Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Passion of the Fruit

What is passion fruit? First off, it is one amazing, tasty fruit, but also one of the oddest looking. It also has one of the strangest names. Why is it called passion fruit? Spanish missionaries is South America thought the fruit resembled different religious symbols depicting the crucifixion and named it after the passion of the Christ: Passion fruit.

When did I first encounter this interesting fruit? It was at a farmer's market on Maui. I noticed these shriveled-looking orbs, kind of like a lime or lemon that was left out in the sun too long. The guy working behind the table grabbed one, sliced it open, scooped out its innards, and offered me a spoonful. I immediately recoiled at the sight of the gooey, slimy, seedy glob...and then he suggested I close my eyes and take a swallow. Man, was I glad I did.

Here is what it looked and tasted like:


If you have never tried this amazing fruit, you are missing out on one awesome taste sensation. A little tart, with some sweet mixed in; citrus and peach, just have to try it (and get over the seeds and slime) to really appreciate it.

But why else should you embrace this freaky fruit? Passion fruit are high in vitamin A, Potassium, and have a decent amount of fiber. They are also a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). They even have some protein and iron, making them a pretty decent super food.

Enjoy them in smoothies, juices and desserts, alongside savory dishes and in salads. But I like passion fruit right out of the shell, like this guy is enjoying it:


Grown in most tropical regions, like Hawaii, passion fruit is a delicious treat, loaded with nutritional benefits, and versatile as a dessert, enhancing a beverage, or adding some zing to your favorite seafood or vegetarian dish.

One of the things I love to do while on vacation in exotic places is visit the local farmer's markets. This is one of the best ways to taste the homegrown fruits and vegetables you may not have the opportunity to try elsewhere. While relaxing on the island of Maui, soaking in the sun and wandering through a farmer's market, I discovered passion fruit and still smile as I remember how amazing that slimy, seedy fruit tasted.

Ugly? Perhaps. Delicious? Undoubtedly. Good for you? Most certainly.

If you get the change, try passion fruit. And always support your local farmer's markets, you'll be glad you did.

Until next time...



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Walking My Pet Peeves

Most of my writing—and I certainly hope that you would agree with this—focuses on the positive, from my nutritional and fitness tips, to my motivational and inspirational messages—even my music and humorous stuff is created to not only entertain, but to educate (yes, even this sad self-deprecating homage to follicle longing).

Yet (and some close family members and lifelong friends may be inclined to debate this) I remain a human being, one with flaws, faults, foibles, and faux pas (and those are just the “F”s). I do not wear my Mike Foster-goofy-grin-with-green-teacup face all the time, especially while I am in a car, either driving it or witnessing someone else manning the wheel.

Certain peccadilloes of human bizarre behavior seem to present themselves more frequently while scooting through traffic, many of these irk, irritate, infuriate, and raise my ire (and those are just the “I”s) to the point of adding them to my list of pet peeves.

Take, for example, the directional signal. This is one misused, seldom used, and overused instrument of driving that drives me nuts.

Scenario One: You’re driving in a queue of traffic, approaching a left-turn-only turn lane, you:

a) drive into the lane, idle in traffic while waiting for the light to turn, then when the arrow turns green, and as you proceed to turn you put your left blinker on, effectively indicating to the other drivers that you are going to turn left…IN A LEFT-TURN-ONLY LANE!!!

b) Approach the intersection, start to weave into the left-turn-only lane, you stomp on your brakes, slow down to a maddening crawl, pull into your lane of choice…THEN PUT ON YOUR DIRECTIONAL, effectively indicating to the poor soul behind you that which he already knows.

c) You flip your directional indicator on several miles before your turn, click-click-clicking away in oblivious nirvana, then actually get into the left-turn-only lane, blinker blinking away like a manic tweaker, sitting in queue, click-click-clicking the obvious, then when the light turns green, continue through the intersection, your directional still snapping away as you proceed to make a left turn around the world.

d) all of the above...are idiots!

As you can see I have a bit of a problem with the left-turn-only lane and the misuse of the directional signal. But my annoyance with blinkers does not stop there, oh, no. How about the guy who swerves in front of you, sans blinker, then slams on the brakes…THEN PUTS HIS DIRECTIONAL ON!! Why bother, buddy?

Or how about what this guy has to say about pet peeves?


Then we have the fast lane versus the slow lane, or the left lane, what we used to call the passing lane back when I went to driver’s education, and the right lane, the lane reserved for those who are related to snails.

Can someone explain to me why anyone drives in the left lane, the supposedly passing lane, and refuses to drive the speed limit—I’m talking about driving BELOW the speed limit?! Anyone?

While this pet peeve rankles, riles, and ruffles my feathers (that’s right, those are just the “R”s), I also use it as a self-challenge in practicing patience…excellent time spent plotting diverse ways at torturing the slow-Joe creating his own personal parade in the high-speed lane. And then, after a month of driving behind this joker, I am finally able to pass, casting a stink-eye glance at the culprit…only to see that it is some harmless, kind-looking, elderly woman who bears such a striking resemblance to my mother my guilt overwhelms me to the point of almost driving into a tree.

Okay, I understand that most of us behave differently inside the protective, stereo-blasting, French fry-eating, cell phone-chatting, Facebook-updating safety of our own vehicles, but my last pet peeve so bothers, bugs, bewilders, and befuddles (uh-huh, just the “B”s) me I am almost at a loss for words…key word being “almost.”

Smoking. Anyone or anything. Anywhere or anytime. I will never understand why anyone who has ever learned to read past the third-grade level would ever smoke a cigarette. Besides being the most rude, reprehensible, repulsive, and ridiculous (need I say that those are just the “R”s?) habit I can imagine, it has been proven to be so unhealthy for you that to ingest burning leaves of tobacco into your once clean lungs can only be the actions of a crazy person…or someone who needs my help.

***Serious segue*** You can stop smoking, by the way, I did and millions of people have. My video site,, has hundreds of videos that can help. And even though I am about to go off on a tangent aim in your general direction, I really do feel for you…to a point.***

Anyway, where was I? Right, discussing in the form of a diatribe about how smoking is disgusting, dangerous, damaging, and degrading. Anyone who has ever shared an elevator car with someone who has just spent their fifteen minute break puffing away on a cancer stick understands what a preview of hell might be like.

Let’s pretend smoking doesn’t smell horrendous, or will kill you sooner rather than later, what about that dreaded smoker’s cough? Working in an office, I am serenaded daily by the hacking wheeze of the chronic smoker’s phlegm-filled foghorn bellowing from the mouths, throats, and, sadly, lungs of my clueless coworkers. Do I feel empathy and compassion? Yes. But I also feel sad and peeved, prompting me to take steps…like writing this blog post, and praying and hoping that someday, very soon, these misdirected and weak individuals will get the help they need to live the life they surely desire.

So, next time I am driving to work, watching the click-click-clicking of a misguided directional signal in the car in front of me, who is also hogging the passing lane for reasons known only to he or she, and I am finally able to pass this “interesting” person, and I glance over and notice that he or she is puffing madly away on a cigarette, I will—gulp—nod, wave, smile, and continue on my way, ready to embrace my day, knowing that when in doubt:


You’ll be glad you did.

Until next time…



Monday, February 8, 2010

You Gotta Want It

What do the world’s most famous athletes, successful businessmen, high-powered politicians, space-traveling astronauts, working actors, creative artists, respected school teachers, and hard-working plumbers all have in common? They all desire to succeed more than they can bear to fail. To put it another way, they refuse to allow anything or anyone to stand in the way of achieving what they feel is their destiny.

What does this have to do with you? Why, everything, of course. Everything, that is, if you desire to change something about yourself, or have the urge to be something that you currently are not. No matter what your dreams or goals may be—to play left field for the Boston Red Sox or teach high school English—one commonality you must share with anyone who has ever achieved anything worthwhile in this life is the thirst to succeed. The need to overcome any obstacle in your way. But most of all:


Just wanting something doesn’t mean your work is done, but it does mean that you have taken a giant step toward achieving your goal. This applies to anything you want, from needing the motivation to lose that extra weight you’ve been trying to lose for years, to finally getting around to figuring out why you detest your job, or your relationships, or your life. Not matter what it is you want to change about yourself or what mountain of opportunity you quest after, you have to want to do it significantly more than not wanting to do it.

I often ask myself what I can do better to help people attain their life goals. I have produced over 350 self-help videos at my website,, and while I have received thousands of encouraging comments and inspirational feedback from successful visitors sharing with me how my websites have helped change their lives for the better, I still want to help thousands (dare I say, millions?) more. One of the biggest roadblocks most people face along the path to success in any worthwhile endeavor is not how to start, but WANTING to start.

Most people know they have flaws, weaknesses, areas of concern that need to be improved. Though there seems to be an endless supply of informative venues to help most of us—from websites, books, videos, and television shows—none of them will ever work unless someone is ready to change.

I began with one goal in mind: To help as many people as I possibly could change their lives for the better. One of the first videos I produced was one of me sitting in my office, surrounded by books, talking about the significance of not only recognizing the need to change, but the vital importance of WANTING to change. I recently received a nice comment on that video, prompting me to watch it again, and, guess what? While a little longer than I would like it to be, the message was still strong…and important. So much so I was motivated to write this post and share that video with you in the hopes that it may be that one little push to give you the direction or desire you have been missing and looking for:


Personal development, self growth, achieving goals, pursuing your dreams, and changing your life for the better are never easy. It takes hard work, direction, patience, but most of all it takes desire and determination so strong that you refuse to allow anything or anyone to stand in the way of what it is you want to do.


May you achieve all that you desire and deserve.

Until next time…