I Became an Overweight Vegan By Not Getting Enough Complete Protein, So Now I’m Trying Amazing Grass Protein Superfood…

After 5 and a half years of being a vegan, I have now come to the realization that the skeptics were actually right, in their concern that I wouldn’t get enough protein. But not in the way any of us expected:

It’s not that I ever became weak, lightheaded, or underweight.

Instead, my dyshidrotic eczema and allergy and sinus problems went away, and for the past 3 years, I have remained an overweight vegan.

Whereas for the first year or so of being a vegan I did lose weight, getting down to 156 pounds and size 31 pants, and I am not back to being over 170 pounds and am now only able to fit into a few pairs of my 32 size pants. And by the way, I’m not tall: I’m 5′ 9″.

My vegan weight gain has occurred for more than one reason…

First, these days there are vegan options for everything, including ice cream; which my wife and I were eating nearly every night as a “reward” for making it through a never hectic day raising two kids, while both working our full-time jobs, plus running our side hustles (including doing SEO for a major university, running two YouTube channels, and managing this blog).

Second, I was overeating. My first year of being a vegan taught me that I could ultimately eat as much of any vegan food I wanted, and I would still fit into my size 31 pants. But eventually, I started gaining my pre-vegan weight back, and I never went back to eating sensible portions.

And third, this whole time, without realizing it, I have never consistently been getting enough complete proteins

Last Sunday after church, I happened to meet a personal trainer while our families were at Starbucks at the same time. His name is Mark Glesne and he explained to me that initially, I was losing weight because my body wasn’t getting the right kinds of protein, so I was losing muscle mass.

But eventually, my body bottomed out on being able to extract its protein nutrients from my muscle, so it has since went into famine mode, therefore producing extra fat as a back-up plan to survive on.

So for the past week, I have been researching and experimenting on what exactly these “vegan complete proteins” are.

I thought peanut butter was good for protein… nope, it counts it as fat.

I thought broccoli was good for protein… nope, my body counts it as carbs.

Instead, “complete proteins” look more like this:

A can of chickpeas and a slice of Ezekiel bread.

Chia seeds and almonds.

Rice and beans.

So in theory, I must make it a daily priority to pack in as much complete proteins as I can, so that my body will recognize that I am now consuming enough, so it will stop producing the same level of fat and build muscle instead.

I have decided to make an investment in Amazing Grass Protein Superfood, since it contains 27% of my daily complete proteins, consisting of 20 grams.

If you’re in the same situation as me, you can click on this click to buy Amazing Grass Protein Superfood for the lowest price on Amazon.

I look forward to seeing if greatly increasing my amount of protein will actually cause me to lose weight, as I am currently an overweight vegan.

Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Pure Vanilla Description
  • ALL in ONE Nutrition Shake
  • Daily Plant-Based Nutrition
  • One Scoop. Stir. Smile.
  • 20g Complete Protein • 7 Alkalizing Greens
  • 2 Servings Fruits & Veggies • Wholefood Nutrition Shake
  • Gluten Free • No Sugar Added
  • USDA Organic • Non-GMO
  • Kosher

This organic, all-in-one nutritional shake thoughtfully combines the alkalizing farm fresh greens with nutrient-dense fruits and veggies plus 20g of plant-based protein. With a smooth vanilla flavor and satisfying texture, this superfood combo is a convenient way to get the whole food nutrition your body needs with an amazing flavor your taste buds will love.

Nutrition Made Easy

  • 7 Alkalizing Greens: Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Alfalfa, Spirulina, Chlorella, Broccoli and Spinach
  • Protein: Pea, Chia, Quinoa and Hemp
  • Fruits & Veggies: Beet, Carrot, Sweet Potato, Goji, Acai, Banana and More…

The Amazing Grass Promise

Amazing Grass organically grows & harvests the most nutrient-rich greens on their family farms in Kansas & craft them with the highest quality plant-based ingredients curated from like-minded farmers around the world.

Honestly Grown. Thoughtfully Harvested. Simply Enjoyed.

Promotes Lean Muscle • Satisfies Hunger • Nourishing Energy • Aids Digestion


Suggested Use: Add one scoop with 12 fl oz. or more of water, milk or smoothie.

Best kept in a cool, dry place after opening.

Free Of

Gluten, GMOs, added sugar.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Other Ingredients: Protein Blend: (organci pea protein, organic hemp protein, organic chia, organic quinoa), Green Food Blend (organic wheat grass, organic alfalfa, organic barley grass, organic spinach, organic spirulina, organic chlorella (cracked cell-wall), organic broccoli), Fruit & Vegetable BlendOther Ingredients: Organic vanilla flavor, natural vanilla flavor, xanthan gum, organic stevia, organic madagascar vanilla.

All flavors used by Amazing Grass® are Organic Compliant, All Natural, Kosher Pareve and Vegan. Not a low calorie food.

 

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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!

Vegans Don’t Get Enough Protein and the World is Still Flat

Take a look at me in this corny picture I took yesterday using a self-timer and a tripod.

Vegans Don’t Get Enough Protein and the World is Still Flat

If you saw me, and didn’t know who I was, would you think to yourself, “I wonder if that guy is getting enough protein…”?

Chances are, you see a guy who really doesn’t have weight to lose or to gain in order to be healthy. And that’s the truth: For my age and weight, I am perfectly in the “optimal” range.

I’m 34 years old, 5’9”, and weigh around 153 pounds (I fluctuate between 148 and 155 throughout the year).

But back in 2008, I peaked at 178 pounds, which according to the chart, put me in the “overweight” category.

Vegans Don’t Get Enough Protein and the World is Still Flat

So now that we’ve established I’m not underweight, or overweight, why is it that in the past few years, people have asked me if I’m getting enough protein?

After all, that’s not something people typically ask each other:

“Are you getting enough protein?”

In fact, I challenge you to name 3 people you’ve personally known in your lifetime who weren’t getting enough protein; excluding people with eating disorders or people dying of a disease- neither of which apply to vegans like me.

My guess is you can’t think of even one person.

Yet we’re obsessed with making sure people getting enough protein. Meanwhile, the irony is that we’re getting too much protein in the form of meat, which leads to cancer and/or diabetes.

But the moment people find out I’ve been a vegan for about 2 and a half years (and a vegetarian for more than a year before that), they feel compelled to make sure I’m getting enough protein.

Why is that?

Because we’ve collectively been brainwashed to believe that without eating animal products, we will not get enough protein.

In reality, vegans easily get enough protein from 6 easy sources: veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains.

And again, look at me. How am I not living proof that vegans get enough protein?

Vegans Don’t Get Enough Protein and the World is Still Flat

Granted, if all I ate was white bread and apple juice, I could see the concern. But that wouldn’t be a healthy, balanced diet. To me that’s the equivalent of someone who “experimented with veganism in college.”

However, they failed because they weren’t actually getting enough all around nutrition, instead, they depended on processed foods.

It’s simple: I eat plenty of unprocessed veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains.

I don’t have a gym membership. Instead, I simply take at least two 10 minute walks each day, as well as ride my mountain bike and go for runs throughout the week.

I don’t count calories. I don’t go hungry; I eat as much as I want. No portion control.

And I’m very happy.

Plus, I’m actually healthy. At least that’s what Dr. Thomas John of Vanderbilt Primary Care told me back in April when visited him for a check-up.

He even confirmed I’m getting enough protein; though I didn’t bring up I was a vegan until after he had already told me diagnosed me as healthy.

Now consider my former life. I was more than 30 pounds heavier. I had dyshidrosis; a medically incurable skin disease related to eczema.

http://doctor.webmd.com/doctor/thomas-john-md-ef5bcddd-b461-41b1-bca4-92667ef8049a-overview

I had constant sinusitis, sinus pressure, headaches and acne.

Of course, now, those are all a thing of the past.

Why would I ever go back to that?

http://doctor.webmd.com/doctor/thomas-john-md-ef5bcddd-b461-41b1-bca4-92667ef8049a-overview

This is what works for me. It’s not for everyone. However, I’m living proof it’s not crazy, but instead it’s a quite effective lifestyle.

I feel there’s a decent chance some people glanced at the title of this post and assumed I was “finally admitting vegans don’t get enough protein.”

http://doctor.webmd.com/doctor/thomas-john-md-ef5bcddd-b461-41b1-bca4-92667ef8049a-overview

Nope.

Actually, I’m showing how outdated it is to believe such a concept. It’s as crazy as still believing the world is flat.

http://doctor.webmd.com/doctor/thomas-john-md-ef5bcddd-b461-41b1-bca4-92667ef8049a-overview

Bonus:

Check out this video I made about what I refer to as “The Protein Conspiracy”…

Also, here’s a professional article, 8 Great Sources of Vegan Protein.

Plus, Vegetarians Can Expect to Live Longer, Study Shows.

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!

The Shell Diet: Fresh- Forget about Processed Foods and Replace Sugar with Whole Fruits

Cut out all processed foods.


1) The worst thing about processed foods is that they are typically loaded with “bad sugars” and “bad fats”, not to mention too much sodium. This means all fast food, fried food, candy, snack cakes, sodas, coffee bought at a coffee shop, even yogurt (loaded with sugar!) just to name a few examples.  “Good sugars” are whole fruits and “good fats” are nuts- they’re good and necessary as part of the Shell Diet.

How do you know if a food is processed?  Any kind of food you wouldn’t have been able to find 200 years ago, if it contains more than 7 ingredients, and/or if it comes sealed in a box or bag sent from a factory, there is a good chance it is processed.  And that means you shouldn’t eat it because it has too much fatsugar, and or sodium.  Those three things are some of the rarest elements found in food, yet in today’s culture, a lot of our food choices are based on those things, and those are the things making us unhealthy.  Jesus didn’t eat Hot Pockets.  Abraham Lincoln didn’t eat Twinkies.  So neither will I.

2) So if you’re not eating junk food, or even “healthy” processed snacks (made with soy or tofu), what can you eat? Eat anything that is a plant, as a snack. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and even whole grain cereal as long as no sugar has been added (admittedly, there aren’t a whole lot of cereals that fit that description, so unless I am having plain oatmeal with fruit, I buy plain shredded wheat and add honey, which is natural and healthy to eat).

3) Drinking your calories is just as bad, if not worse, than eating them. Soda is what I call “diabetes juice”.  Sugary coffee and sweat tea are “liquid cigarettes”.  And 100% fruit juice?  Still processed.  I call it “vitamin infused Kool Aid”.  We’re supposed to be eating fruit on a daily basis, not drinking it.  Because unless we’re eating the fiber with the fruit, we’re cheating ourselves and just drinking the vitamins and sugar from the fruit, wasting its fiber.

I don’t buy into the advertising ploy of V-8 and other “healthy juices” advertising that if you buy drinking their product, you’re getting the proper number of servings of fruits and veggies.  You may be getting the vitamins, but you’re getting too much sugar, and not enough fiber.  Sure, it’s better than soda, or not eating any fruits or veggies at all, but you’re still cheating yourself out of a healthy thing.

Acknowledgement: This far into reading about the “Shell Diet”, you have every reason to feel discouraged at how demanding of a lifestyle change it is.  But this is the price you pay to be healthy now, and to prevent Diabetes, cancer, and all that other bad stuff.  And there’s no way around it.  Even if you’re thin, it doesn’t mean you’re necessary healthy.

4) So what does Nick Shell drink, the creator of the Shell Diet, drink? Because obviously there isn’t much left to choose from. Mainly water– no less than two liters (ideally 3 liters) per day.  A little bit of milk with cereal or coffee (but no processed creamer or sugar).  Certain select fruit juices like carrot juice or Bolthouse Farms’ Green Goodness- they are the only exceptions to my “no fruit juice rule” because they both contain a power house of nutrients that are difficult to get a hold of and are more of a puree than a juice.

And lastly, one alcoholic beverage per day. Yes, it may sound like I’m going against everything I’ve established so far, but it’s a key factor of the Shell Diet being successful.  Almost every day, I either have a classy beer (like Leinenhugel’s, Fat Tire, Blue Moon, Shock Top, etc., but never Bud Light or anything people use to get drunk on during sports events or that underage teens with fake I.D.’s are drawn to) or a glass of wine (my favorite brand is actually Macaroni Grille).

If you have any religious reservations about this, read this, and if that doesn’t help (or you’re a recovering alcoholic or think you might become one), I have to admit you are at a disadvantage regarding the Shell Diet, but I don’t want to be responsible for you feeling like you are sinning against God (or lead you back into a lifestyle of abuse if you have a history of alcoholism).  If the Southern-small-town-Baptist restriction applies to you, I of all people completely understand where you’re coming from: I never had any alcohol until after high school and college.  It wasn’t until age 24 (right after moving to Nashville; the official crossroads of the Bible Belt and honky tonks) that I was able to process how I truly felt about Jesus Juice (wine) and Baptist Brew (beer).  Ironically, when I abandoned my “drinking is wrong” theology, for me, it was one of the most spiritually maturing times in my life.

Why do I strongly endorse daily consumption of one alcoholic drink per day?  Aside from the abundant health benefits mentioned here, it is a filling and healthy rival (again, in small amounts, not abundance) to sugar.  Plus, at the end of the day, with dinner, it is relaxing.   And that is a good thing.  It’s important to relax, because stress causes cancer.

*But wait, there’s more…Go back to the main page of the The Shell Diet by clicking right here.

I’m Mr. Clean When It Comes to Personal Hygiene

Cleanliness is next to obsessiveness.

Danny Tanner was OCD about cleaning his full house.  Howie Mandel is insane in dealing or not dealing with germs.  As for me, I am obsessed with feeling clean and fresh in regards to my own body.  If I had to go a full day without taking a shower, brushing my teeth, or clipping my fingernails (they grow very fast; I have to clip them every five days), then it would pretty much ruin my day, like a canker sore.

I keep an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, and pair of nail clippers with me at work.  As well as in my car.  Heckler from the crowd shouts out: “Well you better get used to feeling dirty!  That baby of yours is going to be puking and peeing on you every day…”  But that’s different.  To me, that’s more of an external situation.  I’m obsessed with the internal.

What I get on me, I can clean off and be okay with.  It’s what comes out from within my body that bothers me.  Knowing that sweat is constantly slowly seeping out of my skin and that bacteria in my mouth begins festering again the minute I finish brushing my teeth.  Yikes.

And truthfully, this obsession has a lot to do with my extremely strict diet which is based around “clean eating”.  The way I see it, the foods I put in my body either make my insides cleaner or dirtier.  It’s typically hard for me to eat a big greasy hamburger because I imagine the liquefied, digested fat leaking out my pores.  What a nightmare.

Surely everyone is at least a little bit OCD somehow when it comes to cleanliness.  This is mine.

Here's something else I keep at work. It's that important...

*Unnecessary ethic information: Both Bob Saget and Howie Mandel are Jewish.

The Glory of Eating Out: Entertainment, Activity, and Ignorance of Calories

Eating food can easily become entertainment, in of itself.

This Saturday, my wife will finish her final class for her Master’s program.  We’ve been anticipating this day for a year and a half- specifically, we’ve been planning to go somewhere nice for dinner to celebrate.  Though we’ve had our sights set for months on Stony River for a good steak dinner, we remembered recently that we don’t really like steak.  So we instead have discovered a quaint “only in Nashville” sort of place that looks to be more our speed: http://www.12southtaproom.com/

Something I’ve been realizing now more than ever is why eating out is fun.  There are obvious reasons for this, like not having to cook, set the table, or clean the dishes.  And the fact that when you eat dinner out, you have many choices of what you will eat.  All valid reasons.  Yet very obvious.

Here are more subtle reasons:

Environment: Whether or not you truly are a “people person”, or are one and just don’t realize it (People Watching 101), part of the allure of going out to eat is to be around people you don’t know, who serve as background noise and sometimes accidently, as entertainment.

Of course aside from the strangers we like dining near (not with), there also is something soothing/weird in looking at the random memorabilia hanging on the walls- whether it’s old pictures of sad, creepy looking people from the 1920’s, a goofy moose head, or a canary yellow guitar that Tom Petty used to record his Wildflowers album in 1994.  Ultimately, whatever it is, it’s something else to look at.

Activity: Eating good food that we enjoy is more than just about “getting full” or about nutrition.  It’s simply a fun activity.  Yes, we could make the same menu items on our own (with enough Internet research for recipes) and they may taste similar.  But aside from the fact that we’re not cooking it, there is something fun about having someone else serve you.  When someone else waits on you, it gives a sense of “I deserve this” (Password).

Ignorance to calories: Yes, we are overaware that fast food is a killer.  But we turn a blind eye to the nutritional facts at nicer restaurants, essentially all of them.  Even when the meal is low-fat, and even more difficult to pull off, low-sugar, it is still almost guaranteed to be high in sodium- which is linked to heart disease and hardened arteries.  But no matter how nice the restaurant it is, it’s pretty much given that there’s at least 75% of your daily sodium in the meal, at best.

And of course, the serving portions are typically at least twice to three times what a meal should be.  But turning a blind eye to all these nutritional facts makes it much more fun.

So go now, and celebrate, with strange wall decorations, quirky people sitting at the table next to you, and a meal prepared by the salt gods.