Thursday, December 27, 2012

Oh, The Stress! Get A Jump On 2013.

Stress affects everything in our bodies. Not only do stressful events affect our blood pressure, but the chemicals released in extremely stressful situations keep a body on guard and always ready to run. This response, if engaged often and long term, can affect our heart, circulatory system, and the health of our organs.

Many people go on antidepressants or sedatives for chronic stress which can make you less prone to meltdowns, but meditation, or put more simply, a 10 minute “timeout” can be just as beneficial without the side effects of drugs.

There are all kinds of meditation practices that can be performed with accompanying mantras, positive visualizations or music, but Zen Meditation (also called Zazen) is simple and beneficial. It takes absolutely no effort but to sit and clear your thoughts. That’s it. Breathe.

Zen meditation can be practiced sitting, standing, or even walking and the point is to focus on nothing but breathing and stillness. The Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskill Mountains in New York offers free Zazen instructions on their website 

If you aren’t inclined to meditate Buddhist style, that’s not a problem. Find a place, preferably a quiet place in nature, and focus on 10 minutes of silence. When you first start out, you might find the 10 minutes to drag while you shift and cough and scratch your nose or anything else that you can distract yourself with. This is the exact reason that you need 10 minutes of silence. You will sleep better, bring down blood pressure, and have a clearer sense of being. Each day, sit and let the random thoughts float through, but learn to let them flow by, at least for that 10 minutes. That time is all yours. Don’t let anything distract you.

If you absolutely can’t sit still for 10 minutes, you might consider some type of moving meditation. I do better with movement. My knees bug me when I sit for too long, so I’ve chosen to practice qigong. It’s a slow movement choreographed with breathing that keeps me occupied while clearing the junk from my head. After trying all types of traditional meditation, and not being able to stop my “monkey mind,” qigong has really slowed me down for the mere fact that I can move around while being silent.

There are lots of qigong DVD’s available, but for free you can watch your choice of hundreds of  clips on youtube. Checkout the 8 silk brocades, a short and simple group of exercises known to move vital energy through the meridians bringing better health. This is a great place to start your qigong practice. 

My message here is that if you’re stressed out, it is affecting your body. I dodged meditation for years because I said that I couldn’t relax, but I just got more and more jacked up in the meantime. After focusing on learning to let go, my demeanor got calmer, and I even stopped drinking coffee! Life is calmer, my blood pressure is normal, and I sleep like a baby. It all began with just 10 minutes a day. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Make Your End Of Year Charitable Donation

Leonardo Di Caprio believes in clean water, a healthy planet, healthy animals, and many more ecological issues. His foundation is known for distributing money and resources to our fellow man all over the world, including disaster relief right here at home. His is only one of the many charities in need right now! The Red Cross is always a good bet, and the people in the hurricane Sandy zone are still in terrible need of the basics. Go to

To contact the Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation, you can go to Have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Snow In Aspen

I’ve daydreamed about going back to my native California since I arrived in Colorado 30 years ago. Bare feet, hot sand, sunshine, fresh produce, and more and more! Not to complain about Colorado, or the snow, and the cold, ...

Colorado has been good to me. I had a full career in the athletic club business, followed by a second career in the horse fitness business. The thriving economy during the cold and snowy months allowed for me to have a stimulating life and to raise my son in a small community.

We just had our first big snow of the season and I’m daydreaming about bare feet and hot sand again. I know, California has been having some wet and windy weather lately, but it will pass.

I’m torn. Only 7 days til Christmas which I’ll be spending in Aspen. It’s a wonderland at this time of year, plus, it’s the solstice. The days are already going to get longer. My problem ... cold feet, no sand, and not so fresh fruit and produce. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying ... 

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas everybody! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Plants To Lower Cholesterol

We’ve all heard of the many vitamins and minerals contained in fruits and vegetables, but we’re only hearing about sterols and stanol esters (phytochemicals) as they are marketed in products said to lower cholesterol. One such product, called BENECOL® Spread, claims to have research that shows the product to actually lower cholesterol. This plant product is sold like margarine and contains various vegetable oils. Each tablespoon contains around 75 calories, and it can be used as a spread or in cooking. Benecol is a vegan product and if you are concerned with high cholesterol, research shows that it can indeed lower cholesterol.

Sterols and Stanol esters are naturally found in a variety of vegetables like:
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Legumes
  • Rye bread
  • Whole wheat (in the wheat bran and wheat germ)
  • Sunflower and sesame seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia
  • Peanuts
  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Olive oil
You can read about Benecol at 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vegan Bouillon With Sea Salt and Herbs

Making a quick homemade soup without preservatives or excessive salt can be challenging. Most vegetarian broths have a ton of salt and preservatives. The last time I made soup with a store bought broth my husband said that the house smelled like a science lab.

This week both Al and I have both had colds, sore throats, and the regular thing that comes to Colorado at this time of year. As eager as I normally am to chop fresh herbs for flavor, I was lucky to get out of bed. The last thing I wanted to do was go to the grocery store.

I had bought some Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon with Sea Salt and Herbs for flavoring the Thanksgiving dressing and had a whole extra pack of 8 cubes left in the cupboard. Although they make the product without salt, I chose to buy it with sea salt and herbs. Yum. I made a couple of cubes and added some leftover rice and vegetables. I couldn’t believe the flavor of this soup! We ate it all weekend and are feeling much better today.

Rapunzel is a product of Sweden. The broth comes in three different flavors, Vegan Vegetable with sea salt and herbs, with no salt, and herbs with no salt. The herbs are organic, and the sea salt is sun dried from the French Atlantic Coast.

By the way, the Thanksgiving dressing was exceptional, and now I know why. I recommend this product ... Healthy and delicious!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Field Roast Grain Meat Company

I try to make my family meals from scratch. Back in the meat days, I could make meat as a main dish, and surround it with a variety of other stuff. I’m always looking for that variety and nutritional balance on the plate, but I’ve got a problem serving fake meat to my family. Granted, there are some delicious veggie patty choices available, but they seem like mud laced with veggies.

I walk right by the fake meat aisle at Whole Foods, but something stopped me last Saturday. As you may know, Al and I are Italian and were raised on lots of meats and cheeses so the Italian Sausage looking product stopped me dead in my tracks. Vegan Italian Sausage? Give me a break!

The brand name of the product is Original Field Roast Grain Meat Co. The product is a Grain Meat Sausage made with eggplant, fennel, fresh garlic, and red pepper. OMG! This is no substitute for meat, this is a hearty, meaty, grain sausage that is a nutritional food in itself.

Here’s what I did with some leftover whole grain penne pasta. First, I browned the sausages in olive oil. Then, I added some mushrooms and spinach, then I dumped the leftover penne in and stirred it up until the spinach was just starting to melt. Al and I agreed that it was one of the best dinners that we have had in a long time. Go to for more about this product. I give it a thumbs up and will definitely incorporate it into more of my Italian dishes. They have a variety of artisan vegan groceries.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Cruelty Fee Thanksgiving

Our first meatless Thanksgiving was a vegetarian meal. As vegetarians, Al and I fell into our typical Italian kid food act. If there is a dietary loophole that we can abuse, we will. I think that for the first non meat Thanksgiving, we had a ton of vegetables with cheese and butter. We weren’t eating meat, but we were burying ourselves in fats! We had green bean casserole with Campbells cream of mushroom soup, breaded cauliflour parmesian, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, and probably some type of product resembling turkey. We’ve gone vegan since then and our diet has changed considerably and we think that it’s for the better.

Over the years, we have discovered many great recipes that have replaced the old ones, and there are many products that will aid in making a plain vegetable dish seem like a rich, gourmet meal. Here are some ideas to add to your vegan dishes.
  1. Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream; This is a soy product that is white and creamy exactly like sour cream, and is vegan! We use it on baked potatoes, or as a dessert like fruit with drizzled Agave Nectar. It can go either way.  I have been experimenting with it, and it can be used with mushrooms to make a stroganoff sauce, or used to moisten mashed potatoes instead of milk and butter. This year I will be creaming it up with some Yellow Miso for the backdrop of my crispy onion and green bean casserole.
  2. Yellow or Red Miso; This is a salty, fermented rice product. It can be used as a broth, or even substituted for a cheesy flavor in salad dressings. As I said, I will be using it in my green bean casserole, but I will also be using it as broth to moisten the dressing. Miso is a food that takes some getting used to, but once you get to know it, you will be adding it to everything. You will get some protein which is always a plus in a vegan diet, but you will get flavor! If you add a couple of tablespoons of red miso and a handful of herbs into your regular vinegar and oil salad dressing, you will get a rich, cheesy dressing. Try it!
  3. Braggs Nutritional Yeast (affectionately known as “nooch”); This is a flavorful additive to everything too. It is another product that tastes a little cheesy. I add it to my food, but I also add it to the top of casseroles. This will be the topping on my green beans.

Our Thanksgiving meal will consist of several items;

Burgers made of chickpeas, herbs and stone ground flour, smothered in mushroom gravy browned with Bragg’s Amino Acids

Mashed Potatoes creamed with tofutti

Green Bean Casserole with yellow miso, tofutti, and fresh herbs

Cornbread stuffing with celery, carrots, and yellow miso broth
Vegan lasagne made with squash, mushrooms, broccoli, and homemade chickpea ricotta, topped with sauce, olives, and nooch.

Homemade Cranberry / Orange sauce

Pumpkin pie topped with tofutti

We added the extra casserole to give ourselves the feeling of a feast, although we think that it will probably be lunch on Friday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everybody!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pu-Erh Tea, what a delicious treat!

I gave up coffee a about a month ago, and surprisingly, I haven't missed it. I really loved that cup of coffee back in the day. Although I had enjoyed a cup of Pu-erh tea in a cafe here or there, I never actually bought and studied it until recently. The benefits shown from drinking it include aiding in digestion due to it's fermentation, more antioxidants than regular green tea, and it is known to have an enzymatic activity that shrinks fat cells, as seen on Dr.Oz. Kenneth Cohen writes in The Way of Qi Gong that the tea promotes the breakdown of fatty or greasy food, and has been scientifically demonstrated to lower cholesterol. What a joy to enjoy the taste, and to gain the other benefits from this rich and smooth caffeinated tea.

Here is a link that gives extensive and credible information about Pu-Erh tea. I love the smooth natural flavor of this tea. You can buy it in bags from your local health food store, $8.00 for 16 bags (organic, fair trade, recyclable packaging, etc.), or your local Oriental grocery for $5.00 for 100. I have tried several brands, and really enjoy the Numi Organic Emperor's Pu-erh sold at Natural Grocers.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taking Care Of The Planet

"No creature, not even swine, befouls its nest with such abandon as does homo sapiens ... Today, soils are tired, overworked, depleted, sick, poisoned by synthetic chemicals. Hence the quality of food has suffered and so has health. Malnutrition begins with the soil. Buoyant human health depends on wholesome food, and this can only come from fertile and productive soils."  Christopher Bird and Peter Tompkins from their work; Secrets of the Soil.

If you are interested in a healthy garden of your own, now is the time to research a compost system that will work for you. As the quote says, healthy soil is the key to healthy food. Start now. Even if you only have a deck for planting potted tomatoes, now it the time to get prepared for that wonderful planting season of spring. Even though we expect a ton of snow this year, my garden and soil prep is already in place.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simple Vegan Mushroom Gravy

If you read this blog, you might know by now that I am not a fake meat eater, rather a comfort food junkie. I can do without fake hot dogs and soy cheese, but I like my comfort meals. I like plain foods with a great sauce or topping. Last night I made this extremely fast mushroom gravy that was so delicious, I have to share it with you.

Quick Vegan Mushroom Gravy

One small container of mushrooms (about 12 large mushrooms)
1/4 c Braggs Amino Acids
1/2 c Bob's or Barbara's instant mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons of your choice of herbs
Black Pepper

You will probably adjust the mashed potatoes according to your own choice of thickness.
First, saute sliced mushrooms in olive oil. Add 1/4 c Braggs Amino Acids (tastes like soy sauce), and salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, add instant mashed potatoes to thicken, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Voila!

Add this delicious gravy to baked potatoes, or add 1/2 cup of Tofutti Better than Sour Cream (and a little more black pepper, and add to noodles for a great vegan stroganoff!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Have A Cup Of Tea!

The first bowl moistens my lips and throat;
The second bowl banishes all loneliness;
The third bowl clears my mind of words and books;
At the fourth cup, I begin to perspire ---
life's troubles evaporate through my pores.
The fifth cup cleanses my entire being.
Six cups and I am in the realm of the divine;
Seven cups --- ah, but I can drink no more;
I can only feel the gentle breezes blowing
through my sleeves,
wafting me away to the Isle of immortality!

---Lu Tong, Eighth - Century Chinese poet, from
In Gratitude For A Gift Of Fresh Tea

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aspen's First Snow 2012

This morning, Aspen got its first snow of the season.  There's nothing like a brisk morning with fresh snow, a clear blue sky, and a good cup of coffee in Aspen.

Halloween is coming and it's a last blast holiday for the hard working locals before the tourist season starts. Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Really Yummy Vegan Sandwich Spread And Dip

My kitchen has turned into a test kitchen and we're always eating either a failed attempt at a recipe, or a yummy new something or other. This is a new recipe that we have used to stuff tomatoes, spread on a tortilla with veggies, or even mix with macaroni for a great "noocharoni."

Put all ingredients in the food processor;

1 cooked cauliflour
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of Braggs Nutritional yeast (nicknamed "nooch")
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c raw cashews
2 tablespoons dried herbs (your choice)
Salt and pepper to your own taste

Cream all ingredients in your food processor and add herbs and salt and pepper once all is creamed. This is all nutrition with a cheesy, creamy texture. I have been stuffing tomatoes with it, spreading it on a tortilla filled with veggies, and even mixed it with whole grain macaroni for dinner last night. This is like hummus, but lighter. Try it, it's really delicious. I suppose that you could substitute broccoli too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Update On Bill And Lou - Rescue (Previous Post)

Just got a returned email from the folks at Green Mountain College regarding the rescue of Bill and Lou. The contact email addresses have been closed. Here is an update of current contact information;

Green Mountain College
Agriculture - Farming (Bill and Lou)
2500 Killington Road  Killington, VT 05751
(800) 776-6675

Monday, October 15, 2012

Took An Autumn Walk In The Park Today

What A Glorious Autumn Day!
The fall colors are exceptional this year. I took a long walk in the park today and fell in love with this tree. It's still warm enough to walk without a sweatshirt. What a glorious day!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Act NOW To Save Two Hard Working Oxen Named Bill And Lou

Green Mountain College is poised to kill two oxen named Bill and Lou who have served their college farm for ten long years. ACT NOW to prevent it!

Bill and Lou have been a working team of oxen at Green Mountain College in Poultney, VT for ten years. They were pressed into service by staff at Cerridwen Farm - the teaching farm on campus - to do everything from plowing fields togenerating electricity. Over the years, they became so well loved that they're even the profile picture for the farm's Facebook page!

A few months ago, Lou became unable to be worked any longer. Bill won't work with anyone else. Therefore, the college has concluded that both of them must be killed.

DEATH is their reward for 10 long years of hard work.

Yes, Green Mountain College has decided that Bill and Lou's long lives of service should be rewarded by their slaughter - and for what? According to their own press releases, the school will get, at best, a couple of months of low-grade hamburger out of their bodies.

This is especially heartbreaking because they have an excellent home waiting for them.

VINE Sanctuary has offered to provide Bill and Lou with permanent homes. We have the ability and resources to care for them for the rest of their natural lives. Sadly, though, the college is determined to kill them instead.

For ten years, they served the needs of those more powerful than they are.
Now it's time to let them serve their own needs.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE - Please contact the folks at Green Mountain College and urge them to reconsider. Feel free to use and/or modify the letter below, or write your own.

All you need to do is send a heartfelt, courteous email to the following people:

Bill Throop Provost and Vice President for Academic
Kenneth Mulder Farm Manager, Research Associate & Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies:

Dear Sir:
I am writing to urge you to allow Bill and Lou to live out the remainder of their natural lives, in peace and contentment, at VINE Sanctuary, a reputable organization which has offered to care for them.

Should you choose to reverse their death sentences, the rewards garnered by Green Mountain College will far exceed whatever paltry sum their slaughter would bring to the school.

Conversely, whatever small amount of cash would be made by killing them will be far outweighed by the negative press which will follow in the wake of their deaths.
Bill and Lou have served your college well for ten long years. Students and faculty alike have expressed how much they care about these individuals. They deserve to be given the rest of their lives to live as they choose. Just because they are not human does not mean they do not care about their existence.

We will be watching to see what decision you make.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Where To Buy Vegan Halloween Candy

It may surprise you to know that Candy Corn contains eggs. Me too. I was having a craving the other day so I was reading labels. Most chocolates contain milk, but many sugar candies contain eggs, and some sugars are sifted through animal bone ash. I don’t know what that’s all about, but I read it when I was doing a search on sugar candies.

I found a place called The Natural Candy Store that carries a variety of Vegan Halloween Candy and you still have time to order. Click Here to go to the Natural Candy Store Halloween Candy page.  Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

From Vegetarian To Vegan

When I first started this blog I was a vegetarian. I was headed for veganism, but that one cup of coffee with cream was stopping me. All I can say about that is that I LOVE my coffee with real cream. I had made it through missing sprinkles of cheese on my soup, or the Greek yogurt that I had for breakfast. All of it was now gone from my diet, except the coffee with cream.

I had already tried all of the vegan coffee creamer blends and a couple of them were pretty good, but what is a morning meeting without coffee and cream? With the ongoing changes in my diet, I began to feel really speedy and spacey and couldn’t figure out why. I was no longer eating sugar products, honey, nothing. Why was my heart beating a million miles an hour? The ND’s diagnosis? Aw, come on ... allergy to coffee beans? NO! I’ve been a coffee drinker all my life! 

I agreed to take a week off of my beloved drink. The result? Better rest, no more speedy heartbeat, and a renewed relationship with tea and other herbal drinks. There is no way to describe how good I feel. There was a time that I couldn’t imagine my life without a good hot dog now and then ... then it was cheese, yogurt, and now I am trim and healthy, and most of all, coffee and cream free!

With time, I’ve gotten rid of leather products in my closet, silk, wool, and anything that is animal based. These changes have made me a different person all around. I feel good about the animals that I’m not eating or wearing, and most of all, I feel good. I think that it was the dairy and not the meat that was making me feel all heavy and bloated.

If you are working towards a vegan diet, believe me, it’s worth every effort. There are so many delicious animal free meals to eat, I look forward to every one.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Autumn Is The Time To Cleanse Your Lungs And Large Intestine

According to Eastern Medical Traditions, Autumn is associated with the Metal Element. The Metal Element is characterized by expansion, contraction, and transformation on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.

What does this mean to you? The lungs and large intestine are the sister meridians that relate to the metal element. The expansion and contraction of the lungs and large intestine sustain the life of the body. The lungs receive and expel air with each breath. The large intestine is said to leave us "pure and brilliant" as it allows the body to release unwanted waste and toxins.

Together, the lungs and large intestine cleanse the body of unwanted matter. The unwanted physical matter is released by the large intestine, then, with each breath, unwanted emotional matters can be consciously released with each exchange of oxygen.

Another thing about this season is that it is the end of the cycle of life. In the fall, the leaves fall off of the trees, the harvest is taken, and the year ends. Although people don't always connect to it, feelings of sadness, grief, depression, nostalgia may surface during this season.

This is the season to take a look at the things in your life that no longer serve you. Treat it as if you are raking leaves. Get rid of the dead leaves and clear the lawn for the spring grass. Let go. Clean out your closet and eliminate unwanted waste like the large intestine does.

Breathe, exercise, get outside, drink water, do whatever you can to focus on the cleansing of these two organs. Let go of the things that are like dead leaves. There is no reason to keep them.

Foods that will nourish the lungs and large intestine are onions, garlic, chive, turnip, ginger, radish, dark leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Flax and sesame seeds with moisturize and cleanse the large intestine.

Don't think of this season as the gateway to the winter, think of it as the cleansing that will winterize your body in preparation for new life in the spring!

Think I'll make a pot of vegetable soup ...

House Plants That Can Freshen Your Home Environment

I live in an area where there is not only gas exploration, but lots of dry dust caused by it. I do everything possible to keep my home environment clean. In a book called Your Naturally Healthy Home by Alan Berman, he describes how certain household plants can actually help in ridding your space of air pollutants and toxins.

It is suggested that one plant should be allowed approximately 10 square yards of floor space, assuming that your ceiling height is 8 or 9 feet. This means that you need 2 or 3 plants to contribute to good air quality in the average domestic living room of about 20 to 25 square yards.

Berman lists the following 10 plants are the most effective all around in counteracting off gassed chemicals and contributing to balanced internal humidity.
  1. Areca Palm
  2. Reed Palm
  3. Dwarf Date Palm
  4. Boston Fern
  5. Janet Craig Dracaena
  6. English Ivy
  7. Australian Sword Fern
  8. Peace Lily
  9. Rubber Plant
  10. Weeping Fig
Although many plants like light, they don’t have to be placed directly in front of windows. Many indoor plants originated in the dense shade of tropical forests and have a high rate of photosynthesis. These plants are ideal for dark corners of the room. When positioning plants, Berman says to strike a balance between light and ventilation because the effect of plants on indoor air pollution appears to be reduced if they’re set in a draft.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Accounting For Nutrients

If you haven't already, checkout for a free, downloadable web application for tracking your nutrition and health data. This site also has an Android version. If you are willing to take the time to enter everything that you eat during the day, you can digitally track and compute how you're doing.

If you are trying to get away from meat and dairy products altogether, discovering and calculating alternative sources for proteins, B12, and calcium can be a real eye opener.

In recent years controversy has erupted about protein and how much is too little, and how much is way over-the-top. Until you ingest it yourself and experience the calculation, you can't really know your own numbers. Check it out. It's kinda fun!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Download Cronometer

Cronometer is a FREE web application for tracking your nutrition and health data. Digitally track your calorie intake AND Nutritional intake on your computer or your Android phone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ham-Ageddon, A-Pork-Alypse is coming!

Ham-Ageddon, A-Pork-Alypse, whatever you want to call it, it’s coming! China has even set up a “strategic pork reserve.”

With the drought this past summer, corn and soybean crops have left slim pickins for the piggies. Some farmers sold out before the price of feed has had a chance to rise drastically, others are planning on the shortage to come. Studies have shown that animal fats are partly responsible for obesity and its related health problems. Research has also shown that it takes less food and water to feed a human in one year than it does to feed a pig. This is a good time for humans! Like Garth Brooks says, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” Bingo! Less pork, less cholesterol. Eat grain instead! I know, I know. 

The good news is that Jim Cramer says that Kellogg’s stock is going to soar because of the price of a box of Corn Flakes! Here’s my point; If you have been trying to lose weight and lower your cholesterol by eating less animal fat, now is a perfect opportunity to try. Maybe you could have bean burritos on pork chop night, or a giant salad with everything in it like sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans, beets! I wouldn’t feel good about hoarding pork strategically. That doesn’t feel right to me. As a vegetarian, this pork thing isn’t going to affect me. Nobody has mentioned what will happen to those soy products that I buy. Gotta go! I’m going to fill my freezer with those Garden Burgers made with soybeans and corn! Call me a hoarder, but get me to Whole Foods! 

Kelloggs stock? I'm watching it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's been a month?

Can't believe that it's been a month since I posted here. The garden is finally winding down and we're getting ready for a short road trip.

The Fit Horse Companion has made it's way to Kindle and Nook in an ebook version and can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I've learned my lessons in publishing. From now on, all publications will be in the form of ebooks.

We are still working hard at creating vegan menus and have had some incredible garden feasts this summer.

Our Holistic Lifestyle Retreats will be resuming at the beginning of October, and we look forward to cooking, exercising, and teaching meditation and relaxation to our clients at the secluded Hot Springs Ranch in the Colorado Rockies. What a great way to live. We benefit as much as our guests.

Go Crazy On Chickpeas

Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans are a legume that is high in protein and fiber, and low in fat. Grown in the Mediterranean, these beans are a major staple all over the world. The Arabic word for Chickpeas is Hummus which we know as a creamy spread used in many recipes. A vegan chef should get acquainted with Chickpeas and their many uses. Incorporating protein into as many recipes as possible is one of the easiest ways to build a balanced daily menu. I incorporate Chickpeas and sesame seeds into my basic hummus paste recipe to complete the protein. You can use whatever seeds or nuts that you want, but I do it for the nutrition found in sesame seeds. By putting the seeds or nuts into the food processor, you will create a smooth and creamy base. Now, here is the key; Depending on what you plan to do with the basic hummus paste, you will add the rest of your ingredients. A basic hummus recipe calls for oil. If hummus is all that you plan to make, then olive oil is a perfect oil. If you are going to make a cheesy paste filling for lasagne, then olive oil is perfect. If you plan on making a cheesy type dessert like cheesecake, then something more tasteless like Canola or Grapeseed oil might be a better choice.

I generally make two large cans of Chickpea paste at once. By having a container of creamy chickpea paste in the fridge, here is what I do. I take out however much I will be using for Hummus and add garlic, herbs, and whatever else I want in my hummus for the week and use that. We use hummus in wraps, on celery, for dips, etc. If I am making lasagne, I separate some out and add a little garlic, a little extra herbs, maybe some olives or nuts, and put it in the layers of lasagne. If I am making cheesecake, I separate some out and add a little Agave and some cashews and re-puree it in the food processor so that it makes a creamy and sweet vegan cheesecake filler. 

Chickpeas are high in zinc, folate, and protein. When you add nuts or seeds, you can complete the protein, and adding herbs only adds more nutrients. With the basic hummus already creamed in the fridge, you’re on your way to salad dressings, hummus, cheesecake, lasagne, and more. I have discovered these recipes simply by having the basic creamed Chickpeas on hand and have gotten creative with it. Try putting some in your salad dressing bottle with lemon, vinegar, herbs, miso, and water, Voila! See what I mean? 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where Do Vegans Find Probiotics?

There are hundreds of television commercials about Probiotics and friendly bacteria these days. Most people don’t even know what probiotics are. In a nut shell, taken from bios, meaning “life,” probiotics mean pro life. Essentially, these probiotics found in food, encourage the growth of friendly bacteria which helps to balance the bad bacteria that grows in our gut.

Most of us know of probiotics found in the cultures of yogurt. This leaves the question; What do I do for probiotics if I’m a vegan? Not to worry. friendly bacteria is found in fermented foods like sauerkraut. Bummer. The only way that I ever ate sauerkraut was on hot dogs which I no longer eat. Good news. There are lots of delicious fermented options!

Miso is an excellent source of Vitamin B12 as well as probiotics, so it serves as a great supplement to any vegan diet. You can find a great article about fermented foods and friendly bacteria at the Conscious Life website by clicking this link > LINK TO CONSCIOUS LIFE

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hang Your Herbs And Veggies For Later

By now, the garden is starting to get colder at night and leaves are browning, some are going to seed, and there's a lot to keep up with. It's important to me not to let one ounce of my clean and perfect food go to waste. The thing is, if you attend to it, it could end up being the best ingredient in your soups and stews this winter. Last week I pulled a few spinach plants up that were almost completely done! They were two feet tall, some going to seed, just ragged! I hung them upside down in the garage where the dried seeds will wait to be planted next year. A few days later I crumbled the leaves into a vinegar and oil salad dressing. Wow. It was powdery, green, and nutritious. Let alone the flavor that it added to the fresh salad! As the garden slows down, I'll dry peas, beans, and all of my herbs for a winter of nutrition and flavor.

If you don't have your own garden, at this time of year fresh herbs are pretty cheap. You can hang them in the garage and dry a years worth! The grocery store charges 8 to 9 bucks for a small container of dried herbs. Besides, it's fun to play with really healthy food!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why Are You A Vegan?

I like to read as many vegan blogs as I can. There are so many diverse menus, ideas, beliefs, etc. I am mostly vegan for a few reasons. First, my family history has a lot of heart disease. I’ve been in the health and fitness business for over 35 years and have worked with many people. You can SEE what excess animal fats can do to a body. So, my first reason is for personal health. Secondly, I am an animal lover. My horses and my dogs are a part of my family. Watching some of the TV clips about commercial meat farming and the brutal suffering that animals endure has certainly made me not want to support those practices. Third, I know that there is more of an impact on the planet to raise an animal for food than to eat the grains first hand.

What I find interesting in the vegan blogosphere is the diversity of purpose. I found a thread that was an argument between a vegan and a "call myself a vegan" about consuming honey or not. I call myself “mostly” vegan, and I eat honey drizzled over my fruit now and then. I have never seen a clip on TV about violence to bees, but just like calves are separated from their mother’s milk so that we can have it, honey is farmed in a similar fashion. I never looked at eating honey as an infringement on nature. Now that I see that fact, I’ll consider it for myself.

My point is that there are vegans that are specific proponents of non-violence or “Ahimsa” which  means non-violence (one of the behavioral restraints in the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga.) The "vegan" in the argument was claiming ahimsa for the bees. If you are a proponent of non-violence, you can’t harsh on somebody else for eating honey. It seems as though this type of moral superiority is in itself a form of violence against your fellow honey consumer.

Come on dude, let’s get along. Let’s eat the freshest, most nutritious plant based diet that we can possibly find. Let’s share our recipes and ideas. Let’s create a non-violent world. Let’s hold hands and sing Kumbaya for goodness sake. Our world and all of the creatures in it could use a little positive support today. It doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, as long as we ascribe to non-violence.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gotta Have A Food Processor

I have several friends who use their blender to make sauces and dips. Although a blender will do the job, these are the same friends that are always cussing at the blender. Face it, things like large chunks of fruit or nuts choke the thing every time.

If you're really serious about vegan recipes, soups, and the things that you like to puree, spend the money and get a food processor. When I finally broke down and bought one, I went for the Cuisinart. What the heck. I can take a few ingredients and have a rich, creamy, comfort meal in less than 30 minutes.

Remind me to include my mushroom-walnut brown vegan low fat gravy before the holidays. For now I'm making frozen peach smoothies all day long!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Low Fat Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

The Low Fat Vegan Chef has offered a free Caesar Salad dressing recipe that is beyond delicious. The dressing is oil free, and the main flavor comes from Miso and Cashews. Go figure.  I made this recipe last night for a red romaine salad from the garden. It was a very rich and satisfying meal. I can see where I might come up with some sort of vegan Alfredo sauce from this recipe. It's actually cheesy tasting!

The recipe is available on the Low Fat Vegan Chef website for free! Click on this link.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Fit Horse Companion is going ebook!

Just made the arrangements for my book, The Fit Horse Companion to be printed in ebook form. It will soon be available at Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook for $3.99. Stay tuned!

Loving The Olympics

Loved the Equestrian events today! I fell in love with a horse named Sancha that reminded me of my jumping teacher, Fortune. What a gorgeous jumper!

Now that many of the main swimming events are finished, i'm looking forward to track and field, and whatever equestrian events that we can find.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Finding The Elusive B12 - New Product Alert!

B vitamins are essential to avoid anemia, fatigue, and depression. Most young vegans can go for a long period of time before any deficiency symptoms show because the body is able to store large amounts in the liver which can last for a long time. If you hope to be a vegan for years to come, finding a good source of vitamin B12 is important. The problem is that B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria which is found in fish, meats, and dairy. Clams are a rich source of B12.

One of my favorite companies, Bragg, in Santa Barbara, California has produced a product called Nutritional Yeast Seasoning which contains a substantial amount of B12. If you've ever tasted Smart Food popcorn, it is made with Brewers Yeast and has that cheesy flavor. Braggs new seasoning has a similar flavor. I've tried it on popcorn, but also on vegetables and even in a casserole. You can give your salads and vegetables that hearty nutty flavor. It's around $6.00 a shaker.

Many nutritionists recommend that you eat food that is supplemented or take supplements that are "fortified" with vitamin B12. The problem is that I can't find the source of the supplementation on the labels. If I am going to take a pill or eat a cereal that is fortified with an animal product, I'd eat the animal himself, now wouldn't I? This product is a winner. A big thumbs up to Braggs, once again. Their products are a source of Amino Acid supplementation for my family too.

One tablespoon of Bragg's Nutritional Yeast Seasoning provides 40% of the RDA of vitamin B12. Score! Use it anywhere that you would use salt or cheese like the veggies for your tacos, pasta dishes, veggie casseroles, and I love it on popcorn.

Bragg's website offers a video about this product. I give it a thumbs up!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vegans and Bird Flu Shots

A question that comes up often is "Do vegans get bird flu shots?" My answer to that is that vegans do not consume or wear animal products. Why a person chooses to be a vegan, or what population a person belongs to (seniors and people with a compromised immune system) should be considered. This is not an argument that someone else can decide for you.

If a person has an allergy to peanuts, they could go into anaphylactic shock and die from eating peanuts. If a person chooses to become a vegan because they do not want to harm animals, and the flu could compromise their life, they need to make an educated choice. There are nutritional supplements and foods that might strengthen their immune system enough to possibly avoid the flu, that is a choice, as well.

Lots of people choose to become vegan to prevent suffering. When thinking compassionately about the worlds creatures, don't forget to include yourself. Could you possibly suffer from being afflicted from the flu? I hear a resounding; "YES, I had it last year!!!"

I can't give an educated opinion about that question. If it is a personal concern, I would recommend discussing it with a Naturopathic Physician who can probably recommend a homeopathic vegan product that is recommended for flu protection in the high risk populations.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Iron Is Another Matter

“Ya gotta eat some meat!” I can hear my Italian relatives hollaring at me right now. I loved the ravioli and sauce, and I did love the cheese, but the rest was a little hard to swallow. 

I know that most vegans are pretty educated about proteins and where they’re found. Iron is another thing to be monitored. Generally, according to the Vegetarian Research Group 
(, although vegans don’t have any more anemia than among the general carnivorous population, they do have less iron stores. This is where I have concerns for my vegan athletes who utilize iron through sweating, menstruation, and injury. Iron is a component of oxygenation, so athletes need to check their numbers.

Generally vegans have a high vitamin diet, so getting and absorbing enough iron shouldn’t be an issue. Vitamin C increases the body’s ability to absorb iron, so combining beans with tomato sauce, or broccoli with tofu, iron absorption will rock the house! 

Know that broccoli alone is a really nutritious choice for a vegan. Broccoli has calcium too! Spinach is another food that I chop up and add to everything. Get this; It would take 1700 calories worth of sirloin steak to get the same amount of iron found in 100 calories of spinach.

The Vegetarian Resource Group website has tons of valuable nutritional information for iron burning athletes.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vegan Almond Quinoa Muffins

Quinoa. A grain. Pronounced Keen-wa. First, let’s have a laugh. I’ve always wanted to say this out loud. Ready? ... Lake Titicaca! Seriously. Quinoa originally comes from the Altiplano Region of the Andes Mountain Range near Lake Titicaca, at 12,500 feet. It was considered sacred by the Inca people and is known to be the “mother grain.”

Quinoa is
not only a complete protein, with an essential amino acid profile resembling that of milk, but it’s loaded with other nutrients such as starch, sugars, essential linoleic acid (oil), fiber, minerals, and vitamins B complex and E. This combination is the bomb for healthy hair and nails, as well as the other blessings of protein.

The quality of organic Quinoa, found in most whole foods groceries these days is of very high quality, and grown in the U.S. My problem is that I am not fond of the flavor. It’s nothing offensive, I just enjoy the flavor of rice. My solution is to make baked goods with it, or put it in the food processor and have it as porridge with honey.

Here’s a link to some deeeeeelicious vegan almond-quinoa muffins that are not only great, but loaded with protein for a perfect sports snack

I substituted grapeseed for canola oil, and rice milk for soy milk, but they came out really good, and were so hearty that I made a meal out of one! Be sure to let them cool completely because they’re moist and could fall apart if not fully set. I WILL make these again.

Qi Gong Is For Me

Qi Gong is a slow, focused form of movement that is both relaxing and strengthening at the same time. Unlike yoga, the muscles aren't stretched at the joint so aggressively, so if you have joint problems, it's less stressful to perform.

There is a form of Qi Gong called Baduanjin, which is 8 specific movements called the 8 Brocades, or Silken Moves that flow together and can be easily remembered.

There are some great beginner DVD's to follow (Lee Holden, Chris Pei, Deborah Davis, Matthew Cohen) and I recommend checking out some of the 8 Brocade performances on YouTube.

I've been able to maintain strength through practicing Qi Gong, and a knee injury that was bothersome with yoga is no longer an issue.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Much Protein?

Having been in the muscle business for over 35 years, I have watched the protein argument change as quickly as the food industry itself. With news of toxins in meats, heart disease, and other disease caused by obesity, people are looking more seriously at plant based nutrition. How much protein do you actually NEED to be healthy? ... ("Healthy" use your own interpretation) ... The USDA recommends .36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Can you get everything you need from plant protein? Yes. With the right combinations of food, you can. If you want to stop eating meat, you should evaluate your own personal needs according to your gender, age, activity level, and more. In the beginning, before you start eating anything that you want that isn't meat, I recommend talking to a nutritionist about how to combine proteins, and balance your weekly intake including a 7 day meal plan. I think that you can balance calories better. You don't have to include EVERY vitamin at EVERY meal. When you look at the food pyramid, you're overwhelmed thinking that you need to eat everything in sight. Not true. If you get enough protein at breakfast, for instance, you can focus on getting the rest of your nutrients in your other meals or snacks as the day progresses.

A Controversial Researcher named T. Colin Campbell has performed the most comprehensive research on nutrition through his notorious China Study and now teaches a Plant-Based Nutrition Certification Program online through eCornell. His book,
The China Study,
details his research about protein and disease. I'm not sure why I would refer to Dr. Campbell or his research as controversial other than the fact that many other researchers disagree with his research based philosophies which are; "People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease ... People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored," said Dr. Campbell. If you're supplementing a vegan or vegetarian diet with amino supplementation and want non-animal proteins, be sure that the bottle is specifically labeled Vegan or Vegetarian. Often, eggs and milk products are called something else on the bottle. 

How much and what types of protein, and how much you ingest and utilize should be your main focus in your physical performance in life. I can't stress enough how you've got to get it right. This is worth the cost of a professional consult. 
My solution to the protein question? Beans, beans, homemade hummus instead of margarine on everything, mashed pinto beans in burritos, quinoa muffins, seeds, nuts, and other soy supplements.
The China Study. Decide for yourself.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Quality Of A Vegan Dipping Sauce

I try to use the freshest ingredients in my recipes. That’s why I have a garden in my back yard. I can grab herbs at the last second so that they’re as tasty as they will ever be. We are always experimenting with herbs and spices to make dressings and dips for our fresh vegetable dishes and baked potatoes.

One of my favorite flavors for dipping spring rolls is horseradish. I recently discovered that the horseradish sauce that I was buying from the grocery store ... USDA organic, contained eggs. Organic, but not vegan. That began my tasting search and I believe that I’ve found a fine tasting vegan horseradish dipping mustard.

Checkout for a line of USDA Organic Vegan white mustard and horseradish products. I have just tried the Certified Organic Horseradish Creamy White Mustard. It’s Vegan, it’s Kosher, and it’s really delicious!
By checking out the website, you will see that the product is still made and represented by the owner of the company. This is an award winning sauce, and I can tell that it’s going to find itself on and in a lot of my recipes looking for whole food flavor. Nice product, True Natural Taste!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Vegan Test Kitchen

I make sure that everybody coming to the dinner table knows when a recipe is what I call a "Test Kitchen" meal. I have a complete disclaimer so that I can't be blamed for a weird meal. Last night I served a salad dressing that most certainly needs to go back to the table. The biggest problem? The color.

I've always enjoyed raspberry vinagrette salad dressing, but don't really enjoy the vinegar and would rather have a creamier dressing. I use a lot of pureed chickpeas to cream things up, but this time I decided to add a sweet potato to the raspberries to get a sweeter and creamier raspberry salad dressing. I suppose that it might have been okay if I was making a brown gravy, but as a salad dressing, not so much. It turned brown!

I will lessen the amount of potato and increase the amount of oil next time. I intend to create a sweet dressing that will serve as a dipping sauce for spring rolls too. Okay ... while my family is still making fun of my mysterious brown dressing, I am creating another one. Color is a really important aspect of food delivery. I guess that's why the commercial food industry uses so much dye. Not to worry. My late nights in the test kitchen will produce something fabulous! Wait and see.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Yeah ... So I'm 60.

How on earth did I turn 60? I still laugh to myself when I say it out loud. Life is only transcending into my twilight years. Instead of doing research on the best aerobic shoe or endurance saddle, I'm doing research on health care co-pays and deductibles.

Life is good, I feel fabulous, and hope to be blogging about my garden, exercise, and healthy food  for years to come. My cholesterol has come down by 100 points, and today I'm making my tasty whole wheat tortillas, but I'm going to try baking them instead of frying. Hope they hold together! Will post photos.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Your Vegan Coffee Creamer Choices

Some people who get their food act together have the toughest time with quitting cream in their coffee. I am one of those people. I love my morning coffee with cream (yes, half and half!) and can't bring myself to use the commercial blends sold in grocery stores. I buy them, read the label, then fight myself at the cream counter. I am now down to allowing myself a little cream on the weekend, and when we have company for coffee.

I recently found this review of veg coffee creamers on the PETA website. Check it out.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tasty, Personalized Hummus Recipe

Hummus is made from (chickpeas) garbanzo beans and oil. Your choice of flavors and nutrients to add are your choice. For example, I like herbs and lemon for a tangy taste, and Al likes some sunflower seeds thrown in at the last minute for some extra protein and a super chunk effect

According to 1 tablespoon of hummus has about 27 calories, 1.3 grams of fat, and .7g of protein. With the garden in full bloom right now, I’m enjoying everything from oregano to spinach. Here is a basic hummus recipe that comes out smooth and creamy from the Cuisinart, but can be made in a blender too.

Recipe makes 2 cups:

2 - 16 oz. cans of garbanzo beans, or equivalent (I like Westbrae Natural Organic that come in a 25 oz can., or I cook them from scratch).

1 tbsp Olive Oil (or Grapeseed is nice)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
3 tbsp of flavorings (Anything! Chopped olives, garlic, chives, basil, parsley, peppers, etc.)

Puree the beans and olive oil in the blender until smooth and creamy. Stir in lemon juice, salt, cumin, and your 3 tablespoons of other stuff. Done! This makes a delicious addition to wraps, burritos, casseroles, and dips. But wait! There’s more ... If you’re looking for a new gravy for potatoes, or salad dressing, you can alter the amount of oil or lemon to change the texture for whatever you want. I have added chopped sun dried tomatoes at the end for a delicious red dressing. Let me know how it tastes!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Choosing Vegan, Mostly Vegan, or Vegetarian. It’s not like choosing a religion.

Why you choose to eat fewer animals and animal products is your own personal choice. Some people are adamant about it all ... Vegan shoes, handbags, cosmetics, soaps, etc. I talk to thousands of people about their choices, and they are as diverse as the people themselves.

We’ve all seen the secret videos taken in the commercial meat industry and have been horrified at the cruel conditions and violent deaths of animals raised for the commercial meat industry. If you are a vegan for ethical reasons, you probably abstain from all animal products because of the processes that you have witnessed.

Some common questions that people ask me are “Don’t you ever miss eating a juicy bacon and cheese burger?” “Don’t you miss pizza with pepperoni and cheese?” The answer is yes, and yes. Of course I remember the days of hamburgers and pizza. It brings to mind that tasty late night patty melt from Denny’s. Or, speaking of Denny’s, the hangover sausage and eggs breakfast with gravy on the hash browns. Oh, I’m getting choked up just thinking about those things. For me, I have made some of my decisions because of the animal trade, but others for the sake of keeping cholesterol low and because I feel like a million bucks!

The thing about making food choices is that being a vegan isn’t like being a religious zealot. There are no rules or commandments here. You need a balanced diet for
your body. You need to pay attention to your daily intake. If you eat the same bowl of cereal for breakfast, and the same salad for lunch every day, you are not getting a balanced diet. You’ve got to diversify. Choose a variety of colors each day. Greens, reds, purples, and yellows, in fruits and veggies, and a variety of grains. If you had potatoes for dinner last night, have a grain tonight, etc.

If you are an older woman with bone loss, you should monitor your calcium intake. If you are an older person, eating less or no meat is a good idea for your cholesterol and overall health, but adding some skim milk to your coffee, or having some yogurt with your fruit might be something that you could choose. Being a vegetarian and eating low fat choices of dairy products and an egg now and then might work for you. Calcium is found in greens and grains, and you can find the nutrients that your individual body needs in a solely plant based diet too. This is your choice. If you have decided to go completely Vegan, then you must educate yourself about nutrition. There is a Vegan food pyramid to consult with too.

Click on the nutritional data link on this blog and you will find the
Self Magazine nutritional search engine. When you are in the beginning of a change to plant-based meal planning, I recommend that you study this nutritional information to take the guess work out of it. Compare the nutritional information of nuts and beans to see how it compares to meat and fish. You should know this information.
Spring Rolls With Rice, Carrots, Spinach, Glass Noodles

Changing over to vegetarian or vegan diet can make you feel like a completely different body, but it’s imperative that it be done right. Have fun, and you might discover some incredible meat and cheese free recipes!

Checkout my Vegan spring rolls full of rice and vegetables wrapped in oversized rice paper. The great thing about this type of meal is the dipping sauce choices. I use a French salad dressing and they are flipping incredible!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

GREAT Clean Food Is My Passion

I've been in the health and fitness business for over 30 years. I have gone through many years of trends with my clients. In the distant past, as long as athletes burned enough calories, they ate whatever they wanted. Count me in to that population. I played racquetball tournaments every weekend while teaching aerobics twice a day during the week. I could have cared less about calories.

Fast forward about 30 years and I lost my Father to a heart attack at 62, and my Mom last summer to a catastrophic stroke at 83. Can you say cholesterol? I was raised Italian. Sausage and cheese spell cholesterol in Italian. My husband was also raised Italian. Same deal. We love great tasting food but have been encouraged to change how we do it. We have a different love of food than ever before, and have been reaping the benefits for the past several years. Growing our own food while experimenting creatively has led to this blog ... oh, and lower cholesterol, more energy, lower weight, and more.

A few years back I was cleaning out over 30 years worth of articles that I have written, programs that I have created, and recipes that I have saved, and I had an epiphany. Why not put this information in one place via a daily blog? Why not. Here goes. Vegans, I hope that you enjoy my recipes, my enthusiasm, and my snapshots. It's great to get organized!

Here's a shot of last night's meal; Homemade whole wheat tortillas, black beans and corn, garden tomatoes, lettuce, garden salsa, and topped with Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (a non dairy sour cream substitute. Don't normally use fake stuff, but makes the tacos rich and creamy.)


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The 30th Anniversary of my 30th Birthday

Man, it’s been hot. We have hit 100 degrees every day for the past week. I’ve had to baby my garden every step of the way, but lucky days, everything is doing well and we’ve been eating big salads every night for almost a month already. The Pine Ridge Fire is 50% contained as of this morning. We had a hectic weekend with flames in plain sight and suitcases by the door.

The Aspen Ideas Festival was held last weekend and we were able to attend some incredibly stimulating and informative lectures. How much does it cost for a full ride ticket buyer? $2,700. for the 3 day conference. Yeow! You’ve got to seek out the freebie lectures around town during these events if you’re just a normal person. Aspen has so many incredible events during the summer, there’s always something to do!

Yes friends, my birthday is coming in a few days, but I’ve changed it to an anniversary rather than a birthday. Feel free to send me a 30th anniversary of my 30th birthday card.  Yikes. It is what it is.

Eating well, exercising every day, and counting the weeks until our next beach vacation. Being an astrological crab, I need my water!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon

What about bacon? Al and I try to stay with a mostly vegan diet. We do it because we both have a tendency to get hooked on fats, and we both have a tendency for high cholesterol.

With my tomatoes starting to come on, my natural inclination is to think about BLT’s. In my life, one of my favorite reasons for eating fresh summer tomatoes is for the awesome BLT’s that you can make. Oh yeah! I used to make toast with margarine, slap on some mayo, then add four or five slices of bacon to my slice of tomato. That’s where the problem lies! Really? Margarine, mayonnaise, AND 5 slices of bacon? Now, that’s a delicious BLT, but also a killer bomb!

If you want to lose weight, lower cholesterol, and generally clean up your lifestyle, you’ve got to always be negotiating choices. For example, in the sandwich that I’ve mentioned above, according to there would be an excess of 30 grams of fat in the BLT with mayo, margarine, and 4 slices of bacon. That is almost half of a healthy daily allowance. For me, it’s been really helpful to weigh out my priorities. 4 slices of bacon contain about 12 grams of the fat, margarine 11 grams, mayo, about 5 grams, and two slices of toast, about 2 grams. Add french fries or guacamole, and your body is simply waiting to explode.

Some people choose not to eat meat or dairy for the sake of the animals, and some for the sake of the planet. If not for those personal reasons, an individual should weigh out each choice for the sake of their own weight and health. If you are struggling with weight or cholesterol issues, you owe it to yourself to start measuring and counting the nutrients and non nutrients that you are consuming.

If you love bacon and never wish to give it up, then eliminating the margarine, cutting the mayo portion in half, and not having french fries at all leaves a little leeway for the bacon. When the weight starts to come off, it always feels better knowing that you’re making the choices that work for you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hemingway Project Is Shelved

Al and I were having so much fun working on our Ernest Hemingway play. We have been researching every year of his adult life as told by his friends, himself, and other historians. We have begun to admire and respect him less with each bit of information that we gather. We have decided to shelf the project for now. Although "Papa" had a prolific pen, his arrogant treatment of others, especially with a snoot full of booze is not a script that we are comfortable writing at this time. On to the next collaboration ...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Salad Madness

I've checked out for the summer. I try to stay on top of posting something about a healthy lifestyle, but can't find the time to go in the house to sit down and type. Al and I are still working on our Hemingway project, and performing the changing script once a week. Mostly, I'm working in the garden, keeping up with a few clients, and enjoying the season. Happy full-blown spring!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Opening Weekend

I’m alive! Just returned from a nice visit to the beach after a long, cold, Colorado winter. Born in the summertime (hence the crab theme), I come alive during the summer months! Yay! They’re here! Memorial Day is just approaching which is normally our planting season. Spring came early, so we planted a few weeks ago. The garden is in full sprout already. 

Al and I have taken on a creative project including a live monologue from Ernest Hemingway. We belong to a writing group that studies the lives and writing styles of successful authors from days past. We loved the Woody Allen Movie Midnight In Paris which portrayed the relationship between Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. Our project is a narration of Hemingway’s life by Stein, with live acts from Hemingway himself. We are really enjoying the research and writing collaboration. If this is what retirement is all about, I’m all about retirement. 

Still teaching my Senyasa (senior yoga) class and working with my long time fitness clients (both human and horse), I’ll be gardening and working on our play this summer. Vegetarian recipes, fitness updates, and horse fitness stories will still be coming as they happen. This weekend kicks it off. Let’s get it on!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


The garden is up! This is my favorite time of year! Spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, strawberries, basil and more and more and more! Bring on summer!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I recently had a reunion with my best girlfriends from high school We are all turning 60 this year. What a blast that we had. Our husbands all got along and weren't bored with our conversations because we were current. We didn't hash out too much of the old days, just a little. One of my friends was going back to a really stressful job. It was then that I realized that having completed a 35 year career in my own special interest, I can now enjoy each day doing whatever I want. I write, workout, and scheme new ideas for the future. Liberta. In Italian it means liberty. The freedom to do whatever I want. This is a milestone for me. The realization that I don't have to be showing up at a meeting, or teaching an aerobics class. Liberta. The epitome of my life. At last! Here are two
photos of my recent reunion. Yes, I made the sparkly glasses, and yes, that is our husbands. Whee! Liberta!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wallowing In The Weather

I only came indoors for breakfast. There is nothing like this time of year in the Colorado Rockies!

The today show is doing a segment on people who have overdone it with plastic surgery and Botox to their lips. There is a plastic surgeon confirming the fact that your lips lose their fullness as you age. Thank God! Where did my lips go, anyway?

Here's to growing old naturally and taking the best care of our one and only body. Who knows, maybe eating lots of fresh, raw foods and vegetables will keep a gleam in my eyes and and a healthy glow to my skin. That's all that I ask! I don't want lips like the women on this show! Happy Monday, I'm back out to the garden. Ciao.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter and spring kickoff! I just had a wonderful workout outside. One of the things about living in a colder climate is that springtime is a huge deal. Exercising outside is a real thrill.

If you are mindful of world affairs, I hope that you will take a minute to research the origin of your Easter chocolate. The chocolate trade is one of those industries that still uses child slaves in their farming practices.

Please refer to for a list of organic, slave free chocolatiers. Thank you for being mindful of child slavery and for shopping American!

What IS next?

 It seems like the Covid 19 Vaccinations are going faster than expected, but states are opening up equally as fast. I want to get out again!...