Friday, August 10, 2012

The Vegan 1 Day Project 2012

August 31, 2012 is the "Vegan 1 Day Project".  This is an international movement to promote the benefits of a plant based diet.

Our food choices play a significant role, helping to solve some of our societies most urgent problems, like marine ecosystem collapse, climate change, poor human health and global violence.

Eating animal foods is the elephant in our living room that we all pretend not to see when discussing how we can change the world for the better.

On August 31st, 2012, a group of extreme SUP paddlers will circumnavigate 72 miles of Lake Tahoe in one day—paddling all day and all night—to promote the Vegan 1 Day Project. They hope to garner international attention from this challenge to encourage everyone to adopt a vegan diet for at least one day out of the year.

Will you join us by pledging to eat vegan for just one day, 31 August 2012?  Can you help spread the word in your community?



About the Vegan 1 Day founder:  

John Merryfield lives in Lake Tahoe, Ca. and Los Barriles, Baja, Mexico with his wife Carol and works as a painting contractor.  He is the founder of Vegan 1 Day - An international challenge for everyone to adopt a vegan diet for at least one day of the the year (August 31). He is an avid surfer, kite surfer, stand up paddler, paraglider pilot and a published haiku poet.  (Author's note... I also have known John since our days in Ms. O'Brien's kindergarten class.  No, he was not vegan or did he write haiku at that point in time!)

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Blog Post by Jillian McKee


This blog continues to get a lot of search engine hits for vegan related topics, even though I am no longer eating a plant based diet (I do continue to make much more healthy choices compared to the time before my 2011 Vegan Lent experience).

I was approached by guest blogger Jillian McKee, and am posting her new article here, as her message about nutrition for those facing disease is important.

Jillian is a blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.  Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jillian/bio.htm#ixzz228Pgslep

The Importance of Nutrition For Cancer Treatment & Care

Whether you have just been diagnosed, undergoing treatment or are in remission, nutrition plays an important role in the care, treatment and recovery of cancer patients. Having a nutritious diet may help to prevent slow and poor recovery and healing after surgery.

The Relationship between Nutrition and Cancer

With all the emotional, mental and physical stress and challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis, eating a nutritious diet along with healthy eating habits is essential for healing and recovery. For pre and post treatment and care, patients who have healthy weights, energy and a strong nutritious body may better resist infections and have quicker recovery. In some cases, the care and treatment of cancer patients may lead to side effects such as loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea and vomiting that may affect nutrition and eating habits in many ways.

Patients who undergo cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy need to have energy to help with recovery. Some of these therapies involve the neck, throat and head, which may affect the taste buds, smelling, chewing as well as swallowing and making saliva. Digestion and the ability to absorb nutrients may also result from stomach and intestinal cancers and surgeries.

Nutritional Benefits for Cancer Treatment and Care

Patients and survivors who eat nutritional meals while coping with cancer treatment and remission stand to gain from improved health and overall wellbeing. Some advantages of a healthy diet during cancer are as follows:

-Improved prognosis and helping with faster healing
-Lowered risk of infections and malnutrition
-Increased strength and energy
-More tolerance of treatment-related side effects
-Better managed and maintenance of a healthy weight
-Prevention of bone and muscle loss
-Enhanced general health and quality of life

Nutritional Tips for Cancer Patients

The type of nutrition for mesothelioma patients and those with other forms of cancer will vary from person to person. This will depend on special dietary plans, the treatment methods and side effects that the patient is experiencing. In some cases, eating a balanced diet may not be possible right away. Nutritional tips that may be considered for pre and post cancer treatment include:

-Following dietary plans designed by dietitian and care team
-Drinking nutritional supplements especially if you have problems swallowing or chewing
-Eating foods that are high in protein and calories such as peanut butter, cheese, eggs, fish and whole milk to help improve energy and speed up healing
-Increasing fiber rich foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables
-Eating smaller meals and drinking adequate amounts of water

The importance of nutrition for cancer patients and survivors cannot be underscored. Good nutrition can be the difference between a weak recovery and a healthy and speedy one or having infections and preventing diseases. Maintaining a nutritious diet along with healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and managing stress are also important factors for successfully coping with cancer. For more information on nutrition and its impact on cancer, visit the website of the National Cancer Institute.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Last Day of Lent - Two Cents Plain

This year I gave up alcohol for Lent.  It was much easier to go without booze than it was last year to live Vegan for the whole 40+ day period (as I did in 2011).  I undertook both of these Lent efforts to see if I had the disciplined fortitude to make a commitment on this level.  In both cases it was about making healthy choices, but the Vegan living was a much harder on a day to day basis.

I had not taken into effect the social events that one attends where everyone is having a drink.  At first it seemed odd to not partake, but really it was no big deal.  There were all the parties during South by Southwest, St Patrick's Day, my 20th wedding anniversary and countless other dinner gatherings.  My drink of choice became Club Soda with a squeeze of lime.

The other day someone called my beverage a "Two Cents Plain" (although, it was not plain, it had lime).  I was not familiar with the term, but he sent me a link to a below song by artist Joel Mabus.  I found this YouTube Video of the song.  Apparently the term goes back to the depression where Seltzer Water was free (or maybe 2 cents)

<object width="420" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/OMaIbFghwRM?version=3&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/OMaIbFghwRM?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="420" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

(Can't see video?  Here is the link  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMaIbFghwRM)

I did find it interesting in local bars.  Most did not charge me for the drink, but one bar charged me $3 for the Club Soda.... which I think was the biggest rip-off of all time!

Today is the last day of Lent.  Tomorrow I will enjoy a glass of wine, but today I will pound down a few "Two Cents Plain".... with lime!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent 2012 - No Drinking Until Easter

I started this blog a year ago when I went "Vegan for Lent". While I had always given something up for Lent, last year was the first time that it had a real impact on my life.

Lent 2011 was a real test in sacrifice and dedication.  I was successful in my food choices and commitment to the process.... and felt fantastic.  I lost a little weight, and my mind was clear and focused.  After Lent ended my diet was forever changed.

While I did not remain a vegan, I did modify my eating habits.  I spent most of the year being "Vegan Leaning" - which meant Monday - Friday I kept vegan (mostly), and on the weekends I ate "Free-Style".  I found I could not over eat the meat and dairy on the weekends or I would not feel right.

My efforts Monday - Friday got derailed over the holidays, but I still avoid meat and dairy on most occasions.  I would estimate I am eating about 70% less meat and dairy than I did before my Lent experience of a year ago.

Tomorrow Lent begins again.  This year I am going to give up drinking any alcohol.  While I am not a lush, I do like wine, and I attend many events where it is common to have a drink.  I do not expect the level of sacrifice and commitment to the cause to be nearly as big of a deal as 2011.... but it will still take effort and making the right choices.

However... it is true that St. Patrick's Day, my wedding anniversary, and SXSW all happen during Lent!!!

No new blog this time (I figured 40 Days Dry was not as interesting as 40 Days Vegan!!!).

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Going Vegan for Lent

I am starting to hear from people who are considering going vegan for Lent.  They stumble upon my "Forty Days Vegan" blog through a Google search, or they know me personally.  In either case they are interested in trying a plant based diet as a Lent sacrifice, but have serious concerns, fears, questions or trepidations about giving up meat and dairy.

I am happy to answer any questions.  It was a great experience and the hardest thing I have ever given up for Lent.  In the end I was proud of my accomplishment and I felt really good.  The only way I can describe it is that my body felt "lighter", although I only lost 5 lbs.  The healthy feeling was so noticeable to me that I decided to keep it going (sort-of) since Easter (Granted, on Easter Sunday I ate all sorts of dairy and meat based foods.... but the after effect was I felt awful for two days).

I have not been a perfect vegan in the last 11 months, but I did do a good job of holding vegan for all of Lent (plus I started one week early to be sure I could handle the commitment).

During Lent there were two minor mis-steps:  1).  I asked a hostess at a party if the dip had any meat or dairy, to which she said "No".  Upon eating a small bite she remembered there was bacon in the dip.  No my fault, and such a minor amount.... I did not look at it as a mistake.   2).  I ate a spoonful of peanut butter that was a special "honey infused" peanut butter my wife had purchased.  Again, who would have dreamed there would be honey in peanut butter?  (yes, honey is not allowed.... it is made by bees!).

After Lent I created my own plan of being "Vegan Leaning".  Monday through Friday I try hard to make vegan diet choices (but do not beat myself up if there is not option on a menu or I choose to eat meat or dairy).  On the weekends I eat anything (and yes, some Sundays a steak calls me loudly to come eat it for dinner, and tastes soooo good!).  The trick for me is moderation!

I figure I am about 75% or 80% vegan most weeks, but only 50% on others.  Either way I feel good and am very happy with my decision to try being vegan for Lent last year.

Leave a comment or send me an email thom (at) thomsinger.com if you have any questions.

thom singer


Monday, January 2, 2012

The Holidays Were Not Quite Vegan

I found my "Vegan Leaning" lifestyle was toppled over during the holidays.  While I have not kept 100% vegan since the end of Lent (back in April 2011), I did do a good job of making "mostly" vegan choices Monday - Friday (Friday at 5 PM began my "eat anything weekends").

***Side note, I did find that I could not splurge on the weekends and go heavy on meat or dairy, as it made me feel like crap until Tuesday.  So while I would eat meat and dairy, I had to practice restraint since I have leaned my diet toward the plant based side of things.

Then came the holiday season.  The parties, my wife's baking, the relaxed schedule, etc.... all took my will power down a notch and I found myself not paying that much attention to my dietary choices.  After Christmas my family took a ski vacation and I had all kinds of things that would no qualify as "Vegan Leaning".

Now that 2012 has begun I am jumping back into my Monday - Friday efforts to eat mostly vegan meals.  I know I will still make some choices that do not qualify me for "Vegan of the Year", but I am certain I am healthier than I was before this journey began nearly one year ago.

Feel free to share your vegan story or words of encouragement on the comments section on this post or any of the others.  My favorite part of eating vegan has been the conversations I have had with people whom I know and with strangers who stumbled upon this blog.

thom singer

Sunday, November 20, 2011

80% Plant Based Diet Is Better Than Nothing

I have had a good eight months eating a "sort-of" vegan diet.  The die-hard vegans do not like my wimpy rules around being "Vegan Leaning", but I have consumed only 20% of the meat and 10% of the dairy that my old diet contained.

One person challenged me that "Vegan Leaning" does not exist... but if you Google the term (in quotes) you will find several references (not all written by me) that support the positive aspects of eating in this manner.

I am still trying and I find when I eat too much meat or dairy my body feels lethargic.  I think the plant-based balanced diet gives me a more "clear" feeling and additional energy.

Granted I ate at Five Guys Hamburgers tonight... but according to the rules of "Vegan Leaning", Saturday and Sunday are open season for meat or dairy.  Plus, I ordered the single meat hamburger instead of the double meat cheeseburger of my past life.  That really is progress!  I often order the "veggie burger" in most restaurants, but Five Guys only offers a bun with tomatoes, lettuce and condiments as a meat replacement.  Sounds awfully dull.  I am not trying to bore my taste-buds to death.

Thanksgiving is in three days, and is not on a weekend, but special dispensation exists for giant feasts where all the other people are meat eaters (I don't want to be difficult).  Plus, no vegan should have to skip my wife's homemade pumpkin pie (yep, dairy, plus it is even better when topped with whipped cream).

While I started this simply for forty days back during Lent, it has become an ongoing part of my life.  I stumble a lot, but I do find myself more healthy and clear headed than when I was in a cheese and meat coma most of the time.

Eggs have become my main ongoing mulligan.  I do not eat them daily, but do find a good breakfast taco or egg white omelet can hit the spot and give me a boost of protein.  The best part of "Vegan Leaning" is I get to keep making the rules.