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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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.

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

To Drink or Not to Drink...

Robert Manni - Friday, April 01, 2016

When you’re not drinking have you ever noticed the people around you who’ve had too much to drink? Pretty sloppy, huh? At times like these I wonder why I drink. So I stopped, for a while at least.

By doing so, I learned a lot about how drinking impacts our behavior, fitness, and overall health. I spent over two decades in the marketing and advertising industries working on many the world’s most popular spirits brands. I’ve also been known to enjoy a cocktail or two or even three on occasion. But, I’ve also easily pushed alcohol aside for months at a time.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my Guys’ Guy’s perspective on the art of drinking, its benefits, and consequences. I’ll do my very best to avoid judgments or preaching. Let me begin by stating that fortunately, I’ve never had a problem with alcohol. Although I enjoy the taste of aged dark rum, a fine sipping tequila, a buttery Chardonnay, or a complex Pinot Noir, I’ve never physically or mentally needed a drink. I can hold my liquor, and only on rare occasions have I been inebriated. And, if I do drink too much, I go home and fall asleep. I’m not a mean, violent, or even a funny drunk. But, that’s me. Everyone experiences booze differently.

In today’s culture, and particularly when working hard, alcohol becomes a go-to outlet for letting off steam, venting, and bonding. So the phrase, “let’s meet for a drink” is de rigueur. We do it all the time. It’s become who we are. So, how does that work when we’re not drinking alcohol? A few nights ago I was out with friends. I had given up drinking for the past month matched my buddies beer rounds with club soda. When you are in a bar, this becomes tedious quickly, especially when your squad is matching you with rounds of ice-cold IPA’s.

I put my blinders on and focus on the conversation, but I can’t help but notice when someone in my group or standing close by has had a few too many cocktails. They get loud and bolder than usual, and many times they start repeating things. The other night, I was on the receiving end of a lecture complete with Tony Robbins quotes from a close friend who showed up after meeting his colleagues for a few hours of drinks. He’s a great friend, but he already had one or two too many by the time he arrived. And for some reason I became the object of his attention. He shared pearls like, “I’m an assassin. I’m a killer. I close deals. There is no long term, only today. What is your six-month plan?” Some of what he said was correct…mostly for him, but he meant well. That said, whenever I attempted to get a word in edgewise, he raised his voice and talked over me. I’ve been there before so it was nothing more than a mild annoyance. And although his intention was to be helpful, the alcohol obscured his message. Sometimes that’s what happens when the beers gets ahead of us.

Let’s take a quick look at drinking from three perspectives: as a marketer, as a drinker, and as someone abstemious.

Working in the booze business – The spirits business is comprised of a mixed bag of marketers, salespeople, and entrepreneurial thinkers. It’s a fun, social business where a lot of time is spent observing the market at the on-premise establishments. And, unlike the packaged goods, financial services, or pharma sectors, liquor is a category where you can seed a great idea, create an image, and in short order witness a brand taking off. I worked in the vodka category in the 90’s during the flavor explosion. It was exhilarating. Ten years later the magic was gone. Where do you go after vodka tastes like breakfast cereal, candy bars or cupcakes?   Fortunately, there are many types of spirits and tastes change every decade. Nowadays, although vodka still accounts for $.35 out of every dollar spent on spirits, it’s no longer the hot spot. Millenials want their own drinks, and there has been a migration to brown goods (bourbon, whiskey, and rye). Beer has also blossomed into a multilayered category. Back in the day you either drank Bud or Miller. Now every state, county and metropolis produces beer and most of them are better than the mass-produced brands. It’s happening with spirits also. It’s fascinating how the spirits industry continues changing as each generation shifts their tastes to reflect their values versus what their older siblings and parents drank.

Drinking as a team sport- Who doesn’t like to meet up with their mates after hours to throw back a few cold ones and watch the game? It’s part of our culture, and in most cases people are pretty cool and know how to pace themselves. But not everyone handles themselves well after a drinking for a few hours.

There has been a proliferation of binge drinking, especially by gen-Xers and millenials over the past two decades. Shots, followed by drinks, beers, and more shots is standard fair that comes with a downside. People get drunk quickly. Then they act stupid. Also, drinking has been an expensive habit, especially when frequenting bars, clubs, and restaurants on a regular basis.

And there is more bad news. Today’s cocktail culture is built around sweet mixed drinks laden with sugar. These tasty sugary concoctions make us crave salty bar bites like wings, nuts, pizzas, and assorted cheesy bar snacks. If you go to bars a lot you need to be mindful. It’s easy to gain weight, seed Type 2 diabetes, and spend a lot of money. Plus, if you get pulled over when driving with a buzz, it’s usually a disaster.

Not drinking- As mentioned, I’ve stopped drinking for months at a time on numerous occasions. For me, the challenge is breaking the habit, so after a few days I forget all about my post-work cocktail or wine with dinner. It’s not that big of a deal. The good news is I always lose a few pounds, sleep better, and have more energy in the morning. I spring out of bed and get right into my day. As a result I am usually more productive. Additionally, alcohol is a depressant, so if I’m experiencing personal or career challenges or taking things too seriously, giving booze a rest is beneficial to my mood and attitude and health. I usually stay positive, I’m consuming less sugar and empty calories, and I lose weight around my midsection as long as I don’t replace the liquor with other sweets like chocolate and ice cream. I’m not suggesting that this is for everyone, but it works for me. And I think that one of these breaks will become a lifestyle. We’ll see. How about you? Think you can stop drinking for a month? Try it if you can and keep track of what changes take place. Then decide what you get out alcohol and if you need it in your life. Maybe. Maybe not. No judgments. It’s up to you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Robert Downey Jr. who after years of substance abuse went clean in 2003 and became one of the most bankable movie stars in the world. Nice work, Iron Man.


10 More Tips for Wellness at Any Age

Robert Manni - Thursday, August 27, 2015


After recently posting my ten greatest hits blog for wellbeing, I scratched my head and came up with ten more healthy tips. So, why not post a second helping?

These are fundamental principals and tips for maximized health. Nothing controversial here. Just a list of good habits to embrace and bad behaviors to drop can help you lead a more healthy life. Life is a marathon, and every day is filled with choiceswhat to eat, what to drink, etc. It’s tough. Taking the first step can be the hardest part of your journey to good health, but Guy’s Guys believe in abundance and I really want to help, so I’m sharing some tips that have worked for me. I’m not doing a deep dive on the science behind them on this post—There's ample information available online to support any of these ideas. Let’s just say that you'll now have ten more ways to amp up your health, Guy’s Guy style.

Go get em’, amigo.

1. Salt – Like sugar, salt should be consumed in small amounts. And like sugar, salt is hidden in most processed foods. High blood pressure, kidney stones, and heart troubles can all be traced back to overloading our bodies with salt. If you are going to add salt to our already salt-laden foods, consider pink Himalayan salt, which is good for you when consumed in moderation.

2. Probiotics – Disease begins in the gut. Most people eat poorly, and as a result, the micro flora in their gut gets overloaded with toxins. Then the organs get overtaxed from the toxins and chemicals from the micro flora in the processed foods we consume. This can lead to breakdowns of organ functions and the start of autoimmune diseases. Probiotic supplements kill off the bad bacteria and replace them with healthy bacteria that promote gut health. It’s that simple. Do your research to find the best probiotics for your body’s needs and take the supplements.

3. Oil pulling – Each morning, on an empty stomach, I take a tablespoon of pure organic virgin coconut oil and swish it around in my mouth for twenty minutes. Then I spit it in the garbage and rinse with salt water. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but this practice does wonders for oral hygiene and healthy gums. It also kills thrush and other toxic bacteria while eliminating dangerous plaque that can enter the blood stream and cause problems in the heart. You can also cook with coconut oil as a healthier alternative to many other conventional cooking oils.

4. Don’t smoke – Our air quality is fraught with chemicals and toxins that we breathe in and out all day. Combine that with the plethora information available about the health risks from tobacco, and ask yourself if there is any reason to light up? Nope. Sure, many Guy’s Guys like myself have enjoyed a good cigar and other smoky treats, but at a certain point we need to curtail our indulgent habits if we want to stay healthy. We can’t eat, drink or smoke the way we did during college, unless we’re prepared to shave a few decades off our life span. It’s that simple. And if I were going to cut out one of these three indulgences, I’d stop smoking in a heartbeat.

5. pH balance - Studies show that that the western diet is too acidic. That’s a problem. High levels of acid in our bodies, usually above 8.0, cause disease, premature aging, and cancer. It’s all about how the body deals with hydrogen ions. If you want to dive deep on this issue, go online or pick up a book focused on the acid-alkaline pH balance. Foods with high levels are acidity include meat, processed foods, booze (ouch), cheese, shellfish, flours, preserves sweetened with corn syrup, french fries, soy, sugar, some nuts, pizza, and other assorted foods that we westerners crave. Bad news? Not really. With all the studies in place, at least we now know the connection between a balanced alkaline diet and good health. To maintain an alkaline diet, there are plenty of healthy foods to choose from if you can survive without your weekly ration of bacon. And take it from me; your doctors will never mention the word alkaline to you.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar – Vinegar has been used as a healthful tonic since the days of Socrates in ancient Greece. For the past two years, after my oil pulling I’ve jumpstarted each day by drinking a large glass of water mixed with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar. It is a wonderful antidote for your internal system. It satiates your appetite, helps manage your insulin, lowers your cholesterol, and helps maintain the alkaline pH in your body. And that’s just for starters. If you Google apple cider vinegar, you’ll find dozens of articles touting its benefits. And after gulping those first few glasses of ACV and water, you won’t even think you are drinking vinegar. Just make sure you choose an organic brand that comes from the “mother” strain. I buy Braggs. You can find it in almost any supermarket. If you can’t handle ACV, try starting your day by drinking a glass of water with half of an organic lemon squeezed into it.

7. Push-ups – I have banged out between fifty and seventy push-ups almost every morning since I was thirteen years old. I finish the routine by holding my body in the plank position for two minutes. The results have been phenomenal, and my upper body has stayed strong. I also use this mini-workout to gauge my fitness level and how I’m feeling when pounding out the push-ups. It’s kept my fitness on point, and I’ve maintained my strength and kept a decent upper body tone. Push-ups employ the upper and lower back, the core, biceps, triceps, forearms, shoulders and wrists. This mini-workout can be done anywhere, and it just takes a few minutes each morning. If I don’t feel like throwing the weights around and don’t have time for cardio, I at least get my blood pumping and work my core muscle groups. And, yes, ladies, push-ups are a fantastic exercise for you, too.

8. Read the labels – Some say that there is nothing worth buying along the interior aisles of the supermarket. Think about it. The experts may be correct, especially if you stop and read the labels of all of the foods in packages. Most are processed, so they carry little nutrition, but lots of chemical additives. And you know they're made with GMOs unless identified otherwise. The most sneaky aspect of packaged foods are the hidden sugars and salts disguised by a number of terms including the all-too-familiar “high fructose corn syrup”, “corn syrup”, etc, etc. Read and learn. You might change your mind before tossing those packages into your cart. Buy fresh, organic, and raw whenever possible.

9. Eliminate caffeine- Caffeine is insidious. You wake up in the morning feeling tired. You need a pick me up. You sip your coffee and away you go. And you keep slurping coffee until dinner. Then you can’t sleep from all the caffeine. So after tossing and turning, you wake up tired the next morning. You get the picture. If caffeine isn’t so bad, then why is it so hard to quit consuming it? And why do people have headaches when going through withdrawal? Think, amigo. When I cut back on caffeine, I had headaches for a week, but after that it’s been smooth sailing. I thought I’d miss caffeine, but I didn’t and I will never go back. I don’t want my heart racing again unless I win the lotto, sell my screenplay or meet a super hot chick. Oh wait; I married a super hottie. And she drinks decaf.

10. Say no to starches and simple carbs – We eat too many simple carbs and starches, and most of them turn into sugar. Sugar plays havoc on our insulin and turns into fat. The cycle is repeated every day until we’re fat, hyperactive and have a gut overflowing with Candida. The Candida taxes our internal organs and lead to contracting autoimmune diseases. It’s an unnecessary and vicious cycle. The solution is keeping an eye on how many empty carbs we consume each day, and then cutting way, way back on the bread, pasta, cereal, baked goods, and salty snacks. I know, it sucks, but once you see your waistline shrink and yourself bursting with energy, you’ll be glad you got a handle on your carb intake.

So there you have it—ten more tips to help you along in your journey to wellness. And, you know what? There’s more. Until next time…

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week are the natural doctors, homeopathic practitioners, bloggers, documentary film makers and investigative journalists that risk their reputations and even more in their quest to get to the truth about nutrition.

Five Guy's Guy-Tested Diets That Actually Work

Robert Manni - Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Today’s manufactured food is a joke. It’s processed, it’s laden with GMO’s, filled with hidden salt and sugar, lacks nutrition, and is drizzled with flavor-enhancing ingredients that have you longing for more. Just look around and you can see the results. We are a culture with an expanding waistline and increasing heath risks. Face itthe vast majority of us carry around extra, unwanted pounds. And I know you want to slim down, especially during these warm months when our bodies get more exposure.

Guy’s Guys like to stay in shape. Of course we also enjoy fun times along and the food and drinks that usually accompany them. So we need a few surefire ways to combat those excess pounds and win the battle of the bulge. As I age, I’ve made it a mission to find the best methods for losing weight fast, effectively, and most importantly naturally in a healthy environment. I’m not going to get into the science on all these methods I’ll suggest. There's oodles of information online, so pick out the one that feels right for you and see how it goes. You’ll need to stick with any of these programs for at least two to three weeks to get results that last. The last thing you want to do is yo-yo back to your prior habits and gain back all the weight you’ve worked so hard to lose. Use these diets as gateways to adapting your relationship with food and the subsequent choices you make throughout the day. Every decision counts. Sugar is the enemy, so if you are going to diet you’ll have to eliminate the booze, ice cream, and sugary stuff. This will make a huge difference in your results.

So, in no particular order, here are your Guys’ Guy’s five favorite diets, fasts and cleanses. I’ve tried each of them more than once, so although this is not based on detailed empirical research, your Guy’s Guy has put them all to the test with positive results across the board.

1. ORGANIC JUICE CLEANSE – I’ve dedicated an earlier blog to this one, so you know this is something I believe in. You’ll need a juicer that separates the fiber from the fruit or vegetable. I use the Solo Star II. You can buy it online. It extracts the pure juice for consumption while eliminating the fiber. You’ll want to juice with organic fruits and vegetables. It also helps if you keep the inherent sugar content low, so monitor the intake of sugar-laden fruits and veggies like apples, carrots and beets. In fact, I suggest avoiding all fruits besides green apples and go strictly veggie for maximum results. Prior to this program you may want to clean yourself out by drinking a half-gallon of salt water and then…well you know what happens after that.

There are lots of veggies to choose from including kale, spinach, chard, cilantro, dandelion (does not taste good), ginger, lemon, and celery basically anything green and organic. You will get results after a week. I did this a few times for two weeks and lost more than ten pounds both times. If you use this cleanse to begin a healthier way of eating, you’ll be pleased with this new lifestyle.

2. MASTER CLEANSE – You also start this one with the prerequisite salt-water ritual. After that you consume only pure, filtered water with a scoop of Master Cleanse powder mixed in. I used the Vibrant Cleanse brand which can be purchased online or at any health store. The powder is a combination of lemon juice, grade B maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. It tastes better than it sounds and I assure you, the weight will peel off your body within a few days if you can adapt to not eating solid foods. You can consume as much of the solution as you like, but that’s all you’ll consume during this fast/cleanse. That could be anywhere from one day to a month based on your preference and goals. It really works. I’ve tried it three cleanses now and lost about 13 pounds in 8-10 days each time.

3. SMASH FAT DIET – This diet was made famous by Dr. Ian K. Smith M.D.’s book from nine years ago. It’s a ninety-day program broken into four phases with an objective of re-wiring your body and its relationship with food to one of moderation and balance. That said, for the first nine days, you focus your diet on predominately fruits and veggies with the exception of white potatoes and avocados. You can eat 4-5 meals a day, but the choices are in my opinion, limited. No peanut butter, meat, fish, cheese, bread, alcohol and most of the sugary stuff that tastes so good. After the initial phase, the subsequent phases allow more items into your choices in small portions. With each phase, the foods and portion sizes increase. The key is getting through the first nine days. I completed the program and it worked—I lost over ten pounds and felt great after completing all four phases, which lasted about six weeks, and I kept the weight off. The book is available everywhere and it includes a lot of tasty recipes. It’s worth a try.

4. INTERMEDIATE FASTING – This is a relatively new concept and it’s easy. The concept is to limit your food intake to an eight-hour period every day. Then you fast for the remaining 16 hours. If you have fasted in the past, it’s not that challenging. But you need to make sure you don’t gorge yourself during those eight hours allotted to eating. Many athletes are doing various versions of this so there is a lot of information available online concerning the different ways of attacking this fast and eat paradigm.

At the very least you will eliminate a meal each day, which can be a good thing given the state of our food supply. I’ve tried intermittent fasting a few times and it worked to a point. I had trouble not pigging out during my noon to 8pm feeding time. I’m more of an all or nothing dieter, so this was easy to execute, but I found disciplining myself without pigging out difficult. The good news is you can set your eating times as you wish, provided you limit it to eight hours. You can also do this by fasting one day and eating the next day. It’s all under the umbrella of what is referred to as “mini-fasting”.

5. SUGAR AND GLUTEN FREE DIET – I’ve just completed this one and it was a bitch. However, it yielded the best results by far. The concept is to eliminate all the bad stuff from your diet while detoxing your body from potential hidden parasites and funguses, sugar-related candida overgrowth and gluten intolerance from the western diet. Sounds gross, but the fact is many people have candida overgrowth, and microtoxins lurking in their bodies in the form of funguses and parasites. To counter this you eliminate sugar (that includes foods with hidden sugar, which includes almost everything), gluten, breads, pasta, potatoes, cereal, grain, peanuts, mushrooms, pizza, cheese, rice, oats, meat, booze, soda, cake, candy, pies, cookies, fruits except green apples, sugary veggies (beets and carrots), etc. I can go on and on, but anything with simple carbs that can turn into sugar and also condiments like ketchup. For the past month I’ve existed on water, organic plain yogurt, salads with organic olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing, eggs, broiled fish, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, and herbal tea. Eeek! But, it works and I feel great.

My waistline is down at least three inches, I lost thirteen pounds during the first two weeks and have remained stable at my new weight. And, I’m lean. I lost some muscle and bulk, but my clothes fit better and my mental clarity is razor-sharp. I do indoor cardio, but without the carbs I don't have the strength for my nine-mile runs or free weights. Besides the obvious benefits of weight loss and eliminating microtoxins and candida, I am also reprogramming my lifestyle and relationship with food. And that’s really the key to losing and maintaining the proper weight. I’m pretty happy with how this has gone and I doubt I will go back to my former overindulgent ways. I’m not going to exist on pumpkin seeds and yogurt all the time, but I will be mindful of what I eat and I will monitor my sugar intake very carefully.

So, there is some food for thought for all of you guys and gal looking for efficient ways of losing weight and improving your health. As mentioned, you get lots more info on all of these methods online. The most important thing is to find something that works for you and incorporate its foundation into your lifestyle. And, most of all, cut out the sugar.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Plotinus, who back in the early 200’s A.D. suggested to one of his students with gout to eat every other day for better health. The student followed this direction and regained his health so I guess we could argue that Plotinus was the father of intermittent fasting.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Drinking on a Budget

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 26, 2015


This one’s for the guys. I’ve been well provided for most of my life, but there have been a few times when I’ve been down to my last couple of bucks.

During my freshman year at Villanova University, my dorm mates and I routinely found ourselves broke. This led to our plotting heists of the “hoagie man”. Every night he’d drag his cardboard box filled with sandwiches down the hallways by a long rope, calling out his wares to the stoned-out freshmen that were far from home and sick of eating tasteless cafeteria food. My roommate or I would wait until he’d step inside of a room to make a sale before one of us made a mad dash for his box of grinders, hoping to make off with at least two meatball subs. Man, those were desperate times. And when it came to drinking, we were often reduced to drinking fifty-cent short beers at Kelly’s Bar in Bryn Mawr or swilling red cups filled from kegs of Schmidt’s at our weekly frat parties.

As a result I’ve come to learn the value of a dollar and how to squeeze the most out of it. With our never-ending post-2008 shitty economy, most of us ninety-nine per centers must stretch our paychecks just to keep on keeping on. And in an expensive city like New York, that takes a special kind of financial acumen, especially when it comes to drinking.

In a city where a top shelf cocktail can run you twenty bucks, a Guy’s Guy has to find great drinks at a value price. I enjoy an excruciatingly dry, quadruple-distilled, shaken, not stirred vodka martini at the Peninsula Rooftop, Soho House or the Tribeca Grand Hotel Bar as much as the next guy, but there have been times when I did not have an expense account to cover my business-related tippling. That’s when I needed some creativity to catch a buzz in an alcohol-soaked city that never sleeps. And although I do not drink nearly as much today as I did in the past, over the years I learned a few tricks that kept me consistently in 100% blue agave tequila. I’d like to share them with you.

Off-Premise

There are many fantastic wine and spirit retailers in the city. Personally, I love the wine store at Chelsea Market. The staff is knowledgeable and their selection is efficient. But, I’m not always in a position to purchase their top wines. So I tracked down a few retail venues to stock my home bar at a fraction of the cost. For wine, it’s hard to beat Trader Joe’s Wines on 14th Street. I just picked up a bottle of Wente Riva Ridge, a $25 Chardonnay, for $16.99. That’s a very good deal. I’m not a big proponent of the TJ $2.99 house brand, but the more upscale versions of Trader Joe Select, which typically run between $4.99 and $8.99, are good quality relative to their price point.

For a broad selection of discounted spirits, look no further than Warehouse Wines and Spirits on Broadway and Astor Place. To my trained eye, Warehouse buys mass quantities of top quality brands that are either undergoing a packaging change or on the brink of being discontinued. And that’s a very good thing. As a veteran of the spirits industry, I can tell you that many excellent brands fail simply because they just don’t have the right marketing mix to garner the consumer traction required to succeed in what is basically an image business. Last week I picked up a liter bottle of Forty-Two Below vodka from New Zealand for $12.99 and a liter of Chinaco Blanco tequila for $19.99. These are great products at unbeatable prices. And a 750ml bottle of Pyrat Rum from Anguilla can be had for around twenty bucks. That’s a steal.

On Premise

There are innumerable gin mills in New York with 5-7pm happy hours and also hipster joints that serve awesome mixologist cocktails. These mixologist bars are everywhere now, and they are great for dates, but they charge top dollar. You can always find a local drinking hole when you want to slum it in your neighborhood, but that gets old. The Lower East Side was formerly a bastion of said establishments, but the times are a changin’ and the revered punk palaces have been replaced by taquerias and coffee bars. You can head to the boroughs and hit the up and coming neighborhoods like Bed Sty for drinks, but gentrification is setting in even in outposts like this, and drink prices are rising along with the cost of real estate. What to do?

If you work in Manhattan and you are planning an extended evening of drinking beers with your BFF’s on a budget, you’re best served settling in at one of the Manhattan old school drinking establishments. There are a handful of these bastions still in existence. There is the Ear, Dive Bar, BillyMarks West, Holland Bar on Ninth Avenue near Port Authority, McSorley’s, the Patriot, and a handful of other notorious joints. Take your pick. They will all help you get your buzz on for less than forty bucks, with a few buybacks to boot.

I recommend two old faves Old Town Tavern on 18th Street near Union Square and Peter McManus on 19th Street and Seventh. Both are conveniently located near subway stops and are fun places to pound beers and catch up with your buds. The atmosphere is super casual, the crowds change constantlyrunning the gamut from locals to boomers to millennials and both venues are laden with history.

Over the years I’ve watched a number of Yankee games at both establishments, starting the night with a steady flow of draft beers and evolving to calls for bourbon on ice, or vodka and tequila shots. Over the years, I’ve received more buybacks at McManus, but if you want to grab a bite, the Old Town has better food. So if you’re on a budget, and want to grab some cold brews, you can’t go wrong with either of these NYC institutions.

You might even see my boys and me at the end of the bar, catching the last few innings of a Yankee game.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the week is Mickey Rourke, for his portrayal of Charles Bukowski in “Barfly”, the classic drinking-on-a-budget movie.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to When Guys Get Together

Robert Manni - Friday, June 20, 2014


When the boys get together and hoist a few cold ones, they discuss almost everything under the sun… except their relationships.

As guys congregate, the general topics of conversation are work, money, toys, sports, politics and jokes all around. Is this a bad thing? Let’s discuss. Here are the things men usually discuss when they get together with their best buds.

First round of drinks: Career and Money

Men like to share their business success with their friends. In general, men want their friends to get ahead, but they want to succeed on a bigger scale. There's an unspoken, healthy competition between guys. A lot of guys keep score and measure their lives by who has the biggest job, bank account, house, or hottest wife or girlfriend. Is this America? Is this capitalism? No worries. This is human nature in the alpha kingdom. Men understand this.

Let’s say one guy has recently been overlooked for a promotion. He probably won’t tell his friends because he thinks of it as a fail. So, when one of the other guys at the bar announces he’s landed a huge new job, the first guy is happy for his buddy, but also asking himself, “what’s wrong with me?” That’s how men roll and I'm sure women react the same way to a certain extent.

Fortunately, over time, a Guy’s Guy’s priorities change. They realize that their relationships, family, health, and friends are what make the difference in the quality of their lives. But that’s for another column.

Second round: Toys, Sports, and Politics

We don’t need to spend much time on this. Men love to crow about their cars, vacations, golf clubs and wine collection. They all have their favorite teams and their favored politicians. While the games drone on in the background, the guys argue endlessly about the Red Sox, Yankees, Obama, the Tea Party, or which club they used on the par three at Winged Foot. Of course nothing changes until the next game, golf match, or election.

Round three: Women and Relationships

Even if a guy is having relationship issues, he’s not going to share them with his boys. Whenever I overhear two or more women having drinks, the subject of men invariably comes up. Women seem comfortable discussing personal stuff and emotionally tinged issues with their girlfriends, all the way down to joking or bragging about a man’s size and performance. But regardless of things being good or bad in a relationship, guys don’t share the details, and especially not with a group of friends.  Here’s why.

Let’s say a guy is dating a woman who's dynamite in bed. There's no way that he wants the other guys to know this; you never know what they think of her. And we all know that men sometimes poach another guy’s partner (it happens). If the woman he’s dating is bringing him down and he’s not sure what to do, he won’t tell his friends. That’s a fail. So when it comes to finding an objective voice to discuss a relationship issue, it’s not that easy being a guy. Guys will never discuss their relationships in a group unless one guy announces something major like he’s gotten engaged or his wife is having a baby.

Round Four: The Details

If a guy has come to a major decisionmaybe breaking up or divorcing, he’ll probably pull a close buddy aside and spills the beans. He’s not looking for advice. He is looking for support for his decision and to be heard by a trusted friend. The other guy knows this, so he actively listens and does his best to be supportive. If he thinks his friend is using his left-brain to address a right-brain issue or if he’s making a tragic error, the friend will weigh in with a few pointed questions. Again, this is a one-on one private conversation, not group bar talk.

Closing Time

So you see that being a guy can be a lonely experience. In the male culture we don’t often talk about our feelings or relationships. And we rarely discuss what we are thinking with other men before we make our decisions. Even when it comes to relationships, men make their choices independently and then tell their friends. Is this a good thing? I’ll let you decide. One way you can help men out is by being available to any guy who seeks you out with a problem that he wants to discuss. This means you’re a trusted, special person to this guy, and that’s a good thing.

So next time you see a bunch of guys hanging at the bar, they are probably talking about their careers, toys, sports, diversionsanything but their relationships.

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is your neighborhood barkeep, who hears all the chatter from the other side of the bar and focuses on his task at hand while keeping his point of view to himself.

So, do you know what that group of guys across the bar is talking about?    

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Fish Tacos

Robert Manni - Thursday, January 30, 2014


Like snowflakes, no two fish tacos are alike.

Maybe that’s part of the allure for these Guy’s Guy favorites. Guy’s Guys are all about their grub and tacos are fun, tasty and open to interpretation.  The notion of building each individual taco and holding it in your hand and admiring it before devouring is the stuff Guy’s Guys are made of. There are lots of taco recipes, including many made with meats. But let’s focus out attention on our beloved fish tacos and do them up with a twist and some fresh Guy’s Guy stylins’. Here are the ingredients for a yummy casual dinner that Guys and ladies can enjoy and a recipe that can be made indoors all year around.

The Drinks.

This is a no-brainer. Must start with margaritas. The usual recipe includes tequila, triple sec and limejuice or a store-bought mix. I suggest starting with a 100% agave tequila. I’ve been to Jalisco, Mexico for business and all agave is considered “blue”, so don’t be swayed. You also don’t to need to spend $50 for an aged banjo sipping tequila for margaritas. I prefer a reposado, which means its been laid down for a few months, or a silver tequila, as long as it’s 100% agave. Consider forgoing the triple sec and instead squeezing a heavy portion of fresh lime and adding any citrus juice. Tequila and citrus juice make a perfect match. If you have a gourmet margarita mix on hand (not the cheap stuff which is mostly sugar) add a quick pour. I prefer my margaritas on the rocks with kosher salt around the rim of the glass. If you squeeze the essence of the lime skin on the rim of the glass first, you’ll get a nice zesty taste. If you are not a fan of margaritas, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or seltzer with lime will do just fine.

The Guacamole. 

Start with two ripe avocados. That means they should give a little when you squeeze them. Carve out the meat and toss the pit. Add finely chopped organic grape tomatoes, chopped onion and cilantro to taste and some finely ground Himalayan salt and fresh black pepper. If you want some kick you can add a half shot of tequila or a squeeze of organic lime. However, try it without those ingredients first and I’ll bet you won’t need any more bells and whistles. Pick up a bag of organic yellow corn tortilla chips and you’re good to go. I let the guacamole sit for about a half hour covered in the refrigerator before serving.

The Fish.

Although classic California fish tacos are made with cod, I promised a few Guy’s Guys twists. Wild-caught shrimp are always delicious on the grill, but I prefer skate for my tacos. Skate is very tasty and surprisingly affordable because the cool people have not yet discovered this overlooked fish.  Slice up the skate (buy it from a good fish monger where there are no bones) and then dust in Wondra flour before shaking on a flavor spike made for fish and sprinkling on ground Himalayan salt and black pepper. I prefer Himalayan salt because it enhances the flavors of the food.  Heat up a pan and cook the pieces of skate in organic sunflower oil. Heat up another pan to warm up a stack of soft organic corn tacos, then cover to keep them warm.

The Veggies.

 I like to grill sliced red peppers and onions on an indoor grill pan to pile on the fish taco. This Guy’s Guy twist adds some fajita stylins’ to the festivities.

The Salsa, etc.

There are some delicious salsas sold in the supermarket, but if you prefer to make your own, simply dice up a few organic grape tomatoes and add chopped onion, cilantro, salt and pepper. That’s it, amigo. Add a few hot sauces and instead of sour cream, dollop some fat free organic Greek yogurt—you won’t know the difference.  I also ladle the salsa and spread the guacamole on the tacos and cut up a lime to squeeze on them, too. Another option is to shred red cabbage to add crunch, but it's not necessary. Your tacos are going to be pretty stacked already with the fish, peppers and onions. So all in all you’ve got the skate, grilled red peppers and onions, guacamole, fresh salsa, Greek yogurt, lime, tortillas, chips and margaritas and hot sauce. You’re good to go.

Well, that’s one recipe, but there are hundreds of ways to rustle up some tasty tacos.  Bon appétit!

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Ralph Rubio who many consider the Guy who brought fish tacos to prominence in Southern California.


Do you have a go-to recipe for terrific tasting tacos? Guy’s Guys do.

Things to be Cheerful About in 2014

Robert Manni - Friday, January 03, 2014


Let’s leave 2013 where it belongs…over, done, in the past.

I hope it was a good year for you, although many folks might prefer to deposit it in the dumpster. The good news is that every 365 days we get to reset. Never mind the resolutions we don’t keep and the baggage and pounds we need to shed. Those are just details. Here are some things, Guy’s Guy style, to be thankful for as we dig our teeth into a fresh and juicy 2014. Let’s do this, amigos!

1. You made it!

It’s no minor accomplishment. You’re alive. Think about that and be thankful. If you decide to stop reading here, that’s cool, because this is the most important point. Actually, on second thought, please keep reading…

2. You’ve got a second chance, again.

Okay, so you didn’t quit drinking and you never made it back to the gym after Valentine’s Day. So what? You have a fresh start, a new beginning, and another shot at your dream. You scored a do over. Now make the most of it.

3. No one cares if you screwed up last year.

Bottom line, we take ourselves way too seriously. Most of us feel that everyone is watching us and judging about our every move. Guess what? They’re not. Most of your friends don’t really give a shit about the sordid details of your life. They’re more interested in how you make them feel. Come to think about it, isn’t that what you feel about your friends? Gotcha!

4. The World Cup.

Soccer (the real football) keeps growing in popularity and this year’s tournament in Brazil should be a dilly with top teams from Europe and South America duking it out in the global matchup. Bet on Spain or the home team.

5. No presidential election.

Yeah, I know this was also the case in 2013, but it’s worth mentioning that we won’t be subjected to an endless onslaught of candidates political and personal slagging each other for eleven straight months. And think about it, once the person elected sits get in the big chair, they all drink the Kool-Aid on wars and the economy while ignoring the environment and our food supply.

6. The New York Super Bowl.

This could be a colossal success or fail. With no tailgating and temperatures anticipated in the teens for a night game, I’m betting fail. Also, I find it hard to believe that two wealthy New York football teams who share one stadium couldn’t come up with the scratch to install a retractable dome. Really? Either way, all eyes will be on NYC this January. I just read that they are building a giant toboggan that will run down Broadway. Only in New York.

7. New York has a new mayor.

Bloomie’s gone so you can drink your Big Gulps without worrying about being stopped and frisked. Park Slope rules now. The new administration could be a great tonic or a disaster. How much does anyone know about this guy anyway? I like his kids, but when they played such a major role in determining the election, I begin to wonder what’s behind the curtain. We’ll soon find out.

8. The government is still printing money.

I suspect we’re safe for another year before the bubble bursts again. The hogs gorge at the trough while the struggling masses continue their hope for a ray of light on immigration reform, a minimum wage hike and a return to full unemployment benefits—which, by the way, haven’t risen in value for the past twenty years. So what’s there to look forward to here, Guy’s Guy? Many now have health care and awareness is on the rise for other issues because…

9. The Internet is calling out more key issues.

Just a few years ago, was anyone talking about GMO’s, our food supply, or the NSA and our privacy?  Technology has been a great contributor to our collective knowledge base and wellbeing. Okay, so we’ve taken a few too many twerking pics and selfies, but news spreads like wildfire now. This is a good thing if managed with the right intention.

10. The Stones are still touring.

Just thinking about it keeps me young.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Baby New Year 2014. Here he is decked out in his diaper and sash. Let’s give him a collective slap on the ass and hope he’s a Guys Guy.

What makes you happy about 2014?

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Swinging Cocktails

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 12, 2013


Guy’s Guys appreciate the finer things in life, the company of friends and an occasional cocktail.

So it should come as no surprise that if and when a Guy’s Guy decides to savor his down time with a few compadres or that special lady, drinks might be included drinks in the schedule of activities. Not all Guy’s Guys drink, but the ones that do know how to handle their booze. Disclaimers aside, here are a few tips from your Guy’s Guy who has worked with distilled spirits brands for many years.  So cheers, skol, gan bei, salud and chok dee (that’s Thai, for those keeping score).

Vodka

This clear spirit accounts for 35% of all alcohol consumption and can be distilled from almost anything—winter wheat, grapes, potatoes, and rye, to name a few. Since it’s tasteless and odorless by definition, vodka mixes with everything. You can add fruit juices, energy drinks, tonic or club soda and in some countries like the U.K., they add cola. You can’t go wrong combining vodka with any of these beverages on ice with a piece of lime, although I prefer a wedge of orange.  Pour it all into a tall glass and you’re good to go.  Other methods are filling chilled shot glasses with a brand that’s been distilled at least three times and sipping. Or, just pour some of the good stuff on the rocks and garnish. I store my top shelf vodka in the freezer. Drinking note—I find that the more highly distilled the vodka consumed usually has a direct relationship to the severity of the hangover.

Let’s not forget martinis. When drinking vodka “straight” or in a martini, I suggest avoiding vodkas produced in places like Bayonne or Leonia, N.J. (although there is nothing inherently wrong with these fine habitats) and spending a few extra bucks for high-end brands made in the U.S. or northern Europe. Just sayin’. I prefer Russian vodkas made from winter wheat, but there are many excellent choices if you spend more than $20 for a 750ml.

As far as the plethora choices of flavored vodka, use your head and avoid anything like bubbleberry or flavors based on your favorite cereals or candy bar. We’re Guy’s Guys, remember?

Tequila

Distilled from the agave plant that grows in a pina beneath the ground for eight years, tequila mixes wonderfully with any citrus juice. Mix your favorite 100% agave brand (all agave is “blue” by the way) with fresh squeezed limes and citrus juice, pour on ice, blend or shake it up and you have an awesome margarita. You really don’t need the mix and other ingredients they try to sell you. Although silver tequila is all the rage, it’s actually the cheap stuff. Make no mistake, there are some very good ones, but silver tequilas are only aged for a short time so they don’t have a chance to mellow out and turn that golden amber color. I prefer “reposados” that are laid down for about six months. They taste like tequila (herbal and distinct) and make great drinks and tasty shots. You can also sip the higher-end tequilas on ice. Make sure to keep a few wedges of lime on hand. Drinking note—tequila used to be the drink you chose when you wanted to cut loose and go crazy. Not sure about that anymore, but again, the cleaner the booze, the less severe hangover. Go for the good stuff and drink less. You’ll have a better time and minimize the wear and tear on your body.

Rum

Rum is an underrated spirit. I adore fine rums. We’re all familiar with the mass brands that are mixed with colas and lime.  They can also be mixed with a variety of juices, and because rum is sugar-based, the drinks usually taste pretty good. Nothing wrong here, but if you want to go deeper, sample some dark aged rums from the Caribbean and South America. Do your research because they can be pricey, but for sipping neat, on the rocks or with a good cigar, there is nothing that beats an aged dark rum. There has been some progress made on producing higher-end clear rums, but for some reason they haven’t caught the consumers' attention. I prefer rums distilled from pure sugar cane juice instead of molasses. An added bonus is that the high-end and dark rums are much easier on the palette than scotch, bourbon or rye. Drinking note—too many sugary drinks will cause a hangover.

Gin

This clear spirit is distilled from various botanicals and has a distinct taste that is not for everyone. Although marketers are constantly trying to invent new ways of consuming gin, your best bet is to stick with the basic gin and tonics and classic gin martinis. I always choose a high-end brand name and make sure not to overindulge. For some reason, consuming more than two gin cocktails can mean entering dangerous waters, for me at least. What’s that old saying about martinis? They’re like women’s breasts. One isn’t enough and three are too many. Try making your own blue cheese stuffed olives next time you are mixing a batch of martinis. Your guest will love them. Drinking note—again, note the possible mood change when you have one too many because you may not be that much fun to be around. I do not have empirical data to support this. Do your own research and let me know.

That’s enough for now. We’ve got other spirits to discuss, at another time. Until them, do you know your way around the bar when it comes to distilled spirits?

This week’s Guy’s Guys are all those bartenders who are mastering their crafts and evolving it into the art of “mixology”. Cin cin!


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