Monday, December 31, 2012

You Can't Kill Rock & Roll

This is a totally random post and has nothing to do with food. I've been thinking about all of the concerts I've been to in my life.  I began going to them consistently when I was 14 or 15 and haven't stopped.  The music style has changed but I still enjoy going - as do my wife and kids. 

Here is a guess of the bands I saw live: Judas Priest (3x), Iron Maiden (2x), Scorpions, Def Leppard, Krokus, Pat Travers, Gary Moore, Aerosmith, 38 Special, Triumph, Night Ranger, Motley Crue, Mylon LeFevre, Accept, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Night Ranger, Metallica (2x), Kiss (2x), WASP, AC DC, Van Halen, Bon Jovi (2x), The Fat Boys, Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, Wasp, Deliverance, Armored Saint, Fastway, SuperChic[k] (2x), Newsboys (2x), Queensryche, Skillet, Toby Mac (2x), Audio Adrenaline, Run Kid Run, Pillar, Hawk Nelson, Trans Siberian Orchestra (2x), Coney Hatch, Ozzy, Ted Nugent (3x), Jackal 2x (once in a club in Norfolk when they were doing G&R cover songs), Nelson, KJ-52, Kids in the Way, Great White, Third Day, and Jennifer Knapp. I'm sure there are others I've forgotten.

  • First Concert - Iron Maiden & Judas Priest.  Axe was a no-show. (Kalamazoo, MI)
  • Concerts I had tickets to but couldn't go for various reasons: Molly Hatchet & Sammy Hagar (Kalamazoo, MI) and Great White & White Snake (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Cheapest Concert - Def Leppard, Krokus, Gary Moore for $9.00 (South Bend, IN)
  • Best Light Show - Trans Siberian Orchestra (Grand Rapids and Battle Creek, MI)
  • Best Show - Queensryche & Metallica (San Diego, CA)
  • Coolest Concert Moment - One of my friends caught the neck to Paul Stanley's (Kiss) guitar when he smashed and tossed it (Battle Creek, MI).
  • Worst Concert - tie, Bon Jovi and 38 Special (Norfolk, VA) and Van Halen (Chicago, IL) zzzz.
  • Biggest Disappointment - Steven Tyler forgetting 90% of the words to songs he wrote and stopping the show early.  Good thing they were only opening for Terrible Ted (Kalamazoo, MI)
  • Best opening act - Iron Maiden (Kalamazoo, MI)
  • Loudest Concert - AC DC during For Those About to Rock (Kalamazoo, MI)
  • Bands I Still Want to See - U2, The Fray, Building 429, and Switchfoot
  • Best Guitar Solo - Probably Richie Samboro (sp) from Bon Jovi (Ka;l
  • Why am I here show? - Fat Boys, after a Philadelphia 76ers game.  (Spectrum in South Philly)
  • Best Vocals - Geoff Tate, Queensryche
  • Best Drum Solo - Drummer from Nelson.  I know, shocking. The only reason I remember that show. Guy was awesome.
  • Best Rhythm section - Third Day
Just a walk down memory lane.  Do you have any to share?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Drink, Drank, Drunk

It's close to New Year's Eve and many people will be knocking back some adult beverages.  The problem with it is that many of us are far from "adult" acting while under the influence.  Libations are often referred to as a social lubricant.  It helps people unwind and eradicates shyness.  Perhaps that can be a good thing but not always.

There is a fine line between celebration and inebriation and many people simply lose track of that line.  I'm not trying to be preachy but the truth is that liquor really isn't good for us.  Any of the health benefits that can be derived from wine can be obtained in other methods without the riskiness of STD, DUI, or DOA.

If you're going to have a drink or two please be safe - prearrange transportation or stay at home.  Don't overload your liver, kidneys, and brain with too much alcohol.  Hangovers aren't fun.  Spending the night in a drunk tank is not fun.  Paying DUI fees are not fun.  Spending the night in the hospital is not fun.

So consider the risk vs. reward.  Also, please read this article


Red Beans & Rice

I'm not cajun or creole and my family never served red beans & rice.  I actually didn't visit NOLA untl this past summer.  Many years ago I had a cook book from Chef Paul Prudhomme and one from Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet).  Of course the former is filled with Cajun and Creole recipes and the latter has a good section of NOLA comfort food.  Recently I've created an amalgamation of the many and modified it appropriately.

Red beans and rice is traditionally served on Monday's - which was wash day.  The domestic goddess of the home was busy washing laundry and needed a dish that basically cooked itself (long before crock pots I suppose).  So the tradition was created. 

I'm making this part of my New Years Day celebration.  Not everyone enjoys black eyed peas so this will be a nice alternative.


1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted
1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt (or no salt seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon each black pepper, white pepper and red pepper
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 quarts vegetable stock 
water for soaking
Cooked brown rice (cook it in stock rather than water for better flavor)
Dash of liquid smoke
1 tsp tabasco sauce
Chopped scallions for garnish


Rinse and soak beans for 8 hours.  Drain water and rinse beans again.  In appropriately sized stock pot saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, and celery until vegetables are soft (but not mushy).  Add beans and stock and bring mixture to a boil.  Toss in all other ingredients (but not liquid smoke, tabasco and scallions).  Allow mixture to simmer for about 2 hours.  If it becomes too thick add a little water or stock and stir. 
After it has cooked for 2 hours remove some of the mixture (a few cups) and blend with an immersion blender and return to the pot.  This will make it creamier and thicker.  If you do not have an immersion blender use a potato masher - be creative! Adjust seasonings to your taste.  Every family is different.
Add liquid smoke and tabasco sauce and simmer for an additional 15-30 minutes. 
Serve in a large bowl.  Mound of rice, topped with beans, sprinkled with scallions.  Ta-da. My son and I enjoy adding hot sauce to our bowl. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Celebrity Vegans

It's close to the end of the year and the press begins the inundation of lists: Best movie, best dressed, coolest hipster, Time person of the Year.  You know the drill.  I'm a sucker for lists too.  My favorite: 100 books every man should read (sorry ladies, athough yours is totally awesome too!).

So I started thinking about the most influential vegans and started making a mental list.  You know, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Clinton, Arian Foster (really?), Tony Gonzales, Woody Harrelson.  The list could go on and on.  I did some initial research and discovered that Tony and Arian aren't really vegans - and that's okay.

Then I realized that I am not either.  Vegan is an easy way for people to understand how I eat.  Most don't understand there are various levels of veganism.  I didn't either until after reading some blogs and reading several books.  I'm totally into eating plants because of a history of heart disease in my family and it's working for me.  Others are in it for different reasons too and I don't know their background to write a post about it. I've not figured out how to say "I eat a whole food plant based diet" and not sound like an absolute dork (in a bad way, trust me I'm not adorkable).

When I was younger I used to act as though I didn't really care what people thought of me - but I did and still do.  I live my life to the best of my ability and do my best to live by principles rather than fads.  Secretly, I'd like nothing better than to be associated with great people like the "Top 10 Celebrity Vegans" but I'm not. People really don't care about what I eat (on a grand scale) and truthfully if someone becomes a herbivore because Alicia Silvestone, Mike Tyson, or Monroe from Grimm is vegan then when or if  they "slip up" what are you going to do?

If you eat plants because of religion, good for you!  If you prefer eating plants because you find killing animals morally abhorrent - awesome.  Please don't judge me because I am not protesting, wearing hemp clothes, or still attend church on Sunday and they serve meatloaf (that I don't eat) duing a potluck. 

There is alot of room for improvement on how we eat for many different reasons.  Plus there is plenty of space for us to love each other and resist judging others.  Those of us that don't have a moral or spiritual reason are doing our best and it's difficult because we're soley going on willpower and we need your help.


Good Luck Black Eyed Peas

From my southern tradition and background I've been taught that eating black eyed peas on New Years Day was considered good luck. Not sure if it is true but it sure is a tasty dish.

This dish should be started the night before with a good soaking of the peas.


2 cups dried and sorted black eyed peas
1 sweet onion coarsley chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
2-3 ribs of celery chopped
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1, 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp each black, white, and red pepper
favorite no-salt seasoning to taste
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
red hot sauce or vinegar based pepper sauce to top

Cover beans in pot and soak overnight.  Drain and refill with fresh water.  Cover by about an inch.  Bring to a boil and then set to simmer.  If you use a timer set it for an 1 1/2 hours.  While peas are simmering add onion, garlic, red pepper, and celery and saute for 3-5 minutes.  Add mixture to peas and stir well.  Add all other ingredients except tomatoes and liquid smoke.  When timer goes off add tomatoes and liquid smoke and cook and additional 15-30 minutes or when ever peas are done to your liking.  Add water as necessary to pot to keep peas covered.

Guests can top their bowls with hot sauce of their preference. Some people enjoy eating black eyed peas over rice. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

$8.00 Milk? Are You Crazy?

Fear mongering never stops in Washington D.C.  We're told that if Congress doesn't intervene then milk prices will skyrocket to $8.00 per gallon.  Oh my, really (hands to face with fearful look of disdain!).  PUHLEAZE!

First of all the government should not be involved in any type of price setting (read, fixing) whatsoever.  Our elected officials are a dithering tribe of nincompoops incapable of making anything work correctly much less a complex system such as the price of milk (or any other commodity).

Secondly, if milk prices were to climb people have other choices (plant milks) or even water that are not subsidized by an invasive and intrusive government.  Furthermore, demand for a product will decrease when price increases.  Production will eventually decline and a favorable market price will once again be established.  Of course the politicians in California and Wisconsin will not sit by idly while their (sorry, I can resist) cash cows are sacrificed.  My economic acumen is quite elementary but I encourage you to visit places where one can be educated and not indoctrinated by a buffoonish media.

People not drinking milk or eating dairy products might be the best thing about a fiscal cliff.  Unfortunately, prices will fall and people will once again eat and drink dairy that is harmful and unnecessary.

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

The following scripture could possibly be the most often argued about, misunderstood, over used, under used and misquoted in the entire New Testament. The "positive confession" and "name it and claim it" groups often hijack scriptures and beat them into oblivion until the rest of us simply avoid it for fear of being connected to a particular group.  Others are afraid to believe that God would want people to prosper (read do well) and live healthy lives.  Personally, if God wants me broke and sick I don't want Him or want anything to do with him.  I don't believe that is the case at all though. God has empowered me to prosper and given me the tools to live a healthy life.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 2)

Changing our minds is the first step for changing our lives.  More people die from self inflicted wounds (obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood pressure, etc) than drunk drivers and homocides. Basically, we're very good at killing ourselves one bite at a time, one drink at a time, one smoke at a time, and one 30-minte sit-com at a time. 

The Adventist movement strongly encourages a plant-based diet.  I'm not Adventist and don't pretend to know or understand their theological standing on many issues.  However, I don't believe that God requires a vegetarian lifestyle. Having said that, I do believe eating a whole-food, plant based diet is better for our health.  Animak products just aren't the best choice with all of the other choices available to us today.

All things are lawful for me but not all things are profitable.

Of course hundreds of years ago one couldn't go to the market and purchase pomegranates, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, collards, almond milk, and zucchini.  International trade has made our ability to eat in healthy manner relatively easy.  Yet, people choose to have their minds clouded with absurd science, folklore, and borderline voodoo on a daily basis.

Where do you get your protein?  If you don't drink milk you will have brittle bones!  Plants are incomplete proteins at best.  All of these and all other plant-based myths have been exposed as poppycock by people such as Dr. Joel Furhman, The China Study, and dozens of others.

Eating a nutritious, healthy diet can be a challenge but is easier now than it has ever been.  It requires focus and long-term thinking but can be done. 

Join me!

New Years Day Hillbilly Hoedown

Although I live in the upper Midwest my families, for the most part, originated from the south: southern Indiana (bordering Kentucky), Tennessee, Virginia, and Missouri.  If you have ever eaten a meal with a southern family you know that it tastes good and is totally unhealthy.  Lots of grease, lard, hocks, salt and many other things that contribute to early graves and aches and pains later in life.

I've been a fan of southern food my entire life and have been working diligently to modify it to improve its nutrititional value.  In all seriousness, southern food is healthy when a little care and forethought is used in its preparation.

Another thing that my hillbilly (I use that term with the utmost respect, trust me) family would do is cook many southern dishes on New Years Day. It's considered good luck and ensures prosperity for the upcoming year. Yes, we still want prosperity even though in many circles it seems to be going out of style.

Why don't you come and set a spell and break bread with us on the 1st?

Black Eyed Peas
Hoppin John
Mixed Greens
Red Beans & Rice
Baked Sweet Potatoes
"Fried" Potatoes
Garic & Serrano Green Beans
Chopped melon
iced tea

Mmmm....Recipes to follow.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Supreme Cream

The ingenuity of many chef's is inspirational and quite amazing.  When I first began eating plants I was in total shock and disbelief that "cream" could be made from cashews.  At first I was like, "No Way!" Then I tried it and am still amazed.

I'm a big fan of soup - especially cream soups.  Cream of mushroom, cream of asparagus, cream of broccoli, cream of potato (e, or no e? Mr. Quayle?), tomato bisque --- they are all just so yummy! It's quite simple actually.  All one needs is a good vegetable stock, vegetable or tuber of choice, herbs, and cream.  Couldn't be any easier, right?

1 cup of RAW cashews

Soak the cashews in water overnight in the refrigerator.  If you're pressed for time, boil the water and cover the cashews for 30-60 minutes.  Drain the water and rinse the cashews.

Put the cashews in a blender and cover with fresh water by about and inch.  The more water used the thinner the cream the less, the thicker.  If using a regular kitchen blender, blend on high for about 2-3 minutes.  Some people prefer to strain the cream through a milk bag or cheese cloth.  Personally, I don't think it's required.

If you're using a professional appliance such as a VitaMix then blend until the graininess of the mixture has dissipated - probably not long.  When I "grow up" I will get a VitaMix but don't have one as yet so I really can't help you there.

This cream base can be used for soups, fettuccine, sour cream, cream based salad dressings, and more.  The sky is the limit.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Dinner: Soupapalooza

I have 3 brothers, 16 nieces & nephews and my own 2 children.  On Christmas day we meet to exchange gifts and "break bread" together.  All of my brothers are great cooks and our meals are interesting.  I'm the only one, however, that follows a plant-based diet.  They are all very respectful of my eating style, though. This Christmas we're having a soupapalooza so to speak.  We will all make  a huge crock of soup and shamelessly plug for King of the Christmas Soup bragging rights.  I'm making what I call Southwest Vegetable Noodle.

 2 quarts of vegetable stock
1 seeded and chopped green pepper
1 seeded and chopped red pepper
1 seeded and chopped yellow pepper
1 coarsely chopped onion
2 cans of drained and rinsed black beans
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 can of chopped and seeded chile peppers
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 package of fajita seasoning
salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
2 cups of your favorite twisty pasta cooked
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
serrano peppers if you desire additional heat

Heat stock pot and add onions and peppers and cook for a few minutes add garlic and cook for an additional minute or two.  Toss in all other ingredients (except cilantro) and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.  Toss in cilantro and simmer for 2-3 minutes and serve piping hot.

Some people enjoy corn or avocado or tomatillos.  The great thing about cooking is that there are no rules.  Get in there and change things up and have fun!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cooking is My Business and Business is Good

My profession and my passion really do not intertwine.  My Monday - Friday grind is that of an analyst in the world of commercial finance.  The gig is not bad, it pays well and I have a good team.
Cooking is my passion.  My family is extremely tolerant of my adventurous style.  Instead of fighting them on eating vegan I've forced myself to become increasingly creative, while maintaining a strict budget, and found ways to make fruits, vegetables and grains taste --- well tasty. The result has been a  plant-based menu that everyone appreciates with an occasional deviation.
I'm also a cook book junky.  Even prior to embracing a plant-based diet I loved cook books.  I'd watch the Frugal Gourmet and others on TV and devoured their books and I still do.  I just do my best to modify and adapt.  For example, in one of the Frugal Gourmet's books he has a recipe for Gumbo.  I've eliminated all meat and oils and it tastes great.  I visited NOLA over the summer and had a bowl at the Acme Oyster House and can honestly say mine is competitive.
It's extremely difficult to be 100% original while cooking.  I would never, ever plagiarize another's work intentionally.  I am however influenced and inspired by dozens of different chef's and writers.  I start with one of their recipes and usually make it better - at least for my family.  I'm like that old 3M commercial: We make things better.
I'm going to do my best to share some of my best recipes to help you in your journey to improved health.

Awesome Wintery Cruciferous Soup

Winter is the perfect time to whip a batch of soup that "sticks to the ribs" and is oh, so tasty.  The recipe to follow was a big hit with my family and I've stopped telling them "oh and by the way it's healthy too" as that kind of ruins it for them. Here is a recipe I threw together yesterday.

1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
1 quart of vegetable stock
1 cup of carrot juice
4-5 ribs of celery chopped
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of raw cashews
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp crushed pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

Cover the cashews in water and soak overnight.
Saute the vegetables in a stock pot for 5 minutes. Pour the the stock and carrot juice into the pot and bring to a boil.  Add the thyme and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.
While the soup mixture is simmering drain the water from the cashews and rinse them a few times.  Put them into a blender and enough water to cover by about an inch.  Blend well.  It will take about 2-3 minutes in a normal house blender.  This should yield about 2 cups of cream. Add the cream to the soup pot and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
Pull out a few cups of the mixture and blend with an immersion blender and return to the pot.  Do this another time to add some "heft" to the soup.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Swimming Like a Rock

Okay, so I previously posted that I have Sprint Triathlon planned for July 2013.  I've taken my swim lessons and am now working on building lung capacity and improving my swim mechanics following 40+ years of simply treading water and calling it swimming.  Anyway.

So I found a sprint tri training plan that I like and intend to use.  It's a 12-week program that is pretty intense.  The prerequisites are: Swim 50 yards freestyle without stopping (check), run 1/2 mile (check), and bike 20 minutes without stopping (check).  I thought I was golden but not so much.

First week, first swim training day is a 2 x 50 (warmup), 4 x 25 x 4 drills, followed by drills that total 1,050 yards.  So we're talking 1,550 yards on day 1?  How did we get from 50 yards to 1,550?  Is it a typo?

Temple of the Holy One

Living a life that honors God is not always easy.  We're informed by scripture that our bodies are a temple and I am assuming we need to treat them as we would a temple of worship.  Torching or trashing a temple is obvious when it happens but not so much when our bodies are the temple.

According to an excerpt from the book Forks Over Knives, I damage the endothelial walls each time I eat meat and dairy.  Without going into all nitty-gritty details (this is supposed to be an average joe blog) let's assume it's true.  However, the damage is not noticed the first time I gorge myself at White Castle, In-and-Out, or 5 Guys. It's accumulative and often goes unnoticed until it's too late.  For many people death is the first sign of heart issues.  I want to stop that or at least minimize it.

There are many authors, bloggers, and others that are superior to me and I know that.  However, not everyone is being reached.  Every day dozens of people die unncessarily, every day billions of dollars are spent surgeries and medicine that are also unnecessary, every day some snake oil salesmen is selling a panacea to our health problems and yet we're fatter and sicker than ever. 

It. Must. Stop.

Forks Over Knives and Thrive

I'm a sucker for plant-based cook books and information.  Since I'm not a "true" vegan and am not a Seventh Day Adventist I have not moral or religous grounds on which to stand to eat in clean manner.  What helps me, though, is reading good books on plant-based eating and new cookbooks to help expand my thinking when it comes to food.

I recently picked up Thrive (the cook book) and Forks Over Knives.  Both are okay and I will definitely spend some additional time with the recipes.  Like using a veggie peeler to make zucchini ribbons in place of pasta --- brilliant. Having additional salad dressing recipes are helpful too.  Not trying to sound too prideful but I believe the things that I cook are better than much of what is out there and simpler.  Some things are just too complicated and the ingredients are too obscure.  If I can't buy it from Meijer I really don't want it.

I want people to live long, healthy lives.  I want heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and ED to be a thing of the past.  Most people are rushed, time is compressed and they don't want to spend an hour discussing odd-ball foods with a snooty person at a health food store.  We simply want to toss some stuff in our car and get out with as little damage as possible to our wallets.  It can be done. I want to help. I guess I could be the Blue Collar Vegan.  Or I could make it sound better by calling it bourgeois...Anyway. 

Look for some tips, tricks, and help when it comes to reversing the curse and living life to its full.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Leg #1: The Swim

I decided to pursue the sprint tri a few months back.  I knew when the decision was made it would be an extreme challenge for me.  I ran a 5k with my son (he runs x-country) and finished at around 27:30 (if memory serves).  Not too impressive by any stretch but running is not one of my favorite things to do.  I'm of the opinion running is useful only when one is being chased by someone! Running is not my favorite thing but unfortunately, even at 27:30, is probably my strongest of the three legs.  UGH!!

The first leg is the swim.  I spent 5 years in the US Navy and was required to be able to "tread water" but not really swim.  Seriously, if your boat gets blown to smithereens are you going to judge your mates technique in the crawl or breast stroke? I think not. So I can tread water, doggy paddle, and do a pseudo-hybrid free style.  Knowing that my swimming needed improvement I enrolled in a beginner swim class at the local Y.

Over the past 6 weeks I worked on breathing technique, freestyle, back stroke, and breast stroke.  Yea, I didn't really get the hang of the breast stroke.  I learned proper head placement and breathing techniques for freestyle but just need to practice, practice, practice.  I can do a few laps without getting too winded but much of it is getting totally comfortable in the water - which will only come by practice, practice, practice.

I'm not really good enough to feel comfortable swimming during the scheduled "lap time" but go during the open swim time.  I am building up my base so when the 12-16 week training regimen begins I can get into the lap rotation - hopefully.

I believe I am starting with sufficient time to prepare for the race.  If any of you have completed tri's before or are tri experts any tips and tricks are invited!

I still need to get a bike, though.  UGH!

Triple Threat Bucket List

I'm getting to that age (knocking on 45) when the "bucket list" becomes a reality.  I do my best to eat right and exercise although it is increasingly difficult the older I get.  So, in an effort to kill two birds with one stone (sorry animal lovers!) I tie goal and bucket lists things to my long-term health.  In 2013 I am going to complete (without dying) a sprint triathlon.

A sprint tri, at least in my situation is a 500 meter swim, 13 mile bike ride, and a 5k run.  The race is scheduled for July 20, 2013 and is relatively close to where I live.  Another reason I chose this race besides close proximity is that a wet suit is not required.  Water temperature in this small lake is 84 ish.  I really didn't want to buy a wet suit for one race.  What if I don't like it? Yes, I can be cheap.

From what I understand a 12-16 week training period is necessary to prepare oneself for a race such as this.  I have every intention of eating a plant based diet even through the rigors of the training and race.  Most information available is not plant-based/vegan friendly but I will prevail! I need to find a reputable training program and get myself ready to take it on!

I'm going to chronicle my journey on this site partly to help other bucket listers and help keep myself accountable.  Consider yourself my accountability partner!

Thank you, thank you very much.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reverse the Curse

Why do weeds grow in my yard without effort but growing verdant grass is nearly impossible but possible with diligence and care? The same reason living healthy is difficult.  When we age we have a tendency to put on extra weight (read fat), our bodies stiffen (in all the wrong places, thank you very much!), pooping becomes things of legend, and doctor visits are more often than that dreaded one time each year. What can be done?

The more I read and study the more I realize proper diet and exercise is vital to a long and healthy life.  Understanding it is one thing but actually living it on a day-to-day basis is not always easy.  Just because it is not easy doesn't mean it's impossible, though. I am experiencing a certain ebb and flow of healthy living versus not so healthy living.  I'm human.  Weeds grow easy but grass takes focus, effort, and care. 

It's important to know that we are in a constant struggle to live healthy.  Don't misunderstand me.  I am not talking about having an unhealthy but popular body from a skinny model or any other extreme.  When I refer to "healthy" I mean blood panels that are better than what is recommended by the American Heart Association or other government subsidized entity, our sugar levels and blood pressure are in the right zone.

It's helpful to set ourselves up for success by putting a premium on exercise of any type.  Our houses need to be stocked with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and other options that promote healthy living.  Chips, chocolate, and other food that is nutritionally bankrupt are easy to get, store, and eat so keeping them away is helpful.  Remember in The Karate Kid II: "Best block, no be there."

Everyday is a new day.  Every day we need to resist obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other man-made diseases.  We can do it.  I can do it.  You can do it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Serious as a Heart Attack

My dad wasn't around much when I was younger so I don't have many pithy sayings or maxims that he endowed upon me.  However, he did have one phrase that stuck" "I drink lite beer and smoke lite cigarettes so hopefully one day I'll only have a light heart attack."  Stupid!
I've never accused him of being the sharpest knife in the drawer but what a moronic world view.  Unfortunately, there are many people that live by that mantra with other things as well.  People have bought the idea that one can eat whatever we want and not eventually pay the piper.  Each day about 1,634 people die from heart disease. I'm sorry, but I don't want to be another statistic. 
I've witnessed family members die due to heart disease or complications following heart attacks. I've been with family that went under the blade to have stents inserted and watched fear grip them as they weren't certain they would wake up from the operation.  Maybe, I am simply a sissy and prefer to avoid needles, scalpels, and chest crackers.
I now do my best to eat a plant based diet.  I've shunned meat, cheese, eggs, and processed foods (to the best of my ability).  My cholesterol numbers improved dramatically and I have every intention of keeping the total number below 125 for the rest of my life.  Still working on getting my HDL up but that will happen and it's all going to happen without sacrificing my liver on the alter of big Pharma.
Heart disease is serious.  The industry is big business and it is virtually avoidable by diet and exercise.  Why do people prefer to take meds and have surgery rather than eating greens and beans? I'm not sure either. I am going to do my part by posting reguarly on this site with the desire to help people reverse the family curse of heart disease.
God bless!