Category Archives: Diet
So I definitely have solid views on nutrition, but I actually don’t vocalize them as much as you would think considering I rant and rave all the time about them here.
If someone asks me my opinion, I will tell them what I personally think.
Like yesterday, the volleyball girls asked me about post-exercise nutrition.
My answer? Eat a lean protein source and a simple carb. Those will be quickly absorbed by your body and used as fuel.
When asked what counted as a lean protein source or simple carb, I answered…
Turkey, chicken, whey protein, rice, potatoes, fruit.
Notice I didn’t say no gluten. Notice I didn’t say no protein bars. (Heck notice I didn’t even say, “Well honestly, I don’t even worry about pre and post workout nutrition…That is something that really only a top few elite competitors/athletes/bodybuilders need to worry about…That the most important thing truly is to eat a whole, natural food diet throughout the day and make sure you are eating when you are hungry!)
I simply listed things I believed are good – things that I would eat.
When asked specifically about bread or gluten or processed foods, I usually say, “Well I don’t believe in eating those things, but there are other people who do x, y and z and it works for them.”
I will almost always present the other side. (Except of course for here where I get to rant about the other side! YESSSS!)
Because it isn’t up to me what you choose. I can provide you with information about my reasons for my decisions, but I can’t tell you what is right.
Because it is a gamble. There are literally thousands of studies and people on both sides of the fat/gluten/carb/vegetarian fence.
Which side you decide to pick is ultimately up to you.
I’ve picked a side and am constantly doing research to make sure that I know WHY I make the decisions that I do.
Anyway, the reason I thought about all of this is because I’m writing up a “10 Healthy Lifestyle Tips” for this Heart Healthy Expo Jeff and I are going to tomorrow.
I was reading through a lot of the different heart-healthy tip things online and I couldn’t bring myself to provide people with recipes or tips that included canola oil and other such crap as healthy.
So below are the 10 Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips I came up with. I managed to make the tips stay pretty darn mainstream WITHOUT going against my beliefs. I didn’t say not to eat whole grains…I just most definitely didn’t say to do it!!!
- Eat whole, natural foods and cut back on processed, pre-packaged food items. Processed foods are loaded with sugars and bad fats that cause inflammation.
- Use healthy fats such as olive oils, coconut oils and naturally-raised animal fats INSTEAD OF canola and soybean oils, which cause inflammation because they are loaded with omega-6s.
- Cut back on sugar and consume more complex carbohydrates especially fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect our health.
- Cook more meals. No matter how healthy the restaurant meal supposedly is, it never measures up to a home-cooked meal. Even with our busy schedules and long workdays, we can fit in time to cook. It just takes some planning. Find meals, like casseroles and crockpot recipes, which allow you to make huge portions all at once so that you have leftovers for all those busy days when you don’t have time to cook!
- Plan in some “me time.” Too much stress can negatively impact our health. It is important to take some time each day. This can mean going for a walk with friends, reading a book or anything that allows you to relax for even just 5 minutes at the end of your day.
- Get more sleep! Those who average five or fewer hours of sleep per night have a far higher incidence of “silent” heart disease. In a study done, 27% of those who slept five hours or less per night developed calcifications that can signal heart disease after five years, compared to just 6% of those who slept an average of seven hours or more.
- Do 30 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity (walking, hiking, swimming, chasing after your kids on the playground) 2-3 times per week. Low intensity aerobic activity helps to strengthen our heart and burn fat.
- “Sprint” once a week. To sprint means to do short, intense activity once a week where you get your heart rate up and then let it recover before you go again. The intensity of your sprint will be dependent on your fitness level. A sprint should be between 8-20 seconds of intense work followed by a long period of rest (2 to 5 times the amount work).
- Lift weights! Too often we ignore weight training when it comes to heart health, but strength training is important! Resistance training has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure while improving cholesterol levels and glucose metabolism. All of which result in a healthier heart! Add in weight training 2-3 times per week.
- Skip the two a days! More time in the gym doesn’t always equal better health. Overtraining can actually have negative effects on your health. Your workouts don’t need to be more than an hour especially if they are super intense. So don’t worry about how long you workout for – focus on your intensity!
NOTE: I am not ashamed of my beliefs, but I do believe that sometimes if you are too vocal upon first conversation with someone who you can actually get them to shut down and complete tune out all of the good stuff you are saying. Sometimes if you ease people into the unknown they are more accepting of the things you have to say!
So often we talk about losing weight/being healthy/getting stronger/being in shape in terms of the diet and exercise program that we need to follow to achieve our health and fitness goals.
Depending on your specific goal, you may even be told that diet is 80% of the battle.
But is it really that simple?
Are diet and exercise really the main players in the healthy equation?
Yes, if you follow a well-developed diet and exercise program, you most likely will hit a lot of your health and fitness goals.
BUT, these goals may be more easily realized AND easier to maintain IF you get some of the other pieces of the puzzle in order.
The amount of stress you have and the amount of sleep you get both affect your hormone levels, appetite and level of fatigue.
Too little sleep and too much stress can cause your body to not only try to hold on to fat, but also to feel hungry and overeat.
Holding on to fat!?! Overeating and feeling hungry when you really aren’t!?!
HMMMM…Maybe sleep and stress need to be a part of our program…..
And not only can too little sleep and too much stress cause you to hold onto fat and overeat, but both can also make you feel fatigued which can lead to crappy and/or skipped workouts!
Sound familiar? Skipped a few workouts recently or have you seen your numbers slowly declining even though you KNOW you aren’t overtraining?
Maybe you aren’t getting enough sleep OR maybe your body is just too stressed!
And if all of this wasn’t bad enough…let’s face it….they both also really affect your self-control.
Tired? Stressed? Where do most people turn for comfort?
And usually BAD food.
That doesn’t sound very good for your health and fitness goals…
So maybe diet and exercise aren’t enough on their own. Maybe you do need to consider your sleep and stress levels.
I’m not saying to change jobs to lessen your stress level. BUT it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start to plan in some “me time” to help you unwind every once in a while so that you don’t turn to food.
I’m not saying to start sleeping in and going in late to work, but every once in a while maybe try to take a nap or sleep in instead of forcing in that extra hour of work that realistically you COULD do at some other time. If you really do create a time management schedule, you may just find you DO have more time that you could use for sleep than you originally thought!
Anyway, sleep and stress ARE two other things you should consider when trying to create a healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise AREN’T the only pieces to the puzzle.
So this past week I’ve been cutting weight to make sure I make the weight class I want to be in for the kettlebell competition.
Unlike the powerlifting competition, I didn’t have to drop 10 lbs in one week because my eating has been super clean.
Actually I really only had to drop like 2 lbs.
But those 2lbs are the HARDEST two pounds for me to lose.
My weight seems to comfortably rest in the 120-126 range. This is where I feel like I look good. In this range my body fat is within the athletic range or that range that is above essential, whatever the chart you have may call it, so I’m happy.
AND the best part…the reason I haven’t really worried about getting my body fat almost to essential is that I perform my best in this range. That’s right…PERFORMANCE is more important to me than getting close to essential body fat.
The only people who really need to be close to essential body fat are bodybuilders and fitness/figure competitors…And even they are only near ESSENTIAL for a few days around a competition.
Anyway, so my weight is usually between 120-126 (I’m a little under 5’4″ which then by definition makes my weight technically a bit over what it “should be” but I like muscle!).
For this competition, I need to be under 119, which you would think wouldn’t be hard since I’ve been hovering right around 120 for the last few weeks.
BUT IT IS!
It is ridiculously hard for me to drop under 120, which is funny to think about for me since only a few years ago I hovered around 110. But 110 was during collegiate tennis and right after when I didn’t lift heavy, have near as much muscle, eat as clean or have as good a body composition.
So I’ll take being 120 over 110. It took awhile to accept the new number (I had to get over my scale addiction), but once I did, I started to see results because I wasn’t as number oriented.
But now I have to be number oriented…I have to hit 119.
So I’m cutting…I cut out sodium. I drank a ton of water the first couple of days…Very little yesterday and nothing today really till weigh in (Please don’t dehydrate yourself unless you know what you are doing for competition…It isn’t healthy and water weight will come right back on so it isn’t really meant for long-term weight loss! It is simply a tool to cut weight for a competition so that you save as much muscle tissue as you can.).
My diet was nothing but lean meat and veggies. Simple. Pure.
And never have I wanted a chocolate bar so bad in my life.
I had to stay super clean though because that last pound for me, losing that pound to get under 120 is harder than losing 10lbs to get down to 120.
It is crazy but that last pound sometimes takes a bazillion times more perfection to lose than the first 10 or 20. Not that it isn’t hard to get the weight loss going, but it is amazing how those last few pounds can sometimes be the hardest!
Don’t get frustrated. If you stay consistent and give just a little bit extra effort, it will come off!
However, if you are near starving yourself to get it off and doing other unhealthy things (unless you are cutting for a competition and KNOW what you are doing) maybe that isn’t the weight your body is meant to be at.
Listen to your body. Sometimes you do just need to really buckle down to lose the last pound or so. Sometimes you have to recognize that weight is just a number and that if your body feels good and wants to stick at a weight, maybe you should just relax there for awhile.
And sometimes you just need to take a break from your diet and maintain for awhile and then figure out where you really need to go!
So wish me luck tonight at weigh in. I made it down, but I can’t wait for my carb refeed once I weigh in!!! 120lbs I can’t wait to see you again!
So on Wednesday of last week, I did a lunch and learn talk at a local business with another trainer from Innovative Results.
We talked mostly about mindset, but we did touch on some basics of dieting. We talked about eating whole, natural foods. We talked about cutting calories, but making sure that we don’t cut out too many. We talked about making small changes over time so they actually take root.
And at the end a woman raises her hand with a question…a question about supplements that she saw on Dr. Oz.
UGH! (I wanted to throw up my hands and roll my eyes. I don’t have a problem with Dr. Oz just the fact that everyone DOES exactly what he says like mindless drones.)
She wanted to know what we thought about some green coffee bean thing and raspberry ketones. She said, “Dr. Oz says that these two things will help you lose weight.”
The only thing I could say back was, “KISS…Keep it simple stupid.”
She looked at me in confusion.
I just simply explained that I didn’t even want to get into discussing those supplements. That the MOST IMPORTANT thing if you want to lose weight is to eat whole, natural foods.
First you have to get the macronutrients in order before you start thinking about the micronutrients.
Green coffee beans or whatever the heck they are, aren’t a magic pill!!!! There may be some new study saying they can help AID with weight loss, but trust me, if you want real results, you have to do real work and eat REAL food.
Let’s face it….Dr. Oz has a TV show. He wants to talk about new trends, new fads…It is what keeps people tuning in!
I can’t blame him! I love researching and experimenting (I mean shoot I tried the potato diet just to see what would happen!)
The problem with it is…He has power. He has credentials and a TV show that reaches millions. He is a well-respected medical figure, and rightly so!, so people believe whatever he says. If he says raspberry ketones have health benefits, people run out to buy them.
Stop being drones!!! Use your brain!!!!!
Really you think some green coffee bean is going to solve all your problems!?! I mean if you look at most of the boxes with the supplements or extracts the boxes even tell you, “take along with a HEALTHY diet and exercise program.”
What do you really think makes you lose weight!?! The green stupid bean or the healthy diet and exercise program!?!
GRRRR Dr. Oz!
Stop making people think dieting is so complicated!
Keep it simple stupid!
If you have the healthy diet on lock…If your macronutrient breakdown is in order THEN maybe think about experimenting with green coffee beans and all that jazz!
So Ryan LOVES chili. For me…well it depends on the chili.
Anyway, chili is an easy Primal meal to make and you can make a huge pot of it and have leftovers for days, which is a real plus!
But honestly, I get bored with chili. It is just meat with tomato sauce to me after a while (since we don’t use beans and only use rice on high carb days).
So how did we make it more interesting? Add some more texture and even more vegetables?
We added CAULIFLOWER!
This might sound a bit strange, but when you either “rice” or put cauliflower in a food processor, you get what looks a lot like rice or couscous.
It adds a nice texture to the chili, hides another vegetable in the chili for those who don’t like veggies and it makes the chili even more filling without adding more calories (actually it may even make the portion you take less calorically dense!). More bang for your buck!
So here it is…Cauliflower Chili
1 lb ground beef (grass-fed)
15 oz can of Tomato sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp Garlic salt
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Frank’s Hot sauce
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 cup Couscous-ified cauliflower (Yea…I made the word up)
Heat a skillet on medium and add onions and half the cumin.
When those are translucent, add ground beef.
When ground beef is almost cooked add tomato sauce and spices and let simmer on low.
You can let the chili simmer on low heat for awhile. If you can let it simmer for about 20 minutes it will be more flavorful.
While chili is simmering, add cauliflower to a mixer and dice/chop/couscous-ify. Once it is all like couscous, and once chili is about a minute away from serving, add couscous cauliflower.
Serve and top with either just a tiny sprinkling of grass-fed cheese or some guacamole!
I haven’t yet taken a picture of the meal, but it has become a regular in our diet! Enjoy!
Also, do you ever add random vegetables to dishes where they aren’t supposed to be and found the new recipe to be delicious!?! If so, let me know!
Do you honestly know why you eat the way you do? Do you know why you do certain exercises?
If I asked you right now why eating vegetables is good, could you truly give me an answer?
Or would you just be able to repeat something that someone else told you?
How do you know that what they told you is even true!?!
Unless of course you’ve done your own research.
Ok so I’m not saying to doubt everything that you hear. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust a professional’s word.
But I do firmly believe that no matter what the subject, you need to do your own research.
I mean I tell you to avoid gluten. I tell you that fat is not the enemy. I tell you to eat LOTS OF MEAT aka I’m anti-vegetarian.
And while I hope you agree with me because I firmly believe I’m right, I know that people won’t believe with me.
And while I don’t mind a good debate, I really hate when people tell me that I’m wrong without truly backing up their opinion.
Sorry to pick on you vegetarians, but I really hate when you attack me about how our farming industry is hurting our environment and that we should all be vegetarians to protect it.
Because for one, this shows me that you obviously haven’t really read a word I said. If you notice I don’t promote conventional farming practices…I’m for all naturally raised animal products a.k.a the way animals WERE living on the land originally when we used to hunt them,
And two, no one really ever explains how being a vegetarian is MORE environmentally safe than eating meat raised the natural way. Most of the time when I actually point out how BAD mono-crop farming is for the environment, they have no response.
And why don’t they have a response?
Not because someone out there hasn’t come up with one, but because most people don’t really understand WHY they are doing the things they do!
So while I’m sure there will be a few vegetarians offended by this post, my point isn’t to get a response to my above comments. My point is that you need to THINK.
I don’t care what diet or exercise program you follow, even if it is mine. You still need to UNDERSTAND why you are doing it.
Don’t eat a diet low in fat and high in “whole grains” and tell me fat is bad and whole grains are good for you if you can’t back it up.
And saying, “Well whole grains have fiber” doesn’t cut it.
Anyway, next time you decide to take a stance on something, make sure you’ve really thought about your stance and understand the reasoning behind it.
So right now Ryan and I are doing a carb cycling experiment and so far I LOVE it. ABSOLUTELY LOVE!
Also, I’ve seen great results over just about two weeks. We will see how things continue over the next month or so.
But anyway, one of the things I love the most is that I can now add in one of my favorite meals that I used to make when Ryan and I did our low-fat (ICK!) experiment.
FRIED RICE….or at least my version of the dish!
We’d stopped eating fried rice because we used soy sauce in it and soy sauce has gluten in it.
We also stopped making the dish because we in general preferred to get our carbs from fruits and veggies.
HOWEVER, I’ve found that I feel better during my intense workouts when I consume a few more carbs so I started to add back in potatoes and rice. This summer I even went through a big homemade corn tortilla phase, which I’ve now grown out of.
Anyway, since we started adding in more carbs, I started to want to make the Fried Rice again since I’d loved the dish.
Which is when we found Organic Tamari, which replaces soy sauce and has no gluten. YUM!
I now make this dish as often as I can. We literally have had it every single high carb day during our carb cycling!
With a little chicken or fish and the gluten-free Tamari, this is a great lower fat, high carb meal…that is still perfectly Primal!
Below is the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as Ryan and I do!
1 lbs chicken breasts
2 cups uncooked white rice
3 chopped green onions
1 cup bean sprouts
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup Tamari
Cook the rice based on the directions on the package. We usually get the “slow” cooking rice but that is up to you.
Chop up the chicken and cook it in a separate pan. Once the chicken is basically cooked, add in bean sprouts and green onions. Add cooked rice to meat mixture. Put in sesame oil and Tamari.
Make sure the heat is up on your pan so you can get a little crisp to the rice.
Then make two holes in the mixture and crack an egg into each hole. Let the egg cook for a second before tossing the rice with both eggs.
Once everything is mixed, enjoy!
On our high carb days we keep our protein intake the same, but try to get no more than 50 grams of fat, which isn’t easy after being so used to eating high fat!
However, there are only 42 grams of fat if you eat ALL of the fried rice that the above recipe makes. This really should serve about 4-6.
(Picture to come tonight after I make it!!)
Also, a big shout out to Epic! Awesome training session today! Haven’t climbed a rope in a while. Also got to experience my first faux knife fight! LOVE IT! You guys are awesome!
There are many ways to go about creating a healthy diet change.
The most common is the cold turkey approach.
When people do this, they literally cut out all bad food and start a new completely clean diet. They quit “cold turkey.”
For some people this really works.
For others…well they can’t maintain it and end up back where they started usually in only a few short months if not weeks.
For many the widely accepted cold turkey approach just doesn’t work.
But you have to know yourself to know what kind of approach is going to work best for you. Do you know?
Have you tried the cold turkey approach before and had the diet fail?
Maybe it wasn’t the diet that didn’t work. Maybe it was the go all in, drastic change approach that was the problem.
So maybe you aren’t a cold turkey kind of person. That doesn’t mean you can’t change your lifestyle! You just need to try a different approach!
Another great way to start a healthier lifestyle is to make small changes. I’ve talked about this approach before and I’ve found that, all in all, it works best when you aren’t looking for a quick fix but a true lifestyle change.
How does it work?
Basically, you make small changes until you’ve found a combination of healthy and unhealthy that you can handle that will get you the results you want. The combination that usually works to get great results, while keeping you from going insane, is 80% clean and 20% cheat. (Reaching 80/20 is the goal not what you should necessarily start out with…Perfect IS NOT the goal…80/20 is!)
Each week or two you try to cut out one bad thing slowly and replace it with something good. For instance, if you drink soda, you could start by cutting out all soda for the week (go cold turkey) OR you could simply cut out one soda per day for the first week and then all soda three days a week the next week and so forth until you’ve removed all soda from your diet except for the occasional cheat!
This can honestly be done with anything. It can even be done in terms of adding in good things! Like even if you really don’t like veggies, maybe you start by adding in veggies to one meal every other week. Then one meal every day. Then two meals every day…and so forth.
Small changes add up quickly!
And usually when you make small changes, they really really take root! You’ve actually TAUGHT yourself to live with the new lifestyle.
Sometimes when you go cold turkey, you get sick of the diet. And so you cheat. But most of the time, you can’t get yourself to go back to that super strict diet and so you fall off the wagon until you find another diet to try and go cold turkey with that!
Most of the time when people go cold turkey they seek perfection!
When you make small changes, you aren’t looking for perfection. You are looking to become better – to become healthier!
So next time you start a diet, think about making small changes instead of going cold turkey. Don’t seek perfection! Remember the 80/20 rule!
So one of my best friends EVER, Erin, posted a picture a while back of a DELICIOUS looking breakfast.
I asked her for the recipe and I have to share it now!
So thank you Erin for your wonderful take on Uova in Purgatorio or Eggs in Purgatory!
Eggs in Purgatory
Serves 2 (generously)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil split
1 (28oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
4-6oz Farm sausage
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium/high heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper sauté until onions are translucent about 5 min.
Add sausage and red pepper flakes and cook till sausage browns. Add diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 tbsp of basil and simmer for 15 min.
When finished simmering use bottom of spoon and make little indents in sauce, crack eggs into the indents and top with some of the Parmesan cheese (save some to top finished eggs with).
Place in preheated oven for 10-15 min, this is just an estimate because I didn’t actually pay attention to time. Cook until egg whites are cooked though but yolks are still runny. It may actually be closer to 15-20 min.
Once finished take out of the oven and top with remaining basil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Enjoy!!!!
ALSO, on a side note…I got nominated for Top 100 Health and Fitness Bloggers of 2013. Please go vote! And check out some of the other great blogs on there!