Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays

Seasons greeting, merry Christmas, enjoy your Hanukkah and Kwanzaa...whatever you do and however you go about embracing your own personal choice this holiday season, I wish you all hope, happiness, and health (and those are just the "H's") not only during the next few days, but, as always, throughout the year--365! Oh, and, of course, a video:


For all of you who got slammed by the recent blizzard that dropped a few feet of snow on my old stomping grounds Back East, I offer you this little ditty:


Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and an amazing 2010!

Until next (year) time...



Friday, December 11, 2009

Volunteering On Vacation

Whenever I go on vacation, I have simple objectives, most of them related to how much rest and relaxation I can cram into my days away from it all. Oh, sure, I also love discovering new places and different things to do, wining and dining, spending quality time with my lovely wife, and catching up on my reading.

But I am also at the stage in my life where I crave doing more, even while lolling in the sun, listening to the crash of endless waves and gazing off into the nothingness without a care in the world. Yes, even while on a tropical paradise like Maui, I try to manage my triad of balance—I exercise, eat right, read and write every day, and look inside myself for personal growth opportunities that enhance my spirituality.

This year, while perusing one of those guides you pick up at the airport that brag about dozens of great things to do while in Hawaii, I stumbled upon one of the most rewarding experiences my wife and I have shared and enjoyed in ages.


I phoned the Pacific Whale Foundation and learned that not only could they offer us such amazing adventures like a day of working at an organic farm in the upcountry town of Kula, or helping remove invasive species at sacred, protected grounds in the West Maui Mountains, but that they wouldn’t cost a cent, not one Maui dollar. Not only that, by volunteering to get our hands dirty and our bodies sweaty, we could also meet wonderful people, experience new and interesting activities, and feel that incredible feeling that only giving of your time for a worthy cause can give you.

I have to say that I have been fortunate enough to have visited Maui many times, and while every visit is special and enjoyable, this visit, and our volunteering efforts, was the highlight of decades of highlights. We gave back, added solutions to problems by participating in organic farming, socialized with like-minded, friendly people, took and gave back to the earth, and even finagled a free farm-fresh lunch out of the deal.

Here is a brief snapshot of my day at O’o farm:


And here is the written version:

· awoke at 6:00 am
· drove to upcountry town of Pukalani
· met with other volunteers (Brenda)
· met Richard and Sunanda at O’o Farm
· assigned to pull weeds for a few hours with Sunanda
· watched others pull weeds while I filmed
· watched others pull weeds while I made Sunanda laugh
· filled wheelbarrow with weeds
· emptied wheelbarrow filled with weeds
· stopped for lunch
· made Sunanda laugh
· enjoyed an amazing homemade vegetarian meal made by Sunanda
· happily discovered a port-o-potty
· went back to work at the farm
· watched Wendy and Brenda and Sunanda plant vegetables
· filmed them planting vegetables
· firmly told to put the camera away and help plant vegetables
· happily discovered the port-o-potty again
· stopped and gazed at the amazing vista of the Pacific ocean from several thousand feet above sea level
· announced to all, for the hundredth time, how content, pleased, thrilled, fulfilled, and excited I was to be sharing such a wonderful experience with them
· planted some vegetables
· shot some video
· made Sunanda laugh again
· and called it a day

Volunteering any time is an important way to give back to those who are less fortunate than us, as well as helping others who are working to change the world for the better. Volunteering while on vacation makes something that is great to begin with even more so. And adds a spiritual balance to the rest of your life.

I would like to thank everyone at the Pacific Whale Foundation and O’o Farm, Brenda, and especially Richard, Sunanda, and Dasa, who went out of their way to make my wife and I feel as if we’d known them forever, and whom we now consider forever friends.

Until next time…



Sunday, November 29, 2009

Find Your Self

I recently started meditating, counting my breath, sitting in a quiet room and trying not to think about anything. And you know something? It’s not as easy as it sounds. In fact, you try it. Try sitting still, with your legs folded over each other, your eyes half-closed and unfocused, willing your mind to banish any outside thoughts from entering it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

You probably discovered very quickly that thoughts, distractions and outside interferences overwhelm your ability to focus, to render your mind a blank slate, to meditate on nothing. And that’s okay, I warned you that it was challenging, maybe even impossible. But that’s not the point of why I meditate, why I sit in a room by myself and try to focus on nothing. I do so to find self. And I have discovered, through trial and error, research and reading, that to find self you have to first lose self.


“Huh?” is right. But it’s a good kind of huh, one that makes you think, makes you take note, makes you intrigued, I hope. Makes you want to read on. Or, better yet, watch:


I often talk about the TRIAD OF BALANCE, what I refer to as the continuous process of maintaining the harmonic balance between the mind, body, and spirit. I have found that when I have all three of these essentials working and in harmony with one another, then I am at my strongest and happiest, enjoying the most effective way of living my life to its fullest. If one of my big three is out of whack, but the other two are still strong, while I may feel a bit off and not my complete self, I can still do most of what I need to do…only not all of what I want to do to be all that I need to be. That is why finding that balance, working on the mind, body, and spirit all the time, is one of the main focuses in my life, this blog, and my video site.

So to strengthen my spiritual side, after working, of course, on my intellectual and physical areas, I decided I needed to lose self first…to find self later.

Okay, Mike, how does one lose self?

Glad you asked. Meditation is a good start. Let’s go back to trying to not allow any thoughts to invade your mind while you sit still with your eyes half-closed. Even though this is a difficult task, it is possible…if you focus on everything BUT your own thoughts while doing it.

Ummm, you lost me.

Got back to your quiet place, sit, focus, and try not to think. Only this time, if a thought tries to weasel its way into your mind, just gently push it aside. Then, while trying not to let YOUR thoughts back in, allow your mind the freedom to let everything else in.


Hold on, I’m getting there. Notice your surroundings. The sound of the clock on the wall, the wind rustling the leaves or tinkling your wind chimes. A car passing by. Your refrigerator rumbling into life. Everything else but YOUR thoughts. Make sense?

Kind of. But what’s the point?

The point is, by allowing the outside world in, while trying to eliminate your internal thoughts, you have, in a small way, lost your self. And this, in a larger sense, helps you find your self.

Finding self goes a long way toward finding your spirituality. And that helps balance your triad.

Hey, by the way, how did you maintain your triad of balance while you were on vacation last month?

Funny you should ask.


Until next time…



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pineapple, Anyone?

Even though I have returned to the mainland, back to my happy routines and the colder weather, my thoughts often shift to those tropical days on my lanai, with the wind and surf serenading my aloha spirit, and the taste of fresh island fruit, like pineapple, dancing on my tongue. With that in mind, please enjoy my latest video effort:




Monday, November 9, 2009

What Is Papaya?

Whenever I have the good fortune to visit the Hawaiian Islands, I take the opportunity to indulge in as many of the local delicacies as possible, be it Maui Onions or locally grown avocados. There are few things I enjoy more than taking my morning walk, enjoying the always perfect weather, and checking out the farmer’s market for produce that I don’t normally eat here on the mainland. Over the next few weeks I will be showcasing many of the diverse fruits and veggies that, while not all native to Hawaii, seem to be abundantly available there. Wonderful and tasty finds like star fruit, pineapple, passion fruit, and today’s topic: Papaya.

Many of you, I’m sure, have eaten papaya, have enjoyed its succulent flavor (like a peach, but different) in smoothies, juices, or diced in a tropical fruit salad. While some of you may have led a more conservative dietary lifestyle and never ventured deeper into the produce aisle to discover this amazing fruit, perhaps others are like me, needing a trip to a tropical paradise to awaken those salivary glands and indulge in diversity. Whatever category you fall under, papaya is not only delicious, but one of the most nutritious fruits in the world.

But how do you eat one?

Though you’d never ask.


Papayas are grown in most tropical climates, but did you also know:


1. picked while still hard and green (like the avocado), they turn a pretty amber when ripe enough to eat
2. the seeds have a peppery taste and are often dried and ground up and used as a seasoning
3. loaded with the enzyme papain: which aids in digestion, can tenderize meats, and even is used to treat cuts and burns
4. the leaves of the papaya tree can be eaten as a spinach-like vegetable and also dried and used to make tea
5. have more vitamin C than apples or oranges
6. Christopher Columbus called papaya the “fruit of the angels”
7. loaded with antioxidants, potassium, folate, papayas are great for the immune system and may help fight cancer and heart disease
8. they have been used for both promoting fertility and preventing it, depending on what culture you consult
9. when eaten while drinking green tea, papaya may also help prevent prostate cancer
10. one of the healthiest low calorie/high fiber foods you can eat

I always feel like kicking myself whenever I get my hands on a papaya and cut one open, not because they are difficult to eat (you know they aren’t, if you watched the video), but because I realize, the second my taste buds scream with pleasure, that it’s been too long since I last had one. But before I did the research for this post, I had no idea how foolish I’d been not to include papaya in my regular diet—they literally are, pound for pound, one of the best things you can eat because they are loaded with enzymes, extensive amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and lycopene.


Here are a few ways to include more papaya into your diet:

· juices
· smoothies
· salads
· salsa
served with fish
jams and jellies
· curries
· stews
· or just raw

So, what is papaya?

A tasty, nutritious, versatile, and amazing fruit that you should make an effort to discover and add to your dietary regimen. I know I am going to.

Until next time…



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Veg Out, Maui Style!


Er…I mean, greetings from the mainland. I am back from my wonderful trip across the Pacific, where my lovely wife and I enjoyed several laid back days of doing all those things we wish we could do during the “real” moments of our lives. Not that lounging on the beach, catching the sun’s rays, reading for pleasure and enjoyment, gazing meditatively at the ocean as if it held all the answers in the world, with nary a thought inside one’s head except where should we dine that evening are not “real” moments. It’s just that the reality of returning from mid-80’s weather to overnights in the 40’s, as well as awakening to the sound of the alarm clock and the angst of facing that day job are a tad bit lower on my “things I love to do” list than hanging out in Maui.

But life goes on, and I am thankful and lucky that I love my life here at home almost as much as the fantasy one I just left. Not that my vacation was all play and no work. While away I was focused, as I constantly am, on balance, especially managing my triad of balance: the harmonious union between the Mind, Body, and Spirit.

I was able to write daily, along with reading tons of articles and other interesting data that I am unable to catch up on during my hectic “regular” life. While somewhat limited physically (due to a troublesome right shoulder--yes, the left one used to be the bad one, but, eh, what can I say, they're a match pair), I still walked daily, often several miles along the convenient beach paths. My wife and I also experienced an incredible day volunteering at an organic farm in the quaint upcountry town of Kula; as soon as I edit all of the video footage I shot, I will share this experience right here and at my video site.

We also ate well, often, and, surprisingly, mostly healthy. One of the things I love best while on the island is the variety of fresh fruits and veggies available at farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Plus, most of the local restaurants prepare their meals with Maui-grown fruits and vegetables, like those my wife and I helped plant on that organic farm in Kula. I shot tons of videos showcasing the unique produce found in Hawaii (lots of new vids coming very soon!), and prepared my latest veg out dish using many of those fresh ingredients.


Replace the butter with olive oil (or another vegetable oil) and the cheese with a vegetable-based cheese, and vegans can also enjoy this tasty dish.

One ingredient I forgot to add were fresh herbs. That scramble, while delicious as it was, could have been enhanced by adding some fresh basil or parsley…or the favorite herb of your choice. Before I left for the islands, I shot this video, which may explain why I had herbs, as well as aloha, on my mind:


I may be back in the “real” world, the timely rhythm of the ocean a faint memory battling with dozens of other thoughts in my head, but all I need to do is close my eyes and I’m back on the island, the smell of Maui onions sautéing on the stove and the aloha spirit permeating my being like a breath of sultry air.

I hope all of your days are filled with everything that you desire them to be.

Until next time…



Tuesday, October 13, 2009



What is this, talk like a pirate vacation?

Nope, I’m taking off for a few weeks to:


Repeat all of the above…

And then...eventually, sadly, inevitably, but Ready and Raring to go...


Aloha and peace,


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Find Your Spirituality

When we talk about spirituality, most people automatically think of faith, their high power, their feelings about their god of choice. While I find all of that very spiritual, I feel that spiritually is so much more; it has to be. Why? Because to be in total harmonious balance, to be a complete human being, we have to be physically fit and healthy, mentally strong and focused, and spiritually sound. To limit one’s spiritual health to just having faith, higher powers, and communal worship is akin to running ten miles a day then smoking a pack of cigarettes--something’s missing.

I am constantly searching for that inner peace, that tranquil happiness, that meditative state that I feel only total spirituality can give us. Again, going to a place of worship every week, celebrating with like people, and practicing one’s faith is a good thing…I just feel we have to do more to be more.

For me, finding one’s spirituality is a daily activity, just as working on my mind and body, improving my triad of balance is. Some of the things that help me find my spirituality can be found in this video:

Find Your Spirituality

For those of you who prefer the written word:

Ten Ways To Find Your Spirituality

1. Take A Walk In The Wilderness. For me, there’s nothing better than getting out and communing with nature, away from the noises and distractions of the busy world (and your busy life). Find a tranquil spot that you can share with the birds and squirrels and you will find yourself.

2. Exercise The Mind And Body. To achieve balance in my life, I need for my mind and body and spirit to be aligned. What better way to strengthen one than by working on the others. Working up a sweat, for me, is a natural spiritual high; as is working a crossword puzzle. Work the mind and body, and the spirit will come around.

3. Reach Out And Touch Someone. When was the last time you received a hug? Or initiated one? Hopefully it was as recently as today. Physical contact with another human being (or even a dog or cat, to a lesser extent) is not only spiritually uplifting, but an essential necessity for happiness and spiritual wholeness.

4. Be Kind. One of my favorite adages is: Do onto others as you would want them to do onto you. Good vibes are contagious. What goes around comes around. Spread joy and you will be joyous. A smile goes a lot farther than a snarl. Random acts of kindness should be second nature for us all. Think about it.

5. Live In The Moment. I am a planner, a multitasker, a busy guy with lots of irons in the fire. I often have to force myself to slow down, take a breath, stop and enjoy what is happening in the here and now, and not what needs to be done in the then and when. Enjoy the ride, the process, the journey…the moment.

6. Keep Busy. An idle mind is the devil’s playground. While it is good to live in the moment, it is also very good to have lots to do. That doesn’t mean to never chill out, take a vacation or relax. It just means to have some hobbies, a few vocations, careers, goals, things to do. Every day, as much as your schedule permits. The more the merrier, as long as they are positive endeavors that add to your personal resume as a complete, happy, fulfilled person.

7. Give Of Yourself. When I help someone less fortunate than myself it makes me feel good--and it should! There’s nothing wrong with feeling good when you’ve done a good deed. Just don’t make that the main motivation for doing it. Do it because to not do it would be as unnatural as not eating, or bathing.

8. Hang Up The Phone! Living with all of the amazing innovations in this technological age is something I never would have dreamed of twenty years ago. But too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. I spend way too many hours in front of my computer out of the necessity of having to earn a living and passion for this website, but I shut it off as often as I can. You should too. Toss the cell, pull the plug on that ipod, stop texting, switch the TV off, and find a quiet spot to reflect, think, meditate…live. You will be happy you did.

9. Keep The Faith. Believe in yourself as much as your higher power. Go to your place of worship and sing the praises of your faith. Share your feelings with those like-minded people and your spirits will soar. No matter what floats your boat or makes you happy, faith is a good thing; it is the foundation of spirituality.

10. Stay Positive. These days the news, at times, can bring you down, test your spirit, your happiness. But the good thing is: we can choose to be happy, to be positive. Why would anyone choose otherwise? Even when times seem darkest, when life is at its worst, opting to be positive, to see the glass as half full, is still a personal choice. Choose to be positive and good things will not only follow, but it will be one giant step toward finding your spirituality.

Is Your Glass Half Full?

These were just a few of the many activities and practices I follow as I constantly work at improving my spirituality. I hope some of them work for you. I would love for you to share some of yours with me.

Until next time…



Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Is Quinoa?

A better question may be, What is one of the most complete (vegetable) proteins in the world? The answer is quinoa (pronounced: “keen-wah’).

Last year when I was researching my Super Foods video, I inadvertently forget a few foods that several people pointed out to me were quite super in their own right. And I agree that there are dozens of foods that are just as super or more super than the foods I lauded in my video: ARE YOUR FOODS SUPER? One of those omitted super foods is quinoa. What exactly is quinoa? Whenever I’m confronted with questions like this I tend to do two things: I put my researcher hat on and study up on the topic in question. And then I produce a video, like this one:


Quinoa is often mistaken for a whole grain, but it is actually a seed from the goosefoot family. Today, it is mostly grown in South America, but it has been around for over 5,000 years. The Inca and Aztec civilizations were so fond of this super food they considered quinoa the “mother grain.” Why is quinoa so highly regarded? One word:


Actually, two words: COMPLETE PROTEIN!

Why is this important? Amino acids. Most of you meat-eaters get plenty of amino acids as you gnaw away on your protein-rich meats; that’s one of the major benefits one derives from animal protein consumption. It is also one of the main challenges for someone like myself, and hundreds of millions of others around the world, who has chosen a vegetarian lifestyle. Sure there are lots of wonderful vegetable protein choices, from nuts to beans to soy to whole grains, but few, if any, are considered complete, offering all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is especially rich in lysine, which is helpful for tissue growth and repair.

Okay, sounds great, right? But what does quinoa taste like? And how does one cook it?

Quinoa is delicious served on the side with veggies, or in salads or soups. It also is excellent added to cereals, and I use it to add complete vegetable protein to my Italian and Vegetable main dishes.

You didn’t answer my questions: How does it taste and how does one cook it?

A: Amazingly delicious. And:


Why else should you add quinoa to your daily diet?

* excellent source of manganese (which helps with migraines)
* high in magnesium (good for cardiovascular health)
* fiber
* good source of iron & riboflavin
* low fat, low calorie food
* gluten free

Just because a food is considered super and good for you doesn’t mean it tastes good. I mean, I love broccoli and Brussels sprouts, but my wife tells me I’m stinking up the kitchen every time I prepare them. Quinoa is one of those special super foods that not only will help you live a healthier, happier, longer life, but will also add gastronomic pleasure along the way.

Until next time…



For the funny bone: QUINOA OUTTAKES

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Landscape Escape

I'm one of those lucky guys who has lots of hobbies to occupy my time and energy. I am an avid reader and collector of books (as well as tea and turtles). I love to travel and play my guitar. And I stay busy with my writing, videos, and music projects (not to mention this blog and my video site). But one of my favorite hobbies is landscaping. I like nothing better than to take an empty or weed-strewn chunk of land and turn it into a colorful, blooming masterpiece that enhances the natural scenery and makes me smile every time I wander through it.

I enjoy landscaping so much that I consider it therapeutic, one of my great escapes whenever I need some time away from the everyday challenges and all too often stresses of life.


Besides being a terrific form of exercise, landscaping is a wonderful way to get back to nature, to roll up those sleeves and dig your hands into the earth. There’s nothing like working up a sweat with the sounds of birds or squirrels singing and chirping away in the background.

Another thing that draws me to landscaping is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I (finally) complete a project. Life is a journey that should be enjoyed throughout each leg; the same can be said about landscaping. I like the fact that there’s a beginning, middle, and end, and while the finish line can seem a long way off at the outset of any project, the key is to enjoy every minute of the experience--I do this with landscaping, just as I try to do with all aspects of my life.

One thing I always talk about trying to achieve is the Triad of Balance, which is working on finding harmony between the Mind, Body, and Spirit, after first balancing each one on its own. Simply put: in order to lead the most fulfilling and purposeful life, I believe one has to work on the Mind, Body, and Spirit every day, and then balance all three together. If one of these is out of whack, then even though the other two are working fine, you are not complete, not in balance, and, therefore, not living your life to its fullest. Landscaping is one of those hobbies that helps me to stay balanced. My MIND is in constant motion, thinking and planning, focused on the tasks at hand and then executing and achieving. While my SPIRIT feels free as I dig up the dirt, plant flowers and trees, communing with nature. I also feel less stressful: when I am outside with a shovel in my hands I seldom allow distractions to interfere--a good thing. Lastly, my BODY gets plenty of work pushing a wheelbarrow around, freeing up boulders from the ground, and digging, digging, digging. Landscaping is great exercise and a calorie burner.

So what are you waiting for? Summer may be over, but fall is an excellent time to do some planting and work around the yard. Besides being a fun and rewarding hobby, landscaping is a chance to help you find balance between your MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT. Think about it.

Until next time…



Monday, September 21, 2009


I say peace a lot, and that's a good thing (I also say that a lot). For those unfamiliar with my videos, I close each vid with the one-word sign-off: "peace." I got that from my father, who used to say "peace" instead of goodbye, way back in the seventies. I thought it was cool and important as a young man back then, and I still think it is cool and important today.

Today, by the way, is the International Day of Peace, a day dedicated to global unity, with the goal of having one day out of the year free from war, fighting, terrorism, genocide, violence, anger and hatred.

In honor of this great day and as a tip of the cap to my old man, I produced this short video:

To learn more about how you can take action to help create a more peaceful world, please visit

Until next time...

peace (what else?),


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Break a Sweat Every Day

To sweat or not to sweat? Sweating, at times, gets a bad rap, and when you think about it, actually ponder the merits of having your skin break out in a cold (or hot) sweat, it’s a wonder we don’t all go running for the hills. But there’s the rub—if you did head for the hills at a good gait then chances are in no time you’d be drenched in sweat. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sweating is as important for your health as proper diet, exercise, positive attitude, and the rest of all the good stuff I advocate at this site and

There are many reasons why we sweat—hot weather, exertion, sickness, nerves, anxiety—all sharing one commonality: we need to! Why? Because sweating regulates the body’s internal temperature. When any of those above situations occur, you heat up inside. If you don’t have a place for this increased heat to go, you’re in trouble. But for most of us, the brain recognizes this warm up, sends a signal to the sweat glands, and, voila, in no time your hair becomes a matted mess (not mine: I Miss My Hair), your armpits a river of sorrow, your back and belly, face and neck, hands and even feet are suddenly coated in liquid. Again: This is a good thing!

· cools down the body
· removes excessive heat
· regulates your internal temperature
· removes small amounts of waste (like chlorine)

But even more importantly, if you’re sweating it usually means that you are moving around, exercising, working in the garden, playing with your kids, taking a walk or run, or just fooling around with your significant other. Many studies have shown that some of the healthiest cultures in the world find a way to sweat every day—you should too! Me? I like to:

Break a Sweat Every Day

Is it possible to sweat too much? Or too little? Yes, and yes. Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating, that, while maybe embarrassing or uncomfortable, is usually not a cause for alarm. But anhidrosis, which is a rare disease where one has little or no sweat, can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke because the lack of sweat limits the body’s ability to cool itself down.

Pop quiz:

Q: Does sweat have an odor?

A: Believe it or not, sweat is odorless. It is the bacteria on one’s skin that mixes with the sweat that causes body odor.

So, working out, running around, exercising and frolicking in the sun, getting a good sweat going, is always a good thing, right? For the most part, yes, but you must stay hydrated or you could become very ill.

Symptoms of Dehydration:
· dry mouth
· tiredness
· thirsty
· weakness
· headache
· dizziness
· rapid heartbeat
· confusion

Symptoms of Dehydration

If you have any of those symptoms, you immediately should:
· seek shade
· drink water
· chill out, and drink more water

If left untreated, dehydration can cause a multitude of far worse maladies. Your best bet is to drink plenty of water while breaking that sweat and use common sense. Or, watch this video:

How to...Prevent Dehydration

Breaking a sweat every day is one of the healthiest things you can do, just remember to replenish those liquids you are sweating out to keep dehydration at bay. And, as always, have fun while living life every day in every way.

Until next time…



Thursday, September 10, 2009

Change Is Good

The other day I dropped my favorite teacup, rendering it no longer a safe or viable receptacle for my daily consumption of my favorite beverage. To say that I was a tad upset is an understatement. I have had that green cup for years, thought of it as kind of a good luck charm, a talisman, if you will; it is even prominently displayed on this blog and in several of the videos on my video site. For one awful moment I thought: What am I going to do without my special mug? And then I shook my head and realized how ridiculous I sounded. Eventually I got over my dismay and as I often do, sat down and gave my little ordeal some additional thought. My conclusion was that change, even when it is thrust upon us or may seem bad or ill-timed, is a good thing.

“Things don’t change, we change.”~ Henry David Thoreau

But for many people, the prospect of change, especially major change, can seem daunting, downright scary, at times. This is a perfectly natural reaction. Why? Because most of us do not like being taken out of our comfort zones. We prefer the mundane routine to the new super new CHANGE because our routine is a familiar friend, something that while far from perfect is at least not full of surprises and new challenges. This is okay, unless your desire to do more with yourself and your life.

“If you are not changing, you are not living.” ~ Mike Foster

Unless we are testing ourselves, trying new things, removing that comfortable routine from our lives, we will never see our greater potential. The best bosses or managers or supervisors or leaders will often place their charges in challenging predicaments just to see how they react, to deem if they have what it takes to be all that they can be. Again, this is not a pleasant or even enjoyable exercise, but it is one that is necessary for self-growth, personal development, and living one’s life to its fullest.

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” ~ William Shakespeare

The biggest tragedy is not to have failed or shunned change, but to never have tried. What if by playing it safe you missed out on your true calling in life? Or passed on your potential soul-mate? Change, for the better, is a good thing. But what about change that you are not ready for, or change that is forced upon you? I am one of those lemonade out of lemons guys, someone who is always viewing the glass as half-full. If change comes and you look at it in a negative light I guarantee that the results will be bad. The good news is that while we may not be able to control the changes headed our way, we can control how we deal with them. In this video, I talk about how I dealt with the loss of my special teacup and how I like to deal with other types of changes:

Change Is Good

You can’t turn on the TV these days without seeing and hearing about how messed up the world is: hunger, war, terrorism, obesity, poverty, global warming, genocide, and just plain uncontrollable anger. How can we change the world when the world’s problems seem so vast? The answer is to embrace change and change yourself, to look in the mirror and honestly assess your own individual problems and issues and areas of improvement. While we may not be able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable problems facing the world, by taking important steps in improving self, the world’s issues will be reduced by one.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no on thinks of changing himself.” ~ Tolstoy

One of the biggest fears facing many people is the fear of failure. When facing big life changes or just mini-changes that upset the balance of your world, fear of falling flat on your face, of making mistakes, of failure, is natural. The good news: Failure is okay! Why? Because when we fail we are at least trying, and from that effort comes results, feedback from which we can learn, improve, excel.


“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ~ Albert Einstein

The other day I thought that my luck had changed in a negative way when I dropped my favorite teacup and was faced with an unexpected change. Instead, I discovered that change, unexpected or planned, big or small, is a good thing. It all depends on how you embrace it.

Until next time…



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sunflower Power

Here’s a riddle for you: What is colorful and happy and smiling at the sun when empty, but bloated and droopy and falling apart when full? Give up? The answer, of course, is the sunflower. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of driving past a field of sunflowers when they are at their cheeriest, basking-in-the-sun splendor, you no doubt have witnessed them well before they are ripe and ready for harvest. Their flowery heads are tilted toward the sun, soaking in the rays like coeds during Spring Break, full of color and promise. It is a sight I never tire of.

Yet when these stunning flowers are ready for plucking, they appear almost depressed: heads bowed by the weight of their plump seeds, once vivid yellow and orange petals now wilted and brown, leaves shriveled and battered by that same sun they once seemed to worship (like those aforementioned coeds, who right about now, after too much exposure to the sun, are just as shriveled and sun-battered).

The sunflower is one of those paradoxes I enjoy, a mystery of nature—a lovely flower that brings both pleasure and sustenance, beauty and, ahem, the beast. For me, there is nothing as picturesque as a blooming sunflower field, nor as sad as one ready for harvest. But once they are beheaded (ouch!) and have had all of their seeds removed, they change from that ugly duckling into a swan of amazing health benefits and tasty treats.

Here’s another riddle for you: How can a city boy harvest sunflowers without making a mess of things? This is how:

How to...Harvest and Eat Sunflower Seeds

Easy to grow and surprisingly easy to harvest, sunflowers are a popular choice for the weekend gardener while also a booming industry. Sunflower seeds are used to feed birds and baseball players; they are great in salads and in baked goods; and delicious as a snack or to start your day in your breakfast cereals. Sunflower oil is considered one of the healthier oils, high in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, while low in saturated fats. It also has a higher smoke point which makes it a useful oil to fry with.

But wait, there’s more!

There always is, Mike.

True, especially when it’s about the healthy stuff.

Knew you’d get to that part eventually.

You know me well. Here goes:


1. high in vegetable protein (around 5g per serving)
2. an excellent source of vitamin E
3. filled with good fats (low in sat fats!)
4. fiber! (Need I say more? Yes? Talk to Bernie.)
5. lowers bad cholesterol (because of the phytosterols)
6. loaded with magnesium (which helps reduce asthma, control high blood pressure, strengthen bones)
7. fights cancer (due to the high content of selenium)
8. a heart-healthy snack (low in carbs and calories; high in good fats and fiber)
9. may make you smarter (from the choline, which helps with memory and cognitive functions)

But wait, there’s even more!

What, some goofy video?

Er, um, I wouldn’t exactly call it goofy…

But it IS a video, right?

As I said, you know me well…

Sunflower Power

One of the staple foods for the Native Americans for over 5,000 years, sunflowers were a popular choice then and still are today.

The next time I pass by a field overflowing with sunflowers, either rich in color and basking in the sun or hunched over from the weight of their delicious seeds, I’ll smile a smile of contentment and knowledge, while offering a silent homage to their amazing power.

Until next time…



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Plum Crazy!

One of the things I love about this time of year is the bounty of garden-fresh fruits and veggies available. During my weekly visit to our local farmer’s market, I can’t seem to buy enough of the ripe tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, succulent squash and tangy peppers. And those are just the vegetables I’m trying to juggle in one arm while I ogle the assortment of just-picked fruit: apples (yes, the season has already started here), peaches, nectarines, and plums.

If there is a more colorful fruit than the plum I’d like to see it. Did you know that there are over a thousand varieties of plums in the world? With colors ranging from deep purple (insert favorite guitar solo here) and ink black, to bright oranges, vivid greens, and cheery yellows…name a color and, if you search hard enough, you will find a plum sporting that hue.

But I’m not crazy about plums just because they offer a rainbow of colors. No, I’m plum crazy because plums taste amazing and are good for you, too. Hey, you didn’t think I’d be writing a blog post about a fruit, even one as tasty and pretty as the plum, if it didn’t offer nutritional benefits worthy of some of my past fruit and veggie posts. Like these popular articles:

I Smell Asparagus
What Is Jicama?
Viva Avocado!
Fruit or Vegetable? Who Cares, Just Eat Tomatoes Every Day!
I Cannot Tell A Lie, Cherries Are Good For You

Okay, enough about all those other wonderful fruits and veggies, let’s talk plums…or better yet, how about a video?

Plum Crazy!

Plums are part of the drupe family: fruits that have a hard stone pit surrounding their seeds. Other members of this tasty family: nectarines and peaches, two fruits, by the way, that I love as much as plums.

Loaded with phenols, which function as powerful antioxidants, plums offer a multitude of health benefits:

* a very good source of vitamin C
* better absorption of iron into the system
* reduction of bad cholesterol
* may fight some cancers, arthritis, asthma
* strengthens the immune system
* lowers the risk of vision loss related to age
* good source of fiber, vitamin A, B2, and potassium

Maybe the best benefit of all, when consuming plums in their dried form as prunes, is their amazing effectiveness in assisting with regularity. Simply put: if you’re a tad bit backed up, have a heaping helping of prunes and your worries will soon be a thing of the past.

Quiz time!

Q: What do you get when you cross a plum with an apricot?
A: A pluot

What is a pluot? Glad you asked.

What Is a Pluot?

Sweet and juicy or tart and chewy, plums (and pluots), along with all those other delicious members of the drupe family, are ripe and ready for picking right now. And the best part is they are low in calories and surprisingly healthy for you.

Maybe that’s why I get a little plum crazy this time of year. You should too.

Until next time…



Saturday, August 15, 2009

When in Doubt, Yank 'Em Out!

Is there anything more painful than a toothache? Okay, maybe a gunshot wound, but, thankfully, having never experienced being shot I can’t really make a valid comparison. Childbirth? Being of the wrong gender, I am legally not allowed to comment. How about having an angry ex-(anyone) rearing back and kicking you squarely in the lower region naughty parts? Having HAD experience with that, I can honestly say that, while having your family jewels rearranged is quite painful, a prolonged toothache is worse. How much worse? Bad enough to pay someone (a large chunk of cash) to knock you out under anesthesia and then take a sharp carving implement and have at the insides of your mouth. Turning you into something that resembles this:


It all started with a little ache in the lower left side of my mouth. Being an avid tooth-brusher and compulsive flosser, as well as a regular dental checkup kind of guy, I figured the pain would go away, like one hopes an annoying neighbor will. Sadly, that is the wrong strategy to use for both toothaches and neighbors, so I paid a visit to my dentist. He probed and poked, x-rayed and consulted until he reached suitable recompense, then announced that I had a fractured tooth and that I should…

“Yes, yes?” I said, nodding hopefully, knowing that relief was just a few magical dental moves away.

“Wait,” my (not usually sadistic) dentist said.

“Huh?” said I.

“It’s fractured. Can’t fill it, can’t extract it, so just wait until…”

“Yes? Until…?”

“Until it either fractures some more or you need a root canal.”

After one more “huh?” and a few “what the…?'s”, my dentist smiled, nodded, and left me with drool on my chin and a still sensitive tooth in need of…what?


So I waited, continued to eat my almonds and enjoy my dietary life as usual, while favoring that fractured side of my mouth. This went on for months and months, until…


The fracture fractured some more, creating enough pain to motivate me to make another visit to my dentist, who, after more adequate probing and x-raying to satisfy his curiosity and my deductible, announced:

“Looks like you may need a root canal.”

Through a mouthful of fingers, cotton, and that annoying little sucking machine, I said, “Warrgllehuhphmmm?”

My dentist smiled, nodded, added up my bill and decided to take one more x-ray, then shuffled me off to another practitioner of dental maneuvers: an endodontist, who specialized, I was told, in root canals, more probing, vague announcements, and, of course, additional x-ray taking. The biggest difference I noticed was the endodontist charges more and it takes longer to get an appointment. But if you tell them that you are in extreme pain, they will smile, recheck their appointment book, then tell you that whining won’t make the pain go away so take some Advil and practice…


And that’s what I did, finally getting the pleasure of having a higher paid sadist probe my fractured tooth, while feeling the stirring of another tooth announce its painful presence on the other side of my mouth. So I said:

“What the heck, doc, it’s only money, right? Take a look at that other guy while you’re at it.”

My endodontist nodded, grunted, probed, ordered and received additional x-rays, probed some more then pondered and professed:

“You need two root canals. How much money do you have?”

My mouth stuffed with the expensive hands of a specialist, cotton, a dental assistant, and that annoying little sucky thing that sometimes gets stuck in the back of your throat, making you want to vomit and choke at the same time, I said, “Whadrrrgfhrrfertwwwooo?”

My sadistic little endodontist nodded, smiled, and left the room to order more x-rays. Leaving me to, you guessed it, practice…


Finally the day arrived when I had my root canal exploratory exam that would let me know if I could save the fractured tooth, have the root canal, then be able to have a crown installed. The crown, of course, would be done by yet another dental practitioner and cost several arms, a leg, and the promise of donating various organs to science and x-ray development costs.

His hands deep inside my mouth, which was benumbed by enough Novocain to curtail the charge of a rabid rhinoceros, my endodontist announced:

“Tsk, tsk, bad news. Fracture is too deep, no root canal, have to have it extracted. I must leave now because you are no longer a viable money stream, but before you go let’s take a few more x-rays just to be sure.”

With that he left, leaving me with a numb face, two still very throbbing teeth, and an appointment with another dental professional.

While all this was going on, over the course of several months, I favored one side of my mouth over the other, effectively adding additional stress to that side, effectively causing the tooth that wasn’t yet fractured to SPLIT IN HALF!! This caused me enormous pain, and more trips to dental professionals, along with, you guessed it:


Finally leading me to this past Friday, where, after all three geniuses of the dental community, otherwise known as the Mike Foster Dental Retirement Fund Group, decided it was best that I had both fractured and root-befouled teeth extracted.

I, of course, had to find yet another dental practitioner, who, of course, took several more x-rays, and then, naturally, checked the balance of my dental coverage to make sure he charged enough, and then, thankfully, mercifully, at long last:


Making my pain not necessarily go away, but at least be replaced by another pain, a healing, slightly bloody, cheek-puffing pain that while still nowhere near where I want to be pain-wise, at least was better than what I had been feeling for the past half-year.

The good news is I am feeling better every day, those two annoying teeth are gone (along with several painful extractions from my wallet and checking accounts), and I am well on my way to the road to recovery.

Hmmm, maybe just one more x-ray?

Until next time…



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thanks For Drinking Green Tea Every Day

Since creating this blog and my video site,, I have produced over 300 short films, ranging from tips on diet and exercise to my thoughts about motivation and personal development. I've also created how-to, self-help, and funny videos, and even a few original songs. One video, though, has gotten the most attention. No, I’m not talking about this one:

I Miss My Hair

I’m talking about the video where I extol the myriad health benefits you get from drinking green tea every day. What kind of benefits?

Drinking Green Tea Every Day may:

* help you lose weight
* lower your bad cholesterol
* fight tooth decay
* make your breath smell better
* lower your risk against these major health concerns:
- cancer
- heart disease
- diabetes
- obesity

Why is green tea so good for you? Watch my video that recently surpassed 30,000 views on YouTube and find out:

Drink Green Tea Every Day

For those of you who skipped the vid, here’s why: antioxidants! A diet rich in foods, like green tea, loaded with antioxidants, specifically flavonoids and polyphenols, can help do all that good stuff I bulleted in this post and talk and sing about in my green tea vids. What, you haven’t heard my new green tea song?

As a thanks to all of you who have made my green tea video the number one green tea video on YouTube (type “green tea” in the search engine and my vid is number one out of over 11,000), I produced this video, featuring my new song all about the goodness of drinking green tea every day:

Thanks For Drinking Green Tea Every Day

Until next time…