In the interests of good health and emotional well-being, it is important to know what goes into the foods we eat. At least this is what natural bodybuilder Anthony Catanzaro says, as he drives home the message that it is better to cook our meals and reap the health benefits, rather than rely on take out foods and risk their deleterious consequences.
With an increasing abundance of food choices, people are erring on the side of convenience more than ever before, as they select their pre-packaged, additive-ridden, meals, without any consideration given to the outcomes of such as practice.
Dietary related obesity is becoming one of the Western world's major health catastrophes, due in large part to the increasing array of take out foods and restaurant choices. Anthony feels it is imperative to select our foods wisely and prepare meals from scratch, if good health and longevity are to be attained.
More than this, Anthony feels properly prepared food serves several vital societal functions. As he explains, food that is healthy and prepared with foresight and passion, brings people together on an emotional level and boosts mental well-being for all parties.
As a child, Anthony's mother cooked all the meals and, as he fondly recalls, "times spent around the dinner table were pure magic." On a more serious note, foods that are not prepared in the correct manner from quality ingredients, will more than likely lead to a multitude of health problems, with cancer, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes topping the list.
In this article, Anthony will share his food preparation and cooking tips, and what he feels is the right approach to healthy eating.
[ Q ] Hi Tony. I understand you cook all you own meals despite the fact it is becoming more popular, and convenient, for many to have others do the cooking for them. Why do you cook all your own meals, and why do you think it is important for others to follow your example?
Hey David! Yes, this is true I do cook and prepare all my meals. In this article I will explain why learning how to cook and prepare your own food will propel you into the direction of achieving your goals, as well as developing a sense of balance in your life. Have you ever heard of the story about the father who taught his son how to catch fish?
There is more to this than one would think. When you cook your own food and learn how to cook and prepare healthy meals, you're not only feeding your body you are feeding your soul. I lost my mother at the age of 22. Before she died I had no idea how to cook anything besides a grilled cheese sandwich.
My mother would make these amazing meals, my dad was in the fish business so we used to have all types of seafood dinners and it would seem that my mom would make meals out of nothing more than lentils beans and pasta sometimes.
No matter what she made, it was delicious After she passed away, I began to learn how to cook the foods she used to make for my dad, and by doing this not only did we learn how to cook, but it was like my mom was still alive because smelling the food reminded us of when she was there cooking for us.
This is what I'm taking about. Cooking for most people might sound like a hassle, but what you need to understand is when you cook and eat what you prepared, its more wholesome for the you and your entire family. Why do you think Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. It's not the turkey and the stuffing, it's the sense of familiarity of the food you have been eating with your family as a kid.
[ Q ] Can you elaborate more on why cooking is good for the soul?
When you cook, you lift your spirits because you are creating something from scratch. It's like when an artist does a painting. He first starts with a blank white canvas, then with certain colors he or she begins to bring life to whatever they visualize in their minds and soul.
Humans are very creative and that's why we are so amazed with technology. The human mind is designed to create and build. That is why everyone should have a hobby. Whether its arts and crafts, or playing an instrument, the brain loves to create. Even cooking is a great hobby.
I used to be a carpenter, and I can tell you that it's a great feeling to enjoy something you built from scratch as it opens your mind to other things, as well as building your confidence.
[ Q ] Eating out is a favorite pastime for many. What are the main problems with eating out? Just what goes into some of the foods we order?
In today's society, eating out has become a favorite pastime, and with all the fast food restaurants every where you turn, one can't help but turn to these places to eat. But what are you really eating?
What goes on behind those kitchen doors will scare you right out of your chair. Lets start with fast food restaurants. To make a long story short, we all know that these restaurants are only out for one thing and that's your money.
The nutrition in this food in my view is not worthy of any human being because it causes many problems like obesity, diabetes, and depression - just to name a few. Those of you who saw the documentary Super Size Me know exactly what I'm taking about.
[ Q ] In what way are fast foods making people depressed, do you think?
It's the preservatives and chemicals that are in the food. When you eat these chemicals that are man made, they are not natural and the body sees them as a toxic threat, so what happens to us is we become overweight, sick, weak, tired, depressed the list goes on and on.
You heard it many times before "You are what you eat." The same goes for "You are what you drink," as well as "You are what you do."
Prescription medication is another thing. Doctors are in business not to cure you of your sickness, but to treat it. If they cure you, they can't continue to make money on you. The FDA is a huge conspiracy, and the organizations that are behind them are completely fraudulent. It's sad to say but this is the truth.
Why do you think they call it the food and drug administration? Why not just the food administration? It all works together in the end. Eat bad food, get sick, go to the doctor, then he gives you drugs and the wheel goes round and round.
[ Q ] Do you have any examples of the unhealthy practices that go into preparing take out foods?
It doesn't stop with fast food restaurant, even fancy restaurants use chemicals such as MSG (monosodium glutamate). Yes, even your favorite Italian pasta place will use MSG. Some people only think it is in Chinese food, but MSG, is in everything today.
Pick up a canned food item at the store and I can guarantee you it will have MSG in it, as will a bag of Wise potato chips, as well as almost every type of frozen food. Also, the ingredients are cheap and lack nutrition. Most restaurants and take out places don't use fresh ingredients.
A lot of the food is processed or fried in oil that you wouldn't even think of using in your car, but people put it in the bodies every day.
[ Q ] Do you have any specific examples of the worst cooking practices you have seen?
The only way you can really mess up on your cooking is if you don't put love into it. I see it all the time: people try to cook something, but have this belief that they just can't cook, and that everything they make is horrible and undesirable.
Well let me tell you right now, anyone can cook. All you need is patience and love. If you just thaw a meal together without effort, then of course when you eat it, the energy the person put into it will be apparent.
It's like a person building a deck for their house and builds it all crooked and lop sided with all bent up nails and everything. It's the same theory: you must put love into your cooking, or else you will never enjoy it.
[ Q ] What are some of the worst chemicals we can find in our food, and why are these bad?
When you order out, most restaurants have their food already made so all they have to do is heat it up. Most of the food comes from a huge factory where they process and preserve the heck out of it to keep it from spoiling. This also keeps the flavor consistent.
The whole idea is when you go to a fast food restaurant in lets say Chicago, it must taste the same even if you are eating it in Australia. Now we all know that's not possible with home cooked meals.
For example, my sisters or my wife would make a certain dish that my mother used to make, and they would use the same ingredients and everything, but it would always taste different.
Not with fast food though. It's all the same wherever you go, and that's how they want it. Again, they are not out to improve your heath, they are just in business to make money. Remember that!
[ Q ] If one has to go with take out foods for some reason, what choices would you recommend and why?
Look for places that actually make the food on site. Did you know that when you order potato salad or macaroni salad from a deli, 99% of the time it comes out of a huge plastic container that was manufactured some place else. We are taking about pasta and mayonnaise for god sakes.
This is what I'm taking about. They are not in business to sell you healthy nutritious food, just give you something that is loaded with flavor enhancers to get you to coming back for more.
[ Q ] What are the worst kind of fast foods in your opinion?
Obviously, any fast food that comes from a franchise. If there is more than one, they are getting their food from a huge factory, which will be loaded with toxic chemicals.
Try to eat at places where you know you are getting the freshest food prepared there. I know this is hard to find, but there's a few out there in your hometown.
[ Q ] How would one begin to plan for a more healthy diet?
First off, start eating more home cooked meals, even if that means making a sandwich from home and bringing it to work. Start out small, preparing the things you know how to make. You will soon see that in time, you will start to cook more and more and benefit greatly from it.
Eating at fast food restaurants, as well as all restaurants, you're putting yourself at great risk for all types of diseases. Remember, there is more sickness and diseases in the world today than ever. There are more over weight people in the world today than ever, and there are also more depressed people in the world today than ever.
Believe it or not, this all has to do with your diet and exercise, as well as prescription medication. Eat home cooked meals with your family, sit down at the table and enjoy each other. Your home is where your family is, and your family's most treasured moments are those moments shared in the kitchen.
My wife's family just recently moved to Florida. All of the good times I remember were the ones we shared back in New York, at that little round white kitchen table they had. There's something about family around a table that's just pure magic.
[ Q ] What are some tips for preparing and cooking ones own food?
I know a lot of you are saying, "Tony I have no time to cook," or "I can't get to the market to by food and prepare it." Well, if you are saying this to yourself, then you don't get what I'm saying. Eating out will not only destroy your heath, but it will destroy your children's health as well.
Kids today eat more fast food in a week than I think I ate in my whole lifetime. Yes, I'll admit I ate at McDonalds and Burger King as a kid, but if they relied on customers like my family and I, they would be out of business. Parents need to understand that kids don't understand about nutrition.
I used to eat a whole bag of Doritos's when I was a kid then get yelled at by my dad when he realized it. I know parents today that actually let there kids eat whatever they what, when they want. This is terrible because the children are growing up on these foods.
I truly believe this is the cause of obesity in children, as well as depressed kids. Fast food and prescription medication are killing our society.
[ Q ] What does your grocery list contain? Give a list of foods you think should be on ever bodybuilder's shopping list?
First off, I want to say that I don't want anyone to think that I don't go out to eat. I will explain how to eat better when you go out and how to set good eating habits for your children.
When I go food shopping, or my wife Tina goes, we both understand what food is needed for both of us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We buy tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, lean meat, natural peanut butter, and whole grain bread.
There are tons of healthy chips and snack foods you can find as well. Just look at the ingredients: if there are more than two or three ingredients in something, you better put it back on the shelf. You would never find soda or any kind of processed foods in our house.
I have inspired Tina to eat healthier over the years and it is true that you become your environment. Did you know that Tina smoked when we met? Try to hang around others who eat well and it will rub off on you.
[ Q ] What cooking methods do you recommend, and why?
I recommend simple cooking methods. I don't believe in fried foods. Although my mom fried almost everything, it's truly not the best way to go, even though my mom used to tell me to go outside on the backyard table to make breadcrumbs with two day old Italian bread at the age of 10, it's best to grill or bake food.
I use a grill frying pan for everything, for grilling chicken to vegetables. You can buy a good grill pan in a department store, and I can guarantee you will be eating better immediately.
I create healthy eating plans for people all over the world who have trouble putting it all together, I will create a diet specifically for you and your goals and I can guarantee this healthy eating will be contagious to you and your entire family! Go to www.anthonycatanzaro.com for more info!
[ Q ] What specific advantages does cooking hold for a bodybuilder?
The bottom line is, you will know what's in your food because you prepared it. When you eat out, you have no idea what is in the food or where it came from. Did you know that a majority of steak houses use a glob of butter on the steak before they broil it.
This is to make it taste better. Going back to what I said earlier, they are only in business to make money, not make you healthy. As a bodybuilder, or competitor, you need to now what you are eating 24/7, so cooking and learning how to cook is the only way to eat clean! Remember "EAT CLEAN TO BE LEAN."
[ Q ] What are your favorite meals to cook? Could you provide a recipe or two?
I love chicken. It is my favorite food to eat, and I eat it any way: grilled, baked, or broiled - it doesn't matter.
Here are a couple of my favorite chicken meals.
Grilled Chicken With Spiral Pasta
Mixed With Peas And Avocado:
Start out by grilling some chicken tenders on a grill pan about three minutes on each side, once the pan is hot. Boil a cup of spiral pasta in a separate pot until cooked. Then slice up a whole avocado, and add a half a cup of can baby peas mix it all together and there you have it.
Grilled Chicken With Masterpiece
Barbeque Sauce With Mashed
Sweet Potato And Corn:
Grill up some chicken tenders, add masterpiece original BB sauce when done, cook a 5 oz yam in the microwave for about six minutes, or so. When done, slice in half long ways scooping out the inside in a bowl to mash. Then cook your frozen corn on as directed.
[ Q ] What do you cook for breakfast lunch and dinner? Could you give an idea of what you would eat in an average day?
- Meal One: 10 egg whites, 1 slice whole wheat toast with natural fruit spread, one bowl of oatmeal
- Meal Two: 8 oz of grilled chicken (cooked) with baked frozen French fries, 1/2 cup of can corn
- Meal Three: Myoplex shake
- Meal Four: 8 oz grilled chicken (cooked), 6 oz yam, small salad with light dressing
- Meal Five: Myoplex shake
- Meal Six: 8 oz of lean steak (cooked), 5 oz mashed potato and steamed broccoli
My diet pretty much stays the same. I usually cheat on Sundays with some pizza or anything I desire, but it is still wholesome.
I eat every three hours, so here is my basic every day meal breakdown:
[ Q ] When dieting, how do you cook to eliminate boredom? What would you do to spice things up?
There are a lot of different spices on the market such as "Mrs. Dash." I love the garlic and herb flavored one as its great on chicken. The best thing to do to eliminate boredom when cooking your meals is change it up. There are so many different ways to cook chicken, beef, and fish, and there are tons of healthy vegetables out there.
Just go to the produce section of your grocery store. It's actually the largest section in the whole store, and wouldn't you know its the most over looked. Don't be one of those people who just eat anything because they ate it their whole lives. People make me laugh when they say,
when I was a kid and I was so thin.
Now I'm overweight and have a huge gut."
The answer to this is that your metabolism is not the same as it was when you were, lets say, 16 years old. Your body has gone through many things since then, and your stress level has also changed.
Ever notice the people who are trying to lose weight can't, and people who are just happy and eat healthy stay in shape. This is because there not stressed out about it. Learn to experiment with cooking and you will soon find yourself loving to cook!
[ Q ] Why is it that people tend to opt for the easy way out, and have their meals prepared for them? Do you think we are becoming busier and, as a result, rely on the convenience factor of take out foods, or restaurants?
We are definitely becoming busier. It used to be that a man worked and came home to eat dinner with his family at six o'clock in the evening. But in today's society, men are not the only ones working. With today's cost of living, both men and women work, which leaves little time for family and healthy home cooked meals.
Unfortunately, this is the direction the world is headed I am not a believer in eating fast food for dinner nor at any other time. I feel that we as a society need to go back to our roots of cooking whole homemade meals for us and our families to enjoy. I want to share something with you, my most fondest memories of my mother are the ones with her in the kitchen cooking.
I remember her this way, because this is what she loved to do. Not only did her love for cooking and well-being inspire me, but it has inspired everyone who knows my name. I was put on this earth to inspire and bring the light of health and well being to those who live in darkness and depression.
I would like to dedicate this article to my mother Rosaria Catanzaro. As I write this article, I find it coincidental that today, March 12th, is her birthday. I know that she is living through me and my cooking.
Remember, cooking and learning how to cook is not a chore, but a beautiful balance one receives when you sit down and look at the faces of your family enjoying the food you cooked for them to eat and enjoy. It all starts in the kitchen so get in there and start cooking!