Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bits and Bites

We all gotta eat, right? And even though I am constantly watching what I eat and how much I cram in my mouth, I like to let go every now and then. Here's one of those times where you can enjoy me at my face-stuffing best (or worst, depending on who you ask):

Artichoke Eatin' (Mike at the 2009 Artichoke Festival)

The good news is most of those foods I scarfed down at the Artichoke Festival were pretty healthy, save for those fried artichokes. The burrito, stuffed with 'chokes and peppers and cheese, was more nutritious than it looked. True, it was large and I was shoving huge amounts of it into my ravenous maw, but the stuff inside that monster was loaded with fiber and veggie protein. I had a great time and am in the process of putting together another video that takes you behind the scenes at the festival, showing how all the food was prepared. Stay tuned.

While you're staying tuned, here's another video showcasing my ability to cram food in my mouth:

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

One last video of me chewing food while talking, but one that has a healthy message:

Reward Your Weaknesses (By Turning Them Into Strengths)

Remember, we're only human, we gotta eat. We all enjoy eating good foods, sometimes foods that we know are not the healthiest choices. The key is to give into your weakness at times, and then:

"Exercise control, control your weaknesses, and your weaknesses will become your strengths."

Until next time...



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Do You Deserve a Break?

Do you? Of course you do. I know I certainly do, from time to time. Recently, it's been one of those times when my workload has gotten heavier, my ability to deal with the normal stress and pressures of everyday life has been lacking, and issues that should be easier to handle seem to pile up and create huge mounds of trouble. What do you do in times like these? Me? I take a break. Sometimes all I need is a few hours away from the everyday: catch a movie, take a longer than usual walk, hop in the car and drive, call a friend, dive into a good book. All these solutions work more often than not.

And sometimes, when all else fails, and the guy who fancies himself as a good distributor of endless commonsense advice to all who seek it, has few answers...except to take a longer break away from what ails him. Like this one:


I consider myself a driven person, someone who, ahem, lives life 365, someone who, on a daily basis, tries to learn something new, further develop his mind, body, and spirit. Laugh, yes, as often as I can, but also someone who works long, hard hours because I not only enjoy the effort, but have lots I want to accomplish in this life and never enough time in the day to do all that I'd like to do. But there are times, as I mentioned earlier, when I HAVE to pull back, especially when all that hard work, good as it can be for the soul, starts to push back and begins to wear me down, mentally, physically, and spiritually. What do I do?

I take a break and escape to a place that is quiet, spectacular, and revitalizing. Like this place:


Okay, I cheated, they're the same place. But that's a good thing! I am blessed that I have been able to afford, locate, and find the time to visit some of the most amazing, and relaxing, places in the world. Some free advice: You should too!

One of the principles of livelife365, besides striving to live a healthy, positive, happy, and purposeful life, is to take time to do the things you need to do for self. There is nothing selfish in working on creating a better self, a happier self, a more complete self. There IS a fine line between being self-driven and being selfish, a tightrope that we all need to precariously walk from time to time, balancing the challenges of daily life. But a tightrope that needs to be crossed nonetheless. I recently took a walk and talked about that very thing.

And then, not long after that walk, I hopped in the car and drove for hours, my amazing wife at my side, feeling the stress melt away as the roar of the ocean got closer. And then I took some time for self, in a relaxing, reinvigorating environment, and enjoyed a much needed, and merited, break.

I hope your break, if you need one, is as satisfying and revitalizing as mine was.

Until next time...



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fantastic Festival!

I have just returned from a wonderful trip to the Monterey Peninsula, where besides enjoying spectacular ocean vistas and getting some much needed rest and relaxation, I dropped by the Artichoke Festival in nearby Castroville. I previously mentioned this celebration of the artichoke in a recent post, and was not disappointed.

I shot tons of videos and will be rolling out edited films in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, I would like to share this clip that the local television station, KION46, shot from the festival (watch who pops up at the 1:34 mark):

Foster at the Fest!

Considering the temperatures here at home surpassed the century mark while we (my lovely wife and I) were away, the cooler weather and the amazing scenery was just what the doctor ordered. I feel great! So great that shall I leave you with this video:


Until next time...



Thursday, May 14, 2009

We Have A Winner!

I am thrilled to announce that the winner of the Social Networking Blues/livelife365 Contest is Fedhz, from Home Buddies. Congratulations, Fedhz, for your excellent comments and for your entertaining post, Crazy About Social Networking.

What's that, some of you are saying? What contest? Why, this one, of course:

Thanks for playing, Fedhz--let me know what prize you wish to claim.

For the rest of you who may have missed the gist of what this contest was about, this video should clear things up:

Social Networking Blues

And just because I'm in that kind of mood, here's my favorite music video, for those of you who may have also missed this one (like I Miss My Hair):

And just so you don't think of me as a two-hit (okay, pseudo-hits) wonder, here is an oldie but a goodie, flash-from-the-past:


Congrats again to Fedhz! I recommend visiting her excellent site and checking it out.

Until next time...



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inspiration Tuesday

Over the past few weeks I have been battling the blues a bit. Nothing major, just some kinks in the armor, some need for rebalancing, for getting my Triad of Balance in order. All it takes, for me at least, is to have one of my BIG THREE (Mind, Body, Spirit) out of whack and I get to feeling a bit off. But, like I said, nothing major, just need to take the car in for a tune-up, maybe just an oil change, and I should be good as new.

In the meantime, I did what I often suggest others should do: I watched some of my helpful videos. And, guess what? I actually started to feel little better--a good thing! I thought I'd share a few of them:




I hope these videos help you if you are having one of those days, or weeks, or, heaven forbid, months. When I find myself in a funk, I like to go back to basics, do a self-check, see what's working and what's not. Ultimately I discover it's something as simple as needing a good night's sleep or more exercise or better nutritional choices or maybe just a good laugh. And what helps me more often than not is posting something on one of my websites that will maybe help someone else who needs help...just like me.

Why? Because I have to.

Until next time...



Thursday, May 7, 2009

That's Amore!

There are few things in this world I love to eat more than Italian food. Okay, in the past I have admitted to a mild Mexican food addiction, and you know while on my frequent walks a handful of almonds are never far from reach. But when in comes to down-home comfort foods, my mouth salivates to the savory aroma of garlic and onions sautéing in olive oil, soon to be joined by crushed tomatoes, maybe some black olives or eggplant, all served over my favorite pasta. Makes me want to break out into song:

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!”

Hey, Dean Martin couldn’t have put it any better himself. Amore means “love” in Italian, and who doesn’t love pizza? Spaghetti? Ravioli? Meatballs? (I’ll take mine veggie-style, thank you). And, of course, that all-time classic: lasagna! I was raised on tomato sauce and pasta, enjoyed one variation or another of it every week, but for special occasions there was nothing like my mom's lasagna. Whenever I visit my family Back East, the first question out of my mother’s mouth is:

Mom: Michael, do you want me to make you anything special?
Mike: What do you think, Ma?
Mom: Huh?
Mike: You know.
Mom: Oh, yes…what?
Mike: Ma! Your lasagna! What else?
Mom: Oh, you like my lasagna, do you?
Mike: Come on, Ma, of course!
Mom: You sure?
Mike: Ma…
Mom: Huh?
Mike: Never mind…
Mom: I’ll make two.

And she does. My mouth is watering at the thought. What do you have to say about that, huh, Dean?

“When the stars make you drool just like pasta fagioli, that’s amore!

Everything’s amore with this guy. The real question you may be asking yourself is: What is pasta fagioli? This video may help:


You may have noticed after viewing that video that Italian food, besides tasting delicious, can also be healthy for you. My pasta fagioli recipe is loaded with vegetable protein (24g) and is high in fiber (20g). And when you use low-sodium beans and tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, along with whole grain pasta, it can be a healthy meal option. Especially when you make your own marinara sauce. What’s that? Don’t know how to make marinara sauce? Here’s another video that will help:


Looks like all that’s left to do is add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and dig in. What’s that? Dean has one last thing to say?

“Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli, that’s amore!”

No matter what language you say it in, I love Italian food! And when prepared right, it is not only one of the tastiest foods on earth, but also one of the healthiest.

Until next time…



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Living in California, Cinco de Mayo is considered a pretty big deal. Before I moved here, to be honest, I'd never heard of it. But as our population becomes more and more integrated with our amigos from across the border, we embrace more of those customs and cultures...a good thing, in my opinion. Especially when some of those cultures we embrace is Mexican food. What better way to celebrate this popular day than to dive into some fresh guacamole. To that I say:


(the following is a reprint of my 9/19/08 post, "Viva Avocado!")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

You should too!

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

Until next time...