Monday, January 24, 2011

Jack LaLanne, September 26, 1914 – January 23, 2011

When I was a lad, I caught my first glimpse of the 1966 Batman film.  This was the one that spun out of the 60’s television show starring Adam West and Burt Ward.  It was a real treat to see as I had been trying to view it for some time before then but could never find it in my local TV listings or at the video store.

This film had everything a little boy who loved the Caped Crusader could possibly wish for or expect in a film based on the character; Batman and Robin, four colorful villains, kickass superhero vehicles and batfights complete with their colorful trademark onomatopoeia.

It also had Jack LaLanne

After seeing him pop up in a rooftop cameo I asked my mother, “Who’s that?”.  She answered calmly, “That’s Jack LaLanne.  He’s a fitness guru.”  “Oh”, I replied and went back to viewing my afternoon movie.

At the time I didn’t realize how important Mr. LaLanne was to our national culture.  This was a man who spread the word of the benefits of healthy eating and fitness routines long before it was fashionable in this country.   

It turns out he did feats in real life that my fictional childhood hero Batman never did such as:

In 1956 at age 42 he set a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on national television.

In 1976 at age 62, to commemorate the "Spirit of '76", United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.

In 1984 at age 70, while handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, he towed 70 rowboats, one with several passengers, from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 mile away.

Let’s see Christian Bale, Michael Keaton or Adam West do that.

Without him there might not have been later exercise gurus such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jake Steinfeld, Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda or others like them.

Without him Bally’s Total Fitness might not have survived past the 1980’s.  Why?  Because he licensed his health clubs to Bally's back then.

This was a man who extolled the virtues of a vegetarian diet and knew that processed foods were no substitutes for natural, whole foods—and he exercised everyday right up until his final days.  He passed away at 96. 

I never personally knew him but I will miss him.  He is the best example I can think of when it comes to inspiring others to be the healthiest they can possibly be.  Fictional heroes can be entertaining but real life heroes like Jack LaLanne are true inspirations.  

Talk to you soon!
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Obama to Sign Food Safety Bill

According to this article:

Congress has passed a bill that "will be the first major overhaul of the U.S. food safety system since the 1930s."

This is good news but the article also goes on to say,

"The new law would not extend to meat, poultry or processed eggs. Those foods are regulated by the Agriculture Department and are subjected to more rigorous inspections and oversight than foods regulated by the FDA."

Really?  While our peanut butter may soon be safer for consumption, we will still have to worry about e coli in meat products?  I believe that even though the Agriculture Department claims to “more rigorous inspections” of meat, poultry and eggs they don’t seem to be doing the best job they possibly can.  I see articles all the time on unsafe practices in the meat industry such as this one

To me, this new bill only works to solve only about half the food problems in this country since the U.S. is still a nation where the majority of people still like to eat meat and big portions of it.  Even though I no longer consume beef, pork, poultry, eggs and fish/seafood, it would be nice if we could see improved safety standards put in place for those that do.

If you knew some of the unsafe practices of the meat industry you would realize that Congress and President Obama still need to work on making all types of food safe for everyone in this country.  The article also mentions that "The bill had broad bipartisan backing in Congress".  If this is the case then this really should be a no brainer as it looks to be one of the few issues that both of our major political parties agree on, don’t you think?

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Talk to you soon!
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! I’m Back!

Hello all and Happy New Year!  I hope you have been well and I apologize for not coming back sooner like I promised I would.  It has been a very busy holiday season and I have been otherwise occupied preparing for important job interviews and a move to a new location.  I also just plain realized that I needed more time off from this blog then I had initially thought.  This was a useful thing as it allowed me a chance to step back and see what I had accomplished in 2010.

I will admit though, it was tempting to step away from this blog for good.  Why?  Well I simply wasn’t sure if I had anything more to say and the initial arc of the blog, my first year without meat, was completed.  So what more can one post about the meatless world?  Plenty, but this time I don’t think it should be on my experiences alone.

Since doing this blog I have heard from other vegetarians and people I have met online through this blog or personal acquaintances I have known already telling me that they now want to go veggie too.  They have been asking me for advice on how to do it and I have been more than happy to share my experiences with them.  Maybe, just maybe, I can get them to share their own stories on here. 

My challenge to others out there is to go veggie in 2011—if not for a least a year, then I challenge you to try it for at least 90 days and see how you feel.  I think if you make the effort you will be most pleasantly surprised to see how it can change your health for the better.

Talk to you soon!
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Montague Reporter article from November 4, 2010!

Here is the Montague Reporter article on the blog from November 4, 2010!  Click on the pictures to peruse in a bigger size.  Special thanks to Anne Harding and the rest of the fine folks at the Montague Reporter!  Enjoy! 

Talk to you soon!
All writing, videos and pictures copyright the author of this blog unless otherwise noted or, if really darn obvious.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Last Supper

Day 366—1st Meatless Year Complete!

By the time you read these words my first full year as a vegetarian will have been officially completed.

It’s chilly outside and clouds completely line the sky like a continuous sheet of cotton as I scribble onto a cheap notepad that will comprise this entry. It very much reminds me of another day, November 2nd 2009, to be exact. Precisely one year ago on that very day I chose to go meatless for a year.

That day started with me waking up in a very comfortable and clean bedroom in upstate New York. After showering, shaving and dressing I bid the owner of said bedroom goodbye. I didn’t know at the time when we would see each other again but somehow I think we both knew deep inside that it would be never.

She looked very beautiful that morning in a black dress, which was inadvertently appropriate on this occasion. We briefly kissed goodbye and she left for her teaching job. I packed my suitcase for the long trip back to Western Massachusetts and saw myself out.

About five hours later, I was driving north on I-91 and decided to take Exit 20 to go into Hadley, MA. I had a shopping list of my basic food staple items that would help me wade into this new vegetarian lifestyle. Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, Target, Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop were all in relatively close proximity to each other. This was a good opportunity to compare and save prices. I went home that day with three or four grocery bags filled with natural peanut butter, whole grain bread, salad greens, canned beans and fresh fruit.

Days passed, meat was successfully ignored. Pounds started to leave and long lost energy came back. A relationship ended with one woman and, soon after, another very special woman in my life passed away.

Weeks passed, and I added exercise back into my life. Holidays where thanks and gifts were exchange passed without turkey passing my lips.

Months passed and I was watching movies like King Corn and Food Inc. Going meatless was a big factor behind my healthier state but not the only one—I looked at everything I ate. More vegetables than ever before were consumed, less and less processed foods were eaten and whole grains and brown varieties replaced white breads and white rice. Of course, the exercise played its role as well.

365 days can change a lot.

I have not been this thin since grade school. I feel energized, have increased flexibility and have not experienced any illness or irregularity in the past twelve months. The closest to illness I have experienced in this time is feeling sluggish the day after I have treated myself to too many sweets at the movies or wherever.

In the middle of writing drafts of this text I had my own private celebration to commemorate being veggie for a year. I had a simple meal of rice, beans, greens and cheese-filled tortillas with a cup of coffee at this nice local place called The People’s Pint. I alone decided to go meatless and eat better so I think it was only fitting to have the last full meal of my initial meatless year by myself.

I was initially thinking about how to celebrate it in a bigger way. I thought my first ever skydive would be fun but it isn’t in my budget right now. There were many good suggestions and I went with the simplest suggestion of a veggie friendly dinner at a local restaurant. However, that actually isn’t my true reward.

Improving ones health is the reward in itself. I cannot think of a finer prize, can you? This is not some fad diet but instead healthy eating habits one has to keep up for life. Nothing in this life that is truly valuable comes without hard work.

And speaking of making a change to a meatless diet, are there those out there who want to undertake their own meatless year? Please let me know. I can do my best to give you advice and if I don’t have the answer I can most certainly point you in the direction of someone who can.

Thank you once again to Audra, Chris, Joe, Melinda, Mike and both Rebeccas for relating their experience with their chosen ways of eating before I went veggie a year ago.

To my family for accepting this new eating choice of mine and the many friends who did the same.

To the wonderful faculty and staff of the Greenfield YMCA for showing me how to properly get back into an exercise routine and also for their great sense of community.

To Mike Glazier, David Neil and Steve Mish for acting in films made especially for this blog.

To David Centeno for providing the opposing point of view and keeping all of us meatless consumers on our toes.

To Ingrid dos Santos for designing the nice new masthead.

Thanks to Dr. Paul Carlan, Jade Arcade, Monte, the cast, director and crew of Ja’Duke’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Nayana Glazier and Anne Harding of the Montague Reporter.

I also want to thank all of the veggies out there for supporting my efforts on Facebook and other places on the web. Lastly I want to thank you, the reader, for checking out this blog. A Man Finally Eats His Veggies will continue as an ongoing blog. See you in a week.

All writing, videos and pictures copyright the author of this blog unless otherwise noted or, if really darn obvious.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The last day…

Day 365

of the first year of me being a vegetarian.

I have almost made it.  I am almost there and quite different than I was a year ago.

Just a matter of hours…

Talk to you soon! Meatless Man on Twitter
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Look Back Upon My First Meatless Year: For those who came in late

Days 363 and 364

Look just above this text and you will see that I have reached day 364.  As of this writing, I am one day short of having been meatless for an entire year.

In the last couple of months this blog has gone from having hundreds of visitors a month to thousands.  Many of you discovered this cozy corner of the blogosphere after the halfway point in my first meatless year.  For your benefit, I have posted below links to most of the highlights of this year of personal change.  Enjoy. 

One more day to go… thanks for reading.

And Happy Halloween everyone!

Talk to you soon! Meatless Man on Twitter
All writing, videos and pictures copyright the author of this blog unless otherwise noted or, if really darn obvious.