Monday 3/19/18

I am in and out of sleep between 7 and 9 AM, as my wife preps for work.
My alarm goes off at 9:30 AM. I dick around on my smart phone for a half an hour while lying in bed.
I get up about 10 AM and solidly ablute before starting breakfast and tending to my geriatric Boston terrier, Foster. My wife's dog, Maddie, sneakily eats Foster's food when I am not watching.
I swallow vitamins with fresh coffee and watch a bit of a Ricky Gervais comedy special on Netflix while I eat my oatmeal, fruit, and nut porridge.
I meditate for 15 minutes before starting work about noon. I am in the "Deep Work" zone until about 2 PM, when I shift gears, so to speak. I prepare a homemade salad "to go" and then bike commute to school with it and my books, dropping an application for hospice volunteerism in the mail en route. On campus, I study for three more hours, give or take, until class at 6 PM (I wear earplugs to block out ambient chatter in the public study area).
I am in class from 6-9 PM, learning more of the practical side of marriage and family therapy. The bike commute home after class is "brisk," to put it mildly, but I am dressed warmly enough and it's a short 3.5 mile ride on mostly quiet backstreets. I flash my bike headlight at driver's I am not sure see me. They see me.
At home, I sautee a chopped up potato in olive oil with herbs and spices and eat it to warm up, after snacking on some shelled peanuts and pistachios. I drink a glass of red wine while watching "Jessica Jones" on Netflix with my wife, who promptly falls asleep.
I make final entries in both my aerobic exercise and veganism journals (class assignments) and finish writing this post, before turning in myself.

In Vigor, Ate

Today was invigorating. Late last week, a brief perusal of the weather forecast indicated that today might have a desirable combination of circumstantial variables conducive to the sport of social bicycling. This more or less panned out, and at about 11 AM today, I found myself pulling my car* into the driveway of my friend Sherry's house, with my bike attached to the back by way of the fancy bike rack my wife and I bought last year. A few minutes later, Sherry, her BF Tyler, and I were tooling around Lake Monona in, albeit brisk, sunny weather. As we tooled, we discussed options for lunch, among other things, and eventually opted to dine at the Weary Traveler eatery, which we knew offered a variety of menu options for both vegan (like me) and non-vegan (like Tyler and Sherry) dietary orientations.

Excitement soon ensued. We got a table and ordered our food. I opted for a corn, black bean, and quinoa salad, which was topped with a generous amount of avocado (it looked like an entire avocado was used, but maybe it was less). A short while later, Tyler, who is known to understate things, said, "Hmmm...it looks like they have a leak in the ceiling." I turned to look where he had been looking, and indeed, a considerable volume of liquid was coming through the ceiling above the bar, and staff had responded rapidly by putting a bucket under the stream of water, which looked like it was capturing at most 60% of the wayward flow.

The staff did not seem overly alarmed and our waitress told us that there were apartments above the establishment and the aquaphilic tenant responsible for the deluge was being contacted. Shortly thereafter, the flow of water dwindled substantially. We never did elucidate the full facts of the scenario from our waitress, but were somewhat disappointed that we were never evacuated from the premises and granted a free meal as the result of said emergency. That might have been OK.

We stopped for coffee at Crema Cafe near the end of our ride, before getting back to Sherry's house. I drove home and changed from bike clothes into yard work clothes before heading to my buddy Stefan's house to help him with yard work, mostly chopping down small trees, clearing sticks, and pruning stuff.

On the way back from Stefan's, I got gas and stopped at the Pick-n-Save grocery store by our house for a metric pantload of groceries. I had not planned to get a pantload of groceries, but there was a lot on sale and I stocked up on vegan type non-perishable food items, like canned goods and dried beans, as well as frozen foods and some produce. I've decided I need to eat more raw food, mainly salads, on my vegan diet. I had been eating more starchy carbs lately, and even though they are whole foods, I wanted more complex, non-digestible fiber in my diet.

Long story short...we don't need to buy any canned or frozen food for a while.

Needless to say, you won't believe what I had for dinner. Wanna guess?


I made my own dressing too, with olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and a bunch of herbs and spices. It was yum.

I rounded out the rest of the evening watching Sunday night TV shows with m'wife. Action packed day.

*Note: Technically, my wife's car...mine by marriage.


Taxation WITH Representation

Today we did our taxes in under 2 hours.

But when I say we did them, what I really mean is that we went over to our tax accountant Pam's house and she did them.

Pam is awesome. She not only whips up our tax info lickety split, but if the IRS ever comes a-callin', she is authorized to punch them in their ballsax on our behalf.

All this peace of mind comes at a cost, but it's nominal and so worth it.

That being said, the new Republican tax bill eliminates ALL deductions on ANYTHING for ANYONE making under $250K per year. But those making OVER $250K per year can now deduct EVERYTHING and they ALL get a refund, paid for by the deductions we can no longer take. #FACT.

So this year, our goal is to make $250,001 at a minimum.


Why is Veganism Easier for Me Now Than in the Past?

I have been successfully adhering to a vegan diet since the beginning of this year and the results have been outstanding. I have been losing weight on this diet like crazy with no restriction on caloric intake (a healthy vegan diet is naturally low in high glycemic foods that stimulate fat storage). My osteoarthritis symptoms from a foot injury 15+ years ago have essentially disappeared (joint pain and inflammation in my left big toe that had been chronically worsening). There are gastrointestinal benefits that my wife says I should not blog about, but suffice to say the pipes are clear. If the scientific literature is to be believed, my cardiovascular and urogenital systems are being restored to a more healthy state the longer I am on this diet.

I have tried to go vegan in the past without much long term success. It always seemed too inconvenient or difficult. So why have I been able to comfortably adhere to what began as a fortnight long New Year's resolution this time?

I think there are a few factors. One of them is that I've been stimulating my creative juices trying to find and prepare vegan recipes, which is fun, especially desserts. Second, I was able to extend the original short term duration of the diet by incorporating it into an 8-week graduate school class project on veganism and mental health. The weight loss and the absence of osteoarthritis symptoms is pure operant conditioning to stay on this diet. Eff foot pain! My wife is also doing it with me, so that gives me an "accountabili-buddy" to motivate adherence (and also makes meal prep and dining out easier). I have to admit that after turning 50 in January, longevity, mortality, and, most importantly, morbidity issues about chronic disease risk are more salient. My in-laws have adopted veganism for health reasons and my wife and I have been surveying the diet and health media for information, most of which touts the bennies of a whole food, plant-based diet. There has never been a study that showed eating MORE fruits and vegetables was detrimental to human health. Ever. Lastly, I cannot lie...there is a part of me that simply wants to outlive my enemies (I don't have many, but I encourage them to eat more junk food, lots of red meat and cheese, very little vegetables, and to start smoking cigarettes if they don't already...also don't exercise...at all!).

Feel free to ask a question in the comments section below and I will answer with as many non-alternative facts as I can.

Power Nappage

I succumbed to a power nap this afternoon whilst I was studying. It wasn't that the material was dull (it was actually pretty cool), but rather that I had had a pretty solid workout at the gym in the early afternoon and I was studying on the comfortable bed in our guest room. The exercise fatigue and the reclined position combined to knock me out for an hour or so. When I woke up, I finished an assignment I needed to submit and then watched Sunday night TV shows with my wife Deborah: Ash vs Evil Dead, Counterpart, The Walking Dead, and Homeland.

Before heading to the gym, I had a vegan breakfast of oatmeal with the usual whole food add ons (nuts and fruit, some flax powder, maple syrup, etc.). I got to sleep in a little bit today, which was nice, but also somewhat anticlimactic, since we had to set the clocks ahead this weekend. I talked to my folks in the evening, touching base. I am hoping they will try the vegan key lime pie recipe I sent them via email so I can find out what they think of it.

KEYWORDS: best weight loss diet, vegan recipes, lifestyle coaching



I reluctantly got up at 8:30 AM this morning. I might have lingered in bed a while longer, except my wife Deborah's son Devon wanted to come over and talk to her about something. So I got up and went to the gym for a quick workout, after eating a vegan breakfast of oatmeal with maple syrup, apple, banana, grapes, pecans, flax seed powder, and unsweetened almond milk (plus a dash of citrus flavored vitamin powder for a 10,000% RDA of the elusive vitamin B12 that anti-vegans are always complaining about). Around noon, Deborah, Devon, his girlfriend Gretchen, and I drove up to the Cascade Mountain ski hills and went tubing for the afternoon. It's basically quality controlled sledding that you pay for. We all went out to eat at the Flying Hound after we got back to Madison, where Gretchen (who is a licensed professional counselor) and I talked about brief therapy for a bit. After we parted ways with the kids, Deborah and I went home and chillaxed in front of the TV. Solid day. Tomorrow should be lazier. I am playing jazz at night, so all I need to do, at some point, is rehearse a few standards before I head to the venue. I'll probably go to the gym and do some studying too, because I am ambitious that way. Even though I am technically on Spring Break, I have a metric pantload of school work I need to get out in front of this week...stay tuned.