Friday, January 13, 2017

Staying healthy in the new year

A few years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I won't get into all that history now, but suffice to say it was a big surprise to me, given that we have no family history and I was not obese in anyway. Up until that diagnosis, I always considered my diet to be relatively healthy. I almost never eat fast food, I do not drink soda or sugary drinks, no junk food,  no heavily processed foods, etc. I generally cook most meals at home using fresh produce and proteins, and I try to buy local or organic foods. What I didn't know was the importance of balance in my diet and how certain food groups are so important to health, and in particular if you are a diabetic.

For a few years I coasted along, only checking my blood glucose levels twice a year at a doctor visit.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this past September, I had a near brush with death when I allowed my glucose levels to reach well over 600 and was a walking time bomb. As luck would have it, my excellent health care physician caught it in time for some hospital care, and in no time was back on my feet.  That was a turning point for me, in that I discovered my pancreas had not been producing enough insulin to naturally regulate my blood sugar. The upshot was that I had to start taking insulin injections every night. I went on a crash course to refine my diet. It was back to a strict regimen, checking my blood glucose levels three times a day.
image from Healthy Diet Advisor

I decided to do a lot of research and consult with experts, nutritionists and of course my own doctor. The obvious and most critical points for people with type two diabetes are to moderate the amount of food per meal, avoid anything white (rice, pasta, bread, sugar), eat a balance of lean protein, lots of green vegetables and a small portion of a complex carbohydrate. Skip desserts and sweets, or just limit to a small bite, when you have a meal to help absorb it. Portion control is a key factor, and of course, limit alcohol consumption.

The other big learning along the way was about the importance of the gut, and how by increasing your fiber intake can have a huge overall health benefit. There are numerous studies and articles out there about this topic. The general topic of probiotics and prebiotics is more widely discussed, and there is no shortage of products on the market to help add healthy bacteria to your digestive system. What few people talk about however is the importance of eating more fiber and vegetables. As it turns out fiber is extremely important not only for digestion but to help improve your overall health and well being.

image from Care 2
I've read studies that show Americans consume only half the amount of recommended daily fiber in our diets. I'm not just talking about taking a fiber pill or something like that--I'm referring to leafy vegetables, beans, stalky ruffage, low glycemic root vegetables, etc. A combination of these fibers helps to regulate blood sugar, because they digest slowly and help the gut do its job. Diabetics can benefit from more fiber in our diets too. The big benefit is what happens in the gut when all this fiber is ferments. It sounds like a scary word, but gut fermentation is a good thing. That fermentation allows the good bacteria to develop and grow. The "good bacteria" can develop and it helps fight off the "bad bacteria" that we all have in our gut. This balance of bacteria, or as scientists call it "microflora"is critical to being healthy.

I've learned that I can make a big difference in my own health, and also in controlling my own diabetes by eating more fiber in my diet in conjunction with the other factors I mentioned. Taking a probiotic supplement or eating yogurt is fine, but that alone isn't enough unless your gut has been continually "fed" fibers to help maintain the presence of the good gut bacteria. In fact I take a probiotic called Trinity by Natren that is refrigerated so the bacteria strains stay alive and are actually useful to the gut. (Don't waste your money on those probiotics that are sitting on some shelf in a store at room temperature, the good bacteria often dies off when exposed to heat and is useless by the time you buy it).  I think probiotic supplements are great but I know that I also need to increase my fiber intake to truly benefit my health.

My kids "Miss Ellie" and "Mr Sheldon"
Food and nutrition is near and dear to me. I've been involved in pet nutrition throughout my career, and had to keep up on the latest research and advancements in food, nutrition, ingredients and health. I've attended countless conferences, I sit on the board of a food manufacturer, and also serve on an nutrition innovation team with some of the smartest nutritionists in the industry. I assumed I knew everything there was about eating healthy. Having been in the pet industry for over 20 years, I've also lectured about the importance of a healthy diet for your pet. New research indicates that this concept of increased dietary fiber is even important for dogs and cats, the same principle applies to them. As you would do for yourself, feed your pets the best quality food you can afford. For people, we can make our own food easily and vary our consumption. For pets, it takes a more careful review of the foods on the market. Not all pet foods are equal, and not all provide the right levels of protein, carbs and fiber either. These days, I am taking better care of my own health by being more careful with what I eat, how much and also getting exercise every day. I read labels and nutrition facts in detail, and I calculate net carbohydrates to be sure I manage my diabetes. The cool thing is that while learning more for my own health, I have also become better informed and more educated about pet nutrition and how I can keep my pets healthier. My own education led me to pursue more information and facts about emerging data for dogs and cats.

Some day I'll write about some of the interesting new research about keeping pets healthy, but for now I wanted to share my own new year's commitment about staying healthy and managing my diabetes. If you are diabetic, take responsibility for your own health. Ask your doctor lots of questions and take control of your diet and exercise. If you are lucky enough not to have any health issues now, you can still make a big difference in your life my eating more fiber along with a healthy  diet. One day I'll write about all that in greater detail. Here is to your health!

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Amazing Lucy Pet Rose Parade Float!

videoWow, what an awesome day it was today at the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade. I was so proud of our Lucy Pet Gnarly Crankin' K9 Wavemaker float. Yes, it was huge. So huge that Guinness World Records certified it as having set two new records- the world's longest and heaviest in history! We created this float to help raise awareness of pet overpopulation through our Lucy Pet Foundation. Our float featured a number of rescue pets who surf for fun. I took this video from my iPhone. I hope you enjoy it!
To learn more, go to Lucy Pet Products and Lucy Pet Foundation websites. Look for our pet products, including Lucy Pet dog and cat shampoos/conditioners and also our Cats Incredible litter. Net proceeds go to the Lucy Pet Foundation.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


ABC news covered this story with a cool video on our Lucy Pet Rose Parade float. 
Unique Tournament of Roses Parade float featuring surfing dogs and other talented animals set a new Guinness World Record.  Watch on ABC site here: 

A Rose by any other name....

Roses for Lucy Pet's Rose Parade float have arrived!
Unless you live in Southern California, chances are you have not experienced the Tournament of Roses parade in person. Even if you do live in So Cal, chances are small that you have helped to decorate the magnificent floats that make up the annual Rose Parade. It is truly a memorable experience. I have been blessed to have this opportunity several times, and this year is no exception. We are down to the wire decorating the Lucy Pet Gnarly Crankin K9 Wave Maker Rose Parade float, now certified as breaking two Guinness World Records, the Longest and Heaviest in the world. Too bad they don't have an award for most beautiful float. 

At any rate...the basic float design theme is a tropical paradise with fish and flowers, all decorated from plant, flower and organic materials. Many types of plants and seeds, etc are used to create the stunning designs, but the name sake of the parade and football game "Rose Parade" and "Rose Bowl" is because of the beautiful roses. 
Pails of fresh long stem roses arrive in buckets
So it may come as no surprise that the level of excitement goes up to a whole new level when the roses arrive at the float barn for decorating. Each fresh rose is carefully hand snipped to the appropriate length, then placed into its own vial filled with water. It is a remarkable sight to see. I hope you enjoy seeing these photos..I can tell you that the Fiesta Float Barn smells so wonderfully fragrant right now!
Rows and Rows of Roses and Roses...

Workers and volunteers organize their flowers
Roses are all hand snipped for water vials
Lucy Pet Roses ready for the float decorating!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Officially Certified by Guinness World Records: Longest & Heaviest Float in History!

Joey Herrick (L), Carolyn Hennesy (C) and Rick Rockhill (R)
Today was a cool day. The Lucy Pet Rose Parade float was officially certified by Guinness World Records as the Longest and Heaviest parade float in the world. The Guinness folks sent an adjudicator to measure and weigh our float. The inspection included a team of California Highway Patrol officers who used their technical equipment to weigh the float, similar to how trucks are weight on the highway. Our official length and weight for Guinness is 126 ft long and a whopping 148,200 pounds, or 74.1 tons! On hand today was Carolyn Hennesy  the Emmy-nominated soap opera actress, New York Times Best-Selling author, and animal advocate. Ms Hennesy is a friend to the Lucy Pet Foundation and was with us to celebrate the Guinness World Record certification.

Be sure to watch the Rose Parade Monday Jan 2nd, 2017 to see our massive float. The Rose Parade is televised on ABC, NBCHGTVHallmark Channel, KTLA, Univision (in Spanish) and Sky Link TV (in Mandarin and Cantonese) and RFD TV.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rose Parade Ready: Race to Finish!

For all of you who enjoy the Rose Parade, here is yet another behind the scenes video on how we're getting the Lucy Pet float ready for the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2nd. KTLA, the #1 TV channel in Los Angeles has been covering the process of getting the Lucy Pet Products Rose Parade float to become a reality. This is the 4th video in a series of 4 segments, and covers the final steps...its right down to the wire... Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Return of Dr Sidney Wang

Long time readers of this blog may recall the many adventures of my fine-finned fish friend, Dr Sidney Wang, the psychic betta fish who inspired the regular "Wisdom Wednesdays" posts here. Dr Wang has fulfilled his prophecy to be reincarnated , once again bringing his wisdom and advice to us mere humans. It isn't clear yet, how prolific Dr Wang may be in his writings, but he has returned....

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rose Parade Ready: Lucy Pet Performers

If you are interested in the Rose Parade, then you will be interested in seeing more of what happens behind the scenes in getting the Lucy Pet float ready for January 2nd. KTLA, the #1 TV channel in Los Angeles has been covering the process of getting the Lucy Pet Products Rose Parade float to become a reality. This is the 3rd video in a series of 4 segments, and covers the canine performers.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Rose Parade Ready Test Run

Here is another behind the scenes peek at creation of the Lucy Pet Rose Parade float. KTLA, the #1 TV station in Los Angeles has been covering the progress of the Lucy Pet Rose Parade Float. This is the 2nd video in a series of 4...check out this video from KTLA:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Building a Rose Parade Float

KTLA the #1 TV station in Los Angeles came to check out the Lucy Pet Rose Parade Float that is under construction. If you ever wanted to see some behind the scenes details on what it takes to build a Rose Parade Float, check out this video from KTLA:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Breaking Guinness World Records

One of the things I enjoy most about being part of the Lucy Pet organization are some of the unique and interesting ways we raise awareness of animal welfare issues. The big event is just about to happen-- the Lucy Pet Rose Parade float.
You see, Lucy Pet Products is about to debut what we expect will be certified by Guinness World Records as the longest and heaviest single chassis float in Rose Parade history. We call it the "Lucy Pet’s Gnarly Crankin’ K9 Wave Maker". The float is a monster, with a fun  beach-paradise design theme. Our float will measure over 125-feet long and weigh over 136,000 pounds when filled with the 8,000 gallons of water. During the parade a super cool wave machine will generate waves upon a team of eight dogs will surf the length of the 90-foot tank. You may recall that earlier this year we had a national tour of our mobile wave machine. That national tour went across the country to find the most talented surf dogs. The wave machine crossed 35 states and auctioned over 1,000 dogs, which led to our amazing team of surf dogs for the January 2nd 2017 Rose Parade float. We have some really awesome surprises in store for fans and more to come. 

I'm also happy to share that Lucy Pet has had an incredible year-- we introduced our first two product new lines for pets, shampoos and conditioners and also Cats Incredible litter. Our pet supplies are all "Products With A Cause", which go to support of the Lucy Pet Foundation, our 501 (c) (3) animal charity.  You can find Lucy Pet Products in your local independent pet store and Petco stores nationwide, as well as pet specialty retailers across Canada. If you have a dog or cat, ask for Lucy Pet products at your local store; we are committed to helping reduce the pet overpopulation.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Traveling with Miss Ellie for Thanksgiving

Wednesday was a new experience with Miss was her first time traveling by airplane. Here we are at Los Angeles' LAX airport at the gate area preparing to board our flight. We were traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and she handled it like a pro! During take off and landing she sat in my lap, but for most of the flight she curled up on the floor quite happily and enjoyed herself. Of course, she was a big hit with the crew and other passengers, who remarked how well behaved she was. It has been so nice having her along for the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Healthy Living With Your Cat

If you have a cat, you will want to listen on demand anytime to this episode of my radio show on BlogTalkRadio. Click this link below to listen on demand:

Healthy Living With Your Cat 11/19 by Rick Rockhill | Pets Podcasts

We often hear about healthy living for humans, but what about humans living with pets? In this episode, we will discuss the topic of healthy living with your cat. Cat Lovers will be surprised to hear about some of the dangers of having a cat in their home, and will be equally surprised at how easy it is to mitigate those dangers for a happy, healthy home with your cat. 

From allergies, respiratory problems to common colds and
Cat litter doesn't have to be a danger zone any more...
infections, having a cat at home can present real challenges to millions of cat lovers and their family members. 

With the popularity of cats continuing to rise globally, this episode is one not to be missed if you have a feline friend. In particular, pregnant women, elderly persons and anyone with a compromised immune system will want to hear this information. 
You don't have to part with your kitty if you follow the advice in this episode. Everything from diet, air quality, cleaning and cat litter, you'll enjoy these top tips. After you listen to this episode on Blog Talk Radio, you'll have the scoop on healthier living with your cat.

Friday, November 18, 2016

WIN a Seat on a Tournament of Roses Parade Float plus a trip to Pasadena for Family of Four!

The Lucy Pet Rose Parade float is a fun way to raise awareness of animal related causes. Check out this fun contest. Enter to win, and share with your friends.

Lucy Pet Products Announces Contest To Win A Seat
On Its Double Guinness World Record Breaking
125-Foot Gnarly Crankin’ K9 Wave Maker
2017 Tournament Of Roses® Parade Float

THOUSAND OAKS, CA (Nov. 16, 2016) - Lucy Pet Products has just announced an exciting new contest where the winner will ride on its 2017 Tournament of Roses parade float on Jan. 2, 2017 in Pasadena, Calif. The sweepstakes prize includes a trip for four with airfare and a four night stay at the beautiful Pasadena Sheraton. One lucky winner from this family of four will get to ride on the Lucy Pet float during the 128th annual Rose Parade while the remaining three family members watch from the VIP section of the viewing stands.

“Our float this year is going to be the longest and heaviest float to ever appear in the parade,” said Joey Herrick, President and founder of Lucy Pet Products. “It depicts a beachside paradise complete with a 5,000 gallon 125-foot wave machine and gnarly surfin’ doggies ridin’ the waves. The float also helps raise awareness for our Lucy Pet "Products with a Cause" including Cats Incredible Litter and grooming shampoos which help fund the Lucy Pet Foundation. These products are available at pet specialty retailers nationwide.”

Contest participants must visit the Lucy Pet Products website and fill out the entry form no later than midnight on Nov. 30, 2016. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing to take place on or before Dec. 3, 2016. The winning family will receive four round-trip airline tickets, a four night stay at the Pasadena Sheraton, three VIP viewing stand seats and one lucky family member will ride on the Lucy Pet Products parade float.

“We are really looking forward to this year’s Rose Parade,” added Herrick. We’ll be setting a double Guinness World Record for the longest and heaviest float to ever be in the parade and our Surfin’ Dogs will be a sight to behold.  We think it will be one of the most fun floats in parade history, and everyone on it including our grand prize winner is going to have the experience of a lifetime.”

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Bit of Halloween Spirit

Flying Witch on a broomstick sparkles in the evening light.
Long time readers of this blog know that Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. A wonderful reminder of those carefree days of my childhood. Growing up in New England, the autumn season was filled with iconic memories; cool, crisp nights, falling leaves in brilliant hues of red, yellow and brown, pumpkins, apple picking, warm cider, and hay rides leading up to the excitement of Halloween. Many decades on from my childhood, one still looks back fondly at all the fun and excitement of the season. A pumpkin and various seasonal and Halloween themed decorations still adorn the doorstep every year. Most Halloween evenings I'm home, dressed in some costume to answer the door for trick-or-treaters, dispensing chocolate to kids in the neighborhood. Two years ago I dressed as Harry Potter...and ever since,  the kids in the neighborhood still call me Harry when the see me throughout the year.

Roman Centurion and a Wizard at a Halloween party
This year I chose to dress as a wizard. I wasn't specific as to which one, Dumbledore, Gandalf or Merlin, I just wanted to dress as a good wizard. Perhaps all this dressing up in costumes sounds silly and immature, but it is fun. It is also a big business in the US. Yesterday I realized that a wig was still in order to complete my costume, so off to the shops in search of some locks. Luckily, even at the last minute the Halloween store in Burbank had a handy wizard wig and beard kit! It was a little itchy and hot, but it did the trick. So here I am, as a wizard. Incidentally the wand was one I bought at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios (all that means is I paid too much for it). The robes however are genuine movie studio costumes, I rented them from Western Costumes in Burbank. It turned out to be a fun costume. This photo above is from a Halloween party last night, but I plan to reprise this look again Monday evening for this year's trick-or-treaters. My inner child is beaming with joy yet again. Happy Halloween to you.


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients or business colleagues.