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When I met Sailor Man, he had just returned to the States after living abroad in Japan for two years. Aside form having a rather odd accent (which I discovered was really an “Erie” accent), he also had peculiar eating habits resulting from being a vegetarian. I’m from Michigan where “vegetarians” are small game you use as bait for bigger game, or something you eat when your plans for bigger game fail. So I broke him of that in short order by the cunning use of roast chicken.

Sailor Man has threatened on and off over the years of reverting back to his old ways, something I usually thwart by ordering organic lamb from this farm in in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and it generally succeeds in keeping him from going over to the dark side because Sailor Man really loves his lamb.

However, genetics is having the last laugh. After 7 years of harassment, I finally got Sailor Man to have a cholesterol test. Let me first say that Sailor Man, at 32, is in some damn fine shape. Actually, he’s in as good as shape now than when I met him almost 8 years ago. He runs, lifts weights, stretches, and more often than not, will always order the vegetarian special when eating out. And his cholesterol clocked in at 205, and triglycerides? Well, I’m still a little shell shocked over than one as well.

You see, family history is trumping good health. Grandfather, father, and now son. So of course, we’ve begun mainlining oatmeal and incorporating more red wine into the diet. I suspect though, given family history, this is not something that will go away on its own without the future use of pharmaceuticals.

So here I am in the meantime, at Whole Foods buying hippy food.

I’ve slowly incorporated organic products into our diets for years now, so that is not the issue. The issue is trying to limit the intake of animal fats while not choking on an organic-vegan-tofu-tempeh-meat-substitute-bean-curd-something or other. “Textured Vegetable Protein”? It looks like the byproduct of a horrifically bad sinus infection. “Gluten Free”? Oh, how thoughtful! They removed the Elmer’s Glue from the ingredients and replaced it with something truly inedible! And anything with tempeh reminds me of the time I was in Tunisia and accidentally ordered lamb brains (which were actually tasty until I discovered what they were, my French is minimal at best). Hell, half of the stuff I’m coming across to replace animal protein has the texture and consistency of building material. I’m trying to eat here people, not build a hut!

This is not me trying to find an excuse not to go vegetarian. I see the logic in it and I’m all for it, it’s just I really also need my food to taste like food and the organic-vegan-silkened-tofu-chocolate-creme pie that tasted like chocolate flavored rubber hosing is not going to win me over. And we’re both athletes. We need our protein. Lot’s of it.

Over the years, we’ve cut carbs, cut salt, cut out processed food, reduced portions, limited drinking, reduced processed wheat, lowered saturated fats, and lowered calories. So clearly, we’ve got the reduction/elimination thing down. But what exactly does that leave you with at the end of the day?

I’ll tell you, having to learn a completely different style of eating. And it suuuuuuuuuuuucks.


If there is one thing to be truly wary of this holiday season, it is Sailor Man on an egg nog high. The man is completely addicted. You name the brand, he’s tried it. He drinks it by the gallon. All month long. I’d be hardly surprised to wake up one morning and find him lying in the gutter littered with empty nog containers and a tell-tale drool rolling down his chin. He is that bad.

I like it on occassion, but with my morning cereal? With a nice dinner salad? As an after workout recovery drink ala Joe DiMaggio? Actually, I can go with that one. Really though, I only like mine with booze. Particularly the way my mother makes it.

So here’s the family recipe for egg nog, or as my sibs and I like to call it: “Grandma’s Christmas Coronaries”. This is not a recipe for pansies. It’s the chemical equivalent of an atomic bomb, great for stripping furniture, and will make you feel like a Christmas Tree fell on you. Hold on to your teeth and enjoy.


  • 4 Dozen eggs
  • 1 Pint (yes, pint) Cognac
  • 1 Pint Bourbon (Whiskey not Sour Mash)**
  • 1 Pint Rum (yes, this too, don’t get weak on me now, either white or dark is fine)
  • 1 Quart Milk
  • 1 Pint Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBS Vanilla Extract 

INSTRUCTIONS: Separate the egg. Beat egg yolks and sugar on high until mixture becomes pale yellow and ribbon like. Slowly pour in the booze while mixing; add the milk and stir.  Whip cream separately until stiff also beat the egg whites until stiff and then gently fold both into the nog. Top with nutmeg. If you can find it, use a whole nutmeg and freshly grind with a rasp, truly, nothing tastes better.

**I have to state that Grandma used to make this with one pint of home brew whiskey which was dastardly lethal and I swear over a 100 proof. To protect the innocent, the family over the years has switched to bourbon.

Yes, this is an uncooked version as we Irish believe that healthy doses of alcohol kills all things bad. Call it the “Scorched Earth Method to Good Health”. If you’re really worried about salmonella poisoning (you pansy), you can nuke the eggs in the microwave prior to use.

Serve to the ones you love, or hate, it really doesn’t matter. Slainte!