Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wed oct 28th

Fitness Tip of the day: Eat!
Have a mid-afternoon snack. What happens when you get home after work is you say hi to the dog, then immediately go to the pantry to see what you can stuff in your mouth. You are hungry and you need to eat. But this is when you make the worst choices. You probably end up snacking about 500 empty, processed calories just because you are too hungry to wait to eat to dinner. You have to eat an afternoon snack. I am not saying get a candy bar or hope that someone at the office is having a birthday so you can eat some cake. Some great snack ideas include: reduced-fat peanut butter on a multi-grain cracker, a couple of pieces of low-fat string cheese and an apple, or protein shake with some berries. Notice in each instance you want to eat carbs and protein. You can’t have one without the other. If you do, you are either eating empty carbs or eating protein that will not absorb and will just flush right thru you.
Food Tip of the Day: Poach it.
I have yet to talk about the wonders of poaching. Poaching is essentially the process of gently simmering food in liquid, generally water, stock or wine. Next time you make a protein like fish or chicken try poaching it. Here is what you need.
1. The poaching liquid. (get a good stock or a wine that you might drink…never use a wine you would not drink because you will have food you would not eat)
2. Fresh herbs: (the idea of poaching is lightly simmering aromatic spices into your food. Get some herbs and you will gently infuse the herbs without oil or poor seasoning)
3. Mirepoix: This is simply diced carrots, onions and celery. It is essential to making a good poaching liquid.
4. Get a pan, and get the liquid to about 170 degrees. That’s it. Best thing about poaching is that you can start to poach but can do something else because the process is slow and not cumbersome.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Oct 27

Fitness Tip: Supplements
I get asked all the time, what kind of supplements do you use? Obviously, those guns of mine get people talking. But truthfully, I am not very keen to supplementation. Whenever possible, I think that it is important that one tries to eat and take in the supplemental vitamins that they can naturally. But I understand that it is difficult to do so. So here is how I access supplements by category.
Fat-burners: Stupid, don’t work and are a lazy way of “working” out. There are many ways to speed up your metabolism. Drink some green tea, eat whole grains and fruits. Or, I don’t know, run? A pill is not going to do anything except make you have explosive diarrhea and no one really wants that do they?
Fiber: This is a yes. Fiber supplementation is a good idea if you know you cannot get 6 servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Finer is not going to help you lose weight. But what fiber does it keeps your tummy fuller and lowers you glycemic index that make your metabolism quicker. So instead of just plain water, a spoonful of fiber supplements won’t kill you.
Creatine: Yes and no. If you are apt to burn out in your workouts quickly, take the creatine supplement. However, cycle creatine and do not take every time you workout. It will kill your liver akin to Nic Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. You can take in creatine naturally by upping the amount of lean, red meat in your diet. Go carnivore before you go careless.
Caffeine: Um yes. It does not aid in weight-loss, it just doesn’t so don’t think it does. It is a diuretic so make sure for every cup of coffee you supplement that with that much water. But as for caffeine, if I go without it would be like having to watch E! Reality shows all day long with Carrot Top. Torture!

Recipe: Quinoa salad
Serves 6
Quinoa has a ton of protein while being low in calories. It is a perfect starch to use instead of pasta.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tblsp. Apple-cider vinegar
¼ cup fresh basil,torn
1 tblsp mustard seed
1 tblsp cilantro, dried

1 clove garlic, chopped
3 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions, put use chicken stock instead of water for better flavor
1 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 red bell peppers, diced
2 cups of spinach, fresh, and torn into small pieces.
2 scallions chopped
Whisk olive oil, vinegar, basil, mustard seed, and cilantro and garlic in a large bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the quinoa, corn, and peppers and scallions to the bowl; lightly toss to combine. Add spinach last and fold lightly into bowl.

Monday, October 26, 2009

You have homework

Fitness Tip. Avoid barbells and machines
This request, I realize, is more difficult than any other fitness tip I can give you. I am sure that a lot of you go to the gym, use the machines, and do machines because that is what you know how to do. If that is the only way you can work out, do it. I am not going to stop you. Put if you are going to work out with free weights, use dumbbells over barbells. Here is why. Dumbbells use stabilizer muscles and core muscles, so it allows you a better-rounded workout. Barbells do not allow for the same amount of stabilizer muscles. Plus, if your favor your right side, while using the barbell, the right side will do all the work while the left side will be left out. Therefore, dumbbells are not so dumb after all.
Food tip: Think of a swap
Today I am starting a new thing on my blog. Think of a healthy swap of the day. I told you before, that the best way to get results is to think of healthy solutions to food that you like. So I decided to add something a tad more interactive on this post this week. Post a healthful swap that you do so that you can still have your favorite food but not sacrifice the flavor. I am going to give you three great ones. Hopefully, this will get your mind going so you can think of more. Post your responses on Facebook notes or on the blog itself.

1. Instead of mayonnaise, use an avocado. Same creaminess but better fat!
2. Instead of using oil in baked goods, use applesauce. It gives the same texture with less calories and saturated fat.
3. My favorite, instead of mashed potatoes, refer to my cannellini beans recipe. Yum!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

40th post!~

By the way...I appreciate all of you who read my blog. I hope that I motivate you. If i just entertain you, well, I hope we can take that further!

Fitness Tip: Do your math!
Fitness and weight loss is a game of numbers. Here is the deal, and we talked about this before. In order to lose one pound of fat (NOT H2O weight), you must burn 3500 calories. We talked a bit about resting metabolism. Most people’s resting metabolism is between 1200-1800 calories. Therefore, if your resting metabolism is 1500, and you eat 1500 calories, you must burn 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat. If your resting metabolism is 1500, and you eat 2000 calories, you must burn 4000 calories to burn one pound of fat. Make sense? I thought so.
So here is where it gets tricky. When you read the label in back of your food and you look at the nutritional value and serving sizes you read one major disclaimer that no one talks about – this is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. No one is on a 2,000 calorie diet that I know, except maybe an athlete. This is where algebra comes in to play. I think that’s why mathematicians are skinny because they understand this crap. So let me break it down for you again (like Salt and Pepa). You need to think about the fraction of your meal plan and how it relates to a 2,000 calorie diet. If you are doing a 1600 calories diet, then the proportion of the recommended daily dosage based on 2,000 calories diet is 1600/2000 or 80%. Therefore, you need to account multiply 80% to every one of those nutrients to see what percentage of that nutrient is in your diet. Does that make sense? Reread cause this stuff is important!
And because of all this, I am not making a recipe today. Oh and because its leftover night.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Easy there Princess

Fitness Tip: Stop being a princess
Okay this is especially for the ladies, and the wannabe ladies. Put away the princess weights. You know the princess weights. These are the off color weights that are usually in pastel because they want to make it seem “appropriate” for girls. Well girls, suck it up and pick up a real weight. All too often, women think that if they lift weights, they will bulk up. Okay, I agree some of you put on muscle pretty easily. That does not mean that you should opt for light weights. I don’t want you to look like a shot-putter. But if your body takes on muscle, accept that you can be muscular, because quite frankly, I’d rather look like a shot-putter than Mrs. Potato Head.
So here is the plan. Do any exercise for 15 to 20reps. Pick a good size weight until you start to struggle. When you cannot lift the weight, (say when you are at 8 reps) finish the other 7 reps with a lighter weight. Not only will you be building some muscle, but you are also doing enough reps that the muscle will be tone and lean, not bulky. So stop being a princess and put the pastels away for Easter. If you are a guy going for the pastel weights, well quite frankly, I am done with you. And if you are a guy that knows what pastel means, well, Hello Mary!

Recipe of the Day: My new obsession, McCormick in the bag

So McCormick makes these in the bag beef stews, pot roasts etc. etc. Holy crap are they easy! There is about 5 minutes of prep work and absolutely no mess. You just cut veggies and meat, stick in a bag and eat. Sounds perfect! Well it almost is. It does have a ton of sodium. So here is what I do. Instead of using the whole seasoning pack, I use half of it. Then I add some a tsp of rosemary, thyme and basil into the bag, ground fresh by magic bullet or coffee grinder. I save the rest of the seasoning pack for the next time I make chill or something. The key is just because it is easy, does not mean it is bad for you. Learn how to read the labels and look for sodium count and you can modify easy meals into healthful ones.

Monday, October 19, 2009

monday 10. 19

Fitness Tip: Your warm-up sucks!
We all know how important it is to warm up. I mean think of warming up as foreplay for your exercise and your sweat as the climax of caloric burning. But warming up on the treadmill does not get it. I mean you are just using your legs, so why would you warm up on a treadmill if you are on your upper body day? So here is what you need to do. Warm up the whole body. Warm up prevents injury, moves fatty acids around so you can optimizes your burn (or caloric climax, ah cacophony). Therefore, instead of being lame on treadmill, do 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, arm circles, pushups, lunges, and body-weight squats. You will improve your workout and your overall body!

Recipe of the Day: Dumbass lasagna
Lasagne takes too long. But I love it. Here is my simply variation.

1 box polenta (and 4 cups of water that it requires)
1.5 pounds of turkey sausage (cut diagonally)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh basil
1 clove garlic, diced
1 jar (26oz ) of Prego or other spaghetti sauce
¼ cup non-fat mozzarella cheese

Prepare a square baking dish, 6 x 6, by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Cook polenta according to package. Place in baking dish, spread evenly and let sit. In pot, place a bit of olive oil and brown the sausage. Drain fat and add ¾ of the jar of sauce, red pepper, garlic and basil. Let simmer for twenty minutes. In mean time, when polenta is cool, remove from baking dish and slice in half (WIDTH- WISE) so there is a top and bottom. When sausage mixture is done, place in between layers of polenta along with cheese. Add remaining sauce on top, place in oven for ten minutes and enjoy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog entry 10.15

Today I spent reading some of my past blogs. I wanted to make one very large disclaimer moving forward- I am no expert. I don’t have any formal cooking training. I am a personal trainer and I am guy who struggles with his weight on a daily basis. You see I love food. I find a ton of solace in what food. Not only does it provide my comfort, but food to me is my social outlet. It is also a place where, when I am preparing food, I feel a sense of control when I so often don’t. And yes, I love to eat and overeat. I could eat most of you under the table (although that’s unsanitary) any day. When a group of friends and I dine, I am that guy that stares at your plate wondering if you will be done with that soon so I can eat it before you box it up.
So I write this blog, not as a guy who has all the answers. I am writing this blog to share solutions to problems I have encountered and what has worked for me. As much as I like to write this blog and play expert, I am not. But I do know what has gotten me thru those times that I considered diving into a pool of pork fat and cheese dip.
Case in point, yesterday’s meal was a flop. Well, it was not when I served it, but it was an hour before hand. Here is how it went down. I was going to show my reader’s how to make pot roast. Sounds simple? Well after cooking the meat, it had the consistency of somewhere between shoe leather and bicycle tire. I had to salvage dinner because it became a challenge that I had to win. I drained the dripping s of the meat, saved it to the side, while I created a rue of flour and butter in a small pot. I added the dripping and made gravy. Yes, Mr. Health made gravy. So I poured it on top of the pot roast, cut into chunks and made make shift stroganoff. It worked. I mean it was hearty as hell and it was just gravy and root veggies. And my people were not grossed out, and in fact, told me they liked it.
Here is the point. Don’t be afraid to cook. Yes you can boil water, monkeys can boil water. Don’t be afraid to take risks. What happens when we stay in our comfort zone is that we get complacent. It is only when we take the plunge into unknown water is when we truly make progress. I would be no where if I still ate out three times a day like I used to. So I say this not as an expert, but as a guy who knows what is like to fear the unknown, just do it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Fitness Tip: Gimme a Break
Ok, for all of those who remember Nell Carter, do not think that I am conjuring up her image while talking of fitness. I mean really. But if you want to burn more fat and calories when you walk, swim, or run? Then take a break. The rate at which your body burns fuel may be boosted even higher if you break up a long cardio session into two back-to-back 30-minute sessions with a 20-minute break in between. Here is why. It is pure science that in rest, blood levels of free fatty acids build up. That bump in fatty acids burns fat cause acid burns stuff. Circulating the level of fatty acids after they build up by hitting the aerobic a bit more cause the acids to spread and burn more fat. Yes, it sounds convoluted. But I can’t make this stuff up.

Food Tip: Eat more greens
I love the taste of greens. I love escarole, spinach and kale and if I get randy, some broccoli rabe. Yes I am daring. You should be too. Greens are a terrific way to get vegetables without little to any calories. Greens are also a good source of oil. Here is how. I cook my greens in a sauté pan with a tsp of olive oil. The greens absorb the oil and wilt a bit. Then I add some chicken or vegetable stock. The oil stays in the greens, and oil is needed in our diets for heart health. Finish the greens with a bit of garlic powder and a pinch of nutmeg. Nutmeg loves greens. They could get married but nutmeg refuse to commit.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Food and Fitness Tip: I should get a stipend from the American Dairy Council for this one. Drink more milk. Cow juice has several very important benefits. Consuming 1,800 milligrams of calcium a day could block the absorption of about 80 calories. So drinking milk can help you literally lose weight. Another thing, milk is good for bones, captain obvious. But here is the kicker- milk helps in recovery. If yo have ever done my boot camp, after the first day you will struggle sitting down on the toilet. In fact, I have had a number of girls tell me that their legs hurt them so badly they tried peeing standing up -unsuccessfully I might add. Therefore, I always day have a big glass of milk after you workout and you'll feel much better Here is why. Lactic acid is created hen you workout. That is the stuff that makes you not able to move. To get rid of an acid, one can need a base solution (CHEM 101). In this case, milk in the the form of lactose reacts with the acid to neutralize the acid, thus alleviating pain. So milk is nature's pain killer after a grueling day of squats, leapfrogs and lunges.

Recipe: Berry Smoothie
( I know, this isn't really cooking, but its the perfect post-workout shake. In fact always have a shake after a great day of training, especially within one hour after your workout. This will aid in muscle growth and recovery.)

Makes 1 Serving
1/2 cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened mixed berries or strawberries
(add protein powder to get more protein if need be)

Remember you should get 50% of your body weight in grams of protein a day if you are a girl, 75% of for boys.

Therefore, if you are a girl, and weigh 150lbs, you should eat 75grams of protein.
If you are a boy and weigh 200 lbs, you should get 150 grams of protein a day.

Put cottage cheese, skim milk, sugar, vanilla, and frozen berries in a blender.
Blend 1 minute or until smooth.
Serve immediately.
250 calories; 19 grams protein; 3 grams fiber

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Are you pooped?

Fitness and Food Tip: Fiber Up
Are you pooped all the time? One reason why people feel like crap is because, well, they have to crap more. Plain and simple, fiber makes you go more and it cleans your digestive track. Finer makes you fuller so that you don’t eat less healthy foods. Also, fiber can aid in weight loss because it detoxifies your body. Fiber’s added benefit is that because it aids in cleaning you out (literally), it aids in prevention of diseases such as heart disease and ulcers. So how much fiber should you have a day? Look at getting at least 15 to 20 grams of fiber a day. Use this guide, borrowed from the National Fiber Council to see if you are hitting the mark.

Recipe of the Day: Italian Sausage Soup
Okay so here is a soup that is high in fiber and in flavor! It’s really easy to do as well

1 pound turkey sausage, Italian style
1 clove garlic, minced
28oz of chicken stock
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
2 cups carrots
1 fennel bulb ( diced) remove prawns
1 cup garden peas
1 (14.5 ounce) can great Northern beans, undrained
1 package frozen spinach
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Take a Dutch oven and add oil to pan. Take sausage and cut on diagonal and brown for about three minutes. Add stock. Start to boil. Add all ingredients except for spinach. Take spinach and place in microwave for one minute in the container. Open spinach and cut into cubes, (about 6). Drop in pot, and get to boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for an hour!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blog entry 10.8.09

Fitness Tip: Join a team.
This time of the year, there are several fitness activities. Football is ever prevalent which could not make me happier. Softball and soccer leagues are actively seeking members. Heck, even bowling leagues are okay. What happens these days is we see the dark skies when we leave work and think we need to go home. The shorter days of this season tricks are bodies into thinking it is time to lay around. This is a tough time of the year. If you join a sport or a league, at least you leave the house! Besides, you may opt to find some people who are more fitness savvy and you can make a fitness buddy. But fitness is a very social activity if you want it to be. If you are co-dependent, play into that trait and use it to your advantage!

Food Tip: Demand what you want.
Here is the deal, when you go out to eat, you are buying a product. It is your right to alter that product if you deem it necessary to your health. Try to make sure that you ask for your food, grilled, baked poached or broiled. Avoid anything that comes from a pan, because it will be covered in salt and butter. I know that a lot of chef’s would hate to see this because they are worried about the integrity of the dish. As long as you do not send the food back or complain about it, they have nothing to argue with you. You are paying just as much as the next guy and you’ll live longer than they will. So don’t be afraid to demand what you need!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blog Entry 10.6.09

Fitness Tip: Stretching
Guilty! I don’t stretch enough. I am terrible at making the time. Plus, I am not very flexible and we all gravitate toward things we are good at. I am good at lifting weights. But I do warm up for about five minutes before I work out. You should too. Even if you don’t know how to stretch, walking quickly will loosen your muscles so that you are injury proof. You don’t need to stretch during workouts, unless you feel like it. But the key is stretching after a workout. So here is an idea- when you are watching TV later, grab a couple of pillows and sit on floor. If you are sitting on floor you will want to stretch, mainly because it’s uncomfortable. I am not saying torture yourself like Dick Cheney would say. I am saying that if you sit on the floor for a few minutes you will think about stretching more than you would if you were comfy and curled up on your sofa. So make it a point to sit on floor and work out those muscles you worked out today. And if you didn’t work out, stretch anyway for tomorrow.

Food Tip: In my endless search to find low-card recipes, it occurred to me that my mother knew something. Okay, we never ate low-carb when I grew up. In fact, we made bread with our pasta dishes for dipping. But there is one recipe that is low-carb that Mom used to make. I never thought I’d but a dish from my youth on this blog. But I am sure glad that I can. And besides, this recipe is pretty easy and will suffice your need for starch.
Cabbage Rolls,
· 1 large head of cabbage
· 1 pound lean ground beef
· 1/2 cup instant brown rice or cooked rice
· 1 egg
· 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (fine is the key word)
· 1 teaspoon cinnamon,
· 1 can tomato soup
· 1 can tomatoes, diced (14oz)
Tear the leaves off the cabbage and cook in boiling water or steam until wilted enough to be flexible. Cool so that you can use. Mix ground beef, rice, egg, onion, and salt, pepper, and cinnamon together. Make little balls of the mixture and roll into cabbage leaf. Secure rolls with toothpicks cause they will open. Combine the soup and tomatoes in a Dutch oven or crock pot. Add cabbage and simmer for 2 hours if using Dutch oven or 4 hours if using crock pot on low.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sausage fest

As always, try to find the food you like to indulge in and eat it in a healthier way. Then, you won’t crave ‘the indulgences and you won’t thin, “ I can’t diet because I don’t want to give up that forever”

Who does not love sausage? Here is healthy way of eating it
Sausage and Kale over Polenta Cake
2 lbs turkey sausage
1 tblsp olive oil
2 large heads of kale
1 can tomato paste
1 large can of diced tomatoes (28oz)
1cup raisins
1 cup chicken stock
1 red pepper sliced
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

In a large Dutch oven brown sausage for about 5 minutes a side. Add red pepper and reduce to low heat. Add chicken stock. Cook for the minutes. Remove sausage and peppers and leave liquid in pot. Add nutmeg, kale and cook til about wilted. Add remaining ingredients. Cook at low heat for twenty minutes. Add sausage and red peppers and cover. Heat for 5 minutes. Heat polenta according to box instructions in separate pot. Serve sausage and kale over polenta!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Something to eat all week

Food and Fitness Tip: Freeze and Eat
You make bad food choices because you do not have your meals made. I understand not wanting to cook when you get home. I barely want to talk to my other half because I am beat. So find something to cook that you can make on a Sunday, portion it up, freeze some, and have for rest of the week. If you have it in the house, you won’t put in the frozen pizza. Freeze some of the portions so they are in the house, but out of sight so you avoid over eating. So pick a good recipe that you can do this with…like the one below!

Beef Stew Makes 8 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil3 pounds beef stew meat, well trimmed1 large onion, chopped4 large garlic cloves, chopped2/3 cup dry red wine3 cups canned unsalted beef broth1 can tomatoes2 tsps thyme2 tsps rosemary2 cups carrots, chopped, peeeled2 medium potatoes chopped2 cups of peas or corn or half and half

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large pot, and brown beef. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in wine. Simmer until liquid is reduced to half. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer for 2 hours.