Charlie's Blog: May 2024


Thrive Mode Revisited

Because shoes that fit better, perform better.

This post is a companion to the original post, Modes: Thrive And Survive. I have had a year to reflect on the theme of that post, and I haven't changed my mind on any of it. I have grown deeper in my understanding of it. While that post was introspective and dealt with myself, this post is more outward observation and applies to everyone. Thrive mode is a ridiculous concept. We are all just survivors.

Thrive mode is predicated upon the belief that you can make a heaven out of this world and this life. You can't. From the Tower of Babel to the New World Order, human beings labor and strive to make a paradise in the present world. This utopian delusion can never be realized.

Thrive mode is the individual serving of that utopian delusion. This delusion takes many forms like the Bucket List and motivational speakers and consumerist lifestyles. Thrive mode is a rare thing and exists when people are fortunate enough to be rich in their youth. Eventually, age erodes thrive mode into survive mode.

Survive mode is when you throw in the towel on thrive mode. Age, injury, and poverty force people into survive mode. I think surviving takes more strength and virtue than thriving. They just don't give out trophies and medals for beating cancer, raising kids as a single parent, or surviving a car crash.

The genesis of this post came from hearing the story of a woman who contracted breast cancer and underwent surgery and chemo to beat it. While she was fighting this cancer, her own mother contracted cancer and died. After she beat that cancer, she would be put in the hospital again after someone ran a red light and T-boned her car. She had many broken bones and internal injuries. She would overcome that until she had to return to the hospital again to have 8 inches of colon removed which was a consequence of the accident. At this point, you are saying the same thing I am saying. This is one hell of a woman. She is a survivor. Here is where the story changes.

This woman was an avid runner before and during her troubles until the car crash. She fought to get back to that running which she does now. This strikes me as an anticlimactic effort to return to thrive mode. Being a survivor means less than being a winner. And that, Gentle Reader, is dumb. After you have survived all of that crap, getting a finisher's medal for coming in with the mid-pack at the half marathon is a mockery of fortitude. Somehow, the "winner" is better than the survivor.

Survivors don't have to prove anything. They don't have to sign up for suffering because they have already been through suffering. All of this thrive mode garbage is vanity. These thrive mode people are desperate to discover in themselves what survivors already know they have.

The thrive mode mentality is a sickness in our modern culture. Every year, people attempt to summit Mt. Everest which represents one of the prime items on the Bucket List of Life. A lot of people make it to the top. Most of the deaths occur trying to make it back down. This is why there are 300+ human popsicles at the top of the world. These people were motivated climbers, but they were not survivors.

I think mountain climbing is incredibly stupid. Somehow, we have become a society that celebrates this stupidity while denigrating common sense. Common sense is not climbing Mt. Everest. The most dangerous thing we survive is the daily commute. No one appreciates what it takes to make it to work and back home each day. That is survive mode. People do death defying things on a daily basis and don't realize it.

We need to celebrate survivors more. This means turning off the televised sporting events and appreciating normal people. The real heroes are found among the common folk. They grind each day as they get through life in survive mode. Survive mode is reality. Thrive mode is a fantasy for self-deluded people with maxed out credit cards.


Death of the Vegan Evangelist

I would rather eat an actual burger.
BHAGYASHREE KATARE, author of a study on plant based meats

Becoming a vegan is an awesome health decision. Becoming a vegan entrepreneur is an awful business decision. The simple fact is that opening a vegan eatery is the fastest way to bankruptcy. You would fare better wagering that capital on the tables in Vegas.

The vegan diet is DOA. It always has been and always will be. Vegans will always remain in the single digits of the population. You can analyze the reasons for this all day, but the actual truth is plain to see. People love the taste of meat, and they would rather die than give it up. Nothing you say to these people will ever change their minds. Not even disease and pending death will change their minds. In fact, they will give up everything else before they give up meat as evidenced by the popularity of the keto and carnivore diets. As for vegans themselves, they have a notoriously high rate of failure as they quit plant based eating.

Why continue spreading the vegan message? It is obviously not being received. It doesn't change the truth or value of that message. People don't want it. The best option at this stage is to let them get sick and die from eating crap.

I am grateful that some people put the vegan message out there because I was receptive. I was resigned to having heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and chronic gastrointestinal issues. Finding out the truth was very empowering for me. I was not at the mercy of "bad genetics." My diet was killing me. I just didn't know it.

People don't want to eat a healthy diet. They want to eat crap and get away with it. I ate crap and got away with it for 41 years until I didn't. Yet, I wish I had gotten the message earlier in my life. I realize that all my vegan evangelism is a vain effort on my part to reach my earlier self. I think I would have listened if people like me had tried harder.

The reality is that it is the few that have ears to hear. The masses are condemned to stupidity. They can't be reached. No amount of information, marketing, or motivation will make a difference. Vegan evangelism is a waste of time, money, and energy.

I will continue to write about plant based eating on this blog. What I will not do is talk about it beyond this blog. I already sit back and listen to people talk about various health issues without saying a word to them that all of this is needless suffering. I recognize these things not as cries for help but as the whining and misery of consequences for actions they are never going to change. When it comes to eating crap, these people are committed. I don't stand in their way.

UPDATE #1: I came across this sick video on YouTube, and I felt so bad for this guy and his stupidity.

Had a Stroke. Got Kicked Out Of The Carnivore Club. But It Is Okay. I Am Happy!

Watch this video and read the ridiculous comments.

UPDATE #2: After hearing and seeing stories of old people dying from Alzheimer's disease and other lingering illnesses, I have come to the conclusion that a life ending heart attack is not the worst way to check out of this life. That heart attack will be quick and save a lot of money on healthcare expenses and ease the burden of geriatric care on families. A coronary at 70 beats dementia at 80. This fact eases my conscience quite a bit on the vegan thing.

UPDATE #3: This is an interesting video from Mic the Vegan on this topic:

Is Veganism Dead?


Plain Vanilla Walking

People don't want just vanilla. They want 31 flavors.

Walking seems like a basic activity. You put one foot in front of another. That's it. Yet, some people can't stop there. It's not enough to have the plain vanilla flavored walking. They want more. They have to go beyond and change it up.

The first thing many walkers choose is some form of weighted walking. This might be ankle weights and wrist weights which are generally considered bad for your joints. Others opt for a weighted vest or a backpack for rucking which are bad for your back. All of this weighted walking represents new avenues for injuries that you supposedly gave up when you quit running.

The second thing is hiking. Walkers like to spend time in nature, so hiking is a natural progression for many of these people. A lightweight day hike seems sane, but things get serious with thru hiking which involves more gear and sleeping on the ground overnight. You can also end up as food for bears.

A third thing is Nordic walking which is walking with those poles like you're cross country skiing. This activates your upper body and gets your arms into the game until you lose those poles. Everyone in the neighborhood will look at you like you're an idiot with those poles.

A fourth thing is power walking which is just brisk walking. Some people put more arm swing into it, but I think it comes down to taking more steps per minute. I don't see this as anything but plain vanilla walking.

A fifth thing is race walking which is where people walk as fast or faster than joggers while keeping one foot in contact with the ground. This is an effort to turn walking into a sport. The movement is unnatural and very difficult. It amounts to running without breaking into a run. It has one advantage over running. It has a low injury rate. The downside is that runners will tell you that race walking isn't a sport. On this, I agree with the runners.

This brings me back to plain vanilla walking. Why do people feel the need to add to or change their walking program? Is it boredom? Is it a lack of self-confidence?

There is a famous saying that pigs get fed while hogs get slaughtered. The gist of that statement is that greed will undo the good. For some reason, the fitness space is prone to hogs getting slaughtered. CrossFit is the most extreme example of this. The Gentle Reader can probably recall all sorts of other fitness fads. These fads come and go which is why I prefer the tried and true over novelties.

I like plain vanilla walking. One day, I'd like to put a water bottle and a sandwich in my backpack and spend the day at a state park. I am not there at the moment, but it appeals to me. I don't see this as being outside plain vanilla walking.

I prefer plain vanilla walking. I don't care for extra equipment or to turn it into a sport. I keep it simple and boring. It works for me.


How To Drink In Moderation

Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.

I do not drink alcohol. I have three good reasons for not drinking. The first is that I do not want a drunk driving conviction. The easiest way to avoid this is to not drink. The second is that alcoholic beverages cause gout flare ups. The third is that I am a traumatic brain injury survivor, and I need all the brain cells I have left. I can never drink alcohol again.

Research indicates that there are no health benefits to drinking alcohol. Once upon a time, some people made health claims for red wine, but these have been debunked. Additionally, I know of no one who quit drinking that wasn't better off for it. You can never go wrong with not drinking.

Now, I am not a Baptist or a teetotaller. I am simply a Roman Catholic who doesn't drink. I find complete abstinence to be easier than perfect moderation. There are people who can drink in moderation. The problem is the definition of moderation. When does drinking become immoderate? Well, I have the answer to that question.

Drinking in moderation is easy. You can have one adult beverage in a 24 hour period. That's it. That one drink means you are not a teetotaller and can be sociable with people at a tavern or cocktail party. That one drink doesn't make you an alcoholic. In fact, you probably won't even get a buzz from that one drink.

I can already hear people moaning about this. One drink?! Why bother? And that, Gentle Reader, is my point. People drink to get buzzed or hammered. They are not interested in moderation whatsoever. They want to get DRUNK. Drunkenness is not moderation.

I agree that one drink isn't worth the bother. This is why I don't waste my time with drinking. One drink is perfect moderation. This would be a single glass of wine at dinner or a can of cold beer after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day.

Drinking alcohol has one benefit. It makes you more sociable. I don't need that because I have something better. I drink coffee. Coffee makes you more sociable and also smarter at the same time. You can meet people at a cafe and have a cup or two. Additionally, coffee has many health benefits and virtually no downsides. This is why I make the juice of the magic black bean my top beverage choice after water.

I also like drinking hot green tea in the afternoons or evenings for relaxation. This is also good for social occasions. Like coffee, tea has many health benefits as well. You can't go wrong with tea. And you can drink it iced if you want something refreshing on those hot summer days.

It is fashionable and even a tradition for Catholics to drink a pint of beer or take shots of whiskey. The argument is that evil is not found in a thing. Evil is found in the human heart. I will say that alcohol helps those people find that evil.

The reality is that many Catholics become alcoholics or have drinking problems. One of the principal characters in the Catholic novel, Brideshead Revisited, was an alcoholic named Sebastian Flyte. Dorothy Day reported having to help drunken Irish priests who couldn't lay off the sauce.

Why do people become alcoholics? That is easy. The alcoholic has depression which is anger at God. When you are angry at God, this can only lead to one's self-destruction. These drunks find momentary relief in the bottle, and they never find escape until they reckon with God. This is why AA puts so much stress on turning to God for help.

When you are on good terms with God, you will find moderation in all things especially drink. Life is better and happier with God than without God. Alcohol is no substitute for God.