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How the Trainers Eat, vol. 3

31 Aug

And now for another look at my tasty eats…

As summer is winding down (or just picking up here in the foggy environs of San Francisco), I wanted to get as much mileage as I could out of all the wonderful corn from Eating with the Seasons.  It is also the time of year for grilling!

With that in mind, I decided to grill some steaks – my favorite being a marinated hanger cut – as well as grill the corn, and then create a wonderful spicy soup that could be enjoyed either warm or cold.

Ingredients

6 ears of corn

1½ green bell peppers, chopped

3 T. butter or ghee

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 white onion, chopped

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. chili powder

4 red-skinned potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 radishes, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 c. chicken broth (homemade if you can)

4 dried arbol chiles

Directions

About an hour before starting the meal, soak the corn – in husks – in a pot of water.  When ready to cook, place the corn (still in the husks) and peppers on a hot grill over medium heat.  Turn occasionally, letting the husks dry and begin to char.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  Peel the husks off, being careful of any hot water that might drip out of the husks.  When corn and peppers are lightly charred, remove from the grill and set aside to cool.

In a large pot, melt the butter.  Saute the onions and garlic until translucent.  Add the potatoes, cayenne, chili powder, and salt to taste.  Stir to coat the potatoes.  Cook until the potatoes begin to soften and then add 2 cups of chicken broth.  Bring to a light simmer, stirring frequently so as not to burn.

Add the radishes, carrots, and dried chiles and stir.  At this point, chop the green peppers and add to the pot.  Stand the corn cobs vertically on end and slice off the kernels; add to the pot as well.  Continue stirring to incorporate all the ingredients.  When potatoes and carrots are soft, remove the pot from the heat.

Working in batches, carefully ladle the soup into a blender or food processor and puree to your desired consistency.  Add the pureed soup back into the pot and add the remaining chicken broth to get the thickness of soup you would like.  Serve hot or cold with a garnish of fresh cilantro and a dollop of whole milk sour cream.

How the Trainers Eat, vol. 2

9 Aug

So it’s been a while since I posted any of my culinary explorations, but here is the most recent:

Curry Carnitas & Indian Style Corn

While we here at FIT generally recommend staying away from grains, this corn might be an exception. It comes courtesy of our wonderful CSA friends over at Eating with the Seasons so we know that it is not genetically modified and comes pesticide free.  And since corn is not a gluten-grain, I can safely say that it won’t trigger any digestive distress for those who are celiacs, or others with wheat intolerances.  We usually advocate for a lower carbohydrate intake, but there’s just something great – maybe it’s my Midwestern roots – about fresh corn on a warm evening in the summer (it was even rather warm at my house in SF!).

The corn recipe comes from the wonderful Sally Fallon cookbook “Nourishing Traditions”.

And to go along with the Indian flavors, the pork was rubbed with a Vadouvan curry spice, kosher salt, and white pepper.  It was then cooked “carnitas style,” meaning that it was braised in lard (about 3 cups) with aromatics for several hours (in this case chopped red onions, garlic, and cilantro stems).  Keep your oven low, and let it cook for several hours (250deg. for 3-ish hours for a 3-lb. bone in pork shoulder).

I hope you enjoy!

Jeff P. Embraces New Strategies for Fat Loss

5 Jun

At FIT, our trainers take their education seriously. We pride ourselves on seeking out the best information available to continually serve our clients better. On occasion, our trainers take time to attend education. Today’s post is brought to you by Jeff P. who recently attended a seminar by well-respected strength coach Charles Poliquin.

 

Last month, I spent 7 days at the Poliquin Performance Center in East Greenwich, RI to take the Biosignature Modulation course, as well as attend the 3rd Annual Eleiko Strength Summit.

Developed and taught by Coach Charles Poliquin, Biosignature Modulation (or, biosig for short) is an individualized method of body fat loss. Basically, specific receptor sites on the body are blocked and lead to dysfunction- that is, there is a relationship between where you store body fat and your hormones. Technically speaking, there actually is such a thing as ‘spot-reduction’ in fat loss.

For example, that stubborn tummy-fat is an indicator of prolonged exposure to the hormone cortisol (a.k.a. low grade adrenaline). Cortisol stimulates abdominal fat synthesis by inhibiting growth hormone. The good news is that this can be reversed through recommended dietary and supplement intervention.

During class we discussed the relationships of 6 key hormones and 12 sites on the body as well as the methods for modulating these sites. For example, increasing magnesium intake has shown to improve insulin sensitivity, improve quality of sleep, and improve cortisol management (anti-stress).

We also practiced measuring the sites 3 times a day for 30 minutes each. Coach Poliquin’s teaching method is geared for 70% retention: 40 minutes lecture, 10-point review, 5-15 minute break, repeat with or without 20-30 minute practice. With over 100 pages of notes, I’ll testify that it is quite effective and consequently very helpful!

 

If you’re interested in finding out how Jeff’s Biosignature practice might be able to help you, feel free to contact him at jeffery@focusedtrainers.com.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Jeff’s experience where he shares his insights from the Eleiko Strength Summit.

How do the Trainers Eat

18 Apr

Here are a collection of my more recent culinary endeavors to get your mind going in the kitchen.  Please email me at matt@focusedtrainers.com for recipes or for nutrition/cooking consultations.  Enjoy

Chimicurri Salmon with Sauteed Cabbage

Sirloin Strips and Braised Greens

Garam Masal Pork Chop with Cumin Spiced Boc Choi and Asparagus

Roast Leg of Lamb with Tarragon Mint Butter served on Garland of Spring Vegetables

What lessons do we teach our kids in the cafeteria?

11 Apr

We tell our kids to go to school to learn. And they do. Even in the cafeteria.

In a TED talk a few years ago, renegade lunch lady, Ann Cooper made an impassioned appeal for attention to the lessons we actively and passively teach our kids every day in the school cafeteria. Cooper, the director of nutrition services for the Berkeley Unified School District, is on a mission. When she was hired only two years ago, she had 90 employees and no one knew how to cook. How is this possible? Literally everything served in the school cafeteria came packaged in plastic, a can, or frozen. Burritos, pastries, canned fruit medley, peculiar dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.

Salad Bar Revolution

Cooper shifted the entire paradigm. Instead of cheap, pre-packaged, processed and frozen foods, Cooper set out to teach kids the value of eating regional foods that are organic, sustainable, and fresh.

This meant eliminating all foods containing high fructose corn syrup, using organic produce, and cooking everything–yes, everything–from scratch. But a shift in thinking about food requires more than just changing the menu. So she instituted cooking classes in all the schools in the district to give the kids hands-on experience cooking and preparing these foods for themselves to support academic classroom curriculum to tie it all together.

What inspires Cooper’s mission? This issue is not just for the schools, it is for us because, simply put, it is about us. There is a great need in most schools to change the way we teach our kids about diet and lifestyle. And when we change what we feed our kids, we start to change what kinds of foods our kids think are healthy and acceptable.

Knowing that change is possible, we also know that it doesn’t happen overnight. Perhaps then we should begin with small steps.

Fresh is always better!

First, a good place to start is by finding out what is served regularly in the school cafeteria. Most schools usually have a printed menu available for the week. Stay up to date on what is being served. Compare the number of items on the menu that are fresh versus the number of items that are packaged and frozen.

Second, voice your opinion to the school board or PTA. These bodies exist to support the child’s development in every way possible and this topic is definitely worth the attention and discussion.

Third, model these lessons in the home. The parent and family unit are the most significant influences on the child’s development. Model healthy eating choices in the home by feeding your kids healthy, sustainable, fresh foods that are rich in colorful vegetables and clean proteins.

And if you have already implemented other strategies for fostering healthy habits, please share that with the rest of our FIT community by posting to our comments section along with any other thoughts you may have on the topic. Happy eating!

New Family Favorite

19 Mar

It’s always a special evening when setting the nights meal on the table does not illicit a chorus of “I don’t like that” quickly followed by “how much do I need to eat?” Even better when, following that chorus, the first bites are taken and quiet ‘yumm’s are heard from the youngest diners. I always retest within a week to ensure I have, in fact, found a winning combination and in this case, it’s clearly a winner so thought I’d share.

This recipe is taken from Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan currently available for purchase at FIT.

Blue Ribbon Country Captain Chicken
3 strips of sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon (optional)
2 lbs boneless, skinless thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbs coconut oil
4 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
3 large bell peppers (red and/or green) thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs raisings
1/2 c chicken broth
2 Tbs curry powder (penzeys maharajah is awesome)
3 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced
3 Tbs sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Cut bacon crosswise into 1/4″ wide pieces. Place chopped bacon in a large, cold skillet, turn heat to med-high, and fry bacon till crisp (i recommend thick sliced bacon). Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. add coconut oil to the bacon fat in the pan, and reheat skillet. add chicken in a single layer, smooth side down. Don’t crowd the pan and don’t annoy the chicken! You want it to form a crisp, brown crust so place it in the pan and leave it alone, about 4 mins per side. As the chicken browns remove it from the skillet and place in a single layer in a 13×9 baking pan.

in same pan without draining any of the remaining fat, sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and raisings until the veggies just begin to soften, but are not cooked through. Spread them on top of the chicken and return the skillet to the stove.

pour chicken broth into the hot skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. add curry powder to the pan and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Pour sauce over the chicken and wrap the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

bake 35 mins, then remove foil, increase the heat to 400 F, and bake an additional 5-10 mins. Before serving, sprinkle with scallions, bacon and almonds.

Divine! And I have enough veggies left over to make some sort of delicious veggie side later on this week. Let me know what you think!

Know What is In Your Food

25 Dec

Happy Holidays to All!  As we all sit down around the table to celebrate with family and friends, take a minute to think about how the food you are enjoying came to be on your table.  Nature’s Path has provided this great infographic about GMO (genetically modified organisms) food.  It is our belief, here at FIT, that WHAT you eat is more important than HOW MUCH you eat.

GMO infographic

Recipe Updates

28 Oct

Sorry for the lack of posting, but as many of you know, I recently moved, and have been inundated with trying to unpack and make my new home all my own.  So…here are a few recipes from recent Wednesday night meetings.

Pre- & Post-Workout Snacks

Pre-Workout

Smoked Salmon with Avocado on Veggie Rounds

2-3 oz. Smoked Alaskan Salmon (most likely will find Sockeye at the grocery store)

Make sure that the only ingredients are salmon, salt, and smoke

1/4 avocado

Sliced eggplant or cucumber

To assemble, smear some of the avocado onto the veggie round and place salmon on top.

These can be made in advance, or just put together as you need them.  Remember that a pre-workout snack should be mostly protein and/or fat, but in smaller portions than a full meal.  It is really intended to prepare the body for exercise with a hormonal stimulus freeing up fatty acids to fuel your workout.

Post-Workout

Quick Pickled Curry Carrots

Slice carrots into coins or sticks and place in a sealable container.  In a separate bowl, mix together salt, curry powder, fresh ground black pepper, powdered ginger, and mustard powder.  The exact amounts you use depend on your tastes, but make sure that you have plenty of salt.  This is what produces the “pickling” of the carrots.  Mix 3 parts vinegar (I like to use apple cider vinegar) and 1 part water together in the bowl with the spices.  Pour mixture over the carrots, enough to cover them.  Seal the container and refrigerate for at least an hour.  The longer the carrots stay in the refrigerator, the more pickled they will become.  Other firm vegetables – beets, cauliflower – can be used in place of carrots.

Sweet Potato Chips

Wash and peel sweet potatoes.  Slice as thinly as possible – a mandolin works really well here.  Grease a sheet pan with coconut oil and spread potato chips out on the tray.  In a small dish, heat coconut oil until it is melted.  Pour over the potato chips just enough to coat.  Sprinkle any seasonings (MSG-free) on the chips that you like.  Place tray in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees and cook until desired doneness, about 30-40 minutes.  If you like, you can flip the chips halfway through and season again.  This will make them crispier as well.

Post-workout snacks should be a combination of carbohydrate and protein, with minimal fat.  These two options can be combined with more of the smoked salmon (no avocado this time) or with other protein on hand.  

 

And in case you were on the fence about choosing organics, here is a great article from the Organic Consumers Association.

Best take away: Organic foods are nutritionally dense compared to foods produced with toxic chemicals, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds.

Almost to the End

25 Oct

While we’re getting ready for the end of the Whole 30, I wanted to remind everybody about our final meeting this Wednesday evening at 7pm.

Where: 1133 Miguel Avenue Los Altos (off of Fremont)

When: 7pm

What: Please bring a Whole 30 approved dish that can serve 4-6.  This can be a main dish, side, salad, or even appetizer; just something for all of us to share and enjoy.

 

Also, I came across this article about how to get your children to eat more vegetables.  Big tips from the article:

  • Set a good example for your kids.  “…they are watching us and learning all the time, although they’ll never admit it.”
  • Have your kids get involved in the preparing of veggie casseroles, side dishes, main dishes, salads, etc. Have them flip through a vegetable cookbook and a recipe that looks appetizing.
Hope that helps in this last week, and don’t forget to come share a meal with us this Wednesday.

Whole 30 Dinner Meeting

23 Oct

I hope things are going well for everybody so far; 3+ weeks through the Whole 30!  How is everyone feeling?  Just wanted to shoot everybody a quick reminder that our last weekly meeting will be this Wednesday, October 26th, at 7pm.  We will be discussing dinner options, as well as other questions that have come up through the last several weeks.

For this week, though, we are asking that everyone bring one of their favorite dishes.  This could be something that was a go-to quick fix on a busy week night, or something more elaborate that you experimented with.  Either way, whatever you fix will surely be delicious.  Keep on the lookout for another announcement about where this dinner will be held.

Good luck heading into the last week.  And don’t forget to share your experiences for others to read.

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