The Winner

“The winner is the one who is willing to get out on the field and play the game”  Vince Lombardi

Better safe than sorry…how many times have you heard that one? But if you really play it safe and don’t even get in the game you may keep yourself from getting hurt but at best you’ll be a spectator watching your favourite team win.

So if you actually get out there and get involved, playing the game with enthusiasm and passion you are a winner!! If you get beat, does that make you a loser?  Well maybe on that day, but not in the long run. If you get back out there and apply all the stuff you just learned the hard way, with a big dose of persistence it’s inevitable that you will be a winner.

If you play the game with determination, passion, and courage, and you still end up losing, people will rally behind you and help you in all kinds of ways. See, it’s human nature to support the underdog… to help you succeed.

But if you remain on the sidelines, all you can do is watch others while they’re playing the game. So don’t let an opportunity to get in the game pass you by. Get out there, get involved, and prepare to be a winner.

Have a fantastic game,




It’s time Santa went on a diet

I’ve been thinking its time that the jolly fellow (Santa Claus) started looking after himself and cut out the eggnogg and shortbread cookies. He’s not setting a very good example for the kids, is he?  He’s overweight (fat) and all he does is ho ho ho about it. And what about Rudolph and the other reindeer…it must be hard dragging around an old fat guy and waiting around on the rooftop while he squeezes himself through the chimney. And it really would be a lot easier to make it down the chimney if he lost a few pounds.

So here’s how we can give Santa a little help in the healthy living department. This year don’t leave him beer and pretzels, or milk and cookies, or chocolates. It’s time we showed some tough love and left him some healthy snacks…how about some veggies, carrot sticks and broccoli (but hold the veggie dip). Or some nuts and raisins,or an apple, maybe some edamame beans, or anything with tofu in it :)

Santa may not be too thrilled about the change of pace, but I’m thinking he’ll thank us for it next year, when, if he’s taken our advice he’ll be able to fit  into his old Santa Suit from back when he was  a young Santa. And I’m going to send him a link to Karlee’s Vegan Survival Guide to give him some healthy eating ideas.

It’s time Santa started taking his health more seriously…he’s got a lot of kids counting on him. Maybe next year we can get him to quit smoking, drinking, and carrying on with the elves.

There’s something else that I’d like to address…Why is it that people are so happy and loving and caring at Christmas? But they drive their cars like it’s demolition derby time at the PNE. I’ve seen more middle finger salutes these past few days than I’ve seen all year. It must be getting close to Christmas. After we make it through this “joyous season”, people will most likely go back to being their same old grumpy selves and I’m hoping their driving will get back to “normal” as well.

Ho Ho Ho

Merry Christmas to all and wishing everyone a fantastic 2012


Almost There!

The end is in sight! Yeehaw! I’m really looking forward to the expanded list of food choices I’ll have when I complete the 3 week vegan challenge. Don’t think I’m quite ready to join the ranks of veganism. However I am committed to continuing on with making healthy food choices and pursuing positive lifestyle changes to enhance my overall health and wellness. I know Karlee has some more recommendations for my excercise program that she’ll be sharing with us over the next few days. I’m looking forward to it!

The experience of eliminating meat and dairy products from my diet has been a real  eye-opener. I tried a lot of foods that I wasn’t used to eating, ie tempeh, eggplant, kale, romano beans, lentils, pecans, quinoa…the list goes on. It’s expanded my daily food choices. I know I can easily cut down on consumption of meat products and eat other foods that I not only like but are good for me too…bonus!

Over the past 18 days, there’s been just a couple of instances where I slipped up a little :( Karlee calls it cheating!  Anyways, I had a couple of veggie burgers that I found out contained dairy…who knew that veggie burgers weren’t all veggie. And it was at Thanksgiving that  I really felt thankful for the good food we had to eat and decided to have some turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.(just a little though)  Then there was the time I put a some milk in my coffee…force of habit. Oh yaa, I had a couple of pieces of california roll. But that’s about it. I hope Karlee’s not too upset at me for my Thanksgiving Day transgressions, since I know that she resisted temptation and had a bean salad while others were chowing down on turkey dinner with all the trimmings….too bad,so sad :)  But Karlee, I’m back on the straight and narrow for the next few days to finish off the challenge.

I heard something profound the other day. There’s a common perception that people resist change. People don’t resist change…They resist “being changed”. When people have reasons to change and make the decision to change, they will make lasting positive changes. But only once they’ve decided that the benefits of change are greater than the benefits of continuing on with the status quo. When’s the last time you made a decision to change just because someone else told you to? Hmmmm. Food for thought.

Have a fantastic day!

Peter Diesing


Karlee says “Get off the Couch ”

Here’s Karlee’s response to my latest post. I gotta go now. I’m taking my dog for a walk :)   PD

It is very common to have withdrawal symptoms when you cut out certain foods. For most people sugar is a very addicting food, and not having their sweet start to the
morning can really affect them. Until you start to eat unprocessed whole foods,
you may not realize how much sugar you are actually consuming. The first few
days are always the hardest, but I have noticed sugar withdrawal symptoms
lasting over a week. The ‘spaced out’ feeling my dad mentioned is actually a
clinical symptom of the withdrawal phase. In the long run cutting out processed
foods will not leave you mentally foggy forever - your body (and taste buds) will quickly get used to the different sources of energy!

Now that we are progressing into week 3 of our challenge, our bodies are a little more used to the foods we are feeding it. The cravings are starting to be eliminated and we
are starting to feel fresh and energized. It is the perfect time to start an exercise program. Instead of drilling in the benefits of daily physical activity (you have all heard it before), I am going to tell you some ways of incorporating it into your busy life. The time is now to stop being sedentary and making excuses for every reason why you can’t exercise. Everyone has time, everyone has the energy and everyone has the willpower.

Although scientific research is always changing and new theories are always coming out, experts say you only need about 30 minutes of exercise in a day. For some
people that means 30 minutes of running or 30 minutes in a fitness class, but
for most people vigorous physical activity is not an option.  There are numerous benefits from light to moderate physical activity including walking, swimming, yoga and dancing. A structured fitness regime is not for everyone, and you don’t have to be sweating balls to get a good workout. Yes, resistance training is important (especially as you age), but that is not where you have to start.  How about you start by spending 30 minutes a day doing any type of activity – all you need to do is move your body! My challenge to you this week is to find away to spend 30 minutes a day doing anything active – walking the dog, washing the car, swimming, yoga or even dancing in your underpants.  It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes in a row. You can split it into three blocks of 10 minutes – 10 minutes of walking the dog, 10 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of walking up and down the stairs. Whatever floats your boat!

After your body gets used to moving more, you can start adding in more advanced exercises like strength training, running or fitness classes! But for now, just focus on
moving more, and eventually you will be ready to sweat balls.


Vegan Challenge Day 12

OK, I’ve got a confession to make, I’ve been thinking carnivorous thoughts these last few days… but I haven’t succumbed to my desires and don’t plan on it for another 10 days. I’m thinkin I’ll have a barbecue on day 22.

Actually it hasn’t been that difficult to go without meat and dairy products for the past 2 weeks. And I’ve noticed some positive changes in how I feel!

The aches and pains that I’ve become accustomed to over the past few years have diminished substantially in the past week…it’s really quite amazing. And it’s got me trying to figure out the reason or reasons behind this welcome improvement.  Is it that I have a sensitivity to one of the foods I’ve eliminated from my diet? Is it that my body is able to eliminate more toxins now that I’m eating foods that are more easily assimilated? Could it be dairy products? chicken? fish? shellfish? I’m going to be paying close attention as I reintroduce these foods at the end of my vegan challenge and I should be able to determine how they affect me so that I can make the necessary changes in my diet.

I feel a little lighter both when I step on the scale and in an overall sense of lightness. I haven’t had a meal in the past 12 days that has left me feeling sluggish or tired…hungry maybe, but not tired.

It hasn’t been all roses though. I’ve been a little “spaced out” the past week, although I’m not convinced it’s totally attributable to my vegan diet. I’ve also been a little more ”on edge” than normal. I think it’s the adjustment my body has had to make to my new diet…it had to be a shock to the system!  We’ll see if these symptoms diminish in my final week of the challenge.

My plan over the next week is to take advantage of the overall improvement in how I feel and start a physical excercise program that will keep me on the path of continuous improvement in my health and wellbeing. Karlee has “threatened” to set up a program for me and I’m looking forward to her opinions and recommendations…which Karlee has an abundance of. :)

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Peter Diesing



Karlee’s Vegan Thanksgiving Treats

It is starting to get chilly out and there isn’t anything better than a warm cup of tea and a yummy baked goodie. Just because you are vegan doesn’t mean you have to eliminate baking! Here is a handy cheat sheet I found telling you how easy it is to make delicious treats.

 Try thinking outside of the box

 Yes you can make vegan chocolate chip banana muffins (can’t lie and say I don’t enjoy them), but there are soo many delicious flavor combinations.

 Vegan Sweet Potato and Cranberry Muffins (From Food for Vitality)

 1 1/2 cup baked sweet potatoes, mashed and cooled

3/4 cup almond milk (rice milk or organic soy milk also work well)

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups organic unbleached flour

2 tsp baking soda (no aluminum brand)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup dried cranberries (no sugar brand)


1. Preheat the oven to 400* Lightly oil the muffin tins and dust with flour. In a bowl,  combine the sweet potatoes, cranberries, rice milk, agave, oil, water, and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

3. Add the flour mixture to the sweet potato mixture until mixed, taking care not to over mix.

4. Spoon the batter into the pan, to the top, dropping a few more cranberries of desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes (test with a toothpick) until golden brown.


Spiced Up & Stacked Pumpkin Butter Pancakes For One

Adapted from my healthy Spelt Pancakes For One 


                            1/2 cup stone ground Kamut flour (or flour of choice)

                            3/4 cup almond milk

                            1 tbsp baking powder

                            1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

                            3/4 tsp cinnamon + dash of nutmeg + dash ginger

                            1/2 tbsp sugar

                            Pinch sea salt

                            1 tbsp coconut oil, melted


                            Homemade Pumpkin Butter

         Directions: Grease and preheat a skillet on the stovetop. In a medium sized bowl, mix the dry ingredients (baking powder, flour, sugar, sea salt, spices). In a small bowl mix the wet ingredients (vanilla, almond milk, coconut oil (melted). Add wet to dry and whisk well. Pour less than 1/4 cup per pancake and cook until bubble form. Flip and cook until golden on the opposite side. Layer with Homemade Pumpkin Butter and pecans and sprinkle with coconut. Serves 1.


Healthy Peanut Butter Coconut Swirl Pancakes (by



                            1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

                            2 T organic cane sugar (or regular will do)

                            2 t baking powder (I use aluminum-free)

                            1/2 t salt

                            1 1/3 cup soy or almond milk

                            1/2 T egg replacer (ground flax or store bought mix) mixed with 2T  water

Peanut Butter Swirl:

                            2 T peanut butter

                            1-2 T natural unsweetened applesauce

Coconut Maple Syrup:

                            1 generous T coconut oil

                            1/2 T Pure Maple Syrup



1. Mix dry batter ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Mix egg replacer in a small bowl and set aide. Whisk in milk into dry ingredients. Whisk in egg replacer. Add more milk to thin out if necessary. Set batter aside and preheat skillet. While skillet heats up, mix swirl batter into a small bowl or mug. Place swirl batter into a baggie and clip off end. This will allow you to pipe it into the pancakes. Pour batter onto skillet and immediately pipe the swirl onto the pancakes. Once bubbles have form and popped, flip pancakes and cook the otherside. Mix the syrup ingredients together and brush onto the cooked pancakes with a spoon. Garnish with shredded coconut. Now enjoy the most decadent and moist tasting pancakes you’ve ever had! Makes 6 medium sized pancakes.

 Yummmmm!! I can’t wait to get in my kitchen to try some of these recipes!


It’s a Gas

Well, I’ve got a few things to share with you now that I’m one third of the way through the 21 day vegan challenge.

Didn’t think I ate a lot of dairy products, but now that I’ve totally eliminated them for the past week, I realize that they were a considerable part of my diet…milk in my coffee and in my cereal or porridge, cheese in sandwiches, cottage cheese and yogurt for snacks and with meals.Then there’s ice cream, cookies, milk chocolate…the list goes on.

The absence of red meat in my diet hasn’t been a big deal,and I didn’t have a real hard time saying no to the barbecued chicken that made it onto our dinner table,  but I do miss the fish we normally eat a few times a week. Maybe I’ll become a pescatarian.(A fish eating vegetarian)

I feel good…lot’s of energy. I’ve probably lost a little weight…definitely haven’t gone hungry. No shortage of vegetarian recipes, just check out Karlees Vegan Survival Guide or one of the many internet sites that cater to vegetarian cooking.

And yes, it really is a gas!…with eating all those beans, I’m sounding a lot like a locomotive these days. Even my dog won’t sit beside me.

Looking forward to week 2. I’ll keep you posted.




Vegan Challenge Day 3 Getting in the Groove

Just winding down day 3…feeling good…Had a barbecue at work today, and I was doing the barbecueing. Chicken breasts and burgers on the grill, potato salad, caesar salad, chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookies for desert….but not yours truly. I had veggie burgers and some fruit for desert. No problemo!  And I’m starting to feel the positive effects of the change in my diet already. At the end of week 1, I’ll elaborate on these changes…don’t want to jump the gun…we’ll see how the next few days pan out.

For everyone that’s thinking about joining me in going without animal products or dairy foods for 21 days (18 days to go), I have a simple question for you to ponder.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? :)

Peter Diesing

Karlee Has The Answers

Questions, Questions, Questions…

 1) What about alcohol?…beer and wine are grains and fruits, are they not? Am I permitted to indulge, and if so, to what extent?

 Yes of course you can indulge! The point of this challenge is to cleanse your body, and consuming large amounts of alcohol are going to reduce the impact of your cleanse. So let loose once in a while, but alcohol will only deter the effects of your nutritious vegan diet.

 2) I know that white flour, white rice, salt, and sugar are not the healthiest of choices. However, they are not animal based products. Do you have any words of advice on how much and how often I should eat them?

 White flour, white rice, salt and sugar are in the same boat as alcohol. Yes you could potentially eat all of those things in large quantities and still be vegan, but that wouldn’t be helping your body rid toxins and chemicals accumulated from meat and dairy consumption. If you are working so hard to eat vegan, you might as well eliminate all processed foods as much as possible. I would suggest eliminating them all together. Of course baby steps are important if you want to sustain it. Try replacing white rice with brown rice (or mixing them at first), and then add in whole-wheat pasta for white pasta. Try to reduce the amount of sugar you add into your coffee/tea every day. Eventually you won’t even want to add any sugar in. You can also try using natural sweeteners (yes they are still sugar, but they are metabolized a little differently in your body) – for example: honey, sucanat, stevia and maple syrup.

 PLEASE NOTE: It is very common to experience detox symptoms after reducing sugar intake. Your body is used to getting a certain amount every day, and it is normal to experience headaches, nausea, dizziness for a few days after cutting it out. These symptoms are due to your body detoxifying and getting rid of all the nasty stuff hanging around in your blood and digestive tract.

 3) I’ve heard that many foods contain modified milk ingredients and that sometimes they are “hidden” (not readily recognizable on the list of ingredients). What should I be looking for to determine whether a product is dairy free?

 Yes packaged foods can be really tricky sometimes! Here are some things to look for…

                            Acidophilus Milk

                            Ammonium Caseinate


                            Butter Fat

                            Butter Oil

                            Butter Solids


                            Buttermilk Powder

                            Calcium Caseinate


                            Caseinate (in general)

                            Cheese (All animal-based)

                            Condensed Milk

                            Cottage Cheese




                            Delactosed Whey

                            Demineralized Whey

                            Dry Milk Powder

                            Dry Milk Solids

                            Evaporated Milk

                            Ghee (see p109)

                            Goat Milk

                            Half & Half

                            Hydrolyzed Casein

                            Hydrolyzed Milk Protein

                            Iron Caseinate






                            Low-Fat Milk

                            Magnesium Caseinate

                            Malted Milk


                            Milk Derivative

                            Milk Fat

                            Milk Powder

                            Milk Protein

                            Milk Solids

                            Natural Butter Flavor

                            Nonfat Milk



                            Potassium Caseinate



                            Rennet Casein

                            Skim Milk

                            Sodium Caseinate

                            Sour Cream

                            Sour Milk Solids

                            Sweetened Condensed Milk

                            Sweet Whey


                            Whey Powder

                            Whey Protein Concentrate

                            Whey Protein Hydrolysate

                            Whipped Cream

                            Whipped Topping

                            Whole Milk


                            Zinc Caseinate



 Long list hey? Well this goes back to my first lesson – don’t eat packaged foods with ingredients you can’t make/buy yourself. Would you ever go to the store and buy Iron Caseinate, Lactalbumin, Lactoferrin or Lactoglobulin? Would you take these ingredients home and make a meal out of them? Then why would you accept eating them when they are mixed into a packaged food?

 An easy way to determine if there are actual milk ingredients is to look at the allergy alert information. Most foods that contain dairy will list it as a precaution for those severely allergic (‘this product contains dairy). If an item is produced in a facility that also uses dairy, it may contain traces but does not have any actual dairy ingredients in the product (‘this product may contain dairy’ or ‘made in a facility where dairy products are also produced’). If a label says ‘may contain’ dairy I will eat it, because it will only be trace amounts.

 4) I’ve got some whey protein powder. Does it count as a dairy product?

 Yes unfortunately whey does count as a dairy product. It is actually quite hard on your liver to digest as well (all protein isolates are). Instead of using whey I would suggest trying brown rice, hemp or pea protein. You can get them in different flavors and they can add a nice thickness to smoothies. I wouldn’t suggest using soy protein, because as with whey it is very difficult for your body to digest. Adding protein powders to your smoothies may take a small taste bud adjustment, but soon enough you will crave that thick, gritty taste they add :)  

 So You Wanna Make a Homemade Salad Dressing?

Here is a collection of salad dressings I use on a regular basis. When you start eating lots of yummy veggies you won’t want to ruin them with scary bottled dressings. Once you start using fresh dressings, the bottled junk will taste like garbage (funny because that is where they belong!)

I usually just throw a bunch of ingredients in the magic bullet… I never measure, so these are some estimates of what I put in them. I don’t like to measure things like herbs/spices, because that way they taste different every time! Most dressings are 3 parts oil, 2 parts vinegar with the additions of different flavors. You will soon find what flavors you like best and will no longer need a recipe! In all of these recipes you might want to slightly adjust the oil to vinegar, or maybe add some water or almond milk. Also it is important to mix them up in the magic bullet, blender or whisk them to ensure an even consistency.

 Basic Vinaigrette

 ¼ cup vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, red wine, white wine – this is where you can figure out which ones you like best!)

1/3 cup oil

*Add whatever you want for flavor

Ideas: mustard, honey, dried herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, coriander, cumin, paprika)

*To make creamy try adding in some tahini (sesame seed paste) or some beans, cucumber or zucchini

-Just start experimenting with different spices and see what you like/don’t like!

 Basic Balsamic

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup oil (Olive, Hemp, Flax – anything cold pressed)

1 tsp mustard powder (or u can use actual mustard)

1 tbsp honey (more or less depending on how sweet you want it)

Garlic, Salt and Pepper

Add ins: Parsley, basil, dill, lemon etc.

 Creamy Tahini

¼ cup vinegar (whatever one you like – each vinegar will make the dressing taste different)

¼ cup oil

¼ cup tahini

¼-½  cup water

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp honey

Garlic, Salt and Pepper

 Asian Inspired

¼ cup vinegar (probably not balsamic – rice vinegar would be good here)

¼ cup oil

1/8- cup sesame oil

1/8-cup tahini

1 TBSP Miso paste or Soy sauce (they are both salty, but miso has lots of micronutrients/digestive enzymes)

1/8-cup water

1 tsp ginger! Yummmm (I add like 2 tsp of canned minced ginger – but it is very powerful)

1 tsp garlic

1 pinch of cayenne

 Chickpea Tahini

¼ cup vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, red wine, white wine – this is where you can figure out which ones you like best!)

¼ cup oil

1/8-cup tahini

¼ cup chickpeas

¼ cup water (or almond milk)

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp honey

Garlic, Salt and Pepper

*The chickpeas made it extra creamy without lots of added fat!

 Curry Paprika

¼ cup white wine/rice vinegar

½ cup oil

1/8-cup tahini

¼ cup chickpeas

¼ cup water

1-2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)

½ tsp cumin

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Garlic, Salt and Pepper to taste

Day 1 was a breeze!

Whew! I’ve got day 1 under my belt without any major incidents. Oatmeal and raisins with almond milk for breakfast, some fruit, veggies, and nuts throughout the day, My homemade pea lentil soup for lunch, a huge salad with greens, beans, and grains for dinner. (just like Karlee said). I’ve been looking through some meal ideas and I’ve got some good ideas for the next few days…think I’ll cook up some “Hearty Chili Mac” tomorrow…thats macaroni with chili (with beans, corn, red peppers, tomatoes, onions, and some chopped up veggie burger patties, along with all the standard chile spices) Then the next day, maybe a giant veggie stirfry, and then curried chickpea and lentil stew…I’ll make up a big pot of brown basmati rice to have on hand…anyone getting hungry?

I know it’s only day one, but I gotta say I’m feeling confident about meeting the “Vegan Challenge” head on!

And for those adventurous souls that have taken me up on the challenge of going meat and dairy free for 21 days, my hat’s off to you! Let me know how you’re doing.

Day 2, here I come!!