Year: 2016

Boy Band Makes Good – the personal experience of Sammy Hasegawa

When I was a teenager back in the ’60s, I played sax and flute in a band that opened two concerts on the same day for the Beach Boys in Mitchell and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Even though the guys in our band were good musicians, we were young and disorganized and basically 19-year-old idiots. So after doing the first concert in Mitchell in the afternoon, we ran out of gas on the interstate on our way back to the big performance in Sioux Falls. After much cursing and recriminations, we made our drummer, who was the only one with short hair, get out of the car and hitchhike to find some place with a phone so he could call our booking agent and tell him to call the Beach Boys and let them know they should get another band to open the evening concert.

Much later, our drummer came back with a can of gasoline.

He told us the Beach Boys said they liked the way we sounded and they wanted us to open for them that evening. We should just get back to Sioux Falls as fast as we could, and since they’d used our equipment for their first South Dakota gig in Mitchell, they wanted us to use their equipment when we got back to the Sioux Falls Arena.

That evening, we got back to Sioux Falls about 30 minutes before we were scheduled to start, and ran up on stage with our instruments and plugged into the Beach Boys equipment.

The Beach Boys were way ahead of their time in terms of their sound setup. They used small old guitar amps, those great blonde Fender amps, but all of their amps were miked and run through their huge PA system.

So the sound on stage was quiet and you could hear what you were playing with hardly any sound coming from monitors. But out in front, there was this incredible huge sound going out into the arena. We did one Butterfield Blues Band song, where I played the main solo on flute. I have a big flute sound, but I just about fell over when I heard my playing coming through that PA. I got a huge ovation and didn’t even know how to react, since that was probably the first time any local audience had ever heard what my playing sounded like in a rock gig.

Anyway, like the Beatles, I was a fan of the Beach Boys for years. As a solo singer and pianist, I now do several of their songs, including this one that I’m posting here:

About the Author

Sammy Hasegawa is a writer who lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Learn more about him on his website,

Chemo – suggestions and thoughts about your first infusion

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in April, I had my first chemo treatment today.

As I am new at this, which you might be, too, this article is about my current understanding about how to prepare for the experience, followed by pictures of an “infusion” center.

My understanding is that the effect of chemo is not felt until a few days after the first infusion, so I will update this story about “what happens next” later this week. Whatever happens will come as a complete surprise to me, as I am sure it will be for you if you are in a similar situation.

Before Starting

  • Avoid being rushed into a course of action.
  • Get a second opinion. Even though the diagnosis might be the same, treatments vary widely. Compare!
  • Get a list of all the tests you will need, then make sure the tests are completed before setting up a course of action.  Always double-check to make sure that your tests have been scheduled. Do not be pushed into chemo therapy before you know what is going on.
  • Identify a coordinator who reports the results of tests and recommends a course of action. There are a lot of doctors involved, but only one should be “in charge” of your progress. Make sure you get the results of every test and understand what the results mean. Usually, you’ll need to double-check everything despite your team’s best efforts.
  • Keep a diary that includes dates, tests, names of physicians in charge (and their assistants), and results that you can easily access anywhere at any time. Also keep a medications diary. Consider keeping all of this information in Google Docs or other cloud storage area.
  • Check costs! They can vary significantly between hospitals and providers. Know what your insurance will pay up front, especially if you pay a deductible. If you can’t pay, see if you can get assistance of some type before you start treatment. Pray.

Your Overall Health

  • I recommend the advice given in the book, “How Not To Die” by Dr. Michael Greger. The website,, supports information found in the book, plus much more, including easy-to-understand, short videos on a variety of topics.
  • During your course of treatment, move your body frequently! Consider investing in some type of a weight-bearing exercise equipment, such as a treadmill or Gazelle (the small device I own which is easy on arthritic joints). If you can’t afford one, pace your room for 5 or 10 minutes several times a day, as well as go for walks.

Anti-nausea foods

  • While your doctor will provide anti-nausea medicine, this website,, has the best advice on what to eat while undergoing chemo treatment.
  • You might find that your own medical team will not give you highly detailed advice because “every patient is different,” so try to figure out what you should eat through online research.
  • I recommend Quaker Lightly Salted Rice Cakes (puffed rice), simple saltine crackers, potatoes (white or sweet), a pot of rice, veggies you like that do not have a strong odor, and anything with ginger in it (ginger ail, ginger tea, ginger candy, etc.)
  • Whenever possible, make the potatoes and/or rice in advance so you can warm it up and eat small amounts whenever you want.
  • Drink water all day, but not when you eat.
  • Do not eat fatty foods, like pizza. Eat lean meat. If you are a vegan, make sure you eat protein-rich foods, such as beans and lentils.


  • Before you lose hair, have it professionally shaved, an inexpensive procedure. While you can shave your hair yourself, a professional will shape your hairline and make sure everything is even.
  • Before you shave your head, buy a wig at a wig store so you understand what styling and fit considerations you need to make. After you own that perfect wig, then consider buying another one online. While wig wearing is temporary,  owning two might be handy.
  • Buy a synthetic wig as it is easier to manage during the short time you need it. Do not, however, wear the wig when cooking as a burst of steam or heat from your range can melt its fibers.

The Infusion Room

An Infusion Room is where chemo is infused via an intravenous drip into your body. Check it out before you actually need to be there.

The photo below is the Infusion Room at Holy Name Hospital Regional Cancer Center in Teaneck, NJ where I go. Behind each curtain is a chair, an  intravenous (IV) pole, and a TV/Computer that you can rent. Free, high speed Internet is available throughout the building.


Infusion centers vary in looks. The picture below is where patients at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ are treated. If decor is important to you, that might influence your decision on where you want to receive care. This room is stunning!


The picture below shows an individual treatment room at Holy Name. Although it is plain, it is quite comfortable. The arm seen in the picture holds a TV/computer combination which you can rent. My husband and I used the free high-speed Internet connection instead.


My treatment began with a hand full of pills, one of which was a sedative. That pill made me drowsy through out the procedure, which was a good way to pass time.


Before the procedure started, I had to wait for the pills to be digested. During treatment, many patients sat up during their session, conversed with friends, or watched TV.  I, however, fell asleep . . .


I got so sleepy, in fact, that before the procedure began, my nurse lowered my chair, gave me a pillow, and covered me with two blankets. If you undergo treatment, but feel uncomfortable at any time, just ask the nursing staff to fluff things up.


My treatment consisted of three medications, the last of which was chemo. All medications were pumped individually through an IV setup.

Some people have a port inserted into an arm so that injection needles didn’t have to be reapplied for each visit. I, however, do not have a port.

In my case, the IV needle was inserted under the bandage on my right hand, where it stayed until removed at the end of the treatment.

I am told that the first two days after treatment patients feel “normal,” and the chemo affect does not kick in until the third day. As I have not yet experienced the third day, you will find out more in my followup article. To minimize the side affects of chemo, I was advised to do a lot of walking exercises. I have been! We’ll find out what happens next . . .




This article was written by Karen Little on October 11, 2016. Photos by Karen and Philip Little. All rights reserved by Karen Little and Contact Karen at with questions or ask permission to reproduce any part of this article.

Plant-Based Diet – Solving the Restaurant Problem

After being on the whole food, plant-based diet since April 2016, I’ve faced the dilemma of eating out with people who do not share my dining requirements.

The plant-based diet, as I’ve previously shared, eliminates meat and dairy products from one’s diet. Along with meat and dairy, fats are eliminated naturally. In restaurants, however, fats from frying, cheese, and olive oil are added back in, as is a lot of salt. Under all conditions, finding plant-based things to eat in a standard restaurant or fast-food chain is difficult.

Dining out, however, is a social function that should be enjoyed with family and friends without turning it into an affair that’s “all about you and your silly, picky eating habits.” Minimizing the differences between  everyone’s dietary choices is a must!

I thought at first that salads would satisfy my needs, but frankly, there are not enough calories in even the most stuffed salad bowl to sustain me after toppings of cheese, fried croutons, and bacon are removed.


I have, however, solved the restaurant problem and this solution meets my need to:

  • Avoid stuffing myself on bread
  • Avoid appetizers that are fried, meat-filled, and/or are topped with cheese
  • Satiate myself on a low-calorie salad
  • Lower my salt intake

While I still order a salad as a main course, I now bring in an unopened package of unsalted nuts which serve as nibbles during the drink and appetizer portion of the meal.

Before opening the nuts at the table, however, I ask the server to plate them so my fellow diners can share. Plating, of course, usually results in a restaurant charge, much like BYOB. When being served by waitstaff, don’t sneak food into a restaurant as it is impolite and in addition, make sure that what you bring in has not been previously opened.


When you are on the road, unsalted nuts serve as an excellent alternative to French fries, fried cheese, and fried onion rings in fast food restaurants like McDonalds or Burger King. They also taste good when added directly to a “fast food” salad. Under all conditions, nuts are a nutritious food, not a guilty pleasure.

Note that some casual restaurants, such as Cracker Barrel, do serve vegetables that include baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli, and baked beans, which together provide enough calories to be filling. Chain restaurants that offer “all you can eat” salad bars also offer good choices. This  2014 list of chain restaurants with salad bars by The Daily Meal can help you plan, especially when you are traveling. While these restaurants specialize in various cuisines, fresh veggies are tucked around the sides.

Where to Buy Unsalted Nuts

Large companies, such as Planters, sell them, although they might not be commonly available. Regional candy shops that roast their own nuts usually carry at least one non-salted variety, and nut specialty shops always sell unsalted varieties.

If you cannot find unsalted nuts in your community, check these outlets and buy as needed.



This article was written by Karen Little for and was published on September 5, 2016. For permission to reproduce this article, contact Karen Little at All rights to this article are reserved by and Karen Little.

Try the Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet for Your Health and Maybe to Save Your Life

This article provides a short description of the whole food, plant-based diet. If for health, ethical, gourmet, or other reasons you are interested in following it, I also show you how to easily get started.

I became an adherent after my Internist, Dr. Weiss of, recommended the book, “How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease.” The information in the book made sense to me and following its recommendations significantly improved my health, outlook, and well-being, something in short supply as I discovered I had breast cancer in early-2016.

Whole Food, Plant-Based Basics

All recommendations for plant-based eating are “evidence-based.” This means specific scientific studies and observations back the advice given.


Dr. Greger’s book runs to 700 pages, although only the first 500 or so are pertinent. To more quickly digest what he has to say, visit his website,, and search its video section on topics of your concern, such as “breast cancer.” These videos run between 3-to-5 minutes and feature a speaker whose voice is set against pictures of the journals and other reference materials that support what is being said.

For more detailed instruction on the plant-based diet, visit Dr. McDougall’s website, Dr. McDougall’s Health & Medical Center. Dr. McDougall offers “study and advanced study” workshops on the subject, but you can learn The McDougall Program, which steps you through an eating plan, free on his site.

Diet Ingredients

“Whole food” refers to non-processed food, which is the state in which plants originate, i.e., wheat as berries versus wheat flour derived from ground berries.

The plant-based diet eliminates all meat and meat-related products, including dairy (milk, cheese, eggs, yogurt, etc.). Recommended foods must not be processed or refined, such as bread made from refined flour, or pasta. Approved food includes:

  • Grains of any type
  • Beans and legumes (reconstituted dried, or canned)
  • Soy products such as tofu
  • Nuts (unsalted)
  • Any vegetable, starchy or not
  • Citrus fruit (not juice)
  • Fruit

This diet is different from veganism in that it is not associated with a political or social movement (“save animals,” for example). Like veganism, eating organic, chemical-free, and non-GMO plants is encouraged. Refined and packaged products, however, are not, nor is consuming oil of any type or sugar. Salt is greatly reduced.

Karen’s Rule Breakers: I follow about 95% of this diet’s rules. Eating out, for example, makes following all the rules of this diet almost impossible. And to save time, I buy some packaged food that may contain ingredients that are taboo. I also use oil sparingly to season pans, but do not use olive oil to flavor dishes. Dr. McDougall, for example, recommends that all oil be eliminated, even that used for pan seasoning. And last, I eat very dense, whole-wheat bread or crackers from time to time.

Getting Started

The basic diet consists exclusively of grains and vegetables. If you only eat vegetables, without any starchy vegetables, however, you will not consume enough calories to sustain your life. If you are hungry within an hour after what you considered to be a large meal, you need to add starches to your diet.

My biggest problem when I started this diet was knowing what grains to consume as I had limited knowledge on the subject. The following tips helped me overcome this shortcoming:

  • Surprisingly, many Sam’s Clubs have sections that sell packaged grains. Buy a variety of packages, then experiment with them. At first, I especially appreciated products produced by Seeds of Change. These are pre-cooked grains, packaged 6-to-a-box for around $11 at Sam’s Club and I’ve seen boxes for a similar price through Individual packages easily feed two people.


  • In my opinion, Lundberg’s “Wild Blend Rice” is the ultimate multi-grain product. I usually mix 1 cup of Wild Blend Rice with 1/2 cup of any other grain to reduce the crunchiness. When finished cooking, I add one to two cans of rinsed black beans for protein, making enough food for two people for five days, in addition to other vegetables.


  • Stuck for ideas on what to serve? Frozen food sections, such as those in Trader Joe’s, feature interesting, pre-made servings of grains. Buy. Taste. Then once you become comfortable with the tastes, start cooking your own from scratch. Here are some examples of what is available:



  • Include potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squashes! Cook (roast or steam), but do not add butter, oil, or cream. Season with lemon, lime, or even with a bit of balsamic vinegar, instead.
  • Need more ideas? Visit vegetarian and vegan restaurants, as well as Indian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese restaurants, to sample grain-based or vegetable-based meals. Discover what dishes you like and replicate similar dishes at home, but without “forbidden” ingredients.
  • Sauces are king, especially when you can’t have any dairy (sour cream, cheese, or yogurt) to go with your dishes. Instead of pouring over cookbooks trying to figure out how to replicate these sauces, simply explore ethnic sections in large grocery stores, then buy a number of bottled sauces to try at home. Throw away what you don’t like, chalking the purchase price up to “educational expenses.” Note that the ingredients and means to make packaged sauces are probably not recommended by Dr. McDougall, the man who defined what pure adherence to this diet should be.


Here are some examples of sauces to explore. Ideally, select low salt, oil, and sugar varieties. In all probability, however, you will not be smothering your veggies in any of these, nor will you be consuming a sauce as though it is soup, so worrying too much about their contents might not be necessary. Instead, regard them as “dipping sauce,” and dip with restraint.

  • Curry (I am now addicted to curry sauces . . . use on the side for dipping, not smothering)
  • Soy (probably too salty, but a little can go a long way)
  • Tomato / Italian sauce varieties (avoid a high sugar content and added cheese or meat)
  • Mustard (any type)
  • Balsamic Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar (I actually use a lot of balsamic vinegar on grains)
  • Chinese sauce varieties
  • Japanese sauce varieties
  • Check sauces related to other ethnicities, such as “Middle Eastern,” “African,” “Turkish,” or “Greek.”  For the best selections, visit small shops that cater to specific ethnicities.
  • BBQ and other sweet sauces (I find BBQ sauces too sweet, however, they might be your guilty pleasure, especially over beans. Just don’t glob it on.)

Generously squeezed citrus juice alone can serve as a sauce!

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange

And then there are canned broths, which you can use on veggies as well as for liquid in grains. Low-salt, vegetable broth is blah, so before you use it, punch it up with your own veggies, such as onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, and whatever else you have in your frig.

Tip:  To avoid using broth when boiling your grains, it is more authentic and tasty to include finely chopped veggies, like peppers, onions, and carrots, in the cooking process.


Bread is a “processed food,” and as such, some gurus suggest avoiding it. No matter what their recommendations, I eat a very dense, whole-grain bread, such as Dave’s Killer Bread.  Dense bread especially good toasted and smeared with hummus.



Beans, such as black or red beans, navy beans, chickpeas (and hummus), legumes, and soy, mixed with your grains or eaten alone, provide protein.

I started making my own hummus, but caved into buying pre-made hummus simply because it was easily available and reasonably priced. If you are lucky enough to live near a  Trader Joe’s, you’ll be blown away by its selection.

The advantage to making your own hummus, however,  is that you can control the amount of salt you use, as well as eliminate all fats (such as olive oil) and preservatives. Basically, simply mash beans and add whatever you want to them.


Hummus fulfills my need for a sandwich spread, a snack with vegetable chips (as a substitute for potato or corn chips), and protein. If you never had hummus, or would like to know more about it, click this link for more information:’s Article on Hummus’ Nutritional Value

Video Tutorials Versus Cookbooks

I’ve learned more from video tutorials on cooking grains and vegetables than I have rummaging through cookbooks. I especially like tutorials produced by, which have numerous presentations within each title. If I need more information, I simply search YouTube and other video portals.

Do you consider yourself a fast learner? Run videos at 1.5-times normal speed. You’ll get used to the sound quality in less than a minute.

Cooking Grains

While I had an electric rice/grain cooker, it held a limited volume and took 45 minutes to an hour to cook anything. Because of that, I switched to stove-top cooking. In order to keep grains from sticking to the bottom of my pot, however, I invested in an Italian-made “Ilsa Cast Iron Heat Diffuser Reducer,” which I bought on


Here is how I use it:

  1. Place the heat diffuser on a burner, then turn the burner to high or medium high to warm it up.
  2. Place your covered pot containing water and grain on a different, high-heat burner, bringing the water to a roiling boil. Remember to stir the grain periodically during this stage.
  3. Once the grain water is roiling, turn off the heat under the pot, then transfer the pot to the top of the diffuser. Lower the heat under the diffuser so that the pot remains at a low boil. I prefer using pots with glass lids so I can keep an eye on things. Note: My grains are usually done in 20 to 25 minutes.


I hope you find this article and its links helpful! Email me at should you have questions.


  • Dr. Granger, author of “How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Desease,” also produced an invaluable video information library –
  • T. Colin Campbel, author of “The China Study,” distributes information on the plant-based diet through his website, The Center for Nutrition Studies –
  • Dr. McDougall, an authority on the plant-based lifestyle, provides a free online course on how to start and maintain your plant-based diet –
  • Dr. Wiess, founder of My Ethos Health –
  • Forks Over Knives, a film and website about how food affects health. This film is for the “unconvinced.”
  • A free tutorial entitled “Creative Ways With Whole Grains by Anna Bullett” is available. Ms. Bullett also hosts a fee-based tutorial on cooking with vegetables, as does Ivy Manning in her course “Vegetable Know-How.” All three tutorials are great for people like me who need to start from scratch on the subject.

Video Searches for Vegan Recipies


This article was written by Karen Little for and was published on August 28, 2016. Photos are by Karen Little. For permission to reproduce this article and/or photos, contact Karen Little at All rights to this article and photos are reserved by and Karen Little.