Friday, May 31, 2013


I said I would write about diet here so I'm going to do that today. When I discovered that many things I did not enjoy, joint pain, digestive problems including cramping and constant gas and others digestive problems that I won't go into detail about here to save on the ick quotient of this post vanished with the adoption of the Paleo diet I thought I had it all figured out. It was those evil Neolithic ancestors of ours foolishly settling down in villages and farming;

By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.

Even God said agriculture was wrong! :-) Sort of.

Well, there wasn't much about the paleo diet I didn't like, lots of meat, fresh veggies and fruits, eggs even some dairy could be squeezed in there, cheese and yogurt weren't all that bad really. But I did miss my pizza and pasta! And so I conducted several months of experiments on myself, cutting out and adding into my diet various categories of food. Very quickly it became obvious that I was gluten sensitive if not outright celiac (which I don't want to be tested for due to the intrusive nature of the tests.) So I cut out all the gluten, and continued eating milk and eggs and cheese and meat and lots of vegetables and fruits. I felt pretty good. I wanted some sort of confirmation of all of this so I found an outfit called Entero Lab that provides a relatively inexpensive and non-intrusive test for immune responses to different foods. As I had expected I have a pretty robust reaction to gluten. I was not happy to learn that I also reacted to eggs, dairy and soy! This was sucking pretty bad here as far as I was concerned.

Then I flashed back in time to my several month try at being vegan, and realized that the entire range of negative effects that diet had for me, including weakness, pain, bloating and just plain feeling rotten, were probably due to the fact that my diet was very high in two of the things I just found out I was allergic to, soy and gluten. I was eating lots of bread and wraps, drinking soy milk by the gallon and munching tofu inside my "healthy" whole wheat wraps. For some reason I got sicker than a dog. ;-)

So now, here I was finding out that the main ingredients of my vegan diet had been triggering a huge immune response in me, but that I also can't eat many of the things that the vegan diet had cut out for me. In fact the only "animal product" that doesn't make me sick within a day is meat! Of course.

So, meat was the thing that had pushed me into the vegan camp in the first place, the awful treatment of animals by today's factory farms was, and is, disgusting to me and made me want to be vegan. Today when I drive through the Central Valley on my way back to the Bay Area for work I pass by several dairy farms where the cows are crowded into barren corrals with no grass, standing in thick layers of their own waste they look miserable and smell worse. I don't know the real names of these farms but I call them "Vegan Maker Farms" because every time I see and smell them I want to return to being a vegan. I'm glad I don't go by a big CAFO like the Harris Feedlot you go by on I5 about halfway to LA. Nasty, foul, cruel and disgusting, and those are the mildest terms I could come up with to describe that one. Check this out:

Maybe then I should only eat pampered grass fed animals? Well, even well treated animals have those big sad brown eyes, I can't kill one, I have tried while "hunting" a couple of times in Montana and Idaho, Bambi is safe from me. I figure, if I am not willing to kill it I really don't have the right to eat it. Even if I could the reality is I can't afford the prices for grass fed beef anyway so it's all moot.

Which brings me back to what in the world am I going to eat now? I can't eat any animal products other than the meat, and honey if you are one of those extremist vegans who hates the idea of oppressing insects, which doesn't bother me, I'm eating honey and that's that. :-) But since I can't eat all the rest and the CAFOs are where almost all of the meat I'm likely to be able to get is coming from I guess I'm just going to have to get over myself and go back to being vegan, without the gluten and the soy. I found a blog with recipes Gluten Free Soy Free Vegan
and bought a cook book today, "The Gluten Free Vegan." Lots of it sounds pretty good.

Unlike previous times I've changed my diet I'm not going to be extreme about it this time around. When I'm buying my food and when I'm eating out I'll make sure I don't eat meat, that's pretty easy actually. But when I'm offered something with meat I think I'll just go ahead and eat it, at least at first. This is where I am then, gluten free, soy free, egg and dairy free and vegan-ish. :-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

That Tiny House and Minimalism thing

It occurred to me yesterday that since I'm living 1/2 time in the RV I could actually conduct an experiment in Minimalism and Tiny House style living.  It is my intention to move into the RV as my bedroom even while I'm at home.  For the last several weeks I've been parking outside, taking my bedroll and a few other items up to my room and staying there while in Ceres.  But it's felt odd, almost like I'm just visiting.  Then when I'm ready to leave for the Bay Area again I wind up having to drag everything back out to the RV and rack my brain trying to make sure I don't forget anything that I'll need in the next three or four days of being in the RV.  So, it seems to make sense to me just to go all out and make the big transition to minimalism right now.  I will sort through all of my stuff and put what I think I'll need in the RV, which is not much more than I have in it already, I think.  

Here are some things that are in my room that just won't work at all in the RV, a big desktop computer, a large reclining chair, two desks and a desk chair.   The computer will become a "family" computer, available for the kids to use whenever they need or want to use it.  The room itself with its desks and chairs can be a "study and crafts room" I think.  Other than these things most of what is exclusively "mine" at the house will easily go into the RV or into the garage or just stay in the closet of the "craft room."  :-)  

Please note all you people who are about to say how crazy I am, I did say that I was conducting an experiment here.  It may well turn out that I do not like this sort of thing after all, I don't know for sure.  Although the several times I've lived in very small spaces I did actually like it pretty well.  The key to this is to keep the amount of "stuff" in the space minimal.  Right now I like the way it works.   Of course I'm cheating by still having a bunch of stuff in a big house, and I'll be using the bathroom facilities and cooking in and eating in the house, and just plain hanging out there quite a lot too.  In fact my vision is that this will just be a detached bedroom set up, more a matter of laziness on my part than anything else.  But if it seems to work I might go ahead and get rid of my excess stuff "officially." Wish me luck!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Trinity Sunday and The Athanasian Creed

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. This is important in many ways, the best is the chance to recite or just to read over again the  Athanasian  Creed, a Catholic Koan IMO:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

See also:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Minimalism, again

It has been almost 6 months since I posted on this blog.  This interruption was due mostly to the fact that I was posting everything on Facebook instead.  While I don't mind posting there the truth is the format is more suited to short bursts of fluff than anything substantial.  In addition posts there tend to vanish into the background rather quickly, meaning I can never find anything I've posted there after a few days :-)  I know those posts are still out there (but who knows where?) but when I post on my blog at least I know where the thing is going to be the next time I want to refer to it.  But now on to the subject of this post.

Some time ago I was interested in the concept of "Minimalism" in life.  This is the idea that by reducing the number of our material possessions we could both reduce our impact on the planet, reducing our consumption of resources, and also improve our enjoyment of life by spending less time on cleaning, maintaining and just storing our "stuff."  There are dozens, maybe hundreds of web sites and blogs describing minimalist lifestyles, I won't bother putting up links here because you can just google the word Minimalism and find them yourself if you feel like it.  Besides, what is there to say about it beyond, get rid of all your extraneous crap and simplify your life.  It's pretty easy.  

My interest in the subject has been reignited by a recent change in my lifestyle, I'm now living 1/2 time in a 24 foot long RV.

For the last year I have been commuting from our house in Ceres to San Francisco 3 and 4 days per week, this 4+ hours a day of travel was exhausting, mostly because by the time I got home it was after 9pm and I had to get up at 4am or earlier to leave the house at 4:30 in order to make the train in Dublin and get to work at 7am.  The reality is I was only getting about 5 1/2 hours of sleep on work nights, and I'm definitely a 8 hour a night sleeper.   I was toying with the idea of getting a room in the city, but the only ones that were even remotely possible on my budget were simply vile.  Next I was thinking of selling the Toyota and buying a small camper van.  It was at that point that Mom stepped in and decided that we should get a full fledged RV that would not only provide me a place to stay in the Bay Area but also could be used for her and I to go camping.   So, she purchased the machine you see above here and for the last few weeks I've been living in it during my work weeks.  I really enjoy it actually.  

What this all has to do with minimalism is that I am perfectly content living in the RV with almost nothing beyond my clothes, iPad and iPhone, a bible and a couple of pots and pans to cook simple meals in.  (That is another subject for another post, what to eat and why)  I have a few blankets that I roll up and take with me, at home I sleep on the floor, in the RV I sleep on a bed, that's the only thing I'm not fond of to tell the truth, I'd rather be on the floor, but there isn't enough of that in the thing to sleep on it.  In my room at home I have some things that I think I can not only live without, but would really LIKE to get out of my way.  Knick knacks and my shell collection, those things can go away and I'll be as happy as the clam was that lived in one of those shells that I can't dust around without wasting a bunch my time.   I have a couple of boxes of old photos I'll never use again, they've been scanned and been digital for years already, plus they really aren't all that good for the most part.  I only keep them for sentimental reasons, and to pass on to my daughter, which I think I'll do right away, then she can store them or dump them as she sees fit.  I've already gotten rid of 99% of my books, not counting e-books, where my collection grows daily as I find new free ones to download.  My closet has been reduced quite a bit but still holds too much that I seldom or never use, so I need to go through that again.  My goal is to have my room set up in such a way that I can dust and vacuum in only a few minutes a week and keep it looking clean and neat at all times.  I like it that way.  

See, now all of this rambling babble just would not fit into a normal Facebook post, would it?