Happy Feet!

Blue Ball

Your feet play an important role in your health and happiness. Treat them well and listen when they talk to you.

*****

I bought a pair of Vibram five-fingered shoes–the kind with minimal padding and separate slots for each toe. The idea is to make it the next best thing to walking barefoot, with minimal protection and maximum flexibility. The shoes come with instructions that tell you not to wear them until you follow a two to three-week exercise regimen for your feet.

I doubt most people follow those instructions if they read them at all but I gave it a shot. The exercises are easy but there are a LOT of boring repetitions. Nonetheless, I have been sticking to it and at the same time reading up about foot health and learning how to walk and run better. Nicole has crazy physiological knowledge of muscles and bones so it helps to have someone I can ask questions about my feet.

Anyway, all the foot exercises and stretches have really made me aware of how much power my feet have over my mood, energy, and general well-being. I noticed when they ache (which was often), my usually good attitude diminishes as does my desire to move.

When you think about it, your feet are your primary connection to the earth and they are loaded with muscles and nerves that give you constant, immediate feedback. If you are like me, though, your feet are an afterthought at best. They just take you from one place to the next and sometimes they ache and sometimes they don’t.

Putting some effort into strengthening and lengthening all the muscles in my feet has definitely had a positive impact.

Here is a quick tip: when you are sitting at home, keep one of those rigid spiked plastic laundry balls under your desk or chair. Absent-mindedly roll it under your arch, heel, and between your toes while you type or watch a show. It is a great massage and provides light muscle work.

We should listen to our feet as much as we listen to other people. They speak to us more often and, let’s face it, our feet usually have more important things to discuss.

 

 

 

 

Food Boobs

 

I’m thinking about changing my blog title from simply my name to “Sexy Celebrity Who Knows Everything You Can’t Figure Out For Yourself”. What do you think?

***

If you are at all interested in the debate over healthy eating, then you have probably heard of the “Food Babe“.

She is the latest in a long line of conspiracy theorists and uninformed non-scientific critics trying to lambaste vaguely identified corporate entities.

(If you do not know where to point a finger when it comes to food, just say “Monsanto” in an accusing way and you will sound like an informed advocate on the side of would-be underdogs who believe they are defending food… because they saw some documentaries. As we know, that’s pretty much the same as becoming an actual scientist and Hollywood can always be trusted.)

The problem I have with people like Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”), Dave Asprey (“Bulletproof Coffee” and now also the “Bulletproof Diet”), and Loren Cordain (“Paleo Diet“) is they prey on fear. They exploit the ignorance of others and spread bad information to create panic for profit.

Here is the real deal. I have been vegan and studying the food debate for more than a decade and I can tell you, unequivocally, there are no good answers, no easy answers, and no shortcuts to health. Genetically Modified Food has never been proven unsafe or less nutritious in any rigorous scientific study, whether you choose to eat it or not (I choose not, usually, but not because I pretend to understand the intricacies of the science and agendas on either side of the debate). The base of corporate conspiracies falls apart at the doorstep of any company. Monsanto is comprised of normal working people, just like you and I, paid to do their jobs, just like you and I. No one I have ever met goes to work at any company with the intention of destroying the world. It is, on its face, ludicrous.

Just consider the base logic of nearly all of the anti-food / pro-fear arguments. They advocate eating like we did centuries ago. They say if we go back to eating the way we did more than a hundred years ago, then we will live longer and be healthier. The only problem is, just a hundred years ago our lifespans were shorter, our access to food was more limited, and our understanding of how food works was a hundred years behind today’s knowledge. Would you drive a hundred year old car and expect it to run better, faster, and with fewer emissions than one made today? Food has advanced and improved like nearly everything else. It is not a singular exception to society’s movement forward.

Farmers have always selected for the best food genes, cross-breeding and splicing plants to create better breeds, since the dawn of agriculture. Genetically Modified Food used to just be called “food”. We likely would find the corn our ancestors consumed virtually inedible. Through generations of selection, we now have sweet corn that can be eaten plain and is delicious!

The worst part with conspiracy celebrities like the Food Babe is, they are smart. Vani Hari understands marketing and social media. She has a degree in computer science. She may have good intentions, too, but well-meaning charlatans are still charlatans.

Again, the Food Babe has a computer science degree, not a food science degree, not a degree in nutrition, not even a Chemistry degree. She (and people like her) rely on gullible sycophants to support them, not on their earned credibility in the field they are advocating for or against. These predators are becoming increasingly easy to spot, too, and I encourage you to consider a simple fact before buying into their scare tactics… Associated with all their “miracle cures”, “breakthrough” diets, and generous sharing of information is always, inevitably, a product, service, or subscription they want you to buy.

Shockingly, the Food Babe has a book (and a second one on the way) that she wants you to buy, so she can keep working from home and paying for travel and the costs of maintaining fame and celebrity by finding an ever-increasing (and ever-profitable) audience to fund new panic-invoking articles, interviews, media events, and “research”. The Food Babe relies on two essential things to make a living: her boobs and your fear (she was not given the moniker “Food Babe” by her audience–she gave it to herself).

Actually learning the science of food, studying peer-reviewed literature, and talking to actual scientists who are actually informed does not help her pocketbook or her agenda. Talking to Good Morning America, staying in the news, and finding a way to reach Oprah’s audience does.

It saddens and frustrates me when people, trying to make good decisions, are held captive by sensational marketers, fear-mongering, and exploitation of their own ignorance. No one has the time to study every facet of food production, food science, or even to learn how to discern the hype from the known facts. Sadly, it is at our own peril if we do not start making the time to learn how to think and make decisions on more than a recommendation from a celebrity.

 

Marketers are too good at manipulation now and, for better or worse, your brain is the main tool you have to navigate ethics, morality, and Reality. Do not rely on blogs (not even mine), television, social media, or celebrities to do your thinking or live your life for you. Raise your sleeves and get to work finding out how to think skeptically, how to trace information to its sources, or just how to understand the basics of living a logical life. Be in the driver’s seat of your life. Don’t let these idiots get behind the wheel.

 

Living Space

Thanks, Karl!

When in doubt, throw it out!

*****

Part of simplifying my life means ridding myself of non-essential things I carry around that do not contribute value to my life.

I tossed out my old journals along with a lot of bad poetry I have held onto since I was a kid. I did keep one or two good(-ish) pieces, though. Maybe I will tidy them up and share them later.

I also went through my library of books, which I already pared to my 50 or so “essentials”. Still, there were a lot of books I have not read for years. Some of them I have not read at all. I have been saving them for when I have time to pick them up. Of course, when I do make time to read, I choose other books anyway. I have merely been saving them for the sake of saving them, it seems. Same for audio books and music CD’s.

I can buy new books or buy again the old ones I meant to read but never have (and probably never will) and it will be cheaper than storing them for decades and lugging them around wherever I move. With CD’s, outside of a few rare singles, local artists, or hard-to-find albums, most of my music is available online (which means it does not have to take up space in my apartment–less cleaning, storing, and clutter to move around).

If I do actually miss anything, I can always buy it again, but I usually find I do not miss things that much. There is so much new music, new books, and new gizmos and gadgets produced that there is no need to hold onto things for the sake of holding onto them.

The less clutter you keep, the more space you create for living. That’s why we call it “living space” instead of “clutter space”.

Hello world!

Dearborn Farmers Market

Hello, World! Welcome to A Couple Vegans–a blog of exploration and adventure in Tampa’s vegan culture (and pretty much anything else we do related to health). Check back often for restaurant reviews, vegan snacks discovered, ramblings on health, living better, and other Tampa treats. Subscribe to the blog to have new posts sent straight to you (we never share your info with advertisers, other bloggers, or anyone else). Follow us on social media and let us know what you like, don’t like so much, or what you would like to see us cover (or discover)! Thanks for stopping by.

-Michael and Nicole-