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Christmas Hacks (pt.1): Eating

posted by coach Jay D

Rounding out 2015, we’ve arrived at what could be the hardest two weeks of the entire year.

Face it, if you’ve been on a strategic meal plan or training regimen, for weeks/months up to now, then NOW is the time when you’re most likely to fall off.

In part 1 of this series here are 5 Eating strategies to implement and execute during the Holidays that’ll keep you on track towards your training and performance goals.

1. PLAN
When not heading out for the Christmas party luncheon, dinner or drinks, PLAN your meals accordingly. PLAN what time of day you’ll be eating your own meals prior to the party; PLAN what to bring to the party; PLAN what you will order at the restaurant; PLAN how many servings/rounds you’ll visit the potluck buffet table; PLAN how many ‘adult’ beverages you’ll cap off the night at.

2. PREP
Whether you are hosting the party or coming through as a guest, PREP healthy food choices. The PREP of healthy dishes for a house party keeps you accountable and gives you safe and healthy options.

It also serves as an opportunity to show others that you actually care to share your healthy lifestyle with them. Face it – for a lot of your friends and family, YOU may be the only exposure into the health and fitness world that they have. Be brave and proactive; be the gateway and expose them to the concept and truth that eating well can be delicious and enjoyable, too. Who the hell wants to eat JUST grilled chicken breast on a bed of steamed frozen veg, anways? JUST. EAT. REAL. FOOD.

3. FAST
Try a 24h fast leading up to the party or after the party. Try both. Not extreme enough to live that sort of cruel POW camp lifestyle? Me neither.

Try an intermittent fast for a day or two leading up to the parties and thereafter. Establish a fasting window time frame where the only thing you put through your GI-tract is water. Set this to about 16h. Yes, 16h of no food.

This, of course, can and should be included with your sleep time. The remaining 8h will be called your “feeding” window. Include your party, luncheon/dinner and drinks consumption, here.

I’ve been a true believer and advocate of Fasting for a few years now, even practicing it through different training phases and times of the year. It enhances performance, helps with overall digestion and health; but that’s another entire blog entry to be talked about. Google here, for details and studies.

4. PLANTS + PROTEIN
At the actual party, be plant-based centric. In other words center your plate around colorful veggie-filled dishes, ESPECIALLY if you’re not a vegan/vegetarian.

At minimum, 1/2 of your plate should strive to be stacked with plants of some sort. This will help with digestion, help you obtain all of those healthy minerals and vitamins to be strong like the Hulkster, and balance out the possible refined/pro-inflammatory foods you might ingest (alcohol/carbs/meats)

Also, on the other 1/2 (or less) of your plate, emphasize real sources of protein and lean sources of protein and healthy fats. If you’re vegan/vegetarian, paleo/primal, let’s all agree here towards the fact that real sources of protein and healthy fats are best, while refined/processed are terrible. High protein foods along with stacks of plants on your plate will leave you full, hydrated and well-nourished. Indirectly, it’ll leave little to no room for heavy carbs and desserts.

5. ENJOY
At the end of the day, don’t go buckwild with the food and drink at parties. There is life the next day and you DO have training goals to achieve. However, ENJOY yourself.

Don’t be a blacksheep and/or feel uncomfortable. Oppositely, don’t be the source of other people feeling discomfort with their choices. Rather, lead by example and stay true to your needs without being dogmatic about food. Holidays are for enjoyment; the term “enjoyment’ as defined by your needs and perception, subjectively.

I know that the holidays can be a hard time when you’re striving towards fat-loss, hitting a new PR in your lifts or simply be healthier, but only if you make it that way.

If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
Refer here, annually.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

Evolve or Die.

FOOD.

posted by coach Jay D

Over the last little while, jaydtraining.com has sprinkled some seasoning throughout the blog section of the site pertaining to food and its regard to training.

This is all the end product, of course, from completing my Precision Nutrition course last year, and gaining friends over the 7 years of training under my belt who really love eating well – vegetarian/vegan, Primal/Paleo, intermittent fasting advocate or not.

Of course, I, myself, have always loved and enjoyed food. I’m a foodie in denial, but I also love taking traditional recipes and reviving them in a healthier more nutrient-intelligent format. I like the challenge, and love the expression.

The posts will help if you let them inspire and guide your training. If you really think about it, you train too damn hard not to eat well and fuel your performance.

Stay Tuned, All, I’ll be adding more recipes and more nutritional guidance wherever and whenever I can.

Grab Your Nuts!

posted by coach Jay D

For years, now. I’ve been grabbing my nuts.
For years, I’ve been telling men to grab their nuts.
I’ve been telling women to grab some nuts, too. their’s or even their neighbour’s.

Nuts are great for you. They’re brain food and they’re excellent sources of “good fat”, fiber, protein and even, in some cases, Omega-3s.
They make you feel full and are a great substitute for sugary, carby insulin-spiking snacks.

Today, I told my client to actually grab his nuts a little more as a go-to snack during his off days from training.

Here’s a great piece the NY Times recently did by Michael Moss.

What are you waiting on? GRAB YOUR NUTS….in moderation, of course.
Oh, and by the way, make sure they’re Raw, make sure their not rancid, not sugar-coated or chocolate coated and make sure they’re not peanuts (those are legumes).

If you can’t eat nuts…well…sorry, (wo)man.

Recipes: Paleo/Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

posted by coach Jay D

Right now, my favourite food is Pizza. I’m more of a simple man when it comes to these affairs; a bit of sauce, simple, fresh ingredients and an airy thin crust.

Problem with most pizza is that it’s just too much carb; too much wheat; too much grain.
If you’re trying to lose fat or simply have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten, here’s a simple Paleo/Gluten-Free Pizza Dough Recipe that I played around with in the kitchen lab.

PALEO/GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredients
3 Eggs
1 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Coconut Flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 Cloves of Crushed Garlic
1 Tbsp. Dried Basil
1 Tbsp. Oregano

Directions
Preheat oven to 375F.
Prep cookie sheet or pizza pan by covering with lightly greased parchment paper (coconut oil or EVOO).
Whisk eggs, garlic powder and crushed garlic together until uniform.
Add dry and ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Bake for 20 Minutes on top rack.
Slowly Flip Dough back onto parchment paper, top with your desired toppings and broil for 2-5 minutes or until golden brown and handsome (like me. hey, now!).

I should note that there was no pizza throwing, tossing, rolling, punching or singing of Italian songs as the mixture will resemble a batter, rather than an actual gluten-y, gummy, dough
(I missed that part of prepping a gluten-rich pizza).

My Pizza was topped with caramelized onions, figs, prosciutto, goat cheese and spinach.
It was superb.

The end result, was not quite the airy, doughy, crispy pizza that I was used to lusting after, but it was damn good alternative.
For those of you weaning off the wheat, you’ll love this one.

Keep in mind that although not doughy and airy as a conventional pizza, this was still a nice and tasty alternative that’s highly recommended to my Primal/Paleo Dieters and Gluten-Free Friends. The Crust had a light, thin soft bread texture and the added dried herbs really added to the pie’s complexity, nicely. I’ll definitely be coming back to this dough when I need the fix at home.

Try it out and limit your toppings to your own imagination.
Let me know what you think, Strength Seekers.
Eat and Be Healthy.
Evolve or Die.

JD WKND CHALLENGE: Plant-Based Plates

posted by coach Jay D

This weekend, 1 meal/day starting at 12:00p, Friday 3/22/13 until 11:59p, Sunday 3/24/13, I’m issuing a challenge to make your plates (or take out/lunch containers) to be more plant-based.

Here’s the Challenge:

Make one meal daily, all weekend, comprised of at least 1/2 of your plate/container being plant-based
I’m not concerned with the other 1/2, all I’m concerned with is that you make the 1/2 that I’m concerned with full of vegetables; raw or cooked; cold or hot.

*if you already do this, then make your entire plate plant-based, once per day all weekend
**if you’re a vegetarian or vegan as is, and eat a plant-based diet daily…..well, sorry, Stay Tuned for our next challenge. I still love you.

Use: #JDWkndChallenge on Twitter or Instagram with your results and meals.

You got this, with ease.
Evolve or Die.

Recipes: The Working Man’s Chicken Soup

posted by coach Jay D

When I think of Chicken Soup, I think of what a big bowl of Mother’s hug would feel like.
It’s comfort food and every culture and nationality has their own take on the matter.

For the Chinese, it’s Congee; for Filipinos, it’s Mami; for Thais, it’s Tom Yum and for the Vietnamese; it’s Pho, to mention a few.
I’m merely exploring Asia here, but I’m sure my Polish, Russian, Trini, Greek and African friends can vouch for their own mother’s versions of a big, piping hot, hearty bowl of something delicious.

That said, I’d like to share my version of Chicken Soup — what I call “The Working Man’s Chicken Soup”, that might give your mother a run for her money.
The secret lies in the broth and simplicity of this one.

For anyone busy, Working or not, Man or not, here’s one of the easiest Chicken Soups to prepare on a budget with money and time.

——
THE WORKING MAN’S CHICKEN SOUP

Equipment
1 6qt Crock Pot/Slow Cooker

Ingredients
6 Chicken Thighs, Skinless + Boneless
4 Carrots, Skinned + Sliced
4 Celery Stalks, Sliced
1/2 of 1 Medium Onion
2-4 Cloves of Garlic
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to Taste
6 Cups of Cold Water
1/2 Cup of Parsley, Finely Chopped
1/2 Cup of Cooked Pasta or Rice (Optional)

Directons
1. Place Chicken at bottom of Slow Cooker and season with Salt and Pepper

2. Layer with Half Onion, Garlic, Bay Leaves, Carrots and Celery

3. Add Water and Set Slow Cooker on Low for 6 hours or High for 3 hours (if in a hurry)

4. 3-6 hrs later, Remove Chicken thighs and Shred with 2 forks. Discard Onion and Garlic

5. Add Shredded Chicken, Parsley and Cooked Pasta or Rice (Optional) back to Slow Cooker and set on Low for another 30 minutes

6. Serve Hot and Enjoy as a Side or Main Soup

——

There you have it, Simple and Delicious.

The beauty of this soup and deep flavour is how the chicken creates its own broth through the low and slow cooking method. No high sodium broths or stocks added for me.

If not enjoying my own mother’s Filipino Aroz Caldo (Congee) or Mami or Chicken Soup, but craving it just the same, I’ll throw all of these fresh ingredients into a pot before work, set it on low and come home to a fragrant home and hot bowl.

Perfect for combating a cold, shared or hogged to yourself when you’re Strong and Healthy.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

posted by coach Jay D

Are foods available at our local grocery stores formulated and designed to make us addicted?
That certain crunchy, sweet + savoury taste…they weren’t created by the companies to make us hooked, were they? Big Multi-national corporations wouldn’t do that……right?

The New York Times article, “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”, investigates further.

Read on here.

Junk Food May Be As Addictive As Drugs – ABC

Stay Awake and be conscious of the food and poisons you’re feeding yourself and your family.

Have A Strong Day.

Kick Ass Exotically: Add Lemongrass To Your Boring Life

posted by coach Jay D

The smell of Lemongrass instantly brings me back to my backpacking travels through Southeast Asia. There’s nothing quite like the fragrant smell of a piping hot bowl of Tom Yum Soup, that’ll energize your senses on a cold and gloomy Canadian Winter day like today.

But what gives this Thai soup its unique smell?

You’re most likely being enticed and awakened by the fresh, citrus-like scent of Lemongrass, an exotic herb, indigenous to South and Southeast Asia. It’s an ingredient that’s been used as a flavouring and medicinal agent in this part of the world for centuries.

Here’s why you should head to your local Asian grocer and add Lemongrass to your cooking;

Lemongrass Benefits
• Cough, cold & sore throats
• Anxiety
• High cholesterol
• Type 2 diabetes
• Colitis
• Digestion
• Rough, dry, scaly skin
• Acne
• Constipation
• Kidney detoxification
• Insomnia
• Relaxation & deep sleep

Healing Properties of Lemongrass
According to plantwell.com, this superherb “has many health benefits and healing properties containing many compounds, oils, minerals and vitamins that are known to have anti-oxidant and disease preventing properties.

The primary chemical component in lemongrass is citral which has strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

Lemongrass therefore inhibits microbial and bacterial growth in the body, both internally and externally, helping to prevent and cure bacterial infections in the colon, stomach, urinary tract and respiratory system.

Its leaves and stems are high in folic acid and essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1).

Lemongrass also contains many anti-oxidant minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Lemongrass oil when used in aromatherapy restores and revitalizes the whole body, helping to relieve the symptoms of headaches, body-aches, nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions.

Lemongrass tea can act as a diuretic and is highly effective in flushing toxins and waste out of the body; improving the function of many different organs including the liver, spleen and kidneys.

Many people use lemongrass as a calmative agent; to help them deal with anxiety and nervousness People who suffer from Insomnia report its ability to help them rest and sleep deeply.

Lemongrass may also have effects on cancer cells. There are many studies online and in medical journals illustrating how lemongrass kills cancer cells without harming normal cells.” (Read more…)

——-
Tom Kha Gai Recipe

Speaking of Lemongrass, here’s what I made this past weekend using the Almighty Lemongrass – “Tom Kha Gai”; a Spicy Thai and ‘Coconutty’ take on Chicken Soup.

TOM KHA GAI

Ingredients
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1 can (14 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 quarter-size slices fresh ginger, sliced thinly
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, bruised with back of knife + cut in 1-in. pieces
1 pound boned, skinned chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1-in. chunks $
1 cup Enoki Mushrooms
1 Cup of Broccoli
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon of Thai Red Curry Paste (containing Galangal + Kaffir Lime Leaves)
6 Thai Bird Chilli Peppers
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Preparation
In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, broth, ginger, and lemongrass and bring to boil over high heat. Add chicken, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is firm and opaque, 5 to 10 minutes. Discard lemongrass. Garnish servings with Chilli, basil and cilantro.

Yield: Serves 4 as a side soup or 2 as a Main
Total: 20 Minutes

Sprinkle Yourself Skinny

posted by coach Jay D

While I was watching TV last night (yes, I watch a 30-60 minutes when I can. Surprising, huh?), I caught an ad for Sensa. It’s ad claimed that by simply sprinkling this magical powder on your food, you, too, can be leaner via eating less. Pretty Impressive!!!

NOT.

Here’s How To Use Sensa

(I’m supposed to use this crap for 6 months?!!!)

Henry The Health Hound Reviews Sensa

Nutritionists Warn of the Dangers of Sensa (Article)

Do your own research, folks. If it sounds to good to be true…it probably is.

Get Stronger + Lean: Take Your Fish Oils

posted by coach Jay D

It’s not just about the brain + heart…yet more reasons why you should be taking your fish oils.

Read about it here:
[Get Stronger And Lean - Take Fish Oils]