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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Slowing Down

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 11, 2017


Let’s face it. Modern life moves too damn quickly.

We work too hard and sleep too little. We get to bed too late and get up too early.  As soon as we enter the office, we’re slammed with deadlines and requests. Hey world, we need more time to handle all the shit you throw our way. When life moves too quickly and we don’t pump the brakes now and then, we head towards a breakdown. Heck, even a Guy’s Guy gets uptight when there’s too much to do and not enough time deal with everything on his plate. To keep our skills sharp, every so often we need a respite and some chill. That’s why I’m serving up The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Slowing Down, with ways to find refuge inside our hyper-paced world. Life is a gift. So let’s make it our business to get the job done and have enough time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Drum roll please…

1. Unplug – Between our phones, iPads, and laptops, we’re plugged in 24/7. Studies show that 80% of millennials sleep with their phones next to their bed. This is an unhealthy way to soak up poisoning radiation all night and prevent a good night’s sleep. While it’s true that we need to stay plugged in most of the time, it’s good to take a break every so often. I live in NYC, and unlike many folks I see, I don’t constantly wear ear buds while I’m on the go. I like to read on my phone, but the city itself provides more than enough stimulation. And frankly, isn’t one of the reasons we live in New York to take in the show that is the city itself? If I need to mentally check out while I’m in transit I read, repeat affirmations and mantras, or send blessings to my fellow travelers. Studies show that one person’s consciousness impacts a vast number of people. You really can make a difference. So, turn off that mind-scrambling video game, calm down, and stay present.

2. Get more sleep – I know it’s easier said than done, but finding even an extra hour for sleep can do wonders for your mind, body, and spirit. Sleep helps your body rejuvenate and also helps you lose weight. A quiet mind is also more apt to stoke creativity and solve problems. So try hitting the sack an hour earlier, without watching TV or bringing your phone into your bedroom for a few weeks. I’ll bet you’ll feel better in the morning.

3. Walk, take the stairs, run – If I’m within ten blocks of my destination and I have the time, I always walk. I love the city and walking provides great opportunities for people watching, clearing my head when I’m stressed out, and getting my metabolism flowing. I also recommend finding time for quick a walk after lunch. It helps digestion and can help put things into perspective when you’re having a tough day.  I’m a runner and to me there is no better mental getaway than a jaunt around the outer loop of Central Park or a boardwalk. I’ve managed to slow my mind down to the point that I break down complex issues and piece things back together including solving complex plot points for an entire novel.

4. Meditate – Regardless of how busy our lives get, it’s important to find a little time each day to get calm and centered. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, make it a habit to sit quietly and go inside. Just a few minutes will enhance your mental energy, empathy, and focus. I’ve been doing this for so long that I shut down even on a crowded subway. Meditating makes the city more tolerable and helps me think clearly and creatively.

5. Make time to eat – Like most Guy’s Guys, I love chowing down. But I also like to taste, chew, and savor my food. I know fast food is meant to be eaten fast. That’s why I don’t eat fast food. It’s made fast, it doesn’t satisfy or nurture my body, and there is really nothing there to savor. Therefore, I eschew fast food at lunch in favor of salads, green shakes, a wrap or a veggie burger. No matter how busy I am I do my best to push away from the computer and find a quiet respite for lunch so I can clear my thoughts and enjoy my food. Afterwards I usually take a few minutes to walk around before returning to my work. If you make it your business to slow down the pace of your day, you can make it work.

6. Don’t rush love – In today’s tech-driven dating world, singles are in a rush to see how many people they can date in a month, a week, or even a night. As a result, they often lose our perspective about why they are dating in the first place. I’ve found that investing some time in getting to know the person you’re dating before rushing into a relationship or into bed makes sense. Forget about obsessing over how quickly you can get a woman into the sack or even the three-date rule. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. All you need to do is pay attention, amigo. In her own way, she will let you know. And if you play your cards right, it might even be on the first date. This isn’t the Olympics. Just have fun and get to know her, take your time, and be present.

I could keep going and going, but my point is clear—modern life moves too fast and we need to slow down. And if you can slow down enough you’ll know how important it is to slow down. Yeah, I said that. See you next week.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Trailanga, a yogi who reportedly lived to the ripe old age of 280 by slowing his metabolism down through slowing down his breathing and other yoga practices. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Detoxifying Your Life

Robert Manni - Wednesday, January 25, 2017


We’re bombarded with toxins every day. Whether they’re in the food we eat, the air we breathe, or the media we consume, human beings are under constant attack.

Autopsies show that most people who die had cancer in their bodies, even is it was not the cause of their death. Why? We enter this world pure, pristine, and in most cases, blessed with good health. But over time, due to our lifestyles, the foods we ingest, our thoughts, the images we view, heavy metals, the pollutants in our air and the water we drink create a poisonous environment within our bodies.

Some people claim that we can’t detoxify our bodies and that cleanses don’t work, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide after you do your research. Even so, there sure are a lot of people who are sick and contracting chronic autoimmune diseases. I’m a Guy’s guy, not a western doctor, but I’ve experienced a life-threatening health scare that forced me to stare into the abyss. As a result, I’ve taken the time to dig into the things that make us toxic and how we can clean up and live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. And that means eliminating and replacing much of what our body, mind, and spirit consumes.  My suggestions are based on reading, interviewing numerous healers on my podcast, Guy’s Guy Radio, and my personal experience. If our collective human makeup and physical chemistry is the same, why are some of us sick and others healthy? It’s a mystery and yet it makes sense. Some of us treat our body, minds and spirit like shit, and I think we can agree that there are steps we can take to help maintain better health. These are my suggestions, but ultimately, you’ve gotta live your life and make the choices that feel right for you.

Let’s break this down into three parts: our body, mind, and spirit and explore some tips and insights to consider that might enhance your day-to-day existence. My goal is that you are as healthy and happy as possible.

BODY – Our western diet has not evolved with our optimal health in mind. The bulk of our daily meals are laden with too much sugar, salt, meat, fried or processed foods, dairy, and GMO’s. The cumulative effect of a steady diet of these over the years can result in chronic autoimmune diseases, intestinal fungi, parasites, and lead to cancer. Add alcohol consumption, tobacco, drugs, prescription meds, and a lack of sleep and water, and our body chemistry can turn toxic. It’s imperative that we drastically reduce or eliminate much of these poisons while at the same time hydrating more frequently and getting more sleep.

We are what we eat, so choose organic foods and do your very best to cut out meat and sugar. Cut out the obvious bad stuff like drugs, prescription meds (when possible) and tobacco, drink as much filtered water as you can (about 8 liters a day if you can handle it) and get more shut-eye. Even a short nap helps because we’re a sleep-deprived culture. You might also add apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, Himalayan sea salt, and clay to your water, food, and oral health regime to aid health and hasten the elimination of toxins from your overloaded system. Even our environment plays a role with all of the electromagnetic energy pulsing trough urban locales. Over time all this can accumulate inside of you. Your body is a temple, but over time even the sturdiest temples crumble if they are not properly maintained.

MIND – If we are what we consume, that includes media, music, media, news, social media, films, video and games, porn, etc. Garbage in. Garbage out. Studies have proved that there is energy in all of the above, so be mindful about what you watch and read, and the music you listen to. It will impact your outlook and your health. As a marketing and ad guy, I always check out the ads running in the subways for the latest movies, television shows, and music. Most of it is dark, creepy, and violent. Is it any wonder why young people (I don’t want to put this all on millennials, but…) hold such jaded views on life and their fellow man? But more than that, when we consume all of the negativity, it poisons us from within.

I like to binge on the latest Netflix series as much as the next guy, but I am careful about how much violence, hate, and broken characters I allow into my consciousness. And let’s not forget good old Facebook and its daily barrage of memes and posts about our new president. I’m not a fan, but I also don’t want to allow his odd behavior be a constant distraction and annoyance. Concerning social media, the best thing I have done this year is to “unfollow” a bunch of guys from my high school that apparently live to defend anything Trump does, says, or lies about. Fellas, have at it, but I’m out. And I feel so much better.

SPIRIT – This might be the most important area to focus on if you want to detox your life. When you boil it all down, every real decision we face forces us to choose between love and fear. Choosing love requires us to do what we can to enhance our spiritual practices. Walking the righteous path is not easy, but it pays off if you maintain stamina and a determination side with love when the world around you gets crazy and people behave like jerks. To help detoxify spiritually, I meditate, affirm, appreciate my gifts, pray, forgive myself and the other guy. I know it sounds sappy, but if you give the righteous path a fair chance, over time you’ll raise your vibration and reap the rewards of living in alignment with your truth.

These are my simple suggestions that I hope will help you they way they have helped me live my best life.  That’s what I am doing right now. Sure, I’m a work in progress, but I am making consistent strides. And it feels great. Do what’s best for you, but always, always, always choose love. And remember to love yourself while you’re at it.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Lord Dhanvantari who is considered the physician of the Devas (gods) and the father of Ayurvedic medicine.    

Five Great Ways to Start Your Day

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 27, 2016


Do you wake up feeling tired, uninspired, and sometimes even dreading the new day? Do you wake up in a cranky mood and locked into the all-too-familiar, “I gotta have my coffee first” syndrome” before you can deal with other people or face the responsibilities of the day? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. If you look around the subway at the sea of solemn faces, doesn’t it seem like a lot of people are feeling kind of blue in the morning.  In fact, the CDC reports that up to 9% of Americans suffer from symptoms of depression.

Guy’s Guys are constantly seeking new ways to improve their lives and make this a better world. We create change from within then express it through our actions. With this in mind, I’d like to share a few ideas that help me climb out of bed every day and head out the door feeling great. It starts with rituals and routines. I realize the terms “routine” and “ritual” come with boring connotations, but the results of sticking to an early morning regime can deliver results that are far from boring. Over the years I’ve experimented with a number of techniques and pared them down to a manageable number. I hope they serve to spark your own ideas that help you to get up and get rolling. I’m not suggesting that one size fits all or that everything is right for you. We’re all different. But, for me at least, starting the day with a routine puts me in position to hit the ground running and win the day. So, in order, here is my list of rituals, routines, and regimes that have get me off to a good start each day and enhance the quality of my life.

Drum roll, please…

1. Alignment, Affirmations, and Meditations – I begin as soon as I wake up. Even before opening my eyes I get in touch with our Divine Source by focusing on aligning myself to Truth. I simply say, “I AM aligning myself to Truth.” This affirmation helps me eliminate anything in my purview that is not in my highest good. It sounds a bit metaphysical, but it’s very powerful. And, if I do nothing else spiritually the entire day, at least I have made a proclamation to be in frequency with Truth.

I then spend about ten minutes, either in bed or around my apartment, reciting a list of affirmations that have meaning to me. This includes blessings for all of the people and situations in my life— the good and the bad. And I do it every day. By the time I’m finished, I am already feeling good about life and the new day.

2. Swishing With Coconut Oil - Organic coconut oil is anti-viral that can do wonderful things for the human body. Swishing the raw oil around the mouth for twenty minutes kills many oral bacteria and helps ease inflammation within other parts of the body. According to my dental hygienist, my gums and overall oral health have never been better in the decade since I started swishing. And, since I started swishing, a sensitive growth on the bottom of my foot has not only been significantly reduced in size, but it’s also not sensitive anymore. After swishing, I spit the now viscous oil into the garbage (not the sink). Then I rinse mouth with salt water to get rid of the residual bacteria.

More info on Coconut Oil:

3. Bentonite Clay or Apple Cider Vinegar – Following all that swishing, rinsing, and spitting it’s time for something to drink. I begin my consumption of liquids on an empty stomach with a glass of filtered water mixed with either a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or a teaspoon of either bentonite or pascalite clay. The merits of both include removing toxins, cleaning the intestinal walls, and balancing the body’s alkaline.

I brush my teeth after this and wait about fifteen minutes before consuming anything else. I’ll usually do some push-ups followed by a shower before having a quick, but fulfilling breakfast.

More info on Apple Cider Vinegar benefits:

More info on Bentonite Clay:

4. Exercise – As mentioned, on most mornings before I hit the shower, I’ll drop down and pump out 65 push-ups. Then I hold the plank position for a count of two hundred before grinding out another five push-ups. After a quick stretch, it’s off to the shower. The affirmations, swishing, drinking and the push-ups have only taken 30 minutes.

5. Shake – By now I’m pretty hungry so I throw my favorite ingredients into a blender and power up a shake. I mix almond/coconut milk, a half banana, Green Vibrance powder (a plant-based super food), gojiberries, banana, organic strawberries or raspberries, maca powder, raw cocoa, organic wheat germ, a few ice cubes, and a little coconut water. I also take the following raw vitamins and organic supplements with my shake: turmeric, vitamin D, Raw One vitamins for men supplement (multi-vitamin), vitamin C, flax oil, and probiotics (saccharomyces boulardi and MOS), arginine and pine bark.

It sounds like this is a lot to do first thing in the morning, but it takes less than an hour and it works for me. If beginning your day with morning rituals feel like something of interest to you, I urge you to give it a try. Experiment with different things that feel right for you. In any case, I’m sure you’ll find your way. Good luck. Me? I am getting better and better.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Emil Couie, the French psychiatrist and pharmacist who introduced the phrase, “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging - Part 2 (The Good News)

Robert Manni - Sunday, September 18, 2016


Life can change at any second. That’s right, amigos. Every new day brings an opportunity.

But to make change, we must be open-minded and try new ways of doing things. This is one of the keys to adapting as we age.

Remember when you attended your high school reunion? Quite an eye-opener. Some of your classmates still look fantastic and full of life while others appeared much older than their age. What happened? With each subsequent reunion the differences in how people we know age grows. For some, it’s a reflection of an individual’s life-experiences or genetic makeup. But in most cases, it’s indicative in how these folks have taken care of themselves. So it’s critical to approach each new day as a fresh start and take stock in how we are treating our mind, body and soul. In my last post I focused on all of the inevitable bad news and challenges we’ll face as we age. But, like I stated, it doesn’t have to be all bad news. Sure, we’ll all get old eventually, and faster than we expected, but there are steps we can take along the way to ease our path as we approach our senior years. Here are a few tricks your Guy’s Guy has learned along the way.

1. Pace yourself.

I’m a runner, and although I’ve completed three marathons, I still struggle with my weekly treks around the outer loop of Central Park. That run never seems to get easier, and running is hard on the body. Many runners switch to another form of cardio as they get older due to the pounding and the nagging injuries that often occur. And as we get older, those tweaks take longer and longer to fully heal. So what’s the answer? First, make a decision about running or any intense fitness activity you are involved in. Is your body still up to the challenges and pounding or is it time to find a replacement workout? Maybe add yoga, but at least incorporate stretching into your routine.

Everybody is different, so each one of us needs to take an honest stock of themselves and ask if running or whatever your most intense workout is can remain part of your regime. If the answer is yes, like it was for me, be smart and take it easy on yourself. Sure, I can still do those log runs, but now I take the time to recover between these runs and make sure I stretch after every run. When I get a tweak in your hammy or meniscus, I back off and hop on the elliptical trainer for a few weeks before hitting the pavement again.

I pulled a hammy this summer and wisely made the switch to the elliptical for a month. I also stretched every day and massaged my hammy until it was back to normal before running on it again. Ten years ago, I might have foolishly continued running and risked really hurting myself. It’s about being smart, amigos. You can do most of the same things, but as you age, you need to be smarter about how you work out.

2. Watch your weight.

Let’s face it. The food in our supermarkets is mostly processed and loaded with hidden sugars and GMOs. It wasn’t always that way, but it is now, so we need to use our noodle when choosing what foods we eat and how much of it we consume. I used to think that as long I kept running I could eat whatever I wanted in the same portion sizes as I consumed in my twenties. Twenty pounds later I began to take note of how quickly the pounds were sticking to my frame. And once us guys get that roll of abdominal fat around our waists, it becomes more and more difficult to shed it completely.

Over the years I’ve slowly, but consistently, adapted my diet to fit my aging body and lifestyle. I’ve always started my day with a set of at least fifty push-ups, but there have been times when I have skipped the gym for a few months and stop running outside when the roads were iced over during our northeast winters. What I ate became the X-factor in how I managed my waistline and health, so I had to make some changes.

I decided to stop eating meat eight years ago. At first it was hard, but now I don’t even think about it. I quit smoking over twenty-five years ago and still regret ever taking that first puff. Thankfully, I didn’t gain any weight when I stopped smoking, probably because I exercised more. I switched to a cleaner diet that has over the years evolved to predominantly green vegetables, fish, pasture raised eggs, and green smoothies, while avoiding sugars and simple carbs including breads, pizza, and pasta as much as possible. Another consideration is when I eat. Eating meals earlier in the day is better for our health and waistline.  I try not to eat after 8pm so I do not go to sleep with a full stomach. Has it been a challenge? Sure, but I like how I feel weighing twenty pounds less than I did twenty years ago. I have more energy and my clothes fit better, too. I’m happy with my choices and healthier as a result.

The key to success in managing your diet is to try a few different routines, including fasting (if you can hack it), put in the necessary time to get real results, and then make lifestyle changes based on what you’ve learned and what works for you. Do I enjoy a glass of wine or top shelf tequila now and then? Sure, but I’m doing my best to avoid the boomer habit of drinking my way into old age.

3. Consider natural solutions.

The last time I had a check up, the medical assistant administering the tests asked what meds I take. I told her, “Nothing”. She asked me the same question two more times. Same answer. I’m not suggesting that you do not take medication your physician prescribes, but in some cases, you have a choice of forgoing the meds by changing in your lifestyle and dietary choices. For example, two years ago, my doctor told me my cholesterol was on the high side. He suggested a statin pill. I said, “No, thanks”. He suggested that I return in six months. If my numbers were unchanged he wanted me to take the prescription. I asked if there was anything I could do to lower my numbers. He suggested a vegan diet. I told him I’d see him in a year. I quit eating meat and drastically improved my dietary choices by avoiding processed and acidic foods.

When I returned a year later, my numbers had dropped by ninety points. After two more years my cholesterol numbers are bordering on low.  Why? I looked for a natural path to wellness and stuck to the program so my body could heal itself. I also reduced my blood pressure significantly through diet and exercise. The point is; if you take charge of your choices, you can make positive changes to your health and well-being. Your doctor will let you know when things are going wrong, but they rarely tell you how to stay healthy. Do your own research and take charge of your health as best you can. And, make sure you don’t miss your check ups.

4. Mediate

Let’s face it. The endless onslaught of negativity spewed at us by the media, movies, and advertising can lead to an overload of mental monkey chatter that turns our lives into an endless loop of reacting instead of having vision that we act on. Starting the day or finding time for 15-20 minutes for quiet meditation connects us to our higher selves. This connection with the divine is there for all, but it’s up to each one of us to make the time to forge a connection to consciousness. Your higher self, sometimes coming through as that little voice inside of your head or heart, knows all about who we are, what we are, and how we serve. It’s there to help us. But again, it’s up to us to take advantage of our connection with divinity. 

Ultimately, no matter what diet or physical programs you incorporate the key to aging well is through love— self-love, love for your neighbor, love for humanity, and a love for the God that’s in each one of us. If you want to age gracefully, make smart choices and seek consciousness. Love and a connection to your divinity can help your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being while bringing you joy, gratitude, and peace.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Jack La Lanne. This true Guy’s Guy was a humanitarian who helped create today’s fitness revolution and healthy lifestyle. During his show he also shared much wisdom about keeping the spirit and mind strong and positive while training the body.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging - Part 1 (The Bad News)

Robert Manni - Saturday, August 27, 2016


A seventy-three year-old Mick Jagger once sang, “Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.” Although he was correct, he’s still vital, in great shape and killing it in concert.

If we play the cards we’re dealt the best way we can, it’s possible to extend our time here on Earth and age with vigor, class, and élan. But, in order to live long and prosper there are some rules to follow. Aging impacts everyone¾ millennials through boomers. So in an effort to cover as much ground as succinctly as possible, I’ll break down the bad news on aging here before returning next week with the good news, including the steps we can take to ease our path into a healthy future.

The Bad News

After we reach the age of twenty-five, we begin to notice things starting to slow down. I’m sure many of you have woken up with a hangover while in your mid-twenties and noticed that for the first time the effects of the previous night took a larger toll on your well being than usual. A feeling like your head was hit with tiny ball peen hammers, aches and pains in new places, and your needing an extra day or two to get back to feeling one hundred percent again. Amigos, that’s the first step in what can be a long, uncomfortable slide into middle age if we are not mindful about our body and our lifestyle. Make no mistake about it. Once we hit twenty-five, our metabolism slows down and continues its slow descent for the rest of our lives.

From that point, it takes longer to manage our health and recover from partying, sex, sports injuries, illness, increased mental monkey chatter, and energetic blockages. Compounding all of this is the disturbing fact that too many Americans live reactive lives driven by fear, pessimism, and the current news cycle and propaganda spewed by our media. The majority of the media and advertising is focused on creating a mindset based on feeling of lack and what we don’t have. You need this. You could lose that and if you do, you’re screwed. Unless, of course, you buy this and do as you’re told. As we age, the burden of carrying around all this made-up nonsense becomes more burdensome until the dam bursts and we succumb to chronic illness.

And, along the way, we gain weight. When I was a kid, there were a handful of “chubby” kids in school. And, being cruel, we’d call them names. But now that we’re older, who isn’t waging their own personal battle of the bulge? If you take a stroll through any shopping mall, you’ll see a lot of obese kids and adults. It’s usually due to the food they eat, sedentary lifestyles, meds, and stress. As we gain weight, we slow down. And as we slow down, if we are not mindful about our diet and lifestyle, we’ll keep gaining weight. Then, we’ll get sick and slow down even more when we start taking meds for this, for that, and to combat the side effects from the first meds we took. This easily becomes a vicious downward cycle.

 

Want some more bad news about aging? As we get older, we can’t do all the things we have been doing for so many years, like eating the same foods in the same quantities, having sex three times a night, or working out as intensely and often as we did when we were in our early twenties. That does not mean we can’t take steps to combat all these limitations, but it’s not easy to change life-long habits and it requires discipline. Unfortunately, not a lot of people wake up and make the necessary choices to evolve their life-long habits until it’s too late.

Couple this with what was once your perfect vision weakening, bouts of insomnia, anxiety over work, getting up to pee three times an night, money anxiety, job loss, worrying about things we can’t control, and yearning for “the good old days”. And there’s more. Death, taxes, childcare costs, a shaky economy, Donald Trump being a step away from the presidency, and climate change. If we fall prey to the hype and swallow the swill served us in the form of GMO foods, fear-based media, ultra-violent entertainment, aging parents with chronic illnesses, loneliness, and a diminished quality of life, life can look bleak.

BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!

For every question there is an answer and for the biggest questions in life the answer is always based in love. At our source we come from and are created with love. With love for ourselves in mind, next time I will review each one of the troubling aspect of aging and offer concrete ways of addressing the issue of aging gracefully and purposely, while living a fulfilling life deep the our senior years. 

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is spiritual teacher Tony Robbins, who said, “People overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what they can accomplish over a decade.”

 

Here’s to a pledge for decades of good health and well being for you.

Why I Stopped Eating Meat

Robert Manni - Saturday, July 30, 2016


Nothing beats the taste of a well-cooked steak.

The grill marks, the dripping juices, and the scent of seared beef are enough to drive any carnivore insane. Add a fresh tossed salad, a side of grilled veggies, baked potato, and a glass of a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon and you have the components of a perfect meal. That’s what I thought until eight years ago when I first eliminated meat from my diet. Over this time I slowly but steadily dropped beef, pork, lamb, and then poultry from my menu. Although I’ve gone strictly vegetarian for a few months here and there, I still eat fish. I know that habit will become permanent, but I’ll only go there when it feels right.

I’m not suggesting that eliminating meat from your diet is right for everyone, but I’ll tell you this. I have never looked back and have never felt better nor had more energy any time in my adult life.

So what happened? Eight years ago I met the woman who would become my wife on a first date. We’d met online and in person at the little restaurant at the 79th Street Boat Basin. She told me she was a vegetarian, so when it came time she ordered a salad, a grilled Portobello mushroom, and a glass of white wine. I was hankering for a juicy cheeseburger and fries, but before ordering something came over me. It was an actual sensitive thought! I considered what blood dripping down the side of my burger and across my mouth might look to her. It could make her uncomfortable and might be a major turn off. So I ordered something else. After dinner we took a walk on the path along Riverside Park. The rest is history.

During our next few dates I inquired about her choice to become a vegetarian—why she chose it, what she ate, how long she had been a vegetarian, and if it made her feel any different. She told me that she been a vegetarian on and off for years after being a meat-eater for most of her life. She casually filled in the other blanks, but did not tout or try selling me on the virtues of going meat-free. I liked that. I also decided to give it a try. After a few rough days, it was relatively easy switching from beef burgers to turkey or tuna burgers. But, I still missed my steak. After a few weeks, I mostly forgot about meat and became more comfortable with the many alternatives.

Then I got sick. I developed a weird bronchial condition that sapped me of my energy at about 5pm every day. I would leave work soon after, usually drenched in a heavy sweat. I’d go home and lay on my bed still sweating, but with chills. I’d wrap myself in a blanket and cough a lot. It wasn’t fun and I wondered if this had anything to do with my diet. Thankfully my future wife visited and comforted me. She said my body was “detoxing” and the toxins from the stored meat molecules in my system were releasing into my system and challenging my immune system. At least I knew the cause. Finally, I took a powerful antibiotic and was soon back to normal. That short bout of what I can only refer to as “detoxing”(for lack of a better term) subconsciously convinced me to never eat meat again. A few months later I eliminated poultry and that was it.

Over time, my weight fluctuated due to my replacement of carbs for meat, but eventually I got a handle on how my system was reacting and handling the change from carnivore to “pescatarian”.  I eat wild-caught fish whenever possible to avoid the toxins in farmed fish.

How do I feel? My energy feels light; I am more active, and clocking better times in my runs than twenty years ago. My strength level is steady, with no loss even with the added eight years. Additionally, my digestive system feels less taxed after a meal than when I was eating meat. I really can’t think of a down side to the change.

Initially I did not stop eating meat because of the stress on the environment or the cruelty of factory farming. But, it’s true. Farming animals is inhumane, unhealthy, a cause of pollution, and unnecessary. There are lots of tasty alternatives to meat and no reason to kill animals for food unless you live in a remote part of the world where wild animals are your only choice for sustenance. Additionally, farmed animals are fed poorly. Cows are meant to eat grass, but are usually fed cheap GMO, grains sprayed with pesticides. Steroids and sedatives like Prozac are given to the animals to help eliminate stress. These poor creatures have good reason for their stress. And, we consume all of the crap the animals eat along with the toxicity from their stress hormones. If that’s not enough, the beef you buy in the supermarket is often injected with chemicals that change the color of the meat from brown to red. But, don’t let me sell you. Your Guy’s Guy is simply sharing his experience in eliminating meat from his diet.

And guess what? My wife now eats fish so we share a happy little household. There is no meat either cooked or stored in our home and it really makes the energy more peaceful. What about our three-year old? We’ve decided to feed him healthy organic foods whenever possible and no meat when he’s with us.  We allow him to have poultry at day care, but no beef, pork or lamb. When he gets older, he can make his own choices. That said, he’s a healthy, happy kid so we must be ding something right.

I hope this sheds some light on the virtues of eliminating meat from your diet. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but it worked for me. Whatever you decide to do, eat healthy, amigos. And, there is nothing as tasty as a well-cooked steak.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci, Prince, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and all the other people who helped change the world without eating meat.

 

17 Ways You Can Save Money in NYC

Robert Manni - Friday, July 22, 2016


Money comes and money goes. And when it goes, it can go quickly.

So, for many of us living in these uncertain economic times, every few bucks saved can add up. That’s why every now and then your Guy’s Guy likes to share some of his hacks for saving coinage, even in a big, bad city where everything seems to cost more than anywhere else in the country. Although most of you thrifty-minded peeps will recognize some of these tips, let’s hope that you can garner a few new ideas while also refreshing your memory about the ones you already know, but may not be executing. You can talk about saving money all you want, but if you take a taxi to and from work each day you either have money to blow or when it comes to saving bucks, you are not doing a good enough job. So, here are seventeen go-to tips for keep money change in your pocket and seeing less go down the drain.

1. Walk whenever possible – New York is a great walking city and hoofing it is an excellent way to stay in shape and burn unwanted calories.

2. If you can’t walk, take public transportation  Another no-brainer that most New Yorkers have figured out. Plus, with so many of us on the trains and buses at all hours of the day and night, mass transit travel has never been safer relative to the amount of people using the MTA.

3. When necessary Uber, Via, Lyft, etc. instead of cabs – Hey, sometimes we all need a ride home. Sorry taxis. You did not adapt to a changing culture. Maybe you will now.

4. Don’t buy a newspaper – Everything is online in real time anyway. Who wants to toke the Times around on a crowded subway and who has time to read it except on the weekends? If you can’t get online, the two free daily papers will do just fine during a quick ride to the office.

5. Bring your lunch to work – There certainly are a lot of hot women in short skirts standing on that long line for Chop’t, but is it worth it to pay $12 for a salad in a plastic container that you eat at your desk while working up another Excel spreadsheet? Make lunch at home and bring it to work a few days during the week. You’ll live, and you’ll also eat better. Use the savings to buy drinks for those women on the Chop’t line.

6. Bananas  They are really good for you (potassium). And, you can still get a nice big one for a quarter if you buy four in a bunch. Bananas taste great and they become more nutritious when their skin begins to turn.

7. Happy hour – I don’t think I need to explain this one. But how many times have you walked into a bar ten minutes after happy hour ended? Drinking in bars is expensive, amigos. Getting a head start will save some cash. Who knows, you might get free apps with that cocktail, too.

8. Drink at home before going out on weekends – I’m not pushing alcohol, but if you do drink, top shelf drinks can run you $20 a round. That adds up.

9. Buy top shelf booze in large sizes at discount stores – Your Guy’s Guy only drinks the good stuff, so I did my research and found some liquor stores that have deals on discontinued items. In fact I recently bought a $54 bottle of tequila for $18.99 at Broadway Discount off Astor Place. That’s a $35 savings for a tasty tequila.

10. Movie Matinees – Believe it or not, you can still score a deal to see new movies on the big screen. AMC theaters offer a $7.50 price for before noon.

11. Netflix – Everyone has access to Netflix. But, have you thought about how much you can save using it?  If you enjoy binge watching Marco Polo you can get a whole season of the show for a song versus what you pay for a movie in the theater or for premium cable.

12. Books, CD’s, DVD’s – I recently purchased a returned hardcover copy of the brand new best-selling book about the Rolling Stones for half price at Strand. Now that I’ve read it, I will sell it back again along with my CD’s and DVD’s wherever I can get a fair shake for my goods. It adds up.

13. Coupons – Maybe Mom really did know best. Since I don’t buy most of the processed crap they sell down the aisles of the supermarket I rarely use grocery coupons. That said, with my trusty Coupon Sherpa app I can always get a deal when shopping for clothes at J.Crew, Gap, Levis, etc. There are also coupons for eyeglasses, travel, and a few dining options that are palatable to a New Yorker’s tastes.

14. Bring your coffee from home – For the investment in a quality lightweight thermos you can reap major savings by buying a top shelf brands of coffee or tea and making batches at home. I always keep a big jug of chilled home made organic rooibos tea or organic coffee on hand for the summer months. It saves me hundreds of dollars.

15. Free stuff – The free daily newspapers usually list the free things going on in the city over the coming weekend. It could be yoga classes, concerts, and other things of value. And these events are great ways to meet new peeps with similar interests. Worth a shot...

16. Lasker Pool – There is a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool open all summer at the northwest end of Central park near the Harlem Meer. The pool is spotless and you can swim laps early in the morning. Most people have never heard of it, but it’s real.

17. Quit the gym in the summer- Unless you are going four or five days a week, the gym can be a major waste of money in the summer. There are lots of ways to stay in shape outside and on your own.  And if necessary, you can always take a class or buy multiple classes at a bulk discount. Now put on those running shorts and shoes.

There are lots more ways to save, but this feels like a good place to stop for now. The point is that although NYC can be a very expensive place to live, there are always ways to save money if you use that same big brain that scored you that cool job in the Big Apple to save a few bucks hear and there. It all adds up. See you at Happy Hour.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the Week is Asa Candler who launched the first coupon in 1887. He was also the owner of Coca-Cola. Very smart guy.

See also: Money Hacks from your Guy's Guy

The Guys' Guy's Guide to the Common Cold

Robert Manni - Friday, May 27, 2016


I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. I’m a Guy’s Guy.

But like all men and women, I occasionally come down with that nagging virus known as he common cold. It takes various forms and brings with it a multitude of symptoms, usually led by a runny nose, a scratchy throat, low energy, and an overall feeling of not being your usual perky self. Over the years I’ve tried a number of ways to shake off these symptoms and get back to being one hundred percent as quickly as possible. Along the way, I’ve had some success and learned a few things about taking care of myself when that nasty bug barges into my world. In fact, I’m just coming out of a weeklong bout contracted from my mother-in-law who picked up a random germy thing while vacationing in Europe. I’m feeling better now and my findings are as fresh as Donald Trump’s latest insult.

Here are my top ways of managing your mind, body, and spirit when a nasty common cold decides to stop into your world for a week to ten-day visit.

1. Sleep – When you aren’t feeling well, your body needs rest. It’s that simple. The more time you devote to sleeping, the faster your body will combat an attacking virus and restore itself to perfect health, which, by the way, is our natural state of being. This past week, I gave up my space in bed to my mother-in-law and decided to opt for sleeping on a mat on the floor rather than sinking into a big old comfy couch. It was a bit hard to get used to, but in the end I slept much better on the mat. I also made sure to grab extra winks whenever the opportunity presented itself. And, man, it really helped my body regenerate. Hey, sleep is always a good thing, even when you aren’t under the weather.

2. Natural anti-viral supplements – I eschew the plethora of Big Pharma products we find on the shelf and the over-the-counter remedies available to mask our aches, pains and runny noses. Of course there are times when you’re really sick and need a doctor’s prescription, but Mother Nature offers many natural herbs and ingredients that I’ve found to be really helpful when battling the common cold. My number one, go-to item is organic ginger. Ginger has anti-viral properties that kill viruses. The trick is putting the ginger directly in contact with where the virus lives. First I peel and slice the ginger. Then I toss the pieces into a small pot of water and boil it for about twenty minutes. I keep a lid on the heated liquid. This creates a steam that I carefully inhale when lifting the lid just enough to allow me to take the vapor into my nasal passages. I do this for a few minutes. Then I pour the remaining liquid into a cup and drink the ginger tea with honey and lemon. It tastes great and I get results right away.  However, buy enough ginger so you can repeat the process for at least two days. This past week I made the mistake of using up my stash and not replenishing it because I thought I’d stamped out every trace of the virus. I hadn’t and the cold came back.

My other go-to item is drinking organic clay mixed in water. My favorite is pascalite clay, which comes from Wyoming. The clay has powerful anti-viral properties; it collects and kills viruses or any bug you may have picked up that are living in your gut or intestines.  Though not everyone buys into detoxification, clay is actually heralded as a great detoxifying agent. Whenever I drink my clay my sore throat symptoms disappear almost immediately. Again, I’ve found it best to continue drinking the clay and water mixture throughout the week. I also load up on multivitamins, vitamin D, high doses of vitamin C, flax, probiotics, and turmeric. Once again, I choose natural and organic supplements whenever possible. And again, I’m a Guy’s Guy, not a doctor. I’m only sharing what has worked for me.

3. Fluids – Most Americans are dehydrated. We simply don’t consume enough fluids. And when you have a nasty cold, you need to eliminate that bad stuff out of your body as quickly as possible. Drink, drink, drink, amigos. And if you still insist on those cold beers when you’re under the weather, drink even more water. You may pee a lot, but you’ll eliminate toxins, too. So, drink up.

4. Sweat it out – Depending on how good or bad you feel; you may want to consider including light exercise as part of your routine for recovery. The old adage is that it’s okay to work out if your symptoms stay above the neck. I agree. I find that working up a sweat through cardio is a great way to eliminate toxins. This past week in New York, the weather turned beautiful. But although it was eighty degrees in Central Park, I opted to spend an hour inside on the elliptical trainer versus my usual six-mile run around the outer loop. And I’m glad I did—I simply felt too weak to push myself up and down all those hills. I also gave up my beloved push-ups for the week. I’ve been a push up freak since I was thirteen, so I figured that a week off would not have an adverse effect. Of course, I also left the iron alone during this time.

5. Adjust your schedule – Although we do our best to be flexible, there are some things we can’t avoid, even when we are not feeling one hundred percent. Champions show up, right? That said, in those areas where we can adjust our schedules and responsibilities, it’s wise to dial it back when you are on the mend. You can always replace that lost time by catching up on your reading or getting more rest.

Of course these five pointers won’t prevent you from catching those pesky common colds, but all of the above have helped me on the road to a rapid recovery.  Do what works for you, but be open-minded.  You can benefit from supplements and anything that promotes a healthy lifestyle and consistent recovery regime. Hey, I’m ready for a long overdue a six-mile run.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Edgar Cayce, a clairvoyant and widely considered as the father of holistic healing.    

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Spring Cleaning

Robert Manni - Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring cleaning. Throwing out the old, and discovering the new.

Whether it’s about love, sex, dating or relationships spring is the perfect time for Guy’s Guys to take stock of who they are and where they want to be. Summer, the beach, and bikini weather is right around the corner.  And as the temperature rises, the skirts get shorter. You know the rest. Why reassess? Because it’s healthy, it will keep you on your path, and it could motivate you to connect with some great women. Here are four quick things to keep Guy’s Guys moving forward this spring.

1. Review your contacts.

Like a big old bear, it’s easy to hibernate during the winter. Same old, same old. And it can carry over to your dating life. Oh, it’s Friday night again? Let's hit the same sports bar and ogle the same women.You have your go-to hook ups, but are you really accomplishing anything beyond sharing a few laughs, watching every college football bowl game, and chilling with your buds and a friend with benefits? Ask yourselfis this the best you can do? If the answer is no, take stock in where you are versus your goals—in your career, fitness, or relationships and get cracking. If you find that your lady friends are locked into in the friend zone, then maybe it’s time to dust off your online dating profile. There are many, many fish in the sea, amigo, and that means lots of lovely ladies looking for nice guys. Don’t let your profile get stale and don’t stay posted-up for too long. Take a breather now and then before getting climbing back in the saddle.

2. Ask new women out.

Maybe you've maintained your comfort zone by sharing a relationship with someone you like, but don't like enough. This relationship is more than friends with benefits, but it's become a convenience for both of you. You know something is missing. Hey, knocking boots is fun, but if either the sex or the conversation is lacking, it may be time for the talk. Be a gentleman, but consider moving on.

3. Review your diet.

Sickness begins in the gut. Trust me or do your own research; you'll see that I'm right. And our tendency is to consume lots of comfort food and drink during those cold, dark months. Now that the weather's warm and you want to be active, reassess what you're ingesting. Like a lot of single guys, I've gone through phases where I've sustained myself on ketchup and beer and canned soup. We're creatures of habit. If you can't cut the junk and your small-batch bourbon, at least add fruits and veggies and water to your daily intake. You'll see a difference in your mood and in your waistline. Plus, the ladies notice what you eat and what it does to your body. Just sayin'.

4. Relax.

This is a marathon, not a sprint so you've got time to adapt. Spring is the perfect time to take a deep breath, shift gears and try something new. And whatever you do, don't let the media or your friends and family play the fear card with you. Take life by the cajones. There's really nothing to fear but fear itself. Meet lots of new women, reassess your lifestyle and diet, eliminate people and situations that are no longer useful, and chill. Live your life to the fullest. Now that's being a Guy's Guy.

What are you doing to better yourself this spring?

Five Resolutions You Should Stick to This Year

Robert Manni - Thursday, January 07, 2016


Sadly, by this time in January, many people have already failed at their New Year’s resolutions.

After all, making changes in our behavior is challenging, especially when we bite off more than we can chew. I’ve given up drinking a few times and have lasted three, four and even five months, but denial is tough. Making positive changes is no easier. Fortunately each New Year, month, week, even day is a new opportunity for a fresh start. With that in my mind, your Guy’s Guy offers you a handful of resolutions to make your life and this world a better place. You don't need a new year to start fresh.

1. Less tech, more active living.

We live in an age where technology keeps changing at an exceedingly rapid pace. To succeed in the conscious world, we need to know how to master our phones, apps, and social media or we’ll be viewed like Grandma trying to “turn on the Internet” to Google a cookie recipe. But tech can lead us to more passive lives. We’re watching instead of doing. We’re staring at the LED screen instead of reading and nurturing our imaginations. We’re texting instead of conversing. We’re focusing our attention on video games instead of playing ball in the park. We’re becoming wimps. If we could be mindful about our overreliance on tech and choose more activities that exercise our body, mind and spirit, we’ll be making great strides as a culture.

2. Spend more time in nature.

Every time I step into Central Park the energy changes. There is something special about being outdoors that grounds my spirit with the Earth’s energy. Unless there is a torrential downpour, I always take my young son outside for a walk. And I notice that my son and the toddlers that I frequently see at the playground have less anxiety on their faces than some of the tykes I see on the subway staring at video screens and eating potato chips. With all our creature comforts it’s easy to sit indoors and keep life at arm’s length. But that’s no way to live—step outside whenever you can. Fresh air and nature rejuvenate our spirits.

3. Don’t judge. Accept people as they are.

This one took me a long time. My internal critic has a razor sharp wit and working in advertising exposed me to too many judgments about people and ideas. But I learned, and as usual I learned the hard way. Over the years, I did not build as many relationships as I could have and I dismissed a lot of people who I thought were jackasses. I guess I’m not that different than anyone else in that regard, but I realize now that it’s not my job to have other people see the world through my personal lens. Trying to change people is tedious and frustrating because we cannot see what lurks inside them or what has led them to their behaviors, decisions or perspectives. I know now it’s more productive to work on myself. When we focus on bettering ourselves, we raise our frequency and shed light on the others we come in contact with. Basically, it’s leading by example.

4. Be grateful.

This time last year, I had receiving a medical “diagnosis of opportunity” earlier last year, spent six months in and out of hospitals, doctor’s offices and medical procedures, and had ten puncture scars across my abdomen. It was a tough experience, but I’m thankful. Yes, I’m really, really thankful. My faith was strong, my medical teams were talented and capable, and my body was responsive. And now I am well. The few times I began feeling sorry for myself, I’d invariably learn about a friend or colleague in a far more precarious situation. Each day I awaken with gratitude for my many blessings and good health. Try it for a week.

5. Watch what you eat.

Let’s face it; our food supply has changed. Every day we learn more about the tricks and deceptions of food labeling, the horrible treatment of factory farmed animals and the potential long-term effects of eating processed foods and GMO ingredients. If the food industry has nothing to hide, why don’t they want all the ingredients labeled in clear language? People are sick of their games and also getting sick from the food they consume. Obesity and gastric-related illnesses have become prevalent in a culture that lives too passively and consumes mostly processed food. If you want to stay healthy, eat organic as much as possible and always be mindful of what you consume. It’s probably the most important decision you’ll make each day in regards to your health.

This New Year’s Day you can resolve to quit smoking, hit the gym three times a week or cut out sweets, but you don’t have to wait until the start of a new year to make a better life for yourself. If you treat yourself with respect and love, you’ll be more successful in improving your life than experiencing that week of agony during the first week of January each year.

This week’s—make that this year’s—Guys’ Guys and women, are the wonderful people who have supported my Guy’s Guy brand and the content I crunch out with a goal of making our world a better place. My best wishes to you today, tomorrow, and throughout this coming year!


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