I’m almost 40, and turning over a new (salad) leaf

by Mike on April 15, 2013 · 8 comments

There are roughly 2 weeks until I reach four decades of living on this earth. It’s jolting! With a growing family to take care of and provide for, I’ve had to focus on feeling better and staying younger longer. I will be forty, and it’s important for me to be healthier. So I am doing it.

I am going on a diet.

I’m trying to cut out most carbs, processed food, hydrogenated oils, most sugar.  Eating real food. Lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, cheese and meats. It’s the Paleo diet, but with dairy.

I stayed in svelte, optimal shape in my twenties — particularly through the years I performed in De La Guarda in New York City. When I met Ang back in 2003, I had less than 6% body fat!

Publicity shot for De La Guarda Villa Villa, circa 2004.

Due to the rigorous demands that show placed on my body, I burned enough daily calories that I ate basically whatever I wanted. I enjoyed my pizza, pasta, potato chips and pies, and didn’t hold back. I loved going out to eat, and when I did, I ate a lot. And it was fine.

Surfing in Waikiki, 2004.

Not anymore. De La Guarda ended its run, but I still ate what I wanted. I moved onto other acting projects, but they were less physical. Ang and I got engaged, then tied the knot. I continued to eat with abandon. What is it they say about a happy marriage leading to weight gain?

Whooo-hoo! Buh-bye skinny days! Marrying Ang in 2007.

My metabolism and age have reared their realistic heads, and the time commitments for my family, creative projects and work don’t leave me a whole lot of time for the same level of physical activity built into my everyday that I once took for granted in my twenties. A press photo of a master class I helped teach when The Lion King was in Albuquerque shows me at perhaps my worst (click here to see it!). It’s a harsh realization. My eating habits have to change.

At an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet at Upstream Brewery, Omaha in March 2013

Coupled with a hot yoga practice, this diet will hopefully enable me to optimize my body’s performance.  I have never tried a legitimate diet before this. I used to crash-diet in high school for wrestling matches.  I would stop eating a couple of days before a meet in order to make my weight class. Yeah, that’s not something I wanna revive. Back in 2008, Ang and I tried the Master Cleanse, but we were miserable and broke it after 3 days.

Max and I, Miami Beach, May 2012.

Here’s my goal: I want to lose 10 lbs.  I am starting at 187 lbs., and I’ll check in with 3 For The Road every week.  I truly hope this diet has a positive impact on my eating habits for the long term. I may not stay as stringent for the rest of my life, but here’s hoping some of the core healthy habits remain.

We’ve been posting the debaucherous meals we’ve had out on the road… now begins the home cookin’ series. And I’m telling you, these recipes are actually pretty tasty! I still get to eat meat and fish. My first diet meal kicked off in Appleton, Wisconsin with a color-filled Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing with Bacon. Here’s the data.

Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad
with Honey Lemon Dressing — with Bacon

Ingredients:

6 cups baby kale, washed and chopped
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
feta cheese, crumbled

Bacon Lemon Dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Instructions:

1. Put the kale in a large bowl, and add the strawberries, avocado, almonds, and feta cheese. Toss gently.

2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk until mixed well. Add bacon, as well as a little bit of bacon drippings.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve and demolish!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

steve April 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

my wife and i have been on the paleo diet on and off for a few months. we allow ourselves a few little ‘cheats’ here and there and we couldn’t be happier about how its making us feel. we also have been training for a half-marathon and go hiking/biking when we can. best of luck and i look forward to reading about your progress.

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Kathryn April 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Wonderful salad idea! I will try it out tonight! Thanks 3 for the Road!!!

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Ron April 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Go Mike! You can do it. I try my best, too, to not eat anything with palm oil and corn syrup and no longer eat brie. I’m trying tofu in place of ricotta for my famous spinach lasagna [my Italian ancestry will get me for this]. However, I will not be replacing cheese with soy “cheese” on my pizza, ever again!

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ANGELIQUE April 15, 2013 at 3:02 pm

YOU CAN DO IT MIKE!!!!

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Eileen April 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Cheering you on Mike! 10 lbs is a good goal, but I’ve heard that waist is more important than weight, because the omentum which builds up in your belly is the big health risk factor. Have heard a good rule of the thumb for a target waist size is your height divided by 2.

Other good metrics is your blood pressure and cholesterol — are they normal? When Frank cut out meat from his meals, his blood pressure became normal for the first time!

One of my favorite food writers is Michael Pollan who has 7 Words & 7 Rules for Eating:

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Probably the first two words are most important. “Eat food” means to eat real food — vegetables, fruits, whole grains — and to avoid what Pollan calls “edible food-like substances.”

Here’s how:

1. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” Pollan says.

2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.

4. Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions — honey — but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food,” Pollan says.

5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. “Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says. “Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full.’”

6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It’s a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. “Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?” Pollan asks.

7. Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

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Michael Hollick April 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Thanks, Ei!

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Anita May 16, 2013 at 9:37 am

Hey Mike! This sounds like an awesome venture. Can’t wait to hear more about how it’s going! Best of luck to you!

Miss you guys,
A

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maternity photographer dallas tx April 17, 2014 at 1:51 am

Hey there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.

I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

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