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, livelife365.com, 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…



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is Life Worth Living?

The other day, I received an email from a recent visitor to this blog and my video site . I get my share of comments and feedback and welcome them in any form, especially from those seeking my advice or requesting a special video just for them. This particular email was from a young man in his late teens, a difficult time in a young man’s life, for sure, often fraught with confusion and questions. In his email, he questioned the purpose of living a healthy life, while denying oneself many of the excessive vices that we all are tempted by, when, in the end, we all are going to die anyway. I was so impressed with this young man’s letter, while equally moved emotionally by his confusion and need for some guidance, that I created this video:

Ask Mike: Is Life Worth Living?

My teenaged friend offers up a good point: Why, indeed, should we exercise, maintain a healthy weight, eschew excess, when we are all stamped with a termination date? The answer seems obvious, but it is not. I should know, for I have, in the past, abused alcohol, drugs, food, tobacco, and life. I have lived that unfulfilled life, that life with little or no purpose other than to sate one’s desires, to grab as much gusto as possible without care for the repercussions. And you know what? I didn’t like it, wasn't productive, and, most certainly, was not enjoying my life, nor living up to my potential.

Why? Because we are put here for a reason. I firmly believe that each one of us has a specific purpose that we must pursue throughout our lifetimes, be it a few years or ten decades. I also feel that to not do this is in essence wasting one’s life. It is not only vital to live your life to its fullest every day, seeking your true reason for being, but it is your obligation as a human being. It is what separates us from all other species that inhabit this planet.

Bringing me back to the letter that inspired this post:

Is Life Worth Living?

I say, yes, of course, it has to be, right? But for too many it just may not be. One of the motivating reasons behind livelife365.com , was the prospect of being able to reach as many people as possible, many of them questioning their purpose in life or needing assistance with weight loss or nutritional advice, and then being able to help them change their lives. Helping them see that their time on earth is valuable and precious. Helping them live life every day in every way.

I like to say that Your Life is a Novel; Make it a Good One. We all know the difference between reading a good book and a bad one. Our life, like a good novel, should be filled with so much purpose on every page that you can’t wait to see what happens next, while savoring what just transpired.

The French have an expression: Raison d‘etre. It simply means: Reason For Being.

Once you find your reason for being, whatever it is, you will find your answer to the question: Is Life Worth Living?

I look at the young man who wrote to me questioning his own reason for being as an inspiration, a reminder of what my raison d’etre is. I feel that I have been put on this earth to assist as many people as possible, helping them achieve their life goals along the road to self-development and self improvement. Whether with a laugh or a pat on the back, a self-deprecating anecdote or inspired moment from my past, I feel that it is my duty as a human being, my purpose, to help others improve their lives.

We only have one life, one chance to do something with our short time on earth, one opportunity that should never, ever be taken for granted or wasted. Am I saying life is all hard work and no fun? No, not at all, but life takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to be successful and fulfilled. The key is moderation and finding the balance, along with continuous self-study and research; oh, and don't forget to have some fun along the way. No one said it was easy, but I will say that if you work hard each day the benefits will far outweigh the effort.

Is Life Worth Living?

I hope I have answered that question in the most positive fashion. For more inspired self-help please continue to drop by this blog and visit my video site, livelife365.com. And also keep living your life, every day in every way.

Until next time…