Give up Diet Coke

How to give up Diet Coke without even trying — (5 nifty tricks)

Give up diet coke

Everyone’s heard it.

“I need my Diet Coke!”

Really?

You need a can of carbonated chemicals to get work done?

Because when you give up Diet Coke, you very well might get:

  • Faster metabolism.
  • Quicker, sharper mind (surprisingly).
  • Whiter teeth.
  • Increased sex drive (causation / correlation fallacy, perhaps, but too bad!)
  • Decreased blood pressure.
  • Decreased risk of heart disease (eff you, aspartame)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But who’s counting?

So HOW do you give up Diet Coke?

Let’s explore a few ways.

1. Cold turkey

Some of us have built quite the tolerance toDiet Coke. One in the morning. One at lunch. One after lunch.

So, conventional wisdom would say to ween yourself off.

Nope.

Go cold ‘effing turkey.

Is it gonna suck?

Yes.

Will you be in pain?

Maybe.

But sooner or later, you won’t even want it.

2. Replace it

Caffeine is addicting. Physically, your body gets used to it. So, taking it away cold turkey hurts.

If it helps you give up Diet Coke, just replace it.

Hot tea has plenty of caffeine. Have some.

Coffee has caffeine. Have some.

No, caffeine isn’t great for you. But some caffeine is beneficial, assuming it comes from a natural source.

What’s also great? In time of need, what’s easier to find? Coffee and tea? Or, Diet Coke?

Yup.

And, what’s more likely to be free?

Yup.

Another Diet Coke replacement I hear frequently?

Smoothies.

That’s right. Tons of people have emailed me recently saying they make smoothies instead of having a Diet Coke. They enjoy it more and still get the same kick of energy. Sticking with the smoothie thing is the toughest part. Investing in a high-speed blender is a popular way my readers are holding themselves accountable.

Click here to see my high performance blender, the Pro 750

3. Hide it / toss it

When it’s in sight, you want it. Free or not.

Here’s something to keep in mind (pun intended).

A tired mind is an indulgent mind. It will take over your body and grab a Diet Coke from the company fridge.

But a tired mind is also a lazy mind. So use that to your advantage.

If there’s Diet Coke in the company kitchen, don’t go in the kitchen. Use another route.

If you have Diet Coke in your house, toss it out.

No matter how addicted you think you are to Diet Coke, your brain is lazier than it is addicted.

It does NOT want to go to the convenience store.

4. Tell the world

Identity is a HUGE motivator.

Tell people, “I don’t drink Diet Coke anymore.”

Better yet, hastag that shit: #iquitdietcoke

Reasons are less important. But they could be because giving up Diet Coke makes you:

  • More in control.
  • Helpful to the healthcare system.
  • A good example to children.
  • Accountable to your word.
  • Ahead of your time (soda is next generation’s cigarettes…just watch)

You’ll be amazed by how effective this is.

And, the positive support you’ll get will blow your mind.

5. Choose a day off

Giving up Diet Coke doesn’t mean never drinking it again. At least, right away.

Knowing you can indulge once per week will help you:

  • Stay strong.
  • Stick with it.
  • Stay sane!

Just pick a day off.

For me it’s Saturday. (Well, it’s Friday night through Saturday night)

You’ll need the day off, at first.

But eventually, you might not need it at all.

It’s not uncommon to lose the taste for Diet Coke completely.

It is uncommon, though, to expect 100% success immediately.

Note: This is also how I gave up french fries. You’re welcome.

Conclusion

Nobody said giving up Diet Coke was easy.

But nobody ever regretted doing it either.

Using these tricks should make easier than ever before.

In the comments, tell me your struggles with trying to give up Diet Coke and what you’ve done in the past to give it up. Better yet, tell me what worked!

Tell me right meow.

Good things,

Lenny

 

Declutter and preserve

How to creatively declutter your pantry and keep your dry snacks fresh

Filled Mason jars_Declutter and preserve

Chip clips keep chips fresh. Same for bags of nuts, dried fruit, and the like.

But what happens when you have twenty half-empty bags?

Nobody likes that guy with a disastrous pantry. You know, rolled-up bags galore. Even if the snacks are healthy, you still look like a clusterfucked slob.

Mason jar miracle

Like some of the best inventions, this trick came to me by accident.

I had an extra pack of Mason Jars.

Mason Jars

I had a pantry full of half-empty bags.

And I had a moment of clarity.

Why not dump snacks into jars?

This way, I’ll get:

  • Clutter-free cupboards.
  • Fresh, longer-lasting snacks.
  • A cool-looking display of all my dry snacks.

The best part of using mason jars to store my dry snacks? You remember what you have to eat!

It’s all there. In plain sight.

Brilliant!

Bye-bye bag mess

Mason jars are huge. That’s why I like ‘em:

  • Massive glasses of H2O.
  • Giant jars of pickles.
  • And now, chalk full of snacks.

When I get home from the grocery store, I empty the (grocery) bags.

Then, I empty the (snack) bags! What else would you do with an empty bag of raw almonds?!?

Trail mix made easy

I eat different snacks at different paces.

Often, I’m left with a little bit of this.

Raw almonds in half-empty Mason Jar

And a little bit of that.

Raisins in half-empty Mason jar

Now, I consolidate to one jar and get trail mix.

Unmixed trail mix

Of course, you gotta mix it.

Trail mix in a Mason Jar

One full jar of trail mix is much more appealing than several nearly empty jars of nuts.

Before, I’d have 20% full (80% empty, pessimists!) prime to go stale. And, they were an eye sore.

Now, they’re fresh, sexy, and at arm’s length.

Irregular purchases

Some recipes call for irregular purchases. If not for this declutter and preservation trick with Mason Jars, I’m more likely to waste food. What’s more, I’m less likely to need a special trip to the store!

Raw cashews are one example. I snack on them occasionally. But, I mostly use ‘em for my cashew queso.

Raw cashews filled to top of Mason jar.

Slivered almonds are another. Some salads, like my Kale Brussels Sprout Salad, need ‘em. What’s worse than trying to silver almonds by hand? Perhaps making a special trip to the store to buy a bag?

Slivered almonds in Mason Jar

No bag, no problem

It’s still worth using a mason jar.

I fill Mason jars with non-bagged goods.

Stuff that I use every day is much easier to access in a Mason jar.

Like instant oatmeal.

Instant oats in front of black background

Or Meta-mucil. Can you spot Lucy? :)

Meta-mucil up close with my black dog Lucy in background.

Yes, I use Meta-mucil every day. Can’t recommend it enough.

Surprising uses

Bags of tortilla chips are fine. But at the bottom, what’s left?

Crumbs!

I throw those in mason jars, too.

Three tortilla chip crumb bags ready for declutter and preserve.

Otherwise, they’d go to waste. Or, just make my pantry a cluttered mess.

I use them all the time for stuff like my Buffalo Turkey Burgers.

Conclusion

Mason jars are cheap. Go get a pack of 12 from your hardware store.

If you know someone who hates clutter or loves their nuts fresh, pass this on. And, leave a comment telling me about other ways you’ve decluttered your pantry or dealt with snacks going stale.

Do it right meow!

Good things,

Lenny

Kale 101

All about the greenest, most elitist, most annoying-to-hear-about vegetable

Kale 101

Still don’t know about kale? No problem. Come out from your cave and open your eyes. Let me introduce you.

It’s a super food.

But, you’re going to loathe it.

I sure do.

And, I’m not alone.

Click here to see Jim Gaffigan commiserate about it.

But with all the benefits, it’s worth knowing the basics.

What the hell is kale?

Kale is one of the world’s healthiest foods. It’s like:

  • Lettuce, but greener.
  • Broccoli but leafier.
  • Cabbage but less German.

It’s a vegetable available year round. You can get it from farmer’s markets. Or, you can buy it pre-washed and bagged at most grocery stores.

Why the hell should I eat kale?

The brightest, most vibrantly-colored fruits and veggies are the healthiest. Why? Because they’re filled with the most vitamins and nutrients. And since they might not be as tasty as iceberg lettuce, they need to be very attractive to the human eye.

If kale wasn’t SO green, would anyone eat it?

Doubtful.

On it’s own, in raw-form, like chewing bamboo.

Aren’t the world’s processes of natural selection beautiful (and masochistic)?

Alas, inside kale’s deep, dark green color lives a boat load of health benefits.

Vitamins: Tons of vitamins including 100% of daily value of Vitamin A and C.

Protein: Yes, plant-based foods provide protein.

Flavanoids: Over 40 of ‘em.

Need more reasons?

Kale prevents heart disease and inhibits cancer. Oh yeah, and it helps lower cholesterol.

How to eat more kale?

Eating raw kale on its own is downright gross. It’s extreme roughage. Crunchy, chewy, strangely flavored.

So, you gotta doctor it up a bit.

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat more kale:

Smoothies and juices: consuming kale in its raw form has most cancer inhibiting benefits.

Click here to see my favorite kale (protein) smoothie.

Salads: Mixed with other veggies, kale makes a very flavorful salad.

Click here to see my Kale Brussels Sprout Salad.

Eggs: Sauté a handful and eat with scrambled egg whites. Gives your eggs a crunch.

Click here to see how I put kale in egg whites.

Bottom line: Cook it. Mix it. Blend it.

Buying and storing kale

Kale is available at nearly all grocery stores, year round. Easiest is to buy in pre-washed, pre-cut bag. And, farmers often spray it with pesticides, so it’s worth the extra 20 cents to get organic.

It lasts about a week in the fridge. Be sure to keep it in an air-tight bag.

Conclusion

Kale is very unsexy. But people who eat it are:

Very sexy.

Go get a bag of kale tonight and put it in a smoothie, salad or breakfast.

 

Slice Bell Pepper

Slicing a beautiful bell pepper: No seeds, no bloody fingers

Starting to Slice bell peppers

Bell peppers used to intimidate me. They were not a big deal when pre-sliced. But in their whole (beautiful) state, they made me freeze-up like seeing a beautiful woman.

So beautiful, vibrant, glowing.

But, bell peppers’ still scared me. The seeds, shape and handling were scary.

I learned while creating cashew queso. It’s easy.

With bell peppers:

  • Salads are sexier.
  • Fajitas are tastier.
  • Hummus is more enjoyable to snack on.

What took me to long to figure out how to slice bell peppers?

Steps to slicing a bell pepper

Step 1:

Like carving a pumpkin, but easier. Cut off top in a circular motion.

Like carvinv a pumpkin

Ditch the seedy top.

Peel top back carefully _Slice bell peppers

But be careful. There’s a ton of seeds that can fall off easily.

Closeup of bell peppers seedy top

Step 2:

Like removing a soup can wrapper. Slice once.

Opening red bell pepper like can of soup

Unravel all the way around.

Two half bell peppers

Step 3:

Like trimming the fat. Bell peppers don’t have actual fat. But when opened, they may still have a few seeds or a bit of white flesh. The white flesh is okay to eat. The seeds, not so much.

Trimming white flesh_ Slice bell peppers-6

Step 4:

Like giving it a bath. Remaining seeds fall out instantly.

Bathing pepper to get remaining seeds out.Slice bell peppers-7

Step 5:

Like making fries. Slice the long way. When I make cashew queso, I only cut it into a couple slices. For hummus, I’ll slice into many thin (Britney) spears. [not pictured]

Blood-free bell peppers

Use basic knife skills.

Specifically, the keys to cutting bell peppers are:

  • Small knife.
  • Flexible knife.
  • Non-cutting hand stays behind.

More tips? Post a reply in the comments!

Conclusion

Bell peppers are phenominal raw or cooked. But they’re best without seeds or bloody fingers. Follow the five steps for seedless and cut-free fingers when slicing bell peppers.

Approach bell peppers with confidence.

There’s nothing more delicious and beautiful you can add to food.

Cashews

Why cashews are not too fatty and how to avoid eating them by the handful

Cashews up close-1

Cashews are like the rye chips (Gardetto’s) of trail mix. They’re the first to get eaten in a bag of less-appealing choices.

But, there’s one big difference between cashews and rye chips: Cashews are actually good for you, assuming you get the right ones. Plus, no matter what kind you get, there’s a simple way to avoid eating them by the handful. Let’s get crackin’.

Cashew Nutrition

Here’s what you need to know about cashews how their affect your body.

Raw cashews not that fatty

In their raw form, they aren’t too fatty.

Yes, they’re nuts, so they have some fat.

But relative to other nuts, they have a lot less fat.

Raw cashew fat facts

Here’s a rundown on the “good fat” in raw cashews.

  • Mostly monounsaturated fat (54%).
  • Lost of omega-6 fatty acids (2.2 g / oz).
  • Signifacant portion is polyunsaturated fat (18%).

Bad fat” only makes up 16% of raw cashews. So there is some fat to be concerned about. And, therefore, you should enjoy with some moderation.

But most of the fat in cashews is the good kind — the kind that increases good cholesterol, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, etc.

Raw cashew benefits continued

In their raw form are great in other ways. They:

  • Keep your metabolism going fast (minerals).
  • Protect nerve fiber (copper).
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure (hardly any salt).

And while there are no academic studies, making cashew queso makes you (and your guests) happy. :)

Roasted cashews

Roasted cashews still have many of the same benefits as the raw ones. Good fats, minerals, etc.

The problem with roasted cashews, however, is that they’re:

  • Higher in bad fat (roasted in oil).
  • More salty (salted).
  • More addicting to eat (see previous two).

While the roasted ones aren’t horrible for you, the “roastedness” makes them a lot less beneficial.

Eat less roasted

So, should you avoid cashews because they’re fatty? No way!

Should you eat less of the roasted kind than the raw kind? Yes. Absolutely.

How to avoid eating cashews by the handful

Raw cashews are great for you. Roasted cashews aren’t horrible for you. In moderation, both are a good, healthy snacks. Just remember that the former (raw) is far better than the latter (roasted).

So how the hell do you avoid eating them by the handful?

A tiny bowl

Put ‘em in a tiny bowl. No, not a small bowl. A tiny bowl.

Cashews in tiny bowl

The bowl should only be able to fit one golf ball.

Instead of eating them by the handful, you’ll eat one or two at a time. All it takes is a tiny bowl!

Plus, they make a great dog treat.

Conclusion

Now you can enjoy cashews without worrying about them being too fatty. Take comfort knowing they’re actually good for you, especially raw cashews.

And don’t eat them straight from the bag. Get a tiny bowl and eat your cashews like your Life is NOYOKE.

Chop onion

How to chop an onion without crying like a baby

Chop onion without crying using Vitamix demonstration still

Onions make most food more delicious. Often, onion powder will do the trick. But, there’s something about freshly chopped onions that can’t be beat. That is, assuming they’re served without tears. So how do you chop an onion without crying?

I chop an onion every time I make my buffalo turkey burgers. Every time I make lox omelets. Every time I can. And do I cry? Nope. I chop my onions with ease and without crying.

There are three steps to chopping an onion without crying:

Step 1: Cut off the ends of the onion. No explanation needed here. Just do it.

Step 2: Peel the onion. With the ends chopped off, peeling an onion is easy. Just poke a layer or two with your chef’s knife and the peel comes off in one swoop.

Step 2.5: Cut onion into quarters. This step is optional but makes for more evenly chopped onion.

Step 3: Drop it in your Vitamix.

That’s it!

Follow the simple tips on how t chop an onion in your Vitamix, and you’re done. It’s so simple, yet I somehow managed to screw it up on my first try. See the video below to see what I mean.

Vitamix onion chop

That headline sounds like a song or dance move.

Well, it basically is.

Chopping an onion in your Vitamix is like playing the bass guitar. How?

  • Pulse button: Like plucking the strings. Evenly and rhythmically.
  • Tamper: Like sliding up an down the frets.

Specifically, pulse your Vitamix on low speed 6-10 times. At the same time, use the tamper to push the unchopped pieces to the bottom.

If you do it right, you get perfectly chopped onions. And, they shouldn’t be covered in tears.

If, however, you put your face in the container afterwards, the no-crying part is not guaranteed.

Demonstration

Here’s my demonstration of how to chop an onion without crying. Assumption is that you do not put your face in the Vitamix container right after chopping!

Watch to the end to see me fail, big time.