Monday, April 25, 2011

Ladies, worried that lifting weight will make you "bulky"?

An objection females often make to lifting weights is, "It will make me too bulky" or something along those lines. Well, this is completely false, and lifting weights is a key tool in developing an aesthetically pleasing physique. If you don't believe me, check out the picture above and the video below. These girls are very strong... but not bulky.

Friday, April 22, 2011

7 Tips for Conventional Meats

Don over at Primal Wisdom recently wrote a post about one of the dangers of conventional meat, antibiotic resistant bacteria. You can read about it here: Conventional Meat May Contain MAR Bacteria: What To Do About It

In the post he made a list of 7 tips for buying and cooking conventional meats. They're great tips and I have reproduced them here:
1.  If eating conventional meats, eat less turkey and pork compared to beef and chicken.   
2.  Consider buying meat frozen or freezing it after purchase, because freezing can reduce microbial concentrations by up to 97-99%. 
3.  Eat more whole cuts of meat and less ground meat, since ground meats may have bacteria in them whereas whole cuts will generally only have bacteria on the outside surfaces. 
4. Wash your hands and counters after handling uncooked conventional meats. 
5.  Cook conventional meat adequately. 
6.  Whenever possible, get grain-fed meats from animals raised without antibiotics. You can get them from local farmers, butcher shops, and some 'natural' markets.  In Arizona, Sprouts Market and Sunflower Market both sell grain-fed meats from animals raised without antibiotics.  Animals raised without antibiotics very likely have lower counts of antibiotic-resistant microbes.  
7.  When economically practical, buy meat directly from farmers who raise their animals without antibiotics on pasture or species-appropriate diets.    

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Evolutionary Nutrition: 3 Ways to Always be Prepared

"By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail" 
                                                          - Benjamin Franklin 
Preparation is Key
I've learned from my own experience and observed dozens of times that preparation is key when you are adopting a new way of eating. I really emphasize the importance of this with the people I work with because I have seen it derail people so many times.

Here's what I'm talking about: You're starting an evolutionary diet and aren't quite familiar with the foods you're going to be eating. You end up stuck at school or work with nothing on hand and not quite sure how to improvise. You're starving and end up grabbing a pack of doritos or a piece of pizza. Not an optimal situation, so here's how you deal with it.

There's a couple options, depending on your preferences:

1. Intermittent Fasting:

Martin Berkhan (on the right) has pioneered this approach, it works very well. 

Intermittent fasting is a very effective method of eating for fat burning and has numerous health benefits as well. If you know you'll be somewhere with quality food options in a reasonable amount of time and you can distract yourself from being hungry, just wait till you have access to good food.

This method is extremely liberating because food is never a constraint on your activities. 

Worried about "starvation mode", "metabolic slow-down", or "burning muscle for energy"? Don't be- these ideas are myths developed by supplement and snack companies to get you to buy their products. The research actually suggests that intermittent fasting protects you from muscle loss and can increase your metabolism. 

2. Snacks
Having some snacks stored at work or in your backpack can be a lifesaver. Here are my favorites:
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Jerky
  • Avocado
  • Sardines
  • Chopped veggies - carrots, celery
  • Dark chocolate
  • Olives
  • Stick of butter - Nibbling on butter fills you up quick. Some people don't like this.
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Nuts (in moderation!)
  • Fruit (in moderation and depending on your goals)
  • Lara Bars and Perfect Food Bars - not optimal but good enough. 

3. Tupperware Warrior
Your third option is to take some leftovers or make some food and throw it in a container and bring it with you. This is also ridiculously easy, but mildly annoying if you don't life bringing food containers with you.

These are my top snacks; tell me what yours are in the comments. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Real Food 7: Meatza

This is what a finished piece of meatza looks like
It's been a while since I put up a post on food... so here's something that is one of my go-to meals. I love pizza, and seriously, who doesn't? But eating the wheat in the crust of a standard pizza just isn't worth it to me, and I was delighted when I discovered that there is something even more delicious than pizza. It's called meatza, and it's a pizza with the crust made out of ground beef instead of flour, making it suitable for evolutionary nutrition, paleo, or low carb. 

Meatza is quick, simple, and totally customizable. You can use any toppings or seasonings you want, I just used what I had on hand:

Base Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ground beef (preferably grassfed)
  • 2 eggs
  • pizza seasoning
  • 1 can pizza sauce
  • cheese
  • olives
  • bacon
  • avocado
  • onion
  • bell peppers
  • garlic
  • mushrooms

(1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 

(2) Take your two pounds of ground beef and use your hands to mix it with the 2 beaten eggs. The eggs will help the ground beef stick together. 

(3) Mix in the pizza seasonings with the ground beef and egg. 

(4) Spread out the mixture on a baking pan, as thin and even as possible. Here's what mine looked like: 

(5) Bake this in the oven for 10 minutes. 

While the crust is baking, get all your toppings ready:

(6) Slice and lightly cook onions, peppers, and garlic. Chop the olives, avocado. Cook the bacon and cut it in to pieces. Shred your cheese of choice.

(7) When your crust comes out of the oven spread 1) the pizza sauce, 2) your shredded cheese, 3) all of your toppings, 4) maybe some more cheese on top. 

My meatza, prepped for step 8.
(8) Put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes. It finishes really fast and may take even less. 

(9) Slice it up and enjoy!

The meatza was so good my friends and I ate it before I had a chance to take a picture of the finished product. I like this dish a lot and because it's so quick, I make it fairly often. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Deadlift World Record!

1015 pounds raw deadlift...

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Take on Low-Carb Diets for Fat Loss

My progress pic: Evolutionary Nutrition + low carb
While the effects of low-carb dieting on health can be impressive as well, especially for people with metabolic derangement (insulin/leptin resistance), I want to stick to low-carb for fat loss at the moment. Just to be clear, an evolutionary or paleo diet is not by nature always a low carb diet, though it can be. 

Why are low-carb diets so effective for fat burning?
Without going in to the underlying hormonal causes, the real advantage of low-carb diets is the resetting of satiation signaling pathways. 
What I mean by this is that when you eat a diet low in carbohydrates, your bodies ability to send the signals to your brain that you are full, is greatly increased.

The end result of this is that people will feel full on less food.

In fact, several clinical studies show that subjects eating a low-carb diet until they are full often eat less than people on high-carb diets that are actively restricting calories.

This makes it relatively easy to lose fat when compared to a high-carb diet, because you simply aren't as hungry. 

However, it's important to remember that even if you are eating low carb, if you constantly eat past the point of feeling full, it is still possible to gain body fat. 

The other thing I want to emphasize about low-carb diets is that the majority of the health benefits that people see from them are likely because of the things they are not eating; the grains, legumes, sugars, etc. You will get a lot of the same effects of a low-carb diet by replacing these foods with safe starches.

Weight loss on a high-carb diet is possible, although I wouldn't recommend for most people. It usually leads to feelings of constant hunger, deprivation, and possible malnutrition due to a decrease in consumption of the most nutrient dense foods (meat, eggs, animal fat), which can results in fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies.

I will examine the underlying hormonal and metabolic effects of low-carb diets, and their relationship with longevity sometime soon.