Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Three-Legged Stool

My vocation is that of a credit analyst and an adjunct faculty member teaching financial fundamentals to managers.  When I began my career learning how to interpret financial health one of the “salty dogs” used the analogy of the three-legged stool.  Basically, the stability of this particular stool is dependent upon each of the legs.  Arguing over which leg is most important is superfluous because they are all equally important.  In the realm of discerning financial health I am concerned with the balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows.  If one is off, the stool gets rickety.  Our personal lives have a similar analogy.
May your whole spirt, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we are encouraged by the Apostle Paul.  Prior to this he also informs us that God sets us apart.  So we have a part and God has a part.  We can’t make ourselves holy.  We’ve been trying for centuries it inevitably devolves into legalism and works.  So what’s a brother (or sister) to do?
Spiritual disciplines – We must change the way we think about prayer, reading the word, and worshiping.  It’s not a time-bound exercise.  It’s an opening of our spirit to the realm of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t be adamant about “getting your time in” but don’t be lazy either.  We all have many things competing for our time and we must take control of it and do things that have the best return on investment. 
I’m a Soul Man – I’ve heard people say when a person becomes a Christian they throw out their brain.  I know that might sound harsh but there is a ring of truth to it.  I’ve heard others say, “they are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.”  For many centuries the church was the epicenter of thought, philsophy, art, music, architecture, and science.  Somehow, someway we lost our way and facilitated the usurping of wisdom and knowledge from the church.  Our learning cannot be limited to “renewing the mind with the word” there is too much knowledge available for us to take this lazy shortcut.  Let's once again be the center of it all.  God created it - let's manage it.
Temple of the Holy Ghost - Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do? Many Christians over eat, drink tons of coffee, get fat and die way too early. We think nothing about eating seconds and thirds of food we know is bad for us and pass out in a food coma and laugh about it.   We criticize and judge others that drink and pass out.  It’s time for judment to begin at the house of God.  Thomas Acquinas in Summa Theologica does a masterful job of explaining why gluttony is sinful.  We pray for healing and miracles and yet commit incremental suicide by fork and spoon. 
When any of these three areas are out of balance our entire lives are out of kilter.  Many Christians are super spirtual but couldn’t care less about education beyond Sunday school or Bible College.  One doesn’t need an extra degree but could easily read something that stimulates them intellectually. 
Our health is our responsibility.  We need to eat more like Daniel and less like Herod.  Let’s bring our lives into balance and preserve our whole spirt, soul and body and be blamess.  Let’s honor God on all three levels of our being – spirit, soul, and body.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just Give Peas a Chance

Just as everyone else, I have my fair share of problems, inconveniences, and challenges.  Lately, I’ve been doing a poor job of managing them.  My temper is quick to erupt, I get aggravated at everything a certain person does, and I’ve been on the ugly side of life.
I was talking to God today and began to flip through the New Testament.  I came to Colossians, which is one of my favorites, and read a few scriptures.  I was encouraged to “put on” love, to “let” the peace of God rule in my heart, and to “let” the word of Christ dwell in me richly.
Are you kidding me? You mean to tell me I have a part to play in this and it isn’t just God pulling a lever and “presto chango” my life is back in line again? It was hard for me to believe.  
You see, I’ve been “putting on” something else and it sure was not love.  Why was I “putting on” something that was not good for me?  I don’t put food in my mouth that is not good for me!  Why would I put anything in my soul and spirit that contaminate? Why because it’s easy and it doesn’t produce negative fruit immediately.  It’s an accumulative affect and by the time one realizes it getting free is difficult.
I have choice what rules in my heart according to these scriptures.  I can let the peace of God rule (good) or I can let animosity and strife rule (bad).  I’ve never really thought about it that way.  Animosity and strife are ready to pounce! They are ready to blow at any time.  The peace of God is not pushy and apparently I must choose to let the peace of God rule in my heart.
I also have the power to let the word of Christ to dwell in me richly.  In our current political environment life is about sides.  One side is always pounding the other side.  Listening to the news or radio, heck even reading some food blogs instigates stress. Stress, fear, and hatred, similar to animosity and strife, are always looking for an easy target to attack.  No more.  I choose the way of love, peace, and the word.
I no longer will be used as a pawn.  I am going to put on love, let the peace of God rule in my heart, and let the word of Christ dwell in me – richly!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

We finally have had about a week of solid snow and the temps have been in the low to mid 20's - perfect-stick-to-the-ribs soup weather.  I've never had any type of sweet potato soup.  I looked over a few recipes and came up with this amalgamation. 


  • Two large baked* sweet potatoes (flesh scooped)
  • 2 ribs of celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 serrano pepper (or more if you like heat)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cardamon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt

Cook the celery and carrots in a stock pot. Add the serrano and the stock.  Allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the sweet potato and spices.  Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.  Use an immersion blender and blend the ingredients until smooth (or use a potato masher).  Add the coconut milk and stir well.  Serve with a sandwich or crusty bread.  

* When sweet potatoes are baked their sweetness and flavors are enhanced. 

Fast, Faster, Fastest and Crash and Burn

"Are you okay?" 

"Yes, just hurt a little bit of pride," was my reply.

It's been awhile since I've been skiing and we had a nice storm a few days ago.  My son loves to ski and I wanted to get outside in the fresh air and enjoy a sunny 20 degree day on the slopes. He heads to the  black diamond and I find the green circle.

Like many things in my life I am a neophyte skier.  I really don't go often enough to build on what I've learned but I aim to correct that. My problem seems to be that I go too fast!  I see others smoothly gliding down the hills and here I go and I say, "oh crap, oh crap not again!" BAM, ROLL, then came the nice lady to me, "are you okay?"

Speed is not always good.  As I was flying down the mountain and losing control I thought of my swimming difficulties.  I go too fast and become fatigued while swimming.  I go to fast and crash while skiing.  Going slowly isn't always easy though. 

I'm still new at swimming so placing my face in the water and blowing out and turning my head for a quick breath seems unnatural.  I believe my "survival" instincts take over and my brain tells my body to speed it up to get back to the edge of the pool - STAT.  Then I am tired, however. 

I still have a lot to learn but thankfully I have time to learn it.  Trying new things for me is scary but in a fun way.  I'm not the quickest learner (repetition is my buddy!) but I have bull-dog like intensity and patience.  This week I work on swimming as slowly as possible.  Next time I ski I work on slowly gliding down the hill without someone looking down on me to make sure I am still alive!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Super Fruits and Low Fat Insanity

The press loves to tout so-called "super foods".  They are always looking for a panacea, a silver bullet if you will to allow people to throw down greasy burgers and still not die of heart disease.  Guess what?  There isn't one so please stop insulting our intelligence. 

All fruits and vegetables are a super food in their own right. We don't need to eat cabbage soup everyday or grapefruit every breakfast.  God Almighty has given us hundreds and thousands of different types of food that work collectively to help us maintain a healthly life. 

This article (which really isn't bad) lists 6 super berries.  I get a little uneasy when writers tout the benefits of a fruit being low fat.  Really?  Isn't that one of the top few objections to vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based eating?  Number 1 is: You don't get enough protein.  Bogus.  Somewhere in the conversation people will ask, "where do you get fats?" 

Well I get them from plants but apparently that is not good because even our plants need to be low-fat or fat free! OH MY GOD! You're killing me Smalls!

Acai berries aren't going to change the world either.  Are they good for us? Sure, any fruit or veggie has a place in a well-rounded diet.  My question is this: If the acai berries has such magical properties why aren't the people of that area of the world among those that live the longest? 

Just some food for thought.

Top 50 Vegan Blogs

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a "by-the-book" vegan but follow a plant-based diet.  So, I have a lot in common with vegans but there are some that have litmus tests for how vegan someone is or is not.  Apparently, I'm not vegan enough for many. 

Anyway, I browse vegan blogs in search for new recipes and ways to bring verve and vigor to my cooking.  So far, I haven't been ostracized from reading vegan blogs :). Here is an interesting post with the top 50 vegan blogs from the Psychology of Eating. 

I'm not familiar with all of them but are with some.  I recently discovered Oh She Glows and have to say I really like it.  Angela comes across as joyful, fun, inspiring, and unassuming.  Tons of fun to read her posts. I'm surprised she was not ranked higher - IMHO she should be.

The Post Punk Kitchen is another good one.  I have a few books from the author and she is fun but in a different way. She has East Coast swagger and it is interesting to see how she blends it in with her cooking and recipes. 

Have fun reading them.  Maybe, just maybe when I grow up, become a better writer and improve my blog I can crack the top 50 someday.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yes, I Need a Crutch

In my craziness I've committed to completing a sprint triathlon in 2013.  The actual day is July 20, 2013.  I'm still in the prerequisite stage and full blown training begins April 1st.  Why am I doing this?  I don't have a clue!

Seriously, the discipline and structure is good for me.  Running has never been one of my favorite things to do (neither has swimming and biking!).  I figure the only time I should run if someone is chasing me! To make things more interesting for me I like to listen to music as I run.  I know many people frown on that but I think it's better to run with music then to not run without it. Call it a crutch if you want. 

The mix is ecelectic.  Some songs are fun and upbeat. Some songs are not.  They all help me to pick 'em up and put 'em down, however.

  1. Murders in the Rue Morgue - Iron Maiden
  2. Dani California  - RHCP
  3. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked - Cage the Elephant
  4. Holiday - Green Day
  5. Pretty Fly for a White Guy - The Offspring
  6. Shamrocks and Shenanigans - House of Pain
  7. Dear X - Disciple
  8. Mess of Me - Switchfoot
So there is my first playlist.  For some reason the upload video feature was not working today so I had to link them instead. 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Teaching an Old "Dog" New Tricks

One of my many interests is genealogy.  I recently received copies of 3 of my 4 grandparents death certificates (1 is still alive, yeaaa!).  All three died of some sort of heart disease.  Now, most people would say, "it's in your genes" but I don't buy that load of poppycock.  The reason heart disease is "in our genes" is because we haven't changed our poor eating habits.  I made that change about 2 years ago and it's made a huge difference in my life and health.

My grandma fried everything! My grandpa ate everything she fried.  I am convinced he lived longer than her only because he ate oatmeal everyday for breakfast and that acted as a partial deterrent to his inevitable demise caused by heart disease.

Change is hard - we all know that.  Changing when one is older is even harder but not impossible as this story indicates. I have many members in my family that are curious about how I eat but they never take the "leap of faith" to actually give it a shot.  I'm inspired by Daniels story, dedication, and honesty.  I'm all going to steal his line, "you're fine, until you're not."

If you're on the fence take a 10 day challenge like is mentioned here.  Who knows, it just might change save your life.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fasting Like Daniel

Anyone that has spent time in a Christian church and attended Sunday school is familiar with the story of Daniel and the Lions Den.  It’s a fascinating story and the author of Hebrews indicates that “faith stopped the mouths of lions.”  Basically, Daniel was tossed into a pit with lions and was not eaten.  If you believe the Veggie Tale version they ordered pizza and had a slumber party.  Anyway, I digress.
Now the same people that grew up seeing Daniel on awesome, high-tech, flannel graphs and hearing about his buddies Shadrach, Meschack, and Abednego are finding other reasons to celebrate this ancient Hebrew book: a 21-day fast.
This fast is different than one that requires total elimination of food and drink.  From what I understand from Daniel 1, he ate only vegetables (also translated as food grown from seed) and drank only water.  During the fasting time he mentions that he ate no meat, drank no wine, and did not anoint himself.  Some translations state he used no lotions rather than didn’t anoint himself. This time of fasting was 21 days.  How many ladies would go 21 days without their Oil of Olay? Okay, I’ll leave that one alone.
I like the first chapter where he tests the King’s steward by having him serve them only vegetables and water. If they look worse they’ll eat the king’s unclean food.  If not, they’ll continue on their plant-based diet. 
What I don’t like about fasts such as this is the legalism that comes out in full force.  If one is fasting for a specific purpose (and believes in the power of fasting) why would they want to skirt the danger zone?  Another question I have is why anyone would want to return to eating a “non-Daniel” type diet?  It’s apparent from chapter 1 that a plant-based diet with water is ideal for our health and well-being. 
People that advocate the Daniel fast also make exceptions for pregnant women and "allow" them to eat fish or chicken to “get the protein needed”.  This odd, unfounded, and ridiculous claim seems to have permeated every area of society.  HELLO! Plants have protein.  If one is eating grains and beans they are filled with protein.  Anyway….
I like what the orignators of this fast (well I guess not the originators, that would’ve been Daniel) that this is still a spiritual discipline not a diet.  If you’re interested in the idea of fasting I recommended reading Isaiah 58. 
People, it is only 21 days.  Eat fruits, vegetables, and grains for 21 days and drink water.  It’s not complicated.  You can do it.  If you’re on prescription drugs you need to check with your medical practitioner prior to starting any type of radical change.
This is a great time to discipline your body and exlore your spirituality.  Listen for the voice of God during this time.  Pray and commune with the Holy One.  Bare your soul before the Lord of Glory.  Each day change will come and you will not be the same after 21 days.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Random Sports Rant

·         Bye, bye Brian - If I were Notre Dame I wouldn’t consider renogotiating Brian Kelly’s contract.  Sure, he had a good season (with a senior class he didn’t recruit) but he had one with the Bearcats and left them for greener pastures.  He signed the contract so hold his feet to the fire.  If he thinks life in Philly will be a walk in (Roosevelt) the Park he is sadly mistaken.  Philly isn’t Grand Rapids (GVSU), Mount Pleasant (CMU), Cincinatti, or South Bend.  The Irish job is now a “go to” destination and if Kelly wants to dabble in the NFL good riddance.
·         Vitamin B12 shot in the butt - It’s obvious that Barry Bonds used PED’s.  However, the guy was a 1st ballot hall of famer prior to getting the dreaded pumpkin head disease.  He was the rare 5-tool guy and was fun to watch play. 
·         Tale of Two Teams - Amazing how the Washington Nationals were over protective of their franchise player and had a legitimate chance to win the World Series and the Redskins didn’t really consider RGIII and didn’t really have a chance to win it all. 
·         The SEC – Amazing how good the football is in that conference.  I wish a real investigative reporter would do a story and find out why.  Yes, I know they have great players but why?  I’m not implying there is cheating but it would be fun to know what they know, you know?
·         The Cubs – repeat after me, “Wait ‘till next year.”
·         PTI – I was watching an episode where they reverted to 2001 and chronicled the Fighting Irish through Bob Davie, George (whatever his name is), Ty, and Charlie.  What I found fascinating was the info that is on deck or other things happening in the world of sports.  Tiger Woods name was up there practically all of the time.  Dang, that was a long fall.
·         Hockey – Did they have enough equity to do what they just did?  I’m not sure.  I think the sport will be damaged and will take some time to recover. 

The Logic of Convenience and Smoothies

I'm constantly surprised (when will I learn?) when people I trust, and admire use logic on some things but not on others.  Yes, we all have our sacred cows that we protect (unfortunately) but people that use logic in one area and not in all areas totally confuse me.

For example, I there is a person I admire greatly because of his scholarship in the realm of economics.  He is bright, well-spoken, funny (yes, this economist is), and cutting edge.  However, his approach to a biblical tenet shocked me.  "I'm Catholic and that is what we do," was his response on this particular tenet.  I was thinking why don't you use the same rigor and scholar that you use in the discipline of economics that you use in bible study and you might have a different perspective.  So, many zombies that follow this particular person will adapt all of his views even though he blindly accepted some based on tradition.

Another example is the idea that smoothies are bad because they aren't chewed and the fiber is basically destroyed in the blending.  The person that suggested this is one of the main people that helped convert me to a plant-based diet through his books.  Yes, this guy is many times smarter than me and has more experience in the realm of nutrition but I have the propensity to challenge things I hear even from experts. 

My first thought was what about split pea soup?  Split pea soup is one of the most nutritionally sound foods available.  It's high in fiber and filled with healthy plant protein.  When I cook it, it basically breaks down into a thick liquid.  Since I don't add meat there really is nothing to chew.  I don't chew soup.  So is split pea soup bad for me? Great rebuttal.

My second thought was baby food.  After babies are off mother's milk they often go to pureed vegetables and fruit.  It can be bought in jars or mixed at home easily.  We made our own at home because I'm just a cheap skate.  I don't know about you but my children didn't seem to have a fiber problem when they were eating plant-based food that was pulverized to mush.  Applesauce, is that not good?  You see what I'm getting at?

Now in both instances I still love reading articles and books from these men.  They are brilliant but that doesn't stop me from thinking for myself.  Kind of like the Bereans during the time of the Apostle Paul.  They were open minded but verified what he was telling them was truth.  I'm not disparaging or even minimizing the impact they've had in my life.  It's my life, however an I refuse to mindlessly follow anyone.

Convincing people the benefits of a plant-based diet can be a daunting job.  I don't want to give them unnecessary hoops to jump through and make it difficult. 

Cheers, bottoms up on that green smoothie!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I am a new swimmer.  I've known how to doggie paddle and tread water for most of my life.  Only recently did I learn to do the front crawl in preparation for a sprint triathlon I am completing in July.  I've been swimming 2 times per week at the local Y during upon swim time.  I still am not confident enough to go during lap time.  I don't want to inconvenience people that are serious and good.  I'm serious just not good, yet.

So the sprint triathlon swim distance is 500 yards or meters or something like that.  The plan I am following indicates a person should be able to swim 50 yards without stopping.  Okay, I can do that.  However, the first day of training (which doesn't start for me until April) has a 1,550 yard swimming total!  Do you think it might be a typo and the prereq should be 500 yards?

I still am getting winded and only swimming between 250-300 yards per session.  That takes me about 15 minutes.  I can't go non-stop 250 yards!  I am frustrated and not sure what to do.  I can continue going twice per week and push my distances but will I ever be able to swim for 1,500 yards??? I realize that I am new at this but why is it so difficult.

Okay, I am done sucking my thumb and will get back to working and finding a way to make this work!

Meatless Monday and Beyond

I like the simplicity of this article. Simple is always good. I am however going to amplify some of the content.

  1. Better Health - some meals are easier to modify for those not interested in a strict vegetarian diet.  Breakfast is easy in my opinion with one caveat: you're a fruit fan.  A 2-3 pieces of fruit and a handful of walnuts is the ultimate in fast food.  Try eating a banana, apple, an orange and some walnuts and you're on the right track.  Lunch is pretty simple if you like soup (winter) or salads in the warmer months.  WARNING: Don't drench your salads with high fat/high sugar dressings.
  2. More $$$ - Hamburger is now close to $5.00 per pound and a 5# bag of potatoes is about $1.99.  Bananas are about 50 cents a pound.  Beans are an inexpensive option too.  Many vegans try to be too fancy schmancy by including hard-to-find ingredients that rarely add expansive flavor or health benefits.  Stick with what can be bought in your produce section and you'll be just fine. Let's put an end to pretentious eating.
  3. Greener Planet - If I can drive my SUV and get the same benefit of a Prius without having to drive one ---- I'm all in.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Yoga: Class #1

I really didn't have any preconceived ideas about my first yoga class.  Well, that's a lie.  I didn't expect too many guys and expected the class to be small.  I was wrong on both counts.  The class was close 50-50 men and women and it was packed!

My only exposure to yoga was Yoga X in the P90X series.  I'm glad I had some exposure because I am sure I would have been lost without a little bit of knowledge.  The class was 60 minutes and it went by quickly.  Yoga X has the tendency to drag on and it is extremely challenging.

Quick geek story.  I get to the Y with my stuff and realize in the locker room that I forgot my flip-flops. So I am traipsing through the common areas wearing shorts, t-shirt and dress shoes.  I felt ridiculous but soldiered on!

Fun class.  I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to stay young.


Chicken or the Egg

I've followed a plant-based diet for a couple of years and that one decision is the primary reason my blood lipids are well below the national average.  I attempted to "watch" what I eat and modify but that just didn't work for me.  You know, choose filet if you're eating steak, low-fat milk, low fat cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, etc, etc.  My motivation for changing my diet was I didn't want to die of heart disease.  Pretty simple, right?

My wife is trying to get on board too.  So we've cleaned our house of the majority of animal based products.  My family has been fantastic about supporting me and trying new and exotic foods.  Some are good, some are excellent and some, well we won't try again.  Having said that, now that they are living the Eat to Live concept there are questions.

Today's question: "Why don't we have eggs in the house?  I want an egg for breakfast."

Fair enough.  Granted, my children are teenagers.  They couldn't care less about the China Study, the Framingham study or any peer reviewed studies that make a clear correlation between animal products and heart disease and other fatal diseases.  They want food that tastes good and they want it NOW.

For those of you that might care, here goes.  The majority of cardiologists and other respectable doctors have a firm conviction that excess cholesterol contributes to clogged arteries.  Clogged arteries eventually result in the patient requiring angioplasty or stents.

A single egg yolk contains about 1/3 of the daily recommended amount of cholesterol.   Our bodies create cholesterol as it is a necessary element to human existence and our bodies make all we need.  We do not need to eat cholesterol and plants do not contain cholesterol.  Go to any restaurant and order the breakfast special and you will get 2 eggs (fried), 2 slices of bacon or sausage, 2 slices of toast lathered in butter and fried potatoes.  This study indicates smoking and egg yolks are about equally unhealthy.

Well what about the egg white?  Fair question.  The egg white is pretty much pure protein - animal protein.  Animal protein in many peer reviewed studies has been found to have an adverse impact on our health and well-being.  We eat more protein than we need.

Think about what an egg white is designed to do.  It is designed to nourish a an embryo to full functioning chick in a short period of time.  Why should we as humans eat something that was designed as such?  Just food for thought, so to speak.

Also, opportunity cost.  If you're eating an egg you probably will not be eating something that is better for you such as an orange, blueberries, strawberries, oats, banana.  Our bodies need the nutrients that are contained only in plant-based foods.  There are better choices than eggs and egg whites.

Will an occasional egg white or even egg put you in the ER?  Absolutely not! Unfortunately, most of us simply don't eat the "occasional" anything.  Six-egg omelette anyone?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fitness for the Masses

Fitness and healthy living is big business - $25 billion approximately.  I live in small town but we have many choices when it comes to fitness.  There's the old standby YMCA, Gold's Gym, we have several high end places that charge up to $250 per month. Pretty salty in my opinion.  Now we have a new option.

I saw the ads and the construction but didn't think much of it.  You know, 'here's another gym that will make a splash and then level off in February when everyone get's back to eating bad and being fat'.  This one seems to be a bit different, however.

I first heard about it from my brother-in-law on Christmas Eve.  He asked if I'd heard of the new gym.  I thought he meant the new high-end place but was mistaken.  No, not that one he assured me - Planet Fitness that's the one he was referring to.  He liked it.  He liked the no contract, low price and low frills while still being a nice place to workout.

Last night my brother mentioned it to me.  My brother is a volunteer police office and was athletic in high school.  He joined and hit personal bests on the bench at 8 reps of 250.  

$1.00 to join and $10.00 a month with no contract?  Sounds pretty good to me.  So last night my lovely bride mentioned joining too.  We have a Y membership but it "feels" really far away (it's like 5 miles) but perception is reality, right. 

Sounds like I might have a membership at both places.  I need the Y membership as I train for a sprint triathlon this summer. Maybe I can begin to workout with my brother and get my bench up to 250 --- doubt it but it would be fun to join him!

Welcome to our area Planet Fitness!

Chico's Bail Bonds, Bacon and More

There are bloggers that have thousands of page hits per day and actually make a living off of it.  There are bloggers that are funnier than me, better writers than me and more creative than me.  So why do I continue despite not being the best or even close to being the best?  Well, for one I figure I will get better.  When I improve the content of this site will improve.  The site will become more entertaining, inspirational, and educational.  Most importantly though, I want to push back on the force of ignorance.

There is someone in my life that I love dearly.  This person has a serious weight issue and all of the standard conditions that typically are associated with obesity: high blood pressure, out-of-control sugar, and most likely clogged arteries.  In an effort to help, this person, like many, turned to the Atkins diet.  Sugar numbers were posted and they've improved dramatically.  Everyone should be excited. right? This has to be THE answer, right? Not exactly.

Unfortunately, like most people myopia is the standard operating procedure.  Certainly, when one cuts out all carbs, weight will fall off and sugar will drop.  We don't need simple carbs (man-made goodies made with refined flours and sugar).  Not all carbs are created equal and our bodies need fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Why can't one simply drop this poison without embracing the Atkins hyperbole?

Many of those closest to me don't believe a plant-based diet is healthy.  What about protein?  What about getting some fat? You surely can't be getting enough calcium.  I answer and answer but they want to hear, "you can eat all of the bacon, eggs, pork chops and steak you want, and still lose weight!" Actually, Atkins was a genius at leveraging the base desires of humans and packaging it with a slick snake oil pitch.  Almost like living in the 1800's all over again.

Animal products have been proven to create many adverse health issues in countless peer reviewed studies.  When a person replaces spinach, peppers, onions, carrots, apples, and grapes with sausage, hot dogs, bologna, and chicken nuggets the long-term results are disastrous. Similar to what we're experiencing now in our nation.  We have a health care crisis and not just from the stooges in DC.

I might not be the best blogger or writer but if I can encourage or inspire one person to eat to live, exercise and live a longer, healthier life I will keep plodding along. As long as ignorance is spread like truth there is a reason for me to tap out some ideas and have faith they will get into the right hands.

This clip is from the movie Bad News Bears.  I like the absurdity of eating a bag of bacon.  The language is a bit salty so listen at your own peril. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I've "practiced" yoga for a few years.  Actually, I've done P90X and there is a video titled Yoga X.  I'm unsure if I am doing things right or not.  I've wanted to attend a beginner yoga class to check my form but haven't until now.

From what I understand, the Yoga X class is difficult.  I know it has been for me.  I just don't know if I am doing all of the poses correctly or not.  I guess I will find out soon!

On Tuesday I will start my first, live yoga class at the YMCA.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Wish me luck.  Namaste.

Friday, January 4, 2013

You Can Live to 100

This video reminds me of my barber.  When he turned 60 he learned to downhill ski and sail.  He ski's all the time now and is in great shape at 75. 

Don't condone eating snakes over fruit but this video is inspiration, entertaining, and needed.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Obese Indignation

At the risk of being way too transparent I type this post.  I'd be the first to freely admit that eating healthy is difficult and requires diligence and discipline.  Maybe I am making excuses for my wanton, holiday behavior but I think it's extra tough for those of us that do not eat plants based on ethical/moral reasons (ie vegan) or religious (7th Day Adventist).  The plant-based diet I follow is solely based on willpower and I was sadly running on empty for quite some time.

I began following a plant-based diet in 2011 after getting negative cholesterol results.  I was diligent.  I had a re-test date etched in stone and really wanted to get that number down to a manageable level.  Before converting I read Engine 2 Diet, The China Study and You Can Reverse Heart Disease.  These three books helped me immensely and gave me some ideas on how to prepare tasty food. 

I then stumbled upon the book Eat to Live.  That gave me increased motivation to not only get and keep my lipids under control but to lose excess weight.  I followed Dr. Furhman's diet and the weight began to fall off.  To be fair I was also doing a P90x and Insanity hybrid exercise routine.  The results were remarkable but surprisingly not everyone was thrilled.

I began to get back handed compliments on a regular basis.  "Oh my God! If you lose any more weight you're going to blow away."  "Let me introduce you to my new friend, Slim Shady." Sadly, I still was about 5 pounds too heavy!! Unfortunately, the comments began to wear me down and my food choices began to deteriorate.  I didn't eat meat or dairy but began to fall into the processed food and booze trap.  The weight slowly began to reappear.

I was at the Y swimming last night and decided to weigh in after my laps were complete.  I knew I was up but wanted to quantify the number.  I'm not really big on scales but was sure I was inching to close to an area I worked to hard to flee - and I was right.

I've allowed the opinons of unhealthy people to get me off the mark of staying healthy and living a long, pain free life.  I've allowed back handed compliments to break my focus on what's really important to me.  Being healthy is one of my core values.  I don't want a spare tire, muffin top or love handles.  I don't want to be dependent upon Lipitor, Cialis, insulin, or BP medicine.  I don't want stents, back surgery, or to test my sugar daily. So I'm declaring my freedom today.

I declare my freedom from back-handed compliments.  I declare freedom from caring what people think (other than my doctor) of how much I weigh.  I've seen too many people die prematurely based on poor eating and exercise habits and I am not going to be in that statistical category. 

I'm free and will begin dropping the weight again.  Next fat person that says to me, "If you lose anymore weight you are going to blow away", I'm going to say, "No, I won't fat ass I'll just hold on to you!" 

Okay, I'm too nice but I just might be thinking it. :)

He Can't Eat Meat, He's a Vegan

One of the most frustrating things I encounter (over and over and over) is unhealthy (fat, obese, high sugar, out of control cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc) people always giving me unsolicited health advice.  I've answered the same questions over and over again.  The answers typically don't stick because these same people have been brainwashed by the government and special interest groups on what to eat.  However, there is usually an occasional person that grasps a sliver of the concept of a plant-based diet.

Unfortunately, what they retain is only "he can't eat meat because he's vegan."  Or they want to bad-mouth only meat.  In their mind it's perfectly okay to eat dairy, pre-packed foods, sugar, and endless desserts as long as they're meat free. You know the person that grasps just enough buzz words to be dangerous in any area.  Allow me to give a very common example.  Plant-eater and omnivore want to go out for the evening. 

"Does pizza sound good?" 

"Uh, I guess."

Sit down at your favorite pizza joint and she orders.

"Can we have a large vegetable pizza and a house salad?"

One be wondering "what the heck is wrong with that?  Lot's of oil and contrary to the Mediterranean Diet groupies, it really isn't good for you.  Pizza slathered in cheese which is one of the worst things for us.  Salads in restaurants are usually iceberg lettuce (useless) cheese and a very bad salad dressing. 

It's nice that people try and they seem to be accommodating but in many cases they are not.  I'm not a plant-based evangelist attempting to convert people to the world of veganism.  Honestly, it's too much work and effort to care that much.  I've learned that people are going to do what they want, when they want and don't care about truth.  Short-term satisfaction has usurped long-term health and well being and it probably will never change. 

I'll be the first to admit that change is difficult even when armed with facts.  Our bodies like things that are bad for us and it takes discipline to change.  If you're not onboard but are attempting to be accommodating remember that meat is not the #1 enemy.  There are plenty of obese vegetarians.  The enemy is man-made food. 

If it can be planted & pollenated and then picked, plucked, or pulled it's most likely healthy. If it comes from a box, bag or bottle it probably is not good for you.

Veggie Burgers: The Beginning

Early in venture of eating a plant based diet I used pre-made vegetarian food.  I remember buying spicy black bean burgers and giving them a stamp of approval.  The more I ate them, however, they began to taste processed and kind of like solidified oil.  Maybe it's the law of declining marginal utility or maybe they just aren't that good but I stopped buying them.  Plus, at $4.00 for a box of 4 that's pretty salty.

I began experimenting with my own version of a veggie burger.  I don't want my veg burger to taste like dead cow - but I want it to taste good.  Most of my efforts have failed miserably and end up getting deep sixed.  The good thing about making veg burgers is that the mixture can be tasted during the process and adapted without waiting until the cooked product.

Last night I got decent reviews from my family on a new burger.  If I were to rate them I would give them 3 out of 5 stars but I am really picky about how my food tastes.  Both my children ate their entire burger and didn't complain because their were serves sans cheese. 

Here is the basic recipe:


2/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1 can rinsed and drained (very well) chick peas and then smashed
1 tablespoon hummus
1 tablespoon fresh diced parsley
2 tablespoons finely diced jalapenos
1 tsp each, chipotle powder, garlic salt, chili powder, onion powder, and coriander


Blend all ingredients together thoroughly.  Wet hands and gather a handful of mixture and roll into a ball and then flatten into a patty.  I prefer thinner patties.  Fry in a skillet until browned and cooked through.  Serve immediately and top as you like.

I will continue to work to perfect the veg burger.  There are an unlimited amount of combinations that should be tried, such as beet burgers, pecan burgers, use black beans, different herbs and spices.  These will only get better. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Good Enough Is Just Not Good Enough

I've been wanting to try a trendy snack but just haven't got around to it.  I've viewed several recipes and didn't find one that I thought sounded good. I finally found one that sounded pretty tasty and thought I'd give it a shot on New Years Eve.  What's the snack? Kale chips.

For the record, I like kale.  Kale is my green of choice for smoothies.  I love its versatility, hardiness, and blendability (I don't have a Vitamix, yet).  I'm a big fan of other greens as well.  I grew up primarly on turnip greens but I also enjoy collards, dandelion, and mustard.  I wanted to be clear on my greens affinity before proceeding. I like greens. 

I hated the kale chips.  First of all it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R to cook them.  Prepping kale is laborious enough but cooking something in the oven on 200 degrees for 2+ hours is way too much work for me.  Strike one.  Then the end result was sub-par.  I don't believe it's the way I cooked them.  I'm pretty competent in the kitchen.  They just weren't good.  Strike two.

I've been eating a plant-based diet for a few years now and if something is "good enough" because it's plant based it should be discarded from my recipe rolodex.  There are so many excellent tasting dishes that are plant based why would one settle for something that was just okay. And that's exactly what the kale chips were that I had  -- only okay.

I've heard many people talk about how yummy they are and even their little kids want them.  I can't imagine them tasting good after having them.  If I want a snack I guess I'll stick with carrots, celery, or bite-sized sweet peppers. 

Kale chips are a no go for this guy.