Growing up in Southern California, you kind of take for granted the amazing things that happen around you. Access to major sports teams, minutes away from the beach, and all around you AMAZING food. One of those places I didn’t start appreciating until I had moved away was The Hat.
Currently with 11 locations throughout Southern California, The Hat has been around since 1951. They have other things that are delicious, but nothing compares to their World Famous Pastrami sandwich. And what pairs with that World Famous Pastrami sandwich? Thats right, a monster order of their Onion Rings. Officially called the Pastrami Dip, it is served on a huge french bread roll with mustard and pickles. The holy trinity of Pastrami.
The feel of each of their restaurants is a nod to the golden age of diners. Neon lights and vintage fixtures and booths complete the ambiance. You order at the counter and everything is wrapped to-go. They do not skimp on the portions either. Each sandwich has more than enough meat and they practically fill the rest of the brown bag with Onion Rings.
The next time you are in Southern California, make sure to check out The Hat World Famous Pastrami. Get the Pastrami Dip with Onion Rings. You will not be disappointed.
Looking at myself in the mirror I do not recognize myself. I knew I was fat and overweight, but at some point you look in the mirror and do not recognize the person staring back at you.
Questions start running through your mind.
What am I doing with my life?
Am I going to live to be 40?
Will I ever have kids?
Will I die in my sleep?
How do other people do it?
Fitness in my life
All my life I have been overweight. I look back on my childhood pictures and I am a little butterball. I remember having to find those “Husky” Jeans growing up. As a little kid, I didn’t know what the hell “Husky” was really. Kids made fun of me. I tried to make the best of it and let it roll off my back, but as a kid it was particularly hard. I masked it by becoming the funny fat kid in school. I was well liked, but could never break through. I didn’t have my first girlfriend until I was in High School. There were plenty of girls that I liked, but none reciprocated those same feelings.
In school I played sports to try and stay popular. I played Football and Baseball in High School. I struggled always being the biggest guy on the team. Sometimes size was important for the game but most of the time, I was just there as a confidence booster for the others to say “at least i’m not fat like Hartill”
Looking at the man in the mirror 15 years later, I see hollow and defeated eyes, a face hidden behind a beard, and zero emotion. I think that my weight has gotten the better of me.
After High School, I got a job at a popular restaurant and went to school. After a year, I served a mission, like all good Utah boys do. I served in the El Salvador San Salvador West Mission. I embraced the nickname “Gordo” given to me in most of the areas I served. In case you don’t know Spanish, it means “Fatty”.
I got extremely sick several times while I was on my mission. Between all the parasites and Dengue Fever, I had lost about 75 pounds. I got down to 175. I was the thinnest I had ever been in my adult life. When I came home, people didn’t recognize me. I was on top of the world.
A funny thing starts to happen once you come home from your mission. I stopped walking 10-15 miles a day. You stop eating right. You stop caring and you start to become very sedentary. I got my old job at the restaurant again and started to focus on my career. One of the “perks” of this job was that I received a free meal for every shift I did. Working every day did not bode well for my nutritional intake.
As I continued to focus on my career, going from Restaurant Manager, to Banking, to Stock Broker, and Accountant, I was always hyper focused on my success. My nutrition and working out was thrown out the window over the next 10 years. Sure I would occasionally go to the gym I paid for, but I did not have the solid foundational habits to make it a lifestyle, and believe me, to continue to be motivated to work on yourself REQUIRES foundational habits.
Fitness in a Young Professionals Life
As a young professional, I would always be on the lookout for better advancement with companies that I work at. On paper, I am an experienced accountant with Banking and Financial experience with a Bachelors from the most prestigious school in Utah and a Masters in Business Administration but in person I could see the excitement drain from the faces of the people I met with when they see this professional come in looking like me. I cannot tell you how many first and second interviews I have had only to be ignored. When I send a follow-up email, they don’t even have the common courtesy to say I didn’t get the job, they simply do not reply.
12 years after I came home from my mission a svelte 175, I had gained 200 pounds. I was a few Big Macs away from weighing 400 pounds.
Going to the doctor, I decided to get an overall health picture. You know, just to see how dire my situation is. I had known for a while with different checkups and Insta-Care visits that I had high blood pressure, but I had always brushed off the warnings from my doctors. “Eh, I will just lose some weight and should be fine.” or “I was just nervous going to the Dr.” My Doctor once again confirmed my High Blood Pressure and gave me a pill to take daily. Simple enough.
One thing that I had brought up with him was the fact that I was tired all the time. I was tired and did not have the energy levels that I used to. I felt sluggish and had trouble sleeping enough. My Dr. decided to run a blood test for testosterone and sure enough, my levels were extremely low. He decided to put me on a testosterone replacement program using a gel that I rub into my chest every day. Super simple and easy. That lasted for a few months. During that timeframe, I felt normal again. I felt energetic, I felt like a human again.
Then my company decided to change insurance plans.
One day I went to pick up my gel and the total came to $395. After a few angry phone calls to my insurance company, I had enough. I cant afford that…I asked my insurance company what type of testosterone treatments they would cover and their response was the injections, but the injections that I had to administer myself. Needles are one of my biggest fears, i’ll admit that. The injections would still cost $50 and I would have to deal with needles every week. After about a month of being injected, I said enough was enough. It was taking a toll on me. It was expensive and it was inconvenient.
So I stopped taking the injections.
I fell back into being weak and tired all the time, being grouchy, and with no desire but to sit around all day, which leads to even more weight gains and leads to depression.
Something has to change or I will end up in an early grave in my 30’s. I don’t want to give up on those extra 50 years of life I have left. I need to do something about my health and fitness.
So I did…
My Fitness Journey
I am going to start chronicaling my weight loss journey as part of the Hungry Doug brand. I will be focusing on my health, fitness, and losing weight. You will be with me for the ups and downs, the good times and the bad. We will see what works and what doesn’t. I promise to keep it as entertaining as I can, but in thte end, I am doing this for myself, and not for anyone else.
With hard work, dedication, and the help of you guys, I will be able to recognize the man staring back at me.
When you go to Texas Roadhouse, what do you think of?
Besides the Hot Rolls and Cinnamon Butter…
And their steaks…
Thats right! Their Rattlesnake Bites.
Bursting with cheese and jalapenos, it is the perfect compliment to any great comfort meal. We are giving you the keys to the city here and giving you a copycat recipe for one of the best appetizers known to man.
Texas Roadhouse Rattlesnake Bites
A perfect blend of Mozzarella sticks and Jalapeno Poppers.
One of the best things about cooking Cuban cuisine is the wide use of Pork. It is a very cheap animal to raise and perfect for the Island nation. One of the most popular ways to cook Pork is with this simple recipe for Masitas de Puerco.
Masitas de Puerco is a delicious dish that can be served as a main dish with rice, beans, and plantains. (You will find that to be the case with most Cuban dishes) or served as finger food for any fiesta. It is extremely easy to make and packed full of flavor.
Start making the Mojo. A link to the recipe is found above.
Cube the pork into bite sized pieces.
Combine the Cumin and Mojo into a bowl and whisk thouroughly. Add the cubed pork chunks and add the Bay Leaves. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the fridge overnight.
When you are ready to cook the meal, take it out of the fridge and fry up on medium high heat. Remove the Bay leaves of course. Use the excess Mojo to cook with the Pork. When the pork is nice and brown and crispy, add the onions and cook until the onions are translucent.
Serve with Rice, Beans, and plantains or just place on a serving dish and ENJOY!
Mojo Criollo is a staple in all Cuban households. It can be used for a variety of different things including to marinade your pork roast or used as a dipping sauce for your plantains or yuca. The strong garlic mixed with the sour citrus is a powerful and delicious combination.
This is another influence we can trace back to the Arabs into Spain. They brought the flavors of the Sour Orange with them. When Spain colonized Cuba, they brought with them that flavor. Once in Cuba, the Garlic was added.
Give it a try! You will not be disappointed.
Here we have a traditional Cuban dipping sauce and marinade. It is used in pretty much every Cuban dish and goes great as a dipping sauce for Plantains and Yuca.