit as a snack or dessert. Fruit is packed with not only sugar, but also fiber, which serves as the combo your body is actually wanting.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

Soda: Whether it’s sweetened with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or whatever strange artificial sweetener, there’s a reason people like me won’t drink it. It’s too unnatural to what the human body can legitimately toleration. If nothing else, soda (no matter how it’s sweetened) will ultimately make you hungrier.

Instead, drink water. My daily goal is to drink at least 2 liters of water per day, if not 3.

Fruit Juice: It’s the same thing with fruit juice: sugar water. Your body spends the rest of the day trying to consume the rest of the fruit.

So it’s simple, just eat the fruit. Don’t drink it- unless, you mix up it in a blender, which doesn’t extract the fruit’s sugar from its fiber. Your body was designed to digest all of the fruit, not just the water and sugar from it.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

Now, To Get Started…

Keep in mind that you want to substitute fatty foods with cholesterol (like cheese) with fatty foods without cholesterol (avocados, nuts, seeds). Fat from plants is good and necessary; please make sure you are getting plenty of fats from plants each day. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to eat dairy and eggs.

Breakfast: Your body wants oats. But don’t waste your money on packaged oatmeal which contains sugar and weird chemicals. Just buy a canister of plain oats. From there, mix in some hot water or almond milk, slice up a banana, throw in some almonds or cashews, and break off a square on unsweetened (and therefore dairy-free) square of baking chocolate.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

Or, use your blender to make an awesome smoothie. Pour in one cup of almond milk, a banana, a tablespoon of chia seeds, a cup of a 2nd fruit in its whole form (like strawberries, blueberries, pineapple).

Lunch: Eat your leftover dinner from last night. See below…

Dinner: For the most part, most of your meals can be Italian (pasta, pizza, lasagna) and Mexican (burritos, enchiladas, or even just rice and beans with salsa and avocado). That’s mainly what our family does.

The majority of our family’s recipes come from this website: Oh She Glows. You will not disappointed once you try her recipes.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

Make sure you have a dark green salad every night with dinner; there’s a lot of protein in dark green vegetables.

And for good dairy and egg free desserts you can make, please visit Gluten Free Vegan Girl.

Please consider my plan. Other “diet” plans are going to make you count calories and even go hungry at times.

My plan allows you to eat as long as you’re hungry, but just to cut out 5 things:

Dairy, eggs, high fructose corn syrup, soda (even diet), and fruit juice.

And don’t forget the things you can eat:

Vegetables, fruit, grains (rice, pasta, oats, etc.), beans, nuts, seeds, and yes… meat.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

This has been your introduction to beginning a plant-based lifestyle. Sure, ideally, I’d love to see you stop eating meat, because long term it largely increases your chances of cancer and disease.

But for now, just try this.

Also, there are some wonderful documentaries on Netflix that back up everything I have to say:

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change.

I will close by reminding you that I once started from somewhere too. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just start here and feel free to ask me any questions. I am happy to help you in your journey to a healthier life!

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

Super Lactate Me: Does Switching From Skim Milk to Whole Milk Really Cause You to Gain Weight?

For the next month, this former skim milk drinker will switch to whole milk.  Yes, I am making my body a scientific experiment.

It just makes sense: People who want to become or stay slim drink either skim or 1% milk, right? That’s the only kind of milk we had at our house growing up.  And when you are used to watery milk, when you do have whole milk, it “tastes gross.”  But when I received the May 2011 issue of Details magazine (which they strangely keep sending me though I didn’t renew my subscription after January), I was intrigued by the front cover.  I’m not referring to the picture of Mark Ruffalo, but instead the caption that read, “Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?

After reading the article, I’m convinced the answer is yes- skim milk can cause weight gain .  Basically, here’s how it works:

As you know, there are “good fats” that your body craves and needs.  They don’t cause you to gain weight as long as you don’t gorge in them and/or combine then with processed sugar.  These good fats can be found in nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.  There are also “bad fats” that we often substitute in the place of the good fats.  Our body craves the good fats but it’s easier and more convenient to eat the bad fats; they can be found in fried foods, large portions of red meat, ice cream and any other dairy product with added sugar.

According to the article, milk fat actually falls in the category of good fats.  So when the fat is removed from the milk (making it a more processed food), essentially you’re depriving yourself of the most important part of the food; which is the good fat.  Fat doesn’t make you fat as long as it’s good fat and you don’t add sugar to it.

Not only does it not cause you to gain weight, but fat from whole milk does not raise your cholesterol.  Here’s why: There is also “good cholesterol” which is not bad for your heart and “bad cholesterol,” which does cause heart disease.  And conveniently, the good fat from the whole milk is the good cholesterol.

A third reason that fat from whole milk is good for you (I didn’t realize we were counting) is that fat slows down the flow of sugar into the bloodstream. Sugar causes fat to stick to your body.  It’s like this:

fat + sugar = fat is stored in body

fat + no sugar = fat passes through the body

So if you consume whole milk with Fruity Pebbles, the fat from the whole milk may cause you to gain weight because of the sugar.  But if you consume whole milk with straight oatmeal or a high fiber/low sugar cereal like Wheat Chex, the fat will pass through.

(I recognize that milk contains lactose, which is a form of sugar, but it’s a natural part of milk so I’m not worried about it.  Just like the way fruit contains lots of sugar, but when you eat the fruit itself, the fiber in the fruit basically cancels out the negative effects.)

Need another reason whole milk is the best choice?  It triggers the “I’m full” hormone, causing you to want to stop eating.

And this may not gross you out, but it does me: Skim and 1% milk become a bluish-white, chalky liquid by the time all the fat is removed.  Therefore, powdered milk is added to these low fat milks to whiten them.

So back to the question in the title of this post: Does switching from skim milk to whole milk really cause you to gain weight?

No, I’m convinced it does not.

And I’m convinced that yes, skim milk does make you fat.  But I’m not just taking Paul John Scott’s word for it (the guy who wrote the article for Details magazine).  I am trying this theory out for myself; and more importantly, on myself.  As of yesterday, May 14th, I have switched to whole milk.  On a daily basis, I consume around 12 ounces of milk (in my coffee, which I don’t add sugar to) and in my oatmeal; also no sugar added.  I weighed myself on a digital scale:

156.6 pounds

On June 14th, after a month, I will write a sequel to this post proclaiming my weight again.  Obviously, nothing else in my diet or lifestyle will change- just the milk.  Let me point out that I am not trying to lose weight.  I am simply testing out a theory.  If anything, I’m trying to prove that I won’t gain weight.

Would you like to predict whether I will gain or lose weight by taking this month-long milk challenge?  Leave a comment. Then find out in a month whether your prediction was correct, when I write the follow-up post.  Mark your calendar now for this exciting event: June 14th.

Or just click here to travel to the future and learn the results!

Christianity and Beer

Would Jesus drink beer?  Maybe the question is, did He?

Ironically, in the way that many Christians view alcohol consumption to be okay when in moderation, I feel the same way about other beverages- ones that contain no alcohol. A typical can of soda (or tall glass of sweet tea) consists of about 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar, not to mention the caffeine. Would I normally eat 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar in one sitting? No way, that’s disgusting and totally unhealthy. Sugar is at the very top of the food pyramid and should be used sparingly. But that’s what soda is. And it’s so common. No “sin associations” either.

But it is extremely difficult for my conscience to deal with the thought that if the body is a temple, how consuming that much sugar all in the name of a common beverage is justifiable, especially compared to a single serving of beer or wine. Last night I drank two glasses of Dr. Pepper with some friends. And today I actually am a little ashamed that I did it.

And that is the power of taboo and its attached guilt. I feel bad about drinking soda, while someone else may feel halfway guilty about drinking some wine at a wedding. One person may be offended by me drinking a 12 ounce bottle of Blue Moon beer, but I may be offended by seeing someone drinking a liter sized bottle of Mountain Dew.

Both can be abused. Beer can cause drunkenness and alcoholism when handled irresponsibly (causing harm to self and others, possible to strangers). Drunkenness is an immediate warning that too much has been consumed. Sugary drinks do not cause drunkenness (but can also cause harm to self and others, through second hand poor dieting habits). Since no drunkenness is involved with sugary drinks, they have no immediate way to warn a person of the unhealthy dangers they can do to the human body when consumed too regularly.

I believe laws for drunk driving should be much stricter than they are. I disapprove of drunk driving as much as I loathe careless drivers and drivers that eat and/or text while driving. As much as I loathe murderers and perverts of every kind. Ultimately beer is one of those things like sex and money- wonderful, yet so easily can by used to corrupt, when mishandled.

Diet sodas, I don’t trust ’em. After learning that my parents pour a little bit of Sweet’n Low onto ant beds in their yard, which within a few days kills off the whole colony, I figure artificial sweeteners are left better off as a pesticide. The tiny ants’ bodies can’t handle the unnatural ingredients in the artificial sweeteners. Maybe my 5’ 9”, 170 pound body can, but it’s just not a drug I am willing to experiment with.

Juice that is actually 100% natural (no added sugars or dyes) is bearable, but also has a high content of sugar. So if I do drink 8 ounce servings of juice, I realize that I have to consider the sugar content just as I would a normal beverage.  That is equal to a few tablespoons of sugar.  But if the fruit is eaten in its whole form, the fiber of the fruit itself absorbs the sugar so that it does not count as our actual sugar intake for the day.

So for me, I’m not left with many drink choices or dinner. I do drink a minimum on 3 liters of water throughout the day. But in addition to water with my evening meal, I often have a bottle of good beer (not anything cheap that can be easily found in a can, not anything with the word “lite” in its name, not anything that is advertised through funny commercials during the Super Bowl).

I can enjoy the simple formula of the drink that has been enjoyed since Biblical times (it was brought to America by the Christian Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock). Water, barley, yeast, and hops (from the small family of flowering plants called Cannabaceae, in which cannabis is also a member). Beer contains no fat or cholesterol. Studies show then when consumed regularly in repsonsible amounts, beer can help the body fight against stroke, heart attacks, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, to name a few benefits. When it’s consumed responsibly, it’s healthy and good. When it’s abused, it’s unhealthy and dangerous. Too much of anything usually isn’t a good thing anyway.

So did Jesus drink beer?  It’s obvious He drank wine.  Beer has been around since at least 9,000 B.C.  and was discovered/invented in Egypt, so I’m sure He had easy access.  Since it wasn’t taboo for His culture to responsibly drink alcohol, I would actually be surprised if Jesus didn’t drink beer.  But again, wine has a high alcohol content than beer anyway.  Choose your irony.