Tag Archives: health

Very random thoughts

1. It doesn’t matter how you spin it – if you want to remove sugar from your diet, you need to remove everything sweet from your diet.

2. Fat loss = 60% nutrition + 20% exercise + 20% sleep & stress. That equation = 100% made up, but you get the idea.

3. Women don’t get bulky from weight training and supplementing with whey. If it were that easy, most guys today will look like Arnold.

4. Bodybuilding is not always the answer. Fitness is.

5. No you don’t need tricep extensions.

6. Yes you need mobility work.

7. Not everyone needs to eat low carb or low fat. But everyone absolutely needs to eat real food. Real food for humans is like diesel for a diesel engine.

8. Not everyone needs to run marathons or deadlift 2 x BW, but everyone absolutely needs to stay active. So shut up and start doing something already.

9. Theres sugar, brown sugar, honey, jaggery, maple syrup etc etc. But what is the best sugar for diabetics? No sugar. And I’m hoping thats not a new brand.

10. No food is of any nutritional significance if quality sucks. Such is the case with dairy and meat and eggs and vegetables and everything else that is edible.

11. Yoga is awesome. But so it strength training and running and MMA and rock climbing and surfing and swimming. So what is the awesomest? Realizing nothing is is what is awesomest.

12. Its not the teaspoon of sugar in your coffee thats messing you up. It is the healthy snack time biscuits, heart healthy breakfast cereals, health food drinks, all natural fruit juices and sugar-free indulgences that are.

13. Fruit is great. Convenient, slightly nutritious and sweet… like nature’s candy. And thats exactly what it is… nature’s candy.

14. More important than when you workout is that you workout. Stop with the excuses and find a way to stay active.

15. Meat is murder. So is agriculture. Anything and everything you do to ensure you don’t kill, is just your way of convincing yourself that you are doing the right thing. Kind of like giving money to a beggar. Once you realize that for you to live something has to die, you’ll live a guilty and guilt-free life. You’ll understand when you get there.

16. Low intensity cardio, medium intensity cardio, high intensity cardio – they all suck. Save your time and focus on full body moves that improve performance.

17. And NO, you don’t have to be an athlete to worry about performance. Performance is everything from waking up ache free to living without medication to being able to play with your kids to performing sufficiently in the bedroom to being able to tackle whatever life throws at you.

18. Size 0 for women is like 6 pack abs for skinny men – ridiculous, functionless and dangerous. Strong > skinny. Get your mind right.

19. I moved from low volume heavy lifting to high volume bodyweight focussed training. I feel awesome! In fact, I haven’t felt this good since when I moved from high volume bodyweight focussed training to low volume heavy lifting.

20. If you’ve been reading this blog for even a month and haven’t made the basic changes even, you’ve got to be either stupid or full of excuses.

21. And of course, George Carlin is a genius.

Advertisements

Macronutrient Madness – Sample Diets

Towards the end of my previous macronutrient post, I promised you folks sample diets for different goals. Since I hate nonsense talk at 5 in the morning, let’s get down to the good stuff.

Here is the deal…

  • The primary goal here is to eliminate any and all foods with gut irritating potential and only eat foods that are benign and extremely nutrient dense. This ensures that the body, in addition to getting the right macronutrients, is nourished with enough and more vitamins and minerals.
  • All diets here are designed for an imaginary client who weighs 150 lb, works a desk job and gets little to no activity during work hours. Eat more or less depending on your current bodyweight and activity level.
  • It goes without saying that these diets will work only if this imaginary client consistently eats as laid out. And if it isn’t clear, he needs to train hard and smart to see results.
  • Meat eaters – any and all meat needs to be organic and free range or grass-fed or wild caught (as the case may be).
  • All dairy needs to be organic and preferably grass fed.
  • Any whey protein needs to be high in protein (> 20 g per scoop) and low in fat (<3 g), carbs (<5 g), sodium (<15%) and cholesterol (<10%).

– – – – – x – – – – –

Case 1: Health & Longevity

  • Eat about 0.5 gram per pound of bodyweight.
  • Eat enough real food carbs and real food fats.
  • Eat to satiety. Stop before you’re full.

– – – – – x – – – – –

Case 2: Fat Loss

Training:

  • Strength training 3 days/week
  • HIT (Eg. sprints) 1 day/week
  • Low intensity cardio (Eg. walking) on rest days

What to eat on training days:

  • 0.75-1 lb lean meat (Eg. chicken breast, chicken thigh, white fish, lean beef, lean pork)
  • 2-3 organic cage free whole eggs
  • 2-2.5 lb mixed fibrous vegetables (Eg. broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini)
  • 1 cup mixed fruit or 1 medium fruit
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 cup whole milk or whole milk yogurt
  • 1-2 oz cheese or 2-4 tbls cream
  • 1-2 tbls oil (coconut oil/butter/ghee/olive oil)
  • 1 scoop whey protein
  • 200 calories worth of benign starch (cooked white rice or tubers)

What to eat on rest days:

  • 0.75-1 lb moderately fatty meat (Eg. 85/15 ground beef, steak, salmon, bone-in pork chop)
  • 2-3 organic cage free whole eggs
  • 2-2.5 lb mixed fibrous vegetables (Eg. broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini)
  • 1-2 tbls oil (coconut oil/butter/ghee/olive oil)

When to eat what:

  • Number of meals can be 1 or 10.
  • Each meal should contain protein.
  • Starches and protein supplements need to be consumed in the post-workout meal only.

Substitutions for vegetarians:

  • 1/4 lb Paneer/tofu/tempeh + 1 scoop whey in place of 1 lb of lean meat.
  • 1/4 lb Paneer/tofu/tempeh + 1 scoop of whey in place of 3/4 lb of moderately fatty meat.
  • 5-6 egg whites and a cup of cottage cheese will be required to meet protein requirements.

– – – – – x – – – – –

Case 3: Strength Gain

Training:

  • Strength training 3 days/week
  • Low intensity cardio (walking etc.) on other days

What to eat on training days:

  • 1-1.5 lb moderately fatty meat (Eg. 85/15 ground beef, steak, salmon, bone-in pork chop)
  • 3-4 organic cage free whole eggs
  • 2-2.5 lb mixed fibrous vegetables (Eg. broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini)
  • 3-4 cups fruit
  • 2-3 cup whole milk or whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup nuts
  • 2-3 tbls oil (coconut oil/butter/ghee/olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 scoop whey protein **
  • 500 calories worth of benign starch (cooked white rice or tubers)

What to eat on rest days:

  • 1-1.5 lb moderately fatty meat (Eg. 85/15 ground beef, steak, salmon, bone-in pork chop)
  • 3-4 organic cage free whole eggs
  • 2-2.5 lb mixed fibrous vegetables (Eg. broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini)
  • 3-4 cups fruit
  • 1 cup whole milk or whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tbls oil (coconut oil/butter/ghee/olive oil)

When to eat what:

  • Eat at least 3 meals per day to ensure adequate calories are consumed.
  • Each meal should contain a significant amount of protein and calories.
  • Whey protein can be consumed throughout the day whenever protein is required.
  • Starch is put to best use when consumed in the post-workout meal.

Substitutions for vegetarians:

  • 1/4 lb Paneer/tofu/tempeh + 1 scoop whey in place of 1 lb of lean meat.
  • 1/4 lb Paneer/tofu/tempeh + 1 scoop of whey in place of 3/4 lb of moderately fatty meat.
  • 5-6 egg whites and a cup of cottage cheese will be required to meet protein requirements.
  • An extra cup of milk/yogurt will be required to get adequate calories.

– – – – – x – – – – –

Case 4: Endurance

Training:

  • 60+ min endurance training 3 days/week
  • 1 strength training session/week
  • 1 yoga session/week
  • 2 rest days/week

What to eat on endurance training days:

  • 0.5-75 lb lean meat (Eg. chicken breast, chicken thigh, white fish, lean beef, lean pork)
  • 2 organic cage free whole eggs
  • 2-2.5 lb mixed fibrous vegetables (Eg. broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini)
  • 700-800 calories worth of benign starch (Eg. cooked white rice, tubers)
  • 300-400 calories worth of fruit or dried fruit
  • 300-400 calories worth of squashes and root vegetables (Eg. butternut squash, beetroot)
  • 1 tbls oil (coconut oil/butter/ghee/olive oil)

What to eat on rest days:

  • 75-1 lb moderately fatty meat (Eg. 85/15 ground beef, steak, salmon, bone-in pork chop)
  • 2 organic cage free whole eggs
  • 2-2.5 lb mixed fibrous vegetables (Eg. broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini)
  • 300-400 calories worth of squashes and root vegetables (Eg. butternut squash, beetroot)
  • 300-400 calories worth of fruit or dried fruit
  • 1 tbls oil (coconut oil/butter/ghee/olive oil)

When to eat what:

  • Eat at least 3 meals per day on endurance training days to ensure the body is fueled adequately.
  • Each endurance training day meal should contain starch and/or fruit.
  • Refer fat loss section for strength training day guidelines.

Substitutions for vegetarians:

  • 1/4 lb Paneer/tofu/tempeh + 1 scoop whey in place of 1 lb of lean meat.
  • 1/4 lb Paneer/tofu/tempeh + 1 scoop of whey in place of 3/4 lb of moderately fatty meat.

– – – – – x – – – – –

Why is ‘eat real food’ special?

1. There are many diets that will help you lose weight or gain strength or provide calories for endurance activities, but how many diets actually help you reach these goals while making you healthy? Any idiot can come up with a diet plan that has the required macronutrient split, but show me a diet plan that is as packed with micronutrients!

2. Any calorie restricted diet will help you lose weight. But it will also leave you hungry, weak and depressed if it is filled with grains and fruit juices . On the other hand, a real food based diet, which is 95% whole real foods, will leave you energized, satiated and strong.

3. High protein/fat/carb diets are not sustainable in the long run and results in repeated ‘falling off the wagon’. The ‘eat real food’ diet plan contains enough of all three macronutrients which lends itself to great tasting recipes which in turn results in long term adherence. You’ve got meat, cheese, veggies, fruit, nuts, dairy, rice and other starches to play around with. What more do you need?

– – – – – x – – – – –

Summary:

I understand that this is probably not the usual ‘diet plan’ you see on other websites. But, as you know, I like to keep things real and legit. Once you have a list of what you need to eat, you can figure out when and how you want to eat them. I believe in ‘freedom within constraints’ since it always makes people more creative, in control, accountable and hence more successful.

How do these things come together? What “meals” should I eat Raj?

Seriously? Maybe we’ll find a time that works for both of us and I can feed you? Figure out your own meals! If you eat what is listed, your macros will be pretty much spot on and how you eat them doesn’t matter as much (as long as you don’t destroy the food in the name of cooking!). Make foods that suit your style and cuisine. Start by looking at recipes that I have previously posted in the blog and visiting www.eatrealfood.in regularly where you can find a bunch real food recipes.

If you need more guidance with respect to nutrition (and training) and have questions on more intricate aspects like meal pairing, meal timing, meal frequency, allergies etc. you can always make use of the online consultation and telephone consultation options that I offer. Email me requesting a consultation and we’ll take it from there. And if you’re new around here, be sure to join my Facebook group for recipes and a wealth of information regarding nutrition and follow me on twitter to stay abreast of all the latest nutrition and fitness mumbo jumbo.

So what do you guys think? Too much food? Too little? Questions/comments/concerns… please post in the comments section. I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts!

Peace out.

Alcohol 101

Alcohol addiction (any addiction for that matter) is bad for health. Period.

While some of us drink nonstop to forget some great tragedy in life, most of us drink for fun. This post is for the second case. Chronic drinkers and addicts please go here.

You down a few shots of tequila and in about 30mins… Boom!… you’re smarter than the sober ones, you’re more handsome than your model friend, you’re stronger than the bouncer in the club and you can speak every language there is… including your dog’s. What is this mystery substance that makes you do stuff you normally wouldn’t do to save your life?

The alcohol we refer to when we’re talking about getting hammered is actually Ethanol  (C2H5OH).  It is for all practical purposes a psychoactive drug and it has a depressant effect on the consumer. Depressants decelerate central nervous functions which causes some messages that need to go to the brain to be slowed and/or blocked. This is why you walk funny, speak gibberish and feel like Neo when you turn your head fast.

The Bad:

  • Ethanol inhibits the secretion of vasopressin from the posterior pituitary gland causing severe dehydration when heavy amounts of alcohol are consumed.
  • There’s evidence that alcohol consumption can raise the risk of certain cancers, particularly breast cancer in women and cancer of the head, neck and esophagus in both genders. Read more here.
  • This study says that getting drunk at least once a month puts women at a significantly increased risk of heart attack and I doubt that the verdict is any different for men.

The Good:

  • One study found that men who drank moderate amounts of alcohol three or more times a week were up to 35% less likely to have a heart attack than non-drinkers, and men who increased their alcohol consumption by one drink a day over the 12 years of the study had a 22% lower risk of heart attack.
  • British Heart Foundation says daily intake of 1-2 units of alcohol (2-4 oz of wine) is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease in men over 40 and post menopausal women.

So from a long term health stand point there are both pros and cons to alcohol consumption and it’s hard to say if one overshadows the other.  But, like everything else, alcohol consumption in moderation seems to do more good than bad.

What about from a fat loss/body composition perspective?

First of all, alcohol is wacky in a couple of ways.

  • Alcohol does not belong to carbs or proteins or fats and has 7.1 calories per gram (1 gram of carbs = 4 calories, 1 gram of protein = 4 calories and 1 gram of fat = 9 calories).
  • When you consume alcohol it goes from the stomach to the blood to the liver and gets converted into acetate by enzymes in the liver. Now once the acetate is released into your bloodstream, the body seems to want to burn this for energy instead of burning fat (or carbs).
  • Despite  this, alcohol consumption does not seem to result in increased body weight. Read here for more.

So it’s fairly conclusive that alcohol consumption by itself doesn’t cause fat gain. So what does then?

  • We all know about the ‘beer belly’. What we dont know is that the belly from drinking gallons of beer is mainly due to the monstrous load of carbs from the beer than the alcohol content in the beer.
  • One study shows that alcohol consumption increases appetite. With the increased appetite and compromised common sense due to the psychoactive nature of alcohol we end up with truckloads of french fries and chicken wings in our tummies.
  • Downing multiple cocktails is the equivalent of downing liters of soft drinks and/or fruit juices! We know soft drinks and fruits juices are basically liquid sugar… and we also know sugar causes fat gain. Mixing spirits with soft drinks or other juices have the same net effect.

Obviously, not getting sozzled is the best option for health reasons and to avoid fat gain… but that ain’t gonna happen now is it?! So what’s the solution?

1. Watch the carbs in your choice of alcohol. Choose your liquor wisely. Remember a drinking night will involve 5-10 drinks and the carbs/calories add up!

2. Stay away from cocktails. Tasty but definitely not worth the flab in the mid section.

3. If you’re a fan of hard liquor/spirits, stick to ‘neat’ or ‘on the rocks’. Granted it is a drinking night – still no reason to chug liters of soda!

4. If you’re drinking at a bar stay away from the junk food. Eat before you go to the bar. Bar food blows and you don’t want to pay half your week’s salary for sucky food anyways.

5. If you have to eat something when you drink (and you definitely should if you want to avoid a messed up stomach and a hangover) eat some cheese and drink plenty of water. This will keep you up and about the next morning. Some awesome stuff about hangover cures here.

6. If you’re very serious about your fat loss but equally serious about getting leathered then you have to listen to Martin Berkhan.

Peace.

Think Behind The Box – Instant Breakfasts

Today about 75% of us eat instant foods like cereals, granola bars & instant oatmeal for breakfast (and the remaining 25% don’t eat breakfast). That’s pretty sad. Why? Because we let our taste-buds & clocks dictate our shopping list! And let me tell you this now… them taste-buds don’t have our well-being in mind. We’ve got to train them to like what’s good for us. More on this later.

Not wasting your or my time… lets jump to the specifics.  So we’ll do a detailed analysis on a few very common instant breakfast options we have today. Then may be some ideas for real food? Cool.

1. Kellogg’s® Smart Start® Strong Heart Antioxidants Cereal

I mean… it says Smart Start and something about heart and antioxidants… oh and it’s got the stuff in a heart shaped bowl! it’s got to be good for you right?

Ingredients:

Oat Bran, Sugar, Oat Clusters (Sugar, Toasted Oats [Rolled Oats, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil,Molasses, Honey], Wheat Flakes, Crisp Rice [Rice, Sugar, Malt, Salt], Corn Syrup, Polydextrose, Honey, Cinnamon, BHT For Freshness,Artificial Vanilla Flavor), Rice, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Malt Flavoring, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Baking Soda, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Bht (Preservative), Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D.

2. Quaker’s Instant Oatmeal

Ok, so I grew up in India and my mom cooked oats with milk for breakfast before I left for school. So what’s the difference between my mom’s version and Uncle Quaker’s super-healthy version?

My mom’s ingredients:

Whole grain oats, sugar to taste + milk + peach (if I wanted peach flavor)

Uncle Quaker’s Ingredients:

Whole grain rolled oats, sugar, flavored fruit pieces-dehydrated apples [treated with sodium sulfite to promote color retention], artificial peach flavor, citric acid, annatto color), creaming agent (maltodextrin, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, corn syrup, whey, sodium caseinate, sugar, dipotassium phosphate,mono and diglycerides, artificial color, salt, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), salt, calcium carbonate, guar gum, oat flour, artificial flavor, niacinamide*, vitamin a palmitate, reduced iron, pyridoxine hydrochloride*, riboflavin*, thiamin mononitrate*, folic acid*. +  milk

May be it’s an American thing but my mom never added all this to her oatmeal. Hell, she didn’t even know these were things you add to food. Why? Because these are not things you add to food! Pretty useful stuff though…you can use them to clean your carpet or even as rat poison.

3. Kellog’s Eggo Blueberry Waffles

Ingredients:

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid), water, vegetable oil (soybean oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil with tbhq and citric acid for freshness), eggs, sugar, dextrose, contains two percent or less of leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), modified corn starch, salt, calcium carbonate, dried blueberries, apple fiber, natural and artificial flavors, maltodextrin, cellulose gum, citric acid, whey, soy lecithin, vitamin a palmitate, niacinamide, blue #2 lake, reduced iron, red #40 lake, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin b1), riboflavin (vitamin b2), vitamin b12.

If I were eating this and I just read the ingredients I’d be like ‘Oh My Freakin Lord!’.

4. Peanut Butter Chocolate Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Granola Bars

Ingredients:

Granola (whole grain rolled oats, sugar, brown sugar, rice flour, whole grain rolled wheat, coconut oil, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils and/or sunflower oil, whole wheat flour, honey, molasses, sodium bicarbonate, soy lecithin, caramel color, salt, barley malt, vanilla extract, nonfat dry milk, whey, sodium caseinate), oligofructose, crisp rice (rice, sugar, salt, barley malt), semisweet chocolate chunks (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, salt, vanilla), peanut butter (peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil [cottonseed and/or rapeseed oil], salt), flaxseed, peanut flavored chips (sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil*, partially defatted peanut flour, lactose, whey, dextrose, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, salt, artificial flavor), sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil*, fructose, glycerin, sunflower oil, natural and artificial flavor, cocoa (processed with alkali), water, buttermilk, cocoa, salt, milkfat, soy lecithin, hydrogenated palm oil*, sorbitan monostearate, polysorbate 60.

This is their description…

“Adding fiber to your diet has never been so yummy or easy, and with the added benefits of Omega-3, you can feel great about indulging with our rich and tasty Peanut Butter Chocolate Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 granola bars.”

And this is mine…

“Adding crap to your diet has never been so yummy or easy, and with the added benefits of chemically processed shit, you can feel great about indulging with our cheap and nasty Multi-Junk Bar a.k.a Peanut Butter Chocolate Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 granola bars.”

Ok are you freakin kidding me?? Why do the words ‘artificial’ and ‘flavor’ appear over and over again in my healthy breakfast? Why do I read sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, molasses, honey, malt flavoring, sugar? Why are there 30+ ‘listed’ ingredients when my mom’s recipe had two? Why are 70% of these ingredients things that most of us last heard in chemistry class? Redonkulous!! Oh and when I see parents feeding this stuff to their children… may God save our race!

I stuck to the American brands because it is easier to get the ingredient list online… but I guarantee you wherever you live most of the stuff on the supermarket aisles have similar junk in them.

I understand your problem though. You’re busy! You cant cook every morning… and yea this shit is cheap also. Ummmm… alright I have an amazing idea that will save you both time and money! Listen up.

Stop fueling you car with unleaded petrol. Use kerosene or crude oil instead. Why?

1. It’s super cheap! Money saved!

2. You can buy in bulk and store it in your garage. Fill your car’s fuel tank from home!! Time saved!

You won’t do that now will you? You wont fill your car with crude oil… you shouldn’t fuel you body with processed crap.

Get your priorities right… health is and has to be one of your highest priorities… spend the extra 10 mins and fuel your body with the highest quality foods!

Now for some alternatives…

1. Baked Eggs

Vidya made these for breakfast and I should say these were pretty awesome!

Ingredients:

Whole fresh eggs, mozzarella cheese, salt, black pepper, dried basil leaves, red chili paste, olive oil, cilantro

Prep time: 5mins; Baking time: 25mins

I’ll let you figure out the portions per your bodyweight & activity level. Mix ’em up in a cup… load ’em in the oven… hop into the shower and come back to a super breakfast. Add a cup of fresh fruits and you’re good to go. Protein from the eggs, fat from the egg yolks & olive oil, carbs from fruit and health from ‘real’ ingredients!

* Will post the detailed recipe soon.

2. Fruit & Nut Shake

Even a 3 yr old can make this… I have something like this every morning almost.

Ingredients:

Milk, fruit (banana or apple or berries), nuts (almonds or macadamia nuts or walnuts), honey (to taste)

Prep time: 5 mins; Blend time: 1 min

If you’re training or if you’re vegetarian and not getting enough protein… add a scoop of whey isolate to the shake. Super tasty & supremely healthy!

3. Veggie Scramble

Ingredients:

Whole fresh eggs, vegetables, olive oil, salt, pepper

Prep time: 5mins; Cook time: 10mins

Fruit on the side for the sweet tooth. No limit to the combinations you can come up with when eggs, vegetables, nuts & fruits are involved.

Note: No red flags on any of the ingredients here. Your mom will recognize and vouch for every single ingredient.

So everytime we buy something let’s not get fooled by the marketing gimmicks on the front of the box… let’s remember to look ‘behind’ the box! And if you HAVE TO go for instant breakfasts once in a while find products that have less than a total of 8-10 ingredients and make sure you know what those ingredients are.

Peace.


%d bloggers like this: