Mindful Eating

This is a guest post by Carla Wyatt: 

Mindfulness: A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly and non-judgmentally acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.

 The present moment is the only time anyone has to perceive, learn, grow, or change. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

I am a big fan of mindfulness. I am also a big fan of eating. Put the two together? I. Am. Sold.

Mindfulness can dramatically change our lives. It can bring a deep sense of appreciation and fullness to each moment. Experiences, like eating, can be richer and more satisfying.

Mindfulness, even in its simplicity, can be one of the most challenging practices. Now that I think about it, I guess the same can be said for healthy eating.

We are used to having packed schedules, eating on the run, in our cars and eating food for convenience instead of health. We are constantly being bombarded by clever food marketing strategies and misinformation. It is no wonder that we don’t know what is what anymore! Who has time to focus on the NOW?!?

Slowing down and focusing on the present can be hard! Just try to be mindful for, let’s say, 5 minutes. Completely mindful, fully present in the moment…starting NOW, I’ll wait…

Oh, lost it already?? Yeah, me too. Did you get distracted by bacon? Just me?

sipress-im-meditating

 

The good news is that mindfulness is a PRACTICE and a great way to start the practice of mindfulness is with an eating meditation. It is traditionally done with a raisin. (In case you really dislike raisins, it can be done with anything. Might I suggest a small piece of dark chocolate?)

The eating meditation goes a little something like this…

Start by taking 3 rounds of breath, as deep into your belly as you can get it. See if you can move your awareness with your breath, following it in and out.

Put the raisin in your hand. Really look at it, like you have never seen a raisin before.

Now close your eyes.

Put the raisin in your mouth.

Slowly, S-l-o-w-l-y chew the raisin, don’t swallow. Just move it naturally in your

mouth noticing the taste and the texture. Do the flavors change? Does the texture

or shape change? What do you notice?

When you are ready, swallow the raisin and open your eyes.

No magic in that, right? That is mindful eating at its simplest.

Slow

Of course, there can be so much more to mindful eating. We can be mindful as we make our food choices at the market. We can be fully present in the experience of preparing our food. We can pay attention to how our body reacts to the foods that we are eating. The practice of mindfulness will also lead us to look into our motivation for eating. Are we truly hungry? Or are we motivated by emotions, boredom, reward, or social pressures?

Mindful eating can help us become more aware of our hunger and satiety cues. How do you feel when you start your meal? Ravenous? A little hungry? Hangry? How do you feel when you finish your meal? Do you need to unbutton your pants? Do you feel about 80% full? Eating mindfully allows time for our brain to register that we are full, which can take about 20 minutes.

Sit down, do nothing else but eat. Eat with all of your senses. Put your fork down between bites. See if you can extend your meal time and really savor your food. Make your first bite a mindful bite. Similar to the raisin exercise above. Close your eyes, and really experience the food. Do this exercise mid-way through your meal and with your last bite as well. You will be amazed at how much more satisfying the eating experience is, and likely you will feel full sooner, because you are fully present and mindful.

So what do you say? Let’s eat!

Which one are you?

Which one are you?

 

Who is Carla Wyatt?

  • Nutrition Coach at 2.0 Next Level Fitness
  • Registered Nurse– with honors from UW School of Nursing in 2000.
  • Clinic Nurse/Nutrition Educator/Biofeedback Therapist at Pacific Rehabilitation Centers since 2006; working with chronic pain patients.
  • Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
  • Eat To Perform Nutrition Coach Certification

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakshuka – It’s what’s for Breakfast

This is what traditional Shakshuka looks like

This is what traditional Shakshuka looks like. My version is slightly different

Back in October 2010 I  had the privilege of traveling to Israel for a business conference. While I was there I noticed a popular breakfast dish call shakshuka, which is basically eggs covered in a spicy tomato sauce. This dish was so good that I ate it nearly every morning for the week I was there. When I returned to the states I was inspired to make my own version of this dish. I made a few changes most notably adding sausage and scrambling the eggs. I did this for two reasons:

  1. Spicy sausage is straight delicious and as a bonus it also increased the protein content of the meal
  2. The scramble eggs were easier to cook and work better for left overs.

I found that my version is not only easy to cook, but it provides left overs allowing you to easy prep several meals at one time!

The recipe is listed below:

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1-lb hot Italian sausage (or sausage of your choice) I prefer Trader Joe’s Italian sausage because it has no preservatives and natural  ingredients
  • 1 large onion (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper (more if you want it spicier)
  • 2-14.5 ounce cans of organic diced tomatoes (the diced tomatoes with green chilies is also good in this dish!)
  • mozzarella or Monterey jack cheese

You will need 1 large pan and 1 large pot.

Add the 1 tablespoons of butter to the pan, slowly melt, then take the sausage out of the casing (if it is in casing), then start to fry the sausage on medium heat. While cooking break-up the sausage with spatula or large spoon. While sausage is cooking chop the onion, for this dish, I like the onions to be “stringy”. When the sausage is almost cooked add the onions to the pan and cook until the onions become soft.

While the sausage and onions are cooking beat a dozen eggs in a bowl. Once the onions are soft add transfer the sausage and onions to a large pot, then add the tomato sauce, crushed red pepper, and 2 tablespoons of butter to the same pot and cook on low heat.

While the sausage, onions, and tomatoes are simmering it is time to cook the eggs. Use the same pan that the sausage and onions were cooked in since it is nice and “seasoned” with the flavors of the sausage and onions. Scramble the eggs and add salt and pepper.  Once the eggs are fully cooked transfer to the same large pot, add the cheese and continue to simmer for about 5-mins until cheese is fully melted.

That’s it! You now have breakfast for the entire week!

Here is a video* on how to make Shakshuka.

*The video starts at the shakshuka recipe, however if you watch the entire video you will learn a lot about intermitted fasting as well. So it is recommended to watch the whole video.

Poor Man Fajatas and Guacamole

If you have 15-mins you have enough time to make this amazingly easy meal!

*Note-The video starts at the poor man fajitas recipe. If you watch the video from the beginning, you will learn all about BPA and why you should minimize your use of plastics as a food storage device. Definitely worth the entire watch.  

Ingredients:

  • 2-lbs of Grassfed Ground beef
  • 2 table spoons of butter
  • 2 to 4 heaping spoonfuls of favorite salsa

Guacamole recipe:

  • 1 large avacado
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 table spoon of MCT oil
  • 2 table spoon of Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 to 2 heaping spoonfuls of favorite salsa

How to make:

  1. Cut open avocado, remove seed (throw away) and scoop out avocado and put in bowl
  2. Add salt (will help with the smashing process)
  3. Smash avocado
  4. add MCT oil and Apple Cider vinegar and mix/smash thoroughly
  5. Add salsa and mix with spoon!

Could Exercise Be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss? (Survive or Thrive) Part 2

Part 1 of this blog series explained how exercise in regards to “weight loss” can be a slippery slope, because the harder you work the more energy you burn, which means, the more energy (in the form of food) your body requires for proper recovery. This delicate dance of energy balance (calories in versus calories out) can quickly spiral out of control if you are refueling with the wrong foods, thus rapidly sabotaging all your hard work in the gym. Again, this is worth repeating…“You can’t out work a bad diet”! So working out and eating the right foods consistently is a recipe for good health, but what if good is not, “good enough”? What if you want to bypass good and head straight for great? Is there more we can do?

Surviving is the bare minimum, STRIVE to THRIVE!

Surviving is the bare minimum, STRIVE to THRIVE!

Well I am glad you asked! Part 1 of this blog also series told you that what you eat matters, but it did not discuss when. When? Does the timing of when to eat certain foods really matter? The short answer is YES, yes it does! Because food timing is the key to maximum performance. But before you try any of this I recommend that first you either, 1) have a good handle on your diet or 2) start (and complete) a 30-day challenge to “reset” your bodies hormones. Because once you have successfully removed sugar and have kept your carbohydrates fairly low (for at least 30-days), your hormones should reset back to normal (for the most part) thus turning your body back into a fat burning machine. So part 1 was about what, and part 2 is about not only what but also the when, because it is all about timing!

timing

Review time: Our bodies preferred fuel source is fat, which is why we store it on our body, but glucose/glycogen(made from carbs) also plays a large role in fueling our body. Going into a little more detail…Fat is the bodies preferred fuel source for most everyday functions especially at low levels of physical effort. Glycogen, which is stored glucose, is mostly needed for high levels of physical exertion (among other things).

Remember the movie The Fast and the Furious? Before that movie came out, no one except for hardcore gear heads knew about Nitrous Oxide or “NOS”. The cars of the movie were fueled by gas, but each car also had a very limited supply of NOS, which when used, would significantly increase the cars performance. However, once the NOS was out they were not able to get that boost of performance again until the tanks were refilled. This is very similar to how our body works, fat is like gasoline, it fuels most of our everyday functions, but once we start to ramp up our exertion, up into the 70 to 90% of our max heart rate we really need glycogen.

Believe it or not, the first race scene from The Fast and the Furious (2001) is a great example of “carb timing” ;). See Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) not only used his NOS too soon, he also used too much, thus causing him to lose not only the race but also his car to Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). Check it out…

The same thing happens to us when we don’t understand how to eat for maximum performance, we either under-perform or we breakdown and/or both.

So if you are on top of the latest nutritional science you know that the amount of body fat you have is almost directly related to the amount of carbohydrates you eat. This is because the amount of glycogen you can store in your body is very, very, limited, so once your glycogen “tanks” are full, your body converts the remaining glucose into body fat. This becomes a delicate dance between eating the right amount of carbs to fuel your workouts  (to help you recover), but not eating so much that you “overfill your tanks”, causing you to increase the amount of fat being stored on your body. Trust me, this is a bigger issues that you think, especially if you are exercising regularly at a fairly high intensity level (hearth rate above 70% of your max).

choiceisyours

Here’s the issue: If you don’t eat enough carbs to top off your glycogen stores, you run the risk of not only having your metabolism slow down, but you will also feel very sluggish, you muscles will always feel sore or achy, and you may find that your overall exercise intensity has decreased. This happen to me when I first started experimenting with the primal diet. I was doing triathlons, which meant I was doing multiple workouts a day at a relativity high intensity. For the first couple of months of my primal experiment I was fine, but then I started to notice a decline in my performance. All of a sudden I started to notice that my swimming, biking, and running times were declining. Right before I started this primal experiment I was running a 20-min 5K (which is respectable) however, after a few months, it took everything I had to run the same route in 24-mins. This is a big decline! Not to mention that I just felt like crap, and my legs felt very heavy. So at this point I knew something was wrong and as I started to research this I found out that other “primal athletes” were experiencing similar symptoms.

The solution was to increase that amount of carbohydrates (fruit, potatoes, and white rice). But unfortunate it wasn’t as simple as just increasing my carbohydrates, because if I ate too many my body fat would increase (good bye abs). The simple fix is learning when to eat carbohydrate. If you ate the carbs immediately (one to two hours) after a workout, most of the carbohydrates would be used for muscle repair, and refilling your “NOS tanks”, this means that very little if any of the carbohydrates would be stored as fat. This is a good thing!

NOS tanks are topped off and I am ready to ride!

NOS tanks are topped off and I am ready to ride!

How to use carb timing for not only better performance but to look your best:

  • Rule 1 – Never eat carbohydrates, other than veggies in the morning. This means no fruit, no potatoes, no rice, and no sugar (well sugar should never be consumed). Every night when we sleep we go into a fasted state, which is where the term breakfast comes from, we are “breaking the fast”. So the goal is to extend our fasting window and eating carbohydrates first thing spikes our insulin and breaks our fast. This is why Bulletproof coffee is such an amazing product, it gives us the fat (for energy) and the keytones for our brain but does not spike our blood sugar. So you get all the benefits of extending your fast, but you won’t feel hungry or suffer from “brain fog”. If you don’t want to do Bulletproof coffee, eat a breakfast that contains fat and protein and zero carbs other than veggies. The only exception to this rule is if you workout early in the morning (this is discussed in rule 2).
  • Rule 2 – If you worked out,1 to 2 hours afterwards is the best time to consume your carbohydrates. So if you love your fruit smoothie, don’t drink it for breakfast, drink it right after your workout. Also depending on how hard you worked out, you may want to have a small potato or a small amount of white rice.
  • Rule 3 –  If you are taking a rest day from working out or you are injured and/or can’t workout for an extended period of time, strive to keep your carbs low, 100-grams or less. If you do eat carbs, eat them later in the day, preferably for dinner (remember we want to extend that fasting window for as long as possible).
  • Rule 4 – Once a week do a carb re-feed. Some people call this a “cheat day”, but I don’t believe in eating mass amounts of junk food cause it is my “cheat day”. But what I recommend is to increase your carbohydrate consumption. This is a day to eat as much rice, potatoes (sweet or white), quinoa, fruit, or any other approved carb as you want. I never recommend eating sugar but if you must, this is the day. The key is enjoy this day, go out for some sushi, make some homemade hash-browns, or eat a loaded baked potato, enjoy yourself. The purpose of a carb re-feed is keep your hormones in check. If you workout very hard consistently while simultaneously keeping your carbs low, your body starts to get “stressed out”, thus releasing Cortisol, the “fat storing” hormone. If you really want to be gangster, you can combine your carb re-feed day with a protein fast day. This is something I learned about while attending the Bulletproof Conference and I have been doing it for the last 3-weeks. If you are interested in learning more about a protein fast please read this blog.
  • Rule 5 – Referring back to rules 2, 3, and 4. This is an experiment and should be treated as such. This means, I can’t tell you exactly how many grams of carbohydrates you should eat because everyone is different, we have different genetics, different fitness goals, different hormones, and even different builds. But here are some guidelines to help you get started on your own healthy life experiment.
    • Non-work days –  Strive to keep your carb consumption to 100-grams or less.
    • Workout days – Increase your carbohydrates to 150-200 grams.
    • Carb Re-feed days – Increase your carbs to 200-250 grams

KB

So if you have completed your 30-day food challenge and/or have a good understanding of what to and what not to eat, the next step is to follow the 5-rules listed above and start concentrating on when you eat. But please don’t blindly follow them, treat it as an experiment, remember we are all different. So pay attention to the amount of carbs you consume on certain days and most importantly document how you look, feel, and perform on these same days. Because if you treat it like an experiment, it won’t take long till have have an even better understanding of your overall health. And the more you understand about your own health the better you will look, the better you will perform and the more successful you will be at life! Lets strive to THRIVE!

Primal Wings

“I don’t like chicken legs, unless they are covered in hot sauce” – me

Their is nothing more primal than eating meat on a bone! Which means, chicken wings can be a fairly healthy food, if made correctly. The reason chicken wings have such a bad reputation is they are usually covered in breading, deep fried in rancid vegetable oil, and covered in sauces that can best be described as; a chemical shit storm. But the chicken wing does not have be an unhealthy food. Luckily, it is very easy to make a very healthy chicken wing! Try this very easy recipe and enjoy the new updated, chicken wing, Chicken Wing 2.0!

IMG_5545

Are you ready for some football?

Ingredients:

  • 6-lbs of chicken wings
  • 1-cup Franks hot sauce
  • 8-tablespoons of Kerry Gold butter
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Red Chile powder (to taste)
  • Red Pepper flake (Optional)
Ingredients

Ingredients

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

Step 2: Cover the wings generously with salt and pepper

IMG_5513

Step 3: Cover 2 large baking pans with Foil

Step 4: Place six pieces of chicken on wooden skewer

IMG_5515

Step 5: Bake wings at 450 for approximately 1-hr

Bake at 450 for 1-hr

Bake at 450 for 1-hr

Step 6: About 45-mins after putting chicken in oven, start making the sauce. To make sauce, combine the hot sauce, the butter, garlic powder, the chile powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flake (if you like the sauce spicy!). Heat the sauce at a low to medium heat, if sauce gets too hot (temperature) the butter separates. Continue to stir the sauce intermittently until well mixed.

IMG_5526

Step 7: After chicken is done and sauce is thoroughly mixed allow both to cool for about 10-min. Then place the wings in a bowl while layering wings and sauce until the bowl is full.

Layering the wings and sauce

Layering the wings and sauce

Step 8: Enjoy!!!

Stop, You Will Ruin Your Dinner!

“Don’t eat that, it will ruin your dinner”  – My Mom

Greek yogurt, Almonds, Smoothies, Raisins, Cheese, Dates, Almond Butter, Paleo jerky, and a Paleo version of  (insert baked good here _______), what do all these foods have in common? Um, they are great healthy snacks, right? Well, yeah, I mean no! I mean yes, they are definitely healthy snacks, but these same “healthy” snacks, are  most likely preventing you from reaching your ideal body image. Wait,… what?! Yes, there is a really good chance that snacking is not only ruining your appetite for dinner it is also ruining your waistline!

eat-for-your-long-term-goals

Really?! Yes, eating a snack, be it a healthy snack or an unhealthy snack, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that if you eat a snack before dinner there is a 100% chance you will eat less dinner. Wait, are you saying this is a bad thing? I sure am! Please don’t tell me you were you expecting me to say, “eating a healthy snack right before dinner, is a great idea, it will curb your appetite, thus helping you consume less calories, because calories in – calories out, blah, blah, blah”. Well, I am not going to tell you that, I haven’t sold out (yet 😉 ). I am not a corporate spokesman trainer like Julian Michaels or Bob Harper, I am not just going to read you the party line, instead I am going to tell you the truth. And the truth is?…

Say what!

Well if it is good enough for her…

The truth is that you are not 5, you are not a child and you should be able to go for many hours without needing food, even while doing strenuous work. I don’t know about you, but I am a grown ass man! And in-case ya’ll must’ve forgot, “MAN” is the baddest, most capable, animal on planet Earth!  So the truth is, a grown-ass man, or a grown-ass woman, is more than capable of working many hours without the needing a paleo muffin.

But If I go more than 3 hours without food, I get lightheaded, I get tired, and I get angry.”

Talk about 1st world problems! Come on! We are better than this! You! Yes, you reading this, you are better than this, you are stronger than this! Are you really that weak? Are you really that dependent on food that you can’t function normally if you don’t eat something every few hours? How long would you last in the zombie apocalypse, if you didn’t have immediate access to a granola bar, or a banana? Remember the human body is capable of amazing feats of strength, endurance and stamina, the body is designed for work, the body is designed for efficiency, I think you can go a few hours without “needing” greek yogurt…

Do you think I should bring 2 or 3 granola bars for our Saber Tooth Tiger hunt?

Do you think I should bring 2 or 3 granola bars for our Saber Tooth Tiger hunt?

But before we go any further we must discuss why people snack. There are usually 3 reasons why:

  1. You are actually hungry – This is the best case scenario. You are healthy, you are not a slave to food, but you need a few extra calories due to an increased work load. But believe it or not, most people are not at this “level”. To be at this level you must have a healthy relationship with food. So most people snack for one of the next two reasons…
  2. You are metabolically broken – In other words you are a sugar burner. You eat way too much sugar and way too many processed carbohydrates, you eat so much that your body has literally “forgotten” how to burn fat (your bodies preferred source) for fuel . So the result is, spikes and crashes of blood sugar that happen every few hours. So tell me how long can you go without eating before you get lighted headed…If this sounds familiar, you need to understand that your diet is completely out of whack! This is no way to live and you should be serious about changing your relationship with food.
  3. You are bored – While reason #2 is bad, this reason maybe worse, because you are not even hungry you are just looking to kill a little time. I am not perfect, I have been guilty of doing this in the past, especially when I had my “office space” type job. The job was dull and monotonous which created the perfect storm for boredom. So what did I do? I would walk to the snack bar. I knew I could kill 15-mins, going to the snack bar and buying a Kit-Kat. I also knew, that I could kill another 45-mins feeling sorry for myself after eating said Kit-Kat. I got no enjoyment from this, I wasn’t even hungry I just wanted something to do, and the candy bar filled a void in my uninspiring job. Are you guilty of this? I bet you are. So the next time you think you want a snack, ask yourself, am I hungry or do I just need to get a new job (bored)?
Man I am bored. I wonder what there is to eat around here...

Man I am bored! I wonder what there is to eat around here…

So while, Greek yogurt, Almonds, Smoothies, Raisins, Cheese, Almond Butter, are definitely great healthy snacks, they are not the “healthiest” foods in the world, they don’t represent a broad spectrum of necessary nutrients. So if you need a snack these are definitely the “go to” choices but when compared nutritionally to a balanced dinner there is no comparison. A healthy dinner– Grassfed ribeye steak, grilled organic asparagus, fresh house salad and a good glass of red wine (I am a grown-ass man 😉 ) is a COMPLETE meal, it contains healthy fats, lots of protein, healthy carbs, tons of vitamins and minerals. This type of a meal is much healthier than a handful of almonds, a piece of cheese, and a paleo muffin. But instead of having complete meal, you are “wasting calories” filling up on sub-par foods, you are filling up on the “C-Students” of the healthy food world. Remember you get out what you put in and eating average foods, will get you average results. I don’t know about you but nothing scares me more than being average!

Motivated by the fear of being average

Motivated by the fear of being average

Do you allow too many average foods in your diet? Are you a chronic snacker? If your answer is yes, don’t worry you can always change, but you must first realize that you have a problem. Then you must be willing to change, remember the definition of insanity…

So welcome to snacker’s anonymous. You first duty is to recognize that you are GROWN, you must recognize that you and you alone are responsible for your actions. Second, you need to “man” up, you need to take charge of your overall health, you need to tell your body, “I am strong”, you need to tell your body that “I am not a slave to food”. You need to realize, that you have more than enough energy to get through the day, without needing to eat every few hours. Remember your body is the most amazing “vehicle” on the planet and like all vehicles, it needs fuel and the better the fuel the better the performance. So eat the best foods possible at all times and keep the snacking to a minimum. Snack less, eat more!