Come find yourself...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nurse Jackie, Karma, Mean Girls and homemade PROTEIN BARS that don't taste like the inside of a gutter.

A bagel is a doughnut with the sin removed.

George Rosenbaum

See the add above for the amazing new Showtime series, NURSE JACKIE?

The copy: "Life is full of little pricks."

Aint' that the truth.

On the subway on my way to work, I saw this guy:

Not sure if you can see his hat. It reads: "Don't Ask Me SHIT."

The part I love about this photo (and much of NYC) is how uninterested the woman sitting next to him is a senior citizen is wearing a hat which reads, "Don't Ask Me SHIT."

When I was in high school, I was on the cheer leading squad. I don't know what I was thinking. I was gay, clinically anxious and as moody as my mentally ill mother. At the time, I was terrified anyone would find out I was gay. So what do I do? I join the cheer squad! Go figure.

I was the only gay guy on the squad. Everyone knew it but me. At the time, I was dating a lovely girl, Erika O. (last name have been omitted in defense of my ego), but I was secretly making out with guys from the football and basketball teams. Hey, at least it got me into free football and basketball games and has given me great blackmail material at future high school reunions.

If all of you only KNEW what the 'straight' guys in high school do behind closed doors when they 'experiment' with gay guys...shocking, staggering, and could easily be a very racy HBO series. "Homo High" would be a nice working title.

In the summer of 1980, I went to Cheer Camp with eight girls and three guys. My memory of the time is vague. I remember lots of jumping and rolling in the grass. I had a crush on a guy whose name I can't write here. I wish I could for the joke, but it wouldn't be nice. He was portly and dark haired and had a bulbous nose. I was madly in love with him. Of course, he called me 'dude' and I wanted him to call me names best left unwritten on a public blog. I just found out he owns a butcher shop and listens to the Beatles, so I'm thinking we don't have much in common (not that we ever did). But he was cute in that dumb, lug-headed way straight men can be.

My strongest memories of high school and the cheer squad were of the girls. I have been tagged by a few on Facebook. I'm torn. On the one hand, I want to know if they're fat, unhappy, married, divorced, or hooked on smack (a guy can dream, can't he?), but on the other, I want the memory of them to go away. It never will.

(There was only one girl I platonically loved in the 70's. Her name was Crystal Cassady. She had a sharp jawline, startlingly beautiful eyes, a wide, open mouth, like Farrah Fawcett, and wavy, brown/blond hair EXACTLY like Farrah Fawcett. She struck me as very wounded and yet oddly assured. She was soft-spoken and careful, uncertain, smart and so beautiful. I wanted to hold her and protect her. Wow...I was Super Gay even in high school.)

Like the legions of outsiders who were verbally and physically abused in high school, I've chosen ways to cope in my adult life. Some healthy, some not so much. I have a theory - we are a combination of character traits we were born with, as well as the traits of whoever our 'parents' were, but we are also formed by our years in school. Who we are is, in a large part, due to the shit we had to endure in high school. I endured. Others soared.

What is the point of all of this? The point is a lot of the girls in high school were mean (and not only to me). Very few had Crystal's soul. I've been in touch with girls from high school, and this is what has happened to them:

A) They became fundamental Christians

B) Never left their tiny hometowns and are depressed and secretly take pills

C) Had seven children and can only discuss meeting at the mall or the latest sale at Target

D) Became Professional Bitches

E) Are happy

I wish them all the best, but like Nurse Jackie, I do feel it's my duty to tell people who are mean they are mean, and if there is one group I want to rip a new butthole, it's my Mean Girls in high school. But this never works. It always backfires.

So to keep my karma strong and my lawyer out of court, I'll say this:

The best revenge you can have is staying happy, healthy and SKINNY by eating my HOMEMADE PROTEIN BARS.

Nurse Jackie does some wonderfully twisted things to right the wrongs of the pricks in the world, but we know it's TV and we can't do that. Drama is Wish Fulfillment.

So...let's put the past behind us for a bit, store the Yearbooks in the back of the closet and make some healthy snacks (and hope and pray those mean bitches in high school learn their lovers are cheating on them).


Why homemade protein bars? Why not go out and buy them in the store? Who has time, right?

Because this doesn't have chemicals or additives, they taste GREAT and are SUPER DUPER CHEAP TO MAKE.

Let's bake!


Dry ingredients:

* 1 cup quick cooking oats
* 1/8 cup toasted wheat germ
* 1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
* 1 cup raw, unsalted almonds, lightly chopped, or any other unsalted nut
* 1/2 cup salt-free sunflower seeds
* 3.5 ounces of dry berries
* 1/2 cup chocolate and/or carob chips, Ghiradelli chocolate only
* 2 cups unflavored WHEY protein powder

Wet ingredients:

* 1 ripe banana
* 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
* 1/3 cup grade A maple syrup
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, or 1 teaspoon table salt

I'm telling you - once you start making this, you will never EVER go back to store bought protein bars. Not only do they taste like a cross between a cookie and a bar, but they are lower in calories, higher in protein and don't have ANY ADDITIVES. How can you say no?

A word on protein powder - NOT all are created equal. Quality whey protein isolate has benefits including providing intact immunoglobulins to support immune function, providing the highest concentration of BCAA's (branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine which play a key role in the muscle building process-about 25%), it has a high biological value (BV) which means it is readily absorbed and utilized by human muscle tissue, and it may even support IGF-1 levels.

In other words, Whey protein is a very high quality complete protein with rich amounts of all the essential amino acids. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein, which is why it is absorbed so quickly and efficiently into the body.

I've written about the issues of depression as it relates to food and our moods (a part of the premise for my cooking show). It's very well known the factors affecting mood are complex. Deficiencies of thyroid, adrenal or sex hormones (as DHEA, estrogen, testosterone); sleep deprivation (as from sleep apnea); elevated stress levels with excess cortisol shutting off melatonin and deregulation of sleep cycle; systemic effects of toxic chemicals and metals; deficiencies of amino acids, essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamin cofactors (as B12/Folic Acid); deficiencies of neurotransmitters and loss of their reciprocal regulation of each other and other environmental stressors.

This recipe gives you a healthy serving of some of the nutrients which have been shown, scientifically, to affect your body in a way which helps to alleviate your depression and literally LIFT your mood!

Amino acid therapy for depression involves taking specific amino acid supplements to bring them into balance. By correcting these imbalances, you can, in turn, optimize the levels of brain neurotransmitters and improve your mood.

This homemade bar is made with the most natural amino acids on the market and it's done CHEAPLY and EASILY.

This is truly a MOOD FOOD.

In addition, these are baked, which is not the case with 95% of the bars on the market. You make these, you know they are the healthiest you'll find. Anywhere.

You can use all dried blueberries or all dried raspberries. Add 1/2 cup dried raspberries and 1/2 cup dried blackberries. Use 1 cup dried raspberries with the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and WOW.


All you do is mix the dry ingredients in a bowl until it is thoroughly incorporated, THEN add the wet and mix it up. It will be very, very wet. That is GOOD.

Be patient as you layer it inside of your Pyrex dish. It takes time (and normally drives Andy crazy).

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and bake these in 9 x 13 Pyrex dish for 18 minutes only! No more! Let them finish cooking and then cooling on the counter. Only way to keep them very moist. We just love overcooking everything in this country.

This batch makes a total of ten bars. What I like to do is cut them up after they have cooled and place them into small plastic bags and FREEZE THEM. Then, in the morning, after the gym, I take them out and put them on the kitchen counter as I shower and when I leave, they have defrosted just enough to give them the ideal CRUNCH on the way to the office!

This is the ultimate FOOD MOOD which fights depression, helps you lose weight and feel full and increases your energy by using pure and nutritious ingredients which taste good.

No more crappy protein bars! This is the REAL DEAL!


Mikey Bryan
Your Food Therapist!


  1. Love these.....but no mention of Ellie? Love the story that preceeds the recipe, Mike. Very perceptive,honest yet retrained.....I really feel like I am there with you :) XO

  2. One more thing....I dip these in dark chocolate! Oh my!

  3. Final word...rock on with the science of it all! Fantastic :)