Welcome to my blog! I am glad you are here. This blog is the name of my first book, The Wellness Diaries, a self-published (“beginners must begin somewhere”) memoir published in 2013. The title is in reference to a literal handwritten wellness record that I kept during a major lifestyle change that included spending time in nature and adopting a plant-based diet during a battle with mental illness. In the diary I tracked how I felt physically, the weight I lost, my lab results of cholesterol, vitamin D levels, sleep patterns, exercise routine and my mood. Through the change in lifestyle, I overcame a diagnosed mental illness. It was a miracle and now I am eager to share the health pattern that I discovered toward wellness (wholeness). It is always about the journey not the destination. I have learned a lot since I first began and as I continue to learn and post occasionally as I do.
The posts are organic and can be about any wellness or environmental topic. The well-being of people and planet covers a lot of ground. However, the pages are organized by topic. For readers, pages are the section in black with white letters.
When I first sat down to write a memoir, I had no idea that it would lead to my writing five books!
They are listed in order as follows:
1. The Wellness Diaries (first memoir)
2. Life Is Conscious, Live with Purpose. Abandon Fear. Coexist. (An illustrated compilation of seasonally written essays, I call it the almanac for the awakened).
3. Natural Reptiles
4. Eyes On The Prize. Clarity in the Pursuit of Peace, Life, Liberty and Happiness
5. The Irony of the Well, The Aftermath and Dark Side of Recovery from Mental Illness (second memoir). Since the detour my life took spanned a total of 15 years, two memoirs were necessary.
Apparently I had a lot to say. There is a reason for each book, and trying to understand the philosophy taught in the books from these blog posts, is like trying to experience a veg-stir fry one rice grain at a time. The real message is found in the books. The blog is for supplemental reading; it is parts, pieces of the whole; the posts are rice grains with flavor. I invite you to dive in and experience the philosophy in its entirety, the full veg stir-fry. I am inviting all to do just that reading both books and this blog. The message of the books is found in the books.
Please read the books and help to pass on the message.Three of the five books are available for order through the publisher, iuniverse and Barnes and Noble. They are available in paper back or e book and are currently available in English.
#4 The Natural Reptiles E book is available here through paypal. The hard copy is available through the annual ecomarkets.
Natural Reptiles E book, $3.00.
If I could summarize the philosophy of Wellness Diaries the short answer would be: Less is more-it really is. More weighs you down. Less sets you free. Quality over quantity and learning to fill yourself from the inside instead of falling into the trap of perpetual consumerism. When you accept, embrace and start living those fundamental principles it is a step into the stream that leads to joy, happiness and even bliss-always a journey, not an arrival.
I eat a vegan diet, but you will notice that here I use the term ‘vegan’ selectively. I am a vegan but being vegan is not my identity. I am Owen with passions, views, biases, likes, dislikes, interests, and goals. All are welcome here and there is something here for you. This is a blog for both vegans and people who are not.
Being a strict vegan is not necessarily for everyone. However, reduced meat is beneficial for both humans and the earth, and as human beings we are all the same species with the same length of small intestines, the same general teeth shape and size, which means we do have (or should have) a certain base in our diet. This base is plants, or starch to be more specific. The word starch is a reminder that caloric adequacy is not feasible from eating salad and raw veggies. The mainstream of humanity would be doing wonders for their own health as well as the health of the planet to adopt a plant-based diet. This may not mean everyone being a strict vegan.
Plant-based means a base of starchy foods such as rice, potatoes, legumes, sweet potatoes; this is necessary for adequate caloric intake. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are great as well (such as that shock and awe salad that always sparks comments at the restaurant). 😊 The main term is plant-based, meaning that meat could be consumed up to three times per week at a maximum. Exceeding this is missing the point of plant-based for human and environmental health.
The vegan movement is gaining a lot of momentum. If you haven’t seen the film Gamechangers,(Netflix) I recommend that you watch it; it is both informative backed by sound study and research as well as amusing.
At a time when environmental devastation rightfully raises much concern, it is important to know that factory farming is a major cause of pollution, water waste and destruction of the earth’s forests. If humanity adopted a plant-based diet, (not necessarily vegan) factory farms would not exist. It would be to the earth what exercise is to the human body-a heaven sent, benefitting multiple areas in one action.
It is easier to find and retain happiness while healthy and you are more likely to be healthy when you live a healthy lifestyle. Pursuing happiness, journeying through its multiple layers should leave you feeling something like: “I have everything I want”. Everything you want may not automatically equate to ‘every thing’. Still, you begin to experience being filled, and filled from the inside first. You feel full, and nourished physically and spiritually, and you will begin to have the desire to reach out and share with others since you now have something to give. Whereas before you may recall that you were empty and trying to run on little in your glass or that empty tank. This is backwards.
The well-being of people and planet covers a lot of ground, and the vertical growth up the trellis occurs in layers. It is a beautiful thing that the two go hand in hand. It could be said it is more like how it’s supposed to be. For this reason everything on this blog will have to do with some aspect of healthy people and healthy planet-in layers. It is my hope that you will ‘begin somewhere’ and start the process of awakening and enjoying studying things out for yourself. This leads to the natural desire to taking an active role, getting involved in becoming a conscious citizen. The material on this blog is made by experience and observation unless otherwise cited. I have experienced and been through a lot and feel like I can shed light on some aspects of life, so here and in the books, I do my best.
The first steps are dear to my heart because they represent the introduction to a whole new world and path that opened to me. It led me to realize what I really do want in life vs what I don’t want, and I cannot tell you how incredibly liberating that is, or just how grateful I am to have discovered it. It acted as a catalyst that eliminated the excess from my life that I was carrying around but didn’t need. I don’t miss it. (This excess also consisted of worn out habits, beliefs or thought patterns, and not always necessarily tangible things). This improved my health, it caused me to awaken to the joys of mindfulness and filling my glass to where I naturally want to give back to others, the community and to the earth. I see and sense with clarity and my want radar can almost instantly communicate to me whether it is something I want, or more often, something I don’t really want or need.
Let me be clear. This philosophy of living lightly on the earth is not a deprivation campaign. It is in joy. I share this to show what is possible as you decide for yourself what you want to try, and to go at your own pace. Here, we respect free will and there is allowance to climb through the levels at your choice and free will. It is stepping into joy through the simple pleasures and buying the things one truly wants. This is one of the joys of life.
However, clarity is needed with that sentence because take it from me, you don’t always want what you think you want. Often, a want is a temporary fix or attempt to compensate for a deeper need, unseen, but is not being met. This awareness then, is priceless. It is a key in man’s pursuit of happiness. With that, part of awakening is the realization of the model of the cycle of constant consumerism is upside down.
We could be a lot closer to what we actually want (this is different for each person, even though we are conditioned to believe otherwise) in the pursuit of happiness if there were a way of cutting through the noise and the clutter and keeping one’s eye fixed on the goal. Will this work exactly for you also? Maybe not, but it is my submission that you will gain wisdom, lightness, insight and clarity from the steps, taking back your health and shedding the excess physically and spiritually for your journey. You will see more clearly than you ever thought possible. Personally, it has been rewarding and it is now liberating to be filled from the inside. I want what I want, but I’ll put it this way: Having experienced this journey, I already know what I want both in life and in the store. This is liberating and refreshing. It is liberating and refreshing to walk into a store, any type of store-doesn’t matter and there will be only a handful of things that I want to buy. Nine times out of ten I already know what I’m looking for. I am on a mission, both in life and in the store. That which is not part of my path is clutter, undeserving of my attention.
I cannot tell you how liberating it was to discover this.
This has simplified things in a most exhilarating way since many things for me are not an option. It may seem counter intuitive, but too many available options makes humans stressed, not edified; yet, I don’t lack options. With the exception of being on vacation and buying souvenirs or something, when I see something I do want that is not on my list that day, I rarely buy it on the spot. This has helped me to ensure that I avoid emotional and impulsive buys, which, looking back often led me to trouble. I already know what I want. I either search for it online, or if locally and I walk into a store and see something that I want, I give it some time and after a few weeks or even months, if I still want it, I go back and buy it. I go to the store to buy what I already want and need, and I need little extra or surplus. This is clutter. I prefer peaceful Zen; I have a purpose; my purpose brings me joy, more than things. Living lightly on the earth and always wanting to do more in so doing also brings me joy. I fill myself from the inside in my own way, and this contentedness is not dependent on “stuff.” I have things. I have stuff, but I aim to keep it simple.
I hear of all the useless junk and gadgets worth of stuff that society conditions us to buy and accumulate and have, (but a week later one may realize they don’t even need or use it, or forgot that they even had it!) I can’t imagine living that way. Further, I feel very grateful to have discovered this spring of life-giving water; for once I was that way, and I tried living with excess stuff as described above, and there is no going back. I can’t even express what a night and day difference this discovery has made in my own life. All that I write about is sharing the wisdom that my journey has taught me. As you wake up, you will begin to realize this new gem also.
Health is like climbing out of the muck and climbing up a mountain. The journey is yours. You own it, and the heights to which you aspire is your choice. It is the journey. What will you learn, keep, take with you, recycle and discover?
Here you choose your thread of joy and let that thread guide you there. Here we respect free will and where you are on your journey. You can climb through the degrees at your own pace.
I hold a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health Promotion and a minor in Zoology from Weber State University. There was no minor required for my major, but I chose one anyway; zoology seemed a nice fit.
My degree has to do with helping to improve the quality of life for all people. Straight up let me tell you that we don’t all want exactly the same things (beyond the basics), or to live the same way so we shouldn’t try and this is okay.
If you were to look at the entire course of human history, you’d see that we’ve come a long way in this manner. We have evolved for a long time, battling a hard way of life and the plagues of infectious diseases for centuries. In our history, these were the diseases of having very little. Now the problem is the opposite; now the plagues are the diseases of western affluence. There is still work to do, and with the earth’s rapidly decreasing resources, the window of time to do it is also closing fast. On the individual level, inner turmoil expands out to hectic environments. I like to see that corrected, a gentle reigning in a pleasant order to the chaos, seeing people happy, filled and at their best-healed. This is true healing. Helping to bring this about brings me joy. There is a lot that goes into this, but here we usually start with the physical, good old plant-based diets, sufficient quality sleep, much time outside, effective stress reduction/management and exercise.
Still reading? Fantabulous. Ever combine words just for fun? Well, I highly recommend it.
In addition to eating a plant-based diet, here are a few quirky eco things that I do. I share this not to compete, or gloat, but to provide ideas and portray some of the many possibilities:
* compost nearly all food scraps
• hang my clothes up to dry
* wash my clothes with eco-neutral soap
• set aside at least one day per week that I don’t drive at all
• walk and ride my bike as much as possible, even to buy groceries, also consolidating and combining trips when I do drive
• bring my own reusable bags for groceries and pet supplies
• reuse produce bags for dog clean up bags. The next thing I would like to do in this way (here is a confession for you; we all have them): When I can, I’d like to only use the biodegradable bags that are made from corn or rice husks. They are 100% natural and 100% biodegradable. Still, I give my confession, my apology and my pledge that it is on my list of where I can do better.
• use eco bedding such as recycled paper, or even wheat kernels for my cat’s litter
• turn off the engine of my car when idle everywhere except for red lights
• no longer buy new things made from wood, and it is especially good to avoid exotic hardwood because this destroys the great forests. Instead, I aim for bamboo, used or reclaimed wood. But I haven’t bought either for quite some time.
• My showers use carbon neutral soap, and less than 2 gallons of water because I pre rinse then turn off the water. Then I soap up and turn it back on to rinse off
* I vote, both locally and for the presidency. I also donate to social and environmental causes, and the Green party because I insist that more than two parties are needed and making the earth (the one and only planet that we have) a priority is long overdue
* My books can be ordered as an e book, or hard copy available as “print on demand”.
When you begin to awaken, you are filled from within first and you desire to reach out to others and to the earth. You can feel again and you want to be part of the solution.
When I began to awaken, I craved going to a forest, being out and about in nature and seeing with my eyes and through my eyes. This filled the void. When you begin to awaken, you see the world and certainly the earth with new eyes. You feel satisfied. You know of real abundance, and it has little to do with stuff. You know how to fill that void to the point that you forget what the void was like. Now, the void I used to try to fill is replaced by the joy I experience from living lightly on the earth and seeing a forest, the river, wildlife, or being one with nature, instead of buying things that took away from these or that cut the forest, and take from the earth that I love. Now, instead of buying anything from a cut virgin forest, I gather rocks, or sticks that have already fallen from the trees naturally and I make things from them. I’m not very good yet but getting better. A mattress, and candle sticks are among some of the items I have ventured into making. That good old art of working with your hands is fantastic. It is among the things we have lost in the shift to a fast paced society and all manner of digital gadgetry.
This may seem extreme, and maybe it is. I do this because I want to; it is voluntary. Living like this brings me joy and it feels good. It is a way, a lifestyle that I choose to do my best to give back and to live lightly. It is a simpler life because less is more. However, mentioning extremes, never forget that in this world of extreme imbalances, sometimes extremes (possibly) such as what I’ve described above are needed and welcomed as the only effective counterbalance to extreme imbalance, and if enough people did these things, well…
I live very lightly on the earth and this is what I feel I can do and what I want to do. It is my choice. Just as it may not be everyone’s cup of tea to do all these steps, you can take comfort in doing what you can and are comfortable with. I submit that you will discover that it sets you free.
It is my hope that you will enjoy your own journey as you learn to shed the excess, and to think outside the boxes of society, and as you look to nature for answers, you will be acquainted with joy, abundance, inspiration and clarity.
To reading, studying, journeying, education and the well-being of people and planet that begins with your own journey.
Yours in harmony with the earth,