Power Veggies

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 Nutritional Powerhouse!

Since I’ve been doing a version of the Warrior diet, I’ve tried to start each night with a nice big salad to help curb appetite just a little and to add some fiber.  Now that I’ve leaned to a more Paleo approach I’m still eating my salad, but I’m trying to make it as nutritious as possible without eating 6 pounds of vegetable matter each night.

My old salads were primarily the bagged variety for the most part with a small amount of ranch dressing (less then two tablespoons per giant bowl of salad).  Here is what they look like now (with explanations why I selected each one)-

Baby Spinach- Use this as my base. It’s got all the fiber of lettuce but it’s packed with vitamins and minerals.
Red/Yellow/Orange Peppers- The red are the most nutritious of the bell peppers and they have a slightly sweet flavor.
Red Cabbage- Cruciferous veggies are high in Indole-3-Carbinol which helps eliminate xenoestrogens from the body.
Cucumbers- Taste 😀
Litehouse Avocado/Jalpeno Blend- They do make this stuff with canola oil so I’ll try and make my own later but avocado has some great omega-3 fats and the addition jalapenos makes it a great dressing.
Sunflower Seeds- Taste and a small amount of omega-3 fats.  These also help filter out xenoestrogens I believe.
Hard Boiled Eggs- Fat, protein, flavor.  Nuff said.

Now you can eat whatever veggies you want but these are my choices for the most part.  This, however, is not my only veggie intake.  I will throw in some grilled asparagus or steamed broccoli when I feel the need/desire.  I try to vary my veggie intake but that salad is my basic go-to.

Before I hear from anyone saying that they hate veggies and take a multi so they don’t need to worry about it, remember this, you’ll never get a better absorbing vitamin/mineral complex in a pill form then you will from food.  Nature isn’t stupid. 

Also I’m definitely not going vegetarian or vegan either.  There are few things that make me happier then a plate full of grilled, dead animal on my plate :D. 

Quality vs. Quantity

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It drives me insane whenever I hear someone discussing diet or exercise and all they really talk about is the quantity of work they’re doing or food they’re eating.

“Eat less then 100g carbs per day”
“Do 5 sets of 15 on the chest machine if you want to get jacked!”
“I walk 2 miles every day”

The only marker for progression in those three statements is to increase or decrease calorie/carb consumption, sets/reps, and distance.  What if instead of counting one side of the equation (sets, reps, calories, distance) we include the other side as well (weight used, intensity, quality of food, and time the work was done in)?  In this instance the whole is truly greater then the sum of it’s parts.

For instance, you can’t even begin to compare the nutritional value of fresh meat, veggies, nuts, seeds, roots, and tubers to an equal number of calories from foods that are highly processed like conventional meets, breads, and pasta.  Unfortunately that’s all we focus on is the quantity of food consumed.

The same goes for training.  Whether it be for building size or losing weight, all people focus on is how much they did in a workout.  This is even more misleading then only focusing on the quantity of food consumed since exercise selection plays a major roll in body composition and strength changes.  The difference between a chest press on a machine and dips or a heavy bench press is astronomical.  The same goes when you compare a leg press or leg extension to a barbell back squat.

 No Comparison

The major difference when distinguishing the advantages of body weight and barbell exercises is the hormonal response as well as the addition of stabilizing muscles to the movement.  When using machines you isolate a single muscle or two and nearly eliminate any work done by stabilizing muscles.

For weight loss it’s absurd to only gauge work done by the length of time spent on the the treadmill or elliptical machine.  Depending on the intensity of your cardio sessions less is more. 

Bottom line is that if you want to change your body from a Fiesta to a Ferrari you need high quality fuel (food) and high quality upgrades (squats, deads, bench, etc).

Top Notch Resources and a Recipe

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Since it’s probably going to be another week before I get a blog post ready to go I’m going to share the resources I don’t have linked to my blog that I have been frequenting a lot lately. 

You’ll notice that most all of these have to do with food.  Lately I’ve been putting even more effort into eating as paleo as possible (basically eating paleo entails cutting out ALL processed foods including dairy).  When I get a couple days tied together where I eat only fruit, veggies, sweet potatoes, and meat I feel absolutely great.  As soon as I throw in something processed I’m back to feeling like bloated and sick.  Performance nutrition does not mean supplements!  If you want a bigger, badder, better running engine (your body) then you have to give it the best quality fuel possible.  While I would love to be able to eat 100% organic, it’s not going to happen for awhile so I do the best I can.  When I get the chance I pick up some organic fruit and veggies.  With any luck I’ll get some grass-fed beef and chicken this weekend :D. 

For those of you like like to read, here’s a couple great authors I recommend on the topics of training, nutrition, and supplementation.

Orio Hofmekler
 Loren Cordain
Wesley Silveira
Bill Star
Mark Rippetoe
Brooks Kubik
Mike Mahler
Dr. Mauro DiPasquale

Last but not least, a simple but damn tasty recipe! (I may be giving myself to much credit calling it a “recipe” lol)

Sweet n Spicy Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
1 Large Sweet Potato
Pat’s Creole Seasoning
Olive Oil or Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Next, simply cut the sweet potato into whatever size fries you want (I usually opt for smaller shoestring fries since they cook faster).  Cover a baking sheet with tin foil.  In a separate bowl mix olive oil or melted butter with Pat’s Creole Seasoning.  I’ve never actually measured either of these ingredients so just keep in mind that the seasoning can be pretty overwhelming if you get it on really heavy.  You can always shake some more on after they are done cooking if you want a stronger flavor.  Once your have those two mixed, add the fries, cover the bowel, and toss so that all the fries are evenly coated in oil and seasoning.  Once they are coated spread them evenly on the baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes.  If you cut them thicker they may need to cook even longer then 25 minutes so just experiment a little bit.  After cooking I lay them out on a paper towel to absorb the left over oil. 

3 Simple Steps to Body Transformation

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This is going to be a quick one since I’m short on time.  I don’t, however, want anyone miss out on these simple body transformation tips that are incredibly effective and easy to maintain!

What about this says nutritious?

1. Eliminate 1 Poor Food Choice from Your Diet and Add 1 Healthy Food

For instance if you eat a candy bar every day at lunch or a doughnut every morning with your coffee then eliminate that one food, and substitute it with something healthy like a piece of fruit.  Once this becomes a habit that you don’t have to think about everyday, eliminate another poor choice and bring in something healthy.  Over a period of weeks or months you can totally revamp your entire diet without the pain of dropping everything at once!

2. Find of a Form of Exercise You Enjoy
It does not matter what form of exercise you enjoy, just find something you’ll do a couple times each week.  Even if all you start with is going for a 20-30 minute walk a couple times each week, that’s far better then setting on the couch doing nothing.  Start with gradual, sustainable steps that you can build your healthy lifestyle instead of doing something 100% for a week and quitting.  There will always be the discussions and arguments about what type of exercise is the “best” but in the end it doesn’t mean jack if you hate doing it! 

3. Plan Ahead
As simple as it sounds this is where most attempts at a healthy lifestyle falls apart. Plan out a nightly menu each week that is centered around your newly healthy diet and make time in your schedule to get your exercise in.  If you have time to go shopping for crap you don’t actually need or to sit and watch TV every day, then you have time to exercise.

No More Excuses!
Cavo Profundus

Acai: Fact or Fiction?

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I actually started this post about 8 months ago when I first started looking into acai.  When a product really starts getting tons of hype I’m usually skeptical and it was no different when I started seeing this berry pop up in products and infomercials all the time.  This post was originally to debunk the whole acai myth as a scam but the more I’ve read the more interested I am in it.  I don’t believe that it’s a wonder weight loss cure or some sort of magical immune booster and detoxifier but there is some validity to using it to manage free radical damage.

Acai tops the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) chart at a whopping 18,400.  The next closest is pomegranate at 10,500; then blackberries at 5,100 (all measurements are per 100g of that particular fruit).  This is significant because of two reasons.

1. Our diets and lives are filled with harmful chemicals and pseudo-foods that produce tons of free radicals.

2. Our diets are pitifully low in the standard fruits and veggies that we consider to be high in antioxidants let alone the more exotic berries like pomegranate and acai.

Free radicals, by definition, are molecules that lack an electron in their outer ring which makes them unstable.  As a result they travel through the body and attempt to steal an electron from the molecules that are stable.  The cells of your body have to withstand thousands of attacks by free radicals each day.

There are also a form of free radicals called superoxides which can attack and oxidize proteins and fats in the blood (commonly called lipoproteins or cholesterol).  When this happens the the cholesterol becomes “sticky” and then can cling to one another.  Combine that with inflammation of the veins and arteries which make them sticky as well, and you have a recipe for plaque build up in the blood stream and an increased possibility of blockages forming.

Of all the foods tested for their superoxide scavenging potential (SOD), acai tested by far the highest at 1614 units per gram.  In tests that measured it’s effect on reactive oxygen species (ROS) it was shown that even low doses* of freeze dried acai were able to enter the cells of the body in a fully functional form.

While I’m not saying you need to buy stock on the acai market, if you are looking to stay healthy and keep your immune system functioning at an optimum level I would recommend doing some research into acai.


Warrior Diet Update

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So far on the WD I’m down 2lbs.  Not bad for only being on it for 3 days.  I don’t expect to drop that much fat that fast but it’s good to know my nervous system has made the switch over so it can be effective.  Another thing I like is that if I split my meal at night into 2 separate meals I’m far less bloated and digestion is better then if I try to pound down 90% of my calories for the night in one sitting.

I’m also taking in some specific vitamins and minerals for hormonal support which is supposed to be one of the advantages of this style of dieting.  We’ll see if I notice any differences on this regimen.

Aside from all that I’m also going to try and keep the processed foods to an absolute minimum.  The protein and fat portions shouldn’t be difficult but getting the carbs I need without processed foods may be a little tricky.  For the most part they will all come from veggies, fruit, and Ezekial bread.  I’ve been using a lot of hamburger buns and rolls which screw up my digestion and make me feel like crap.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Protein Balls

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Mix 2 tbsp ANPB, 2 scoops protein powder, 1/4 teaspoon psyllium husk, and a little water together in a bowl. When it’s a doughy consistency roll into balls, place on wax paper in a dish and place them in the fridge for a few minutes to help them set up.