Sunday, April 25, 2010

Do Animals Return The Favour?

I was out for my first great hike in the woods this morning. The Bruce Trail basically runs around Orangeville and this morning I hit a section of the trail that is basically Hockley Valley Provincial Park.

I was alone on the trail that I was re-discovering after a few years away. There is one area that cuts through quite thick pine and the trail gets dark, even on a bright day. I've never seen anything more than a racoon in this area over the 15 years I've lived here. However, there are always rumours about wild cats, bears, wolves and coyotes being spotted.

No one actually photos any of these 'beasts' so it's kind of like the legend of bigfoot. However, it's not impossible that any of these animals could stray down from the north.

So - as I was walking through the woods alone, I began to wonder if the absense of dead animal meat from our vegan systems has any effect on how live animals treat us. It is said that when you are eating meat, you are ingesting their fear and adrenaline. Animals have much stronger senses than us, what if they could sense these things on a meat-eating human?

It would be hard, and possibly dangerous, to do a study on this! But, I have noticed that when I used to run by a dog that was fenced in a yard, I could pretty much predict that exact moment (just after I'd passed) that the dog would start barking hysterically. Now, quite often the dogs don't bark at all.

I realize this theory is out in left field and my sanity may be in question. My question to you, vegan reader, is have you had any threatening experiences with an animal, domestic or wild?

An update - I'm down about three pounds since my last post. The energy is coming back and I'm pretty confident about meeting my goals set in that last post.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Unlike Kirstie Alley - I Promise This Diet Will Stick

As mentioned earlier, I have recently proven that a person can gain weight fairly quickly on a vegan diet. I have gained somewhere between 10-15 pounds since November. I don't want to have to change the title of this blog to Being A Fat Vegan - I can't imagine anyone would want to read that. Alec Baldwin had already proved the theory that a chubby vegan can exist, but I had to try it for myself...


After almost 4 years of continuous 12 month per year hockey, 2-4 times per week, I'd had enough and started shedding nights. Three weeks ago, my Sunday night hockey ended for the season and my Friday night hockey that would normally go all year round, ended until September because we can't get enough people out. This is great because, come September when hockey starts up again, I should be back in love with playing the game.

Working out and running have been severely reduced. I have many excuses, of course! Weather, health (colds), high amounts of time spent on other projects...

My eating habits have gotten lazy as well. I can't seem to avoid that extra meal at 10 or 11 at night. I've got into eating a lot of processed food that, even though it's vegan, is simply not good. I haven't been preparing my lunches ahead of time so I'm eating fast food often at lunch. I'm also just beginning to drink more water again. I normally drink a ton of water every day, but with drinking more and more green tea while experiencing reduced physical activity, there were days when I wouldn't drink a single drop of plain cold, fresh agua.

What I've Learned

  • Especially over the age of 40, there is no miracle diet (ok, maybe raw veg or fruitarianism...).
  • Timing is everything! I know there's some dispute about when and how often you should eat. What works for me is a small breakfast, small lunch, small dinner and nothing whatsoever after dinner. When I go to bed hungry, I'm not starved in the morning, but I find it so much easier to get out of bed and I have so much more energy than if I ate a late snack or meal.
  • Green Tea is a prince but water is king! Green tea is full of goodness but it also contains caffeine and is a diuretic. Therefore, if you only drink green tea, you will be in a constant state of dehydration.
  • Even 100% whole wheat bread is not for those who want to lose weight! 160 calories for two slices of plain, grocery store whole wheat bread.
  • Vegans can get sick, too. I never had a full blown winter cold. Instead, it just seemed to linger and put me at around 80% for what felt like forever.

What I Plan To Do

I promise that I will not be like any of the celebrities that represent Jenny Craig from time to time. Once I have my physical health back on track, I will not fall back! My personal challenge is to lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks. This is ever so slightly above the recommended 2 pounds per week but I'm not concerned. Actually, deep down, I want to shed 15 pounds in that time period but to announce that on this blog would be just plain reckless!

How Am I Going To Do It?

  • Run every day. Even if it's only 5km, I must become a real runner again.
  • Get up earlier each day to have a proper breakfast.
  • Get up earlier each day to go for a walk to get the blood moving and boost the metabolism.
  • Start each day with a minimum of 16 ounces of water, then keep drinking it all day long.
  • No bread, sugar or processed food.
  • Portion control.
  • Update my progress here to make myself more accountable to this goal.
  • Workout on a regular basis again.

Here's The Details

Current weight as of April 19, 2010: 189 pounds.

Goal weight as of May 17, 2010: 179 pounds (secret goal: 174 pounds!)

Running mileage total: 120 km

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Orangeville's Own PETA Star

It's nice to see that I'm not the only vegetable eating, animal rights fan in my little town. Featured in our local paper last week is a 24 year old girl named Virigina Fort who is an active member of PETA, travelling the world as an activist for the organization.

The original article can be found here at

Of course, as you will see if you read the article, everyone is anti-PETA and all the good this girl is doing is over-shadowed by an opinion that has been planted in people's heads about PETA.

Nevertheless, she is doing a wonderful job following her heart and she looks a great deal better than me naked in the street, painted up as a cat (picture at link above) - not that I'm above doing that...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dealing with Non-Vegan Family at Easter

Well, it's another holiday weekend. Another mass animal sacrifice disguised as a religious event. Sunday will bring to me, as it will to many vegans around the 'christian' world, a family 'feast' based upon dead animals.

"You still off the meat?"

"Anyone bring a head of lettuce for Tom?"

"How does he do it?" (said from one to another as if I wasn't even there) "I'd like to eat healthier, but... Jeez... That's a little extreme!"

I tend to be a little of a smart ass but when it comes to these questions and comments, I try to be an ambassador of the vegan lifestyle. It's hard, but I give short, to the point answers and then change the topic as fast as possible.

I just want to throw it out there to anyone that comes across this post (vegan and non-vegan). Do you find it hard at family gatherings? Are people supportive of your dietary choices? Do people know of your dietary choices (do you fake that you are a meat-eater and pretend to have an upset stomach or something)?

Non-vegans with vegan family members - why are non-vegans so defensive about vegans? It's just a diet! I always sense a little underlying anger - like the allies vs. the nazis; Leafs vs. Canadiens; Christians vs. Muslims; Michigan vs. Michigan State - you get the picture.

Anywho - enjoy your holiday weekend! In Southern Ontario, where the temps have gone up to 20 degrees celcius above normal - for the first time in three years we have to worry about heat exhaustion and it's only the start of April! It makes for a very nice outdoor long weekend.