Seven Favorite Meals

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Food.

For some, food is just a means to an end, just a bunch of calories that serves no other purpose than to provide “fuel” and allow us to “do stuff.”

These are generally the individuals who eat the same things everyday – egg whites, coffee and maybe a piece of toast (NO BUTTER!!11!!) for breakfast, plain chicken breast and some spinach for lunch, a handful of almonds with an apple and protein powder that tastes like powdered fart as a mid-afternoon snack, and for dinner, maybe they’ll spice it up with some beef and veggies.

If that’s your schtick and it works for you, more power to you.  Speaking truthfully, I used to be one of those people.

Sure, I’d enjoy the occasional slice of pizza here and there, and if I was really feeling dangerous I’d have a cookie (or two), but for the most part food was fuel.  That’s it.

I’d bust out my grill on the weekends and stock up on grilled chicken breast for the week, and I’d also prepare a bunch of beef too.  As a bachelor, my spice rack was pretty much relegated to salt, pepper, and the occasional vat of Adobo.

You could say that my palette wasn’t used to a lot of variety.

If you were to take a gander into my fridge back in the day, you’d pretty much find nothing but an endless supply of eggs, thawed bags of frozen vegetables (which would get kinda messy), and maybe a container or two of salsa.

It was pretty pathetic to say the least.

On the other end of the spectrum, for most people, food is (as it should be) much much more.  Food is culture.  It’s the centerpiece behind birthdays, 4th of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Yom Kippur (after the fact, anyways), anniversaries, weddings, graduation parties, movie marathons, you name it – food is usually the cornerstone or main attraction of any event or get together.

I’ve come a long ways since my bachelor days.  Granted the kitchen is still no-man’s land for me and really the only thing I’m good at is turning the toaster on.

But give me a recipe to follow and a watchful eye, I’m fairly confident I won’t blow up the apartment building.

To that end, I recently read an article by the great Dan John where he noted:

Recently, I added a list of “Ten favorite meals” from the insights of Sean Greeley. These lists give me an idea of how I am doing socially, spiritually, emotionally, physically and fiscally.

A light bulb immediately turned on in my head, and I thought this had potential for a pretty neat and fun blog post.

Everyone’s relationship with food is different. As I noted above, before, food was just a means to an end – simply fuel to get me from one deadlift session to another.  But in the years that I’ve matured (poop!) and the more I have experienced life and all its trials and tribulations, food – and all that it means and represents – has blossomed, and has grown to mean much much more to me.

While I still tend to eat the same things on a day-to-day basis, below are some of my favorite meals.  Some are the healthy, “I’m still a meathead” variety, while others are there solely because they’re deliciously badass.

Lets get to it!

1. Date Night

Where I’m from “eating out” doesn’t have quite the same connotation as it does here in a big city – mostly because there isn’t nearly as many options.

Where I’m from a romantic evening out is generally reduced to Applebees or Olive Garden.  

Nothing says “I love you” more than a bottomless bowl of garlic breadsticks.  BOM CHICKA BOM BOM!

When I first moved to Boston, “fine dining” was not in my vocabulary.  Place three forks in front me, and I was more likely to start pretending they were spaceships than anything else.

Luckily, with practice, my culinary and dining aptitude have improved, and one of my most favorite things to do now is explore new and interesting restaurants.

Just about every weekend Lisa and I head out on the town and head to the Back Bay to hit up a steakhouse and dominate a succulent filet mignon, or maybe we head to the North End and drown ourselves in vintage marinara sauce and pasta.

Whether we’re in the mood for seafood (rarely on my end, I hate seafood) or eating “dirty” (NACHOS!!!!!!!), Boston has it all, and I love being able to explore new foods and flavors.

2. My Morning Omelet

In a word: EPIC.

Every morning I look forward to two things:

1. Peeing

2. Eating my omelet.

Here’s the stats:

5 Whole Eggs (with the yolks). I try my best to purchase “free range” eggs from farms that I know allow their chickens to roam.

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2-1 cup chopped broccoli
A few sun-dried tomatoes
Garlic, turmeric, oregano, pepper, parsley
Goat cheese, and salsa

I’m good to go.

As an aside, one game I like to play when we go out to brunch is to see the reactions of the waiter or waitress when I ask for a double order omelet.  I’ve gotten everything from, “are you sure about that?  That’s like, six eggs!”  (mind you, the stack of pancakes and syrup that the person at the table next to me ordered has like twice the calories) to looks of disbelief that I can’t possibly eat that much to the chef coming out in person to congratulate me and offer me a free shirt.

It’s weird, but always makes for interesting conversation.

3. Pizza and JP Licks

I know it’s blasphemous to say that anywhere other than New York City or Chicago has good pizza, but Boston has it’s fair share of stellar pizza joints.  No, really, I’m not kidding!

One of my go to places is Upper Crust Pizza – which is literally right down the street from my apartment.  On occasion I’ll head down after a grueling training session and order a few “slices of the day” (buffalo chicken with blue cheese is a staple) and then top that off by walking diagonally across the street and hitting up the JP Licks for some peanut butter Oreo ice-cream.

4. My “Earth” Protein Shake

I know it’s kind of lame to list a shake as one of my favorite meals, but there’s rarely a day that goes by where I don’t have at least one (sometimes two) of these due to my busy schedule and the fact that I spend upwards of 6-8 hours of my day coaching.

Assuming you have a Magic Bullet or something to its equivalent, give this bad boy a shot:

I start with placing half a bag of (preferably organic) baby leaf spinach into a container, along with a scoop of creatine, SuperFood, and 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds (all of which are optional).

Pour 1/2-1 cup of almond or coconut milk into container and mix.

From there I’ll add a scoop of protein powder (Grow), maybe 1/4 cup of rolled oats, some unsweetened shaved coconut, a scoop or two of cacao nibs, and some frozen blueberries or mixed berries.

Mix again, and you’ll end up with a greenish/brownish “earthy” looking concoction that will taste GREAT and almost certainly get some weird looks if you drink in public.

5. Healthy Fajitas

I love fajitas, but not the gluten-fest that they’re often affiliated with.  Don’t get me wrong: sometimes I’ll go for broke and crush the flour tortillas like the next guy, but more often than not we’ll make our version of fajitas that are little more guilt-free and far healthier.

We’ll ground up some grass fed beef and cook that in a fajita mix along with some cutlets of chicken.

From there we’ll lay ou the prerequisite sides of guacamole, cheese, salsa, and while sour cream is great, to be honest, greek yogurt works just as well.

Instead of the flour tortillas, we’ll use huge leafs of bibb salad and use those as our wraps.

And for the record: We got rid of that white couch looooooooooog ago.  One guess as to who wasn’t allowed to eat on it during fajita night?????

6. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because there’s no commercialized Hallmark way about it.  It’s all about family and friends and FOOD!!!!!

I mean come on: what else is better than eating some of Mom’s homemade apple pie???????

7. Meatza

I “stole” this meal from my pal and fellow lover of all things lifting heavy, Nia Shanks.

Essentially it’s a flattened meatloaf cooked in a way that mimics a pizza.  Genius!

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll just defer to Nia’s post about it HERE.

And there you have it!  Those are just a handful (well seven, so a little more than a handful) of my favorite meals.  Got any you’d like to share?  Sound off below!

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