This has been a hectic and very different week for me.
Not only did I eat something not many people have eaten, but I embarked on two new journeys that saw me jump miles away from my comfort zone and into waters untested. For me.
Some of you will have noticed a few photos of me floating about the internet this week looking somewhat more tanned than normal and certainly reasonably, ah, ripped and even bluesteel-esque.
(shameless self promotion pic…)
If you haven’t, where have you been?! The internet’s almost been over run! Someone from the Internet actually called me asking some questions and said something about putting a shirt on. Said his name was something Gates, I think? Sounded a bit geeky…
Anyway, that was my very first photo shoot. Almost sounds like I missed out on something in my childhood when said like that… “You’re kids will love their very own my first photo shoot!”
Besides what may perhaps seem painfully obvious from many of my meat pictures this year, for me standing in front of a camera, shirtless and posing is EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE.
This may lead you to ask- why did you do it then Mike?
The simple answer to this is because I can.
I am a massive advocate of trainers and body & nutrition coaches practicing what they preach, looking the part and being the face, poster, bumper sticker and all over brand for their message. If you don’t live your message how on earth can you expect clients, readers and fans to follow your advice or respect you.
That is me. I live my message and am proud of it.
When people ask me how I stay in shape, if I only eat meat, train an insane amount of times per week, vomit before a show etc, the answer is simple again:
I eat clean, I train regularly (and I f**ken smash it), I get plenty of quality sleep and I am a happy positive guy that centers my world around friends, family, loved ones and things that make me happy and I make these a priority. Of course I have tough moments, stressful manic days, but I consistently put myself and my loved ones at the heart of my everyday decisions.
That is how I can look like I do in these photos all year round and why I had this shoot; to provide an example of my message.
(“Hey Napoleon, whaddya wanna bet I can throw a pig skin over them there mountains?”)
Guys- are you out of shape, constantly low in energy, struggling to get your head around the nutrition and training information out there and just lacking the mojo you had as a 20 year old?
Girls- do you think there’s a lack of real men around these days? Fit, lean, masculine, desirable, strong…?
I believe there is. However, I also think there has never been a better time to turn this around. The information can be confusing, but it doesn’t need to be. Start by following some of my simple guidelines and the road to the body, health and life you want can be a much simpler reality.
Ok, I hope I’ve covered why I stood in a park for 3 hours covered in baby oil, with an intense stare and little clothes on…
What else did I do this week?
I stepped into a new, extremely challenging and very self reflective course designed to make my business and the (Meat) Mike Campbell brand expand.
Thursday and Friday were full on intense days self reflection, analysis, planning and mind mapping! I had to get well out beyond myself and start analyzing the beast that is Mike Campbell. Me, not any of the other 10000+ guys with my name worldwide.
This stuff I find difficult, but it was an often eye opening, but ultimately rewarding two days, that culminated in me forming new friendships and partnerships. However, each time I grabbed the microphone to share, I had to make myself do something that makes me feel super awkward and uncomfortable.
For me this is all part of setting an example of doing things that may be hard, difficult or challenging. Training, eating well and staying lean are things I find relatively easy (please note, however, I do work very hard at these things, I just find it reasonably simple to maintain, as it should be. That isn’t to say you won’t have to work your arse off). So doing things I find awkward and challenging are an important part of me becoming a better person and continually growing.
So, what better meat to eat this week than heart?!
That’s right, this week I ate lambs heart, well hearts to be exact.
I speak often lately of ‘sourcing trouble’, well this week was no different and I literally flew by the seat of my pants, ok not actually literally, and managed to get 3 lambs hearts from a butcher on my walk to course on Friday morning.
I initially had some chickens hearts in mind but couldn’t find any unfortunately. Luckily for me this last minute visit paid off and I was heading home post course with my hearts in a bag to meet NN who had done her sous chef best and not only found a recipe while I worked away all day, but got all required ingredients.
What did I do with the hearts?
Welcome to the world of stuffed lambs hearts wrapped in bacon and cooked in red wine. Starting to sound good isn’t it… Simply add bacon and red wine and people start to consider eating heart…
The nature of hearts means that they need to be cooked slowly to prevent a tough rubbery meal. I didn’t want another python so I had resound myself to the fact that dinner was going to be post 10pm.
I got the stuffing ready to go, this involved:
- Chopped fresh garlic
- Finely chopped shallot
- Finely chopped mushrooms
- Chopped fresh rosemary
- Small amount of cooked brown rice
- LSA (linseed, sunflower land almond meal)
- Lemon zest
I cooked this mixture up and once I’d removed the aorta and ventricles and created a hollow in each of the hearts, I stuffed enough mixture in to fill each former ticker and wrapped them in bacon. I then fried them off slightly before joining some stock and red wine in the roasting dish and entering the oven to cook slowly at 150′ for about 2 hours.
As they approached their cooking climax I readied some baby carrots by soaking in extra virgin olive oil, a dash of white wine vinegar, rock salt, pepper, basil and garlic. I fried these quickly before they joined the hearts in the oven.
Some sautéed asparagus as well as the most basic of green salads also accompanied the, ahem, hearty feast.
What is it like to eat some heart?
At the time of removal from the oven the aromas throughout my flat were quite immense, in fact a few people had come and gone and commented on how good ‘whatever that is’. Rest assured their tone changed once they knew it was lambs hearts!
Personally I was looking forward to this as it was now close to 10:30pm and I was starving! So I dished up and got ready for NN to photograph me with the finished dish only to find she was not only asleep on the couch but the best part of unconscious.
So at this point I did some self timer magic and sat down to a scene sadly nothing like indiana Jones, to dine on the hearts alone. Well, with an oblivious sleeping beauty at my side.
It took me some time to get into the hearts I have to admit. They initially took on the taste of some other offal, like liver. But after the first taste the flavours came through and I ended up eating two whole stuffed hearts. Obviously to most sane people bacon adds to any dish, and this was certainly the case here as well. The after taste of each mouthful was quite pleasant and I was eagerly going back for bite after bite until the former life source of two lucky lambs were completely devoured.
I cleaned up the place, put NN’s dinner in the fridge and called it a night- (Dad joke: I’m going to label this dark part of the day- night!). The following morning a 5am wake up call to get a flight was not entirely pleasant, but with a breakfast consisting of stuffed heart wrapped in bacon, I couldn’t have thought of a better start to the day!
And that was the time I ate some lambs hearts.
Would I do it again?
Yes I would. I don’t think I’d race to it, but I did enjoy them and would eagerly try them at a quality restaurant for comparison purposes. Outside of that these little heart shaped cardiac muscles are a fantastic source of protein, fat including omega 3 fatty acids, Iron, phosphorous, zinc, B vitamins, selenium and other crucial minerals and vitamins.
If you’re brave enough, then I can definitely recommend trying some heart. A different experience to flesh and the kind of nutrition you only get from such a vital organ. plus as Derek Zoolander put it- “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking”, so having super nutritious food options is key!
Eat your heart out.
Ok, that’s another week done. Thanks for reading! A massive welcome to all my new readers and fans!! I love hearing from you, feedback, questions and suggestions for meats are always welcome.
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Thanks and love,
Special thanks this week to Simon Le whose direction and skills made ‘my first photo shoot’ a seamless and awesome experience. Glen, Dan, Ian and my group buddies from KPI for helping start my new journey. And of course NN, for her amazing support as well as awesome artistic direction, posing coaching (seriously) and the push behind the gentle shove that saw me actually have the week I just had- you rock!