When the publisher of the newspaper I’ve been writing for the last 4 years asked me if there was a difference between vegan and vegetarianism, I knew this probably wasn’t going to end well. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, writing a free weekly vegan food and fitness column in a town where “I kill fish” bumber stickers abound and non-vegan restaurants run a lot of ads, even I was surprised the gig lasted as long as it did. Why did I do it? Lots of reasons. As a passionate animal rights author, I viewed my weekly 750-word column as forced disciple to get me to blog and do newsletters. What I found instead was the the column was so time-consuming, and that posting a blog and getting out a newsletter had their own additional time challenges. As a result the latter two suffered. I felt like I was reaching some of the million or so tourists who visit our pristine Anna Maria Island. Like many other columnists who wrote for free, any links to my books or websites, or mentions of events I was doing were part of the “fee” I was paid for taking the 3-6 hours required to put a column together.
My third book, Paleo Vegan, just went into pre-sales on Amazon this week. I’m doing the Celebration Marathon near Orlando on Sunday, giving a talk at the Suncoast Half Marathon Health Fair and packet pick-up tomorrow. My cooking classes at the Anna Maria Island Community Center begin soon, and then the Paleo Vegan book tour kicks off with the New York City VegFest.
The parting of the ways with the newspaper means that I’ll be on my own to get the word out about events I’m doing locally. The biggest thing I do is my free one-hour work out on Manatee Beach on Anna Maria Island every Monday at 9 a.m.
This is the incredible, pristine beach. It’s why I live here among the bumper stickers. The beach is almost always like this…full of birds and fairly flat and firm, but not too firm.
We meet at the playground and your friendly certified personal trainer (AFAA) and running coach (RRCA) will conduct my fav warm-ups and cool-down exercises and stretches. In-between, we’ll do a walk or run, or a combination of the two depending on the abilities/wants of the group. We often start down the beach with the runners going ahead while I split my time between the two groups. I focus on the exercise, and since I understand that most people vacationing here probably aren’t vegan, I keep that to myself unless someone wants to talk about it. I’m always happy to talk about it. But I also think it is important to reach others outside the box with an accepting attitude of compassion. Meet them where they are.
If you know anyone vacationing here who would like to join us, feel free to send them our way. This Monday, my marathon will be less than 24 hours old, so I may be hanging with the walking group.
Meantime, you have my pledge and time for more blogging and posting good content. I’ve always enjoyed running and writing outside the box. But with all the interest in eating and living vegan, I think I’m done with writing for mainstream publications. Unless the New York Times calls.