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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Getting in Shape (To Get in Shape)

Robert Manni - Sunday, April 21, 2019

If you watch as many films as I do, you know that if a movie sucks during the first twenty minutes, it’s not going to improve. The same can be said for most important aspects and experiences of our lives life. You need to get things off on the right foot, and that means being prepared to nail the beginning...of anything. This also goes for fitness and wellness and diet. If you want to run a marathon, you’ll need to log two long, grueling twenty-mile practice runs prior to running the big race. And if you are smart, you don’t take on a major challenge until you’ve put down a solid, unbreakable foundation based on proper preparation. 

Whether it’s New Year’s or the first day of spring, people get that urge and inspiration to get into shape. It might be the New Year marking new beginnings or a precursor to upcoming bikini season. But too often aspiring athletes try to cram a six-month program into a few weeks and fail. They jump in with great enthusiasm, maybe going to the gym and getting crushed in a few hardcore spin or body sculpting classes before petering out. It’s often the case of trying to do too much in too little time. People get injured, discouraged, distracted and far too often give up before ever getting to the meat of their program.

They start out like the hare and speed ahead, but many soon realize it’s better to be the tortoise than the hare.  Fast starts are not necessarily effective unless you are prepared. But, to get prepared you need to get prepared to get prepared. Huh?

I mean you need to start slow and stay steady until you are in good enough shape to dial things up. But patience is a rare commodity, especially in the big city. Lots of us start a new workout program, go nuts for a week or two before finding a plethora of potential excuses to break the routine. Sometimes our bodies and minds are simply not ready for the trauma we put ourselves through. As a result we often get injured when going balls out before our bodies are ready for the pain. The truth is, the older we get and the longer breaks we take in maintaining a diet or fitness regimes, the rate of failure increases. And the more we fail, the longer and harder it gets to succeed. It’s a vicious cycle that many of us fall victim to, even people with the best of intentions.

Ever notice how many injuries occur during spring training and the pre-season? Even the best athletes can jump back into their training program too quickly and as a result experience a pulled hammy or another nagging, lingering injury. The key is to get and stay in shape, but often that’s easier said than done in our busy lives. So if you find yourself falling off your wellness program, take it easy on yourself when getting back in the saddle. That means starting slow and steady until you’re ready to take off and soar again.

There are ways of developing and sticking to a successful diet and fitness program without all the unnecessary drama and anxiety. I call it “getting into shape to get in shape”. You may ask, “WTF, Guy’s Guy?” Hold it right there, amigo. As always, there is a method to my madness. I have been able to maintain my fitness level, fighting weight while staying in relatively good shape for the past three decades using this concept effectively. Like anyone, there may be reasons that at times I might fall out of my usual workout routine and diet travel, job pressures, family and relationship issues, stress or just plain laziness. But, I always pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. I know what it takes to win. I take my time and rebuild my routines and programs up slowly. That means not going nuts for a few weeks, maybe injuring myself and giving up. Getting into top physical and mental shape takes time. Take it from your Guy’s Guy. If you have defined an achievable objective and play the long game, everything can work out just as you planned.

If you take the time to grow into your program, in a month to six weeks you will start feeling it, increasing your strength and endurance and getting into your zone. If you can do this, soon you’ll be working out like a demon and compounding your results. If you start out slow and steady and stay consistent, you can succeed. But you have to start somewhere, and be mindful about your approach. That’s where I come in and put together an easy-to-follow plan for “getting into shape to get in shape”.

Drum roll, please…

1. Step on the scale – People want to lose weight, but have a hard time stepping on and looking down to face the ugly truth. Checking in before getting started is highly recommended. It provides a level set and way to measure your progress. And no worries. The starting weight just a number that gives you an idea where you are and what will be necessary to reshape and lose those unwanted pounds. After you are done wincing at your poundage, determine how much weight you want to lose. Then step off the scale, take a deep breath and exhale. You’ve just completed step one of “getting into shape to get in shape”.

2. Have an objective – Maybe you want to lose twenty pounds or reduce a few inches around your waist or a dress size or two. You may want to thither your goal to a running time or activities hitting a spin class three times or working out five times a week. That’s fine. Simply decide what it is you want to accomplish and write it down. And make sure you give yourself enough time to achieve your goals. 

3. Develop a realistic plan of attack – You need a plan. Make your plan fit who you are and allow yourself adequate time to ramp up. Your plan needs to be realistic. You know your tendencies, so be honest with yourself. If you don’t like running in cold weather, don’t think you’ll hop out of bed at 5am when it’s sixteen degrees outside. Maybe you’re more suited to an indoor session on the elliptical trainer indoors where you can gradually increase your workout time. Or you may want to schedule a few sessions with a trainer to help you ramp up. Make sure your trainer is aware of your goals and you’re getting into shape to get in shape so he doesn’t crush you during the first few sessions. A good trainer will adapt to where you currently are in your training, even if it’s at the very beginning.

Before getting started review the plan and ask yourself if it feels right for you. Is it realistic to think you’re going to change long ingrained habits like curbing your drinking if you a like to or need to entertain for business. Club soda will only take you so far. Find a way to balance out the indulgence with your workout, fitness, and diet goals or it may drive you crazy to the point where you quit. Find a balance and keep things fun. Working out can be pleasure or torture. It’s up to you.

4. Start slow – This is the key to getting into shape to get in shape. You want to ramp up slow and steady so you don’t pull a muscle or get discouraged when the results are not obvious as quickly as you hoped. Play the long game, amigo. As long you are doing something, you are improving. Even if you have work pressures you can find time for yourself. Just don’t expect to get in shape overnight or in a few weeks. Real gains come slowly, but they last. Once you’ve been doing the program for a month or so and feeling in the zone, take it things a notch and then conquer this new level. Then up it goes again. Throughout the start up process do the little things to augment your workouts and diet. Take the stairs. Walk. Stretch. Meditate. Visualize. Do pushups in your apartment. Buy a chin up bar. Use it.

5. Be consistent – Like the tortoise, you want to maintain a steady pace. I read that it takes thirty-six days to create a habit. This makes sense. I began doing Dan Millman’s Peaceful Warrior Four Minute Workout over a year ago. It’s a series of fifteen movements designed to loosen up the skeletal system, unleash chi, and expand our flexibility. It works. I began the program doing the prescribed three reps for each movement for thirty-six days. Then I added and added as I felt myself getting stronger, leaner and more flexible. I only missed three days during the past year after coming down with a nasty flu. Now I complete between fifteen and twenty-five reps per movement, and I love it. I never consider missing a day unless I am physically unable to perform. This routine has become part of me and I have never felt better in my life. How many Boomers do you know that feel this way?

Final thoughts. Consider keeping a journal. It helps quantify your progress and provides a psychic reward when you review it and see your gains. Whatever happens, even if you fall off the wagon for a few days, don’t give up. If you do slip up, don’t make excuses. You’re only fooling yourself. Get back on the horse and start over if that’s what it takes. It’s the little things that make the difference between success and failure. So, buckle up, start slowly and have fun. You are creating a better version of you and that’s a good thing, amigo!

If you’re feeling me you’ll learn that my slow, but steady approach to fitness works. The most critical part of any workout and diet program comes at the beginning and you handle it correctly you can make and keep a major shift in your lifestyle. Start out slow and don’t overindulge before your body and mind are ready to enter the zone. Fitness, diet and wellness are never achieved through shortcuts. The most important time for anything in life is the beginning. And that’s why I suggest “getting into shape to get in shape”. 

The Process of Elimination Diet

Robert Manni - Monday, February 11, 2019


Want to lose weight, increase your energy, and end your cravings for crappy foods? Introducing: The Process of Elimination Diet.

If you’re like me, you love food, you love to eat, and you eat well. While we do our best to either lose or maintain our weight, we face temptations about our food choices every day. It all comes down to choices. When it’s time to eat, you pick this or that, and the ramifications can be game-changing. Successful dieting often comes down to making the right choices over and over again. There are so many ways to self-sabotage when trying to maintain your fighting weight that it becomes a never-ending battle.

After years of yo-yo dieting, I put this question to the test. Now, after successfully working my way through a year-long program, the answer is a resounding yes. It requires mindfulness and some discipline, but there is a method for eating clean, reducing cravings and ramping up your energy. I call it the Process of Elimination Diet.

After achieving short-term successes with a myriad of fad diets, working out consistently, and not eating meat for a decade, I still never got a real handle on managing my weight. Even though I spent years grinding out long runs and devoted countless hours on the elliptical trainer, I did not lose weight. In fact, during the second half of 2017, I was slowly but steadily gaining weight. As soon as I ended a diet, fast, cleanse or intermittent fasting, I’d gain the weight right back. I’d had enough and when I stepped on the scale that December and saw a higher number than I’d ever seen before, I told myself enough was enough. I decided to develop a fresh, new approach that did not require purchasing prepared special meals, fasting, monthly cleanses, or eating only at certain times during the day. I would develop a new program for weight management and test it on myself at the highest level. If it worked, I’d share it with the world.

For a 5’10 boomer, carrying a weight under 200 isn’t all that bad. But, as the person who began the Guy’s Guy movement¾where men and women can be at their best so everyone wins, “not bad” simply was not good enough. Another short-term diet plan would only yield short-term results. My program needed to deliver long-term results while shedding pounds, eliminating cravings, enhancing wellness, and inspiring permanent lifestyle changes driven by better food choices.

After a few days of mulling things around I recalled running into a former high school classmate. When we were teens, he was a chubby kid and I was a lean, trim athlete. But when we met twenty years later he was the one who was thin and I had packed on a few unwanted pounds. I said, “Steve, you look great. How did you lose all the weight?” He smiled and replied, “I stopped eating so much.” His words stuck with me. They made sense, but I knew there was more to discover.

Then it hit me. You can eat less, but without a lifestyle overhaul, that’s neither sustainable nor fun. There had to be a better way than Steve’s model. Eating, and eating well, comes down to making choices. At every meal you choose to consume this or that¾ the tuna or the lamb chops, the beer or the club soda, the bacon cheeseburger or the salad. Over time, the results of those choices¾both the bad and good—come to fruition and show up when you step on the scale. I asked myself, “What if I systematically eliminated my bad choices while still enjoying what I still ate? What if I made one less bad choice per week or month for a year?” Heck, over the course of fifty-two weeks or twelve months, I could eliminate fifty-two or a dozen bad choices. Spreading the program across a year avoids any shocks to the system that many of the familiar diet plans can produce. By refining the diet over the course of a year, you can achieve significant results, allow your body to steadily heal, and get a handle on your weight management and cravings. At least that was the idea t the outset.

I call it, The Process of Elimination Diet. Again, it’s pretty simple. Every week, or month, you eliminate one additional food from your diet for an entire year. You can also eliminate one food per week or month. You cut out one item from your diet at a time. For example, in January you give up ice cream. That means no ice cream for the entire year. That may not be easy, but you want long-term results so you need to make some sacrifices. In February, you give up something else for the year. Let’s say, bacon. Now, you can’t eat ice cream or bacon for the remainder of the year. They may taste good, but are they really good for you? When March rolls around you choose something else, and so on. By the end of the year you will have given up a dirty dozen of foods you know are not good for you, your waistline and your health. You make the choices you need to make that are right for you. If one month you give up chewing gum, you’re only kidding yourself. To succeed, you’ll need to commit yourself and make some tough choices. That’s it.

As the creator of the plan, I wanted to take the deep dive by ridding myself of one bad choice per week and track the results. At the end of fifty-two weeks, I would have eliminated fifty-two bad decisions from my diet. It would be no easy task, but someone had to try it to see if the damn thing worked. It was my responsibility to put myself through the most rigorous version of the program over the course of a year. When New Year’s Day rolled around, it was time to put things to the test. I needed to give up something every week of the year so at the end of fifty-two weeks, I’d have given up fifty-two foods.

On January 1st I stepped onto the scale and weighed in at one hundred and ninety-eight pounds. I wanted to hit the ground running so on January 1st I gave up alcohol. Yikes! This was a tough decision, but I mentally braced myself for this sacrifice during some binging over the last weeks of December. If this had been ten years ago, I may have started the program by giving up red meat and followed the next two weeks by eliminating pork, and poultry, but I hadn’t eaten meat for the past decade, so that was not an option. 

There was no magic to starting the program at the beginning of the year, but it made it easy to track and measure. I developed a chart with all the weeks and months lined up. Simple stuff, no frills. Then I put any remaining booze in my house into a cabinet above the refrigerator. The first week marked a perfect a time to detox after the holidays. Then I needed to come up with a new food to eliminate every week.

In terms of formulating a strategy for what to give up each week, I decided to follow my instincts, cravings and weekly consumption habits to determine what I had been consuming to make up for what I had given up. As soon as I gave up alcohol, which is filled with sugar, I began uncharacteristically replacing a sip of wine, vodka or tequila with a handful of organic chocolate chip cookies. This was my first A-Ha moment. My body was seeking a sugary substitute for the alcohol.

The following Sunday I gave up cookies. The next week I gave up all forms of candy. And so it went. Over the following weeks, I followed my gut to choose which food I’d eliminate next. I quickly fell into a pattern for making decisions and then staying the course. Every Sunday I decided what to give up, wrote it on my chart, and went about my business. Of course there would be a challenge during the week when avoiding the food I’d just given up, but by the time the weekend rolled around, I was already looking ahead to come up with a new item to eliminate from my diet. Part of the discipline was keeping things going week after week. Blazing new trails can be a lonely process where you don’t receive a lot of emotional support along the way. I wanted to tell a few people so it would put pressure on myself to succeed. Sharing helped me articulate how I was feeling and it kept me focused.

The results were slow, very slow at first. I did not see a dip in weight until a month went by, and even then, it was only three pounds. But by the time spring rolled around my weight was down seven pounds. I had more energy and my mind felt crystal clear, which I attributed to the elimination of so much sugar from my diet. The first six months were prominently focused on the elimination of sugary snacks. Week after week, I replaced one sugary craving with another.

Was I challenged? Sure. Who wants to sip a club soda with lime when the other people at your table in that outdoor cafe are kicking back with cold beers and margaritas on the rocks? But after the first few times I faced this, it became second nature. Six months into the program I was down twelve pounds and feeling great. There was no turning back.

I was running out of sugary foods to cut out and began eliminating foods with carbs, which turn into sugar, like bagels, muffins, chips, and rice. Rice was tough, especially if you like Chinese, Korean, Indian, and Mexican foods. But once I ate Chinese food without the rice, it was a revelation. I was no longer bloated after the meal and after doing this a few times I decided I would probably avoid rice into the future.

I dig salty snacks, but started cutting them out. As I did, my waistline shrank, my clothes fit better, and I felt great. I gave up spaghetti, one of my go-to foods, although I gave myself an out by still eating lasagna, ravioli, and other pastas. Was it cheating? Maybe a little, but I was exploring new territory so I gave myself some flexibility. By summer, I added more outdoor runs and swimming to my workouts. My metabolism was fired up and as a result, my weight suddenly dropped into the one hundred seventies.

In the past I’d given up booze a few times for five or six months of the year, but I had never faced a long hot summer without a cold alcoholic beverage. This was virgin territory, but by the time September rolled around I was galvanized. The biggest challenge I’d face during the last quarter of the year was coming up with a new food or beverage to give up every Sunday. My choices were all over the place— maple syrup, tortilla chips, cheese snacks, and finally pizza, which was a tough one to tackle.

I did not fall into the trap of counting the weeks remaining in the year until after Thanksgiving. Until I gave up meat a ten years ago, Thanksgiving had been my favorite holiday meal by far. I don’t like it as much now. By the time this year’s Thanksgiving rolled around, I had also eliminated forty-seven additional foods and beverages including many of the sweets and carbs we enjoy on Turkey Day. This year I looked at Thanksgiving as the final turn on this yearlong challenge. The end was in sight. I handled the holiday parties the same was as I did any other social situations I’d encountered throughout the year by sipping sparkling water. By now things had become routine. I checked the scale less frequently. My weight stabilized at one hundred seventy-five pounds in October. I’d lost twenty-three pounds since the beginning of the year and reached a plateau. My body refused to go any further at this time. But I looked good and felt great so I focused on making it through December unscathed. The holidays can be a test for maintaining weight but nothing could stop me now.

Over the final four weeks I eliminated yogurts with fruit, flavored coffee, cereal, and finally my beloved peanut butter. I had wanted to give up all pasta also, but my wife kept cooking it for my son, so I usually joined him by eating a small portion. Then she made a tray of vegetarian lasagna for my birthday in late December. I could wait until the new year to tackle giving up pasta. My birth date was a mixed blessing. I’d have to avoid eating birthday cake, which was weird, but my wife and I came up with a plan. After I counted off the days and the weeks since January, I would have completed my goal of giving up one food for fifty-two weeks by New Year’s Eve. I could end the program on New Year’s Eve and enjoy my birthday cake and anything else I wanted.

The final week following my birthday felt like the longest days of the year. By this time, I was burnt out on the program. On one hand I was elated at having completed something that I’m not sure anyone has ever done before, but I was also tired from having to mentally push aside so many foods I’d enjoyed eating for fifty-two weeks. Up until this final week I had taken each week in stride. Now I found myself checking the calendar and watching the clock. The time had come to cross the finish line with my arms raised. I weighed in on the morning of December 31 and once again landed on one hundred and seventy-five pounds. I did it!

My clothes felt looser and my body much more limber and lighter. I was so pleased with the results I considered extending the program during the following year. But, I was also mentally fatigued so I decided to give my body a break for the month of January before deciding on my next course of action. I wasn’t going to completely pig out because I had worked too hard, but I would see how I felt as I added some eliminated foods back into my diet.

On New Year’s Eve, we went all out and enjoyed a dinner of lobsters, champagne, and shots of tequila. The weirdest thing was that my taste buds had changed and the sparkling wine and tequila tasted different to me. I woke up with a hangover on New Year’s Day and hit the gym for a cardio workout to sweat out the booze and eliminate the calories from the rich foods I’d eaten. On the night of January 1st, I sipped white wine and fired down a shot of vodka. They both tasted weird to me. I also realized how clear my mind had become during the process of elimination. It was like a mental fog had lifted. I’d lost my cravings for foods my body had previously craved, which were mostly attributed to sugar (or hidden sugars). My waistline was trim and my eyes were clear. People said I looked good, regardless if they knew about my yearlong diet program or not. I had my annual checkup and the tests were impressive across the board. I had low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and had lost over twenty pounds. I felt less stiffness in my body, as if the inflammation that we all build up had dissipated. I knew I was on to something and was determined to make this program a lynchpin to my future wellness.

Over the course of the first two weeks of January I ate what I wanted, keeping mental notes on how different foods now tasted, how I felt after eating them, and what foods I would leave out of my diet going forward. In order for the Process of Elimination Diet to have long-term benefits, I needed a plan going forward. After all the work I put in the previous year, I did not want to throw it away by gorging on treats or simply returning to a diet that no longer suited my lifestyle.

It took me until mid-January to come up with a plan. When I created the POE program, I envisioned it as having three levels to suit different people and their different needs. As both creator and guinea pig, I took on the most rigorous version of the program by eliminating one item per week. Level One was comprised on eliminating one item per month. That meant giving up only twelve foods during the year. Level Two consisted of eliminating one food or beverage every two weeks for an aggregate of twenty-six items vanquished form your diet. Level Three, the master level that I had completed, consists of eliminating one item for fifty-two weeks.

My plan for year two was to take on Level One and eliminate twelve items over the course of the year. Since I had the experience and knowledge gleaned by completing the master level, I had a good sense as to what foods did not agree with me and accomplishing my long term goals of weight loss, maintaining the loss, and all around wellbeing. Even though I began Level One in mid-January, I would simply add two weeks to the end of the program to complete the task of eliminating twelve core items from my diet that year. After a week and a half of indulging in anything I wanted, I gained five pounds and was witnessing a regression of my behavior. I had kick off the new program by eliminating a food I did not need to eat. And the winner is…ice cream. I enjoy a dish or a cone now and then, but is it necessary to eat ice cream? So I drew up a new chart and scrawled ICE CREAM next to the month of January. And off we go… 

Taking a look back at the process, here are some the challenges I faced and a few surprises during the previous year.

  1. If you are into self-improvement and you enjoy challenging yourself, the program can be fun and rewarding. You might think, “How can eliminating a food or beverage you love every week bring a sense of joy?” I made it game and played it so coming up with a new food to eliminate by the end of each week became a fun task. For me to succeed, I had to make it a game. Yes, it’s crazy and not right for everyone, but if you have a spirit of adventure and self-discovery, and driven to achieve real results, this program can definitely be fun. The game necessitates your crafting your own personal strategy and long-term vision so you yield visible, energetic, and emotional results.
  2. You’ll be surprised how quickly you lose the cravings for the foods you’ve given up. I discovered that dropping a new food every week shortened the time for craving the food I’d already given up or eliminated during the current week. You only have seven days to fret about the food you gave up the past Sunday. By the time next weekend rolls around you’ll need to pick another food to eliminate, and immediately that becomes your focus for the next week. By Monday of each new week you’ve already forgotten the food you gave up the previous week, even though you won’t eat it for the remainder of the year. I love sipping top shelf tequila, a buttery Chardonnay, an organic IPA, or the occasional imported vodka chilled. So that’s why I made it my first category to eliminate. It had to make a statement to show I was serious, and I sure did.
  3. After a slow start, the pounds suddenly drop off and your body shape improves. Giving up alcohol made January an even colder month. But I’m glad I started the program with the biggest challenge. It kept my head in the game and made me determined not to slide. My strategy was to following my cravings. Most people replace one sweet craving with another. During the first week of January I found myself munching on chocolate chip cookies way, and I’m not a cookie guy. So, I gave up cookies the second week of January. The next week I gave up candy and the following week cake. That made January a tough month, but very productive. By the end of February, I had cleared lots of sugar from my diet and began noticing changes in how my body felt and looked. When I stepped on the scale in early February I had only dropped five pounds, but they were five important pounds that would not come back. These set the tone for success and faster weight losses over the next few months.
  4. Coming up with foods to eliminate was a task, but again, a fun one. As mentioned, I was determined to be the first person to go through the POE advanced program of giving up one food every week for a year. By the time Fridays rolled around, I’d already conquered my cravings for that week’s eliminated food and was thinking of something to give up the next week. Some weeks I had an idea about what to drop by Tuesday and in during other weeks it took me until Saturday night to come up with a food or drink to add to the list of no fly zone foods. During February I gave up pie, croissants, muffins, and cream cheese.  As the weeks flashed by I learned that some of the foods I dropped were easy to forget and others not as easy to erase from my mind.
  5. There are surprises along the way. I never realized that out of all the things I’d already given up, I’d miss eating cream cheese. But by August, I’d forgotten about cream cheese too. I learned that eliminating starches like rice and potatoes made a major difference in the size of my waistline and how much better I felt not being bloated after meals. Over the summer I began to realize that I’d probably not go back to eating some foods I’d given up. I’d have a sip of tequila or a glass of wine, and maybe a piece of dark chocolate, but for the vast majority of foods I eliminated my eating palette had definitely changed for the better.
  6. You’ll feel great. Since I was committed to not drinking for a year, it was a good time to work on myself inside too. I increased my meditative practices and invited more metaphysical authors and healers to join me on my GUY’S GUY RADIO podcast. I joined a spiritual enfoldment group that meets every week for a channeling session with a very loving group of Guides. All of this helped raise my frequency. My energy and frequency have not felt this light since I was a kid. And, my long runs along the boardwalk were exhilarating like they were over fifteen years ago when I trained and completed three marathons.
Following the completion of the Process of Elimination Diet I feel as good as I have felt in my entire life. I also reduced my media intake to a bare minimum and make it a point to love myself and forgive the people in my life who need forgiveness. I know this is related to the diet. Maybe the discipline required re-energized my passion for self-love, self-improvement, and raising my consciousness. My clothes fit better, I look fresher, I sleep like a baby and feel well-rested upon waking, and my energy is through the roof. I no longer craved alcohol, ice cream, chocolate, or sugar. The completion of my program has truly been an exercise of addition by subtraction.

                             THE PROCESS OF ELIMINATION DIET 2018

 January

1 – alcohol

2 – cookies

3 – candy

4 – cake

5 – pie

February

6 – croissants

7 – muffins

8 – cream cheese

9 – soda

 March

10 – ice cream

11 – potato chips

12 – white rice

13 – brown rice

April

14 – chocolate bars

15 – cream

16 – scones

17 – doughnuts

18 – added sugar

May

19 – honey

20 – chocolate nibs

21 – added butter

22 – ice cream on a stick

June

23 – frozen yogurt

24 – potato puffs

25 - rice pudding

26 - french fries

July

27 – spaghetti

28 – bagels

29 – Gatorade

30 – bubble gum

31 – pretzels

August

32 – onion rings

33 – fake bacon

34 - added bread

35 – English muffins

September

36 – added cheese

37 – flavored Super Coffee

38 – cheese nips

39 – maple syrup

October

40 – fake breakfast sausage

41 – tortilla chips

42 – pudding

43 – milk

44 – jam

November

45 – pizza

46 – egg nog

47 – granola

48 – fruit juice 

December

49 – flavored yogurt

50 – flavored coffee

51 – cereal

52 – peanut butter


The Guys' Guy's Guide to Running A Marathon

Robert Manni - Saturday, November 03, 2018

The first Sunday in November is a special day. Runners of all shapes and sizes come from around the globe to New York City to share a special human experience as they pack together while running 26.2 miles through the five boroughs. This could turn out to be one of the greatest achievements of their lives.

To me, the best thing about running a marathon is that anyone who puts in the training and completes the course can experience the feeling of competing in a world-class athletic event at an elite level. Very few know what it’s like to play a professional sport or perform in any way in front of a rabidly cheering crowd. I’m no elite athlete, but I’ve run my share of 5k and 5-mile races and finished three marathons. And even though all marathons are a tad over twenty-six miles, each one provided marathon a completely different experience and all taught me valuable lessons. I ran the first of three marathons at the age of forty-five and learned a few things that continue to help me today.

1. Focus.

Training for a marathon and running the race demand the integration of the body, mind and spirit. No matter what kind of shape you’re in, at some point during your training and the relentless twenty-six point two mile course you will be challenged. It could be a cramp, exhaustion, bad weather, or even an upset stomach. It doesn’t matter which, but you will find yourself faced with unexpected circumstances that require your attention. Even if you’ve train diligently and logged in the recommended long runs, a marathon requires an elevated level of mental toughness and spirit. Be prepared.

2. Don’t judge yourself too harshly.

Marathoners come in all shapes and sizes and speak many languages. During my first race I was surprised at how many runners who did not look in great shape passed me. At first my ego got the best of me when waves of older and chunkier runners zipped by. My first thoughts were to get down on myself and question my training. Then I recalled that everyone’s body processes oxygen differently. And, I had no clue as the kind of training regimen other people went through or how many marathons they’d already run. Once I realized all of this I got over myself and kept running.

3. Stick to your plan.

After a few miles of feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of that first marathon and the presence of so many runners running elbow-to-elbow, I dug down and refocused on my strategy going into the race. I decided beforehand that I was only competing with myself, so I chugged along at a reasonably slow ten or eleven minute per mile pace and did not waver until reaching mile twenty. I figured that if I felt I had enough fuel in my tank I could speed up heading into those last six miles. Fortunately I did not hit the dreaded “wall” tat many runners experience at mile twenty. Supposedly that’s a point where the human body has hit its limit. And although I did hit the wall at this juncture during my next two marathons, this was not the case for me in my first race. My body, mind and spirit all felt in synch and due to the adrenalin rush I was feeling, I cruised through those final six miles. It seemed like at this point I was passing everyone else and sprinted up the hill across the finish line both hands held high. Let me tell you; it felt great and I attribute it to my adherence to consistent training and more importantly, following my strategy throughout the race.

4. Hydrate and eat throughout the race.

Running non-stop for four-plus hours requires lots of fuel. In each marathon I slowed my pace and took advantage of almost every water stop while also being careful to drink the water as opposed to not slowing down and throwing the cups of water towards my mouth. I also grabbed snacks the race provided and even sampled a few food items people watching the race were handing out. This kept my hydration and energy levels high throughout the long run.

5. Congratulate yourself.

Marathoners can be pretty tough on themselves. Instead of celebrating this amazing feat, many runners carp about what they did wrong and areas that need improvement next time. After the first race I questioned parts of my performance, but I also give myself credit for putting in all those hours and the hard work and training required to run a race of this distance. Now that my marathon running days are over I can look back fondly on realize of these accomplishments. I’m proud of a job well done.

6. Practice makes perfect. Train like a champ.

We all need to prepare for the big opportunities that come along in life. Whether it’s writing a screenplay, making a presentation at a national sales meeting, or running a marathon you need to invest time and psychic energy into the undertaking if you want to enjoy the experience and savor your victoryhowever you define it. Looking back, making sure I followed the classic marathon training protocol including those long, lonely twenty-mile training runs were critical to my fitness and state of mind on race day. I figured if I could run twenty miles in September without the cheering crowds I’d be in good shape to tack on another six miles by November. And I was prepared for each marathon and my dedication to training came in handy both physically and mentally.

     In some ways running a marathon is a metaphor for living your life. We all experience pleasure, pain, and joy. When running a marathon we also run the game of human emotions experienced over the course of a few brief hours and twenty-six point two miles covered on a Sunday morning. If you get the urge to run a marathon, by all means do so. And if you do, make sure you fully immerse yourself in the experience—from each day of your training until you cross the finish line.  You’ll be happy for doing your job well.

A Tale of Two Cities: New York vs. San Diego (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Saturday, October 06, 2018


If you are a New Yorker, have you ever peered through the droplets of rain on your window and dreamed of moving to sunny Southern California?

If you’re like me, you have, many times. I grew up in northern New Jersey and went to college outside of Philly. I traveled the world for work and play and lived on the East Coast almost my entire life. Back in the eighties I picked up and moved to San Diego. I took a job at a heavy equipment company that I was not at all suited for. A crazy girlfriend followed me west and created havoc everywhere I went. The job sucked and the move was a disaster. After a few months I moved back east, licked my wounds and began a successful career in marketing and advertising at Fortune 100 companies and prestigious advertising agencies. Life in NYC is tough, but although I got knocked around more than a few times, like Sinatra, I did things my way and have experienced my share of traditional success in New York City.

In the back of my mind I always wondered how my life would turn out if I stayed in So Cal. The dream has never escaped my mind, and every time I visit Cali, I don’t want to leave. My wife has family living in San Diego so every other year we take the trip west. After all these years in Manhattan, we are both over New York, so upon our return home this year we decided to get serious about making a move west… or not. This is my inspiration for this two-part series comparing life in New York City with San Diego.

As mentioned in Part One, the focus out west is not on LA. It’s on San Diego and other areas south of LA. Over time, with so many New Yorkers moving to Los Angeles, it’s become too similar in too many ways to the Big Apple. As a result, I’m moving out purview south to describe what I think is a slightly more authentic west coast experience.

So here we go with the second set of comparisons between NYC and San Diego.

1b. City sightlines and more about the weather - Like Sinatra sang, nothing beats autumn in New York. When the leaves are turning and the cool breeze of fall whispers through your hair, the city feels gorgeous and romantic. Nothing beats the majestic New York skyline and the Hudson River is very picturesque, especially in the fall when the air is clean and crisp. And although the waterfronts are changing and finally taking shape around Manhattan throughout the year, I really feel alive when it’s fall in New York.

New Yorkers are known for style and there is no better time to see the people strut their stuff than this time of year. Summers here can get too hot and humid, and the city has a garbage problem that stinks up the air and sullies the streets. Winters are atrocious in New York City—wet, raw, mostly disgusting. This mess continues for months right through the spring. The weather does not break until mid-May or June. That means New Yorkers get six cold, gray months and six warm months. Our sunrises are idyllic, but unless you are near the water, who bothers to get up to see them?

Although it gets cool at night during the fall and winter, unlike New York, San Diego does not have four distinct seasons. Compared to New York, the city itself is newer, cleaner, and prettier. It may not be as dramatic looking as Manhattan, but the downtown area is much nicer and cleaner—visually a combination of LA and San Francisco. Even Balboa Park fares well when compared to my beloved Central Park. It’s safe, sprawling and much larger than CP and there is a wonderful classic Spanish influence in the architecture in the park.

And you can’t beat the So Cal coast for natural beauty. There are miles and miles of beach and the water is warm. Sunsets are spectacular and driving to the beach to witness them is an evening ritual. The bay in San Diego and ocean along the coast are incredible, and the beaches are free. Cabrillo Point overlooks all of San Diego. Overall it’s one of the mast scenic vistas I have ever visited and San Diego itself is an unbeatable, gorgeous city.

I love New York and it’s dramatic skyline, but let’s face it, the city streets are often filthy and strewn with garbage from the overflowing trashcans that line every corner.

San Diego is a more picturesque city. Let’s give it a point.

2b. Getting around – You really don’t do a lot of walking in California and the traffic is dense. If you live in So Cal, you need a reliable vehicle. Parking is not great, but it’s far easier to find a spot than in Manhattan. True, you will spend a good chunk of your day in your car and checking your GPS for the best route to take when traffic bottles up, but I’d take that over the archaic, crumbling subway system here in New York. Frankly, the New York subway system, bridges, and airports are decrepit and embarrassing. A world-class city needs to do a much better job of updating its infrastructure. I’ve been a resident for years and the situation keeps getting worse. I’ll choose driving on a crowded Route 5 or 805 any day.

Point to San Diego.

3b. Sports/stadiums – Why did the NFL Chargers and NBA Clippers both leave for LA? The Clippers packed their bags decades ago due to lack of support and the Chargers left last year due the owner wanting to build a new stadium only if taxpayers footed the bill. Yet, despite their professional teams relocating to LA, I’ve never heard anyone in San Diego complain about the exodus of professional sports teams from their fair city. Maybe it’s because people in San Diego are not super-rabid professional sports team fans like we have in New York. MLB’s Padres remain in San Diego, and if count the number of cool Padres hats you see about town, you’d think they remain fairly popular.

But, when I took my son to his first MLB game at majestic Petco Park (wow, what a beautiful facility), the place was half empty and eerily quiet compared to the crowds at any Yankees or Mets game where everyone grouses loudly over every ball or strike. Fans in Sad Diego like their rodeo, monster cars, motocross, horse racing at Del Mar, sailing, and surfing. They are not into professional spectator sports the way we are in NYC.  So although the venues are better in San Diego (expect for aging QUALCOMM Stadium), sports are more of a religion in New York.

If you care about this type of thing, let’s award a point to New York.

4b. Lifestyle – Let’s face it. New York is a rat race. Type A people are drawn here from every corner of the global looking to make their mark. Like Frank said, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. It’s true. New York City is a city of dreams. But after a few decades, many of us New Yorkers begin to realize that they are the rats in the race. The hectic pace, all the backstabbing in business, and constant anxiety take their toll. Although many New Yorkers are addicted to the city and cannot imagine living anywhere else, others realize that living in New York City can be a blessing, until you allow it to become a curse. Between the high costs of real estate, schools for the kids, entertaining, and the trials and tribulations of getting around city life take their toll.

Meanwhile, back in San Diego, another family is visiting Sea World, Old Town, Knots Berry Farm, Lego Land, Disney, the Gas Lamp District, the harbor, Coronado Island, or any of the quaint surfing towns along the coast where the pace is slow and the kombucha flows freely.

Let’s score this one for San Diego.

5b. Entertainment and culture – New York is arguably the cultural capital of the world. We have great museums, Broadway shows, concerts, Radio City, the Metropolitan opera, Lincoln Center, films, etc. The list goes on and on. You can get to the beach or the mountains within two hours and it seems like there is always something to do at any hour in the city that never sleeps.

San Diego has more outdoor fun stuff like its amusement and water parks. And although the actual beaches are nicer along the east coast, So Cal has way more beaches, to the point where living there becomes a beach lifestyle. It’s hard not to like that, plus the great weather all year.

Yet, when it comes to culture and secondarily entertainment, New York wins the point by a slim margin.

Well there you have it. Is there a winner? Not really. Making a choice between these two fascinating cities depends on where you are in life and the lifestyle you desire. Tallying things up, it’s been a close competition between New York City and sunny San Diego. If you are a New Yorker and thinking of moving west, make sure you are realistic about the costs of living in So Cal. It’s not quite as expensive as New York, but it ain’t cheap. The weather is better, the city is newer, and the people, at least on the surface, are friendlier. But, New York is like nowhere else, and once people get a taste of it, many won’t settle for living anywhere else.

Me? I’ve loved my years living on the east coast and in the Big Apple, but it might be time to head west and stretch my arms out. We’ll see.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Frank Sinatra. Old Blue Eyes gave us signature songs about New York, Chicago, LA, Vermont, and Paris. Too bad he left out San Diego.

A Tale of Two Cities: New York vs. San Diego (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, September 28, 2018


East coast / west coast comparisons are nothing new. For years conversations have pitted the Big Apple against the City of Angels. But after decades of New Yorkers migrating to L.A. beyond cars versus taxis and subways, is life that different in these two cities?

Sure, L.A. is an industry town while New York is the capital of finance, media, many other businesses, and arguably the world. But over time, the world has gotten smaller and the cultural chasm between these two coastal metropolises has shrunk. In fact, although I am a New Yorker, I feel right at home in L.A.  I can get all the same stuff and I deal with lots of New Yorkers who, by the way, brought their attitudes along when they moved out west.

That said, during the course of a recent two-week trip to San Diego and the gorgeous surrounding area, I noticed major differences between coastal lifestyles than I’ve observed when visiting LA over the past decade or so. In fact, some of those differences in San Diego living reminded me of So Cal back in the 80’s and 90’s. Simply put, San Diego is a picturesque laid-back So Cal city that is not L.A. and nothing like NYC. With this in mind, I offer you a tale of two cities or my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to the Differences between New York and San Diego.

So, in no particular order here’s the insights your Guy’s Guy absorbed over the course of a few vacations to San Diego and a short stint living there back in the 80’s.

1. People – People are people. Every one of us comes from the same source. We all share divinity and deserve to me recognized as such, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, sex, etc. In my opinion, the differences we see in people who live in various places around the planet can be attributed to culture an environment. So, let’s be clear about that and get that issue out of the way first. We are all the same.

That said, life in San Diego versus New York City can be very different and as a result people’s behavior in each city can be very different. San Diego reminds me of how I always saw So Cal: laid back, sunny and warm, gorgeous spaces and healthy people. The pervasive attitude in San Diego is chill and friendly. If you ask someone for directions they come to a full stop, consider your question and do their best to be helpful. When you buy something in a store or visit a restaurant, the staff is polite and friendly, every time.

In NYC, when a tourist asks for directions on the street or in the bowels of the subway, the natives are helpful. But if you are a local and you need help to ask someone something you’ve got to make a real effort to connect with people. And they might even give you shit.

Quick story. The other night, I was heading home on a crowded C train. I saw an empty seat and was ready to sit my ass down when a guy across the car yelled, “No, no!” I did not realize he was speaking to me so as I began to sit down I realized there was an undefined puddle of liquid on the seat. The guy saw my lowering my tush and yelled again, “Man, I told you not to sit down!” Only in New York do people try to help you and then yell at you. I only got one cheek wet and I thanked the guy while he was shaking his head and looking down like I was a total idiot. Hilarious.

New Yorkers move and think fast, real fast. When you attempt to ask a question to a New Yorker, the other person immediately begins qualifying you. While they remove one ear bud, they size you up and ask themselves, “Is this person going to hit me up for money? Does he have a knife? Will he rob me? Is he going to expose himself?” A million thoughts blow through New Yorkers minds when a random person attempts to ask them a question. After you’ve past the “he’s not going to kill me” test, I’ve found most New Yorkers to be empathetic and helpful. But is this a healthy way to live? I’ve gotten used to it over the years, but this hard truth hits home whenever I return to New York after visiting another city or country. The tone of life can be harsh in New York.

Not so in San Diego. People migrate there for the lifestyle and the weather. They like to relax and hang out. They are proud of their city. In fact they love it. I have never heard anyone complain about San Diego, especially the way New Yorkers often bitch and moan about our urban landscape with all its warts. Even New Yorkers who love the city complain about it when warranted, and that is often.

There is also major difference in the level of anxiety between people in the two cities. I was not subjected to any anxiety or anxious people in San Diego. Here in New York, the level of anxiety is palpable. The people and life in general in New York is intense and competitive. Upon my return to New York I noticed a difference in how people communicated to each other, even in friendly situations. There is an underlying level of competitiveness and need for validation. Someone asks you what school you are sending your kid and you find yourself feeling that you need to justify your choice at the risk of being judged by your neighbor. It can be that crazy here.

I reckon a lot of these types of interactions also take place in San Diego-- maybe it’s who lives in the better neighborhood—but I did not experience the same level of nervousness or paranoia as I get in Manhattan.

To me, the people in San Diego seemed a lot happier and relaxed compared to life in New York.

Score a point for SD.

2. The service – When you go out to eat in New York City the service can be harsh, but it is usually efficient. In New York, how many times has a server tried to take your plate away before you are finished eating? Lots of times, right? The good news is restaurant service usually is swift and often works like clockwork no matter how busy a restaurant gets. The waiters can be friendly or gruff, but you’ll rarely wait for your entree or the check. Retail shops are another story. There are some great salespeople in New York, but often the staff in stores can be amazingly unfriendly and borderline rude.

Last night I met a friend for a drink. I’m a boomer. My hair has lots of gray. When I entered the restaurant filled with business people, the guy working there blocked my path. I attempted to sidestep him, but he would not let me pass. He asked for my I.D. I asked him if he was actually carding me and he asked for my ID again. I pointed to my hair. I was way older than him. He told me if I did not like it to go somewhere else. This was an interesting way to treat your customers, but that type of nonsense often happens here. I also notice that many times store staff does whatever they can to prevent you from getting the right price. Like if something is marked on sale and it rings up at the old price or a sales sign offers 30% off and the staff insists the sign should have been moved because the sale has ended or some similar nonsense. We New Yorkers put up with this crap on a regular basis.

Of course there are lots of very nice folks in New York working retail. The issue is training. Staffs need to be taught the importance of being respectful to customers and not viewing the customers as the enemy. But unfortunately in New York, I have often learned that the “the customer is not always right”. Too often customers have to fight for our bargains.

Not so in my limited exposure to San Diego and the surrounding area. The peeps working retail are friendly and polite. Frankly, it does no cost anything to be civil. That said; service is faster and more efficient in NYC.

I’m still going to give another point to San Diego.

3. Food – Overall, the cuisine in New York City is the best and as varied as any city I’ve visited in the world. In New York, you can get anything at any time and it’s usually tasty and fresh. Like everything else, food in New York can be pricey, but you can also find authentic and affordable versions of anything and everything somewhere in the city. New York has it all.

Well, let me rephrase that. We have it all except for good Mexican food. You would think that since Mexican food traveled east in the 80’s that by now we’d have our pick of cheap tasty Mexican food and walk up taco joints that could compete with those on the west coast. But, it never happened.

In San Diego, Encinitas in particular, the food at the Taco Shop is fresh, fast, casual, delicious and cheap. It was just one of a plethora of casual Mexican joints that are better than any Mexican food in New York, and over the years I’ve tried most of the Mexican places in the city.

San Diego also has a Little Italy that is much nicer than the tourist trap in Manhattan. So Cal has many fine dining establishments. But overall, you can’t beat NYC for food. And yes, the pizza is still better here than anywhere.

Let’s give one point for the home team.

4. Real Estate – We all know how expensive it is to live in New York. But, So Cal, and especially the communities south of LA are no bargains. The locals say that you pay for the weather. That’s true, and although you can buy a house for the price of a 2-bedroom condo in Manhattan or Brooklyn, like NYC, it’s going to cost you over a million. During our trip, with Berkshire realtor extraordinaire, Susan Deetman, we explored the lovely coastal communities around Del Mar, Encinitas, and Carlsbad, as well as a few other bedroom communities further inland where the temps are ten degrees hotter and the risk is higher if the economy craters again.

In NYC you can make money by staying ahead of the curve. In other words, in New York you can still find neighborhoods that are ready to turn. We moved to Harlem in 2010, two years after the crash, and we bought a two-bedroom condo a few blocks from Central Park for under a million. In just eight years the price of similar units has doubled as Harlem undergoes its renaissance. Unlike NYC, in San Diego, the only new areas to buy a home moderately cheaper are further from the coast. But, in the areas north of the city of San Diego the public schools are highly rated. Yet, overall it isn’t cheap to live in San Diego, and your investment will not appreciate at the same pace as in NYC.

Another major difference between housing in NYC and San Diego is there is more variety when looking to rent in NYC. You can rent a new condo in downtown San Diego, but the prices are not that different from NYC.

Let’s give another point for New York.

We’ve covered a lot so far in my tale of two cities, but there is a lot more to consider when comparing these wonderful, but very different areas. Next time we’ll match up the beauty of the cities, recreation, entertainment, sports, getting around, weather, and the pace of life.

Until then, this week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is the late Tony Gynn, a former San Diego Padre, true Hall of Fame talent, and one of the greatest hitters in NL history.

The Guys' Guy's Process of Elimination™ Diet Plan (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Friday, July 20, 2018


Would your losing ten percent of your bodyweight in six months considered a successful diet program for you?

Six months is real time. This is not a short-term fix or a yo-yo diet where you lose fifteen pounds before slowly gaining every pound back and more. This is the Guys’ Guy’s Process of Elimination Diet Plan. It’s how I’ve steadily dropped eighteen pounds during the first half of 2018. The results have come slowly but steadily, and there are still six months to go. I’ve learned a lot by eliminating one item of food from my diet every week since the beginning of the year.

Let’s take a look back at the process, the challenges when giving up certain foods and some of the surprises I’ve encountered during the first half of the year.

  1. If you are into self-improvement and you enjoy challenging yourself, the POE is actually fun. You might ask, “Hey, Guy’s Guy, how can taking away a food you love every week bring any sense of joy?” Good question. Coming up with a new food to eliminate by the end of each week was a fun task for me. To succeed, I had to make this a game. Yes, it is a crazy game that is not for everyone, but if you have a spirit of adventure and self-discovery, and you like achieving real results that you feel inside and see in the mirror, it can definitely be fun. The game necessitates your deploying a personal strategy and long-term vision and can quickly yield visible, energetic, and emotional results.
  2. You’ll be surprised how quickly you lose your cravings for the foods you’ve given up. I discovered that dropping a new food every week shortened any cravings for the food I gave up the previous week. Why? Well, for one thing, you will only have seven days to fret about the food you gave up on Sunday. By the time the next weekend rolls around you’ll need to pick another food to eliminate and focus on that the next week. As a result, by the following Monday you will probably have forgotten the food you gave up the previous week, even though you will not be eating it for the remainder of the year. This may sound totally crazy, but it really works. For me, the key was dropping a true favorite the first week. That’s why I gave up alcohol for the entire year on January 1st. I’m a social drinker, and although I don’t pound the same way I did during my roaring twenties, I know enough about beer, wine and spirits to also know how important it is to drink only the good stuff and very little of the sweet stuff. I love sipping top shelf tequila, a buttery Chardonnay, an organic IPA, or the occasional imported vodka.
  3. After a slow start, the pounds suddenly drop off and your body shape improves. I must admit that suddenly giving up all alcohol made January an even colder month. But I am glad I started the program with my biggest challenge. It kept my head in the game and made me determined not to slide or simply throw in the cards by downing a few shots of tequila. I followed giving up alcohol by eliminating candy, another sweet. Most people replace one sweet craving with another. So, I gave up cookies the second week of January. I followed this by giving up candy and finally cake. That made January a tough month, but a very fruitful one. I had cleared my system of lots of sugar and began noticing changes in my body when I worked out or went for a long run. I felt lighter, and there was less stress on my joints, so I knew I was on the right track. When I stepped on the scale at the end of January I had only dropped five pounds, but they were five important pounds. These set the tone for my success and faster weight losses over the next few months.
  4. Coming up with foods to eliminate was a task, but again, a fun one. As mentioned, I was determined to be the first person to go through the POE advanced program of giving up one food every week for a year. By the time Fridays rolled around, I’d already conquered my cravings for that week’s drop and was thinking of something that felt right for the next and following weeks. Some weeks I had an idea by Tuesday. During other weeks, I took me until Saturday night to come up with the next item to wipe from my plate. I took it easy on myself during February, giving up pie, croissants, muffins, and cream cheese. Or so I thought. I soon learned that some of the foods I dropped were not as easy to erase as I’d predicted.
  5. There are surprises along the way. Of course, giving up all wine, spirits, and beer for a year has been trying at times, especially during the hot summer months when I witness friends drinking chilled margaritas in front of me. That sucks, but I remind myself about how disciplined I am, how great I’m doing, and how much better I feel having lost eighteen pounds. I also never realized that out of all the things I’ve already given up, I’d miss eating cream cheese as one of the tougher foods to drop. I also learned that eliminating rice and potatoes as starches in meals made a big difference in my waistline and how I felt after meals. I wasn’t sure if this would be the case, but I was clearly less bloated when I replaced rice or potatoes with salad. Another thing I learned is that I doubt I will be eating most of the foods I’ve given up in the future. Sure, I will have a sip of tequila or a glass of wine, and maybe some chocolate, but for the vast majority of foods I’ve eliminated it has been out of sight, out of mind. My eating palette has definitely changed for the better.
  6. You will feel great. Since I was committed to not drinking for a year, I thought it would also be a good time to work on myself. I upped my meditative practice and invited more metaphysical authors and healers to my GUY’S GUY RADIO podcast. I joined a spiritual enfoldment group that meets every week for a channeling session with a very loving group of Guides who enter our spiritual circle for ninety minutes. All of this has truly helped my development as a person. The first time I hit the beach this year I did the energy work I always do by the ocean and the results were amazing. My energy and frequency has not felt this light since I was a kid. And, my long runs along the boardwalk have been exhilarating like they were years ago when I trained for three marathons.

The bottom line is I feel great, in fact as good as I have ever felt. I’ve also reduced my media intake to a bare minimum and have made it a point to love myself and forgive all the people in my life who need forgiveness, if you know what I mean. I’m not sure if this is related to the diet, but maybe the discipline required has re-energized my passion for self-love and improvement. My clothes fit, I look fresher, I sleep better, and my energy is through the roof. And, I am not craving alcohol, ice cream, or chocolate. Tell me that isn’t not fun! And I still have close to six months to go. I’ll be back at the end of the year with my final results and I hope you will join me. In the meantime, I wonder what I’ll give up next week…

Here is the list of foods I’ve given up to date by week.

  1. Alcohol
  2. Cookies
  3. Candy
  4. Cake
  5. Pie
  6. Croissants
  7. Muffins
  8. Cream cheese
  9. Soda (except club soda or seltzer)
  10. Ice cream
  11. Potato chips
  12. White rice
  13. Brown rice
  14. Chocolate bars
  15. Cream/Half and half
  16. Scones
  17. Doughnuts
  18. Adding sugar to anything
  19. Honey
  20. Chocolate nibs for cooking
  21. Adding butter
  22. Ice cream products on a stick
  23. Frozen yogurt
  24. Potato puffs
  25. Rice pudding
  26. French fries
  27. Spaghetti
  28. Bagels

The Guys' Guy's Process of Elimination™ Diet Plan (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, July 13, 2018


If you are like me, you love your food. But for indulgent diners, maintaining your fighting weight becomes a never-ending battle.

You like to eat, you eat well and you think you’re making good choices. And you work out, but the pounds continue creeping onto your waistline. What’s a Guy’s Guy or a Gal’s Gal supposed to do to stay trim in the face of our questionable food supply and the plethora of tasty, global cuisines invading our shores?

Anthony Bourdain may be gone, but his legacy of introducing Americans to the delights of world food and cultures lives on. With the sampling of new foods comes new cravings and opportunities to pack on pounds. Is it possible to enjoy life and eat well without ballooning into a Thanksgiving Day float when cruising along Central Park West? I’ve put this notion to the test and the answer is a resounding yes. But it requires some circumspection as to what enjoying life means to you and how you can find bliss without succumbing to the daily food cravings that flood our consciousness.

After achieving short-term successes with a myriad of yo-yo diets, and giving up meat a decade ago, I noticed I was still packing on the pounds. Even after factoring my dedication to fitness and all those long runs and hours on the elliptical trainer, when I stepped on the scales last December I saw an unfamiliar number of pounds and told myself enough was enough. Even with what I considered a reasonably healthy diet combined with hours of cardio, I kept gaining weight. Maybe you’ve been there, too. For a 5’10 Boomer, any weight under two hundred is not considered all that bad. But, I’m a Guy’s Guy. And as the person who began this movement¾where men and women can be at their best so everyone wins, “not bad” simply was not good enough.

I decided to develop a program, determined to create a fresh new diet regime that did not require purchasing prepared special meals, fasting, or monthly cleanses.

I knew that another short-term diet plan could only yield short-term results. And I know that the older you get the more challenging it is to peel off those pounds. That meant my program needed to deliver long-terms results that enhanced wellness and potentially inspired permanent lifestyle changes and resulting food choices. In other words, I wanted to build a diet plan that functioned as a stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to help men and women be at their best and win, Guy’s Guy style. After a few weeks of mulling this around, I had an epiphany. 

Eating, and eating well comes down to making choices.

At every meal you choose to consume this or that¾ the tuna or the lamb chops, the beer or the club soda, the bacon cheeseburger or the salad. Over time, the results of those choices¾the bad and good, come to fruition. I asked myself, “what if, a little at a time, I eliminated all my bad choices, or at least as many as possible while still enjoying what I was eating?” What if I eliminated one bad choice per week? Heck, over the course of a year, I could slowly but steadily delete more than fifty bad choices. Spreading out the program across a year would avoid the shock to the system of the familiar short-term diet “fixes” that produced short-term results through pain instead of persistence. I had an idea to potentially achieve significant long-term, life-changing results while allowing my body to slowly and steadily adjust to the changes from making better choices.

I call it The Guys’ Guy’s Process of Elimination Diet Plan. I’ve been doing it since the first week of January 2018. More about that later, but first; here’s how it works. Over the course of the year, you eliminate foods from your diet that you know are not good for you. The POE program has two levels¾monthly and advanced. Let’s begin with the monthly, which is doable for anyone with a little willpower and drive.

Add one new food to cut out from your diet every month.

For example, in January you give up ice cream. That means no ice cream for the entire year. Maybe that isn’t so easy, but you want long-term results. In February, you give up something else for the entire year. Let’s say, bacon. You can’t eat ice cream or bacon for the remainder of the year. When March rolls around you’ll need to choose something else, and so on. By the end of the year you will have given up a dirty dozen of foods you know intuitively are not good for you, your waistline and your health. You make the choices you need to make that are right for you. If you give up something like chewing gum, you’re only kidding yourself. You need to commit yourself emotionally and make those tough choices. That’s it.

I believed that over time, the process of eliminating a different “bad” food from your menu of choices would yield positive results beyond shedding a few pounds.

If you eliminate fattening, processed foods with empty calories and little nutrition you will lose weight. But more importantly, over the long haul, I believed that your slimmer body and positive self-image would also reduce its cravings for the non-healthy foods that caused both physical and emotional distress. You will feel and look better. My theory was that the end of twelve months you probably would not be as interested in digging into a bowl of chocolate swirl ice cream. At least that’s the theory.

To provide empirical evidence for my hypothesis, someone had to put this to test. That's where I came in. However, I wanted to raise the stakes—it needed to be done on a weekly basis. To prove my theory, I needed to complete the advanced program that entailed giving something new up every week of the year. By the end of those fifty-two long weeks, I will have given up fifty-two foods I crave, but know are probably not good for me. This could be a monumental challenge. I didn’t know, but I was determined to find out.

I’m past the halfway mark approaching twenty-eight weeks. And I can honestly report that the program is working exactly as I planned. I’ve lost weight through eliminating twenty-eight foods from my diet, and in almost every case, I have fewer cravings, and if things keeping going well, I am not planning on eating them again, or at least not with the same frequency, zeal and passion as in the past.

On January 1st I weighed 196 pounds. As mentioned, I work out regularly, so there has been no change in that area. I will continue to work out because it’s something I enjoy and believe will enhance the results of the program exponentially mostly because I have more energy and am slowly, but steadily shedding weight.

I started my weekly “advanced” POE diet program by eliminating alcohol on week one. Yikes! This was a tough decision, but I mentally braced myself for this sacrifice during the last weeks of December. As a result, I did consumed a bit of tequila and sparkling wine during those final days of 2017. There is no magic to starting the program at the beginning of the year, beyond it being a twelve-month commitment. Like all New Year’s resolutions, you start at the beginning, although most resolutions are left in the dust after a month or two.

And so it began. Let’s take a break here. I will continue next time with a list of the foods I’ve given up and the results of following the POE program to date. I’ll give you one hint. It’s been wild and worth it. Until next time, amigos…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to 10 Things that I've Learned are True (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Tuesday, June 12, 2018


What is really true in this crazy world we live in?

That’s a question you need to ask yourself. The answer won’t pay your rent, but when you learn the truth you’ll find that many of your opinions, judgments and the things you once believed turn out to be a lot different than what you thought. And if there is anything we really need to know in this lifetime, it’s truth. Does anything else really matter?

If we boil the truth down to just one thing, it’s that everyone walking the face of the Earth is an expression of the Creator. And so, we need to recognize the divinity in everyone. That means the good, the bad, and the ugly that walk among us. If you accept this one truth, everything else can fall into place. Recognize the divinity in everyone. It’s that simple.

But, let’s talk about those other truths, the things we pick up over years through trial and error, success and failure and winning and losing. And let’s do it Guy’s Guy style—casually, confidently, and authentically. Beyond the truth of our divine origin, I’d like to share a handful of insights and nuggets I’ve picked up along the way and how they apply to life love and pursuit of happiness. Let’s call this one my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Ten Things I’ve Learned Are True.

1. Fear is a lie – We live in a culture held hostage by fear. Turn on your television and experience the avalanche of negativity and borderline hysteria about all the things that can go wrong in our world. We’re reminded daily about our need to stave off the inevitable doom that awaits us in the forms of financial troubles, job loss, hair loss, cancer, old age, divorce, suicide, or being swept by the Golden State Warriors. We live in a society that tells us that “you are not enough, and you need to buy these things to survive”. In other words, you can stave off the fear by spending your money on their consumer products, meds, insurance, etc.

The airwaves are awash with TV series, films, news and advertising all focused on fear. AI takes over Westworld. Zombies rule on The Walking Dead. Money is God on Billions. The news is bad these days and beyond that, Trump dominates the airwaves. All of this drives home a ways of thinking that the end justifies the means, bad behavior wins, and you’re going to get screwed over anyway.

So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? First, don’t buy the hype. Sure, you need money, a job, and insurance to get by, but things are not so bad unless you agree with the notion that life sucks and that you don’t have enough stuff. I’m finally getting past my own personal fears and I now approach life in a new way.  Ironically, it was necessary for me to lose a lot and face down fear and the abyss to turn my attitude around. These days, instead of avoiding what I don’t want to happen, I focus on my end goal of reaching as many people as possible with entertaining, helpful content across platforms.

Take a step back and think about it. Are you avoiding what you don’t want to have happen or relentlessly moving towards want you want? Forget fear and focus on your primary life objective. It can be that simple, but it can also be challenging to change your perspective.

If you have your health, love, and enough cash to get by, you are, compared to most people on the planet, way ahead of the game. I’m not suggesting you settle right there. No, I’m a capitalist and I have no problems with making oodles of money.  But some times we need to take stock of our relative lot in life and show some gratitude.

Never let the media make you feel inadequate in any way. The truth is… although life can be tough, there is nothing to be afraid of. After all, you are divine, a soul incarnated into a physical body. Recognize that truth in everyone and things will change for the better. 

2. Everything is connected – An ex-boss dropped this nugget on me during my last day at his agency. At the time, I did not know what to make of his statement. Yet, his words have always stuck with me. Over time, they’ve haunted me until I figured it out and realized he was right. Everything we do becomes part of our fabric of who we are. It’s sort of like your resume. Your best moves and your questionable decisions are all laid out for you and others to pick through.

No worries, though. We all screw up. And don’t be concerned with past mistakes. Learn from them and change. Realize that where you are today and the experience you’re now having is a result of all your prior actions, including all the bonehead moves you’ve made. Life is not sporadic. It’s about cause and effect. Reminding yourself that every action causes a reaction is helpful. 

3. Forgiveness is freedom – People hold grudges. It’s true, and it’s a damn shame. And these bad feelings are created from ego. No one, especially in our blame-game culture, likes to admit they made a mistake. But, the truth is, we all shit the bed now and then. We’re human. That’s what we do. We learn by trial and error.

So, give people who wronged you a break. If someone makes a mess or screws you over, it’s ultimately on them. I know it can be hard to forgive, but do your best and let things go. Sure it’s often easier said than done, particularly when individuals go out of their way to hurt you. Forgive them anyway. You can still take action.

Let’s get this straight: I am not suggesting you let people screw you over. What I am suggesting is that carrying a grudge can work against you. All that negative baggage becomes a heavy load to bear. So let it go.

I know it’s not easy. Forgiveness is a practice that requires a mindful participation, but it is a worthwhile skill to learn. If you are sincere about forgiveness it will free you from a lot of negative weight and pain. This does not mean you need to forget it, or that you need to keep toxic people in your life. I’m referring to helping yourself by not becoming overly burdened by negative emotions that can eat away at your well-being.

4. Learn to say “I’m sorry” – How many people do you know who never, ever admit to a mistake and say, “I’m sorry’? If your friends and relatives are like mine, the number is high. Many folks are emotionally constipated, and seemingly incapable of owning up to their mistakes. Often it is because they lack the self-esteem necessary to take a hit in stride. People who never admit they are wrong and regretful need help and a little love. But everyone is on his or her own journey to the same place. You cannot expect everyone to think like you do. What you can do is to lead by example. Then it is on them to master this skill.

So when you screw up, say you’re sorry.  Everyone make mistakes every day… even Donald Trump. It takes a real man to admit to his foibles and take responsibility for them. It is a sign of strength that when practiced over time gets easier and easier.

5. We have more power than we think – If you listen closely to the media, news and advertising, the message is clear. You know nothing and you’re in deep shit unless you do as you are told and buy what they say you need.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Humanity has been blessed with incredible powers to do amazing things without the latest gadgets, clothes, or meds. Instead of assuring us about our gifts like intuition, self-healing, and a direct connection to the Creator, we’re instead constantly reminded of a need for more insurance coverage, drugs, money, and consumer goods to survive in the way others have planned for us.

Many metaphysical experts and scientists warn us that our channel to our power is being been suppressed by chemtrails, GMO foods, wifi, and radiation from cell towers, and other unnatural albatrosses that have been foisted upon our lifestyle.

Our skyrocketing health care costs cover medical issues after you find out you have a problem, but almost never cover preventative alternative protocols. Do your research. Reading books on healing, consciousness, natural medicine, and raising your frequency all help provide you with information to consider about how to live your life. It might not necessary fall in line with what you have been told, but it’s the only way to do things. Your fiends might not agree. That’s okay. You will attract new people into your life that are on a similar point of their path.

So how can you claim your truth amidst so many falsehoods in our world? Start by managing your thoughts and managing your words. Because you have so much more strength than you have been taught to believe, you may not be aware of the pure power of your focus and the words you say, particularly about yourself.  Think positive. Don’t believe everything the mainstream tells you is true. Do your own research. Seek out different perspectives and points of view. Keep and open mind. True. True. True. True.  Good luck.

This week’s GUY’S GUYs of the WEEK are the truth seekersthe ones who don’t take things at face value and always ask questions, the ones who keep an open mind and don’t judge new ways of thinking, the ones who know they have more power than they have been told.

The Guy's Guy's Guide to the 4 Types of Daters You'll Meet Online

Robert Manni - Friday, May 25, 2018


Once upon a time, a guy entered a restaurant. He noticed a pretty lady sitting at the bar. Wanting to meet her, he sauntered over, smiled and introduced himself. “Hi, my name is Lou. Can I buy you a drink?”

She looked him over and smiled back. It doesn’t matter what happened at this point, because the possibilities were endless and many of us lived that scene back in the day. And every now and then something like this still happens. But not so much anymore.

Dating, like everything else, has gotten complicated. Real complicated. Dating used to be a fun sport. Now, too often it’s a combat sport.  And it’s really a jungle out there. So most singles have retreated to the comfy confines of their bedrooms to engage digitally. The first step is downloading the usual dating apps and signing up on dating websites in the hope of finding a compatible, but probably equally confused partner.

When you approach dating online, you’ll need to be sharp and have a strategy to avoid the emotional landmines that lay ahead. And if you pay attention and learn the game, you’ll soon know how to save lots of time and heartache by qualifying your prospects. But if you’re dating online and haven’t figured this out by now, you’ve come to the right place. Your Guy’s Guy is here to help you separate the wheat from the chafe and make the most of your time and efforts while swiping left or right. I went on so many online dates that I learned the hard way how to qualify prospects before investing my time, money, and psychic energy in someone I had up to that first face-to-face encounter only met online. So, here is my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO DATERS YOU’LL MEET ONLINE.

Drum roll please…

1. The new kids on the block – At one time or another we’ve all been the new kid in the game. We’ve all wasted a few online prospects’ time before they figured out we had not yet figured out how the online game is played. This happens when you begin the process by plinking on your keyboard in your tightey-whiteys in the dark of your bedroom to meeting that straight up stone cold fox in person. She expects your A-game. But it takes a time and finesse to sharpen our online skill set, so let’s not be too hard on the newbies we encounter online. Qualify and if necessary, move on. We’re all rookies in the beginning and that means we probably have been more focused on the shiny object dangling on our phone or computer screen instead of determining who you are, what you want, and what you have to offer a partner. It seems that most online daters miss this first step.

Meeting someone who has never dated online is often a waste of time. In my experience, I met a number of very attractive, intelligent, and pretty cool ladies who had never been on an online date. Rookies tend to have a lot of questions, but few answers. They are often very recently single, separated or divorced. They are dabbling, curious and attentive as they inquire about you. They nod their head as they listen attentively and subconsciously compare you to their last boyfriend or ex-husband.  After a while, they may bring up their two daughters or the fact that their ex–whatever still lives with them or is in constant contact even though he is a douche. So you glance at your watch and realize that this was a waste of your time. She is a newbie who does not know what to expect or what she wants from online dating. It’s an eye-opening experience for her. And that’s perfectly understandable. But, shame on you. Her pretty photos sucked you in without your taking the time to qualify her situation before agreeing to meet. So, you lose and she now knows a little bit more about online dating. Wasn’t that fun? Maybe you thought since she’d been married she was generous in the sack and ready for some sheet rumbling with a new guy. You were being selfish and lazy. I know. I’ve been there, amigo.

But that’s not it. She simply was curious about online dating and you were a vessel to fill in some of the blanks before she moves on and dates another half dozen guys before she has a handle on the online dating game, what she wants out of it, and what she expects in a partner.

My advice is in most situations, try not to be the first dude a newbie dates online. Qualify this prior to meeting up unless there is something special there that really sparks your curiosity. Otherwise pass.

Notice I said, in most situations. When it comes to online dating you might craft your rules to live by, but rules are ultimately meant to be broken. There are always exceptions. Case in point—my wife had been recently separated when she winked at me online. I liked what I saw and read about her. Her personality was refreshing so I took a chance and met her without even a phone call. This was my way of breaking my own rules, two of them. I always wanted a phone call first and I did not want to date recently-separated women. But, like I said; rules are made to be broken. So we met and really enjoyed our date. In fact, we have been together ever since. So, there are exceptions, but before dating an online newbie, use your head. That means the one on top of your shoulders.

2. The jugglers – Also known as players, these attractive men and women treat dating like the game it is. And they know how to play to win. Theses cool cats double- and triple-book their life in the big city and always have a backup plan. They’re usually good-looking (worth mentioning again), well-dressed and coiffed, and usually have a good job. When you meet up, they will eyeball you quickly before judging and labeling you. You might become dinner date material for you business connections, bedroom worthy, a rich guy, or creative type who stimulates their curiosity. It doesn’t matter what category you fall into or how you are labeled because most of all you are a disposable social connection that may or may not fit into the complicated puzzle of their unnecessarily over-complicated lives.

Don’t take it personally. These players move like sharks through the dating pool, devouring those who find their way in their path before they move on. You may think you’re making it with them at first, but the slightest infraction will get you voted off the island.

Now don’t get me wrong. Players are fun and they can be sexy, but remember who you are dealing with and don’t take yourself too seriously. These swingles move very fast and unless you can keep up with their demands and lifestyle, you’ll be jettisoned. And that’s okay as long as you can live with the reality of dating a player who may temporarily position you on top of their love totem pole after you’ve done whatever they expect you to do to get there. And that will probably be expensive, so buyer beware.

3. The lonely – Whether online or offline, there are a lot of lonely people in this world, especially in big cities where the tenderhearted can get overlooked by the more flashy players. You know the type.

She moved to New York from Missouri because she is smart and feisty and wanted that Mary Tyler Moore moment when she throws her hat up in the air. And despite the crime and the grime and the expenses, she is in love with the city. And that makes her vulnerable. She’s a great gal with decent job and a nice, clean apartment with big fluffy towels in her bathroom. But she’s never really gotten accustomed to the often-heartless behavior of urban males who have ghosted, bird-seeded or orbited her. She’s online because she wants to meet a guy and that’s what everyone is doing. She crafts a sincere profile and dutifully checks her emails every night hoping that cute guy she wrote to online will be the real deal. She expects men to behave like gentlemen online. But often, they don’t.

She deserves a man who will step up and date her like her dad wooed her mom. That might not happen. But, welcome to New York, anyway!

My advice. Treat this lady with care. If you meet her and don’t feel the vibe, pick up the tab and move on. Don’t seduce her and disappear because she is vulnerable. If the attraction wanes after a date or two, consider the possibilities of a friendship, unless she thinks you’re an asshole. Regardless, be kind and don’t waste her time or your time just to get laid. Okay?

4. The realists – These are the men and women who put up with all that shit in their mid-level jobs as an expected step in their life’s journey. They want some fun and excitement and hope to meet someone normal online they can date for a while and maybe build a relationship with. Is that so unreasonable? Of course not. This group represents the pig in the python for online daters—savvy millennial, GenY, and X’ers who are doing their best to make their mark in this dysfunctional world the older generation left them with. Thanks a lot, boomers!

These hard-working people are the backbone of society. They deserve a little fun and a good partner. The good news is that most people dating online now, whether make up this group. So if you are a decent person with a sense of humor and a job, you can probably have a great time meeting people online. Online dating is no longer the exception. It’s the norm and you can meet a lot of cool men and women there if you keep your antenna extended and learn how to protect your time, money, and your feelings before falling to one of the many online dating sinkholes. I hope this helps.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is my wife. She spent one weekend during a free trial for an online dating site and dated only one guy who became her husband. That’s impressive. But, so is she. After all, she married a Guy’s Guy.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Supplementation

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 05, 2018


Are you taking more meds than supplements? If the answer is yes, you might consider flipping the script.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one of TV. I’m a Guy’s Guy and although I have had real health scares, I’ve learned how to take very good care of myself. Over the past two decades and particularly following two robotic surgeries on my kidneys, I’ve made it my business to research the hell out of taking charge of my health. One of the major learnings is the importance and power of a healthy diet and supplementation. Although it is best to meet our nutritional needs through eating the right foodsorganic whenever possibleit also important to augment specific needs and fill in our nutritional gaps with all-natural organic, raw supplements.

I won’t brag about how much energy I have or how healthy I feel, because I know anything can happen at any time. I thought I was healthy four years ago before my surgeries. Those surgeries sucked, but they were a wake up call. I got through them with flying colors and never looked back. My surgeon told me that my healthy lifestyle and fitness levels were positive factors in my quick recovery.

When I go for my annual check and MRI, I’m asked what meds I take. I tell the nurses I don’t take anything. They usually arch an eyebrow and ask me again because they don’t believe me. So, I tell them I take turmeric so they’ll have something to write down. Turmeric is an all-natural dietary supplement. That’s the kind of meds I take.

In the opinion of your Guy’s Guy, it’s important to consider mixing supplements into your dietary planif you even have one. Again, this is what I do. I’m not suggesting that my choices are necessarily right for you. Do your own research and make your choices. Some studies say supplements are a waste of money. But before taking that to the bank, consider the study and the source of funding for any studies concerning your health and diet. I’ll share what I’ve learned and what works for me. Then it’s up to you, amigo, to do what works best for you.

So let’s get to it. Here is my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO SUPPLEMENTS

1. Raw One for Men – If I were limited to one supplement, this multivitamin would be my choice. These capsules are filled with organic fruit and vegetable blend featuring beets, broccoli, carrot, spinach, tomato, ginger root, red cabbage, tart cherry, Brussels sprouts, celery, probiotics and enzymes, and on and one. They also offer a women’s version. It’s a raw, whole food based dietary supplement that is easy to absorb and chock full of all the vitamins our bodies need including A, C, D, E, K, etc. There are other good brands out there, but I like this one. It covers it all for me and it’s raw. I take one a day.

2. Pure Turmeric (Curcumin with Black Pepper Extract) – Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplement made from a root. The one I take is “standardized” for high potency and includes all-important black pepper to facilitate the body’s absorption. Studies suggest it is good for liver health, skin care, anti-oxidants, and depression. Do your research before making your choice of a brand and dosage. I take one 750mg capsule a day.

3. Vitamin C 1000mg – Ascorbic acid consumption is not to be overdone, and it is best when ingested through foods, but if you do not eat enough fruits and veggies, one 1000mg’s of organic vitamin C tablet is a solid choice. If I am on the go and do not have a morning shake with Camu Camu powder (raw powder with a mega-dose of natural vitamin C), then I take one of these.

4. Bromelain - Inflammation has been proven to be a primary cause of autoimmune diseases and general sickness. Wellness and nutritional experts recommend we eat foods and supplements that offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Bromelain is also considered helpful for joint health and arthritis. I take one tab a day.

5. Raw Vitamin D- Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, and we all need a little sunshine. Nowadays, many people either stay out of the sun or cover themselves with sun block do to the Sun’s power ultraviolet rays. Many studies have shown that taking an all-natural vitamin D supplement helps insure we get enough of this mission critical vitamin. The Garden of Life raw version I like is made from a raw fruit and vegetable blend with high omega cracked-wall chlorella and probiotics. I take one 2,000 IU tablet per day.

6. Saw Palmetto Extract – This is for guys. It’s an all-natural herbal supplement that helps with male prostrate health by shrinking the prostate lining. That keeps the prostate in check because it grows slowly and over time can push against a man’s urinary track, forcing us dudes to pee during the night. I take one 320mg gel cap a day.

7. Cold Pressed Organic Flaxseed Oil – We all need omega 3. The most popular forms for supplementation consist of fish oil or flaxseed. I choose flaxseed because to me choosing the right fish oil can feel random. Flaxseed promotes heart health, healthy skin, hair and nails, while supporting the immune system. I take one gel cap a day.

8. Double Strength L-Arginine and Pine Bark Extract – The combination of these two supplements is good for guys. The combination of one pine bark and two L-arginine tablets helps increase blood flow, which is good for men’s sexual health and athletic performance. Better blood flowing, more oxygen, and better boing.

9. Probiotics – Probiotics aid the production of healthy gut bacteria. Studies show that 80% of Americans suffer from a Candida overgrowth of gut flora. Probiotics pour billions of healthy bacteria into our digestive tract that gobble up the Candida that can lead to autoimmune diseases. The gut has been proven to be our second brain so anything we do to keep it in top shape helps us stay healthy.

I take two types: Saccharomyces Boulardii + MOS – a high potency probiotic that supports intestinal tract and survives passage through the stomach and its acids. It features one strain.  Jarro- Dophilus is another brand that includes eight strains.  Do your research to find the right mix for you. I take one of each a day.

10. Mega Hydrate- These tablets or powder are designed to unlock the potential of water as the medium for nutrient replenishment and waste removal at the cellular level. This helps capture antioxidants that can die quickly. It comes in a compressed powder for hydration and antioxidants.

Although there are myriad of supplements to choose from, this is my take and selections. After years of research with my wife, I created this go-to list of supplements. I believe it suits my needs, you may find other options that work for you. Whatever you decide to do, choose organic, raw, natural supplements. They are the purest and contain raw fruit and vegetables as their foundation.

Things have changed, amigo. It is foolhardy to buy and consume only what they sell in boxes and cans down the aisles in supermarkets or at chain restaurants. These goods are marketed to maximize corporate profit at the lowest cost. There is nothing wrong with companies making money, but from my experience working for major food corporations, these companies only change what they offer when consumers demand it.

That’s why we are seeing more and more non-GMO, organic, and healthy versions of old standby products we’ve consumed since we were kids. But nutritionally speaking, we have a long, long way to go. So for now, I take supplements to ensure I get all the nutrients my body needs to keep it healthy and strong.

I’m here to help by sharing my experiences, but ultimately, it’s up to you to take care of yourself.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Jalen Brunson, AP Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year. Why? I listened to him being interviewed the morning after Villanova won its second NCAA championship in three years. The reporter asked him if he would feast on Philly cheese steaks now the season was over. Brunson hesitated before saying, “I don’t know about that. I need to keep eating healthy.” Yeah, mon!


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