Chicago VeggieFest, “Veg News Veggie Award” Nominee & Upcoming Fitness Book

...I have such good intentions. I really do. I want to be blogging 3 times a week. I want to show that the local newspaper publisher who replaced my 4-year old vegan column with a fishing column made a mistake by bowing to local fish restaurants and related businesses. Yeah, I get they are the advertisers and I never did pay for a single ad. Nor did I get paid for my hours of work every week. Whatever happened to real reporting, asked the veteran, Emmy-winning reporter? The publisher offered me a freelance job as a reporter for community events. “Somebody with your writing talent should be doing this.” “Somebody with my talent and writing skills AND passion for animals should be writing about improving the health of all animals, humans included. There are plenty of opportunities for me to do that, and still make a little bit of a living. If things change, I’ll sure let you know,” I responded. I had wanted this blog to be the replacement for my weekly column. But sometimes, life just gets in the way. In an ideal world, I would love to make a lucrative living doing all things vegan. Or even more than a minimum wage job. Wouldn’t we all? But as my publisher reminds me every so often, the name of one of his favorite books is “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” And so I haven’t. Thank goodness for my personal training clients. One of those “life-takes-up-time” events was last weekend. I had the pleasure of doing two cooking demos at the request of my publisher who was a sponsor for the Chicago...

President-Elect of the American College of Cardiology is Vegan!

...How beyond cool is this?! http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/advice-from-a-vegan-cardiologist/ The head of a mainstream medical organization is vegan and recommends his patients do the same! What is the world coming to? In my slide shows I do when I speak around the country, I show a slide of my lipid levels from the past 20 years. I kind of thought everyone saved their annual physical exam blood work results. When I ate vegan before I had children, my total cholesterol was 130. When I spent 5 years working in financial services where the only choice I got for our working lunches and dinners was what topping I wanted on my pizza, my cholesterol shot up to 203. Docs were ready to put me on Lipitor. Facing a hysterectomy from hemorrhaging fibroid tumors, I had one courageous OB who said, “Go back to that vegan diet and call me in the morning.” Within 6 weeks, all signs of menopause were gone, including hot flashes. My cholesterol trotted right back down to healthy levels. Every few years I annoy my docs and get my blood work done, given that I often joke I may come from the sickest family in America. My mom, aunt and both sisters had breast cancer, with unhealthy doses of heart disease and diabetes lopped on to that. When the nurse calls with results, she goes, “Remind me again…you’re on Lipitor, right?” “Nope…I’m ON plants,” I say very slowly and deliberately. “Oh that’s right, you’re our vegan patient.” I hope that with more courageous docs like Dr. Williams, my doctors will have a tough time remembering all the vegan patients. Ask your doc...

Up With People Reunion Reflections

...I have stayed away from high school and college reunions because of cost and mainly time. But there was one I always wanted to go to and finally had an incredible opportunity as a speaker. When I was 18, I spent two years traveling the world with the International Cast of Up With People. Up With People is an international singing and dancing group made up of kids from almost everywhere on the globe. The group has performed at more Super Bowl halftime shows than any other group. We received our freshman year of college credit while traveling and learning in ways no college class could teach. After 49 years, their message via music, the international language, is more relevant today than ever: humans are way more alike than different. We desperately need to recognize and celebrate that. The cast never stays in hotels, always in homes. When you know and respect someone, or lots of someones in a country, it is hard to be angry enough to go to war. I discovered early in my years of traveling that I had a passion for doing media interviews. (That’s me in the red shirt.) We would say, “Please open your heart, home, and refrigerators for our 120 cast members.” That experience led me to be asked to return the following year as part of the full-time advance staff team. I helped in the logistics of a CBS documentary about Up With People. The CBS producer of that documentary who encouraged me to go into TV news connected with me recently on Facebook.  I was grateful to be able to thank...

Running, Yoga and Cross-Training

...At yoga on the beach this morning, a woman wearing a Bradenton Running Club shirt caught my attention, since I used to run with the club too, before my books. Afterwards, I asked if she still ran with the club. She said she stopped running years ago after several surgeries. She said the last surgery was to fuse ankle bones together. “All I can do now is yoga and bike. That’s all I can do. I do what I can do.” She said she was 56, 5 years younger than me. As I took the yoga class, I realized that some of my muscles were so tight that the one and only man in the class had looser hip flexors than I did. I know, you’re not supposed to compare your practice or flexibility with anyone else in the class. But lots of people do. Over the years, I have been more flexible than anyone in class, except the teacher. But staying at the computer, writing, social media, it’s all taken a toll on my back and feet. I have a treadmill under my desk, a thick rubber mat to stand on, all to mix it up as much as possible to stave off injury. A body in motion loves to stay in motion. It is so important to keep up cross-training as a runner, especially. The woman with the fused ankle told me she had run 9 marathons (on concrete, I’m assuming) and loved running on hard surfaces. Like many runners, she told me she ran faster on streets and had better stability on streets than sand. Yet the...

Climate Change, Your Diet, and Not Being “On the Take”

...It seems that some of us have been making the connection between global warming (yeah, I’m calling it that*) and our diet for decades longer than others. Many vegans I know say that 40 years ago, the environment was the main reason they went vegan. Websites like EarthSave have long been a rich resource for research and links to the studies that support going veg to reduce green house gases. They’ve long recommended cutting back on animal use and slaughter to reduce methane gas. During my 3-mile run this morning, I battled oncoming 20 mile-an-hour or better winds. We’ve had days of rain here now in Florida, and as a former news/weather junkie, since that’s what I did for 18 years, I’m always tracking the weather. While this is considered Florida’s rainy season, it is my observation that it has been way wetter and windier than most seasons. With all the evaportation from global warming, melting, and the not-oft talked about result, evaportation…as the cycle repeats all over again. Perhaps you’ve read about the El Nino effect? Simply put, it means the Pacific Ocean is warmer than usual. It keeps hurricanes away from Florida generally speaking, though not always. And it almost guarantees flooding in the rest of the world, which this year, seems to be above normal, even if you don’t believe all the news media hype. Your trusted source for objective news, me, gives an unbiased take and years of studying/reporting on the watery climate and connection to diet here. I have a feeling this movie, Cowspiracy, does it way better. I’ve heard great reviews, waiting for it. If you’ve seen it,...

Vegan Paleo 5-Day Challenge Summary

...When you have 60,000 followers or so…between Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and some of those other “minor” social platforms, the idea of blogging is like comparing running to swimming. Most people can run faster than they can swim, perhaps 2 to 3 times faster. Social media is so instant. I can communicate with 30 people in an hour versus maybe, if I’m lucky, a few people will comment on the blog over a few days or weeks. However, I know I need to blog more, and get my recipes and other parts of what I do out there. My web guru was adamant about keeping ExpressionEngine which he said best integrated with my website, versus WordPress, for example. Until the last year, it was very cumbersome to upload photos and write. Even other bloggers commented about that as they invited me to post on their site via mine. Teaching frequent cooking classes (this one is one of two I teach every month at Rollin’ Oats in St. Petersburg and Tampa, FL) running almost every day and occasionally racing (71 5K or longer races that I’ve placed in since ’06 ‘just’ on plants), kayaking, my family and an intense book tour with now 4 books out…blogging has taken a very back seat. Sign-ups for my cooking classes are here. Look for the calendar of events and find me. Generally I teach in the midddle and end of the month on weekdays. Enough excuses. It’s time to get it done. Every day, I’ll hear a news story, or a story related to veganism that I think, “I have to write about that!” I pledge...