Eat Like a Man

Dude’s Foods: Eat Like a Man

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What does it mean to “eat like a man?” What does this phrase suggest to you? For many people, “manly” meals primarily consist of large portions of meat, often paired with a beer or whiskey.

The character Ron Swanson from the TV show Parks and Recreation is a popular example of this type of masculinity. Many of Ron’s memorable quotes involve his love affair with meat, whether it’s bacon-wrapped shrimp or a steak served with a good Scotch, neat.

Other aspects of Ron’s manly persona include a love of woodworking and his trademark mustache. His deadpan and somewhat stern demeanor is occasionally interrupted by what can only be described as outright giddiness. And what makes Ron giddy? Why bacon, of course!

Ron’s character is in some ways a caricature of masculinity. Although his antics are exaggerated for comedic value, they are humorous because they resonate with a deep truth. For many people, Ron Swanson personifies masculinity.

What does Ron’s version of masculinity and its popularity with the public say about men’s relationship to food? As a nutrition therapist focused on men’s health, I wonder: What can this teach me about how I may better help men make positive changes to their diets?

We have a saying in the field of holistic nutrition: Meet the client where they’re at. In other words, when recommending dietary changes we must take into account what changes a person is willing and able to make.

A man who reacts to the very idea of eating a salad with knee-jerk hostility may not benefit from being told to eat a salad, no matter how healthy an option it might be for him. In fact, he may instead disengage or express opposition to well-intentioned but perhaps ill-suited recommendations.

Individual men like to eat the way they like to eat and I think it’s important to honor that. Of course, many men differ from Ron in significant ways. But in consideration of the way a “Ron Swanson” type likes to eat, here are some recommendations to make small but significant improvements to this type of diet. There are no salads or smoothies here:

Boost your digestive fire:

    • It takes a lot of good stomach acid to digest all that delicious steak! Drink plenty of water between meals but try to avoid drinking a lot water with your meal. This can actually dilute stomach acid, which is counterproductive. Adding fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the water you do drink shortly before and during a meal helps build stomach acid as well.
    • If you are taking an antacid or acid blocking medication, consult your doctor before attempting this step. For more information on how to safely address heartburn or work around antacid medication use, please contact me! My contact information can be found at the end of this blog post.

Choose organic, grass-fed meat:

    • Good quality meat is healthier and often tastes better too! Grass-fed beef is leaner than grain-fed so be careful not to overcook it.

Eat plenty of healthy fats:

    • Fats balance out all the great protein you’re getting from the steak. Brush your steak with melted butter and herbs! Add sliced avocado to your burgers.

Grill a few vegetables too:

    • Cut a head of cauliflower into large slices, coat them with melted coconut oil or butter and toss with spices. Make them spicy by adding some cayenne or red pepper! Many other vegetables grill well when prepared the same way, including carrots and sliced summer squash.

Most importantly, have fun! Share the experience with your family or your buddies. The same guy who pokes fun at you for “eating healthy” won’t be so smug when you lose a few pounds, feel more energetic and leave him in the dust next time you jog together. He’ll quickly change his tune and want to know how you did it!

Please keep in mind that the information in this blog is for educational purposes only.  I am not a medical doctor and this information should not be considered medical advice.

Aaron Mello is a Master Nutrition Therapist and founder of MoodFood Clinic.  He can be contacted at 720-683-8715 or aa***@mo************.com, or view his website at

NTI stands for optimal health through nutrition education!

Image: Image by Ethan Hu is free for use by Unsplash

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