Good morning you all. I believe my last blog entry was an introduction to my interpretation of “wellness” a couple of weeks back. Today I want to address questions that I often get asked regarding flexible dieting versus a diet constructed of whole foods.

Take the picture below for example: both options provide 500 calories. So if you look at it scientifically, no matter the food choice, 500 calories is 500 calories. A calorie is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius; therefor, no matter where the calories come from, a calorie is still a calorie.  

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So what does flexible dieting mean? Flexible dieting is just as its name depicts. As long as your macros (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) fit within the totals that are prescribed for your diet (whether it be for weight gain or weight loss), then you will yield results. 

A diet that is constructed of whole foods means that the individual chooses foods that are non-processed and in there most natural state. The same goes for this approach, as long as your macros (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) fit within the totals that are prescribed for your diet (whether it be for weight gain or weight loss), then you will yield results.

So if both styles yield the same results when it comes to fat loss (or gain), then what is the best approach, or the correct approach to a strategic diet. I will share with you all my personal opinion of each approach and the reasoning behind my choices.

To begin, I want to address my thoughts on flexible dieting. Flexible dieting is an approach to eating that allows you to eat any food you want as long as you can fit it into your prescribed totals. I personally find that this approach works great for a variety of people: those that are new to dieting, those with an untrained palate, individuals that like to incorporate “treat meals,” and the list goes on. Most individuals are familiar with a typical American diet. Americans tend to consume a lot of high-sodium, high-fat, processed foods. If you take an individual such as this and remove all of the foods that they currently consume and replace them with broiled fish and broccoli, the chances of them sticking to this unfamiliarity is slim. If the individual can still consume their usual Tuesday evening Tyson chicken nuggets with the only change being to bake them in the oven and trade in the traditional ranch dipping sauce for a healthier yogurt based dressing, they will be more apt to follow a plan.

How many times have you heard someone say, or have even said yourself, “I don’t like vegetables,” often followed with admission of having never tried it, or haven’t tried it since the initial taste (years prior). If I gave this person a menu constructed mainly of fibrous veggies, then he/she would probably do one of two things: one, he/she would totally skimp on the veggies all together not meeting their totals for the day, or second, he/she goes on a binger three days in because their body is craving everything it’s not allowing for.

I think for someone to dive head first into a new eating pattern and replace everything they are familiar with is a disaster waiting to happen. The flexible approach can be a great introduction to healthier eating patterns, not only for those new to calorie (macro) tracking, but can be extremely beneficial for those that suffer from an unhealthy relationship with food. 

What about the “whole foods” approach to nutrition? Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed, meaning they have no additives or preservatives. This menu consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Most often than not, you will find those who adhere to a whole foods approach are thoroughly interested in the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) of each food just as well. The idea of a whole foods diet is for improving health and preventing disease. Heavily processed foods are full of refined flours and processed sugars often replacing the numerous beneficial Photochemicals and Antioxidants. 

You have heard “you are what you eat?” Well, if you aren’t getting enough micronutrients (those vitamins and minerals that prevent certain cancers), then what are you eating? Often the most recent fad-diet online is what people believe to be truth, and unfortunately this information is usually incorrect.

 

Here’s what it comes down to, and its pretty simple really. Everything in life is about balance. We are human and one of our primary pleasures in life is food. If you find yourself consuming more processed foods than whole foods, make certain that you are choosing options low in fat and fortified with essential nutrients. Also, try slowly implementing vegetables into your meals to familiarize (or introduce) your palate to new flavors. If you aren’t consuming 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day with two of those being greens, then it is wise to consider supplementing with a multi-vitamin (women over the age of 30 should consider adding an additional calcium supplement paired with Vitamin D).

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A healthy diet is one that helps to maintain or improve overall health. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be seduced by the occasional piece of  chocolate cake.

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Today was a scheduled off day from weight training, so for my morning cardio I used the empty BB mixed with bodyweight exercises to get the blood flowing.

I had a hard time not going to the gym today. When you get this close to a competition and you know you still have progress to make, taking an off day can be a battle in itself; however, I know that I needed it. Every single muscle in my body today felt fatigued (not to be confused with muscle soreness), so I listened to it and forced myself to finish up my latest series of ‘Breaking Bad’ 🙂

 

Confidence is belief in yourself and the ability to feel beautiful without approval of others. If you wait for others to build you up, you will be waiting a while. It is  OK to feel confident and be proud of yourself😉

 

This is 100% truth. Exposing yourself to artificial ingredients within junk food lead to more cravings. I often have people ask me, “don’t you like pizza and sweets?” Of course I do! I’m human, but what I like even more is to feel good on the inside and appreciate what I see in the mirror on the outside.
It is not an easy lifestyle! Staying committed and having willpower is often extremely hard, but disappointment within ones self is even harder.
Happy Tuesday 🙂

 

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100g of bananas, 100g of grapefruit, 50g of apple, 1 egg, 4 egg whites- Macros: 25P/40P/5F
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200g of broccoli, 3oz of chicken cooked in 1T of coconut oil, 50g of avocado, 90g of brown rice, 2T of salsa- Macros: 30P/50C/15F
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Western scramble: 2 fried eggs topped with 3oz of chicken, 150g of mixed peppers and onions, taco sauce and ms. dash southwestern spice- Macros: 35P/10C/12F
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64g of rice topped with 4oz of grilled shrimp cooked in 1tsp of coconut oil, 1 egg over easy and 40g of avocado- Macros: 30P/25C/12F
Post-Workout Smoothie: 1/2 banana, 50g mixed berries, 1 scoop of protein, 1/2T almond butter- Macros: 25P/20C/5F
1/2 scoop any flavor protein, 2T PB2 mixed with water, add 140g mixed berries, 10g crushed nuts- Macros: 15P/20C/10F

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Macro Prepping Vlogs:

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                           To see more meal ideas: RECIPES

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Grilled chicken, marinated in Thai spices and grill over charcoal grill.

6-8 boneless chicken thighs or 11/2 lb boneless chicken breasts
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes at least one hour (I do mine 24 hrs or that morning). Grill on barbecue, about 4 minutes a side on medium heat. Discard marinade.

Chili Glaze:
¾ cup rice vinegar
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce (or GF Tamari)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Bring above ingredients to a boil over high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened. 8-10 minutes depending on the size of your pan. Watch it, do not let it burn. Glaze chicken and serve.

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

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Ingredients

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cucumbers, very finely sliced (see photos)
  • 4 tablespoons minced cilantro, to taste

Instructions

  1. Dice the jalapeno and garlic and add to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to incorporate the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Finely slice the cucumbers. Add the cucumbers to the dressing and stir together.
  4. Finely mince the cilantro and add it to the bowl. Stir to combine. You can either let it sit in the fridge to marinate for a couple hours, or serve immediately.

Notes
Make sure that you let the salad sit on the counter for a little while before serving if it’s been in the fridge; the olive oil solidifies slightly when it’s cold.

PALEO BISCUITS
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Flax Meal
  • 1 Pinch Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Unsalted Butter, Cold
  • 1 Large Egg

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, sift together coconut flour, flaxseed meal, sea salt and baking powder.
  2. To the flour, add ghee or butter and with a fork mash together until small crumbles form.
  3. In a separate bowl, scramble egg and then add mixture to crumbles.
  4. With a spoon mix together and spoon into greased 4-in
  5. Options: (1) Microwave for 55-60 seconds OR (2) Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
  6. Cool on rack.

Recipe Notes
This is a single-serving recipe, feel free to adjust accordingly. I have made these both in the oven as well as the microwave, I prefer the microwave version as it fluffs up more. Whereas, the oven-baked version, while still good, does not rise as much.

Soooooo yummmmmy😋😛😝😜

What is fat?
Fats, known chemically as the molecules triesters of glycerol (triglycerides) and fatty acids, are one of the three macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, proteins). Fat is vital for body processes such as digestion, transport, conversion, and energy extraction. It’s our body’s primary source for stored energy, and by weight, it contains three times the amount of energy provided by glucose which must be provided to the brain in a continuous supply throughout the day. We can’t survive without fat.

Fat is necessary for many reasons.
Digestion – Fat is not soluble in blood, so bile acids produced from cholesterol in the liver emulsify it along the way to make it bioavailable. It stores the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the liver and fatty tissues. Because fat needs to be broken down through multiple processes that include the stomach, duodenum, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and small intestine, it stays around for a long time and keeps you satiated.
Transport – Fat is part of every cell membrane in the body. It helps transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.
Conversion Your body utilizes fat for everything from activating hormones to building immune function.
Energy extraction – Between meals or when glucose is not available, triglycerides are broken down and metabolized for energy, which in times of great need, the brain’s neurons can utilize.
Nervous system – The axon is the part of a nerve (neuron) that transmits electrical signals from the brain throughout the body to initiate all functions. The axon’s protective coating is the myelin sheath and is made of 80% lipids (fats) that must be provided by the diet.

What‘s the difference between brown fat and white fat?
Brown fat is abundant with mitochondria, which give it the rich brownish red color. Mitochondria’s function is respiration and energy production. It produces ATP (adenosine triphosphate) by using the energy stored in food, in this case, fat. Brown fat burns calorie-intense lipids, releases stored energy and creates heat.
White fat stores lipids but doesn’t burn them, creating unhealthy belly fat. This is the type of fat that makes people “fat”. When too much white fat is accumulated, we gain the wrong kind of weight. Subcutaneous fat like the kind that’s been stored around the belly, thighs, or butt can’t be burned without new dietary fat, which triggers fat-burning channels through the liver.

Understanding fats:
Saturated fats:
These fats are solid at room temperature, given their carbon chain. Most of them are long chain fatty acids. Dairy fats are saturated fats and often ridiculed. But if one is careful enough to choose milk obtained from grass fed cows and not cattle fed on grains and corn, as these fats are healthier.
Saturated oils like coconut oils are in fact more beneficial for someone suffering from a liver disease or kidney disease as they are medium chain fatty acids and are assimilated well in the body’s digestive system. Saturated fats like red meat, egg yolk, butter should be had very sparingly.

Unsaturated – Monounsaturated fats:
There are two kinds of unsaturated fats- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, depending on the bonds their carbon atoms have. Mostly all cooking oils are unsaturated fats. When it comes to choosing the right oil it is essential to consider the ratio of mono to polyunsaturated fats present in the oil. Monounsaturated oils are more stable and hence oxidize very slowly in the body. Oils like rice bran oil, olive oil and groundnut oils are monounsaturated. They have properties, which can lower the total cholesterol and increase the HDL-the good cholesterol.

Summary
Fats are an essential part of our body’s metabolism. So, understand their different forms and incorporate them in your daily diets accordingly. Also, at the end of the day, a good fat is also a fat, carrying the same amount of calories. For example, 1 tablespoon of fat is 100 calories approximately. It is the rate of digestion, the assimilation and processing of these fats in the body that determine our cholesterol, our adipose tissue- the fat stored in the tissues. So consider creating a balance by using the right kinds of fats in the right proportion.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  •  1 egg
  •  1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  •  1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  •  1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  •  1/2 cup  bleu cheese crumbled
  •  1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  Olive oil, to grease the baking dish

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 3 tablespoons natural butter, melted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the bottom of a large baking dish with a bit of oil, to prevent the meatballs from sticking.
Combine all meatball ingredients until well-blended. (The mixture may feel a bit sticky.) Roll the mixture into one inch balls. Place in a single layer in the baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes.
Combine the Frank’s Red Hot with the melted butter. For a milder sauce, add more butter or decrease the hot sauce.

Pour the sauce over the meatballs and serve!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup natural apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon hickory smoke spice
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (add more for more kick)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Add all ingredients to saucepan and simmer on medium/low heat for 30 minutes.
2. Enjoy on EVERYTHING

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or more, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, or more, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Place asparagus in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste; gently toss to combine. Place into oven and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but crisp.
  • Serve immediately, tossed with garlic, lemon juice and Parmesan.