Trial and Error

If you have been following this blog you hear me say on a regular basis to give this whole Paleo, Primal, Real Food eating a shot for 30 days.  Both Robb Wolf and Dallas and Melissa Hartwig use this principle of a 30 day trial.  The idea that ridding yourself and your body of gluten, sugars, processed foods, and even dairy allows you to then reintroduce foods and understand the effect that have on your body.  I can guarantee that this approach works.  I bring all of this up for a few reasons.  First I think grains do terrible things to the body based on scientific research and also the evidence from thousands of people who tell their stories.  I mention this because eliminating grains can pose some social problems like when you eat out at a restaurant and don’t eat any of the baskets of cheap bread they provide.  You should go read this article which shows how to discuss this change.

Another reason I mention this deals with the fact that I have decided to add in raw milk to my diet.  I now know how my body feels when I do not consume dairy so I can easily track the changes.  My sister currently drinks raw milk and also my coaches at crossfit advised me if I want to add some weight that raw milk needs to be my next step.  Unfortunately I will have to drive to a farm that sells it because of the way the law functions.  I hope that my body will thrive on the raw milk.  Because I have given my body at least 30 days without any of questionable foods I can understand if I am indeed thriving on raw milk or seeing adverse effects.

Not only am I looking into raw milk (will be purchasing it on Saturday) I also got back to the Dallas Farmers Market today.  That place has everything.  I bought lamb, pork, and beef.  All three of those live and graze on grass and pastures.  Then I bought wild caught fish fresh from the coast brought up to Dallas Friday.  My fish and seafood included Salmon, Red Fish, Catfish, Tuna, and Scallops.  I decided to give Scallops a try and they turned out delicious.  Cooked them in some garlic and herb kerrygold butter.  Easy stuff and a delicious meal.

Image

Those scallops provided me .7 lbs of delicious seafood.  Really glad I gave these a try and will definitely eat more of these in the near future.

Also at the farmers market I got some Okra, Eggplant, Onions, and Peppers.  These all came from a local farm that practices sustainable and ethical means to grow the vegetables.  The vegetables don’t have the organic stamp because of the cost and hassle to be certified but they farm that way.  Labels often mislead people so when you go to a farmers market talk to the farmers.  They will happily talk to you about their products because they take pride in their work and product.

Yesterday my food lacked a certain inventiveness but I did make some real nice burgers with avocado.  Cooked in butter with some chipotle pepper.

Image

And finally today I did make some exciting food.  I had a couple more burgers this morning.  Then 3 fried eggs with cauliflower and carrots.  I decided to get in a workout today and did the following: 3,3,3,3,3 of push press.  Then 3 Rounds for Time of 10 deadlifts at 235 and 50 double unders.  Rough workout but awesome.  So after I ate the rest of my stew from the other day.  

Dinner may have been one of my more successful meals that I had no idea what exactly I was doing.  I used this recipe as my base.  I didn’t make it a salad but just wanted the meat.  I used most of the ingredients although I substituted lime juice for lemon juice (because its what I had) and I also substituted some fresh basil.  This turned out absolutely fantastic and I am so happy I made 3 lbs because I now have enough for a meal tomorrow.  Two parts of this recipe were tough.  First the cutting up of a 3 lb lamb shoulder.  Second smelling this cook for 3 hours and having to wait (but its worth it).  Also I made some squash in my garlic and herb butter.

Image

And finally tonight I think this info graphic on sleep provides some interesting issues.  So read that then listen to it and get some sleep.  

Hope this weekend provided you with opportunities to better your health.  Now I follow my own advice and take my book and will be asleep soon.  In all honesty try things out and see how you feel.  Track how you feel, perform, and any other measurement you can think to take.  Start to figure out your body so you can make it work in the manner best for you.  Good luck.

Advertisements

Deep Breath

Right before most lifts and especially heavy lifts we are taught to take a deep breath and tighten the core.  The other day my workout had heavy front squats followed by a 100m sprint.  My coach saw me and reminded me of the need to take that deep breath before dropping down.  This made a huge difference.  The deep breath reminds me of preparing to take some sort of plunge.  When my pool begins to warm up but still remains cool I always mentally prepare by taking that deep breath and then jumping in.  I think this piece of advice makes a lot of sense for choosing a healthy lifestyle as well.

You need to take a deep breath and prepare for some changes.  Then go for it.  Whether that means getting to sleep no later then 11 and making sure you get at least 8 hours or if that means changing your eating habits to align with what your body wants.  Some of this stuff seems crazy, confusing, or downright impossible but just take that plunge and give it a shot for 30 days and see how you feel and perform.

Jason Ferruggia does awesome stuff at his gym and the fitness community as a whole.  I have followed him for years and even used some of his programming.  His programming does a great job and if you don’t want to go full out in crossfit I would suggest grabbing one of his programs and following it down to the letter.  He posted an amazing article about 53 ways to get huge and be awesome.  Its not actually telling you how to get huge but instead how to be successful in the gym, with your health, and in a lot of ways life.  

Now my recent food stuff.  I told you in my last post how much I loved the red curry stir-fry.  Well I loved it so much that I made it again last night with dover sole.

Image

Then I also made a beef and kale concoction with some onions and Arizona Dreaming spice.  I cooked this in my tomato basil sauce.  Freaking delicious.

Image

Step by step for the above.  Put some grassfed butter in the skillet.  Put in the cut up onions and let cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add in the ground beef (I made 1 lb) and season with the Arizona Dreaming spice.  Next add in the cut up Kale (I used 5 large leaves).  Then stir around and add in some of the tomato basil sauce.  Stir around and then cover.  Cook on medium heat for a few minutes.  Uncover and stir around.  Check to make sure the ground beef (you could use ground buffalo, lamb, pork, or really anything) is cooked throughout.  Enjoy.

A couple nights back I had a delicious pork chop (bone-in) and some squash in the kerrygold garlic and herb butter.  This butter should be a regular in your cooking.  Gives incredible flavor to vegetables.  I often steam vegetables and then add in the garlic and her butter to add in some healthy fat that makes the vegetables taste great.

Image

And finally you know my normal breakfast but I thought this skillet looked awesome so I took this picture.

Image

Thats a lot of the stuff that goes in my normal breakfast.  But I recently joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group so I will soon follow a very seasonal eating approach.  I still plan to supplement some foods from Whole Foods but I am trying to take my eating to an even better level.  For thousands of years we ate seasonally because we could not fly in foods from South America or Hawaii.  Also my Kombucha should be ready in the next couple of days and I am excited to give that a try.  Thanks to my awesome sister for the Scobee and the recipe.  You should follow her blog because well she’s my sister and I already said the awesome part.

Currently I am reading The Vitamin D Solution by Michael F. Holick and its eye-opening and shocking.  With the weekend here make sure to get outside and shoot for at least 20 minutes without any sunscreen.  Its good for you.  

Enjoy the weekend and make sure to take advantage of your time.  Go read this piece about the only definition of success that matters.  

Check out your local crossfit box if you get a chance.  Getting back to my original crossfit box has been amazing and its a great community.  At the same time I miss Skyline Crossfit and can’t wait until I am back in Houston working out there.  You will be amazed at the great experience.  Remember this weekend to take a deep breath and then go for it.

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day.  First I want to truly thank all of those who have served in the military.  They are the reason we enjoy this great nation and why we have our freedom.  I also want to thank all of those who are currently serving.  They protect this nation and our freedom every single day.  America has been made great by all of those men and women who came before us.  I am so proud and lucky to be an American.  

Today has been pretty awesome as I finally had some time to get things taken care of.  I apologize for the lack of posts lately but I moved this past weekend back to Dallas and then started my job on Monday.  A ton of issues arose from the move.  Lets just say that both my stress and sleep suffered from some of the issues.  Issues dealt with and now back to the normal.

Because its July 4th I think you should go check this out on The Daily Beast where they list the top 13 most patriotic movies.  Today I have watched parts of Independence Day.  Its one of those movies that captures me every time and especially the President’s speech at the end.  I have also caught up on the first 2 episodes of The Newsroom and while I definitely can see some issues in the show, I enjoy anything by Aaron Sorkin and the level of dialogue inspires me to practice a higher form of rhetoric and vocabulary.  Sometimes I find myself getting lazy with my words.  I always have the goal in mind to learn something especially through reading but today I have learned via television.  The History Channel played marathons of The Presidents and The Revolution.  HBO played the miniseries John Adams.  All three provided a great insight into this country’s founding and the people behind the events.

And now I move on to the normal stuff this blog deals with.  Food.  Well actually before you we go there I think you should go check out this piece in the NY Times about The “Busy” Trap.  Absolutely fantastic and relevant.  Moving on to food I thought this piece the other day also in the NY Times about the whole false belief that a calorie is a calorie demonstrated a lot of the research and ideas I follow in my eating.  

I have linked to my sister’s blog a couple of times.  In particular I linked to her Red Curry Stir Fry recipe.  Tonight I used that red curry with my catfish.  I had to get a spoon just to make sure I did not miss any of the curry.  So easy and yet this meal goes to the top of my list in terms of taste.  Add this to beef and broccoli for a go-to easy meal.  

Image

Just so you know that is .70 of a lb of catfish.  I cooked this for roughly 8 minutes in the skillet on slightly less then medium heat.

Yesterday I decided I needed to make a pork loin roast that had been sitting in my freezer for a couple weeks.  So the night before I let it thaw out.  Steps that I took to prepare my pork roast.  Turn on crockpot.  Put roast in.  Two tablespoons of lime juice over roast.  Pour some water in the crockpot.  Cover the crockpot and let cook on low.  This cooked for roughly 8 hours.  After crossfit I had my dinner all set to go.  Now the reason I didn’t season this roast came down to one main thing…I knew I wanted guac that night.  I made some guac and mixed it all together.  The end result.

Image

I ate the whole roast.  Dominated that roast.  Pulled pork with guac added to the main meals.  With all of my meals I also eat vegetables even if I don’t always mention them.  Today I spent some time at Whole Foods and bought these vegetables: Green beans, artichoke, onions, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, beets, and squash.  Tonight I had steamed carrots and sautéed squash.  

Saturday’s dinner turned out big for me.  Last week I bought beef liver from a local farmer and needed to eat the liver before I left.  I followed this simple recipe from The Clothes Make the Girl (author of Well Fed).  I enjoy trying new foods but I admit that liver scared me.  As it turned out I never needed the fear.  I really enjoyed my liver especially with the caramelized onions on top.  Definitely contains an interesting texture but nothing that bothered me.  The liver tasted awesome.  The beef liver with onions.

Image

Need a reason to give liver a shot?  Liver provides an almost unparalleled amount of nutrients that your body needs.  People throw around the term superfood far too often but in the case of liver no other word suffices in providing an accurate description.  Try to get liver in once a week.  But make sure if you get beef liver to find a grass-fed beef liver.  A huge difference exists.  Feel free to also go with chicken livers but still work to find pasture raised chickens.  Both the quality of the nutrients and the taste relies on how these animals lived.  One of the best things you can do to learn some about the food industry and why organic, pasture raised, and grass-fed make a difference comes down to spending about 2 hours watching the documentary Food, Inc.  Last I checked netflix carries this documentary.  Watch it.

I have been an eating machine lately as I try to put on a little weight.  The reason behind this attempt rest in my goals for crossfit.  The added weight can help me out with the heavier weights required these days in crossfit.  In my approach though I maintain a healthy paleo eating plan.  The changes in my diet include an increase in the amount of protein and fat I eat while keeping the carbs at the same level as before.  I will keep this blog updated on how this goes but I can say in about the past two weeks I have added four pounds and my strength increased as well.  

Finally I know this comes a day too late but with summer comes time outdoors and barbecues.  You can do these things and still eat well.  One of my favorite sites, Whole9, provides an awesome batch of July 4th barbecue recipes.  Don’t be afraid to lean on these people for help.  Follow them on Facebook or twitter.  A lot of these very smart nutrition people will answer and correspond with you.  The community wants to help people make changes and live a healthy life.  

So on this Independence Day find your independence from poor food choices.  Leave the fast food, processed foods, gluten, sugar, grains, legumes, and all of those inflammatory and hormone disruptive foods behind.  Then you can celebrate Independence Day in two ways.

God Bless America.

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.  

Image

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.

Image

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.  

Image

Image

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.  

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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

Image

The finished product.

Image

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.

Image

And the final product.

Image

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.

Image

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.  

Image

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.  

Image

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).  

Image

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.

Image

Image

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.  

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

Image

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.  

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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

Image

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.