MYST 119: Cooking For Yourself

Cooking for yourself is not difficult!
Cooking for yourself is not difficult!

Photos via by RonPorter.


Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

“Yesterday’s home run don’t win today’s games!” Babe Ruth
Today is a new day. You woke up. That is your first reason to celebrate!

What you ate yesterday does not matter anymore. It is gone. You logged it. And in logging it, you accepted responsibility for your actions. That is a second reason to celebrate, because you are making conscious changes to your habits.

What you are going to do tomorrow does not matter. It has not happened yet. But you are already making plans for what you want to accomplish, which is yet another cause for celebration. You are learning to take control of your situation rather than simply react to what happens around you.
You can only control what you do today. You will log your food, you will make good choices. You will move more that you used to. You will stay positive, confident in the belief that you CAN succeed!
You will take one more step toward success. Today. Right now.
Success is inevitable if you treat every day as another day to make good choices. You have the power! Even though I have not met anyone here, I believe in all of you, because you are here, reading my words. You are dedicating your day to yourself, to reaching for success. You are important and you deserve success!
I am honored to be surrounded by such friends. I receive comments from readers who say that I help them, but it goes both ways. Being accountable to you helps me stay focused on on track.

Have a powerful day!

MYST 44: Dr. Chester Goad: Find Success Even After Initial Disappointment!

Dr. Chester Goad
Dr. Chester Goad

Chester is a “leadership geek” by his own description. He is an educator, college director of disability services, and former legislative aide who helped co-author Tennessee’s “Dyslexia is Real”. He  believes that when something is broken, and needs fixing, someone needs to step up and do what they can to find a solution.

As director of disability services on his campus, he hosted an ongoing film festival (one movie was  “Lars and the Real Girl”) and it was poorly attended. But because of his “dog with a bone” attitude, he stuck with it. Several weeks later, he learned that an anonymous community member had attended the festival and agreed with what he was trying to accomplish. That anonymous audience member started an endowment ($500,000) to support his work with disability services. He was reminded that you never know when that “one right person” will hear your message at the exact right time. Never despair if initial successes are not overwhelming, but keep working toward your goals!

He wrote a book, soon to be released, which tries to find the unity of spirit that is currently missing in the halls of governments as well as among the people. Life and politics have become devisive and Chester believes that greater good will result by changing from “red states” and “blue states” but by blending, combining and collaborating and becoming “purple states.”

Read Chester's Book to Help Heal and Grow Our Country!
Read Chester’s Book to Help Heal and Grow Our Country!

Chester suggests that you try Dr. Enuf soda when you next visit Tennessee!

Some books that he reads and recommends are:

My Homemade Artisanal Bread :

My recipe (for 4 one-pound loaves)

Whisk together:

3 cups tepid water (95-105F)

1 tablespoon yeast (any dry yeast)

1 tablespoon salt (any type)

Stir in 6.5 cups of flour. Any flour works, but 100% whole wheat is a challenge. Mixing white with whole wheat and/or rye work well. I usually use at 4 cups general purpose white with 2.5 cups of whole wheat. As long as you use a total of 6.5 cups of flour, you will end up with bread.

Stir just until everything is wet and combined. Do not knead–ever. Cover loosely, and let rise on the counter for 2-3 hours (if you forget overnight, don’t worry, it will not ruin the bread.) Place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, cut 1/4 of the dough out. Dust with flour. Working quickly, form the dough into a ball. Let the dough rise for 40 minutes. These make free-form round loaves, not rectangles.  Do not bake in traditional bread pans.

Preheat oven and baking stone to 450. Boil 2 cups of water, and pour into an oven safe dish and place in the oven while pre-heating. (The water creates steam to help develop a very crunchy crust. It will work without the steam, but the crust isn’t as nice.)

When the dough has risen, make several shallow cuts in the surface of the dough. Sprinkle corn meal on baking stone and place dough on the corn meal. Bake for 35 minutes.

The dough will keep in the fridge for up to 14 days and as it ages, the flavor develops into more of a sour dough character. When the last of the dough is used, do not wash the container. Immediately refill with the ingredients for more bread (this will quickly develop that wonderful sour dough flavor.


Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods.

He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog.

I NEED Your Help! (Updated!)

A podcast in iTunes is allowed eight weeks, just 56 days, to be potentially featured in the “New and Noteworthy (N&N)” category. I have long since passed out of that time frame.
I am in my last days of being eligible for iTunes New&Noteworthy status. As of this morning, I am #42 in All categories of New & Noteworthy.     BUT!!!!  You can still help. If you have not listened and left a rating in iTunes, I NEED you to take action now.

Even though I am no longer in N&N, I still need ratings and reviews. Those are the main method that iTunes uses to evaluate the value of a podcast, and podcasts which have better ratings, reviews and download numbers are placed higher in the search rankings. And that is how new people find the show.

And I may have neglected something. Using iTunes isn’t necessarily user-friendly. It occurs to me that some may not know how to review on iTunes.

Here are some instructions:
1) click here and follow to “View in iTunes” – under logo (can be done after you listen to your chosen show(s).
2) Once on iTunes in the middle over the show listings is “Details”, “Ratings and Reviews” and “Related”.
3) Click “Ratings and Reviews”.
4) Next to “Click to Rate” there are 5 gray stars. Click the number of stars you think my show deserves
5) Underneath that is “Write a Review”. That allows you to write a review AND leave a star rating.
Thank you so much in advance for helping promote these shows.

I have 3 days left in N&N. Please act now!

Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly podcast, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be.

I Was a Guest Blogger This Week!

I occasionally guest blog for other people. It’s not too often, but it is fun to reach a new audience. This week I was asked to provide a post for LoseIt! Rather than simply copy it, I will encourage you to go there and read my words. (Then, if you feel that maybe your weight is an issue, you can take the app out for a test drive. It is free!)

Here is a link directly to my blog post.

Also, the podcast is a bit delayed. I won’t make my April 1 goal, but it is getting close! Keep watching here. I have seven great interviews recorded and this podcast is going to be awesome! I guarantee it, or your money back!

Oh, wait. It’s free!

Transition Time is Challenging!


I am 4 weeks from launching my first podcast. My podcast will be focused on goal achievement–revolving around my weight loss success, but expanding to any goal and success story. And that work–combined with my full time teaching job, and being a husband/father/son–is keeping me from blogging a lot. But my inactivity here is not a sign of total absence.

I’ve had this blog for over two years, and listened to podcasts for even longer. Starting the bog was simple. But why start a podcast? That seems so challenging. The reason “why” is the exact reason I listen to podcasts instead of reading blogs: time! I can listen to a podcast while doing something else. And when I realized that, I knew that I needed to transition to a podcast. But how?

I was absolutely stumped, until I found the right teacher. Meron Bareket of the Inspiring Innovation podcast invited me to be one of his beta-testers for his podcast-developing bootcamp. He created a course with detailed and simple (I needed simple!) instructions, video tutorials and comprehensive check lists. With his help, I am excited to be so close to launching my own.

Have you ever thought about creating your own podcast? Here is a link to the bootcamp that I tested (and successfully tested, I might add!)

Oh, did I mention: his entire bootcamp is free?

If you are even just curious about what it would take (and it doesn’t take much!) go to the bootcamp page and take a look. The “take a look” costs nothing–but the entire bootcamp also costs nothing, so what do you have to lose?

Please note: this blog is NOT going away. Never. But it will evolve to become a part of a larger platform. I will blog and podcast and both will help each other be even more relevant and helpful.

Do me a favor: After you go to the bootcamp site and take a look (or even sign up?) post a note here in the comments. I’m curious: what are your thoughts about his bootcamp? Are you going to give it a try? Let me know here.

A Quick Question?

Just checking here with all you awesome readers.
I am getting ready to start a podcast, based on this blog, but I need a digital logo (in 1400×1400 pixels, but one that also looks good at 150×150). I need that to submit my podcast to iTunes. The podcast is going to be killer-awesome (hey! I can dream!) but it needs the right image to capture people’s attention. I don’t have those skills.
Here is my deal:
I would like to swap services. You create a striking logo for me, and I will promote you on the podcast and associated blogs (both here on Blogger and on the dedicated domain) for up to 2 months. I will promote you as a sponsor of the podcast, with a 15 second pre-roll at the start of the show, and a 60 second mid-roll at about the 2/3 mark. I will close the show with one additional 10 second reminder of your outstanding services.
In addition to my blog readers, I have a large audience of followers on LoseIt, and am in a large group of world-wide podcasters and podcasters-to-be, many of whom are at the same point as I am.
Who can help? Send me a message and we can discuss details.

If you don’t create digital art, but know someone who does, please forward this to their attention. Thank you! Shoot me an email if you can help!

My First Ever Interview!

Yes, I know, you are surprised to find out that I have not had many interviews. You probably think that someone as awesome as myself is probably in high demand for interviews and speaking engagements. After this interview hits the Internet, Dr. Phil and Oprah are probably having their assistants find my contact information so that they can talk to me!

(Psst! If you work for Dr. Phil or Oprah, you can contact be by email from my profile page.)

However, lasts Saturday a LoseIt friend interviewed me for her blog. It was fun and considering that I am not real good at spur-of-the-moment questions (Dr. Phil, have your assistant send me your questions in advance, okay?) I think it went very well.

Here is a link to her blog post.

If you don’t know my history, this is a good snapshot of where I was, and how I got where I am.

Next up from me: recipe for Caramel Cashew Chex mix. (Watch for it soon!)

How To Survive Thanksgiving (And Other Feasts) And Still Enjoy Everything!

I LOVE the Thanksgiving Feast. I always have, and always will. It features all my favorite foods in one meal. It is one very large, very delicious, seemingly never ending meal.
In the past, I would be busy all morning, with my breakfast and lunch consisting of coffee. Then I would serve our feast, which in our family is traditionally around 2pm. (That allows the hunters in the family to spend 6-7 hours in the woods and make it back in time to eat.) Then I would clean up, watch some football (American style, not soccer for you Europeans) and eat some more. I would loosen my belt, take a nap, wake up and eat some more. Then, later in the evening, I would just snack on a little more.
But why am I hungry? I clearly ate a day’s worth of calories in that first meal. In total, I probably ate 5000 calories or more (I never logged a Thanksgiving feast before I started LoseIt so I am not sure. I might have to test that theory—not actually eat it, but log the food as if I ate it.)
A lot of the reason I ate that much was the old enemy: habit. I always ate like that, as did everyone around me. It’s easy to get sucked into a mindless morass of endless eating, when you are acting and reacting mindlessly. When you live with your eyes open—living mindfully—you can break those habits.
Another problem was what I was eating, and how it works in the body. At my traditional feast, I have turkey, dressing/stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a green vegetable like Brussels sprouts, gravy, cranberry relish, homemade bread, wine and beer, pumpkin and pecan pies, and homemade whipped cream. In other words, the meal is protein, carbs, carbs, carbs, carbs, carbs/fat, carbs, carbs, carbs/fat, and fat.
Do you see the problem? Carbs—starches—metabolize quickly, usually within 2 hours of eating. Eat a coffee, donut and OJ for breakfast and see how you feel 2 hours later. You crash and are hungry again. The same happens with this feast. Sure, I eat some protein, but most of the feast is variations of carbs. When you eat carbs, your body will pump out insulin to help move the sugars out of the blood and into your cells. (This assumes you have a healthy insulin response. I am simplifying the process a lot. I don’t want this to be a metabolic physiology lecture.) And those are burned off quickly. So about the time I have everything cleaned up and maybe watch a bit of the game, I am hungry again. Not because my body needs calories, but because the available sugar in your blood is low, and your brain only runs on glucose as its fuel. (Your body can make glucose from non-starch foods, so eating a diet high in protein and fat will still give your brain it required glucose. That is called “gluconeogenesis”.)
After you eat, you get hungry again. You will go to the leftover food, and eat more of it. But since most of it is carbs, the cycle continues. Eat, wait, and get hungry again.
How can you fight that? With proteins and fats! Make the turkey the center of your meal. Eat a larger portion of turkey, and then reduce the portion sizes of the carbs. If you make sweet potatoes don’t put marshmallows on them (ugh) but instead top them with real butter, or high quality coconut oil. When you make your mashed potatoes, add butter, or sour cream or heavy cream, or buttermilk. Adding those ingredients will make for creamy mashed potatoes, but also hide some extra fat to help mitigate the starches. (But let’s be real. If you make a mound of potatoes like Richard Dreyfus in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” you are still getting too many carbs at once.)
If you are going to serve bread, choose whole grain bread with a lot of fiber. Pies? I’m not sure how to work with the pies. Just eat a smaller slice.
Yes, I know. These tips to hide fats in foods fly in the face of calorie reduction concepts, but I am not teaching calorie reduction here. I am teaching you how to control your eating for this type of meal. You will be challenged to eat within your budget, and as long as you log it, I believe that it’s okay to exceed your budget. But you need to do it with your eyes wide open and with an understanding of eating over budget is not the same as a feeding frenzy. These tips are designed to help prevent that out-of-control binge feeding.
Here are other hacks to help with this meal and the aftermath:
  1.   Use a measuring cup or scale to accurately portion your food. Eat controlled quantities of the foods you love, even if the total calories are more than normal.
  2. Use a plate smaller than usual (instead of the common 10-11” plate, use 7-8” plates.)
  3. Fill it with your favorite foods, but only once. You really do not need a second portion, even with the smaller plate.
  4. Wait 20 minutes before serving the pie. A simple way is to announce that dessert will be served when the coffee is ready. Start making the coffee only after everyone is finished eating. While it is brewing, you can either whip the cream (ideally) or thaw some whipped topping (it works, but isn’t as good). This will take about 15-20 minutes if you time it correctly, and that is how long it takes our minds to realize that our stomachs are full. If you wait the 20 minutes, you and your guests will be less likely to want a lot of dessert.
  5. Do not serve alcohol before the meal. Alcohol will stimulate our appetite.
  6.  Do not skip breakfast. Eat a modest breakfast, but one that is high in fats and proteins. You certainly won’t need toast or cereal grains at breakfast prior to this feast. But getting enough slow-digesting proteins and fats will help prevent uncontrollable hunger, which is common when you decide to “not eat breakfast and lunch so I have room for dinner.”  That practice will frequently lead to that accidental binge, because by the time you eat, you are so hungry that self-control is lost.
  7. Log the entire meal and any other eating. The number will probably be large, but not logging the food won’t make it not affect your body. Your body logs everything you eat, whether you acknowledge it or not.
  8. Don’t serve any alcohol. The meal is caloric enough, and these are truly empty calories.
  9. After eating pack the food it in take home containers for your guests, or put it in your freezer for future meals. If it is not easily accessible in the fridge, you are less likely to graze on it.
The last thing is how to handle family issues.  When a large family gathers together, conflict is inevitable. When compared to eating habits, this is a real challenge. Following my suggestion #8 (above) is a start. Try to find a universal focus. Discussion the merits of the Affordable Care Act, or who may run for President in 2016 would not be suggested topics of discussion. In our house, the focal point will be the Green Bay Packers/Detroit Lions football game. In other homes, maybe you can go “old school” and break out a deck of cards or a board game. Seriously, sometimes lighthearted family fun goes a long way in maintaining happiness. Maybe you want to take advantage of all the hands available and decorate for seasons that you celebrate. If you are crafty (I’m not) you can use the afternoon to create holiday greeting cards as a family.
Or maybe take a nap. I will be up late tonight preparing the meal. I have a detailed timeline if what goes in the over, at what temperature and for how long. I lay out the food on our kitchen island so I know how much room I need. And I will make the inevitable last-minute grocery store run, sometime tonight before I go to bed. I NEVER go to a grocery store on Thanksgiving morning. Insanity! By the time I am done cooking and cleaning, packaging, labeling and freezing food (and sending more home with our son who is living on his own) I will be tired. And when I get tired, I get the “munchies.”

Do I have all the answers? No. But I think these ideas will help. But in the end, you need to enjoy life. And regardless of how large the meal is, it is only one meal out of the year.  That is 1/100th of 1 percent of the total main meals you eat in a year (assuming three meals a day.) One large meal will not wreck your weight plans. In fact, learning how to live with this situation will give you a greater chance to succeed in the long term, because we will always be confronted with feasts. If we panic and act improperly, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
What tips would you recommend, for this and other feasts? What worked for you this year? Let us know below!

The Big Feast Is Three Weeks Away!

Thanksgiving. (The US version, for any Canadian friends who are reading this.)

My absolute, number one, most favorite meal of the year. (Okay, maybe it comes in second to any meal with my wife.) But I love cooking and eating my Thanksgiving feast.

And while I have a calorie budget and log everything I eat, this is one meal where I really don’t care. Oh, I don’t eat to the point where I am physically ill (like I used to) but I also do not avoid really good food. I log it all, and then move on.

What do I mean by good food?

Turkey. Stuffing/dressing. Mashed spuds. Sweet potatoes, but only dressed with some butter, no ridiculous marshmallows in mine, thank you very much. (Yes, I serve both tubers in one meal.) Gravy. Cranberry relish (probably the healthiest part of my meal.) Crusty bread with butter. More gravy. Maybe a vegetable, but something simple like steamed green beans.

And pies. Always the pumpkin pie, but lately I’ve added a fantastic bourbon pecan pie. And the crusts are made from scratch, using lard as the fat. The pies are served with real whipped cream or a high quality vanilla ice cream. Or both.

For beverages, I have sweet and hard ciders available, both of which go well with the meals. And coffee, hot, black and rich. I make my coffee in a stainless steel percolator (vintage early 1960s), and believe it or not, that is some of the best coffee you will taste.

But I have a dilemma. Do I roasted my turkey in the oven, like I did last year (delicious and juicy) or do I buy a smoked turkey and reheat it?

Roasting is traditional and delicious, but takes hours. The smoked turkey is equally tasty, and only needs to be warmed through.

What would YOU choose? Let me know in the comment section below.