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a big ol’ fruit knowledge bomb

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Posted by Corie

I’ve gotten some questions and witnessed some confusion recently about fruits from friends and family, so today I decided to drop some fruit related knowledge bombs on you all. Fruit has become this gray area in nutrition, fitness, and weight loss. There are differing opinions and contradicting recommendations. We are told over and over that we need to increase our fruit and vegetable intake, but the nutrition prescription that many of us in the CrossFit community are told to follow is to only eat lots of veggies and only SOME fruit. Why the inconsistencies? Why specify “some” fruit? Why not lots of fruit? Are fruits and vegetables the same? Why am I eating my fruits and veggies, but still not leaning up? Why do I feel like my head is going to explode?

IMG_0723Wellllllll, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans lumps fruits and vegetables together, placing an equal amount of importance on the two groups of food and inadvertently providing the perception that their nutritional value is the same. The USDA MyPlate sets the goal at half the plate for fruits and vegetables without describing whether or not it matters how much of each there are. This is misleading information. Fruits and vegetables are not the same nutritionally and, pardon me while I get all sciencey, a single serving of vegetables has about 5 grams of carbohydrate and 25 calories whereas a single serving of fruit has about 15 grams of carbohydrate and 60 calories. Simply put, that shit is different. Although both vegetables and fruits provide many of the same vitamins and minerals, they are NOT the same. And guess what, they make all the difference in your diet depending on your goals.

Don’t get me wrong, fruit is good for your body. It is most definitely a better choice than processed packaged foods and provides vitamins and minerals your body needs. The sugar in fruit is different from the sugars added to foods and beverages mostly because fruits also have fiber and water, resulting in a slower spike in blood sugar. However, if you’re trying to loose weight… you’re exercising… you cut the refined starches and the processed junk… and you still aren’t seeing any results… the sugars in fruit, although natural, could be the reason. They may actually be contributing to some weight gain, especially if you’re eating the ones highest in sugar. Here’s the deal:

When is it good to eat fruit?

  • I think there are a few instances when it is definitely beneficial to eat fruits, as well as starchy vegetables. We can lump these two groups together into the same category because they often act similarly within the body). Directly after a workout there is this magical period in which your muscles want to grow. They are so friggen eager to grow, and they will as long as you give them fast carbohydrate and protein. This is the ideal time for carbohydrate dense vegetables and fruits to be put to great use.

Oh come on, I’ve gotta be able to eat fruits. They’re like, real and healthy.

  • The biggest culprits of hidden amounts of sugar that could actually be hindering your weight loss include bananas, papayas, apples, mango, pineapple, grapes, pears, melons, oranges, nectarines, and persimmons
  • The better fruits, the ones you might get away with grabbing more often, would be berries. These are naturally lower in sugar, higher in fiber, and full of antioxidants so you get more nutritional bang for your buck.

What about smoothies? I love my smoothiez.

  • You may remember me saying in the past that bitches love breakfast. Well if there is one thing that bitches love more than breakfast, its smoothies. When you sit down to drink your extra tall smoothie mid-day I want you to think about a few things first.
  • IMG_0315Would you eat all the fruit and vegetables and juice and flax seed and yogurt and protein and whatever the eff else you just threw into that blender, without blending it, all in one sitting? If the answer is hell no… then you should probably rethink drinking all that stuff. If the answer is yes… I’m concerned for your well being.
  • Smoothies can be tasty, but your body likes to chew and digest it’s food. It’s that whole use it or loose it concept. To have the best gut you can, you’ve gotta let it do it’s job. If not, the sugar from that fruit smoothie is going straight into your blood and spiking your blood sugar. Same goes for fruit juice, even the 100% shit. Remember, elevated blood sugars can lead to a whole mess of problems.
  • If you’re going to drink them anyway, do it during that magical half hour window right after your workout when your muscles could use the fast carbs.

That being said I AM NOT trying to tell you to cut out fruit and avoid it like the plague. This is little nugget of knowledge will help you be better. If you’re trying to gain then you can get away with eating more fruit, if you’re trying to loose then dial it back.The best way to figure it all out is to play around with the amount and type of fruits you’re eating. If you’re eating fruit with every meal, it’s time to back off. Oh and no need to worry, you can get all of the same vitamins and minerals from eating a variety of vegetables instead.

I’m informing you for a reason. I’m injecting this insanely useful knowledge into your brain so that you can have the tools to make informed decisions and some serious gainz. I’m droppin’ knowledge bombs on y’all.

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pass the grass… fed beef

Posted by Corie

If you’re like me and you love a big juicy steak, there can be a whole lot of information to digest when perusing [pronounced perooozing] your local grocery store or butcher’s counter for the perfect cut of beef.  You have to think about the different cuts of meat that require different cooking techniques, which pieces are more expensive and which are a lot easier on the wallet, do you want the bone in or do you want to go boneless.  But before you even get to all that shit you might want to think about a quality of beef that’s often overlooked.

That is, what your cow was fed and how it was treated before it was anywhere near the butcher’s knife.

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Ugh, who cares? Does it really matter? Yup. Yup it does and I’ll tell you why.

Cramming beef cattle into feedlots and feeding them grain to fatten them up is probably one of the dumbest ideas… ever. Cows are meant to eat grass and that is what they most efficiently turn into the meat on their bones. Instead, on feedlots, they are being fed enormous quantities of corn, soy-based protein supplements, antibiotics, and growth hormones to go from 80 pounds at birth to 1,200 pounds in just over a year. It’s not efficient, it’s not good for the cows, and it’s definitely not good for anyone eating the cows.

Grain fed cows bloat, they get acidosis, ulcers, diarrhea, a weakened immune system. The cows are sick and essentially dying. Then they slaughter them and package them, and put their sick meat on all the grocery store shelves for us to pick up. Hello mad cow disease. Hello E.Coli. Hello superbugs able to withstand every antibiotic known to man. I know it sounds like I’m being dramatic, but it’s all true and very well hidden from an uninformed public.

Hands-down, grass-fed is more nutritious. These cows are getting the nutrients they need from grass, without all the added stress and abuse cattle encounters on a feedlot. According to the Journal of Animal Science, meat from grass-fed cows has less total fat and saturated fat, and almost twice as much healthy Omega-3 fats (one of those essential fatty acids your body loves). It also has up to 4x the amount of Vitamin E that grain fed beef does, and more conjugated linoleic acid, associated with lower cancer risk.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

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Remember:

Organic does not mean grass-fed. They are different. Look for grass-fed, ask for grass-fed, inquire about grass-fed. The more we say it, the more grocery stores, butchers, restaurants, and farmers will realize that’s what we want. We drive the market. Our dollars make all the difference. [I’m real fired up about this if you can’t tell.]

On that note, grass fed is more expensive, but we should be okay with that. You’re paying more for better quality beef. That good quality directly transfers to your good health. So, buy a little less.  You shouldn’t be shelling out tons of money for grass-fed beef every night because you shouldn’t be eating beef every night. You can’t eat the same foods day in and day out. Variety is key to a healthy diet.

Woah. Your brain is full of knowledge now. Can you feel it? We can see it. There’s probably no room to think for a few hours so here is the simplest, most delicious seared skirt steak recipe for ya. Soak it all in and eat some grass-fed beef.

Rosemary Skirt SteakIMG_1867

1 skirt steak, sliced into 3 or 4 strips

salt and pepper

olive oil

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Heat a tablespoon or two over medium heat in your pan. Add roughly chopped rosemary sprigs and cook until fragrant. Add in skirt steak and cook until browned and beautiful. BOOM, easy as that.

Keep it simple and keep it real. Serve with some sweet potatoes or acorn squash and a healthy heaping of garlicky spinach.

smart snacking and sweet potato pancakes

 

 

 

 

Healthy-Eating-On-the-Go

Posted by Corie

I get a lot of questions about snacking on the run.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: the key to eating healthy “on the go” is to be prepared. Simple as that.

Our lives are hectic. We are busy people, with lots of stuff on the brain. There’s no way we can find any extra space in our heads, let alone extra time in the day for things like meal planning…. okay, okay, hold up.

Almost every food company markets a line of convenience items for the working gal, business buff, active athlete, full time mom, etc, etc. Everyone thinks that because we work or we run from here to there that we need these processed snacks to grab and get us through the day. Put your work first and your nutrition on the back burner. Let’s stop and think about that…

If you’re hungry, your work, your performance, your productivity is going to suffer.  And what do those processed snack foods [even the ones claiming to be healthy] do to your body? They spike your blood sugar and they leave you hungry. That’s a lose, lose situation. With a small, and I’m talkin’ minimal, amount of extra effort we can kick those processed snacks to the curb and be ready for anything with healthy snacks.

That Little Extra

Here’s some tips on putting in just a little extra so that you can be prepped with healthy snacks for the week. Don’t limit yourself to these, the internet is a crazy place full of  ideas.

  • Invest in some good containers. You’ll never want to pack things if it’s a pain in the ass to find any of the lids to your tupperware. If you’ve got a good set with a couple of each size you’re set.
  • Try and get a little of everything in your snacks (some protein, veggie or fruit, and fat)
  • Section some natural peanut butter out into small containers when you buy it. This way, you’ve got your own “to-go” cups for bananas or apple slices, or to just eat with a spoon… Okay, maybe don’t do that last one too often.
  • Make enough to have leftovers. I always buy extra to make for dinner. I might have to fend off the scavengers at the end of the meal, but my stomach sure does thank me when there’s leftover flank steak strips to grab and run with the next day.
  • If you are gonna go with something packaged, choose wisely. Steve’s PaleoGoods makes some awesome stuff and all proceeds go towards an awesome cause. Check out more about them here.
  • Hard boil eggs. You can hard boil a whole or half dozen on the weekend and keep them in the fridge. A protein packed egg is perfect to grab and go with.
  • Make cakes. I’m not talking the fluffy shit you get at the end of a birthday party. I’m talking veggie cakes. I’ve made swiss chard cakes, zucchini cakes, and my personal favorite, sweet potato pancakes. They are tasty, stay in the fridge, and hold up well on the run! Just make them on a Sunday when you’ve got some down time or as a weeknight side with plenty of leftovers.

 

IMG_2182Here’s the recipe so you can get started snacking healthy

Sweet Potato Pancakes

(makes about 10)

1 large sweet potato

1/2 a yellow onion

2 eggs

1/2 tbsp almond flour (or coconut flour)

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

2 tbsp coconut oil

Shred your sweet potato and onion. I used a food processor and that took no time at all. You could also shred them with a grater. Put all your shreddings on a towel and squeeze out all the moisture. Set aside on the towel.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Try and squeeze any remaining moisture out of the sweet potato and onions then throw them into the bowl. Mix well.

Heat your coconut oil in a small/medium sized skillet or pan. Add small handfuls of the potato mix to the hot oil. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and all stuck together. Place on a paper towel after frying to soak up any extra oil.

barely adapted from Healy Eats Real