Posts Tagged ‘ plant-based diet ’

Our 1st Successful Diaper-Free Public Outing

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

So, seriously… this is a pretty big deal in my book. And by “my book,” I’m evidently referring to this ongoing collection of the 846 letters and stories (so far) I’ve already written about you or to you in regards to being your dad, called The Dadabase.

For the first time ever, over Thanksgiving weekend, you traveled in a car to a restaurant not wearing a diaper and didn’t have an accident. That’s awesome!

After Mommy cooked our fancy vegan Thanksgiving feast (and I did the dishes), we were ready for a meal without work required. So Nonna and Papa (my parents) took us out to our to our favorite restaurant, The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant.

While I am sincere in saying that it’s our family’s favorite restaurant, it’s also the only restaurant in Nashville that we ever eat at… unless Whole Foods counts.

I’ve admitted before that you could have probably already been officially potty-trained a few months ago if Mommy and I only had the time to focus on it with you.

But since we don’t, whenever Nonna and Papa drive up from Alabama, they work on that with you.

In the midst of all the Thanksgiving activities, I didn’t realize you were exclusively wearing your new set of Disney “big boy underwear” the whole time.

I remember halfway to the restaurant, driving us in the Rav4 that I was reviewing, thinking, “Oh… Jack’s not wearing a diaper! This could be bad… What happens if he can’t hold it until we get there?”

Not only did you not have an accident, but you went potty, twice, in the Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant while we dined on our divine meals.

Mommy and I were so proud of you, we decided it was only appropriate to let you have a special dessert treat: A vegan chocolate cupcake, shipped in from Nashville’s vegan bakery, Khan’s Desserts.

It apparently was so good, you went cuckoo there for a minute…

I have a feeling now that you’ve succesfully been in the car for more than 20 minutes one way in the Rav4, and then back, plus making it through our entire meal without having an accident…

But instead, going potty in the bathroom there, I think Mommy and I are at a good place, concerning your journey of potty training.

It’s not something I’ve let bother me. Maybe I should.

Nor is it something I compare myself to other parents about. Maybe I should.

Really though, I don’t think I have to worry about you. You are so seriously motivated by getting to wear your “big boy underwear” and not getting them dirty, the motivation is there for you already.

All I really have to do is facilitate the situation.

I wasn’t expecting this part to be this easy.

And by the way…

You lasted about 5 minutes in the car ride back home before you crashed on Papa’s arm, for Napsville.

Yeah, you were no match for that well-earned vegan chocolate cupcake.





Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.





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The Difference Between Organic And Non-GMO Foods

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

Our family cares about buying organic and non-GMO foods.

To put it lightly, I’m personally not a fan of Monsanto.

In fact, I recently (jokingly?) referred to them as the antichrist and GMO foods as the mark of the beast:

“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” [Revelation 13:17]

A good amount (that’s an understatement!) of the food bought or sold in America is GMO and not organic.

What’s the different between non-GMO and organic foods?

To put it simply, non-GMO (“GMO” stands for “genetically modified organism”) means that a company (like Monsanto) has not synthetically interfered with the seed of the food to fit a uniform, worldwide model.

If the food is organic, it means that chemicals and additives (like pesticides and fertilizers) were not used in the process of the food being grown.

Yes, a food product can be one without the other. I think of it this way: “Non-GMO” refers the the seed, “organic” refers to what happens to that seed once it is planted in the ground.

So how can we know which of our foods are both non-GMO and organic?

We’re definitely not waiting on the government to force companies to label their products…

Instead, we’re paying our respects (and money) to the food brands out there who not only have organic and/or non-GMO products, but who are smart enough to label their products that way, so that families like us know to buy them.

We’re not putting our blind trust and health in the hands of companies who use chemicals and synthetic modifications to “make” their foods.

We prefer our foods the way God intended them to be, instead.

And by now, enough people are passionate enough about this, like we are, that it’s getting easier to identify the labels for non-GMO and organic.

So we look for the “Non-GMO Project Verified” logo with the butterfly and the circular USDA Organic logo. We try to buy those options as much as possible.

We can’t stop non-organic, GMO foods from being sold. But we can certainly choose to buy the alternative. By alternative, I mean, the original.





Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.

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How I Get Home Improvement Projects Done, As A Parent

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

These “before and after” pictures actually pretty well illustrate the cure for Mommy and I not being able to get home improvement projects finished, in the little amount of time we have together as a family.

By the way, it’s completely unintentional that this letter to you has by default become the 3rd consecutive one to talk about my parents, who you know as Nonna and Papa. (And there might even be a 4th after this.)

But just as our 2 and a half hour trips to their house serve as a sort of “time out” for us, it’s their trips to our house that serve as the perfect time for Mommy and I to complete “major” projects; just the opposite. Instead of relaxing while they are here in town… we are productive!

Exactly 3 months ago, it was a backsplash.

As for Labor Day weekend, we painted our living room and installed brand new curtains; taking down the blinds. And because we made such good time, we decided to paint the downstairs bathroom, too.

During all the labor, there was always one adult to entertain and play with you, while the other three worked on the project.

In case you’re wondering why I’m not featuring any pictures of our home’s new makeover, it’s because I know in the upcoming months, the pictures I daily take of you playing downstairs will be featuring the changes.

There will be more than enough… too many, probably…

So instead, I wanted to point out a notable milestone in your life. As a reward for completing our projects early, we decided to do something we never do as a family.

We went to “the city” and dined out.

It’s funny how the last time I remember being in the heart of Nashville, not just on the outskirts of the city limits where we live, was at last June when we went to that random drum circle.

Our family never goes to the city and we never go out to eat.

But this weekend, we did. And it went well!

I was telling Mommy, how a year ago, if we were to have done this, we wouldn’t have made it through the entire meal without me having to escort you outside and distract you from being restless.

However, at 2 years and 9 months, you are able to handle dining out.

Hashtag, “I didn’t see that one coming.”

Admittedly, the fact that Mommy and I let you have a vegan chocolate cupcake certainly helped the situation.

Seriously, this is epic for me, as your Daddy.

I feel so accomplished after this Labor Day weekend!

We painted the living room and the bathroom, put up a new curtain rod and curtains, and you proved you can handle going to the city and dining at a restaurant… way past your bedtime.

The plan was to officially potty train you this weekend, too. Oh well…

With the grandparents in town, we were able to be very productive in other ways.

Actually though, I think we might need a completely separate trip where they come up and the only project is just to potty train you. Not a bad idea.





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The Closest Thing I Get To A Vacation, As A Parent

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

A few weeks ago, Mommy asked me if I had any idea why my weekly paycheck was significantly higher than usual. I wanted to believe that I had been given a raise by my boss, without me being notified first.

Hashtag, “wishful thinking.”

Turns out, my extra vacation days had just automatically cashed out since I didn’t take them since the anniversary of my hire date.

That’s the way it has to be, though. I have to prepare for several extra days throughout the year for you to be sick.

Fortunately, you hardly got sick this year so I didn’t need to cash in my sick days on your behalf.

As for myself, I don’t get sick either but there are definitely days I just wish I could call in sick and truly have the day off.

But then I would feel guilty driving you all the way to school for that; just to have a day with truly no responsibilities. Not to mention, I hate the thought of spending gas money on that, too.

And by now, I have clearly established the fact that a family vacation is not truly a vacation, but a quest for fun.

Still, I am not without hope.

The closest thing I get to a vacation, as a parent, is taking the 2 and a half hour drive to Nonna and Papa’s house, for the weekend.

I still get to spend time with you but with a 3 to 1 adult to kid ratio, since your Auntie Dana, Uncle Andrew, and cousin Calla are there too, along with my parents.

You and I are both more relaxed. I like for you to be able to see me in that sort of mind; not just the one where I have to be in charge all the time.

So it’s kind of like a vacation for both you and me.

From sitting on Papa’s face (featured as top picture) to hearing Nonna read you and your cousin Calla a story (featured directly above), it’s just good, easy times for the whole family.

We don’t need a fancy trip or destination. It’s funny how family is not only home, but also a vacation.





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I’m 32, The Age I’m Supposed To Turn Into My Parents

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

A concept that is going viral right now is that at age 32, according to a poll on, we “turn into our parents.”

The Netmums News Team explains it like this:

“It is at this age when we are most likely to find ourselves echoing our own parents’ phrases or mannerisms…

The grown-up responsibilities of having children, owning a house and having a busy career all contributed to the feeling of becoming more and more like your own parents.”

Fate would have it that I just so happen to be a 32 year-old daddy blogger at the exact moment in history when this concept has gone viral. That’s pretty cool, huh?

So, have I become my parents? Do I echo their phrases and mannerisms? Do I feel more like my own parents because I have a child and own a house and have a busy career, too?

Yes and no.

No, because I feel like they made this parenting thing, as well as the busy career and owning a house thing, seem so worry-free and easy.

In that way, I feel like I haven’t turned into them, though I want to.

Maybe I’m realizing that I am giving myself an extra challenge as a parent because I want this all to seem as easy as I thought it was for my own parents.

As far as how I have definitely turned into my parents, I do admit to using my hands a lot when I talk- which tends to happen when your mother is half Italian.

Basically, my personality comes from my mom. I’ve never really thought about that before… interesting.

And it’s pretty evident to me that I am ultimately a vegan (I mean, I’m living a plant-based lifestyle; which is the more marketable, less offensive term) because it seems like my dad was always teaching me as a kid to question where our food comes from and to relate eating processed foods to getting cancer and diseases.

So it should be no surprise that, as a 32 year-old adult, I now associate Monsanto with the devil and I see GMO foods as the mark of the beast. (That’s a slight exaggeration. Not really.)

I felt so deprived because it seemed I was the only kid I knew who wasn’t allowed to eat white bread or drink soda at his own house except for on very special occasions. (I thank my dad for that now!)

He seemed to always have a distrust of medicine and the FDA, instead teaching me to rely on what was already available in nature to prevent and cure health problems. (Which is exactly what I successfully did with my eczema, severe allergies, and sinus problems!)

Plus, he was always open-minded to the unpopular theories that mainstream society and popular culture often ridiculed or ignored, which I think was fundamental in me becoming a Libertarian, in regards to my political stances.

So yes, at age 32, I’m pretty much a mix of my parents the way I remember them while growing up; which again, wasn’t at all a negative thing.

The question is, will you become me in about 30 years? If so, you’ll basically become your grandparents.





P.S. The pictures of me with my parents, featured above, are from around Christmas 1983, nearly 30 years ago, which is when I was about your age now.


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