Just a moment…on the validity of American Naturalism and the secret lives of their American sons and daughters.

As we get closer to our goal I am reminded of a past where I could chart a course and never thin the payoff. Every reward was fat and handsome. Time was sterile and obsolete. I never understood hesitation or doubt. It never made any sense to me and it sure as hell never got anybody anywhere. The only road ahead was shrouded in a haze. The fog so dense that it hid things inside of it: Secrets. Secrets could make a man crazy, turn a womans head, and bring thriving empires to their knees. Secrets raided man’s fear of god and in turn swept a chilling cold over the landscape. I never cared much for secrets. One man’s secret is another man’s dead end. “Ain’t no use in turnin’ over stones ‘less you’re gonna build the empire state building under ‘em, mh’m”, my grandpop used to say. The idea seemed quite ridiculous, but I could muster enough courage to ask him how many stones I’d have to turn over before grandmom  told me to come inside before I catch cold. “The pieces all fit together in the shape of a puzzle” he went on and on about laying foundations, pouring concrete, measuring reinforcement wire and the lot. I never really gave a damn, ‘cept to say that my grandpop was the meanest toughest son ofa gun that ever did pick a shovel up off the dirt and call it his.

There’s a quote I read once that said “fuck quotations, what do you think?” or something like that – anyway, I believe the great American naturalist Ralph Waldo Emerson said it. I realized after reading it that I’d spent too much time on the internet, but what really stuck out to me was the fact that Emerson didn’t catch his own mistake. A man makes an obscenely bold statement about not listening to famous thinker’s quotations and expects people to not see the hypocrisy. Emerson was either a genius or an idiot with a pen because deliberately leaving a blindspot in your own argument can mean many different things. For instance, it could mean that Emerson thought that the human race had reached a particular climax of human ‘achievement’, ‘wonder’ or otherwise awe-inspiring civility OR it could just mean that he had the tenacity to don himself as a thinker who would be quoted albeit with some foreshadow, adding a certain dramatic flair to his life and separating himself from the survivalist nature of Thoreau. Why should he pivot in the opposite direction? Probably because people were beginning to pin the two thinkers together who merely lived at the same time period and shared many similar interests, beliefs, transgressions, etc AND he couldn’t bare to have HIS ideas blended, as it were, with the ideas of another man. The thought alone probably left him in a cold sweat and with a painful headache. However, the same could not be said of Thoreau who went to some other more painstaking, death defying obstacles to clear his name of any other syllogism with like minded thinkers. One stuck to the profane the other to the mundane perhaps, but neither will we know the truth because as we understand history and “American themes” we clump many white boys together under the umbrella of naturalism and throw a sugar coating of existentialism for good measure when in fact we are dealing with, or rather, they were dealing with the principles of owning property and being a vote-casting, tobacco chewing citizen of the United States Gov’t (all in good fun). Where else would we have understood the importance of civil disobedience. As we cross the boundary, the humanistic elements of said characters come into the spotlight. They were in search of what makes a man a man. A man – a human being with a penis who may come in many different colors and who more often than not shaves his face, among other places on his body, and indulges in the politics of freedom. When a slave is no longer a slave, but a man with a purse and a coat pocket, time piece and a tobacco pipe, he is bound to question his freedom and the limitations therein. John Adams was a free man, a lawyer, wealthy and a subject of the crown. He did not indulge in the politics of freedom quite like Thoreau or Emerson, because he was all too familiar with the reality of slavery, the crown, etc,etc. However, Thoreau, in his moss hut, sucking back boiled water and frogs legs, descended upon an idea that could move institutions and people alike. He guided his pen into questioning the validity of the government. To break the government down just enough to ask if the wording really included the stamp of an imaginary man in the sky. Does god really have the final say? If us mere humans refuse the birth child of 30 or so men, will god come down and punish us? Tough to say… I think for the most part it is irrational to believe that practicing one’s civil duties would result in feedback, negative or otherwise from an imaginary person. Having said that, I think we can legitimately attest negative consequences of our actions on earth to other earthly matter such as the hell bent souls of ignorant and brave individuals, as well as the trade winds and natural disasters including but not limited to brush fires and hurricanes. Whatever the case maybe, American life is simply too great a series of occurrences to pin on one person – be he alive, dead or living in the stucco walls of my airbnb. Furthermore, the U.S. government was created for one sole purpose: to make more money off of the slave and tobacco trade. Adieu! My good sirs’!



Vegan or Vegetarian

So, what exactly is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

Vegan is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products. In short, it rejects the commodity status of animals. In practice this means throwing out your eggs in addition to your $2000 Helmet Lang leather jacket as well as butter, yogurt, milk, meats, cheeses, etc. Ethical Vegans extend the practice into other areas of their lives i.e. beauty products or other animal products like beeswax or soap. The reasons for adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle could range from practicing compassion towards living creatures to contending that animal products are environmentally damaging and unsustainable. Lastly, since meat is so expensive, a vegetarian diet could help save money in the long run.

No animal products means no protein, so you’ll have to find good sources of protein elsewhere. Some kinds of healthy proteins are lentils, beans, soy and quinoa (Be careful when eating soy, as too much can cause as much damage as eating too much meat!) Vegan diets are very high in fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, E and Iron, but they’re low in vitamin B12, so you might want to supplement that with iron to avoid fatigue or depression. Now, the great thing about becoming vegan, besides impressing your friends and family with your savage knowledge of organic nutrition, is that it doesn’t have to happen overnight. In other words, the best way to become vegan is to slowly introduce plant based foods into your diet.

Another interesting thing about vegetarian and vegan diets is it’s impact on mood. According to a  2012 study in Nutrition Journal, omnivorous diets contain more arachidonic acid which can alter neurological changes that affect your mood. On the flip side, a vegan diet might not get you all the vitamins you need and that could cause depression or resulting negative mood as well.

“Vegetarian” is a loaded term and can be a bit confusing. There are several schools of vegetarianism and each exclude meat on the basis of respect for sentient life. What’s more, such ethical motivations range from religious doctrine to animal rights advocacy. But there are a whole host of reasons for becoming vegetarian including health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic or personal preference.

Here are the different varieties of vegetarian and vegan diets:

Ovo: Allows consumption of eggs, but no dairy products
Lacto: Includes dairy products, but excludes eggs
Ovo-lacto: Does not eat meat, but does consume animal products such as eggs and dairy
Vegan: excludes all animal products
Raw Vegan: excludes all products of animal origin and food cooked above 48 degrees F
Fruitarianism: Consists entirely of fruits and nuts or seeds without animal products
Hindu: Usually lacto vegetarian, and may include eggs and meat in favor of Jhatka
Buddhist: Buddha allowed pork, chicken and fish under certain circumstances. The Mahayana traditions forbid eating flesh of any kind
Jain: vegetarian, excluding onions, potatoes, brinjals and garlic
Pescetarian: Lacto-Ovo diet with the addition of fish and shellfish