Friday, October 10, 2014

Native Foods Cafe - YUM!!!

Every time we go to visit my son in Culver City, California, we head straight to the Native Foods
Cafe. Being Vegan, especially when out on the road is not easy. You can't live on greasy hash browns and dry toast! We did find several options out on the road, but Native Foods is the greatest. Calories? Well, they do use lots of wonderful homemade sauces, but still a very positive vegan option.

We bought the Native Foods Celebration cookbook on our recent trip. It's available on  For a location near you, go to their website. This Cafe serves up some of the best vegan recipes that I've ever eaten!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sixty Plus Wellness - Start Setting Goals

Every high school and college graduation speaker talks about "setting goals," and "planning the rest of your life." This is a great time for young graduates to ponder their future. Now that I've passed the age of 60, I realize that there's another special time in life to set goals. At the age of 60, the kids are gone, and we aren't as active as before.

My career of 30 years included daily exercise, sometimes up to four or five hours a day. I was always as fit as possible. It wasn't until I retired from teaching aerobics that my body started showing normal signs of aging. My cholesterol started to climb, my weight went up, and I had to see a doctor. He acted like it was normal to write prescriptions for high blood pressure and cholesterol. He didn't say a word about my recent weight gain or lifestyle.

As we age and our habits begin to affect our future, we need to set new goals as though we are graduation from school, however, this is a new type of graduation ... The Golden Years!

When setting goals, they need to be realistic and achievable. Why would you set them? When the doctor told me that he was going to prescribe a statin for high cholesterol, my first response was that I would try harder and let's wait. What happened? Nothing. I didn't go on the medication and my cholesterol didn't go down. On my next visit, the statin was prescribed, and the side effects were not agreeable.

After a couple of false starts, I set out to solve my medical problems before I officially became a "senior." I was specific. If I didn't lower my cholesterol through nutrition, I would have to be on meds for the rest of my life - and they made me feel lousy. I decided to set the goal of getting my cholesterol lower than 175 without medication. I signed on to a calorie counting app. As I counted calories, I wrote down the breakdown of nutrients in every bite. Wow. What a wakeup call. I thought that I was eating a rational number of calories, but there was a lot of animal fat in the form of yogurt, carrot cake frosting, and ranch dressing dip and chicken tenders. Chicken is healthier than beef, right? Oh yeah, but not with panko breading, fried, and dipped in ranch dressing. This documentation was the most valuable part of my plan. I had to get real about what I had been eating and what I needed to eat. I set realistic goals.  This meant lowering my calories by 75%!

When I set goals for my future, here's how it went; "I am going to give up caffeinated drinks which lead to a growly, hungry feeling within 6 months. I am going to lose 40 pounds in the next year. I am going to lower my blood pressure within one year without medication, and I am going to try to lower my cholesterol from 225 to 175 in one year without medication." The next questions were if these were realistic goals, and what was it going to take to achieve them?  It was time to go to work.

Now, let's talk about the present. This is two years later. Whew! It was a great experience to go over my documentation for the past couple of years. I wish that I could help everybody that I know walk that walk.

My first goal was to give up coffee. I had become a heavy coffee drinker. Not only did I drink it all day, even up until bed time, but I added real Half and Half to every cup. God, I LOVED that coffee.  The problem with it was that although I drank it for years, as I got older, it made my heart beat really forcefully, and seemed to drive my blood pressure up. It was hard, but DONE! I just stopped drinking it.

I gave up coffee cold turkey. I was right that my stomach wouldn't get those hunger pangs that I was using as an excuse to eat. My next goal was a multi-goal. This would include losing 40 pounds, and lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol through diet. This was where I made my first mistake. I decided to go off of all animal fat and become a vegan. Lots of people are vegan, how hard could it be? VERY HARD is my answer. If you don't have recipes, or even understand how much protein you need, or what contains protein, you could go straight into the ditch!

If I had known then what I know now ... Anyway, I bought a bunch of processed soy products and came up with some awesome recipes. The volume of carbs that I was eating surpassed the calories that I had eaten in cheese and yogurt! I thought that if I wasn't eating animal products, I'd lose weight. Period. Just the opposite happened. I gained weight. I was obviously doing something wrong! I wondered if eating vegan was going to work for me. I missed yogurt and cheese, and gave up on the vegan idea.

This is where I decided to meet with a Registered Dietician. It was the most important decision that I could have made.  Although she was not a Vegan Dietician, she understood my goals and agreed to work with me. She made it clear that processed foods should be kept to a minimum. So, all-you-can-eat tofu or tempeh is out of the question. She helped me to change the balance on my plate. This included less pasta, more sauce. When making tacos, it included less tempeh, and more salsa and cabbage.

I discovered tons of recipes that seemed bland and boring in the beginning, but are now some of my favorite things. Recovering from fat and sugar habits is hard! Not having sour cream or cheese on a taco is REALLY harsh! Over time, I've come to love a tempeh taco with red cabbage and chunky salsa.

So, with my goals still not completely attained, I have lost 39 pounds, my blood pressure medicine is less than half of what it used to be, and my cholesterol is 187 without medication. Being so much lighter, I exercise harder, and intend to achieve that one last pound of weight loss, and a few more points of cholesterol before the summer is over.

My life is nothing like it used to be. I'm trim. I exercise hard. I have lost all talk about "getting old."  GOALS. Set them. Make them lofty. If you're over 60, NOW is the time to set the most important personal goals of your life!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eating FRESH From My Own Back Yard

I can't say how much we save in the fuel that it might take to bring vegetables to our home that is off-the-beaten-path in Colorado, but our above ground garden that measures about 12' X 15' saves around $16.00 per day in produce each summer. We also dry herbs and greens that last through the winter, and have fresh tomatoes ripening in the garage until after Thanksgiving. With a little effort, we save lots of money by having a little hobby garden in the back yard!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Happy And Healthy Father's Day To Al

I'm taking Al to the Hot Springs for Father's Day. I'll admit that I enjoy them too. That's why we
went for Mother's Day.

For years people have been using the Hot Sulpher Springs around where we live for a variety of health reasons. For me, it relieves my sore joints and muscles, but there are many benefits, including skin tone.

Sulpher is a naturally occuring mineral that is found near hot springs and volcanoes. You can tell when there are sulpher springs nearby because the air smells like rotten eggs. If you enjoy the springs, you eventually don't recognize the smell as something bad. The smell is caused by the Sulpher Dioxide gas as it contacts the air.

The sulpher found in the soaking pools is made up of three amino acids which are components of protein.  This water is beneficial in building collagen and skin elasticity. This is why elderly people who use the pools regularly are said to be younger looking. It's true that in a way, soaking in mineral pools are like finding the fountain of youth!

Enjoy Colorado. Take Dad to the Pool In Glenwood Springs for Fathers Day!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rest in Peace, Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grow Your Own Affordable Organic food

This is the greatest time of year in Colorado. I'm in my element this morning!
My Above Ground Garden 5/21/14

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Simple - Make Your Own Dairy Free Honey Mustard

If you're a vegan, you're constantly looking for something dairy free to dip your recipes in. Another important search is for foods containing vitamin B12. Honey mustard is not only an awesome dip, but it can make a delicious salad dressing, or just a sandwich spread. If you have never thought about making your own mustard, let me make it easy for you.

Some vegans don't eat honey because it can be considered an animal product. If you're one of those people, you can substitute a little sugar or agave nectar, but honey makes the best

Honey mustard requires only a few ingredients. Most whole foods markets sell both yellow and brown mustard seeds in bulk. Yellow seeds taste like mustard, brown seeds have a bit of a bite to them. The other ingredients are vinegar, water, and honey. Some people add raspberries or other fruits, depending on your plans. Here is a basic recipe with room to improvise.

Use mustard seeds according to your taste. I use 4 tablespoons of yellow to one tablespoon of brown seeds. Put them in a bowl and cover with one half water and one half organic apple cider vinegar. Soak them covered for three days. Now, according to the thickness that you desire, add honey and put in the blender. The mustard seeds will be soft, and will blend up to a creamy honey mustard sauce. Surprisingly, mustard seeds contain the following nutrients;

Mustard Seeds, yellow, ground
2 tsp
Calories: 20

 selenium 15.1%

 omega-3 fats 6.2%

 manganese 5%

 phosphorus 4.7%

 magnesium 3.7%

 copper 3.3%

vitamin B12 .5%

I'm still working out my own recipe to find the right consistency. I used Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar straight without water the first time and it was really strong. That's when I started using a little water to mellow it out. I'm also using more brown seeds than I started with.  I think I might try growing a little mustard this summer to see if I can get some seeds of my own! This is a delicious sauce!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tempeh Is Low In Fat, High in Protein and Calcium

Trying new things that are low in fat and high in protein can be a challenge. When you see something like Tempeh at the health food store, it looks weird, to say the least. What do you do with that weird looking stuff? Tempeh is a brick made of fermented soy beans. Some companies make it with other grains added too.

Let me introduce you to this weird food, then I suggest that you search the internet for the abundance of awesome recipes that you can use it for.

Not all people boil it first, but I have found that if you slice or cube it and boil it for 5-10 minutes, it gets a meatier texture that you can use for recipes. One of my favorite recipes is to cut it into cubes, boil it, dry it, then fry it with herbs and spices (I like Gaylord Hausers Spike the best). I keep the cubes in the fridge and use it as croutons on salads, taco filling, and even in spaghetti sauce.

The cubes make delicious finger snacks after being marinated, and another one of my favorite things is soaking it in barbeque sauce and having a fat sandwich.

Get acquanited with Tempeh. I love to eat. I used to love meat. We have some up with so many awesome recipes, my cholesterol has gone down considerably without medication. Try it!

Tasty Fried Tempeh With Herbs and Spices
Tempeh Tacos with Tofutti - Vegan Sour Cream

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Garden Is Popping!

The amount of money that I save by having a summer garden is shocking. With the recent drought, lettuce can go for two bucks a head here in the mountains! I know that many people think that without a real space for a garden, that you can't have one, but that's not true. My garden is a makeup of all sorts of inexpensive plantables from the local thrift store. Because our soil is very sandy clay, it gets really hot and bakes everything so I have brought in containers and really great and moist organic soil. Check it out! I've got bookshelves, and even a baby cradle. All together, the containers cost less than $25.00, and make a perfect garden. Since our house is for sale, I could actually move the containers to a new location if I needed to.

Just a suggestion, if you've got anything around the house or yard that you could plant in, try some fresh herbs, or lettuce and spinach. They will both grow virtually anywhere, and you'll feel really proud of your harvest!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dog Have Eye Allergies?

My friend Gracie has had a tough spring so far with eye allergies. She was scratching her eyes all morning yesterday. I wondered if I could use the homeopathic remedy for eye allergies that I use made by Similisan. I looked online and found a few questions answered by Vets that said that you could use it three times a day. I tried it and Gracie hasn't had any problems since.

I am not qualified to diagnose or prescribe, so you should check with your own vet before trying it, just wanted to pass it on. Similisan is available at most health food stores, or several suppliers online.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How's Your New Years Weight Plan Going?

They say that by now, especially with food events like the Super Bowl, more than 80% of New Years Weight Loss promises have fallen by the wayside. If you're one of those 80 percenters, I say, OK, start again.

As I always say, there is no piece of pie that tastes as great as skinny feels, and that's the truth. The only way to lose a substantial amount of weight is to stick to it and keep starting over, if necessary.

Although many programs promise "instant" results, they are full of bologna, so to speak. A loss of 2 pounds per week is a reasonable amount. I started a whole new eating plan on October 18 and have stuck to it religiously. Am I bummed out that I have lost only 19 pounds? Yeah, a little. I have exercised as planned, and have only gone over by 7 calories ONE day. This time is different than any other. I am determined to get to my goal weight no matter how long it takes. If there was ever a time to give up and blow it, it would have been yesterday when I had lost only 1 pound after skipping all the hoopla at the Super Bowl party on Sunday.

If I were to go off the wagon, so to speak, I could gain it all back in a couple of weeks and I am not going to let that happen. This time, it's not a client's body that I am working with, it's my own.

If you have fallen off of your plan, get back on it. Contact me if you would like some help and support. You can do it this time. It's a New Year. Make it happen. I'm in it with you! I'm almost half way there!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Good Luck Broncos!

We send our wishes for a safe and successful Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos! GO BRONCOS!

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!...