PAIGE JOHNSON ON WHOLE FOODS AND SURPRISING HEALTH BENIFITS

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IMPROVE YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH BY EMBRACING WHOLE FOODS AND DITCHING THE JUNK by PAIGE JOHNSON

When you are working on improving your health, be it mental, physical or both, making some dietary modifications can lead to major progress in your well-being. Good nutrition can not only improve your figure, but it can help to combat challenging issues such as depression, chronic pain, and even drug addiction. Even small changes can add up to produce big results over time and many people find themselves amazed at how much better they feel after committing to a healthier diet.

Small changes produce large results over time

SF Gate recommends taking small steps in changing your diet, even if it means tackling just one thing a week and adding another change each week. Relying on a diet filled with soda, caffeine, alcohol, sugary treats, and fat-laden foods can take a serious toll on your health. Making a commitment to transition away from those types of foods and incorporate nutrient-dense choices will result in major improvements in both your mental and physical well-being.

Good first steps may be to start drinking water, stop picking up fast food for meals, or work on getting in your fruit and vegetable servings every day. Many people find it helpful to keep a food diary for a while, writing down everything in an honest and thorough manner, as this can help you pinpoint problematic habits. Once you have been logging your food intake for a while, a food diary can also become a motivator as the successes build.

Berkeley Wellness details that a well-balanced diet will incorporate not only plenty of vegetables and fruits, but also whole grains, fish, nuts, avocados, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Try to cut back on refined sugar and processed foods, focusing on whole foods as much as possible in order to achieve the best possible results.

Many health challenges can be successfully battled via dietary changes

Incorporating healthy food choices into your diet doesn't only impact your weight. These changes can go a long way toward combating a wide variety of ailments as well. For example, those who are battling addictions frequently experience malnutrition issues, and dietary changes can have a big impact on recovery. Those working through recovery should cut back on processed foods, caffeine, sugar and refined carbohydrates while increasing protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Addiction isn't the only battle that can be significantly eased via dietary changes. When it comes to depression, changing what you eat can definitely have a big impact. The Huffington Post shared some insight from a large study done at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria that pointed toward fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and Omega-3 fatty acids as key components of a healthy diet that helped to ward off or limit depression.

The issue of chronic pain affects many people and diet can play a major role in this type of health condition. CNN details that foods such as processed sugars and high-glycemic starches can cause issues in people dealing with chronic inflammation and pain. On the other hand, incorporating a rainbow of vegetables, especially cruciferous ones like kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, into your diet can help with chronic pain a great deal. In addition, foods such as berries, lean proteins, fish, and olive oil can have a positive impact on chronic pain issues too.

Everybody can benefit from eliminating junk food from their diet and focusing on healthy alternatives, and the impact these changes can have on both your mental and physical health is significant. For those who are coping with issues such as chronic pain, depression, or drug addiction, ditching the junk and embracing nutrient-dense, whole-food options can produce amazing results that will make you feel significantly stronger and healthier over time.

[Image by domokus/Pixabay]

 

 

How Sports Performance Enhancement can benefit YOU

I've been getting a lot of new inquiries and a lot of new clients lately from my announcement of my third advanced certification in Personal Training, so i am going to create a brief description and explanation based on all the questions i have received. this is going to be a very short simple explanation just to give you an overview and introduction, i can go more in-depth once we start training together!first we start with a few movement tests to identify underachieve and overactive muscles and then we work to correct them through stretching, foam rolling, and activation techniques. the idea being that if we start building strength on top of dysfunction, we are only strengthening the dysfunction.

now the fun begins! we start working in different areas and with different modalities, but progressing from Stabilization, to Strength (there are different levels within Strength as well), and then into Power. when working with athletes i work all the way up to the power stages, but with most people the focus is on stabilization and strength. 

Power is required for sports, but a lot of the moves to acquire and build up power do interest many of my clients. so we figure out your goals and i tailor a program to your desired result; while discovering and incorporating the style of workouts that you enjoy most. 

There is no one way to do anything when working with an individual and it is my job (also my favorite part of my work) to get to know you, your body, and your mind and help you enjoy and feel challenged in ways that keep you coming back.

I love surprising people into finding that they love to work out!

that is the most simplistic way to describe what i do. 

the following is a list of the different areas we can work in with Sports Performance Enhancement, and remember, we only use the modalities that work for YOU:

FLEXIBILITY TRAINING

CARDIORESPIRATORY TRAINING

CORE TRAINING

BALANCE TRAINING

PLYOMETRIC TRAINING

SPEED, AGILITY, AND QUICKNESS TRAINING

INTEGRATED RESISTANCE TRAINING

OLYMPIC TRAINING

feel free to email me with general questions or inquiries on training in person, Skype or speaking to or training  your group!

 

DROPPING 35 POUNDS WITH NO SUFFERING

My gorgeous, amazing, sweet, smart, kind friend/client Dr. Stephanie White and her husband decided to become parents a few years ago… great news! She started taking the pre natal vitamins, doing all the things that people having kids in their 30’s do; we started training specifically for pregnancy. Unfortunately, after a few months her doctor advised against exercise and eventually she was on bed rest. She ended up having a difficult pregnancy which resulted in an emergency C-section. It was scary, but thankfully everything worked out great with a healthy mom and a healthy baby boy… now i have a awesome new friend named Lucas!

The inactivity and the stress of the pregnancy packed a lot of extra weight on her and she wasn’t feeling that great about it. She did however have a healthy attitude about it and gratitude for a healthy family; this positive attitude was a great starting point for her journey back to a body that she is happy and comfortable in. She did not get down on herself or get crazy about diet or exercise; which is a very healthy mental space to make change from. She wanted to feel strong and healthy in her body again, but she had to do it at pace that was realistic given her circumstances. For the first few month no exercise at all. At all! It takes time to heal after a C-section, more time than a traditional birth, so she had to wait. She also had to go back to work seeing patients. When a new mom comes home from a long day of work she wants to be with her baby and her husband… not her trainer! So she took it slow and lost 35 pounds in one year by working out only 1 1/2 hours a week with me and watching her diet. Important to note: she did not suffer on a “diet” for a year, we took a very realistic and holistic approach to this. 

 

First we started the workouts, which were very hard for her and we took more breaks than ever before. She was not used to working out in a body like this and it had been a while since she had really exercised at all. Next she made gradual changes to improve her diet, nothing too drastic at first. After a couple of months she was feeling a bit stronger and healthier and ready to make a deeper commitment. She and her husband went Whole 30 for a full 30 days together which helped recalibrate their bodies and get back to a healthy, natural eating cycle. Whole 30 doesn’t restrict the amount of food you eat, just the types of food that you eat (all natural, organic, not processed) They never felt like they were starving and suffering. Throughout the whole year this was the only “strict” month; but they built up to it so it didn’t cause suffering. After the Whole 30 month, they have adopted as much of that eating style as is conducive to their regular lifestyles. Sometimes you just want a sandwich and that is OK! Birthdays happen. Meeting friends for drinks happens. Going to a nice restaurant where you would like to try everything happens. Balance is good! 

 

Stephanie could have lost the weight faster, but she did it the right way for her life, her family and her body. There are all kinds of approaches to take to reach your goals. Dr Stephanie is just one great example of taking a holistic approach that is realistic and loving to the self.

 

meditation monday: how to do silent meditation

it’s meditation monday! every monday i will explain a different sort of meditation which you can try. some people find one meditation that works for them and do it forever, fantastic! i often try new things and switch back and forth, sometimes i make them up. meditation is for you to connect with your source and get your head straight; you may have to experiment with a few before you find a good fit. i do not believe in doing meditations that i find irritating, i don’t expect you to either.

this week we start with the master of all meditations: silent meditation can feel like one of the hardest things on Earth to do when you are just starting out, but it reaps huge benefits in the long term. with cell phones and the internet keeping us constantly available and constantly under intense stimulation, our brains can get overwhelmed and seem to race uncontrollably on their own. my favorite term for this is “monkey brain”; it’s like there is a monkey jumping around from thought, to thought, to thought, to thought, to OMG please stop! in as little as one minute a day of silent meditation, you can start to slow this down and learn to control your mind. any more than a minute can seem like complete torture and i do not believe in unnecessary suffering; you can build up to more time as you get better at it.

the basics: find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably with no interruptions. sit. i like my hands on my knees, just be comfortable. set a timer and close your eyes. if you can go silent in the brain, just like that, congrats! you are a unicorn! for everybody else with the monkey (or monkeys) having their filthy way in your head, here is how i did it when i started: i pictured a halo above my head and kind of wide. the halo was not the glowing angel type, it was more like a breeze. whenever you notice a thought it is important not to judge it or try to force it away!!! this can not be overstated. gently notice the thought and pass it from the from of your mind to the halo and let it be there. continue to do that with all subsequent thought which enter your calm until the buzzer stops the meditation. i recommend starting with just one minute because for most people this will seem like an eternity, more would be impossible. 

you can progress as fast or slow as you like, you make the rules. i would suggest for most people: one minute a day for a week, then two minutes a day for the next week, etc. i have never gone past seven minutes because it becomes torture for me, but you can do it for hours if you like. this practice is for you, make it something you like or at least don’t suffer through. i will have another suggestion next week, enjoy!

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: DAY 30

first i would like to say that i whole heartedly recommend the Whole 30 especially for anybody that has serious health problems and is looking for a permanent solution. It is really helping a lot of people get their diabetes, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases under control. If you try for 30 days and it doesn't work, the worst thing that happened is that you ate extremely healthy food for 30 days. Not a sad story. All that being said what I am presenting today is completely my own version of the whole 30 program, it was extremely effective but I know they would not necessarily love how I am endorsing the program, or teaching it. i have been studying food and fitness for over 25 years and I'm extremely in tune with my body. Also, when I started this I was not trying to treat any diseases. I wanted to learn about it, and see how my body responded. I would recommend to anybody approaching this as a beginner or in an intermediate level do the program exactly as prescribed for 30 days and see how that works. I would suspect that 98% of all people would respond really well to exactly how it is written and prescribed. i just do not happen to be one of those people. There’s my disclaimer, here we go!

MY WORKOUT SITUATION is not typical. i lifted weights 4 times a week for 1 1/2 hours each time, hiked 4 miles EVERY day, and jogged 5 extra miles on quite a few days.

DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF OR COUNT CALORIES FOR 30 DAYS. I completely ignored this rule from day one. i used the MyFitnessPal app for at least the first 20 days until I really understood where I was getting my fats, my carbs, proteins, and in what levels because I was interested. it also had the bonus effect of getting me to add vegetables that i don’t normally eat as i became interested in upping my micronutrients from food sources instead of supplements. I also weighed myself every single morning and tracked my progress. 

EAT A LOT OF PROTEIN, FATS, AND VEGETABLES. EAT A COUPLE OF SERVINGS OF FRUIT; NUTS SPARINGLY. i did eat a lot of protein! i ate more of my fats from nuts and less from oils than they recommend, i tried cooking with the quantities they recommended of cooking fats but i didn’t like the taste and i felt heavy. they also recommend copious amount of olives and coconut flakes, but i couldn’t get into it. i ate A TON of fruit! i have a huge sweet tooth and they want you to break that, but i was weak!!!! here’s my take on that: i am alive and i am going to die eventually, i will not live a boring life and i was bored senseless without the fruit. event shoveling fruit into this machine was unsatisfying in the first couple of weeks. for me. 

DO NOT GO OFF OF WHOLE 30 FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS, THEN REASSESS. i had cheat days, i think three of them. this past Sunday was one of them; i had pizza, soy milk ice cream and cookies. i learned from the last cheat day to take a Nexium when i started the feast to avoid heartburn the next day. It was difficult to want to stick strictly to the program the whole time especially when I had already hit my goal weight; also I didn't have any diseases I was trying to get rid of. Also, my normal diet is pretty close to Whole 30 with the exception of protein bars. But letting go of protein bars was a huge thing, hence the bucket and buckets of fruit each night.

WHY AM I SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS REBEL AND WHY AM I TELLING YOU ABOUT IT?

I don't believe that any one diet plan, or any exercise plan, or any lifestyle in general is going to be a fit for every person on this planet. even though we are all humans and we are 99.9% exactly the same on a cellular level; it’s that .01% that makes us all so different, making this whole experience on earth amazing. I do not live under the illusion that this body will last forever. I treat it the best I can. I enjoy it and I'm so grateful that it functions so well and allows me to experience so much. But I do not believe in pursuing health for the sake of staying alive longer, but rather to live better. i listen to my instincts and my desires and respond accordingly. i present my take so that you can see variations and other options. the first couple of weeks on this program got SUPER boring at times. it was a huge adjustment for me, and i eat very well in general. so let’s get to…

WHAT I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ABOUT WHOLE 30!!!

Whole 30 has helped me get to a point where i eat real food most of the time and that makes sense to me! once i adjusted, it feels right in my body. i now eat healthy fats, meat and fish, vegetables, and fruit. on a daily basis i eat nothing else. nothing processed unless i am purposefully veering off course. my body looks better than EVER before; i am down 17 pounds! i didn’t expect to drop below 172, that was my old peak and i thought that was great. now i hover between 168 and 169 and i can feel that my body is in prime condition. when i run i feel a flow that i haven’t felt before and my body feels like a machine that is functioning at peak levels. to be honest, last Sunday”s cheat meal didn’t feel that great or satisfying. i suspect as time goes on i will be less attracted to that kind of food, but i expect it to be a process and i hope you will too. if you try this and end up eating 6 cakes on day 9 like somebody was going to steal them from you, it’s ok! day 10 you pull it back together and get back on the highlighted path. we all know this makes sense, it’s instinctual and it’s worth working towards.

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 18

Fruit-and-Nuts.jpg

today i am going to briefly highlight the Whole 30 take on fruit, nuts, and eating before bed. let’s start with FRUIT! i am glad i got to this part of the book; i had been eating fruit like crazy! i misunderstood the rules at first glance; i thought it was just eat meat, fruit, and veggies… as much as you want. i was eating fruit like somebody was going to steal it from me if i didn’t hurry. they say that fruit is certainly healthy and encourage a few servings a day, but get most of your carbs from veggies or you will end up using fruit like you used candy, cookies, etc. i needed to read that. eating fruit before bed is also bad, but let’s save that for the section on eating before sleep.

NUTS are good for you… in moderation! i didn’t know we could have nuts and when i found out we could, i probably overate those too. ok, not probably… yes, i overdid it. not all nuts are created equally; cashews, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are all on the preferred list because they are low in polyunsaturated fats (less beneficial fat) and high in monounsaturated fats (beneficial fat). all other nuts are less desirable. period. (there is a scale and you can read the book for more specific info) the program recommends eating nuts somewhat sparingly, for example in a salad, ever so often. 

EATING BEFORE BED is not recommended. they recommend eating at least two hours before bed. eating before bed messes with your hormones which can decrease your body’s natural ability to repair itself during sleep. eating fruit that is high in sugar can raise your insulin levels, which can then crash and have you at the refrigerator like a sleepwalking zombie looking for a snack in the middle of the night.

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 17

if you are on a budget, do not be discouraged from doing your best version of The Whole 30. if you are looking to improve your health and break your dependance on Big Food and the lies they sell under the heading of “food”; you can make smart economical purchases which will be better than the processed American diet you are currently consuming. i am going to talk briefly about the nutritional boost of organic meats and vegetables so that you can easily digest the benefits and consider making organic a long term goal. i am also going to tell you how to work with a limited budget and make the smartest most economical choices for your budget. 

first let’s talk about meats. Whole 30 recommends a varied diet of meats including fish, foul, and other meats. animals raised in a natural or organic state are allowed to roam a bit and eat what they would naturally eat for food, which leads to optimal health of the animal and optimal nutrition for you. industrial raised animals are kept in close, miserable, and filthy environments and fed a diet that is not natural to their bodies; this leads to susceptibility to disease, which is why they are pumped full of antibiotics. Are the most interesting facts in this book that I was completely unaware of is that most of the toxins in an industrial raised animals is stored in the fat. So if you cannot afford to go organic, Choose the best cuts that you can and then cut all the fat off to avoid a lot of the toxicity.

Let's talk about vegetables, I learned something that was completely new to me so maybe it will be new to you as well. This book takes into if accounts that many people cannot afford to go organic so what they suggest is to buy fruits and vegetables in the smartest way you can. Fruits and vegetables that can be peeled do not need to be organic as you're are taking the skin off. They recommend buying fruits and vegetables that can be peeled from the regular side of the store, and anything that cannot be peeled from the organic section. But there is also a website that takes this theory a little bit deeper and gets very specific that you can visit and make your smartest choices. They rank the dirtiest vegetables to the cleanest vegetables. So until you can afford organic, you can make save smart choices right now that you can afford! The website is the Environmental Working Group at www.ew.org/foodnews

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 15

chocolate lava cake and vanilla bean ice cream LIED TO ME!!! i had intended to do the first 30 days completely by the book, but friday night we had an unforeseen miracle in my family and celebration seemed appropriate;  so i decided to veer off course a bit for a meal. i am committed to the Whole 30 lifestyle in the long term, but i am not giving up alcohol completely and i will not be 100 % strict on special occasions. one thing i will be giving up for sure is lactose. i ate tuna tartare as an appetizer, filet mignon for entree, and shared a side of mushrooms; there was some sugar in the ponzu with the tartare and mushrooms works sautéed in some butter. So far so good, and then the lava cake and ice cream happened (after a couple of glasses of champagne a desert sounded like a good idea). It tasted like absolute heaven, I enjoyed it thoroughly as I ate it. But on the way home my stomach started to twist, turn, and cramp; by time I got home it felt like a nightmare. The entire weekend I have been gassy and twisty and my stomach; all the way through to today, Monday. It has progressively become less awful, but this experience has really show me how bad this kind of food is for my body. I am fascinated by the fact that in just 12 days I can no longer tolerate this is kind of food at all.

but i know me and i will not be able to survive on fruit alone forever, so i guess i am going to start trying out recipes using the Whole 30 book to make deserts from time to time. the good news is that the lesson was so strong, that i know at least myself or my husband will be able to stop us from desert next time we enjoy a little of the bubbly. experiments in desert making to follow... stay tuned.

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 12

Batten down the hatches… here comes the weekend! For anybody who read last weekends post, you know that the weekend surprised me. We are going to have to make choices, face hard decisions! Even though I knew i was going to a birthday party, I wasn’t really ready for the moment the cake came out. Also, I wasn't prepared for Sunday afternoon: when all of the potato chips in Southern California decided to start a collective siren song to lure me into a grocery store. But this weekend I am as ready as I can. i know the suggestions that are coming may sound lame, believe me i LOVE JUNK FOOD! unfortunately, it does not seem to love me back. i give it my money, love, energy, and time; it gives me back fat and poor health… not a great relationship.

my best solutions so far:

  1. eat before you go to an event
  2. pack food and keep it in a covert bag or in the car if you may need more
  3. most parties i go to have a fruit and a veggie plate, but if you doubt the host…
  4. pack cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, sliced colorful bell peppers, celery, etc… whatever veggies you like. if you don’t think you like veggies, try and work on that mindset. it can be hard if your American (i use that term as it applies over the planet now) diet never included them, but if you are willing to be willing, you will eventually enjoy better health.
  5. fruit! anything you can easily deal with is better than pastries, cake, etc.
  6. know it’s only a 30 day commitment, then you can reassess your level of commitment
  7. Monday is just around the corner! i’m not saying i don’t get cravings on the weekdays because i really do; but they are much less intense for me than those cravings over the weekend

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 8

i thought today i would show you what $70 of organic vegetables, fruit, and herbs looks like from the farmer's market. i took this photo after my trip this morning because everything looked so beautiful and the whole experience felt good and right. this may have something to do with the fact that for about 3 hours last night, all of the potato chips in Southern California got together to sing a sweet, seductive sirens song and try and lure me into the rocks. i however was triumphant and held my ground. if you read yesterday's blog you know i tried to warn you about what happens on the weekend... it feels like a time for treats and cheats. i didn't expect the neighborhood chips to turn on me. i ended up eating about 40 cherries in a row and a small container of blackberries, kind of like an addict.

today has been much easier, weekdays always are. i remember that now. but today is just a simple look at a bunch of veggies to show people that eating health doesn't have to be expensive. if you can't afford organic right now, regular fruits and veggies are even cheaper than this and always a better investment than manufactured food with no nutrients.

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 7

Whole30 was all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn kisses until the weekend came and i had to face feelings, cravings, old habits, and a party with the most gorgeous pile of sugar, fat, and regret that i had ever laid eyes on… in the form of gourmet birthday cake. i have done this before, i am a personal trainer for many years, and i still got surprised by some of the challenges because i forgot. you might be unprepared for some of the challenges too, so this is for you.

Yesterday a very unusual day in Los Angeles, for July. It was raining, thunder and lightning, very humid, and dark. I enjoy the whole thing, I like a little change in there. I had a party to go to last night, but the and impromptu darkness and rain just made me want to lay on the couch and watch movies. When I looked at the couch I saw myself sitting there eating popcorn, candy, cookies… all that stuff. Because I didn't expect the weather, this all came as a surprise and it felt challenging. 

I decided to keep my commitment and go to the party, I figured maybe I just go for a little while and then come back to the couch. I ended up having fun and wanted to hang out. In preparation, I ate right before I went to the party. Since I'm not drinking, I had sparkling water at the party. First challenge: When I walked into the party i had zoomed rate past that chips and dip, cupcakes, everything else that looked amazing but I knew would do nothing for my goals. Second Challenge: they have somebody coming in and making fresh tacos… seems healthy enough right? I was thinking about eating just some of the meat, but I can’t be sure it’s organic (or close), possibly low grade? but more than that, i’m absolutely sure it's packed with salt and I'm not interested in being bloated. So I was okay with that, it smells good, it looked good but not too much trouble. And then the cake came out… third, fourth, fifth, etc. challenge to infinity!!! Oh sweet sunshine did I want to eat that thing. Not just a slice, the whole thing. So what did I do? I made it through the singing, watched everybody start to get their slices and then took myself into the house searching for a substitute. I found a tray of vegetables, and a tray of fruit. I grab some mango, some mini sweet cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and some carrots and started feasting on that. It did not taste like delicious cake! But I did make it through, It was challenging, but I have committed to three days and I'm going all in. today i woke up a little leaner and i am ready for the movies tonight. i have to forego my love for sweet sweet delicious Coke Zero; the smell of delicious buttery popcorn will be more relentless than usual. but i am resolute in the knowledge that this will get easier. the whole point of committing for 30 days is to break bad habits. if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Photo is art by James Ostrer

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 5

Badass Butternut Squash No-Bean Chili. Whole 30 cannot be boring because life needs flavor, plain chicken breast and steamed veggies will not cut it for me. so today i present you with my own no bean, turkey chili full of veggies, low fat ground turkey and flavor. i like it a little hot and heavy on the flavor, so just tone down the ingredients where you think i may have lost my mind. i may have.

4 lb ground 99% fat free turkey

3 bags of Trader Joe's cut butternut squash

3 lb zucchini

3 full bunches of celery

9 bell peppers, various colors

2 large yellow onions

4 bulbs of garlic

3/4 cup chili powder

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp red chili flakes

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp cumin 

simple to make... 

1 chop all veggies, cook on stove in pot and stir while they cook down a bit

2 brown the meat separate and crumble

3 add meat to veggies, add all spices, add can of tomato paste, stir, cook for a while longer

4 eat. i like it with a little fresh avocado on top.

made exactly as described, a 2 cup serving has 222 calories, 1.4 grams of fat, 27.3 grams of carbs, and a whopping 32 grams of protein!

BAM! you're welcome.

 

WHOLE 30 : PERSONAL TRAINER EXPERIENCE : DAY 4

172.4 lbs this morning… FINALLY! this is the weight i was in June 2013; by that December i was 196 and not happy about it. in 2014 i was able to get down to 186, much better. and for the last year and a half i have been struggling to get back to the weight where i feel good. this is it! i may drop a bit more, the Whole30 is really about eating food that your body needs and nothing else. it’s about balancing your hormones so that your body is no longer storing unnecessary fat. all of the processed food is creating hormonal actions in our bodies which are making a disconnect between our minds and our bodies. our mind thinks it needs to store fat, while our bodies get fatter. in just a few days i am eating a ton of real food, but feel fat melting off. 

today’s tip is to use a calorie counting app, i like MyFitnessPal. firstly, it is helping me make sure i maintain my protein levels to maintain and grow my muscle mass. today i got distracted and didn’t eat enough. so at 10pm, about an hour after dinner i quickly scrambled so eggs so that my body won’t canibalize itself. the second thing i really love: the app shows you what nutrients you are getting from everything you are eating; i love this because i can google search for veggies that have nutrients i don’t normally eat. this makes it really easy to give your body all of the proper nutrients for optimal functioning.

WHOLE30 : PERSONAL TRAINER EXPERIENCE: DAY 3

a gorgeous client of mine asked today what i have been eating on the Whole 30, so i am going to give the breakdown of today in this post. before i get to the food i'll tell you about my workout for the day: i did shoulders for an hour, hiked Runyon, and did a lot of walking which added up to 10 1/2 miles total for the day. that's more than most people do, so the food may seem like a lot. audibale gasping may occur... 

Food:

Breakfast: 4 egg white with 2 slices of no nitrate etc. ham; 8 oz papaya; coffee with ghee and mct oil

Lunch happened twice: each time 2 cups of turkey survival (see older blog for recipe) 

Dinner: NY strip/ all natural/ no antibiotics/ vegetarian diet with 1 bag of shishito peppers

Snacks: 1 nectarine, 20 cherries, 1 cup of blackberries, 1 mango, 4 egg whites, another coffee with ghee and mct oil, 2 glasses of home made kombucha (i brew it myself)

that's at 8:30pm. MyFitnessPal app (where i got my food intake) says that i need15 more grams of protein today, so there may be a few more egg whites before dinner. so far this is pretty easy for me and the fat is melting away real quick! eating like this does take preparation so all you need is a gameplan. 

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 2

I lost 5.4 pounds in 24 hours. I know, I know, those are not real pounds, but it was encouraging! The truth is Sunday I went to the Feelings aisle at the grocery store and got two of everything, so Monday when I got on the scale I was bloated by at least 4 pounds. I am defiantly already losing real weight though. I have been in the 174 range as of last week and I am now 173.6 which is the lowest I have been in over a year and a half.

I am just getting into the science part and here is your lesson for today: there are three basic tastes which we are hardwired to recognize for survival, no pleasure: sweet (energy), fatty (dense calories), and salty (to retain water and conserve fluid). All of the “food” that we have become addicted to has been engineered to play off of this survival instinct, but is devoid of the benefits. There is a huge difference between how our bodies process a cookie or a bunch of blackberries; the blackberries have fiber and are converted more slowly into energy while the cookie is useless (although delicious) and convert to fat. Viewing food like this has made it easier for me to convert, at least for these first two days. But be aware, EVERYTHING smells amazing when you are driving down the street. I want everything! But I know it’s only thirty days, all of those restaurants will still be there waiting for me if I feel the same then.
 

Whole30 : Personal Trainer Experience: Day 1

Let me start by saying I am jumping into this on a whim. I have been hearing about this and seeing people do it and I have been curious. But last night at 11:45pm a light went off in my head as I started to read It Starts With Food (the book that breaks down the science of Whole30) and I knew I wanted to start this tomorrow, i.e. TODAY! So I took off my reading glasses, put down my book, and went straight to the kitchen to down half a bag of Cheese Puffs before the clock struck midnight. Yesterday was a day of eating treats, as I knew I was going to tighten up my diet again today; the Cheese Puffs had survived my initial attack.

It’s all happening kind of fast and furiously but it feels right. Saturday I was training one of my clients who is a doctor and she was talking about and showing me the book. She thought I would be interested in the science behind the diet and the well-explained chemical and hormonal reactions that certain foods have. I went home and ordered the book on Amazon and it arrived yesterday.  I just happened to start reading it last night; in the intro it says that there is a lot of easily digestible information available online for free at http://whole30.com/pdf-downloads/ . it is very close to Paleo with some distinctions so it is easy for me to jump into without much planning. 

In the very beginning the authors talk about this diet curing rheumatoid arthritis and chronic inflammation. So I am going to jump in, read the book, and explain the science, the interesting parts, and make it as easy to understand as possible. I am also going to talk about any physical and emotional experiences I encounter so that it may help or encourage you. I will try and keep the blogs short and succinct so that you can easily digest the information and see if it might be for you. Please feel free to email or comment or join me, I think it’s going to be a fun adventure!

Here are the basics I know for sure and am applying for the next 29 ½ days:

No processed foods (there a very few exceptions if any, I will let you know as I find them)
Whole foods only: meat, fish, veggies, and fruit
No dairy
No alcohol
No grains
No legumes
I have to read further, but for bodybuilders: I think it means no creatine and no pre-workout drinks, also no protein powders; but I will update if that is wrong

EATING LEAN WITH FLAVOR SERIES: ITALIAN TURKEY SURVIVAL

I just lost 7.2 pounds in a week without starving or eating boring food, my Italian Turkey Survival recipe (plus a few other factors which I will explain in the next blog) was as the heart of this success. Many people who train with me and follow me are already familiar with Turkey Survival as it is a go to food for me. This is basically the same thing with Italian seasoning (dried) and fresh herbs generally used in Italian recipes. The big difference, other than the herbs, is adding tomato paste and how long you cook it. The longer you cook it, the more it gets a traditional, thick  Italian sauce texture. 

 

Also (file this under: I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!!!) I now know the nutritional value of a serving because there is an app that calculates it in an instant. For me a serving size is 2 cups and it contains :

Calories           263

Fat (g)             12.5

Carbs (g)        15.5

Protein (g)     21.2

 

Keep in mind that this recipe is a template, you can add different vegetables that sound good to you, leave out any that you don’t like, switch the protein to a vegetarian option, etc. I make a HUGE pot and freeze some so that I don’t have to cook often but always have fresh food. So here you go without further ado… ITALIAN TURKEY SURVIVAL! You’re welcome ;)

 

13 bell peppers (combo of red, orange, yellow, and green)

1 large yellow onion

1 bunch celery

18 oz pre sliced brown mushrooms

4 bulbs of garlic

6 large zucchini

2 bulbs fennel

12 medium hot house tomatoes

3 lb 99% fat-free ground turkey

1 lb 93% fat free grass fed ground beef

6 oz can of tomato paste

1 package of fresh basil

1 package of fresh tyme

1 package of fresh rosemary

1 package of fresh sage

5 bay leaves

2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dries chili flakes

1 tablespoon garlic powder

 

  1. brown the meat
  2. chop up all the veggies how you like (I like them all very small)
  3. start cooking all veggies in a big pot. Onion and garlic first for 2 minutes to flavor the pot, then all other veggies and dried spices. Stir it and keep an eye on it for about 15 minutes or so till they seem to be getting softer.
  4. Add tomato paste, fresh herbs and let it go for anywhere between 30 minutes and a few hours. The longer it cooks, the thicker it gets.
  5.  

BULLETPROOF COFFEE- LOVING SOMETHING I COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED WOULD MAKE SENSE.  

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WHAT IS IT?

 

The practice of putting Ghee (clarified butter) and MCT Oil (a thermogenic) in a blender with your coffee and whipping it into a frothy magic treat.

 

WHAT’S THE POINT?

The gentleman who started this trend got the idea from watching mountain people who herd goats (or some such mountain people pursuit) throw yack butter in their coffee and happily go about their hill climbing business all day with sustained energy. Something about the fat mixing with the caffeine makes the combination provide a more sustained energy without a crash.

DOES IT TASTE WEIRD? DOES IT REALLY WORK?

Maybe and yes. I thought the idea was crazy but I was intrigued. I tried it and loved it, I have been drinking it for about a year now I would guess. I love the taste and the way it helps with sustained energy. At the end of last summer I went to NYC and thought I would just drink regular coffee for the five day trip; that lasted about a day and a half. I could feel the coffee processing faster and less efficiently in my body, so I bought supplies and finished the trip on bulletproof coffee.

IS THERE A DOWN SIDE?

I did some research and realized that I use significantly less supplies than are suggested on some sites in the making of bulletproof coffee. I throw about 3 cups of coffee, ¾ to 1 tablespoon of ghee, and 1 tablespoon of MCT oil into the blender. Some recipes suggest up to 2 tablespoons of Ghee, I think this is excessive. I have been for a blood test within the last three months and my cholesterol is perfect. I also eat a mainly Paleo style diet. This kind of a diet gets your body to process fat for energy so that may have something to do with my success. I did read that some people are experiencing elevated cholesterol with bulletproof coffee; I also read that adding high fat (the larger portion of Ghee and MCT oil recommended) to a high carb diet could be the problem. This makes sense to me. But please remember I am no doctor, this is just an aggregate of what I have read on different sites. 

MONTE'S RECIPES: TILAPIA WITH FENNEL AND TOMATO

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 finely chopped yellow onion 
  • 1 bulb finely chopped garlic 
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, quartered and thinly sliced 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style tomatoes, with their liquid 
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads 
  • 6 (5-ounce) tilapia fillets

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add fennel and leeks and cook for 3 minutes more. Add salt and pepper, 1 cup water, tomatoes, wine and saffron and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Push vegetables to the side, arrange fillets in the skillet, then cover with vegetables. Cover skillet and simmer over low heat until fish is just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve fish with vegetables and broth spooned over the top.

NUTRITIONAL INFO

Per Serving:210 calories (30 from fat)3.5g total fat1g saturated fat70mg cholesterol470mg sodium12g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber3g sugar)30g protein

Intermittent Fasting. Nightmare or dream come true?

WHAT IS IT?

Intermittent fasting is the practice of limiting your eating hours per day to a certain window. Most of the articles I have researched recommended an eight hour window, ex. Noon to eight pm. In a study on lab mice, it was discovered that mice who were only allowed to eat during an eight hour period each day lost five percent of their body weight; compared to a control group that ate the same amount of calories, but were allowed to graze at their food all day.

DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?

Not for me, but I will qualify that. The first two days were great, I felt leaner. When I did my weigh in, it showed loss. It was kind of fun, it felt like a game that I could win. But then by about day 3 or 4 I started to feel like it was inconvenient and I also started to feel like I was depriving myself. I started to get angry and decided to eat. And eat. And eat. In retrospect, I see that I put myself into a semi starvation cycle and I subconsciously rebelled. 

This does not mean that it couldn’t work for you. You really need to know yourself and how your mind and body work together. If you are going to try it, I would recommend paying attention, and stopping if you felt you might rebel like I did. I actually gained weight in the process, not necessarily a win. Like everything I suggest, be easy with your self and look at it as an experiment. 

TODAY’S SECRET FROM THE UNIVERSE

I gave up breakfast. There are a lot of studies that say you have to eat first thing in the morning to get the engine humming. There are also a lot of studies that will tell you the exact opposite. I fell under the spell of this theory and have been eating breakfast first thing in the morning for a while. No more. Now I eat a homemade protein bar a couple hours after I get up, and then food when I’m in the mood. This has been working very well.