“Fast & Fit” by Ellen Haas

“Fast & Fit” by Ellen Haas

“Fast & Fit” by Ellen Haas (Hatherleigh, $16.95, 240 pages, www.hatherleighpress.com)

Here’s what the cover says: “150 Recipes by famous chefs like: Alice Waters, Charlie Trotter and Eric Ripert. Each ready in 30 minutes or less. And most with less than 5 ingredients.”

Sounded too good to be true. Heck it takes almost an hour to drive to your favorite pizza place, order a pie, quaff a couple beers, rabbit down a salad and slam a pizza. Plus it costs about 30 bucks plus gas at 500 or so dollars a gallon.

If you can fix good, tasty, healthy food in less than a ½ an hour that leaves almost enough time for a yoga class.

Recipes focus on fresh, in-season ingredients. Many can be made in less than 15 minutes. All reflect the government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines and the new Food Pyramid.

In a dedicated effort to assure my reader’s that this is a quality publication I forwent my usual Saturday night repast and cooked from the book: “Garlicky Kale” (what’s a kale anyway – I heard it tastes like chicken), “Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin” and a very addicting snack: “Happy Trail Mix.”

In under an hour I made all the above, plus breakfast Muesli. All were delicious. All had 5 ingredients or less. My only disappointment was that quite a few of the recipes weren’t by famous chefs and several had more than 5 ingredients.

But the proof is in the tasting. If your New Year’s resolutions are out rusting next to your barbells, splurge on “Fit & Fast.” Your mouth, your wallet and your waist will all feel better.

Besides yoga and healthy cooking, what else do real men do? Why they buy frivolous books for their wives and then read them themselves.

“Real Men Do Yoga” by John Capouya, “Plum Lovin’!” by Janet Evanovich, “Hell’s Bay” by James W. Hall

It’s March. Our New Year’s resolutions lie, littered around our recliner like Corona’s on Cinco de Mayo.

And as real guys, we are ashamed. Of course, no one will ever know this because, WE ARE MEN! And no one should ever know what we are thinking. And even fewer people should have any idea at all what we are feeling.

“Real Men Do Yoga” by John Capouya

But Grit-Lit knows what REAL MEN do.

“Real Men Do Yoga” by John Capouya (Health Communications, Inc. $12.95, 195 pages, www.hcibooks.com).

And every real man with eyes wants to look like the guy on the cover of this book. Heck, Superman wishes he was as muscular, cut and flexible as the dude on the front cover. That guy would be Eddie George, NFL running back and Heisman trophy winner. To quote George, “Yoga’s helped me to avoid injuries and made me stronger, particularly in the upper body. It gives me a competitive edge.”

Not good enough for you Oh Great Manly Man?

Kevin Garnett, NBA Superstar: “I practice my breathing and focusing before every game.” More. “Yoga helps me calm down and helps me center my energy so I’m balanced instead of going out there and just spreading my energy all over the court. I’m zeroed in on the game and have my mind set on what I need to do.”

But wait, there’s more!

“Real Men” features more than twenty pro athletes, all of whom are enthusiastic yoga practitioners: Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino, Barry Zito, hockey goalie Sean Burke and plus pro golfers and tennis players.

“Real Men Do Yoga” is one of the few yoga books specifically directed at men. There’s little if any “OOOHHMMING”. It’s a non-new-agey book that will convince you that there is a lot more to yoga than just a bunch of folks all tied up in pretzel poses.

Yoga can make you a better athlete and a healthier person: conquer back pain, build muscle, and increase flexibility. It can even improve your sexual performance. And I’ve been told it has fewer side effects than Viagra.

Whether real men do yoga because of all the great benefits or because yoga classes are full of really flexible, friendly women is something between you and your yogi.

You know what else REAL MEN DO? Real men who made resolutions to lose weight and get fit? First they sign up for Yoga. Then they swear off McDuck’s calorie bombs and learn to GASP – here comes the dirty 4 letter word – COOK! For themselves!

“Fast & Fit” by Ellen Haas

“Fast & Fit” by Ellen Haas (Hatherleigh, $16.95, 240 pages, www.hatherleighpress.com)

Here’s what the cover says: “150 Recipes by famous chefs like: Alice Waters, Charlie Trotter and Eric Ripert. Each ready in 30 minutes or less. And most with less than 5 ingredients.”

Sounded too good to be true. Heck it takes almost an hour to drive to your favorite pizza place, order a pie, quaff a couple beers, rabbit down a salad and slam a pizza. Plus it costs about 30 bucks plus gas at 500 or so dollars a gallon.

If you can fix good, tasty, healthy food in less than a ½ an hour that leaves almost enough time for a yoga class.

Recipes focus on fresh, in-season ingredients. Many can be made in less than 15 minutes. All reflect the government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines and the new Food Pyramid.

In a dedicated effort to assure my reader’s that this is a quality publication I forwent my usual Saturday night repast and cooked from the book: “Garlicky Kale” (what’s a kale anyway – I heard it tastes like chicken), “Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin” and a very addicting snack: “Happy Trail Mix.”

In under an hour I made all the above, plus breakfast Muesli. All were delicious. All had 5 ingredients or less. My only disappointment was that quite a few of the recipes weren’t by famous chefs and several had more than 5 ingredients.

But the proof is in the tasting. If your New Year’s resolutions are out rusting next to your barbells, splurge on “Fit & Fast.” Your mouth, your wallet and your waist will all feel better.

Besides yoga and healthy cooking, what else do real men do? Why they buy frivolous books for their wives and then read them themselves.

Plum Lovin' (A Between-the-Numbers Novel)

“Plum Lovin’!” by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, $6.99, 275 pages, www.evanovich.com)

Heroine, Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter. She has a para-normal bounty hunter type friend, Diesel, and a steady boy friend who’s a cop. Plus a dysfunctional family that is funnier than this column. And believe me it hurts me to say that!

Here’s an example:

“Men are like shoes. Some fit better than others. And sometimes you go out shopping and there’s nothing you like. And then as luck would have it, the next week you find two that are perfect, but you don’t have the money to buy both. I was currently in just such a position… not with shoes, but with men. And this morning it got worse.”

And a little more:

“My name is Stephanie Plum. I’m average height and average weight and have an average vocabulary for someone living in Jersey. I have shoulder-length brown hair that is curly or wavy, depending on the humidity. My eyes are blue. My heritage is Hungarian and Italian. My family is dysfunctional in a normal sort of way. There are a bunch of things I’d like to do with my life, but right now I’m happy to put one foot in front of the other and button my jeans without having a roll of fat hang over the waistband.”

You get the idea. “Plum” is classic chick-lit. Perfect for a woman but men like it, too.

And finally, real men love to read about tuff guys.

Hell's Bay

“Hell’s Bay” by James W. Hall (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95, 3068 pages, www.minotaurbooks.com)

Hall’s lead character, Thorn, is one of the better of the lone guy, tuff guy series characters Thorn lives the simple life. A virtual monastic bachelor, Thorn avoids people like you would if you knew they were trying to sell you a lifetime supply of Tupperware. He spends most of his time tying and selling fly fishing flies.

Then about 15 pages into every book Thorn decides, against his better judgment, to have an actual conversation with a living breathing human being. These conversations often start out well with the promise of love, sex, romance or at least catching a REALLY BIG FISH.

But never fear within moments things go astray and Thorn ends up battling for all that is right and good.

A real men’s book for real yoga doin’, FIT food cookin’, chick-lit readin’ MEN.

8 Steps to a PAIN-FREE BACK!” by Esther Gokhale, The Calorie King: Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter

Today’s column is about PRIORITIES and LEADERSHIP. That you and I don’t need to wait for the pigs at the trough, those “Diet Club Failures” in Washington to help us.  How we can take charge of our own lives and pull ourselves out of the tsunami of doom and gloom that is dominating our airwaves.

What you (quite rightly) ask do PRIORITIES and LEADERHIP have to do with books!? Trust me. Please.

Every time I hear a presidential candidate speak I want to scream, “Don’t you guys get it? It’s not about who has the craziest pastor. It’s not about who is too old. It’s not about whose husband was president a long time ago. It’s about PRIORITIES & LEADERSHIP. Continue reading

The Calorie King: Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter

And the first step to solving all these problems can be found in one little book.

“The Calorie King: Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter!”  (Calorie King, $7.99, 302 pages, www.calorieking.com)

Our priorities remain unchanged: get in shape, reduce medical costs, cut gas consumption, keep the family together. The plan: take the family to dinner. But don’t drive. Ride your bike or walk and then use the “King” to order a healthier meal. Instead of the $1 double cheeseburger (King says 440 calories and 23 grams of fat) have the Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap at 260 calories and 9 fat grams). It might cost more, but you’ve save a bundle on gas.

Be sure to bankroll some of the money you saved on gas because pretty soon you are going to need smaller clothes. And since waist size is directly related to your health, a smaller waist will ultimately lead to lower medical bills.

The “King” lists thousands of foods, including 200 fast-food chains and restaurants. So you can always find something healthy to eat.

“Shrink Yourself” by Roger Gould

“Shrink Yourself" by Roger Gould

“Shrink Yourself: break free from emotional eating forever!” by Roger Gould, M. D. (Wiley, $24.95, 273 pages, www.shrinkyourself.com)

Dr. Gould says that aside from a few genetic or chemically imbalanced freaks (my words not his) most folks overeat because they use food to manage their emotions. For men the comfort foods are the “B’s, P’s or D’s”, beer, burgers, beef, booze, pizza, donuts… For women the “let’s get back to an even emotional keel foods” are the “C’s”: chocolate, chocolate, more chocolate and then some carbs.

Don’t believe it? Here’s the test:

  1. Does your hunger come on really fast?
  2. Do you often feel an almost desperate need to eat right now?
  3. Did you taste what you ate or just shovel it in?
  4. Would any food do? Or did you crave a certain kind of food?
  5. Did you feel guilty after you ate? (DARN FEELINGS!)
  6. Did you eat when upset or feeling empty?
  7. Did you stuff in the food quickly?

If you answered yes to any of the above, some of your eating is emotionally driven. The more you answered yes to, the more of an issue you have. If you answered yes to all 7 and cried into your bag of Oreo’s while you were completing the quiz well, you know what you gotta do. Buy the book. Read it learn how to manage your feelings without drugs, food, alcohol or divorce. Might sound impossible but it seems a lot more likely than counting on “will power” or frozen TV dinners that come in the mail and cost twice what they should.

“Die Fat or Get Tough” by Steven Siebold

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Die Fat or Get Tough

And now author Steven Siebold, the ultimate tough guy, brings us, “Die Fat or Get Tough.” (London House, $24.97, 231 pages. Soft cover.) www.diefatbook.com

The Grit-Lit promise is to bring you all kinds of gritty tough messages from gritty tough guys. Siebold is tougher than a Marine Drill Sergeant who has OD’d on the double SS combo – Steroids and Speed.

Some Chapter Quotes.

“Fat people are delusional about being fat … Fit people operate from objective reality.”  “Fat people believe obesity won’t kill you… Fit people believe obesity won’t kill tomorrow.” And the one that hurts the most, “Fat people make choices that keep them fat … Fit people make choices that keep them fit.”

Sub-titled “101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People” Siebold’s message is discipline, discipline, discipline…” His message, however unwelcome makes sense, darn it. “Get Tough” is a tough message from a tough guy.

To see the rest of the column and all our award winners, click here.