Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Teaching Math Fits Me Like A Comfy Pair of Shoes

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Teaching Math Fits Me Like a Comfy Pair of Shoes

Teaching is fun and rewarding. It is good work. The benefit is creating a different perspective for students. Create a lasting memory for students to carry with them as they interact with others as they mature.  Make a difference! 

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Twitter | @mochavegan

Freestlye 30 (BenJamin Banger) / CC BY 4.0

MVP #059 – How to Stay Motivated When You’re Not Seeing Results – Mark Phipps – Mocha Vegan Performance Podcast

  1. Identify the goal
  2. Make a plan
  3. Write it down
  4. Visualize your future self at that goal and describe it
  5. Describe the same qualities of yourself at your current state
  6. Make a plan to connect your current self to your future self at the targeted goal

Know the rules, and then play better than everyone else.


Freestlye 30 (BenJamin Banger) / CC BY 4.0
Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0

Milking cats. Sure, talk about milking and eating your house pets…


MVP #053 – Ethical Consistency – Stop Being an Idiot

Not really a yawn. Social media threads with conflict between vegans and carnists (meat eaters).

Vegans tend to raise questions, expose issues and identify what is wrong.

Factory Farms, crammed full of animals.

Are animals supposed to have a happy life? Yes / No

Are they fulfilling their purpose by becoming our food.


a person who does not eat or use animal products.
“I’m a strict vegan”

Plant Based for health reasons

A plantbased diet is one based on vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruit, with little or no animal products (including dairy). It may refer to: Vegan diet: a plantbased diet with no food from animal sources.

Meat Eaters that don’t care about the animals welfare because their religion says the animals don’t have souls.

What Is Carnism?

Carnism is the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals. Carnism is essentially the opposite of veganism; “carn” means “flesh” or “of the flesh” and “ism” denotes a belief system. Most people view eating animals as a given, rather than a choice; in meat-eating cultures around the world people typically don’t think about why they find the flesh of some animals disgusting and the flesh of other animals appetizing, or why they eat any animals at all. But when eating animals is not a necessity for survival, as is the case in much of the world today, it is a choice – and choices always stem from beliefs.


Historically: Raising animals for your own consumption.

Now we have a several generation deep tradition of holiday meat feasts.

Dairy and meat industry have influenced the food pyramid. Some more unbiased versions of recommendations are shown from University of Michigan and Harvard below.




Is eating meat the right thing to do? Some situations require it. Understood.

We make choices because we are able to. Underdeveloped countries and poorer communities don’t have the same advantage of being able to choose the fast food drive through as opposed to food from their own fields.

What better choices can we make for our health? Consider a stronger whole food diet.

Infographic on grams of protein per 100g of a food:

Get educated so you can see the options available to you.

What’s in your salad? Lazy vegan salad toppings…

Where do you get your fiber?

If Vegans Said the Stuff Meat-Eaters Say

Is hunting necessary? Breeding deer then releasing them into the wild in order to have something to hunt…I wonder how the government is regulating these start up farms that sell direct to local restaurants.

Make a difference. Be responsible. Speak up when you know something is wrong. Speak up when you can prevent something bad from happening.

Be the example. Become the person you want other people to be.

Are cattle keeping our water hostage?

We force the animals to reproduce. Reduce the demand, reduce the available profits, reduce the number of factory farmed animals.

How consistent are you ethically? Is it okay to kill certain animals and not others? Can we force feed geese, but not dogs? Where do you draw the line?

Milking cats? How is that different than what we do with cows?

Could you have a litter of puppies … and then eat them?

What beliefs were you brought up with?

Vegan kickstart

Trying Vegan facebook group

pH of your poop…(lower is better) Stool pH and colon cancer from  contains an encyclopedia of research comparison to help cut through the acres of research. Nice work!

Educate yourself to the alternatives and the reasons WHY change is necessary.

Be thoughtful. Ask questions. Do good things. Help yourself and others live long and healthful lives.

Find community. Find support.


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Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0


Can you imagine, the only plant. Think about it...

Can you imagine, the only plant. Think about it…

Listen in and enjoy the commentary.

Be kind to our planet.


What a difference you can make in your life with running.

Barriers to running:

Injuries – how do you transition back into running?

New to running / haven’t run before –



Park a little further from your destination.

Look at running as an opportunity to explore a new area.

Challenge yourself to do more than before.

Start slow and go faster a little bit at a time.


Try to find a solution that moves you from the couch or your current area of inactivity towards running.

 Two Real Steps to Make the Change

  1. Make a Decision
    1. You have to commit to making a change in your life to get anywhere.
    2. Write down your goal
    3. Break it down into steps
    4. Find a very small step that moves you towards your goal, but is easily repeatable.
    5. Perform this step every day for two weeks.
    6. Increase the daily goal or step to take you further along your journey.
  2. Enjoy the Journey by Making It Social
    1. Find an Accountability Partner: friend, neighbor, family member
    2. Join a Group: walking, running, triathlon (Landis Tri Club is a local group that I enjoyed.)
    3. Use a Social App: Map My Ride,, My Fitness Pal
    4. Walk Your Dog

Find what works for you and fits in your life and let me know. I want to know how things are going and if I can help. 🙂

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Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0

Selective Ignorance

People start their training for selective ignorance early in life. Until recent efforts to reduce bullying in schools, the victims of mistreatment from their peers often found the pleas for help falling on deaf ears. It always seems justifiable to mind your own business when you look at things from a “how much good could I do, anyways” perspective. This looking out for number one really makes you a big piece of number two.

Let’s talk about the animals. What can I do to help the animals? Vote with your fork. If you find pictures of chickens crammed in tiny crates with other chickens unpleasant to look at, don’t eat chicken. If you are a huge fan of Charlotte’s Web (and so are you kids), say no to pork. When videos of calves being taken away from their milk-producing mothers as soon as their born pull at your heartstrings, say NO to beef.


Consume no animals

Many things in life fall into the category where the velocity of daily life and the more and more overscheduled family allow convenience to trump doing the right thing. It takes more effort to do the right thing. Being consistent requires planning ahead. We are a reactive society. Unfortunately people react more strongly to the latest trends on Facebook and Twitter than they do to the ongoing imprisonment and lifelong torture of animals for our food.

I have been out of work for two months now. Keeping your morals about you becomes more challenging as pressures for new work and household budgets mount. There are always choices to make. See them and seize the opportunities. Be right with the world. To help with the grocery budget, it is okay to not have any beer. No beer at all. This did coincide with my brilliant idea to give up coffee and chocolate for lent. Giving up coffee has been an epic undertaking. Epic. Seriously, epic. “Chocolate and coffee are your two main food groups,” says my oldest daughter. So cut back on the beer and I could sleep. Sleep a lot. With my busy family, there is little time for extra sleep. See if this sounds familiar to any families out there:

Morning: Alarms start going off between 6 and 6:30 for morning showers or last-minute homework items. Three kids must all be up around 7 at the latest. My time then gets split between making breakfast and school lunches and water bottles. It is like herding cats, but usually ends well. My wife gets up around 7:30 when she is not on the road and by 7:45 and I am off to the high school. The rest of the crew is ‘ready’ to depart by 8.

8:30 starts my work day which can go until 2:30 when the kids are ready to return home. We have classes at the church, basketball, volleyball, flag football, speed and agility training and the occasional school function that pops up unexpectedly. During the school day, there are orthodontist appointments, dentist appointments, doctor appointments, calls from the school requesting forgotten books or homework, injuries from recess and taking the dog to the vet.

Dinner is a challenge. For a vegan, the amount of pizza that I buy or cook is unreasonable. I am not consistent with what I preach: “Don’t eat animal products!” -à “Here’s some cheese pizza kids…” I am not Rachel Ray or Emeril, nor do I pretend to. The disparity between what I’d like to have my kids eat and what they actually eat is a chasm that I am trying to bridge. We do not sit at the table together consistently as we are not all home at the same time most days. These are lazy excuses.

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Doesn’t it?

I cook pasta and serve it with a meat and cheese free red sauce. I make vegetables, but not every day. I add in foods that I believe are important. I talk about nutrition. I garden and talk about the power of plants. I do not force anything on my kids. I want to amplify my parenting and fit it all in around finding a new job and helping my kids increase their performance in the sports of choice.

I commit to stay in shape. I am through 64 days of TapouT XT and have the aches and pains I would expect as a 47-year-old participant that doesn’t get enough rest. I try to run four days each week, including a run of at least 10-12 miles each Sunday. I have a green smoothie about three times a week and keep chia seeds in my diet to give me an edge. I drink tons of water.

I could really go for some coffee right now.

Seriously, is my suffering during lent helping God in any way? I’m not sure, but I am not getting headaches anymore and my productivity is skyrocketing. I took my girls to a mission at the church the two nights ago and heard a prayer that really got me thinking; it went something like this:

                God, please take anything or anyone from my life that is keeping me further from You.

Say that and really think it through. Coffee and chocolate, bah! Beer to save the grocery budget, pish posh. Anythingor anyone. Much of the sermon circled the idea that we try to prepare for all manners of ‘storms’ in our lives. We save money for a rainy day. We tell the kids to look both ways before they cross the street. But, the truth is we can’t really control any of it. We spend much of our time worrying and stressing about a myriad of potential life challenges that we have no control over whatsoever. I felt that the point of it all was that we have to trust God and give as much love to our people as we can.

Make good choices people. Love the Earth and those around you as much as you can. Let’s plant seeds of happiness for future generations together. :)


MVP #044 – Podcast Update in 2015 and Scrum

TapouT XT going on right now in my house. My daughter and I are both in pursuit of the satisfaction that comes from 90 days for consistent effort towards any goal. We are both getting fitter and stronger through the process.

TapouT XT challenges your fitness, your resolve and, at a few times during each workout, becomes “How badly do you want it?” “To Quit DOES NOT EXIST!” The price has come way down now. You can buy the disks and other items for $80 OR you can get the streaming version and they give you the entire XT2 series for a total of $50! XT2 is a whole other animal with more extreme and lengthy workouts. This summer, after 2 rounds through the first series, I will be ready for XT2. Check it out.

Don’t gauge by your age. The only reason we really get old is because we choose to. Don’t put yourself out to pasture. Move your body, challenge the way things are. Consult your doctor and start something that will help you be around for those around you.


Changes to the Dietary Guidelines are coming out in 2015. Review what has been done, post your comments. Push for a more sustainable food chain. I vote #vegan but your choice is your own.

Here is an excerpt from the written reporting with a link to take you to the bulk of the materials:

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Part D. Chapter 5: Food Sustainability and Safety- Continued

Sustainable Diets

Dietary Patterns and Sustainability

Question 1: What is the relationship between population-level dietary patterns and long-term food sustainability?

Source of Evidence:
 Modified NEL systematic review


Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact (GHG emissions and energy, land, and water use) than is the current average U.S. diet. A diet that is more environmentally sustainable than the average U.S. diet can be achieved without excluding any food groups. …


A moderate to strong evidence base supports recommendations that the U.S. population move toward dietary patterns that generally increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, while decreasing total calories and some animal-based foods.


Scrum is a great alternative for a difficult to define problem. I think of it as an iterative process of trial and adjustment with heavy stakeholder input. It allows the customer to be involved in development so they can understand how the product is developing so it has the most possible value for efforts made to create it. There are great resources available to understand Scrum. Please see the following:

Introduction to Scrum – CollabNet Scrum Training Part 1

Tracking and evaluation of progress during the course of activity makes all the difference.


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Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0

MVP #043 – Speciesism – Mark Phipps – Mocha Vegan Podcast

Think about how we treat 'others'

Let’s be bigger than other people

A note that this recording was made on Monday, January 5, 2015, the day I returned to work from a long holiday. At the end of the next day I was laid off, so I’ve had more than those days I mention in the beginning of the episode to spend with my family (just with less money…) – moving on.

The concept of ‘speciesism’ is that people are the most powerful species and discriminate and maintain control over all other species. Similar to racism and sexism, people have taken over the planet.

The animals really don’t have a chance anymore.

Factory farming is outside reasonable lines of how we should treat ANY other species.

There are horror movies that show this type of treatment towards other humans and it is a bad thing. 101 Dalmatians, a movie I watched early in life, didn’t encourage mistreatment of dogs. We don’t like people to cage up their pets or mistreat their family. Why would we condone mistreatment of the animals that were identified as our targeted food source?

Think about the implications and try to move in a positive direction. Consider vegan.

Thanks for listening.

Mark Phipps

Training in Phases

Cleveland Marathon

Training in Phases

Increased Load

Similar to training for your first 5K race, many marathoner trainers simply increase their load over time so that they reach a maximum distance in time for their race. By running several times during the week and having one ‘long’ run on the weekend, you see your long run distance slowly approach marathon distance.

3-Week Phases

Other thoughts include taking two steps forward and one step back where your mileage increases two weeks in a row, then steps back slightly on the third week. This works well at the beginning, when gains in duration and distance are at their maximum. However, this approach can be tedious over the many months of marathon preparation AND it does not provide large enough improvements in pace for me.

Speed Training

Improving your performance with speed training involves testing your limits. In order to go fast, you have to … go faster. It isn’t quite that simple, I agree. To run a faster marathon, you must run a faster half marathon. To run the faster half marathon, you must run a faster 10K. A faster 10K requires a faster 5K, 2 miler, 1 miler or lap around your high school track. You have to go to the shortest distance necessary to see improvements. Do these shorter, faster, intervals with appropriate breaks between and you will be on your way to that faster Boston Marathon Qualifier. Run, Forrest, Run.

Creating More Time


Set your alarm, get up early, do good things

Habits – Making the most of the time that you have.

You are convinced that there is a lot of productive time left on the table each day. It seems like you just work, go to bed and repeat. What happens to those few elusive hours surrounding the work and sleep each day? It will require some tracking, a little analysis, to really figure things out.

This won’t take long. Get a note card or a small notebook and keep it with you. For one week (so you cover all the days and their different structures. Identify each element of your day that seems to be a time-waster or unproductive. WRITE IT DOWN. For example, “2o minutes have Facebook chat with my buddy” OR “30 minutes catching up on ____ (Facebook, Twitter, news websites, etc.”

Do this for a week. Be honest, if you watch four episodes of your favorite show with the family, great, but right it down. Most successful people watch an hour or less of television each day and focus their social media time. Identify your 3-hour-per-day TV habit or your propensity to chat on the phone for an innocent 30 minutes several times each day and you are on your way to a more productive self.

Turn that Frown Upside-Down

So you’ve made THE LIST of your time transgressions and can’t even set it down for fear that someone will read it and judge you. Let’s take that list and invert it. Take each poor habit and transition it into the opposite: For example: “Watched more than 2 hours of TV every day” BECOMES “Watch less than 90 minutes of TV each day”. Take each habit and describe what you think is a healthier version of that habit. Do it for everything.


The goal is not to change everything overnight. What you should strive for is performing one of these new, RICH, habits and celebrating your success. Make a note of your successes. Each positive habit served during your day or week will allow other desired activities into your schedule. Perhaps the garden you always wanted to plant, reading some inspirational material or a more regular exercise regimen. You get the idea?

Get out there and try it. Keep score for a week and create healthier versions of those habit as daily time-saving goals.

Good luck!

Until next time:


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Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0

Vegan Thanksgiving

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash credit to – something to bring to Thanksgiving Dinner at your favorite carnivore’s house that will raise an eyebrow or two.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Improving Run Performance

My recipe for improving run performance

Speed training 2-3 times per week
Long Run for endurance once per week
Yoga once per week
Core 1 – 3 times per week

Until next time:


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Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0


Lizzy Phipps is playing JV Volleyball at Dobson High School. She is a center blocker. Two months ago, none of us knew what a center blocker was. Her focus and effort since August have earned her a position on the team that will continue to improve as she does. Great work, Lizzy!


Markie is switching coaches after the summer with a very good coach. His determined level of play when he is very new to the sport continues to impress me. He has not achieved ‘statiscal’ success, but is clearly on his way. He is putting in the required effort AND MORE and his opportunities will continue to present themselves.

More Volleyball

Miss Bella, Isabella according to her uniform, has joined a 1st – 3rd grade league through the YMCA. The main focus of the game so far is the team that gets in the most serves pretty much wins. That doesn’t change for a few years, it seems… She can bump the ball and is learning to set. Depth perception is tricky when the net towers above you at nearly twice your height. For me, that would be like playing with a 12 foot net – WOW! The kids are learning, having fun and feeling successes along the way.

Sports with Swords

Michael is ready for his first sport as long as it has swordplay. Seriously, he does enjoy trying to bump the volleyball. He also like to play basketball with his big brother though the net is. Most of all, he likes boxing on the Wii. We watched Rocky this weekend and after we all went for a run, he wanted to play Wii Sports. Funny kid. I can’t believe he will be going to school this time next year.

Travel with My Wife

Flying with a flight attendant has perks. My wife knows the ins and outs of travel. She is courteous enough to bring bags of candy to share with our crews, both the New York and from there to Punta Cana, D.R. They treat us very well and we even see them on the way back. We get awesome airport junk food and have snacks on the plane. Great success!

Dominican Republic

The resort we are booked at it all inclusive. We have a shuttle from the airport to drive us there (with A/C), they fawn over us at every turn when we arrive, from taking our bags, bringing us tropical drinks, giving the verbal tour en route to the room, to always being available to answer questions, no matter how simple.

After the fact, I am glad that I did not have Wi-Fi or cell service. I used Lynn’s phone to contact the kids a couple times when she was sleeping, but was otherwise content reading at night or watching a movie and just unplugging. My relaxation was a total success. Though I gained six pounds in five days, it didn’t stick. I am certain it had a lot to do with El Presidente beers and cheeseless pizzas being delivered to the room any time of day or night and the expansive buffet that had SO much fruit that I don’t know how to describe it all.

And I ran every day (success). I played beach volleyball one day. I went to a wedding one day. I went shopping. I slept in a beach chair in the shade of a palm tree for a couple hours. I ate French Fries daily. And the staff would make me vegan food whenever I wanted it. Every restaurant came up with something for me. Even though my food choices weren’t healthy, there were consistent with my moral intentions.

Being Thankful

I met hard-working locals who made me understand how lucky we are. I am fortunate to have a family and live in the United States. I think I could live there, too, and be happy with much less.

Forrest Gump

I had little or no expectations going into this trip and life is truly like a box of chocolates; this trip was a good one!


Until next time:


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Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0

Running! Jeff Sanders of and host of the 5AM Miracle Podcast joins the show today. What is a vegan? And seriously, what is a raw vegan?!

Think about what you put in your body and making time to move your body.

A preview of the movie Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret and discussion about Ag Gag Laws:

Anti-Whistleblower Bills Hide Factory-Farming Abuses from the Public

We talked about how Jeff’s dog, Benny, motivated him to start putting better food in his body. Find your motivation and join the journey towards a happier and healthier life.

Apology for the audio issues at the beginning…

Be healthy and happy! 🙂

Enjoy the episode!

Until next time:


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Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0


5K Races (3.1 miles) “hurt from the start to the end”

50 Marathons in 50 States!

What a great concept to travel the country – by marathon.

Denny’s new podcast is called Diz Runs With and is available on iTunes.

Documentaries to Watch

Food Inc.

Hungry For Change

Supersize Me!


Superjuice Me! (limited or rental)

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Earthlings (warning, very graphic and emotionally challenging to watch)

Vanishing of the Bees

Family Running

Get a jogger stroller! They have big wheels and pockets to carry baby supplies AND your water.

Qualifying for Boston

Denny’s Marathon PR: 4:08 To qualify for Boston requires 3:05 marathon at Denny’s age (32 as of this recording).

Next marathon for Denny will be in Alabama in December 2014.

Future meetup for Mark and Denny to catch an Arizona marathon somewhere down the road.

Break free from the gym trainers and call Denny!

Twitter: @dkfitsolutions and @dizruns


Parting thoughts:

Get more real food. Listen to Denny’s June series on REAL FOOD. Make good choices and avoid unnatural and unsustainable processes.

Be healthy and happy! 🙂

Enjoy the episode!

Until next time:


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Stormy Blues (Arne Bang Huseby) / CC BY 3.0

Lizzy the Gymnast interview:

Have fun, cheer for others and just have a good time. You can only control your performance and look forward to a double stack of Waffle House chocolate chip pancakes. What’s your favorite fast food for on the go? Granola bars, Z Bars, Breakfast Bars, cashews, oranges, bananas, cut up apples are all on Lizzy’s list of GOTO fast foods.

Fast Food doesn’t have to involve a Drive-Thru window.

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to pull into McDonald’s because you like their coffee and grab a few overpriced bananas and apples for the kids to have as snacks? I’m just saying that it would be nice to have an option and for them to provide a true service, wouldn’t it?!

Morning banter

Rocking Thursday ride home. Walked the dog. No green smoothie. My blendtec is feeling lonely. Caffinated smoothie. 93F on the dash, lucky lucky. Weekend plans? Hike, long run, cooking a good meal. Cheeseless pizza, anyone? I really want to make this.

Mark shares how it feels to be ‘in a funk’ and how to set goals to lead yourself out of it. Seek out the areas where you are most happy in life and expand those feelings into other areas of your life.

Set a milestone or goal to train for

  1. Marathon or half marathon
  2. Focus on your strengths

Take care of your body – it wants to take care of you
Pick a goal with realistic training requirements (not another full time job)

What to do when you reach your goal: “You have arrived.”


  1. Less things with wrappers
  2. Less things that required milk or butter and came with a sauce in powder form
  3. Whole grain pasta, lentils, brown rice



  1. This is a daily battle for me.
  2. I am on new, uncharted, territory
  3. I don’t want to force what I am doing on others in my life.
  4. Offer grapes and bananas in lieu of pop tarts
  5. Carrot sticks instead of cheetos – alternative options for the kids

It is not about being perfect – be a better version of you

  1. Where are you happy in your life
  2. Take your successful areas and expand those

Mangoes Rock!