Things I Like

For years, people have been asking me for advice on what to eat, what to read, how to exercise, etc. So, to make it easy, I thought I’d put a list together. I’ll keep adding to it as time goes on.

Here’s what/where I like to:


Lentils - Growing up, I don’t think I ever ate lentils. They are a staple of the vegetarian diet, and I love them. During the fall/winter, I had lentil soup/stew at least three times a week. Lentils are easy to prepare, taste great, and are so good for you. Some people say the French green lentils are best. I’ve tried them, and though they are good, I like the lowly brown type I buy for 89 cents at my local grocery store. Try them both and see which you prefer.

Morningstar Farms - In my opinion, the best veggie burgers out there. I used to love their maple veggie sausages in the morning, until I tried the hot and spicy ones. You would never know they’re not made with meat.

Tomatoes - They are the best, and there’s about a million ways to prepare them. Recently, I even got some hothouse tomatoes that were full of flavor. But there’s nothing better than the bounty of tomatoes during the summer. I’m planting for a bumper crop this year!

Quinoa - This ancient grain pronounced keen wa has only recently become readily available in the US. Quinoa’s protein is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal … similar to milk! Hard to find not that long ago, now you can pick it up in most grocery stores. This link will give you probably more info than you’re looking for :) but it is worth a look.


Water - It’s the stuff of life. Women need at least 9 eight ounce servings daily, while men need at least 13 eight ounce servings. Keeping yourself hydrated will help you lose weight. If you are starting an exercise regime, be sure you drink plenty of water!

Almond Milk – Although there’s other choices, I like Blue Diamond. If you are watching your weight/blood sugars, go with the unsweetened.

Wine - Gary Vaynerchuk and his Wine Library is a great source to learn about wine.

Maggie Bush, one of my high school friends, married into a wine-making family and together they own Madrona Vineyards. Try some!


Trader Joe’s - When I was a kid growing up in Glendale, California, my mom used to shop at the original Trader Joe’s in Pasadena, about ten minutes away from home. Now, they’re nation-wide. I love them for their great food, reasonable prices, and quirky randomness of choices.

Whole Foods - This store has some great stuff too. A bit pricier than Trader Joe’s, with a bit more “health food” feel to it. They have a cool hot/cold food bar with lots of unusual selections.

Wegmans - A friend of mine called our local store a culinary Disney World. If there’s one in your area, don’t miss the olive bar, a great source for appetizer fixings.

A G Ferrari - A great on-line source for all things Italian, esp. the olive oils and vinegars.


(Basically, I’m cheap. Check out these titles at the library first, if you can find them.)

Cook Books

21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart - Both Cookbook and Health Transformation by Dr. Neal Barnard, MD.

Clean Eats - 200 Recipes to restart your body’s natural balance and discover what it means to be truly healthy by Dr. Alejandro Junger, MD.

Engine 2 Diet - What a great story by Rip Esslestyn, with plenty of great tips and recipes to try.

New England Soup Factory Cookbook - by Marjorie Druker. Although not all vegetarian, there are some really fine recipes in this one. Who doesn’t love a bowl of soup?

Now Eat This - by Rocco Dispirito. He took the top 150 favorite things Americans eat (only some vegetarian) and re-worked them to bring them under 350 calories. The most amazing recipe for me was the one for brownies. Initially at 1,500 calories and 70 grams of fat, he got it down to 1.6 grams of fat and 53 calories. Find out his secret ingredient.

Sacred Feasts and Twelve Months of Monastery Soups - by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrett.

VB6 - Eat Vegan Before 6:00 - A flexible diet you can really stick to, with more than 60 easy recipes by Mark Bittman.

Health Books

I really believe in what Dr. Neal Barnard is doing. I’ve followed his guidelines and program, and it has made all the difference. I never thought I would be this healthy again. In my mind, anything written by him is worth reading.

Walking the Walk: Getting Fit with Faith A thirty-day, faith based walking program by the world’s #1 Walking Expert Leslie Sansone

Faith Books

As you may know, I’m very into Ignatian Spirituality right now, and have been for the last five years. Loyola Press has a great selection of titles. Heroic Living, Inner Compass, and What Is Ignatian Spirituality are three of my favorites. Author Jim Manney’s A Simple Life Changing Prayer and What’s Your Decision? (co-authored by J. Michael Sparough and Tim Hipskind) are must reads.

Fr. Timothy Gallagher has written a great series on Ignatian Spirituality, and all of them are worth a read.


Three Minute Retreat. It’s how I start my day. From Loyola Press, these quick Scripturally-based and uplifting messages set the stage for a peaceful beginning.

Grace Before Meals A great website from my friend Fr. Leo Patalinghug. This site, with the subtitle stronger family- better food has lots of great recipes and inspirational messages, all with the goal of improving family life. How could you not like that?


In my spare time, I’m a Master Gardener. I love working in my own little piece of land. Next spring, I’ll be planting a wonderful vegetable garden. I can almost taste the goodness!

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