The Unlikely Vegan Dines Out by Phil Shainmark

This article is a little late in coming, but I’ve been working hard on a personal project that has consumed a ton of my time. It’s not specifically related to this, but should it come to fruition it will offer a new perspective in my life and my writing. In addition to that, I’ve had some additional (minor) health complications. My thyroid has been impacted by all the chemo, causing cascade system issues. Pre-diabetes, anemia etc, etc. So that’s been something new to contend with. I’ve been needing to sleep more and more just to function. Close to 3 years of oral chemo, with a total of about 5 weeks off throughout has caught up with me. Still, I only have to make it to November, and if there are no more tumors then I get to be off chemo.

So since last time, I’ve tried some new things – Egyptian food for one – at a place called Pots, here in Las Vegas. They have the usual hummus and babaghanoush, but they also offer a tasting menu, and my wife, my mother, and I all tried it. It was excellent. Ive noticed that being Vegan has made me move out of my comfort zone with a lot of foods. Egyptian was never something I would have tried in the past, but I’m glad I did now. I had a rice and vegetable dish, with a “jute mallow” vegetable sauce that was awesome. It came with a salad, pita bread, hummus, and a Turkish coffee (which worked out GREAT, because we were going out later that evening). My wife and my Mom both had grilled eggplant dishes, which they raved about. For desert, we had some chocolate date truffles, and they were delicious and very sweet. I could only eat 2 of the 3 they gave me. Mom had a toasted coconut pudding that was also tasty. All in all an excellent introduction to a new food.

Another night we went to “Chef Kennys Vegan Asian Restaurant,”  a 100% vegan Chinese restaurant. They actually had a sign on the door asking that no one bring non-vegan food onto the premises. I had the Mongolian beef, my absolute favorite dish. I hadn’t realized how much I missed that meal since I went vegan. It was perfect. Whatever he makes the “meat” out of it was exactly the right consistency, and the taste was spot on. I could not have been happier. My wife had “crispy beef” which was also incredibly good. My mom had the Kung Pao three meat combo. One of the “meats” was shrimp, and I have no idea what it was made from, but it was delicious. I’m going to have to say that it was one of the best meals I’d had in a LONG time.

Recently I went to my brother in laws house for a Poker night/Birthday party. It was our buddy Squirrel’s birthday. He wanted BBQ chicken, and offered to make his own BBQ sauce. So we went to the store and got all the ingredients. He made the sauce, and I volunteered to cook the chicken. And I came to the realization that I really like grilling. It doesn’t matter that I’m not going to eat the food. Actually, it makes me think of all the parties we used to have back when I lived in Stamford CT. We would have parties all summer long, and I’d always run the grill. Great times, great memories. So they had BBQ chicken and my wife and I had Veggie tacos. BUT I saved some of his BBQ sauce to try, and it was really good.

I’ll be heading back to NY the first weekend in March, and my brother in law is coming with me. It’s his first time going to NY. Poor dude has never had REAL pizza before, so that’s one stop. And I’ll finally get to try White Castle with the “Impossible” patty. This is gonna be a great trip.

9 Health Benefits of Thyme

Thyme, an herb native to the Mediterranean but now grown over most of the world, has been used for thousands of years as a medicine, an antidote for the Plague and in embalming preparations. And while it’s unlikely that thyme stopped the plague, modern research has proven that thyme does indeed combat infection. One study from 2010 suggests that thymol, the active ingredient in thyme, can reduce bacterial resistance to common drugs, including penicillin. A member of the mint family, thyme has long been used in Mediterranean cuisines for its sharp minty flavor as well as its medicinal properties.

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Treating Dementia With Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Yoga

Do you know someone who suffers from dementia? Witnessing a loved one slowly lose their memory and reasoning skills can be a very painful experience. Dementia is a persistent syndrome that tends to get worse over time–affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. It is distinct from Alzheimer’s in that Alzheimer’s is a specific disease, but general dementia can stem from a variety of unrelated brain illnesses.

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When Your Body Speaks: Paying Attention to Food Cravings

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Several weeks ago I caught a doozy of a cold, leaving me with a stuffed head, chronically runny nose, sore throat and a bit of a cough. Bad enough for the first few days, weeks later it seemed like it just wouldn’t go away. I didn’t have the flu or strep throat or bronchitis, but the symptoms lingered. Finally, after weeks of getting more rest and watching my diet, it passed. During that time I ate lightly, (when I wasn’t sleeping,) but found myself throwing handfuls of thyme and garlic into virtually everything – from scrambled eggs to soup. It was a little bizarre, actually.

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How Color Affects Your Mood

Can color really affect your mood? Research says yes; color can absolutely affect your mood, behavior and stress levels, and the study of these effects is known as color psychology. Whether in the clothes you wear, the paint on the walls, or the color of your desk, color is important.

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The Science of Gratitude: It’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore

The Science of Gratitude: We all know that we should be thankful for what we have, hopefully not just at Thanksgiving, but all the time. But did you know that it can be good for you as well? Research shows that the more you practice an attitude of gratefulness, the greater the effect. Gratitude confers a multitude of benefits, such as increased health, social connectedness, feelings of well-being and energy, as well as decreased feelings of depression, greed and envy and decreased substance abuse.

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MBSR: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a method of using meditation and yoga to cultivate awareness and reduce stress. Of course, many of us having been doing this for years, but did you know it had a name? First developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn (video) in 1979, MBSR is based on the ancient practice of mindfulness, which is about waking up and being present in the richness of each moment of our lives. Within this awakening, we gain access to our deepest inner resources for living, healing, and coping with stress.

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Happy New Year from the Unlikely Vegan

| by Phil Shainmark

While texting back and forth with one of my friends in Texas, we got on the discussion of sandwiches. I was lamenting that one of the only foods I genuinely miss is an Italian combo. Not that stuff you get out west where it’s a little ham and salami and some oil and vinegar (they put mayo on them out here!! MAYO!!) I mean a legit east coast, 10 types of meats with banana peppers and provolone, ITALIAN COMBO (which, if you ever find yourself in Hawthorne/Valhalla, NY, check out Pops Deli. Get menu option C4 – best Italian combo ever). So I was on a quest to get as close as I could to those flavors, and I feel that I’ve come pretty close….

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Integrative Vision Care & Nutrition by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

Mind/Body medicine is based on the fact that our health and well-being depend on all the individual parts to work together effectively. So it should come as no surprise that healthy eyesight is also dependent upon our total well-being, which is affected by our genetic makeup, the food we eat, our work environment and exposure to airborne toxins, as well as our general belief systems about ourselves and the world we live in.

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The Unlikely Vegan Explores Making Moral Choices by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

Is your pleasure more important than your morals? It’s an interesting question, and one that I’ve never been able to answer, or even fully articulate, till now. The 16-25 year old me says “absolutely.” I drank, did drugs, committed crimes. Hurt whoever, whenever, and treated people that loved me like crap. I did horrible things to people I should have cared about just so I could chase that NEW thing. Pleasure, not in a sexual sense, but the pleasure of just doing whatever the hell I wanted, whenever I wanted, was the GOAL. Now I thank the gods every day that I still have friends from back then that put up with me.

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