Monthly Archives: June 2017

The Biggest Challenge.

So, this was my lunch today. From a calorie standpoint, not too shabby. 450 total calories and surprisingly low fat. It was actually quite yummy too. But deep down inside I know that these choices are killing me, slowly. Look, I have acknowledged that despite any of my best efforts I am certain to not be the first human to avoid death. It will happen someday. But I do plan to make my life as vibrant and complete as I can. So I need to make some changes. The first, most obvious place I can begin this transformation is through my diet.

Which is, in a word – horrible.

I am a fan of overly processed, salted, and carbo-loaded foods. Afterall, my lunch consisted of;

Shelf meat – my chicken breast and dressing had a best by date of July 2019!! Not to mention it is meat that can be stored on a shelf, at room temperature.

Flaming Hot Funyuns – I know they are irresistible but anything that starts in a powder form and turns into food cannot be good. And the sodium alone is terrible. Afterall I am taking blood pressure medication. Damn it, am I mental?

Oikos – I know Greek yogurt is good for you (I think) and this is likely not a bad choice in the long run but I have to think that cow’s milk is not for us. Not sure how I kick my cheese habit but I really don’t like milk anyway so that is a good thing.

So here is the plan. I have been looking over two major sources for dietary change. The first is the Slow Carb Diet by Four Hour author Tim Ferris. I like his approach of slower (no no) carbs, lean protein, and eliminating the sugar, salt, and other additives. I also appreciate the one major cheat day a week to find my food joy and keep me on task but not miserable.

The second is using many recipes from the Forks Over Knives website and meal plan. I think my best bet for variety and also systemic change is by looking at becoming a part-time vegan. I don’t plan on going all in because, well, BBQ and steak, on occasion are amazing and I just don’t buy the whole total vegan thing. But I do know I eat WAY too much animal protein. And I also know this is selfish. I am not really an animal rights guy because I am okay with meat consumption but I also know that we cannot sustain our planet if I am eating meat during 16 or 17 of my 21 meals a week. So I am going to try to flip that and consume meat maybe 3 or 4 meals of my 21 per week and find meat alternatives to fill in those gaps like beans, grains, tofu, and such. Go like 80% plant based foods.

There is one other reason why this appeals to me. I notice that I eat the same foods over and over again out of habit. This new way of consuming can add tremendous variety and force me to eat some new foods and in different ways. This struck me as important about a month ago when I ate a stuffed grape leaf at a dinner. Where have these tasty little things been my whole life? I never knew I liked them so much. There has to be other foods that I think or thought I did not like but now I love. What else is there out there!?

I also recognize that this could also mean savings for my wallet. By purchasing whole foods, making them in sizable batches and eating reasonably I can stretch my budget as my waistline hopefully shrinks. From time to time I will post on how my diet is going, the foods I am exploring and how I am doing.

Confessions of a Southern Gothic

Good evening. I am very likely at the mid-point in my life. I am 44 years old and if I am lucky I will make it to the same age as Adam West, who died today at 88 years old. Of course this is barring an intervention from Singularity or a confirmation that God is a real thing or there is some force I am not aware of that will allow me to exist beyond this brief time on earth. It is a little humbling to realize that I am half way home. That between myself and an eternal blanket of darkness is likely just 44 short, tumultuous years. It is both beautiful and places me in a harbor of anxiety and fear. I cannot believe I got here so fast.

But I have to admit this is an amazing life. I am a person who works in education for a living. I get to travel, think, and write for a living. I get paid pretty well. I live a solid middle class lifestyle and get the honor to be married to a beautiful woman who has been my wife for 20 years whom I met in college and fell in love with since moment one. We have a daughter whom we do not deserve because she is stunningly beautiful, smart, witty, funny, and caring. I live in a great community in a nice house with a beautiful back yard and it is in a safe and diverse town. So far, things have been pretty good.

Sure it was not always that way. I am a child of divorce, my father died 12 years ago from decades of substance abuse. My family did not come from money nor did they get classical educations. My mother has worked for too long and too hard but is now doing as well as she deserves. She is finally getting the respect that she should. I have seen 49 of the 50 states and have lived all over. But what I keep coming back to is that I am a southerner first.

And that is the point of this post and will be the point of this blog, from now on. I am a committed to the idea of being a Southern Revivalist. I believe that for my 44+ years left to be of value I need to rediscover my personal and regional roots and understand who I am as a man and a southerner. Just so you know, when I say Southern Revivalist I am not interested in the racist, hateful past of the south. I am not a Confederate. I believe that that south has a hurtful and shameful past that we must speak about in the open. I am a classic Southern Liberal who believes that we must own up to our past. But this blog is going to be about all of the things that make being a Southerner a wonderful thing. So I am going to revisit my personal history by exploring and learning how to do the following well. I will write about them on my blog. They are as follows:

  1. Food – there is a beautiful cooking culture in the south. A combination of African, French, English, and Latin roots this food is delicious and satisfying and should be refined and respected. I am going to learn how to make classic Southern food that reflects the entire region.
  2. Drink – from sweet tea to craft beer there are endless options and I want to enjoy most of them and let you know about it.
  3. Music – pretty simple, no South, no Music. Blues, R&B, Country, Rock, and Jazz were all born here. I will listen and write about them.
  4. Books – Southern writers are amazing. I will read their books and learn from them.
  5. Travel – There are so many beautiful towns from Charleston to Chattanooga there are great places to live, work, and play. I think it is important to visit them and learn from their history and culture.
  6. Education – s many great American universities are located in the south and there are so many options. As topics on education arise I will write about them from a Southerner’s perspective.
  7. Lifestyle – Being a Southerner is a matter of lifestyle including diet, exercise, gardening, football, basketball, politics, and other topics on being a true southerner.

I want to learn about where I came from. I want to be more connected with my past, my present, and my future. This shall be a labor of love. I have never been so aware of where and how I need to express myself and live my life. You don’t have to read it, you don’t have to like it, you don’t even need to know it exists but this blog is going to be a catalog of my Southern Gothic life. I will cook, listen, think, and work to better understand my roots and myself. Because I suspect outside some sort of medical miracle or just being wrong I will only be here for so long. I need to use that time to better understand who I am, and to catalog it.