Fall is here and you know what that means...
PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING!
[Step 1] Make your own pumpkin spice using this simple recipe:
[Step 2] Sprinkle on everything:
Toast w/ nut butter
Clean eating is not as hard as it sounds. The focus is on whole, nutrient rich, minimally processed foods that fuel both your mind and body.
GRAINS, NOODLES, & PROTEIN
SEEDS & NUTS (dry roasted)
VEGETABLES & HERBS
DAIRY & DAIRY-FREE
OILS, CONDIMENTS, & SPICES
It may not seem like much, but you are most likely taking in more added sugar than you think. Many "natural," organic, low-fat and fat-free foods are unassumingly laden with sugar and we eat them not knowing because we assume their label implies that their healthy.
A new movie called “That Sugar Film” seeks to educate consumers about the hazards of consuming too much added sugar, which can be found in an estimated 80 percent of all supermarket foods. The new documentary stars an Australian actor-director, Damon Gameau, who modeled his movie after “Super Size Me,” the 2004 film that followed Morgan Spurlock as he consumed an all-McDonald’s diet for 30 days.
In “That Sugar Film,” which first had its debut in Australia this year, Mr. Gameau gives up his normal diet of fresh foods for two months to see what happens when he shifts to eating a diet containing 40 teaspoons of sugar daily, the amount consumed by the average Australian (and an amount not far from the 28 teaspoons consumed daily by the average American teenager). The twist is that Mr. Gameau avoids soda, ice cream, candy and other obvious sources of sugar. Instead, he consumes foods commonly perceived as “healthy” that are frequently loaded with added sugars, like low-fat yogurt, fruit juice, health bars and cereal.
Mr. Gameau finds that his health and waistline quickly spiral out of control. While the film is mostly entertainment, it tries to present the science of sugar in a consumer-friendly way, with helpful cameos from Hugh Jackman, Stephen Fry and others. It is also timely. Just last month, the federal government proposed a new rule that would require nutrition labels to carry details about added sugars, a measure that has faced resistance from the food industry.
Read the full interview with Mr. Gameau here.
The paleo diet has been all the rage amongst cross fitters and those wanting to lose weight. Thediet is based on the types of foods presumed (emphasis on this because there are no Pleistocene cookbooks to consult) to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food. Which means no:
But recently, scientists have proposed that our hominin ancestors were able to fuel the evolution of our oversize brains by incorporating cooked starches into their diet.
Roughly seven million years ago, our ancestors split off from the apes. As far as scientists can tell, those so-called hominins ate a diet that included a lot of raw, fiber-rich plants.
After several million years, hominins started eating meat. The oldest clues to this shift are 3.3-million-year-old stone tools and 3.4-million-year-old mammal bones scarred with cut marks. The evidence suggests that hominins began by scavenging meat and marrow from dead animals.
At some point hominins began to cook meat, but exactly when they invented fire is a question that inspires a lot of debate. Humans were definitely making fires by 300,000 years ago, but some researchers claim to have found campfires dating back as far as 1.8 million years.
Cooked meat provided increased protein, fat and energy, helping hominins grow and thrive. But Mark G. Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London, and his colleagues argue that there was another important food sizzling on the ancient hearth: tubers and other starchy plants.
Our bodies convert starch into glucose, the body’s fuel. The process begins as soon as we start chewing: Saliva contains an enzyme called amylase, which begins to break down starchy foods
Another clue to the importance of carbohydrates, Dr. Thomas said, can be found in our DNA. Chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, have two copies of the amylase gene in their DNA. But humans have many extra copies — some people have as many as 18. More copies of the amylase gene means we make more of the enzyme and are able to derive more nutrients from starches, said Dr. Thomas.
Read the full article at NYTimes.com
Eating quality food post-workout is crucial to muscle growth and recovery. The science on recovery is a little War-and-Peace-y in its complexity but you can boil it down to a few nutritional musts: in order to optimize your results, you need to replace the amino acids and glycogen lost during your workout.
Starting the muscle building process by increasing protein synthesis and nitrogen retention requires a quick dose of the right protein and carbohydrates. But we can’t (and shouldn’t) always rely on plain protein shakes, chicken and rice. It’s boring and an absolute affront to your flavor-deprived palate. Besides, your body prefers a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods. Try these six post-workout muscle-building meals that taste great and get results.
MEAL 1: PROTEIN PANCAKES
How To: Mix four egg whites, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup cottage cheese, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Cook on a preheated griddle on medium to low heat, until it bubbles then flip and cool another 30-60 seconds. Top with fresh berries or banana slices.
The Perks: These pancakes pack a mean protein punch without a ton of carbs, perfect for those looking to retain muscle tissue when trying to lean up. The medium- and slow-digesting proteins help keep a steady stream of amino acids to stay more anabolic.
Calories: 421 | Protein: 51 g | Fat: 6 g | Carbs: 39 g
MEAL 2: BEEF AND SQUASH MARINARA
How To: For those looking to satisfy that deep, aching post-workout hunger, this one is for you. Cook up eight ounces of lean grass-fed beef with salt and pepper to taste. Cook one whole butternut squash for 30-45 minutes until soft. Mix them together in the pan when done and add four ounces of your favorite marinara sauce.
The Perks: If you are training hard and with more volume than usual, chances are your appetite is up as well. The creatine replenishes your explosive energy stores and extra fat from the beef helps keep you satisfied and full of calories. The starchiness of the squash digests slowly and helps keep hunger at bay.
Calories: 628 | Protein: 70 g | Fat: 18 g | Carbs: 38 grams
MEAL 3: TUNA AND CRACKERS
How To: Take a can of yellow fin tuna and add a handful (1/2 cup) of crushed up whole grain crackers. For flavor, add pepper, a dab of extra virgin olive oil, mustard, and chopped up pickles.
The Perks: This one is perfect to utilize on-the-go for those working out on their lunch break at work, or those who have to endure an epic commute home from the gym. It is also simple and cost effective. The crackers add some needed carbs, helping to spike your insulin levels to drive nutrients into your muscles.
Calories: 379 | Protein: 41 g | Fat: 13 g | Carbs: 24 g
MEAL 4: HIGH-PROTEIN OATS ON THE GO
How To: Add ½ cup of rolled oats, 1-2 scoops of your favorite whey protein powder (we suggest vanilla), ½ cup of frozen or dried fruit, and slivered almonds. Add ½ cup of water or skim milk and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Add cinnamon or stevia to add more flavors.
The Perks: Another great convenience food, this dish is best for morning trainers. Oats and whey have been a bodybuilding staple forever, but often times are bland and burnt out. By adding some fruit, natural sweetener and almonds, you gain a whole new appreciation for oatmeal. The balance of carbs and protein make it great for those looking to build mass and those watching the leanness scale.
Calories: 422 | Protein: 31 g | Fat: 12.5 g | Carbs: 48 g
MEAL 5: EGG SCRAMBLE OR OMELET
How To: Scramble four whole eggs with two added egg whites. Add one cup of chopped mixed veggies. Spinach, onions, mushrooms and red bell peppers are good additions. For more protein, add ¼ cup of diced lean ham or bacon. If you need (or want) more carbs, add a piece of fresh fruit on the side.
The Perks: Breakfast for dinner? Uhhh…yes. Plain egg whites just get too boring, forcing you to ditch your high-protein meal for a Krispy Kreme when you are burned out on traditional bodybuilding foods. Keep the yolks for the extra omega-3 fats, vitamins and minerals. Make them taste good with some bacon (turkey bacon is a great, lower-fat option) and increase nutrient density and texture with the veggies. Nothing says post-workout breakfast like eggs. This post-workout is perfect for those on low calories and carbs, but need the protein to retain muscle and fat to decrease hunger.
Calories: 520 | Protein: 37 g | Fat: 23 g | Carbs: 29 g
MEAL 6: CHICKEN AND SWEET POTATO HASH
How To: Grab a large chicken breast (about 8 ounces) that is already cooked and dice it up and throw it in a pan with olive oil. Add ½ cup of diced sweet potato, 1/2 cup of diced apples and add cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. You can make an even bigger batch to store in the fridge to use through the week.
The Perks: Chicken and sweet potatoes, gourmet recovery style. Sweet potatoes are the perfect bodybuilder carb that slowly digest to keep your energy levels high and insulin spike just enough to feed the muscles but not the fat stores.
Calories: 300 | Protein: 51 g | Fat: 5 g | Carbs: 30 g
By NINA TEICHOLZ
America’s dietary guidelines have long been based on weak science.
For two generations, Americans ate fewer eggs and other animal products because policy makers told them that fat and cholesterol were bad for their health. Now both dogmas have been debunked in quick succession.
First, last fall, experts on the committee that develops the country’s dietary guidelines acknowledged that they had ditched the low-fat diet. On Thursday, that committee’s report wasreleased, with an even bigger change: It lifted the longstanding caps on dietary cholesterol, saying there was “no appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Americans, it seems, had needlessly been avoiding egg yolks, liver and shellfish for decades. The new guidelines, the first to be issued in five years, will influence everything from school lunches to doctors’ dieting advice.
How did experts get it so wrong?
Read more at nytimes.com
The benefits of Matcha Green Tea, a cancer-fighter, a fat-burner, and much more.
The health benefits of matcha tea exceed those of green tea because when you drink matcha you ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water.
One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content.
1. High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are the magical nutrients and enzymes responsible for fighting against the negative effects of UV radiation, giving us younger-looking skin, and preventing a number of life-threatening maladies. Antioxidants are something that all health-conscious individuals seek from such foods as raw fruits, green veggies, and (let’s not forget) dark chocolate. The first amazing benefit of Matcha Green Tea is that just one bowl provides over 5 times as many antioxidants as any other food – the highest rated by the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) method.
2. Loaded with Catechin, EGCg
Not all antioxidants are created equal. Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins. Among antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial. One specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha Green Tea. Out of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Scientists have found that Matcha Green Tea contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.
3. Enhances Calm
For over a millennium, Matcha Green Tea has been used by Chinese Daoists and Japanese Zen Buddhist monks as a means to relax and meditate while remaining alert. Now we know that this higher state of consciousness is due to the amino acid L-Theanine contained in the leaves used to make Matcha. L-Theanine promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation without the inherent drowsiness caused by other “downers.”
4. Boosts Memory and Concentration
Another side-effect of L-Theanine is the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration – something that can benefit everyone!
5. Increases Energy Levels and Endurance
Samurai, the noble warriors of medieval and early-modern Japan, drank Matcha Green Tea before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. While all green tea naturally contains caffeine, the energy boost received from Matcha is largely due to its unique combination of other nutrients. The increased endurance from a bowl of Matcha Green Tea can last up to 6 hours and because of the effects of L-Theanine, Matcha drinkers experience none of the usual side-effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension. It’s good, clean energy.
6. Burns Calories
Drinking Matcha Green Tea has also been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn fat about four times faster than average. Again, unlike many diet aides currently on the market, Matcha causes no negative side-effects such as increased heart rate and high blood pressure.
7. Detoxifies the Body
During the last three weeks before tea leaves are harvested to be made into Matcha, Camellia sinensis are covered to deprive them of sunlight. This causes a tremendous increase in chlorophyll production in the new growth of these plants. The resulting high levels of chlorophyll in Matcha Green Tea not only give this tea its beautiful vibrant green color. Matcha is also a powerful detoxifier capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.
8. Fortifies the Immune System
The catechins in Matcha Green Tea have been shown to have antibiotic properties which promote overall health. Additionally, just one bowl of Matcha Green Tea provides substantial quantities of Potassium, Vitamins A & C, Iron, Protein, and Calcium. Further studies have even suggested that the nutrients in Matcha may have the ability to inhibit the attacks of HIV on human T-cells.
9. Improves Cholesterol
Researchers aren’t entirely certain how Matcha Green Tea has such a positive effect on cholesterol, however studies of different populations have show that people who drink Match Green Tea on a regular basis have lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while at the same time displaying higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Men who drink Matcha Green Tea are about 11% less likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t drink Matcha.
Finally, the tenth and final benefit of drinking Matcha Green Tea…
10. Amazing Flavor
Drinking something just because it’s healthy can be a lot like swallowing medicine. It’s unpleasant and you dread it, but you feel obligated to do it. After all, it’s good for you… right? Sure, but wouldn’t you rather look forward to improving your overall well-being? Of course you would!
Fortunately, unlike a lot of other teas which require sugar, milk, or lemon to make them palatable to the average consumer, Matcha is absolutely wonderful all by itself. It’s crisp vegetative notes are complimented by the savory taste of the L-Theanine amino acid making Matcha a tea that is truly unique in every way. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious bowl of hot Matcha.
When it comes to eating well, meal planning is one of the easiest things you can do to set yourself up for success. The beauty of it is there are no rules and, you can’t really mess it up. The key is just to start, and to set aside a little bit of time each week to do it. There are so many ways to approach meal planning that, after practicing just once or twice, you’ll begin to find what works for you and your family too.
To help you get started, we’ve broken down some of the basics. We’ve even included two practice exercises to help you map out your next week’s worth of healthy meals!
PART 1: ASSESS YOUR EATING SITUATION
Our eating situations can vary greatly from week to week depending on work schedules, after school activities, evening commitments, travel plans–the list goes on. Here are some things to consider as you assess your eating situation.
How many meals you need to plan for Take a few moments to think about what you have going on next week. Taking a quick inventory of your plans will quickly give you a rough idea of how many meals you’ll need to get through the week, and how much mileage you can get from each recipe.
What you have time for If you have a crazy busy week coming up, make a mental note to be on the lookout for quick, slow cooker or make-ahead meals that can served up in a hurry. We’re big fans of the cook once, eat twice (or thrice) approach.
Your food mood Things like the weather, a change in seasons, and food cravings can impact what sounds good on any given day. Thinking about these things beforehand will make recipe selection process faster and meal times easier on everyone. The most important thing is to focus on getting LEAN PROTEINS, HEALTHY FATS, and COMPLEX CARBS.
Your grocery budget If you want to eat better for less (and who doesn’t) think seasonal produce and sales.
MEAL PLANNING PRACTICE: MAP OUT YOUR WEEKLY EATS
1. Grab a pen and paper. Write the days of the week on the left side of the page and the meals you want to plan across the top (BREAKFAST/SNACK/LUNCH/SNACK/DINNER/SNACK).
2. Sketch out your weekly eats. Vague descriptions like quick dinner, leftovers, or packable lunch are fine for now. Don’t forget to plan for leftovers and make note of special dietary restrictions here as well.
3. Tally them up. Note how many meals you’ll need, grouping together similar ones. For example: 5 quick dinners, 3 packable lunches, 8 easy snacks…
PART 2: COLLECT AND PREP
Now the fun part! Once you know how many meals you’ll need, it’s time to find some healthy recipes and fill in your calendar for the week. Here are some tips to help.
Create a master recipe list Having a list of go-to meals is one of the easiest ways to expedite the meal planning process. Consider trying one or two new recipes and use a few old favorites to fill in the gaps. Every time you find a new meal you love, add it to the rotation! Remember to keep it CLEAN & SIMPLE.
Find a few new dishes to try Finding delicious, healthy recipes isn’t hard–you just need to know where to look. Health-conscious cookbooks and food magazines are great but the internet can literally provide millions of healthy recipes at your fingertips. Here are some that we love:
Write your grocery list Save yourself some time and write your grocery list while you fill out your calendar–and don’t forget to jot down quantities for each ingredient. Before you head to the store take a quick inventory of what you have on hand and cross off the ingredients you don’t need to purchase.
Chose a meal prepping day Sundays are the best days to do your grocery shopping and prep for the week. Have enough containers for all of the meals you need to prepare and lay them all out before you start cooking.
Methodical cooking Start cooking the things that take the longest FIRST. If you plan on roasting sweet potatoes or other veggies, start prepping and getting that into the oven before all else. Depending on the type of proteins you are preparing for the week, they should take less time to cook. Once all of your food is done, portion them out into your containers. Make sure you have a balance of protein, healthy fat, complex carbs in every meal, with snacks in between.
As they say, IF YOU FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL.