Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Significance of Laughter

While I diligently work on juggling several projects, most notably the relaunching of my video site, editing my Green Tea video and my self-help book, I am republishing some of my favorite posts.  This one is always needed, a shot in the arm of laughter that helps get ya through the day.  And a few goofy videos too!

Please enjoy:

 The Significance of Laughter

Such a serious title for something as benign as laughter. Yes, it is, but for a reason. The need to laugh, to find humor in things sometimes unfunny, to chuckle, giggle, guffaw, shriek, snort, or titter, may be one of the best remedies for whatever ails you.

Humor is serious business. Huh? That's right. We need to laugh just as much as we need to eat or sleep. Think about how you feel when deprived of your recommended nightly hours of sleep - not too good, right? How about when your stomach is reminding you that you have not eaten recently, or that you have and that it was not sitting well down there. Again, not a pleasant sensation. Same can be said about those who do not get enough laughter in their daily lives. Eat, drink, and be merry. Perhaps there was something to that ancient adage after all?

One of the reasons I created livelife365 (both my website and this blog) was to be able to reach as many people as possible, sharing with them all the myriad ideals and ideas, videos and music, helpful programs and proven theories that I have amassed over the years. But the best part is that I not only can help others lose weight or eat right, gain self-esteem or proper balance, but that I can entertain them. Make them laugh. It's no accident that livelife365 offers more than most blogs or websites, a diverse menu of entrees. I want to be able to help and teach, council and coach, share and learn, yes, but I also get a great deal of satisfaction when I put a smile on someones face.

I have been asked,"Mike, how can you be treated seriously as a self-help guru when you are constantly acting like a goofball in some of your videos?" My response to that is: If I made you laugh, then it was worth it. Livelife365 is all about life, and the importance of living your life each day to its fullest. Yes, adhering to a healthy lifestyle is vital, as is proper mental focus and self development. But all that and not enough joy, humor or laughter in your life is an incomplete life. An unfulfilled life.

One of my favorite programs is the Triad of Balance. This is about getting your mind, body, and spirit in balance as one, after working on balancing each individually. It is easier said than done, but finding daily laughter in your life will help your balance in each area--Mind; Body; Spirit. That, in a nutshell, should underscore the importance of laughter. The significance of finding humor every day.

Good luck, here's to a hearty chuckle today, hopefully much more than one.

Until next time...



Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Power of Positive Thinking

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mixing Pleasure With Healthiness

Recently I was on vacation, away from work and my life back home. Maui, the place my lovely wife and I opt to visit to get away from it all - relax, refresh, rejuvenate, reinvigorate, rest…and those are just the “R”’s!

But even while embracing all of the above, I still work on practicing healthy habits, by continuing to focus on the things I need to do each day to stay happy and keep living life every day in every way.

* Every morning I sit on the lanai and read, mostly catching up on my backlog of magazines and newspapers. The sound of crashing waves, chirping birds, and trade winds rustling the treetops my background music, I also use this time to reflect on all that I have ingested, letting it settle into my brain, along with the tranquil reward of my picturesque surroundings.

* Just about every day I walk across the street and visit the local farmer’s market, picking through the fresh fruits and veggies - papaya, pineapple, guava, avocados, apple bananas, tomatoes, star fruit, passion fruit, and more. This not only supports the community but promotes healthy, nutritional eating. I also make a point to lessen my carbohydrate consumption, with an overall goal of returning from my vacation weighing the same as I began it.

* I take an hour walk every morning. This is a key for me - not only does it kick start the day, but it is spiritually relaxing, walking along the ocean path, taking in the breathtaking sights and sounds. It’s also a wonderful way to burn calories early in the day so I feel less guilty later, when I kick back and indulge in some gastronomical treats. (hey, I’m on vacation, gotta mix some fun with the fitness, right?)

* After my walk I meditate for thirty minutes. Embracing my surroundings, I sit in a quiet, dark area, close my eyes, suck in a couple deep breaths, and focus on the now, the moment. I gently push any invading thoughts from my mind, nudging them aside as I allow only the present existence into my being. This exercise puts me in the place I need and love to be to start my day.

* The rest of the day I do all that fun, vacation stuff, be it catching some rays by the water, exploring local sights, or chilling with my significant other. Does this sometimes lead me astray toward less-than-healthy choices? You bet it does. But I also strive to eat as healthy and nutritiously as possible, even while sampling the local delicacies.

* Every afternoon I take a dip in the ocean and swim for at least fifteen minutes. This gives my arms and upper torso a nice workout, along with soaking the rest of my body in a saltwater embrace. Not only physically satisfying, an ocean swim enhances my mind and spirit.

* Lastly, after enjoying another wonderful day in paradise with my wife, I kick back and read for pleasure, indulging in any number of the myriad tomes I bring with me while on vacation. This is also the time, when the mood strikes, that I do my writing, working on new projects, developing ideas that have been taking up room in my brain, journalizing. In fact, it was this very practice, after a day of aloha spirit in Maui, that the concept for my website, livelife365, was inspired.

No on enjoys or looks forward to getting away from it all more than myself. The thought of being able to sleep in, relax, and do whatever I like is tempting. But I also know that I need to do it all in as healthy a fashion as I can, while always making sure to balance my mind, body, and spirit in the process.

Even while on vacation. Ahem…especially then.

Until next time…



Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Moment Is Now

One of the best ways to ruin a day is to rush it to its end.  How often have you heard someone say, “I can’t wait until it’s Friday!” - and it’s only Tuesday?  That wishing-for-the-weekend mentality, when there remains dozens of excellent hours left in your week, is not only poor thinking, but an unhealthy way to live.

I write this post on the lanai of a Maui condo, the Pacific’s soothing purr serenading me, the trades flitting the tips of the palm trees gently massaging my brain, my soul, my essence.

What could possibly upset my mood? (besides, of course, the guy in the condo next door, constantly clearing his nose and throat - or is that an imitation of a constipated seal?)…anyway, where was I?

Living in the moment.

That’s not to say that all moments are ones that we relish living in, but they are our moments, good or bad, breathtaking or prosaic; ours nonetheless.  And ours that need to be embraced each and every day.

A few days ago, while sipping a refreshing beverage at an ocean-side establishment, sun-soaked and so relaxed it hurt, the familiar refrain of stress and irritation associated with my mainland job somehow nettled its way into my mind.  They can be persistent, pesky little irksome imps, these stressors.  My aloha spirit suddenly shifted with the speed of a nearby jet ski racing along the water.

I mentioned this to my wife, and she gave me a look that only nearly twenty years of coexistence can clearly be communicated without words.

Something like: “Knock it off, moron, you’re on vacation in Hawaii!”

The moment, good or bad, has to be where you are at now.

There’s an old saying from back in the day that goes something like:

“Right now is a great place to be.”

Is this an easy task?

Heck, no.

If, like me, you are a planner, someone who is constantly juggling a plethora of thoughts and ideas, brainstorms and things-to-dos, in his head, living in the moment can be a constant challenge.  Especially while on vacation, a time to pretend that you haven’t a care, possess endless streams of cash, and your career back home is nonexistent.

Meditation helps.  I sit and try to clear my mind through meditation daily.  And for that half-hour I do a pretty decent job of letting go, living in the moment.  They key is to then take that focus of existing in the now along with you the rest of your day.
Again, easier said than done.

But do you really want to wish your life away?  Dream of doing something else or being somewhere else or thinking about anything other than where you are…right…now?  This moment?

Good or bad, amazing or mundane, superb or sub par, this is your life.  Your moment.

Live it.

Every day in every way.

Until next time…



**Please check out this video I made for a contest my friend Robin Easton is having at her amazing site, "Naked In Eden."  And please also read her book by the same name.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What Is Guava?

Whenever I have the good fortune to visit Maui, I often partake in the regional produce.  Across the street from the condo where my wife and I stay, a farmer’s market, loaded with local fruits, veggies, and other homemade products, conducts a brisk and relaxed, aloha-spirited exchange of goods and smiles bartering for our hard-earned mainland cash.

Each time I visit Hawaii I make it a point to try something different, something healthy, while learning as much about it from the friendly island folk as I can, helpful souls who take the time to explain, no doubt for the hundredth time, what it is they are vending.

Over the past few years I have been lucky enough to discover:

* Papaya 
* Passion fruit
* Star fruit
* poi

Recently, I grabbed a handful of green and yellow orbs, asked my friend across the table what they were, and happily discovered guava, adding that tasty and healthy fruit to my growing repertoire of nutritional delights.

What is guava?

So glad you asked.

Guava grows on trees (in fact, my local amigo at the market informed me that in his backyard grew a prolific guava tree that produced the very fruit in my hands, but he was constantly battling his Vietnamese potbellied pig for them; yes, pigs, and most animals, love guava!) in tropical climes like Hawaii - also Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, and even Florida.

Guava has both a sweet and sour taste, depending on ripeness (you gotta try it yourself to fully understand), with little edible seeds one has to navigate as you munch your way through one.

But taste alone is not what makes guava a worthwhile venture to discover.  Guava is also considered a super food -  and that’s a good thing!

Why, you ask?

* loaded with dietary fiber
* four times the vitamin C as an orange
* low in calories
* no fat or cholesterol
* good source of folic acid, potassium, copper, and manganese
* antioxidants! (high in carotenoids and polyphenols)
* vital part of POG

Huh?  Um, what the heck is POG?

Oh, POG is an Hawaiian fruit drink made from Passion fruit, Orange juice, and, you guessed it, Guava.  (stay tuned for a couple of videos from my recently concluded trip to Maui about POG in the coming weeks)

Guava can be enjoyed in many different ways:

- smoothies
- juices (like POG)
- ice cream
- with fish
- or right off the tree (watch out for pigs, though)

You need not travel all the way to Maui to taste guava (though that’s not a bad idea, is it now?), just search your local produce aisles and ask around.  I wish you luck, because besides tasting amazing, guava is a super food worth discovering.

Until next time…



Saturday, November 6, 2010


This past week a good friend of mine passed away. Sad, very sad. He was my age. We grew up together, played baseball together. Used to hang out Saturday nights together before we started hanging out with our future wives. But that was a while ago; decades. Why did I lose touch with this old pal?

It doesn’t matter that I hadn’t seen or spoken to my friend who is gone for ages; his lose struck me as strongly as if I’d just recently spoken to him. I understand that childhood buddies often grow apart through the years, due to geographical, philosophical, or any or ophical-reasons. But just like reminiscing about an old flame or ex-wife, even a relationship that sadly turned sour after it was once nothing but sweetness, one should not forget what was, especially now when they are no longer here.

This was the third contemporary of mine to have died over the past few years. One sad, but true, commonality was the state of each of their health, and how they lived their lives (not as healthy as I wished they did) every day—a very common topic of this website.

I have mentioned many times over how the death of my father—twenty years ago this coming January—changed my life. How through his death I grew stronger, healthier, more focused and determined…you could even say that my dad’s death was the genesis of livelife365.

All this leads me to the theme of my website, of Mike Foster:


Every day in every way.

That doesn’t mean to just work at losing weight, eating better, turning bad habits into better ones, enjoying hobbies, bettering relationships, laughing, loving, living. It means to cherish your time on earth, this precious commodity that sometimes seems ridiculous or stressful or mundane. But more often than not is wonderful, inspirational, amazing and worthwhile.

When we lose someone close to us, mortality pokes a finger on our shoulder and whispers the frailty of life into our ears. A wake up call, a reminder. Sad, for sure, but something that we need to hear from time to time.

The best send off for my friend, for me at least, is to remember the good times, the smiles and giggles, those years we hung out together as if they were yesterday.

And mostly to learn through this unfortunate death how vital and precious our time on earth is, and the lesson we must all remember: not to waste a second.


M.T., B.H., D.W. R.J.P

Until next time…



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Aloha From Maui


I have just returned from a two week vacation on the amazing island of Maui. I am in the process of editing hours of video to share with everyone. I am rested, relaxed, reinvigorated, and ready for action.

Please enjoy this ono view from my lanai as I get my mainland act together...

Until next time...



Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to...Make Green Tea

If you Google "green tea," or just search for "green tea" on YouTube, I am proud to say that my Green Tea video is on the first page out of millions.  It's pretty cool, though one of those things that just happens, versus those that we plan to happen.  I am far from the green tea expert, but I do love green tea and drink copious amounts of it daily, happily ingesting those healthy antioxidants and polyphenals that help combat cancer, cholesterol, and heart disease, as well as assisting in battling countless other maladies.

I am in the final stages of editing my "Drink Green Tea Every Day" music video that is funny and fun to watch, as well as informative.  It will be out very soon.  In the meantime, please enjoy these green tea vids...

Until next time...



Sunday, October 3, 2010

Are You Levelheaded?

One of my biggest challenges these days is finding balance in my life.  Now, I know that sentence may mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  For me, though, striving for a more balanced life means finding enough time to do all of the myriad things I need to do in order to live the fulfilled, happy, healthy, successful, complete life I want.

I often talk about my triad of balance: that intricate juggling act of keeping my mind, body, and spirit smooth, clear, clean, and working on all cylinders.  That is another necessity that I must include as a vital part of my daily existence.

On of the best ways to attain all of the above is by living a levelheaded life.

What does being levelheaded mean to you?

* Do little upsets in your routine send you flying over the edge?

* Are you quick to anger when someone cuts you off in traffic?

* Once your mind is made up, are you inflexible to changing it?

* Do you see the big picture or only that part of the equation that works best for you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then chances are you are not a levelheaded person most of the time. And while that is an opportunity on which you can focus, it doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person.  It shows that you are human.  We all, at times, express ourselves in ways that we wish we had not.  But, after all, as human beings we are prone to bouts of behavior that we rue.

What to do?

I suggest  that when the urge to react to life in a not-so-levelheaded manner presents itself that you take a breath, during which you contemplate and embrace your triad of balance, giving equal attention to what makes your mind complete, your body vibrant and happy, and your spirit fulfilled, and then react.  You will be surprised by how different your reaction to adverse situation will be once you take personal accountability on how that reaction affects others…and affects you.

The key to keeping your head while all others are losing theirs is to be on top of your emotions, which assists you with your reactions when adversity strikes.  As it will do more often that we want.

Compare yourself to a fine-tuned athlete, someone who has focused and worked for years honing their skill, refining their craft, and striving to be able to deal with any and all situations that present themselves during their sporting moments.  Life, if considered this way, as an ongoing sporting moment, one that needs to be reacted to with as much  of a level, calm, positive, and healthy head as one can muster, can better be dealt with.

By being prepared, by constantly working on balancing your triad, by staying sharp, in shape, spiritually aware and content, and by maintaining your sense of humor, you will be able to react and enjoy and embrace and deal with life better than you ever thought possible.

Levelheaded people enjoy life more, have better success, and live longer.  Look it up and think about it…

Until next time…



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to...Increase Your Network of Friends

It's faster, easier and less time consuming than this:

Until next time...



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Life’s Too Short…

Whenever I pick up a new book to read I am very happy, drunk with anticipation that this new venture into this writer’s mind will be a trip well worth the effort and investment.  As a book collector and bibliophile, I research which books I allow to intruded upon my precious allotment of time, so I am seldom displeased with my choice of reading, be it for pleasure or research.  But there are times when all that preparation and forethought does not work out and I find myself ensconced inside a bad read.  What do I do?  I sadly shake my head, offer a nod of apology to the author, who I know firsthand toiled at the keyboard for his or her art and passion, and put the book aside.  Why?

“Because life’s too short to read bad books.”
                                                                      ~ Mike Foster

In fact, when you think about the amount of time we are allowed to spend on this planet, alive, existing, doing that thing called living our lives, it is but a mere dust mote of time.  Time that should not be wasted.  Why?

Because life’s too short…to not do all the things you need and want to do to be all that you must to fulfill your time on earth.

Not to say that we should not kick back, stop and smell the flowers, chill out with friends and family doing nothing but enjoying the moment.  Of course not; all of the above are necessities in living one’s life completely, to it fullest.  Balancing one’s priorities with hobbies, relaxation, enjoyment, and all those things in between is part of the challenge of daily existence.

My point today is not to waste your time, or life, by doing anything that does not make you happy, more enriched, better, smarter, healthier, wealthier, more spiritual…fulfilled.  Why?

Because life’s too short to…(fill in the blank).

If you hate your job, leave it.  When I talk to people who appear miserable with their jobs, I tell them that I feel sorry for them that they have miserable lives.  They look at me, shocked, and say that their life is not miserable, only their jobs.  To that I say  to them:

“If you hate your job you in essence hate your life.  Change it.”

And not just a career that is making you unhappy, but any other aspect of your life.  If you don’t like where you live, or who you live with, think about it.  That is a major part of your days, your time on earth.  If it is not the situation that you want, you need to look into the whys and hows and ways to remedy said situation.  Easier said than done, yes, but ignoring a problem is not fixing it.

And ignoring our life is, well, a waste of a life.  After all, it’s your life, your time on earth, and the last thing anyone wants to do in their golden years is to look back ruefully at a life unfulfilled, wasted, and not the one that you envisioned living.  Think about it.

Life’s too short to…

Do anything that  you should not be doing that gets in the way of living your life to its fullest, every day in every way, 365.

I’d love to hear your comments on some of the things that  you feel are a waste of your life…and how you are trying to change them, and your life for the better.

Until next time…



Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Calm before the Storm

My life, always filled with tasks and to-do lists that challenge my time and patience, both while toiling at my day job as well as following my bliss with all of my other passions, is about to get even busier.

Perhaps more fulfilling is a better way to express this.  Because, after all, I always practice and sometimes preach the constant need to find fulfillment in ones life—the vital importance of making each day as worthwhile as possible.

That’s why, as I sit here on my back deck, serenaded by my fountain mixing its bubbling melody with the call of the wilderness—birds singing, squirrels scurrying, deer gracefully meandering through the tall grass, dogs barking and echoing through the ridge—I force myself to take a moment.  And a breath.  Ahhhh…

Sunday morning, one of my favorite moments of my week.  Sipping green tea, catching up on my reading, plucking some tunes out of my guitar, far removed from my tasks and to-do list as I can possibly be.  Yet their burden—and the wealth of challenges and enjoyment associated with them—still slither through my tranquility, demanding attention, as they are wont to do.

What to do?

One of my favorite Zen sayings is:

                        “If it’s not paradoxical, it’s not true.”

So while I embrace all this relaxation and serenity, the constant itch of activity still scratches at the back of my psyche.  I understand that this is the calm before the storm of work and things-to-do awaiting me, and with that understanding comes the need to wrap myself around this calm to its fullest. While also preparing for the flurry of forecasted fireworks ahead.

Without getting into too much detail, my plate at my day job continues to overflow…with a promise of even more in the days and weeks ahead.  I’m ready, planning.  Taking it one hour, one day, one week at a time.  Focusing on keeping my balance between mind, body, and spirit in check and in shape. On top of that, trying to keep my head above water with the constant challenge of juggling a fulltime career with a part-time website…make that two websites.

Call that the second half of the storm after the calm—in the coming weeks and months I will be revealing the new livelife365 video site, a self-help book, a new song and music video (in the editing room getting polished as I write this), and lots more.

Do I sometimes feel like there is way too much on my plate, that I have bitten off more than I can chew, that I am grabbing a bit too much of life by the…ah…lapels?  Yes.  The key, though, is to focus on one task at a time, stay in the moment, worry about what you can control and not what you cannot, and prioritize, plan, pray, all the while practicing a plethora of patience…and those are just the “P”s!

Until next time…



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Do You Do Every Day?

Livelife365 is all about doing. Doing something positive every day. Something healthy. Spiritual. Exercising your body, yes, but also your mind. And your spirit. When I created livelife365 I wanted to share with as many people as possible helpful tips and successful programs that I have developed through the years, using videos and blog posts, like this one. Most of the successes that I talk and write about are things that I do every single day. Maybe that’s why this site is called livelife365.

What are some of the things—positive, useful, invigorating, creative, important, worthwhile, fun, healthy, entertaining, fulfilling—things that you do each day?

I created a list, but also, of course, a video:


1. Exercise. Break a sweat. Do something physical, be it just taking a walk or lifting weights and riding my stationary bike. Even if you detest working out you can still get plenty of exercise chasing your kids around the yard, doing housework, washing the car, walking to the mailbox, or rolling around in bed with your significant other.

2. Enjoy the great outdoors. You don’t have to live in the mountains or by a beach to appreciate the natural wonder and beauty of the earth. I have to go outside as often as possible during the day. Summertime is easier, but I still see many folks walk from house to car to work to car to house without stopping to smell the flowers or bask in the splendor. Taking a walk is an excellent way to get your exercise in while also listening to the birds.  Plus the sun offers vitamin D, an essential necessity.
3.Meditate.  I meditate every morning.  My goal is at least thirty minutes of just sitting in a quiet room, eyes relaxed, sometimes closed, most times half-closed, clearing the clutter from my brain, listening to the sounds around me other than the thoughts in my head.  It’s easier than you may think, and well worth a few minutes of your day.

4. Drink green tea. I used to be a soda junkie, drank over five cans of Diet Coke a day. Not only is all that caffeine bad for you, but the other junk they put in soda can remove corrosion from a carburetor…imagine what it does to your stomach. When I gave up soda several years ago I started drinking green tea, and have never looked back. Green tea tastes great, is loaded with antioxidant and polyphenols, which help the immune system and protect against cancer and heart disease. Green tea also settles your stomach, not upsets is like with soda, and it can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and even fight tooth decay. Get the idea I dig green tea? You should too. Oh, and by the way, my new music video called “Drink Green Tea Every Day” will be out very soon.

5. Laugh. Sounds simple, sounds easy, sounds, well, rather silly to put on my list, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t laugh enough—especially at themselves. Having a sense of humor goes a long way toward helping heal whatever ails you. And it’s fun! That’s why when I developed this site I included lots of funny stuff to go along with the healthy living and personal development tips, because you gotta laugh.

6. Eat healthy. Easier said than done for way too many people, but enjoying a healthy diet of fresh veggies and fruit, whole grains, beans and legumes, low in bad fats and high in fiber is the fuel that makes me who I am. The best part, besides being good for you and aiding in helping you live a longer, happier, healthier life, is all these healthy foods taste amazing. Don’t let those fast food commercials fool you. A farm fresh tomato on whole wheat is one of the tastiest things you can eat…my mouth is watering already.

7. Pursue my hobbies. I play my guitar every day—sing, write music, just enjoying the sound. That’s one of my hobbies, I have many more: gardening, landscaping, writing, videography, book collecting. We work, we rest, we enjoy time with family and friends, we eat and go to bed. In between you must try to find the time to do something for yourself—hobbies will get you to the place you need to be.
8. Read. Speaking of hobbies. I have had a voracious appetite for books ever since I can remember. I love to read. I read every single day of my life. I usually have several books going at one time—fiction, non-fiction, humorous, historical. I also devour newspapers and magazines…not to mention spending way too many hours of my life at my day job, reading endless tomes there. Reading is my great escape as well as my daily bread.

9. Think positive thoughts. I am a firm believer that no matter how bad things get—and life WILL deal you bad stuff—you have to remain positive. You have that power, something only you can control. Even if I’m having a particularly dreadful day for reasons that only astrologers and weathermen can explain, I still try to find something positive inside the gloom. And more often than not my sour mood turns better, and I shake my head and wonder why I was so down in the first place. Again, life is going to get all of us sometimes, but we have the power to fight back with positivity.

10. Floss. Every day. Besides brushing after every meal, I floss every night before bedtime. We only get one set of choppers so we have to take good care of them. Flossing is actually good for your heart, as well as reaching all those nooks and crannies inside your maw that your toothbrush cannot. Like my oral hygienist likes to say, “You only have to floss the teeth you want to keep.”

I’m sure there are a few more things I do each day that didn’t make my top ten list, but it’s a good list. For me. What about you? We all have certain things that we need to do every day to live the life we want and need—these are some of mine. Hope your list is as healthy and happy and as fulfilling as I feel mine is.

Until next time…



Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Is a Mango?

Shaped like an avocado, with hues that rival the papaya, and a taste that is sweet and sometimes sour, kind of like kiwi or a plum .  What tropical delicacy am I describing?  Why, mango, that’s what.

What is a mango?

·        one of the largest produced tropical fruits in the world
·        an antioxidant powerhouse
·        tasty as a soup, juice, smoothie, dessert, ice cream
·        or fresh off the tree
·        member of the drupe family, like apricots and nectarines
·        grown predominantly in India and other warm weather climates like China, Mexico, Thailand, and Pakistan
·        delicious

Ready to try one?  First you have to open one up—here’s how:

One of my favorite vacation spots in the world is Maui and while relaxing on the island, I also enjoy visiting the farmer’s market where I get to sample fresh and often exotic fruits and veggies.  It was on Maui where I discovered passion fruit, star fruit, papaya, and, the star of today’s post, mango.  Besides needing to recharge my batteries and basking in the sun and fun, trying new things, especially healthy, new things, is what it’s all about.  Living life 365.

The good news is you don’t have to jet to Maui to taste a mango (though it’s not a bad idea); just head out to your grocery store or natural food place, or, better yet, your hometown farmer’s market, and look around.  You’d be surprised what you may discover.

Speaking of all those discoveries…

Until next time…



Monday, July 19, 2010

Landscape Escape Update

I am a man blessed with many hobbies, from book collecting and reading, to writing music and playing guitar, to traveling with my lovely wife and videography.  One of the hobbies I enjoy the most this time of year is working outside, digging in the dirt, and creating something out of landscaping!

Last year, I started a landscaping project on the side of my house—I wrote about it, and produced this video:

Hobbies should fill your time and interest, perk your curiosity, and deliver satisfaction to your mind, body, and spirit.  They should take you away from the daily grind, inspiring and challenging you to make mistakes while attempting to do things you don’t normally do.  The good part—it’s your hobby, your time; if it doesn’t work out, who cares?

But when I start digging up the side yard, taking thrice-weekly sojourns to Lowe's, and invest mega time, money, and sweat equity, the end result should at least be something to be proud of.  You be the judge:

I love working up a sweat while I’m working outside, but I have to constantly watch out for dehydration, continuously chugging water, grabbing rest in a shaded area, and being cognizant of the

Next hobby for me is to continue working on getting my video site back up and running, while also creating more videos every week.  I am putting the finishing touches on a new music vid about green tea that I feel is my best work yet.  Stay tuned…

And if you do happen to stay out in the sun too long and start feeling sick, this video should help:

Until next time…



Friday, July 9, 2010

A Message, A Meal, and A Mouthful…All In One Minute

Anyone trying to visit my video site,, has probably figured out by now that something is up.  No, not the site—that, sadly, has been taken down for the time being.  I decided I needed to change things up, shop around for a new host and server, and had to put the vid site on ice for a few weeks.  The good news: I plan on making it bigger and better, while still loaded with hundreds of self-help videos ranging from diet and nutrition, motivation and inspiration, music and humor.

In the meantime, I appreciate your continued support of this blog over the years.  Thanks. 

And remember, you can also watch many of my videos at my channel on YouTube.  Almost 250,000 people have already viewed them, with hundreds more watching every day.
My latest video is for those of us who are in search of a healthy, delicious, vegetarian, and fast meal.  How fast?  How does one minute sound?  Of course, when you consider some prep work, it may cost you all of five minutes—still, not bad for something that tastes so good.  Check out my black bean tacos:

The best part about these tacos are they are loaded with veggie protein, high in healthy fiber, very low in saturated fats and sodium, and simple to make:

organic black beans
corn tortillas
chopped tomatoes
grated sharp cheddar and Monterey jack cheese
shredded lettuce
organic salsa (make it yourself—I will, in a soon-to-be-produced VEG OUT WITH MIKE)

Two of these tasty tacos will net you around 27gs of protein; 15g fiber; 500mgs of sodium, with only 5gs of sat fat, and that's if you use cheese made from dairy.  If you opt for vegan cheese, you will virtually eliminate all sat fats.  Total calories: 500, which is amazingly low for such a gut-filling meal.

Again, I thank you for your continued support and patronage and look forward to sharing hundreds of more videos and blog posts in the coming months and years.  Be on the lookout for a new music video about the benefits of  drinking green tea every day, a couple of books that I have been working on for a while, and lots more.
Until next time…



Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To Err Is Human...

You know the rest of that saying, right?

“To err is human, to forgive divine.”

I like to take that admirable adage a few steps further and say that admitting one’s mistakes, owning up to a shortcoming or just one bad moment is equally, if not more, important than forgiveness.

We all screw up, hence the above quote—we are all human beings so we are expected, at times, to do things poorly, say things in anger, misinterpret an emotion, or just plain boot a grounder at Fenway Park.

Mike’s keys to dealing with being human:

·        Cut yourself some slack—if you were a robot then all your problems would be solved with a new microchip or a good reprogramming.
·        Cut others even more slack—if we all have to jump in the pool and splash around in the muck, you do too!  Forgiveness is a two-way street.
·        When in doubt, send flowers—or at least send love.  Some people take longer to heal, are more sensitive, need time to get over whatever you did to make them so upset with you.
·        Learn from it—what’s the sense of being in the doghouse, groveling your way out, mending that fence you almost destroyed, if you just go back and do it again?  Messing up can build more character than succeeding, at times.
·        Watch this video:

I’m not saying that you should not always strive to do your best, just don’t take yourself too seriously.  Perfectionists are some of the most miserable people on the planet.  While, when you think about it, children are some of the happiest.  Why do you think that is?  Kids are always messing up, making mistakes, doing something they shouldn’t be doing.  Yet, most of them, look at these childhood blunders as part of growing up, and learn from them.  And youngsters are also some of the most forgiving creatures around, save for puppies.

“If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying, and if you are not trying you are not living.”

Sometimes life gets in the way of some of the things we want to accomplish.  There’s nothing you can do about it—it’s life!  Except react as best you can.   Sadly, sometimes we react in the worst possible way.  When that happens make the best of it:

·        Learn from it
·        Improve self
·        Value the experience
·        Earn back trust
·        Love
·        Inspire
·        Forgive
·        Enjoy


Every day in every way.

Until next time…



Monday, June 21, 2010

In Search of Vegetable Protein

I wasn’t always a vegetarian. Back in the day, I used to be seated right beside some of you, gnawing away on that rib bone, masticating that filet mignon, devouring a double double from my (former) favorite burger place, In-n-Out. I was an animal-eating carnivore most of my life—just like over 90% of the population. Then I had some blood work done and got a glimpse of my cholesterol levels. Yikes!

Here’s the thing: I was never what you would call a BIG meat eater. More often than not, I was just as interested in the vegetable and salad portion of my meal as the animal protein part. And once I’d done further research about the contributing factors of high cholesterol (mine, by the way, was closing in on 300) and unhealthy weight gain—namely: saturated fats—it made perfect sense to gradually cut down on the meats. Years before I became a full-time vegetarian, I often would go days without consuming any animal protein. My palette, as well as some deeper region of my subconscious, was changing, sounding an alarm: Reduce your saturated fats or die!

Okay, Mike, you can stop with the dramatics. But it was a wake-up call, and my unhealthy cholesterol and weight gain (I was up over 200 pounds—far too heavy for my barely 5’ 11’’ frame) forced me to do something else—discover healthier eating options. More to the point: I needed to reduced saturated fats, which meant limit the consumption of animal proteins. The answer:


Here are some of the best sources of vegetable protein that I incorporate into my daily eating routine. Eat as much of this stuff as you can and you will not only get the necessary amount of protein into your diet, but tons of fiber (a good thing!). All without those harmful saturated fats; instead filling up with the good fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

I eat nuts every day—mostly almonds, but all nuts have a decent amount of vegetable protein. In addition to almonds, eat walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, even peanuts. They have anywhere from 6-8 grams of protein and 3.0 grams of fiber. I also suggest trying some of the butters. Almond butter is delicious and has 8.0 gms of protein per serving.

I love Mexican food, and eat it at least twice a week. I’ve found that you can replace just about any of the meat dishes with healthy black beans (7.0 gms protein/7.0 gms fiber) or refried beans (be sure to check if they are made with lard, in they are, opt out). There are dozens of varieties of beans (see one of my previous blog posts, You Don’t Know Beans…or Do You?); pinto, navy, garbanzo—add them to salads or eat as a side dish. Most have around 6-8 gms of protein and about the same amounts of fiber.

And don’t forget lentils. These tasty tidbits are loaded with vegetable protein—10.0 gms. And 9.0 gms of fiber.

I eat a high-protein, whole grain cereal every other day. Kashi makes excellent products. Try their Go Lean. It has 13.0 gms of protein per serving, also 10.0 gms fiber. I mix mine with their Good Friends (5.0 gms protein/12.0 gms fiber) for a vegetarian protein and fiber blast (pun intended!) The days I don’t eat whole grain cereals, I have some toasted whole grain bread (4-6 gms protein; shop around and read labels, some have more protein than others. I recommend Milton's) with almond butter. You can see how the vegetable protein is adding up, huh?

Pastas, especially whole grain pastas, are another great source of vegetable protein. Most have at least 6-8 gms, while some go as high as 12-15 gms. Again, read labels, and you will be pleasantly surprised by all of the healthy vegetable protein options available to you.

I also eat oatmeal (8.0 gms protein/ 6.0 gms fiber) every day. And wild rice will get you around 5.0 gms of vegetable protein per serving.

Not all veggies are created equal. Some have more protein than others. Here are the ones you should look for when looking to increase your vegetable protein consumption:

I eat edamame, or soybeans, (11.0 gms protein/ 6.0 gms fiber) several times a week. I like to mix in another vegetable, usually broccoli (5.0 gms protein/ 4.0 gms fiber), add a little olive oil, salt, pepper. How’s that for veggie protein? Also, soy chips are a wonderful source of protein: 6.0 gms--I like Glenny's  and Gen soy. And Dr Soy makes a tasty soy bar (11 gms protein) that I devour most days.

Avocado: (4.0 gms protein/8.0 gms fiber)
Peas: (5.0 gms protein/ 4.0 gms fiber)
Corn: (4.5 gms protein/3.0 gms fiber)
Lima beans: (6.0 gms protein/4.0 gms fiber)
Brussels sprouts: (4.0 gms protein/3.0 gms fiber)
Artichoke hearts: (4.0 gms protein/4.0 gms fiber)
Asparagus: (4.0 gms protein/3.0 gms fiber)

This is by no means a complete list, and a lot of it is personal preference. But, as you can see, the variety of vegetable proteins available to you are endless. And the best part—they are low in saturated fats, high in good fats, loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that contribute to a longer, happier, skinnier, healthier life.

As always, you can watch me talk about all of these healthy topics at my video website,