My Vegan Journey and why I never had a chance to say, “Let lips do what hands do.” (Viewed as Single Page)

For the last thirty-two years, I have belonged to one of the smallest minorities in America. I am a vegan 99.9% of the time and even when I’m not a vegan during that 0.1%, I don’t eat red meat, dairy products, chicken or turkey.

Colorado State University reports, “Today, in the United States, there are an estimated 4.9 million people who identify themselves as a vegetarian. … About 1.4% of the US adult population is vegan.”

That means, I am one of about 4.3 million Americans with a vegan lifestyle, which is about equal to the gay population in the US. By contrast, there are 47 million Hispanic/Latinos, more than 37 million Black Americans, and 13.4 million Asian Americans.

There is only one minority smaller than vegans and gays, and that is Native Americans numbering 2.4 million.

Then recently, I left a comment on Glenn Pendlay’s Blog and someone identified as Sarah Balfour called me a fool in a comment, because I am a–rare–vegan.

Sarah’s exact words were, “Lloyd Lofthouse: – you are a fool. A Deluded gullible FOOL! Being vegan – or fruitarian – is one of the unhealthiest lifestyle choices ANYONE can make!”

Is this an example of discrimination of a minority?

There was more to Balfour’s emotional, opinionated rant. If you want to read the comment, click on  the link.

However, I wasn’t always an alien vegan.  Up to about age 36, I ate the average American diet and was just like every other tubby bear of a fat guy.

I loved HUGE barbequed steaks, giant VW van-sized baked potatoes filled with sour cream, melted cheese with chives, pizza and beer, hamburgers and French fries, washed down with beer, Pepsi or Dr. Pepper (by the liter—the hell with water) followed with cakes, pies, candy, etc.

I was a true, dedicated cheese-head for sure.

Oh, and I loved throwing a big drunk: beer, wine, vodka, gin, whisky, scotch (a mixed drink with Coke or straight with no ice).  A week didn’t go by that I wasn’t a dirty skunk of a drunk. The heavy drinking started in 1966 after my combat tour in Vietnam and continued until 1981 when I was forced to confront my inner demons and dominate them or die a painful, early meat eater’s death.

It’s amazing that I never added cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco to my average American lifestyle and why not, even today, it is estimated that more than 43 million American adults smoke including President Barack Obama.

However, my life changed in 1981 when I met a cute vegan—a married, cute vegan with the creamiest, clearest skin I’ve ever wanted to caress and an incredibly pleasant voice—she was always in a good mood and never sick. It was disgusting (not the vegan part or the fact that she never caught a common cold).  The disgusting part was that she was married and off limits.

All I wanted to say to her was what Romeo said to Juliet, “Let lips do what hands do.” I never had a chance.

In 1981, before I became a vegan, I stood six-foot-four and weighed 215 pounds and I did not follow an exercise routine. Due to daily headaches, joint pain, shooting pains throughout my body and indigestion after almost every meal, I carried painkillers and anti acids on me at all times.

If I wasn’t drunk, I was in pain.

I was killing myself with my lifestyle choices and I was so ignorant that I didn’t even know I was responsible. To me, since almost everyone I knew lived the same lifestyle, my life was normal.

Prior to converting to veganism, I came down with annual common colds and flu. Then in 1981 when I was working two jobs, teaching English days in a public middle school and working weeknights and weekends at a nightclub-restaurant combination called the Red Onion in West Covina, I worked with an alien vegan.

In my thirties and single, I was a player and a party animal. In fact, among the Red Onion employees, I was known as Disco Lloyd. Alas, those frantic, dirty dancing days are behind me now.

The cute young vegan I worked with never preached about her lifestyle. In fact, I had no idea she was a vegan until the day almost every employee in the restaurant was sick with the same common cold: the cooks, the hosts, the managers, the maître d (me), the bartenders, waitresses… we were all sick except her—an injustice for sure.

I’m sure many meat eaters will crow “fowl”—that isn’t fair.

Late one night, I asked why she with the “perfect skin” was the only employee that didn’t catch “that” common cold we were sharing with all the customers, and she told me it was because she was vegan. At first I thought she was claiming to have come from Venus, but she explained and cleared up my confusion.

Next, she introduced me to her husband, who was raised as a child to be vegan by his parents. Too bad he was such a nice, likable guy. In addition, he had a fourth degree (or higher) black belt in Kung Fu—move over Jackie Chan.

It was Perfect Skin’s husband that taught me what a healthy vegan diet was and guided me through the year-long conversion.  During that year, my weight plummeted to 160 pounds and then slowly returned to 180 where it stuck—give or take a pound or two—for the next twenty-three years.

During the conversion, my skin even turned a bit green and then orange—because I was drinking lots of organic carrot juice.

Yes, vegetarian/vegan diets may be unhealthy if an individual does not discover what it means to eat a whole-food vegetarian/vegan diet. Iceberg lettuce salads, carrots, lima beans, ice cream, milk, cake, pie and eggs does not do it.

Colorado State University offers a fact sheet of healthy Vegetarian Diets.  If you are interested in converting, I recommend starting there to educate yourself.

That day more than thirty years ago when I decided to give the vegan lifestyle a six-month trial run, I said to my lifestyle conversion coach, “If it doesn’t work, I’m  going back to my cheese pizza and beer, hamburger, French fry, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper diet.”

At the time, I believed the vegan lifestyle wouldn’t work and my lifestyle had nothing to do with my pain and health problems, but I thought, what the heck. Give it a try. It can’t hurt.

And, it was only for six months.

Needless to say, converting to veganism worked and I never looked back. The headaches went away. The indigestion vanished. The shooting pains in my body and joints left and have not returned. My energy became more constant without the ups and down that come with a high-sugar, animal-protein diet.

In fact, I haven’t had a common cold or the flu since 1982 although I understand that vegans do get colds and the flu. I did have a number of sinus infections over the vegan years but those infections were linked to a severe exposure to formaldehyde, one of the top ten carcinogens, in the early 80s that led to sinus surgery—I almost died on the operating table as the doctors carved and scraped inside my head for about three hours.

“After years of delay due to intense pressure from the chemical industry, the government finally added formaldehyde and styrene, two of the world’s most widely used chemicals, to its list of known and probable carcinogens. Formaldehyde is widely used in plywood, particle board, mortuaries and hair salons….” Source: Natural News.com

In addition, have you ever heard of Oprah’s Mad Cowboy, a fourth generation Cattle Rancher that, to save his life, became a vegetarian and gave up—GASP!—meat. If you haven’t, let me introduce you to Howard Lyman. (If you are still a meat eater, you DON’T want to click on this link and “meat” Howard Lyman—You also do not want to watch the following “Mad Cowboy Documentary”.)


WARNING! If you take time to watch this video, the odds say that the way you think of “meat” and “dairy products” will change for the worst.

Regardless of what you might hear from the Sarah Balfours of the world, more than one reputable study proves that vegetarians live longer, healthier lives.

The Huffington Post reported, “The most impressive data arises from a study of 1,904 vegetarians over 21 years by the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum). The study’s shocking results: vegetarian men reduced their risk of early death by 50%! Women vegetarians benefit from a 30% reduction in mortality.”

More recently, medical research has found that a properly balanced vegetarian diet may, in fact, be the healthiest diet. This was demonstrated by the over 11,000 volunteers who participated in the Oxford Vegetarian Study. For a period of 15 years, researchers analyzed the effects a vegetarian diet had on longevity, heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.

The results of the study stunned the vegetarian community as much as it did the meat-producing industry: “Meat eaters are twice as likely to die from heart disease, have a 60 percent greater risk of dying from cancer and a 30 percent higher risk of death from other causes.”

In addition, the incidence of obesity, which is a major risk factor for many diseases, including gallbladder disease, hypertension and adult onset diabetes, is much lower in those following a vegetarian diet. According to a Johns Hopkins University research report on 20 different published studies and national surveys about weight and eating behavior, Americans across all age groups, genders and races are getting fatter. If the trend continues, 75 percent of U.S. adults will be overweight by the year 2015.

The American National Institute of Health, in a study of 50,000 vegetarians, found that vegetarians live longer and also have an impressively lower incidence of heart disease and a significantly lower rate of cancer than meat-eating Americans.

In fact, even back in 1961, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a vegetarian diet could prevent 90-97% of heart diseases.

I wonder how many former U.S. Marines, who are Vietnam combat veterans, follow a vegan lifestyle?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

His first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His former wife if 15 years is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Is global warming a hoax and why should we care?

I think Global Warming deniers who claim it’s a hoax are ignorant fools, and here’s a sampling of who loves them: the Koch brothers, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Monsanto in addition to five other corporations — BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta, collectively known as the “Big 6”.

Think Progress.org reports that the oil, gas and coal industries have spent over $2 billion lobbying Congress since 1999, and the Political Economy Research Institute ranks Koch Industries as the 14th worst air polluter in the U.S.—more than oil giants like BP, Shell and Chevron and large coal utilities like American Electric Power and Duke Energy.

Koch Industries and the Koch family spend millions of dollars on lobbyists to fight climate and energy legislation, millions more on politicians, and still more millions on organizations denying climate change. Through the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation as well as Koch Industries and the other Koch family foundations, numerous and substantial donations go to organizations that deny, skepticize or belittle the significance of global warming. Compared to ExxonMobil, which has spent over $27.4 million on skeptic groups since 1998, foundations linked to Koch Industries have spent over $70 million in traceable contributions to the same network of organizations, with addition untraceable funding funneled through organizations like Donors Trust.  Polluter Watch.com

But even if we were to remove global warming as an issue, the danger of CO and CO2 to the quality of life still remains.

CO is carbon monoxide and it is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood do not burn fully. Burning charcoal, running cars and the smoke from cigarettes also produce carbon monoxide gas, and did you know that carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by inhaling combustion fumes. When there’s too much carbon monoxide in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in the hemoglobin of your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This keeps life-sustaining oxygen from reaching your tissues and organs.

The CDC says the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death.

What about the cost of CO poisoning? In 2007, alone, the hospital cost for confirmed CO poisoning was more than $26 million. Multiply that number by ten years, and we are talking about more than a quarter of a billion dollars. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

What about CO2, better known as carbon dioxide? EPA.gov says, “The main human activity that emits CO2 is the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation. … Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities. In 2012, CO2 accounted for about 82% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

LiveStrong.com says, “Cases of CO2 poisoning have been linked to central nervous system damage and permanent deterioration of respiratory functions. Because of these findings, CO2 is considered not just a simple asphyxiant, but a gas with acute systemic effects as well. … If your blood becomes saturated with too much CO2, you develop the condition known as hypercapnia. Increased levels of CO2 also affect the pH level of your blood, turning it more acidic. This condition is called acidemia and, if prolonged, causes acidosis, which is injury to the body’s cells by a rise in acidity that leads to faltering functions of the heart. … You can suffocate on CO2 without any visible abnormality or obstruction of your breathing. If the oxygen content of the air you breathe is insufficient, you slowly suffocate due to selective oxygen depletion until you experience permanent damage or death.

What about the medical costs of excessive CO2 exposure? Poor childhood health caused by environmental factors, such as air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals, cost the United States $76.6 billion in 2008, according to a new study in the May issue of Health Affairs.

In fact, Perry Sheffield and coauthors at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine examined the little-studied relationship between fine particulates or pollutants in the air and the cost of bronchiolitis, a type of lung infection in children. They discovered that children exposed to such pollutants were more likely to have higher health care costs from treating this respiratory illness. … Such exposure can lead to long-lasting health and academic problems for children, write Paul Mohai, Byong-Suk Kweon, and colleagues at the University of Michigan. They examined the extent of air pollution from industrial sources near public schools, finding that schools located in areas with the highest air pollution had the lowest attendance rates (a marker for poor health) and the highest proportion of students failing to meet state educational standards.

Conclusion: There’s more at stake here than a possible unproven hoax claim that carbon emissions ( CO and/or CO2) are not contributing to or causing global warming. If you have supported the oil and coal industries when they claim that global warming is a hoax to help them defeat environmental bills designed to clean the air, water and soil, you are just as guilty as the Koch brothers, because you are contributing to the suffering of millions of children and adults and billions of dollars in annual medical costs that has nothing to do with global warming being a hoax.

In fact, people who protest because they think global warming is a hoax may also be murderers. The Voice of America reports that “Air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year in the United States according to a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In ten years, that’s 2-million deaths thanks to billionaire oligarchs like the Koch brothers.

Do you really think they care if global warming is real or not? The Wichita Eagle says, “In a little more than a decade, while a lot of companies were contracting, Koch Industries has doubled its revenue.”

In 2000, revenue at Koch industries was $55 billion. By 2011, it was $110 billion. The Koch brothers thank all of the people they fooled—for believing their claims of a global warming hoax—who supported them in defeating bills in Congress that would have helped clean the air, water and soil and save millions of lives from painful early deaths, and help more than 7-million children under age 18 who suffer from asthma. American Lung Association

Discover the suffering and lost chances caused by the Koch brothers and the oil industry: Poverty with Pollution–Its impact on the education of children

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Tesla fire panics herd of Wall Street Investors to run off cliff

What does a herd of Wall Street Investors sound like in a panic? Hint, they sound like cows or sheep in a stampede.

I read about this Tesla fire in a piece published by Yahoo! Autos called “First fire in a Tesla Model S burns $600 million off the company’s value”.

And I loved the last sentence in the piece Justin Hyde wrote for Motoramic.  He said, “For now there’s nothing in this case to suggest they’re anywhere near as flammable as the gallons of gasoline millions of drivers rely on daily.”

Curious about fires in gasoline powered vehicles, I turned to Google and discovered a fema.gov report that said about one in six fires is a highway vehicle fire and eighty-four percent of highway vehicle fires occur in passenger vehicles.

Get this, fema.gov reports that “From 2004 – 2006, an estimated 258,500 highway vehicle fires occurred each year. … and resulted in an average of approximately 490 deaths, 1,275 injuries, and $1 billion in property loss each year.”

That one fire in an electric-powered Tesla goes to prove that an ignorant mob is easy to lead around by the nose and is prone to panic. I think American politicians and radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh are very aware of this fact.

Imagine the panic caused if every fire in a gas-powered vehicle was reported by the media.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Interrupting or Ending Civilization—all it takes is the wrong kind of sunshine

As I sat down to write the review for Jeff Carlson’s “Interrupt”, I saw a headline that stopped me: “Sun Unleashes Solar Fireworks Preview for July Fourth.”

This pull quote from that Yahoo! Finance piece by Tariq Malik at SPACE.com says, “The most powerful type of solar flares are X-class sun storms. When aimed directly at Earth, X-class flares can pose a threat to astronauts in space, interfere with satellite signals and potentially affect electrical power grids on Earth.”

What Malik says at SPACE.com may be an understatement.

Because that’s not all an X-class sun storm can do, and to really understand how dangerous these storm can be to the earth, I suggest you read “Interrupt”—and afterwards you might even lose sleep thinking about it.

This book may be fiction, but a lot of what’s in this story is based on science, history and facts and it makes the most devastating hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, wildfires or tsunamis pussycats in comparison, because an X-class sun storm pouring out dangerous CMEs may destroy civilization as we know it and throw us back to the stone age.

While reading Carlson’s scientific-doomsday thriller, I stopped more than once out of curiosity to check (Google) to learn if any of this stuff that was happening in the novel could be true and discovered the answer was yes—a big yes. Maybe human behavior will not revert to being Neanderthals as it does in the novel, but it may come close.

The Carlini Institute says, “There appears to be a direct connection between the Sun’s solar storms and human biological effect especially after an ‘M’ class solar flare. … Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wind storms appear to happen after strong solar activity on the sun. … Solar flares affect the Central Nervous System (stomach lining), all brain activity (including equilibrium), along with human behavior and all psycho-physiological (mental-emotional-physical) response.  Solar flares can cause us to be nervous, anxiousness, worrisome, jittery, dizzy, shaky, irritable, lethargic, exhausted, have short term memory problems and heart palpitations, feel nauseous, queasy, and to have prolonged head pressure and headaches.”

In fact, an M or X class solar flare (CMEs) can knock out power for months or years bringing down the Internet too. It’s has happened before. Weather.com says, “A monster blast of geomagnetic particles from the sun could destroy 300 or more of the 2,100 high-voltage transformers that are the backbone of the U.S. electric grid.”

That’s the story you will read in “Interrupt”—a story about what might happen if the earth is bombarded by M/X class solar flares over a long period of time. And there is very little we can do about it if it happens. But in Carlson’s novel, Emily, the main character, believes she can manipulate human DNA to adapt and survive. And once the CMEs hit and civilization collapses, keeping her alive as she struggles to come up with a solution to save humanity itself is a race against time.

I learned something new that we should all be aware of—how our own sun might destroy today’s modern civilization in a short period of time while bringing on behavior changes to those exposed to the CMEs that might lead to more violence, murder, rape and war.

Carlson’s novel explores this topic and theme in depth and if you have trouble believing it might happen, just Google CMEs and learn how dangerous they are. Imagine being in a passenger jet flying across an ocean and a CME destroys the aircraft’s electrical/electronic systems shutting down the engines and everything else. What do you think will happen next?

My copy of “Interrupt” was an advanced reader’s copy, an uncorrected proof, supplied by Amazon Vine.

Discover Living on the Thin Side of Black Ice

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”