Timaree Hagenburger: A chef shares why he adopted a plant-based, whole food diet

I am so excited to introduce you all to Vik! He is one of my former students with whom I bonded almost immediately, as we shared a love of food, a passion for culinary creativity and an insatiable curiosity, often captured by the question: “I wonder how we could take this to the next level?”

When we first met, his food was all about flavor and texture, but as he learned more and more in my classes and through our conversations, he realized that it was relatively easy to add fat, sugar and/or salt to a dish to tickle someone’s taste buds, but it was much more rewarding to create amazing food that was also nourished the customer, improving their health and quality of life with every bite.

He has done some great cooking demonstrations for our Thrive On Plants Club on campus and I look forward to more to come.

Enjoy reading about Vik’s story through its twists and turns, and the new recipe he created for you!


My name is Vikash Lal, though some of you would know me as Vik. Cooking has been a lifelong interest of mine. I grew up a foodie, and although it runs in the family, I am the first to have taken it to the level of chef.

My first memory of cooking involved my cousin standing me on a chair when I was 4, and teaching me how to scramble eggs. I remember the smells, and how it seemed like magic when the proteins began to cook and solidify.

Magic — especially to a 4-year-old — and I was hooked. I began cooking breakfast for the family every weekend.

Fast forward a few more years to high school, where I took A.P. Biology and it blew my mind. We covered microbiology, and learned about the types of cells that are found in organic materials (including the food we eat).

Between that biology class and another in chemistry, I learned what each cell was made of, including lipids (which were the fats and oils with which I cooked), the proteins made up of amino acids and how they responded to heat and acid, and more. The kitchen became my laboratory and I was experimenting with recipe after recipe.

Sometime after I graduated high school I got my first kitchen job as a dishwasher. I slaved back there in that dish pit for the better part of three years. During that time, I learned how to use a knife, along with hundreds of ways not to use a knife. I also learned how to work an actual line.

It was a long road. It took blood, sweat and even a few tears here and there.

I had to learn to check what was happening in my life at the door and let cooking be my escape. Now, I’m a chef with a reputation for making magic happen.

My culinary journey took a huge turn two years ago. I was cocky to say the least. I felt I had mastered my craft, my feet were kicked up and I had stopped growing. What else was there to learn? I could make anything and make it well.

Quite frankly, I was bored, and actually ready to put up my knives and give up cooking and the lifestyle it came with.

I decided to return to school.

I was a chef who ate meat of all kinds. As a matter of fact, I was a chef who had just come out of my self-proclaimed “bacon phase” — a lot like Picasso’s blue phase, just more artery clogging.

That is when I took Prof. Hagenburger’s nutrition class at Cosumnes River College. The professor and I connected quickly, as we always discussed food and cooking. Throughout the class, she recognized my food-related knowledge, and encouraged me to incorporate what we were learning about nutrition. She would often ask me the question, “How could you make that plant-based, with whole foods?”

It sounded challenging, but not impossible, so I gave it a try and actually jumped into a 21-Day Kickstart she mentioned in class.

After three weeks, I loved the way I felt, and was amazed that I didn’t miss out on any of the flavors that made me love food. By the time we were halfway through the class, I was convinced that if I wanted to live strong, the best thing I could do for my health was go vegan — to thrive on plant-based whole foods, as Prof. Hagenburger would remind me. There was no downside.

That fact lined up perfectly with being culinarily bored out of my wits, which enabled me to jump into the 21-day challenge with both feet.

Then, my journey took yet another turn. Sometime after my “kickstart,” I returned to eating meat and dairy because my girlfriend at the time decided it was too hard for her if I continued to eat this way. She loved to go out and split plates, and animal products weren’t something she was ready to give up.

We broke up eventually. I went vegan a few days after and I haven’t eaten an animal product since.

I can’t say as a chef that I am not tempted.

I loved chicken strips my entire life, and while I don’t eat them anymore, I do have to fry them at work — five cases at a time. I’m literally surrounded by my biggest temptations, including cheesecakes and other sweets, pizza and wings.

Since I am in my early twenties, my health alone isn’t always enough to turn away from those temptations, and I have to be able to say “no” on a regular basis.

My faith, however, has been closely intertwined with my food journey. Through my trials and tribulations of life, I have always found my way back to my faith.

I am a devout Hindu and we are taught to have love and respect for all living beings. Knowing this truth — understanding the role our food choices play and not wanting to contradict myself — has provided me with the strength and discipline to stay on my path without wavering.

If you are a Hindu or someone who has studied Hinduism, you might be asking, “What about dairy?” The cow was the mother of Krishna when he had no parents. Milk is what kept him alive and its consumption is highly regarded in Hinduism.

I agree, the cow did act as the mother to Krishna, and is forever a maternal figure in Hinduism. I ask you to look at what they’ve done to her. In many places across the U.S., dairy cows are far from being honored. They are often subjected to putrid conditions, separated from their baby calves, and sent to the slaughterhouse after only a fraction of their natural lifespan. To make dairy cheese, rennet is often used to curdle the milk. This comes from the inner lining of a baby calf’s stomach.

As a Hindu, how can I take part in the consumption of something when I know these truths and have been able to recreate the recipes I love with plant-based alternatives?

While I became vegan for health reasons, I continue to make these intentional choices for my spirituality and my morality.

One of our holy books, the Bhagvat Gita, tells us that the path to enlightenment is individual to everyone. On my path, I found being vegan to be my truth.

Now, since I’m a chef, it is my job to make food taste great. Let me introduce you to my latest dish, a flavor-rich, plant-based, fusion-inspired salad that could easily be turned into a hearty meal.

Timaree Hagenburger is a registered dietitian, certified exercise physiologist with a master’s degree in public health, and a nutrition professor at Cosumnes River College. She is excited about the new Plant-Based Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture certificate program there, and loves interacting with her former students like Vik as part of her Thrive On Plants Club and her hands-on cooking class. Timaree also conducts local events, corporate wellness work, has a regular segment on California Bountiful TV and is the author of “The Foodie Bar Way: One meal. Lots of options. Everyone’s happy.” available at .

5 Muscle Groups You Should Start Working Out In The Gym

You think you’re on top of your workout game. You’re always in the gym, you mix up your muscle groups — hell, you even make cardio a priority. But when was the last time you worked your deep cervical flexors?

Before you Google where those muscles are, let’s assume you haven’t made time for them in your regular workout routine. But that’s about to change.

Many men apply the “bigger is better” philosophy to working out. But some of the most important muscles in daily life require the least equipment to strengthen. While you’re focusing on the muscles you can see — the lats, pecs, biceps, rectus abdominis, glutes and quads — the muscles that actually help you get things done are being left out. These areas need your attention, too — or you might even face problems down the line.

Here is a list of 5 muscles (or muscle groups) that you’ll want to work into your regular fitness routine, starting now:

1. Deep cervical flexors.

Chances are you’ve never thought about these muscles in your life, but they are crucial for proper head positioning.

Deep cervical flexors include the Longus Colli and Longus Capitis, which play an important role in stabilizing the neck and improving your head position and cervical alignment. These muscles are often weak in people who spend many hours at a computer or at a desk, leading to a forward head position or the chin being tilted upwards.

Research shows that strengthening the deep cervical flexors can reduce symptoms in people living with chronic neck pain. Unsure if your neck is weak? Try lying flat on your back. Tuck your chin downward then lift the head up using only your neck. Try and hold this position for 20 seconds. Not so easy, huh? Weakness in these muscles can lead to cervical and thoracic pain, and even headaches.

Try a chin tuck to strengthen these muscles, and try incorporating your new and improved alignment into your lifting routine.

2. Grip strength

We use our hands for countless tasks every day, but how often do you take time t0 specifically strengthen your grip? Unless you’re a rock climber or training for the next American Ninja Warrior competition, the answer is probably not often enough.

Research shows that grip strength might be an early indicator of long-term health and longevity. In fact, it may also be a predictor of disease risk in the future. On top of that, your hands are the connection to those heavyweights you’re lifting at the gym. Make an extra point to ensure those hands are strong, and you’ll only see positive results.

If you’re already doing some heavy lifting, strengthen your grip by performing these exercises. Or if you’re just starting out, try low-resistance wrist extension/flexion with a dumbbell, squeezing a soft ball with your hand, or practicing pinch gripping heavy weights to target some important muscles in the fingers.

3. Intrinsic foot muscles

Getty ImagesAnthony Saint James

Our feet connect us with the world. Most of the time, they are our only physical connection, so what happens down there matters. Intrinsic foot muscles are the muscles that start and end in the foot itself. We don’t use our feet for climbing and traversing rocks and sticks like we used to back in prehistoric times, so the role of our feet in daily life has been minimized. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need them to be strong.

Arch support comes from a team of muscles, including the intrinsic foot muscles. By strengthening these muscles, you can help prevent your arches from collapsing. Why does this matter? When those arches collapse, your feet pronate. This can contribute to valgus at the knee (or the knees knocking together or moving inward inward). This stresses the inner knee compartment. Compound the force created by that movement with heavy lifting, single leg leaping and jumping, and you put your knees at high risk for injury.

Try practicing foot doming while you lift to train your feet stay in better alignment. Your knees will thank you.

4. Transverse abdominis

When people think of the “core” they often imagine the rectus abdominis (RA) muscle, or the muscle that gives you a six pack. But the transverse abdominis (TA) is often left out of training.

If you’ve ever seen a low back brace when someone is lifting at the gym, you should have an idea of the purpose of this muscle. The TA is deeper than the RA and wraps around the lower abdomen and upper pelvis to form your very own built-in low back brace.

5. Lateral ankle stabilizers (peroneals and tibialis posterior)

If you’ve got wobbly ankles, the more weight you load onto your body the more prone to injury you become. The peroneus longus and peroneus brevis wrap around the outer (lateral) ankle and move your ankle to the side while helping dorsiflex the ankle (lift the toes up — important for not tripping and avoiding turf toe). The tibialis posterior is on the other side of your ankle, wrapping around the inner (medial) ankle and helping to both move your ankle inward and point your toe downward.

But most of the time, these muscles are working together to stabilize your ankle. They are part of an important group that helps to prevent excessive ankle movement during single and double leg activities. To work on ankle stability, try single leg exercises such as standing on one leg and moving the other leg forward, sideways and backwards ten times. If that’s easy, try doing it while balancing on an unstable surface like a pillow or a BOSU.

Look back at this list. If you’re lifting heavy with bad head positioning, weak grip strength, turned in knees, and no built-in low back brace, you might be putting yourself at risk for an injury.

Save yourself the setback by focusing on those little muscles you never thought about before. You could even wind up becoming the guy with the strongest cervical flexors in the gym. You’ll only see positive results from putting in the extra work, so start focusing on the little things to make the big things even better.

Seattle Seahawks tackle fitness during Wasilla visit

A Wasilla event Tuesday wasn’t a training camp, but it offered children a taste of what it’s like to play football — with some NFL pros from the Seattle Seahawks.

The Menard Sports Complex hosted its annual Seahawks Play 60 program. It was the first time there for Abigail Mason.

“It’s pretty good: you get to play a lot of sports, and it’s a lot of fun for the kids,” Mason said during a break.

For Tristan Dodd, it was his second visit.

“My parents told me about it coming again, so, I wanted to do it again,” Dodd said.

The program encourages kids to get 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

The National Football League created the program in 2007. It addresses a crucial need in Alaska, where it’s estimated one out of very three kids is either overweight or obese.

Rod Christiansen offers his knowledge of the game. He is Alaska’s all-time winningest high school football coach. The kids also get tips from those who know the game like few others.

Seattle Seahawks guard Jordan Roos was joined helping kids improve their skills by teammate and center Joey Hunt.

Staying active is one of the messages they delivered to the kids.

“Oh, I love it, I love it. That’s how I grew up playing around, throwing the football, sports, playing around in the wilderness; I think it’s awesome,” Roos said.

“This is about having fun, kids being active, playing games, like I get to do for a living, so, it’s exciting to come out here and play with the kids,” Hunt said.

The message is something parents appreciate.

“We focus a lot on eating healthy, getting exercise, so, this is great, ” said parent Erica Ybarra, as kids learn a valuable lesson while having fun.

The Cancer Diet – Providing Plant-Based, Low Methionine Meals for Cancer Patients & Survivors

The Cancer Diet – Providing Plant-Based, Low Methionine Meals for Cancer Patients & Survivors | NewsWatch Review


Cancer is a disease that affects everyone.  Whether it be a friend, a relative, or a colleague, we all know someone afflicted with the disease. While there are many known methods of combating cancer, few are consistently effective or painless.

Nancy Crabbs was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in 2011 and given less than a year to live. Though devastated, she was determined to conquer all odds and live a healthy, long life.

Nancy began eating a plant-based, low methionine diet. The success of the diet led to the creation of The Cancer Diet app.

Providing cancer patients and survivors a chance at fighting the disease through a plant-based low methionine meal, this app has revolutionized how to fight back against the disease.

Nancy found that this diet, which can be used with chemotherapy and radiation, worked for her and over 70 people she has recommended it to, all of which are cancer survivors.

From healthy living hacks to copious recipes, the app is chockfull of ways that survivors and patients can lead a long and healthy lifestyle.

Once you’ve logged in, you can find different recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert.

And you can save your recipes to create a cookbook of options available to you at a moment’s notice.

So, if you or someone you know is battling cancer and looking for an alternative, healthy way to fight the disease, visit or download the app by heading to the Google Play or App Store today.

Also, make sure to watch for the 111 recipe cookbook on Amazon called The Cancer cookbook.

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Wish to lower risk of stroke? Keep diet, workout regime in check

By Dr Chandril Chugh

For ages, we have known that prevention is better than cure, and this holds true for too. Stroke or brain attack is preventable and is a lifestyle-associated disease like many others nowadays. So, in a way, stroke is a matter of choice and you can choose to prevent it. In the majority of cases, stroke is the result of years of wrong diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. If we can change our diet and lifestyle, most strokes can be prevented. Preventing a stroke is not rocket science; it’s simple and can be done easily.

Brain Attack Or Stroke
Sudden loss of function is known as brain attack or stroke. Brain attack can be due to a blocked vessel (medically known as an ischaemic stroke) or due to a ruptured blood vessel (haemorrhagic stroke or a subarachnoid haemorrhage).

Is It An Emergency?

Stroke may cause one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Weakness and numbness on one side of the body
  • Difficulty in speaking and understanding words
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of vision
  • Severe headaches

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Symptoms depend on which part of the brain is affected. If not treated on time, the weakness and other neurological deficits may become permanent and extremely disabling. Stroke can sometimes lead to even death.

Recognising A Stroke
Remember the 7S method to diagnose and respond to a stroke:

  1. Sudden (symptoms usually start suddenly)
  2. Slurred speech (speech is not clear, as if drunk)
  3. Side weak (face, arm or leg or all three can get weak)
  4. Spinning (vertigo)
  5. Severe headache
  6. Sight (loss of vision)
  7. Seconds (note the time when the symptoms start and rush to the hospital because time is crucial in stroke management and every second counts)

How Bad Is Stroke?
According to a 2006 study in the USA, a patient with ischaemic stroke loses 19 lakh brain cells every minute, about 1,400 crore nerve connections are destroyed every minute and 12 km of nerve fibres are lost every minute. The end result is that the patient is paralysed for life and becomes dependent. That is scary indeed.

World No Tobacco Day: Smoking Can Hurt Eyes, Bones And Brain

Thrill Kills

Most smokers believe smoking is cool. No matter how you indulge in it, tobacco is harmful to your health. Tobacco contains over 7,000 toxins and 70 known carcinogens (chemicals that increase cancer risk) and can damage nearly every organ of the body. Dr Sachin Kumar, Senior Consultant – Pulmonology at Sakra World Hospital explains how smoking affects every part of your body. The next time you are tempted to take a drag, just pause for a minute and think of the consequences of your indulgence.

The treatment depends on what type of stroke the patient has had.

Top Factor In Stroke Care
The most important part of stroke care is not the doctor or the hospital, but the patient. As most of the strokes are painless, patients tend to ignore their symptoms and delay treatment. If the patient and the family are aware of stroke symptoms, the patient can be taken to hospital on time and given treatment.

Worldwide, stroke is the second leading cause of death. More than two-thirds of the patients with a large stroke don’t survive beyond the first year.

Take Care Of These To Prevent A Stroke
High blood pressure: The single-most important thing that anyone can do is to control his/her blood pressure. The easiest way to do this is through exercise and diet and, if needed, medications. High cholesterol: One easy way to manage cholesterol is to increase fruits and vegetables in the diet and avoid fried foods. Consuming healthy fats from nuts (almonds or walnuts), fish oils and oils like olive oil and flaxseed oil is also beneficial. The dietary reference intake (DRI) for fat in adults is 20-35% of total calories from fat. An average of 50 gm of fat per day is a safe zone.

Healthy sources of fat for Indian cooking are ghee, sunflower oil, groundnut oil and mustard oil. Include all these in your diet for best results. Beware that fats may be hidden. Read labels carefully before buying products. If diet doesn’t work, then medications can come to the rescue.

Cut Down On Salt, Drink Fluids: Simple Diet Tips To Avoid Chronic Heart Failure

Save Your Heart

Cardiac or heart failure is a clinical condition in which the heart loses the ability to eject blood to meet the requirements of the tissues of the body. Irrespective of the cause, nutritional concerns need to be addressed in this condition in order to prevent morbidity and mortality. Patients with chronic heart failure are at constant risk of losing weight due to the medical condition and also low dietary intake which is due poor appetite, depression or loss of appetite due to consumption of drugs.Dietary interventions to maintain and restore the nutritional balance are essential part of treatment therapy. These include a suitable change in calorie intake, reduction in sodium and fluid intake, maintenance of potassium and magnesium in the body, and appropriate supplementation with vitamins and minerals.Here are some simple tips by Dr Ritika Samaddar, Chief Nutritionist at Max Hospital, Saket.

High sugar: High sugar intake is not good for the body or the brain. It is important to realise that, and eliminate, or at least limit, the intake of sugary foods like cold drinks, juices, cookies, biscuits, chocolates and sweets.

Smoking: The smoke that travels through the lungs into the blood and then gets circulated throughout the body mixed with blood is known to make the blood sticky and cause strokes. So, stay away from smoking and keep your blood flowing smoothly.

Diet: My advice is simple: You can eat anything that comes from the ground (fruits, vegetables), is white (low fat milk, for example. But know that most refined foods are also white. You must make wise choices here) or sometimes pink (fresh fish or lean chicken). Stay away from anything that comes out of a box, plastic packet or a bottle.

Exercise: A good diet with regular physical exercise is the secret to good health. If you follow this routine you will not have to worry about the first three points. Doctor:The last piece of stroke prevention strategy is your doctor. Get professional advice always because “your brain is the Ferrari of your body, and you don’t take your Ferrari to a roadside mechanic”.

—The writer is the Head of Interventional Neurology at Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi

A Plant-based Diet Could Save the Planet — and Your Life

When Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams realized he was headed towards blindness caused by diabetes, he turned to a treatment you buy from a grocery store, not a pharmacy: his food. He switched from the typical “American” diet, heavy on the meat, to a plant-based one, and within the span of just a few weeks he regained his eyesight and had effectively reversed Type 2 diabetes. Better yet, not much later, he convinced his mom to do the same thing, to similar results.

“When it comes to chronic disease, it’s not our lineage, it’s our lunch,” Alexis Fox, CEO of Lighter, explained onstage this morning at Smart Kitchen Summit.

Fox, whose company provides a B2B meal-planning tool to the healthcare industry and to athletes (among others), used Eric Adams’ story as a way to illustrate the impact the right foods can have on our health — and how devastating the wrong ones can be for our bodies. Among the facts Fox cited onstage were: 33.9 percent of adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, and childhood obesity has nearly tripled.

But she, along with her co-founder Micah Risk, believe there’s a way out, and it’s by helping people rethink the way they choose and eat food. Their tool shows users which foods they should be buying, based on each individual user, and how to prepare and shop for a recipe. It’s a personalized food service built around the idea of plant-based eating and sustainability — two things we’re going to see a lot more of, if today’s SKS talks and panels are any indicator.

Given that, you won’t find any recommendations for meat-based dishes with Lighter. The service is about providing 100 percent vegan meal recommendations; something that’s as important for the environment as it is for the human body.

“Most of the energy we put into animals does not get converted into energy [for] humans,” Fox said onstage, as a way of underscoring how unsustainable current practices around animal agriculture are.

And Lighter’s not the only company aware of this. During her talk, Fox cited WeWork — a company currently valued at more than $20 billion — and its recent decision to ban all meat onsite and at company events.

“Our medical community and every entity concerned with sustainability is encouraging us to decrease our meat consumption,” said Fox. And with companies like WeWork also onboard, we may be able to include the startup and tech communities on that list of entities, too.

Check back for more posts throughout the day, and follow along for a steady stream of updates on our Twitter and Instagram feeds.