Monthly Archives: March 2011

5 poser foods to avoid!

Nobody likes a poser, so why would you eat one? There are those foods out there that for whatever reason people have gotten into their heads are healthy, but are really sabotaging their success. Let’s look at 5 examples of poser foods to avoid…

1. Peanut Butter – Although peanut butter may conjure up images of childhood bliss eating PB&J sandwhiches out on the schoolyard, the truth is that “normal” peanut butter is crap! That’s right, the chunky PB is in fact making YOU chunky. All it takes is one look at the ingredients list on a jar of peanut butter to know I’m right on this one. That jar of Kraft or Skippy is filled with sugar (usually in multiple forms), hydrogenated oils and other ingredients sure to help you pack on the pounds.

Alternative: A better solution is to pick up a jar of almond butter, cashew butter or one of the other “nut” butters. The key is taking the time to read the ingredients! Ideally there should only be one…nuts or roasted nuts! Some of these happen to have a little salt or sunflower oil and well they are a little less desirable, they are still better than “normal” peanut butter!

2. Granola – Think all hippies are healthy? Think again! The majority of granola you will find on the shelf at your local grocer is packed full of sugar, manipulated oils and has a ton of calories! Don’t believe me? Do yourself a favour and read the nutritional information and ingredient list on most granola…then we’ll talk.

Alternative: Make your own! If you want to keep the grains in your diet, go to your local grocer or health food store. Go to the bulk food bins and make a mix of old-fashioned rolled oats, raisins, seeds (raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, etc) and even throw in a little unsweetened flaked coconut if you’d like. Add some almond milk, cinnamon and chopped apples to the mix and you’re in heaven. OR, find a recipe for a healthier granola that just happens to be paleo at the end of this post = ).

3. Fruit Juice – I used to be extremely guilty of chugging down this “poser” food. As a teenager and young adult I would often drink several glasses of orange juice in the morning and throughout the day. I would always buy the “natural” stuff (not from concentrate) and I had convinced myself I was doing my body a favour by ingesting this “healthy” beverage. At the same time I would wonder why I always felt great right after these couple of glasses of juice, then felt terribly tired about 15 minutes later. Looking back it was obvious…your body treats fruit juice like pure sugar! Your body, which naturally craves sugar, loves the stuff because you’ve taken away all of the boundaries. You’ve taken out all of the solid matter (such as skin and the majority of the pulp) that your body would have to break down to get to the sugar it wants and instead ingested a pure liquid form which is easily accessible and instantly spikes your blood sugar levels. For those of you interested…that’s a BAD thing!

Alternative: Drink water…and eat whole fruit! That’s right, have a glass of water and eat the apple…skin and all! Trust me, you’re body, waistline and blood-work will thank you.

4. Frozen Yogurt – Think you’re doing yourself a favour by putting down the Ben & Jerry’s and picking up some frozen yogurt…think again! Yeah yeah, the yogurt might have fewer calories but in most cases they’ve taken out the fat and loaded up more sugar! Forget about it.

Alternative: I occasionally indulge in the “So Delicious” brand coconut iced dessert. It’s like ice cream, but made with coconut milk instead of dairy and with a relatively small amount of sugar. Yum!

5. A TON of  “healthy” organic foods! – Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not hating on the organic movement. In fact, I tend to support the idea and purchase organic fruit and vegetables for the most part. The problem is, there are those products out there that hide behind the term organic and hope that people immediately read that label as “healthy”. The truth is there are just as many sugar laden, overly processed organic foods as there are non-organic. Organic products may hide behind fancy names for sugar as well, so when reading the ingredients you see such innocent sounding items as brown rice syrup, organic cane juice, organic cane syrup and agave nectar. Guess what…they are all forms of sugar!

Alternative: The key is to simply be a savvy shopper. Read labels. Educate yourself. Look for the amount of sugar per serving in the nutritional information column and watch out for sugar masquerading as innocent sounding ingredients! Organic foods can be great, but just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

I’m not against a cheat now and again (if you’ve earned it through a streak of healthy eating and discipline), but if you’re going to cheat…do it eyes wide open! These poser foods might sound healthy but can sabotage your success. Educate yourself about what’s on the shelf and you’ll be one step closer to a healthier you!

Cheers,

Jesse

PS Sorry for the delay, here is the paleo granola recipe courtesy of the awesome Dawn Krpan!

This is for all you cold cereal lovers out there…..

Paleo Granola

7 cups of seeds and nuts ( hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesameseeds, chia seeds, slivered almonds, walnut pieces,pecan pieces, pistachios, pinenuts, brazil nuts pieces, unsweetened dehydrated coconut flakes, etc any combo youcan think of but about a 50/50 split between seeds and nuts is nice )

1 cup ground sprouted or regular flax” wet ingrediants”

3 tbsp Honey or Maple syrup, or agave syrup

3 tbsp nut oil (hazelnut, sesame, walnut, etc)

2 eggs

1 cup of mashable fruit ( like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, orunsweetened applesauce, pineapple etc or any combo of them)

2 big pinches of sea salt( I know it’s not wet but trust me you want it here so that itgets evenly distributed)

Optional flavours:cinnamon, vanilla powder or extract, ginger, cardomom, cloves, almond extract,lemon or lime or orange zest,Get creative with your flavour combos!! The possibilities are endless.

1. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Mix nuts, seeds and flax in a larger bowl.

3. In a food processor or blender combine all the wet ingredients and blendthoroughly.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the nuts and seeds and mix until everything isevenly coated.

5. Line 2 baking trays with parchement paper or a silicon baking sheet, thendistribute the granola mix evenly between the 2 trays and place in the oven. Littleclumps are a good thing, so don’t try to break everything up.

6. At about 30-40 min, or when the mix starts to brown, stir the granola around so itcan get brown evenly.

7. Bake for another 30-40 mins or until nice and golden. As the mix cools it shouldget nice and crunchy just like “real granola”.Your baking times will vary depending on the type of oven.

I have a convection ovenso things bake a lot quicker. So just keep an eye on your granola and adjust thebaking time or temperature as need.

Serve with almond milk and some fruit.

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Caveman Nutrition…aka Kicking it Old School

I realized after the first part of this challenge that I had to dig deep and pull out the big guns in order to hit my 6 pack goal. That’s why I’ve decided to kick it old school…really old school and join my friends at Crossfit Ramsay for a 90 day paleo challenge!

That’s right…paleo. As in paleolithic. As in getting all Neanderthal with it.

The theory is simple enough. The idea is that as human beings our advancements in technology and shift to an agricultural society have fast outpaced our genetics. For the vast majority of human history we subsisted on a hunter-gatherer diet of fruits, vegetables and meats. Then along came the shift from a nomadic lifestyle to permanent settlements. Along with this permanent settlement came the development of agriculture. We started adding into our diets grains and dairy products, which eventually became simple sugars, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and other nasty “advancements” that are largely responsible for our current state of rampant obesity and poor health. So goes the idea that if we turn back the clock and re=connect with our hunter-gatherer roots (for the most part…after all, I’m not looking to start chasing down chickens and scrounging around city parks for wild berries) we can feed our bodies the types of foods it was designed to process.

Now I am a huge believer in the theory that you should read all you can and never believe anything you read. I’m not saying this paleo concept is the be all and end all, but there are some compelling arguments to the theory and the only way to make an informed decision is to give it a shot and see how I feel. So far it’s been 3 days and I must say…I feel pretty damn good. Since I lost my 100 lbs I haven’t been much of a bread guy and I’ve discovered that dairy products, as much as I love them, give my guts a grumpy face. That being said going the extra mile isn’t that big a step for me. Following the paleo philosophy means completely cutting out any wheat, grains, rice,  dairy and even legumes (beans, etc.). I am sure some of you doubled over at the thought of that, but it sounds pretty damn good to me. Meat, berries, fruits, nuts, seeds, greens, veggies…perfect!

Anyway that’s my story. I’ll keep you all in the loop and let you know how it goes. If you want to read more on the science and reasoning behind this line of dietary thinking I highly recommend you pick up “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf. He has some very well thought out and compelling ideas.

Until next time, keep your eye on the prize and feet on the ground.

Cheers,

Jesse



Phase 2…Let’s Finish This

Well it’s March 1st and it seems like as good a time as any to fire this thing back up and finish off what I started. For those who may not have been following before, you can find the complete back story of this little project here.

Life is good, I still have my 4 pack, but to be honest I’ve never got rid of the nagging feeling that I needed to finish what I started. Last Sunday I ran into a friend of mine named Karen. I had noticed that Karen had an article published recently in one of my favourite local magazines and I congratulated her on her success. Karen proceeded to tell me that she had basically given up on her writing and one of the blogs I had written in December had inspired her to get back at it and submit the article. She has since submitted additional articles to 28 different publications and it looks like she will be having more success in the near future.

Karen’s story was a great reminder that success never takes place in a straight line. There will always be ups and downs, successes and failures. If success were easy everyone would have it. It takes courage to move against the grain and reach for what you really want in life.

In reality goals need to be constantly moving, shifting and changing. In fact if you reach your goal at your first attempt, it probably wasn’t great enough. So I’m moving the bulls-eye. My new goal is to have a full 6 pack by April 15th, 2011. This gives me a month and a half.

So just how do I plan on achieving this goal? I plan to use a combination of funk, majesty, interpretive dance, time travel and cyborg-ery…well at least the in my imagination that’s how it’ll go down. In reality, it will be the same combination of hard work, hustle and discipline that got me this far in the first place. For diet, it’s good old-fashioned clean eating. Lean protein. Minimal carbohydrates. Lots of fruits and veggies. For exercise I will be engaging in some hardcore effort with my friends at Crossfit Ramsay. As with before I will look to post my eating and workouts on the blog. While I won’t post every day I will post at least twice a week.

So welcome back. Enjoy the ride. Let’s finish what we started…