Thursday, August 30, 2012


Corneal arcus is a very common diagnosis that optometrists see in their practice every day.

 (Figure 1)
This is a typical eye without cholesterol

Before we get to what corneal arcus is, let's review some basic anatomical structures.  There are the upper and lower eyelids/eyelashes.  The whitish area of the eye with the blood vessels travelling throughout it is called the conjunctiva.  The colored portion of the eye is called the iris.  The pupil is the center dark area in the middle of the iris.  The cornea is a clear front window of your eye(in front of the iris and pupil).

Corneal arcus is the accumulation of lipids (cholesterol) in the cornea.  It looks like a hazy ringlike area that begins in the lower area of the cornea (Figure 2) and can eventually continue 360 degrees around the outside of the cornea (Figure 3).  Because the cholesterol initially deposits in an arc-like pattern, it is called arcus. 

 Cholesterol comes from the food we eat and travels in our bloodstream.  Individuals with high cholesterol levels in their blood can be blame genetics and increased consumption of foods with cholesterol.  Cholesterol is a large molecule.  The cholesterol molecules can leave the blood vessels in the eye (conjunctiva) but because of it's size, it isn't easily reabsorbed by the veins, leading to the accumulation of the cholesterol, or arcus, on the cornea.

Figure 1 shows an eye without corneal arcus.  Below are a couple of photographs showing corneal arcus using our biomicroscope cameras we have in our office.  The corneal arcus in Figure 2 is very faint and would only be seen with a biomicroscope.  Some corneal arcus in Figure 3 can be seen with the naked eye.     

So, if I see corneal arcus on the eye, what is my biggest concern?  Well, that depends on the patient's age.  If a patient is over the age of 50, I am not as concerned as they have had more years for normal cholesterol levels to accumulate on the cornea.  The younger the individual with corneal arcus is, the more concerned I am about their blood cholesterol levels.  If I see a patient under the age of 50 with corneal arcus, I will write a letter to their medical doctor to rule out high cholesterol.  I am also very concerned if the patient with corneal arcus has any known family history of heart disease or if a patient has not had their cholesterol checked over the past 12 months.

Just because I see corneal arcus does not tell me that the individual currently has high cholesterol.
The diagnosis of corneal arcus just tells me that either now or in the past, this patient may have experienced high blood cholesterol levels.  Once the cholesterol in trapped in the cornea, it will remain there.  Even if a patient improves their cholesterol levels, the arcus will remain. 

Because of the typical American diet, I have been diagnosing corneal arcus on younger and younger patients.  I see many patients in their 30's and some in their 20's that already have this diagnosis on their eye.  Despite what you may think, it is not always someone with a high body fat percentage.  Most of my younger patients with corneal arcus look healthy and lean.  Typically the younger patients with corneal arcus work jobs where they burn a tremendous number of calories (lawn care, construction work, etc.) but eat unhealthy drive thru meals that are high in fat and cholesterol.   These individuals look healthy, but they really aren't. 

High cholesterol is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.  Changes in diet and exercise can reduce your cholesterol levels.  Medical doctors can also prescribe medication to assist in the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. 

Optometrists do more than prescribe contacts and glasses.  Optometrists are an integral part of your health care team because they can diagnose and treat most eye diseases and disorders.  They also have the education and training to diagnose the ocular manifestations of diseases that affect the entire body, such as high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. 

Ask your optometrist if they see corneal arcus on your eye at your next eye exam.  If they diagnose corneal arcus and you don't know what your blood cholesterol levels are, then make an appointment with your medical doctor to have your cholesterol levels evaluated.
Cool, huh?

(Figure 2)
This eye has some cholesterol starting to form on the bottom (that little band of white).
(Figure 3)
This eye has significant cholesterol deposit all the way around.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Election Time!

This might be the most important election of your life.....and I'm not even talking about politics.  
What if every cell in your body had the opportunity to vote on what you would eat at every meal instead of just a small percentage of cells in your body(brain) making the decision what to eat, how much to eat and how frequent to eat?   Where's the democracy in that?
Have you ever thought about this?   If not, now you will.  Do you think your liver wants you to eat drive thru food?   What about your skin starving for water from within?  Do you think your skin/pancreas/kidney/intestinal cells want you to drink that soda or energy drink?   What about your blood vessels, your brain, your kidneys, your eyes, your bones, your nervous system, your stomach lining, your pancreas, your bicep and YOUR HEART?  What do they all want you to eat?  Do you know how much each and every cell in your body would celebrate if you ate better at every meal?  Just think of your arteries not having to deal with the stress of damage occurring at the lining of the blood vessel wall, how happy your liver would be to not have to detoxify everything that comes into your body and what if your skin received all the nutrients from your diet that allowed it to protect you from the world, could heal as efficiently as possible and stayed hydrated without the constant use of body lotion?  What if your heart didn't have to pump so hard to get blood through your cholesterol filled arteries in order to get oxygen and other nutrients to all the organs of your body?  What if your pancreas didn't have to work to exhaustion trying to break down all the sugars in that pasta, pastry, soda and candy bar you had today?

Let's not stop at just food.   Do you think your eyes appreciate you sleeping in contacts that are not getting cleaned everyday. What about you wearing those 14 day contacts for 1-2 months?  Do your eyes really deserve that abuse?  Do your lungs deserve the constant barrage of toxins that you take in with every inhalation of smoke from that cigarette or from someone near you smoking?  Do your skin and eyes appreciate all the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun and tanning beds that you expose them to?   Does your liver look forward to yet another unnecessary alcoholic drink that it has to deal with?  Do your kidneys celebrate when they have to filter all the extra toxins in your body because you are not drinking enough water, are consuming too much salt and other unhealthy foods?  Do your intestines get excited when you consume a high fat, high calorie, low fiber and low nutrition meal and now it has to try and figure out how it's going to digest all of this?  
What if you started eating so healthy that your medical doctor decided you didn't need all those medications that you are currently taking.  What if you were able to reduce your blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, stress hormones, etc. by eating healthier?  
If you are the one ordering, shopping or cooking for your family then you are voting for more than just one person.  Realize how much of an impact you are having on your children's health by feeding them the food you currently are.  Take a moment before you make a food decision and really think about what the majority of your body and your child's body is really craving.   Let there be a democracy in your body.   Would we let 1% of the our population elect the president.   Um, no.  We see what happens in other countries that take this approach, then why are you doing to your body what other countries do with their government?   
If you continue voting for your food the way you have been, are you maximizing the potential for living a long healthy life or are you doomed for disease, discomfort and early death because you couldn't ever say no to the typical American diet.  Are you willing for some change?  Are you?  Let your body vote for what it really wants and I promise you that you that you will have a great next four years(and many, many more).
I voted today......did you?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I believe too many people are intimidated by exercise. In the view of many individuals, exercise means a membership to a gym or an elaborate and expensive set up at home. Exercise is assumed by many to be uncomfortable, a chore and requires many hours of time per day.  Too many people put off exercise to the tomorrow that never comes or always has an excuse for not working out today.  I've heard them all and I've even used a few myself through the years.
Exercise comes in all forms and I like to create a mix of exercise options that combine cardiovascular and strength training.  I try to avoid performing the same workout routine each and every night.  I like to give my body a multitude of exercise routines that vary each night and challenges my body to become stronger, leaner and healthier.
I love to walk, so it is very easy for me to incorporate this activity into my daily routine.   There are some days that walking is the only form of exercise that I will get.  But walking is still better than just sitting on the couch and watching television.  Is walking as good as running or other cardiovascular activities that are going to increase your heart rate more?  Probably not, but for many people, walking may be the only form of exercise they are able or willing to perform. 
I wish everyone would own a pedometer.  Pedometers measure how many steps you take each day and allows you to better achieve a set goal of steps taken each day.  I have used a pedometer for a number of years now and I love being able to keep track of how many steps I walk per day.  There is no better motivation to work out than when I look at my pedometer and it shows I am nowhere near my daily goal.   There are many companies that manufacture and sell pedometers and they are rather inexpensive.
I would recommend that you use the pedometer every day.   Pedometers are about the size of a pack of gum and can be placed in your pocket.  They provide a display that can show many measurements like steps taken, distance travelled and some have memory settings so that you can recall recent steps per day.
There are many references online regarding how many steps to walk each day.  If you perform you own search, you will find a common recommendation is to walk 10,000 steps per day as a minimum goal, which is approximately 5 miles. These may seem like intimidating numbers, but start out with goals of 3500 or 5000 and work your way up to 10000 steps.  I promise you will be amazed on not only how few steps you take on some days and how many you walk on others. 
If you are just beginning to get into a workout routine, I would recommend getting a pedometer and using it each day for a couple of weeks and averaging your daily steps. Then make increasing goals each week until you meet the 10,000 step goal.  
If you are already working out on a regular basis, I would still recommend a pedometer, too.  If you use a treadmill, elliptical machine or you run outside, keeping track of your daily steps is another way for you to keep motivated.   For awhile, I was trying to achieve 15,000 steps per day.  The only way I could achieve that with my schedule was to use an elliptical machine or treadmill.  It forced me to increase my speed during the workout to achieve these numbers in the limited amount of time I had to work out.
There are many ways for you to increase your daily steps. You can park far from the entrance to the places of business you are shopping.   You can set aside time for a walk in your neighborhood.  You can go to a nearby walking trail, lake or mall.  Find destinations like mailboxes or stores that are a distance that you can walk from your house instead of driving.  Call a friend or family member and go for a walk together instead of going out to eat.     
The bottom line is that the pedometer gives you an objective measurement to meet your daily exercise goals.  If you combine healthy eating and at least 10,000 steps per day, you should see results rather quickly.  You may be shocked at how few steps you walk per day if you are not measuring it.    You will be surprised at how much this device will change your daily routine and how creative you will become at finding extra steps to walk.
Click HERE to view the information for the pedometer we use.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Great Article!

Here is a great article I came across by one of the physicians, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD,  featured in the documentary "Forks Over Knives" and the seminar, "Farms2Forks".   The trailer for "Forks Over Knives"  is in on our Recommendations list above.
Q&A with Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD
Click HERE to view this informative article.

A Great Song By Paul Simon

Whenever we want to get the kids moving, all we have to do is play this song:

Sunday, August 26, 2012


In some of our recent posts, I have referred to Stevia as a sweetener option.
Click here for more information on Stevia. 

Easy Frozen Blueberry Treat

Click here to find out more about the nutritional benefits of blueberries.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Iced Coffee I

Here is one of my iced coffee drink recipes I wanted to share.  Cheers!

I Love You Part II

Last week, I talked about how to express your love to your child through nonverbal communication.  Tonight, I wanted to talk about ways you can let your spouse or significant other know how much you love and care for them.  I can tell my wife that I love her multiple times a day, but they are just words.  Hugs, cards and flowers go a certain distance, but I'm wanting to head towards daily actions and words of kindness that REALLY show how much you love that person.
For instance, have you ever thought about all the things the other person does each and every day that goes unnoticed or unthanked?   How often do you expect the other person to perform a task or chore and yet you rarely or ever perform the task/chore instead?  Does one person in the relationship make all the meals, give the kids their baths, shop for groceries, vacuum, do laundry, get the kids ready, dust, etc?  When is the last time you helped out?   I mean REALLY helped out? Here are some ideas for starters:
Ask what you can do to help.  Wash the clothes.  Fold the clothes.  Iron the clothes.  Wash the dishes. Put the dishes away.  Clean all the bathrooms.  Go to the store to get groceries.   Ask what you can do to help.  Clean the floor.  Dust.  Pick up toys.  Organize areas that are cluttered.  Clean the garage.  Clean your closet.  Make at least 3 evening meals per week (ordering out or picking up something on the way home doesn't count).  If you don't know how to cook, then learn to make at least 5 meals really well...and make one of these meals each week.   Set a day that you take off work and YOU take the kids to their doctors appointments.  Clean the windows.   Ask what you can do to help.  Make an inventory of anything that needs repaired or replaced in your house.  Call to schedule a massage for the other person while you watch the kids.    Don't start eating until the person that made the meal has a chance to sit down.  Have a drawer or place where all the financial/password/budget/income/tax/investment/insurance information is kept in case anything ever happens to you.  Make an effort to get home from work early on at least 2 or 3 work days per week to spend time during the whole meal together as a family.   Come home from work and leave all your work drama and stress at work...don't bring those issues home.   Ask how THEIR day was.  Ask what you can do to help.  Ask for a list of 5 realistic tasks, repairs or chores that the other person would love for you to get done within the next 2 weeks.  Make a will.   Take them out on a date and go somewhere you know THEY want to go, even if you don't want to.  Vacuum the steps.  Iron some clothes.  Coordinate with their best friend a night for the two of them to go out and enjoy some well deserved time together while you hold down the fort at home.  Write a note about how much that person means to you.  Make a CD of some songs they can listen to in the car.  Give a foot massage.  Bring home their favorite tea, coffee, dark chocolate, etc.  Suggest you both go out for a walk.  Suggest a game of Rummy.  Understand that just because you were at work all day and you are the bread winner that you can't just come home and call it a day, your role as a husband/father/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other is just beginning.  While at work, email/text/call and say that you were thinking of them.   Schedule a night where the family can just sit down and play a board game, go to the park or sit at the table and talk.  Make a meal together.  Take a day off work in addition to your regular days off and spend a day-cation with the family.  Go for a bike ride together.  Get them a gift certificate to their favorite store.  Write them a homemade thank you card.  Take pictures/video of the family/kids and have it developed and framed.  Ask what you can do to help.  Become a better person.  Spend time with their family.  Don't make it seem like it is always a chore to spend time with their side of the family.  Show an interest in their activities or interests.   If you are into sports or a sports team, make sure during that season on days/nights where there are no games you spend extra time and attention to your family....don't consume all of your time with the sports instead of your family and offer your family as much energy, devotion and passion as you do your favorite sports team.     That should be a good start for you.   I promise if you do just 5 things I listed that you don't already do, that you will show your love in a new dimension.   Be a better person to the ones you love the most.  Don't assume you are doing everything you can to help out.   Go above and beyond and they will do the same for you.   Appreciate your family members....they do way more behind the scenes than you probably give them credit for.  Try will provide you with amazing results. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cleaning Party

Here is my idea for getting areas of the house cleaned up in an efficient manner.  This requires just a little teamwork,  a kitchen timer and some music everyone in the family enjoys.  Decide on the room or area you are going to clean and put 20 minutes on the timer.  Cue the music and work aggressively as a team to clean, pick up and organize as much in that 20 minutes as possible.  It is interesting how much can be completed in such a short period of time when everyone works as a team.   
The 20 minutes will go by very fast, much will get done and you will build teamwork skills.  With everyone contributing, no one person will feel like they are solely responsible for the burden of cleaning the house themselves.
Husbands and children can really show appreciation towards their wife/mother by helping out around the house.  Show your love by helping out whenever you can.  I promise your contribution will not go unnoticed.  Also, don't wait to be asked to do this, rather be the one to suggest it.  This will be one less stressor your wife/mother will have to worry about. 


I often find myself conversing with patients, friends and family about the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric. Here are some interesting articles from Dr. Andrew Weil's website on this amazing spice:


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Hidden Veggies

I'm going to show you how I 'hide' veggies in sauces for the kids.
 Sweet potato chopped small ~ it will cook faster.
 Onions and garlic, chopped
 zucchini chopped
 mushrooms chopped
Saute all to soften. Add some Italian seasonings if you want and salt & pepper.
 After softened a little I put it in the blender. I also chopped some basil and threw that on top.
 I also had about 3/4 jar of spaghetti sauce in the fridge and threw that in.
 Added some greens to the blender. Kale and spinach
 Blended it all up. Now, if you didn't want to use this right away and wanted to save it for another night, all you have to do is pour this right into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Once frozen, pop them all out and put them in a freezer baggie or plastic container back in the freezer. Once you are ready to use those, just put however many you want into a pan and thaw them out and add your noodles that night. 
 Poured it with cooked noodles. This is how I use up a bunch of veggies that are on the brink of going bad or just to incorporate more veggies into the kid's diet. They loved it. I also try to have veggies on the plate also.
 All of them loved the entire dinner and ate it all up.
 Vernon started a fun game called 'Broccoli Cheers' and we cheers broccoli or any other vegetable we are having like we would a glass of champagne (well, us....not the kids...anyway, you know what I mean). They think it is so fun and after you cheers you take a drink or in this case take a bite. They love it, and it works every time! Plus, when two of them are doing it, the other one always wants to also. It's really cute.

 What about me guys?

Your Only Car

This is not my analogy and I am not quite sure where I first heard it, but it really connected with me so I wanted to share it with you.  
Let's talk about two potential situations. In the first situation, you are given a car to drive age 16.  At any time in your life, you could get another car should the one given to you break down, should you want another color or model or if it was lost or stolen, etc. How would you treat this car? Would you take the best of care of the car knowing you could get a replacement car at any time? Would you worry about dents and dings? Would you worry about regular car maintenance? Would you concern yourself with spills on the floor or tears in the upholstery?
What if there was a second situation where you were given one car at age 16 and that was the only car you would ever be able to drive for the rest of your life. If anything happened to the car, you would not be able to get a new one. You could get some replacement parts over the lifetime of the car but the point is that the car had to last you the rest of your life. How well would you maintain that vehicle? Would you treat it the same as the first situation above? Wouldn't you take the best care of this car that had to last a lifetime? Wouldn't you only put the finest fuel and oil to keep the engine and mechanics working at their greatest potential for the short and long term? 
You probably know where this is going....and you are right. You only get one body. Sorry, there are no returns or trade ins. Why aren't you feeding yourself with the highest quality of foods that allow optimum performance for the rest of your life? And why are you feeding your children the best for their tiny bodies?Think of some of the healthiest foods: Kale, spinach, broccoli, beans, berries, nuts, cabbage, tea, onions, garlic, raw chocolate, eggs, etc. and ask yourself why you are not consuming at least some of these on a daily basis. I'm not talking about drinking the drainage of canned asparagus. I'm talking about easy to incorporate into your diet foods. And we are going to talk very soon about how to sneak these items into your diet, whether hidden or in plain sight.
Fuel yourself with only the best. You will find that fast food is really good for you because the fast food I am referring to isn't found in a drive thru or something you pick up at a convenience store. The fast food I am talking about is raw food, food that doesn't come in a package. Look at a head of broccoli and look at it's, it's broccoli. One ingredient, that's all. Have you ever thought of broccoli as a fast food? I do. I spend less time making my lunch than someone sitting in a fast food line and I guarantee you I will never feel guilty eating my "fast" food. Here is a video of what I bring to lunch every day. It's healthy, super convenient and full of many vitamins and minerals that your body has been deprived of for a long time. I put you to the challenge to make this meal for at least 3 of your work days. Let your children watch you prepare this and have them watch you eat it, too. Next thing you know they will be requesting to eat or take this same lunch to school.  
Remember, take care of yourself.  Eat healthy! If someone looks at your plate or the lunch you bring to work or school and doesn't comment "You're going to eat that??????", then you and/or your children aren't eating healthy enough.  

"Tuna" Salad

 This is our "Tuna" Salad. It doesn't have any tuna in it. It is made from one can of drained chic-peas, little bit of carrot, some celery, little bit of onions, little bit of dill pickle relish, little vegonaise (vegan mayonaise), some mustard (your favorite kind), dill seasoning, salt & pepper. Throw it all the things that need to be chopped up in the food processor and mix in the rest. That's it. Put in a pita pocket, sandwich thin, bread or just eat plain.
Your kids will love it and you will love it! Give it a try! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Farm 2 Forks!

Find their website HERE
I could not have said it better! 
These are all the concepts that encompass our philosophy of nutrition and diet to a 'T'. I Invite you to take a moment to have an open mind in considering the ideas in this video. We definitely will be attending one of these immersion weekends (if we can get in before they sell out) in the future!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Relaxing Music

Check out Calm Radio HERE!

Apple Crisp

 Since my generous neighbor shared some of his apples from his apple tree with us, I decided to make some apple crisp. I need to take this time to tell you all that I am not really a recipe follower. Most of the time I make my own concoction and I also mix a bunch of recipes together (I will do a search on the Internet of what I am wanting to make. I will read through a bunch of the recipes and basically combine them all together. Like lets say one doesn't include vanilla, but another does. I will just use everything everyone is using from all different recipes). I know it sounds weird, but that's how I roll. I also don't usually measure. I just start throwin stuff in. I will try to take my best guess as to how much I use of ingredients when I am sharing recipes. 
 So I had about ummmm maybe 8 or 9 apples (sorry I didn't count them). I took the skins off with my Pampered Chef apple corer and peeler. I love it! I bought mine off e-bay a long time ago and only use it about 4-6 times a year, but when I need it, I need it and I love it! So I squirted one lemon juiced over all the apples while I made the rest. I also added a little bit of Splenda brown sugar in and around the apples.
 I forgot to take the butter out of the fridge to come to room temp early, so I defrosted it in the microwave for a couple seconds to soften it up, it doesn't take long, so don't walk away just stay right there for like 5 seconds! I mixed one stick of softened butter with about 3/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar and 1/4 regular white sugar (mine is organic cane sugar). Then I threw in about 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats (I love them so I put a lot in). I added about 1 cup of chopped walnuts chopped up in the food processor. I added about 1/2 cup flour (mine is 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat mixed). I threw in a dash of salt and a splash of vanilla extract. I also sprinkled in some ground flax seed, about 2 tablespoons). Mixed it all until it got crumbly and evenly distributed.
 Kept mixing everything together until I was happy.
 Poured it in a lightly sprayed 11x13 Pyrex dish. 
 Threw it in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Well, actually I set the timer on the microwave for 20 minutes and somehow in the process of cooking dinner at the same time, my timer got shut off (I don't think it was by me though, I think it was the hubs). So, I was smelling DONE, getting-too-crispy apple crisp and ran over to take it out. It was at least 30-35 minutes that it was actually in there. I would have preferred just a little less time, but it turned out really good anyway and wasn't burnt or anything. I HAVE TO HAVE A TIMER SET on every thing I make. If I don't I will almost always forget about it and it will be over cooked. Timers are my friend (unless someone shuts it off on me)! 
Vernon and the kids LOVED it. And it's already gone...

I Love You

Even though my children are not hearing impaired, I like giving them a non-verbal gesture/sign of how I feel for them. Any parent can tell their child that they love them and I am an advocate of this being spoken to them often in a heartfelt manner. That being said, I feel compelled to provide something in addition to this, something that my children can identify with as their own. It works great if we are separated by a distance or if we are in an environment of silence. For example if I am outside doing yard work and the kids are inside watching out of the window, I can give them our love sign. If I am leaving for work I can throw this gesture before I get in the car to go. In the future when they are in a dance recital, play or on stage at school, yep, I can sign them my love. Maybe in church when you are not supposed to be talking or across a crowded room just to let them know you are thinking about them. There are many different times this could come in handy and it's fun! It's especially heartwarming when they initiate the showing of the sign cause it's your 'secret' thing!
It is also something that you can take a photo of and frame for them to put in their bedroom or just photo and send to their phone at any random time. You can create your own hand signal or you can use our sign.....simply, it lets them know that I love them.
In my opinion, doing things like this for and with your children makes them feel unique and special because you are sharing things for them that are above and beyond what other parents do for and with their children. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Worlds Healthiest Foods

If you ever wanted to know why a certain food is healthy and what all the benefits are of that food for your health, this website is AWESOME! Click on any of the foods on there and it will tell you all about it! It has the history of the food, which is really interesting to see how it has transformed into what we see today. They even tell you how to choose the best ones and at what time of year they have the most flavor. It goes through how to store it when you get it home for optimum nutrients and freshness. There are ideas on how to prepare it, and they rate it among all the other healthiest foods. It is chuck full of all kinds of facts and information that are VERY informative, and just cool to know when you are shopping so you spend your money on the foods that will benefit you the most!!! It will provide you with all kinds of fun facts you can entertain others with at a party! : )
You can go to it HERE. Have fun!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pizza on the Grill!

 We used to make pizza in the oven, until we discovered pizza on the grill! We will never go back....EVER. The flavor is completely different and the grill is WAY better. We live close to Rotella's bakery and are able to buy their pre-made pizza dough right from the retail store for $.94 or if you buy 10, I think about $.78 cents each and you can throw them in your freezer! This makes all the difference in the world. We used to make our own dough and it's just not the same. I LOVE Rotella's dough and that is all we use. It is convenient and cheap! You just pull however many you want out of the freezer in the morning and set them on the counter in it's plastic bag and it comes to room temperature by the time you are ready to make it for dinner! 
 Sophie with her own. She likes to do what daddy does.

 Rolling out the dough.
 I started on the toppings. We were going to do two different kinds. One was Italian inspired.
 The other was Mexican inspired. I sauteed onions in a little olive oil, and onions and garlic for the one above.
 For the Italian one I added artichokes (drained and chopped).

 Added some portabella mushrooms and heated it all up.
 For the Mexican one I added some mushrooms to that too and some frozen corn.
 Chopped some fresh basil, katamala olives and tomatoes for the Italian one.

 Oh also, some Vegan Teeze Cheese. It's a soy cheese. And some pre-made pesto. You like how our kitchen is a hodgepodge of kid bowls & plates? Nice and fancy around here! 
Ready for the grill
  Vernon puts the dough on the grill and heat its for about 3-5 minutes. The grill is on medium. Then he flips it over and starts adding the toppings.
 Here are the Mexican ones. We spread some re fried black and traditional beans on the crust.
 Then some salsa.
 Added my mix from the stove.
 And a few random black olives we had in the fridge. If I had more time I would have fancied this up with some green onions, maybe some red and yellow peppers and some cilantro, but we were rushing.
 The Italian one was next.
 Same thing with the dough. Then once it's flipped he smears on some pasta sauce and was supposed to spread on some pesto, but instead plopped some dollops around. Hmph
 Puts on the toppings from the stove I made.
 Then the kalamata olives
 and tomatoes
 and basil

 We only had a little bit of the Teeze cheese left so we put it on Sophie's baby heart pizza.

They both were good, but by far the Italian one was the best!!!! SO flavorful and yummy. And healthy!!! A little labor intensive, but well worth it. Also, while Vernon was grilling a neighbor lady was coming up to get her mail from the community mail box and asked Vernon what he was cooking (yes, our grill is in our driveway). We keep it in the garage and just pull it out when we grill. It's easier. Anyway, he told her that it was Vegan pizza. She was confused and intrigued she and had to come over and look at it. She said it looked and smelled great. Well, after it was done and we had eaten, Vernon took a plate with one of each kind of pizza down to her to try. While he was there, her neighbor was over at her house giving her some apples from his apple tree and gave Vernon some. Vernon came back home and made another plate for that guy and took it to him. A little while later that first lady came back up to our house to tell us how delicious the pizza was and to give us a gallon Ziploc baggie of her fresh basil and pineapple sage that she was needing to harvest. Then today the other neighbor came to our house and gave us another bag of his apples and to tell us thanks for the pizza and how much they loved it. Tonight I made some *healthier* apple crisp ~ stay tuned for another post on that. I almost went down to the neighbors and gave them some crisp, but then I thought that since they have so many apples they are probably making lots of crisp too, so I didn't, plus Vernon LOVED it and wouldn't let me give any away! ; ) Our neighborhood has really been passing it on lately, you can feel the neighborly love!