Friday, December 3, 2010

Macho Doesn't Mean Mucho: Man up dudes!

Shopping recently, I came upon a stressed and bewildered gal examining the shelves of the grocery healthy foods section as if was from another world. Looking at me with pleading eyes, she solicited, “Do you know anything about these foods?” Like a famished cat offered a bowl of milk, she eagerly accepted my help.

“Well, my fat, stubborn, macho, diabetic husband refuses to eat anything but potatoes, red meats, butter, bacon, beer, sugar, and white bread,” she carped, “He thinks corn and green beans are the only vegetables on earth. His doctor warned if he doesn’t alter his meat and potato diet, he’ll stroke out and prematurely meet his Maker! I’m genuinely frightened.”

As a motivational speaker, nutritional literacy educator, and researcher, I hear this lament far and wide. Macho Men are resistant to change within their stereotypical masculine diet. Consequentially, loving wives live uneasily with the grim prospect of losing partners and providers. Over the decades, most men have been brainwashed that meat three times a day is macho and vegetables were not..

For 16 years our catering firm fed every NBA team coming to play the Pacers. I remember early on when he was a immature rooky, Reggie Miller entering the chartered 727 with a box of Milky Way’s, Ding Dong’s, and a quart of Mountain Dew, aka, Country Cousin Champagne. Slumped, metabolizing, and sweaty, the players ridiculed our buffet of fresh veggies, real sliced turkey breast, humus, guacamole, and boiled shrimp. Rik Smits entered the plane after four grueling quarters defending the hoop, then, to restore his energy, would pick up five baby quiche, sucking them down like a hungry python in a bunny cage. Players laughed, calling it sissy food. “Hey, don’t kill the caterer!”

Sixteen years later, menus tightly controlled, these same thoroughbreds demanded fresh vegetables, fruits, lean cuts of poultry, beef tenderloin, pork loin instead of chops, grilled salmon fillets without heavy cream sauce, and gave up ordering fried foods. They put on their big-boy pants, became real men, and transcended crappy food, recognizing the more real foods and less artery-lining gelatinous goo they ate, their mental as well as physical on-court performance plus their impending trade value dramatically improved. By the 2000 playoffs with the Lakers there were three vegetarians on the Pacers. The Lakers had nine. These enlightened ‘macho’ players learned that next to procreation, breathing and sleeping, eating is the most important thing you do to sustain your Temple. They opened their minds and realized everything about their entire being was the result of their daily food choices. Without learning to intelligently select more real foods, they may have never reached mental or physical perfection as our creator generously planned for His creations.

In addition, eating more vegetables normalizes blood pressure and promotes cardiovascular health. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported a diet high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains improved blood flow and prevented damage to the cells that line the arteries in a group of men with high cholesterol. Vegetables also improve blood flow, the top secret ingredient of a happy love life since a healthy vascular system is required to prevent the heartbreak of ED.

After my grocery buddy and I talked a bit you could see the lights go on and the stress drain from her pretty face. To my thinking, it takes a manly-man to embrace plant foods and a real diet rather than continuing to suck down self-destructive foods. I totally agree with Zsa Zsa Garbor, “Macho does not prove mucho.” Game on, dudes.

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