G.O. For Change

Changing people, places, and things one blog at a time…

Posts Tagged ‘food

I Want to Be: A Hot Dog Vendor

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Aaron and his hot dog cart, in downtown Baltimore

For the last couple of years, there has been a vendor that I see weekly, without fail, outside of my job.  Characterized by a colorful umbrella, and huge signs, Aaron has posted in the same area for years. Prior to that, his carts were seen on college campuses, and other government buildings.  Most of our conversations have surrounded music, or even different types of ways to top a hot dog (I prefer the “Coney Island” hot dog).  Recently, Aaron took a vacation to London (yes, London!), and before he left, I wanted to pick his brain about what would a person need to do, to become a hot dog vendor. Here’s what he shared:

  1. Location, Location, Location!: Aaron stated that to have successful customers, you must have a successful location.
  1. Plan EVERYTHING: Aaron says that he wanted to own a hot dog stand since college. While everyone was attending job fairs, he was writing down ideas, pricing information, marketing strategies, and scheduling.
  1. Do your research: Figure out what exactly you need for your vending license, what is the sales tax in your state, and requirements for selling food.
  1. Be prepared to fail: Aaron wanted everyone to know that “do not think that everything is going to work out. Have back up plans, and also, possess the ability to get knocked down, get up, and keep your focus on your goals.”

As always, thanks for reading.


P.S. If anyone, after reading this, starts their own hot dog cart business, could I get a hot dog named after me? Names like the “Big Garry”, or the “See.Plan.Do. dog” would work…right?


Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

November 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

New Year REVOLUTION: Making your resolutions STICK!

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Happy New -Year!!! First, let me say THANK YOU! My blog has been viewed over 5,000 times in 2012, and if you have read every one of my articles, or even just one, I thank you for time that you have shared reading my thoughts- at work, at home, even from your cell phone.

The ringing in of the New Year comes with different traditions- eating black-eyed peas, the watching of fireworks across the night sky, as well as the infamous “New Year Resolution”. If you are a fan of social media, you probably still see resolutions are being proclaimed- “NEW YEAR, NEW ME”, and other various statements about changing in the upcoming year flooding your news feed.

Here is an ASTONISHING fact: 50% of resolutions fail within the first week, while 90% fail within the first month. This means that as we are close to the end of the first week in 2013 you, or someone you know is dangerously close to ending their resolution.

One of the definitions of “revolution” that I particularly like is “a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.” While I am not telling you to start assaulting fast food employees if they ask you if you would like to supersize your order,   I challenge anyone who is in danger of not returning back to the gym after the 3rd day, or reconsidering ending the non-beneficial relationship that you swore you would do, or ______________________ (insert life-changing resolution here) to make a REVOLUTION so that you can live the life that you envision! This radical change in thoughts, actions, and beliefs can ensure that the goals you set can actually be completed. To help you with this task, here are a few things you can do to keep your resolutions:

  1. ENVISION your goal: See the goal that you want to achieve. Envision how you would feel when you accomplish the goal, what it would look like, and what comments people may say.
  2. BE SPECIFIC:  “I am going to lose weight” is not good enough for a goal. You should have specific goals that you can track. If losing weight is your goal, how many pounds would you like to lose? Is there a deadline? (there should be) This way, your previous statement of “I am going to lose weight” can have more flesh by stating: “I am going to lose 15 pounds by March 21st”. See the difference?
  3. PLAN: Planning is CRITICAL to your success in your goals. If your goal is to return to school, the first question you should ask yourself is “HOW”? Research the steps you need to take, write them down, and then…
  4. EXECUTE: This is where people get somewhat discouraged (don’t be). Once you envision what you want, specifically documented your goal, and have a game plan, now it is time to get it done!
  5. GET SUPPORT: Enlisting friends, joining a support group, or simply asking someone to be your accountability partner increases your willingness to continue in your goal.

As always, thanks for reading.


P.S. While January 1st is a great starting point to start goals, I also believe any day is a great day- October 19th, December 5th, June 3rd,-any day can be the starting day to get started!!

10 Lessons I Learned from Cooking

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When I was a young spry bachelor, one of the things that I wanted to master was the art of cooking. I’ve made a lot of dishes in my youth- from cheesecakes, to shrimp fettuccine, even breakfast sandwiches weren’t exempt from my culinary clutches. Now, as a father and a husband, I make most of the meals for my family, and it really is a joy and a love.

As you read on, I challenge you to take things that you like to do, and look at the lessons you’ve learned. Bon appetite!

1. What’s Your Purpose? There are a lot of reasons for cooking-holiday feasts, impressing a romantic interest, or a quick bite- knowing WHY you are cooking often leads your actions.

2. TEAMWORK Makes the Dream Work!   If you have ever used too much salt, ginger, or curry, the results have probably been DISASTROUS! Cooking is the balance of different items (meats, fruits, veggies, spices etc.), and how they complement each other for a harmonious results. This delicate dance that happens when cooking can be disrupted if there is too much, or too little of an ingredient.

3. Be Prepared! Have you ever been ready to create a meal and found that you were missing one or more ingredients?  Sucks, doesn’t it? One of the most important things a person can be is prepared. Having the necessary tools (in this case ingredients), is almost as important as the next lesson-

4.  Follow Directions… Every recipe has directions- step by step instructions that will assist you  achieve  the desired result. As I am writing this, I am making cornbread, and I just messed up…yup, instead of adding 1/3 cup of milk, I added  1 and 1/3 cup of milk (perhaps I shouldn’t have been so distracted).  As you, (and I) see, it’s very important to not only follow directions, but perhaps go over them again, just to ensure you avoid mistakes.

5.  …But don’t be afraid to Improvise!  This doesn’t mean to add a full extra cup of milk to cornbread (still reeling over that), but be ready to make changes. If you look online, there are millions of recipes, and even more variations of the recipe. For example, when I looked up the popular dish “egg salad” here was the different deviations that popped up:

  •  Adding paprika
  • Using bacon or ham
  • Using sour cream instead of mayo

Ultimately, if you feel that you want to add something, GO FOR IT! There have been millions of chefs, cooks, and culinary experts that have modified a dish to the delight of their customers. Why can’t you?

6.  Take Your Time:  In my youth, many a dishes were ruined due to me not following this advice. As a cook, patience is key! If things are supposed to marinate, let it marinate! The more you let something marinate, the more flavorful it becomes. If the recipe calls for the sauce to simmer, then sit back, and relax. Cranking the heat up and rushing things does work in any situation…..does it?

7.  Try Something New! The food world is not compiled of things that YOU have made- there are a SLEW of wonderful recipes that can ignite your senses. Be daring! Be bold! Grab a cook book, identify something that interest you and GO!

8.  Listen To the Critics: There is nothing wrong with feedback/critic in reference to cooking. I made my AMA-ZING (patent pending) WINGS for my friends while watching the Ravens/Steelers game. I made these wings previously, and they were a hit! I looked forward to making them again, but I used a different sauce. Unfortunately, they weren’t as EARTH SHATTERING as my previous wings, and my friends let me know about it (not disrespectfully, but they detected a difference). While there is nothing wrong about having feedback, if you feel that someone is a “hater”, please click here for immediate assistance.

9.  REPRESENT! I watch a lot of food shows, and one of the things that I really appreciate is how the cooks present their dishes- even if the dish may not have been the best bacon-double-cheeseburger-cupcake sorbet, it at least looked nice. A lot of people use social media to post their created dishes, but while it may have tasted great, they didn’t visually look appealing. Make sure that all the senses are covered.

10. ENJOY! If I have learned anything from cooking, it is to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The look on my wife and son’s face when I make a great meal warms my heart. Sometimes people who make their meals feel tired, and may not eat what they have made. I say, enjoy it! When you have a hand in your success, it just seems a little sweeter.

As always, thanks for reading.


Ps. The cornbread I made didn’t make it. R.I.P. Cornbread (2012-2012)

P.P.S. If you don’t do well the first time, you can always try again!!

Garry Does “X”


Hopefully you didn’t click on this link thinking you were gonna see this:








I have made a commitment to focus on my health, so I have decided to train using the popular exercise regimen P90X. If you are a fan of my blog , you see that I talk about making personal commitments to things that you want to do. I learned a lot when I went vegetarian for a while (click here for that story), and I think that in terms of my life, this is one thing that I have struggled with.

There is truth to the phrase, “it’s not what you eat, it’s what’s eating you”. I can be fully transparent and say that I have gained a lot of weight due to some things that have happened to me. As you will see, it’s easy to fall:

I remember when I went to Morgan State; I was in talks with the head coach, and he was  willing to give me a shot at walking on! Oh how I was ecstatic!! (even though they were like, 1-13, I didn’t give a damn, I was going to play!) It just seemed that my life was heading the way I dreamed! I MADE THE TEAM!! I was a walk-on, which means just that- I walked on, (no scholarship). I remember that when I started conditioning with the team, I was 250 lbs. Although the work was hard, I was happy.

Then, through some failed commitments, I was unable to stay. As a NCAA athlete, you can’t work, so I had to make a decision as to my future, and I had to support my family. I asked the coach if there was any way that I could get a scholarship and stay in a dorm. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one. I remember that day; I remember walking towards the bus stop, tears in my eyes. For me, the dream was over.

That’s when the eating began. chicken boxes, and cheesesteaks, and restaurants, and all the other foods were what I liked. I still played ball, but I was also eating. I had sedimentary jobs, which really didn’t have a lot of movement, and that contributed as well. Fast-forward a couple of years, and I am almost 100lbs heavier than I was when I started college.

I realize now, I have turned into a bear; I sleep HARD (I’m talking about ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ). I snore, and I have a gut now. I realize that this isn’t the way to go. Yeah, Buddha had a round belly, and so does Santa, but can they just go out to the beach when they want? Nope.

One of the damning moments was when my wife and I were walking around shopping. We came across this fat guy in his truck, and what appeared to be his son playing on the sidewalk. Here was the conversation:

Fat Guy in the Truck: “Hey, come on over here”

Kid on sidewalk: *side eye*

Now, when I saw that brief glimpse of the kid giving his dad the side eye, I KNEW WHAT THAT MEANT! What I interpreted it as:

Fat Guy in the Truck: “Hey, come on over here”

Kid on sidewalk: Yeah, or what?  Your fat ass is NOT going to get out of that truck and DO anything about it”

 As a new parent, I understand how vital it is for your actions to support your words. My son will not hear me talk about how health is important, if he sees me smashing Chocolate Juniors constantly. (Let me pause here…Chocolate Juniors are the 5th best thing to happen to pastries….I’m just saying)


My goals for this change of lifestyle are to:

  • Lose at least 30 Lbs
  • Increase muscular tone
  • Increase Cardio endurance
  • Decrease body fat
  • Be able rip my shirt “Hulkamania-style” at any given moment for any reason. I’m talking like:
    • ‘What do you mean Superman couldn’t beat Batman?! *Rips shirt*
    • The price of gas is TOO DAMN HIGH *rips shirt*
    • Why can’t the red-haired girl at least go out on at least ONE date with Charlie Brown?!! *rips shirt*
    • “There’s a rip in my shirt” *rips shirt

 I don’t look at P90X as the savior to my issue. It’s merely just one of the tools I plan on using to help me along as far as getting into shape. I think that what happens is that most people use things like P90X, and don’t plan for the future. That is a set up. P90X is only meant for 90 days, 180 if you want to extend it I plan on using other exercise programs to work on strength, cardio, and conditioning.


My initial start date is 05/02/2011. By the time you read this, I will have already secured all the necessary items.

I plan on posting the “before” and “after” pictures once I am finished the 90 day program. I am really excited, and I look forward to taking it to another level! As always, thanks for reading.

 PS. My stomach texted me “f*ck you”…..I guess he knows too………..


Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

April 27, 2011 at 11:50 am

Why Don’t We Care Anymore?

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  While I was web surfing recently, I came across something remarkable – no, not the President and his health care reform, or even the Morgan State Bears advancing in the NCAA tournament, but rather, I saw her – Donna “Homer doesn’t have anything on me” Simpson. 

For those who don’t know Donna Simpson, she really is no different than any of us; she is married with children, resides in New Jersey (loved that Sopranos!), and has hopes and dreams like us all. Referring to her dreams, she’s currently set on one goal in particular (and it’s a doozy)…TO BECOME THE FATTEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD!!!!  

Right now, she is 604 lbs! While that’s a feat in itself, she wants more – how much more you ask? She wants to be 1,000 lbs in the next 2 years. ONE THOUSAND!  Allow me to break that down: 1K! Half a ton! The size of a 1989 Honda Accord with flip up lights! 453.592 kg! 16,000 ounces! Almost the entire starting offensive line of the Maryland Terps! 

 She wants to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s fattest woman, so she trains….by eating 12,000 calories a DAY! This “training” rivals the high calorie consumption that Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps undertakes- minus the 3,000 that he burns from swimming. Mrs. Simpson states that she cannot move than 20ft without taking a rest. This article led me in my search to answer the question: 

...and here I thought Lil Wayne went hard!

Why don’t we care anymore? 

Although Donna Simpson may be an extreme case of too much of a good thing, I see this constantly, men and women walking around with their guts hanging out, with a “devil- may- care” attitude about it. What has happened? I’m not saying that everyone should look like Greek Gods and Goddesses, but sheesh- we shouldn’t ALL look like we are 27 weeks pregnant! Even award-winning Mo’Nique wrote a book entitled “Skinny Women are Evil”, in which she talks about stripping the stigma of being overweight- only to slim down (only to an extra-medium, but still!) in time for her television show debut. Look at Kirstie Alley: she went from donning bikinis on Oprah, only to say forget it, and starred in a show entitled “Fat Actress”. She now looks like Norm from Cheers!  With shows like “The Biggest Loser”, and “One Big Happy Family”, one could see where we are headed: a society where we succumb to the likes of Ben & Jerry, Haagen-Dazs, chicken and waffles, and other dastardly dynamic duos- a society where burger really is king. I watched the show “One Big Happy Family”- a show where an overweight family tries to get in shape, and I couldn’t get past the first show. There was a scene where the overweight parents took their overweight son to the doctor. As the doctor told the son that if he doesn’t change, he will die, the cameras showed the parents looking sad- which almost had me change the channel, because a day before, for dinner, they had a MASSIVE dinner, a tray of wings, and for a side? A nice salad with light vinaigrette perhaps? Steamed veggies maybe? How about….a tray of lasagna?! Yes! A tray of wings, with a 16 layer lasagna as the side dish!  So if I appear unsympathetic, its situations like these. We set ourselves up sometimes, and are surprised by the results. Ever watch the intro of a new season of “The Biggest Loser”? They show a montage of the person being selected via home videos of their eating habits; scarfing down burgers, huge meals, and struggling to live. The trainers of the show call them up to inform them that they will be contestants of the show.  The people are actually excited! I can understand the excitement of wanting to lose the weight, but really? What does that say about the person? Couldn’t they use that excitement in losing weight—at home? I saw a commercial for the show, which stated that a guy who was a fan of the show lost 400 lbs- on his own. Self determination at its finest! 

We all need help in something. We all have vices, addictions, bad habits, but it’s when we feel as though we don’t care anymore, is when they have consumed us. I am thankful that shows like this are designed to help those who feel as though they cannot help themselves. It’s amazing when you see someone who was 400+ pounds lose half of the weight. Some people defend obesity, and say that it’s biological; and while that is true in a lot of instances, I haven’t seen anyone be a participant on a weight loss show because of a thyroid problem; again, it’s just the result of too much of a good thing. 

Currently, 40% of Americans are obese. That’s 4 out of 10. For those people who love numbers, let me break it down a little more: 

  • African Americans  have a 51% prevalence of obesity
  • Hispanics have a 30% prevalence of obesity
  • Whites have a 20% prevalence of obesity

Folks- we have to do better. Again, I’m not saying that we should round up Ronald McDonald, the Burger King, and cute little Wendy, and drive them out of town, but we all could do better. WebMD has 10 great ways to cut down: 

  1. Lighten the foods you already love
  2. Share a meal with someone
  3. Be active
  4. Add healthier foods, such as fruits and veggies
  5. Do more walking (and walking to the fridge from the couch doesn’t count!)
  6. Work out while watching TV
  7. Reduce time on eating out
  8. Eat smaller portions
  9. Get involved (get a hobby, activity, or event. The more you are bored, the more likely you are to eat)
  10. Be patient! (Rome wasn’t built in a day-neither is 6 pack abs!) Studies have shown that it is easier to maintain weight after you lose it.

Lets not go into an age where Donna Simpson is considered a revolutionary; While there are some people who cheer her efforts, and even pay to watch her eat, what happens when her 15 minutes of fame is up? Who will support her then? Who will console her family when her weight ultimately consumes her? Worldwide obesity has reached epidemic levels, and unlike the H1N1 vaccine, we do not need to go to the doctor, we already are armed with the cure. Thanks for reading. 

Sorry Homer, we weren't talking about you this time...

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