I read a great article over at Mark’s Daily Apple where Mark Sisson talked about the ‘10 Foods He Can’t Live Without‘. It’s a great read and I agree with basically all of them (except I really just dislike broccoli) so make sure you give it a read.
I always like reading about good whole foods, but I always prefer seeing how they tie together and how I can turn them into an actual meal that I can eat for a week. I like cost-effectiveness and the ease of knowing what I’m eating all week long.
So, thanks to MDA.com for the inspiration for this one. Most are healthy, one is not but they all taste great and are super easy.
Jalapeno Breakfast “Sandwiches”
I have posted a version of this recipe before, but I dabbled with upping the ‘kick’ in the latest batch and let’s just say ‘me likey’.
One of the best pieces of basic nutritional advice I can give people is to eat a high protein, low carbohydrate breakfast. It’s the cornerstone of not just your day but your nutritional approach, andif you eat well at breakfast then I firmly believe you’ll be more inclined to eat well at other meals.
- 12-16 whole eggs
- 1 lb. cooked ground breakfast sausage
- 2 diced jalapenos
- 1 diced green pepper
- 1 diced onion
- 1c pepper jack cheese
Cook the sausage, jalapenos, peppers and onions in a pan. While they are cooking, whisk together the 12-16 eggs. Once the frying pan contents are cooked, add them to the mixing bowl. Pour all of the ingredients into a large baking dish and cook at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
It provides breakfast for an entire week without having to wake up a second earlier than you normally would. Simply cut pre-wrapped squares and take them to work, pop them in the microwave and enjoy about 25g of protein per serving.
The eggs contain an amazing source of bioavailable protein and choline. Do not be scared of the yolks of eggs as the fat in eggs is great for our hearts. When people start trying to systematically remove fat from whole foods and get rid of animal fats, they run into problems. (There is even a new theory that Attention Deficit Disorder might be caused by kids growing up with low levels of fatty acids in their diets. The theory is that the brain did not fully develop from the healthy fats it needs to thrive.)
Out of all the macronutrients (fat, protein & carbs), protein has the highest Thermic Effect of Eating. That means it takes our body more energy to digest it, which means the mere act of eating protein provides a caloric burn. It is a slow digesting macronutrient so it will fill us for hours. Along with being the best of the macros for our body composition, starting your day with a high protein meal will likely fill us up until lunch time reducing the need to snack.
Pritz and I make some variation of this recipe every week and don’t think twice about it.
I’ve been getting more and more into the research of green smoothies ever since a former client of mine (thanks, Claire) lent me ‘Green for Life’. This is a great book that really offers one of those ‘aha’ perspective moments similar to ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma’ and I recommend that everyone read it (we have both at the gym if you ever want to check them out).
People tend to think that smoothies must only contain fruit when in reality, the best smoothie to make will contain more vegetables than fruit and skew more alkaline than acidic. When you add only fruit to a smoothie you likely are getting a surplus of sugar that you don’t really need. The common homemade smoothie takes three to four servings of fruit and crams it into one 16 oz travel glass. That can be fine for after a workout, but you don’t want to do that at all times of day if you’re trying to lose those last few five pounds.
You need balance, and the addition of green vegetables will not only make you instantly feel better, but will also do wonders for your bodyby putting it into a more alkaline state and removing a lot of acidity from your diet.
- 1c frozen blueberries
- 2c organic spinach
- 1/2 c parsley
- 1/2c raw kale or collared greens
- 1/2 c ice water
- handful ice cubes
- 1/2 banana (optional)
I include the banana because I am not too concerned with the additional sugar a banana will bring. I’m not currently trying to burn fat and I need the additional carbs for the demands of my day. I would suggest removing it if fat loss is your goal, but if you’re good with your current body composition then go for it.
If you ever find yourself at the La Jolla or Little Italy Farmer’s Market then make sure to stop by GreenFix Smoothies. These dudes are whipping up their home-bottle green smoothies and they are OFF. THE. HOOK.
P360 Basil Chili
This is a ridiculously easy recipe that I came up with while aimlessly browsing the grocery store the other day. It’s high in protein and very efficient with carbohydrates as all of them are in the form of vegetables.
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 diced jalapenos
- 1 sliced Anaheim pepper
- 1 diced onion
- 2c fresh basil leaves
- 3 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp cumin, chili powder, garlic salt, black pepper each
This is about as easy as it gets. You simply add all of the ingredients to a large crockpot, set it on high for six hours and then come back to a delicious meal that will last you an entire week. If you do not have a crockpot you’re going to want to drop the $40 at Target. It will be your new best friend for those that either don’t have the time to cook a full meal and those who are terrible cooks. I happen to be both.
Grass-Fed Ribeye and Parmesan Asparagus
Honestly…I salivated typing that header. There is just nothing better than a nice, juicy cut of American grass-fed steer cooked to perfection. Seriously, come up with something more delicious.
That’s what I thought.
- 8 oz. grass-fed NY strip or ribeye
- 3 oz. asparagus
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated aged-Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon Irish creme butter
- salt & pepper
Turn the stove top on it’s highest heat/flame setting and let a pan get REALLY hot. Marinade your steak in olive oil, salt and pepper and let it sit for five minutes while the pan is getting scalding. Toss the steak onto the pan and sear each side on high heat for 90 seconds. If you don’t have an exhaust system over your stove top range then get ready for your kitchen to look like James Franco’s living room, but it will be worth it. After both sides are seared, reduce from high to medium heat and cook your steak to your preferred temperature.
In a separate pan, sautee the asparagus with the teaspoon of butter and Parmesan cheese until tender.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. Steak? Butter? I thought these were healthy meals! Alas, they are. In case you missed my entry vindicating butter and animal fat then check it out here. Or take it from a globally renowned expert here, and here (Sisson). And oh hell here’s one more for good measure (Taubes).
I came across MDA’s article denouncing butter as an unhealthy food a few months ago, and since then I have been adding it to all of my veggies. In that time span I have lost seven pounds and my cholesterol levels are perfectly healthy.
The key is to make sure your meal is without complex carbs and most of your day for that matter. When carbs are low, we’ll use the fat in butter for fuel but when carbs are high, we’ll store it as fat.
Chocolate Berry Fuel
This is my favorite post workout drink as it’s loaded with readily available protein and fast acting carbohydrates.
- 1c frozen blueberries
- 1 banana (optional)
- 1 tbsp sugar-free almond butter
- 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
- 1/c ice water
(P360 friend Megan May suggested hemp protein if you have whey allergies or if you have trouble digesting. Good call.)
Blend it together in a smoothie that doesn’t sound like a 757 taking off (like ours).
Yep, it’s that easy. Pritz and I have a blender in the gym specifically to make these after we’re done training. It’s loaded in antioxidants and the sugar in the blueberries will go towards refilling your lost glycogen (stored energy) that you depend upon for circuit training.
And if you don’t want to make it at home then just head to your local smoothie store (Smoothie King) and get a similar variety by asking them to add protein.
Dreyer’s Maxx Peanut Butter Ice Cream
In the spirit of keeping it real, I need to come forward (hey, I told you my diet is not 100% perfect).
I don’t know what it is, but I feel like a pregnant woman right now in that I am legitimately craving ice cream and nines time out of ten, I’m going peanut butter flavored.
(Actually, I know exactly what it is. It’s because I am not feeding my body enough right now which I need to correct. I am on an unintentional hypocaloric diet, and combined with a high calorie need for myself I’m currently breaking down all of the dietary fat for energy that I can, but in the end it’s falling a bit short so my body is craving high-sugar foods after I work out to replace the glycogen.
Circuit training is very glyoclytic in that it burns through glycogen as the primary fuel (glycogen is stored glucose we use for energy during circuit training), and by nature your body will crave sugar to fill it back up when it’s run dry. I need to reverse this by eating more throughout the day and feeding myself post-workout properly, but the rigors of running a business often get in the way. It’s no excuse because I know what I’m doing wrong and will correct it soon, but for now the ice cream is killing it.)
When I’m eating to enjoy, I don’t worry about calories and as you might already know, I follow the adage that whole fats are better than reduced fat or skim dairy products. Sometimes you have a long day or week and just need the comfort of something that tastes incredible.
So, what did I do after a day that included arriving to the gym to find a water leak, finding out at lunch that a little kid at our neighbor’s Kids Camp took a crap in the urinal, and by 5 pm almost knocking myself out cold by high pulling too high?
Unwound with my boy Dreyer. Hey, it’s better than meth, right?
(Don’t answer that.)
So, there you have it. I highly encourage you to start implementing five out of the six meals in this article starting this week.
Let me know what recipes you’re making at home that are healthy, and if we decided to post them we’ll give you two entries to the gift card raffle!