How It Started
For me, cooking has always been a bit of a drag. I used to see cooking as exhausting and not worth my time. Of course, as a younger, less food focused individual, food was nothing more than what I ate to fill my stomach. If I wanted to be happy, I ate. If I wanted to be full, I ate. If we were hanging out and having a party, I ate. Life, however, seems to change on us over time. As I grew older it seemed that I also grew in total size. As a high school kid I could eat as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted, and calories basically didn’t matter. Then when I started college, I experienced a large amount of sedentary living, excessive quantities of food, poor food quality, and unlimited access to ice cream (which is my weakness!) This led to the easy freshman 15, 20, 25, and 30. That’s right, 30 pounds my freshman year. I went from 180lbs as a teenager to 210lbs my freshman year of college.
My sophomore year I was a little more focused on my workouts, so I actually stayed even in my weight. Shortly after, in 2015, I had major changes to my life which led to me being less active, eating more, and gaining more weight. In fact, over the next 18 months I gained over 45lbs. I was big enough that none of the clothes I had would fit without extreme discomfort. At this time, in summer of 2017, I got out of a very negative relationship and this led me to take a good look at my life and determine if this is the direction I wanted to go in life. I chose to do something different than what I was doing now.
First, I started with the simple “bodybuilding diet” including a high carb, high protein, low fat diet of chicken, rice or pasta, and vegetables. Remember, this was a huge step in the right direction! I lost 30 pounds over 7 months, but I soon learned this was not sustainable! This led me to study food, diets, how the body works and what would help me build more muscle and lose more fat. This led me to paleo, keto and carnivore. I started to cut inflammatory foods, eat higher protein, have higher quality fats, and even eat more red meat. I noticed that my health improved, my time in the gym became more effective, and I made better improvements to my digestion and mental clarity. But something was off. I found myself craving foods I couldn’t have. I missed pizza, lasagna, donuts, pancakes and many of my other favorite foods. So I thought, there must be another option. There must be a way that I can eat the best quality I can while still eating foods I love. So I began studying some of the top chefs in the world! My favorite, of course, is Gordon Ramsay, and a few of my recipes are even inspired by food creations he pioneered.
Over this time, I learned skills that made a huge difference in what was in my food. I learned how to make pizza dough, cheese tips (like buy whole and grate it yourself), tips for high quality meat such as buy local and know about the food and where it comes from, and cooking with ghee is a way to increase healthy fats while not sacrificing quality.
The first recipe I created from here was my high protein Mac & Cheese. I used lentil pasta to give more fiber and fewer empty calories, good quality cheeses to give some healthy fats but also extra protein, almond milk to lower the junk calories, and I even found you can add a bit of ghee with the cheese sauce to make it a little more nutrient dense. From there I determined what some of my favorite foods were and then set out to make the best version of them to help me achieve my goals! I determined that the easiest form of my goals to pursue was to follow a simple 4 step process to achieve my goals.
First, I needed to eat the right amount of protein. I have found, both through experience and numerous studies, that it’s hard to overeat protein. Your body needs protein and amino acids. They are the building blocks of tissue, muscle, hair, skin, nails and your organs, so I determined I need to eat plenty. A good rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. At the time of writing this, I weigh 200lbs (with a LOT more muscle than I used to have) so I eat at least 200g of protein per day.
Second, I have to be calorie conscious. I recommend using www.iifym.com to see what your total daily expenditure is. Over time, I have found I need to eat about 2,900 calories per day, so now I can eat whatever fits in my calorie limits.
Third, I have to cook 80% of my meals. This way I know what is in the food I eat. This does not mean I can never eat out, because only 80% of my diet has to be made by me. This means if I eat 3 meals a day, 17 of my meals per week need to be cooked at home, the rest can be eaten out if I want, or I can keep eating food I make. I get to have that freedom. I simply must be conscious of the calories I eat, and make sure I hit my protein goals.
Fourth, and finally, I must eat food I love. Twist my arm why don’t you. Seriously, if you don’t enjoy the food, you won’t eat it. That’s why I have lasagna, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, baked ziti, and so many more. Determine your favorite foods and make that a part of your diet. If you are eating out, learn how to make the right choices and substitutions so you can still eat out but not ruin your diet.
That’s it. It really is that simple. You do not need to overcomplicate it, just hit your protein goals, your calorie goals, cook 80% of your meals, and make sure it’s all food you love. The final tip to your success with this book is to track your calories. Whether it’s on pen and paper or myfitnesspal, tracking will ensure you are successful long term with your goals.
There are several other tools that will ensure your success such as proper cooking pans, prep containers, spatulas, mixers and quality pasta or rice strainer. These tools are not required, but it will greatly help when it comes to ease of cooking, storing and consistency of your cooking.
You will also need to understand that it will take a little bit of time to prepare your food. I reserve my Sunday afternoons or my Saturday evenings to prepare my food for the week. I also will write out my meals ahead of time, create a list for the grocery store, have a meal before you go so you are not hungry, and stick to your list.
Finally, know that this is something you need to stick to for as long as you can. The plan is not “30 days” or “until I reach my goals” but until you are unable to follow the diet. Make this a lifestyle and you will achieve all of your weight and health goals! This is not a one size fits all, but it will put you on the right track. You may find you want more protein, and all you need to do is make small tweaks to your diet and you will be all set. Looking for more alternatives?
Be on the lookout for my free substitutions E-book! That way you will never be set with just one style of these meals, but instead you can have unlimited options. Find what you love, schedule it, tweak it how you like, and enjoy living a healthy and happy lifestyle! Remember, you are in control of your success or failure. I wish you the best in your journey towards a happier and healthier YOU!
Writes The Recipes
Hi! My name is Josiah and Make Your Meals Epic is my passion project to solve the biggest issue I have faced in the fitness industry; “I want to eat healthy but I also love Lasagna!” There is this idea that if you want to eat healthy then you have to eat boring, sucky food, and never get the things you love like pizza, lasagna, mac & cheese, steak, cookies, muffins and these fun exciting meals other people get to eat. My goal with MYME is to make you into the best chef of you and your friends! I want you to become passionate about cooking in a way that is enjoyable, educational, and help you eat food in the best way!
I have a simple 4 step process that guarantees you get to eat good food, get in better shape and be healthier. Hit your protein goal, get calories based on your goals, cook 80% of your food, and eat the food you love. That’s it. It doesn’t need to be complicated. I found this worked well for me when I lost 70lbs and went from 250lbs down to 180lbs. Now, after plenty of training and a life routine that works for me, I’m sitting at 200lbs with more muscle and never wishing I could eat tasteful food, but I get to eat whatever I want! Now I bring this to you! Every month you will get access to ALL of my recipes plus 1-2 new ones! I also can’t wait to create edits to the existing recipes to fit your needs! So comment on them, make requests, give me a challenge and let’s see how epic we can make our meals! See you soon!
Designs The Things
Hello fellow kids! I do none of the cooking, but I sure do all of the eating. Starting a few years ago my body decided to betray me by rejecting gluten and all of its works. I began to think I’d never be able to eat anything that tastes good for the rest of my life. Boy, was I wrong!
Josiah is the brains behind some of the best recipes I’ve ever had! And as an added bonus, I don’t feel like I’m going to die or pass out afterwards!
So what is it that I do at MYME besides eat everything in site? I make everything else look good while I do it.