Thanksgiving: To Work or Not To Work?

I’ve run across several post and articles on Facebook concerning the morality or lack of morality of Americans having to work on Thanksgiving Day.

Many are against working on a day that has traditionally been set aside where most families including extended family members gather to spend the day together.

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Those who have spoken out against working on Thanksgiving promote the sacredness of family while enjoying a day free from the obligation of commerce and noisy shoppers.  This passion for tradition runs deep.

It seems as if it wasn’t that long ago when Black Friday for all intents and purposes didn’t really start till 7:00 am the day after Thanksgiving.  Brave souls may line the cold streets and parking lots of their favorite malls at 5:00 am to be the first to get in on what may be the best deals of the season.  But as years passed and the market expanded, stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy changed the game by opening earlier and earlier.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who foresaw that Black Friday would eventually start on Thanksgiving Thursday.  Malls may have survived the feeding frenzy for shoppers a little while longer had it not been for the internet.  Online shopping has made such an impact towards the convenience of the shopper, they had no choice but to open their doors and give themselves and opportunity to get that early dollar.  I get that.

Still is there perhaps a limit to our condition of having money burning holes in our pockets?  I read recently where a manager at a Pizza Hut restaurant was fired for refusing to open his store on Thanksgiving.  He wanted his employees to have the day off for those aforementioned and traditional reasons.   I can dig that too.  I mean, who is going to order pizza on Thanksgiving Day anyway?  Apparently some people will.  Which is a point I will get to shortly.

Just like employment, paid vacation time is a premium that many average wage workers in America don’t have the luxury of having. Our laws don’t mandate that employers require them like Europe where the mandatory vacation minimum is 4 weeks per year.  Within our business and political cultures many business owners spar with the lower classes of people who are most often their workers.  Many conservatives wouldn’t dare support a mandate requiring ONE week of vacation.  For the working poor to the lower middle classes, it’s work more hours for less pay with the least amount of benefits.  The ‘job creator’ is doing a favor for the worker in their eyes.  For a standard employee to share in the wealth or benefits of a successful business is considered Marxism.  This is what we have bought into.  And that brings me to my final point.

The culture of instant gratification is what we have craved for decades.  Instant stardom, (see music and reality TV) instant food, instant movies, (Netflix) and even instant buck dancing preachers from LA.  We want to be the first and best at everything pop culture and with that family values and traditions have fallen to the way side.  If you are working at a department store, a mall, or a kiosk on Thanksgiving, it’s not merely because the company you work for is greedy.  It’s because your friends, family and fellow citizens who have bought into the same quick, fast and lickety-split lifestyles you’ve required have demanded that you be available to service their lust.  If that wasn’t the case then on Thanksgiving the stores would be empty or not congregated enough to maintain staff.

For all who could not travel and be with family I totally understand your pain.  I’m for the idea of having sacred holidays where society takes a rest.  But equally valid is that we cannot pontificate as if others are not and have not worked for decades on Thanksgiving; from the local drug store or the gas station to get those eggs you ran out of, to the people who bring you football and other entertainment on television.  (I won’t even talk about police, firefighters, military personnel and hospitals.)  It’s a two way street.  And in these days and times, to have a job is a blessing in itself.

Anyhoo… Whatever situation you fall upon, Happy Thanksgiving

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The Weight of the Individual


So after a three day weekend of partying, eating and debauchery I messed around and gained 7lbs. After 3 days of intense workouts and training I lost 9lbs to get back to my goal weight. I learned a few things within that process.

1) The human body is a funny thing. If you feed it junk it will desire and crave junk even more. What starts out as feeling loaded down and tiring will soon be your addiction. Additionally, if you never work out and are lazy, the body will reinforce that tendency even to the point of death. One must work hard to break these personal trends.

2) The opposite is true. If you feed your body healthy foods for the most part it will desire and crave more of these as well. If you exercise often the body will respond positively to more and more of it. It will prompt you to keep it up and build on your progress. Furthermore, one would have to work hard to undue these healthy habits and desires as well.

3) The body is a machine that programmed to quickly adapt to whatever you train it for. A well trained and disciplined body or temple will serve you well. A body full of garbage and inactivity if not retrained will literally drive itself to what I call 2nd degree suicide. Most of the unhealthy foods I ate over the weekend I consumed simply because they were there. I wasn’t hungry for most of it, but I didn’t want to waste my money.

The feelings I had inside my body told me to stop as it was rejecting the oversaturation of grease and fats. But I kept on going till I couldn’t stand it anymore. Fortunately for me, I was still in shape and motivated enough to quickly shake the damage I had done to myself.

Our bodies will be trained one way or the other. Let’s train our bodies to live and to live abundantly!

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What? Me a Vegan?

Well perhaps! 

Many of us like to say we struggle with our weight.  But if we look a bit deeper, most of us who feel we fall into that category really struggle with discipline at the dinner table.

Believe it or not, food is an addiction… especially in America where we have access to so much.  I’m not trying to give you an enormous amount of detail here because the information is easily obtained.  But between processed foods, sugars, salts, and fillers our bodies become hooked on what’s easily available.

As I get older, I have become very much in-tuned with my body.  At present I weigh more than I’d like, but to most people I look just fine.  If I fast for instance and someone at work gets wind of it because of my lemonade mix via The Master’s Cleanse, they quip “Why are you on a fast?  It not to lose weight is it?”  For me it’s not merely about the look but rather about the feel.  I know when my system is running at it’s optimum level.  I know the weight that I feel the most energetic and productive.  I know exactly how my clothes should fit.   I know when I am sluggish and not quick and sharp.   

It’s not very difficult for me to reach a comfortable weight.  It’s just a matter of me being disciplined for a couple weeks to do whatever program I choose.  I am stubborn enough to train my body and say no to it’s food lust when I get to that place mentally.  My problem is that eventually I get back to those same habits that put me in a place I’m not comfortable with. So I am thinking of changing the game up and perhaps becoming a vegetarian or a vegan.  I hear that vegan is better.  

A lifestyle change in food can be challenging.  Most restaurants for instance don’t have many vegan options.  And let’s face it, I love having a Steak n’ Shake double cheese on sourdough every now and then.  And when I go to LA to see my mom, am I really ready NOT to have a Double Double from In-N-Out Burger?  FOREVER?

Well yea it may have to be like that.  I don’t know.  Do I go vegan with moderation meaning I can have a Double Double  once or twice a year, or never?  One thing is for sure.  I want a change and I must change my food choices.  

Experience has taught me that you just can’t jump into a lifestyle change overnight.  One has to have a plan.  Part of that plan is knowing what choices are out there for the vegan.  Where can the food be purchased?  What kinds of foods are mobile and can be taken to work or for snacks?  How do you prepare foods so that they can satisfy the taste buds?  How do you deal with cravings if you get down emotionally and desire “comfort” foods?  Answering these questions first will help me sustain for the long haul. 

So here is the plan.  I am going to research this vegan thing.  See if I make a plan of action.  In the meantime, if there are any vegans reading this post, I invite you to give me some tips or offer some sights I can look at.  As I acknowledge my own set of food addictions, I know myself enough to know that I ready for a permanent change.  I am also wise enough to ask for help and not attempt to do this on sheer will alone.  I need wisdom, the benefit of someones experience, an encouraging place to go, and dammit some great food choices that taste as good if not better than the shrimp chimichanga  Las Fuentes Mexican Restaurant. 

If you got love and knowledge – get at me!