Veganize it!

Veganize it!

The picture looks yummy, right? Well, it’s vegan! WARNING, all the recipes I post will be vegan. So, this is my maiden-voyage blog giving insight to what it means to be vegan compared to vegetarian or some combination thereof. Also, you will see “YOU DO YOU” a lot. That will become clearer as this goes.

[Note: The recipe in the picture is here if you don’t want to read the blog entry about veganism. Sometimes when I am looking for a quick recipe, I hate having to wade through 10 pages of text before I find the ingredients list. It’s based on Sam Turnbull’s BBQ Tofu @It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. You should look at her blog, too – it’s pretty awesome!]

The “Root” of the recipe…

People become vegans and vegetarians for a host of reasons. Some do it for the health of it and others do it for the heart of it. Most vegans see exploiting the work or flesh of animals as immoral and an extension of the injustices we hurl upon each other and the planet. So, bottom line, a vegan diet is void of absolutely anything associated with animals or animal by-products including dairy, eggs, and honey. Vegetarians, on the other hand, vary a great deal in their scope of what they see as acceptable, or not, in their diet. There are several types of vegetarians:
Lacto Vegetarian:
-No to red or white meat, fish, fowl, or eggs.
-Yes to dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt.

Ovo Vegetarian
-No to red or white meat, fish, fowl, or dairy products.
-Yes to eggs and egg products.

Lactoovo vegetarian (most common type of vegetarian)
-No red or white meat, fish, or fowl.
-Yes to dairy products and eggs/egg products.

Semi-vegetarians (mostly health advocates)
Pescatarian (Pescetarian):
-Not to red meat or white meat and fowl.
-Yes to fish (hence the “pesce”), dairy, and eggs/egg products.

-Not to red meat or white meat and fish.
-Yes to chicken (hence the “pollo”), dairy, and eggs/egg products

Flexitarian (the new one “sprouting” up everywhere):
-Yes to a plant-based diet with the occasional meat item on the menu.
This diet is becoming the “new normal” everywhere. It I NOT a vegetarian diet, of course, but limiting the intake of meat is a step in the right direction in making the planet a better place to be!

Now that you have a list of plant-based and semi-plant-based diet types, I will say this – YOU DO YOU! We all respond, believe, feel, act, react, and think differently. I have no intention of judging your choices; I am just offering some skills and insights here. If you are vegan, or strive to be, let me just say, VEGANS ARE HATED PEOPLE – so be prepared. I have yet to figure out why what I eat, or don’t eat, enrages other folks but it does. It seems that some omnivores believe all vegans are evil and wish death upon them for eating animals. While we do believe that eating animals is cruel and bad for the planet, we wish you no harm. We come in peace. Again, YOU DO YOU!

One of the biggest criticisms of vegans and vegetarians is “if you don’t want to eat meat, then why to you buy fake meat?”  Or, “why do you create recipes that mimic the flavor or texture of meat if you are against eating animals?’ Well, in short, most of us were raised in omnivorous families and grew up eating meat. It’s what we know. It’s what triggers our fond memories just like anyone else. It represents comfort in times of stress. It makes us HAPPY! But, that’s not all. In addition to the positive psychological triggers food gives us, many of the meat substitutes are high is protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient in building muscle mass. While it is most commonly found in animal products, it is also present in other sources, such as nuts and legumes. Many meat substitutions are made of soybean products like tofu and tempeh or other beans like black beans and chickpeas. If choosing to a vegan lifestyle for health, these are great choices because you get the protein without the unhealthy saturated fats. And guess what, they taste really awesome! Much better than a boiled bean.

So, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have an interest in this type of information related to diet and food, follow this blog (see link on the right). I will also evaluate exercise and trends in health promotion…but, I really love food. There will be a lot about food!

Knowledge = Power



According to, the Old English word summertime was used for the first time around 1350-1400; a long, long time ago. To most, the beginning and ending of seasons are cycles of personal change as well. We clean out our closests in the spring and fall; we change our smoke detector batteries when we advance of clocks an hour for Daylight Saving Time – then we do the same when we “fall” back; we make plans for a “new start” at the close of winter; we take leaves from work/vacations in the summer This year, 2020, the astronomical summer officially begins with the solstice, June 20, and ends on the fall/autumnal equinox, September 22. Anyway, June, July, and August mark the months of pure enjoyment for me; I hate cold weather! Maybe it’s because I was born in the middle of summer – a June baby? Maybe it’s because I was born on the west coast – SoCal? Whatever the reason, I am miserable when the temperature falls below 60 degrees. I am at my happiest in the good ole heat and humidity we are famous here in Kentucky.

You know what else we are known for here in the Bluegrass state? Yeah. Bourbon.

I know this is a health, fitness, and clean-eating blog, so you probably find it odd that the first blog I write is about alcohol. Well, it might be but there is something about a nice, cold cocktail on a hot summer day that is good for mental health and healing. I am not advocating that folks should drink excessively but there is something special about having a drink on the deck in the evening before dinner, especially since we have been trapped inside with Covid-19 and the cold winter months. I particularly like to experiment with what I call my “fancy” cocktails these days. I take a lot of care preparing the recipe, finding the right vessel, and the perfect garnish. It’s a process that’s so sacred, you only need or want one.

So, for the summer kickoff cocktail, click here for my Kentucky Buck recipe. It’s a refreshing Kentucky version of a Moscow Mule you can enjoy after a long bike ride, or a sweating run, or a hard day of yard work. Cheers!

The Inaugural Post

Welcome to My Nightmare

I have been trying to write the first JAGGED ROOTS blog post for over a year. I created the site late winter of 2019 and was excited to start, then I drew a blank. I just couldn’t decide what angle I wanted to take, or what I really want to say, or how I wanted to say it. And then there’s the audience. Who do I want to talk to – write to? The entire universe? Americans? Women only? Or, more precisely, women over 50? I knew I didn’t want it to merely be an extension of my work life (that’s full enough!) but I also knew that my education played a huge role in me becoming who I am and how I react to and interacted with the world around me. So, here we are. Somewhere in the middle of a pandemic living in a bifurcated, polarized political mess. Five minutes on social media can take you on a roller-coaster of emotions. Anger. Frustration. Fear. Confusion. Rinse and Repeat.

In the past few months, I’ve lost two of my best friends; integral parts of my tribe; my family of choice; my “ride-or-dies.” One of them we lost to unknown causes, the other to a long battle with cancer. The sister we lost to cancer was young, by any standards, but really young to me. The other was older than I am but extremely young in terms of average longevity. I miss them both terribly. When things like this happen, coupled with a global pandemic, your mortality is called into question. How can it not?

I am headed to my mid 50s now and I seem to spend a great deal of time being anxious about things that never bothered me at all before. It makes sense that as you mature, your perspective on life changes. I think the narrative, “with wisdom comes peace” is flawed. The stresses of health problems (real or not), the loss of loved ones, and other major life changes tend to accumulate as we get older; hence, we become more anxious in general. While that might come across as a little depressing, I believe there are things we can do to help mitigate those feelings. Finding hobbies you enjoy, building a routine of appropriate-for-you exercise, cultivating friends, and being mindful about what you eat and drink all play a role in combating the normal anxieties of life.

So, that’s the story! I plan to simply share thoughts on food (primarily plant-based diets), exercise, hobbies, and current trends in health care. There’s not much here yet but I will build this piece by piece – hope you might find some peace here.

Just a disclaimer: While I have a master’s degree in public health and a PhD (in higher education administration, if you wondered), I am not a physician. The information I will share is for encouragement more than anything. We are all in this together and knowing that someone else shares the same concerns about, well everything, is 90% of the battle.