A man's guide to health, wealth and love.

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Real men cook

I have an unfair advantage in the kitchen. I know. But in all fairness it’s not like I just walked in the doors of Le Cordon Bleu and learned to cook. Sure I went to culinary school. Yeah, I was a private chef. But long before those thoughts even entered my mind I was in the kitchen. When my parents divorced I didn’t take up sports, probably because there was no one to teach me or influence me in that direction. No, I learned, among other things, to cook. My Grandfather taught me how to make a few things really well. He taught me how to smoke chicken and grill a steak all at the ripe old age of 6. He also gave me power tools and lawn equipment and taught me to work with my hands but I blame those decisions on the fact that he drank about a half-gallon of cheap vodka every day. We had moved in with my mom’s parents after my dad left us and her dad taught me a few things about being a man. The one lesson I took from him more than any other was that a man should be self-sufficient. You, as a man, should not only be able to kill your dinner (remember he drank a lot) but you should also be able to cook it. I took those skills with me through life. Once my mom remarried she helped hone a few more skills and in the days before Food Network I would watch cooking shows on PBS and do my best to replicate whatever I saw on the show that day. As I got older those skills paid off in dividends. When I couldn’t find work doing construction or when cash was short I could always count on finding a job in a kitchen somewhere, even If I was flipping burgers or making eggs at the local diner. As I honed my skills further I learned that not only was it great to be able to feed myself I also found I loved feeding others. It was a great way to bond with friends and loved ones and truth be told, it didn’t hurt that women thought it was really sexy that I could hold my own in the kitchen. During my time in Arizona I would enroll in Scottsdale Culinary Institute and be part of the first ever Le Cordon Bleu culinary program outside of Europe. It was an honor to take part in this event and I had the privilege of being instructed by some of the best chefs in the country. Most of which were men. They were men like me. They were former soldiers and construction workers. We had similar stories and shared interests and like me they loved to eat and they loved to feed people. Cooking for us is a creative outlet, it may follow some basic rules in the process but the options and outcomes are limitless. When I got into the fitness industry cooking really hit home for me though. I had been diagnosed with a lung and liver disease a few years earlier and took up fitness as a way to take care of myself. As I immersed myself in magazines and books I realized that so much of what the fitness industry would have us believe about the way we should eat in order to be healthy was just flat out wrong. They were less concerned about helping us and more concerned about making sales. Though there are some great articles and useful advice most of the information just isn’t true.

So what is the truth? The truth is that for centuries now and all over the world people just eat food. Real food. Mostly unprocessed chemical free food. They don’t suffer from an obesity epidemic because they eat the whole egg and not just the white. They don’t die of massive heart attacks by eating the skin of the chicken and they don’t have high blood pressure running rampant because they had a steak. How do they do it? Well, first is they cook. In most of the world eating out is a pricey and time consuming process. There are no or few drive thrus and minimal fast food. Two is they eat, as my dad used to say, “Human sized portions” when I was in the Ukraine I met huge Russian athletes that would marvel at the amount of food I could eat in one sitting (I’m 6’1” and 170lbs). We as Americans have been lead to believe that we need way more food than we actually should eat. We have been taught that sugar is bad and artificial sweetener is good and that fake foods will make us happy and healthy or my personal favorite that if we feel hungry we are somehow going to get fat.

Look, I could go into a bunch of scientific data about micro and macro nutrients or how hormones are released and used when we eat but the truth is the science doesn’t matter. If you are looking to be a world class athlete then you should probably already know about this stuff or at least know where to find the information. If, however, you just want to be in really great shape. If you want to take your shirt off at the beach and not feel embarrassed or you want to have the confidence to leave the lights on when you are about to get in bed with a woman. Here is the answer. Workout. Take a look at my blog The Fitness Truth where I give an easy to follow recipe for success in the gym. When it comes to diet, eat human sized portions (about 2000-2300) calories a day (you can calculate how many calories you need more accurately HERE) stay away from junk food, sugar and anything with an ingredients label. Eat lean protein. Listen to your mom and eat your vegetables and eat like a grown man. That’s about it. I know it sounds too simple; right? Well, that’s because it is, remember I’m not selling you a fitness magazine subscription. I just want to help you succeed.

©2017 The Habitual Man