Pedaling for Peace

On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Aaargh! Blog Platform - Photos - Google+

For the record: I am not a "wiz" at all of this computer stuff. I was programming "FORTRAN" in high school if that tells you anything!

So, I do not know "HTML" except for what I have learned accidentally here on this blog site. I'm starting to learn merely by looking more closely at what comes up automatically.

However, recently, I noticed that I had photos from this blog posting automatically to my "Google+/Picasa" account. In an attempt to re-organize that page and delete duplicate photos, I inadvertently deleted photos from these blogs. Now, I'm having to do some kind of round-about stuff to re-locate them and re-place them.

It is all Very Frustrating!

However, I am going to persevere, and as lame as I may be about all of this computer stuff, I know more now than I did when I started blogging here over two years ago. And I feel it is so important to be utilizing the tools that are available to us these days, especially for such an important purpose; i.e. to bring more attention to the cause of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and moving towards the realistic and long-term goal of World Peace.

I guess what I want to emphasize here for my readers is that - I am Really Not That Good with all of this stuff. None of it has come easily to me. I do not feel that I have any advantages over anyone else in this area. I am just absolutely determined to accomplish my goals and if I have to slog through, slowly, even painfully, one step at a time (and in this case, even having to back-track sometimes), then I am willing to do that. Period. I am not going to give up.

So if there is something that You Really Believe In, then do not let any doubts about your abilities get in the way. I think anyone with enough Willingness to "go the extra mile" will not let anything stop them. There may be some stumbling blocks and some slow-downs, and even some back-tracks, but the key is to Keep On Keepin' On!

And that is what I am still determined to do.

In the mean time, if you see any of my blog posts with weird grey circles with minus signs in the middle of them where a picture should be, that just means I haven't gotten around to fixing them yet!


Monday, April 22, 2013

One More Week Left in Florida!

As of this time next week, I should be heading to the bus station to begin my 24+ hour trip back to Texas. As of right now, I still need to raise at least another $100 or so just to start the trip. That leaves another $2000 or so to raise to finish it.

I have a New Page on this blog, in case you haven't noticed. I'm calling it my "Please and Thank You" page. On it I have listed, pretty explicitly, all of my "needs" and some of my "wants" for the second half of my cross-country bike trek, and I will be updating it regularly. I didn't have anything like this for the first half of my journey because I did not have the experience to know for sure what my needs were going to be, and I was still getting used to this blogger platform which has actually changed quite a bit since I first started using it. However, this time I do have that first half of the trip under my belt, so the estimates should be pretty on-target. Furthermore, I'm going to be more diligent in giving public recognition to the people who have been helping me (if they would like that). I was not as savvy about how to do that on this blog last time, but now that I have my "Please and Thank You" page, I feel I should be able to do that without too much difficulty.

For the record: This has all been an amazing Learning Process for me and although I wish I had known how to do everything from the beginning, there have been a lot of things I've had to figure out along the way instead, and I figure, that's okay, too!

Now, however, speaking of "Donations" if you would like to provide financial support for my trip, there is always the PayPal "Donate" button, and as you will see on my "Please and Thank You" page (linked in the upper part of the right-hand column), I have provided some other alternatives for sending money to me via my friend Alisa as well. There are also specific items you can purchase directly and then have them shipped to Alisa and she will then get them to me. Or...if you let me know in advance, I may be able to give you an upcoming host's address to which you may ship needed supplies. ALL types and levels of support are welcomed and appreciated!

And, speaking of Alisa...She has been so very generous to me over the last couple of months. She gave up her room to me, and I have made a mess of it with all of my boxes, etc. (which I will be clearing out this week, of course). She has been chauffering me around to and from the Christ Church Bazaar on Wednesdays, and to and from my storage unit, and of course, to get groceries. She's an awesome person and there is simply no way I could be doing what I'm doing without her support. I feel very lucky and grateful to count her as a friend.

Another person who has been particularly helpful is Mike Kieffer who manages the bazaar/flea market for Christ Church. Not only has he helped me with a free table at the market, he has offered his friendship and personal support as well, helping me to get connected with the local VFW here (and, thereby, to all of the other VFW's across the country), giving me some work to do and get paid for, and buying some of my few "man things" at the flea market. He is a wonderful man, and I have enjoyed getting to know him better as a friend during this second time around for me here in Florida.

I have one more week here before I will be taking a bus to Texas. I've chosen the bus over a plane because the price was significantly lower and, as Alisa and I agreed, it would give me more of an opportunity to meet and possibly talk with other people about my mission...which is really what this is all about! I am getting more excited about getting back on the road as I trudge through the remaining practical details I've had to handle here in Florida. Once again, I am looking at maps, e-mailing potential Warm Showers and Couch Surfing hosts, planning my route, and keeping my heart open in faith, as it has been through all of this, knowing that, things Will Work way or another! That is something else that this past year plus of experience has taught me: I have never gone hungry; I have never been without shelter; I have never been "completely broke" (although I was down to change a few times); and I am meeting so many wonderful and generous people, and learning so many life lessons from all of these experiences, I know it has been well Worth the Effort, and I am motivated to keep "efforting" as necessary to Finish what I have Started!

It continues to be an amazing adventure and I appreciate every person who has been a part of it with me as I continue to "Pedal for Peace"!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Food Basics Part VI - Essential Whole Foods

Here are the links to all of the preceding blogs in this "Food Basics" series:

Food Basics Part I  where I discuss my initial experiences with the principles of "Proper Food Combining" and "Raw Food Vegetarianism" as well as the pitfalls of "Lunch Righteousness."

Food Basics Part II where I give a progressive overview of my "Fruit First" breakfasts ending with my very simple recipe and long-term storage ideas for "Green Smoothies".

Food Basics Part III where I describe how to create my "Finger Salads".

Food Basics Part IV where I describe a simple way to sprout lentils, mung beans, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

And finally,

Food Basics Part V where I discuss how to prepare my "Special Egg Fried Rice".

In this blog I am going to explain in more detail why I have focused on consuming these foods in particular:

1. Dulse
2. Almonds
3. Sunflower Seed and Pumpkin Seed sprouts
4. Brazil nuts and Cashews
5. Mung Bean Sprouts and Lentil Sprouts
6. Carrots
7. Brown Rice and Wild Rice
8. Cucumbers
9. Tomatoes
10. Romaine Lettuce
11. Celery
12. Greens - Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard
13. Fruit

About one year into my early exploration of "Natural Hygiene" which I discuss at length in my "Food Basics Part I" post, I decided to go give blood. However, when they measured my hemoglobin it was registering as "low" and the nurse suggested that I look into taking iron supplements. Of course, knowing what I knew then about "supplements", I knew I could do better, I could find some other whole food alternative, I just needed to do a little more research.

That research led me to purchase a copy of the following manual: Composition and Facts About Foods... by Ford Heritage. It has been a critical reference for me ever since.

What I found to be particularly useful about this little manual was that, not only did it offer a very thorough nutritional analysis of whole foods (as illustrated here)... had another section where each major nutrient was listed and then foods containing that nutrient were listed in descending order according to the relative amount of that nutrient they contained compared to all of the other foods analyzed.

As I was concerned about finding foods high in iron, I simply turned to the "Iron" page and sitting there at the very top of the list was something called "Dulse".

I had no idea at the time what "dulse" was, but it did not take me too long to find out that it was a type of seaweed. I found some of the dried, full leaf version at the local health food store and along with my fresh oranges in the morning, I would roll some dulse leaves in romaine lettuce and eat it like a juicy, salty snack. As I explain in my "Food Basics II post", that procedure evolved over time so that now I simply add the flaked version of this washed and sun-dried seaweed to everything: green smoothies, egg-fried rice, the occasional soup or sandwich, pizza, or even the (rare) salads and entrees bought at restaurants (as I often carry a small container of dulse with me). You can usually find it in 4 oz packages in a lot of the health food stores. You can also buy it directly from one of my favorite companies: Main Coast Sea Vegetables.

Within a relatively short period of consuming dulse regularly, I could literally feel the difference in my energy levels, in terms of feeling "oxygenated" and clear-headed. However, I also learned, that if my life-routine got so disrupted that I was not able to get my daily intake of dulse, within two or three days I would once again be feeling tired as in anemic. Furthermore, with the iron in my blood that I needed, my cravings for sweet foods (i.e. for sugar high "energy") started to level off.

Granted, I have not gone to give blood lately, but I had plenty of blood tests while I was in the Navy, and the fact that I continue to have the energy I need to Ride My Bicycle Across the Country at the getting "more mature" age of 48 (as of this writing), then, after 20 years, the Dulse is one thing I make sure I do not run out of. Furthermore, it kind of boggles my mind that more people, especially those who are vegan or vegetarian, do not know about this excellent source of not only organic (as in Plant Based) iron, but also many other organic trace minerals.

However, I did not stop my research on the "iron" page of my Composition and Facts About Foods manual. Over the years, I have focused my food choices primarily on those foods which: a) I enjoy eating, b) are readily available, and c) rank high on one or more of those pages. Should you purchase this manual yourself you will discover that, for instance, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds show up very highly on many of these lists. (It is no wonder the birds go after sunflower seeds as much as they do as they really are loaded in nutrients.) Pumpkin seeds may be a little expensive, even in bulk, but, again they are Nutrient Dense and when you sprout them, it makes those nutrients even more available for assimilation.

Although it may be strange to eat "Finger Salad" with No Dressing or Dip, I really enjoy eating these whole foods. Because I am Not regularly overwhelming my tastebuds with high concentrations of sugar, salt, and other chemical flavorings that show up in so many processed foods, I can taste what cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, and lettuce are supposed to taste like. And because I have seen where these foods show up on each one of these lists, I know where I'm getting my Calcium from, and I know where I'm getting my B-vitamins, and I know where I am getting things like Silicon and Bromine. I know that celery is one of the best foods I can put in my body because it helps regulate my pH balance as it is one of the most alkaline foods available and, if I ever need it (which is not very often), it makes a great, natural antacid. What I have discovered is that if I want to keep things simple, and yet cover all of my essential nutrients, I can do that with the foods I have discussed in this series.

For my own personal metabolism, I have found that I also enjoy: Organic Sharp Cheddar cheese and stone-ground whole wheat crackers, tuna salad that I make from - guess what - celery, mung bean sprouts, lentil sprouts, sunflower seed sprouts, pumpkin seed sprouts, dulse, and some light mayo of some kind. And I also like to occasionally eat sardines that I lay on romain lettuce leaves, spread with mayo and sprinkled with - dulse - which I then roll up and eat by hand. I eat sprouted whole grain bread which frequently gets made into organic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I also like to eat "Luna" bars every once in a while. Those are my "desserts".

What I know though is that the majority of my actual nutritional needs are met by the foods I listed at the beginning of this post. Everything else is kind of "extra", although I suspect there are some Omega 3 oils or something like that in the fish that have value, as well. And I do include eggs in my "Egg-Fried Rice", and I like to make fried egg sandwiches once in a while (with romaine lettuce and Dulse - instead of bacon).

Furthermore, all of these foods can be routinely packed in a Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner bag as necessary. This is the typical bag I would pack every day when I worked in a lab at the National Institutes of Health:

Breakfast - Green Smoothie with Dulse, soaked almonds, or Brazil nuts and cashews.
Late Morning Snack - Six stone-ground wheat crackers and six slices of sharp cheddar cheese (about an ounce).
Lunch - Finger Salad
Late Afternoon Snack - Luna Bar or Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Dinner - Egg Fried Rice with Dulse (Coming straight from the refrigerator, by the end of the day it was up to room temperature and I would just eat it that way rather than heating it.)

On weekends, when I prepped my vegetables for my "Finger Salads", often with left-overs, that's when I would make either tuna salad, or sardine salad, or maybe have an organic frozen pizza to which I would add my sprouts and seaweed just after it came out of the oven.

The only changes that I made to this basic routine for my bike trip was the addition of a mixture of "Cliff Shot" electrolyte powder, organic sugar, and filtered water, for drinking while I am riding, a few more Luna Bars to cover the additional calories I am burning, and instead of PB&J's, I did the "dried" version (with chocolate); i.e. peanuts, raisins, and M&M's (the "classic" trail mix). Also, I found that my hosts tended to want to feed me once I reached their homes and so I welcomed their hospitality and ... added dulse, and sometimes my sprout mix when I had it. Otherwise, if I stayed long enough, I would cook my egg-fried rice recipe to share with them.

I hope you can appreciate that: 1) This diet regimen did not come about for me overnight. I've been working on it for many years now, and 2) It really is not that difficult once you know a few things, especially about those foods that are particularly Nutrient Dense. Give yourself some time to adjust to the "blandness" if you are used to eating more highly processed and seasoned foods. And, just so you know, a lot of garlic can compromise your taste for things like this as well. That is one of the reasons I avoid eating garlic almost completely and onions most of the time.

As I said way back at the beginning of this series: It is important that everyone find what works best for them. But knowing some simple Food Basics can help build a foundation, especially for people who are working and commuting long hours, but still want to be able to prepare their own food on a regular basis.

I hope you have found this post and the whole series helpful. If you have any questions or comments, your feedback is always welcome.