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    Don’t Diet! Eat, Play Sports and Get a Cat

    By John Chen–

    By now you’ve probably seen, read and heard about—and maybe even tried—all different types of diets out there, including those that are age old and “time tested,” as well as those that are the latest fads. One expert says this; another expert says that. One friend swears by a particular method; another convinces you of the opposite. Yikes!

    Over the years, I’ve met lots and lots of men and women in great physical and cardiovascular shape. How do they stay so healthy? Interestingly and shockingly, they all tell me that they don’t diet, nor do they exercise all of the time. They also say that they often splurge on caloric foods, such as my favorite, cheesecake. Huh?!

    My sports buddy Desmond Smith is a big-time health nut who helps people get physically strong through easily achievable workouts and gasp, properly managed eating. Desmond says he loves to eat—don’t we all—and regularly consumes red meat, butter, fat, etc. How come I eat all of those things regularly and I look like a panda, and he resembles a Greek god? During our conversation my eyes wondered over to his nearly perfect and naked body. If you read my previous sentence like I had intended, Desmond is not naked, just nearly naked. What were we talking about again?

    Oh yeah, our subject is eating, playing sports and getting a cat in order to be and stay healthy. Desmond explains that eating is a joy—duh!—but that he chooses foods that are natural and not processed. Heard this before? In front of me, Desmond prepared a mouth-watering grilled cheese sandwich made with butter and a thick layer of creamy pepper jack cheese. You mean I can eat this and still be healthy? Naturally, he said, and that’s the key: as long as the butter, bread and cheese are organic and natural, and that you don’t eat three such delectable sandwiches in one sitting.

    Of course, eating natural and right-sized portions are not the only answers to healthy living. Being physically active and reducing stress go hand in hand with food/nutrition consumption. Desmond told me that a major myth for losing weight, looking good, and gaining cardiovascular and physical health is to jog for miles or run on the treadmill for hours on end.

    You may get temporary results, but not reach long-term goals if that’s all you do. Instead, do fun and interesting physical activities, like play sports. Many sports are cardiovascular and serve as natural strength training programs for various parts of your body. For example, tennis and soccer build tremendous thighs, calves and glutinous maximus (buns of steel). Football and rugby build the shoulders, arms, chest and back. Water polo and swimming develop lean muscles virtually everywhere on our bodies.

    If you like to go that extra mile, incorporate a diverse strength training program catered to your own goals. Strength training achieves muscle building and a cardio workout all at once, thus reducing your workout length and days spent in the gym. And you’ll look and feel fabulous and guiltless while shoving that delicious grass-fed prime beef cut or that thick organic grilled cheese sandwich into your mouth!

    After demonstrating a few and very effective strength training routines (I was sweating just watching my friend), Nerd, Desmond’s adorable calico cat, strutted out of her room and demanded our attention. With her tail in the air, Nerd rubbed up against us and jumped onto Desmond’s lap, purring loudly. Nothing is sexier than a man who is not afraid to love cats! It’s been discussed many, many times that owning a pet, especially a cat, has a calming effect and can be a major stress reducer. Just like that, I felt all the stress of completing this article melt away.

    My visits to Desmond taught me, and reaffirmed, several things about how to be happy and healthy. Eat well and naturally, play sports, and pet an adorable kitty like Nerd. It is no wonder that Desmond is so energetic and positive, looks incredible, smiles all of the time, and wears as little as possible. For insightful health tips, and more photos of Desmond, please visit his blog (

    John Chen, a UCLA alumnus and an avid sports fan, has competed as well as coached tennis, volleyball, softball and football teams.