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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Sane

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 06, 2017


Can you recall a crazier time in our lives than right now? Probably not.

Between every excruciating day of chaos ushered in by our new president, global terror, rising health care costs, homelessness, weekend subway service in NYC, an endless winter, GMO’s infesting our food, drone-like jobs with longer hours and less pay, it’s a tough time to be alive. People are stressed out, tired, unfocused, hyper, and stretched to the human limits. This is not how things are supposed to be, amigos. I’m actually surprised our society hasn’t completely melted down.

More and more I read about disclosure and how our planet is on the verge of a major change for the better. But when you are under a constant assault of fear by the media and the powers that be, no one would blame you for feeling life is uninspiring and becoming a long, slow downward spiral.

What’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Lots. With the hope of contributing to your mental, physical and spiritual wellness, I’ve pulled together a punch list of ten things you can do when your world appears to have gone absolutely bonkers. I call it, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Sane. Here’s my list in no particular order.

Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe – That’s right. Breathe. When you are on edge, even the smallest slight can trigger you into overreacting and regretting things later. If your latest Facebook post puts you on the receiving end of the social media trolls or your boss is sabotaging you because you can do her job better than she can, don’t take the bait. Take a few slow breaths, hold, and release. Breathe and repeat. Try this slow breathing when riding the subway or the bus and within a few minutes your mind will calm down. It’s a good start.

2. Ease up on social media – I don’t know about you, but my feed features a polarizing gamut of spiritual articles and memes, sports and culture, and partisan political posts. After asking myself why do I care what my grammar schoolmates post about Trump, I began unfollowing, and at times unfriending and blocking those I found annoying. I feel better. It’s a start to regaining my sanity. I’ve found that endlessly scrolling Facebook and Twitter makes us anxious, like we’re all on pins and needles waiting for that post or tweet that’s going to make everything better in our lives. It’s making people crazy. Sure, I enjoy videos of the kitty that scared off the alligator and the kid with no arms who sank a 3-point shot. But there’s too much weird activity on Earth to keep up with while trying to be productive. So get a grip, amigo, holster that phone, and push away from your computer screen. Live your life offline.

3. Turn off the news – Whether it’s online or on your television, there’s an endless feed of news and propaganda spewed at us all day. Have you ever wondered why you see the same stories on most of the networks? It’s because a handful of organizations own the news outlets. They decide what stories are worthy and how long to pound them into our consciousness. Right now it’s all about Russia, Trump, the latest global terror strikes and other stories that instill fear. Those topics have legs, while other topics like fixing our environment and safeguarding our food supply are ignored. I’m not suggesting we turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the world, but we need to remind ourselves that there is an agenda. We’re served what they want to feed us. So it’s important to our mental health to consume news in moderate, manageable doses or else risk depression. After all, you still need to submit that updated Excel sheet with the Q3 projections by close of business tomorrow.

4. Get outside – Nothing brings me more sanity than getting out of my crib. When it’s cold and dreary, it’s tough to push yourself out the door. But, when you stay inside there are too many temptations to flip on the TV or laptop. A walk in the fresh air brings a new perspective and is very helpful for calming down.

5. Exercise – When the world seems to be going crazy, a workout or a run in the park provide a hard to beat mental, physical, and spiritual respite from all the stress. I prefer a long run to clear my head. Others like yoga or spin classes, stretching, cardio or free weights to decompress. Whatever you choose is fine. Like they say, just do it. Sex is a good exercise also.

6. Meditate – Meditation has many benefits. Besides relaxing and clearing the mind, meditation gives the physical body an opportunity to heal from the duress of modern life. And of course, it also allows us to get in touch with our inner consciousness and higher self. Even if you can only spare a few minutes a day, find time to meditate. You’ll see a difference in how you view the world.

7. Appreciate art – Thank God for artists. They reflect our world in so many ways while allowing our minds to process life through a fresh lens. It doesn’t matter if you are reading a novel, wandering through a museum, watching an indie film, or listening to jazz. Taking time to appreciate the arts always provides a needed mental break from the craziness and helps us see our world and plight with a different perspective.

8. Create something  Putting your focus into personal expression keeps the cray cray away. Writing, singing, painting, sewing, chanting, or even sculpting your body are wonderful outlets to let off steam and express how you feel about what’s gong on in the world and your personal experience. These all take a concentration and getting into a zone where you’re focused on building something instead of simply processing information. Creativity is a safe haven from a messed up world.

9. Engage with other people – Deep conversations with a friend, laughter, hugging it out, and sex are proven ways to de-stress and stay sane. And they’re usually fun.

10. Service – Extending oneself to others, even in small ways has a ripple effect. Doing good makes the world a better place, and a less crazy place. Sharing your knowledge, being a mentor, volunteering, or even giving accordion players a buck all helps make the world a better place.

These are just a few ways we can keep our sanity in an increasingly dysfunctional culture. The media and the powers that be want us to live in fear and see one another as separate. The truth is that underneath the surface everyone is connected and we have a lot of collective power. Stay positive and control your thoughts. You are not crazy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Dalai Lama. Throughout his life he has managed to maintain wisdom, calm, and equilibrium in the face of the endless challenges that have been thrown his way.

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.

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.    

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.


The Guys' Guy's Guide to When the Going Gets Tough...

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 24, 2016


Shit happens. What defines a person and a Guy’s Guy is how they handle things that don’t go right. We’ve all had hard times. Maybe you did not get that job or promotion, or maybe you just lost your job. Maybe your savings are dwindling while your prospects aren’t growing. Take comfort, amigos. Your Guy’s Guy has been there and done that. He has the physical and the emotional and psychological bruises and scars from living in what feels like a tough, unforgiving world.

When bad things happen, we can either curl up in a ball or take stock of the big picture before taking action. So the next time you get dumped, or your car breaks down, or that pipe under the sink breaks and causes a flood, or the size of your debt appears insurmountable, take heed. I’m going to share my best hacks for dealing with the pressure, one issue at a time and put you in position to not only deal with your troubles, but turn what on the surface are bad things into good things.

So here are three Guys’ Guy’s hacks for handling the curveballs life throws our way. Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe, focus, separate – In my personal experience I’ve found that bad things occur in bunches. A few weeks ago on a cold rainy morning I traveled by train for two hours to my beach house. I needed to explore contingences for repairing the fire escape and replacing of the housing for the exterior gas meters, which was brought to my attention by the gas company. These are things we take for granted.

Upon reaching my place I immediately noticed that my car was gone. Suddenly a cop pulled up. I gave him my info and he informed me that my vehicle had been towed two weeks earlier due to a gaseous odor. Unfortunately, no one made an effort to contact me by phone. As a result, the retrieval and repairs to the car cost me dearly. And of course no one involved in the process the cops, towing company, impound yard, or repair shop were empathetic. The process was painful at a time I was on a tight budget. I also found out the cost of the gas meter housing was in the five-figure range and the fire escape estimate was off the charts. This all happened over the course of one morning.

The avalanche of problems dumped on me felt like my system had been nuked. I started feeling hyper and had to do something to maintain my sanity. I decided to step away for a few minutes. I needed to breathe deeply, clear my mind, and re-set myself physically and emotionally. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary and I am glad I took those few minutes to regain my composure. In those few minutes I breathed, prayed, and asked my higher self for guidance were crucial to how I felt and how things worked out.

I realized I may have saved my family and my life by learning about the small leak in the tank this way instead of finding out while zooming down the highway and potentially bursting into flames. I also realized my tax refund will pay for the new gas tank. I convinced the impound yard to knock off the price of the tow, and my insurance company picked up most of the cost of the impound. Sure, I’m still faced with replacing the gas meter housing and fire escape repairs, and I am sure there will be more. I’m determined to deal with each issue individually as it comes up. Overall, I consider myself fortunate. I’m alive and in this case, things could have turned out far worse. And, I handled it as smooth and calmly as I could. Bottom line? I’m grateful.

2. Get out there – Recently I’ve found myself in a new situation where I am handling projects and building my personal brand while working from home. This is a major change for me after years of schlepping to an office and spending ten hours a day in the company of many colleagues over the past three decades. It’s really different and I’ve had to adjust to how I allocate my time, finances, and mentally dealing with most of my friends still being immersed in corporate jobs.

I’ve learned that lifestyle changes like this can be devastating form some folks if they are not aligned to a new realty and with new possibilities. It’s easy to stay inside and create content all day, but it is equally important to get out there and rub shoulders with people. They say action creates action, and it’s true. I’ve found that the more I interact with people, either face to face or by phone, the more opportunities arise and the more creative ideas spark inside my mind. So if you think things aren’t going so well for you and you begin shutting down, do yourself a favor and get out and face with the world. It helps.

3. Remember what we're here for - Many metaphysical teachers claim that our lives on Earth are primarily for learning and future ascension. And some even say that suffering is our greatest teacher. They might be right. I have found that whenever I come out of the end of a painful experience I am always a better version of myself due to experiencing the pain. Do you agree?

And while you are at it, make sure that you don’t neglect every aspect of your health when you’re facing tough times. That means being mindful and taking care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Treat yourself well; eat clean, healthy foods and exercise. If you stay in top shape, mediate, and get enough rest so you can be at your very best regardless of the current circumstances you’ll feel a difference in your ability to deal with your troubles. Tomorrow is another day. Make sure you are in good health so you can enjoy it.

I could go on and on, but I think there are some things to help you deal with the tough times we all face. Breathe, deal with one issue at a time, and take care of yourself. You are worth it.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Abraham Lincoln, a man who faced some of the toughest circumstances of any leader in the history of our nation. Lincoln is the person who said, “This too, shall pass away.” 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Beating the Winter Blues

Robert Manni - Tuesday, February 23, 2016


It’s dark and cold when you wake and darker and colder when you go home.

Welcome to another endless winter in the Northeast. And for some strange reason, many choose to stay put and endure these dreadful winters year after year. They say we have four seasons in these parts, but doesn’t it feel like two? Six months of awesome weather, six months of ice rain, snow, cold and slush. And here we are again in the vortex. Some Guy’s Guys insights are in order. So here are my tips for beating those winter blues, GG style.

Get outside.

If you can’t get away for a Caribbean holiday, don’t fret. Think about how much worse the winter seems when you step outside with sunburn after landing at JFK. So if you routine resembles this: getting up at the crack of dawn, marching like a lemming on and off of the C train, grabbing coffee, disappearing into your office, staring at the computer for the next 10 hours and then returning to the cold dark streets, it’s important that you break up the day and get some fresh air and sunshine. So, if you can break free for even twenty minutes, take a walk around the block and if the weather permits, find a sunny spot to take a short break. Remind yourself that it’s just a job, she’ll call you back, and the Knicks will win another championship someday or whatever it is that’s buzzing around your mind. I assure you, this quick respite can work wonders.

Exercise.

When I woke up yesterday it was cold, dank, slushy and all around horrible. But, it was Sunday and for your Guy’s Guy, that means another 6.2-mile trek around Central Park’s outer loop. It’s all sloping hills and it never seems to get any easier. I wanted to disappear under the covers, but I knew that I would feel one hundred percent better after my run, and I did. Whatever your preference is: cardio, high intensity workouts or yoga; they all combat the winter blues. Your body will thank you.

Watch your diet. 

We all crave warm, gooey, crispy comfort food during the winter months. And how we worship the bacon. But unless it’s organic, this piggy meat is filled with cancer-causing nitrates. I know, it tastes F-ing great, but bacon other so-called comfort foods ultimately make you uncomfortable. Winter is a great time to get disciplined about your diet. If you can deal with making the right food choices now, it will be easier once spring rolls around. And, speaking of rolls, if you can get a head start on your diet during the colder months, you probably will have less around your midsection to burn off when the weather breaks.

Stay positive.

We define ourselves internally. It’s what’s in your head that sets up your mood, your perspective, and ultimately your life.  And with all those cold, dark days it’s easy to succumb to a bleak outlook and a “whoa is me” attitude. And we’ve all allowed our more negatively skewed friends to throw up their emotional junk on us. You know, that’s when afterwards they feel better? The problem is, you have to wipe their toxicity off by taking an Epson salts bath. The point is, remain mindful of your thoughts and the people around you in general, but especially during winter.

Read, write, sing, create.

We spend more time indoors during nasty weather. And it’s too damned easy to sit on your butt and binge watch your favorite cable series. Sure, that’s what 54-inch LED’s are for, but be careful not to allow the media to hypnotize and numb your mind. Reading is a wonderful tonic and it helps us think more creatively. So is creating, and it doesn’t mater what it is that makes your juices flow. Get out your laptop, sketchpad, ukulele or whatever and make a statement, even if you never show it to anyone. Just the simple act of creation nourishes the soul. Hey, I just created something here, didn’t I?

This weeks’ Guy’s Guys of the Week are all the skaters at Wolman Rink or the rink in your neighborhood. Get out there, amigo.

Are you winning your battle with the winter blues?

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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