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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

A Tale of Two Cities: New York vs. San Diego (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Saturday, October 06, 2018


If you are a New Yorker, have you ever peered through the droplets of rain on your window and dreamed of moving to sunny Southern California?

If you’re like me, you have, many times. I grew up in northern New Jersey and went to college outside of Philly. I traveled the world for work and play and lived on the East Coast almost my entire life. Back in the eighties I picked up and moved to San Diego. I took a job at a heavy equipment company that I was not at all suited for. A crazy girlfriend followed me west and created havoc everywhere I went. The job sucked and the move was a disaster. After a few months I moved back east, licked my wounds and began a successful career in marketing and advertising at Fortune 100 companies and prestigious advertising agencies. Life in NYC is tough, but although I got knocked around more than a few times, like Sinatra, I did things my way and have experienced my share of traditional success in New York City.

In the back of my mind I always wondered how my life would turn out if I stayed in So Cal. The dream has never escaped my mind, and every time I visit Cali, I don’t want to leave. My wife has family living in San Diego so every other year we take the trip west. After all these years in Manhattan, we are both over New York, so upon our return home this year we decided to get serious about making a move west… or not. This is my inspiration for this two-part series comparing life in New York City with San Diego.

As mentioned in Part One, the focus out west is not on LA. It’s on San Diego and other areas south of LA. Over time, with so many New Yorkers moving to Los Angeles, it’s become too similar in too many ways to the Big Apple. As a result, I’m moving out purview south to describe what I think is a slightly more authentic west coast experience.

So here we go with the second set of comparisons between NYC and San Diego.

1b. City sightlines and more about the weather - Like Sinatra sang, nothing beats autumn in New York. When the leaves are turning and the cool breeze of fall whispers through your hair, the city feels gorgeous and romantic. Nothing beats the majestic New York skyline and the Hudson River is very picturesque, especially in the fall when the air is clean and crisp. And although the waterfronts are changing and finally taking shape around Manhattan throughout the year, I really feel alive when it’s fall in New York.

New Yorkers are known for style and there is no better time to see the people strut their stuff than this time of year. Summers here can get too hot and humid, and the city has a garbage problem that stinks up the air and sullies the streets. Winters are atrocious in New York City—wet, raw, mostly disgusting. This mess continues for months right through the spring. The weather does not break until mid-May or June. That means New Yorkers get six cold, gray months and six warm months. Our sunrises are idyllic, but unless you are near the water, who bothers to get up to see them?

Although it gets cool at night during the fall and winter, unlike New York, San Diego does not have four distinct seasons. Compared to New York, the city itself is newer, cleaner, and prettier. It may not be as dramatic looking as Manhattan, but the downtown area is much nicer and cleaner—visually a combination of LA and San Francisco. Even Balboa Park fares well when compared to my beloved Central Park. It’s safe, sprawling and much larger than CP and there is a wonderful classic Spanish influence in the architecture in the park.

And you can’t beat the So Cal coast for natural beauty. There are miles and miles of beach and the water is warm. Sunsets are spectacular and driving to the beach to witness them is an evening ritual. The bay in San Diego and ocean along the coast are incredible, and the beaches are free. Cabrillo Point overlooks all of San Diego. Overall it’s one of the mast scenic vistas I have ever visited and San Diego itself is an unbeatable, gorgeous city.

I love New York and it’s dramatic skyline, but let’s face it, the city streets are often filthy and strewn with garbage from the overflowing trashcans that line every corner.

San Diego is a more picturesque city. Let’s give it a point.

2b. Getting around – You really don’t do a lot of walking in California and the traffic is dense. If you live in So Cal, you need a reliable vehicle. Parking is not great, but it’s far easier to find a spot than in Manhattan. True, you will spend a good chunk of your day in your car and checking your GPS for the best route to take when traffic bottles up, but I’d take that over the archaic, crumbling subway system here in New York. Frankly, the New York subway system, bridges, and airports are decrepit and embarrassing. A world-class city needs to do a much better job of updating its infrastructure. I’ve been a resident for years and the situation keeps getting worse. I’ll choose driving on a crowded Route 5 or 805 any day.

Point to San Diego.

3b. Sports/stadiums – Why did the NFL Chargers and NBA Clippers both leave for LA? The Clippers packed their bags decades ago due to lack of support and the Chargers left last year due the owner wanting to build a new stadium only if taxpayers footed the bill. Yet, despite their professional teams relocating to LA, I’ve never heard anyone in San Diego complain about the exodus of professional sports teams from their fair city. Maybe it’s because people in San Diego are not super-rabid professional sports team fans like we have in New York. MLB’s Padres remain in San Diego, and if count the number of cool Padres hats you see about town, you’d think they remain fairly popular.

But, when I took my son to his first MLB game at majestic Petco Park (wow, what a beautiful facility), the place was half empty and eerily quiet compared to the crowds at any Yankees or Mets game where everyone grouses loudly over every ball or strike. Fans in Sad Diego like their rodeo, monster cars, motocross, horse racing at Del Mar, sailing, and surfing. They are not into professional spectator sports the way we are in NYC.  So although the venues are better in San Diego (expect for aging QUALCOMM Stadium), sports are more of a religion in New York.

If you care about this type of thing, let’s award a point to New York.

4b. Lifestyle – Let’s face it. New York is a rat race. Type A people are drawn here from every corner of the global looking to make their mark. Like Frank said, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. It’s true. New York City is a city of dreams. But after a few decades, many of us New Yorkers begin to realize that they are the rats in the race. The hectic pace, all the backstabbing in business, and constant anxiety take their toll. Although many New Yorkers are addicted to the city and cannot imagine living anywhere else, others realize that living in New York City can be a blessing, until you allow it to become a curse. Between the high costs of real estate, schools for the kids, entertaining, and the trials and tribulations of getting around city life take their toll.

Meanwhile, back in San Diego, another family is visiting Sea World, Old Town, Knots Berry Farm, Lego Land, Disney, the Gas Lamp District, the harbor, Coronado Island, or any of the quaint surfing towns along the coast where the pace is slow and the kombucha flows freely.

Let’s score this one for San Diego.

5b. Entertainment and culture – New York is arguably the cultural capital of the world. We have great museums, Broadway shows, concerts, Radio City, the Metropolitan opera, Lincoln Center, films, etc. The list goes on and on. You can get to the beach or the mountains within two hours and it seems like there is always something to do at any hour in the city that never sleeps.

San Diego has more outdoor fun stuff like its amusement and water parks. And although the actual beaches are nicer along the east coast, So Cal has way more beaches, to the point where living there becomes a beach lifestyle. It’s hard not to like that, plus the great weather all year.

Yet, when it comes to culture and secondarily entertainment, New York wins the point by a slim margin.

Well there you have it. Is there a winner? Not really. Making a choice between these two fascinating cities depends on where you are in life and the lifestyle you desire. Tallying things up, it’s been a close competition between New York City and sunny San Diego. If you are a New Yorker and thinking of moving west, make sure you are realistic about the costs of living in So Cal. It’s not quite as expensive as New York, but it ain’t cheap. The weather is better, the city is newer, and the people, at least on the surface, are friendlier. But, New York is like nowhere else, and once people get a taste of it, many won’t settle for living anywhere else.

Me? I’ve loved my years living on the east coast and in the Big Apple, but it might be time to head west and stretch my arms out. We’ll see.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Frank Sinatra. Old Blue Eyes gave us signature songs about New York, Chicago, LA, Vermont, and Paris. Too bad he left out San Diego.

A Tale of Two Cities: New York vs. San Diego (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, September 28, 2018


East coast / west coast comparisons are nothing new. For years conversations have pitted the Big Apple against the City of Angels. But after decades of New Yorkers migrating to L.A. beyond cars versus taxis and subways, is life that different in these two cities?

Sure, L.A. is an industry town while New York is the capital of finance, media, many other businesses, and arguably the world. But over time, the world has gotten smaller and the cultural chasm between these two coastal metropolises has shrunk. In fact, although I am a New Yorker, I feel right at home in L.A.  I can get all the same stuff and I deal with lots of New Yorkers who, by the way, brought their attitudes along when they moved out west.

That said, during the course of a recent two-week trip to San Diego and the gorgeous surrounding area, I noticed major differences between coastal lifestyles than I’ve observed when visiting LA over the past decade or so. In fact, some of those differences in San Diego living reminded me of So Cal back in the 80’s and 90’s. Simply put, San Diego is a picturesque laid-back So Cal city that is not L.A. and nothing like NYC. With this in mind, I offer you a tale of two cities or my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to the Differences between New York and San Diego.

So, in no particular order here’s the insights your Guy’s Guy absorbed over the course of a few vacations to San Diego and a short stint living there back in the 80’s.

1. People – People are people. Every one of us comes from the same source. We all share divinity and deserve to me recognized as such, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, sex, etc. In my opinion, the differences we see in people who live in various places around the planet can be attributed to culture an environment. So, let’s be clear about that and get that issue out of the way first. We are all the same.

That said, life in San Diego versus New York City can be very different and as a result people’s behavior in each city can be very different. San Diego reminds me of how I always saw So Cal: laid back, sunny and warm, gorgeous spaces and healthy people. The pervasive attitude in San Diego is chill and friendly. If you ask someone for directions they come to a full stop, consider your question and do their best to be helpful. When you buy something in a store or visit a restaurant, the staff is polite and friendly, every time.

In NYC, when a tourist asks for directions on the street or in the bowels of the subway, the natives are helpful. But if you are a local and you need help to ask someone something you’ve got to make a real effort to connect with people. And they might even give you shit.

Quick story. The other night, I was heading home on a crowded C train. I saw an empty seat and was ready to sit my ass down when a guy across the car yelled, “No, no!” I did not realize he was speaking to me so as I began to sit down I realized there was an undefined puddle of liquid on the seat. The guy saw my lowering my tush and yelled again, “Man, I told you not to sit down!” Only in New York do people try to help you and then yell at you. I only got one cheek wet and I thanked the guy while he was shaking his head and looking down like I was a total idiot. Hilarious.

New Yorkers move and think fast, real fast. When you attempt to ask a question to a New Yorker, the other person immediately begins qualifying you. While they remove one ear bud, they size you up and ask themselves, “Is this person going to hit me up for money? Does he have a knife? Will he rob me? Is he going to expose himself?” A million thoughts blow through New Yorkers minds when a random person attempts to ask them a question. After you’ve past the “he’s not going to kill me” test, I’ve found most New Yorkers to be empathetic and helpful. But is this a healthy way to live? I’ve gotten used to it over the years, but this hard truth hits home whenever I return to New York after visiting another city or country. The tone of life can be harsh in New York.

Not so in San Diego. People migrate there for the lifestyle and the weather. They like to relax and hang out. They are proud of their city. In fact they love it. I have never heard anyone complain about San Diego, especially the way New Yorkers often bitch and moan about our urban landscape with all its warts. Even New Yorkers who love the city complain about it when warranted, and that is often.

There is also major difference in the level of anxiety between people in the two cities. I was not subjected to any anxiety or anxious people in San Diego. Here in New York, the level of anxiety is palpable. The people and life in general in New York is intense and competitive. Upon my return to New York I noticed a difference in how people communicated to each other, even in friendly situations. There is an underlying level of competitiveness and need for validation. Someone asks you what school you are sending your kid and you find yourself feeling that you need to justify your choice at the risk of being judged by your neighbor. It can be that crazy here.

I reckon a lot of these types of interactions also take place in San Diego-- maybe it’s who lives in the better neighborhood—but I did not experience the same level of nervousness or paranoia as I get in Manhattan.

To me, the people in San Diego seemed a lot happier and relaxed compared to life in New York.

Score a point for SD.

2. The service – When you go out to eat in New York City the service can be harsh, but it is usually efficient. In New York, how many times has a server tried to take your plate away before you are finished eating? Lots of times, right? The good news is restaurant service usually is swift and often works like clockwork no matter how busy a restaurant gets. The waiters can be friendly or gruff, but you’ll rarely wait for your entree or the check. Retail shops are another story. There are some great salespeople in New York, but often the staff in stores can be amazingly unfriendly and borderline rude.

Last night I met a friend for a drink. I’m a boomer. My hair has lots of gray. When I entered the restaurant filled with business people, the guy working there blocked my path. I attempted to sidestep him, but he would not let me pass. He asked for my I.D. I asked him if he was actually carding me and he asked for my ID again. I pointed to my hair. I was way older than him. He told me if I did not like it to go somewhere else. This was an interesting way to treat your customers, but that type of nonsense often happens here. I also notice that many times store staff does whatever they can to prevent you from getting the right price. Like if something is marked on sale and it rings up at the old price or a sales sign offers 30% off and the staff insists the sign should have been moved because the sale has ended or some similar nonsense. We New Yorkers put up with this crap on a regular basis.

Of course there are lots of very nice folks in New York working retail. The issue is training. Staffs need to be taught the importance of being respectful to customers and not viewing the customers as the enemy. But unfortunately in New York, I have often learned that the “the customer is not always right”. Too often customers have to fight for our bargains.

Not so in my limited exposure to San Diego and the surrounding area. The peeps working retail are friendly and polite. Frankly, it does no cost anything to be civil. That said; service is faster and more efficient in NYC.

I’m still going to give another point to San Diego.

3. Food – Overall, the cuisine in New York City is the best and as varied as any city I’ve visited in the world. In New York, you can get anything at any time and it’s usually tasty and fresh. Like everything else, food in New York can be pricey, but you can also find authentic and affordable versions of anything and everything somewhere in the city. New York has it all.

Well, let me rephrase that. We have it all except for good Mexican food. You would think that since Mexican food traveled east in the 80’s that by now we’d have our pick of cheap tasty Mexican food and walk up taco joints that could compete with those on the west coast. But, it never happened.

In San Diego, Encinitas in particular, the food at the Taco Shop is fresh, fast, casual, delicious and cheap. It was just one of a plethora of casual Mexican joints that are better than any Mexican food in New York, and over the years I’ve tried most of the Mexican places in the city.

San Diego also has a Little Italy that is much nicer than the tourist trap in Manhattan. So Cal has many fine dining establishments. But overall, you can’t beat NYC for food. And yes, the pizza is still better here than anywhere.

Let’s give one point for the home team.

4. Real Estate – We all know how expensive it is to live in New York. But, So Cal, and especially the communities south of LA are no bargains. The locals say that you pay for the weather. That’s true, and although you can buy a house for the price of a 2-bedroom condo in Manhattan or Brooklyn, like NYC, it’s going to cost you over a million. During our trip, with Berkshire realtor extraordinaire, Susan Deetman, we explored the lovely coastal communities around Del Mar, Encinitas, and Carlsbad, as well as a few other bedroom communities further inland where the temps are ten degrees hotter and the risk is higher if the economy craters again.

In NYC you can make money by staying ahead of the curve. In other words, in New York you can still find neighborhoods that are ready to turn. We moved to Harlem in 2010, two years after the crash, and we bought a two-bedroom condo a few blocks from Central Park for under a million. In just eight years the price of similar units has doubled as Harlem undergoes its renaissance. Unlike NYC, in San Diego, the only new areas to buy a home moderately cheaper are further from the coast. But, in the areas north of the city of San Diego the public schools are highly rated. Yet, overall it isn’t cheap to live in San Diego, and your investment will not appreciate at the same pace as in NYC.

Another major difference between housing in NYC and San Diego is there is more variety when looking to rent in NYC. You can rent a new condo in downtown San Diego, but the prices are not that different from NYC.

Let’s give another point for New York.

We’ve covered a lot so far in my tale of two cities, but there is a lot more to consider when comparing these wonderful, but very different areas. Next time we’ll match up the beauty of the cities, recreation, entertainment, sports, getting around, weather, and the pace of life.

Until then, this week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is the late Tony Gynn, a former San Diego Padre, true Hall of Fame talent, and one of the greatest hitters in NL history.

The Guys' Guy's Process of Elimination™ Diet Plan (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Friday, July 20, 2018


Would your losing ten percent of your bodyweight in six months considered a successful diet program for you?

Six months is real time. This is not a short-term fix or a yo-yo diet where you lose fifteen pounds before slowly gaining every pound back and more. This is the Guys’ Guy’s Process of Elimination Diet Plan. It’s how I’ve steadily dropped eighteen pounds during the first half of 2018. The results have come slowly but steadily, and there are still six months to go. I’ve learned a lot by eliminating one item of food from my diet every week since the beginning of the year.

Let’s take a look back at the process, the challenges when giving up certain foods and some of the surprises I’ve encountered during the first half of the year.

  1. If you are into self-improvement and you enjoy challenging yourself, the POE is actually fun. You might ask, “Hey, Guy’s Guy, how can taking away a food you love every week bring any sense of joy?” Good question. Coming up with a new food to eliminate by the end of each week was a fun task for me. To succeed, I had to make this a game. Yes, it is a crazy game that is not for everyone, but if you have a spirit of adventure and self-discovery, and you like achieving real results that you feel inside and see in the mirror, it can definitely be fun. The game necessitates your deploying a personal strategy and long-term vision and can quickly yield visible, energetic, and emotional results.
  2. You’ll be surprised how quickly you lose your cravings for the foods you’ve given up. I discovered that dropping a new food every week shortened any cravings for the food I gave up the previous week. Why? Well, for one thing, you will only have seven days to fret about the food you gave up on Sunday. By the time the next weekend rolls around you’ll need to pick another food to eliminate and focus on that the next week. As a result, by the following Monday you will probably have forgotten the food you gave up the previous week, even though you will not be eating it for the remainder of the year. This may sound totally crazy, but it really works. For me, the key was dropping a true favorite the first week. That’s why I gave up alcohol for the entire year on January 1st. I’m a social drinker, and although I don’t pound the same way I did during my roaring twenties, I know enough about beer, wine and spirits to also know how important it is to drink only the good stuff and very little of the sweet stuff. I love sipping top shelf tequila, a buttery Chardonnay, an organic IPA, or the occasional imported vodka.
  3. After a slow start, the pounds suddenly drop off and your body shape improves. I must admit that suddenly giving up all alcohol made January an even colder month. But I am glad I started the program with my biggest challenge. It kept my head in the game and made me determined not to slide or simply throw in the cards by downing a few shots of tequila. I followed giving up alcohol by eliminating candy, another sweet. Most people replace one sweet craving with another. So, I gave up cookies the second week of January. I followed this by giving up candy and finally cake. That made January a tough month, but a very fruitful one. I had cleared my system of lots of sugar and began noticing changes in my body when I worked out or went for a long run. I felt lighter, and there was less stress on my joints, so I knew I was on the right track. When I stepped on the scale at the end of January I had only dropped five pounds, but they were five important pounds. These set the tone for my success and faster weight losses over the next few months.
  4. Coming up with foods to eliminate was a task, but again, a fun one. As mentioned, I was determined to be the first person to go through the POE advanced program of giving up one food every week for a year. By the time Fridays rolled around, I’d already conquered my cravings for that week’s drop and was thinking of something that felt right for the next and following weeks. Some weeks I had an idea by Tuesday. During other weeks, I took me until Saturday night to come up with the next item to wipe from my plate. I took it easy on myself during February, giving up pie, croissants, muffins, and cream cheese. Or so I thought. I soon learned that some of the foods I dropped were not as easy to erase as I’d predicted.
  5. There are surprises along the way. Of course, giving up all wine, spirits, and beer for a year has been trying at times, especially during the hot summer months when I witness friends drinking chilled margaritas in front of me. That sucks, but I remind myself about how disciplined I am, how great I’m doing, and how much better I feel having lost eighteen pounds. I also never realized that out of all the things I’ve already given up, I’d miss eating cream cheese as one of the tougher foods to drop. I also learned that eliminating rice and potatoes as starches in meals made a big difference in my waistline and how I felt after meals. I wasn’t sure if this would be the case, but I was clearly less bloated when I replaced rice or potatoes with salad. Another thing I learned is that I doubt I will be eating most of the foods I’ve given up in the future. Sure, I will have a sip of tequila or a glass of wine, and maybe some chocolate, but for the vast majority of foods I’ve eliminated it has been out of sight, out of mind. My eating palette has definitely changed for the better.
  6. You will feel great. Since I was committed to not drinking for a year, I thought it would also be a good time to work on myself. I upped my meditative practice and invited more metaphysical authors and healers to my GUY’S GUY RADIO podcast. I joined a spiritual enfoldment group that meets every week for a channeling session with a very loving group of Guides who enter our spiritual circle for ninety minutes. All of this has truly helped my development as a person. The first time I hit the beach this year I did the energy work I always do by the ocean and the results were amazing. My energy and frequency has not felt this light since I was a kid. And, my long runs along the boardwalk have been exhilarating like they were years ago when I trained for three marathons.

The bottom line is I feel great, in fact as good as I have ever felt. I’ve also reduced my media intake to a bare minimum and have made it a point to love myself and forgive all the people in my life who need forgiveness, if you know what I mean. I’m not sure if this is related to the diet, but maybe the discipline required has re-energized my passion for self-love and improvement. My clothes fit, I look fresher, I sleep better, and my energy is through the roof. And, I am not craving alcohol, ice cream, or chocolate. Tell me that isn’t not fun! And I still have close to six months to go. I’ll be back at the end of the year with my final results and I hope you will join me. In the meantime, I wonder what I’ll give up next week…

Here is the list of foods I’ve given up to date by week.

  1. Alcohol
  2. Cookies
  3. Candy
  4. Cake
  5. Pie
  6. Croissants
  7. Muffins
  8. Cream cheese
  9. Soda (except club soda or seltzer)
  10. Ice cream
  11. Potato chips
  12. White rice
  13. Brown rice
  14. Chocolate bars
  15. Cream/Half and half
  16. Scones
  17. Doughnuts
  18. Adding sugar to anything
  19. Honey
  20. Chocolate nibs for cooking
  21. Adding butter
  22. Ice cream products on a stick
  23. Frozen yogurt
  24. Potato puffs
  25. Rice pudding
  26. French fries
  27. Spaghetti
  28. Bagels

The Guys' Guy's Process of Elimination™ Diet Plan (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, July 13, 2018


If you are like me, you love your food. But for indulgent diners, maintaining your fighting weight becomes a never-ending battle.

You like to eat, you eat well and you think you’re making good choices. And you work out, but the pounds continue creeping onto your waistline. What’s a Guy’s Guy or a Gal’s Gal supposed to do to stay trim in the face of our questionable food supply and the plethora of tasty, global cuisines invading our shores?

Anthony Bourdain may be gone, but his legacy of introducing Americans to the delights of world food and cultures lives on. With the sampling of new foods comes new cravings and opportunities to pack on pounds. Is it possible to enjoy life and eat well without ballooning into a Thanksgiving Day float when cruising along Central Park West? I’ve put this notion to the test and the answer is a resounding yes. But it requires some circumspection as to what enjoying life means to you and how you can find bliss without succumbing to the daily food cravings that flood our consciousness.

After achieving short-term successes with a myriad of yo-yo diets, and giving up meat a decade ago, I noticed I was still packing on the pounds. Even after factoring my dedication to fitness and all those long runs and hours on the elliptical trainer, when I stepped on the scales last December I saw an unfamiliar number of pounds and told myself enough was enough. Even with what I considered a reasonably healthy diet combined with hours of cardio, I kept gaining weight. Maybe you’ve been there, too. For a 5’10 Boomer, any weight under two hundred is not considered all that bad. But, I’m a Guy’s Guy. And as the person who began this movement¾where men and women can be at their best so everyone wins, “not bad” simply was not good enough.

I decided to develop a program, determined to create a fresh new diet regime that did not require purchasing prepared special meals, fasting, or monthly cleanses.

I knew that another short-term diet plan could only yield short-term results. And I know that the older you get the more challenging it is to peel off those pounds. That meant my program needed to deliver long-terms results that enhanced wellness and potentially inspired permanent lifestyle changes and resulting food choices. In other words, I wanted to build a diet plan that functioned as a stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to help men and women be at their best and win, Guy’s Guy style. After a few weeks of mulling this around, I had an epiphany. 

Eating, and eating well comes down to making choices.

At every meal you choose to consume this or that¾ the tuna or the lamb chops, the beer or the club soda, the bacon cheeseburger or the salad. Over time, the results of those choices¾the bad and good, come to fruition. I asked myself, “what if, a little at a time, I eliminated all my bad choices, or at least as many as possible while still enjoying what I was eating?” What if I eliminated one bad choice per week? Heck, over the course of a year, I could slowly but steadily delete more than fifty bad choices. Spreading out the program across a year would avoid the shock to the system of the familiar short-term diet “fixes” that produced short-term results through pain instead of persistence. I had an idea to potentially achieve significant long-term, life-changing results while allowing my body to slowly and steadily adjust to the changes from making better choices.

I call it The Guys’ Guy’s Process of Elimination Diet Plan. I’ve been doing it since the first week of January 2018. More about that later, but first; here’s how it works. Over the course of the year, you eliminate foods from your diet that you know are not good for you. The POE program has two levels¾monthly and advanced. Let’s begin with the monthly, which is doable for anyone with a little willpower and drive.

Add one new food to cut out from your diet every month.

For example, in January you give up ice cream. That means no ice cream for the entire year. Maybe that isn’t so easy, but you want long-term results. In February, you give up something else for the entire year. Let’s say, bacon. You can’t eat ice cream or bacon for the remainder of the year. When March rolls around you’ll need to choose something else, and so on. By the end of the year you will have given up a dirty dozen of foods you know intuitively are not good for you, your waistline and your health. You make the choices you need to make that are right for you. If you give up something like chewing gum, you’re only kidding yourself. You need to commit yourself emotionally and make those tough choices. That’s it.

I believed that over time, the process of eliminating a different “bad” food from your menu of choices would yield positive results beyond shedding a few pounds.

If you eliminate fattening, processed foods with empty calories and little nutrition you will lose weight. But more importantly, over the long haul, I believed that your slimmer body and positive self-image would also reduce its cravings for the non-healthy foods that caused both physical and emotional distress. You will feel and look better. My theory was that the end of twelve months you probably would not be as interested in digging into a bowl of chocolate swirl ice cream. At least that’s the theory.

To provide empirical evidence for my hypothesis, someone had to put this to test. That's where I came in. However, I wanted to raise the stakes—it needed to be done on a weekly basis. To prove my theory, I needed to complete the advanced program that entailed giving something new up every week of the year. By the end of those fifty-two long weeks, I will have given up fifty-two foods I crave, but know are probably not good for me. This could be a monumental challenge. I didn’t know, but I was determined to find out.

I’m past the halfway mark approaching twenty-eight weeks. And I can honestly report that the program is working exactly as I planned. I’ve lost weight through eliminating twenty-eight foods from my diet, and in almost every case, I have fewer cravings, and if things keeping going well, I am not planning on eating them again, or at least not with the same frequency, zeal and passion as in the past.

On January 1st I weighed 196 pounds. As mentioned, I work out regularly, so there has been no change in that area. I will continue to work out because it’s something I enjoy and believe will enhance the results of the program exponentially mostly because I have more energy and am slowly, but steadily shedding weight.

I started my weekly “advanced” POE diet program by eliminating alcohol on week one. Yikes! This was a tough decision, but I mentally braced myself for this sacrifice during the last weeks of December. As a result, I did consumed a bit of tequila and sparkling wine during those final days of 2017. There is no magic to starting the program at the beginning of the year, beyond it being a twelve-month commitment. Like all New Year’s resolutions, you start at the beginning, although most resolutions are left in the dust after a month or two.

And so it began. Let’s take a break here. I will continue next time with a list of the foods I’ve given up and the results of following the POE program to date. I’ll give you one hint. It’s been wild and worth it. Until next time, amigos…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to 10 Things that I've Learned are True (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Tuesday, June 12, 2018


What is really true in this crazy world we live in?

That’s a question you need to ask yourself. The answer won’t pay your rent, but when you learn the truth you’ll find that many of your opinions, judgments and the things you once believed turn out to be a lot different than what you thought. And if there is anything we really need to know in this lifetime, it’s truth. Does anything else really matter?

If we boil the truth down to just one thing, it’s that everyone walking the face of the Earth is an expression of the Creator. And so, we need to recognize the divinity in everyone. That means the good, the bad, and the ugly that walk among us. If you accept this one truth, everything else can fall into place. Recognize the divinity in everyone. It’s that simple.

But, let’s talk about those other truths, the things we pick up over years through trial and error, success and failure and winning and losing. And let’s do it Guy’s Guy style—casually, confidently, and authentically. Beyond the truth of our divine origin, I’d like to share a handful of insights and nuggets I’ve picked up along the way and how they apply to life love and pursuit of happiness. Let’s call this one my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Ten Things I’ve Learned Are True.

1. Fear is a lie – We live in a culture held hostage by fear. Turn on your television and experience the avalanche of negativity and borderline hysteria about all the things that can go wrong in our world. We’re reminded daily about our need to stave off the inevitable doom that awaits us in the forms of financial troubles, job loss, hair loss, cancer, old age, divorce, suicide, or being swept by the Golden State Warriors. We live in a society that tells us that “you are not enough, and you need to buy these things to survive”. In other words, you can stave off the fear by spending your money on their consumer products, meds, insurance, etc.

The airwaves are awash with TV series, films, news and advertising all focused on fear. AI takes over Westworld. Zombies rule on The Walking Dead. Money is God on Billions. The news is bad these days and beyond that, Trump dominates the airwaves. All of this drives home a ways of thinking that the end justifies the means, bad behavior wins, and you’re going to get screwed over anyway.

So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? First, don’t buy the hype. Sure, you need money, a job, and insurance to get by, but things are not so bad unless you agree with the notion that life sucks and that you don’t have enough stuff. I’m finally getting past my own personal fears and I now approach life in a new way.  Ironically, it was necessary for me to lose a lot and face down fear and the abyss to turn my attitude around. These days, instead of avoiding what I don’t want to happen, I focus on my end goal of reaching as many people as possible with entertaining, helpful content across platforms.

Take a step back and think about it. Are you avoiding what you don’t want to have happen or relentlessly moving towards want you want? Forget fear and focus on your primary life objective. It can be that simple, but it can also be challenging to change your perspective.

If you have your health, love, and enough cash to get by, you are, compared to most people on the planet, way ahead of the game. I’m not suggesting you settle right there. No, I’m a capitalist and I have no problems with making oodles of money.  But some times we need to take stock of our relative lot in life and show some gratitude.

Never let the media make you feel inadequate in any way. The truth is… although life can be tough, there is nothing to be afraid of. After all, you are divine, a soul incarnated into a physical body. Recognize that truth in everyone and things will change for the better. 

2. Everything is connected – An ex-boss dropped this nugget on me during my last day at his agency. At the time, I did not know what to make of his statement. Yet, his words have always stuck with me. Over time, they’ve haunted me until I figured it out and realized he was right. Everything we do becomes part of our fabric of who we are. It’s sort of like your resume. Your best moves and your questionable decisions are all laid out for you and others to pick through.

No worries, though. We all screw up. And don’t be concerned with past mistakes. Learn from them and change. Realize that where you are today and the experience you’re now having is a result of all your prior actions, including all the bonehead moves you’ve made. Life is not sporadic. It’s about cause and effect. Reminding yourself that every action causes a reaction is helpful. 

3. Forgiveness is freedom – People hold grudges. It’s true, and it’s a damn shame. And these bad feelings are created from ego. No one, especially in our blame-game culture, likes to admit they made a mistake. But, the truth is, we all shit the bed now and then. We’re human. That’s what we do. We learn by trial and error.

So, give people who wronged you a break. If someone makes a mess or screws you over, it’s ultimately on them. I know it can be hard to forgive, but do your best and let things go. Sure it’s often easier said than done, particularly when individuals go out of their way to hurt you. Forgive them anyway. You can still take action.

Let’s get this straight: I am not suggesting you let people screw you over. What I am suggesting is that carrying a grudge can work against you. All that negative baggage becomes a heavy load to bear. So let it go.

I know it’s not easy. Forgiveness is a practice that requires a mindful participation, but it is a worthwhile skill to learn. If you are sincere about forgiveness it will free you from a lot of negative weight and pain. This does not mean you need to forget it, or that you need to keep toxic people in your life. I’m referring to helping yourself by not becoming overly burdened by negative emotions that can eat away at your well-being.

4. Learn to say “I’m sorry” – How many people do you know who never, ever admit to a mistake and say, “I’m sorry’? If your friends and relatives are like mine, the number is high. Many folks are emotionally constipated, and seemingly incapable of owning up to their mistakes. Often it is because they lack the self-esteem necessary to take a hit in stride. People who never admit they are wrong and regretful need help and a little love. But everyone is on his or her own journey to the same place. You cannot expect everyone to think like you do. What you can do is to lead by example. Then it is on them to master this skill.

So when you screw up, say you’re sorry.  Everyone make mistakes every day… even Donald Trump. It takes a real man to admit to his foibles and take responsibility for them. It is a sign of strength that when practiced over time gets easier and easier.

5. We have more power than we think – If you listen closely to the media, news and advertising, the message is clear. You know nothing and you’re in deep shit unless you do as you are told and buy what they say you need.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Humanity has been blessed with incredible powers to do amazing things without the latest gadgets, clothes, or meds. Instead of assuring us about our gifts like intuition, self-healing, and a direct connection to the Creator, we’re instead constantly reminded of a need for more insurance coverage, drugs, money, and consumer goods to survive in the way others have planned for us.

Many metaphysical experts and scientists warn us that our channel to our power is being been suppressed by chemtrails, GMO foods, wifi, and radiation from cell towers, and other unnatural albatrosses that have been foisted upon our lifestyle.

Our skyrocketing health care costs cover medical issues after you find out you have a problem, but almost never cover preventative alternative protocols. Do your research. Reading books on healing, consciousness, natural medicine, and raising your frequency all help provide you with information to consider about how to live your life. It might not necessary fall in line with what you have been told, but it’s the only way to do things. Your fiends might not agree. That’s okay. You will attract new people into your life that are on a similar point of their path.

So how can you claim your truth amidst so many falsehoods in our world? Start by managing your thoughts and managing your words. Because you have so much more strength than you have been taught to believe, you may not be aware of the pure power of your focus and the words you say, particularly about yourself.  Think positive. Don’t believe everything the mainstream tells you is true. Do your own research. Seek out different perspectives and points of view. Keep and open mind. True. True. True. True.  Good luck.

This week’s GUY’S GUYs of the WEEK are the truth seekersthe ones who don’t take things at face value and always ask questions, the ones who keep an open mind and don’t judge new ways of thinking, the ones who know they have more power than they have been told.

The Guy's Guy's Guide to the 4 Types of Daters You'll Meet Online

Robert Manni - Friday, May 25, 2018


Once upon a time, a guy entered a restaurant. He noticed a pretty lady sitting at the bar. Wanting to meet her, he sauntered over, smiled and introduced himself. “Hi, my name is Lou. Can I buy you a drink?”

She looked him over and smiled back. It doesn’t matter what happened at this point, because the possibilities were endless and many of us lived that scene back in the day. And every now and then something like this still happens. But not so much anymore.

Dating, like everything else, has gotten complicated. Real complicated. Dating used to be a fun sport. Now, too often it’s a combat sport.  And it’s really a jungle out there. So most singles have retreated to the comfy confines of their bedrooms to engage digitally. The first step is downloading the usual dating apps and signing up on dating websites in the hope of finding a compatible, but probably equally confused partner.

When you approach dating online, you’ll need to be sharp and have a strategy to avoid the emotional landmines that lay ahead. And if you pay attention and learn the game, you’ll soon know how to save lots of time and heartache by qualifying your prospects. But if you’re dating online and haven’t figured this out by now, you’ve come to the right place. Your Guy’s Guy is here to help you separate the wheat from the chafe and make the most of your time and efforts while swiping left or right. I went on so many online dates that I learned the hard way how to qualify prospects before investing my time, money, and psychic energy in someone I had up to that first face-to-face encounter only met online. So, here is my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO DATERS YOU’LL MEET ONLINE.

Drum roll please…

1. The new kids on the block – At one time or another we’ve all been the new kid in the game. We’ve all wasted a few online prospects’ time before they figured out we had not yet figured out how the online game is played. This happens when you begin the process by plinking on your keyboard in your tightey-whiteys in the dark of your bedroom to meeting that straight up stone cold fox in person. She expects your A-game. But it takes a time and finesse to sharpen our online skill set, so let’s not be too hard on the newbies we encounter online. Qualify and if necessary, move on. We’re all rookies in the beginning and that means we probably have been more focused on the shiny object dangling on our phone or computer screen instead of determining who you are, what you want, and what you have to offer a partner. It seems that most online daters miss this first step.

Meeting someone who has never dated online is often a waste of time. In my experience, I met a number of very attractive, intelligent, and pretty cool ladies who had never been on an online date. Rookies tend to have a lot of questions, but few answers. They are often very recently single, separated or divorced. They are dabbling, curious and attentive as they inquire about you. They nod their head as they listen attentively and subconsciously compare you to their last boyfriend or ex-husband.  After a while, they may bring up their two daughters or the fact that their ex–whatever still lives with them or is in constant contact even though he is a douche. So you glance at your watch and realize that this was a waste of your time. She is a newbie who does not know what to expect or what she wants from online dating. It’s an eye-opening experience for her. And that’s perfectly understandable. But, shame on you. Her pretty photos sucked you in without your taking the time to qualify her situation before agreeing to meet. So, you lose and she now knows a little bit more about online dating. Wasn’t that fun? Maybe you thought since she’d been married she was generous in the sack and ready for some sheet rumbling with a new guy. You were being selfish and lazy. I know. I’ve been there, amigo.

But that’s not it. She simply was curious about online dating and you were a vessel to fill in some of the blanks before she moves on and dates another half dozen guys before she has a handle on the online dating game, what she wants out of it, and what she expects in a partner.

My advice is in most situations, try not to be the first dude a newbie dates online. Qualify this prior to meeting up unless there is something special there that really sparks your curiosity. Otherwise pass.

Notice I said, in most situations. When it comes to online dating you might craft your rules to live by, but rules are ultimately meant to be broken. There are always exceptions. Case in point—my wife had been recently separated when she winked at me online. I liked what I saw and read about her. Her personality was refreshing so I took a chance and met her without even a phone call. This was my way of breaking my own rules, two of them. I always wanted a phone call first and I did not want to date recently-separated women. But, like I said; rules are made to be broken. So we met and really enjoyed our date. In fact, we have been together ever since. So, there are exceptions, but before dating an online newbie, use your head. That means the one on top of your shoulders.

2. The jugglers – Also known as players, these attractive men and women treat dating like the game it is. And they know how to play to win. Theses cool cats double- and triple-book their life in the big city and always have a backup plan. They’re usually good-looking (worth mentioning again), well-dressed and coiffed, and usually have a good job. When you meet up, they will eyeball you quickly before judging and labeling you. You might become dinner date material for you business connections, bedroom worthy, a rich guy, or creative type who stimulates their curiosity. It doesn’t matter what category you fall into or how you are labeled because most of all you are a disposable social connection that may or may not fit into the complicated puzzle of their unnecessarily over-complicated lives.

Don’t take it personally. These players move like sharks through the dating pool, devouring those who find their way in their path before they move on. You may think you’re making it with them at first, but the slightest infraction will get you voted off the island.

Now don’t get me wrong. Players are fun and they can be sexy, but remember who you are dealing with and don’t take yourself too seriously. These swingles move very fast and unless you can keep up with their demands and lifestyle, you’ll be jettisoned. And that’s okay as long as you can live with the reality of dating a player who may temporarily position you on top of their love totem pole after you’ve done whatever they expect you to do to get there. And that will probably be expensive, so buyer beware.

3. The lonely – Whether online or offline, there are a lot of lonely people in this world, especially in big cities where the tenderhearted can get overlooked by the more flashy players. You know the type.

She moved to New York from Missouri because she is smart and feisty and wanted that Mary Tyler Moore moment when she throws her hat up in the air. And despite the crime and the grime and the expenses, she is in love with the city. And that makes her vulnerable. She’s a great gal with decent job and a nice, clean apartment with big fluffy towels in her bathroom. But she’s never really gotten accustomed to the often-heartless behavior of urban males who have ghosted, bird-seeded or orbited her. She’s online because she wants to meet a guy and that’s what everyone is doing. She crafts a sincere profile and dutifully checks her emails every night hoping that cute guy she wrote to online will be the real deal. She expects men to behave like gentlemen online. But often, they don’t.

She deserves a man who will step up and date her like her dad wooed her mom. That might not happen. But, welcome to New York, anyway!

My advice. Treat this lady with care. If you meet her and don’t feel the vibe, pick up the tab and move on. Don’t seduce her and disappear because she is vulnerable. If the attraction wanes after a date or two, consider the possibilities of a friendship, unless she thinks you’re an asshole. Regardless, be kind and don’t waste her time or your time just to get laid. Okay?

4. The realists – These are the men and women who put up with all that shit in their mid-level jobs as an expected step in their life’s journey. They want some fun and excitement and hope to meet someone normal online they can date for a while and maybe build a relationship with. Is that so unreasonable? Of course not. This group represents the pig in the python for online daters—savvy millennial, GenY, and X’ers who are doing their best to make their mark in this dysfunctional world the older generation left them with. Thanks a lot, boomers!

These hard-working people are the backbone of society. They deserve a little fun and a good partner. The good news is that most people dating online now, whether make up this group. So if you are a decent person with a sense of humor and a job, you can probably have a great time meeting people online. Online dating is no longer the exception. It’s the norm and you can meet a lot of cool men and women there if you keep your antenna extended and learn how to protect your time, money, and your feelings before falling to one of the many online dating sinkholes. I hope this helps.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is my wife. She spent one weekend during a free trial for an online dating site and dated only one guy who became her husband. That’s impressive. But, so is she. After all, she married a Guy’s Guy.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Supplementation

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 05, 2018


Are you taking more meds than supplements? If the answer is yes, you might consider flipping the script.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one of TV. I’m a Guy’s Guy and although I have had real health scares, I’ve learned how to take very good care of myself. Over the past two decades and particularly following two robotic surgeries on my kidneys, I’ve made it my business to research the hell out of taking charge of my health. One of the major learnings is the importance and power of a healthy diet and supplementation. Although it is best to meet our nutritional needs through eating the right foodsorganic whenever possibleit also important to augment specific needs and fill in our nutritional gaps with all-natural organic, raw supplements.

I won’t brag about how much energy I have or how healthy I feel, because I know anything can happen at any time. I thought I was healthy four years ago before my surgeries. Those surgeries sucked, but they were a wake up call. I got through them with flying colors and never looked back. My surgeon told me that my healthy lifestyle and fitness levels were positive factors in my quick recovery.

When I go for my annual check and MRI, I’m asked what meds I take. I tell the nurses I don’t take anything. They usually arch an eyebrow and ask me again because they don’t believe me. So, I tell them I take turmeric so they’ll have something to write down. Turmeric is an all-natural dietary supplement. That’s the kind of meds I take.

In the opinion of your Guy’s Guy, it’s important to consider mixing supplements into your dietary planif you even have one. Again, this is what I do. I’m not suggesting that my choices are necessarily right for you. Do your own research and make your choices. Some studies say supplements are a waste of money. But before taking that to the bank, consider the study and the source of funding for any studies concerning your health and diet. I’ll share what I’ve learned and what works for me. Then it’s up to you, amigo, to do what works best for you.

So let’s get to it. Here is my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO SUPPLEMENTS

1. Raw One for Men – If I were limited to one supplement, this multivitamin would be my choice. These capsules are filled with organic fruit and vegetable blend featuring beets, broccoli, carrot, spinach, tomato, ginger root, red cabbage, tart cherry, Brussels sprouts, celery, probiotics and enzymes, and on and one. They also offer a women’s version. It’s a raw, whole food based dietary supplement that is easy to absorb and chock full of all the vitamins our bodies need including A, C, D, E, K, etc. There are other good brands out there, but I like this one. It covers it all for me and it’s raw. I take one a day.

2. Pure Turmeric (Curcumin with Black Pepper Extract) – Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplement made from a root. The one I take is “standardized” for high potency and includes all-important black pepper to facilitate the body’s absorption. Studies suggest it is good for liver health, skin care, anti-oxidants, and depression. Do your research before making your choice of a brand and dosage. I take one 750mg capsule a day.

3. Vitamin C 1000mg – Ascorbic acid consumption is not to be overdone, and it is best when ingested through foods, but if you do not eat enough fruits and veggies, one 1000mg’s of organic vitamin C tablet is a solid choice. If I am on the go and do not have a morning shake with Camu Camu powder (raw powder with a mega-dose of natural vitamin C), then I take one of these.

4. Bromelain - Inflammation has been proven to be a primary cause of autoimmune diseases and general sickness. Wellness and nutritional experts recommend we eat foods and supplements that offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Bromelain is also considered helpful for joint health and arthritis. I take one tab a day.

5. Raw Vitamin D- Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, and we all need a little sunshine. Nowadays, many people either stay out of the sun or cover themselves with sun block do to the Sun’s power ultraviolet rays. Many studies have shown that taking an all-natural vitamin D supplement helps insure we get enough of this mission critical vitamin. The Garden of Life raw version I like is made from a raw fruit and vegetable blend with high omega cracked-wall chlorella and probiotics. I take one 2,000 IU tablet per day.

6. Saw Palmetto Extract – This is for guys. It’s an all-natural herbal supplement that helps with male prostrate health by shrinking the prostate lining. That keeps the prostate in check because it grows slowly and over time can push against a man’s urinary track, forcing us dudes to pee during the night. I take one 320mg gel cap a day.

7. Cold Pressed Organic Flaxseed Oil – We all need omega 3. The most popular forms for supplementation consist of fish oil or flaxseed. I choose flaxseed because to me choosing the right fish oil can feel random. Flaxseed promotes heart health, healthy skin, hair and nails, while supporting the immune system. I take one gel cap a day.

8. Double Strength L-Arginine and Pine Bark Extract – The combination of these two supplements is good for guys. The combination of one pine bark and two L-arginine tablets helps increase blood flow, which is good for men’s sexual health and athletic performance. Better blood flowing, more oxygen, and better boing.

9. Probiotics – Probiotics aid the production of healthy gut bacteria. Studies show that 80% of Americans suffer from a Candida overgrowth of gut flora. Probiotics pour billions of healthy bacteria into our digestive tract that gobble up the Candida that can lead to autoimmune diseases. The gut has been proven to be our second brain so anything we do to keep it in top shape helps us stay healthy.

I take two types: Saccharomyces Boulardii + MOS – a high potency probiotic that supports intestinal tract and survives passage through the stomach and its acids. It features one strain.  Jarro- Dophilus is another brand that includes eight strains.  Do your research to find the right mix for you. I take one of each a day.

10. Mega Hydrate- These tablets or powder are designed to unlock the potential of water as the medium for nutrient replenishment and waste removal at the cellular level. This helps capture antioxidants that can die quickly. It comes in a compressed powder for hydration and antioxidants.

Although there are myriad of supplements to choose from, this is my take and selections. After years of research with my wife, I created this go-to list of supplements. I believe it suits my needs, you may find other options that work for you. Whatever you decide to do, choose organic, raw, natural supplements. They are the purest and contain raw fruit and vegetables as their foundation.

Things have changed, amigo. It is foolhardy to buy and consume only what they sell in boxes and cans down the aisles in supermarkets or at chain restaurants. These goods are marketed to maximize corporate profit at the lowest cost. There is nothing wrong with companies making money, but from my experience working for major food corporations, these companies only change what they offer when consumers demand it.

That’s why we are seeing more and more non-GMO, organic, and healthy versions of old standby products we’ve consumed since we were kids. But nutritionally speaking, we have a long, long way to go. So for now, I take supplements to ensure I get all the nutrients my body needs to keep it healthy and strong.

I’m here to help by sharing my experiences, but ultimately, it’s up to you to take care of yourself.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Jalen Brunson, AP Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year. Why? I listened to him being interviewed the morning after Villanova won its second NCAA championship in three years. The reporter asked him if he would feast on Philly cheese steaks now the season was over. Brunson hesitated before saying, “I don’t know about that. I need to keep eating healthy.” Yeah, mon!

The Guys' Guy's Guide to the Perfect Breakfast Smoothie

Robert Manni - Saturday, March 24, 2018

Does your breakfast usually consist of bacon, eggs, buttered toast and coffee? Or, if you are on the go, how does an Egg McMuffin, a blueberry muffin, or a venti latte sound? If you're nodding your head, you are not alone. Too many of us are in too much of a hurry to get to work in the morning to eat a proper breakfast.

With that in mind I’ve laid down the pillars of a terrific-tasting and ultra nutritious morning shake that you can set up the night before. This way when you climb out of bed the next day all you’ll have to do is turn on your blender for thirty second to start your day the right way with a supercharged great tasting shake. This is an aggregation of my many years of mixing and matching ingredients in search of building a highly nutritious, yummy-tasting perfect morning smoothie.

All you hardware you’ll need to get started is a good blender. I use the Vita Mix 5200 and it’s never failed me. Then you want to add the best ingredients for a Guy’s Guy health and taste buds. Initially you’ll want to invest in the highest quality organic ingredients, but if you buy these ingredients in bulk, making these shakes are affordable, and definitely less expensive than daily splurges at a high-end coffee boutique. After downing one of my shakes my hunger is satiated for the next four to five hours so it works for me. And I hope it tastes great and works for you. I’ll spell out a long list of the ingredients I like and their benefits, but you can mix and match as you choose. There are no hard and fast rules here.

It’s shake time so let’s get started, amigo. And whether you are a guy or a gal, I think you will enjoy my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to the Perfect Breakfast Smoothie.

1. Organic Coconut water – The perfect ingredient for enhanced hydration. I pour in about a half cup.

2. Almond or coconut milk – Too much dairy is not great for you because dairy creates mucus and has limited health benefits compared to organic almond and coconut milk. A half-cup is recommended.

3. Pasteurized organic yogurt – Not mission critical, but a tablespoon adds a nice creaminess to the mix. Yes, I realize this is dairy, but it’s only a spoonful and the yogurt is high in protein.

4. Maca root powder – Considered a superfood, this powder helps fights stress while it bolsters energy and vitality. It helps build muscle and also helps women with PMS symptoms. Add one teaspoon.

5. Fresh organic fruit (banana, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) – No one can argue with the massive taste difference between organic and non-organic fruits and berries. Besides, when you choose organic you are not ingesting all the pesticides sprayed onto our fruits. It may cost you a bit more, but it’s your health we’re talking about here, amigo. I break off a chunk of banana, and grab a few small handfuls of berries--preferably blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

Berries are a great source of fiber and digestive help. They also are great sources of ellagic acid, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Bananas add calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6. This fresh fruit makes up the core of the shake. I know, fruits have sugar, but they’re also packed with vitamins and have a helluva lot less sugar than those amped up coffees everyone drinks.

6. Organic Camu Camu – This powder has more vitamin C than any fruit, by far. In fact, one teaspoon of this is equivalent to eating fifty oranges. And you get all the vitamins without the absorbic acid from a tablet. It is also anti-viral and aids with stress reduction, brain functioning, and inflammation. Good stuff. Use a small teaspoon.

7. Raw Organic Cacao powder – Where do I begin? This chocolaty brown powder provides forty times the antioxidants of blueberries, more calcium than cow’s milk, lots of iron and magnesium for heart and brain health, and it’s a natural anti-depressant. A teaspoon is fine.

8. Chia seeds – Another super food. These gritty little seeds are loaded with protein, fiber, omega 3s, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, niacin, and potassium. I let a teaspoon of seeds soak in the liquid in the blender to softened them up and ease with their digestion.

9. Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi powder) – A medicinal Ayurvedic plant is considered a nerve tonic and protector of memory, the brain, and our intellect while promoting youth and vitality. I suggest starting with less than a teaspoon because it is not easy to digest. It took me a few tries to get used to how it worked with my digestive system. And it has a slightly bitter taste. If your system can handle it, it is purported to work wonders.

10. Goji berries – These tasty red berries are considered cancer-fighters that also help the immune functions with loads of anti-oxidants. They also help the skin, eyes, liver, blood sugar, fertility and energy. I throw a small handful into the blender.

11. Ashagandha powder – Another anti-cancer Ayurvedic powder that helps monitor blood sugar levels, reduces cortisol, helps reduce stress, depression, and anxiety while enhancing fertility in men. I suggest a level teaspoon.

12. Pinnicale of Wellness Ultimate Organic Green Super Food powder – To ensure that I get my daily intake of chlorella, spirulina and other raw organic ingredients including barley, probiotics, acai berry, flax seed, wheat grass, parsley, thistle seed, cilantro leaf, and alfalfa. It comes in a tasty berry flavored powder. I toss a level scoop of it into the shake.

14. Fresh lime - I enhance the tartness of the shake’s flavor with a squeeze of organic lime, which is good for urinary and respiratory issues, constipation, digestion, and weight loss.

15. Organic vanilla – Last, but not least, I add a few small drops if organic vanilla extract to my shake to enhance the flavor and help me with its antimicrobial and analgesic properties, and ability to inhibit cell mutation.

Now it’s time to throw in some ice and blend the concoction for thirty seconds. Boom. You’re done. I also swallow a handful of raw vitamins and supplements with the shake, but that’s a personal choice and fodder for another blog post.

I covered a lot of ingredients here, but I assure you that you’re making a tremendously tasty and satisfying breakfast shake that will power you through any morning activity that beckons. Of course you do not need to include all of these ingredients in every shake, but I do, and there is something to be said for consistency for building championships. Take it from your Guy’s Guy—this is the real deal. It’s a healthy liquid breakfast that you can drink on the go and quickly become a morning ritual. Cheers!

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Stephen Poplawski who invented the blender in 1922. A colleague of Poplawski approached Fred Waring in 1936 with the concept and the Waring blender was soon launched.    

Should You Message an Older Woman a Second Time if She Doesn't Respond?

Robert Manni - Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Note: This is a sponsored post for BeyondAges.com, written by Keenan Cruz

One of the drawbacks to dating apps is the mental aspect. Unless the conversation is rolling quickly, we spend so much time in our own heads. Agonizing over the details, wondering what she meant by that phrase or what she’s up to.

Perhaps the hardest one to figure out is what to do if she doesn’t reply. Do you just leave her be and move on? Should you send another message “just in case”? It’s a difficult one because emotions can get in the way, so let’s take an objective look at it.

To message or not to message, that is the question

Ultimately the answer here depends on the method of communication. There are different expectations and possibilities depending on how you’re chatting up an older woman looking for younger men. Let’s take a closer look at each of these below assuming you have already done the work in properly building your digital dating presence.

Dating apps

With apps like Tinder and Bumble, a big part of the attraction is relative anonymity. Sure, your name and photos are there but if you unmatch someone that’s the end of it.

This tends to bring with it the expectation of low commitment from both parties. If you’re busy and don’t have time to reply until tomorrow that’s absolutely fine. Likewise, if you don’t feel like talking to a match anymore, there’s no expectation you continue. Nobody should be offended by this, it’s just how the apps work.

Of course she has the right to do exactly the same without repercussion. If you don’t receive a response from her after a particular message, my advice would be to leave it alone. Move on to someone/something else and let her be. Even if you could wrangle a bit more conversation, is that really what you want? To draw out chatter from someone disinterested?

If it’s a match you were particularly interested in, the voice in your head may be trying to convince you otherwise. I’ve been there. The self-doubt makes you wonder “what if she’s just busy and forgot to reply?” “If I send her a quick message, maybe that’ll remind her.”

Maybe that voice is right but unfortunately, it’s unlikely. Perhaps spend a little time seeing where you could have improved, if anywhere. Sometimes people just don’t click and that’s okay.

All of this is especially true if you’re early in conversation. If there have only been a few messages back and forth and there’s been no reply, move on.

Dating websites

Most dating websites focus more on the pursuit of long-term relationships than a quick fling. This changes some of the rules and expectations but not when it comes to when a woman stops responding.

You may be able to get away with a brief follow-up message since users can be a little less blasé about the whole thing. With that said, my advice is no different here — leave it be and move on to something else.

First though, you have to make sure you are only spending time on the top rated dating sites for meeting cougars. Luckily we’ve done the homework for you on that front.

Text messages

It doesn’t matter if you’ve successfully escalated from Tinder to text message or exchanged numbers at the bar. Either way, once you’ve reached this stage you can consider it a sign of mild commitment.

This doesn’t mean you necessarily owe each other anything but expectations do change. By this point you already know a bit about each other and have decided there’s mutual interest.

From this point on I find conversation to be much easier. First impressions are already made, I have a clear sign of interest and I can relax a little more. It also means that if she decides she isn’t interested, she’s most likely going to tell me.

What that means is getting no response now is more likely to be because she’s busy than flat out disinterested. If it’s been a day or two without a reply, go ahead and follow up with another message. Be sure to keep it short and for everyone’s sake, if you get no response from the second message — move on.

Think about it this way. Maybe she’s just away on vacation or broke her phone. If she goes to reply a week later and sees 17 pleading messages, you’re making the “crazy clinger” category. No more than two messages!

Dating agency

If you’re the dating-agency type, the advice can vary a little depending on the setup. Since every agency runs slightly different, it’ll depend on how you communicate with your dates.

When it’s through their website, then the “Dating Apps” section above applies to you. When you’re given a number or exchange them after a date, the section above is going to be the most applicable.

As I mentioned in the beginning, how you handle these situations depends on the method of communication. Exactly how you came to make the connection is far less important.

After a date

I’ll be honest. If you had your first date a few days ago and she’s ignored you since then, it’s not a good sign and you may not have followed our advice for meeting an online connection for the first time. Unless you know she had exams or something going on and would be busy, I’d probably leave this one alone.

The reason she isn’t responding can be hard to determine sometimes. Whatever the reason, don’t beat yourself up about it. Maybe you did say or do something questionable but it’s just as likely she went back to her ex or something.

Trying to figure out what you did wrong isn’t particularly constructive since the answer may be “nothing.” Instead, take advantage of the world we live in. A few more swipes and you’ll have a fresh match, right?

Repeated slow responses

A slow reply here and there is nothing to even analyze. You’re busy, she’s busy and neither of you deserve to feel bad about it. With that said, if you’re texting each other and she takes days to reply every time (with no valid reason in sight), that’s a little different.

Think about the match you were most into. Now think about how excited and eager you were to reply to her. As your interest in someone wanes, so too will the urgency in your replies.

It’s no different for her. Once again, it’s not something to beat yourself up about. The cause may have absolutely nothing to do with you. That doesn’t change the fact very slow replies to every message is a sign she’s just not that keen.

Calling her on it really won’t achieve anything constructive. Instead, I tend to leave the ball in their court if this happens and move on.

For example, I might send her a message like:

“Hey Sarah, I’m away for the weekend but have a few nights free next week. Let me know if you want to go do something through the week”.

She may reply with a rather generic “okay, sounds good” and that’s fine but I’ll leave it there. Now, if I’m reading it wrong and she is keen, she’ll text me. If not, that’s fine too. It’s an easy, low-pressure out for her and it means I’m not trying to carry a reluctant conversation.

How to follow up with a second message

If you’re going to send her a second message, then it’s important you do it the right way. The impression you make is crucial and you don’t want to come across as needy.

First off, as I mentioned above, you want to limit it to one follow-up message and then leave it alone. A daily message for two weeks screams an epic degree of neediness.

Perhaps more importantly, don’t go making her feel bad. Although it might be frustrating to receive no reply, she hasn’t done anything wrong. Choosing not to continue a conversation is her right, as it is yours. You may want to hold her accountable in some way but all it’s going to achieve is making her feel bad. Instead, try to be a little more respectful and just let it go.

Think about it this way, what if she was likely to get in touch with you again in the future? If you made her feel bad about your last interaction do you think she’ll want to go there again? Probably not.


So much of this topic is about patience and mental discipline. In the excitement of meeting someone you really like, it can be hard to wait for a response. It can also be crushing if you don’t get a reply at all.

Whatever happens, remember you’re both complex individuals. You each have a lot going on and slow/no reply isn’t necessarily a reflection on you. Be respectful to both yourself and her and things will be that much easier. You might be surprised who comes back down the track with an explanation.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Fit at Any Age

Robert Manni - Saturday, March 10, 2018


When the temps are in the twenties for the fourth month in a row, who wants to wake up, climb out of bed and hit the gym before 7am?

If your answer is, “Not me”, you are not alone. The more we age the more challenging it is to do the work necessary to maintain our fitness. I’m a boomer with too many friends taking multiple meds, having hip replacements, are overweight, diabetic, and flat out looking and feeling old. It’s understandable. Modern life is stressful. It takes something more than motivation to stay fit. It takes willpower. Motivation comes and goes. Our will is constant, but only if we call on it.

Assuming you have the will required to get into shape, you need a way to get started. That’s where your Guy’s Guy comes into play. And the word “play” is our first lesson. Working out to stay fit needs to be driven by both your will and a sense of “play”. You have to enjoy working out and its benefits to stick with any fitness program. I’m writing this post in mid-March and can honestly state that I know very few peeps that have stuck to their New Year’s fitness resolution. There are too many distractions, work deadlines, bad weather, and excuses available to stray from the course, unless you have that will power to succeed. Although you can call me a douche for crowing about it, I have stuck to my guns, am putting in the work, and it is paying off. And that’s why I’m writing about this. But let’s talk about you and what you can do when you are ready to get back into shape and stay there.

With that I present, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Fit at Any Age.

1. Have a goal – Although you can simply begin working out whenever, it helps to put in some thought beforehand to what you are trying to accomplish. For many it’s weight loss, for others it could be toning up. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, but it helps when you keep that goal etched into your subconscious when you are kicking off your program and when you hit that first plateau. Without a goal it becomes far too easy to find excuses to skip a day or have that scoop of chocolate chip mocha gelato. Having a goal helps you abide.

2. Start slowly – If you have not learned this by now, let me remind you that life is a marathon, not a sprint. When instituting any new fitness program, especially in the dead of winter, the key is to start slowing and build up steadily but slowly. Think about your program as a lifestyle change, not temporary punishment. You also don’t want to hurt yourself by pulling a muscle from trying to do it all in a week or two. Take your time, amigo. It’s a marathon.

3. Be Consistent – If you keep your goal in mind and begin your routine slowly while re-introducing that mind-body connection, you’re off to a good start and ready for your next challenge. That means hitting your workouts consistently. As mentioned, I cannot emphasize enough how often you will be tempted to skip days when you’re getting started. If your body can handle the changes, keep your appointment with yourself and your goal. And, you don’t have to be a slave to the regime. That’s the wrong mindset. Get into a frame of mind where you look forward to your next workout. How can you do that when it’s six in the morning and you look in the mirror and still see blubber hanging over your waist? That’s actually the point. Instead of giving up, this is the time to hunker down and remind yourself this is how championships are won. Yeah! (fist pump). Keep going and think of the payoff. You’re getting trimmer and fit and your partner is going to love it.

4. Rest – Now that you’ve turned your workouts into a scheduled routine and you’ve begun to amp up the resistance, it’s time to listen to your body and reward it with the rest it needs. That does not mean taking a week off. It might mean sleeping in on your off day or switching out weights for cardio when your body and mind are asking for a break from the iron. Rest is always good if you deploy and not exploit it. When you listen to your body and know when to give it a break or a change you’ll run like a finely tuned machine.

5. Use your food for fuel – The best fitness advice I ever received was “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” If you don’t believe it, ask any bodybuilder or fitness competitor. You are what you eat and even if you work out like a dog, if you are filling up your body with bad fuel, you will have problems reaching and maintaining your goals. If you have committed yourself to a fitness regime, do yourself a favor and be careful with your intake of booze, simple carbs, and sugar. I also suggest avoiding processed and fried foods if you want to lose weight. Any boomer will tell you how hard it is to get back in shape and shed the pounds after you fall out of shape.

6. Shake up your routine – If you’re like me you probably create a routine and keep doing the same thing workout after workout. I’ve been fighting this tendency for years. It prevents me from maximizing the work I’m putting in at the gym. It’s critical to mix things up now and then. I recently discovered Dan Millman’s Peaceful Warrior Four Minute Workout and I love it. It’s a combination of 15 movements that you do in order to unlock energy and unleash your power. You can find it online. I recently begun to include it before my workouts, and if I have a rest day I put in the four minutes to run through this routine of stretches and twists. It really helps. Other ways you can break up the monotony are running outdoors instead of using the elliptical or taking a class or doing a high intensity workout now and then instead of pumping iron. The more variety of muscles you include on your workouts the fitter you become.

7. Win the mental game – It’s easy to give up when the results are not coming as fast as you’d like them to. But, don’t give up. Never give up. It’s too damn easy to quit and you’ll kick yourself when you pack it in and order that bacon cheeseburger and a couple of beers. If you want the results, you’ll need to maintain some discipline and keep up the fight even on the days you don’t feel like it. That’s how championships are won. You can do it if you want it bad enough. That’s’ up to you, amigo, but I have faith in you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy (Gal) of the Week is Harlem’s own Ida Keeling, who is 102 years old. She recently set a new world’s record fo0r the 60-yard dash event in the 100-104 age group at the Imperial Dade Track Classic in Manhattan.


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