Tag Archives: Diet

This food stuff is great!

19 Feb

We had a nice turnout on Sunday at the Mountain View Farmer’s Market (and apparently a couple near misses – sorry to those we didn’t get to chat with).  Kendra and I were there handing out recipes and answering questions, as well as getting awesome insights from other challengers.  While the morning started out kind of cold and foggy, we were blessed with nice sunny morning to walk around and pick up delicious produce other well-sourced foods.  For those that were present, what did you pick up?  Any new and exciting ingredients that you are looking forward to trying?  If so, please share those in the comments!  I bought two new foods that I am very excited to try – ground goat meat and yucca – stay tuned for pictures and recipe for how I prepared these.

558096_10151339260519065_1013009115_n

Additionally, we have had some great looking food pictures from clients near and far (we have a couple correspondent challengers from at least as far as Chicago!)  Without further delay, here are those great photos.  Hopefully they will get you thinking about other foods and combinations you can try.

How are we doing otherwise, everybody?  We are now a full 2 weeks into the challenge.  What has been the hardest part/easiest part?  Any foods you thought you “didn’t like” that you now can’t get enough of?  Any new favorite cooking methods?  Are we remembering to spice our dishes so that they are exciting and tasty?

Please add your thoughts and reflections to the comments below.

Clearing up a few questions regarding the Whole30 (60) Challenge

7 Feb

We’ve had great participation from many of you on the challenge so far; as well as some awesome success!

  • 4 pounds lost in the first 3 days
  • 7 pounds lost in the first 2 days
  • More awareness about food choices
  • Being more vigilant about reading food labels

There has also been some really good conversations that have led to questions that might help all of you:

Can I cook with wine, beer, etc?

When you cook with alcohol, the ethanol (what makes it boozy, and what we are avoiding) is burned off, so not present anymore.  With that said, beer and most spirits DO contain grains, so they should still be excluded.  For flavor, it is OK to cook with wine and grain-free spirits (tequila)

What if I don’t want to eat eggs every day for breakfast?

Eggs are a great option for breakfast – they are packed with protein, are quick, can be cooked in a number of different ways, and lend themselves to a vast number of different flavors.  With that said, though, they do not HAVE to be your food of choice for breakfast.  I often find myself eating leftover chili for breakfast, or sausages that I have grilled up the night before.  In essences, it is important to get away from the constructs of what “breakfast foods” should be.  They can be anything!  Play around with how you season your foods, and you might just find that your ideal breakfast is actually seared chicken thighs rubbed with cinnamon and coriander along with sauerkraut and avocado.

Maybe a little Salmon Hash instead of eggs for breakfast?

Maybe a little Salmon Hash instead of eggs for breakfast?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m really hungry.  Why isn’t this working?  You said I would be full.

20130206_203327

Often times when eliminating grains and legumes from our plates, we forget to refill that space with more vegetables, and possibly larger portions of protein.  Make sure that you are getting in AT LEAST 2 different vegetables at each meal (even breakfast).  What I always say is, “set your protein, and then FILL your plate with vegetables.”  This will add satisfying protein and fat to your meal, and physical bulk in the form of fibrous veggies to keep you full.

Why is my thirst “off”?

Since we have eliminated ALL processed foods, your sodium intake has probably dropped immensely.  Because of this, you might not be as thirsty as you were previously (salt craves water in the body).  What you CAN do, is salt your foods a little bit, as you’ll need a little anyways.  You are also taking in more vegetation, which also has a good amount of water inherently in its composition, possibly keeping your thirst down.  

You might also be MORE thirsty.  As the grains and starches have been removed from our plates, our bodies will naturally release water (partly responsible for the great early weight loss).  This will make us more thirsty as we try to recreate that internal hydration status that we have become accustomed to.

Keep the questions coming, and keep hammering those tasty Whole30 meals!  The pictures have been looking great, as well as all of the enthusiasm.  Please let us know if you have any questions along the journey.

Image

A family fave Whole 30 compliant lunch

7 Feb

20130207-073532.jpg

Cucumbers in place of crackers
Avocado in place of cream cheese
Topped with smoked salmon.

As I pack this lunch for my 5 year old, I always smile thinking ‘just like mom used to make’ or not:).

We have some great cooks!

6 Feb

Way to go all!  We’re only at day 3, and already there are some great looking dishes from many of you.  Here is just a sampling of all of the delicious food so far.

24267_10200150799865627_1922726532_n

Tri-tip with Sweet Potato Hash

485351_816864225918_657871306_n

Shrimp Fried (cauliflower) Rice

529911_10151241269597301_518967040_n

Bratwursts with Broccoli Slaw

563206_10151439050998987_522778169_n

Chicken Casserole

563733_10151424286578276_1725794698_n

Roasted Chicken, Cabbage Slaw, Broccoli, and Sweet Potato Coins

IMG955616

Roasted Chicken, Asparagus, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

20130205_193308

Seared Hanger Steak with Roasted Crisphy Brussels Sprouts and Fennel

 

“Just a Bite” of Chocolate May Be All You Need

6 Feb

A summary of a recent published study showed that a small bite of chocolate may be all you  need to satisfy that craving. Without fully reading the study, it is good to see that there is some science backing just how little we actually need for our in-the-moment craving.

I would be curious to see a follow-up study looking at the psychological effects (such as endorphin concentrations) of various doses of foods we crave.

Introducing the Whole 30 (and 60) Day Challenges

31 Jan

There has been some chatter in the gym recently about a new version of the Whole30, and the cryptic post on our facebook page last week.  I am here to tell you that it is indeed upon us!  WE WILL BE STARTING MONDAY FEBRUARY 4TH.  This challenge will be more involved, as well as more life-changing than the last couple challenges that we have run.  Additionally, this one will be a true challenge, with winners awarded prizes at the 4 and 8 week marks!

As you can tell from the title, it will not only consist of a 30 day challenge, but also a 60 day challenge (4 weeks and 8 weeks).  Why are we adding a second 4 weeks you ask?  At FIT we preach not only healthy eating and lifestyle changes, but also making those changes sustainable and long-term.  This is your chance to take our encouragement and put it into practice.

While the general template for the eating strategy will follow the Whole30 of challenges past, this time around the goal is to see not just who can make the most improvements to their health, but also who can get the most aesthetic and physique change.  We are challenging all of you to commit to 2 months of clean eating, smart exercise, and healthy lifestyle changes and see who comes out on the other side looking better.

And now for the rules:

Eliminate the following foods:

Grains and grain like foods (including quinoa, couscous, etc)

Legumes (including soy and peanuts – shell beans like snap peas and green beans are ok)

Sugar and artificial sweeteners (Fruit juice is an acceptable sweetener, but nothing else)

Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, butter [ghee is ok])

Alcohol

 

What we are asking from all of you:

Pre, 4-week, and post-challenge progress photos.

These pictures should be taken in as LITTLE CLOTHING AS YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE.  This is important.  How else will you tell if you have made progress?

This is what I’m talking about

Take the picture without your head, so that we can judge them impartially

The pictures should be submitted to “challenge@focusedtrainers.com”.  The pictures will stay private and be used to judge the winners.

Contribute weekly to the FIT facebook page and/or blog at: blog.focusedtrainers.com

This can be in the form of pictures, recipes, reflections about how the challenge is going for you, or just simply questions.  Tracey and I will do our best to answer all questions the day they are asked.

You can also email your contributions to your trainer, and he or she can get it up on the blog for you.

The goal here is to get as much interaction between all of YOU so that you all get the most out of the challenge.

While you have to enter a name and email address to comment on the blog, the email address will not be public, and the name can simply be a first name (or middle name?) if you are concerned about posting anonymously.

Attend in-person meetings/meals throughout the challenge

We will be hosting events in and out of the gym with sample food throughout the 8 weeks.  This will be an opportunity for all of you to share – in person – recipes, trials and successes, as well as ask us questions directly and see how WE eat with recipes to try.

These meetings will be occurring every OTHER week, sometime during the weeks of:

2/11, 2/25, 3/11, and 3/25

We will be announcing the exact date, location, and format, at least a week in advance so people have time to add it into their schedules.

Submit $30 to the front desk at FIT

This small fee will be used to reward the winners.  We have set up a line item so we can bill you directly for it, or you can bring in cash or check for us.  Prizes will be announced once we know how many challengers we have.

 

OK I think I hit all of the major bullets.  Again, we are starting this coming Monday, February 4th, so get all of your off-limits foods out of the way while rooting for the 49ers.  We are excited to have you join us for this exciting new nutrition challenge.  As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask – either here on the blog, or directly to me at “matt@focusedtrainers.com”

 

Good luck to all of you!  I’m looking forward to hearing about all of your great progress!

Let’s Get Cookin’!

7 Jan

Many of you have heard from me that the easiest way to be successful at this “no grains thing” is to prepare your menus and meals in advance so there are always options available for you in the refrigerator.  This will prevent you from eating “whatever” is around, or worse: eating out and making even worse choices.

In the new year, I am reinvigorating my efforts to cook A LOT on Sundays in anticipation of the week.  And yesterday, I did just that.  After heading to 2 different grocery stores, in the pictures below you will see my haul.  And here’s what was either made, prepped for, or purchased to make later in the week:

Nothing like a stoveful of cooking magic

Nothing like a stoveful of cooking magic

Bryan Voltaggio’s Beef Stew with Ale (recipe)

Slow-Cooked Cinnamon Pork Loin with Parsnips

Fermented Brassicas (cauliflower, romanesco, red cabbage)

Roasted Beet, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad

Below all from Diane Sanfilippo’s Book Practical Paleo (for sale at FIT)

Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs

Lemony Lamb Dolmas

Swirly Crustless Quiche

B.E.A.T Salad from Mark’s Daily Apple

 

Yes, that’s a lot of food, but it will be for two people, for the week.  Additionally, some of it might get frozen for eating later on.

A kitchen full of fresh veggies? A beautiful thing

A kitchen full of fresh veggies? A beautiful thing

A full fridge is a happy fridge!

A full fridge is a happy fridge!

So now that you’ve seen what my week’s worth of food looks like, how does yours compare?

Share your pictures with us; either here, or on the FIT facebook page.

How the Trainers Eat, vol. 4

31 Dec

While long overdue, I wanted to share a little dish that is sure to warm the soul and give you the fuel to power through those first few workouts of 2013.  This soup will make a great post-workout dish, as well as something to keep you warm on these cool and damp northern California nights.


20121118_202137

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash

3.5 lb. sweet potatoes

3 c. chicken or vegetable stock (I used my own homemade pork stock)

1/2 c. half-and-half

1/2 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 T. coriander

1.5 T. curry powder

1 T. chili powder

Panchetta for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Soft goat cheese for garnish

Chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut squash in half and clean out seeds.  Place face down on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Place whole sweet potatoes on the same sheet.  Roast until squash and potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.  Once cool to the touch, remove skin and place the flesh in a large soup pot.  Add stock and half-and-half.  Stir until incorporated.

Add onion, garlic, coriander, curry, and chili powder; bring to a simmer, and maintain for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

In a small saute pan, cook panchetta over medium-high heat until done, approximately 5 minutes.

Using an immersion or traditional blender, puree soup until smooth.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with soft goat cheese, chives, and cooked panchetta.

Serves 6

 

Cooking note: goes great with grilled meat.

 

Too Many Sick Bodies

18 Dec

Hello All,

Currently, I have 5 clients that are currently dealing or they have already been infected with the flu. So, because everybody seems to know the “usual prescription” of chicken soup, vitamin C, reduce stress, etc., I did some research and came up with this article from one of my favorite websites, the Vitamin D Council. Here is some advice for you and your family.

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/infections-and-autoimmunity/influenza/

Influenza Patient friendly summary

 Artistic rendition of influenza virus.

Influenza is a viral infection of the lungs. There are many symptoms:

  • fever
  • body aches and muscle pain
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • dry cough
  • runny nose
  • dry or sore throat

The lining around the lungs may become inflamed. This can lead to bacterial pneumonia.

Risk factors

Influenza is most common in winter, a time when:

  • Solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) doses are low.
  • The weather is cold. This prevents white blood cells from reaching the lining of the respiratory tract and fighting the virus.
  • The humidity is low. Dry air allows the virus to live longer outside of the body.

Sunlight exposure and influenza risk

 Influenza is more common in winter, when reduced sunlight causes vitamin D levels to fall.

Influenza rates peak in winter. There is less solar UVB light in winter, especially in areas farther from the equator. Thus, vitamin D levels are at their lowest.

Vitamin D and influenza

Vitamin D from sunlight or supplements reduces the risk of influenza.

Two randomized controlled trials found reduced incidence of influenza for those taking higher doses of vitamin D. A study involving African-American postmenopausal women in New York found a 60% reduced risk of colds and influenza for those taking 800 IU/d vitamin D3 and 90% reduced risk for those taking 2000 IU/d.

Another study in Japan, involving school children taking 1200 IU/d vitamin D3 vs. 200 IU/d, found a 67% reduction in Type A influenza, but no effect for Type B influenza. Type A influenza includes H1N1 varieties, which was the type involved in the 1918-19 pandemic influenza and the 2009 “swine flu” infections.

According to an observational study, vitamin D provides protection against influenza. This occurs when vitamin D levels in the blood are more than 38 ng/mL (95 nmol/L).

How vitamin D works

To enhance the body’s immune system, vitamin D:

  • Produces cathelicidin and defensins—These proteins have antiviral effects to combat viruses.
  • Reduces inflammation—As a result, body temperature does not rise as much, and the lining of the lungs is less disturbed. This makes it harder for bacteria to give rise to pneumonia.

Prevention

High levels of vitamin D may prevent or lower the risk of influenza. Vitamin D may also reduce symptoms of influenza and reduce the risk of developing pneumonia following influenza. Vaccines strengthen the body’s ability to fight infection. Therefore, combining high levels of vitamin D and anti-influenza vaccines provide the best protection.

Vitamin D

Based on several studies, raising vitamin D blood levels to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/l) may reduce the risk of influenza. For most people, this involves taking 1000–5000 international units (IU) (25–125 mcg)/day of vitamin D during the influenza season.

Treatment

On average, 2000-5000 IU/day vitamin D3 may provide protection against influenza. Vitamin D3, the true form of vitamin D, is produced in the skin. Larger doses of vitamin D taken for a short time strengthen the immune system. This allows the body to fight infection.

Need to know more? Read on with our detailed evidence summary on Influenza.

Vitamin D Deficiency and Pregnancy Risks

18 Dec

From the Vitamin D Council:

December 13, 2012 — John Cannell, MD
Professors Carole Wagner and Bruce Hollis and ten of their colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina recently conducted the largest randomized controlled trial to date using meaningful daily doses (2,000 vs. 4,000 IU) of vitamin D during pregnancy.

Wagner CL, McNeil R, Hamilton SA, Winkler J, Cook CR, Warner G, Bivens B, Davis DJ, Smith PG, Murphy M, Shary J, Hollis BW. A Randomized Trial of Vitamin D Supplementation in Two Community Health Center Networks in South Carolina. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Nov 3.

The ethics committee would not let them use a control group of 400 IU/day, as the committee felt this would endanger the women and their newborns. Sadly, most women in this country only take the 400 IU/day in their prenatal vitamin.

The researchers randomized 256 pregnant women, 160 of whom completed the study. They were separated into two groups, 2,000 or 4,000 IU per day, beginning at 3-4 months of pregnancy. They followed the 160 women through delivery and found the following:

  1. At the beginning of the study, pregnant African American women had a level of 18.5 ng/ml, while Whites had notably higher mean values of 29.5 ng/ml.
  2. Neither group had any side effects; in fact the blood calcium levels of the 4,000 IU group actually went down.
  3. At delivery, the average cord blood vitamin D level was 22 ng/ml in the 2,000 IU/day group and 27 ng/ml in the 4,000 IU/day group, still slightly less than cord levels of hunter gatherers.
  4. Overall, only 37% of the 2,000 IU group and 46% of the 4,000 IU group achieved vitamin D levels of 40 ng/ml by the end of their pregnancies. Furthermore, 40 ng/ml was the threshold level at which conversion of 25(OH)D to activated vitamin D finally flattened out during pregnancy. In other words, the more 25(OH)D the pregnant woman had, the higher the activated vitamin D level, until a 25(OH)D level of 40 ng/ml was reached, and activated vitamin D stopped increasing any more at higher levels.
  5. The 4,000 IU group participants had 2.40 times higher odds of having an infant in the 50th percentile of birth weight, compared to the 2,000 IU group. That is, the 4,000 IU group was more likely to have normal weight babies.
  6. Lower pre‐delivery 25(OH)D was significantly predictive of preterm delivery (p=0.001)
  7. Lower pre‐delivery 25(OH)D was associated with more infection (p=0.026).
  8. Overall, complications of pregnancy were less with the 4,000 IU/day group than with the 2,000 IU/day group, though not statistically significant.

In my opinion, this is once again great research that shows that pregnant women should have levels over 40 ng/ml, and I think it’s preferable to target levels between 50-60 ng/ml.

This is why the Council recommends 6,000 IU/day, to ensure these kinds of levels. We also recommend checking 25(OH)D levels periodically throughout pregnancy to make sure your 25(OH)D levels remain in the natural range, about 50-60 ng/ml. Some women may need more than 6,000 IU/day.