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Fad Diets


Fad Dieting

"I've tried everything, I lose some weight but when I go back to eating regular food I regain it all back."
  • I only eat veggies and drink water for two months.
  • Detox juices
  • The Blood type diet
  • Cabbage soup diet
  • Paleo diet
  • Cucumber and milk
  • I only eat fruit 
  • Drink this tea and lose weight

These are all examples of fad diets. Some better than others but really what they all have in common is that they tell you NOT to consume certain foods for the sake of maintaining a specific "diet". 

What is a Calorie?

A Calorie is chemistry. It is the measure of energy stored in food. More specifically the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1L of water by 1 degree Celsius. Food energy is turned into eat which is how we measure what we understand to be food calories.

Science and Your Body

70% of weight and body shape is hereditary. This is where we get body shapes like the ones below. 

Photo Courtesy: Precision Nutrition

Photo Courtesy: Precision Nutrition

However I believe that while you may be predisposed to a certain body shape it isn't an excuse to blame your parents for why you can't lose weight. No matter your body shape there's no reason you can't look the best YOUR body can be. You can lose some weight on any diet, but it comes right back on if it wasn't built upon proper nutrition habits. 

Psychological Aspect of Weight Loss

John goes on a diet to lose weight. And he is able to lose 10 lbs in 3 weeks. John proceeds to tell everybody how great his diet was. He gives full credit to the diet. The problem is John proceeds to go back to his usual eating habits and regains the weight. Instead of blaming the diet, he blames himself.  Does this sound familiar?

Often times these diets restrict and cut out a large macronutrient. That alone will force weight loss, albeit mostly water and glycogen stores. The diet had very little to do with the person's success and now it damages the individual's psyche because they don't believe they're able to succeed. And that alone is large enough of a reason to not entertain trying these types of diets. 

Many fad diets have little science to back-up their crazy ideas and claims. This is why the results aren't what you're hoping for. Just because something works for someone else doesn't mean that it works for you. When you're looking to lose weight like getting a thinner waist or smaller thighs, your body doesn't know that's all you want. Metabolically speaking, it adjusts and when you continue to consume the same amount of food you ate to lose weight; you stop losing weight. In the same way that exercise needs to be progressed so too does your nutritional protocol. 



My Name is Gary and I Worked at a Drug Rehab Facility


Secluded up in the Hollywood hills I had the opportunity to work with a disordered eating and drug rehab facility. Six months ago I was contacted to fill in for 6 weeks and fill in as their fitness director for the patients staying at the clinic. It was a very rewarding experience and I would like to share a few things I learned during my time there.

1. Disordered Eating Affects Over 20 Million Women & 10 Million Men Sometime in Their Lives.

The current figures show that at some point 30 million Americans will suffer from some form of disordered eating. Some of the common ones include:

  • Atypical anorexia nervosa (weight is not below normal)
  • Bulimia nervosa (with less frequent behaviors)
  • Binge-eating disorder (with less frequent occurrences)
  • Purging disorder (purging without binge eating)
  • Night eating syndrome (excessive nighttime food consumption)
  • Orthorexia Nervosa (unhealthy obsession with "righteous eating")

We all at some point struggle with body image and being confident in our own skin. Don't jump to passing judgement on someone simply because they're overweight or what you might consider "too skinny". You haven't walked a mile in their shoes or spent a second in their mind, so what makes anyone feel like they should have the audacity to pass judgement on them. 

That person is FAT! Well what you don't see is that they just lost their significant other, and food has become their way of coping.

That person is too skinny. What you don't see is this person has been told they were ugly their whole lives and now compensate by trying to fit into the standards that society deems fit as 'beautiful" by starving themselves eating as little as possible, often times complaining of headaches and lethargy. 

Without coming off sounding like a hippie, we all have to live on this planet together while we're here; don't make life harder for everybody by being a jerk. We need to practice compassion and empathy.

2. Talk to the individual if you  believe they may have a substance abuse or disordered eating problem. 

The prevailing theme I got from all the people I was interacted with was that they eventually had an intervention to make some type of positive change in their lives. The problem was that for some individuals it came a bit too late. Whether they had become morbidly obese or having organ failure due to rampant drug use, these people didn't just wake up with these health problems. Many of them said they wish their loved ones had spoken up sooner. 

Often people have these problems and it sits in front of us in plain sight. So if you suspect someone you love has a problem, try to get them professional help before it becomes a chronic issue that will be even harder to overcome.

3. Learning to disassociate food as good or bad. 

There's no such thing as "clean" eating. Food is food and I for one LOVE all kinds of food. When an individual begins to think of a typical food like rice as bad or dirty, that gives some insight to both their knowledge of nutrition but also their relationship with food in general. 

Many have a fascination about fitting things into a category. I eat paleo, I eat low fat, or I eat gluten free. Most of the diets people think they're following is simply marketing. Everyone was all about juicing a year ago, the narrative has changed very recently.

Education is the key to truly being the master of your health.

What's a quality protein? How about carbs? What happens if you happen to eat too LITTLE carbs and fat? These are common dietary scenarios that individuals live everyday with. Learning more about what goes on in YOUR body will do wonders.

Related: Just say "no" to that detox diet or juice cleanse by Dr. John Berardi

Ultimately being healthy should be the metric we all strive to achieve. Being happy with who you are and striving to be the best version of yourself is what matters the most.


Master Chef 202: Roasting

This Christmas dinner is not possible without the use of an oven and proper roasting technique

This Christmas dinner is not possible without the use of an oven and proper roasting technique

Roasting is one of the most versatile cooking techniques. You can prepare oven roasted vegetables or an elaborate roasted turkey for Thanksgiving. Here's a breakdown of the basics behind each of them. 

Roasting Vegetables

Roasting vegetables all follow a simple procedure.

  1. Preheat oven anywhere from between 400-500 degrees
  2. Toss with oil
  3. Season salt and pepper
  4. Enjoy!

Nicely roasted vegetables need higher temperatures to get the caramelization desired. Here's a batch of roasted Broccoli I made the other day. 

Roasting a Whole Chicken

By age 30, I would say every adult should be able to roast a whole chicken. I was planning on creating a video but I always share this video with anyone who asks "what are the basics to cooking a whole chicken?" Who better than Thomas Keller to explain how to do just that!

Basic components of roasted poultry

  1. Truss chicken (optional)
  2. After room temp, season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Place on bed of vegetables or on a wire rack baking sheet. 
  4. Roast in your oven for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the bird. 

I will confess that when I'm pressed for time and want to "just eat", I love to butterfly the whole chicken. As the video will elaborate, it allows the chicken to cook at a more even rate and most importantly, much faster. 

Master Chef 201: Braising

Braising is one of my favorite cooking techniques. It allows you to take a tougher less expensive cuts of meat and create some of the tastiest dishes you'll eat. Braising often takes a few hours to break down the connective tissues (collagen) from the muscle fibers via dry and moist heat cooking methods. All braises follow this typical order. 

  1. Sear the meat and vegetables over high heat. 
  2. Add liquid and often an acid to further tenderize the meat. 
  3. Turn heat down to low and cook until meat is fork tender. 
  4. Reduce liquid into sauce or gravy.

Here's one of my all time favorite dishes Beef Bourguignon. This recipe is a quick version adapted from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook. 

1/2 bottle red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon

1 onions, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp flour

1/2c chicken or beef stock

3 thyme sprigs

6 Italian parsley sprigs

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs or chuck (about 1 inch thick)

2 carrots, obliquely cut 1/2 inch cooked* 

1 box button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, cooked*

10-14 white pearl onions, cooked* 


  • For the beef: Trim excess fat and any silver skin from the short ribs. Cut the meat into pieces approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches by 1 inch thick.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pot, when the oil is hot, add only as many pieces of meat as will fit comfortably in a single layer; do not crowd the pan or the meat will steam rather than brown. Once the meat has browned on the first side, turn it and continue to brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Brown the remaining meat in batches, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot, stirring and cooking until the vegetables are translucent.
  • Sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour over the vegetables and mix together.
  • Add back in the beef, and both the stock and wine. Pour enough wine to barely cover all the meat.
  •  Bring the pot up to a simmer and turn the heat down. Braise the beef for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Periodically skimming off any scum that rises to the top. 
  • Transfer the meat to an ovenproof pot or container. 
  • Strain the braising liquid twice through a fine strainer or a medium strainer lined with a clean and dampened tea towel or cheesecloth, straining it the second time into a saucepan. Discard the vegetables.

While the Beef cooks...

  • Peel and cut the carrots into about 1/2 inch pieces. Add a pad a butter of butter to a pan and sauce until nicely cartelized. 
  • Trim the mushroom stems flush with the caps. Heat the butter in a large skillet over high heat until it has melted and the foam has subsided. Add the mushrooms, reduce the heat to medium-low, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook gently, tossing often, until the mushrooms are lightly browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Final garnish is to add another pad of butter to a pan, and cook the pearl onions. This I would leave alone for a few minutes before shaking the pan so that the onions can get some nice color to them. 

Finally add the carrots, onions, mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

Master Chef 102: Blanching

Blanching or par-cooking is a technique where you get a pot of salted boiling water, drop the food in for a few seconds to a minute. Then remove and cool down immediately. 

This works great for those who don't want to eat microwaved food and want to save a few minutes at the end of a long work day to prepare dinner.  The technique works well for incorporating vegetables for omelettes and salads to cutting down on cooking time for stir frys.

You could theoretically do this for protein as well so long as you're able to prepare the chicken later on that same day. You run the risk of more food borne illnesses by heating, cooling and reheating meat. 

Here's an easy recipe for Beef with Broccoli

  • 1 pound flat iron steak, cut into 1x1 cube (flank steak, skirt steak or hanger steak may be substituted, but won't be as tender) 
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine (Balsamic vinegar or dry sherry work as well)
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 scallions, greens and whites sliced. 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound bite-size broccoli florets, from about 1-1/2 pounds broccoli crowns
  • 1/3 cup water
  1. Combine the beef with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the Chinese rice wine (Balsamic or dry sherry) in a bowl and toss to coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature while prepping everything else. 
  2. Bring a bot of water to a boil, salt the water. (Note: salted water should taste like the sea, applies to cooking pasta or blanching vegetables)
  3. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of soy sauce with the corn starch and stir with a fork until the corn starch is dissolved. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of wine, oyster sauce, chicken broth, sugar, and sesame oil. Stir and set aside. 
  4. Combine the scallion whites, garlic and ginger in a bowl and set aside.
  5. By now the water should be boiling, drop the broccoli in to blanch for 1 minute or so. You'll know it's done when the broccoli is bright green and still crunchy. Remove from the pot and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. 
  6.  Heat a pan over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Add half of the beef, so that it is in a single layer, and cook without moving until the beef is well seared, about 1-1/2 minutes. Continue cooking while stirring until the beef is lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate. 
  7. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the remaining beef and cook without moving until the beef is well seared, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add the scallion whites, garlic and ginger mixture and cook, stirring constantly with the beef, for about 30 seconds.
  8. Add in the broccoli and the other half of the beef to the pan along with the sauce and scallions and mix thoroughly, simmer until the sauce is lightly thickened. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with rice. (Note: If the sauce is too runny, remove the beef and continue to reduce)