Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Leaving Vegetarianism to Eat Healthier

As of this year, I have been a Vegetarian for twenty years. The beginning wasn't that noble. I was a teenager and wanted to empress this pretty ballerina. It didn't really work, but the move helped me start forming my self image. I dived into Native American spirituality and explored other aspects of the new age culture. I stood firm on three reasons that kept true for the last twenty years.

1. Killing another animal is profound and should be done with respect for the life you are taking.
2. Most the meat available is from factory farms. There are many reasons to despise these places.
3. As poor as I eat, if I ate meat too, I'd be huge. I'm still the fattest vegetarian I know.

As my life started to settle down after marriage, house, and twins, I looked for ways to slow down and enjoy life. I wanted to improve myself in ways that would effect my children. They pick up on so much that I do. It's my job as a parent to make the right choices for myself, as well as them.

I have tried getting into a regular exercise routine. I kept with several different programs for months, but saw little difference in my weight. I also used the exercise as an excuse to eat even worse (I'm burning extra calories, right?!). The only time I really felt a difference was when I was single and on the prowl. I'm married and lazy now.

My trips overseas helped me get some perspective. I have always been struck by grocery stores in many part of the world have 80% FOOD. Not processed food, but real food. I realized that I don't eat real food. I mostly at things that come out of a box. Even when I cook, I take several things out of different boxes. This bothered me, but I no idea how to change it. I had grown up in the world of supermarkets and worldwide food transport. There are no seasons, all the "fresh" food looks perfect, and 80% of a grocery store is processed food. And nearly everything has some type of corn and/or soy by-product.

Leah and I also started going to Ner Tamid, a Jewish Congregation here in West Cobb. I was really struck by a good explanation of why reform Jews follow Kosher rules. It's all about mindful eating. When you set forth and think about the foods available to you, and you stop and ask your self if it follows God's laws, you think about God. You've now brought your spirituality to the table. I liked that idea. I don't give much thought to my eating. I just eat want I want as long as it's not meat. I wasn't giving much thought what goes in my body. I wanted to have food be a more important part of my life, to know where it came from, what it does to my body, and what it may do to my children eating this over a lifetime.

I knew I wanted to make a change, but I didn't know how. Then Leah stumbled on the Paleo plan - a way of eating that mimics the way our human ancestors ate for the vast majority of human existence. The more we read about, the more it made sense for us. I wasn't a real vegetarian, I was more like a starch and carb-o-tarian. Once I was better educated about how our bodies deal with starches and carbs, I knew I needed to shift.

There are a ton of different Paleo diets out there with slightly different takes on the same premise. Leah and I decided on the Whole30 plan.

There was a big problem. It's a hunter and gatherer diet. Hunter's ate meat. Plus, once Leah named out all the restrictions, I realized that was nearly my entire diet. I knew I ate poorly, but never this poorly. The decision was surprisingly simple once it came to it. I had a diet plan that I liked and I wanted to make a change. Then when I realized I had reached my 20th year as a vegetarian, it all came to a head.

I started a few weeks ago. I removed dairy and sugary food. Within 2 weeks I noticed a change in my face. At 3 weeks, I weighed myself and had loss 6.5 pounds. I felt good and it was pretty easy. A week ago I cut out grains, legumes, and everything else on he paleo plan. I accidentally picked up some older slacks for work on Thursday and was delighted to see they fit.

Today I had my first bite of beef in 20 years. It was a bunless grass fed beef burger at Yeah Burger. It was very tasty. Eating meat will round out my diet and help my body reset it's metabolism and glucose tolerance.

Leah and I also watched Food Inc the other night. It made me realize that I can eat meat and do so in a humane and sustainable manner. Since then we found a local butcher that had all sorts of local humanely raised meats. Plus, we found a farm only 15 minutes away from out house that sells locally.

It all feels good. I feel confident that I can stick with this. It's a bit tough when I am traveling to find something, but I am getting better at it. And it forces me to be midful, to remind myself that this is good for me, my wife and my kids. I lasted 20 years skipping out on meat. Let's see if I can do 20 years of mindful eating.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Autism Scholarship Program

My two step sons, Jorge and Leo, are part of a Autism Scholarship Program that is being hosted by Myles-A-Part. Myles-A-Part is partnering with two other Atlanta organizations to offer its first family therapy grants for families living with Autism. Please take a few minutes a watch the video below. If you or your company would like help our boys get the services they need, go to to get more information.

Autism: Hope & Help for the Journey (HD Version) from Matt Gibson on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Atheism

Proof that Jews are not the only ones who can rhyme in falsetto.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Invitation to UUCA's Celebration Sunday

Rev. Anthony David's personal invitation to special Celebration Sunday services on October 19 (9:30am & 11:15am).

For more info, visit

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More on Troy Davis

The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday issued a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis less than two hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection.

Davis, 39, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. He was scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s justices are scheduled to decide Monday whether to hear an appeal of a ruling issued in March by the Georgia Supreme Court. In that 4-3 decision, the state Supreme Court rejected Davis’ request that he be granted a new trial or a court hearing to present new evidence.

In its order, the U.S. Supreme Court said if the justices decline to accept Davis’ appeal, “this stay shall terminate immediately.” If the appeal is granted, the stay will remain in force until the high court issues its ultimate ruling on Davis’ appeal, the order said.

Davis claims he did not commit the crime. Since his 1991 trial, seven of nine key prosecution witnesses who testified against him have recanted their testimony.

On Monday, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to reconsider its decision to deny Davis clemency and the Georgia Supreme Court, by a 6-1 vote, declined to issue a stay of execution.

From the AJC.

Tory Davis will see tomorrow

Seen on the Breaking News Ticker on

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis, who was convicted in 1991 of killing a police officer.
Yeah!!!!! I'm having a great day now!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Voter Registration

The Obama campaign just launched a new one-stop voter registration website called Vote for Change:

You can check your registration status, register to vote, look up early-vote information for your state, apply to vote absentee, or even find your polling place.

Information for Georgia

Can I Vote Early In Person?
Early Vote in Georgia is available from October 27 through October 31.

Where Do I Go On November 4th?
Soon you will be able to enter your address and find the polling location that’s closest to you.
Want us to let you know when this is available? Click "Find my polling location?" at the top of the page.

What Time Will The Polls Be Open On Nov 4th?
7:00 am to 7:00 pm

What to Bring With You When You Go.
Georgia law (O.C.G.A 21-2-417) requires Georgia residents to show photo identification when voting in person. When you arrive at your polling place, you will be required to present one of the following forms of identification: Georgia driver’s license, even if it is expired; photo ID issued by a state or federal government agency; passport; employee ID card containing your photograph and issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of Georgia; U.S. military ID card; or a valid tribal ID card.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Florida Adoption Ban Declared Unconstitutional

Florida Circuit Court Judge David J. Audlin, Jr.has granted the petition of a gay man to adopt the child who was placed in his home as a foster child in 2001 and whose legal guardians the man and his partner of 15 years became in 2006. The child is identified in the court documents as John Doe. To grant the adoption, the judge had to find unconstitutional Florida’s ban and adoption by lesbians and gay men. In so finding, the judge reviewed what was said about the ban when it was enacted in 1977 and concluded that the origin of the ban was a politically charged climate, dominated by Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade that resulted in the repeal of the Miami anti-discrimination ordinance.

Judge Audlin addressed the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Lofton case, which refused to find the ban unconstitutional. Lofton was decided based on summary judgment, which means there was never a trial with evidence presented about the validity of the ban from a best-interests-of-the-child perspective. The appeals court in Lofton said that the legislature passing the ban might have thought it “premature to rely on a very recent and still developing body of research, particularly in light of the absence of longitudinal studies following child subjects into adulthood and of studies of adopted, rather than natural, children of homosexual parents.”


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ignore the Pregnant Teen, other reasons not to like Sara Palin

Over on my LiveJournal, I got in a mood and posted a big ol' brain dump on why Sara Palin is not right for the job of VP. It started with my exclamation of disbelief in a VP candidate having an unwed pregnant teen. That's not a good reason to not want her as a VP.

The fact that she has a pregnant teen is clouding the issue. Either side would have jumped on this. Were this Obama's teenage daughter, the right would have cried "an attack on the morals of America". Either way... it shouldn't be a issue.

So let's look at all the other things that should be talked about.

  • Palin is under investigation in a nasty conflict involving her sister, a state trooper, an ugly divorce and the firing of Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Her lawyer is now demanding that the entire case be taken out of the hands of the independent prosecutor hired by Alaska lawmakers, and given over to a state personnel board -- whose three members were appointed by the governor herself. link
  • Fellow Republican and Alaska State Senate President Lyda Green, told the Anchorage Daily News on Saturday "She's not prepared to be Governor. How can she be prepared to be Vice President or President?" link
  • Sarah's mother-in-law, Faye Palin, echoed the sentiment. "I'm not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she's a woman and a conservative. Well, she's a better speaker than McCain," Faye offered. link
  • Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard.. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations. link
  • Andrew Sullivan reports that in an interview with Alaska Business Monthly, Palin, confessed "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe." link
  • From 2003 to 2005 Sarah served as one of three directors of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group. In July 2008 the senior Alaska senator was indicted on seven counts of corruption. link
  • Members of a fringe Alaska secessionist party, AIP, claim Palin was a member in the 90s. link This one looks be debunked (or spun). I think that she was never officially a member. It was AIP member claiming she was a member. She still spoke at their convention and supports them. link
  • If Sara Palin wasn't an official member of AIP, her husband was. link
  • Palin received millions in earmarks as mayor of Wasilla. Taxpayers for Common Sense combed through the lobbying reports that Wasilla filed when Palin was mayor. It came up with 14 items, totaling slightly less than $27 million. link
  • Palin hired a lobbyist who honed his skills under now-jailed Jack Abramoff. link
  • An Alaska State Senator reveals the McCain campaign is stalling an investigation of Sarah Palin link so that report doesn't come out right before the election link
  • Video footage reveals Palin talking to her church congregation about how her policies are "shaped" by God. link She's a member of the Assembly of God, the Pentecostal denomination known for diving healing, speaking in tongues, and defrauding evangelicals (Morris Cerullo, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Gene Scott, Bill Hamon, Jimmy Swaggart, Karl Strader, Jack Coe, Benny Hinn.... I could on and on.)
  • According to CNN, After Campbell Brown asks some hard questions to McCain's spokesman Tucker Bounds, McCain canceled an interview with Larry King. link
  • Earlier this year, Palin used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live. link
  • She favors teaching creationism in public schools. link
  • She didn't even have a passport until 2007. link
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. link
  • She wants to open ANWR for drilling. link

I am utterly convinced that if she was a man that she would not be considered for the VP spot. She's got a few redeeming qualities as a person (deciding to keep a Down baby, supporting her teenage daughter, etc.), but as a Vice President, she's a worse pick than Cheney.

As for experience, there are arguments to be made from both sides. She does have "executive" experience, yes, but from a state of less than 650,000. All this talk about how this is so different from what Obama had done seems like splitting hairs. As Robert Gibbs said, "if executive experience is truly important on the Republican side, maybe she should run for president and John McCain can be her vice president." See, I believe that McCain, Obama, and Biden have the right experience and education to be President or VP. I just don't agree with McCain's view on the issues. I don't think that Sara Palin has the right experience or education, and I don't agree with her views.

So I agree, please ignore her teenager who got knocked up by a high school drop out. There are many more reasons to not want her as VP.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church

I'm sure some of you saw in the news a few days ago that there a shooting at a church in Tennessee. This was at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Yes, the same Unitarian Universalists that I am a part of. I was left dumbfounded when I heard the story on Sunday. Our ministers sent a message out on Sunday, which you can read here. WIRB in Knoxville has done some great reporting on the incident, keeping as updated when the second man died later on during the day. They have posted a timeline full of links. Here's just one of the videos available on their website.

Here at UUCA, we held a vigil on Monday night. It was very moving with about 40 or 50 people showing up. We had families that used to attend TVUUC. We had teenagers that had made friends with TVUUC members at The Mountain. We had one lady talk about her fear and anger because being black and gay in the south, UUCA is one of the only places she feels safe, and she was angry that someone would threaten that sanctuary. We lit every candle we set out for the event. It was very moving and a great show of support for our Tennessee brethren.

Personal accounts are starting to be posted. Dr Reginald Osiris writes a very moving prose:

"People looked up, puzzled. Was is a sound equipment malfunction? Part of the scene? I'd never seen "Annie", so I had no idea what to expect. Vicki got up to see what had happened. Then she screamed "Get down, everybody!"

Another personal account from writingjen:

"There were no more shots for a moment, and I saw under the pew that people were running toward the doors ahead of me. I also realized that Hannah was outside. Realize that we had no clear what happened, how many people might be shooting, where he/they had been or come from. I screamed at Rob to go get Hannah, probably no sooner than he himself came to the same realization. He vaulted the single pew in front of us and ran out the stage right back door. My mother-in-law climbed over the same pew -- afterward, she said she must have had one of those adrenaline rushes that enable superhuman feats, because she's pretty sure she'd never make it over a pew under normal circumstances -- in a skirt and heels, no less. Now standing, I could see that most of the people were gone, some were milling around to my right, where it became apparent the injuries were. I saw my mom on the floor beneath her walker -- my dad was nowhere to be seen. I knew Mom would never be able to stand by herself, so I gave Z to his granny and she ran out the same door after Rob with my screaming boy. I climbed over the pew myself and went to mom -- after taking a second to pick up my purse and laptop. Can you believe it? What a dumb thing to do (but lucky, as it turned out)."

This event has touched me very deeply. I have only been a UU for a year or two now, but the sense of community has pulled me in way before this incident. The attacker was angry at the world and blamed liberals for his troubles. This attack could very easily been at UUCA or any other liberal church out there. It's scary and I am glad that I have a large extended family to share this troubling time with.

I was proud to be a UU last week. I am even prouder this week.