Go big or go home

I lived by those words today.  See today was my final day at my first half summer job here in Houston.  My firm wanted to go out with a bang.  After 6 weeks they have picked up on how I like to eat.  So Brazilian Steakhouse.  Music to my ears.  Plate after plate of meat.  And some vegetables.  

I put on a freaking show.  I probably ate more then the other 3 guys combined.  Not only this but the servers tried to take my plate away at one point and stop serving me.  I kindly pointed out that my sign remained on green and I wanted more.  Some of the meats I had…bacon wrapped chicken, bacon wrapped filet mignon, garlic beef, leg of lamb, chicken thigh, top sirloin, prime rib, and many others.  Absolutely wonderful.  My bosses were all stunned at this performance because a guy 160 lbs should not be able to eat so much.  I also took down a plate of broccoli, zucchini, and mushrooms.  I don’t normally eat until I feel like I can’t eat anymore, but today I came very close.

Crossfit at 4:30 today after that lunch presented some issues.  But it went well.  So all in all a great day.  FYI meat wrapped in bacon should be a regular thing.  

Sad to say that tomorrow will be my last day for awhile at Skyline Crossfit.  If you live in Houston or visit check them out.  Its worth it.  

So starting next week I will be back to my original home gym of Crossfit214.  If you are in Dallas or visiting its worth checking out.  Different styles between the two but both are fantastic.

I need to hit on this in regards to my lunch today.  Not every piece of meat conformed to my typical paleo diet.  But honestly sometimes you just have to go big.  Nothing here contained gluten so I maintained my rule number 1.  After that I let some things slide today.  Its worth it because honestly you need to enjoy life and the idea behind eating this way is not to make you miserable.  I truly enjoy the way I eat but that doesn’t mean sometimes I don’t go for a pint of coconut milk ice cream, or a dark chocolate bar, or gluten free cake, or in the case of today a freak ton of meat that included some questionable ingredients.  I wish I had pictures of everything I ate today but unfortunately my bosses would have probably kicked me out of the firm and lunch ha.  

Thought this might be helpful considering we have arrived at the weekend.  Try having a NorCal Margarita and see what you think.  Read that link as it explains why this is the most Paleo Friendly drink available.  This drink comes straight from Robb Wolf himself.  I have tried it and its pretty fantastic.  

On a slightly different note I really enjoyed this piece from PaleOMG today on pre and post-workout nutrition.  Its worth a read to get some ideas about how to approach this issue.  Don’t waste your workout by not properly refueling after.  

Now my own meals from the past 2 days.  Breakfast has been the usual egg/sausage scramble with tons of vegetables.  Of course the guac and salsa go on top.  Lunch yesterday was barbecue.  I had some deboned chicken and grilled vegetables.  Nothing spectacular but a solid meal.  Last night after a brutal CrossFit WOD (Workout Of Day) I had an awesome meal which my mom provided.  Look I realize thats kind of cheating since my mom made the meal but its nice having family dinners.  And I really appreciate it when my mom cooks such good meals.  Since me and my sister both eat Paleo she even prepares our dinners differently so it complies with how we eat.  I love my mom.  She is awesome.

That meal last night included 2 burgers on the grill.  My meal also had asparagus from the grill, some peppers and onions from the grill, and finally my sweet potato.  So on the burgers I had guac.  The sweet potato contained grassfed butter, coconut butter, and cinnamon.  Pretty great meal.

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And finally heres a picture of my two dogs playing.  Roxie and Maximus are going to be sad when I go back to Dallas.  They have become such good friends and I love seeing them play together.

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And to end this blog post I will once again make a few request this weekend.  I simply say if you do zero of these try to get one.  If you do one of these go for two.  So heres a list.  Get 8 hours of sleep in a cool, dark, noise free environment.  Get outside and play.  Get some sun and your vitamin D.  Cook a dinner using real foods and preferably one that includes protein from meat or fish, vegetables, and healthy fats.  Read something that teaches you something.  Spend time with your family and friends.  Get off the grid meaning stay away from your phone, email, Facebook, etc. for at least 3 hours.  Go to a crossfit free WOD.  And finally drink plenty of water especially with the heat of the summer upon us.

And remember go big or go home.  Better chance of something really good happening when you follow this.  Make the most of this weekend.  Enjoy.

Keep it simple

I have to give the credit for this motto to my father.  He had this figured out very early on.  I do my best to follow this same motto because it works.  Its kinda like Occam’s Razor in that the simplest answer is often the correct answer.  I like this approach and have been getting some more of it in the current book I am reading ( Lights Out : Sleep, Sugar, and Survival ).  Its actually a very interesting read and worth your time but only after you read either It Starts With Food or The Paleo Solution.

Basic idea: Don’t overcomplicate things when it comes to your health and especially your cooking.  Nobody says your meals have to be super fancy and ornate.  Just find meals that taste good and that are full of nutrients.  Especially when things are busy during the work week just learn how to make a few meals really well and you will be set.  My sister just told me tonight how she found her go-to meal and its a red curry stir fry.  My go to meal is beef and broccoli in coconut aminos with some guac.  

Also tonight I made 2 catfish fillets in the skillet coated in a lemon garlic salt from Penzeys (called Trinidad).  This is another of my go-to meals because its super easy and taste really good.  I was talking today with a fellow crossfit guy who also happens to be a great chiropractor/ sports medicine doctor.  We got on the topic of eating the same thing over and over.  I told him that I certainly could and I would be happy but since there are so many meats, fish, vegetables, and ways to spice up the taste that I would rather make different things.  Also if you are in Houston and need some work done whether it be a knee, hip, shoulder, or just general back alignment stuff go check out Dr. Fernando.  Also he is legit at crossfit so that right there should get you to go at least talk with him.

So for some people eating the same 4-5 meals over and over might be perfect.  Some people need more variety.  The best thing to do would be to start with a few basic meals and then play off of those.  Try different meats and fish.  Try new vegetables.  But always have your go-to meals there acting as your safety blanket.  

Also I thought this might be useful for people who are willing to give this whole Paleo thing a shot for 30 days.  Both Robb Wolf and Whole30 are about 30 day programs to let your body reset and then you can go from there.  I personally have done a couple Whole30s and they are awesome.  In fact a good portion of the book It Starts With Food is devoted to Dallas and Melissa’s Whole30 program.  This blog post from them helps explain how you will probably feel during the different periods.

And now onto some pictures of food from the past couple meals.  

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Fired up the skillet threw in some grassfed butter.  Currently using Kerrygold but I also use Smjor.  Then tossed in a bunch of onions and some yellow peppers.  Let that cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.  While cooking I cut a spaghetti squash in half and removed the seeds from one half.  Placed that half in the microwave for 8 minutes (saved the other half).  Next put in my ground pork.  I cooked a little over a pound of this pork so that I could use some of it for lunch today.  Then I put in some marinara sauce.  The marinara sauce I use is pretty mild in flavor because it doesn’t have all of the processed crap that normal sauces do.  I use the Mario Batali Pasta Sauce:  Plum Tomatoes, Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Carrots, Garlic, Sea Salt, Parsley, and Thyme.  Then stir around and cook until meat is done.  Take out the spaghetti squash and let sit for about 2 minutes.  Then take your fork and start peeling it out.  When you are peeling it out you will realize why they call it a spaghetti squash.  Then add a few more spoonfuls of the marinara sauce to the “noodles” and add on the pork.  Very simple meal and a very nice flavor.  Its an easy way to recreate spaghetti except this won’t send your hormones into a destructive process and will also fuel your body.  

Also with this dinner I steamed some baby carrots and green beans.  I decided that by itself was kinda boring and I had half a can of coconut milk sitting in the fridge.  So I figured why not and just threw it all in a bowl.

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I thought this tasted really interesting and…and…really good.  But you should give a try and be the judge.  And like I have said before, buy a steamer.  I spent literally 30 seconds on those vegetables and then let them cook for about 20 minutes.  Keep it simple.

Finally tonight I was finally able to hit up CrossFit again.  3 days off made me more anxious then normal to get in and get after it.  Seriously Skyline Crossfit is amazing and they are actually moving this weekend to I-10 and Shepard.  You really should give them a chance.  Coaches are outstanding and the people in there make the place an absolute blast and a place where you will drastically improve your fitness and mental toughness.  So then I got home and made my dinner.  My go-to meal of catfish.  Then I also sautéed zucchini.  And last but not least I got my sweet potato on.  After 4 days of no sweet potato I was definitely ready for this.  

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Nothing I made these past 2 days required any fancy kitchen equipment or tons of time or even imagination.  I like my go-to meals and then when I want to I experiment.  And a lot of times I know I like two things so I try them together.  Like those carrots, green beans, and coconut milk.  Don’t psyche yourself out by thinking you need to make things complex or tricky.  Sometimes that can be nice.  Like I really want to try to make some Paleo pancakes.  It will most likely be disastrous but hey I am gonna go for it one Saturday when I have some time to just relax and enjoy cooking.  And on that note I am going to keep it simple by reading some Lights Out and then taking that advice.  Health comes first even when I have tv shows I’d like to watch.  

Keep it simple.  Life is better that way.  

Life finds a way

Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park said that.  Could not agree more with this.  The level of sophistication of the body can be truly mind-blowing.  I had some head issues going on that ultimately came down to sinus pressure that had built up but minus the actual sinus infection.  This lasted for 2 weeks and on Saturday became completely unbearable leading to a visit with physicians.  Things have finally begun to clear up.  But all of this is just background to that blog post title because I was failing to let my body find a way.  Here are the things I had to deal with that were creating issues.  Knee issue, shoulder issue, stress in regards to law school, stress from work/drive, diet that took in some problematic foods (due to lunches out at work), lack of vitamin d, and also a lack of proper sleep.  So much cortisol going on right there and my body could not deal with a normal bout of sinus pressure like it should have been able to.

The point of my saying all of this comes down to this: Take care of your body and it will take care of you.

So as you can see I felt I needed to take time off of the blog for a couple days because first the pain and second I needed a lot of sleep to let my body heal.  I also started reading the book Lights Out and its fabulous.  In today’s hyper active society that uses laptops, iPads, iPhones, televisions at all hours of the day really leads to a number of major issues because of the disruption to the body’s natural circadian rhythm.  

Enough of that time for a few links and then some food talk.  The amazing blog The Clothes Make the Girl does a great post on 10 Paleo Food Taste Boosters.  Great suggestions and a number that I already use and some that will be added.  So Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancakes? That site always makes me laugh and gives great ideas.  If you need an easy curry recipe go check out my sisters blog where she tells you what to do to make an amazing curry meal.

And finally go check out Civilized Caveman because well one of the pictures I am gonna put up tonight includes this recipe for brussels sprouts.  Seriously this dude helped me find a love for brussels sprouts.  Crazy stuff.

On to what I have been eating.  Well I have had grilled steak, tatuma squash, sweet potatoes (of course), asparagus, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, eggplant, ground lamb, ground beef, peppers, onions, catfish, red snapper, and probably more.  Basically I am gonna throw up a bunch of pictures and then depending on what it is describe it or not.  Thanks for sticking around and this blog will now be back on track.  

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Stew which included veal stew meat.  Amazing.  Stews are super easy and delicious.  Plus you can pack in a ton of nutrients by using bone broth plus throwing in tons of vegetables.  Do it.  Especially if you are lazy or pressed for time and want to make a bunch for multiple meals.

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That is the tatuma squash which was cooked in kerrygold garlic herb butter.  Freaking fantastic.  And I got the tatuma from my neighbor and have now convinced my mom to grow it as well.  Also that steak…ya I like it pretty rare.  Also I wanted that steak so much I was already eating it while I took the picture.

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Lamb with kale, peppers, and onions.  I forget how I seasoned this but needless to say I used something from Penzeys.

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The finished product.

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Grilled salmon, the tatuma squash, carrots (which I love), and finally a little bit of grilled pineapple.  First time I have ever had grilled pineapple and it turned out good but thats pretty easy because I could eat a ton of pineapple at any given time.  Such a great tasting fruit.

Finally here are the blueberry brussels sprouts based off the Civilized Caveman recipe.

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And the final product.

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So there you have it.  I obviously missed some meals (photo wise) during this time period.  But heres the thing.  Even when I felt awful I still put together a highly nutritious, great tasting meal that required very little time.  At my very worst on Saturday night I made steamed carrots with Beef and Broccoli using coconut aminos and some guac.  Easy but honestly one of my favorite meals.  My sister always gives me a hard time over this but I just can’t help how my taste buds feel about that creation.

Finally remember that life finds a way.  Whether that way is repairing the body through its proper functioning or forcing you to remember to back off sometimes.  A little pain can be alright just make sure to take care of it and not let that little pain become chronic pain or lead to other issues.  Also go read It Starts With Food.  Helps explain a lot of the science-y part in very easy to understand terms.  Do it and learn.  Then follow and make changes that you will wonder what took you so long.  And finally turn off the electronics and open up a book.  Let your body adjust to its natural desire to go to sleep and then sleep.  

And now I want to go watch Jurassic Park.  But that can wait until this weekend.

Pace yourself

The idea of pacing can be a struggle.  See I have this bad tendency to go all out right away.  Say the crossfit WOD is a 15 min AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible).  When I first started I had the bad habit of killing myself in the first 5 minutes and then stalling out for the rest of the time.  Today I had one of those epic 15 min AMRAPs and I had my pacing down perfect.  This is huge in crossfit.  But its not just about crossfit.

You have to pace yourself in everything.  Don’t go from eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) and try to go super strict paleo.  That will just lead to you finding reasons not to stick with it.  Instead implement the changes over a period of time.  Start by eliminating grains.  Then take out sugars.  And so on.  

Pacing honestly holds true for virtually everything.  Don’t go out and read 100 blogs and try to use them all. It just won’t work.  I have a couple of people that I follow and listen to.  I trust them and I can’t take in the information of 100 blogs and people.  One guy who I really respect recently wrote about this.  Go check out the article by Jason Ferruggia.  I personally follow Robb Wolf, Whole9life, Mark Sisson, and Catalyst Athletics.  Those are my go to people.  Now I use other blogs to get ideas for recipes and things but as far as information and breaking down the science thats where I go typically.  I also like Balanced Bites for some stuff as well.  

Here is another great article by Whole9life that looks at the issue of body image and how the goal is health not necessarily a certain look.  Health comes first and in large part the look will follow.  As the article says Be good to yourself, inside and out.  I am absolutely loving their book, It Starts With Food.  Go order it on amazon or barnes and noble.  They breakdown the science into very easy to understand terms and really drive home how important these changes are for health.

Now onto my food.  Breakfast has been the normal egg scramble but I have been taking a break from spinach the past 2 days.  Sometimes its good to take a break from foods just to let your body reset a little bit.  Lunch yesterday was my leftover buffalo/kale curry.  Absolutely outstanding.  And I also had some sardines which I am loving.  It eliminates my need to take Omega 3s in pill form and I can instead get them from real food.  Get the boneless skinless kind in olive oil.  Especially if you like fish give them a try.  Lunch today was at this restaurant called Ibiza and it was awesome.  Grilled Grouper in lemon and pepper.  Cooked in olive oil.  With a mashed cauliflower puree and roasted vegetables.  And then I had my sardines when I got back.  

Dinner last night was 3 catfish fillets.  Coated them in a light Trinidad (Penzeys) and some pepper.  Cooked in grass-fed butter.  Added to that I had some grilled zucchini.  Also I made a sweet potato hash which included sweet potato, onions, purple pepper, and 1 fried egg.  Topped it off with some coconut butter.  Easy meal and delicious.

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And then this morning while I was cooking my breakfast I also put together my stew to cook throughout the day.  The stew included veal stew meat, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, and brussels sprouts.  Put it all in the crockpot with a bunch of bone broth.  And let it cook.  Turned out awesome but I will write more about that tomorrow.  Anyways my point is find ways to make your life easy.  This took me 10 minutes this morning to put together and fed me tonight and will also be my lunch tomorrow.  And for most people this would be 3-4 meals.  I just eat a lot.

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So a quick update to the blog.  I will not be posting 7 days a week like I did for the first few weeks.  I will be posting around 5 times a week that way I have enough to write about and also things come up.  I hope this blog is providing useful and as always feel free to contact me and ask for help or ask questions at any time.  Last night I actually went to sleep at 9:45 which was awesome.  I can tell a huge difference when I get 8+ hours of sleep.  

And finally like I have said before get outdoors.  Enjoy nature and the breeze.  It really can change things and help reset your body.  I saw this yesterday and had to spend some time outside.  Nature is amazing so get outside and enjoy.  Even for 5 minutes.  Turn off your brain and just listen to the sounds and admire the beauty.

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Happy…National Eat Your Vegetables Day.

First Happy Fathers day.  I am blessed to have an amazing father.  I could not be more proud to call him my dad and I would not be near the person I am today without him.  So thank you to my dad for being such an awesome role model and parent.

Second Happy national eat your vegetables day.  Not even joking.  So I hope you made sure to get your veggies on.  Heres my list for the day.  Onions, yellow pepper, banana pepper, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, and brussels sprouts.  Not a bad way to celebrate.  

The weekend turned out to be another amazing weekend.  I got plenty of sleep, got a lot of tissue work done, hit up crossfit on Saturday, had a big family get together celebrating my nephews 1st birthday and Fathers day all while soaking in some Vitamin D at my pool, went to church, stocked up at whole foods, and ate tons of great food.  Saturdays big dinner was filled with barbecue from my brother-in-law.  The world misses out on having him run his own barbecue restaurants because he does unbelievable barbecue.  I don’t eat his sauce but I am told but all those in my family including big barbecue lovers that his has no comparison.  As a result I ate about 3 lbs of brisket last night and a bunch of broccoli and cauliflower.  I kinda forgot to take pictures but here is some of it.  

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And then my sister made a Paleo friendly sauce.  Tangy not sweet.  But I really like tangy so it made the brisket that much better.  

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Last night I finally got into It Starts With Food which by the way provided the recipe for that barbecue sauce.  I still have a long ways to go with this book but the breakdown of 4 major hormones (insulin, leptin, glucagon, and cortisol) was outstanding.  One thing I have really enjoyed looks at what Dallas and Melissa call their Good Food Standards:

1. Promote a healthy psychological response

2. Promote a healthy hormonal response

3. Support a healthy gut

4. Support immune function and minimize inflammation

Perfect way to break things down.  The first one they actually break down why so many people have attachment issues to certain foods and just how the food industry is manipulating the natural human instincts to profit while the people suffer.  If you are one of those people who feels like they need that cake, pizza, or name your vice this chapter can go a long ways in helping you to both understand what is going on and also breaking the addiction.  I will get more into the others later but for now enough science-y talk.

Today I made some Mahi Mahi in the oven.  Baked it at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes.  Delicious.  Threw on some Bangkok seasoning (Penzeys) and to finish it off poured on some melted grassfed butter (currently I am using Kerrigold).  

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And then I heated up some leftover broccoli and cauliflower in coconut milk from the day before.  Turned into a very easy and nice meal.  I actually spent most of the time in the pool while the Mahi cooked.  Thats how easy cooking can be.

For dinner tonight I decided to make a beef curry.  Well buffalo actually but you get the idea.  To make this I first heated up the skillet and added my grassfed butter.  Then poured half a can of coconut milk into the pan and a bunch of hot curry powder (Penzeys).  Mixed that all together let it cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Then I added in the ground buffalo.  Added in about 2 tablespoons of my coconut aminos and stirred around.  Let that cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Meanwhile cut up the Kale and wash it.  Put the Kale in and let that cook until the meat was done.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes and scoop out and enjoy.

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The finish product turned out so good that I didn’t even use guac.  I bought a ripe avocado with the plan to use it tonight.  That should tell you something.  

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I added to this meal with some steamed carrots and the lemon pepper brussels sprouts from Civilized Caveman Cooking.  Oh and on the carrots I put coconut butter on them.  Delicious.  Cant go wrong with coconut butter.  

Just to give you an idea of what I’ll be working through the next couple weeks here is my reading list.  It Starts With Food, Sweet Potato Power, Wheat Belly, The Vitamin D Solution, Lights Out, Primal Body Primal Mind, and Good Calories Bad Calories.  Look into these books and maybe get one that strikes you as important or something very practical for you.  If you aren’t sleeping like you should check out Lights Out.  If you love sweet potatoes, well you know where to go in that case.  Always be learning and never get complacent.  

I hope you had a wonderful Fathers Day and a wonderful weekend.  Time is a precious commodity so make sure to take advantage.  That means with your family, friends, and especially your very own health.  Maybe you forgot today was national eat your vegetables day.  Just make it up tomorrow and go big.  

It Starts With Food

So excited today.  The book It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig finally arrived.  I had this book pre-ordered for something like 2 months.  Needless to say I can’t wait to absorb all of their information.  I will be posting a review once I get through and get a chance to digest everything.  I did start reading and towards the very beginning of the book they throw out this amazing truth:

The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy.  Those are your options.

That statement right there is huge.  They make the point that when it comes to food no Switzerland exists.  There are not foods that do nothing.  

Sorry about missing the post last night but I had a bunch of things come up.  So tonight I will give you a bit of a double helping of what I ate.  But before I do that just take a look at this picture of Maximus and Roxie.  Its really tough leaving these two in the morning when they act and look like this.

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I love my dogs.  They are playing right now.  Roxie is bigger and stronger.  Maximus is quick, agile, and determined.  Interesting battles ensue because of this.

On another note I will be trying to get through the Protein Debate as well this weekend.  This was a debate set up between the author of the Paleo Diet and the author of the China Study. Should be an interesting read.  Slightly old but it will still be a great and valuable resource.  

Also I have made it clear that I really enjoy the website PaleOMG and I thought I would share one of her breakfast recipes in case you needed some ideas.  These are what she calls a spinach sweet potato egg nest.  Best part is that it cooks a whole bunch so you can use throughout the week.  Its all about making life easy so you can make good decisions during the week.  I understand that time can often times cause problems when trying to eat properly.  If I didn’t do some prep work on the weekends and cook up for multiple meals it would be a struggle and I might make a poor choice.

The weekend has arrived.  Get outside tomorrow.  Play.  Get Sun.  Swim or Run.  Again I will encourage you to check out a free crossfit class.  Most crossfit boxes have a free class on Saturday for anybody that wants to come.  If you happen to be in Houston I highly suggest you check out my box which is Skyline Crossfit.  The free class is at 1 pm.  Check out their website for directions or information here.  Maybe afternoon doesn’t work for you.  Again if you are in Houston looking for a morning workout I would check out Cosmic Crossfit near Pearland.  This is where my awesome sister goes and its actually the place I first tried crossfit.  If they were nearer to me I would definitely go there.  They have classes at 8 and 9 am.  Also if you did not know the photo of me on this blog includes my sister, Amanda.  

Now time for some food stuff.  Last night I got the wonderful gift of my mother grilling steak and asparagus.  Freaking fantastic.  Asparagus on the grill turns out amazing.  Give it a try.  And I mean steak on the grill cooked medium rare…doesn’t get any better then that.

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Of course I ate the steak with guac.  And a few onions.  I am a huge onion guy.  Adds a great flavor all the time.  Oh also for lunch I finished off my stew.  That worked out great and I can’t wait to make some more. You have seen the stew though so I didn’t take a picture.  Needless to say I got a ton of vegetables from it, some great beef with a real nice flavor, and finally some bone broth.  

On to todays food.  I did the normal thing for breakfast.  I ate it without guac today though because while I made breakfast I also cooked my lunch.  I made a standard beef and broccoli in Arizona Dreaming seasoning (Penzeys of course) and 2 teaspoons of coconut aminos.  Its great getting to eat my own food at work.  I just feel better and my body thanks me.  And then I did this crazy thing for lunch in addition to the beef and broccoli.  I ate sardines.  See I keep reading and hearing about them from a lot of people I really respect including both Balanced Bites and Cave Girl Eats.  They are a great source of real omega 3s which are hugely important in that they are anti-inflammatory and help balance out the completely jacked up omega 3: omega 6 ratio most people suffer in modern society.  I bought a boneless and skinless pack of sardines in olive oil and went for it.  I dreaded eating these.  Turned out I really liked them.  Super super easy and it was 28 g protein and 12 g of fat.  I love that right there.  Just a perfect travel meal or addition to some other meal.  Give it a try and be brave.  

For dinner tonight I made Dover Sole (fish) in my skillet.  Cooked in butter and seasoned with Fox Point (Penzeys of course).  Then I had some sweet potato that I boiled.  Added cinnamon and coconut butter of course.  Finally I baked an eggplant for 45 minutes at 500 degrees.  Scooped it out and used it to dip my cauliflower into.  This was delicious.  Gave a little bit of a smoky flavor to the cauliflower.  So easy and something I will be doing a lot more of in the future.  Here are the pictures.

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And yes in the background of that picture is the book Sweet Potato Power.  It just arrived with It Starts With Food.  You know my love of sweet potatoes so the fact that I am waiting to read a book on Sweet Potatoes because of It Starts With Food should tell you exactly how excited I am to read ISWF.  But seriously a book on sweet potatoes has to be amazing and the reviews have been tremendous.  Plus I have another 5 books that are arriving on Monday dealing with various issues like gluten, wheat, sleep, vitamin d, calories, and all kinds of awesome stuff.  

Finally heres the picture of the cauliflower and eggplant.  Like I said this turned out amazing and once I get my food processor back I can turn the eggplant into a real baba ghanoush.  

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So there you have it.  Life is good tonight.  Ive got my dogs, a full stomach, a great workout, and about to hit the bed with ISWF for some reading before I get my sleep.  Its really important to wind down before going to bed and do away with any light and electronic stimulation because it throws off your bodies natural process of switching its serotonin to melatonin.  Let your body work for you and get keep the lights low, turn off the television, turn off the laptop (after you finish this post), grab a book and then get some sleep.  Shoot for 9 hours but during the summer you can actually get away with 7.  

Heres hoping for 9 hours tonight.  And remember that it really does all start with food.  

Over the Hump

Wednesday serve two purposes in my mind.  First to remind me early on that I have 3 days left of work in the week.  But second and most importantly as Wednesday draws down it transforms into a great day because there are only 2 more days of work.  Its like in the morning going up the hill and then the afternoon we get to go down the hill.  In nerd terms the finishing of Wednesday reminds me of Treebeard in LOTR: Two Towers when he tells Merry and Pippin that he likes walking South because it feels like its downhill.  Now for the point behind all of this…

Starting to take control of your health including your diet feels like the beginning of Wednesday where the hill looks insurmountable.  But its not.  You just have to get to the top of that hill and then the downhill flies by.  Next thing you know its like walking on flat ground at a leisurely stroll all the time.  I had struggles when I started changing my diet and lifestyle but I made it to the top of that hill and from that point on its been smooth sailing.  One thing that will really determine the difficulty of making this change will be the people who surround you.  Do they support your desire to become healthier or are they constantly tempting you to get you off track?  Look I can go out with my friends, go out to restaurants, go on trips and not have any issues.  Things are quite as perfect as when I am cooking all my meals but thats okay because fun, family, and friends are all important in overall health and happiness too.  Here is a great article from Whole9life on this very subject today (also they just released their book It Starts With Food and I cannot think of any other book that would be better for anybody to read to learn some fascinating stuff).

Also if you need just a simple explanation of what the Paleo diet is and some of the benefits behind it then check out this article from Robb Wolf.  Its very useful stuff and might pave the way for your learning more about this lifestyle.  Tonight I am going to stay away from hitting one of the major hormones like I have the past 2 nights but I will be sharing more of that soon.  They really do control everything in the body and understanding these will go a long way in helping you to make decisions that improve your health.

Just a short rant.  Working sucks right now.  I am missing all of the Euro2012 games.  Did I record both games today?  Yes.  Is it 10 pm and I am just now writing this and will then need to go to sleep?  Yes.  So I won’t even get to see the games.  I am going to have to figure out something for the World Cup in 2014 because this won’t fly.  Oh and also Kevin Durant went off last night.  Impressive showing.

As far as eating went I did the normal breakfast scramble this morning.  Same old stuff (well slightly different because I threw on some Fox Point seasoning which worked really nicely).

Lunch I went out with the bosses and went to a place called Barnabys Cafe which does a good job of caring about their product.  As a result  I had a huge chunk of beef with some broccoli.  Oh and that huge chunk of beef came with the most cheese I have ever seen.  But no problem.  I just scraped it all off and ate just the beef.  Ya my bosses looked strangely at me.  But I easily explained why I chose not to eat the cheese and we moved on.  Problem solved.  Thats how you wing it and then rescue the situation when it goes wrong.

So now buy a steamer.  Like the one I have or a different one, but go buy one.  This is an easy way to precook your veggies and then just heat them up later.  Or to cook them fresh while you are cooking other things.  Steps include…put water in steamer, place vegetable compartment in, put vegetables in, cover, and turn on stove.

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So in that I was cooking carrots and zucchini.  I also had a sweet potato in the oven (as usual).  Also on that note crossfit workout was awesome today.  If you are ever in Houston check out Skyline Crossfit.  Its legit. Okay back to food.  Finally I decided to bake some catfish.  I got a glass pyrex dish and put the 2 filets in.  Then I put some grass-fed butter on both.  Added on my Trinidad Spice (Lemon Garlic Salt which goes amazing on fish) and put in the oven.  I baked this at 375 for 27 minutes.  Really anywhere between 25-30 minutes will be good depending on how well done you like your fish.  I like most of my meats and fish medium to medium rare.  Needless to say this turned out amazing.  Super moist with tremendous flavor.

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And finally as I finish up this post I have been drinking some Kombucha.

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Yes Maximus snuck into the picture.  Gut health is extremely important and kombucha helps restore the good bacteria in your gut.  But the topic of gut health will be saved for another day.

Find a good support system.  I hope that this blog can offer you at least a little bit of support and if you need more feel free to ask me.  Now I am going to hit up the foam roller for a few minutes then get a little nerd on with a nutrition book and hit the bed.  Remember its almost Thursday and you are on the downhill for the week.  You can do it for your health and food as well.  Get over that hump and the grass really is greener.

Hungry? Why Wait?

Great slogan, terrible product.  So it stormed here today (Roxie doesn’t like storms so she hid) and I have to say my office offered quite the view.  I forgot to take a picture but I will the next time.  One of my favorite things to do is sleep during thunderstorms.  For reasons unknown to me I find this to be very relaxing.  Unfortunately I could not take a nice nap during the storm today at work.  The storm also coincided with a couple different articles I read today discussing the upcoming storm in terms of obesity.  Obesity ties into so many issues facing this country today and any change will help.  Enough of that stuff for now.

Yesterday I talked a little about cortisol.  Today’s hormone of the day is Leptin.  Leptin controls your hunger.  When your Leptin sensitivity begins to fail your body fails to understand when its no longer hungry.  Go check out the whole article but here is one of the paragraphs I found helpful:

Leptin is arguably the most important of the Master Control Hormones.  Recently there has been some discussion about “leptin resistance.”  Leptin receptors become “fatigued” and “worn out” from all the garbage like high fructose and overly processed ingredients of modern diets.  You may hear people say “I’m always hungry,” which is a result of the brain no longer picking up the signal from leptin that you are satiated.

Oh and a Snickers bar falls into that category of things that fatigue and wear out your leptin receptors.  Make smart choices and your body really will thank you and perform for you.  Also over on PaleOMG the recipe for Grilled Pineapple Burgers with spicy avocado cream looks freaking amazing and I am hoping to give this a shot on Sunday for Fathers’ day.

On to my meals for the day.  Nothing special for breakfast.  Well unless your like me and consider the egg scramble to be special.  This seriously never disappoints me.

For lunch I just went across the street to a food court in one of the massive office buildings.  But heres the awesome thing.  They had a place like My Fit Foods except this place offered Paleo meals.  So I got an Argentinian Chicken with some green beans and yellow squash.  It tasted pretty good and they used ingredients that I would use.  This included a quality meat source.

Then I hit up Skyline Crossfit which makes everything awesome.  Getting in there and doing work really can turn my day around after sitting at work all day.  I do try to walk as much as possible during the day at work but those opportunities can only be taken so often.  Anyways today turned into a good Crossfit day in that I finally learned how to kip my toes to bar and put them together.  Anyways this meant I was gonna make a bunch of food because its stupid hot and humid here so I am unbelievably hungry after these workouts.  So heres a list then I will throw up some pictures.

2 pork chops seasoned with Southwest from Penzey’s and cooked in butter.  Broccoli and Cauliflower with salt and pepper baked in coconut milk.  Baba Ghanoush (eggplant) from Well Fed.  I don’t use recipes often but I did use this one because I love baba ghanoush but had no idea how to make this.  Turned out really well (I used slightly too much garlic but I will play around with my exact recipe now).  And finally I had a baked sweet potato with cinnamon, butter, and coconut butter.  And now I am eating Sauerkraut and drinking bone broth.  On to the pictures.

Then I mashed it all together with some garlic, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt.  After that I drizzled on some olive oil.

And then finally the broccoli and cauliflower.  Quick piece of advice to make life easy.  Cut up the Broccoli and Cauliflower into the florets all at once.  This would be a great thing to do on Sunday.  Put them all in a bag and take out as much as you need throughout the week.

So there you go.  When your hormones are in proper balance you will have no problem eating the right amount.  I never eat to the point where I feel like I  over ate.  I also never get that hunger after just 2 hours or so like so many people.  My typical eating schedule looks like this.  Breakfast at 7.  Lunch between 12-1.  Dinner between 7:30-9.  Its easy because it works so well.  Treat your body right and it will return the favor.

Make one small change tomorrow to live a healthier lifestyle.  You do not need to go zero to sixty.  Just make small changes and it will snowball.  Find somebody to keep you accountable and do the same thing for them.  I have my sister who helps me tremendously and especially at the beginning.  You should check out her blog from time to time as well.  Just look at this awesome list of food she’s gonna be eating this week.

And this is what I have looking at me as I finish this post.

Early to bed. Early to Rise.

Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.  Ben Franklin used that saying.  Today reminded me of the truth of the statement.  An article I came across on yahoo today looked at healthy individuals in terms of body weight and yet when they failed to get more than 6 hours of sleep the risk of stroke skyrocketed.  A lot of people neglect sleep but the importance of sleep cannot be overstated.  Even when you eat right and exercise the amount and quality of sleep directly impacts your hormones and especially cortisol.  Cortisol creates a ton of issues and one of the most obvious is the accumulation of fat around the midsection.  I just ordered the book Lights Out as recommended by Robb Wolf and I can’t wait to get a chance to read it.

But its gonna have to wait because tomorrow is the release date of It Starts With Food.  This is the book by Dallas and Melissa from Whole9life.  As soon as I get my hands on it I will be devouring all of its information and then passing on some of its wisdom in this blog.  Time to discuss my daily eats.

Today I went pretty standard set of meals for me.  I made my breakfast scramble.  Nothing too exciting on that front.  I just love that meal and it really starts my day off right.  

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For lunch I took my own to the office today which was the leftovers from last night.  I also fried 2 eggs this morning and threw those in as well.  Took in some guac and there you go.  Another easy delicious meal.  

Finally for dinner I had my stew.  Directions for this:  Cut up onions, zucchini, tomatoes, kale, brussels sprouts, and carrots.  Get out stew meat.  Get out the bone broth.  Turn on the crockpot and pour in some of the bone broth.  Then add in all of the veggies.  Finally add in the stew meat plus a little more bone broth.  Either cook it on high for 4-5 hours (until the meat is tender) or on low for 8 ish hours.  Then you can eat it that day or put it in the fridge and eat it later.  I put it in the fridge and had it tonight after crossfit.  Definitely made life easy.

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And of course my sweet potato.  Just a piece of advice on the sweet potato front.  I am working to fuel my performance and am not concerned with being super super lean.  If you are trying to get or stay super super lean then use a smaller sweet potato post workout or not at all.  Your body can go to its fat stores but there will be a period of time where performance will dip as your body adjust.  But I love my sweet potato and see no reason to try to maintain sub 6% body fat.  If you want sub 6% then go for it.  Or if you are needed to drop some serious weight then perhaps you should limit the sweet potatoes.  Just be smart and see what feels right for you.

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So now make sure to get some high quality and plenty of sleep.  Your body will thank you.  

Also think Vitamin D doesn’t matter?  Or that sun exposure is dangerous?  Take a look at this graphic.

Get outside, Get sleep, Get healthy.

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Sunday Funday

And no I did not drink a bunch of mimosas.  But I in fact took advantage of Sunday Funday.  I decided to take a trip with my mom to the Whole Foods I like.  Such a difference from the one I have been going to lately.  Not only that but I spent time in my pool, got plenty of sleep including a nice nap, had some of my bone broth (more in a minute), started a stew for tomorrow, and got some deep tissue work taking care of.  A Sunday Funday indeed.  

First lets discuss bone broth.  I decided I wanted it today so I drank it straight.  Surprisingly not bad.  Now I would suggest using this in stews, soups, crockpot recipes, and other such manners.  I currently have a stew cooking that used a good amount of my bone broth.

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Besides the stew I am preparing my day contained a bunch of good meals.  For breakfast I used a bunch of my leftover beef from last nights spaghetti in with my egg scramble.

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Of course I threw guac on that as well.  In that scramble I used onions, yellow pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, ground beef, and eggs.  Easy and delicious.  For lunch I made a boring meal.  See normally I go get fresh food every 3 days or so.  As a result I never freeze my meats and fish because I use them.  But during this time that I am working back home I don’t have that luxury.  So I didn’t have anything thawed out.  Lucky for me that I did have some sausage and since I didn’t eat this at breakfast I decided to just wing it and go with this.  So I cooked up 2 sausages with 2 fried eggs.  Then also had some steamed cauliflower and carrots covered in grassfed butter.  It may not look great but again I really enjoyed this meal.

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There ya go.  Both of those meals took maybe 15 minutes each.  Eating high quality good tasting food does not take a ton of time.  Nor do you have to sacrifice flavor for quality.

Finally for dinner I made some beef, broccoli, and kale.  To do this I first cut up some onions and yellow pepper.  Heated up the skillet for about 5 minutes while I cut.  Then threw in some grassfed butter and let that heat up.  At that point toss in your onion and pepper for about 5 minutes.

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Next I crumpled up the beef and tossed it in.  Seasoned it with Rogan Josh from Penzeys.  Get used to me using Penzeys spices all the time.  Might be a good indication that you should take a trip there or at least check out there website.  Spices make a huge difference.  Next I put in the broccoli and kale.  At this point I also added in 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos (which I love and are a soy sauce alternative because soy should never be consumed by humans).  Stir around and then cover the skillet.  Cook for 4-5 minutes.  Uncover and stir around.  Cover again and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until meat is browned.  Remember when you cook grassfed meats to never go above medium heat.

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Guac and salsa optional as always.  Finally I had some dark chocolate.  87% and no soy.  Don’t be afraid to eat some good stuff just make sure to do it wisely.  Rule number 1 should be to avoid gluten.  Sugar should be avoided as much as possible but if you need something sweet go with the sugar stuff and not the gluten stuff.  Try some macaroons, dark chocolate, coconut milk ice cream, a banana almond butter coconut milk smoothie, or even some gluten free cake.  

I hope you took advantage of your weekend and made sure to improve your health.  Health really should be a top priority in your life.  Here is a good list of things to shoot for.  Eat right, sleep 7-9 hours in a dark cool noiseless room, keep stress at a minimum, workout, mobilize and recover your body, get vitamin d, have fun, get outside, turn off your brain and just be, and spend some time with friends.  These things all improve health.  See how many you currently do and then try to add one more.  See how it makes you feel.

I want to link to an article from NPR that I saw today.  It breaks down the way americans spend their money on groceries in 1982 compared to 2012.  Fascinating stuff especially because as the price of meat has dropped (meaning its easier to eat paleo), the money spent on processed foods has increased.  Interesting stuff right here.

If you are struggling understanding Paleo or want more background on what the word actually means today then go check out this article from Cave girl eats.  A little long but very helpful.

Enjoy your week and please feel free to comment, tweet, email me any questions or suggestions.  

Oh and if the stew taste half as good as it smells its gonna be outstanding.  But that tale will be told later this week.  And here is what I get to enjoy when I am in the pool.  My buddy Maximus.

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