03 Dec 2013
By Sunday night, I (and probably most of us) had finished up several days of eating and family and now find ourselves with a fridge full of turkey. I find that holiday food gets boring after a while, so I like to re-purpose it whenever I can. So when I found myself with a pound of smoked turkey, I threw together this soup.
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 5 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- 3 cups turkey, shredded
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp sage
- 8 cups chicken broth
Heat oil in a large pot. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and cook about 4 minutes. Add the spices and mix well, then add the turkey and mix again. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cook for 10 minutes.
What do you make with leftover holiday food?
20 Nov 2013
Checkout the post below from Alex Black of Wicked Good Nutrition for some good info and ideas on what to eat before a workout.
What Should I Eat Before a Workout??
Deciding what to eat day-to-day can be challenging. Choosing the best thing to eat – a meal that will give you energy to perform without making you feel too full, sick, or hungry – can be even more challenging. Every workout is different, so how you fuel for each one will be different too. You probably wouldn’t eat the same breakfast before a 2K test as you would before a 10 mile run. Read on for some basic pre-workout meal guidelines and some ideas for before a workout.
Then share your favorite pre-workout meal in the comments!
19 Nov 2013
Dairy isn’t paleo. Most people who have read about/heard of the paleo diet know that. But WHY isn’t dairy allowed? Is it really that bad for you? I like looking at pros and cons so I’m going to break it down that way.
1. If you buy the right stuff, it’s pretty natural. I’m not talking about cheesecake flavored yogurt, ice cream, or strawberry milk. I’m talking about grass-fed milk and butter, plain Greek yogurt, etc. Whole milk is removed from a cow, heated to 145 degrees F for 30 minutes or 162 degrees F for 15 seconds (that is the Pasteurization process) and then bottled. Of course, this can be different at a big factory farm type dairy. But if you are buying organic, grass-fed milk, you’re getting a pretty unprocessed product.
As a side note, milk that has not been pasteurized is called “raw milk”, and its legality is under debate. I’ll tackle raw milk vs. regular milk in another blog post.
2. It’s a staple food in many (rather healthy) countries. Milk and dairy are staples incountries like Germany and Switzerland. These countries also have low obesity rates. Yes, other factors like physical activity (they bike everywhere over there) and agriculture can play a role. The point is, some people drink milk and are perfectly healthy.
3. Milk and yogurt can be good for recovery (and a good protein source for vegetarians). Milk has 12 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein per 8 ounce glass. This means 16 ounces of milk provides the right mix of protein and carbs for post workout recovery, in a natural and convenient form.
4. Nutrition. Milk and yogurt are good sources of calcium and vitamin D, which help maintain bone density. Milk also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins.
1. Many people are lactose intolerant. According to the NIH, about 65% of adults have a reduce ability to digest lactose (the sugar in milk), but this varies by ethnicity. Among some East Asian populations ,the prevalence of lactose intolerance is 90%, but among Eastern Europeans it’s more like 5%. You can diagnose lactose intolerance with a breath test, but more likely than not if lactose doesn’t agree with you, you’ll know from the bloating and cramping. Because the issue in lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the SUGAR in dairy, lower sugar dairy like cheese tends to be easier to digest.
2. Some dairy is highly processed and/or unsustainably and unethically
produced. Like I mentioned before, Boston Cream Pie and Cheesecake flavored yoplait and Strawberry milk are still processed foods, even if they decided to stop using High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
In addition, a lot of dairy in the US is produced by cows in factory farm/ dairy type situations. Cows who don’t have room to graze and exercise. These are sad cows. You shouldn’t get your dairy from sad cows. Look for dairy from happy cows – i.e. organic and/or grass fed milk and butter.
3. Milk could, in some context, be considered a high calorie drink. 8 oz of whole milk has 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. While this is better than soda, when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to avoid drinking your calories and get them from more filling foods instead. Then again, if you’re trying to put on weight (or maintain it if you have difficulty doing so), the extra calories in milk are a bonus.
I have nothing against unprocessed dairy – which to me means milk, plain yogurt, butter, and some cheeses. It is not paleo because it only came about around 9,000 years ago. But,as I’ve said before, just because it’s not paleo doesn’t mean it’s not healthy. Obviously, if you have an allergy or intolerance to dairy, you should avoid it. But for most people, it can be part of a quality diet.
I personally don’t drink a lot of milk (even as a kid I never liked it unless it was in cereal) and eat yogurt, butter, and cheese only occasionally. But if you have no issue digesting lactose and want to incorporate it, 1-2 servings per day is a good amount (1 serving is 6 ounces of yogurt, 8 ounces of milk, 1 ounce of cheese). Choose dairy from happy cows (grassfed and/or organic) and avoid skim, as the fat in milk helps absorb some of the fat soluble vitamins it provides.
13 Nov 2013
Omega 3 fats – also known as “healthy fats” and monounsaturated fats – have gained wide attention for their potential health benefits. Omega-3′s are found in fatty fish like tuna, salmon, trout and herring. You can get about 1 gram of omega-3 fats in a 3.5 ounce serving of fatty fish.
Types of Omega-3 Fats
There are 3 types of omega-3 fats.
- ALA (alpha-linoleic acid) – is a short chain omega-3 fat found in plant oils like walnut, olive, and soybean. ALA can be converted into DHA, but only in small amounts.
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – is a long chain omega-3 fat found in fish oil, as well as breast milk and baby formula. DHA is a structural component of the brain, skin, and eyes and plays a role in cognitive health and mental health.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) – is another long chain omega-3 fat, also found in fish oil. EPA is most associated with health benefits related to inflammation.
Most fish oil supplements contain a combination of EPA and DHA. There are a wide variety of purported health benefits to taking omega-3/fish oil supplements, and lots of research has been done to investigate them. Fish oils have been shown to be at least somewhat effective in reducing triglycerides, preventing heart disease, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and promoting good cognitive health. Fish oil may also benefit people with asthma, ADHD, and numerous other conditions. You can find a full list of conditions for which fish oil is effective, likely effective, ineffective, and not rate-able from the NIH here.
- The health benefits, obviously. We could all use a little heart disease prevention, whether we’re at risk or 22 and healthy.
- The American diet is woefully low in omega-3 fats compared to omega-6 fats, and a lot of research shows that this ratio is important for health. Even if you’re paleo, you could be getting plenty of omega-6′s from olive oil and nuts. We should be aiming for an omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 2:1, or more ideally 1:1, but experts estimate most Americans ratio is closer to 6:1.
- They help you avoid mercury. Mercury is a metal found in a lot of seafood. The problem with mercury is that it accumulates, so there may only be a little mercury in the small fish, but by the time the big fish eats the medium fish that ate lots of small fish… a good deal of mercury has built up. The bigger, fatty fish have the highest levels of omega-3 fats, but also the highest mercury levels. This makes it hard to eat fatty fish 3-4 times per week, especially for pregnant women.
- Salmon can be expensive (and I’m not a sardine fan). If you’re watching your budget like I (and many Americans) am, a $30-40 bottle of fish oil that lasts over a month is cheaper than $26 per lb salmon 3 times a week.
- Quality fish oils can also be expensive. Canned sardines, if you like them, would be a cheaper alternative.
- It may not be effective if you take certain types of medications. For example, birth control pills can reduce the triglyceride lowering ability of fish oil, and statins can negate the effectiveness of fish oil in lowering cholesterol and reducing heart disease risk. It may also cause problems in people taking blood clotting or anti-coagulating medicines.
- It’s not paleo. For the same reason I said protein powder wasn’t paleo. That doesn’t mean it’s inherently bad for you. But if you’re committed to wearing sandals, living in a cave, and not consuming anything that’s been even remotely processed, clearly these aren’t for you.
How Much Should You Take?
The right dose depends on your particular condition and goals. For example, to lower triglycerides you’d take 1-4 g/day of fish oil, whereas for depression you’d take 9.6 grams per day along with an antidepressant.
But a lot of you are athletes, so how much should you take? The best recommendation for athletes is 1-2 grams per day, with a 2:1 ratio of EPA and DHA. Up to 3 grams per day is considered safe for most healthy people. If you regularly eat fatty fish, you can take less fish oil or take it every other day.
It’s no secret I almost always tilt in favor of food over supplements. But when it comes to fish oil, I’m a fan. It’s probably the only supplement I’d actively recommend to clients, and if you take one supplement, this is the one.
One final thought: it is important to pay attention and read labels when you’re picking a fish oil brand. I used to love recommending the Nature Made 1200 mg burp less variation, but after I did my research I realized it had gelatin and some other stuff in there, and didn’t really tell me where the omega-3s come from (which means probably not fish). I know, big time nutritionist fail. Then I bought the SFH fish oil from the gym (the tangerine and lemon flavors are pretty good), and realized it has 3.7 grams per serving. Make sure your label indicates that the fish oil is from FISH, doesn’t contain any other additives like gelatin, and the serving size is right.
Do you have a favorite brand of fish oil? Let me know in the comments!
Written by Calvin Sun
With the increasing popularity of the Paleo Diet, many people are turning to agave nectar as a sweetener in many of their favorite recipes. It’s understandable to see why people would think of using agave nectar as it doesn’t add any other flavors like many sweeteners and it tastes sweeter than sugar. Unfortunately, it’s not Paleo and it’s definitely not good for you. So imagine my surprise when I was walking through the aisles of my local Costco only to be confronted by a gigantic pallet of agave nectar. The labeling advertised it as a “low glycemic organic sweetener” and it must have worked because it was selling like there’s no tomorrow. Today, we’ll discuss some of the reasons why you should reconsider indulging in this sweet poison.
29 Oct 2013
Earlier this week I was reading an article titled something along the lines of “halloween candy is awful and horrific for kids”. Obviously candy is empty calories, sugar, and often times additives and other flavorings, and it’s not exactly the ideal food for kids, or anyone. But seeing all these articles and awareness about the evils of candy and the healthier alternatives, I realized I’m a bit torn about halloween.
The nostalgic in me remembers dressing up in costume, running around my neighborhood with other kids, collecting a bunch of candy. When we got home, we traded it with other neighborhood kids while our parents made sure all the candy was safe, and then ultimately ate a bunch of it. We got to go to bed late and eat sugar, and it was awesome. By the end of the week we’d either eaten it all – or at least all the good pieces – or gotten sick of it. Nobody died and nobody gained 20 pounds – probably because we ran around all the time and burned it off. All was well and we had a blast, so what’s the big deal?
Knowing what I know about food behavior, I worry that demonizing bad foods like candy and making a big deal about the calories and sugars can negatively effect kids’ relationship with food. Yes, it’s important to educate people about the negative effects of too much sugar and promote healthier foods like fruits and vegetables. But I’ve also seen kids who grow up in healthy households that will eat “forbidden” junk foods outside the home, almost compulsively.
The nutritionist in me knows the realities of child obesity, childhood type 2 diabetes, and inactivity compared to the mid 90′s. I know that sugar is a much bigger part of kids lives today. In my elementary and middle schools, we had no vending machines and 30 minutes of recess AND physical education, but many schools today are quite the opposite. Fewer kids play outside or on sports teams today. Basically, the food environment is worse, kids are less healthy, and a few days of too much candy has a much bigger impact today than it might have two decades ago. And when people are taking positive steps to eat healthier, get more active, and improve their health, throwing 10 lbs of candy at them because “it’s halloween!” isn’t all that helpful.
So, for now, I’m torn. I probably won’t buy any candy for myself, and tricker or treaters don’t come to my door (they’d rather over by John Kerry’s house, where they hand out better candy). So, what do you think about halloween? Do you give out candy or a healthier option for trick or treaters? How do you deal with halloween candy your kids bring home? Let me know in the comments!
23 Oct 2013
The Head of the Charles took place last weekend in Boston. A lot of rowers used the Head to get motivated by setting goals to place in the top 20, top 10, or top 3. If you got a chance to check it out please share your thoughts and pictures. Did witnessing one of the most awesome rowing events in the world get you motivated to commit to your own goals or an upcoming event?
I’m looking forward to getting the Renegade Rowing Club up and running for the winter and training for CRASH-B’s. More details on the Renegade Rowing Club and the Renegade Rowing League will be out next Thursday, so keep a look out!
Below is an excerpt from a great blog on motivation by Alex Black of Wicked Good Nutrition. Check it out and tell us how you’re getting motivated this Winter!
The Land of Motivation
Motivation can be tough. It can be hard to find your way to Motivation-land, and once you get there, it can be even harder to stay. It takes at least a month to turn a behavior into a habit, and that month will typically be rife with challenges. Because, you know, the minute you decide to give up sugar or beer the next three social outings your friends plan are a baking pot luck and outing to your favorite craft beer bar…
On top of that, some research suggests it can take up to 3 years to reset your body’s homeostasis (sense of balance) at a new weight. What this means is, if you lose 20 pounds, it can take 3 years before you body recognizes this as its new and healthy weight.
But all that aside, there are a few tricks you can use to help you get motivated and stay motivated. These include:
22 Oct 2013
It’s that time of year again – cold and flu season is just around the corner! Since the cold (rhinovirus) and the flu (influenza) are both viruses, they can’t be cured by antibiotics. And common cold medicines like Nyquil don’t actually fight the virus, they just mask the symptoms that occur when your body fights the virus. So, the best way to prevent and treat the cold or flu is to keep your immune system in tip top shape. Here’s a few things you can do:
15 Oct 2013
Leaving the house on Monday morning without any food prepared and trying to eat healthy can be like walking into the desert with no water. As you well know, the American food environment isn’t exactly the best at facilitating healthy eating. So the best way to fuel your body for success is to…. PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME!
Where do I start?
Before you get started, you’ll want to consider a few things, including:
- What your week looks like. How much time falls between now and thenext time you’ll have time to go grocery shopping and prepare a fewquality meals?
- What you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks between now and then. Plan meals and snacks based on your work/workout schedule, i.e. make sure you have a snack for before you train and a meal/snack after you train. For more about what to eat before a workout, go here.
- Storage and reheating logistics. Will you be at an office with a fridge and a microwave? On the road with nothing but a cooler?
Decide What to Make
Depending on where you’ll be and what you’ll have access to, start planning your meals. Below are some good healthy breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas – both paleo and non-paleo – for each of the situations I mentioned above. To help you quickly find an idea for your diet of choice, (P) stands for paleo, (R) stand for primal (paleo + grass fed dairy), and (V) stands for vegetarian.
If you’re on the road
- Green smoothie w/ 1 cup milk, 1-2 cups greens, ½-1 cup frozen manog chunks (R) (V)
- Apple and almond butter (P) (R) (V)
- 4+ ounces quality deli meat, raw vegetables w/ guacamole, fruit or cold mashed sweet potato with cinnamon (P) (R)
- Salad w/ greens, veggies, nuts, and dried fruit. (V) Add chicken (P) Add chicken and feta cheese (R)
- Beef jerky (P) (R)
- Trail mix of nuts and/or nuts and dried fruit (P) (R) (V)
If you’re in an office
Any idea above plus
- Hard boiled eggs with reheated paleo style collard greens and fruit (P) (R)
- Paleo carrot banana muffins w/ almond butter and fruit (P) (R) (V)
- Irish oatmeal w/ milk, slivered almonds, and fresh or dried berries (V)
- Tuna avocado bowls (R)
- Fresh soup from your local supermarket, reheated and eaten with aside
of fruit. Whole Foods “Mom’s Chicken Soup” or Minestrone are goodexamples. Just check the label to make sure there are no preservatives or funky ingredients, and avoid generic canned soup like Campbells or Progressive, which a. won’t provide sufficient calories and b. are sure to have preservatives and/or added sugars and likely to contain MSG.
- Reheated leftovers, such as this Paleo “Spaghetti”, crock pot Pulled Pork, Sweet Potato, & Pear Stew, or Chicken Scaloppini. (P) (R)
- Fruit with or without almond or other nut butter (P) (R) (V)
- Greek yogurt with berries and nuts (R) (V)
- Steve’s “Paleo Kits” (P) (R)
- Steve’s Paleo Krunch (warning – does not last long in the average pantry due to extreme deliciousness) (P) (R)
If you’re at home or anywhere else with a full kitchen
Any ideas above plus
- Scrambled eggs with veggies and/or cheese and avocado (R) (V)
- Western omelet with fruit and avocado (P)
- Fried eggs w/ bacon and fruit (P) (R)
- Fajitia Chicken salad (P) (R)
- Leftover, reheated meat w/ side of Kale and Dried Apples or other sautéed green/vegetable.
Any idea above plus
- Baked apple chips – core and slice apples, bake at 250 degrees until crispy, usually around 2 hours.
- Frozen grapes
Plan a head, but not too much – sometimes, leftovers get old. It’s great if you can save time by cooking an entire week’s worth of stir fry on Sunday, but not if you get sick of it by Wednesday and decide to get Burger King instead. Think about what you might want that week, and plan in some variety.
Pack more than you need – one of the top reasons people have trouble sticking to a healthy diet is HUNGER. And when you’re eating clean, it can be hard to go out and grab a healthy snack. So pack a little extra. It’s always better to leave a bag of trail mix or dried fruit at work for next week than down a bag of pretzels because you couldn’t find a healthier option at your nearest gas station.
Be aware of food safety – any meat or previously cooked items should be kept cold (in the fridge or a cooler). Any of those items left out at room temperature for over 2 hours should be discarded.
Experience the Reebok Spartan Race in historic Fenway Park. The Boston Red Sox are trying to complete a remarkable season in the MLB playoffs. Now you can get the chance to create your own memories. On Saturday 11/16 there is a Spartan Sprint. You can register by clicking on the image below. You can apply the code FINISH10 and get 10% off your registration.
We are taking Pre-Orders for PROGENEX. If you want anything specific flavors or product shoot me an email: Neal. Some popular items have been the Recovery Loco Mocha
and the Cocoon Silk Chocolate
I have been using both personally. The recovery tastes great and the cocoon is helping me get some great sleep. The order is going to be placed on Monday 10/14 so let me know if you want anything added to the order.
Extreme Endurance by Xendurance
One additional product we have begun carrying is Extreme Endurance by Xendurance. I have been using it myself for two months now and have noticed improvement with my aerobic capacity and ability to fight off lactic acid build up during CrossFit WODs. Here is a review posted by The Happy Athlete.
Extreme Endurance is now available in the retail section of our gym.