Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflecting Back…

As 2011 winds its way down to the last few hours, I take this time to reflect back on what, for me, was a very fulfilling year in many ways.  A perfect year?  Not by a long shot, but one loaded with enough action and accomplishments to fill a…well, a blog post.

This is a necessary, and important, exercise to do, by the way.  Most of us, if you are like me, don’t take the time to look back and bask in our accomplishments.  As a constantly driven person, someone who is always looking for the next big opportunity (I get bored easily) and challenge, I tend to push myself to the point, at times, of exhaustion.  Taking a few moments (hopefully a few days) to go back and put a few asterisks next to your completed “to-do” list is an excellent way to end the year.

Before I twist my arm out of socket from so much back-patting, I must add that this post on reflection will be followed by a post on looking ahead: embracing another arduous list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2012.

2011 was a year of travel—personal and business. I was fortunate enough to have visited several new cities this year (Dublin), as well as returning to some of my favorites (Maui).  All in all, I logged over 30,000 air miles—wow, that’s a lot of recycled air, stale pretzels, and cramped leg space!

I traversed across this great country six times!  Over two Oceans!  With stops along the way at:

·         Las Vegas
·         Tampa
·         Phoenix
·         Boston
·         Newport, Rhode Island
·         Narragansett, Rhode Island
·         NYC!
·         Maui
·         Dublin
·         Letterkenny
·         Atlanta
·         Sacramento
·         Reno

I began the year not knowing my future with my current “day job,” and am ending this year with the hope of soon getting my second promotion.  It has been a very rewarding year career-wise—a good thing!
I am blessed to work at a job where I get to interact with and lead and mentor dozens of people each day.  I have creative freedom to use my triad of balance-mind, body, and spirit.

I was able to get my website back up and running (and looking better than ever) after over a year of idleness!  Besides this blog, I also started another called “Mike’sDaily…”

The hits from my YouTube Page, Facebook, Twitter, my blogs and website have resulted in millions of visitors this year.  Thanks to all for the continued and tremendous support!

I published my second book (my first is a young adult novel) this year and while the sales have not gone through the roof, they have been steady.



I produced another round of interesting and entertaining videos, along with another music video:



Along the way I’ve continued to cultivate a wonderful and solid relationship with my wife of almost twenty years, a son that just turned thirty (man, I’m/he’s OLD!), and my family and friends near by and Back East.

But mostly, I was able to help countless people change their lives for the better, lose weight and eat healthier, become motivated and inspired, and, hopefully, gave a few a good laughs along the way.

Reflecting back on 2011, it has been a pretty good year.  And while it has not all been roses and sunshine, it has been worth looking back on and taking a few moments to enjoy…and give myself a few pats on the back.

You should do the same.

Until next time…

peace,

Mike
 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mike's Daily Thoughts

First off, many of you are probably thinking: "Mike actually has daily thoughts?"

Ahem...funny.

But believe it or not, I tend to have a lot on my mind, a lot of which seems destined to be shared via blogs, pics, vids, and Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or one of my many websites.

The wonderful thing is that we have all of this technology at our fingertips, the ability to transmit those thoughts across cyberspace, literally reaching billions of folks.  Okay, that's only if your SEO is strong.  Otherwise, said thoughts and pics and vids, etc., may only reach a handful of interested people.  No matter, I got things to share and if you are reading this, I am very pleased to share them with you.

I created this blog several years ago, as a way to promote my video website, livelife365.  I have been overwhelmed and thrilled at the response and feedback I have gotten from both this blog and my website, so much so that I wrote a book to expand my base, so to speak.

I have further expanded my ability to share the healthy, inspirational, motivational, and entertaining word of livelife365 with the creation of another blog, called:

Mike's Daily Thoughts, Pics, Videos, and More...

This blog is a less formal way to communicate and share many of my videos and photos, insights and just whatever is on my mind that day.  The intent is to write a post everyday, but sometimes life gets in the way of all those plans...you know what I mean.  I would be pleased to at least get five to six posts out each week...any more than that and we will all be sick of me (if you aren't already)...

So, when you have a few spare minutes in your hectic and busy day, please take a stroll over to my new blog and check it out, leave a comment, and enjoy.

Here is my latest video, by the way, about a very sweet and tasty fruit I recently discovered while vacationing on Maui, called Chico Fruit, or Sapodilla:

What is Chico Fruit (Sapodilla)?

 

Until next time...

peace,

Mike

Mike's Daily...
Buy the book
livelife365

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cooking With Mom

I have just returned from a long trip across the country, which actually began with a wonderful trek over the Pacific to Maui.  From there, after a brief stop in Northern California to repack and refamiliarize myself with my home, I was off to New England.  I stopped in, again, very briefly, to visit my family, and then was off to Ireland for two weeks, on business.

After a very successful stay in Northern Ireland, I returned to New England, where I stayed at my mom’s house.  We hung out, had a good time, but I complained about how I could not find any decent vegetarian food while on the Emerald Island (lots of good beer and deep-fried potatoes, but a dearth of healthy green, leafy types of foods; and very poor Italian recipes).

I informed my dear old ma that I was dying for some pasta, made with a very healthy tomato-based sauce.  She said that she had a bunch of jars of spaghetti sauce in her cupboard that I could drizzle over some pasta.  I asked if she felt like making one of her famous tomato sauces.  She replied, “I have all the ingredients, but don’t have the time nor desire to make that time-consuming sauce much anymore.”

“Hmmmm,” I replied.  “How about I whip up my own marinara sauce, one that tastes amazing and only takes a mere thirty minutes to create?”

She said, “Only if I can hold your camera and film it.” (Totally fabricated).

Here is the delicious and amazing result:

30 Minute Marinara Sauce (Cooking with Mom)



I am now at work on editing an outtakes video from all the film footage I tossed out after creating this wonderful vid.  My mom is not only a good sport, but an excellent cook who taught me everything I know about healthy eating and cooking.  I hope that this is only the start of many more "cooking with mom" videos.
Enjoy and manga!

Until next time...

peace,

Mike


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Maui Avocado! WOW!

Aloha from Ireland...huh?

Okay, so maybe just greetings from the Emerald Island, where this post is being transmitted.  Besides my lingering jetlag, my confusuion stems from my desire to be back on Maui...and the size of this amazing avocado. 

I could have called this post:

THE ATTACK OF THE KILLER AVOCADO!!










And these babies were killer - killer tasting, that is.  I love Maui avocados even more than the California-grown Hass variety, which before encountering the above monster, were once my favorite.

I don't think you really can see from the above pic what I am talking about.  Maybe this photo will help demonstrate the size of this beast.  And while size is good, the taste is even better.

Is that a Maui avocado, or are you just happy to see me?











All of these fun and delicious recollections have moved me to reprint one of my favorite posts.  Please enjoy:

VIVA AVOCADO!

As much as I love eating avocados today, it's hard to imagine that I didn't taste my first one until I was well into my twenties. I grew up in a small town in a small New England state. Our foods of choice leaned more toward clam cakes and chowder than tacos and enchiladas. Avocado? I hadn't a clue what one was.
And don't even get me going about guacomole. Guaca...huh?


I understand that the avocado existed when I was growing up Back East, and they may even have been available at the local grocery store where my mother shopped. But mom never purchased one, never brought one of those green-skinned babies home. Believe it or not, I did not know WHAT an avocado WAS until I relocated to sunny California in the mid-80's. And even then, I wasn't sure what to do with one or how to eat it.

Today, avocados seem more popular and prevalent in everyday cuisine. In most restaurants you can find them chopped atop salads, sliced in between sandwiches, and, in its most popular form, as guacamole, that amazing green nacho-chip-dipping-taste-sensation.



While your mouth is watering, consider these interesting facts about the avocado:

  • a member of the berry family, avocado is a fruit, not vegetable
  • the Aztecs named it after the word, ahuacatl, which meant "testicle," because of its shape
  • they have been around since 900 A.D.
  •  they have been grown in North America since 1856
  •  also known as the alligator pear, Jamaicans call them pears

(for more fascinating information about the avocado, visit this site)

Most of you by now have tasted avocados, but if you still are like I was, back in the day, you should give them a try. You don't know what you are missing. But do you know the best way to cut one open? Here's a video that will help:



Hey, next time you have that chip loaded with guac, happily remind yourself that besides enjoying a delicious snack, you are also getting:

  • 10 grams of dietary fiber
  •  more potassium than one banana
  • vitamins E and B
  • 10 grams of the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)

RED FLAG!

While very healthy for you, avocados are also high in calories and fats. The good news: these are the good fats--monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These are heart-healthy fats and help lower LDL (bad cholesterol).

The bad news, for those counting calories or watching their weight, is that an average size avocado has around 300 calories--so tread carefully. I know that I can eat one all by myself, diced, with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Try it! In moderation.

It's hard to imagine that I spent half my life deprived of the succulent taste of avocado. Maybe that's why I've spent the last twenty-five years eating more than my share, trying to make up for lost time.

You should too!

Always remember that you can watch hundreds of self-help videos about health and nutrition, and any number of other topics, at livelife365.com.

Until next time...

peace,

Mike

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Drink Green Tea Every Day!

Aloha and Drink!

Green tea, that is!

I have been a green tea advocate for years, ever since I gave up my once addicting and overwhelming Diet coke habit. Searching for a healthier alternative, I discovered green tea and have enjoyed its wonderful taste and amazing health benefits ever since.

Why should you drink green tea every day?


It is loaded with antioxidants, can help reduce the threat of cancer, lowers cholesterol, assists in weight loss, and even fights tooth decay.  Cool, huh?

But do you know what's really cool?  Turning a successful green tea video (search YouTube for "green tea" and my vid comes up tops out of 45,000) into a cool music video.  Please watch and enjoy my newest music video:


DRINK GREEN TEA EVERY DAY (MUSIC VIDEO)


Livelife365 is all about eating healthy, losing weight, and motivating yourself to do all that it takes to change your life for the better.  All done in a fun and entertaining way.  I hope the above videos continue that message and help you become the person you strive to be.

More cool stuff:

Please visit my new daily blog called: Mike's Daily...Thoughts, Pics, Vids...and more...

And recently livelife365 was voted one of the top fifty health blogs in the world by healthyhideout.  Cool!

Lastly, I have a new self-help book for sale.  Please check it out and tell anyone you know that is looking to change their lives for the better.  I'll even toss in 30 of my top videos and 5 original songs.  All for only $24.99. Oops, guess again.  Special Sale Price now only $19.00.  Or you can get just the book for only $14.99!  Sweet deal, huh?  Check it out and let me know your thoughts...






Until next time...

peace,

Mike

livelife365


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Aloha!

Aloha from Maui!  Please enjoy this helpful and humorous video I created on how to eat a coconut.  I picked that baby up yesterday at the local farmer's market.  Enjoy!



Mahalo and peace,

Mike

livelife365 

mikes daily



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Without Hope, We Have Nothing


While researching this post, I encountered so many excellent, usable quotes that I had to stop for a second and further ponder why I desired to write a post about a topic that has already been written about extensively. I mean, the current president of these United States of America, Barrack Obama, practically based his entire candidacy on hope, or better put: on the premise, and promise, of believing in and rediscovering a lost hope. He even penned a best-selling book called “The Audacity of Hope.” One of his heroes, Martin Luther King, Jr., constantly orated about hope:

“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.”

Men and women throughout history talk of hope, the opposite of despair, which is also a highly quoted subject matter. Hope and despair are forever linked; you can’t think about one without thinking about the other. The great writer, George Bernard Shaw, may have put it best:

“He who has never hoped can never despair.”

And for those who like their hope quotes a bit darker, there’s always that cheery, optimistic philosopher Freidrich Nietzsche:

“Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man.”

Although I prefer a softer, kinder hope, as I mentioned earlier, “Ya can’t talk hope without talking about the bad stuff too.” (One of my quotes. Don’t think it will be enshrined into the quote hall of fame anytime soon). To hear me talk more about hope, and why I feel this is a worthwhile topic, I produced this video:

WITHOUT HOPE, WE HAVE NOTHING



One of the things that continually amazes me is the hope I witness in others who have no business believing in anything, much less hope. It makes little difference what specific hardship or malady, act of violence or bad luck I am referring to, only that these brave, resilient souls somehow find it within themselves to persevere, to go on and rise above whatever tragedy that has befallen them and do something with their lives. Which, as always, brings me to what I’m all about—what livelife365.com is all about: living life every day in every way and not letting anyone or anything stand in your way.

Which also brings me to this amazing email I received from a loyal follower of livelife365. His name is Pierre and he is a lot like you, me, and millions of other people in this world. He is a human being and he’s made mistakes, embraced vices like smoking (cigarettes and marijuana), overeating, and practicing bad nutritional habits, which means he is not perfect, just like you and me. But like those aforementioned folks who refuse to give up even while facing great odds, Pierre wanted to change his life for the better. He began by researching green tea, because he had heard that drinking green tea was a good way to lose weight. He found my green tea video on YouTube, and then, like many others, stumbled upon my site, and began watching my videos on weight lossdiet and nutrition, and motivation. And, according the Pierre, livelife365 helped him lose 18 pounds in three months and changed his life. I was so thrilled by Pierre’s story that I produced a video about it:

FEEDBACK: LIVELIFE365 IS WORKING!



Like I said on the above video, and as I say countless times, there are hundreds of thousands of Pierre’s out there that need to change their lives for the better. All they need is a push in the right direction and some common sense advice on how to do it. I strongly feel livelife365, both this blog and my video site, can offer that push and advice.

At the end of my video about hope, I play a short version of my theme song, called “livelife365.”

Gee, Mike, how did you come up with that name?

Ahem, no one likes a wise guy…

Anyway, that song, along with letters like Pierre’s, epitomizes what livelife365 is all about. The lyrics say it all.

 Click the below widget to listen to the complete version of the song, “livelife365.”








In closing, I leave you with a quote from one of the most quoted political figures of the last century, Winston Churchill:

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Until next time…

peace (and hope),

Mike

livelife365

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stop Eating Your Angst

What is angst and why would anyone want to eat it?

Dictionary.com defines angst this way:

angst:
Spelled[engk-stuh]   
a feeling of dread, anxiety, or anguish.

Per Merriam-Webster:

angst: a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity


For me, angst is an emotion, a feeling; and not a very pleasant one.  But one that we all encounter every now and then, and have to deal with.

How do you deal with your angst?

One way far too many people deal with anxiety, anguish, apprehension and insecurity is through emotional eating.

What is emotional eating?

It is using something as basic and necessary—like ingesting food for survival—as a crutch to combat angst, all of those sometimes everyday emotions we must learn to deal with in a healthy way.

Why not just ignore your angst?

That’s part of the problem—angst, or any adversity, when ignored still festers inside us all.  In fact, pretending that what’s bugging you is not really bugging you may lead to having that anxiety present itself in an unhealthy way—like through an indulgence with food when you are not hungry.

Without eating we do not live—that’s as basic as breathing, sleeping, and drinking water.  And there’s nothing wrong with using food to celebrate a success, a birthday, anniversary, or any number of wonderful reasons to take your family, friends, and loved ones out for a night of wining and dining.  We all do it; in fact, it is quite healthy to do.

But eating as a celebration should be done only occasionally.  Eating to hide or ignore emotional adversity done oft times daily is another story.

Emotional eating, or eating ones angst, is not only the wrong approach to what’s ailing you, it may just kill you.

Overeating, which leads to being overweight and obesity, is the leading cause of death in the world.  Being overweight leads to:

·        Heart desease
·        Diabetes
·        Cancer
·        Degenerative joint disease
·        Gastrointestinal distress
·        Depression
·        Death

What can you do?



We all have our share of angst, of distress and anxiety from time to time.  The best way to deal with it is to embrace it, acknowledge it, understand it, and then take action.
If the first thing you reach for when you feel angst whispering in your ear is a candy bar, slap that thought out of your head and replace it with:

·        A stick of sugarless gum
·        A handful of healthy almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or peanuts
·        A sugar free hard candy
·        A toothpick
·        A piece of fruit
·        A book
·        A jump rope

Replacing a bad habit with a good one—in other words, reaching for a jump rope or taking a walk when I feel anxious, rather than cramming a handful of potato chips into my mouth—has helped me more times than not.

What else can you do to help stop eating your angst?

·        Take a walk
·        Meditate
·        Call a friend
·        Plan a vacation
·        Volunteer
·        See  your doctor
·        Research your health options
·        Rethink your lifestyle
·        Go on a healthy diet
·        Livelife365

Changing your life for the better is something most of want to do—who wouldn’t?  But taking that first step, understanding that you are not alone in your struggle, is challenging.  The first thing you need to do is to realize that when you are upset about something and automatically seek refuge in the refrigerator or cupboard that you must take a moment, suck in a deep breath, and just say no.

Reach for help, a friend, another option, an alternative.

And not eat your angst.  Eat to live, to celebrate occasions and successes, in moderation.

Do all that you can to try to be the person that you know you want to be, that you deserve to be, that you will be.

Livelife365 will always be there to help you on your journey to better health, to balancing your mind, body, and spirit, to living your life to its fullest, every day in every way.
 
Think about it.


Until next time…

peace,

Mike

Monday, September 12, 2011

Post 9/11

In honor and in memory of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil ten years ago, I offer this video.  To quote Sir Winston Churchill, when standing up to Nazi Germany as they continuously bombed London night and day:

"Never, ever give up!"



peace,

Mike

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What is Malabar?

 Good question.

Is Malabar a:
a)     castle in Ireland?
b)    Middle Eastern city?
c)     Name for a famous cartoon dog?
d)    Delicious, nutritious leafy vegetable?

Those of you who are familiar with me and my healthy lifestyle choices here at livelife365 no doubt opted for D.  Yup, Malabar is a spinach-like, leafy veggie that not only tastes delicious (and a bit like asparagus), but is loaded with vitamins and minerals that will help change your life for the better.



A member of the Basellaceae family, Malabar looks and tastes a bit like spinach, but is not—even though it is often referred to as vine spinach, given that it grows vine-like, up to dozens of feet in warm weather climes (like right here in Northern California, where I call home). 

As you may have surmised, Malabar thrives in heat, growing mostly in tropical regions of Asia, India, and Indonesia, as well as right here in some North American hot spots.

Besides being a good source of fiber and low in calories, Malabar is also high in antioxidants, vitamins C and A, iron and calcium.



Eat it raw in salads, stir fry it with your favorite Asian wok recipe, or steam or boil the leaves and stems for a tasty side dish.  No matter how you serve it up, Malabar is a wonderful addition to your summer vegetable harvest.  Just this season I discovered Malabar and love this healthy and delectable vegetable.  I think you will too.

Until next time…

peace,

Mike

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2008 All Over Again?

It's happening again: Wall Street is slumping, people are panicked, and the economic health of the world is in jeopardy.  Sound familiar?  This pattern of turbulence is very similar to what occurred only a few years ago.  At that time, I wrote an article on how to survive such a drastic and life-changing financial challenge.   Those words of wisdom helped me, and many others, through that crisis back in 2008; I feel the tips below are still apropos today.  And one more thing:

PRACTICE PATIENCE!




How To Survive an Election-Year Financial Meltdown

I know what some of you are saying, "Why should I listen to what you have to say about the economy? You're a self-help guy, who specializes in healthy lifestyle and personal development, as well as makes funny (goofy) videos and goofy (funny) parody songs."


Why? Because in dire times like these (seen the Business headlines recently?), during the most important presidential election of our lifetime, it takes a commonsense and practical approach to combat all the craziness going on out there.

Q: But, Mike, you write and make videos about diet and nutrition, motivation and how-to, what do you know about finances?

A: As much as the next guy, and more than enough to help you.

TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SURVIVE THE ELECTION YEAR FINANCIAL MELTDOWN

1. DON'T PANIC

Wall Street seems to feed on panic--panic buying and panic selling. While others overreact and sell off their stocks and put their cash in safer investments, you don't need to follow suit. Unless you need the money from those investments right now, standing pat is still the best option. Why? Because stocks eventually ALWAYS come back up--this is a historical fact. And if they don't, then we're all in trouble. This too shall pass.

2. SIT ON IT

Rarely, as a self-help, fitness guru, do I suggest sitting back and doing nothing. But, in this case, go right ahead! Pass the popcorn and park it on the couch. Okay, you still need your daily exercise, but with regards to your money--LEAVE IT ALONE. Sit on it. In fact, the best advice that I hear the most from those that get paid to know this sort of thing is: DO NOT stop contributing to your 401k or IRA. Why? Right now stocks are cheap. When the market goes down, prices go down. The more stock you purchase NOW, at lower prices, the more you will have LATER, when the market stabilizes and goes back up. Think about it.

3. KISS (KEEP IT SIMPLE, SHERLOCK!)

Simplify your life. Cut back, spend less. Analyze what you NEED versus what you WANT. If you dine out 3-4 times a week, cut that in half. Do you really need satellite TV and radio? The recent trend now is stay-at-home vacations--you spend less on gas and airfare, while discovering local attractions you may have been missing, or avoiding, for years.

Bottom line: Simplify your life and save money.

4. TAKE A WALK

How much do you spend a year on that health club membership? Figure out a way to stay in shape at home, and cancel that costly membership. Walking is one of the least expensive, but most effective, ways to stay in shape. Plus, it gets you outside, and is good for the mind and spirit. In times like these, that's a good thing.

If you desire a more strenuous workout, look into purchasing dumbbells, a stationary bike or other equipment; whatever fits your specific needs. The initial investment may smart a little at first, but will more than pay for itself for years and years.

5. INVEST IN YOURSELF

While exercise and keeping fit are vital aspects of personal growth, don't stop there. Continue working on self-improvement and personal development all the time. livelife365.com offers hundreds of self-help videos that can change your life for the better, all free of charge and just a mouse-click away.

6. LISTEN TO YOUR BOSS


There is no place continued growth is more important right now than in the job market. Now is not the time to take your job for granted. Nor is it the time to mess up the job you have. Yes, keep that resume handy and continue networking and sharpening your skills so that you are more marketable. But you also need to keep your boss happy with your work. Work harder. Do the best job you can to make yourself indispensable. Most companies will have cutbacks and layoffs--YOU cannot control this. But you CAN control your effort, productivity, and attitude.

ALWAYS be in the TOP ranked twenty percent of good performers, not the bottom twenty.

Why? GOOD companies seldom layoff GOOD employees.

Be good, listen to your boss!

7. STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS

Enjoy yourself. Enjoy each day. Live life 365. This simply means to live your life every day in every way. Yes, times are tough, the economy is a mess, the world is a bigger mess, but you can still find a way to enjoy the little things in life that have nothing to do with the bigger things that are out of your control.

Every Day Every Way

8. GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY

Now is the time to roll up those sleeves and get to work. But you're already working on self and your job; what next? Go outside, dig up the garden. If you don't have a garden, start one. Landscape. Mow the lawn. Do house repairs, spring or fall cleaning. Learn a new (inexpensive) hobby. Do it yourself. Besides saving you a ton of money, DIY is good for the mind, body, and spirit. A sense of self-accomplishment goes a long way. And if you're picking ripe tomatoes off the vine, you're not worrying about Wall Street. Besides, growing your own will save you more money in the long run (and they taste so much better, too!). Can, bottle, preserve, or freeze whatever you can't consume now, and have a winter of homegrown, inexpensive veggies.

9. BALANCE YOURSELF

And your portfolio. The only movement you should be doing with your portfolio is rebalancing it. This simply means you need to take a look at your asset allocations. When there are sharp fluctuations in the stock market, your assets will also shift. But do me a favor, check with your financial consultant before you do anything.

As for you and YOUR balance: you should always be working on managing your Triad of Balance, the harmonic balance between Mind, Body, and Spirit.

10. VOTE FOR CHANGE


Now, more than ever, we need some major changes in Washington. If YOU do not like what is happening in YOUR life due to decisions made by our political leaders, YOU have the power to CHANGE it.

The current financial meltdown we are witnessing needs to be fixed. Fixed fast! We have the choice to keep on making the same mistakes that have led us here.

Or opt for CHANGE.

For the better.

I hope these tips help make dealing with these turbulent times a bit easier. And always remember that YOU have more power than you think to CHANGE your LIFE.

peace,

Mike

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What is Zucchini?

A)    An Italian opera
B)    A starting shortstop for the New York Yankees?
C)    One of Christopher Columbus’s ships?
D)   A very popular summer squash

If you picked anything other than D, then I suggest reading on.  In fact, no matter what answer you gave, understanding this tasty and versatile vegetable is well worth the effort.

Zucchini is one of the few varieties of squash that was developed in Europe, Italy to be specific.  Now popular worldwide and found in most gardens in the United States, zucchini probably migrated to America during the 1920s, brought over by Italian immigrants.  Being an Italian-American, may I be the first to say: “Grazie tanto!”

Now that we know how this delicious veggie got here, let’s take a look at how to prepare it.



I love dicing small zucchini and adding them to my salads.  Mixing with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and lettuce, zucchini add an additional crunch and nutritional value to a simple salad.

Another way to eat zucchini is grating them to use for breads.  My mother used to slice zucchini up, add tomatoes, onions and peppers, and simmer in a skillet, and then serve it up with fresh Parmesan cheese as a mouthwatering side dish to one of the many Italian meals she used to make.  You can even eat the zucchini blossom.

But one of my favorite ways to prepare this squash is slicing one of the larger ones in half, scooping out all of the yummy insides, and mixing that with anything from rice or quinoa, along with tomatoes, black olives, artichoke, carrots—anything you can think of—and then topping it off with mozzarella cheese and baking it.  Oh, and don’t forget to drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil—can you say: “Buon appetito!”

Zucchini is very low in calories, and therefore a good food to add to your daily diet if you are trying to lose weight—and who isn’t, right?  It also is high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and manganese.  Also a good source of beta-carotene, zinc, potassium, and dietary fiber.

Consuming this versatile and delicious vegetable may also help combat many cancers, improve prostate health, and act as an anti-inflammatory.

No matter how you slice it (pun intended); zucchini is one of the most popular squashes in the world.  Easy to grow, tasty, healthy for you, and simple to serve.  What’s not to like?

Until next time…

peace,

Mike

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to...Eat

Come on, who doesn’t know how to eat, right?  But there are certain foods that we eat all the time that are not that simple to prepare.  Take, for example, my latest video:


If you’re like me, you love asparagus, but may not know the best way to eat it.  The above video should help.

Some of my most popular videos are those where I demonstrate how to prepare and eat many of my favorite foods.  Like this one:

 
Simple, right?  I know, we all have been chowing down on watermelon most of our lives.  Okay, how about a more challenging food?


There are few veggies I love more than the thistle-laded artichoke, but, man, those guys are a chore to prepare…but well worth the effort.

And these tasty fruit:


That’s right, avocado are a fruit, not a vegetable, but amazingly delicious and good for you just the same.

Another one of my favorite fruits is mango.  What’s the best way to eat one?  Thought you’d never ask:


Every time I visit my favorite vacation destination, I always try to add a few more local delicacies to my palate.  Like papaya and passion fruit.  Here are the best ways to ingest them:





We all know how to eat, but some foods need more assistance than others.  My websites and my channel at YouTube have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world discover and eat myriad fruits and veggies, all of them quite healthy for you.  Like these guys:


And some just for fun:



Until next time…

peace,

Mike

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Walking New York

My wife and I just returned from a wonderful vacation Back East.  We attended the wedding for my niece in scenic Narragansett, enjoyed an emotional tribute honoring the twentieth year of my father’s passing in rural Exeter, then hopped a train in quaint Kingston for the hectic mania of NYC.

During all of the above, my wife, embracing a new fitness kick (hmm, wonder where she got that idea from?), meticulously kept track of all of her steps, using a pedometer.  Now, I’ve used pedometers for years, but since I walk basically the same route just about every day, I seldom use one anymore.  My loss, by the way, as I still feel they are an excellent tool for not only tracking results, but to assist in motivating, inspiring, and celebrating vital fitness gains and successes.

Since we spent the majority of our time together, I was able to piggyback her step results as if they were my own (except for my morning two-mile walks, from which I added 4000 steps to my daily tally).  The goal, by the way, is to shoot for 10,000 steps a day.  One mile is approximately 2000 steps, so 10k is roughly five miles.  Depending on your size and how fast you walk, you can burn around 100 calories per mile.  Add this 500 caloric burn to the rest of your non-sedentary lifestyle, and you can easily see how counting steps, using a pedometer, and walking every day can assist in losing weight and living a healthier, happier, better life.

  
I am thrilled to report that my wife and I were able to exceed 10,000 steps most days during our two-week getaway.  Shuffling through airports, racing from car rental agency to train stations adds up!  We averaged well over ten thousand steps per day, which was a big help in balancing all of those extra vacation calories one consumes while away from it all.

But it was while visiting the Big Apple, traversing endless city blocks, that we amassed historical step results.  Both days we were in the city we tried to walk to as many destinations as possible, eschewing taxis and the subway, often challenging each other to take one more step, try for one more city block, before yielding to fatigue and hailing a yellow cab.  More often than not we amazed ourselves by doing just that and congratulating each other on our results.

Both days on Manhattan I exceeded 20,000 steps—a very good thing! We stayed at a hotel on 57th street.  My wife was going to spend a day shopping at Macy’s down on 34th street, while I wanted to prowl the aisles of one of my favorite book stores that was in the financial district.  After breakfast, we took off toward downtown with the goal of no taxis or subways unless we were really beat.  

Walking twenty city blocks isn’t that difficult, so I was still fairly fresh when I dropped my wife off at Macy’s.  But my bookstore was another fifty-plus blocks—at least an hour of more walking!  I decided to walk until I was too tired to take another step, then hail a cab.  The weather was overcast and humid.  My head was covered in sweat.  I sucked down the last of my water.  I was parched and in need of napkins to mop my damp brow.  I ducked into the first friendly shop I found, bought water and grabbed a handful of napkins.  Rehydrated and patted dry, I continued my trek.  I was crazed, determined not to give in; I stepped in a pothole, twisted my ankle, blistered the soles of my feet, yet I continued onward.



Why?

The only reasonably response was to echo what the mountain climber says to those who ask why he climbs that mountain—

“Because it’s there!”

Huh?

Overlooking blistering feet, a sweat-drippy skull, near-dehydration, and cluelessness as to where my bookstore actually was, I found myself at the site of where the twin towers once stood.  The place was alive with activity.  Thousands of tourists gawked and stood proudly where those behemoths once guarded lower Manhattan; while men at work did their thing in trying to rebuild what misled cowards tore down.

Me?  I was both emotionally taken by where I was and exhausted at how I arrived there.  I asked someone who looked like they’d know what I needed to know, and was sent back uptown toward my bookstore, sweaty, beat, and proud to have walked so far in one of the great cities known to man.

I enjoyed a few wonderful, air-conditioned hours of book shopping, continuing to accumulate steps on my wife’s pedometer, far exceeding any previously recorded steps for one day in my life, no doubt.  The moral of this story, is that you can stay fit while on vacation, no matter where you are, be it traveling the endless city streets of Manhattan, or the gorgeous beaches of Maui, the wine country in Europe…or right down the road from your house.

The secret is finding the good in the moment, while on vacation or when doing that thing called life we all must do every day.  365.

Until next time…

peace,

Mike