New Beginnings

It’s with somewhat of a heavy heart that I sit typing this today, as I have lost 6 months of experiences and opinions on The 6th Floor. One would think after 16 years of web site development and posting and some 30+ plus years operating on a computer I would remember one thing. BACK UP! Yet when I started the ball rolling to change hosts from iPower, I took for granted the fact that I had not backed any files up. It shouldn’t have mattered, as all the files were stored on the host computers, so a backup on my end would be redundant. Or would it?

On July 21 I made the DNS change so my domain name would point to my new host at Siteground, it was an anticipated move as I would finally be free of iPower, moving to a better, more reliable hosing company. As I changed the DNS and hit ‘ENTER’ it would take 24-48 hours for the DNS to propagate. I didn’t think anything of it, as I waited.

Unfortunately, when I pulled up The 6th Floor, now pointing towards Siteground, I was agast at what I saw, a post from February! I immediately contacted iPower, who gave me the bad news that they would not be able to recover any of my files since the domain name had been parked. I was upset, more at myself for not taking the necessary steps to avoid this sort of problem.

While it’s only 6 months of material, there were some experiences that were well written and captured the moment. I lost a 50k race in April, my first 50 mile race in May. That probably hurts the most, as it truly my greatest personal accomplishment in 45 years! I lost many posts on nutrition and plant based eating, as well as information relating to Julie Marie at Protective Diet. More recently I had run Mt. Diablo (Eagle Peak) for the first time and posted about the craft beer journey co-worker, Johnny C. and I had begun.

Those stories are nothing more than a memory and honestly I can’t even remember what I posted, attempting to recreate them wouldn’t do the original story justice. So I will keep those experiences as nothing more than memories and move forward from this point. Hopefully there will be no further problems, as I am very happy with what Siteground offers. So apologies to those who might have missed T6F, it’s back and we will move forward.

Let food be thy medicine…

hippocrates_quoteI don’t expect many to understand my rational for changing my eating habits and opting for a healthy lifestyle, even when many consider my decision “extreme.” Yet it never ceases to amaze at what comes out of individual mouths as it relates to how I and many others eat following “a diet rich in whole plant foods, free of all animal products, saturated fats, oils, nuts, sugar, artificial sweeteners and food additives,” as Julie Marie Christensen explains over at Protective Diet.

Many question and criticize how I eat, but don’t give a second thought as what they put in their mouths and how it will affect their health. This as they pop another pill, or inject themselves to control a plethora of diseases that ravage their body. Good health comes in the form of food, it won’t be found a magic pill or fad diet or labeled on a box. These are a collection of quotes from many individuals when questioned about the plant based lifestyle they follow.

“I could never give up my meat. I love it too much.”

“But avocados and olive oil are healthy fats.”

“So, you don’t care about plants? You know carrots scream when you pull them, right?”

Where do you get your protein?

“So…you’re in a cult?”

We all have to die. So, why not enjoy yourself first?

Well, what did you eat when you were a toddler?”

“So all you eat are fruits and salads”

Wow that’s a lot of food! You eat all that?

“I can’t believe you eat all those starches.”

“You need to eat protein.”

“You can’t do it with diet alone.”

“I could never give up cheese.”

What DO you eat?

You can’t lose weight without exercising.”

” Well what’s left, what can you eat?”

You do not even use olive oil? Olive oil is healthy.

I will literally die if I don’t eat meat!

Nuts are good for you, why no nuts?

“You’re setting yourself up for osteoporosis and infertility.”

Everything in moderation!

You’re food is nasty, I wouldn’t eat it!

“What is hippie dust?”

“Carbs are so bad for you.”

Animals are meant to be eaten.”

I would get fat eating all those carbs!

Fish is not an animal, it’s healthy.”

I can’t afford to eat like that.

The bible says we should consume meat.

I don’t have time for all of that cooking from scratch. It’s not realistic.

“Come on…live a little!”

I could never give up cheese or ice cream!

You need healthy fats!

You need fat to absorb vitamins.”

Healing is much longer and harder when you are vegan (not enough protein).”

Why can’t you eat normal?

Do you think maybe your diet caused the kidney stones?

You have to spend all day in the kitchen.”

“It is too expensive to buy the proper cooking tools.

“You can’t tell me that you don’t miss a good piece of meat.

Why don’t you eat dried fruit? It’s good for you.

When you get to your goal weight, will you eat meat again?”

You can add some nuts back in when you get to your goal. They are healthy. It won’t hurt you.

Where do you get your calcium? You need to drink milk don’t you.

That so extreme!

I can’t do that. Maybe if I had someone to do all the cooking for me.

Carbs are not your friend…

You’re not getting enough good fats and protein. No wonder you feel tired all the time.

Why do humans have the kind of teeth we have if we aren’t supposed to eat meat?

One time isn’t going to hurt you!”

“No, I’m actually a healthy weight for my height.”

Are you trying to live forever?

“Well what CAN you eat then?”

“Okay, what did you give up this time?”

Humans need the vitamins found in meat.

What about all those GMOs and pesticides in vegetables, at least meat is clean.

I can’t do PD because I’m type O positive.

Soybeans cause cancer and soy gave me my thyroid problem.

I can’t give up coffee because I have to go to work.”

“I only eat organic fish.”

“You shouldn’t eat wheat it causes belly fat.

“That’s not a complete protein!”

“Do you eat fish?”

“Seafood?”

God created animals for us to eat.

Coconut oil is good for you, it is antibacterial, helps you lose weight, cures Alzheimer’s, cures cancer, blah, blah, blah. You can’t eat wheat or corn, those domestic crops are foreign to our bodies. I only eat grass fed organic meat and butter (grass fed butter?).

It won’t hurt you just this once to eat this.

It’s filled with things you don’t like to eat; meat, cheese, mayo…”

“You got to live a little.”

“One bite won’t hurt .”

Is it a religious thing?

“Your husband is going to get man boobs if he keeps eating all that soy.”

“Your kids are gonna crave meat anyway…why not give it to them and stop shoving your beliefs down their throats?”

“It’s extreme when you cut something, like meat or dairy out of your diet.

We each make our own choices, but with obesity levels continuing to climb something must be be done. Could it go as far as government intervention? Possible. The USDA 2015 Dietary Guidelines are up in public domain for comment before finalization (thanks Lani Muelrath). “The federal committee responsible for nutrition guidelines is calling for the adoption of “plant-based” diets, taxes on dessert, trained obesity “interventionists” at worksites, and electronic monitoring of how long Americans sit in front of the television.” There is a demand to “reduce unhealthy options,” limit access to high calorie foods in public buildings, “limit the exposure” of advertisements for junk food, a soda tax, and taxing high sugar and salt items and dessert.” *source

No Cookies

gsa_cookiesIt happens this time every year. The mini cookie peddlers, in their green vests seem to invade many retail establishments with heavy foot traffic pushing their boxes of sugary “crack.” While I respect the Girl Scouts organization I won’t be buying any cookies, in fact I haven’t bought any in the last 2 years and this year won’t be any different.

The attraction to these boxes is pretty amazing worldwide. Prior to changing my diet I would have purchased a few boxes to help support the Girl Scouts. Now that support has waned because there is nothing healthy about these little bites of love. That in itself is an entire writeup of just how bad these cookies are for you. Sadly, you won’t eat just one.

Another topic I won’t hit upon are the GMO that are included in Girl Scout cookies including the sugar, cottonseed and soybean oil, as well as the corn syrup and soy lecithin. All these are consider toxic and contain GMOs. Yet this is another topic for another time. Little Brownie Makers, a division of Keebler/Kelloggs must be held responsible.

Reading on their website, cookie sales helps girls learn, “goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—aspects essential to leadership, success, and life.” I don’t experience the back end of this temporary business (goal setting, money management and decision making) but like millions of others, see the (lack of) people skills and business ethics.

This year I have seen them set up outside Lowe’s and Raley’s. Not once have I been greeted with hello or a reason why they sell the cookies. The first thing out of their mouth, “do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” Obviously they are after one thing, my money. Not sure what is discussed when it comes to business ethics, but to taking up post regularly at retail establishments becomes frustrating to encounter. I have been approached multiple times in a single visit, going into a store and coming out. Not sure what the Girl Scouts have to say about that. In their defense I have seen tables and girls set up at the exit of some business only.

Fundraising is at the heart of many non-profit or not for profit organizations. I have been involved in fundraising with the local PTA as well as the Boy Scouts of America. Like the Girl Scouts fundraising is a necessary part of the organization in order to function. While I have been supportive of these fundraisers, I don’t support what some of them sell.

Our PTA has an apple fundraiser each year, by far one of the biggest ones opportunities with a good return on investment to help put coins in the coffer. While the apples are large and most likely juicy they are covered with sugary crap including M&Ms, carmel, Oreo, Snickers, nuts, white chocolate and chocolate, just to name a few. So basically this fundraiser, like that of the Girls are selling nothing more than sickness, disease and obesity. Just what Americans need in a county that sees a third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of our population obese and overweight.

To date the only fundraiser I have been involved with in scouting as been the selling of wreathes during Christmas time. Another great fundraiser, at least it was for our pack this year, but having nothing to compare it with I can only go off what leadership quotes based on last year. Of course during scout sponsored events, such as Pinewoord Derby, dens were asked to bring sugared goodies that would be sold during the event to raise money for the pack. So in retrospect this sort of fundraising is no better than other organizations.

Yet the Girl Scout cookies dwarfs both the PTA and local scouting events. Based on an NBC News report, “revenue from the sales of Girl Scout cookies has been around $700 million since 1999, based on sales of 200 million boxes at $3.50 per box.”

“Donna Ceravolo, CEO of Girl Scouts of Nassau County, New York, says a majority of the sales price of each box stays in the community. For each box sold, 85 cents per box goes to the baker to cover production, packaging, shipping of the cookies to the troop, and other incidental costs. Out of the remaining $2.65, 50 to 57 cents goes to the selling troop, which will use the funds to cover the cost of programming, community service projects and scholarships, and to offset the cost of participating in Girl Scouts.” *

While I don’t want to sound like a Grinch each time cookies selling season rolls around, I am more akin to lending support by giving a $20 donation as opposed to buying cookies. Selling seems to be so cutthroat to, with moms taking to social media, such as Facebook offering free delivery around the clock. So what are the girls doing if moms are the one peddling their cookies? Don’t see that as a good business ethic. So when school returns on Tuesday I will find my favorite kindergarten teacher and offer her $20 for her girls that are involved.

Isshin-Ryu

*queue up Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas*

isshinryuIt was never my intention to take up karate after getting my son involved after a 6 week special for $79 at Oakley American Karate last October, where they teach the Isshin-Ryu discipline. This was actually to provide my son an outlet for physical activity, while providing a strong emphasis on discipline, respect, goal setting and perseverance. I am very proud of  what he has achieved since starting, attaining his gold belt in December and subsequent orange belt, last week.

After watching Sensei Bright teach for 2 months, I was convinced I knew the basics and what to look for as I attempted to help Zachary train at how to gain the required stripes necessary to achieve the next rank. He didn’t want to listen because, “dad you don’t know karate” was the answer I usually got. While he is correct on some level, close observation and listening to what Mr. Bright was teaching provided me a good foundation, which I had hoped to share with Zach to make him a strong student.

We discussed it and I told him I was going to start karate, not as a competition, but to complement him and work together towards the ultimate goal, the black belt. Perseverance and dedication are two words that come to mind, along with practice something he isn’t to keen on, unless it comes in the form of console of PC games.zach_karate

Time and time again I have attempted to tie the electronic world to that of real life situations. In order to gain confidence and get better, practice is required. I might have turned him off to some degree with managing little league, wanting him to practice more in order to succeed. Karate is much the same vein, unlike little league, karate is an individual competition, where you must work on continually improving yourself.

I started in the adult class the first week of December and stepped on the mat with confidence, knowing I had a good foundation, yet still felt intimidated by “adult” students, some who were a third of my age, but years and ranks (belts) ahead. Yet, I went in with the knowledge that I was not competing with anyone but myself.

It was my hope that enrolling in class would give my son the reassurance that I knew what I was doing and we could benefit from each others help, especially as he gets older. I would not be surprised if he was kicking my ass in a few years as he grows, something I will be to be wary of. It was with that premise that I started working toward my own black belt.

gold_beltOn Thursday I tested for my first rank, that of gold belt. The early belts teach students the basics; punches, kicks, combinations and self defense. This is the foundation on which Isshin-Ryu is taught at Oakley American Karate. Students advance from white to gold, orange to blue before getting into the more challenging green and brown belts that require more study and practice in order to advance within a given rank. Red belt is the final step before testing a student to become a black belt.

Much like some of my other personal challenges, such as running long distances or attempting an Iron man Triathlon, I now want to achieve a black belt before I am 50 years old. That would make Zach 14 (possibly 15) if he sticks with it that he could be testing for his black belt. As I work toward orange belt I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead. Hopefully together we can achieve greatness through karate, while learning fundamentals that can help us through life.

For those who now have Kung Fu Fighting playing in their head…enjoy!

Just Stuff

It’s was a rough January and boy, how the month flew by! Unfortunately, I am not at all pleased with the look and feel of my website at the moment, hence no real updates recently. I am still expressing my displeasure to IPOWER, who still hasn’t compensated me for any sort of loss. I have however pulled the design contract I had with them to get my wife’s Bengal cat hobby online. I could no longer justify the amount of month I was spending per month. My wife wasn’t happy with the site, which I couldn’t update until I owned it outright. That wouldn’t happen until October.

In the meantime, I have been working on getting her www.spottedenbybengals.com site online and working. While the content is correct, I believe we are heading in the right direction. With any luck and her cooperation we will get all the photos uploaded, linked and labelled by Wednesday so she can start promoting the site.

The Cougar is gone and to be honest, I am not missing it. However we haven’t come to agreement on the registration that hasn’t been paid since 2007. Registering the car online through the DMV tells me I owe $198. A phone call (with 2 hour wait) to the DMV reveals it’s $698, which will only increase come February 16, when registration is due for the current year. So even though car and money have been exchanged, both parties are in agreement to “seal the deal” and at worst, split the back registration fees.

I’ve been making more of a push to throw away and purchase foods that contain ‘NO ADDITIVES.” Not as easy as one might think. I threw away about 15 hot sauces that had some form of preservative in them, which put me down to 4 hot sauces; Tabasco, Crystal, Red Rooster and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. It’s amazing walking the aisles of the local markets to see how processed and bad our food is for us. While I would like to say it’s better eating veggies, GMOs are not what we should be ingesting. Amazing to see the USA label products when they ship them abroad, but don’t care about those here.