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After a visit to Honolulu, I returned enthusiastic about the Imu, the traditional Hawaiian underground oven. If you’ve been to a traditional luau, you’ve had kalua pig cooked in an imu. The word kalua means “the hole”. Depending on the pig’s size, it is steamed in an underground pit, sometimes for days. Throughout Polynesia and in many other cultures, earthen ovens have been used for centuries. They are a highly effective way to produce succulent proteins and vegetables without an ounce of electricity.
Really, you can only eat so many carbonized weiners.
While I have always loved cooking outside and enjoy the morning ritual of getting the embers going, camping food is rarely special. It’s hard to control the fire without standing vigil every second. Something always burns. Something is always undercooked. In recent years, meals for the yearly camping trip with my college friends consist of variations on the foil pack theme: individual hobo packs and the like.
The flavor of the food cooked in an imu is unmatched and it frees you up to snuggle with your new love, go for a hike, watch Ellen’s last show, or even do some quick manscaping in your tent.
Consider the imu nature’s crock pot. Maybe you can recline in your new zero gravity camp chair where that perfect combination of rustling leaves and a few beams of sunshine poking through the trees will lull you into a nice nap. This doesn’t have to be just for camping. If you have even the smallest swatch of yard you can do this at home. This summer or fall put on some Don Ho and start digging. It’s worth the ten minutes of cardio. Here’s how to do it.
Pork shoulder is an easy protein to work with. Serve it Cuban style with tortillas, avocado, and salsa verde. An entire pig would be fun, but totally unrealistic if you’re camping. Cooking in a small hole would take a few hours to a half day for the meat to become flavorful and succulent.
This may feel intimidating but it’s really quite easy. Don’t let the digging scare you away.
What Do You Need to Make an Imu?
- 5-8 Burlap bags
- 8-10 Banana leaves, fresh or frozen
- 1 or 2 Grill grates
- 20 pound bag Charcoal
- Foil pans
How do You Prepare an Imu?
Folding banana leaves over coals in an imu
Photo courtesy of Kandace Davis
- Dig a hole three feet deep by four feet wide with sloping slides. Save the dirt you’ve excavated. You’ll need it. If you choose a shady area with soft ground, a typical small camping shovel will work. Go for a bigger hole if you’re feeding a crowd. The pit must be large enough to contain an entire bag of charcoal and the food you’ll be serving.
- Layer the bottom center of the pit with plenty of kindling. Dried leaves, small branches, and twigs are best. Try to avoid newspapers as the print could infuse toxic ink fumes into the food. On top of the kindling, add an entire bag of natural, untreated hardwood charcoal. I use Rockwood brand which comes in a 10 lb and 20 lb bag. For this recipe, use about ¾ of a 20 lb bag. Light the kindling and let the charcoal become white hot. This will take about an hour. Hawaiians would traditionally use hot stones heated to 1,000 degrees and placed carefully into the oven with giant tongs. We aren’t doing that.
- Wear gloves to avoid a steam burn. The cooking process requires steam and not dry heat, so banana leaves will help you easily achieve this. You can find these at Global Foods or other international markets. If your banana leaves are frozen, you can place a double layer of them directly over the coals. If they’re fresh, wet them down before placing them. You are ready to cook.
- Carefully straddle a campfire grill grate (readily available online) over the coals. If you’re cooking for a larger group, consider using two grates and you’ll need a larger hole. Place your foil-wrapped edibles on the grill grate. We will get to specifics about what to cook in a bit.
- Wet down four burlap bags or a roll of burlap and lay them over the foil-wrapped food. Be sure that the burlap extends beyond the opening of the hole. You are going to be covering all of this with dirt and you want to keep the dirt from falling into the imu.
- The final layer is a tarp (anything will do) followed by the excavated dirt which is shoveled over the top of the tarp in order to keep any steam from escaping. Estimating cooking time is tricky. For this pork shoulder recipe, plan for five hours if it goes too long then all the better. As you become more confident, consider other foods including whole vegetables or smaller pieces of beef brisket.
- When finished brush away any loose dirt from the edges of the covering material. Avoid getting dirt into the imu. Uncover the layers of banana leaves and burlap sacks. Allow the foil-wrapped foods to cool for ten minutes before serving.
Pork Shoulder Recipe
Imu cooked pork shoulder
Photo courtesy of Kandace Davis
Yield: Serves 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: Approximately 5 hours
- 5 pounds Bone-in Pork Shoulder
- Citrus Garlic Seasoning
- Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels.
- Season liberally with salt and citrus rub.
- Double-wrap the pork in heavy-duty aluminum foil by placing the meat on the two sheets where the foil meets, and seal the foil tightly by folding it multiple times until it meets the top of the pork. Seal the foil on the sides in the same way.
- Place When the pork is finished cooking, allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Break the meat apart with forks and season again if necessary.
- Serve the meat with the prepared toppings or sides.
Suggested Pork Shoulder Sides
- Avocado slices
- Pickled onions
- Salsa verde
- Corn and/or flour tortillas
- Black beans
- Roasted corn
What Can I Cook in an Imu?
- Whole Chicken
- Beef Brisket
- Whole sweet potatoes or russet potatoes
- Whole acorn squash or spaghetti squash
About the Author
Kandace Davis began her career at a large suburban St. Louis school district where she taught English and theater. In 1999, after training with the Culinary Institute of America, she moved on to pursue her culinary dreams. She enjoyed a twenty-year career as a chef and founded the award-winning St. Louis food company, Cha Cha Chow, which was thrice named by The Daily Meal, NYC, as one of the top food trucks in America. Kandace and Cha Cha Chow have been featured in the St. Louis Business Journal, Sauce Magazine, Feast Magazine, and “Show Me St. Louis.”
In 2013, Kandace was nominated and accepted into Les Dames d’Escoffier International, a philanthropic organization of women leaders in food, fine beverage, and hospitality, and serves on the board of her local chapter. As part of her work to help provide healthy food to underserved communities, Kandace is a supporter of Earthdance Organic Farm School and Mutual Aid St. Louis. She has participated in local events supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Black Lives Matter movement, and, as a breast cancer survivor, The Breast Cancer Fund.
In 2019, after three spinal surgeries, Kandace stepped down from Cha Cha Chow. She is now working on a memoir about her mother’s mysterious and violent death by suicide and the amazing grandmother who raised her.
Disclaimer: This product has been tested and reviewed by our writer and any views or opinions are their own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase.
A massage gun is a great way to relieve tension in specific muscles. We can do it from the comfort of our own couches while watching TV. The benefits of a massage gun can help you feel relaxed, feel calmer, improve circulation, and can relieve stress and tension throughout your body. It’s no wonder that we seek out full-body massages whenever we can.
I would love to say that I work out so much that a massage gun helps me loosen up the tight muscles from lifting all those weights. The truth is, I have pulled a muscle in my next twice just from shampooing my hair…Or there was that time I turned around in my chair awkwardly and pulled a muscle in my back. That actually happened the day before I got the massage gun to review luckily, the battery had a partial charge to it and I had my first opportunity to test it out.
First, let me introduce to you the B37 Massage Gun by Erkin Athletics…
What is the B37 Massage Gun?
Four Attachments for the B37 Massage Gun
The B37 Massage Gun is an ergonomic and percussive therapy machine. The handle sits at a 15° angle which helps lessen arm fatigue. The handle is also designed so that you can reach the hard-to-reach places that normally would require another person to assist.
- 5-speeds: the variable speed ranges from 1,400 to 3,200 RPMs. The lower speeds let you warm up your muscles and work through any sensitive muscles.
- 4 attachments: There are four different types of attachments you can use to work your muscles.
- Flat: The flat attachment is perfect for overall massaging
- Bullet: The bullet is great for zeroing in on specific knots, and is also perfect for hands and feet.
- Round Foam Ball: the foam attachment works best for all larger muscle groups
- Fork: this attachment is specifically designed for the neck and spine.
- Power: the massage gun delivers up to 56 pounds of stall force. What is stall force? Stall force is the amount of pressure you can apply to a massage gun before the motor stalls.
- 8-Hour Battery: The Samsung Lithium-ion battery provides plenty of power so you can really work out those knots. If you’re on the go, you won’t need to worry about recharging or running down the battery prematurely.
- Travel Case: Take your charged, or uncharged, B37 Massage Gun with you in the handy travel case that organizes everything neatly.
How Do You Use the B37 Massage Gun?
According to the information on their website, you should
- Turn the massage gun on before placing it on your body.
- Use speeds 1 - 3 for any muscle recovery and for speeds 4 and 5 for a soothing massage or pre-workout muscle warm-up.
- Glide the massage gun over the muscles and let the gun do the work. Apply pressure for added muscle relief.
- Breathe and relax and let the machine do the work. (in other words, if you’re tense, the massage will not work.)
Another step I would add is to make sure you know which attachment you need before you even begin step 1. This way, you don’t just turn it on, start massaging, and then realize you need a different attachment.
What I Liked About the B37 Massage Gun
What I love about the B37 Massage GunPhoto by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
There’s always the chance that you get a product that just doesn’t perform. I kind of knew that this was not the case when I turned on the B37. You could feel the power when you were holding it. In fact, it was so powerful I had it on the lowest setting and barely applied any pressure to my sore back. After a few swipes, I felt better.
The attachments are great and my two favorites are the foam ball and the flat attachment. They really promote muscle relaxation and work pretty well for me. To be honest, the fork scares me a little plus, I can’t really reach. I haven’t used the bullet yet because the foam ball and flat piece work great for me. Did I mention that they’re so easy to change too? You just pop them in or out—that simple.
Aside from the handy case, the battery is third in line because well, sometimes, you just forget to charge things. Hello, headsets anyone? I can use the massager for an hour or so and then put it away and use it another day.
What I Don’t Like About the B37 Massage Gun
What I didn't like about the B37 Massage Gun
It's fine when you are on the lower settings but when you get up to the higher settings, it gets a little noisy. Especially if you’re watching TV. If I need that much work on my muscles, I probably shouldn’t be sitting in front of the TV anyway. The lower settings work just fine for my muscles.
Also not a deal killer, but it has some heft to it. While the 15° handle does help with arm fatigue and wrist exhaustion, it’s still there especially if you have a particular knot to work out. Usually, I switch hands if possible or take a break here and there.
Is the B37 Massage Gun Worth the Price?
Prices for massage guns can vary and the B37 Massage Gun is decently priced compared to other massage guns. Considering the quality of the massage gun, all of the features, AND a lifetime warranty, I think it’s well worth the price.
Should You Buy the B37 Massage Gun?
Massage guns are perfect for anyone that is an endurance athlete, an avid weightlifter, or anyone suffering from tight muscles. The National Institute of Mental Health also discusses practicing self-care by using relaxing activities such as muscle relaxation. The institute also mentions using relaxing techniques for managing stress.
I would recommend the massage gun for anyone dealing with sore muscles and who may need relaxation in general.
What to Look for in a Massage Gun?
Speed and Power
When you are searching for a massage gun, you want to look for a gun that offers a range of speed and that has enough power to handle the stall force.
Size and Weight
Part of what I didn’t like about the B37 was the weight. It was a little heavy, especially for one-handed massaging. That’s why you need to make sure that the weight isn’t going to be too cumbersome and at the same time, it isn't too flimsy. There is no way around it but if you have a powerful gun, it’s going to be heavy or heavier. The size is a factor too. If it’s too large, it’ll seem awkward; if it’s too small, it just won’t get the job done.
Chances are, you’re going to want to take the gun with you. Having a nice travel case will make that a lot easier. You will want or need, something compact enough for those road trips and flights. Just don’t forget the charger.
Attachments make life and working out the kinks so much easier. While I really only use two, I can see where the four come in handy. Depending on how often you will use one, I would say a minimum of two attachments.
Campus Pride, the preeminent resource for LGBTQ+ leadership development, diversity inclusion, and advocacy within higher education, today announced the annual Best of the Best Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ+ students in the United States, recognizing the work of 40 campuses in making their communities safer and more welcoming environments for students, faculty, and staff alike.
“Campus Pride created the Best of the Best List to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of these colleges and universities, creating safer, more welcoming campuses for LGBTQ+ people,” said Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride Executive Director. “Students, prospective students, and their families, along with faculty and staff members, deserve to know whether they will be safe on campus, so they can make the best choices for their own academic success – and by creating inclusive, safe environments these colleges are taking responsibility for all students.”
Today’s announcement from Campus Pride features 40 four-year campuses from across the country. These campuses have achieved 5 out of 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index (CPI), the definitive national benchmarking tool measuring LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs, and practices. To earn a ranking of 5 out of 5 stars, campuses receive a percentage score from 90 to 100 based on their LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs, and practices. The methodology to determine this year’s Best of the Best List was based on an overall score of 93 percent or higher.
"We are seeing more and more colleges earn 5 stars because campuses are doing more to support their trans students," states Dr. Genny Beemyn, the coordinator of Campus Pride's Trans Policy Clearinghouse. "While all colleges can and should do more to be trans-inclusive, many institutions are taking important steps forward."
“The work Campus Pride does every day to foster safer, more welcoming campuses across the country is creating positive change for students, staff, and faculty, as this year’s Best of the Best list reflects that with 40 colleges represented, up from 30 last year,” said Tom Elliott, Campus Pride Board Chair. “At a time when LGBTQ+ rights and other civil rights are under assault in states across the country, including Texas and Florida, it is as important as ever to recognize the campuses in these states working to create spaces where the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders can learn and flourish.”
- Towson University, MD
- Montclair State University, NJ
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, NJ
- Adelphi University, NY
- Ithaca College, NY
- Pace University, NY
- Lehigh University, PA
- The Pennsylvania State University, PA
- University of Pennsylvania, PA
- Northern Illinois University, IL
- Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL
- University of Illinois at Chicago, IL
- Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
- Purdue University, IN
- Kansas State University, KS
- Oakland University, MI
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, MI
- Macalester College, MN
- Minnesota State University-Mankato, MN
- University of Nebraska at Kearney, NE
- Kent State University, OH
- The Ohio State University, OH
- University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, WI
- University of Wisconsin Green Bay, WI
- University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, WI
- Tufts University, MA
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
- University of Vermont, VT
- University of North Florida, FL
- University of Louisville, KY
- Elon University, NC
- George Mason University, VA
- Virginia Wesleyan University, VA
- Texas Tech University, TX
- University of Texas at Dallas, TX
- San Diego State University, CA
- University of Colorado at Boulder, CO
- University of Northern Colorado, CO
- Southern Oregon University, OR
- Washington State University, WA
About Campus Pride
Campus Pride’s 2022 BEST OF THE BEST Colleges & Universities is online at http://campuspride.org/BestoftheBest.
The Campus Pride Index full listing of LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities is available at https://www.campusprideindex.org/.
Since 2001, Campus Pride has been the leading national organization building future LGBTQ and ally leaders as well as creating safer communities at colleges and universities. The Campus Pride Index annually helps 80,000 people find LGBTQ-inclusive colleges and universities. In addition, the organization has specifically tailored programs and resources to support LGBTQ youth and campus communities. Learn more at CampusPride.org.
When it comes to men’s sexual health, it can be a little difficult to discuss. Okay, fine, it’s rarely discussed. That’s where the fellas over at Pure for Men come in. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, they offer various products from fiber supplements to bidets to skincare products…and more.
If you’re on TikTok or Instagram, you may have noticed their ads focused on men’s wellness and personal care. I had a chance to sit down with the team and learn more about the company and the men behind the products.
I met with Lawrence and Fabian the co-founders and CEO and CMO respectively, as well as team members Chris and Ryan to discuss the men’s wellness products and why they decided to create the line.
Read on for the full interview with the guys at Pure for Men.
How did you get your start in the supplement business?
Pure for Men founders Naaman Esquivel, Lawrence Johnson, and Fabian Prado (L to R)
Photo courtesy of Pure for Men
Lawrence: We considered ourselves serial entrepreneurs during our high school years by selling anything from candy to music CDs. When we were sophomores in college, we came up with the idea that anal sex needed to be clean and worry-free. Google was less than 5 years old at the time and didn’t have a lot of tips on how to stay clean. We were trying to figure out how porn stars were able to have anal sex with no issues.
One piece of advice we were given was to get more fiber in your diet. Back in 2003, we didn’t know much about marketing or promotion and there certainly wasn’t anything marketed to gay men in terms of sexual health and preparation.
We eventually created an early version of the Pure for Men website and sold one product which was a trial packet of a fiber supplement. Nothing really happened so we moved on into the world of start-ups in the tech industry. We learned all about start-ups, incubators, and how to market and promote products. We then applied our start-up knowledge and revisited the fiber product. A fiber recipe was developed and tested and we came up with a proprietary blend of soluble and insoluble fibers to help flush out your system and stay ready.
Once the formula was set, Fabian started marketing and promoting the product on social media. The fiber supplement quickly became a hit.
How do you approach the stigma of identifying as a top, bottom, or versatile?
Fabian: We were new to the market and in 2015, there was a stigma about talking about gay sex and being a bottom when it came to the gay community. There was a lot of bottom shaming. We had to rely on sex workers to launch and promote the product because they had a large social media following and because viewers knew what their job was and what positions they were in the videos. It was easy for them to engage with their followers and get them to share information about the product. After a time the taboo and stigma of being a bottom faded away. We came up with the slogans “Stay Ready” and “Bottom with Confidence” as more of an empowerment to the gay community and wear it with a badge of honor.
All of a sudden, there was user-generated content with people posting images of themselves holding the product saying “I stay ready.” The brand is about confidence and sex but it also makes you feel good. You’re regular, you feel lighter, and not bloated. It’s not just for bottoms, it’s also for anyone looking for a plant-based product that is safe for everyday use. I
Lawrence: When we first kicked this off, there were no content restrictions on social media and they decided to make a big splash. One of their first ads was “clean sheets, zero stains” and we were spotlighting the problem people wanted to be solved. Once the algorithms were updated, they needed to be more tongue-in-cheek.
Is the majority of your customer base gay or queer men?
Fabian: Yes, we launched Pure for Men in the beginning and we had some feedback from the trans community stating they could also benefit from the product so we developed and created Pure for Her. Also, at the same time, gay men talk to their best girlfriends and by word of mouth, a lot of straight women use the product too. Our market has always been anyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella but straight people also benefit from the product.
What is the Reset supplement?
Joe: I tried the Reset supplement and it works. Maybe a little too well. My husband is diabetic and the medicine messes with his body. It makes him bloated, constipated, and uncomfortable. I gave him the detox pills and told him to use them. They worked great for him too.
Fabian: There are people that we have worked with where certain medications make them feel nauseous and woozy. There is an HIV medication that makes people feel nauseous and if you take Pure for Men, it will help make it feel better. If you suffer from diarrhea, it can help and that’s why we say it’s not just for bottoms. It’s for anyone and just makes you feel better. Fun fact: only 18% of men get enough fiber in their diet and the majority of men are walking around not getting enough fiber in their diet.
Lawrence: The Stay Ready fiber supplement should be a daily ritual. It’s like the gas going into your tank. The Reset is like an oil change. After the weekend, or Thanksgiving meals and you feel bloated and full, you need to hit the reset button. Incorporating the two into your diet will deliver a good experience if your a bottom or taking too much protein, or just want better movement.
Can we talk about the Bum Balm and Body Scrub?
Fabian: I love both products. The scrub is just for full-body exfoliation. People can suffer from butt acne or stretch marks. It helps to exfoliate and keep clean. Removes scents and you feel fresh and rejuvenated.
When it comes to the butt balm, it helps to keep it moisturized and deodorized, and clean throughout the day. Say you’re going out dancing and you’re going to be in a jock, this will help keep you from getting musty and stinky. It helps keep it fresh. We call it a bum balm but you can use it anywhere. You can use it on your hair, as a deodorant, and on your balls. It is made with food-grade material and it is safe to consume.
What are some of the other products in the line?
Fabian: The Vitamin C Serum is great. There is another product called Hydrating Gel Toner and works great. I’ve put it on my shoulders when I’ve had too much sun. It’s a cooling sensation and works really well.
The multivitamin gummies have an extra dose of biotin which is why we call it the Beauty Boost. Biotin is great for hair, nails, and skin. It tastes good too. The reason for the product is we wanted supplements that were more universal and not just considered for bottoms and sexual cleanliness. Every man needs a good multivitamin.
The bidet is a natural progression and you can never go back to life before a bidet. It’s life-changing. We rounded out our line with a bidet. The cool aspect is you can control the angle and the pressure of the water flow. We’re in the business of cleanliness and clean bums.
Lawrence: We took a weekend trip in Texas and one of the rooms had a bidet installed in it. After using it for a weekend, realize how much cleaner you can walk around. I couldn’t believe how I would go to the bathroom and wipe and go about my day. The bidet experience is just so much cleaner. You use it long enough, it’s harder to go without.
Our approach is to find out how we can make what people are buying better, more convenient, or more affordable. If you’re a friend or family member of mine, you’re getting a bidet as a gift.
What made you decide to use the name Pure for Men? There seems there would be some controversy as far as gender identity. What do you do about DEI?
Lawrence: We’ve had heavy discussions about topics such as representations of race and the models in our social media posts. As gay men’s products went, there were blue-eyed blonde-haired unrealistically amazing bodies with a lot of unobtainable features that were not reflective of our customer base, the country, or the world as a whole. Thankfully as a result of our discussions, we always yield to what’s right. We reflect the world we want to see through the ads we create. The company name dates itself. The imagery we came up with was clean, fresh, pure. The name Pure for Men basically manifested itself. It was natural sounding.
Over time, our first hiccup wasn’t just the trans community saying hey, I am a woman and I want to use your product but I don’t feel right having a bottle of Pure for Men in my cabinet. It was also women who are straight, or not, that liked our product but the pills were like horse pills so we created a smaller version of the same formula so they are easier to swallow. That is how we learned to adjust to the world that’s coming. We’ve done surveys and roundtable discussions on how we can improve our products without being unrecognizable to existing customers but also be mindful of new ones.
Fabian: I think there’s also the side that men will see the product and feel that ‘this is a product for me.’ We don’t want to alienate the community that got us to where we are but at the same time, we need to adjust and acknowledge there is a broader community within that we need to recognize.
We all know what water-based lube is, but can you tell me about the coconut lube?
Lawrence: The coconut lube is all vegan and it's amazing. I am a lifelong silicone lube user but it can get your sheets messy. Silicone lube has a better sensation and experience than water-based. The coconut lube is so great, I haven’t used silicone in such a long time. This coconut lube is the best of both worlds. It tastes amazing, smells great, and there’s no friction. It’s the best.
What’s Next for Pure for Men and Team?
Fabian: We do have some projects in the works that we’re really excited about and are along the lines of cleanliness, but not necessarily supplements.
Lawrence: Our mission has always been to make sure our products are helpful to bodies in the long run.
Pure for Men available at CVS Pharmacies
Photo courtesy of Pure for Men
While it may seem a bit unnerving to chat with a group of men you just met about sex products, sexual health, and general health supplements overall, it’s a conversation that needs to happen, and it needs to happen more often. The LGBTQ+ community is doing a better job of discussing once-taboo topics and opening up about not only sexual health but mental health as well.
To find out more about the Pure for Men or the Pure for Her line, visit the Pure for Men website or check your nearest CVS store to see if they carry the line. If they don’t, ask them to immediately. You won’t regret it.