Christian Pappanicholas_Headshot USE_crop
Christian Pappanicholas is a lean, mean, protein-shake-drinking and bike-riding machine.

In honor of Food Republic’s annual Healthy Living Month, we reached out to chefs about their diet and fitness routines and will be featuring these interviews throughout January. Next up is Christian Pappanicholas of New York City and Los Angeles’s the Cannibal Beer & Butcher.

When you’re running a place known for beautiful cuts of meat and something called the Cannibal Dog, staying in shape may be a difficult task. Not for Christian Pappanicholas, owner of the Cannibal Beer & Butcher. Before opening the Cannibal, Pappanicholas worked the front of house at Mario Batali’s Otto. In October 2016, Pappanicholas opened the third member of the Cannibal family, the Cannibal Liquor House, where classic American bar food and properly mixed drinks come out to play.

What’s the first thing you eat or drink in the morning?  
I joined the most amazing health practice last year upon the recommendation of my friend Seamus Mullen. It’s called Parsley Health, and it’s medical and health coaching from an integrative medical perspective — very gut-health-focused. During the first three months they have you drink a very specific shake in the morning. I never stopped; it’s so easy on the body and it allows me to really get creative in what I add. I make a shake of blueberries, cayenne, turmeric, almond butter, salt and some protein powder. The spices really help kick-start the taste buds and are great for inflammation.

What’s your fitness routine, if any? 
Running, circuit training or yoga right now. I played tennis competitively for a long time so that was always the reason for training. Once I stopped I turned back to cycling. The goal is to ride three or four times a week. Riding is harder now that it is 20 degrees outside [in New York], so riding happens more when I am in L.A.

Do you practice any wellness routines, such as meditation, acupuncture, massage? 
Yes to all of that. Anything to help the stress levels [down] and keep the head straight. Headspace is an amazing app I use for meditation. I also get trigger point therapy to reduce inflammation from training.

Any New Year’s eating resolutions?   
Eat less French fries and ride my bike a lot more. I am finally getting to participate in Chefs Cycle this year, and I am super pumped. It’s such a great organization, and getting to ride with some amazing people definitely motivates me.

Have you ever done a fad diet? Juice cleanse?
No, but I eat pretty paleo, except when I am tasting food for work or [have] too many cocktails — that happens less frequently now than it used to.

Any food or drinks you actively avoid?
The list is too long. Never soda, ever, unless in Mexico at a taco stand and it’s the Mexican Coke, [but] only half.

Have you ever struggled with your weight?
The body naturally gains two pounds per year, so you’re already fighting that. I am not a little guy; I was 190 pounds at my leanest while competing on the court. It’s a bit easier now that I have adjusted the lifestyle to be a little less crazy. Working hard to get back to 190, maybe by the summer.

Do you have any go-to, quick-fire healthy recipes that you can provide us off the top of your head?  
I eat an insane amount of salads, ever since I was a kid. Right now the spinach from Lani’s Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket is so good. Meaty and sweet. I like toasted pine nuts, tropea onions (an excessive amount) and grain or Dijon vinaigrette. Tons of good things in there and doesn’t drag your ass down.