Monday, December 30, 2013

I Knew You Before You Even Existed

I love music. There are many different genres and I can honestly say that I like something in every one of them. There are some I don't like as much as others, such there are still some rap songs that I do enjoy. Of all the many artists out there, I feel you can group them all into 4 different categories: Those that make music for the sake of music, those that make music for the sake of poetry, those that make music for the sake of money and those that make music for the sake of emotion. The first two are both great reasons. If you do it for music you pay attention to the sound and the movement of the sound. If you do it for poetry, the words are more important and you look to the music later. The third is not a good one at all and you only care about producing something that will be huge, so you lip sync or over modulate your voice and pay others to write your songs. The final is the rarest and most powerful of the 4. The 4th mixes the best of the first two. You look for the best sound you can to create a feeling that will make some one tear up. Then you look to the words and give it all the attention to complement the sound you created.

I have mentioned in a few of my posts on here about a group called M83 that has blown me away recently. This group creates emotion like it comes natural to them. Most of the time my listening to them has caused tears. The trailer for the movie "Cloud Atlas," which made me cry featured one of their songs. The movie "Oblivion" used them to score the entire film, which made me cry. In my post on my blog about the 18th Annual At-Home Dads Convention, I mention how the album caused me to tear up while thinking about my kids. That was with no visual influence. Just the words and music created an emotional connection to me that cause me to break down.

Now on to my real reason for bringing them up again. I have been listening to their most recent album a lot and their first track simply titled, "Intro", has a line that I have misinterpreted. I thought it said, "We KNEW you before you even existed", but it actually says, "We WERE you before you even existed". Before I even knew what the real words were I thought a lot about that phrase, "We knew you before we even existed". As a father of four kids I immediately thought about my kids. Actually, as a father I think about my kids with just about anything, but this time it made sense to me.

I never met my daughter until she was 18 months and didn't know she was mine until she was 2. One could imagine that it would be hard for an 18 year old to understand that this kid is a part of him, but for me it was right. When I looked into my Gabi's eyes I just knew I knew her before. I felt like I had always known her. It was as if I knew here before. Before she even existed. Since then there have been doubts about whether or not I am actually her father and I myself even question it. I never had a test done but something tells me that no test will give me an answer because I still knew her before. She has always been mine and I have always know we were destined to be together as a father and daughter. In 2007, my oldest son was born. When I saw him I knew I had known him forever. Before he existed. I knew who he was. It all clicked to me. The emotions I fear to show before he was born all came out. I saw us in him. I saw my wife, I saw myself and I knew that he was us. We were him. We came together to create him. His emotions, his love, his anger, his fear, his looks, his touch, his every being was us. We were him. Even now that he is 6 I still see us.

When a parent first sees their child they look at that little bundle of poop, pee & need and feel emotions because they actually feel like they always have known them. For a new dad, they see someone that makes sense. Someone that has always been there and will always be there. For a mother, it is more profound, that child has spend the past 9 months inside them so, in a way, they do know them. They know their sleeping schedule, their temperament and their emotion, all based on how they were acting in the womb. As parents, we are naturally bred to love our children. We knew them before they even existed.

"We didn't need a story, we didn't need a real world
We just had to keep walking
And we became the stories, we became the places
We were the lights, the deserts, the faraway worlds
We were you before you even existed"

Now that's poetry any parent can understand.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Guest Post: Dave Taylor: "SPORTS? WELL, I DO HAVE A SON..."

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today is the day where everyone watches football and it reminds me that I don't like football and that my kids are copying me in this dislike. The issue is I want them to like sports. I don't want them to grow up never finding out for themselves whether they like it or not. I have decided to try and get into it to try to get them to make their own decisions. Here is a special guest post from Dave Taylor at about a different kid of football. Enjoy!

I don't know what kind of crossed DNA we had when he was conceived, but neither my ex nor I are particularly into sports, either playing or watching, yet my 13yo son is quite the athlete and fan. Truth is, I'm just not hugely competitive and as someone born in England, most American sports leave me bored to tears with the incessant ad breaks and 150 person teams full of specialists who can kick, run, pass, block or do the end-zone dance, but little else. How that's a sport escapes me.

But I also realize that when I was growing up, my Dad was not into any sports at all, even though he was quite a decent soccer player in London when he was in his teens and early twenties. Then the war showed up, he played against top-league professionals, pressure to earn money arose, and, well, he rapidly lost interest in sports.

That was his decision. But mine? Whether or not I'm an avid fan, I want my son -- and my daughters! -- to have the option of being into sports by exposing him to as many different teams as possible. Heck, he's quite the young athlete himself, alternating between basketball and lacrosse depending on the season. What teams does he support? Basically whatever the adults around him support. So that means the British Premier League soccer team the Tottenham Hotspurs because of my support of the team and the Broncos and Chiefs (confusingly!) because of us being in Colorado and his Mom having been born in Kansas City.

I've been to lots of live sports and they can be quite fun. I was particularly surprised by a Colorado Avalanche game that my son and I attended a while back that was way more fun than I expected! Baseball is more hit and miss and while I enjoy the "great American pastime" I always go to games prepared to be bored for at least one stretch of the game. And a no-hitter? Yaaawwwwnnn.

But I've always been a big fan of soccer, especially World Cup soccer, and even more so in the last 5-10 years or so. I don't know that I'd say I'm rabid or even avid, but I have a Spurs sweatshirt and team case for my iPhone. When they play and it's broadcast, I get up early to watch the matches, including when they get a real drubbing as they did last weekend from Manchester City. Yech. Does that make me fanatical?

My son definitely enjoys watching soccer matches with me, and when we can, I'll take him to a sports bar to get the social, audience experience. And he's clearly more of a sports fan than I am, happy to turn on a basketball, football, baseball or lacrosse game too. It's the least I can do, raising a boy.  And the fact that my daughters enjoy an occasional sporting event? That's just a lovely bonus.


Dave Taylor blogs about being a single father at and can be found on all major social media. Start by looking for him at @DaveTaylor on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

An Open Letter to Parents on the Playground: It Is OK to Play With Your Kids

I pulled up to the playground and me and my boys got excited. We come to this playground everyday and no one is ever here. Of course, I was happy about this at first; my social anxieties used to make me uncomfortable around other parents. Over the months, I began to notice my kids weren't having fun because there were no other kids. So imagine our excitement when we saw other kids! Now, imagine our disappointment when we notice you are sitting in your car while your 3 and 4 year olds are playing...Alone and as we approached the play area we heard your honk and then heard your shouts, "Come on! It's time to go!" And then all of our excitement was gone. I know you had to leave and I'm not blaming you for their disappointment but a minute after you left my 4 year old asked me this question: "Dad, why don't they play with their kids?"

I didn't know how to answer that. I couldn't come up with a good answer so I only said, "Some parents can't play with their kids like I can." Which is true. Maybe you had a surgery or you just aren't that young and aren't able to catch up. My kids are great in many ways. One of them being they are always giving me things to think about. This started me thinking.

Parenting is hard. We can all agree on that. All we ever do is deal with kids and when we have a moment, we just want to sit and enjoy it. The little ones are always there and they do not make things easier, that's for sure. But they still need us and play time is one of the best ways we can teach them. Over and over again when I go to the playgrounds that are popular and I see the same sight. Mom's and Dad's just sitting down and messing with their phone while the little ones run around in chaos. Of course, it is not everyone but this message isn't for the 25% (totally made up; number based on experience only) that do play and interact. This is for the phone moms and dads.

Most of the reason I go to this particular lonely park is because it is right next to my wife's work and we have 45 minutes to kill before we pick her up. The other is because I don't have to get weird looks from people sitting down while I am jumping around and playing in the sandbox. I have never liked putting myself in a position where people look at me so I like that I can play tag with the kids and run and slide down slides and jump off swings and...You get the picture. It allows me to act like a kid. You may not realize it but your kids are watching you. When they see you sitting on your phone ignoring everyone they will learn that it is OK to be that way. I think we can agree that is not what you want from your kids. You want them to be social and play with others. You don't want them sitting on the swings with their own phones Instagraming the sun and saying how awesome playing at the park is (which I have seen many time; seriously, anyone under the age of 13 DOES NOT NEED A SMART PHONE! But that's another post altogether). We want them to be friendly and not be afraid to play with other kids.

My point is that it is OK to play with your kids at the park. Let them see you having fun. Let them see you being silly. This is a moment where you can take a break from being mom or dad and be a friend. These little moments go a long way and when they are older they will remember it! Parenting is about having no regrets and raising our children the way they will look back and say, "Mom was so awesome. She was the one all the kids wanted to play with at the park." I am always certain to make moments and traditions that will last forever. When we go to the car; I will race them and sometimes I even let them win. When we are in elevators; I will tell them the elevator needs help and we need to push up with all our strength. These moments will be something my family will always cherish. Don't wait for your kids to create the good times...Create the good times for them.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Experience at the 18th Annual At-Home Dads Convention

Here I am sitting in Parent Hell. Yes I am referring to that parental terror also known as Chuck E. Cheese. It has been a week since the second day of 18th Annual At-Home Dads Convention. Actually, I'm not sitting, I'm standing, chasing down kids left and right. Chuck E. just came out and, while the kids do their dance, before the evil version of Mickey Mouse tosses a box full of tickets in the air causing an onslaught that reminds me of an episode of The Walking Dead, in which I'm not sure if my kids will come out with a hand full of tickets or a face full of tears, I am typing this. Now this isn't a day where we decided to take only our kids on a nice quiet weekday. This is Saturday for a birthday party. But in all fairness, the kids are having fun. They are smiling and being happy which, in spite of my disdain for the place, makes the trip worth it. It is a big difference to how my days were over one week ago.

My trip began at 3 am eastern time. I woke to my alarm and ate breakfast. Knowing I wouldn't be eating for a while, I ate some extra calories. Little did I know it still wouldn't be enough and would be eating again for nearly 10 hours. Everything worked out; my plane was on time and I made it on without issues, even after leaving my Fitbit on while going through security I still was in the air at a 6:50am. It was a quiet flight, after all it was really early and most people were asleep. Even the 2 people next to me. I stared out the window as we took off I noticed the sun beginning to rise, I was listening to m83 on the iPod and it had just began to play their song, "Wait." The brilliant colors of the sun coming over the horizon was the most amazing sight I have ever seen (aside from the birth of my kids). It seemed I was the only one to notice. A I am listening to this song I am overwhelmed by emotion. It reminds me it will be the first time in a very long time that my boys will wake up and their dad would not be there. I felt myself begin to tear up and I was sad that I couldn't be there for them in the morning.

"Send your dreams 
Where nobody hides 
Give your tear's
To the tide 
No time 
There's no end 
There is no goodbye 
With the night 
No time" - m83 - "Wait"

After spending the day in downtown Denver, after I finally found some food in downtown, I met up with Eric of Dad on the Run and Don Jackson of Daddy Newbie. It was great being able to hang out with 2 guys I felt I already knew because of Facebook. After about 30 minutes, my roommate and gracious host Al Watts arrived and I was finally able to get in a room and clean up. As a scholarship recipient, Al hosted me in his room without me having to cover any costs. I am still amazed and thankful for everything the National At-Home Dad Network (NAHDN) did to help me get out there. They covered flight, admission to the convention and even covered the cost for the Saturday dinner. After spending a few minutes in the room I met downstairs with Eric and Chris from DadNCharge. I then did something I have never really done before; walked to a bar for a few drinks. After a couple beers and meeting up with Trevor from OneSAHD, we headed back to the hotel for the meet up before we all headed to Lucky Strike.

We were like a gang, laughing and walking through LoDo. Probably around 20 of us all following everyone and no one, hoping at least one of us knew the way. Finally we arrived at Lucky Strike and had a fun time just talking and getting to know one another. I heard and had so many great conversations although the number one question of the night I heard was always, "How many kids do you have?" I had assumed my answer of four would raise some eyebrows but was pleasantly surprised to find many of us have more than 3 kids. It is something we all have in common. This pure love and emotional connection to our children. One isn't enough for us. I felt at home. Rarely was sports the major part of the conversation. Yes it was discussed but I never heard anyone push it like I hear when I talk to guys at bars that have no kids. It was always, kids, wives, housework and playgroups. Oh and poop...Of course. I had an amazing conversation with Chris Routly from Daddy Doctrines about web comics, kids TV and Breaking Bad. Made my night since I haven't talked to many other that have finished Breaking Bad and was able to have a spoiler filled conversation without holding back details and my true feelings about the show.

That night when I finally arrived late to the hotel I was surprised to find my roommate was not there yet; I figured he would have been asleep already since, being the president of the National At-Home Dad Network, he would have a busy day in the morning. He arrived not long after but this began one of my favorite parts of the convention; my nightly conversations with Al Watts. He, being a little older than me, had so much insight at what I am going through and put a lot of things in perspective. It was great talking about the convention, past conventions, future ones, Brian Dickson, how the scholarship works, ect. Learning how much goes in to putting this on made me want to be a part of it. It was the first night that I decided to volunteer to help with the scholarship committee with the hopes to help expand it and help other dads that have financial trouble to make the trip.

Early Friday many of us went to the Food Bank of the Rookies for a community service project and then after lunch the convention officially began.The speakers for the Friday were really great. We were introduced to Dr. Richard Mahogany and, followed by a great discussion with, Al, Hogan Hilling, Chris Routly and Doug French about empowering dads and leading the charge on breaking down negative stereotypes. Something we all deal with on a regular basis; people that don't understand why we are at home with the kids and not our wives. Two people that left a positive impression on me during the whole trip were women. Lisa Duggan and Stephanie Jelley from The Modern Village & Umojawa. They did a nice presentation on mindfulness and at every turn, whether speaking or just hanging around during a meet up, they were always helping us and inspiring us to be great dads.

Saturday began our keynote speaker (Dr. Harley Rotbart) and our breakout sessions. Dr. Rotbart blew me away. His book No Regret Parenting is all about creating those little moments in your kids lives that will stick with them for the rest of their life. It has been an eyeopener in the fact I realize I already do things like, every time we are in an elevator my kids and I will try to lift the elevator up or push it down. My kids always do it even when I'm not paying attention. Hearing what he had to say made me realize how important it is to always do that and make it a moment they expect and have fun with it.

After a great lunch provided by the breakouts began. I attended Returning to Work, At–Home Fitness, Infants & Toddlers, Marriage – Relationship . They all offered a great learning experiences but the one I enjoyed the most was the At-Home Fitness session. It made me realize how easy it can be to get in little workouts and still get stuff done. They actually had us doing the exercises so we can learn them before we take it back home and start to be more fit. 

The part of the whole convention that I enjoyed the most was the end. Not because I was happy it was over but because it offered the most emotion. Al Watts blew us all away with a powerful talk about his daughter and how her recent brush with death was a reminder about why he stays at home and why he helps run the NAHDN. The story had almost every man in that room tearing up. His daughter was horseback riding in Yellowstone and the horse she was riding stepped wrong and fell in a canyon with is 11 year old still on. She stopped around 150 feet down and was trapped there fro 4 hours waiting for helicopters to come and rescue her. I know we were all imagining that happening to our own kids. Afterward we watched a slideshow of pictures of our kids. Seeing all these happy faces of our kids was a bit overwhelming. Having just heard Al's story seeing picture of kids I recognized, kids that looked like guys I just met and then seeing my own brought tears to my eyes. All the pain I felt about leaving them was too much and I couldn't hold back. I don't think I have ever missed my kids more than that moment. 

During closing remarks, I was real proud of all the scholarship dads that stood up and thanked everyone for helping us get to the convention. It is extremely important for dads that are low income to attend something like this because we learn stuff we never would because we can't afford it. There are so many books and classes offered back home but because of our position we can't attend or buy the books. I am very happy we spoke up because it allowed us to put it out there that this scholarship is great and can be better if only we get the word out and bring in more funding to get more dads out to these conventions. I was nearly brought to tears when I heard of some dads, that didn't really know about the scholarship, decided that they would pay for a hotel room for next years recipients. I decided if I couldn't afford it next year, I would rather sit it out than to receive another scholarship and stop someone from missing out. If you can please donate to the scholarship fund and help as many dads as we can.

I guess it't time to close this. I want to thank a lot of people here. For Robb Tavill, thank you for all the work you did to get me out there. For Al Watts, thanks for hosting me at the last minute and for all the amazing conversations. They may have kept us up later than we should have but they were worth it. For Eric Boyette and Don Jackson for hanging out with me while I waited for Al to arrive. For James Kline, thank you for teaching me how to enjoy beer and for the great conversations we had, I can't wait for 2015/2016! For Greg Washington, thanks for being awesome and all the Facebook friend suggestions. For Michael Brown for the great conversation we had that left me feeling inspired about something I can barely remember, one too many beers I guess. And a big collective thanks to the following for just being awesome: Philip Andrew, Will Culp, Rich O'Dell, Ron Crouch, Bill Ekhardt, Justin Faucette, Joe Agro, Ryan Rippentrop, Lance Somerfeld, Doug French, Stephanie Jelley, Jim O'Dowd, Todd Matarazzo, Chris Routly, Lisa Duggan,  Jesse King, Hogan Hilling, Christian Toto, Michael Madsen, David Worford, Jarrod Hindman, Dr. Harley Rotbart, Nick Weber, Alberto Pellicer, Austin Dowd. For the convention sponsors: Huggies,,, Farmrich, The Modern Village, Umojawa,, DAD 2.0 Summit.

I know I missed a few people but if I talked to you and didn't mention you here it is because either we never friended each other on Facebook or I never got your name.

And a huge thanks to Richard Blake and all the other Denver dads for leading the charge on setting it all up!

Friday, August 2, 2013


I have found that the best thing that keeps me going during my health journey is making a goal that I can stick to. In the beginning it was quitting drinking pop. I have been successful for the most part; I have a little here or there but not more than 2 or 3 times a month. After that I wanted to run a 5k and began to train for that. In June I completed that goal. I had made a goal of running a nother 5k in the fall but I feel because that wasn't a goal that would push myself further, I pretty much forgot about it. I haven't been running much and I haven't been working out in general. Since April, I have been doing these challenges on LoseIt! that have been getting more popular with every month. They have evolved in to this great community of people that always keep me going. In June I stopped logging my food and even though I didn't gain I also didn't lose any weight. When I started my July challenge I worked hard to get back in the habit and this group of people really help me achieve my goal of logging everyday. Now that we are here in August and I feel my interest waning I have decided I need a big goal...Wait thats not right...I need a BIG goal. There that better. As I was struggling to come up with this I met an amazing guy with the same goals as myself, Micah. I met him on Facebook in an "at home dads group" and since we had the same goal we started a group for at home dads that are looking to live a healthy lifestyle and lose weight. Last week in a conversation he mentioned he wanted to go with me and another dad in the group on a bike tour of Door County in Wisconsin. I thought he was joking and brushed it off. Then I noticed he started posting questions about tents and other "camping" type items and realized he was serious. This idea began to stew in my brain. At first, it was, "how cool would that be, to bad I can't do it." Then I began to think, "Wisconsin isn't that far away. Maybe." Then, "You are not fit enough to do that." Then another friend posted photos from his bike tour of the Netherlands and then it was, "Oh man, I want to do this." I contacted Micah and said, "Lets do this." He sent me a list of items he thinks we will need and after looking it over I discovered I had nothing on the list...Including the most important tool...A bike. After looking at prices including the bike and travel expenses to get to Wisconsin I'm looking at a cost of over $2000. And that wasn't counting the cost of food during the tour. The problem: I am a Stay At Home Dad. My wife makes enough to pay bills but as far as funding a trip for myself, not only do we not have the money but it would be selfish to expect my wife to pay for a goal I want to do without her. So I am putting it up to the world and asking anyone that can help to please, go to and donate any amount you can. Also If you have any items that you can loan or give me that is on my list let me know.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Health Tip #31: The Dangers of Splenda

Everyone keeps talking about the dangers about aspartame (equal) but no one is talking about sucralose (splenda). Sucralose is made by taking real sugar and processing it so that the sucrose (sugar) is taken out and leaving the sweet part that cant be metabolized by your body. (Sucralose does contain calories but because your body doesnt metabolize it the calories have no effect...apparently) During the process chlorine is added to help remove the real sugar part. Yup you read that right, chlorine. The stuff you put in pool, the stuff you wash your whites in. Aspartame has shown to cause many bad side effect when drank in soda regularly and sucralose is no different. common side effects associated with the use of Splenda include headaches and migraines, nausea, upset stomach, digestive issues and dizziness. You may be getting it somewhere you didn't even know. Of course there is Diet Coke with Splenda, Pepsi ONE uses it, Diet Mountain Dew, Diet Lipton iced teas, regular and with lemon. All Diet Rite drinks contain it as well as Hansen's Diet Sodas.  Nabisco-brand Snackwells sugar-free sandwich cookies, sugar-free yogurts and ice cream, canned fruits and fruit gels, sugar-free jelly, Crystal Light, Ocean Spray Light Juice Drinks, Arizona Diet Iced Teas all use Splenda. Even some Nutrition bars use Splenda instead of sugar to reduce calories.

You may think you are doing good by replacing Aspartame with Splenda but your not. It is an easy jump to say, "I should stop drinking Diet Pepsi and switch to Pepsi One" but your only opening yourself up to other problems. The best way to maintain a healthy life style and feel good is to stop drinking pop all together. Don't replace one bad thing with another. I use Stevia (Truvia) which is a Natural sweetener because it is derived from the plant and doesn't involve chemicals to make it low calories. It has also been shown to help decrease hypertension and lowers blood sugar levels in diabetes patients. It was also been used by South American Natives to prevent pregnancy, apparently.  As with all sweeteners even Stevia should be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, mainly because there hasn't been enough research involved. 

Monday, July 1, 2013


I've always wanted to be writer. I enjoy it and I enjoy reading but like everything else I half ass it and never get anything done. How many posts are here that say "in back expect more." This isn't one of those posts...I hope. Here is the thing I want to write more. Will I succeed? Probably not. Will I try? No...I will do. What can you expect here? You can expect a few posts then a drop off. But I will do my damnedest to not let that happen.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Health Tip #30: Morning Hydration

Be sure to drink at least 2 cups of water within a half hour of waking up to make up for the dehydration of sleep. This is very important for people like myself because of the amount of sweating I do when sleep I will become more dehydrated.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Health Tip #29: Keep Your Mind Active

A major part of being healthy is keeping your mind active. I mentioned before to always try to read. This time I am saying to watch and listen to news radio and TV. Keep your mind in the real world as much as you keep your mind in the fantasy world. Most network news isn't worth it but most local news is very informative and worth watching. NPR is the best source for news because, even though they do lean liberal they stay more middle with their coverage than any network news.

Of all the network TV the show think is the best news source is 60 Minutes. They are presenting some really good news reports lately. This week they delve into the housing "issue" in China. Amazing story.

How ever you get your news do it regularly to keep you brain happy. Even with all the depressing news out there it is important to keep your brain informed and active.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Health Tip #28: New Things

Don't be afraid to try new things. I've been try many new things, from Asparagus to green smoothies I've been expanding my tastes greatly.
I have been putting Spinach in my smoothies. I have never liked spinach. It is actually good. I also added wheat grass and it made my smoothie taste like grass...but I liked it. Don't hold yourself back you may actually enjoy these things that seem gross. Also by drinking green smoothies for breakfast I have lost 2% of my body fat.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Health Tip #27: Slow Down

No I don't mean stop exercising. Slow down while eating. It takes around 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full. Don't eat it all really fast take small bites and savor it. You may find that after 10 to 20 minutes, you won't be as hungry as you thought.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Health Tip #26: Fat Consumption

Keep track of the amount of fat from food you consume as well as calories. The suggested amount is to stay around 20% to 35% of you overall nutrients. Most calorie trackers also track fat so just start looking at your nutrient percentages. I have noticed that even though I am losing weight my Body Fat Percent is going up. Basically I'm losing mass but not fat. I noticed my fat has been staying around 40% to 45%; the majority of my nutrients. If I don't decrease this number I will end up with extra flabby skin when I reach my goal. I don't want that. Some good ways to help lower fat. Look and see how many calories come from fat. My pesto I use everyday is 270 calories but 230 calories from fat for 1/4 cup. I don't use that much in a day but the ratio is not good. I will be cutting that out completely. Eat more veggies; our body needs good fat still and veggies have the healthiest source. Swap your ground beef with ground turkey. Not only does it have less calories but it also has less fat and is overall healthier. I have always preferred turkey burger but most people in my house do not so I haven't been buying it anymore. This is going to change.  You can also dab your food. Whether at a restaurant or at home you can decrease your calories by 300 a day if you just dab it with a napkin, especially if its pizza.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Health Tip #25: Don't Sit Down

While doing daily cleaning, don't sit down. While cleaning you may get the urge to sit on the floor a pick things up but you will burn more calories by staying on your feet. Basically, it is like doing lunges and squats the whole time. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Health Tips: BRB

With kids being sick I have had no time to do my health tips. They will be back so don't be discouraged. I have a few partially written and a couple ideas still needing research. If you have any questions for me to address please let me know. Post here in the comments or send me a message.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Health tip #24: Eating Healthy is Expensive?

Every one has heard or said the phrase, "I would start eating better but health food is too expensive." This really is not true. Yes, prepackaged health food is more expensive but why do you need to buy those "health" options. Instead of getting foods that say, healthy on the front or made with natural ingredients, just make them at home. Want to buy a 'low calories" thin crust pizza, get a package of flour and yeast. Find a quick pizza dough recipe and make a pizza at home. Learn yo cook because not only will it be cheaper; taste how you want it to. It is easier to buy unhealthy because we have trained ourselves to rely on them so we have learned to buy them froogly. All we need to do is train yourself to buy healthy and keep the cost down. With time you will discover you are saving money; mainly because it costs more to feed someone who eats poorly and gets seconds or thirds than someone that eats healthy and only puts what they will eat on their plate.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Health Tip #23: Counting Calories

The human body burns calories naturally. The amount burned all depends on the amount of activity you normally get. If you work a desk job you will burn fewer calories than if your job involved walking. If you take this number and then factor in your height and weight you will find how many calories you naturally burn in a normal day. Normal meaning without exercise or extra activities. Take that number and you have the amount of calories you can eat to maintain your weight. If you want to lose weight you eat less calories and if you want to gain you eat more. Most people eat more calories then they think and that is way obesity is a growing problem on our planet. A recent study found there are more people in the developing world that are overweight than there are hungry. "Worldwide, more than 1.3 billion people are overweight, whereas only about 800 million are underweight—and these statistics are diverging rapidly." ( Eat 1000 less if you want to lose 2 pounds a week 500 less if you want to lose 1 pound a week. To find your caloric intake, visit this site:
Be honest with your weight and exercise level when using this otherwise the numbers will be wrong and you wont lose anything. On another note: you do not want to lose more than 2 pounds a week. What you see on the Biggest Loser is not representing of what a successful weight lose program is lost. They are being constantly supervised by doctors, nutritionists and personal trainers. Unless you have 2000 dollars a week to spare you will not have that kind of supervision. It is up to you to track what you are doing and hold yourself accountable for a safe and steady weight loss. IF IT HAS BEEN A MONTH AND YOU HAVE LOST ONLY 4 OR 6 POUNDS YOU ARE DOING GREAT! I cannot stress this any more: don't be down on yourself because you have only lost a few pounds in a couple weeks. When you are down on yourself, you will go back to the way you were and you will gain 10 pounds in 2 weeks. You don't want that. Be proud of what you accomplish; no matter how small.

There are many ways to keep track of  your calories. You can use pen and paper or you can use a site like or I use and, using their android or iPhone/iPod app I can see right away what I have consumed for the day and know what I have left, no matter where I am. Myfitnesspal also has an app that is also very good. If you don't have a smart phone keep a pen and paper with you and record as you go. If you don't know the amount of calories then write down what it is and look it up later. Once you get home at the end of the day, grab your notepad and record it all down on Loseit or Myfitnesspal. Over time it will become easier to guess how many calories are in an item. 

To get an idea of what your normal caloric intake is before you start to count eat what you do normally. Don't lie to yourself no matte how bad it may be. Record it all down on paper don't count any calories, when the night is over add it all up and you will see how bad it normally is. Then you can look and see what you did wrong that day and see where you can improve. I did this and found I had consumed 4600 calories on a Saturday and then 5200 calories on a Sunday. Given that one pound weighs 3,500 calories and I consumed 9800 Calories over 2 days minus that my body naturally burns 6000 Calories over 2 days, I gained over 1 pound in 2 days. Now factor that I probably ate that much over the entire week, 5000 a day times 7 days is 35000 calories over the entire week, my body burned 21000, subtract that from 35000 and I ate 14000 extra calories. That would be a 4 pound gain in a week. Of course the science behind this isn't exact but you get the picture. Count your calories; it really is important.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pesto Veggie Pizza: Lunch Style

I was trying to come up with something for the kids for lunch since school was cancelled again. I was tired of do the same old things for so I went to the fridge to see what we got. I found we still had leftover pizza sauce. I was going to make up a quick batch of dough but that sounded like too much work for lunch so I decided to just use the Sandwich Thins we had. As I was getting things set up for them to make their own little pizzas I had a great idea. Why not make the Pesto Veggie Pizza on one of the pizza thins. And I enjoyed it a lot and it was fast. Only 334 calories

What you will need:
About 6 Florets
11 calories

Cheese, Mozzarella, Shredded
1/4 Cup
84 calories

Sandwich Thins
1 Each
100 calories

2 Tablespoons

Set Oven to 350°. If broccoli is frozen steam in the microwave. for about 5 minutes. Open the sandwich thin and set on a plate. Put 1 Tb of Pesto on each sandwich half. Top with broccoli and then cheese. Put cheese last to ensure that the broccoli is in place. You can add any other veggie topping as well but there isn't much room so be careful not to stack too high. Put on a cookie sheet and place in the oven until the cheese is nice and melted. Should take about 5 to 7 minutes. You could also put in microwave if you need to save time but I imagine it wouldn't be as tasty.

Pesto Egg English Muffin

This what I eat just about every morning. It has gone through may different variations but has always had three main ingredients. Egg, cheese and Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles. I don't always use English muffins, most the time I use a bagel thin or a sandwich thin but the English muffin gives it a much better flavor and the pesto just make it so much more delicious.
After making the Pesto Pizza I had some left over pesto and thought maybe I should use it for my breakfast. I had forgotten how much I love pesto and adding to my sandwich was a great idea.
Very simple and quick. I have a round pancake/egg mold I set on the pan, spraying Pam on the mold and the pan. In a separate bowl mix one egg and the sausage crumbles in a bowl. Break the yoke if you want, I try to keep it whole; The burst of flavor when I bite into the yoke is amazing. This is a very versatile recipe; if you are vegan you can use your normal substitutes and still enjoy. Pour the egg/sausage mix in the middle of the mold and cook. Take a lid for your pan, put a little water in the lid, pour the water around the egg and cover. The steam will cook the egg faster. Meanwhile, toast your muffin checking back with you egg every 20 or 30 seconds and make sure it is done. Put it all together and your done.
Calories: 294
To reduce calories omit pesto, use egg substitute/whites, omit sausage or omit cheese.
Just don't do all or it doesn't taste as wonderful.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wallpaper: Towers in the Snow

Health Tip #22: Health Podcasts

One way that I am learning more about being healthy is by listening to health related podcasts. I have always listened to podcasts pretty heavily and when i started to work on being healthier I figured that will be the best way to get information. I started by subscribing to a lot and then weeding through those. Here are too that I find that I liked best.

The Jillian Michaels Show: Lots of rambling but filled with nuggets of goodness. What I like about her is she doesn't tip toe around she will tell you want you are doing wrong and tell you how to fix it.

The Nutrition Diva's Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous: Fast and under 10 minutes. Very useful information on eating healthy.

I also just found out that Diamod Dallas Page has DDPRadio. He has created the DDPYoga workout that I am really wanting to try. I haven listened to it but I will update if it is good or not.

This is one way I stay informed, it's not gonna be right for everyone but if you listen to the radio at all I suggest you look around. Go to iTunes and skim the Health podcast section and see whats there.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pesto Veggie Pizza

On Friday, I made this really good Pesto Veggie Pizza. In my attempts to eat healthier I am eating more veggies and this was my attempt to take something I love and still enjoy it. At first I wanted to do the veggie pizza I grew up on but found out it was made with cream cheese and ranch so I thought against it because my wife, Silva, hates ranch and Cream Cheese. I found this on pinterest and it linked up to Taste of Home. It was perfect because I have used pesto in a recipe in the past and loved it and the main topping is broccoli which I also love. And more important no cream cheese or ranch. At first I was weirded out by having to boil and then process the spinach with the pesto but it turned out amazing. Not to bad on the calorie count and very good. I made a regular pizza for the kids and was shocked when Liam, my  year old, wanted the veggies pizza instead. And he loved it. Success! The below photos are from me. The crust was a little too thick so try to get it very thin to really enjoy.

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 to 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3-1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1-3/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh broccoli
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the Parmesan cheese, oil, sugar, basil, salt, all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining whole wheat flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll dough into a 16-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; build up edges slightly. Prick dough with a fork. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil. Add spinach; cover and boil for 3-5 minutes or until wilted. Drain and place in a food processor. Add pesto; cover and process until blended.
Spread over pizza crust. Top with broccoli, green pepper, green onions, garlic and mozzarella cheese. Bake 10-12 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts
1 piece equals 364 calories, 17 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 29 mg cholesterol, 543 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 19 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 2 fat, 1 vegetable.

Health Tip #21: Anti-Fun

Piggy backing on yesterday, remember to space out your free days. Yes its OK to have a free day, where you have a little extra here and there, but it is not OK to have a free day 2 days in a row. That is how bad habits are formed. By doing that over and over you get set into patterns and next thing you know you are doing it 3 nights a week, then 4 nights a week. Remember to set boundaries with yourself and stick with it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Health Tip #20: Fun

You don't always have to be uptight about health. Allow yourself to have some time to unwind. If that means having a little wine once a week or eating a bowl of ice cream. Its not the end of the world, enjoy it and don't beat yourself up over it. Because you know you will do fine tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Health Tip #19: Vitamins

Vitamins are a controversial subject. Many people feel they aren't needed. I don't agree with this. I feel vitamins are important; especially when losing weight. I feel this way because I have seen a difference in my weight lose numbers when I regularly take them. Many vitamins act as metabolism boosters and it is a good idea to take vitamins that will maximize your metabolism. I don't like to drink energy drinks (that will be another tip later) so I instead I take Vitamin B Complex which contain more of the same vitamins that are in energy drinks. Not only do B vitamins provide energy but it will also increase your metabolism and boost red blood cell production, I also am sure to take a daily Multi-Vitamins (like One-A-Day) that will fill out all my other vitamins that I am not otherwise supplementing. I take a Vitamin C chew-able as well because it, not only helps your immune system, but it also pulls iron out of your body to increase oxygen levels. And there is more Vitamin C will boost you metabolic rate and burn fat. I also take St. Johns Wart to boost my mood it help a little and I have found that I am in a better mood when I take it. Not really a substitute but it is better than taking Zoloft. I am considering taking a Vitamin D and E but I am still studying up on those.

Here are a couple links about fat burning vitamins:


Ok. So it's been 4 or 5 months so I guess its time to redo this blog again. My new focus with this blog is to highlight my photography, share great HEALTHY recipes I find and post health tips. I want to use this to motivate my healthy eating eating lifestyle and get myself back into photography. Keep coming back to see a daily health tip and look forward to some good posts in the future.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Health Tip #18

Don't listen to your treadmills data. Every treadmill manufacture calibrates theirs different and usually use extremely healthy men to calibrate their calories burned monitor. By doing this the number can become inflated beyond what you actually burn. There are many other factors as well. If you use the fat burning program you will be keeping your heart rate down to a low level and when your heart rate is low you will burn less and a treadmill doesn't account for this difference and will display a higher burn amount. Don't rely on a treadmills heart rate monitor either because in order to be accurate you will have to hold on to the handles for your entire run. If your holding on you cant run very well and wont burn as many calories. Best way to accurately know your calories burned is by having a heart rate monitor that straps to your chest and records calories burned based on that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Health Tip #17

When starting a journey to better health don't be afraid to rely on others for support. Remember to be honest with yourself and share your progress with others good or bad. I am receiving so much support by great people that this quest is easier than I could imagine. On another note be sure to help your friends that are on the same journey. Help them when they are down and congratulations them when they do great. Even if they are doing better than you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Daily Health Tip #16

Hungry and its bed time. Eat something. The whole never eat before bed time is for the most part a myth. If its bed time and your tummy is rumbling have an apple or some yogurt. Something that will give you a quick fix but with a enough calories to satisfy you until morning. If you go to bed hungry you will wake up in the middle of the night and eat. And when your sleepy and groggy and starving you will go for what ever your dreamy mind can find, leftover cake, chips, ice cream, leftover fried chicken, half a package of Oreo's Wash it down with a big glass of milk and you just consumed 500 calories. If you are starved you will be more prone to over eat. And then morning comes and you eat a decent breakfast and don't record the late night "snack". If you do eat before bed try to stay ways from the fatty foods and breads.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daily Health Tip #15

Plan your meals ahead of time. That way you will be less likely to eat out or to something bad.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Daily Health Tip #14

Crash diets are just that...Any diet that requires you to eat 2000 calories less is only going to hurt you. On the same token any diet that requires you eat a ton on meat and forgo ALL or extremely low carbs is also a train wreak waiting to happen. No one needs extreme measures to lose weight. If a diet is promising you will loss more than 2 pounds a week it is not safe. Your body is not designed for rapid weight loss, if you lose too much too fast you will gain most of it back... even more when you reach your goal and stop following that diet. This has happened to me with the south beach diet. I like The Biggest Loser but the reason these people are losing so much is because they are being constantly watched by doctors and if you look back a lot of them have gained a lot back. I heard a nutritionist say, "one women needs to lose 10 pounds and one women needs to lose 50. The first will adjust her eating and do more exercise and the other will do a crash diet and lose 50 pounds in the same amount of time women 1 does. Women 1 can return to her regular lifestyle and the other will continue to so that crash diet for the rest of her life in order to keep it off. Do you want to starve your self and never eat foods you like again and exercise 3 hours day? Probably not. Lose 1 to 2 pounds a week that is the best choice. There is one sure fire way to get better. Eat healthy choices more and sugary/high calorie choices less. You don't have to stop eating what you like you just have to control how much of it you take in. Go ahead and have that Snickers but only one regular size and only once a week or less. Not everyday. And on the other side. Gimmicky exercise programs. Don't choose these 150 dollar DVD sets that promise all the shiny things. These companies put all the great things on the box and make promises that you will have results in blah blah weeks. Real life doesn't happen over a couple weeks. Chances are it took years to get the way you are and you WONT change overnight. Just start walking more, get more active and sit less. Pay attention to how many EXTRA calories you burn and stay within a budget that is right for you. It doesn't have to cost money to get guaranteed results. It only costs willpower.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daily Health Tip #13

NO Artificial Sweeteners. We all know they aren't the best for us, but they are zero calories so they can't be all bad...right? Wrong. It is true that we need to cut back on sugars but it should not be replaced with chemicals that have been designed in a lab. The 3 main Artificial Sweeteners, Equal (Aspartame), Splenda (Sucralose) and Sweet and Low (Saccharin) are what we all see. They are also the worst thing to replace sugar with. When we eat something sweet we are telling our bodies that there will be lots of energy coming but when that energy never comes then our bodies start to tell us we are hungry, thus we eat more than we should because we feel hungry. They are also addicting so we always crave more sweeteners, which will cause us to crave more food and when your body is used to a highly sweetened things we crave more sweet foods. Still want that sweet taste in you coffee? Switch to NATURAL sweeteners like honey, agave or Stevia. I just switched to stevia. Since I have stopped drinking pop i am finding that I am not craving the artificial sweeteners as much so i am attempting to break myself from over sweetening my coffee and tea. I also feel that by doing this I will stop my body from only wanting sweet so I can get more used to the lightly sweetened GOOD foods like vegetables and fruits.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Health Tip #2

Most people don't realize how many calories they eat in the day. Start writing down what you eat either in a phone app or by hand you will be shocked at the number whether it is high or low. If you eat more than you burn you will keep gaining and if you eat too little your body goes into starvation mode and will store all the extra fat causing a stop in weight loss. It is also important to eat meals at the same time every day and have a decent sized breakfast every morning to maximize your metabolism.
Oh and that salad you get at that restaurant thinking its good for you has way more calories than you think.