What's In My Kitchen Part 1: The Fridge

by Dr John M Berardi, CSCS

Long ago, when I first began to pay serious attention to my training and nutrition, I learned of a general principle that has served me well and has since become the cornerstone of my body composition success.

If a food is in your possession or located in your residence, you will eventually eat it.

Simply put, if you wish to be healthy and lean, you must remove all foods not conducive to those goals from said residence and replace them with a variety of better, healthier choices.

If you know someone whose house is stocked only with optimal food choices and yet who is not healthy and lean, look under his bed.

The bottom line is that you must stock your house with all the ammo you need to fight the battle of the bulge. My body fat ranges from about 5% to about 8% throughout the year (without the use of thermogenics/fat burners) and the only way I’m able to maintain that level of leanness is by removing all temptation from my home, where I spend most of my time.

For years I’ve advised my clients and athletes to do the same. Now I bring the message to you. Your willpower and discipline will be tested enough at social events, at lunch meetings, and as you pass the six Krispy Kreme locations on the commute home from work. If you’re to have any chance of success, you need a safe home base. With that in mind, I’m going to give you a peak into my armory . . . er, kitchen.

In this week’s installment, I’ll open my stainless steel fridge to show you what and what not to stock. In doing so I hope to demonstrate that there are plenty of options available to the trainee interested in optimal health and body composition. Of course, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list in any way; rather, it’s a snapshot of the actual contents of my favorite appliance, and as such should serve as a practical example of the nutrition theory I expound elsewhere on my site.

Meat, Poultry and Fish

Extra Lean Ground Sirloin
Quantity: 3 x 1lb packages

Boneless Chicken Breasts
Quantity: 2 x 1lb packages

Mild Turkey Sausage
Quantity: 2 x 500g packages

Quantity: 2 lbs

Bison (Buffalo)
Quantity: 2 lbs

Quantity: 2 lbs

Quantity: 2 large filets


Omega-3 Eggs
Quantity: 2 dozen

Egg Whites
Quantity: 12 x 250mL cartons


Aged White Cheddar
Quantity: 4-8 oz.

Baby Swiss
Quantity: 4-8 oz.

Quantity: 4-8 oz.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano (Parmesan)
Quantity: 4-8 oz.

Feta Cheese
Quantity: 4-8 oz.


Quantity: 12

Quantity: 6

Red Grapes
Quantity: Large bunch

Quantity: 2 cut and cored fresh pineapples

Quantity: 2 cartons


Quantity: 2 cartons


Quantity: 4 bags, 6oz. each

Red, Yellow, and Green Peppers
Quantity: 8

Quantity: 2

Quantity: 2

Baby Carrots
Quantity: 2 large bags, 2lbs each

Sauces and Condiments

Quantity: 3 jars, one of each flavor

Peanut Satay Sauce
Quantity: 1 bottle

Curry Sauce
Quantity: 1 bottle

Tomato Pasta Sauce
Quantity: 2 large jars

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Quantity: 1 bottle

Raspberry Vinegar
Quantity: 1 bottle

Red Wine Vinegar
Quantity: 1 bottle

Balsamic Vinegar
Quantity: 1 bottle

Flax Oil

Quantity: 1 bottle

Garlic-Chili Flax Oil
Quantity: 1 bottle


Quantity: 1 large Brita filtered jug

So, what isn’t in my fridge?

Soft drinks, fruit juices and milk
High fat and sugar salad dressings and other condiments
Processed breads
Highly processed, pre-packaged foods
Rotting leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner

Of course, there are other things that don't make it into my fridge. But rather than enumerate what not to eat, it's better to discuss what we should be eating.

In the end, this short article isn’t designed to share the whys – just the whats – as in what it takes to build a great body. I can say with confidence that if your fridge doesn’t contain many or most of the things I have in mine, or if it contains many things that mine doesn’t, you’ll have a difficult time maintaining a lean and healthy body. If it contains none of what I have in mine, tip your fridge over, dump the contents and begin anew.


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Tip #5 The 10% Factor

by Dr. John Berardi

If some people eat one food not on their plan, their failure to be perfect sets in motion a psychological chain of events that leads to frustration and the inability to get right back on the plan. The all-or-nothing mentality sets in and BAM, they're back to nothing. But it doesn't have to be this way. 100% nutritional discipline is never required for optimal progress. The difference, in results, between 90% adherence to your nutrition program and 100% adherence is negligible. So allow yourself the extra 10% wiggle room. This will allow you the freedom to eat a few extra things not on your menu without the guilt and subsequent crash.

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