Meat Free Monday: How Much Does Meat Really Cost?

Although animal products are often cheap in the store (99 cents for a big pack of hot dogs, 49 cents for a box of mac n cheese), there are a lot of external costs that get pushed off onto the taxpayers, and are hidden from view.

While there are hidden costs to everything, the hidden costs of animal agriculture tend to be a lot higher than those of most plant based foods.

For more information, look at David Simon’s book Meatonomics.  the video below also gives a bit more info. 

Meat Free Monday: I Want to be this Man … in 58 Years

In terms of health.  In terms of attitude, I want to be more like him now. Too often,  I substitute worry and feeling for real best effort, and that causes me to be both stressed and much less effective.

I had my daughter pretty late in life (age 38), so I’m  really trying to do all I can to stay alive and healthy for as long as I can. 

Let’s just say I can identify with a certain replicant.

Self-Care 2: 10% Human

To make a long story short, animals in general and humans in particular aren’t solo organisms, but macro-organisms, reliant upon symbiotic bacteria for most of our digestion and a surprising amount of our general health. 

By number of cells, we are 10% human and 90% bacteria. 

And if  we let our bacteria get too out of whack, we increase our risks of indigestion, heart disease, diabetes, and more of the diseases of modernity.

So one of my goals this year is to eat with my bacteria in mind. 

And apparently, it doesn’t take long to see changes based on diet. Unfortunately, I can’t get the original study to load, but what I’ve read in other places  backs up Miche’s vlog:

We see results within days of serious diet changes, and continue to see lifelong benefits.

Killing Me Minty

I think I may have found the reason my blood pressure is up even though I’ve gone vegan, and it is the some reason my teeth were so badly strained at my last dentist appointment: 

Mouthwash. 

I started using off brand Scope, the green mint alcohol mouthwash, earlier in 2016. I thought it would be good for my mouth and my breath.

I was still thinking in terms of “killing bacteria” being a good thing.

But in doing the research for my self-care resolution this year, I learned that our good bacteria are a vital part of our systems, and that killing them off en masse is like burning down your house to kill a spider.

By the way, I like spiders. They eat mosquitos, which I hate. I try not to kill spiders if I can avoid it.

Apparently, research has shown that these “healthy” mouthwashes can raise blood pressure and increase heart attack risk. I do NOT need that at my size!

They also apparently make your bad breath come back worse after their smell wears off, they increase yellowing of teeth, and they can increase the chance of gum disease.

It seems the best way to fight bad breath is to keep your mouth’s microbiota well balanced, not to burn down the house.

So, yeah. I won’t be using any more of that stuff.

Self Care Part 1: Go Deeper Into the Plants


If you’ve read this blog at all, you know that I went vegan last June.

But I didn’t go healthy. 

I still ate like I used to eat: lots of burgers and fries, just veggie burgers.Lots of fried and heavy food in general.

Even doing that I lost over 25 pounds and kept 20 off (I regained a few during the holidays).

I didn’t go vegan to lose weight per se, but health was one of my concerns. 

And my blood pressure was actually up at my wellness visit.

So I knew what I had to do.

I have to go deeper into the plant based diet. I have to start eating a more whole foods diet, minimizing the processed sugars and heavy fats (even the so-called “good fats”).

This will change the way I cook and the way I eat out. 

Actually, it already has. I started eating this way on January 1st. 

I started eating oatmeal with dates for breakfast instead of a bagel slathered with peanut butter.

I’ve added salads to my meals. I’ve started eating raw vegetables, including garlic and onion (so much for my breath).

I already feel better. I have more energy, I haven’t been as hungry during the day, and I think this is really going to help me. 

I’ll keep you posted. 

 

Pressure, Stress, and Mindsets


Kelly McGonigal spent many years telling people that stress was dangerous,  but it turns out that research shows that stress is only dangerous to people who think it is bad, dangerous, or harmful. 

It turns out that people really can thrive on pressure. 

Dr. McGonigal made this video to help correct some of the old perceptions. 

Now,  why am I writing about this?  Because I’ve never been great at handling pressure and stress. I thought that was hard-wired, unchangeable,  but apparently changing your attitude toward stress can help change its effects on you. 

So what now?

Dr. McGonigal showed us one immediate,  easy to use stress intervention.  Whenever you feel stressed,  tell yourself “My body is preparing me to meet this challenge.  My heat is beating harder and my lungs are pumping faster to get more oxygen to my body and brain.

Tell yourself that until your believe it and you can eliminate the cardiovascular dangers of stress (mainly blood vessel constriction) and make yourself less flustered and more energized. 

Additionally, connecting with others,  especially caring for others, makes us more resilient to stress. Community and compassion can actually nullify the health damages of major life events. 

Also, “chasing meaning is better than trying to avoid discomfort.”

I’m going to try to our these into action. I’ll report back later and let you know how it goes. 

August Life Goals

Yesterday, I shared my progress on my July writing goals and announced my August writing goals.  Today,  I’m setting out my August life goals.

  • Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night.
  • Get to bed early enough to write,  read, pray, exercise, or otherwise greet the day
  • Exercise 3 days a week, rain or shine
  • Continue eating a plant-based diet
  • Try to do something actively helpful for someone (family can be included,  but ideally this should reach beyond them)  each day
  • Listen to music, go outside,  and do other things to rejuvenate myself

Well,  that’s more than enough to do for one month. I will  let you know how I did at the end of the month. 

Resistance

Every time I’ve tried to get my stuff together, I’ve always faced resistance. 

When I started exercising,  I would soon get sick or hurt. 

When I started trying to go to bed earlier, 1,000 things would come up to keep me up (a student distraction each night,  it seems).

And when I do get to bed earlier, I always feel worse at first, moody, as if sleep deprivation were an emotional anesthetic. 

When I started writing consistently,  life seemed to explode with physically and/or emotionally draining mini-crises, until I was so ragged I could hardly even think straight. 

Resistance.

It’s why we don’t succeed, why we let our dreams remain dreams instead of bringing them to life. 

Resistance. If I am really going to get my act together before this year is out, I’m going to have to learn to resist back. 

Steven Pressman literally wrote the book on overcoming resistance – two books,  actually: The War of Art and Do the Work.

Sleep Deprivation Is a Moral Issue


Well, mine is at least. 

Some people are sleep deprived because they have to work multiple jobs, maybe 80 hours a week, just to survive. In a nation as rich as America,  that’s a moral issue of an entirely different sort, a matter of basic decency and justice. 

That is not why I get sleep deprived. I get sleep deprived because I stay up too late. 

Doing what?  You might ask. Well,  that it’s the thing… It always seems to be something different.

I may not watch one bit of tv or play one minute of a videogame,  but  something will come up,  something I forgot to do,  something I need to look up,  something I want to talk about, an idea I want to write down …SOMETHING.

It is not any one thing. It’s a million different things. Which means it’s me. 

And I am going to fight back, starting today. 

Starting tonight,  it’s no excuses.  If I miss a night on the blog,  you will know why. 

If I fall short of another July goal,  that’s okay.  This matters more. 

Sleep deprivation dulls my wit and clouds my creativity.  It is damp wood for my creative spark,  producing far more smoke than fire. 

It makes me less effective at work,  shortchanging my department and the students we serve.

Sleep  deprivation takes me  away from my loved ones now by making me drowsy and grouchy.  

It will take me away from them permanently if I let it, maybe not this year,  but far sooner than I want to go. 

So starting tonight, I will fight back. I will start getting ready for bed by  10, and close my eyes by 11.

I am drawing a line.  Please pray that I will be able to hold it. 

Meat-Free Monday: Simpler Food

(Video warning: harsh language)

Well, one good thing about going vegan, is that I am immune from the worst of it: pink slime, McNuggets, whatever’s in hot dogs. I get a bit queasy thinking about how many of those I ate over the course of the last 40 years.

But I’m sure I’m still taking in a lot of frankenfood. I never knew that about orange juice.

So I’m working to make some gradual changes in a more “whole foodsy” direction.

  • Eating oatmeal for breakfast more often
  • (As opposed to peanut butter and bagels, or prepared cereals)
  • Topping my salads with homemade vinegar dressings, not pre-bottled one
  • Eating even more raw fruits and vegetables than I do now
  • Chilling and eating dates for dessert more often, instead of more processed options
  • Eventually getting a juicer and making my own juice

This will hopefully be better for me, both for long-term health and short-term digestion. My weight may even settle in a little lower, but I’m much more concerned with blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and so on.