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Vegan Challenge Week 4 Recap

March 5, 2013

Day 25 – Weighed myself – 144.5 lbs. Emerson told me there is a Burger King that just opened in Wudaokou. At 12 am on 3/1, I will be eating a Whopper.

Day 27 – Weighed myself – 142.8 lbs. This is starting to get really scary.

Day 28 – There’s about 6 hours left, and I’m very excited. I’m still trying to figure out the first thing to eat.

Short and sweet…but my first meal as a recovering carnivore was a mashed potato double bacon burger…and a vanilla milkshake!!! I gotta admit, it was one of the most delicious things I’ve tasted in a very long time.

I realize this should have been a twitter post instead of an actual blog post.

Nothing to add until a little later…


Vegan Challenge Week 3 Recap: Almost There!

February 25, 2013

Day 18 – I am supposed to be working on my business and thesis (both very separate), however, I can’t concentrate. I’ve had hunger issues for the last 24 hours. I have eaten cans of beans, cans of corn, noodles on top of noodles, at least ½ lb. of spinach, a bag of almonds, but the hunger feeling is still there. It’s almost as if I am not satisfied. I do have 10 more days of this challenge. It is so close yet so far.

Really??? Vegan Double Down???

Really??? Vegan Double Down???

Day 20 – Mike, my vegan roommate is back. I may actually survive this challenge with his help. I may not get beat up by our Jeet Kune Do master.

Day 22 – I am currently sitting at Steps, a bar in the Wudaokou area of Beijing. This is one of those dirty, ridiculous college bars that you would usually stop going to after you leave college and it always has crazy specials. The specials today are 15 RMB falafels and 5 RMB beers. Oh yeah…and it’s 11:30 am, I’ve already had two beers, and they have been playing the same three Bruno Mars for the last hour. There is no else here except the waiter and waitresses, who are practicing English between each other.

Basically, there are two positive things that I am thinking about as I am having this falafel and beer, how lucky I am, and how much my month as a vegan has made me appreciate non-vegan foods aka meats, fish, and dairy products.

So why am I lucky? Although, I am starting to go into code red when it comes to my bank account, I’ve had a really good time in my last couple years in semi-retirement. I still have not found the balance between making money, while still having my freedom or at least follow my hobbies of traveling and eating. However, I’ve been able to travel, drink, and eat, when I want. Case in point, right now, two beers in at morning…for less than 2 dollars. While some may believe that is alcoholism, I believe that it is freedom.

So to the second topic, veganism…currently, I believe I am riding a wave of positivity. For the last three weeks, I have been pretty down and depressed as a vegan. The challenge has beaten me down hard, but just as Rocky said in Rocky Balboa, “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” It’s about not wavering and just keeping at it. I’ve had so many people ask me why I am doing this challenge. They can see the effects this challenge has had on my body and mind. Like that travel experience of hardship, for example, like driving a rickshaw across India and into Nepal, then seeing the majestic Annapurna for the first time, I felt like I hit a moment of clarity. I walked by street food stands and as I was on line 13 of Beijing, passing the multiple stations and looking outwards into the street, I saw so many restaurants. The cravings were there, however, there was a little more, there was a bigger appreciation for meats, fish, and dairy product. Not only do these types of foods increase the flavors of a dish, but it also does something much more than that. It brings people together, from different cultures, and generations, it brings everyone together.

As a vegan, and as an amateur cook, it has forced me to be more creative. I have created strange dishes using ingredients that I would have never used in the past, such as eggplant or pumpkin. I’ve played with all sorts of bean recipes and have a new found love for the craziest types of vegetables. (Btw, side note; vegetables in China are really, really cheap!) Really, I had so much more to say about this, but I think the beers are starting to impair me. Off to Chocolate!

Vegan Challenge Week 2 Recap

February 17, 2013

Weight: 144.5 lbs.

Definitely could use that

Definitely could use that

Holy shit! I went under 145 lbs.! It was like when I was living in Geneva. My theory about not drinking maybe the reason why this has occurred. In my opinion, it is not due to the veganism.

I have noticed a couple of different changes as well. The amount I can drink still stays the same, however, it takes less for me to feel the buzz.

Really, I have nothing else to add. The thing I miss the most right now is cooking meat. I still do have very strange cravings. Today, I had a craving for a turkey sandwich! Otherwise, status quo. T – 2 weeks!

Vegan Challenge Week 1 Recap

February 8, 2013

Vegan Week 1

For some odd reason I woke up very early today. I did my usual routine but had a very different breakfast. My usual breakfast consists of eggs, spinach, and miso soup, but this time, it was just lentils with pickled cucumbers and natto. Before even noon time came around, I was struck with a craving for aji sushi.

I did a self-physical

Seriously...y'all haters don't need to hate, because I'm hating on this pyramid.

Seriously…y’all haters don’t need to hate, because I’m hating on this pyramid.

. Here are the results.

Weight – 67.1 kg = 147.6 lbs

Left Leg – 14”

Right Leg – 14.5”

Left Arm – 8.2”

Right Arm – 8.3”

Waist – 23”

I realize that I may not be measuring anything correctly. I blame that on my assistant who is currently on an indefinite leave.

It has been a pretty strange week. I’ve had many cravings throughout this time in which I have posted on my Facebook. More importantly were the responses I received. Here are some random thoughts I had during the week:

The first couple of days were a bit difficult. I started eating quite a lot of beans, which led to being gassy. Sucks for the people around me. (Muhahaha!!!) I have also realized the social consenquences of being a vegan. It is difficult to go out to eat anywhere because, frankly, I don’t want to be that bitch that tells everyone I’m this, I’m that. Therefore, I’ve only really gone out to eat twice during this time. (Typically, I’ll eat at restaurants like 6-8 times a week.)

After speaking with a good friend of mine, she helped me come down to the conclusion that being a vegan is a developed (first world country) diet and for the very poor. In addition, living in China, it is very difficult to explain to someone that I am a vegan. Explaining to them that I do not eat fish or meat is not difficult, however, explaining to them that I do not eat cheese or use mayo has been a challenge. Part of that challenge is that my Chinese level is the level of a three year old native speaker.

Cravings have included New York (Kennedy) Fried Chicken, Sushi, McDonald’s, Sushi, New York Strip Steak, Sushi, and other types of Japanese foods. I guess it also doesn’t help when I keep watching Epic Meal Time, Tasted, and Unique Foods on YouTube while eating my current staple of noodles and spinach.

This may just be a placebo effect, but I feel like I have more energy. That could also be the amount of coffee and tea I have been drinking as well. Things have looked a bit brighter…especially meat and fish.

Well, one week down. Let’s see what else this challenge will bring about.

Feb Vegan Challenge

January 31, 2013

So back to this again. Like I said in my last post, it has been a pretty crazy. It’s been like a K-Town episode everyday of my life for the last two weeks. It all culminated with me seeing a trend of self-destruction out of boredom and autopilot in life, while dealing with uninteresting and mind-numbing things like papers and thesis. Therefore, what can be done about this? Sitting around and sulking is a waste of time. So I asked my roommate, what’s a great idea? See on New Year Eve, after 2+ years, he broke his monk like vows of never eating meat and ate fish. Through my roommate’s action, I thought of a challenge.

Good bye...for a month!!!

Good bye…for a month!!!

Starting February 1st to the 28th, I will become a vegan. That’s right folks, so for those of you know anything about me, I am a meat eater…I am the meat eater that eats the T Rex type of meat eater. I am one of those people that are not satisfied with a meal if there is no meat! So I’m putting away my meat eating mouth and replacing it with a vegan mouth. I’m going to defriend the dude from Epic Meal Time and become friends with monks. So no more dairy, no more meat (I fucking love steak), and no more fish (…no more sushi…words cannot describe my thoughts about this) Living in Beijing does not make this any easier, because most of the restaurants love to use chicken powder, (すいません, それも禁止です!) which means my social life of eating may become a bit of a challenge. I also hate being one of those people that asks for all of these custom orders…I mean seriously, you want to do that go to Burger King or something.

So before February 1st comes around, there are a couple of things I will have to do. I will take a before and after picture, and take my weight, my arm, leg, and waist size. I wanted to get a proper health checkup to see what my CBCs, cholesterol, testosterone, etc. Unfortunately, I could not find a proper place in Beijing that provides this type of service. Beijing SOS, which I consider a very good hospital, charges approximately 3000 RMB (~USD$481) per check… which I think is very ridiculous. (Unless the Vegan Society would like to endorse me…***hint, hint***) Throughout this process, I will attempt to post a blog at least once every 3 or 4 days.

Finally, for the fun part, is the penalty. We have two ideas that are in the air. A 2 minute match (aka beating) from a Jeet Kune Do master, which will be taped and put up on YouTube and Youku for your viewing pleasure or a donation of $500 to an anti-charity, to be named in the near future. If you have any other punishment ideas (you sick people), they are welcome in the comment section!

2012 Recap – ***WARNING*** Humblebraggathon

January 15, 2013

Welcome to 2013! As usual, I will not be doing resolutions, because I know I won’t follow them. Instead, I will be creating results. Results that will come from actions and challenges. Before we get into it, I want to do a quick recap of 2012.

Check my snowbrows!

Check my snowbrows!

January/February (China, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines*):

After a highly disorganized hotel party, Jimmy, Stephan, and I, somehow, manage to slip out of the hotel and have our first meal of the year by having Chinese hot pot.

Must have drank a little too much and went to Harbin to see the Ice and Snow Festival. Highlight of the trip included having the old lady in my train tell me to go buy more clothes.

Attempted to do a three-country tour starting in Taiwan and ending on the beaches of Philippines, however, plans did not work out. When I was at an onsen in Japan, I was afflicted with the flu virus. I was quarantined in Japan for an extra five days, thus missing my flight to the Philippines, the beaches, and the baluts. (Don’t know what that is? Wiki it!)

March (China/USA)

A sense of nostalgia hits me hard as the New Yorker puts Tenafly on their cover.

April (China)

On our way to the top of Taishan in Shandong, Mariana and I realized how strange it is that although Chinese people smoke a lot of cigarettes; they have no problems climbing up mountains.

May (Malaysia)

Somehow convinced immigration to let me leave China and headed to Malaysia (Country #69) to relax at the beaches and eat great food.

June (China)

I end up wearing Frances’ skirt and ran around the park with it.

July (France/Switzerland)

Somehow and fortunately, I end up working with the World Health Organization in Geneva. I make the mistake of living in Voltaire, France and commuted to Geneva. I eat extremely well, but still lost 10 lbs. and was in the best shape of my life.

August (Somewhere in France)

Still at the World Health Organization, but I take every chance to immerse myself. Part of that included sleeping on a beach and in an airport. Got the chance to take a picture with the DG of the WHO (along with like 200 other people).

Ate way too many oranges and started spinning again due to Laura. (Thanks Laura!)

Most importantly, Maximators are discovered!

September (Turkey/Switzerland/USA/China)

I hit country #70. I’m in Istanbul, Turkey. I eat way too many kebabs. My love for motorcycle comes back again as Saim and I ride around Istanbul on our motorcycles.

On the way back to the US, I have a stop over in Switzerland. Slept in the airport…seems like there’s a trend starting.

Back in the US, I eat as many steaks and hamburgers, drink as many craft beers, before heading back to China. I realize that most of my friends are now engaged, married, or have children. I feel like I am going backwards in life!

***Within two days of returning to Beijing, I am hit by a van while going 40 km/hr on my road bicycle. I survive, although I believe I am having hip problems now. My bike, unfortunately, goes through a series of surgery, however recovers.

November (Shenzhen, Hong Kong)

Almost ate dog on the streets of Shenzhen. Somehow, I figured something better to do and got a massage instead.

Team Jersey demolishes everyone in beer pong in Hong Kong. Another nostalgic moment…too many more of these, I may actually shed a tear.

Thanksgiving in Beijing! I was so thankful I shared the turkey on the 2nd ring road as well.

December (Japan)

***On the way to the airport, the taxi I am in breaks down. At 6 AM, in sub freezing weather, I am forced to push the taxi on the side of the highways…in order to try to get the taxi restarted. Epic Fail!

Convinced the Chinese authorities to let me leave their country again. Helped move my grandparents to a new home, in the process discovered my Japanese families’ past. Nostalgic moment #5653453…I’m starting to lose it.

North Koreans claims discovery of unicorns.

My drunken stupor and greed gets the better of me, and I take Frances’ champagne glass. It’s roofied and I black out for 12 hours. Thank god someone was around to take care of me…officially have gone AWOL, bored, and need to search for enlightenment.

Coming up…bored of 2013 already, so what do I do about it?

***Updated after a friend has told me to add these events. I’m sure there will be more to come. In the next three days, there will be a new post for the upcoming Feb. challenge!

Story on Life Shared By a Friend

October 23, 2012

**A friend of mine sent this to me and I thought it was worth sharing. Perspectives on life.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.