Thursday, February 28, 2013


Choose organic! 

Like if you agree :-)
This is why we choose organic fruits and vegetables whenever we have the option.


How does exercise get wedged into a packed day?  After I get home, eat evening meal, spend time with the kids, put kids down for bed........clean up the house..........THEN it's time to exercise.   For tonight, it is 4 miles walking on the treadmill with TrekDesk while I pay bills online, check social media/read daily news/respond to emails/blog,  I am currently walking as I read this and I am at a 2.0 m.p.h. pace.  If I am watching television, I can increase my pace to 2.2-2.5 m.p.h..  2.0 m.p.h. seems to be the most comfortable for me to work on the computer.  After my 1-2 hours walking, I will use the elliptical machine for 30 min.  It is nearly impossible to work on the computer while on the elliptical machine, so I either listen to music or watch television while on that.  Then it's down time for 1/2 hour then off to sleep. 
Tomorrow night, strength training and cardio. 

I think our nation would be much healthier if we replaced our favorite lounge chair with a treadmillTrekDesk so that we would be exercising while we were watching television or working on the computer. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't you miss eating meat?

One of my recent posts talked about the first question I am usually asked when I mention that I am vegan.  The second most common question is, "Don't you miss eating meat"?  Answer: "No".

I previously associated veganism with individuals motivated by moral and ethical reasons.  I never really connected the health benefits with veganism.  Like many of you, I thought vegans lived a life of dietary deprivation.

I began to realize through documentaries, books, articles and other research that there was a huge health benefit by committing to the vast dietary menu of a vegan diet.  There was just too much scientific information in favor of veganism for me to turn away from what it had to offer...and thus, we made the change to go vegetarian, then vegan.

There was a brief period of time at the beginning where I told myself, "I can't have that (meat/dairy)" and I felt a bit deprived.  Then my mentality changed to "I don't want that" once I started to notice how much better I began feeling, how much more end of the day energy I experienced, how much weight I lost in the first two weeks into this dietary change, how my blood pressure/cholesterol/blood sugar reduced within a month and how my restless leg syndrome was no longer experienced.

Am I suggesting the meat caused my restless leg syndrome?  No, but my excess weight was a huge factor.  My restless leg syndrome caused me to not get good sleep, caused depression, fatigue and irritability. The medication I used to treat the restless leg syndrome was causing me to feel like a zombie, like I was in a mental fog with no energy.  I could not sit comfortably for very long, if at all.  If I was moving or walking my symptoms were not experienced.  That is why I originally purchased my treadmill as I knew that walking while I watched television would allow me to not experience the restless leg symptoms. 

When Casie and I first watched those initial documentaries ("Forks Over Knives", "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead", "Supersize Me" and "Food, Inc.") and reviewed clinical research regarding the health benefits of vegetarianism/veganism, we didn't decide to have one last meat consuming feast and then transition to our new dietary lifestyle.   Rather, we just gave it all up.   How did we do it?  Well, it just made sense to us to adopt a whole foods, plant based diet based on the clinical evidence.  We realized that how we had been attempting to eat healthy and exercising only was maintaining or worsening our weight/health conditions.   We asked ourselves, "what if we were to go full boar, eat as healthy as possible, only eat high nutrient density foods while abstaining from low nutrient density foods?".   How would our bodies respond?  We wanted to find out how healthy could we possibly get by converting to a vegetarian (which evolved to vegan) diet. 

Our results have been amazing and we are only in the infancy of this journey.  We see no reason that our family cannot maintain this lifestyle for duration of our lives.

Do I miss meat?  Believe me, I loved meat.  I always looked for leaner meats to eat and that probably contributed to the meat not having as good of taste as the fattier cuts.  Combined with inconsistent taste, toughness of meat, overcooking/undercooking and preparation time it wasn't that hard for us to stop eating meat.

In addition, I look at food much differently now.  I used to eat to get full and to stimulate the pleasure centers of my brain with food...and lots of it.   Food made me happy, I was motivated by food and my life revolved around it and most of that food included meat or dairy.  I now look at food from the perspective of how many nutrients is the food going to provide my body.  If a food has too much salt, fat (especially saturated fat), sugar, high fructose corn syrup, is nutrition-poor or is processed than I am not really interested in consuming the product.  Meat just doesn't have anything beneficial enough for me that I can't acquire with other foods or supplements.   It just isn't a nutritious enough of an option for me.  Nor are dairy products or processed foods.  There is too much clinical research to show that eating meat or other animal products is not in my best health interests.  

In addition to this, for Casie, it was the blood.   She didn't like the connection with meat and blood.  For me, there were a number of things like my obsessive compulsiveness that didn't really care for the pathogens in the uncooked meat, the thawing of the meat, the undercooked/overcooked end result and all the fat, too. 

But what really really converted me is when I thought about the old adage, "You are what you eat".    Well, meat is dead tissue, an animal corpse, that provides me with protein, fat, zinc, iron and other vitamins.   On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are living tissues that provide me with a vast array of vitamins, minerals and proteins.

And yes, there is also the ethical and moral issues I have with the treatment of the animals.

What about using chai tea in oatmeal? |

I never thought about it, but that sounds very tasty.  Guess what we are going to have for breakfast this weekend?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do YOU Look/Feel Your Age?

Mimi Kirk eats a natural, raw, plant based diet, and she's 74 years young.  And what are YOU doing to eat healthy and look and feel younger?_________________
Source: Rawforbeauty
Dave Sommers
What are you doing to make yourself look and feel younger than you actually are?  Do you think that eating fast food, smoking, drinking alcohol and not exercising are going to allow you to look and feel like this at age 74?

Some Of My Favorite Posts So Far

So you have come to visit our blog but you don't have time to read all the posts?  Here are some of my favorite posts I would want to look at even if you don't go back and view any of the other subjects. 



Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death Video:  VIEW THE VIDEO HERE

Trivia About Salt

I talk to my patients about reducing sodium in their diet because of it's impact on causing dry eyes, dehydration and hypertension which can affect the eyes.
When most people think of sodium, they refer to the salt they add to the food or to foods that are obviously salty, like pretzels or French fries. Until you begin reading food labels carefully and begin adding up all the sodium found in most processed items, you may be oblivious to all the sodium you are consuming each day.
Here is an interesting video and trivia about sodium intake from one of my favorite websites:

Tea Time!

Settle down Russ and all the other golfers out there....I said tea time, not tee time.
Our household LOVES tea.  The kids love caffeine-free green, rooibos and chai tea.  Casie and I drink multiple cups of tea daily and we love the taste as well as nutrition involved with the teas.  Drinking tea is calming and very nutritious for you. There are so many great teas to choose from and we use loose leaf and bagged tea.  We drink our tea cold or hot, but we always brew our tea at home.  We do not purchase already bottled or boxed tea.  Brewing your tea at home will taste better, be healthier for you and will be cheaper. 
I have a Keurig coffee maker at work that allows for hot water dispensing.  At home, we use a Zojirushi (CLICK HERE to find our more about Zojirushi water boilers) water boiler that always has hot water for immediate use at the press of a button.  The Zojirushi water boiler has got to be one of the best investments we have ever made.  We use it multiple times per day and there is no more boiling water on the stove or in the microwave.  I recommend it as a gift for any tea lover.  

Zojirushi Water Boiler

There is a great documentary about the choosing, purchasing and importing tea and it is currently available to watch on Netflix, called "All in This Tea" (Click here to find out more about the documentary, "All in This Tea") .
Casie loves her Teavana Travel Mug she received as a gift (thanks J.N.) and we use an Infuser Tea Basket for our loose tea that fits over most cups/glassware.
We frequent the Tea Smith in Omaha to buy our loose leaf tea and our favorite bagged teas are The Republic of Tea , PG Tips (thank you to our old neighbors H. and M. for introducing us to this tea and to M.J. for informing me that it comes decaf, too) and Numi Tea
I recommend caffeine-free Chai Tea, like Rooibos Chai Tea as a great substitute for coffee when the individual is wanting a hot beverage instead of the caffeinated coffee.  Just don't use dairy with the teas because it has been found to block the absorption of nutrients from the tea.   We use Almond Breeze Vanilla for our darker teas, like chai.
We use Stevia/Truvia as our sweetener at the moment, but are looking for a new product that is preferred over these products called, Erythritol , because many sweetners have been found to be harmful. 

Here are some videos regarding the benefits of tea from

Asian Paradox |

Is Caffeinated Tea Dehydrating? |

Overdosing on Tea |

Cold Steeping Green Tea |

Nutrition Without Calories |

(By the way, I have walked 3.71 miles on my TrekDesk while writing this blog post. I LOVE MY TREKDESK!!!)

Because there is only one thing better than one cup of tea!!! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Treatment Plan

This reminds me of my primary care physician because this is so his philosophy:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fresh Kale - Dehydrated

Last weekend, I had to travel out of town to attend continuing education.  We packed fruits and vegetables for the trip and I made dehydrated kale using both dinosaur and curly kale.  I washed and rinsed the kale and then placed them in the dehydrator.  I then added a light sprinkle of salt for flavor.
Dinosaur Kale (above)
Curly Kale (below)

I placed them in the dehydrator overnight and then packed them in a container for the trip.

Enjoying some of the dehydrated kale in the hotel room.

I preferred the dinosaur kale over the curly kale when it came to dehydrating.  The curly kale became very fragile and was a bit messy as it crumbled when I was eating it.  The dinosaur kale tasted better dehydrated and didn't make a mess when I was eating it.

Who says kids won't eat kale?  Here is my 2 year old son enjoying the nutritious leaf:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2nd trip to Cafe Gratitude in Kansas City

*Casie Here*
Today for brunch before we left Kansas City, we went back to Cafe Gratitude (website HERE).
 The game that the founders of Cafe Gratitude created. 
The case where they sell their books, their game and t-shirt.
 More fun water sayings!! LOVE
 I got this gorgeous juice I AM RICH Orange, carrot, lemon & beet juice. I liked mine, but it was sure beety, but the carrot and lemon helped make it palatable.
 Vernon needed some coffee, so he got the I AM LUSCIOUS Hazelnut milk, figs, dates, raw cacao & vanilla bean smoothie and added coffee to it. He said he wouldn't get it again.
I tried something new, the I AM FORTIFIED Sautéed seasonal vegetables & kale, brown rice or quinoa, with the garlic-tahini sauce.
It was good. The sauce was excellent and made the dish. I prefer my veggies chopped up smaller and these were huge chunks. It was good, but I probably wouldn't get this particular dish again next time. 

 Vernon ordered my dish from yesterday. BORING.....try something new!
 We wanted to see what all the hype was about with their desserts. We got the I AM BLISS which is a hazelnut chocolate cream pie. It was really good. Not too rich, but sweet without being too much. 

 We drink a lot of water!!!! : ) hee hee hee
Our game piece that came with our check. We didn't answer this one. We didn't really understand it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Aladdin Cafe in Kansas City

*Casie Here*
Vernon would have gone back to Cafe Gratitude for dinner tonight if I would have said yes, but I thought we should try something new and we are going their again tomorrow anyway. Looking back we probably should have, because our evening meal was just ok. 
We tried Aladdin Cafe it's Mediterranean and Greek cuisine. Website HERE
We thought this was funny on the menu. Our Dog Dip! We even spell her name the same way! 
 Aladdin’s Hummus. A blend of chickpeas, sesame seed, tahini, lemon and garlic garnished with sumac, parsley and hot sauce. Just fair. We like my hummus better! Their pita bread was really good though.
Fun design.
 Aladdin Lentil Soup. Red lentils, carrots and corn seasoned with saffron curry, cumin and lemon. It was YUMMY! 
 Cute tea cups.
 Vernon got the savory salad with garlic and lemon dressing. It was good. Plain, but refreshing.
 I got the Tabouli Salad to see how it compared to mine at home. It had finely chopped parsley and tomatoes mixed with cracked wheat, olive oil, lemon juice and herbs. It was good. Nothing fabulous, but good.
 I got the Koshary. A dish of Egyptian rice, lentils, cumin and Mediterranean herbs topped with sautéed onion and cucumber yogurt. I really liked it. The onions were sauteed perfectly. The sauce on the far right was my favorite. 
 Vernon got Jasmines Vegetarian Combo with hummus, falafel patties, baba ghanouj, stuffed grape leaves, genie dip, krass pastry, feta cheese and calamata olives. It was fine, but mainly just an appetizer platter.

Cafe Gratitude in Kansas City

*Casie Here*
 For lunch we went to another Vegan restaurant (imagine that). *I really did my research before we came and scoped out all the good places!!! This was Cafe Gratitude (website HERE). All I can say is WOW. Well, that's not all I can say, actually I have a LOT to say about this fabulous restaurant. They are 100% organic and their mission: "We select the finest organic ingredients to honor the earth and ourselves, as we are one and the same. We support local farmers, sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products. Our food is prepared with love." The whole atmosphere of this place is awesome. You feel so good when you are in this place. It is filled with kindness and love and positive people. 
The water glasses they bring to the table all have affirmation words etched in them! Our first one said AMAZING.
Our second one said DEVOTED. Too cute!
 We ordered fun drinks. I got the I AM EFFERVESCENT. It was house made ginger-ale served on ice with fresh ginger juice, lemon juice & agave topped with sparkling water. It was delish!!!! A tad spicy, but not too much. Very refreshing and felt way healthier than Ginger ale soda. Vernon got the I AM REJUVENATED. Wheat grass Cocktail. Apple juice, fresh lemon & ginger juice, wheat grass, sparkling water. But the waiter said he substitutes Algae instead of the wheat grass because the wheat grass really flushes you out and unless you are near a restroom after you have it, it's probably not a great idea. Since Vernon had to go back to class, he decided to go with the algae substitute. It was really good. 
Our waiter was so great. A real genuinely nice guy. He took his time with us and chit chatted for a while. He was so helpful and just made us feel great. There he is below behind Vernon. Hi Matt!!!

I AM PRESENT was our appetizer. Seasonal bruschetta- toasted baguette with cashew mozzarella topped with tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette & fresh basil. This was SOOOOOOOOOOO good. That cashew mozzarella was HEAVENLY. It was so creamy and similar to goat cheese, but way better. The flavor was not as bitter as goat cheese and it wasn't as crumbly, just smooth and rich. SO. FREAKING. GOOD.  I NEED that NOW!!!

 This is on every plate, bowl and serving dish at the restaurant. How awesome?!?!
 I am definitely grateful for that cashew mozzarella and would be even more grateful if I had the recipe. Just sayin'! 
 The restaurant reminded us of a quaint, cozy little place down in the Old Market! 

 I AM GORGEOUS was my salad. You have to say the name of the dish when you order and when they bring it to your table they affirm you saying, "You are gorgeous". It makes you smile, even chuckle. People these days are not used to hearing such positive talk and love from strangers. It was pretty wonderful. Anyway, it was a large café salad with mixed greens, carrots, kale, cucumber, mint, basil, apples, figs & hemp seeds with a sesame ginger dressing.

 Very, very yummy. So many flavors and colors. It just makes you happy eating this outrageously healthy food and knowing that you are making your body happy as well.
 Vernon got the I AM PURE salad. Ginger-tahini kale salad with avocado, sea palm, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, basil & green onions topped with sprouts & teriyaki almonds. Vernon actually closed his eyes after his first bite of this, saying it was THAT good. Our waiter said this was his favorite salad too. 
 I liked both the salads but mine just a hair more. But his was even healthier than mine!
 Just enough dressing, but not too much. It was perfect.
I AM GRACIOUS was my entree. Hemp seed pesto bowl with brown rice or quinoa, shredded kale, tomatoes & Brazil nut parmesan drizzled with olive oil & topped with sprouts we added avocado. So many great flavors and it was warm and filling. We both liked mine the best, but seriously both were really, really good.
  Vernon ordered the I AM WHOLE. A macrobiotic bowl with sea vegetables, kale, carrots, house-made kim chee & sprouts, choice of quinoa or brown rice with tahini-garlic sauce & teriyaki almonds

 With the bill comes a game piece to this Gratitude game in the restaurant. You are supposed to answer the questions with the people at your table. For my answer I said the aspect of nature that completely supports my existence is nature's BEAUTY in general. I try to find the good in most situations and people. I love snow and how magnificent it is and how after a snow storm it is so calm and peaceful and NEW (like a blank canvas). That is why I have a snowflake tattoo. I love Antelope Canyon in Arizona and how it formed such beautiful lines and shapes. It's awe-inspiring and a wonder that something like that can be made in nature. I love flowers and think how intricate each one is formed is so amazing. I especially love all the colors and find it fascinating that those colors just developed over time and grow up out of the ground from dirt and they are so vibrant and make you happy looking at them. I love lakes next to mountains. I usually have an awesome picture as my background of my computer of snow-capped mountains with a teal blue lake at the base. Breathtaking and gorgeous. I love clouds especially from the top (like in an airplane). They are so fluffy and pillowy, like you could jump right on them. I love the mysteriousness of fog and how you have to really work to see through it. The best is when the sun is shining through the fog and it glistens. That to me is beauty. So, I couldn't choose just one. I love everything about nature and am constantly thankful that I live in a climate where I get to experience seasons and changes and not be the same ol' same ol' all the time. 
Vernon said sunlight, and sunshine because it provides energy to plants to make them grow and he feels that's how he is with people, giving them 'energy' so they can grow. 
We absolutely fell in love (at first sight) with this restaurant. You can't help but feel warm and fuzzy when you leave there. We loved it so much that we made reservations to go back for brunch/lunch tomorrow!