Ultimate Bean & Feta Salad

I started development on this recipe way back in 2004, when it was little more than chick peas and feta cheese, but it has evolved to the following amazingness over time.

It’s a great dish to bring to parties, serve as an appetizer at your dinner party, or to just enjoy as a healthy yet filling and delicious meal during the week.

It’ll keep in the fridge for 5 to 6 days. Feel free to experiment and add or substitute all sorts of new things. Enjoy!


The Ultimate Bean & Feta Salad

Total prep time: 30 minutes of chopping and mixing
Serves 8 to 10

  • beans, 3 x 15oz cans (pick any three: kidney, pinto, red, cannellini, black, black-eyed, white, butter, garbanzo)
  • green beans, sliced, 1 can (alternate: 1 can of corn)
  • red onion, 1 small or ½ large
  • olives, pitted, 1 can (green or black)
  • feta cheese, 6-10 oz (around ½ pound) crumbled
  • parsley, 1 handful, finely chopped (optional addition or substitution: cilantro)
  • roasted red peppers, 1 10-12oz jar
  • garlic, 2-3 cloves, crushed or finely diced
  • olive oil, several dollops
  • balsamic vinegar, several dollops (alternate: cider vinegar)
  • pepper, salt, oregano, paprika, etc (to taste)

  1. Drain and rinse in a colander the beans and green beans (or corn) and add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Finely dice the red onion and add in.
  3. Drain the olives, slice & dice, and add to the bowl.
  4. Chop up and crumble in the feta cheese. This is a good point to mix what’s already in the bowl.
  5. Dice the roasted red peppers and garlic and add to the bowl.
  6. Chop up the parsley (and/or cilantro) and add in.
  7. Add in the olive oil, vinegar, and any spices.
  8. Mix thoroughly and it’s done!

AotM #14: King Tut Day

Happy Tutankhamen Day! Go to a museum!


  1. But before some serious stuff, let’s start it off with BEARS!!! Despite what Stephen Colbert may say, Bears are OK in my book—after all, they’re part of the international coalition fighting the war on terror! But that’s not too surprising, since bears have been fighting for us since at least WWII. And who doesn’t want beer-swilling, cigarette-smoking, artillery-carrying, Nazi-fighting large clawed mammals on their side?
  2. Another area where new studies are only confirming folk wisdom and old knowledge—TV makes kids more aggressive. I mean, it’s been ignored by the media and politicians for a decade, but we’ve known for a long time that violent imagery does indeed condition and desensitize people to violence (I highly recommend reading On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society for some fascinating research and discussion on the topic). And yet, it’s still a social faux pas to condemn violence in media, even while we’re still vehemently puritanical about love & sex. Time to grow up, America.
  3. Parental control and restriction is psychologically damaging anywhere, but here’s an interesting study that shows the differences between Eastern & Western parenting.
  4. Not only are over-the-counter pain meds the most widely used pharmaceuticals in the world, but turns out they can degrade your flu shot and depress your immune system. Pain is a wonderful thing, since it tells us when something is out of whack, so embrace it and work on the core problem—there’s not much to be gained from masking it, at least for most minor things.
  5. Retrospectives, books, and movies about our men and women in the military all too often focus on standout cases of elite heroes. But the story of an average recruit who spends time in Iraq or Afghanistan is equally important to share, as it reveals more of the realities of military life and war. So enjoy this fascinating and wonderfully open photoessay that follows the life of a young Army enlistee, from recruitment, through training, to Iraq, and back. Bad decisions, warts, & all.

AotM #13: Mischief Night

I never knew this before, but it certainly makes perfect sense that it was those hooliganish Brits who invented Mischief Night.


  1. No matter how often studies like these that promote the benefits of exercise come along, I’ll never stop sharing them, since getting sweaty really does make everything better. Today, Tai Chi reduces depression and joint pain in the elderly, and moderate exercise can lessen or even prevent flu.
  2. Although it’s certainly nothing new, here’s yet more research showing that even just beginning to study and play music improves brain function and memory. Get out and play something now!
  3. Where does dust come from? Surprisingly, we didn’t quite know where until now.
  4. While it’s about 90% true that you always get what you pay for, Monster Cables are one solid example of the remaining 10% of utter scams. Never trust marketing or commissioned “experts” (cough cough RadioShack).
  5. Here is an excellent proposal describing why English should NOT ever be legally made our official language. The fact that this topic is even an issue really does only go to show how discombobulated and disconnected we have become as One Nation, Indivisible, with Liberty & Justice for All (I have omitted the “Under God” since it’s a relatively recent addition to the Pledge). If we felt more unified as a nation, it wouldn’t matter what languages people spoke.
  6. Finally, here’s a fascinating study showing how our unconscious biases effect the “results” of torture. Combined with the uselessness of most lie detection methodologies, we as a nation should most definitely forbid torture for anything related to our national interests. It just doesn’t work, and only serves to reduce our standing in the world.

AotM #11: National Nut Day

Yes, that’s right, National Nut Day. So, barring any allergies, go nuts with some healthy snacks!


  1. In honor of National Nut Day, extremists are more likely to be vocal than the moderate majority. This certainly explains the reporting tendencies of the MainStream Media, the silliness of the Dems and the GOP, and many other arguments in life. Maybe we Moderate Majority people need to start speaking up as early and often as the whackjobs, ignoramuses, jerks, and idiots out there, and thereby do our part to bring balance to society.
  2. Here’s the full text of a book about exercise and health by one of the fittest amateur athletes in the world in the late 1800’s. Muller’s ideas about cross-training, stretching, diet, etc, were all way ahead of his time, and his exercises are still well worth doing. [EDIT: In fact, here’s a 2011 article about how the Muller System is still going strong.]
  3. Are you one of the millions of people who consider ketchup to be their favorite condiment? Are you one of the tens of people who’s wondered what the origin of the word “ketchup” is? Well wonder no more, and read on to learn how ketchup was originally fish sauce from Southeast Asia.
    The linked blog has a number of fascinating posts about the Language of Food, including this amazingly well-researched essay that goes into great depth on what “entree” actually means, and how American meals differ from French or Italian meals, etc. Anyone who loves food, loves eating at nice restaurants, or loves arguing with European gourmands would all love this article.

On Chiropractic

I recently received a query from one of my readers regarding my opinions on chiropractic, so I’ll try to briefly address the subject here.

The majority of alternative and traditional medicines, remedies, and practices out there are definitely based on grains of truth. Especially since it has so many adherents who swear by it and/or practice it happily, chiropractic in particular must have some of that truth to it as well. However, having personally had experience with many other similar therapies like Rolfing, Feldenkrist, Alexander Technique, osteopathy, craniosacral therapy, and more general manual therapy, I’ll say that chiropractic is definitely far cruder than most other body manipulation therapies.

As chiropractic revolves around relatively gross adjustments and spinal manipulation, when it does have an impact, it’s a very noticeable and immediate impact for the patient—hence the one area that chiropractic is actually proven to work with is lower back pain. Especially because of the Western public’s Big Media/Big Marketing-brainwashed desire for immediate gratification and sublimation of all pain, many people adhere to chiropractic’s offerings. And, for some types of stresses and injuries, such major adjustments can actually be quite helpful and therapeutic.

In general, however, it’s my view that chiropractic is actually one of the least beneficial therapies when it comes down to overall and longterm health and musculoskeletal fitness. The other techniques I mentioned above, plus many others, including self-administered yoga and even just regular exercise, can all be just as useful in not only relieving pain and curing ills, but also in preventing future issues. Additionally, most other therapies are much more low-impact than chiropractic can be, and since even popping your knuckles too often can lead to lower grip strength and inflammation, cracking one’s back too often, over the long term, can’t be too good.

There is one major caveat here though—as in many other areas, medicine (whether alternative or standard Western) is practiced by people, and even the worst person in a med school class can become a doctor. Therefore a lot of the bad press that many therapies get, including the recent spate of anti-chiropractic news out there, can often be traced back to individual idiots, bad practitioners, mistakes, and ignorance. A great chiropractor might be more knowledgeable and helpful than a bad doctor, and vice versa.

All that being said, as someone who tried a variety of such physical therapies as a child due to severe knock-knees, restricted breathing, and other physical problems, the mode that ended up fixing the issue for me (permanently, I must add), was manual therapy, an offshoot of osteopathy that deals with more minute manipulations of the fascia and other smaller connective tissues. There’s a good description of it here. Combined with a regular low-impact yoga routine, I’ve personally never felt better in my life.

So ultimately it’s up to you, as an individual, to find out what works best for yourself, by finding the best individual practitioners of whatever medical or therapeutic practice makes the most sense for your situation.

AotM #7

  1. As dogs have known for millennia, people’s natural body odors are as unique as a fingerprint. It’s nice to know that science eventually catches up with obviousness.
  2. Women are more likely to experience sexual harassment in gender-balanced groups than as the lone woman in a group of men, contrary to “common sense.” Another reason why trying to force the makeup of various groups does far more harm than good. Let groups and communities come to their own natural balances.
  3. Always keep learning, people! Further links between education and protection from Alzheimers.

AotM #4

  1. Simple sugars can activate proteins, not just phosphate compounds. It’s discoveries like this that reveal just how little we still know about the human body, and just how protean our bodies can be.
  2. Two studies that reveal just how much influence our subconscious perceptions have—especially with regard to what we conclude based solely on people’s faces. We change our votes based on how someone looks, and we can gauge physical ability with just a glance at a face as well. Whether you take this as a reason to question your every decision, or as a reason to more fully trust your subconscious senses, is up to you….
  3. Some more gorgeous photos of our amazing solar system—this time of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

AotM #2

  1. Pectin, found in all fruits and vegetables, can go a long way toward preventing cancer.
  2. The “college rankings” in many popular magazines are basically arbitrary, and can change quite drastically depending on which particular factor is most important to you. The “best” schools are only best because people think they’re best. A self-fulfilling prophecy.
  3. Our own culture is to blame for our country’s falling behind in math, and especially for the gender gap in maths and sciences. Get rid of stigmas!

The very first “Articles of the Moment”

This was the inaugural “Articles of the Moment”—emails that I started sending to my close friends and family with links to interesting articles and studies lo those many eons ago, in 2008. Enjoy!


  1. Natural childbirth leads to stronger bonds between mother and child than C-section. Mother nature knew what she was doing with evolution.
  2. Turmeric lowers chances of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. It’s constantly fascinating how almost every natural foodstuff we study (e.g. spices, broccoli, beer, chocolate, teas, coffee, apples, and oh so much more) reveals “unexpected” health benefits. Eat naturally, be thankful to your food, and health will be yours.
  3. The lack of a feeling of personal control leads to belief in conspiracy theories, superstition, active deities, etc. This is why staying centered, and therefore naturally in control of oneself, is so important—it removes the blinders and distorted lenses from our eyes, allowing us to be more sensitive to the truths that are always around us.