Monday, May 2, 2016

DITCH THE DOUGH - Cauliflower Steaks

Most of us love bread.  Breads are the foundation that holds some of our favorite foods together.  They act as a blanket for hot dogs and submarine sandwiches.  They are also the base of one of our favorite food groups, the pizza!

But breads are not exactly the healthiest option in the world.  I used to always think that sandwiches were healthy, depending on what you put on the bread.  Of course a bacon sandwich isn't exactly good for you, but that's because of the bacon, right?  Peanut butter sandwiches aren't too good for us either because peanut butter is filled with peanuts, butter and sugar.  So maybe a nice tomato sandwich, with a light dressing and some lettuce!  Yay!

Perhaps if we get the vegetarian pizza, that will be a much healthier alternative to the usual with pepperoni, bacon, meat and more meat.  But the breads are just as much a part of the problem as whatever you decide to put on it.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas!

Back when I was not exactly in the best shape of my life, I would sometimes think I was doing myself a favor by living on sandwiches for a week.  To my surprise, after about two days, my clothes were tighter.  "It has to be what I'm putting on the bread", I kept telling to myself.  Bread has fiber.  We are always told that fiber is good for us.  But it wasn’t so much what was on the bread but the bread itself.

So I say, ditch the dough every once in a while.  And I am not talking about going full insane mode and swapping bread slices or buns for chicken like one of those KFC Chicken Chicken Chicken burgers.  Try replacing the bread with something healthy and full of flavor.

Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes with Basil!

Try using tomato slices as the base for mini pizzas instead of any kind of dough.  Use eggplant.  Heck, slice a red pepper into slices, top them with awesomeness, bake or broil for a bit and there you go!  Bread, if nothing else, is a mostly flavorless base for whatever you decide to put on or between it.  Think I’m wrong?  Explain dipping sauces to me that you can buy with your pizza order.  How many people who used to never eat the crusts will now eat them if they have a sauce to dip into?  Exactly!  Chalk another excellent point up to Chef Nairby!

Broiled Zucchini with Mozzarella & Dill!

What other options are there to use as a base besides bread?  Tomato slices, eggplant slices, zucchini slices, red, green, orange and yellow peppers, and, as you will see as you continue scrolling down, cauliflower steaks!  Just try it!

Ingredients for Broiled Cauliflower Steaks

Broiled Cauliflower Steaks!


There really is no right or wrong way to make these as it is all up to whatever you choose to use as toppings.  Here is what I used for this particular go-around.


1 Head of cauliflower, cut into about 1 inch thick steaks
Grated marble cheese
Goat Cheese
Grape/Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Fresh chopped dill
Red pepper, chopped
Onion, chopped
Olive oil


1.  Brush cauliflower steaks with olive oil and place in a shallow baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
2.  Top steaks with your choice of toppings, and however much you want, like a pizza!
3.  Broil in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until your eyes tell you they are ready!

Easy!  Enjoy!

Chef Nairby

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Spring is here!  And with Spring, comes nice weather.  With nice weather, comes spending more time outside.  And with spending more time outside, comes that unmistakable scent in the air that you can smell coming from backyards and balconies of apartment buildings.  The scent of barbecue season!

Ingredients for Chef Nairby's Cheesy Vegetable Medley

That smell, of course, comes from the meats being fired on the grill.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, steaks, chicken, pork, ribs and so on.  But one mainstay of the typical barbecue that is often overlooked when we think of that time of the year are the salads.

When I was growing up, every barbecue had three 'default' salads: coleslaw, macaroni salad and potato salad.  Almost always bought from a grocery store.  But sometimes you would have someone who would also make a great big batch of something homemade.  Usually a tuna and macaroni salad.

Cheese Sauce!

While I liked and grabbed a portion of the grocery store default salads, I would always favor the homemade batch.  Homemade salads for the barbecue have always had their own unique flavor to them, and because there was always a lot more available compared to the store-bought salads, I would always eat more of the homemade stuff.  But as good as the homemade salad tasted, it never seemed to measure up in flavor when compared to the salads from the grocery store.  And the reason is simple.

For lack of a better term, people half-assed their homemade salad.  In the case of the barbecues I always went to, the homemade salad was always tuna macaroni.  And it was always the same.  A bunch of eggshell macaroni mixed with tuna, mayonnaise and onions.

Love the colors!

I can't help but think that the reason people did the minimum with their homemade salads was because they figured that they were more of a garnish for the protein than anything else.  Like the parsley on a plate that is only added to give a dish some color.

Cheese sauce added.  One more step to go before oven-ing!
Top with more cheese!  Who doesn't love cheese!

Out of the oven!!!

I say screw that!  If you are going to make a homemade salad to bring to a barbecue, why not give the protein some competition?  When you think about it, the flavor of the protein at a barbecue depends on what it is marinated with, and because of that, a lot of the proteins taste the same every time and every year.  If you really want to make a memory, try having everybody at the barbecue wondering who made the salad, wanting the recipe and excited for the next Spring and Summer get together because maybe your memorable homemade salad will be there!  And making a great and memorable salad for a barbecue is not hard to do.  You just need to think outside the eggshell macaroni, tuna, onions and mayonnaise box.

Chef Nairby's Cheesy Vegetable Medley!


This vegetable medley is packed with flavor, creamy cheese and awesomeness!


-4 Avocados, separated (3 for the cheese sauce, 1 chopped for the medley.  (Soft, but not too soft.  We’re going to mash the ones for the cheese sauce up nicely!)
-1 TBSP butter
-300g Goat cheese, separated (3/4 for cheese sauce, the rest for topping and baking)
-1 cup milk
-2 TBSP plain yogurt
-4 Zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces
-2 cups sliced mushrooms
-1 pint (about 2 cups) grape/cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
-450g grated cheddar, separated (half for the cheese sauce, half for topping and baking)
-1 19oz (540ml) can of dark red kidney beans, drained
-1-2 TBSP fresh chopped dill
-Salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Using an electric hand mixer or food processor, mash up the avocado until fluffy like mashed potatoes.

3. On low to medium heat, melt butter in a medium-to-large sized pot or sauce pan.  Add milk when melted.  Stir until combined.

4. Raise heat to medium.  Add ¾ of the goat cheese.  Stir gently until combined and creamy.

5. Add half of the grated cheddar cheese.  Continue stirring until combined.

6. Add the mashed avocado, yogurt and chopped dill.  Continue stirring until combined.

7. In a large bowl, toss zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, chopped avocado, kidney beans, salt and pepper until nicely mixed.  Add the cheese sauce and stir gently until all nicely combined.  Empty into a deep baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

8. Top with other half of grated cheddar and remaining ¼ of goat cheese, broken up into chunks and scattered.

9. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven, empty into a large pot or bowl, mix and serve.  Can be served warm or cold!

Chef Nairby

Monday, April 4, 2016


I have been a lover of Indian food for several years now.  But for as long as I have loved to eat it, actually making it was something I avoided for most of those years.  I would do like a lot of people do and look for the pre-made sauces in a jar, add a protein and call it Indian food.  I was content.  But as my love for cooking entered a more serious level in 2015 and I quickly ditched the pre-made ingredients wherever I could, I knew in the back of my head that I would eventually enter the world of cooking my favorite cuisine the proper way.  I kept avoiding it, though.  I knew enough to know that Indian food is not like making your own pasta sauce from scratch, and it was important for me to go into it with a decent amount of experience of proper cooking.

As luck would have it, my mother works for an Indian restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland, and the owner is not your typical businessman with a love for the restaurant business, but an actual Chef.

Chef Monir Mohammed, owner of Mother India restaurant in Glasgow, had just recently released his recipe book, "Mother India at Home".  My mom suggested to me that perhaps I would be interested in a copy.  I said yes and Chef Mohammed was kind enough to send me a signed copy, via my mother, of his book.

Chef Monir's Butter Chicken fresh out of the oven!

I received the book in short time and quickly discovered that this was not the typical kind of cookbook that I was used to, simply filled with recipes and pictures of the dishes.  This book is also a biography with pictures, not only of the dishes, but of family, friends and kitchen brigade.  As someone who has had a love for cooking ever since cooking classes in 7th grade, this cookbook was a welcome experience compared to the few others I had in my possession.

An inspiring story of growing up in a small 4 bedroom flat with 9 people, eventually being forced out because of dangers of literally falling into a hole in the ground because of the age of the structure, Chef Monir's is a tale of struggling through tough times, fighting adversity and going from peeling a bag of onions at his brother's restaurant one day to owning 5 restaurants of his own.

Chef Mohammed started at the bottom with peeling onions and worked his way up, from doing dishes and cleaning, to making salads.  His experience in all levels of the restaurant business is something that a lot of restaurant owners lack and why a lot of them end up going under.

Serve with Basmati rice, Naan bread or eat as is!

Chef Monir was not particularly a fan of Indian cooking growing up until he traveled and spent some time living in the Punjab which changed the way he looked at one of the best cuisines out there (THE best, in my opinion).  He took his new found love for South Asian cuisine, added his own special touches and brought it back to Glasgow, Scotland where he transformed it into a successful restaurant business and an excellent biography/cookbook.

I have gotten so much use out of my copy of Chef Mohammed's "Mother India at Home" biography and recipe book that it has suffered a bit of wear and tear.  As a result, Chef Monir was kind enough to send me another copy with my mother when she came to visit me for my 40th birthday in 2014, along with an authentic Chef's jacket courtesy of Chef Mohammed and his wife, Smeena, who also has a recipe or two of her own in this excellent book.

I made Chef Mohammed's outstanding Butter Chicken for my mom when she visited and she loved it.  This book is packed with excellent recipes, pictures and stories.  It is an excellent read and a great guide for those who love Indian food but are apprehensive.  I can confirm that once you try just one dish in this book, you will go back for more!

Chef Monir Mohammed's, Mother India at Home:

Checkout my latest tutorial video on how to make Chef Monir's Butter Chicken!


30g Ghee (Clarified Butter)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 green chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 knob of fresh ginger, chopped
6 cloves
5 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds, crushed
1/2 x 400g tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
4 chicken supremes (chicken breasts with the wing portion still attached)
300ml double cream, plus a little extra to finish
20 whole almonds, shell off
salt and black pepper

1.  Heat ghee in a pan large enough for the chicken to fit into and add the onion.  Cook gently for 5 minutes.
2.  Add green chillies, garlic and ginger.  Cook on low-to-medium heat for 5 minutes.
3.  Add cloves, cardamom pods and cumin.  Stir thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes.
4.  Add tomatoes and tomato puree.  Cook for 5 minutes.
5.  Add salt, chilli powder, tumeric and yogurt.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, adding a little water if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
6.  Preheat the oven at 190 degree celcius or 375F.
7.  Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the oil.  Once it's hot, add the chicken and sear on both sides until the outside is golden brown, then season with salt and black pepper.
8.  Add chicken to the pan of sauce and cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the cream and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
9.  Decant everything into a roasting try or oven-proof dish and scatter with the almonds.  Place in the oven and roast for 12 minutes, or until the juices from the chicken run clear.
10.  Serve with plain Basmati rice, with a splash of double cream over the almonds.

Chef Nairby

Monday, March 28, 2016


They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Based on that saying, a lot of people are afraid of even borrowing ideas from others and adding their own twists.  I see nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from other cooks and applying my own additions and takeaways.

When I started taking my cooking more seriously in 2014, I solely relied on the recipes of others to try myself.  The more I did this, the more I became accustomed the flavors of the ingredients I was using, especially ingredients that I had never tried before and fell in love with.

My fudge journey began with Skittle Doodle Fudge

As my palette expanded, I would make a dish that I found online or in cookbooks and afterwards ask myself, "What if?"

What if I took Chef Monir Mohammed's Butter Chicken recipe and replaced the chicken with cauliflower and broccoli to make a vegetarian alternative?  So I did, and just like the Butter Chicken, the "Butter Vegetables" turned out great.

After my second attempt at Skittle Doodle Fudge was a success, I thought of using the same basic method, but featuring a different featured ingredient.  That led to Oreo Fudge, Mint Chocolate Fudge with M&M's and Chocolate Peanut Butter fudge with Reese's Pieces.

Using the same basic method from Skittle Doodle Fudge, I changed
a few key ingredients and made Mint Chocolate Fudge with M&M's!

As more time went on and I became more familiar with how certain ingredients and spices taste and cook, I began coming up with my own dishes from scratch.  I will sometimes come up with a possible idea and search the internet to see if it has been done before and will find nothing.  In those cases, you can quit before starting or you can go with your gut.

It might not always turn out like you thought it would (Froot Loops & Grape Juice!), but you never know unless you try.  Even if you are sketchy about an idea, there is always the option of doing a test on a smaller dish and using the same ingredients.  You can easily turn a basic macaroni and cheese into a Greek or Indian version by trading out some spices and swapping one cheese for another.

Ingredients for Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge with Reese's Pieces.  Same
technique as Skittle Doodle, different key ingredients.

A main ingredient is a mannequin.  Don't be afraid to dress it up however you please.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge with Reese's Pieces.



-3 cups milk chocolate chips
-14oz Sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 cup peanut butter AND 1-2 Tbsp peanut butter, melted, for drizzling.
-4 51g boxes Reese's Pieces, divided (3 boxes for fudge mixture, 1 box for topping)
***I know there are 5 boxes in the picture but I only used 4***


1.  Combine chocolate chips and condensed milk in a small saucepan.
2.  Melt over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is completely melted.
3.  Stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter.  Stir constantly until melted and combined.
4.  Stir in 3 boxes Reese's Pieces.
5.  Pour mixture into 8 inch square pan lined with parchment paper, or a pan or container of similar size (mine was a rectangle Tupperware container.  Don't forget that parchment paper!).
6.  Randomly scatter last box of Reese's pieces on top.
7.  Melt 1-2 Tbsp peanut butter in microwave (or stove top, whichever you prefer).  Drizzle on top of fudge.
8.  Refrigerate or freeze until firm.  (I put mine in the freezer overnight.  It is a lot easier to cut into sharp edged pieces the firmer it is.  Cut into squares and eat them because they taste great!

Chef Nairby

Monday, March 21, 2016


Most of us love cheesecake, but a lot of us will not dare try to make cheesecake.  It's not like you can walk the baking supplies aisle of the supermarket aisle and find a box of cheesecake mix and jar of icing like you can when making a simple cake.  Cheesecake requires work and effort, right?

Well, that is what I always thought.  That is up until, yet again, I stumbled across a recipe for a cheesecake on the internet and all of my assumptions were debunked.

Ingredients for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Skor Cheesecake!  Minus Dr. Lecter.

Sure, more work goes into making a great cheesecake than simply dumping a package of powdered mixture, eggs and milk into a big bowl and mixing., but not that much more work.  And just like I mentioned a time or two in previous Blog posts, the extra effort is worth it.  In the case of this cheesecake recipe, it is barely that much extra effort.

Most people, when they think of cheesecake, one thing that enters their mind is a graham crust.  That is all fine and good, but is also generic.  I guess you could say that I have become spoiled and a bit of a food snob after trying the chocolate chip cookie dough method.

That's right!  I said chocolate chip cookie dough!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bottom!

Cheesecake filling mixture with chocolate ships and Skor bits inside!

Those ready-to-go graham crusts you can buy in those little pans for cheesecake are all fine and good, but they limit you with their littleness.  And cheesecake does not belong in a typical pie-shaped form.  It belongs in a springform pan.  Those cool little pans with the sides that you can detach.  Those are where the mighty cheesecake belong, so sayeth Chef Nairby!  They are inexpensive and can come in packs of 3 or more, like mine did, with different sizes.  And you get many uses out of them.

I bought a 3-pack of springform pans about a month ago and have already used one of them 4 times in 4 weeks.  With this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Skor Cheesecake recipe and its simplicity, I don`t blame myself.

Fresh out of the oven and makes the house smell great!

Simply get a package of your preferred cookie dough, spread it out evenly on the bottom of the springform pan, pour in the cheesecake mixture, bake and done!  It is that easy.

"But what about the mixture, Chef Nairby?  Isn't that where all of the work is?"  Yes.  Cream cheese, sugar, 3 eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract.  Whatever you decide to add to it, chocolate chips and Skor bits in this case, is up to you.  The electric hand mixer does all of the work.  And the baking process makes the house smell great!  Once you try making this cheesecake once, you are likely to want to make it again shortly thereafter with a different combination of ingredients!  Perhaps some butterscotch chips instead of chocolate.  Maybe some crushed Oreos.  It's up to your imagination.

Topped with Skor bits after cooling at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Melted chocolate drizzled after more cooling and ready to spend the
night in the fridge!

As I like to say in my rebuilding posts, "Don't tell ME that YOU can't do it!"

After a night cooling in the fridge.  Ready to devour!


Springform pan
Non-stick cooking spray
Electric hand mixer
3 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 package chocolate chip cookie dough
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1Tbsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup of Skor bits, seperated into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
3/4 cup of milk chocolate chips, seperated into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup


1.  Preheat oven to 350F.

2.  Spray inside bottom and edges of a springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and spread cookie dough evenly to cover the bottom.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and sugar using an electric hand mixer until combined and fluffy.

4.  Add sour cream and vanilla extract.  Mix until combined and smooth.

5.  Add eggs, ONE AT A TIME, mix until combined and smooth each time.

6.  Add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of skor bits.  STIR WITH SPOON.

7.  Pour mixture into the springform pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes.  The cheesecake will rise and appear as though it will overflow and spill out of the pan.  Don't worry.  It won't.

8.  Remove from oven and let it cool at room temperature.  Top with 1/4 cup of Skor bits.  Melt 1/4 chocolate chips and drizzle on top (or forgo melting them and simply sprinkle on top if that is your preference).  Refridgerate overnight.  Remove from springform pan the next day and eat until eaten!

Chef Nairby

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Sometimes cooking something new doesn't go as planned.  Especially when you use your experiences from previous recipes and try coming up with your own creation.

A recipe that you followed and turned out excellent will inspire you to use similar methods to try making something different.  If it worked then, if should work now, right?  Not always.  And sometimes when things don't go as we thought it would, our natural reaction a lot of the time is to throw in the towel.

But just because your original idea didn't work, it doesn't mean that you were not on to something.

Sure, there are times when you substituted an ingredient for something similar and it turned out to be a disaster.  In the early stages of when I started taking my cooking a lot more seriously, I had made a homemade pasta sauce from a recipe I found and it turned out great.  It turned out so great that the following week I decided to make it again.  Unfortunately, none of the supermarkets near me had fresh basil, which the recipe called for.  So I turned to dried basil that you get in your typical spice aisle.  BIG mistake!  The sauce was ruined.

But there are also times when a dish is still salvageable.  You just need to change the game plan.

Previously made Pesto Pasta.  Perfection.

Last year, I had an idea to make a pesto dish using broccoli and cauliflower instead of pasta.  A pesto pasta recipe I made a few months prior turned out great and I figured replacing the pasta with broccoli and cauliflower would be simple enough.

I went back to the pasta recipe to remind myself of the ingredients I needed to make the pesto sauce and the basic instructions to make it.  The sauce called for cashews soaked for a few hours, some basil, garlic, lemon juice, grated Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil.

I bought the ingredients and started with soaking the cashews first.  I used more cashews than the pasta recipe called for, thinking I was going to make a large batch of pesto broccoli and cauliflower and therefore needed lots of sauce.

Once the cashews had soaked for a few hours to soften them up, It was time to put them in my food processor and periodically add everything else.  Unfortunately, the mixture was not creating any kind of smooth consistency.  It was becoming more like a ball of dough than anything else.  Adding a little extra olive oil wasn't helping.  I had made the mistake of using too many cashews, and if I wanted to get the mixture smooth, it would have meant adding a lot more olive oil which I didn't want to do.

When my attempt at a Pesto sauce for a Broccoli & Cauliflower dish didn't work, I came up
with Plan B: Operation Salvage.

I stopped the food processor and looked for a minute at what I had.  It looked more like a stuffing you would have with turkey than any kind of sauce.  I decided to give it a taste and it tasted excellent!

I decided that I needed to change my game plan as I had stumbled on to something.  I still had the broccoli and cauliflower, but I also had some grape tomatoes, half a brick of mozzarella and an extra red pepper leftover from the previous days' creation.

I roasted the red pepper, cut the grape tomatoes in half and grated the mozzarella.  I kept some grated mozzarella to the side and put everything else into a large bowl with the cauliflower, broccoli and cashew mixture.  Mixed it all up, put it in a baking tray, topped with the remaining mozzarella and some pepper.  Baked at about 400 degrees for 15 minutes and out came my Cheesy Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli with Pesto Stuffing!

Greatness by accident!



4 cups of raw natural cashews.
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil.
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped.
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice.
2 Tbsp grated parmesan.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
4 cups broccoli florets.
4 cups cauliflower florets.
1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes (about 20 of them), sliced in half.
1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped.
4 cups grated mozzarella.  Put aside 1 cup for topping.
1 tsp ground black pepper.


1.  Soak cashews in water for about 3 hours.
2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees after the cashews are done soaking.
3.  Mix cashews, basil, chopped garlic, lemon juice and parmesan in a food proccessor while slowly adding the olive oil during the mixing process.  Continue mixing until it has a stuffing texture throughout.  Process will take close to 10 minutes depending on how powerful your proccessor is.
4.  Put stuffing mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, only THREE cups of the mozzarella and the ground pepper.  Mix and combine in the bowl.
5.  Put the entire mixture into a baking pan line with non-stick cooking spray.  Top with the remaining mozzarella.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Serve.

Chef Nairby

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


This blog post will not apply to most people, but if you are like me, I can identify.

For the most part, I have not been the most social person on Earth for most of my adult life.  I have always been very careful about who I let into my world of awesomeness due to trust issues, and because of that, I never learned the social skills that most people learn as they grow up.

"BeastWalk" on day 81.  The early stages can be the toughest.

As mentioned in a previous rebuilding post, my world was rocked in a negative way in December 2013 as one of the few people I allowed into my world and trusted for many years turned out to be not-so-cool.  As a result of what I called, "The Tuesday Incident", I went from only trusting this person to trusting no one at all.  The "Tuesday Incident" is also what ultimately planted the seeds for my rebuilding process.

Everything that I would do in the early stages, I did on my own.  Working out in my living room, going for "Beastwalks", I did it all alone.  Just me and whatever songs I felt like listening to on my iPod at the time.

As I started to see and feel results, my confidence grew.  I would no longer look down when walking passed a stranger on the street.  And as my confidence grew, so did my desire to form some kind of social circle.  The social circle building deal can be told in an entirely different set of posts but they would have nothing to do with cooking or rebuilding.  To make a long story short, after two years, I have no social circle.

Day 91.  I had the day off and my head had been in a bad place for a few days, so I got up and went on a
3+ hour BeastWalk to clear it.

After about a year-and-a-half of trying and being unsuccessful, I stopped trying to form a social circle.  There are a few reasons, but I will just stick with one.  While my lifestyle was changing and becoming more active, the people I was trying to build this social circle with were still the same.  I will be the first to admit that it is hard to get started and very easy to become discouraged.  So while I was trying to maintain an active lifestyle and include "friends", their lifestyle was, and still is more along the lines of, "I don't feel like doing anything."

I know that feeling all too well.  Unfortunately since I've become more active, I find it extremely hard to not do anything.  My days of sitting at home on days off, playing video games and watching moves for hours are long gone.  And due to my lack of social skills, it is not so easy for me to go out and meet new people, although I tried and the way I went about it was a HUGE mistake (AVOID DATING WEBSITES, GENTLEMEN!  THEY ARE A WASTE OF TIME AND LIFE!).  I joined online meet up sites like  Unfortunately, a lot of the "socializing" in those groups require paying money.  That, too, is another story.  Let me just say that I will no longer pay money to hangout with people.

Day 99.  The Ultimate Warrior had just passed away and I went down
to the site of Wrestlemania 6 which I attended in 1990 to do a tribute.

In the end, I had to come to terms with the fact that the rebuilding process can be a lonely journey.  You can find out who your true friends are and who they aren't.  It takes its toll on your head and can make you feel very depressed at times.  I have found that the best action to get rid of those feelings of depression are to use them as fuel to up the intensity of my workouts.  It works, but the feelings still come back.  Not as often as they did in the beginning, but they come back.  Rebuilding can not only be challenging on your body, but on your mind, too.

It is an emotional roller coaster.  In the beginning, there can be a lot of anger as you try to find people to join you and they either don't due to them not being up to it, or they will agree and then cancel on you at the last minute with excuse after excuse.  As a result, you get angry and eventually depressed, then angry again.  These are the times when you want to bust out the weights or put your shoes on and go for a walk.

Day 418.  Head doing a lot better.  Still get a bit down every now and
then, but Sally is more than enough for Chef Nairby!

My rebuilding came down to this:  In the beginning, the reason for getting in shape was to get the approval and admiration of others.  But as time went on, it became about being happy with myself and not caring so much about the opinions of others.  Once I got to that stage, life did not feel so lonely anymore, although I will still go through periods of depression and loneliness.  But it is nowhere near as bad as it was in the beginning.

You just need to remember that rebuilding and sticking to it puts you at a higher level than most people.  It is not that there is something wrong with YOU, it is that you are asking too much of THEM.  The things that you used to do are too boring to keep doing, but your friends are still stuck in that bubble.  Rebuilding is about fixing YOURSELF.  Fixing yourself means spending a lot of time alone.  It's just the way it is.

Chef Nairby