You Can Find Motivation Oddest Places

Music, as well as health/fitness, is a passion of mine. So when I found out the lead singer of one of my favorite bands Mikel Jollett (The Airborne Toxic Event) wrote an article for Men’s Health back in 2006 I was excited to read it! Mikel Jollett was a freelance writer prior to the band; I already knew he was ridiculously good at writing from his music, but this Men’s Health article is damn good! I’ve attached that article below. I relate to his article so much because as funny as this may sound,  while I was going through my weight loss transformation of 80lbs I was really motivated by the character Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) of the HBO series True Blood.

True Blood - S6E10 - Jason's Abs - 2

Jason had the exact body I always dreamed about since I was a little fat kid. After each episode of True Blood I felt like working out, haha! When I felt tempted to cheat on my diet, I would think of Jason Stackhouse, and as silly as it sounds this kept me on track with my diet. Motivation can come from the oddest places, but whatever that motivation may be, use it! Put up pictures around your house to keep reminding yourself. Constantly visit whatever motivates you, whether it’s a person, a thought, a feeling, a goal; use the heck out of it!

Here’s the article by Mikel

“Brad Pitt Whipped Me Into Shape”
By Mikel Jollett

I was a big fat slob. Then I went to the movies.

You can find the motivation to get in shape in the oddest places.

Some guys find it in a doctor’s office after a sobering chest exam or blood test or biopsy. Others find it at a high-school reunion when That Girl from 10th-grade biology doesnt recognize them through the haze of cheap vodka, male-pattern baldness, and so many forgotten years. As any good Russian novelist could tell you, life reaches a crossroads – and big changes follow – when sex seems less likely than death.

I found my motivation in the back of a movie theatre in Santa Monica, California. That’s where Brad Pitt comes in, but more about him later.

I was 25 years old, working a hundred hours a week in an office. I hadn’t really set out for that life, but you know how those things go. You’d trade a kidney for an extra zero at the end of your paycheck, and so on. My days were filled with 5-year plans, capital-amortization reports, key-performance indices – i.e., the tortured lexicon of the modern office. For the first time in my life, there wasn’t much time for exercise. Hell, there wasn’t much time for anything but sleep and work. And eating.

unhealthy-eating-86534618Why do so many office events involve food? The candy jar on the secretary’s desk. Doughnuts at morning budget meetings. Rubbery chicken lunches at the Yale Club. Steak dinners with board members. It’s like we’re trying to feed some existential hunger, trying to fill a dark void at the center of office life with caramels, Hershey’s Kisses, and muffin baskets. People eat at the office for the same reason they drink at a bar: to forget they’re there.

I don’t know exactly when it got away from me. In college, on the track team, I had been all-Pac 10 in the 10,000 meters, a svelte 148 pounds whipping around the oval at 70 seconds per quarter mile. At that age, those of us on the cross-country team, those of us who ran 12 to 15 miles a day and ate mountains of food at night, felt like wild beasts. Like we were born to leap boulders, like we were panting, pawing, screaming to run. It’s probably mixed up with some milk-toothed adolescent fantasy, but we really felt like we were pushing the limits of mortality. All that pain and strain and exhaustion and exhilaration. How far can we go? How fast can we run? How much can we take? Let’s find out.

But by age 25, after 3 years in office purgatory, 3 years of meetings and dinners and lunches and drinks, I was up to 225 pounds. Sitting there, listening to these middle-aged men make jokes about their wives over two-martini lunches, I felt caged, fenced in, trapped, old, tired, fat, bored.

I would find myself walking the fluorescent-lit corridors of that ungodly building with reams of green-and-white printout paper covered with endless rows of numbers, a big, round gut hanging over the 38-inch waistline of my green slacks, seething about the budget. “Have you seen these numbers, people?” Every now and then I’d catch a glimpse of my reflection in the office glass and wonder who the fat man was.

Then it happened. In that movie theater in Santa Monica. Fight Club. I know that sounds trite. I know it should have been the birth of my first child or something. But it was Fight Club that did it.

Brad-Pitt-fight-club-body

I remember seeing Marla Singer (played by Helena Bonham Carter), with that ragged eyeliner and waifish body. She was so trashy and dirty and hot and broke. And Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) lived in this abandoned house in the middle of nowhere with the anonymous narrator (Ed Norton). All they ever did was get in fights, wreak havoc, work out, and make fun of the automatons. Though it all ended miserably – but triumphantly! – with that Pixies song when those buildings blew up, God, my life just seemed so tame by comparison, so forgettable, so compliant. I thought, What the hell am I doing? I’m 25 years old.

I saw the movie four times in one week. And I cracked. I quit my job. I dumped my girlfriend. I started working out constantly. Running, swimming, lifting weights, drinking protein shakes, eating apples.

My routine was basic. I thought of it as a matter of simple physics: If I burn more than I consume, my body will metabolize fat. It has to. I figured that at my weight, with my metabolism, I burned about 2,500 calories a day. So I kept to a 2,000 calorie diet and worked out like mad. Four runs a week (100 calories per mile), three swims (100 calories per 15 minutes), four weight sessions (300 calories per hour, plus beach muscles). I made sure I never rang up more than a 7,000 calorie deficit (which equals 2 pounds of fat) in a given week, since your body freaks out when you do that.

It was tedious at first. The runs were painful, I was always sore, and it took so much damn time. I had to make a decision: The plan would come first – it was the only obligation I absolutely had to fulfill. Everything else in my life would have to fit in around it.

After about a month, after the initial shock had worn off, once my feet had calloused over and my hair had become ragged from the chlorine, the plan became something else. A dare. Not in the okay-tough-guy, No Fear, come-over-here-and-check-out-my-glutes kind of way. More like it was a daring thing to do.

Because if you think about it, it’s kind of absurd. Grown adults running through fields, unprompted, unchased, lifting heavy objects for no practical purpose, swimming back and forth repeatedly across a rectangle of water and heavy chemicals. It prompts a question in your mind, while you’re pursuing these senseless tasks: What sort of creature does this kind of thing, anyway?

Over time, the answer becomes obvious, even if it’s just something you feel in your bones: Because this is what I was born to do. This is what this body was made for.

As for the desk job, those hellishly vapid budget reports: Was I honestly made for that crap?

When the money that I’d saved ran out, I started working as a carpenter, walking around with a tool belt on all day, driving a 5-ton truck, familiarizing myself with the layout of Home Depot. It was good to be paid to sweat. The guys I worked with couldn’t quite understand why I was doing basic construction instead of the cushy office job I’d left. “Hey, Stanford U,” they’d say to me, “think you could nail this two-by-four in that frame over there? They teach you how to do that in school?”

The work itself had its benefits. At the end of the day, when my back hurt and my hands ached from pounding a hammer or wielding a screw gun for 8 hours, I felt as though I’d earned a drink. And anyway, there is a certain manful pride in knowing your way around a miter saw and a speed square. But it was mostly monotonous and nothing I had aspired to. I wasn’t in it for that.

I was in it for the sense of possibility. For the idea that you can shake your life up like a soda bottle and smack it against the wall. That whatever prisons we construct in our lives – whether it’s an awful job, a gut, an unhappy marriage, an addiction, the things in life that hem us in, that make us wake up in the morning in a cold sweat and think, How did I get like this? and How can I escape? – all these things are transient. For me, and maybe for anyone, the answer was, just leave. Tear the entire thing down.

In 6 months, I was down 55 pounds – to 170 – and had all the accoutrements that so famously go with exercise: more energy, more confidence, better sleep, less stress. In place of the gut, I had the six-pack I’d had in college. I was also broke and single and had squandered what I had once understood to be a promising future. I didn’t care.

I met a girl in Las Vegas. We exchanged phone numbers, and when I got back to Los Angeles, I called her. She invited me over to her place, a real dump in Culver City that was brimming with empty wine bottles and Liz Phair posters. When I walked in, she was sitting on the couch – skinny, big eyes, flat chested, her shirt half unbuttoned, dirty blonde hair, and lots of eyeliner. My own private Marla Singer. I nearly cried.

fight-club-soap

“Have you seen this movie?” she asked, pointing to the television. And I couldn’t even make this up: It was Fight Club – the scene where Ed Norton fakes a fight with his boss to get fired. In the process he destroys the office, cutting his hands and back and face on the shattered galss of a coffee table. He walks out, whistling, pushing a pile of office equipment in a cart, with a smile on his face and blood dripping down his shirt. Fantastic.

I know, I know. Sophomoric. It is, a bit. But whatever the motivation, once I started taking exercise seriously, I felt more alive. I felt that my life had possibilities. I felt stronger. There’s really nothing so basically transformative, nothing so regenerative, as getting in shape. Some of it is simple blood sugar, blood pressure, metabolism, and endorphins. Your high-school P.E. teacher could have told you that. But it’s also the sense that if you can change your body, you can change anything. You feel your muscles working beneath your clothes, you become aware of your heartbeat, and you remember that you’re an animal first and animals do not like to be fenced in.

The fact is, we’re going to be dead someday, and I don’t care how important we are or how much money we make, how refined our taste in wine, music, clothes, literature, art, women. Those things are great, but there’s just no escaping that your life begins and ends in your own body, your health, your ability to talk to That Girl with confidence, smile in the face of sobering news, senselessly lift heavy objects, swim great distances across various geometric figures, test your mortality, shatter some glass, eat an apple, tear across the plains, and run down a bloody gazelle.

It may be absurd, but honestly, you have to fill the void somehow, and you’re simply not going to do it with muffin baskets.

Holy Produce Proliferation! 17 Ways to Prepare Extra Fruits and Veggies When You Have a Bumper Crop

Guest Post By Kim Kash 

Maybe your home garden had a bumper crop, so every mixing bowl in your kitchen is full of tomatoes. Or perhaps your neighbor, who has a green thumb and a propensity for random acts of kindness, showed up at your door with enough jalapeños to bring all of Mexico City to tears. Or was it that the zucchinis at the farmer’s market looked so beautiful that you got a little carried away and now don’t even have room in your fridge for the milk?

Either way, it’s easy for fruits and veggies to pile up come summertime. If you’re ready to run screaming and leave the whole pile to rot—don’t! Here are some ideas for making delicious things out of LOTS of produce.

Too Many Tomatoes

tomatoes

Blender Tomato Sauce. Fill your blender 3/4 full of cored, quartered tomatoes—should be about a half dozen or so. Throw in a few cloves of garlic, a generous handful of basil leaves, and a small onion or a small bunch of green onions or scallions. Salt and pepper to taste, and blend with a little bit of olive oil, tasting and adding up to 1/2 cup to get a smooth but not oily consistency. When you stir this into fresh, hot pasta, the sauce will warm up just enough.

Roasted Tomatoes

Slice tomatoes in half or in big chunks. Arrange on one or more baking sheets. Add big handfuls of basil, cilantro, or spring onions, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are wrinkly and soft, and herbs are completely wilted and disintegrating. Put into a bowl, and be sure to scrape all the oil and bits of herb off of the baking pan. Makes a great pasta sauce, bruschetta topping, or chunky topping for chicken, fish, or another cooked vegetable.

Tomato Salad

Mix a variety of colors and types of tomatoes, throw in some herbs, and add a simple oil and vinegar dressing and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Just because it’s salad doesn’t mean it has to have lettuce in it.

Tomato Sauce

Yes, it’s obvious, but this is the Cadillac® method for using up a whole lot of tomatoes at once. Plus, tomato sauce freezes really well. There are too many recipes for us to recommend just one.

A Surplus of Summer Squash

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Grilled Squash

Thickly slice squash lengthwise and roast on the grill.

Summer Squash Bake

Slice or roughly chop a combination of summer squashes, enough to fill a baking dish. Add fresh herbs if you have them. Grate a layer of cheddar, jack, or even mozzarella on top, and use your fingers to sift a little bit of the cheese down into the vegetables. Sprinkle whole-grain breadcrumbs on top if you wish. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the vegetables are soft and the cheese is beginning to brown. Cover with foil if the cheese or breadcrumbs are browning too quickly. If the finished dish is a bit watery (some summer squashes are more watery than others when cooked), just serve with a slotted spoon.

Italian summer squash bake. Same as above, only add tomato sauce, and use mozzarella cheese.

Curried summer squash bake. Same as squash bake above, only omit the cheese and add a drained can of chickpeas, maybe some fresh greens, and 1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder to taste, depending on the quantity of squash you’re baking.

Your signature summer squash bake. Are you getting the idea about this squash bake thing? Summer squash is very mild in flavor, so it plays well with both eastern and western spices. Make a squash bake whenever you need to use up zucchini plus almost any other vegetable or herb or sauce or cheese.

Grate and freeze. Use later for zucchini fritters, zucchini bread, in frittatas, as a thickener for spaghetti sauce, or a filler in any kind of vegetable bake or casserole.

Bustin’ at the Seams with Basil

Pesto. Pesto. Pesto. You can use basil a few leaves at a time in Caprese salads or tomato sauce recipes. But if you need to use up a ton of basil in a hurry, pesto is what you want. Experiment with the many recipes out there—with or without cheese, with various kinds of nuts, with lots of olive oil or very little. Pesto stores beautifully in the fridge, in a tightly closed glass jar with a layer of olive oil covering it. Here’s what you can do with pesto:

  • Smear it on bruschetta.

  • Add it to green salads as a dressing.

  • Use it as a pasta sauce; this is great with cherry tomatoes tossed in.

  • Use it as a sandwich spread.

  • Top grilled or roasted chicken, fish, or vegetables with it.

  • Eat it with a spoon out of the jar.

A Cornucopia of Cucumbers

Nablus souq cucumbers

Raita. This Indian cucumber-yogurt condiment can be thick like a dip, or thin like a sauce, depending on the thickness of the yogurt you use. Thick or thin, whip some yogurt with a whisk to even out its consistency. Then stir it into to a bowl of chopped and (optionally) peeled cucumbers. Add more or less yogurt as you wish. Salt it to taste. If you want a spicy raita, add a seeded, finely chopped hot pepper.

Cucumber water. Peel and slice one or more cucumbers and add to a pitcher of water. Squeeze in a little lemon juice, and serve very cold as a refreshing thirst quencher on a hot day.

Cucumber salad. This was on the supper table almost every summer day when my mother was a child in Kentucky. Very thinly slice cucumbers, pour a little bit of white vinegar over them, and salt. Some people also add a little sugar, but Mom would not approve. These are simple and delicious—but don’t put leftovers in the fridge for next time, because as they marinate in the vinegar, they lose their crispness.

A Big Bell Pepper Buildup

Bell-Peppers

Oven roast or grill. As with basil, there are plenty of recipes that call for one or a few red or yellow bell peppers. But when you have a real bell pepper glut, roasting them is the way to go. Take as many red and yellow bell peppers as you have and spread them on a hot grill, or on the top rack of the oven, set to broil. If you’re using the oven, line the peppers up on the front edge of the rack, and put a baking sheet underneath them to catch drips. When the skin blackens, give them a quarter turn with a good pair of tongs, and repeat until the peppers are charred all the way around. Then remove from the oven or grill and let rest. The charred skin will peel easily off of the cooled peppers. Core and slice the now-soft roasted peppers, coat the strips with olive oil, and store in a tightly closed container. Use these in pasta and on sandwiches and bruschetta.

Excessive Eggplantery

eggplant-harvest

Many recipes call for the notoriously spongy eggplant to be fried in oil. Roasting eggplant instead is much healthier, and roasting on the grill imparts a rich, smoky flavor. In addition to the recipes below, try adding roasted eggplant to casseroles and veggie burgers.

Baba ghanoush. This Middle Eastern dip is often served alongside hummus, with pita bread. Slash one or more eggplants in several places and bake on a pan in a 425-degree oven until very soft. This can take an hour or more, depending on the size of the eggplants. Cool, then peel off the skin. Throw the soft interior into a food processor. For each eggplant, add 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of tahini, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the juice from one lemon. Blend just until incorporated, leaving the texture a little rough. Salt to taste. To serve, make a little well on the top of the baba ghanoush and pour some olive oil into the depression. Sprinkle parsley over the top. (Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.)

Roasted eggplant salad. Roast eggplants as above, peel and roughly chop. Serve in a large salad bowl with toasted pine nuts or walnuts, lots of parsley, and mint. If you have too many tomatoes, chop and add a few of those. Dress with either a light vinaigrette or with a bit of whipped yogurt.

Resource:

  • American Heart Association: www.heart.org

  • Yu Wen Li, Zhao Ya Ping, Xue Zheng, Wang Da Pu (Shanghai Jiao Tong University); Study on Synergistic Effect of Two Antioxidants and Its Anti-ageing Properties [J]; China Oils and Fats; 2002

  • Haibo Wang, Muraleedharan G. Nair, Gale M. Strasburg, Yu-Chen Chang, Alden M. Booren, J. Ian Gray, and David L. DeWitt. Antioxidant and Antiinflammatory Activities of Anthocyanins and Their Aglycon, Cyanidin, from Tart Cherries. Journal of Natural Products 1999, 62 (2), pp 294-2

TOP 10 WORKOUT SONGS JULY 2012

Here is my top 10 workout songs as of July 2012, enjoy!

#10 Kings Of Leon – “Molly’s Chambers”: KOL are one of my favorite bands. Here is one of their older tracks; it’s southern rock at it’s finest. Crank this up, and hit those weights.

#9 Blondie – “Maria”: Yes, this song is from the late 90’s, however it still get’s me going. It’s a kick-starter, a hit song that is timeless in my book.

#8 The Killers – “Bling (Confession Of A King)”: Here we have my number 1 band, The Killers. Lyrics such as “I feel my vision slipping in and out of focus, But I’m pushing on for that horizon, I’m pushing on, Now I’ve got the blowing wind against my face” make this a perfect running song. It’s exhilarating, exercising at a high intensity while shouting “higher and higher” along with Brandon Flowers; give it a try you’ll love it.

#7 The Chain Gang of 1974 – “Devil Is A Lady”: This psychedelic/punk/experimental band from Denver has made a few great workout tracks; this one being my favorite at the moment. “Devil Is A Lady” has an incredibly addictive guitar riff and some pretty awesome synths.

#6 Neon Trees – “1983”: This song has a poppy, dancing beat, along with a catchy flow that will get you dancing in between sets.

#5 Kid Cudi – “Day ‘N’ Nite”: As you can see from previous top 10 posts, I don’t mention many rap songs. Kid Cudi is one of my exceptions; I like his style especially in this upbeat song.

#4 The Black Keys – “Gold On The Ceiling”: “Gold on the Ceiling: a serrated organ growl backed up with a SWAT team of hand claps. It’s Sixties bubblegum garage pop writ large, with T. Rex swagger and a guitar freakout that perfectly mirrors the lyrics, a paranoid rant that makes you shiver while you shimmy.” – Rolling Stone

#3 Man Like Me – “Squeeze”: This song is energetic, incredibly upbeat, and so much fun to dance to. Usually awesome dance songs make for good workout music.

#2 The Wandas – “Thank You Note”: Here we have one of those songs that make you think about all the good people in your life; it puts me in a good mood after every listen.

#1 The Killers – “Spaceman”: Yes I know, I already have a Killers song on my list. So what, deal with it. Spaceman is so much FUN; it’s a “proper synth-pop fist-pumper with an arena-ready chorus and enjoyably daft lyrics”. Listen to this song and you’ll be shouting “oh oh oh oh oh oh oooah”

You can view, listen and subscribe to my entire SHREDFAT workout playlist below. How cool is that!

 

My Top 10 Workout Songs April 2012

It’s a new month, which means a fresh top 10 list of workout songs are about to be unleashed on you! If you ever need a “pick me up” or want to make your workout more enjoyable, don’t drink a 4 hour energy, just add these tracks to your music playlist.

Here is my top 10 for April 2012:

10- Black Kids – “I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You”: This upbeat infectious pop song is so much fun to sing along to. It doesn’t hurt that the lead singer Reggie Youngblood has a similar sound to Robert Smith of The Cure. Listen to this song for a nice pick me up during your workout, then dance all night long to it.

9- Kid Cudi – “Cudi Zone”: I started to really get into Kid Cudi after seeing him perform live last November at Orlando Calling. He’s not your typical rapper, his music is not directed toward violence; his music actually makes you feel good! I love working out while singing the lyrics “I’m feelin’ alright..I’m feelin’ alright”.

8- The Strokes – “You Only Live Once”: The Strokes are known for having the most bad-ass guitar riffs; guitar riffs make me go hard in the weight room, this track is no exception. Frontman Julian Casablancas punctuates each line with an “uh-huh” or “uh-oh” in such a way that’s very enjoyable to listen to.

7- Cranberries – “Zombie”: This song is a CLASSIC; it has entered my SHREDFAT workout playlist recently and has gotten several plays.  The bass is vicious, and the guitar really captures the heaviness that The Cranberries want you to experience.

6- The Naked & Famous – “Punching In A Dream”: This song is a superb slice of indie-poptronica; it has euphoric mix of synths and distorted guitars contrasting with the melancholic lyrics that results into something very enjoyable.

5- Grouplove – “Tongue Tied”: You might have heard this song during a commercial for Apple. I saw Grouplove perform live (met them too) a few weeks ago, and man they were so energetic! During the show I was thinking to myself that I needed to add some of their songs to my workout playlist. This track feels like it belongs on the dance floor and is currently my go to song from them when I need a pick me up. Enjoy.

4- Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – “Phenomena”: This song is a fist pumping rocker! I start stomping my feet as if they have a mind of their own. Karen O’s vocals are seductively special, a real pleasure to listen to.

3- The Black Keys – “Howlin’ For You”: This song is an absolute blues rock-infused trip that will keep you coming back for more and more. Catch me singing along “Da da,da da,da” during my workout; it’s fun, you try it!

2- Passion Pit – “Sleepyhead”: This song is the epitome of pop bliss! Anyone who hadn’t heard it before would love it, and anyone who already had would nod appreciatively. The delicious hooks and slabs of melody is exactly what you want to hear when working out.

1- The Naked & Famous “Girls Like You”: This song is on heavy rotation during my workout sessions. I love how it starts off slowly and builds brightly. I love this band because they clearly have an electronic edge but they are approaching its music from more of a rock than electronic angle. The chorus is powerful and catchy, it’s everything you would want in a workout song. Check these guys out, enjoy!

You can view, listen and subscribe to my entire SHREDFAT workout playlist below. How cool is that!

8 Foods to Make Your Intestines Happy

Guest Post By Kim Kash 

The small and large intestines never seem to make it into the spotlight, but they are a pair of hardworking organs. Collectively, they are responsible for completing the digestive process and absorbing the good stuff in food for the benefit of the body, and for absorbing water and eliminating waste. It’s a pretty important job description, but the hot lights of stardom don’t come easy to, well, the rear end of the digestive system.

There are a couple of categories of foods that the intestines really groove on. Broadly speaking, they love pro- and prebiotics, and fiber. Probiotic foods have beneficial bacteria that feed your intestinal flora—the healthy bacteria inside your gut—and prevent harmful microorganisms from disrupting the digestive tract and making you sick. Prebiotics basically feed the probiotics, making this healthy bacterial colony even healthier. Finally, fiber acts like a big scrubber for the whole system.

Intestinal flora and fiber: see? Not so sexy. But before you allow your attention to be diverted by the more glamorous cardiovascular system, or the spotlight-grabbing immune system, remember that it’s the intestines that provide food and water to the whole body. Without them, the other systems wouldn’t be able to do their thing. So let’s take a look at what you can do for the lowly gastrointestinal system. Give your intestines a little love with the following foods.

Yogurt

Greek yogurt in a glass jars

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: when we talk about yogurt, we mean real, unadulterated yogurt with live, active cultures. Skip the sugary, flavored yogurts, and go for plain. If you like yogurt with fruit in it, you can throw some fresh or frozen fruit into your cup of healthy, plain yogurt. A Tufts University review found that yogurt with active cultures can help with lots of gastrointestinal woes, including lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. A daily serving of yogurt is a huge thank you gift to your intestines.

Miso

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Miso paste creates the cloudy part of miso soup, that little bowl of tasty broth with a bit of tofu and seaweed that you get at the beginning of your meal at a Japanese restaurant. Miso is made by fermenting grains or soybeans with salt and a specific type of fungus. That fermentation process yields a helping of the probiotics that your intestines love. There are several types of miso, either brown, reddish, or white. Generally, darker miso has a richer, slightly sharper flavor. It’s a salty, silky paste that you find in little tubs in the refrigerated section of a good grocery store. You can use miso to make soup simply by dropping a spoonful of it in hot water along with a few vegetables, tofu, and/or seaweed. You can also use it as an addictive, salty spread. Try a little bit smeared on freshly cooked, plain vegetables. You won’t need butter or salt. When you’re using miso, add it at the end of the heating process, so that you don’t wipe out all that active culture goodness.

Sauerkraut

sauerkrout

In a case of what’s old becoming new again, natural sauerkraut is enjoying a comeback as of late. We’re talking about real sauerkraut: cabbage that has been fermented with real bacteria, not cabbage that has been marinated in vinegar. It comes with the goodness of cabbage plus the probiotic boost of the bacteria from the fermentation process. It is important to get the right kind of sauerkraut. Avoid the shelved brands that use vinegar to simulate that sour, fermented flavor. Instead, you can try to make your own. (There are plenty of recipes online, and the whole process is really interesting!) Or, look for a natural brand in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Sauerkraut has got some serious history. According to Natural News, “The Roman army traveled with barrels of sauerkraut, using it to prevent intestinal infections among the troops during long excursions.” The colony of lactic acid bacteria that results from sauerkraut’s pickling process is another healthy bacteria source for the gut.

Raw Garlic, Leeks, and Onions

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Moving from probiotics to prebiotics, we come to the onion and his cousins. These are great on the family dinner table as long as everyone partakes! These pungent ingredients provide nutrition for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. They do their work by altering the colon’s pH level, which your intestinal flora loves, and which helps the body to better absorb minerals. These three stinkers can also help to prevent constipation. True, raw onions and garlic can be off-putting for some people. If you’re one of those, then give leeks a try. They are much milder, and are a good substitute for raw onions in most recipes. (But don’t try to go the other way and add onions where leeks are called for. Onions may overpower a recipe designed for leeks.) Leeks look like gigantic spring onions. Leeks make a nice addition sprinkled on top of salads or even soups. However you prepare them, first slice leeks in half and soak them for several minutes in a bowl of cool water. This loosens the sandy soil that can collect where its strap-like leaves come together tightly near the bottom.

Artichokes

Artichokes-in-Black-Bowl1

Artichokes pack a one-two punch for the intestinal team, being not only an important prebiotics source, but also a great source of dietary fiber, with 10.3 grams in one cooked artichoke. At around 25 calories, a whole, steamed artichoke seems almost too good to be true, intestinally speaking. The potential downfall is the fact that each succulent artichoke leaf is a perfect little scoop for untold hundreds of calories of butter, hollandaise sauce, or other dietary hazards. They’re the whole food answer to dip-shaped tortilla chips, and potentially just as dangerous. If you can talk yourself out of melted butter, you might try a simple, light vinaigrette as a dip instead.

Raspberries

Picked raspberries are pictured in the village of Zeljezno Polje

One cup of raspberries has 8 grams of soluble fiber, which is almost twice as much as a typical apple. (Not that we’re suggesting you shouldn’t also eat apples.) As an added bonus, they are rich in vitamin C, and contain the potential cancer-fighting ellagic acid. According to the University of Illinois Extension, they may lower blood cholesterol levels and slow the release of carbohydrates into the blood stream of diabetics. Add fiber-rich raspberries to your list of intestine-friendly foods. Remember, though, that your body needs a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. If you wanted to get all your fiber from raspberries today, you’d have to sit down and eat about a pound of them.

Split Peas

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Split peas and other legumes are loaded with soluble fiber, which helps in the process that removes cholesterol from the body. A cup of cooked dried peas is crazy with fiber, plus a good helping of protein. Interestingly, split peas are also a very good source of tryptophan, the essential amino acid in turkey that people point to as the reason for post-Thanksgiving dinner drowsiness. (That Turkey Day drowsiness is more likely associated with the giant mounds of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy that sit alongside the turkey on the Thanksgiving plate. But we digress.)

Avocados

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Yes, it’s true that avocados are high in fat. But it’s mostly monounsaturated fat, which is important to the health of your digestive tract for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it helps provide the right environment for converting beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is critical for the health of your gastrointestinal tract’s lining. One medium-size avocado contains 15 grams of fiber. Fifteen grams! So whip up a batch of guacamole (with plenty of raw onions, of course) and dig in.

There you have it: 10 ways to give your intestines a big round of applause. Though they may not get the press coverage of their fellow body parts, it’s important to roll out the red carpet for the intestines, giving them the care and attention they so richly deserve every day.

My Top 10 Workout Songs March 2012

The right music at the right time can shift a negative mindset to a positive one. Music moves your soul/helps get your mind right.

Keeping up with our monthly ritual; I present to you our top 10 workout songs as of March 2012:

10- Of Monsters And Men –  “Little Talks”: This Icelandic six piece resembles a lot of other bands; Arcade Fire, Edward Sharpe, Mumford & Sons, and The XX come to mind. This song in particular has catchy rhythms and happy narrative lyrics. I find myself shouting “Hey!”, give this song a listen and you will too.

9- Wolf Gang –  “The King And All Of His Men”: Their debut album ‘Suego Faults’ has been on my music rotation for weeks now. This track in particular is pop-tastic! It sounds like an instant “radio hit”.

8- The Rapture – “Whoo! Alright – Yeah…Uh Huh”: This indie-rock band from New York City has been making hipsters dance for years now. They have an aggressive guitar/funk sound that’s really fun to listen to.

7- The Airborne Toxic Event – “Missy”: It’s actually kind of funny because when this song comes on during my workout I STOP working out and I START dancing; I just can’t help myself. I’m going to say this once again; if you haven’t heard of The Airborne Toxic Event, give them a listen and thank me later. They are that GREAT.

6- Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – “Zero”: Lead singer Karen O’s voice is mesmerizing. This song is awesome right from the opening line, “Shake it like a ladder to the sun, Makes me feel like a madman on the run”. It’s an electro-rock whoop that will make you shout You’re a zero-ohh!

5- Foster The People – “Helena Beat”: Want some good music to dance to? Quick, play some FTP! These guys get me “pumped up” during workouts! I love the high-pitched falsetto vocals of Mark Foster in this fun, synth-rock track.

4- The Killers – “Read My Mind – Pet Shot Boys Stars Are Blazing Mix”: Truth is, you could never go wrong with a Killers song; no matter what mood you are in they will scratch that itch every single time. This remix has an 80’s vibe to it courtesy of The Pet Shot Boys.

3- Silversun Pickups – “Lazy Eye”: If you didn’t know any better you might mistaken this band for The Smashing Pumpkins, but listen closely and you will see that they have their own unique sound. The guitar riffs alone make this track jump my list. It has an epic build up that makes me want to push harder.

2- Walk The Moon “Anna Sun”: The best way to describe this track would be unique, but easily relate-able. Their sound is an infectious blend of indie rock and indie pop. The hook of this song is gigantic and so much fun to sing along to!

1- Arctic Monkeys “R U Mine?”: It kicks off with a thumping drum intro and a dangerously waving guitar riff. NME magazine describes this song as “a riff-tastic, 70’s-indebted monster”. The music video is really cool, make sure to check that out.

You can view, listen and subscribe to my entire SHREDFAT workout playlist below. How cool is that!



Introducing Shakeology® Tropical Strawberry

You asked, and we delivered. This Valentine’s Day, we’re introducing you to the newest member of the Shakeology family: Shakeology Tropical Strawberry. And guess what? It’s vegan!

Just take one sip, and its sweet, luscious strawberry flavor along with notes of tropical fruits such as pineapple, banana, and papaya will whisk you away to paradise. You’ll quickly discover that the delicate flavor is easy to customize with your favorite fruits. For instance, it combines deliciously with bananas, blueberries, and coconut water. Wouldn’t that flavor combination be a great way to start your day?

This refreshing vegan shake is also the first addition to our new Beachbody Ultimate line—products that help nurture the body’s natural ability to heal itself and enhance the body’s own organic processes. Tropical Strawberry’s powerful protein punch comes from a proprietary vegan protein blend crafted from whole, plant-based proteins including sprouted brown rice, sacha inchi, chia, flax, quinoa, amaranth, and spirulina, and delivers all 9 essential amino acids. And it’s 100% dairy-free and lactose-free.

And, like our Chocolate and Greenberry flavors, Shakeology Tropical Strawberry is packed with vitamins and minerals that continue to make Shakeology the Healthiest Meal of the Day®. With 160 calories, 20 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of protein, it’s the ideal breakfast choice that can help you achieve the body you’ve always wanted.

Intrigued? Click here to find out more, and purchase a month’s supply of Shakeology Tropical Strawberry now.

New Superfoods in Shakeology® Tropical Strawberry

To create Shakeology, superfoods expert and ingredient hunter Darin Olien travels to some of the most remote parts of the globe to source the whole food ingredients that make Shakeology the Healthiest Meal of the Day®. Here are four new amazing superfoods that help make Shakeology Tropical Strawberry beneficial to your health:

Coconut Flower Nectar

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You’re familiar with the fruit of the coconut palm, but did you know that the flowers of the coco nucifera produce a naturally sweet, delicious nectar packed with vitamin C, B vitamins, and 17 of the 20 amino acids? It also has a low score on the glycemic index, so although it’s sweet, it releases its energy slowly so you don’t get a sugar high or the resulting crash.

Luo Han Guo

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Pronounced “law hawn gwah,” this fruit was discovered by Chinese monks in the 13th century. At first, they used this low-calorie, low-glycemic fruit as a sweetener for their tea. After all, it’s 300 times sweeter than sugar! But, they soon discovered that it could have a positive impact on coughs and other respiratory ailments. And recent research has revealed that it may work as an antioxidant to help eliminate the free radicals that can cause serious health concerns.

Himalayan Salt

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A touch of salt can go a long way in bringing out flavor, but this salt goes a step further . . . it’s even healthy for you! This raw, untouched, unprocessed salt contains more than 70 trace minerals which help detoxify the blood and maintain a stable pH balance in cells. And all that for less than 5% of the recommended daily intake for someone on a low-sodium diet!

Konjac Root

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This yam-like root has been used as a part of a healthy diet in India, China, Japan, and Korea for centuries, and for good reason: It’s recently been found that Konjac Root may be able to promote healthy blood sugar and ideal cholesterol levels, and help with regularity for optimal digestive health. Plus, if you’ve been having trouble with fighting off your not-so-healthy cravings, the fiber in this wonder food can help you out, thanks to its ability to absorb up to 200 times its weight in water, making you feel fuller for longer.

ORDER YOUR BAG OF SHAKEOLOGY HERE

Shakeology Review From a Dietitian

If you are a regular reader of ours you know we LOVE the super shake, Shakeology. Here are several more reasons on the effectiveness of Shakeology.

A colleague of mine decided to have a Dietitian write a review on the “healthiest meal of the day”, Shakeology. This is what he had to say. Mind you, he’s a doctor that lives outside of the United States, so he’s NEVER heard of Shakeology.

Viral Diseases ——————– Vitamin D+ phosphorus.+ Zinc+ Copper. + Magnesium

Influenza, Fever, Cold———- Vitamin D+ phosphorus + Magnesium

Weakness of bones ————- Vitamin D+ phosphorus + Magnesium

Typhoid, Weakness of bones — Vitamin C + Vitamin D

Frequently urination————- Vitamin D + Vitamin C + Phosphorus + Folic acid

Short Sightedness ————— Vitamin D + Vitamin C + Phosphorus + Folic acid

Schizophrenia ——————— Vitamin D + Vitamin C + Phosphorus + Folic acid

Constipation ———————- Vitamin C + Calcium

Digestive system —————– Vitamin D+ Phosphorus + Zinc+ Copper + Magnesium

Neuralgic pain ——————– Vitamin C + Vitamin B + Copper

Pains of bones ——————- Vitamin D + Phosphorus + Zinc

Hormones (glands) ————– Vitamin E + Magnesium.

Muscles ————————— Phosphorus + Magnesium + Vitamin B6 + Vitamin B12

Blood circulation —————– Vitamin C +iron + Calcium

Appetizer ————————- Vitamin C+ Phosphorus+ Zinc+ Copper + Magnesium

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Shakeology has excellent prevention to viral diseases, influenza, fever, cold, typhoid, weakness of bones and have benefits for frequently urination, short sightedness, schizophrenia, constipation, digestive system, neuralgic pain, blood circulation and pains of bones. Shakeology provides a lot of energy and boost-up the nervous system, muscular system, and bones and also maintain the hormones. It’s price is very affordable as you cannot get many nutritional ingredients in this price.

Vitamin A ————– vision, motor nerves, brain

Vitamin C ————- vision, motor nerves, brain, teeth

Vitamin D ————- sensory nerves, brain, bones pains, joints

Vitamin E ———— hormones, sex, brain, acidity

Vitamin K1 ———— skin, mucus membranes, injuries, glands

Vitamin B1 ———— motor nerves, liver

Vitamin B2 ———— motor nerves, kidney

Vitamin B3 ———— motor nerves, bones

Vitamin B6 ———— motor nerves, brain

Folic acid ———— motor nerves, muscles, heart

Vitamin B12 ———– motor nerves, bladder, cartilage

Biotin ———— muscles, liver

Pantothenic acid —————glands, spleen

Calcium ———— bones, teeth, , bladder, blood, brain

Iron ———– oxygen, motor nerves, blood circulation, bone morrow

Phosphorous —————-liver, brain, sex, lungs

Iodine ———– thyroid gland, metabolism, glands

Magnesium ———–glands, muscles, acidity, brain

Zinc ———–sex glands, bones

Copper ———– skin, sex nerves

Manganese ————- muscles, heart

Chromium ———— blood vessels

Molybdenum ———— glands, blood vessels, pancreas

Cinnamon powder ———– vision, motor nerves, sex, heart, kidney

Gingko powder (leaf) ———- brain, bones, sensory nerves, sex, bladder

Maca powder ————— brain, bones, sensory nerves

Sacha inchi —————heart, liver, motor nerves

Yacon ————- heart, liver, muscles

Flax ———– heart, bones

Chia ———— kidney, muscles

Chlorella ———– glands, kidney

Astragalus powder (root) ———— glands,, nails, stomach

Blue green algae ———— bones, teeth

Spinach powder ———– glands

Ashwagandha powder (root) ———– sensory nerves, liver, sex

Barley grass ———— motor nerves, heart, sex

Kamut grass ————- glands

Oat grass ————- bones, vision

Wheat grass ———– muscles, brain, sex, swelling

Stevia ———– brain, bones, sensory nerves, sex, bladder

Amaranth ———– motor nerves, intestines

Grape seed ———– skin, hair, motor nerves, heart, nails

Green tea ———— stimulator

Holy basil ———— muscles, stomach, intestines

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Shakeology has a great amount of nutrition that can definitely help prevent and improve your health on many different levels. Unfortunately, because I do not live in the United States, I do not have access to this shake as I would recommend this to my patients who are under strict diets. Although the shake may seem like a hefty monthly investment, you are definitely getting a bang for your buck. The majority of people that work a regular 9 – 5 job end up going out for lunch 20 times a month and spending an average of $8 per meal. People are not careful with what they are consuming and because your body is not receiving the appropriate nutrients, it will ask you for more, and some people will continue to eat the wrong foods. This shake is only $119 for 30 days which averages to $3.97 per meal and it will fill you up because of all the nutrients in this shake.

If you would like to purchase Shakeology now, click below!