I’ve created The Guy Can Cook for men who:
- Are interested in learning how to cook.
- Don’t have a lot of spare time and money to spend on exotic ingredients, expensive equipment, and complex cooking techniques.
- Want to look better and feel better.
Learning how to cook has many benefits. It will make you healthier. It will make you enjoy food more, and, let’s be honest, women find that that a guy who can cook is ridiculously attractive!
But cooking is often portrayed as a complex task that is too difficult to succeed at. So instead we watch someone else do it on the Food Network while we make yet another microwave dinner.
This is a lie.
Cooking at home is a completely different experience than cooking in a restaurant or on TV. It involves surprisingly few skills to learn. There’s little that you have to know about food to make a tasty and healthy meal.
The biggest obstacle to learning to cook is your own preconceptions, which I can help you shatter.
A Little About Me
I’ve been cooking regularly for more than ten years and I specialize in “kitchen hacking,” the art and science of acquiring and preparing healthy and delicious food as cheaply and quickly as possible.
According to recent research, the average American spends $49 on groceries and 3 1/2 hours preparing food every week. Both of these numbers are extremely small compared to other countries, but I have found that you can still eat well with this small amount of money and time spent in the kitchen.
In addition to working a full-time job (and battling Southern California traffic to get there and back), I am also busy with:
- Becoming proficient at communicating in Spanish.
- Training my dog.
- Surfing and hiking as much as possible.
- A big art project that will happen… someday.
- Oh yeah, and working on taking the world over with this site!
I also try to sleep as much as I can, read a book a week, and hang out with my friends. I want to do as much as possible with my life, and as a result I have a very full schedule.
I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. After working as a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry for several years, I moved out to San Diego and started working as a research associate in the biofuels industry.
With my scientific background, I love learning about the science of nutrition and exercise. (I know, I’m a bit of a nerd!) Unfortunately, both of these fields are in their infancy, and as a result plenty of ridiculous claims have been made in both of them, mostly to sell exercise equipment and dietary supplements.
The TGCC Philosophy
For too long we have been told we need to “go to war” with our bodies if we want to be healthy and fit. That we need to starve ourselves and push ourselves to the limit at the gym, risking both injury and illness.
Guess what? Your body WANTS to be lean and strong. But you’ll have a hell of a time getting there if you treat it like shit.
Like all other living organisms, humans have survived through the eons against overwhelming odds. And we couldn’t have done it if we had a “thrifty gene” that made our bodies want to seek a caloric surplus regardless of context. During times of prosperity, excess weight would have meant that we would have found chasing dinner down more difficult, and it would have made us bigger targets for predators.
The REAL problem here lies in a mismatch between our instincts and our environment. The instincts we evolved over millenia that helped us to thrive on the African savannah don’t serve us well in our modern world, where we are surrounded by constant stress, sedentary lives, and cheap, tasty, and unhealthy food.
Willpower is a limited resource, and we can only “eat less and exercise more” so long before we eventually burn out. Therefore, we need a new set of guidelines.
The key to getting into the best shape of your life lies not in conscious calorie manipulation, but instead in:
- Transforming your surroundings to reduce harmful temptations.
- Building rituals that automatically promote and sustain your health and fitness.
- Making slow, steady progress every day.
These three principles will help you defeat your limited willpower, which is the reason that so many people crash and burn after a short time of following a strict diet and exercise regimen.
Eat Better, Move Smarter, Live the Good Life
In a nutshell, that’s how we do things ’round these parts.
Contrast this to the “eat less, exercise more” mantra that we all hear constantly. While it is true that caloric surplus = weight gain and caloric deficit = weight loss, this tells us absolutely NOTHING about the most efficient way to get there.
Most people really need to focus on mastering only three skills when it comes to getting into (and staying in) great shape:
- Buying and preparing healthy food. This is the one that’s responsible for 80% of your results, but the one most guys are unwilling to try. You need to learn how to cook a few good meals. By focusing on what you eat rather than how much you eat, you can turn your diet from a hassle into a breeze.
- Working out efficiently. Chances are you don’t have much spare time to work out. That’s fine. Whether you are working out at a big gym, in your hotel room, or anywhere in between, it’s important to know which exercises and workouts give you the most bang for your buck. This makes up about 15% of your overall health and fitness.
- Enjoying life more. Although it’s probably responsible for about 5% of your body composition, keeping stress levels down is an important factor in your health and fitness that is often overlooked. If you are pushing yourself hard in life, it’s particularly important to get plenty of sleep, build strong social ties, and “stop and smell the roses” from time to time.
It all boils down to this formula: Eat better, move smarter, and live the good life.
That’s the unconventional take on health and fitness we have here at TGCC. And if you are the kind of guy I described above, then you’ve come to the right place!
Where to Start
If you are new to the site, I’d like to show you to some of my favorite posts so you can get a better idea of what we’re all about here.
- The Hero’s Journey (Departure, Initiation, Return)
- Wanna Gain 47 Pounds Per Year? Start Counting Calories!
- Dude, Where’s My Willpower?
- How to Perform “Inception” on Your Own Mind
- The James Bond Diet and Workout (Okay, this one’s just for fun!)
How to Eat Better–The ONLY THING You Should Focus On at First
- How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label
- How to Automate Your Diet for Painless Fat Loss and Superior Health
- How to Cheat (and Get Away With It)
- A Kickass (and Bachelor-Friendly) Pot Roast Recipe
- Smashed Potatoes (‘Cuz That’s How I Spell It!)
- The Recession Diet–How to Spend $48.21 For a Week’s Worth of Food and Cook it in 2 Hours 56 Minutes (Part One, Part Two, Part Three)
- The 28-Day Offal Challenge
- Adventures in Competitive Eating–The Ultimate Pigout
- The Average Joe Diet–How to Gain 10+ Pounds Per Month
- How I Lost 7 Pounds Without Going Hungry (or Doing a Minute of Exercise)
I grew up just about as unhealthy as you could be. I was a really picky eater and ate a diet of mostly fast food, microwave dinners, soda, and candy.
Apart from a few years of soccer and the required gym classes, I was not active at all. Once I discovered satellite TV and Super Nintendo, I pretty much became a born-again couch potato.
By the time I was in my mid-teens, I was in rough shape. I was neither fat nor skinny, but a combination of the worst parts of the two. I was a small guy, but I wasn’t strong and was kinda pudgy… what most people now call “skinny-fat.”
On top of that, I had really low energy for a kid his age, and was always getting really bad stomachaches.
In short, I was a wreck.
By the time I was 16, I was ready for a change. I wanted to become the big, studly bodybuilder that I thought all the girls were looking for. (Like everyone else, puberty was pretty much making all my decisions for me!)
I started researching like crazy. I read books on nutrition and muscle building. I searched the internet for answers to my questions. I did everything the “experts” told me to do.
And I saw some great results! Gone was skinny-fat Darrin, and in his place was a guy who was much leaner and stronger. I started sleeping better, I felt more energetic, and my stomach problems completely vanished.
But as I got older and became busier, it became harder and harder to keep this routine up.
For years I cycled through short periods where I would wake up at 5am to hit the gym every morning, eating little more than unsalted chicken breasts, egg white omelettes, and protein shakes all day.
But I always burned out on that after a couple months and fell back into my old bad habits.
I liked being fit and healthy, but I found it almost impossible to fit working out into my busy life. On top of that, I couldn’t stand eating that bland diet when I was craving burgers, beer, pizza, and pasta. How the hell could I realistically stay in shape without becoming a “bro”–one of those guys who practically lives at the gym?
Fortunately, I found through my research that a lot of the things that we are told are bad for us–red meat, full-fat dairy, eggs, animal fat, potatoes, etc.–are actually GOOD for us and have been unnecessarily demonized as the result of bad science.
At the same time, I started getting into different time management and productivity philosophies, and started to use them to improve my diet, exercise, and relaxation practices. I have found very few people who have tried to apply these principles to health and fitness, and I knew this was a sign that I needed to help others to use what I have learned in their lives.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there’s a million crappy fitness sites out there, very few of which are producing anything original. I wanted to break the mold.
So I started TGCC with the plan of creating a really unique site you won’t find anywhere else on the interwebs. My goal is to:
- Create a community of ambitious people who are trying to get their health optimized, but don’t want to be a professional bodybuilder, powerlifter, or athlete.
- Debunk all the silly health advice out there that’s based on bad science.
- Help you implement a more efficient health and fitness plan that you can live with forever, based on psychological principles.
- Run experiments on myself and report on the results.
- Help you reach your goals in any way possible.
My only question now is… ARE YOU IN?
Join the TGCC Community
Still here? Excellent! Welcome aboard. We’re an ever-growing and super-awesome community. I’ve got a few things you’re gonna want to do at this point.
- First off, make sure you subscribe for free site updates via the following form:
It’s way easier than trying to remember to visit the site every week and you’ll know IMMEDIATELY when I publish new content. Additionally, you’ll be enrolled in my free email series Kitchen Hacking 101. Which is pretty awesome, ifIdosaysomyself.
- Next, y’know that whole “Facebook” thingy that everyone’s talking about? Yeah, we’re there too. Like TGCC on Facebook, where I’ll be sharing videos, pictures, and hosting discussions (and maybe a free giveaway or two).
- Lastly, follow me on Twitter as well–aka the hipper, noisier social network–where I make quick updates that may or may not make a future post as well as share cool links that I’ve found. It’s a great place to ask me anything as well.
- For everything else, feel free to contact me with the following form:
I appreciate your feedback!