A guest post

Thrilled to be a guest blogger at my new friend John’s awesome running and fitness blog, Fit for 365! Thanks, John!

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#nationalpancakeday

Apparently, that exists! Always one to celebrate a national holiday (usually when it comes to taking the day off) I decided today would be a great day to play around with one of my recent favorite recipes, the Paleo Pancake.

This pancake adventure started on Valentine’s Day when I wanted to make my man-candy some heart-shaped paleo pancakes. The heart-shape didn’t happen, but I added cacao powder and raspberries and that made up for everything. Of course, I couldn’t make these without finding a replacement for flour, and I first read about Nom Nom Paleo using coconut flour to make their own Savory Pancakes. In a surprising twist, though, the only coconut flour I could find (Bob’s Red Mill, a favorite brand) has been “defatted” which is not on the list of things I want to happen to my coconut products, so I went with the amazingly high fat hazelnut flour instead.

And then it’s time to play around. Both on Valentine’s Day and today, National Pancake Day, I made two or three batches of mini (OK, they were pretty much regular sized) pancakes to try out what worked best…and because they’re such a treat in this barren pastry-desert we call diabetes…and because they make a pretty great post-workout snack or meal.

First, the basics:

  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Flour
  • 2 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Ground Flax meal
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk

And from there the possibilities are endless. I mixed in coconut flakes for a more savory pancake, chia seeds which give it a little bit of that gelatinous texture in the center (which is a little weird, but not a bad way to get your chia seeds in), cacao powder which was a total hit, and applesauce which may have been my favorite – it added a little moisture and that delicious fruity taste. All of the above ingredients could be used at around 1 tbsp – add a little more coconut milk or another egg if things get too thick. And of course, top with pastured butter, fresh or frozen berries, and/or organic maple syrup or Trimax’s favorite, local organic Yacon Syrup. Or one other secret killer topping: full fat greek or icelandic yogurt. Touchdown!

Playing with Food – Meatloaf Muffins and Homemade Ketchup

I’m lucky to have a hands-on kitchen-helper of a man in my life for a) those nights where I can’t lift a finger and he makes one of his man-specialties, like  (grass-fed) burgers and (organic) guac and b) when I’m making something that involves tons of chopping and/or supervising. But some nights, I just like to look up a few recipes, get some ideas, then take out my ingredients and start playing. And when my helpful man pops his head and asks, “Can I do anything to help?” I say, “No thanks, I’m just playing.”

Tonight, I got some inspiration from Quick and Easy Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield but, only having certain ingredients, spun it my own way and it turned out super-duper delish. Here’s the Trimax recipe for MEATLOAF MUFFINS!!!!!!:

  • 2 lbs ground meat (we used 1 lb grass fed beef and 1 lb elk, which we recently discovered in one of our local grocery stores – eee!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup flax meal (a Trimax favorite substitute for breadcrumbs or flour)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 generous pinches of Himalayan salt
  • 3-4 turns of fresh ground pepper

The best part about this recipe was using my underused muffin tin – I’ve experimented with paleo baked goods in the past but this was my first muffin-shaped triumph. So, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the cups of your muffin tins with coconut oil. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl, then get your hands in there and mix everything together (this part is a great project for the kitchen-helper. I imagine kids would love doing this.) Once everything is well mixed, drop hand-shaped balls of the meat mixture into the cups. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.

And what’s meatloaf without ketchup?? Last time I looked at a bottle of Heinz I was chagrined to find that it’s crammed full of high fructose corn syrup, so I knew it was time to try making my own at home. This homesteading stuff sure looks awesome but was never something I thought I’d get myself to do…that is, until I had some awesome meatloaf that needed some ketchup. So, courtesy of PaleoGubs, I played with one of their recipes and wound up using a lighter hand with the tomato paste and a much heavier hand with the vinegar and spices.

Here’s the Trimax recipe for HOMEMADE KETCHUP!!!!!!!

  • 6oz can organic tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized!)
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp curry
  • 1 tbsp Himalayan salt

Toss all ingredients into a saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until the water starts to boil, then reduce to medium heat and continue to stir. Add a bit more water if your ketchup is looking too thick. Keep stirring until ingredients are well mixed, which shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Gently transfer into a mason jar and allow to cool – then schmear some on your muffins!!!

Learn to Love Your Food

Couldn’t agree more, Mr. Wilson

Matt Wilson Personal Training

i-love-eating-200x200

You can quit smoking.

You can quit pharmaceuticals.

You can quit drinking alcohol.

You can quit being a couch potato.

You can quit not running.

You can quit not exercising.

***

Wanna know what you can’t quit?

Eating.

You can’t quit food.

All of the unhealthful habits above, you can quit.  In fact, you can quit them cold turkey.  Sure, there will be withdrawals and aches and pains, but stay the course and you come out on the other side.

What happens if you quit eating?

You die.

This is one of the reasons so many people have a hard time with their weight.  Their addiction is not something that they can just quit, cold turkey or otherwise.  Unfortunately, through a chain of events that may or may not be of their own making, poor eating habits have developed and the physiology, chemistry and physical make up of their bodies…

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To Sit or Stand or Move….at your Desk?

Athletes love being athletes for a lot of reasons, not least of which is just how great it feels to MOVE. If you are like 83% of the country (I made that statistic up) and sit most of the day to work, then even if you are an athlete, and even if you do work out twice a day, then you still may well be sitting for 7+ hours at your desk, and that means trouble. One solution could be the stand-up desk (and can often be found at the Trimax office in the form of a stack of thick books piled under a laptop.) If that is not an option (though, I personally recommend it. Not only does it save yourself a pain in the neck/back/butt, but there’s nothing like reinventing the desk to make you feel like you’ve having a productive day) then there’s this advice from “The Power of Story” by Dr. Jim Loehr:

“We need to move at regular intervals. We’re built to move, not to sit. Movement makes the blood flow better. The more we move, the better we feel. The more mentally alert we are. The better we function cognitively. The less muscular tension and discomfort we experience. The more hormones get released, prolonging the salutary effects. Physical movement serves to enhance engagement by improving oxygen transport to cells. Lack of movement for extended periods of time (more than ninety minutes) makes it hard – impossible, actually – to be fully engaged. And the longer you don’t move, the harder it is to be engaged. Why are we wiped out after a long meeting or flight? No, it’s not all from the boring agenda items you’ve been reviewing on your laptop or the dry airplane air. It’s because we’ve been physically inactive for hours. Our blood hasn’t circulated but instead has pooled, along with oxygen, in our now swollen feet. (A bit of advice: Never make a big decision while your feet are swollen.) When sitting, you’re stifling blood flow to your largest muscle group, your behind. (And literally causing yourself – sorry – a pain in the ass.) Lack of movement = lack of energy….The more you move, conversely, the more energy we create, the better you perform. To perform better, you need to move more. You simply can’t not feel the positive effect of movement. (Better still is to move when outdoors: Sunlight elevates your serotonin level, further increasing your energy….As Chris Jordan, [Human Performance Institute’s] chief exercise physiologist and master exercise/movement storyteller, says week after week: Movement is the most powerful stimulant the body can experience. It needn’t even be extended or rigorous movement. Just movement, plain and simple, provides a surprisingly good bang for the buck, particularly when it’s breaking up extended periods of inactivity such as mid-afternoon meetings. For instance, standing up – nothing more, just standing up from a sitting position – doubles your metabolic rate! Go for even a short walk and you’ve doubled the burn rate again. To prevent the mental and emotional disengagement that inevitably follow when you don’t move, even small movements of the hands, feet, and arms should be made every thirty to forty-five minutes, and large movements such as walking, climbing stairs, or full-body stretching should be practiced every ninety minutes to two hours. The bigger the rate of motion, the better; flexing hand muscles won’t stimulate you as much as arm muscles, and so on…”

This is by far my favorite book excerpt to share with clients because it is so clear, and so simplistic: our bodies are meant to MOVE. So do that, whenever possible. Workouts are great – while you’re looking forward to your next one, get up and take a walk.

Back to Basics Tip – Goal Setting

As coaches, we constantly see people set goals like, “I’m going to run my first olympic tri/trail run/ultra this year” or even, “I want to finish my next race faster than my last.” All great goals, all from new and seasoned athletes alike. One way to use a goal like that is to bring it to mind every time you feel yourself wavering, wanting to pick up the doughnut instead of the green shake, or wanting to stay out late instead of getting sleep and hitting the trail early. Last week we talked about finding your baseline measurements, and once you find those, your next step is to come up with a goal based on that data to help you get where you’re going.

But what really ensures that you reach your goal? What gets you from point A to point B? Those listed above and others like it are what we call “outcome based goals.” Easy to tell if your goal falls into this category: is the goal based around an eventual result? On the other hand, we have “behavior based goals,” which you can probably tell are based around your behaviors and not the outcome you’re setting out for. Both are critical to progression and improvement, but a behavior based goal outlines the steps that you will take to reach your outcome. “I’m going to run 50 miles this week, with one workout being at least 13 miles long,” is an example of a behavior goal that will get you ready for your outcome goal of finishing your first olympic distance tri. Or, “I’m going to sleep 7 hours every night and won’t drink any alcohol for two weeks before my race” is another behavior based goal that might bring you to your outcome goal of finishing your next race faster than your last.

One other tip to keep in mind when setting your goals: make sure they’re specific and measurable. As in, “I’m going to bike 25 miles every Saturday for two months,” rather than “I’m going to bike more.” For an outcome based goal, try “I want to run my next marathon in less than 3 hours,” rather than “I want to run a faster marathon.” Not only will this give your subconscious something to grab onto and turn into a behavior pattern, but it will offer measurable data to track your progress and show you how far you’ve come.

What do your goals usually look like? If you work with a coach or a trainer, share your outcome based goals and get them to help you find the behavior based goals for you to work toward that outcome with.  Or, you can be your own fitness engineer – write down what you want to do and calculate what it will take to get there. If there’s one thing we know about triathletes, it’s that they’re stat junkies. Go, stat junkie, go!

A Reluctant Chef Figures it Out

For two days now I’ve had this nagging, lingering annoyance with…I’m about to say it…cooking. When this happens, I start grazing, which is never good. Hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, cans of tuna – my veggie intake goes way down and my training schedule (or anything schedule) gets super cramped as I’m always sort of half-digesting the last snack but still hungry for the next. A year and a half ago I never cooked. Breakfast cereal was a staple in my diet, a completely acceptable choice at any time of day and for any meal. A health crisis got me to start cooking and caring for my health, but how good I felt and how fun and creative and empowering I found it kept me going. I lived in New York City at the time, so even at those moments when I didn’t feel like cooking or didn’t have the “time” or ingredients I could easily – as all things are meant to be in New York – swing by Whole Foods or a health food store and visit their carefully labeled salad bar and find something to fit my dietary needs du jour.

As of two months ago, John and I left NYC and moved to a suburb in Southern California. Everything about this move has improved our health and happiness, as well as our opportunities for training, but it is missing one single thing that I know I got very used to after six years in New York: convenience. We’re not really walking distance from much, especially not an organic prepared salad bar, and I’m still getting used to driving again. What this really means, though, is that when I’m not in the mood to cook, there better be some leftovers in the fridge because, like it or not, ordering pizza stopped being an option awhile ago. I long for the days when a bowl of cereal was a viable meal, and as that sort of thinking takes over, I start to resent having to cook almost every meal, every day of my life. I start to blame the “diet” that I’m on – if only Paleo, or HFLC (high fat low carb) weren’t so “limiting” then I wouldn’t be having this problem. And I stare begrudgingly into our fridge full of fresh, cook-able meats and produce and lament that none of them look very appetizing raw.

Today, I walked into the kitchen after a short run, already pissed off since it was supposed to be a long run, and felt that same resentment starting to mount. Another moment where a friggen bowl of cereal would just be perfect, if only. Then I noticed a half-empty box of cherry tomatoes on the counter starting to shrivel slightly. Those are ready to be chopped up and thrown in a skillet, I thought. With some onions, and kale. And any protein would go with that. So that’s what I did, scrambling it all up with some eggs and throwing some avocado on top. Somehow, through that process of using tomatoes before they went bad, and pumping up the vegetable ratio of my meal, and making something that tasted delicious instead of resentfully gnawing on raw carrots, that resentment dissolved. I stopped waging war on reality, and on myself. It’s cooking, not filing taxes, and it’s a gift we give ourselves and our bodies every time we do it. Not only did I stop being ticked about the short run, but I remembered that breakfast cereal, while sugary and convenient, was just a way of ignoring myself and my health, and all of that is just not a part of the equation anymore.