going vegan

Growing up in the midwest and never thinking too much about my diet until I was in my 30’s, I never imagined I would eventually label myself as a vegan. I’m not even sure I heard the term until my late 20’s, only to dismiss it as a kind of diet that only people that wanted to torment their tastebuds, or had health issues would practice.

SO WHY?

The last few years I’ve opened a blind eye (ever so slowly) as to how we get most of the food in our stores, restaurants, and then to our plate. While, I understand that there are many people who only eat animals that are humanely raised, (and I do applaud that effort) the majority of our food in America is brought to us by very low standards of sanitary, healthful, and humane practices. Some resources I’ve personally checked out are Food Inc., Fast Food Nation, Vegucated, Eating Animals and of course you can find some incredibly gruesome, unwholesome, and I would say un-Godly videos on YouTube by searching “factory farming”.

Also, there is much evidence that my health is at stake (not steak) the more animal products that I consume. There have been some incredible studies and documentaries produced on the way that animal protein affects us versus the way that plants do. Some of the things I’ve watched include Supersize Me, and Forks Over Knives which highlights Dr. T. Colin Campbell, who grew up on a dairy farm, became a biochemist and eventually headed up The China Study.

WHAT’S NEXT?

As this choice has become clearer for me, I know that living in the midwest, in the Dairy State no less, many of my friends would never consider such a dietary undertaking. I also have friends that I love and respect who own farms and I very much want them to do well. So, I have promised myself that I would not be one of those judgmental vegans, but instead a gentle one. Aside from the fact that I’m not always perfect in my current endeavors, I’ve already eaten enough meat for a lifetime. Also, food is an important part of all cultures and their traditions. I recognize that to choose other traditions or practices can seem to be a snub or critique. My critique has nothing to do with the millions who hold traditions and tastebuds in high regard; these are good things in and of themselves. My critique has everything to with a giant, powerful food industry that will do anything, and I mean anything, to keep us as customers.

I’m still figuring out how to navigate an omnivore world as an herbivore. It’s a journey that I can only walk with gentleness, and the knowledge that because dietary choices are so incredibly personal that we all have to make our own decisions based on the information that we have and choose to incorporate into our lives. If you feel so led, check out some of these movies and/or books for yourself and feel free to dialogue with me about it.

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best way to burn 1500 calories

So yesterday I ran my first half-marathon. This is simply the details about it. First off, it was windy and a bit cool (somewhere in the mid 40’s). We (my friend Rob and I) were lined up way in the back, behind roughly 10,000 folks. This made for an interesting start. Basically the first three miles were spent carefully running through and around a sea of people, most of whom it seemed were out for an easy stroll. So my fears of starting out too fast vanished quickly. The congestion eventually let up and it seemed like no time at all when I looked down at my Garmin/GPS watch and I was clicking over to 7 miles.

After passing a couple live bands, one at a church and one at some random house, I found myself at mile 9. It was about then that I felt like the finish line was pulling me in. I was motivated by the endless line of people in front of me. I guess I figured if they could get that far so could I, even though the farthest I’d run to date was 11 miles. I leaned into it, focused on the areas of my body that didn’t hurt, and took it home the best that I could.

The last mile was routed through Lambeau Field, (where the G.B. Packers play) which was really cool. It was awesome to see my mom in the crowd waving at me. All in all it was a great experience, and I’m definitely motivated to do it again. Here are my mile times according to my Garmin. I’m sure I’m more interested in them than you are but I’m gonna post them for posterity’s sake. My goal was was to average around an 8:20 min mile pace. My actual pace was 8:31 and out of 209 guys my age (35-39) I came in 70th.

Mile 1  – 9:16
Mile 2  – 8:55
Mile 3  – 8:58
Mile 4  – 8:37
Mile 5  – 8:28
Mile 6  – 8:24
Mile 7  – 8:32
Mile 8  – 8:12
Mile 9  – 8:25
Mile 10- 8:25
Mile 11- 8:04
Mile 12- 8:15
Mile 13- 8:11
Cellcom’s results

running is boring?

Anyone who has ever said that they don’t want to get into shape by running because it’s boring, has never tried it.
I’m not saying I’m the most in-shape person, or that I’m a great runner, but since I’ve been training for this half-marathon next month, I’ve learned a tiny little bit about running well.
Here’s what I’ve found – everything counts.

every step counts

how you land that step counts

how you stride though that step counts

every breath counts

every meal counts

pacing yourself counts

your posture counts

what you look at counts

what you do with your hands counts

knowing what your heart is doing counts

tracking your progress counts

– the list goes on…

Does that sound boring to you? It’s sounds intense doesn’t it? What if we lived our lives like this though? Can we afford not to really? Isn’t calling life “boring” an indication that we’ve fallen into the trap of not living well?

I believe that when we really get
that every step and breath matters,
that what we allow our minds to ingest fuels us accordingly,
that how we posture ourselves when we’re tired, and
what pace of life we take on (not too fast, not too slow) determines success or failure,
we simply cannot get bored or in a rut.
The road of life is coming at us- we have no choice in that- but we can and must make the choice as to whether or not to place importance on all the little details.

Because those details, in the long run, count for everything.

My name is Jared and I’m a chocoholic.


Well, today I come forward to admit that I am a chocoholic. When there are cookies around me with chocolate in them, or chocolate ice cream I cannot seem to stop myself from eating it. I am bound and enslaved by the sweetness. I am lured by the chalkiness of the oh-so-rich kind of chocolate that many cannot quite take. I would eat and drink chocolate milk mix as the main staple of my diet if I could. I can easily throw down a sleeve of chocolate-chunk-lovers-there’s-not-really-much-cookie-dough- holding-all-this-chocolate-together-cookies and not even complain about how my stomach hurts later. IT WAS WORTH IT!

I try to talk myself into having only three or four cookies at a time after a meal, but somehow the package gets left open and sitting on the table confidently waving me over every four to five minutes. I mean, after all, I am an adult. No one can limit how many I get now. My mom can no longer circumvent my dinner ruining escapades. I’m grown! I’m entitled. I’m a good boy, I cleaned my plate! I’m in charge! Or am I? Am I merely a pawn in the tiny hands of those God-forsaken Keebler Elves? What’s with that alliance that they’ve made with Chips Ahoy? Is that tree where they live a secret porthole to a dimly lit dungeon where caloric vices are manufactured and additive addictions are perpetuated?The bottom line is that I, Jared, somehow outnumber myself. This is the nature of someone who is an addict. The inner voices that call to us are loud but not too loud. They actually sound quite reasonable. They make promises of extra miles on the treadmill. They show you a mental picture of a contract with ab and glut workouts added perfectly into your already busy schedule. This is the deal we make with our own devils. Our souls yearn for freedom but our taste buds and hands conspire against us with genius cunning time after time.

The ONLY answer that I can find at this point aside from paying an NFL lineman to actually run my wife over as she reaches to put these things into the shopping cart is to completely sell out to the facts presented at www.stopthetraffik.org/chocolatecampaign. This is a serious problem worldwide and it needs to be a topic of discussion. Chocolate is just one of the many products that are manufactured by trafficked and enslaved people.

I tried to find a list of the offenders so that I could lay my eyes on the products that I so easily succumb to, but a comprehensive list of these I could not find. Instead I found lists of chocolate makers that DO adhere to fair trade and wage practices and the list was comprised of companies that I had never heard of before. That means that my Keebler friends and all their buddies that stock my store’s shelves have yet to sign on or worse yet, CANNOT sign on.
In my journey to be kind to the planet, I cannot relegate my efforts and focus to nature. I must allow myself to see and respond to the injustice done to my fellow human. It IS our duty to become aware of these kinds of issues and to do our part as consumers, and say “no” to the companies that don’t adhere or won’t sign on to fair trade and ethically sourced practices. SO… my pledge to you is that I will begin to take the steps necessary to be an informed consumer with practiced convictions. This is my way and day to confess, repent and purge my offenses openly. I know that I won’t be perfect from here on out but, along with you, I want to be informed, responsible, aware, and active in a world that deserves our attention and love.