Cookbooks for Sale!

I know….I’ve been gone for a while and I really apologize. Eric and I had a very eventful summer 🙂 It began with planning a 2 week trip back to our hometowns in New England, then the awesome trip itself, and then a week after we returned I was in a car accident while on the Rhett tour :(. I’ve been going to physical therapy and I’m getting better. However, I haven’t felt much like cooking for a while.

Art In The Park

A couple of weeks ago we participated in a local event called “Art In The Park”. The little town next to ours, Kingston Springs, has this event every fall and it attracts all kinds of vendors; from art (of course) to homemade foods, books, jewelry, wood carvings, and more. I have to say it was really Eric who spearheaded this event, did the planning and all of the set up. I just showed up for a while and sat in a chair selling our goods (I have experience with that sort of thing!). We sold paintings, Eric’s book (The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide), bags of homemade granola (we even gave away free samples of the granola), and my cookbook.

I’ll be you didn’t know I had a cookbook for sale…we’ll it’s not the official, finished version of the book I’ve been working on. It’s a “prototype” 😉 I decided that this event would be a great test to see if it could sell. Well, I’m happy to say that it did! I only printed a small run and I have 8 copies left.If anyone is interested you can click on “Add to Carat” link below and get your very own copy. They are $15.00 each and shipping is FREE!! Anyone that purchased this “prototype” will receive the full version of the cookbook (when it’s published) for free.

I have been working on several new recipes and I will be adding them here in the coming days. I’ve created a delicious Chicken Pot Pie and some yummy and fun Cod Fish Cakes….stay tuned 😀 It’s good to be back!

P90X Workout Update and How The Hell Did I Get a Hernia?

Eric and I finished our second full round of P90X last week and took our fit test on Saturday. We both had great results and I was super happy with my 2 1/2  pack that’s starting to show! We took Sunday off and I was all set to enjoy watching my beloved Pat’s squash the Jets….well you probably know how that turned out. So, I drowned my sorrows Sunday evening with a couple of my favorite Bud Light Limes and went to bed early.

Monday morning we embarked on day one of our 1st round of P90X+. The first workout was Upper Body Plus – wow! This workout hits every upper body part and each exercise is timed rather than counted for reps. The very first thing is “Double Double Dip’ll Do Ya”; you take two chairs facing each other with space for your body in between, then in plank with one hand on each chair, you do 2 push up, then swing your feet through and do 2 dips, then swing back for 2 push ups. You continue this craziness for 90 seconds. If you think that sounds easy – please – grab 2 chairs and give it a shot….then come back and continue reading. The rest of that 40 minute workout is equally as challenging, but we did it and felt pretty good about our first day. The next day brought Intervals – an insane 40 minutes of cardio where each move is done at 3 stages for one minute; 1st 20 seconds at low intensity, then medium for 20 seconds, then ALL OUT for the last 20 and then immediately on to the next move. It is a fun workout and it really gets your heart rate up. We felt so good, later that day we decided to add in a second workout. This time we did the brand new One on One Recovery & Stretch. Due to time constraints we only did about 35 minutes, but I highly recommend this as a supplement to any workout routine.

That night Eric had a show with his trio at a local bar (the 12 South Tap Room) and I was very excited to go listen to the music and see some friends. The show went great and the crowd really enjoyed the band. We got home around 1 AM and sat up for a little while talking before heading to bed.

Around 2:30 AM I woke up with a minor nagging pain in my groin/lower ab. I tried ignoring it for about a 1/2 hour, but I could tell it was getting worse. It wasn’t a constant pain, but a sharp pain that would last about a second or two, then stop, then come back several minutes later. I got up around 3 and almost immediately the pain starting getting unbearable. I asked Eric to get up and keep me company (which, of course, he did – he is the best). I tried just walking around, I tried Tylenol; but within about an hour we both realized that this was still getting worse and I was having trouble walking. Off to the emergency room we went.

The staff at the ER were just great, they got me in right away and I was in an exam room talking to a doctor within 15 minutes. At this point the pain was really bad and the doctor did an exam of the painful area. Immediately he said “I know exactly what is wrong”! Which was a huge relief to me, all I wanted to was to figure out what was going on and to get it fixed. He said you have an inguinal hernia. A hernia! How could that be? I’m in great shape, I’ve been working out religiously and none of my workouts cause any pain? Apparently this type of hernia is caused by a defect and I’ve had it for years. The problem is, it’s now worse and is going to require surgery 😥

I won’t go off on too big a rant about the state of our health care system; but…..if you don’t have insurance – don’t get sick. I’ve spent the last 3 days on the phone with hospitals, nurses, financial aid offices. People won’t even call me back when I ask for an appointment when they hear the words “no insurance”. I don’t take being told “no” very well, I get, what Eric calls “phone tone” and start insisting that someone do their job (I might have used some stronger terms that that, but that’s not important right now). Finally I got through to the right person and got them to listen to me. I now have an appointment with a surgeon in 5 days.

Unfortunately, I am still in pain off and on and, although it’s not as bad as the other night, I won’t be able to do any P90X workouts for a while. It also looks like once I have surgery I won’t be doing any exercise for several weeks. I’m really upset about this. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am and I don’t want to lose any of this progress.

I’m going to continue to eat healthy, do whatever activity I can and hope that I can be back P90X+ soon. I’ll try to post some new recipes, if I can get myself to do some cooking. I’m the opposite of an emotional eater. When I’m stressed I have no appetite at all, I find it almost impossible to force down any food.  If it wasn’t for Shakeology, I wouldn’t have had any nutrition at all in the last couple of days!

Thanks for listening (whoever is out there listening 🙂 and I’ll keep you all posted! bon appétit!

True “healthcare” doesn’t need to be expensive or come from a doctor

Eric wrote a great article today and I thought you all would enjoy reading it 🙂

According to a recent report from the Kaiser foundation, the number of Americans lacking health care has now swelled beyond 50 million, or roughly the population of Spain. Approximately one out of every six people living in America today, one of the wealthiest nations on earth, cannot realistically afford medical treatment if and when needed. This statistic was part of a recent Huffington Post article that explored some inefficiencies and redundancies of our current health care insurance “system”. After reading through many of the comments from readers at the end of the article I became frustrated at how few of us understand the big picture of what is going on in our country in regards to “health care”.

The US healthcare system does not work, and cannot work for most Americans. It is a grossly overpriced, inefficient, and ineffective system that, in conjunction with the big insurance companies, big food, big Pharma (and propelled by big media) thrives on people being sick. And as long as we all buy into the false wisdom put forth by these mega-corporations, we will remain an unhealthy nation. We have been burdened with an epidemic of obesity (by 2015, 75% of adults will be be overweight, 41% will be obese), and largely preventable chronic diseases, which have now passed smoking as the number one cause of avoidable death in our country. One recent report by the Milken Institute “An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease” estimating this  annual cost to our economy to be more than $1 trillion, likely reaching $6 trillion annually by 2020 (a sick population, while costly to you and me, is highly profitable to these corporations). We eat toxic food, live sedentary lifestyles, and treat illnesses with drugs that often make us sicker. This dynamic is at the heart of our “healthcare” system, and, sadly, this is simply not understood by most Americans.

My wife and I are self-employed and cannot afford health insurance, we go without as it is not even an option for us. To avoid the costly expense of doctors, hospitals, and prescription drugs, we work hard to live a healthy lifestyle. This requires learning about nutrition, preparing healthy foods, exercising regularly and staying physically active – this is our approach to healthcare and we call it “Do It The Hard Way”. We are “caring for our health” by investing in it constantly. While this approach does not make us immune to all potential health problems, it does reduce the likelihood of many of them, and prevention is the best approach in my book.

There are certainly many people with life-threatening illnesses that could not survive for long without their health care. It is these people, along with those injured in car accidents, by gunshots, etc. that the healthcare system should exist to serve. But for the rest of us, there are choices we can make every day that will improve our own health, and the health of our children. Don’t let type II diabetes render you or a loved one dependent on insulin and doctors for the rest of your life, for most, this disease can be eliminated by eating the right foods and weight loss. Don’t treat high blood pressure with drugs, treat it with good food and a jog at the park. These kinds of solutions are much less costly, and you can do them yourself. I recently read an insightful article “Being healthy is a revolutionary act” by Pilar Gerasimo that helps define more broadly what we are all up against.

So while the rest of us are waiting for the “sick care” system to improve, why not take health into your own hands and become our own personal “healthcare” providers, providing good health to ourselves and our families through healthy lifestyles. As most of us no longer have a choice in the matter, we’d be foolish not to.

“Decide, Commit, Succeed!”

What’s Wrong With Our Food System

I saw this video today and it is just too good not to share. I did share it on my facebook page, but that gets lost so easily. It’s only about five minutes long. I hope you will watch it and tell your friends about it. This kid is brilliant 🙂


Birke Baehr bio:

Birke Baehr wants us to know how our food is made, where it comes from, and what’s in it. At age 11, he’s planning a career as an organic farmer. At age 9, while traveling with his family and being “roadschooled,” Birke Baehr began studying sustainable and organic farming practices such as composting, vermiculture, canning and food preservation. Soon he discovered his other passion: educating others — especially his peers — about the destructiveness of the industrialized food system, and the alternatives. He spoke at TEDxNextGenerationAsheville in 2010.

Eating Smart: A Different Approach to the Holidays

The holidays are once again upon us and for most of us this means a big traditional Thanksgiving dinner with the family, Christmas parties, cookies, sweets – you know the drill. Is there a way to survive this annual over-the-top eating onslaught without gaining 5 pounds while still enjoying some tasty holiday treats? I yes, there is. But accomplishing this will take some forethought and awareness.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Let’s say you’ll be having Thanksgiving dinner with your family and someone else is doing the cooking. This means that the ingredients that go into this mail are completely out of your control. Here are some of the biggest problems with this meal as it is typically prepared.

The stuffing is usually made from enriched white bread (ick), the mashed potatoes are usually loaded with butter, cream or milk, and salt, and the gravy is full of saturated fat. And of course the desserts are an even bigger problem as they are loaded with enriched white flour, butter or lard, and sugar (I’m getting a stomachache just thinking about it).

Make the right choices. Eating a plate of this food and having it do the least amount of damage is all about choices. Go heavier on the white meat (dark meat has more saturated fat) and the veggies, and go lighter on the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. Don’t eat the turkey skin, it has the highest concentration of saturated fat in the whole bird (if you must eat some, go sparingly). Try to be careful about overall portion sizes.

Eat a snack or appetizer 30 minutes before the meal. It takes about 20 minutes to feel full when we eat, so doing this will help you feel full sooner, and possibly keep you from over eating.

Don’t waste your splurge. You probably will splurge on different foods at Thanksgiving, as this holiday comes but once a year. But don’t waste your splurge on general over eating – splurge on foods you really love or foods that are special. Mashed potatoes are common and you probably eat this at different points throughout the year, so there’s no real point in eating a heaping mound of this. Dinner rolls can do a lot of damage, and once again, this is an extremely common food. But let’s say grandma’s apple pie has always been one of your favorites and may be only available during holidays. This splurge makes more sense.

Don’t take the leftovers. If you take leftovers home you will likely feel compelled to eat them, adding more unneeded unhealthy calories to your diet later in the week. A simple “No thanks, we’ve got tons of food in the fridge right now” or “No thanks, I’m trying to eat healthy, and this one splurge was enough.” should suffice. A couple of other options would be to just take white meat, or, if there is enough to go around, take a few plates of food and give it to a homeless shelter or a neighbor in need.

Healthy Substitutions for Your Holiday Meal

If you’re cooking the meal, then you are in control of what goes into it. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be unhealthy; it’s all about the ingredients, and the subtleties. While the white meat that comes from an oven roasted turkey is quite healthy, the stuffing, due to the fact it is usually made from white bread, is typically not. Make your stuffing from whole wheat bread.

Gravy is usually another big problem when it comes to unhealthy calories, so learn to make it with a little less turkey fat. After you’ve removed your turkey from the roasting pan, drained the juices into a bowl, and separated the juices from the fat with a ladle – combine the juices with a limited amount of fat to make the gravy, even substituting some of the fat with low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth.

Mashed potatoes are typically another unhealthy calorie bomb, so again, use substitutions. Use Smart Balance instead of butter and skim milk instead of whole milk or cream. Try mixing in some fat-free yogurt to help create a creamy consistency. A little garlic powder and cracked black pepper will also go nicely. You could also experiment with substituting rutabagas, which have a higher nutritional value, for some of the potatoes.

Dinner rolls are usually made from enriched white flour but they don’t have to be. Substitute whole wheat flour for the enriched white flour and Smart Balance instead of butter to make a hearty and healthy roll.

Lose the salt. These foods are dense with flavor and you might be surprised how good they can taste without adding any salt during preparation. Leave it to the guests to add it when they sit down to eat.

When baking pies, cookies, and other desserts, once again, use substitutions – whole wheat flour instead of enriched white flour, smart balance instead of butter or lard, Splenda instead of sugar, and canola oil instead of corn oil. And if you’re craving chocolate, try baking with Beachbody chocolate Shakology for a healthy alternative, there are a ton of great recipes available online.

Put your table salt in a covered glass bowl or Tupperware container instead of a shaker. You can’t really see the salt coming out of the shaker, but if you grab a pinch of salt with your fingers, you will know exactly how much you’re using.

And lastly, put Smart Balance on the table for your family and guests to use instead of butter.

Keep Moving

Don’t stop your exercise regimen just because the holidays are here. If you’ve been working out regularly, why stop now? Get up a little early on Thanksgiving and try to get your workout in before you embark on your day’s activities. If you’re traveling for spending the day somewhere other than your own home, improvise. A little while after dinner, go for a walk to work off some of that ‘turkey gut’.

Many families also cook a huge dinner on Christmas and all of these concepts and food substitutions apply there as well. If you’re going to have some eggnog, go with light eggnog. You can even find recipes to make your own eggnog online that will be far healthier than what you’ll find in the supermarket. Try to avoid ‘holiday cookies’, they have no nutritional value whatsoever. If someone gives you a box of chocolates, ‘donate’ it to someone else. Don’t let peer pressure dictate your diet.

A Thanksgiving Feast, or My Yearly Food Coma?

When I think back to many of my earlier Thanksgiving dinners with my family, I remember my mom, dad, and grandmother working in the kitchen all morning long, preparing and cooking for our annual holiday eat-a-thon. My siblings and I would often help out, peeling potatoes, washing pots and pans, and setting the table. When the meal was finally ready we would all sit down, mom would say grace, and then we would all go to town. It would only take about 15 or 20 minutes for us to literally inhale an overabundance of food, most of us taking seconds, some even thirds. Then the sinking feeling would begin, usually during the half-hour or so it took to clean up the mess of pots, pans, dishes and silverware. Another half hour or so later and dad would be asleep in his recliner while the rest of us were deemed immobile on the couch for the next several hours. Even though it was nice to see the family, I don’t remember a lot of conversations taking place after dinner, we all sat speechless in front of the TV, too stuffed to speak. That heavy feeling would last for the rest of the day, often into the next.

Eating, and overeating food in this manner is an oral fixation and needs to be seen for what it is. There is nothing wrong with our tradition of eating a Thanksgiving meal with loved ones and friends. But for many, there is clearly something wrong with how we prepare this meal, and how much of it we eat. We all need to eat to live. But while over eating, and overeating unhealthy foods, can happen in just a few brief minutes, its negative effects can last for hours or days, potentially undoing all sorts of gains and strides we’ve made towards our health. Is it worth it?

New Traditions

I think it’s time we consider a new way forward – a merger that combines a modern approach to health and well-being with all that is good about the holidays. Let’s think about making our holiday rituals evolve around spending quality time with family, friends and loved ones FIRST, and the food as a complement to that quality time, rather than the food being the central theme, as it is for so many. Suggest the idea of taking a walk with your family and friends after dinner. Let’s teach our kids and the younger generation how to cook these foods in a healthy way, and the importance of physical activity. Why wait till January 1st to start your new resolutions? Now is the time for any worthy change you have in mind. Let’s use this holiday season as a time to start some healthy new traditions and a new way forward.

This has been a public service announcement from someone who cares. Happy holidays!

Are you feeding your kids candy and don’t even know it?

A couple of days ago Eric posted a half joking comment on his facebook page saying “When I was a kid, Halloween was one of the only times of year that we were allowed to gorge ourselves on candy and sweets. Now that the overconsumption of candy and sweets …is a daily occurrence for so many, why do we still need Halloween?”. I couldn’t believe the backlash that occurred. Most people were horrified (pun intended) that he would “slam” this oh-so-important holiday. Comments of “lighten up” and “what happened to your love of goofy fun” were plentiful.

It was actually the rest of the comments that really got me thinking. Every mom that posted (and there were many) staunchly defended the fact that “their” kids, don’t care about candy, don’t drink soda, eat only healthy foods, and the only thing they love about Halloween is getting dressed up and visiting people. I have no doubt that this is true for some people. However; given the fact that 1 out of 3 kids in this country are considered overweight or obese (source:, somebody is feeding these kids some bad food.

I started thinking that it may not be that people are lying about what they eat and/or feed their kids. I think it’s that the food manufacturers are lying to the people, by way of deceptive advertising and confusing wording on packaging. Talking strictly about sugar, it’s mind boggling how much is in practically every product at the supermarket. Take a look at the foods in your pantry and fridge, not the front of the package but the back – the list of ingredients. It doesn’t have to be simply the word sugar; here is a list of some of the words that mean “sugar”:

  • Agave Nectar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Rice Syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum or sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Xylose

It’s quite a list!

I decided to do a little digging to see just how much sugar is in the foods that many people feed their kids thinking they are giving them healthy food. To start with I’ll use a 12 oz can of Coke – this contains 40.5 grams of sugar, or 10 teaspoons. A Hershey’s chocolate bar contains 31 grams. According to the American Heart Association a person (adult) who consumes approximately 2,000 per day should take in no more than 36 grams of sugar per say. Ok, now let’s look at some “healthy foods”:


Sugar Grams (4 grams = 1 teaspoon)

Fig Newton Cookie

12 – per cookie

Orange Juice

39 – per 12 oz.

Grape Juice

60 – per  12 oz.

Kelloggs Frosted Flakes

38 –per  1 cup

Kelloggs Special K

13 – per 1 cup


28 – per ½ cup

Yoplait Yogurt

27 – per 6 oz.

6” Chicken Teriyaki Sub (Subway)

17 – per sub

Sweet Tea (Subway)

66 – per 16 oz.

Low Fat Chocolate Milk

43 – per 12 oz.

Applesauce (Arby’s)

18 – per single serving

Vanilla McCafe Shake (McDonald’s)

103 per 16 oz (that’s a cup of sugar!)

Happy Meal (Nuggets, Apples, Choc Milk)

40 – per meal

Pumpkin Muffin (Panera)

90 – per 6 oz. muffin

Vitamin Water

33 – per 20 oz.

Ok, so the Vanilla McCafe Shake wouldn’t be considered a “healthy food”, but I couldn’t resist….I mean, come on….a full cup of sugar in a 16 oz cup?? Anyway, the point I’m making is simply that there is so much sugar in the foods we eat every day,  that most kids are already eating the equivalent of a candy bar or two. That goes for the kids who don’t drink sodas; as you can see a glass of orange juice is equal in sugar to a can of Coke. Sure the OJ has some vitamins, but they would be much better off eating an orange than drinking the juice. That really goes for all juices.

So, is Eric’s comment really so far off base? I don’t think we need to do away with Halloween; but maybe it’s the other 364 days of the year that we should be more concerned with. Think about how closely you inspect the candy that your kids bring home from Trick or Treating. Maybe we should all be more closely inspecting the foods that come from the grocery store. I think that is where you will find our kids are truly being poisoned.

Nutrition Information

When I began researching information for Do It The Hard Way I realized that great tasting recipes made with nutritious ingredients and proper portions would have to be the basis of the plan. No one wants to eat healthy if it doesn’t taste good! I also knew that each recipe needed to contain the most complete nutritional data that I could provide. I began looking for a software program that could take an original recipe, calculate the data, and present it in an easy to understand way.

After looking at many programs, I decided on DietPower 4.4. It can, among many other things, calculate the nutritional information of user-added recipes. The green box at the bottom of each of the recipes on this site was created using DietPower. It calculates the ingredients and portions and produces a nice looking result.

I was disappointed to find that it does not track the sugar content of many foods in their database. In fact, it lists the sugar grams of sugar as “?”. This was disturbing to me considering how important it is to watch our intake of sugar, especially if you are watching your weight or have any diabetes concerns. I emailed DietPower and asked them why they did not include sugar, and they told me that the next upgrade that is coming out next year will include sugar information for each food. In the meantime, I spent hundreds of hours inputting the correct nutritional information from the most current USDA food database (which does include sugar). I then created each recipes’ nutritional data using the most up-to-date and complete information I could gather.

DietPower also offers the ability to track all of the food you eat every day and input the exercise that you do each day (it even has a specific P90X tab!). Keeping a food diary is a great way to keep an eye on your food intake and this program makes it practically a no brainer, since it does all the calculating for you.

Please, don’t take just my word for it.Click the link below, download the free trial and try out the software for yourself.

Lose weight with your PC. Click to try DietPower.

Do It The Hard Way is about learning for yourself and finding what works best for you and your family’s health!

P90X Round One – Done!

We finished our first FULL round of P90X last Friday, September 10th! (As this was a joint effort, this will be a two-part blog, the first part by Kelly, and the second part by Eric.)

Kelly writes:

We had previously attempted this three times and each time something (life, basically) got in the way and we didn’t make it all the way through. This time when we started, we made a pact with each other and said “No matter what, everyday, we are going to put on our workout clothes, put in the DVD, press play, and stand in front of that TV”. There were many days that it was really hard. There were many days that I thought I was going to do nothing but march in place and watch, but I didn’t. Once the music started and Tony started talking, I started feeling like maybe I could at least modify the workout and do most of  it. Then the workout would start and there was Eric, right beside me, working hard; well I couldn’t let him progress faster than me….if he could do it…I could do it. That’s how we made it. We encouraged each other, we pushed each other, we did it together.

When I did the fitness test the first time, I could do 1/4 of a pull up. Actually that’s being generous, basically I could hang on the pull up bar. Last week – I did 10! During a chest and back workout a couple of weeks ago I did 127 full pushups, through the course of the entire workout. I’ve accomplished things I never thought I could. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

Eric writes:

Like Kelly said, it took four attempts to complete this mother of all workouts, as our first three tries fell short. But we don’t consider those first three attempts a wasted effort. Even though we only made it just past day 60 on those earlier attempts, we still got a feel for the workouts, became familiar with the different moves, and became more instilled with the basic desire to succeed in this endeavor. Those first three attempts were all part of the process and ultimately building blocks in our new mindset of extreme fitness.

That being said, the feeling of actually completing the 90 day program is extremely rewarding. It was really hard, I mean really, really hard. But now that it’s over, we can’t wait to do it again. The improvements we have made regarding cardio, strength, and flexibility are massive.

One of the most exciting parts of this whole experience was taking the recommended P90X fitness test yesterday to measure our gains. This fitness test is performed at the beginning and end of the 90 day workout series and is essentially an extreme workout itself, consisting of 8 exercises; pull-ups, vertical leap, pushups, toe touch, wall squat, bicep curls, in and outs (crunches), and 2 minutes of jumping jacks after witch you measure your heart rate 5 times at 1 minute intervals. (If your feeling adventurous, download this free test and give it a try.)

We began by doing a warm up consisting of a 20 minute walk, followed by some running in place, jumping jacks and a combination of static and ballistic stretching. Then we put on AC/DC’s Back in Black (on vinyl) to provide some extra motivation.

Kelly went first, doing 12 pull ups! A year ago she couldn’t even do one. I followed with 18 pull ups (a year ago I could only do 4). Another standout was Kelly going from 23 pushups at the beginning of this round to 35, I went from 30 pushups to 50. As a senior in high school my record was 60, and it is my goal to surpass that number by next July when I attend the 25th reunion of my graduating class.

Kelly and Eric both write:

Why did we find it necessary to do such an extreme workout program? Because our lives depend on it! When we were teenagers, or even in our 20s our bodies seemed invincible. As we entered our 30s, we began to notice some occasional aches and pains. Now, into what some would call “middle-age”, stuff just plain hurts sometimes. Backaches, neck aches, tendinitis flare ups – I’m not saying we hurt every minute of every day, but the writing is on the wall. As we are not big fans of doctors or pharmaceuticals, it seems that only extreme measures will work to combat the effects of aging. So we minimize the aches and pains that everyday life delivers by making ourselves stronger. And this P90X program will definitely make you stronger. Of course exercise is only one half of the equation, the other half of the big picture for us is healthy eating.

P90X is just one of many great workouts in the Beachbody program. You can go even more extreme than P90X and try Insanity…we haven’t tried that yet, but  hope to, after we finish another P90X round. There are also so many other programs that we think just about anyone could find one that fits; things like “Brazil Butt Lift”, “10-Minute Trainer”, “Hip Hop Abs”, “Body Gospel” and many more. Beachbody is also a great community. We have met so many great people and made friends from all over the world that are doing these same workouts and have the same goals of a fit, healthy life.

We plan to start another round of P90X on Tuesday, October 12, and would love for some of our friends to join us in this endeavor. Anybody up for the challenge? If you are, send us a note and we can take this virtual challenge together.

“Decide, Commit, Succeed!” – Tony Horton

Out with the Corn – In with the Garlic!

You will notice that the background image for this blog (and the main website) has changed. Why, you may ask? About a week ago someone recommend that I check out a website about a documentary called “King Corn“; which is about “two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation”.

I took a look at the website for this film and found some fascinating  information. In looking all around the site, I found a link to four different commercials, two put out by the Corn Refiners Association (part of a $25 Million campaign to defend HFCS) and two spoofs by the makers of this film (one of them is below).

At the end of the commercials from the CRA there is a website link to a site called I was shocked at what I saw….there was the pretty image that I had been using for my background. I found that image quite a long time ago on a site with royalty-free images and I had been really pleased with the way it fit with this website….BUT, I do not want to be associated  in any, even small, way with High Fructose Corn Syrup….SO…since there is more than enough corn in everything these days, it does not need to be in my website…the background had to go.

I have replaced it with a great photo of a garlic flower! I never even knew what a garlic flower looked like, but now I do. Garlic is something I’m proud to promote.

So there is my very long winded explanation! Out with the Corn – In with the Garlic!

The Do It The HardWay Cookbook; 200 recipes in 400 days

If you’re anything like me, you love eating tasty food. Sitting down to a nice dinner of grilled swordfish and sautéed veggies, perhaps a nice chicken chili with cornbread, maybe even some linguine with white clam sauce. Well not only do I love eating these savory delights, I love cooking them too. I also like being healthy, and I always strive to use the healthiest ingredients, preparing dishes that are not only tasty, but high in nutrition and low in bad fats and added salt and sugar. These have been some of the key elements to my “Do It the Hard Way” concept all along. Learning about nutrition, how to read labels, developing an understanding of what good ingredients are, and preparing healthy dishes all take an investment of time and energy, but an investment that is not only rewarding to my taste buds, one that enhances other aspects of life, that being health and well-being.

With this blog, I am now officially on a mission to create the “Do It the Hard Way” cookbook over the next year. 200 recipes in 400 days. Recently, me and Eric watched a great inspiring movie ‘Julie and Julia’”. If you haven’t seen this movie, the story is about an aspiring writer who set out to cook all of the recipes in Julia child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ over the course of a year, blogging about her cooking adventures, and occasional debacles daily. My concept is similar in nature, except I will be creating all of these dishes myself, inventing some from scratch, and adapting many popular recipes into healthier “Do It the Hard Way” versions.

To hit my goal of 200 recipes for this book, that’s roughly 4 a week from now until my birthday on September 23 of 2011. Each recipe will require several steps to be deemed book ready. First comes the initial idea or concept, then the food is prepared, cooked, and photographed before the all-important taste test. At some point during this process I need to make sure I have written down exactly what I used for ingredients as well as how I prepared and cooked the meal. Then I need to sit down at the computer, enter all of this info (including the nutritional specs), and create a blog post for the recipe.

Assuming I can reach my goal of 200 recipes by my self-imposed deadline, I will then begin work on the printed book design which I hope to have available by January of 2012. It will be a lot of work to keep up with this pace, but I am determined to see it through. I am also very fortunate to have some assistance by way of the world’s best live in prep cook, my husband, Eric, who is also the chief photographer in this project.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait until 2012 to try these recipes. As I will be posting them online as I create them, I urge you to try the ones that interest you and leave comments. Tell me what you like and what you don’t like. I’m open to suggestions and encourage your participation to help improve these dishes as I go along. And if you have any ideas about a recipe you would like to see me create a healthy version for, by all means, please send them along.

So that’s it, 200 recipes in 400 days to yield the Do It the Hard Way cookbook.

Happy cooking!