Introduction: When I was growing up, things were not handed to me. I was the last one to get Stompers, Moon Boots, Gobots, Transformers, Atari, Air Jordans, you name it. My parents were more concerned with getting three square meals a day in my gut than falling prey to the latest fad sweeping the nation. At the time, I resented that, but you know what? After all these years, I can honestly say I’m glad. I never thought I would be, but I am. My old-fashioned, strict parents put the fear of Christ in my body, which I feel molded me to be a stand-up citizen with good moral values and a strong work ethic.
A few years down the road when I ventured off on my own, I either had to fight or work hard for everything I had. This included the shoes on my feet, shirt on my back and especially, food on my table; which I have a personal connection with. I would go as far as saying I’m a major foodie, and although my background points in the direction of fitness, my passion is nutrition. In the big picture, these two parameters go hand in hand. If you do not feed your body quality nutrients, all the exercise in the world won’t do a damn thing for you.
After doing years of research and experimentation, I decided to share a portion of my culinary experiences with you. I am not a nutritionist or dietician (by design), and you will not find 45 sets of initials past my name. I choose to keep things simple with just one set. It takes less time to write. Furthermore, I definitely know what goes on in the mind of a man-on-the-street. This is something you will never learn in a text book, and is far more valuable in the real world. Several things you do not have to worry about with this literary work are half-truths, lies and deceitful wording. Not only would this cause me to get sent to the Firing Squad, but it is also strongly against the Lean Beret Code of Ethics.
As it stands right now, here’s what to expect if you were to walk into my kitchen. I like to prepare food, eat that food, and keep it as close to organic as possible. I have a saying that goes a little something like this… “Organic isn’t just the right way; it’s the ONLY way.” Why choose organic? Gee, let me think about it… Would you rather put something in your body that has been raised with pesticides, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives, or something that was raised by Mother Nature? Simply put, the body does not like complication, and it despises conventionality. It is a much smoother running organism when you feed it high-octane fuel that is not laden with gunk. Let’s take apples for example. They might be on sale for .99 cents a pound, but they are also filthy with residue and pesticides. And don’t even think for a solitary second that you can wash that grunge off. The apple is screwed from the second it’s a bud on a branch. Just trace it back to its roots; literally. An apple tree starts as a seed that is impregnated into ground that has been treated with fertilizers and chemicals. As the tree grows, it is continually dowsed with more pesticides and chemicals. This infects the entire tree. Apples then grow and get hammered with even MORE pesticides and chemicals until they are picked. You then buy the apple, take it home and eat it. Manufacturers of these apples dupe you into believing you can wash the residue off, but it is impossible. The apple still comes from the tree which was a seed planted in toxic land and sprayed with pesticides its whole life. This means that very apple you rinsed off with a fruit wash and shined on your shirt is rotten to the core! It’s similar to a pregnant woman smoking and drinking her ass off throughout here entire term. The baby is going to be showered with toxicity and suffer irreversible effects, or should I say, defects. I’m just stating facts here.
This philosophy not only applies to produce, but it translates across the boards with all foods you eat. Look for a label that says “Organic” or “Certified Organic” if you truly want to avoid yuck. I know what you’re thinking and I’ve heard it before. “Rail, that’s all fine and dandy, but that organic stuff is soooo expensive!” You are absolutely correct. It is more expensive than conventional food, but colon cancer treatment is expensive too. Simply put, invest a little bit of money into your preventive care program now, and you won’t have to pay a lot more for primary care down the road.
Moving right along, I feel I am in exceptional shape, and this is no accident. I don’t want to sound egotistical by saying that, but facts are facts, and I tell it like it is! The reason why is not because I get to the gym before sunrise every damn day of the week. It’s not because I voluntarily park far away from buildings that I need to enter. AND, it’s not because I choose to always take the stairs instead of escalators at airports. Well, OK, maybe all of those factors do offer at least a slight contribution, but there is a bigger picture than all that sweat equity. It’s called diet. Now don’t go turning your back on me. I know how you can get when you hear that word. Just give me the floor and allow me to explain.
You see, there is a lot of misinformation and nonsense floating around about the word “diet.” Out on the streets where I come from, I constantly hear things like… ”Ugh, I’m getting fat; I have to go on a diet. My doctor told me I’m overweight and have to go on a diet. I can’t fit into my jeans anymore and have to go on a diet.” These are some of the most preposterous statements I have ever heard in my life. Here’s a news flash that just hit the press about a thousand years ago; you already ARE on a diet! Your doctor didn’t tell you anything. The correct terminology is skewed and it should read a little something more like this… “I can’t stand the way I look and feel so I have to CHANGE my diet.” You see, whatever you eat on a daily basis IS your diet. That’s where the words “Dietary Intake” come from. Everyone’s dietary needs are different, as is their metabolisms. And in case you are unaware, metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories for all daily processes. At least, that’s the second grader’s definition and it’s all you need to know. Your goal should be the same as mine—keep your diet as clean and healthy as possible. I plan on helping you facilitate this lifestyle change by teaching you how to eat well, eat good food and eat dishes you can not only tolerate, but also love. As an added bonus, I will show you how to do this in a reasonably short amount of time. I’m a very busy man, and speed is what I need when it comes to the kitchen. If you too fall into this category, then you’ve come to the right place hombre. Fast and easy is what butters my bread.
When it comes to flavor, I’m no different than anybody else. In fact, if something doesn’t taste good, I want nothing to do with it. That’s the driving force behind my recipes. I develop them with foods that not only burst with nutrients, but also taste great. This is often in stark contrast to what people think. The average unknowing job snob often draws a conclusion in the sand that healthy food tastes terrible. That could not be farther from the truth. You need to stop listening to what “they” say and start listening to a Lean Beret who has tried metric tons of food and spent countless hours in a kitchen devising, revising, slicing and dicing. Think of me as a kitchen magician of sorts. As I mesh things together, my intent is to make dishes as tasty and eye-pleasing as possible. This is not as hard as you think once you have a sense of direction.
A lot of the food I use, and that I am going to explain, will likely be foreign to you. All I ask is that you please just sit back and focus up. I have knowledge that you won’t find atop your local grocery store’s shelves. Knowledge that I know can be very meaningful and beneficial if used at the right time in the right place. Here’s my game plan… With each recipe, I will list the ingredients, and explain why the recipe is good, what relevance the ingredients have and why I chose to work with them. Being that I’m a Lean Beret, I will do my best to translate everything into easy to understand language. No one likes complication, especially me.
It’s almost time to get down to business, but before I do, I need to alert you about something. Throughout the Act, you will notice that I mention various company names. At the time of production, I assure you these companies had the Lean Beret Seal of Approval. This means they can be trusted, they are safe, legitimate and what I like to call the “good guys.” Most importantly, they have a positive message and are part of the solution, not the problem. Just be cautioned that a lot of reputable companies are starting to “sell out” to the man; the man being larger conventional companies who are drunk with power and want to cash in on the organic movement. I will expose these frauds as they become available.
Since I’m a nice guy, I’m going to include measurements and amounts of ingredients with each recipe. I was on the fence whether to add this step or not when first crafting the book, but after careful thought and coaxing from a few select friends, I decided to include them. Besides, if I didn’t, I’m not so sure I would be able to brag about doing things in grade two mentality. Without any further ado, get your tools ready and let’s ride!
Everyone likes dessert right? I will be the first to admit I have a major sweet tooth so I think I’ll kick things off with a personal favorite. Because I’m very random in daily life, I am going to follow that same pattern by not putting these recipes in any particular order.
If you want order, go visit a courtroom.