Monday, August 31, 2009


As a Personal Fitness Trainer, every 2 years I must do several things to renew all of my many certifications. One of which I had become complacent about & simply wanted to get it over with so I could move on to the next “hoop.”

This past weekend I hosted a CPR/AED class at my house. I love the gal that teaches. She is knowledgeable, fast and NO exam! I always hated taking it from other places that took up 4 to 8 hours of my time. We finished in one hour with time to enjoy some of my tasty homemade Vegan muffins & beverages. (of which you can expect recipes coming soon... I know.. baking in the summer... but I just saw Julie & Julia ... just put me in the mood to bake.. bake..bake.. Bon Appetit!!!)

In case you are thinking...”what is AED?” It is an Automated External Defibrillator, you know... the machine that “shocks” your heart back into normal beat mode. Our instructor carried a portable one with her. She said you can get one like hers for around $1000.00. Phillips was the manufacture of this one.

As I set & watched the DVD on CPR (that I’ve watched many times before,) I kept thinking about all the chores that must be done this weekend. Needless to say, my mind was not on the DVD. After all, I’d been thru this, tons of times, & not much had changed.

I am always intrigued when she brings out the AED. This “little gadget” was amazing! It “talks” to you & tells you what to do! Once you open the box, it begins by telling you to attach the cables to the ports. Then it tells you how & where to attach the pads on the victim. Within seconds, this little box can tell you whether the victim even needs CPR! It automatically begins its analysis of the heart rhythm. If CPR is needed, it will tell you how to start, what to look for & for how long to administer. It even has a beat that keeps you focused when compressing the chest. If CPR is not needed, but the heart is beating abnormally & needs “a shock,” it will tell you to how to administer this procedure. This AED is programmed to NOT deliver a shock unless indicated, even if you accidentally press the shock button, it will not deliver the shock.

Our instructor said you have a 90% chance of saving a life from SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest,) if you have an AED. But... that is IF you know how to use one. Did you know that many of the places that are required to have AED’s, don’t necessarily have anyone that knows how to use it?

She told a chilling tale of an incident that occurred recently at one of our local grocery stores. A senior male was shopping in the store, pushing his cart around. All of a sudden, he fell to the ground. He was not breathing. People where running around.. it was chaos. While someone called 911, somebody else pleaded over the speaker, “Does anyone in the store know how to administer CPR or use an AED?” Keep in mind; you have only 3 to 5 minutes to react before the brain dies. Among all the people in that store, one lady spoke up and said she’d had CPR training, but had never administered it before now. She worked and worked with this gentleman and finally brought him back to life! Had it not been for this woman, this senior male might have died. I went to bed last evening thinking of this. I could not get this eerie tale out of my head.

In my career as a fitness trainer, I’d had a few clients pass out on me, but luckily as I caught them while they dropped to the ground, just the bump on the butt woke them up. Whenever that happened, I always prayed, “Please.... don’t let me forget how to do CPR.” I’ve never had to administer CPR in all my years. I would think you would go on “auto-pilot” & all the steps would just fit in place.

-Make the environment safe
-Ask the victim if they are alright
-If you get no response, call for help
-Ask someone to call 911 & get the AED
-Strip off their upper torso clothing, place your head down by the nose of the victim & listen for breathing, watch for chest movement
-Begin with 2 breaths, then 30 compressions, (watch & listen for movement or breathing) 2 breaths, 30 compressions 5 times. This is one cycle
-Once the AED arrives, proceed to connect it up. You want that AED on the victim.. ASAP.

Don’t be afraid. You will most likely crack or break ribs. Just stack your hands on top of each other & place them between the nipples. Avoid placing them down at the end of the sternum on the xiphoid process bone. If this bone is broken off, with each compression you will be cutting into internal organs.

I quickly realized this could happen anywhere & to anyone. A loved one at home, car wreck, shopping at a local store, playing in the park, someone in the gym or at school or at work. What if it where YOU that suffered the SCA. What if you were swimming and drowned? What if you were in a car wreck? How many people would know what to do? How many people would be CPR/AED certified? How many people would have an AED available? You better pray that at least one person is your savor... or you can kiss your "you know what" goodbye!

All of a sudden my complacency turned into urgent concern. CPR/AED training was no longer simply a hoop to me. Only ONE person in that local market was prepared to save a life. She had no idea she’d be called upon that day. She had no idea when she got up that morning, she’d save a man’s life. I knew in my heart, that this was a message directed toward me. A message that I could not ignore, we all must be prepared to save a life, for we never know when we might hear that horrifying plea over the speaker, “Does anyone know CPR and or know how to use an AED.”

How about you? Would you be able to save a life if you were called upon to do so?

Until Next time.......


Friday, August 28, 2009

Humble Chopped Salad

For most people this would be a salad made for 4..... but for me... normal serving size of salad...all of it.. every last morsel.

At True North Health and Wellness Center in Santa Rosa CA, we were taught to eat at least 2 (lbs) of raw everyday.... Yeah.. Yeah.. I know, "That sounds like an awfully lot!" "No way I can eat that much!" You'd be surprised, for in this salad are 2 pounds of raw veggies. REALLY!

Now, I like my salads CHOPPED. I don't do big chunk salads. I don't want to have to waste time cutting up my lettuce, tomatoes, cukes (as in cucumbers) or carrots before I can even take a bite. I keep my frig stocked with tons of veggies, so I always have a huge variety from which to choose. I always have jars and more jars of nuts and seeds and some fruit ... I must admit, I am not big on fruit... but that's just me...

And remember... I don't measure. I don't use many recipes, either. Most of what I make.. is driven by my taste buds and cravings...... so I never know for sure what I will eat from day to day. And I LIKE it like that :-)

Just a quick & fast blog today as I have a full plate... or should I say .. "Full bowl," today.. Get it? HEE... Yeah... well.. ok.. here is what's in this salad. Made from 90% all organics. I make TONS of different types of salads that I will share with you!
As always.... I DO Organic as much as possible!


Grab a big mixing bowl or serving bowl and your food processor & let's get this started!
Shredded white cabbage
Shredded carrots
Chopped red bells, radishes, cukes, celery
Raw corn cut right off the cob
Chopped cilantro
Chopped fruit of choice
Sunflower seeds
Lots of minced garlic
Mrs Dash's Extra Spicy sprinkles (this is sodium free, sugar and artificial sweetener free, no preservatives and no additives... just all spices)

Mix all together in a bowl. Add your favorite dressing on the side or mix in a little with the salad. There ya go... ready to eat.. right outta that bowl! Very little mess to clean up. Just look at all those gorgeous veggies... and you can clearly see the Mrs Dash spices.... YUMMY!!! (I gotta go eat breakfast!)
This is a sneaky way of getting the majority of your daily veggies! Fills you up & satisfys the hungry tummy!


Until next time.....


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Humble Grazing

It is rare that I sit down & eat a full meal. I graze .... a LOT. I have tons of bowls in the frig with all kinds of food to munch on. I get hungry... I bring them out & nibble away. I get full.. I put them back in the frig. During these HOT days of summer that seem endless... I eat mostly raw & cold. Something heated.. just doesn't tickle my "flavor town."

I had my first dolmas back in June at the East West in Santa Rosa, Ca. Wow! Loved them. Tangy & sweet w/brown rice.

Then I ventured into the Village Cafe locally & ordered dolmas... tho they were not on the menu at the cafe... they are on their web menu. Yum...Yum.... these were SO awesome! Not tangy at all. The rice had a wonderful safflower taste.

Ok, so I love dolmas. I CAN make these myself! I thought carefully about what I would like in the "Humble Vegan's Dolmas..... wehani rice, that I call "Aggie rice" because of its beautiful maroon color. It is a type of Basmati rice. Chopped green onions & TONS of minced fresh garlic & a couple of surprises that you'll find in the recipe below, which BTW, I don't really measure much. I just go by taste...

Obviously, the Humble Vegan's dolmas are not going to be "traditional" dolmas... but neither is my Humble hummus's! (or is it Hummi?) I will make a variety of dolmas, I'm sure. Will share them with you as well.....

It goes without saying... these should be made with all organics, if possible.

Humble Vegan Dolmas

12 grape leaves (fresh or in a jar. if jar is used, be sure to rinse the brine off the leaves)

2 to 3 cups steamed wehani rice, cooled to room temp

Green onion chopped ( I use a lot)

Fresh garlic minced (I use a lot of this too!)

Pecans, raw and chopped into small pieces maybe 1/2 cup

1 small can of Mandarin Orange slices in own juice.. NOT syrup. (save the juice)

cumin 1/2t

curry 1 to 1.5 t (I LOVE curry.. so I use a lot of this too)

cinnamon 1/2 t (sometimes I use more)

I confess.. the whole roll up & over grape leaf thing scared me. I really didn't think I would get it. Pah-leeze... piece of cake, really. The key to success.... roll them carefully & roll them tight!

I personally like the grape leaves just as is... not steamed. And I make the dolmas with the rice already steamed. Most recipes call for the rice half steamed & then you roll your dolmas & place them in a steamer until the rice is completely cooked and the grape leaf is tender. Whew! TMW (too much work) for me!

Ok, here goes: this is pretty spicy... so you will want to adjust to your tastes.

In your bowl of rice, add some of the mandarin OJ. enough to make it moist, but not soaked. (save some of the juice for basting later) Mix the rice so that it is covered in juice. You don't want any extra juice in the bottom of the bowl. (that means you added too much juice)

Add the chopped onion, minced garlic and pecans to the rice, mix well.

Add the spices, mix well.

Chop maybe 1/2 of the mandarin slices and add to the mix. Carefully fold mixture so the oranges don't get all mushy.

Now, if you want your grape leaves steamed... then place them in a steamer for about 2 to 3 minutes. Caution about steaming too long as they will tear apart.

Spread the grape leaf out on the counter, stem side up & cut the stem off. Add a spoonful of rice, leaving about 1/4 inch on each side of leaf for rolling. Turn in both sides to center. Roll from the bottom to the top. The grape leaf will stick to itself at the top. No need for toothpicks.

As you make each one, place flat, side by side in a glass dish with lid. Place in frig till ready to serve. When serving, baste each dolma with OJ from the mandarin orange. This will keep the grape leaves shiny & dark. Garnish with slices of Mandarin Oranges & sprinkle with chopped pecans.

These make beautiful dolmas... the rich maroon color of the
rice, the bits of the shiny mandarin oranges mixed in with the
bright green onion tops and the crunchy pecan bits all rolled up
in a lucious dark green grape leaf.

On a side note.... if you want a really awesome dipping sauce for these try this (remember, I don't really measure anything..)

cashew butter (made fresh or organic salt free in a jar)
mandarin orange juice or freshly squeezed from an orange
agave nectar
cayenne pepper

Mix the cashew butter & juice together to make a smooth semi-thick consistancy. Squeeze in some agave nectar and sprinkle on the cayenne pepper... all to your taste. mix together and drizzle on top of the dolmas or use as a dipping sauce.

So...... are you up for a challenge? Give this dish a try & let me know if the grapeleaf thing did you in :-)

Happy Humble Grazing......

Until next time..... GOOD HEALTH TO ALL!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Humble Mission....

In my 2nd blog dated Saturday August 22nd, I addressed the two rituals I do to keep my Systemic Lupus in remission & keep me medication free......Practicing the Vegan nutritional plan & routine periods of water-only fasting. My latest water-only fast at True North Health & Wellness Center in Santa Rosa, Calif was this past May/June. After a 22 day fast & 10 day refeed, I was dreading the return home.

On Fair & Feminist, KEOS FM this past Sunday, I spoke of my "northern California cocoon" & how it kept me safe by surrounding me with support, encouragement & motivation. We were all Vegans or Vegetarians. We all basked in the glow of the wonderful benefits of consuming a plant based nutritional plan.

We were exposed daily to lectures from some of the world’s renowned intellects in the naturopathic fields & fasting industries. We refed on nothing but organics & attended cooking classes taught by the centers Vegan chef. Life was AWESOME!

I missed the hubby Bear & babies Jack n Jill... but other then that... I had no reason to return to the homeland community. I knew there would be no support or encouragement, (except from my hubby Bear, and thank goodness!) There would be no like-minded people in which to share ideas, adventures & recipes. Organics were not that plentiful, but better then 5 years ago & eating out would be challenging.

I came face to face with the fact that I was afraid. I felt alone..... isolated.... alienated. "a Vegan outta water." I knew that every day would be a challenge & a struggle as I had no friends that were Vegan or Vegetarian. I had no clients living those lifestyles. I knew of no acquaintances or peers. If I tried to share my experiences, I would receive the same 2 responses.... eyes glazed over with boredom or turn tail & run the other direction. No one was interested & no one cared.

Well..... staying in California was not an option as the Hubby Bear and Beagle twins were not willing to pull up stakes & make the move. So, I had a plan..... "ya gotta have a plan..." that is what I tell my clients. As soon as I got home, I would start looking around for a support group in the area. Once home & a few weeks of asking, searching, & hoping, I found nothing. There were NO support groups in this area for Vegan & or Vegetarians. Ok, no problem.... so I start my own!

Sounds really easy, huh? Where do I start? Ok, flyers, that’s good. But where to post the flyers.... this IS the heart of the BIG beef machine with a BBQ on every corner. Started with a local restaurant, The Village Cafe, a wonderfully new Vegetarian/Vegan eating place. Posted my first flyer, then submitted PSA's to 2 local radio stations, KEOS FM and KAMU FM. Sent a flyer to the new Village Foods market & to Brazos Natural Foods & from there..... the emails & flyers flew around like flies at a picnic. I began receiving inquiries & tons of emails with encouragement & positive responses. I was thrilled..... There ARE Vegans and Vegetarians out there in this community!!

So, the first part of my humble mission is finished. The next part is to gather these wonderful folks and form a meet up group that will take a presence in this community. I want us to make a positive impact on the surrounding, dispel the myths & stereotypes associated with these lifestyles & in light of the latest PETA shenanigans.... demonstrate that not all Vegans and Vegetarians are “radical whackos!” Check these out....

I look forward to the orientation meeting, hanging out & listening to their ideas, suggestions & passions they have regarding the groups direction. This IS an exciting time for this community...... VEGANS and VEGETARIANS..... UNITE!!!!

Until next time.... GOOD HEALTH TO ALL!

Are you Vegan or Vegetarian? Or intrigued with these lifestyles and want to know more?
Are you interested in building & supporting the Vegan/Vegetarian community of BCS?
Are you interested in networking with like-minded people?
Are you interested in seeking education & knowledge?
Are you interested in sharing info, interests & ideas?
Are you interested in starting a BCS meetup group for Vegans and Vegetarians?

Meetings scheduled at The delightful Village Café, 210 W 26th St.
First meeting, Tuesday the 8th of September 6pm
Chris & Kristy will make a special Vegan/Vegetarian menu for us at very reasonable prices.

If you want to be a part of this ground breaking group….
Send emails to

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chattin' it up!

Last evening I had a rockin' good time with the great folks at KEOS FM 89.1! Left end of the dial done right!

As a guest on a fresh, new & innovative show Fair & Feminist, I chatted it up w/ F+F's hosts Shelly Blair & VandyRamadurai, 2 young, very hip gals who stand behind what they believe & are certainly not afraid to express these beliefs.

I admire & respect these 2 strong & independent women. At their age (just a few years ago.. HA!) , I certainly had no definitive goals or ambitions, nor was I confident in my beliefs. I was also pleasantly surprised they are both vegetarian. These are 2 very cool chics!

Among the many topics on the table were differences between vegan & vegetarian, myths, misconceptions & stereo-types, what it means to embrace the vegan lifestyle, the challenges & rewards of these lifestyles, & why PETA is not necessarily our "friend."

I'm working on posting the audio for this program. You can catch Shelly and Vandy on Fair and Feminist on Sundays, 6pm.

Meanwhile, I'm on a mission..... a quest.... a search that ties into all of the topics we discussed on Sunday's show. To find out more.......

Until next time... GOOD HEALTH TO ALL!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


“Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely unrelated.....”

Here I stand in a moment of panic & fear. I questioned what I had done....What I had done was to run away from a treatment plan that was no longer working! Hello? The only option of controlling the Lupus was to start cancer drugs... Really? I didn’t believe it. I knew there had to be another way. “What is the other option?” Well, at this point.. I had no idea & had no idea where to look or what to look for. There had to be something beyond endless meds, Dr’s and tests!

Heading thru the narrow hallway back to the restroom at GOLDS, I ran into a former client I’d not seen in 2 years. Little did I realize this woman “held” the answer to “what I didn’t know what I was looking for....” In our conversation, the topic of water-only fasting came up and how it cured her daughter.... she’d been deathly ill for many months. And with no diagnosis from western medicine, this woman took her daughter to a fasting clinic. She returned after 2.5 months... free of illness, healthy and strong. As my former client elaborated, in one“light bulb serendipitous moment,” I quickly realized.... THIS was my other option!

Since the beginning of time, people have water fasted. In Biblical times we read about Elijah, Moses, David, and Jesus fasting endless weeks for various reasons. “Fasting is defined as the complete abstinence from all substances except pure water in an environment of complete rest,” Dr. Alan Goldhamer, Founder and Director of True North Health and Wellness Center in Santa Rosa, California. The focus is to completely shut down the digestive system so the body can heal itself. During this process, our body has the miraculous ability to rid itself of toxins that build up in our intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, heart, blood, lungs, brain, muscles, & sinuses. Toxins and poisons we are exposed to daily from consuming the standard american diet (SAD) & breathing polluted air. Given a long enough fast, the body will cleanse and heal itself. At the end of the fast, the body is free of disease, pollution, & damage done from the antibiotics and hormones found in animal products and by-products, the pesticides sprayed on our produce, and consumption of artificial sweetners, sugar, trans fats and processed foods.

I did my first water-only fast in May/June of 2005 for 29 days. (And was nothing like I could have ever imagined... probably a topic left for another blog!) After completing the fast, I refed as a Vegan. I had no idea what it meant to be a Vegan... except I could no longer have “hot wings n beer” or “fajitas n ‘ritas!” What the heck would I eat?

Kidding aside, the fast put my SLE in remission and left me medication free. I routinely return to True North for long periods of fasting and do short fasts in my home. Water-only fasting and practicing the Vegan nutritional plan is how *** I *** control my SLE... not the Dr’s and not the drugs!

To learn more about the awesome benefits of water-only fasting, I invite you to check out True North’s website.

Until next time..... GOOD HEALTH TO ALL!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I chose the Humble Vegan as my blog name because I realize how quickly a disease can strip you of your self worth & a belief that your body will always be healthy, strong & independent. The day I was diagnosed w/ Systemic Lupus Erythmetosis (SLE) in 1999, my life changed in ways I could not imagine. I was in a trap of doctors, medications, relentless pain, agony, fatigue & hopelessness. My life no longer belonged to me. I depended upon doctors who depended upon steroids, anti-malaria drugs, pain killers & muscle relaxers to "control" the SLE... and consequently .. control my life.

At some point 6 years after the diagnosis, the meds stopped working. The next level of meds ... cancer drugs...."cancer drugs? really?"... I knew those drugs would kill me before the SLE did. I stood up for this riddled body & belted out a loud "NO! I won't take any more drugs!" I fired all of my doctors & was told I was making a big mistake. I some how knew there HAD to be another option.... altho I had no idea what it was at that time. I quickly realized I had to gain control of my body & life again.

How fragile health is, truly. One day I was strong & free of illness and then all in a moment's whisper.. I was brought to my knees. It was this day in 1999 that I personally experienced ... humility.

If you are unfamiliar with SLE, here is a great website

Did I find "the other option?"

Until next time......GOOD HEALTH TO ALL