Friday, October 31, 2008

Health Update and a few Videos

Most of you know by now that I recently underwent surgery on my left shoulder to repair an impingement that was causing me a great deal of pain for a long time. The good news is, that while I am still limited in using my left arm, I am getting better every day. I am able to actually type for several minutes at a time without pain and look forward to the day when I can write some new posts. Soon, I hope!

While I am feeling lots better, my range of motion is still poor. I was just measured by my physical therapist and was at 110 degrees out of 180--not that good. In fact, it is much less than before my surgery. But the pain is better, much better. And the numbing, tingling sensation down my left arm and fingertips is mostly gone. All I need now is lots of physical therapy and time.

In the meantime, I would like to share a few more videos from my archives.

The three categories that personify and this blog are: HEALTHY LIVING, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, and ENTERTAINMENT. With that in mind, I have chosen videos that represent each category.

For your HEALTH:

Almonds: The Perfect Snack


The Miracle of Tomorrow

And a little ENTERTAINMENT from this (exhausting and never-ending) political season:

Hillary Obama Monsta McCain Jam

As always, I appreciate your wonderful comments and feedback and look forward to the day when I can return the favor and add a few comments of my own.

Until next time...



Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Video: I Miss My Hair...Still!

While on the mend from my recent shoulder surgery, I received this nice comment from Heidi over at Health Nut Wannabee Mom:

awwwwww I am sorry that you are in such pain! I am going to check out your videos. I
love them but the I WANT HAIR one is my favorite of all time! Get better soon!
October 23, 2008 10:12 PM

This reminded me how much I like Heidi and her excellent health blog (check it out when you get the chance), and how much I really like my funny music video I Miss My Hair.

It also inspired me to post it one more time to afford those of you who may have missed it the first few times the opportunity to watch and laugh. And for those of you, like Heidi, to watch it again and again and again...

Please enjoy my funny music video about my lament at missing my missing hair:

I Miss My Hair

See more funny videos at Funny or Die



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can't Blog? Then Vlog!

Greetings from Vicodin Land!

I struggle to type this post using only one hand (and a few fingers), embracing the potency of pain-killers that keep the hurt away, but make Mike a bit more goofier than usual. The good news: I'm getting better every day! The bad news: I am still a ways away from being able to write blog posts.

Instead of writing, I have been shooting video and posting vlogs on my video site, It is much easier than doing this (he says, as his fingers continue to hit the wrong keys!), and a lot less painful and time consuming.

So, in the meantime, please enjoy these v (ideo) log posts:

Mike Post-Surgery 24-48 Hours
Mike Post-Surgery: Red Sox Recap

Mike Post-Surgery (Day Three)
Mike Post-Surgery (Day Four): Never Give Up

Mike Post-Surgery (Day Five): Vote For Change
Mike Post-Surgery (Day Six): Updates and Financial Talk

I would also like to thank all of you who left such kind comments and good wishes during this past week--it means a lot!

Hope to be back blogging very soon. Until then, please enjoy my videos at, and keep living your life every day, every way.

Until next time...



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where Does It Hurt?

I am normally an active person. I was one of those kids who couldn’t sit still, was always on the go and in constant motion. Probably drove my parents crazy. This frenetic energy followed me into adulthood.
I like to keep moving and, given that for most of my working life I find myself situated in front of this computer for hours on end, I make sure I find the time to exercise daily: walking, bike riding, lifting weights, calisthenics, or just working around the house.

Staying active has suited me well these many decades. Nothing like the comfortable ache of pushing and testing your muscles and joints with good, hard effort, then rewarding yourself with a soothing hot shower, an enjoyable meal, and relaxation with family and friends at the end of the day. But a lot of that has changed for me recently.

What if those comfortable aches begin to linger? Or if those sore muscles and joints remain sore long after what is considered a “normal” period of recovery?

I feel your pain.

In fact, I feel my pain. For months now, I have been battling chronic shoulder pain. It hurts to do just about anything that involves using my left shoulder. This video will give you an idea of what it feels like:

The sad fact is, I was not acting (okay, maybe a little) in the above vid. My shoulder is filled with pain, especially when I use it a certain way. And since the pain radiates along my entire arm, it even hurts when I write posts, like this one.

Being a man, and by that I mean: being a stubborn creature who only visits a doctor as a last resort, I first ignored the pain, hoping that it would go away, like most aches and sore muscles eventually do. When it did not, I added aspirin and a heating pad to my home remedy. Still no improvement, so I added constant complaining and moaning to my inept self-healing cure. Again, no change. So I had this conversation with my wife:

Mike: My shoulder is killing me!
Wife: Go see a doctor.
Mike: I don’t know what to do anymore.
Wife: Go see a doctor.
Mike: I mean, I’ve tried everything…
Wife: Go see a doctor.
Mike: It’s never felt like this before.
Wife: Go see a doctor.
Mike: It really hurts.
Wife: Go see a doctor.
Mike: Think I should go see a doctor?
Wife glares at Mike, sadly shaking her head as she walks out of the room.

I finally take my lovely wife’s advice and visit my doctor. This begins a chain of events that takes me from x-rays to physical therapy to a botched MRI to more PT to a cortisone injection to another MRI to weeping like a small child to more physical therapy to one more cortisone injection to sucking my thumb in the fetal position to one last trip to my physical therapist (who my wife now thinks I am secretly dating) to…today.

Or should I say: tomorrow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008, I will be having arthroscopic surgery to repair the pain in my left shoulder.

I look forward to this procedure with paradoxical caution: I am not thrilled with the prospect of being anesthetized and having someone poke around my bursa, bones, muscle, and what-have-you, but on the other hand I am tired of the pain and ready to remedy it.

I leave you with two thoughts to ponder while I am recovering:

1. This will be my last post for a while, depending on when I will be able to sit back at this workstation and work this keypad pain free and without the threat of hindering my healing.

2. Listen to your body. That comfortable ache after exercise or physical activity is a good thing, an indication that you have been active and your muscles and joints are happy and healing. But if that ache lingers or turns into something more, then do yourself a favor and listen to your wife.

Go see a doctor.

Until next time…



Monday, October 13, 2008

How To Survive an Election Year Financial Meltdown

I am republishing this post about dealing with the recent highs and lows (mostly lows, sadly) of our economy. Last week's losses on Wall Street were the most for one week in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. Lots of people, fearful of losing more, may have joined in the panic and sold, sold, sold. I hope this was not the case. Today (Monday, 10/13/08) the Dow gained back almost half of those loses from last week, the highest one-day gain since 1933. As this post states, do no panic. Stocks historically go back up. I am not saying that the bad financial times are behind us, they are not. But what I am saying, again, is not to panic, practice patience, and enjoy the things in your life that you can control.

Please also enjoy:

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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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. offers hundreds of self-help videos that can change your life for the better, all free of charge and just a mouse-click away.


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!


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


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.


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.


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.



Friday, October 10, 2008

Eggplant, So Misunderstood

On those days (most days) when I am following my rigid, yet very effective, high-fiber diet, I often dream about eating other, tastier delicacies. You see, contrary to some popular opinion, I am a human being and not a robot conditioned and programmed for non-stop healthy living. Yes, I take pride in eating right, every day, as well as taking daily walks and engaging in all sorts of healthy activities. But, just like most of you, I, too, would love nothing better than to sink my teeth into decadence, often desiring to dump out my bowl of olive oil-laden veggies and nutritious salad and indulge in…what?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, I dream of my weekend “cheat treats” during those more challenging days of the regular week. And when I am not fantasizing about devouring a slab of my mom‘s lasagna, my mouth waters at the thought of another of my favorite Italian gourmet delights: Eggplant Parmesan.

I love eggplant. As a vegetarian, I am always in search of great veggies to add to the haul that I consume daily. Prepared correctly, eggplant parm, and eggplant in general, will melt in your mouth and send your taste buds to gastronomical heaven. As I said, I love eggplant, but didn’t always. Just the name connotes unsavory images.

Egg? Plant?


Like broccoli, mushrooms, onions, even olives, these were all foods, along with eggplant, that I refused to eat during my younger years. All foods, I might add, that I absolutely love now, as a somewhat-adult.

But eggplant? Is it a plant that grows eggs? Could that be possible? Who in their right mind would eat such an oddly named thing? Let’s explore this often misunderstood vegetable.

Eggplants grow on vines, like tomatoes. They are spongy in texture and slightly bitter tasting.

Sound yummy? No? Read on.

While eggplant has been around for thousands of years, it wasn’t always well liked by certain cultures. Because of its bitter taste, some thought it also had a bitter disposition: it was thought, at one time, to cause leprosy, cancer, and insanity. The good news is that has all changed. In fact, eggplant is loaded with phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Meaning that consumption of eggplant helps combat cancer, rather than causing it.

Eggplant is also a very good source of potassium and manganese, Vitamins B1 and B6, folate and magnesium. One cup also has 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. Besides those healthy antioxidants, regular consumption of eggplant has been found to help reduce bad cholesterol, fight heart disease, and improve cardiovascular health. Now all we need to do is find a few ways to eat it.

But first you need to buy a few. While eggplants come in many varieties, most of us are accustom to the fat purple variety that I am holding in my hand. To test for ripeness, gently press the skin and, if it is ripe, it should spring back. Store in a cool, but not too hot or too cold, place, and once you cut one open you should eat it soon--they perish fast. Now let’s dig in!

Besides being an amazing veggie in my favorite (sorry, mom) Italian dish, eggplant also tastes great baked, stir-fried, stuffed, and used in another dish that I love to eat: babaganoush.


Babaganoush is similar to hummus in that it is a Middle Eastern spread and dip made with eggplant rather than chic peas (garbanzo beans). I use soy crisps or strips of pita bread to dip into these two tasty treats. As a spread or eaten with sticks of veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers), babaganoush is an excellent way to add eggplant to your diet.

If you have been avoiding eggplant, like I once did as kid, just because it sounds strange, or have yet to try it because your ancestors told you it may cause leprosy (believe me, it doesn’t!), take my advice and give it a shot. If you love lasagna (and who doesn’t?) then try eggplant Parmesan. And if you are in the mood to try something different, then dip a chip into a bowl of babaganoush. Or scoop out the center of an eggplant, load it up with just about anything, cover with breadcrumbs and some cheese, and pop it in the oven. You will be amazed at how tasty this misunderstood veggie can be.

Until next time…



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Secrets of Flossing

Habits often get a bad rap. Most of us, when someone mentions a habit, automatically think that they are talking about a bad habit. And, sadly, there are way too many bad habits that affect us in unhealthy ways. Smoking, excessive drinking, overeating, biting your fingernails, watching too much daytime TV talk shows, or even checking your blog stats every hour on the hour (I promise, I am working on it!). You get the picture.

But I am also pleased to report that, while we all are challenged with the ongoing struggles to overcome our bad habits, a good many of us also practice good habits. Here at livelife365 (this blog and my video site ), I am all about good habits; like daily exercise, healthy eating, positive reaffirmation, personal accountability, and balancing one’s life.

Psssst…want to know about a fast and easy habit that, when done correctly and daily, can add years to your life and save you money?

I’m talking about flossing.

For those of you visiting from another planet (Welcome!) or just recently rescued from a lifetime of living in the jungle or on a deserted island, flossing (from the ADA ) “ …removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it has a chance to harden into plaque. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces.”

If this still seems like an alien concept to you, watch this video. In it, I demonstrate how to correctly floss your teeth in one minute…give or take a few seconds.

I floss my teeth every day. It’s a good habit to get into. One of the many good habits that I encourage myself (and you) to practice to ensure long-term health benefits.

I am amazed by how many people that do not floss at all, let alone daily. And as the above video demonstrates, it only takes, literally, a minute out of your busy schedule.

Hey, calm down there, tiger! Why so adamant, huh?

Deep breath, Mike. Ahhh…okay, much better now.

Why am I so adamant about flossing your teeth every day?

Here are some of these amazing benefits of daily flossing, right from the dentist’s mouth:

* helps remove debris and the plaque that collects between your teeth. This helps clean hard-to-reach tooth surfaces and reduces the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay.
* makes your breath smell better
* polishes your teeth (when you don’t floss, you only clean 60% of your teeth)
* may reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart attack
* saves you money, in the long run, by reducing medical and dental costs

I’m going to let you in on another little secret. For years, I did not floss my teeth. I’m not talking about skipping a few days here and there--I did not floss at all. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I wasn’t even going to the dentist for my regular checkups and cleanings. When I finally dragged my sorry self back into the dental hygienist’s chair, I was given not only a painful and bloody reminder of tooth and gum neglect, but an educational lecture, spoken from the heart (my hygienist, by the way, is a very talented saint), that changed my life.

Since that day, I’ve now become a flossing freak, a tooth and gum advocate, and a regular visitor to the dentist’s office.

Just like trying to do all that you can to find that thirty minutes each day to exercise, adding more fruit and veggies to your diet, or opting to pick up a book rather than the TV remote, dedicating ONE MINUTE of each day to flossing will enrich and change your life for the better.

Your dentist will be thrilled.
Your teeth and gums will be ecstatic.
And there’s a very good chance that you will add a few more happy, healthy years to your life.

Until next time…



Friday, October 3, 2008

What is Jicama?

Many of you may already know what jicama is, may already know how to correctly pronounce it, and my have actually had some contact with it. If that’s the case, congratulations on your acquired knowledge and worldliness--you are more than welcome to skip this next part. For those of you still clueless, here are a few clues: Jicama is: a) a tropical island in the southwestern part of the Caribbean b) a rare skin disease that turns the bottoms of your feet purple c) a popular spicy stew prevalent in Portugal d) an edible root, originally cultivated in South America The correct answer (and it should be no surprise for those familiar with my plethora of posts about diet and nutrition) is “d.” Jicama is a tasty, crispy, root vegetable, cultivated in South America for centuries. It is amazingly versatile, easy to prepare, and healthy for you. If you would like to learn how to pronounce jicama, or are just tired of reading, watch this video: Also known as the Mexican turnip or potato, jicama is used in many recipes south of the border. Its unique taste (a cross between an apple, potato, and water chestnut) and texture (crisp and smooth) make it one versatile veggie. Enjoy jicama: * raw, in sweet, fruit salads, or lettuce-based salads * sliced or Julienned to use with a dip * plain, eaten as a snack (squeeze of lime, some hot sauce) * diced and added to savory dishes: stews, soups, stir-fry * mashed as a side dish Once you taste jicama, you will ask yourself why you waited so long to try it. And more good news: it is loaded with fiber. One cup has about 6 grams of fiber, around 1 gram of protein, and contains less than 50 calories. Jicama is also an excellent source of Vitamin C and potassium. Simple to prepare, you peel jicama like a potato, using either a peeler or paring knife, removing the fibrous skin. From there, depending on how you want to eat it, it can be easily sliced, diced, Julienned, or mashed. Like my late discovery of the avocado, I did not taste my first jicama until I was well into my twenties, thus missing out on years of epicurean enjoyment. Don't let this happen to you. The next time you’re cruising the produce section of your grocery store, look for jicama, and grab a couple. The good news: Jicama is not a rare skin disease that turns the bottom of your feel purple, but a versatile, nutritious, and fun vegetable that will delight you with its unique taste. Until next time… peace, Mike