Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's Nip This Swine In The Bud!

Unless you've been living on Mars (and if you are, thanks for reading my blog!), by now you've heard about the potential pandemic swine flu that has already rapidly spread through parts of Mexico and is heading north into the United States. In fact, hundreds of cases attributed to this deadly virus have begun popping up in several states. The intent of this post is not to stoke the fires of fear that the WHO (World Health Organization) has caused in us by raising the pandemic alert level from 4 to 5. The WHO should be doing everything they can to call attention to this influenza...and so should you!

But don't just watch this outbreak on the news and be scared, do something about it. Now is the time for everyone to pitch in and beat back this swine by doing something as simple as washing your hands. Or covering your mouth after sneezing or coughing. Or staying home rather than going into work when you are sick and contagious.

A few months ago, I wrote a post called, "Beat Those Winter Blues." In it, I talked about ways to prevent suffering those lows that cold weather, lack of sun, and the onset of the flu season challenge us with during that time of year. Here is an excerpt on how to avoid spreading germs that will help nip this swine flu in the bud before it spreads further:


Sneezing, coughing, phlegm-laden human beings that you come into contact with are everywhere this time of year, and often unavoidable. But you CAN protect yourself from catching whatever illness is ailing them by following a few precautions:

*Try to avoid shaking hands or having other contact if you know someone is sick.
*Wash your hands with HOT water and soap throughout the day. If you can’t, then carry a hand sanitizer with you and use that until you can wash properly.
*Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, hoping that others will do the same for you.
*Always use a Kleenex, and toss it when done. Don’t use hankies, they hold germs.
*Wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER using a public restroom, then use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and one for the door handle.
*Try to avoid sharing telephones, keyboards, pens--anything where hand-to-hand contact is prevalent.
*ALWAYS disinfect hotel room TV remote controls!

This is one of those situations where personal accountability, each individual doing their part, is vital. We all need to rise to the challenge and do the little things. Besides always practicing all of the above germ-prevention tips year round, I also produced this video:


A few closing thoughts about a possible worldwide influenza pandemic. The last major pandemic was the Hong Kong Flu in 1968. Over one million people died during that outbreak, a number that pales when compared with the 1918 Spanish flu. That outbreak had estimates between 30 and 40 million deaths, a mortality rate of 2-2.5% (WHO/History of Influenza Pandemics). Multiply that percentage by six billion and you have your worst case scenario. But we've come a long way since 1918. And we've made amazing strides in combating influenza since even 1968. Experts say that we have never been better prepared to fight a potential pandemic as we are today. A good thing.

I gave you the worse case scenario, now the best case. This may all be the WHO overreacting to a very serious flu with the potential to cause a lot worse damage than it will. In other words, all this preparation and trepidation may all be for naught. Or is it? A wise man once said:

"It is better to error on the side of caution than to get the swine flu because you forgot to wash your hands."

Just to be on the safe side, I am taking this threat very seriously and doing all that I can to make myself and my family as germ-free as possible. You should too. Hopefully, the worse thing that comes from all this is some wrinkled hands from excessive washing. Because I don't want to even consider anything worse than that.

Until next time...



Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How About Some How-To?

What is it about how-to videos that I enjoy so much? Well, they are fun to create, but more than that they are helpful. And when you get right down to it, I get more joy and satisfaction from helping others than just about anything else. Except maybe making them laugh. Like with this video:


Sorry for the scream, hope I didn't hurt your ears.

I love producing how-to vids so much I have a special place to view them at my video site, informative videos like:


Now that we have that taken care of, you must be hungry. I've produced a bunch of how-to vids about food and nutrition, like this one:


By the way, if you've never tried this I highly recommend giving it a nosh.

Too many videos too soon? Getting a bit stressed out? No worries, watch this:


Hope that helped. If not, maybe this will:


Still feeling a bit sluggish? Then try my latest how-to video:


Until next time...



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can We Beat Obesity?

The numbers don’t lie, the statistics are staggering, and the repercussions deadly. What am I talking about? In the United States alone:

* nearly 70% of Americans are overweight
* almost 4 out of 10 are considered obese
* 14% of children ages six to eleven are obese—think about that!
* being overweight shortens your life
* obesity is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year
* between 1962 and 2000, the number of obese Americans grew from 13% to 31%

What is obesity?

“A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.

Obesity has been more precisely defined by the National Institutes of Health (the NIH) as a BMI (body mass index) of 30 and above. (A BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight.)

The first thing we all need to do is find out what our idea weight is. This is something you should know, even if you are not trying to lose weight—given the stats, do yourself a favor and take a gander at these charts:

Ideal Body Weight Chart for Women

Height/ Small/ Medium/ Large

4' 10" 102-111 109-121 118-131
4' 11" 103-113 111-123 120-134
5' 0" 104-115 113-126 122-137
5' 1" 106-118 115-129 125-140
5' 2" 108-121 118-132 128-143
5' 3" 111-124 121-135 131-147
5' 4" 114-127 124-138 134-151
5' 5" 117-130 127-141 137-155
5' 6" 120-133 130-144 140-159
5' 7" 123-136 133-147 143-163
5' 8" 126-139 136-150 146-167
5' 9" 129-142 139-153 149-170
5' 10" 132-145 142-156 152-173
5' 11" 135-148 145-159 155-176
6' 0" 138-151 148-162 158-179

Ideal Body Weight Chart for Men

Height/ Small/ Medium/ Large

5' 2" 128-134 131-141 138-150
5' 3" 130-136 133-143 140-153
5'' 4" 132-138 135-145 142-156
5' 5" 134-140 137-148 144-160
5' 6" 136-142 139-151 146-164
5' 7" 138-145 142-154 149-168
5' 8" 140-148 145-157 152-172
5' 9" 142-151 148-160 155-176
5' 10" 144-154 151-163 158-180
5' 11" 146-157 154-166 161-184
6' 0" 149-160 157-170 164-188
6' 1" 152-164 160-174 168-192
6' 2" 155-168 164-178 172-197
6' 3" 158-172 167-182 176-202
6' 4" 162-176 171-187 181-207

I suggest you also check your BMI. Body Mass Index takes into consideration body fatness and size, giving you a more accurate idea of where you stand.

Now you have a starting point. If you’re like most of America (and the world), you no doubt found your weight, for your height, on the above chart and wasn't pleased. Don’t despair, this is a good thing. No, not being overweight or even obese, but at least taking that first step toward eventually getting you to your ideal weight on that chart.

The next step? Doing something about it! I’ve produced dozens of videos that deal with weight loss, fitness, and nutrition. Here is one that can help you get started:


One of my favorite mantras is: “Count your calories and make your calories count.” By that I simply mean: if you are ever going to lose weight—and keep it off—you HAVE to, must, there’s-just-no-getting-past this one thing: BURN MORE CALORIES THAN YOU INGEST! While this is easier said than done, this video should help:


While viewing these videos you notice I repeatedly harp on the magic number 3500. Why? Because it IS magic. It is the best way, from my years of experience, to lose weight. Oh, adding an exercise program to your life, eating more fiber, cutting back on fatty foods, and drinking green tea will also help you lose weight, but there is no getting around the cold, hard fact that:

“To lose one pound you must burn 3500 calories more than you ingest.”

To further drive home this point, I wrote this blog post last July: MAKE YOUR CALORIES COUNT

Getting back to the title of this post: Can we beat obesity? The answer to that questions is: Yes, but it will take lots of hard work, proper nutritional education, cooperation between school lunch programs and fast food restaurants, parents and friends, and most of all everyone taking personal accountability for their actions. Especially all you parents out there that have children who are overweight, obese, or bordering on either one of the two.

One of the motivations I had for creating livelife365 was to share my success in weight loss with as many people as possible. Believe it or not, at one time I weighed over 200 pounds, which one glance at that chart at the top of this post let me know that I was well overweight for my height and heading for obesity. I took action, and I am imploring and encouraging anyone reading this post or who knows anyone who needs help to do the same—take action. Take that first step that will change your life for the better. I did, you can too.


Until next time…



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

New blog post tomorrow...

But first:

My video, "Drink Green Tea Every Day," has just surpassed 20,000 views on YouTube! (It also has over 1100 views at good thing!)

Considering that today is Earth Day, I figured there was nothing wrong with bragging about something green and healthy.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

Actually, most times I feel like a nut, in more ways than one. If you were to ask my wife, other family members, or any of my close acquaintances, most, if not all, would agree that I tend to conduct myself in a nutty fashion from time to time. Hey, I admit I can be a tad goofy, but that doesn’t make me a bad person, does it? No, it just makes me a bit nutty.

While this post isn’t about me or my nuttiness, it is about nuts. I eat nuts just about every single day. And you should too. Why? Read on…

But first, here is a list of other titles I considered (and rejected) for this post:

1. Go Nutz!
2. The Power of the Peanut!
3. Almonds: The Perfect Snack
4. Ode to Pistachios
5. Wall-to-Wall Walnuts!
6. Have Nuts, Will Travel
7. Please Don’t Eschew Cashews

Being a vegetarian, I am always in search of vegetable protein, and am delighted to report that nuts, besides offering us a (sometimes) salty taste treat, are high in protein. Consider these protein totals while munching your next handful of these popular nuts:

Almonds 8g
Peanuts 7g
Walnuts 6g
Pistachios 6g
Pecans 3g
Cashews 5g
Macadamia Nuts 3g
Brazil Nuts 4g


Q: What is the most consumed nut in the world?

A: The peanut (Almonds are the most popular in America)

Okay, so nuts taste great, have lots of important vegetable protein, but why else should you grab a pile and start devouring them daily?


Excuse me?

You heard right: Fats! The good fats, that is.

Most nuts are loaded with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Not only are these fats the antithesis of those evil saturated fats, but consuming massive quantities of them has also been known to:

* reduce bad cholesterol and raise the good stuff
* battle coronary heart disease
* fight diabetes
* improve bone health
* help you lose and/or maintain your weight
* prevent gallstones
* give you more energy

Wow! No wonder I’m nuts about nuts! And I haven’t even mentioned the fiber! Or the fact that most nuts are loaded with antioxidants, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, omega 3 fatty acids, and lots more.


Q: Which one of these nuts isn’t a nut at all?

a. almond
b. peanut
c. walnut
d. cashew

A: the peanut is actually a member of the legume family.

Most of you know that I take a walk just about every day…oh, but the way, you should too! I walk so much I’ve even produced a video series called "Walking and Talking with Mike." On these daily walks, a handful of nuts are not far from reach. My nut of choice while walking are almonds, but don’t hold me to that—I love them all! For those of you unfamiliar with my walking/talking/crunching routines, I’ve created this video for you:


Speaking of almonds, I am lucky to live in one of the most prolific almond producing regions in the world, Chico, California, leading me to:


Q: What percentage of the world’s almonds is produced in California?

a. 50
b. 32
c. 68
d. 80

A: c. 68%, with Northern California, led by Chico, producing the majority.

I love almonds so much, I produced this video over a year ago:


Okay, class, let’s recap, shall we? Eating just a handful of nuts is a good way to:

* add vegetable protein and fiber to your diet
* lower cholesterol
* control weight gain, fight heart disease and diabetes
* eat smart

And may I add: they are delicious!

Peanut butter is by far the most popular of the nut spreads. A dollop atop a slice of (whole wheat) bread, mingling with some (organic blueberry) jelly still makes one of the all-time favorite sandwiches enjoyed by human beings from age one to one hundred. But if you’re only eating peanut butter, you’re missing out. Cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts all make amazing butters. My favorite, though, is almond butter. It has a distinct taste and is healthier than peanut butter. One of the places I love to visit right here in town is a locally owned shop called Maisie Janes. If you love almonds or are just looking for incredible (and tasty) gift ideas (their gift baskets are loaded with amazing products all locally grown in the area), I suggest visiting them online. You’ll be glad you did. Oh, and tell them Mike at sent you.

One last thing: peanuts and, recently, pistachios, have been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Some crops of these healthy nuts were contaminated with salmonella, a very serious bacterial infection. I stress that you check labels and keep informed regarding product recalls to assure that the nuts you are purchasing and consuming are safe.

It’s a shame that hundreds of thousands of people may deprive themselves of the enjoyment and health benefits derived from eating peanuts and pistachios because of human carelessness. My suggestion: Don’t! Do play it safe and make sure that the next bag of nuts you buy is absolutely safe. And do yourself a favor and:

Eat Your Nuts!
(another considered and rejected post title)

Until next time…



Reminder: Entries are still being considered for the Social Networking Blues/livelife365 Contest. Leave your comments here or at

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mo' Better (Social Networking) Blues

With apologies to Denzel Washington and Spike Lee ("Mo' Better Blues"), I begin this post. Has anyone noticed that my recent music video, "Social Networking Blues," has climbed the charts on my video site and now resides at the very top of the Most Popular list?
No? Well, here’s proof:

It has also done well on Metacafe and YouTube. What, some of you may be asking, am I talking about? Well, this, of course:

While these few thousand views are considered a bad hour for some viral Internet videos, they show me that my creative efforts are appreciated and, hopefully, enjoyed by a wide variety of viewers. In fact, I am so excited by the feedback I’ve received on this video I want to do something special in return.


This blog and my video site, ( have been around for over a year now and I have not yet had a contest, thought about having a contest, felt the need or desire to have a contest, or had the energy to think up a contest worth doing. Until now, that is. In celebration of “Social Networking Blues” hitting number one on my vid site, and as a reward to all you loyal followers of both of my sites, here it is:


1. Tell me your most bizarre social networking story. Or…
2. Watch my social networking video and describe what it means to you. Or…
3. Make up a social networking story, combing both the bizarre and my video.

* Extra points will be awarded to those who leave comments on both this post and at my video site.
* Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, humor, and whoever sucks up to me the most.
* The deadline for all entries will be May 8, 2009.

What’s a contest without prizes, right?

I am offering several prizes and, depending on how many entries I receive, will award them to one or several contestants.


* 5,000 Entrecard credits (not everyone’s cup of tea, but cool if you’re an Entrecarder)
* Autographed and inscribed livelife365 CD, featuring Mike Foster and the Hungry & Poor Band (You’ve tapped your toes to the tunes, now own the CD!)
* Autographed and inscribed copy of my young adult novel, "Mikey and the Mysterious Kite" (fun read for all ages!)
* Personalized video about you or your blog or website, filmed by me, added to my video site, and blogged about on this blog (the best prize, as far as I’m concerned)

Few things in life bring me more joy than writing and performing my own music, and then adding that finished musical tune to video. Also on that list of joys is making people smile, laugh, or just happy watching one of my creations. Social networking is one of the best ways for me to marry both of these passions: sharing my creative endeavors with as many people as possible. From my hectic/active participation in this madness otherwise known as social networking this song and video were born, and, in turn, this contest created.

I hope you enjoy watching and commenting on my passion as much as I love doing it. In life, what more can one ask for?

Until next time…



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What's Your Favorite Month?

“April come she will, when streams are ripe and swelled with rain…”

One of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs has one of my favorite months in its title. I like this song so much that I have added it to my music page at my video site. Hey, I even sang a few bars of it on this video.

Is it just me, or do we all have one favorite month,
a magical thirty or so days that are better than the rest? Oh, heck, let me just come right out and ask:


A recent USA Today survey stated that winter was the least favorite season; not a surprise, really. I am not a big fan of winter; those months are not in my top five. December? January? February? I don’t think so. The next least favorite season was…can you guess? For those of you who guessed summer, you win a prize.

Uh, Mike? What’s the prize?


For guessing correctly?

Oh, yeah, right…how about a video?

What? Another one?

Yes, another one. This one is called:


It doesn’t surprise me that spring and fall were virtually tied as the favorite seasons in that poll. My two favorite months are part of both those times of year. April and October.


* The onset of better weather
* The start of baseball season!
* The Masters golf tournament
* Daylight Savings Time (for those of you tired of those short, endless winter days) Okay, technically, this is now in March, but you get the idea.
* Easter
* Planting season
* Spring Break (I tossed that one in for the kids!)


* After the heat of summer, the return of cooler weather
* The World Series!
* Daylight Savings Time (for those of you tired of all those long, endless summer days) Okay, technically, this now occurs in November, but, come on, it used to be October for years!
* Vacations on Maui
* Fall harvest

So, does that mean that I am miserable the other ten months of the year? I don’t know, maybe you should ask my wife. But, really, as I mentioned, winter doesn’t do it for me and summer kind of drags. If I had to choose a third favorite month, it would have to be June. Why? It’s the last month before the Big Heat that arrives here in northern California (talking 100 degree days, sometimes for weeks on end), and it is just warm enough to kill the last of the allergies that give spring one of its only negatives, at least as far as I’m concerned. What about you? What’s your favorite month? How about your least favorite?

Yeah, Mike, what month do you despise?


Come on, I just sat through that video, you owe me one.

That bad, huh?

I’ve seen better. So?


The month that you wish did not exist?

Let's see...

Out with it!



Yeah. Too hot to do much but wish it were over.

Hmmm, now that I think about it…

Maybe I need to go back to the great lyrics of Paul Simon for inspiration:

“August, die she must. The autumn winds blow chilly and cold.
September I’ll remember, a love once new has now grown old.”

That’s it?


More lyrics, so-so videos, and you still haven’t told us your favorite month.

Oh, yeah, you’re right.


I forgot to add that I was born in October, so I guess that settles it. October, which also is part of the title of one of my favorite books and films, “October Sky,” is the month I enjoy the most.

The key, of course, is finding something wonderful in every month and every day. The name of this site is, after all, livelife365. But just for fun, you can let me know your favorite and least favorite months by leaving me a comment here or at my vid site. Speaking of my video site, take a look at the new front page, it has really changed, and let me know what you think of it.

Until next time…