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Know What is In Your Food

25 Dec

Happy Holidays to All!  As we all sit down around the table to celebrate with family and friends, take a minute to think about how the food you are enjoying came to be on your table.  Nature’s Path has provided this great infographic about GMO (genetically modified organisms) food.  It is our belief, here at FIT, that WHAT you eat is more important than HOW MUCH you eat.

GMO infographic

Recipe Updates

28 Oct

Sorry for the lack of posting, but as many of you know, I recently moved, and have been inundated with trying to unpack and make my new home all my own.  So…here are a few recipes from recent Wednesday night meetings.

Pre- & Post-Workout Snacks

Pre-Workout

Smoked Salmon with Avocado on Veggie Rounds

2-3 oz. Smoked Alaskan Salmon (most likely will find Sockeye at the grocery store)

Make sure that the only ingredients are salmon, salt, and smoke

1/4 avocado

Sliced eggplant or cucumber

To assemble, smear some of the avocado onto the veggie round and place salmon on top.

These can be made in advance, or just put together as you need them.  Remember that a pre-workout snack should be mostly protein and/or fat, but in smaller portions than a full meal.  It is really intended to prepare the body for exercise with a hormonal stimulus freeing up fatty acids to fuel your workout.

Post-Workout

Quick Pickled Curry Carrots

Slice carrots into coins or sticks and place in a sealable container.  In a separate bowl, mix together salt, curry powder, fresh ground black pepper, powdered ginger, and mustard powder.  The exact amounts you use depend on your tastes, but make sure that you have plenty of salt.  This is what produces the “pickling” of the carrots.  Mix 3 parts vinegar (I like to use apple cider vinegar) and 1 part water together in the bowl with the spices.  Pour mixture over the carrots, enough to cover them.  Seal the container and refrigerate for at least an hour.  The longer the carrots stay in the refrigerator, the more pickled they will become.  Other firm vegetables – beets, cauliflower – can be used in place of carrots.

Sweet Potato Chips

Wash and peel sweet potatoes.  Slice as thinly as possible – a mandolin works really well here.  Grease a sheet pan with coconut oil and spread potato chips out on the tray.  In a small dish, heat coconut oil until it is melted.  Pour over the potato chips just enough to coat.  Sprinkle any seasonings (MSG-free) on the chips that you like.  Place tray in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees and cook until desired doneness, about 30-40 minutes.  If you like, you can flip the chips halfway through and season again.  This will make them crispier as well.

Post-workout snacks should be a combination of carbohydrate and protein, with minimal fat.  These two options can be combined with more of the smoked salmon (no avocado this time) or with other protein on hand.  

 

And in case you were on the fence about choosing organics, here is a great article from the Organic Consumers Association.

Best take away: Organic foods are nutritionally dense compared to foods produced with toxic chemicals, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds.

Almost to the End

25 Oct

While we’re getting ready for the end of the Whole 30, I wanted to remind everybody about our final meeting this Wednesday evening at 7pm.

Where: 1133 Miguel Avenue Los Altos (off of Fremont)

When: 7pm

What: Please bring a Whole 30 approved dish that can serve 4-6.  This can be a main dish, side, salad, or even appetizer; just something for all of us to share and enjoy.

 

Also, I came across this article about how to get your children to eat more vegetables.  Big tips from the article:

  • Set a good example for your kids.  “…they are watching us and learning all the time, although they’ll never admit it.”
  • Have your kids get involved in the preparing of veggie casseroles, side dishes, main dishes, salads, etc. Have them flip through a vegetable cookbook and a recipe that looks appetizing.
Hope that helps in this last week, and don’t forget to come share a meal with us this Wednesday.

Whole 30 Dinner Meeting

23 Oct

I hope things are going well for everybody so far; 3+ weeks through the Whole 30!  How is everyone feeling?  Just wanted to shoot everybody a quick reminder that our last weekly meeting will be this Wednesday, October 26th, at 7pm.  We will be discussing dinner options, as well as other questions that have come up through the last several weeks.

For this week, though, we are asking that everyone bring one of their favorite dishes.  This could be something that was a go-to quick fix on a busy week night, or something more elaborate that you experimented with.  Either way, whatever you fix will surely be delicious.  Keep on the lookout for another announcement about where this dinner will be held.

Good luck heading into the last week.  And don’t forget to share your experiences for others to read.

Weekly Whole 30

19 Oct

Come one, come all!  To the Whole 30 Weekly Meeting!

This week we will be discussing what and when to eat with regards to your workout.  We will have some pre-workout, as well as post-workout snacks.  Come armed with questions and a hungry appetite.

Sunday Brunch

16 Oct

Who says you can't have pancakes on the Whole 30?

How are you doing after the first 2 weekends in the Whole 30?  Were you able to stay away from the glass of wine at dinner, or french fries watching the 49ers and Raiders bring home Ws?

I know some of you may be a getting a little sick of having eggs for breakfast, so figured I would share a lazy Sunday brunch staple of mine: Almond Butter Banana Pancakes

1 Banana, cut into 1-2 inch pieces

1 egg

Heaping spoonful of almond butter

In a small mixing bowl, mash the banana.  Add the egg and almond butter and mix until well combined and the banana is integrated into the butter.  Add almond butter as needed to get the consistency of pancake batter.

In a small saute pan, heat a teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat until warm.  Cooking in batches, spoon some of the batter into the pan.  Cook as you would a conventional pancake – once the batter starts to bubble, flip over and cook the second side until lightly browned.

This will serve one person, making about 2-3 cakes, but the recipe can easily be increased, for as many cakes as needed.  They are also good served cold.

I served mine with a side of uncured Niman Ranch bacon and some caraway seed sauerkraut.  Enjoy, and let me know what YOU come up with for breakfast.

Wednesday Meeting Recap

14 Oct

Great meeting this week everybody!  We discussed some different questions, especially regarding nuts as snacks – try and find some other snacks and not just depend on almonds to quell your hunger.

We served:

Zucchini Hummus

2 zucchini
3/4 cup tahini (raw)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil (cold pressed, if you want it to be truly raw)
4 cloves garlic
2.5 teaspoons salt (I would cut down on this)
1/2 tablespoon cumin

Chop the zucchini and blend everything in the blender. Add the lemon juice and garlic (and salt)
a little bit at a time to get the flavor that you want.

Coconut Apple Custard

2 cans coconut milk (or cream)
3 apples, diced
Whichever spices you like, to taste: I used cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and vanilla

In a medium saucepan, add the coconut over medium heat.  Add the apples and spices, and mix thoroughly.  Stirring occasionally, let the apples simmer until they are soft enough to smash with the back of the spoon.  
Once the apples are cooked, pour the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor and puree thoroughly.
Pour into a temperature safe container and place in the freezer to cool.  Once cold, the custard should be solid enough to eat with a spoon.

Blueberry Protein Balls

4 dates

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

2 tbs melted coconut oil

1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

 

1. Remove pits from dates and chop in food processor till paste forms

2. Add walnuts and macadamia nuts and process till nuts are finely chopped.

3. With processor running, drizzle in coconut oil

4. scrape contents into bowl and fold in 1/2 cup of coconut and the blueberries.

5. Form into balls, roll in remaining coconut

6. Ready to eat or refrigerate for later.

 

Keep up the good work everybody.  Let us know how things are going so far and what you’ve been eating.

Let’s talk veggies!

11 Oct

As the ‘shock’ of getting started has hopefully passed, now is a good time to take a look at what you are eating (instead of what you are not). Personally, I sometimes struggle with different ways to make vegetables to keep it interesting as veggies are the base of this nutrition strategy. I made 2 wonderful mostly vegetable meals this weekend that I thought I’d share with hopes that you all will do the same.

The first was from smittenkitchen.com – I had romano beans delivered in our CSA bag this week so searched google for a recipe.

Braised Romano Beans
Adapted from Laura Sbrana via The NYTimes 08/12/08

Time: 1 1/2 hours

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced carrot
1 cup minced red onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup peeled, crushed ripe tomatoes, preferably plum tomatoes, with their juices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds romano beans (flat green beans), ends trimmed (or fresh cranberry beans in their shells). . .Next time think I will cut the beans into bite size pieces prior to cooking as they are a bit ‘unwieldy’ when full length.

1. Heat oil in a deep skillet or a shallow three-quart saucepan. Add celery, carrot and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables barely begin to brown, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, a few minutes. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until mixture is well combined, about 5 minutes.

2. Add beans, setting them in pan all in one direction. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer. Baste beans, season with salt, reduce heat to low. Cook gently, partly covered, turning beans in sauce from time to time, until beans are very tender, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings.

The other was Sunday breakfast. I had spigarello (again from our CSA) and portabello mushrooms that needed to be used. Stuffed portabello mushrooms it is!

This dish can be made with any greens you have in the fridge – the hearty the green, the longer you will need to cook.

Adapted from Primal Cookbook: Quick and Easy

Ingredients:
2 portabello mushrooms
olive oil
4 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
1 bunch spigarello, or other greens
bacon fat
2 eggs, raw, scrambled

Preheat oven to 425.
coat mushrooms in olive oil
place on baking tray
season with salt and pepper
cook 15 mins

While mushrooms are cooking, remove woody stems from Spigarello by stripping the greens from the stem. Pile all the greens together and chiffonade (cut into thin strips). Rinse in a collander and shake off most of the excess water. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Place wet greens in skillet and cover to let them steam a bit. Once water is mostly evaporated, add 1 tbs of bacon fat or butter and toss greens to coat. Let cook for a minute or two, then add bacon pieces and stir to combine with greens. When bacon is cooked, add eggs, stirring to mix with greens and bacon. Remove from heat once eggs are cooked. Pile mixture on top of mushrooms and enjoy. (If using spinach or arugula, cook bacon first, then add greens as the greens will cook much more quickly than those used here.

Could use some more ideas. Please comment with your favorite ways to incorporate veg into meals and snacks.

Getting over the Lethargy

8 Oct

We are now 1 week in!  How is everybody doing so far?  Found any great new recipes?  How have you found the cravings? – if any?

There has been a good amount of discussion (during the last go-round as well) about energy levels dropping off and general fatigue during the Whole 30.  This can be caused by a number of different things, but I am here to tell you that these are NOT long-lasting effects.

First off, many of you are eliminating caffeine during your 30 days.  This will, obviously, have a considerable impact on your daily feelings of wakefulness and alertness.  Please know what with the right amount of sleep, caffeine is not needed.  I agree that a warm cup of coffee in the morning is a great sensory experience (warm mug, great smell, delicious taste), but it definitely isn’t a necessity to get my day going.  Also, by eliminating those foods that are insulting and pro-inflammatory from the diet, your body has more energy to contribute to restoration, and you will wake up with more energy.  The Whole 30 foods will also provide for more steady energy levels throughout the day.  Just remember that it takes some time to get over that caffeine dependence.

Secondly, after eliminating breads, rice, pasta, beans, etc there is often a large empty spot on your plate.  This isn’t the goal of the Whole 30, but often what happens.  It is a bit of a paradigm shift to think about the amount of vegetables that you will have to eat.  It seems that most people forget about this, and instead end up eating less than they actually need.  Remember to keep that plate full with at least 2 different vegetables at each meal.  If after satisfying the vegetable and animal protein requirements you still feel hungry and lethargic, make sure that you are adding some fat to your meals.  This can be done in the form of avocado, coconut, garnishing a dish with salad, or even dressing your vegetables with some oil (olive, macadamia, truffle are all good dressings).

Finally, while the Whole 30 is not intrinsically a “low-carb” diet, it often times ends up that way because of the foods that are eliminated.  By removing bread, rice, pasta, etc. that leaves a large carbohydrate void on the plate.  Carbohydrates are not, in and of themselves bad, it is more the source of those carbs that we are trying to change.

Having some sweet potatoes after a workout is a great post-exercise meal.

Adding some roasted beets to a dinner salad contributes flavor, color, and texture.

What happens, though, when the carbohydrate content of your diet decreases, is that your metabolism has to catch up to the new dietary environment.  If eating a diet with a considerable dose of carbohydrates, you body prioritizes using them as its primary fuel source.  While carbohydrates are easy to use as a fuel source, they aren’t those most productive – fat contains 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram in carbohydrates and protein.  What makes fat harder to use is that it requires oxygen to consume for energy.

In the course of the Whole 30, most of you will most likely transition from using predominantly carbs for energy, to using more fat for energy.  This is not just from the fat that you consume, but also from your bodily fat (read: decrease in body fat %).  Unfortunately, however, the process of switching to a more fat burning individual takes some time – time for carbohydrate stores to decrease, but also for hormonal and enzymatic changes to take place within your cells.  It can often take as long as two weeks.

So what happens during this two weeks?  Well, for starters, you might feel a little lethargic.  Also, your performance in the gym will often dip a little bit.  Fear not, though, as these changes aren’t permanent.  What is happening is that your body is trying to find new strategies for fueling your endeavors (exercise, daily activity, work, etc) in the absence of that carb flood it was used to receiving.  After the two week mark (sooner or later for some) everything changes.  Most people will report increased energy and vitality.  What also starts to happen is that gym performance (or any other physical feat your test yourself in) goes through the roof.  PRs get shattered right and left, and recovery improves.  What is happening is that your body has figured out those new strategies – utilizing fat (both dietary and bodily) for fuel – and providing you with more energy than the simple carbohydrate metabolism was able to.

I hope that helps as you all make your way through week 1.  Congratulations on sticking with it this far.  Remember that we are having our second meeting/snack this Wednesday, October 12, at 7pm.  Keep up the questions and comments.

Couple resources:

Should you be eating like a caveman?

Metabolism and Ketosis

Where to Eat?

5 Oct

At tonight’s breakfast meeting, the topic came up about where to eat out and still get a Whole 30 approved meal.  We will surely dive into this deeper in the coming weeks, but here are some references to peruse:

San Francisco restaurants serving paleo dishes

A great place to ask/search for questions

Paleo out on the town

There’s an app for that

Real Time Farms

Hope these help.  Have you found any other resources you use?