Corn Gazpacho Soup and Other Vacation Goodies Around the New England Area


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It’s mid-summer for those of us who are docked in the Northern hemisphere and that means its vacation time.
We have been on a staycation with the lovely exception of three days in Cape Neddick, Maine.  I am pleased to report that many of the restaurants at which we dined offered a decent selection of vegan or vegetarian fare. It can be difficult to find healthy food options away from home and staying on track can be a challenge.  I do my best to keep my choices vegan but every once in a while meals with dairy (mostly cheese) are my only options.

Before we started our vacation we finished off a batch of Sara Moulton’s corn gazpacho soup that I made earlier in the week. The recipe was printed in our local newspaper. You can find it here.
The vegan husband liked it but I thought it lacked a bit of punch so I was more than happy to see it being polished off. Soon after we were packed and off to Maine.

Below are a few meals that we ordered during our stay in Maine and two others in the New England area near our home. These were the dishes that made me want to rush home and get going on their recreation.  I hope they give you some inspiration to do the same.


Kitttery ME

A grilled head of romaine lettuce marinated with balsamic vinegar and oil, topped with tomatoes, red onions and feta cheese. I was able to omit the cheese.


Horseshoe Pub and Restaurant, Hudson MA

Vegetarian Stack – Pan-seared seasoned Brussels sprouts layered with Parmigiano herb quinoa, oven roasted Tuscan tomatoes, roasted asparagus and onion jam topped with micro greens and drizzled with aged balsamic.

Not your Average Caesar Salad (the vegan husband’s meal) – Homemade edible bowl made with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, filled with crisp baby romaine lettuce and garlic croutons tossed with Caesar dressing.


Federal Jacks, Kennebunkport ME

Wok-seared Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cremini mushrooms and edamame seasoned with orange soy and served over field greens.


Bread and Roses, Ogunquit, ME

I enjoy a dessert every now and then usually in the form of chocolate (dark, when possible).  However, when we visit this area of southern Maine we make a point to stop by this bakery for a delicious non-chocolate vegan treat. These date bars are my favorite.


Union, CT

We visited this restaurant not for the food but for the ambience.  If you love to read then this is the place for you.  Not only do they have vegan and vegetarian options but each person gets three free books to take home.


Do you have a favorite go to restaurant for its healthy options?  Please leave a comment…

Don’t Drink That!




The vegan grandpa is one of the happiest guys in town these days.  It’s been a rainy spring in New England and he is the proud owner of a rain barrel.  In fact, he has two.

What’s so great about a rain barrel?  It means you can give vegetables and flowers an extra dose of the heaven-sent rain that they got yesterday, the day before, and last week.  While the rest of us are feeding our plants a diet of chemical treated water from a faucet, Grandpa is giving his the equivalent of angel tears.

It was those rain barrels that I was thinking about last week in spin class, watching my own sweat drip-drip-drip onto the floor.  The thought occurred to me: could I be recycling my own sweat?  Should I be?

A few years ago, a couple of Swedish guys with the help of UNICEF built a machine that could recycle the sweat from clothing, using washing machine parts, a coffee pot, and a filter.  The “sweat machine” actually worked, and according to an article at fastcompany over 1,000 Swedes drank the recycled water and lived to tell about it.

But the same article also called the machine “a stunt”, saying it was only built to bring attention to the problem of too little drinking water on the planet. They didn’t mass produce the sweat machine.  You cannot purchase one at Wal-Mart or even at IKEA.

I have to admit that when I first thought about recycling sweat, I did envision it as a thirst quencher or to take the edge off a glass of bourbon.  But, after time passed, I thought: Ew! Who would drink that?

But, as the vegan grandpa will attest, there are plenty of things you can do with water besides drinking it.

Let’s go back to the garden.  It’s a long summer, with plenty of days in the 80’s and 90’s.  Last year we had drought conditions for much of Massachusetts.  I’m sure my roses or tomato plants would be willing to soak up some recycled perspiration.

Maybe you don’t want to drink your sweat, but how about putting it in the hot tub? The sweat was yours to begin with, so why not bring it back to the source?   It’s the circle of life.  Heating it up will probably take out even more impurities.

Think about all the water required in cooking.  We have to wash off the food.  We have to clean areas where we prep the food, and the pots and pans used to cook the food.  Finally, we have to clean the plates, bowls, cups, and utensils used to eat the food.

And there are so many more places that require water.  We need water to wash and iron our clothes.  Some people heat their homes with water.  And don’t get me started on people who own swimming pools.

But, for now, the technology is just not there for people to wash their vehicles or power wash their homes with recycled sweat.  That’s going to take time. Until then, I’m going to take a swig from the rain barrel when no one is looking, and worry about where my sweat goes later.

Have you ever thought about recycled sweat?   What would you do with it?  Please leave a comment…


Motivational Links


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This is what great looks like…

no whining, no pats on the back and no blaming others. This is just straight up fire in the belly. World Champion bodybuilder/powerlifter, CT Fletcher,  inspires others to embrace their passion, to think positive, be consistent, set priorities and work hard to obtain their own greatness.

For further motivation, I encourage you to check out this documentary about CT Fletcher on Netflix: CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession

Deemed one of the most influential and motivated fitness trainers, CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession explores the pain, struggle, and hardships that he has endured throughout the life of famed powerlifter CT Fletcher. Leaving an abusive childhood home, the film dives further into Fletcher’s personal and professional life – demonstrating the power motivation can have on the human spirit.


The definition of success means different things to different people. It is not always an easy road for many of us.  We all need encouragement to stay the course, to fight against the odds, to persevere, to stay strong and healthy at various points in our lives. If you need inspiration to press on, then check out this fierce Cher song. Tuck it in your back pocket and bring it everywhere with you.


The Mindful Athlete: Secrets To Pure Performance by George Mumford

Are you are a believer in the ability of meditation and mindfulness to take you to levels beyond that of which you ever thought possible? Whether you are just starting out or are a long-time member in your health and fitness journey, this is a book you need to read.  I credit meditation with keeping me focused on the steps that are needed to achieve my goals, getting me through challenges and doing my best to stay in a state of “bending” (read the book!).

“Self-consciousness is when you’re focused on how you’re doing instead of what you’re doing. We have to learn how to push and challenge ourselves, but not in an insensitive way. Honing your performance really comes down to being comfortable with being uncomfortable”. — George Mumford

“Michael Jordan credits George Mumford with transforming his on-court leadership of the Bulls, helping Jordan lead the team to six NBA championships. Mumford also helped Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom and countless other NBA players turn around their games. A widely respected public speaker and coach, Mumford is sharing his own story and the strategies that have made these athletes into stars in The Mindful Athlete: The Secret to Pure Performance. His proven, gentle but groundbreaking mindfulness techniques can transform the performance of anyone with a goal, be they an Olympian, weekend warrior, executive, hacker, or artist”. – Parallex Press


Interview with Professional Hockey Player & Cornell Grad Colin Greening – This article is about the effect of food on an athlete’s body as well as some of the other themes touched upon in this post – passion/obsession, consistency, persistence and mindfulness.



When 71 year young Cher touts that she performs a 5 minute plank, you have to be wowed.  Check out this link to learn about 9 other amazing people who don’t allow age to stand in their way to accomplishing amazing feats.

Aged, young, male or female…obsess, persist, be mindful and you will be a walking billboard for greatness. You can do anything! Please leave a comment…

The Three Muscles Actions and the Benefits of Eccentric Training


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Why should you care about the different actions our muscles incorporate while exercising?  Because training muscles that integrate these actions improves overall sports performance, helps prevent injuries and contributes to their strength and size.

When muscle are activated they create a tension that make them contract while  under force.  Contractions allow muscles to shorten, lengthen or stay the same.
The three major muscle actions are: Isometric, Isokinetic and Isotonic (Dynamic).


Isometric muscle action involves a contracting of a muscle in a held position, there are no changes in a joint angle. This type of movement is usually performed against a wall, weight machine or another part of the body.  Strength gains are usually made at the joint angle closest to where the exercise is performed.  Rehabilitation exercises often include Isometric actions.  Examples of Isometric exercises include planks, wall squats and pausing at either the concentric or eccentric phase (phases described below).

Isokinetic muscle actions are performed on special equipment (dynamometer) in which a fixed speed is set and any applied force results in an equal reaction force throughout the range of movement (ROM).  Because of the specialized equipment that is needed to perform this muscle action, this type of exercise is typically used in rehabilitation settings.

Isotonic (Dynamic)
Isotonic muscle actions have movement.  Muscles are not held.
There are two types of Isotonic muscle actions:

Concentric– also known as positive contraction/training, these are exercises that involve the shortening of a muscle against tension. When performing a bicep curl, the pull upwards is the concentric phase.

Eccentric also known as negative contraction/training, these are exercises that involve the lengthening of the muscle against tension. When performing a bicep curl, the lowering of the weight is the eccentric phase. Other examples include descending a hill and exercises such as negative sit-ups and the Nordic hamstring.


Isometric training (a pause between the eccentric and concentric phase) can also be implemented into one’s training, but for the purpose of this post; the focus is on the eccentric phase.
Most of us concentrate on the part of exercise that incorporates the concentric phase of training and pay little attention to the eccentric phase.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a normal weight resistance program will have a concentric tempo (lifting speed) of about 1-2 seconds and an eccentric tempo of about 1-2 seconds. The American College Of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 3 seconds for each phase.
Specific eccentric training tempo differs from a typical weight resistance program. Incorporating this training into your routine can lead to greater muscle hypertrophy (growth in muscle fiber size) and strength, reduce muscle strain and aid in the rehabilitation of tendinopathies.


Different lifting speeds produce different results. The faster the speed of a muscle contraction the lower the tension on the muscle. A slow speed in the eccentric phase creates a greater tension on the muscles compared to the concentric phase.
The greater the tension on the muscle, the greater the opportunity for hypertrophy.
According to ACE fitness, a typical program that focuses on hypertrophy will have a concentric tempo of about 1-2 seconds and an eccentric tempo of about 2-4 seconds. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recommends an eccentric phase of 3-8 seconds depending on the exercise being performed.
The tempos for both the normal weight resistance program (1-3 seconds), and the hypertrophy training can vary depending on the fitness level of the athlete and the type of exercise being performed.
Strength Gains
Muscles contractions have been shown to generate greater force of approximately 30-60% (NSCA) during the eccentric phase compared to the concentric phase. This allows an athlete the opportunity to incorporate heavier weights into an eccentric training. The heavier the weight (overload training) the greater the opportunity for muscle strength. A spotter is recommended to assist with the concentric part of the lift, while the eccentric phase can be performed alone.

The energy expenditure in the eccentric phase is low compared to the concentric phase. A lower energy expenditure allows for a greater volume of performance without the ensuing extreme fatigue. This is advantageous for both hypertrophy and strength gains.

Muscle strain

Muscle strains are common and occur when muscles are lengthened and loaded during activity beyond their resting length. Medical research has grown over recent years in regard to the role of eccentric training and muscle strain and in particular the part it plays in hamstring injuries and re-injuries. An often cited randomized control study of 943 Danish soccer players found that an experimental group performing the eccentric Nordic hamstring exercise for 10 weeks along with their seasonal training resulted in 15 hamstring injuries throughout the season.The controlled group experienced 52 hamstring injuries. The conclusion of this study found that eccentric hamstring exercise decreased the rate of new and recurrent acute hamstring injuries.
Tendon injuries are often the result of overuse syndrome.  Research has shown that tendons have a lower capacity for oxygen consumption compared to skeletal muscle. This, in part, contributes to slower tendon healing time. Eccentric training requires less oxygen consumption than concentric training, thus, allowing for a quicker tendon recovery. Other positive changes as a result of this training include changes in tissue structure, reduction of fluid in tendon, reduction in pain and an increase in strength of the impacted area.
Several studies
corroborate that eccentric training is an effective treatment for tendinopathies.

Eccentric training should only be performed once a week. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is common requiring a longer recovery period.


This post is a general overview regarding important components of eccentric training. If you would like more information, please leave a comment…


Paul C. LaStayo, PT, PhD1, John M. Woolf, PT, MS, ATC2, Michael D. Lewek, PT3Lynn Snyder-Mackler, PT, ScD4, Trude Reich, BS5, Stan L. Lindstedt, PhD6, Eccentric Muscle Contractions: Their Contribution to Injury, Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Sport, JOSPT, October 2003, Web 7, June 2017

Daniel Lorenz, DPT, PT, ATC/L, CSCS,Use of eccentric exercise for prevention and rehab, 2012, Februaury, Web 7 June 2107.

Daniel Lorenz, DPT, PT, ATC/L, CSCS, USAW1 and Michael Reiman, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, ATC, AAOMPT, CSCS2, The Role And Implementation of eccentric training in Athletic Rehabilitation:Tendinopathy, Hamstring Strains, and ACL Reconstruction, NCBI, 2011 March, Web 7 June,2017.

Pete McCall, MS, CSCS, How to Select the Right Sets and Tempo for Your Clients, ACE, 3 July 2014, Web 7 June 2017.

Jonathan Mike, PhD, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D, USAW, 1 Chad M. Kerksick, PhD, ATC, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D,2 and Len Kravitz, PhD, How to Incorporate Eccentric Training Into a Resistance Program, NSCA, 2015 February, Web 7 June, 2017.

Brett L Woodley, Richard J Newsham‐West, and G David Baxter, Chronic tendinopathy: effectiveness of eccentric exercise, NCBI, 4 APRIL, 2007, Web 7 June 2017.

Eccentric Resistance Exercise for Health and Fitness, ACSM, Web 7 June 2017.

Personal Fitness Training Theory & Practice, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, 2015.