Category Archives: nutrition

Muscle Soreness? Boost BCAA’s (maybe…)

Ever complain about being too tired and sore during or in-between your workouts? 

Whether you are a group fitness junkie, weekend warrior, power lifter, regular gym-goer, cyclist or competitive athlete, branch chained amino acids (BCAAs) may need a boost in your life.

Before heading out to your local supplement store or tossing “BCAAs” into your Amazon cart, let’s review a few basic considerations BEFORE supplementing your diet with BCAAs.

First, and foremost, you may need good old fashioned REST. You may be overdoing it at the gym and to incorporate another rest and recovery day.

Second, ask yourself, are you hydrating yourself enough? Your urine should me light yellow. Is it? If not, drink up!

Third, have you been getting enough SLEEP? If not, your body may be lacking essential nighttime muscle recovery. Revisit your evening routine and dedicate more time to sleep.

Fourth, what are you putting into your body to FUEL it properly? Junk? Grease? Sugar? If so, you may need to revamp your nutrition game. You know–filling half your plate with non-starchy colorful veggies and/or fruits, a quarter of your plate with a lean protein, a quarter to whole grains, and a thumbsize portion of healthy fat. P.S. Make sure you eat enough throughout the day.

Okay. Okay. Got numbers 1 though 4 down pat? Still tired and sore? Then you might want to consider supplementing with BCAAs.

One of my favorite supplement brands is Nutrology. And as a recent self-proclaimed, almost vegan, I am excited to say Nutrology’s BCAAs are vegan!

Pssst…You can receive 20% off with CEBFIT2 discount code. Oh, and I highly recommend the coconut orange flavor.


“For anyone in the business of fitness with the goal of achieving a lean and muscular frame for the long haul, it is important to understand just how much branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs can do for the body. BCAAs are essential to muscle maintenance; however, the body is unable to naturally manufacture them.

BCAAs play a crucial role in muscle creation, repair, and maintenance which is why it is recommended for anyone engaging in any rigorous exercise. They trigger the synthesis of proteins while also preventing the breakdown of muscles for energy production. They are amino acids after all; and are called the building blocks of the body for good reason.

Studies have shown that supplementing BCAAs before or during exercise reduces the breakdown of protein for up to 5 days after training. 

The Truth About Sourcing of BCAAs

BCAAs can come from both plant-based and animal-based sources. For years, it was a well-kept industry secret that BCAAs were derived from animal sources such as swine, fur, hair, and feathers. These animal sources were treated with acids and cleaned with certain chemicals so that the amino acids could be extracted from these sources. Not very appetizing, socially conscious or sustainable, is it?

Plant based BCAA sources are derived from either soy or corn. But the challenge with plant-based BCAAs is that they can contain allergens, and many are sourced from GMO farms. Fortunately, there are solid sources of Non-GMO farms that are producing non-allergen plant-based BCAAs. Corn has become popular material in the fermentation process of BCAA’s because it is not considered an allergen like soy.

Nutrology uses trusted Non-GMO farms with a proven record of producing the highest quality plant-based BCAAs anywhere, non-allergen and with no artificial flavoring, coloring or sweeteners. 

(Source: Nutrology email correspondence,, 2/5/2018)

RECEIVE 20% OFF ALL NUTROLOGY PRODUCTS WITH CEBFIT2 DISCOUNT CODE.

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FREE and Healthy Airplane Food: Quinoa Salad and Eggplant Sandwich

Okay, maybe this meal is not free. However, it is not overpriced, salty, and tasteless airplane food. Here’s one of my go-to meals when traveling. Yes, it does require some food prep, but your stomach will thank me later!

Salad Ingredients: 

  • cooked quinoa
  • kalamata olives
  • feta cheese 
  • sliced cucumber
  • grape tomatoes
  • shredded kale and/or spinach
  • fresh herb (your choice! I like basil or oregano)
  • sliced red bell pepper
  • lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil

Extras

  • baked eggplant slices
  • whole wheat lavash bread, tortilla, or pita

 

Make a little eggplant and salad sandwich on your whole grain!

  • bonus dressing for sandwhich – mix minced garlic and fresh basil with canola mayo

Essentials to Make This a Success

  1. Frozen ice pack  

    I like to freeze water inside of a food storage bag and use it as an ice pack. You can empty melted ice water as it melts during your travels. Plus, you can reuse the bag on your return trip. A frozen bag of water does NOT count as a liquid according to TSA. Tip: double bag it to eliminate excess condensation as your homemade ice pack melts.

  2. Insulated food bag

    This is an easy way to store your food and keep it chilled (and sanitary) while traveling. Note: Organic (raw) foods tend to trigger TSA systems. You might get pulled to the side and asked what’s in your bag. 

  3. Plastic fork and spoon
  4. Napkin
  5. Hand sanitizer
  6. Food storage bag or recyclable plastic container to store foods. 

Happy eating! 

And you’re welcome. 

Top 11 Ways to Live Forever!

I recently saw this list posted on social media and thought it would be worth sharing with you this month. The list was generated by a medical doctor who maintains a website about natural health information. I do not exactly know what is meant by the term “natural” within this context; nevertheless, I believe the list is pretty accurate! Of course, you may not live forever by following these 11 healthy lifestyle tenets, but hopefully you will live a long, healthy life.

IMG_0812

Photo source. http://www.mercola.com

After reading the list, what do you need to improve upon?
Is there anything you would add? 

Notice how the first six items all relate to nutrition? Hmm… I think we’re on to something!

Eat right AND move more!

Hearty Kale Salad Mexicana

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite cuisines–Mexican.

Ingredients:

5 cups fresh chopped Kale

1 cup Cilantro

1/3 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup shredded red cabbage

2-3 sliced radishes

1 sliced Granny Smith Apple

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cup Black beans (boiled, not from a can)

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or other favorite cheese

Organic Chipotle salsa  (I used Trader Joe’s brand here. I also like Wegman’s brand. Be careful and read nutrition label. Some salsa’s have a lot of added sugar and/ sodium.) 

Sliced fresh hot peppers (optional)

Sliced avocado (optional)

Directions:

Toss the first seven ingredients in a large glass or hard plastic bowl. Add black beans (hot or cold, depending on your preference). Sprinkle on 2 to 3 teaspoons of cheese. For a dressing, add a few tablespoons of the organic chipotle salsa. Enjoy! This recipe prepares approximately 6 large single servings.

TIP: Increase caloric intake of this dish by adding brown rice and/or grilled chicken!

The Next Trend….Winercise?

‘Tis the season for drinking wine and bubbly to celebrate festive meals and special occasions with family, friends, and dear loved ones. Actually, many folks would argue that every day is a great day to drink a glass of your favorite fermented grape.

Recently, a research study at the University of Alberta has been floating around social media saying drinking red wine, or more specifically, consumption of resveratrol, can serve as a replacement to good old-fashioned exercise.

Of course, I dug a little deeper into the methodology, results, and conclusion of this study.

  1. The study is not recent. It was originally conducted in 2012.
  2. Methods. The study was conducted on rats.
  3. Results. 
    1. Compared to sedentary rats, ET (endurance-type exercise training) alone significantly reduced body weight in rats fed either the standard diet or the diet supplemented with RESV (resveratrol).
    2. Supplementing diets of sedentary rats with RESV resulted in a significant improvement (∼25%) in exercise performance.
    3. 12 weeks of ET on its own dramatically increased the endurance of rats compared to sedentary rats. (This is  no brainer.)
    4. Interestingly, compared to ET alone, ET + RESV increased exercise performance a further ∼20% demonstrating that the addition of RESV improves exercise performance beyond ET alone. (so based on this study and this study alone, this means exercising AND drinking wine helps improve endurance training!)  (Dolinsky, Jones, et al., 2012)

Say what?

Yes, according to this study (conducted on rats), exercising and drinking red wine as a part of your regular daily diet helps improve endurance training.


What does this mean for you, me,
and the next person trying to live a healthy, active life?

PORTION –

The study does not recommend a suggested daily portion of red wine consumption and the positive health benefits it may have on endurance training.

Several studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health have concluded that drinking a daily glass of red wine may prevent heart disease (Wine and Heart Health, 2015) and decrease blood sugar levels (Daily Glass of Wine, 2015) for Type 2 diabetics. Note, one glass or serving is equated to four ounces.

MULTI-PRONGED APPROACH –

Although, these studies point out the health benefits of a daily 4 ounce glass of wine, it should not be done in isolation of several other healthy lifestyle habits such as,

HEALTHY IS AS HEALTHY DOES

Lastly, we really don’t know if it’s portion-controlled daily consumption of red wine (or any other alcoholic drink) that accounts for increased health benefits in people who drink moderately because they may be healthier than others to begin with.

So, go ahead and sip in moderation, stay hydrated with water, eat healthy, and maintain an active lifestyle!

Cheers!

Bonus Knowledge for all BEER DRINKERSCheck out what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has to say about the benefits of drinking an ice cold beer!

References:

Ansel, K. (2014). Have a Brewski! 5 Ways Beer Can Help Your Health. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved from, http://www.eatright.org

Daily Glass of Wine May Boost Type 2 Diabetics’ Heart Health, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155099.html

Dolinsky, V. W., Jones, K. E., Sidhu, R. S., Haykowsky, M., Czubryt, M. P., Gordon, T. and Dyck, J. R. B. (2012), Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats. The Journal of Physiology, 590: 2783–2799. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230490

No author. (2015). Wine and Hearth Health, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001963.htm

Easy, Breezy Kale Salad Remix

  
Who says you can’t bring a healthy, tasty dish to a potluck? Try this quick, easy, delicious, nutrient dense kale salad! 

Ingredients: 

5 cups fresh chopped Kale

1/3 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup shredded red cabbage

1 sliced yellow pepper

1 sliced Granny Smith Apple

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped salt-free pecans

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Lite basalmic vinegar dressing OR make your own with….

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (salt-free)

1/4 tsp ground pepper

The lemon juice helps the apple not brown. I suggest adding the red cabbage, cheese, Apple, and pecans within an hour of the salad being served. 

Add enough dressing to your liking. Enjoy!! 

Sweet Potato Hack: Ditch the Butter & Sugar!

Do you like your sweet potatoes doused with a ridiculous amount of butter and brown sugar

spotaters

AND

trying to eat healthier?

Try this healthy sweet potato hack and let me know if it satisfies that ever so present sweet tooth.

photo(2)

  1. Microwave, bake, or boil your sweet potato.
  2. Slice open or mash to your liking.
  3. Instead of butter, add some ORGANIC COCONUT OIL. (healthy fats)
  4. Instead of brown sugar, add 1/3 of mashed ripe BANANA. (natural source of sugar, good source for potassium, fiber, & vitamin C)
  5. Top off with some cinnamon and nutmeg.

Enjoy! This is super easy to prepare in less than 5 minutes.

Let me know how you like it!

 

photo #1 credit: thecottagemama.com
photo #2: Candice Elaine brooks (c) 2015

No Time? No Problem! – A Quick Healthy Meal On-The-Go!

2015-08-16 17.45.15Who says you can’t eat healthy at a live professional sports game? I suppose having media credentials and treating all facility staff with the utmost kindness and respect allows me to bring my snack bag into each game, but hey, I’ll take it!

This is something I threw together in less than 7 minutes! I honestly didn’t know what I was going to take to the game, I just knew I had to pack SOMETHING–or else! I opened the refrigerator and made this up on the fly. Here are the ingredients.

1/2 c. Brown rice

1/2 c. Organic baby spinach

1/3 c. English cucumber (with peel)

1/2 can Albacore tuna fish (canned in water)

1/4 c. Chopped carrots

1 Tbsp. Italian dressing

Layer the ingredients in your to-go dish, pop the top on, throw it on an ice pack, and GO! Oh, don’t forget your fork.

Basic Nutrition Facts: 294 cal, 33g carb, 6g fat, 28g protein, 475 sodium, 4g sugars

SODIUM ALERT! SODIUM ALERT!
Yikes! This meal has more sodium than I thought. Low sodium alternative: ditch the dressing and use a little extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon or lime juice. Also, see if you can find some low sodium or no salt added albacore tuna.

Quick & Easy Protein Rich Smoothie

In the name of saving time and eating healthy, here’s a quick and simple smoothie just for you! Scroll down and you’ll see the recipe and a few tips!

smoothie

1 c. Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 frozen banana

1 scoop of your favorite vanilla or chocolate protein powder (I used Nutrology Grass Fed Whey)

1 Tbsp organic creamy peanut butter

4 large frozen strawberries

Directions: Toss everything into your handy dandy blender. Enjoy!

Basic Nutrition Facts: 298 cal, 20g carb, 12g fat, 30g protein, 267 sodium, 9g sugars

The majority of the sugar is from the fruit. Be careful with your protein powder! It may be loaded with sugar. Mine wasn’t because I used Nutrology Grass Fed Whey. [Receive a 20% discount and free shipping for online purchases. Enter CEBFIT upon checkout.] You can also use fresh unfrozen fruit and add a few ice cubes to beef up the frozen smoothie texture. 

TIP: For all of the folks out there looking to lose weight, I recommend getting most of your natural added sugars in your diet earlier on in the day. It gives you more time to burn those calories off throughout the course of your day.

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