Make 2018 the year you get BETTER, not NEW.

Make 2018 the year you get BETTER, not NEW.

New Year – New BETTER You! 

This year, I am focusing on being better, not new…better.  Normally, most people think of the New Year as their chance to be a “New You.”  But…I have something to tell you…I hate that saying…New You.

YES!!! That’s what I’m talking bout!

Yes, I know all you see right now is “New Year New You”.  But, it’s all a marketing scam.  You can’t be NEW.  You get a new car because your old one is broken.  You get a new bathroom because you are tired of your old one.  You get a new wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend because the other one pissed you off too much.

But, through it all…your the same person.  You can never change who you are.  If you have an addictive personality, a short temper, give up easily, don’t focus on yourself, etc.  Those aspects of you will always be there, but you can be BETTER.  Who you are can’t change, and really…why would you want it to change.  Your AWESOME!  Your GREAT the way you are.  You don’t need a new you…you WANT a better you.

You want a better version of your self that is thinner.

You want a better version of your self that is stronger.

You want a better version of your self that makes more money (yes…we can help you with that!), has more energy, eats healthier, is taking fewer medications, can see their toes when they look down, etc.

Those don’t require you to be new, they just require you to be better. 

But, it still persists.  If anyone wanted a new version of themselves, it was me in 2016 when I was going through treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma.  In that year, I lost everything I had worked so hard for.

  • Our business suffered.  Try running a business when you’re throwing up every few hours, can’t get off the couch, your wife is taking care of our son, doing her best to make sure the gym doors stay open AND driving you to the hospital a few times every week for tests, scans, treatments, doctor visits, etc.
  • My health.  Vanished.  I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath.  And not just a little out of breath.  I would routinely have to lean against a wall because I felt light-headed after just going up a flight of stairs.
  • My strength I had worked so hard for, was gone.  It wasn’t a quick change, but more of a slow gradual change.  I fought for the first 3 months and tried to work out, but eventually, treatments caught up with me.  The strength I had worked for over 2 decades for, the strength I was proud of…gone in 6 months.  
  • I had to stop taking classes for my MS degree.  When you can’t read for longer than 30 minutes before you need to take a nap, it makes studying pretty hard.  Chemo brain is a real thing.
  • I developed a heavy reliance on medical cannabis that persisted into 2017.  It was my drug of choice to manage my symptoms as opposed to the cocktail they usually put you on while going through chemo.  I had severe reactions to a lot of the meds they put me on and after doing extensive research into medical cannabis, I decided that was going to be the way I managed the side effects.  Every three hours I would consume a large amount of cannabis.  That was the only thing that gave me an appetite, energy to leave the house, took my anxiety away, helped with my depression (it was pretty DEEP) and ultimately prevented me from puking 24/7, I still threw up A LOT, but not near as much as I would have.

Not the time to be training for anything…except to SURVIVE! You bet your ass I wanted a New Me at the end of this. But, I knew I couldn’t be new…only better.

By the end of 2016…I wanted a new me.  But, I knew, it was impossible to be NEW.  So I just focused on recovering.  

When 2017 hit, I decided I was going to sit back (after beating Cancer!) and enjoy the year.

  • I finished my Masters in Nutrition and Human Performance.
  • I got married to my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, awesome wife (also my business partner).
  • I took more vacations then I ever did before.
  • I started offering more personal training at KDR (I love training people!).
  • I weaned myself off of being in a stoned haze for 18 hours a day.
  • I read more fiction books instead of nutrition, fitness, self-help, business books.
  • I spent more time with my friends, family, and fra-mily. 

This about summed up 2017 for me.

Essentially…I focused on me.  Not being a new me.  Not being a better me.  Just me.  But this year, it’s all about being BETTER.  I don’t want a new me.  I want a better me.  A me that is stronger, healthier, leaner, smarter, more energetic, well-thier, etc.

And, I/we want to help you be better this year.

Why RIGHT NOW is the best time to focus on being better.

This time period, after the new year, before the kids are done with school in June is one of the BEST times to focus on you!  The weather is cold out, so that keeps you inside.  There are no holidays coming up that would derail your healthy lifestyle efforts.  You can get into a habit of prepping foods of the weekend (it’s not like your going to randomly take a trip to the beach because it’s a beautiful weekend!).  Your probably slightly depressed and suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder – both of which you can fix with a little Vitamin D and exercise.  You’re also probably pretty unhappy with how your clothes fit right now…I know I am.  And let’s face it, after the brutal cold that has happened in the Upper Valley, who isn’t looking forward to warmer weather and being out in the sun!  With that comes, of course, less clothing.   

The list goes on.  But, you get the idea.  Most people go into hibernating during these months – that’s totally fine and understandable.  I don’t know about you, but when I come out of hibernation this year, I want to feel, look and be BETTER than before.

We want to help you be better!

We are rolling out our next short-term program and we are looking for people that want to be healthier, fitter, stronger, leaner, more energized…BETTER in 2018.  It’s called “New Year – Better You” and it’s a team challenge where you and 4 other people will compete against other teams to see who can lose the greatest body fat percent.  The winning team will walk away with $5,000.00 to be split between the 5 people.  

Interested?  Click the picture below and let’s get started.  We even give you an option to start RIGHT NOW for only $10.  The challenge doesn’t officially start until February 5th, but we know some of you are chomping at the bit to be a better version of yourself.


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Busy?  Then you probably shouldn’t be doing any…

Busy? Then you probably shouldn’t be doing any…

I think there are three classifications of working out that correspond to different parts of the year/your schedule – training, working out and exercise.  If your super busy, then you probably shouldn’t be doing any training.
Training is goal focused, time committed, DRIV-ICATION!
Let me explain further.  I have a lot going on right now – Jamie and I are getting married IN EXACTLY ONE MONTH!!!  Holy shit balls.  Plus, it’s been about 6 months since my last chemo round AND I am getting back into the gym full time.  From January of last year to March of this year I lost over 10 pounds of muscle.  That sucked.  I worked hard to gain that mass and it was heartbreaking to see my body whither away from the chemo.
Side Note – The weight didn’t didn’t wither away that much, but rather I lost muscle and gained a substantial amount of fat.  Cachexia be damned!  Cachexia is muscle wasting/weight loss associated with chemo.  Well, I lost the muscle but gained some fat thanks to my little friend (maybe I will talk more about him later 😉
fitness training

It was tough going from this…


To this.

After chemo, I was READY to start TRAINING.  But first, I had to build my body back up, so I started with EXERCISING before moving into WORKING OUT, then I TRAINED to get my lean body mass back.
Which incidentally was ALMOST a success, I gained about 7 pounds of the 10 I lost.  The other 3 pounds will come back eventually, but not right now.

I will get my guns back.

The exercising consisted of walking and biking with some light resistance training and yoga.  Truth be told, I was just happy to be able to get out of the house without throwing up.  That lasted for roughly 3 months, from September to December.  In December and January, I started to work out.  I pushed it harder, incorporated more resistance training and more interval training.  In February I started TRAINING.

I was so happy to finally be able to just WALK with out getting winded.

From November to May my goal was to get back down to under 15% body fat (from over 20%), get my lean body mass back up to 150 pounds (from 140) AND work on getting my strength back (interestingly my strength came back much faster in my upper body than my lower body).  PLUS I wanted to start my new life.  They say that after you go through cancer treatment you are never the same.
I can say I agree with that 100%.  The old Ben is gone, he was burned off with the cancer cells.  The new Ben is still trying to figure out where he fits in all of this.  But god damn it if he doesn’t have close to his old body back!
As of April 14th – I hit almost all of those goals.  Now I could still lean out a little bit more before the wedding, however, I am choosing to drop back to just working out and moving away from training for the next month.  And, I am still trying to figure out who the new me is, but it’s coming along.
Here’s why – I am busy.  Busy with planning the wedding.  Busy with working more.  Busy with getting my life back.
This time last year I was losing my hair, starting my 2nd round of chemo and watching the world go by around me while I sat and played video games, watched Netflix (it might sound like fun, but going from a very driven and healthy state to not having enough energy to walk and talk wasn’t fun….and trust me on this fellas, while it may seem like your missing playing video games and vegging out, no one got healthy and/or successful by just doing that) and counted down the days until my next treatment.
When you wake up and have every day like that…watching the world around you change and evolve and your looking down at your fingernails bending back while you’re trying to open a can of club soda…it can be pretty depressing.
Let’s review the three stages of working out before we get deeper.  Understand that you should NEVER just “go to the gym” without a goal in mind.  Whether that goal is to improve your body composition, get stronger or just to stave off aging, there should always be a goal.
1.  Training –
You are 100% focused on your goal, nothing can get in your way.  You want to lose 10 pounds, or improve your deadlift, or do a tough mudder, etc.  This level requires time, commitment and probably a pretty hefty dose of improving/working on your diet. You are 100% focused on your goal, nothing can get in your way.  You want to lose 10 pounds, or improve your deadlift, or do a tough mudder, etc.  This level requires time, commitment and probably a pretty hefty dose of improving/working on your diet.
2. Working out –
You are focused on your goal…but maybe not committed to it.  While working out your goal is to keep at least 80% of the results you got up to this point, ideally 90%.
3.  Exercising –
You think about your goal, but realize that right now, it’s probably best just to go in, get a workout in to maintain your results and go home.
Training is meant to happen for 4-16 week blocks.  Why 4-16 weeks?  Because most people have a life.  Training takes 100% focus on yourself.  You have to get those workouts in, you have to (maybe) get those calories in or really focus on your diet.  Life needs to take a back seat because you are FOCUSED 100% on that goal related to your body.

Not the time to be training for anything…except to SURVIVE!

Working out is a step down from training.  Are you supposed to get 4 workouts in?  Maybe you get 3 this week plus an at home circuit.  Are you supposed to eat 4 meals or hit 2000 calories?  Maybe you were just too busy to really focus on eating.  During the working out stage, the diet tends to take the first hit as that’s the most time-consuming.
Exercising?  Well now, that’s party season.  If you are a dedicated gym goer, you probably won’t ever really get to this level and instead bounce around between working out and training.  Exercising is moving around with the goal of improving your baseline health.  Walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, some group fitness classes, etc.  Those are all examples of exercising.  The diet during exercising tends to be in the lines of “what diet?”.  Another way to think about exercising is what you do if you go on a week long vacation.  You enjoy your vacation life while still being active.  At least that’s what KDR members are told to do!
  • You need time to TRAIN.
  • You need less time to work out.
  • You need even less time to exercise.

What happens if you FORCE yourself to train during a time you should be working out?

 1. First – nothing bad.  That’s called driv-icated, or a mix of driven and dedicated…to yourself.  We can’t be driv-icated 100% of the time because we would have no friends, no life and no future outside of whatever we are focused on.
But, because training takes a lot out of you, you must pay that back.  If your goal is to really:
  • – Lose weight.
  • – Build muscle.
  • – Change your body.
You need to prioritize nutrition, sleep, and gym.  Not in that order, but pretty close.  If you’re in the gym 5 hours a week, plus prepping and food shopping for 3 hours per week and prioritizing your sleep (which means 8 hours per night minimum) AND working an 8-hour job…that’s a lot.  Probably don’t want to be doing that while you’re trying to stay cool organizing a wedding.  That’s time for working out.
2. Second – you will often times either get injured, spin your wheels without making progress, get frustrated at your results and at the worse…waste your time.
If you’re truly training for something then you need to recover WAY more then you need to train.  And recovery is essentially stress management and destress strategies.  Understand that the body identifies stress as anything that moves it out of homeostasis, from winning the lottery to being attacked by a bear…it’s all the same hormones and stress response by the body.  So if your fighting over table placement or working on lifting your personal best in the squat…you need to recover from that stress.
Bottom line for me (and probably some of you reading this) – I can’t continue to work out 3 days per week HARD in the gym for an hour, and do an hour of cardio per week, plus 90 minutes of yoga AND count my calories and get 8 hours of restful sleep…4 weeks before I get married and short staffed.
I need to go back to working out while still focusing on my diet and sleep.  But, the workouts need to be less than 45 minutes strength training (just like our small group workouts) AND about 20-30 minutes of interval training (just like our team training classes).  We’re so smart at KDR.
So – here’s my question for you.  Look at your schedule, do you honestly have AT LEAST 4 weeks to commit to a pursuing a goal and TRAINING.  4 weeks where nothing is coming up, no plans and you can commit to yourself 100%?  Maybe you have 8 weeks…then do our 8 week Eat to Lose challenge.
But if you don’t have 4 weeks, that’s ok, that doesn’t mean you stop going to the gym, that means you just work out and focus on keeping 80% of your progress.
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5 Reasons Why Being STRONG Is Important To Me!

5 Reasons Why Being STRONG Is Important To Me!

1. Independence:
Knowing I can do things on my own IF I have to. Have you ever had to pick something up at a store and thought to yourself “can I do this on my own, do I need to ask for help? I have! I don’t like feeling limited by my own thoughts or physical strength.

2. Being a Role Model:
I want to be physically(and mentally) strong for those that look up to me…most importantly my son. Sure asking for help is super important but I don’t want him to doubt himself, or hold himself back, thinking he is weak. I know the struggles that come along with training and mentally changing self-doubt and physical limits, but it can be done. I see a lot of people who hold themselves back because they think they can’t do something or change. It’s never too late.

3. If feels good!:
You bet your ass it feels good! Does it feel good to deadlift 250lbs? It’s hard as shit, but after you’ar done it feels amazing to do something you couldn’t do before or thought you NEVER could do. I want to be able to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. Run a mud run obstacle race, throw some kettlebells around, compete in a powerlifting meet, do a sl squat, bust out push-ups whenever I want, carry all the grocery bags in the house in one trip, going skiing, do yoga, hike mountains, throw a football…all of these things I have done…will continue to do..IF I stay healthy and strong as I get older.

4. Taking care of family:
There will come a time when you will have to step up and help take care of a loved one. When that time comes, you need to be strong physically and mentally. I know if Ben gets sick again I can take care of him, Logan AND myself. Knowing I can get 1 ton of pellets moved for heat, get our 90lb old hound into the car if needed, get the trash moved, make house improvements, the list goes on and on but its important to me. I don’t feel helpless.

5. Not feeling helpless:
It’s an awful feeling, and I have felt that way before. There are things I can not do but I know I just need to train for it, work on it, practice some more and I will be able to do it. I want to help others NOT feel helpless and bring out their strengths.



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I’m a GET TO be a Fitness Coach: Do You GET TO or GOT TO?

I’m a GET TO be a Fitness Coach: Do You GET TO or GOT TO?

Before chemo, I was a “Got To” person when it came to exercise and diet as opposed to a “Get To” person and Fitness Coach.

• “I got to do my work out today.”

• I got to eat to be healthy.”

• “I got to be strong.”

• “I got to work on myself to be better.”

I was someone that did things because I felt like I had to. I didn’t appreciate that a lot of the things I was doing were actually privileges, not necessities.




Cancer really opened my eyes to the difference between Got To and Get To.

• When it’s a struggle to get out of bed…

• When it’s hard to hold food down…

• When it’s hard to keep your weight up…

• When it’s hard to walk up a flight of stairs…

• You don’t really have a choice anymore.

It was more like, “Shit. I got to walk up that flight of stairs“, or, “Damn it, I got to get up out of bed so I don’t throw up on my bedroom floor…again.


Now! NOW!!!! I GET TO!


• I get to….
• Work out.
• Eat healthily.
• Work on improving myself.


You have a choice to make. You can either be in the “Get To” or “Got To” camp. If you‘re in the “Got To” camp then it will always be a chore, not matter what it is.


• You got to do the dishes.
• You got to put gas in your car.
• You got to pay your taxes.
• You got to do a lot of shit that you don’t really want to do.

Exercise and eating healthy should be in the get to category, not lumped in with changing your kid’s dirty diapers or paying that speeding ticket.


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Are You Ready For Life Changing Kettlebell Fitness?

Are You Ready For Life Changing Kettlebell Fitness?

At KDR, we do a lot of things different.  Our mission is to change people’s lives, we view Kettlebell Fitness as a door that allows that to happen, you could call it, “Life Changing Fitness”.  

One of the things we do different from other gyms is how we motivate our members to stay the course, lose weight, accomplish something GREAT…or just keep being awesome!  This is a post that is specifically written to our New Year New You Jump Start participants (all 60 of them!) but it’s absolutely applicable to the person that is working out to change their lives.

  • How far have you come?  
  • Where did you start? 
  • Where are you at now?

With most people doing their inbodies (a machine we use to track body composition) today I want you all to focus on…how far have you come in the last 4 weeks.

When I was going through chemo (it’s only been 6 months!) I used to DREAD stairs. Dread them. Hate them.

Kettlebell FitnessI took the elevator more in the 6 months going through chemo than I ever did…in my life. 

Because, every time I walked up ONE FLIGHT of stairs, I would need to stop, and breathe, and sometimes usually pant. 

When I saw stairs, I knew it was going to be followed by:

  • Legs burning.
  • Chest heaving.
  • Lungs trying to rib my chest open.
  • And my heart HAMMERING out of my chest.

After one flight. So, what are you proud of?  What have you accomplished in the last 4 weeks that you couldn’t do before? For me, it’s being able to SPRINT up SEVERAL flights of stairs and smile at the top!

How did the inbodies go?!  Remember, it’s only week 4. 

  • Have you seen amazing results in the last 4 weeks? 
  • Have you seen ok results in the last 4 weeks?
  • Have you seen no results in the last 4 weeks?

See below for what to do for each.

Great results – have you experienced a greater than 20% drop in body fat percent over the last 4 weeks, i.e. you started at 20%, now you’re at 16%, or you started at 40%, now you are at 32%.

CONGRATS!!! Those kind of results are the stuff of MYTHS and LEGENDS.  You have successfully managed to find the holy grail of weight loss…well you didn’t really find it, we told you want to do 😉

Take a day off of the diet (preferably on a work out day), preferably on a work out day, eat some more calories (500-1000 extra), drink a glass (or bottle) of wine to celebrate, because you should be celebrating that kind of success.

This will do two things – 1) it will help to prevent a metabolic and psychological burn out caused by having calories be too low for too long, i.e. don’t deprive yourself for too long!  2) It will give your body a big boost of extra calories it may need.  If it doesn’t need it, that’s ok, it will just burn off those extra calories in addition to burning off some extra fat in the process.

ONLY DO THIS IF YOU CAN GO BACK ON YOUR DIET!  Don’t do this tactic if you are afraid that you may not be able to get back on the plan.

OK results – A drop of around .5-1% in body fat percent per week or a change of about 10% in the last 4 weeks.  In other words, you started at 30, than went to 29, than went to 28 than went to 27 (a 10% change as well as a drop of 1% per week).  Or, let’s say you started at 20, than 19.5, than 19, than 18.5.  That’s good too!!! 

These kind of results are GREAT!  FANTASTIC!  Not everyone will have a 1%+ drop per week, and that’s OK!  In the grand scheme of things, give me a 1% change per month for 12 months, than a 5% change in one month, with no change for a few months.

  • What can you do to improve your results? 
  • Can you get more sleep? 
  • Can you get better sleep? 
  • Can you drink more water?    
  • Can you be tighter on your diet? 
  • Are you hitting your calories? 
  • How about your protein? 
  • Are you getting 4 days of the gym in, two conditioning and two strength? 
  • Are you taking your supplements?
  • Are you having a work out recovery shake?
  • Are you experiencing a pump, burn and strain during your resistance training sessions (remember, those are the mechanisms required for muscle growth, hit 3 out of 3 for best results)?
  • Are you working 85% to 70% in the conditioning classes?

If your hitting all of those points – than stay the course!  If not, focus on the areas you have gaps in.  DON’T CHANGE!  Sometimes, it takes a week or four for your body to catch up with what you’re doing.

 Ok…so what about those of you not experiencing good or great results?
Well – look at that list above.  Be honest.

  • What do you need to do? 
  • Where are your holes?

If you can’t figure it out, talk to your coach!  That’s their job, figure out what you’re not doing and start doing it. You have 4 weeks to get your shit together. Your still in this contest! And, if life has gotten in the way, don’t worry!  What you are doing now is creating a VERY SOLID FOUNDATION for weight loss to happen. 


You don’t fail when what you try doesn’t work. 

You fail when you stop trying.

Don’t just join a gym – join a community!  Interested in our gym?  Like what you read and want to learn more about what we do?

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Is your cookware killing you?

Is your cookware killing you?

Is your cookware killing you?

Ben Dearman, KDR Fitness

Those of you who know my current story know that I am going through chemotherapy right now for Hodgkins Lymphoma.  I have roughly 4 weeks left in my treatments.  So excited.

People that have dealt with Cancer say that someone going through Cancer experiences three perspectives:

Who you were pre.

Who you are going through treatment.

Who you become after.

As a health professional (and as someone who is considered at the top of the health and fitness game) my situation caught me off guard to say the least.  As I consider who I will be a few months from now I have started too look more closely at my lifestyle to see where I could make some better and healthier choices.

One of those areas is our cookware.

What’s the healthiest option for cookware you ask?  Well….there are two options with some caveats.

Best option – cast iron.

2nd best option – ceramic.

Why not the other options?

I did a lot of research in writing this article and found a great web page that summarizes everything up nicely – click here to check it out.

But, if you’re short on time and just want the facts then keep reading.

What did my research find?  All cookware is inherently unhealthy.  Listen people, when you combine high acid foods (like tomatoes) with high heat over hours and hours of use – nothing good is going to come out of it.  Unfortunately all cookware has been linked to pretty serious health concerns with Alzheimers and Cancer topping the list.

The bottom line is the cookware you use will cause chemicals to be leached into your foods.  Accept it and move on.

Being healthy is about managing risk – remember that.

Cast Iron

Cast iron is AWESOME to cook with and is generally a favorite among professional chefs that have the luxury of either:

A.  Not cooking for a lot of people.  Cleaning cast iron is a pain in the ass, so cooking multiple things that require new pans is kind of out.

B.  Money to burn, cast iron is expensive and when you’re talking about a professional chef and pots/pans you are generally talking about A LOT of the same size pots and pans.

Cast iron is expensive and when you consider that most kitchens will need a large saute pan, a small saute pan as well as a small and large pot…the cost to outfit your kitchen with cast iron cookware can be high.

Cast iron will, however, last a lifetime!  Depending on use, cookware can start to show wear and tear in as little as a few months. Using metal on metal, leaving food in the pan over night, cheap cookware, high heat and high acidity can all shorten the life of your cookware.

The other problem with cast iron is that you can’t use it on glass stove tops or electric coils.  It’s pretty much a fire kind of thing, either in a fire pit or on a gas range.

With all of those minuses, cast iron has been at the top of the “Healthy cookware” list for decades.

Caveats to cast iron – expensive, cleaning the pan is a chore, can only be used on certain heating platforms.


If you’re like us and don’t have a gas grill, ceramic is the way to go.  It has been linked with the fewest health hazards of any cooking material other then cast iron.  However, you want to buy your ceramic pans from an American Company.


Health concerns about using ceramic stem from components used in making, glazing or decorating the cookware, such as lead or cadmium. In the U.S. both of these highly toxic substances have been phased out, or at least limited in cookware manufacturing.


Ceramic is absolutely not as sturdy as cast iron and we have seen some ceramic pots and pans break down pretty quickly. Generally we replace our ceramic pots and pans once a year…we are hard on our cookware.

Caveats to ceramic – not as healthy as cast iron, much more forgiving in terms of what heat sources you can use, probably won’t last as long as cast iron, cheaper to purchase.

What do I really need in my kitchen?

Did you know I went to cooking school?  It’s true – Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY.  I grew up in the restaurant biz and thought I wanted to be a chef.

It was a short lived thought…

But it did teach me a lot about cooking!

Here’s what you absolutely positively need for cookware:

One big ass pan for sautéing foods (most healthy cooking is saute based.).  This depends on how big your cooking surface is. Generally a 10″ is a pretty good choice for this.  Think a big saute pan.

FYI – the difference between a saute pan and a sauce pan is not worth arguing over.  One has sloped sides, the other doesn’t.  Get the slope sides one.

One big ass pot.  Again, depends on how much cooking surface you have.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of a 3.5 quart pot with a lid that ideally is also oven proof (meaning it can be used at temps above at least 400 degrees).

Some glass baking dishes.  I am not a fan for using glass on the range top.  I think it’s too fragile, doesn’t handle heat well and generally is a pain to cook with.

A veggie steamer that can fit into your pot.

A few cheap wooden spoons and plastic spatulas.  Never metal on metal!  Unless you’re grilling outside or over an open flame.

Nice things to have if you are cooking for more then yourself or want some more variety:

A smaller saute pan – about the size/diameter of one of your hands, i.e. 7″ and smaller.

A smaller, oven friendly (I think all cookware should be able to go into the oven) pot, more in the neighborhood of a 1.25 quart or even 16 ounce.  This is basically for heating up liquids for tea, soups, etc.

That about sums it up!  Here are some basic cooking tips I wanted to pass along:

  1.  Don’t let food sit in your cookware over night, especially salty/acidic food.  It will ruin the pan quicker.
  2. Never metal on metal!  Plastic or wood in all of your cook ware.
  3. A damp paper towel should be all you need to clean your cookware, most times dish soap is not needed.
  4. Keep them out of your dish washer.  Stop being so lazy, if you don’t let food sit it should be easy to clean your cookware.  Non-stick remember?
  5. Low heat is better then high heat when cooking.  High heat does produce more contaminants.  Also, I always tell Logan – the hotter the heat source, the quicker it cooks and the more time you have to spend standing over it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  6. Cast iron cookware first.
  7. Ceramic cookware second.
  8. Don’t buy sets unless you can find a great deal!  As s previous chef, I could fill up a whole residential kitchen with just the pots and pans I used to use.  Bundled cookware (a 14 piece set for instance) tends to have a bunch of stuff you won’t use and will just take up room in your kitchen.
  9. Spend your money on knives and pots and pans.  A good 10″ chef’s knife as well as a good pairing knife are really all you need.  Over a $100 for one knife is not unrealistic.
  10. The sharper the knife – the less you will cry.  Both when you cut your self as well as when you’re cutting onions, shallots, etc.
  11. Don’t buy oven mitts. Use towels.
  12. But never a wet towel.  Water conducts heat.
  13. Lids are lids, don’t sweat the lids.
  14. Don’t stand in front of the oven door when you open it – unless you like to be blasted by 400 degree heat.
  15. Make sure your pot handles are never pointed toward the oven handle.  Pot handles should always be pointed to the sides of the oven.
  16. Higher the heat, the faster your food will burn.
  17. Have all of your prep done BEFORE you start cooking.  There is nothing worse then having to cut something up to add to a recipe that is already cooking.
  18. Salt and pepper along every step of the way.  Every time you add a new food to the pot/pan, taste and S+P.
  19. 200 degrees is a perfect holding temp.  If you are cooking multiple things/want to make sure you can eat everything HOT, turn your oven onto 200ish and store all the food in there.
  20. Don’t cook in aluminum foil…especially high heat and acidic (sense a trend here?).  Apparently that’s not good for you.

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