Monday, December 17, 2012

2 weeks into Intermittent Fasting!!

Just a short one today.

I've made it to 14 days on the Intermitting Fasting and Paleo lifestyle, and I'm not worse for wear! In fact, there are many things that are working better for me.

Things I've changed over the past 2 weeks:
Consistent sleep wake cycle- in bed by midnight every night, and sleeping for a minimum of 7 hours
Consistent eating cycle- eating from 10am to 6pm every day, and fasting from 6pm to 10am daily
Consistent exercise- 2 swimming workouts and 3 gym workouts per week, and 1 hour of walking daily
Low Carb and mostly Dairy and Grain free eating- Whey protein and the Oats were only

-More consistent energy throughout the day
-Skin has cleared up! Not as much acne/rosacea
-Lost 3 pounds, seems to be mainly fat, as I'm making gains in training
-Increased my weight in my deadlift, squat and curls. Increased my swim endurance too!
-No food cravings
-Better control of my binging habits

Problems so far
-A bit of insomnia for the first two nights, as well as some pretty strong huger for the first two days in the mornings. Usually came on at about 8am.  It still happens to this day, but it's a lot more gentle of a feeling. Some days I don't even notice it.

So far so good! I'll give another update once I hit another 2 week benchmark, or if something big comes up.  Otherwise, I'll just keep on keeping on!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Homemade Granola and coconut milk concoction recipe!!

Happy Sunday everyone!

I'm coming up on two weeks of doing IF with paleo, and I'm still feeling great.  I'm not half as bloated as I used to be, and I've leaned out a good amount without dropping a whole lot of weight!  My skin is also substantially better than it has been over the past 5 years- this is most likely testament to the foods I'm not eating ( dairy, grains, refined sugars), as opposed to eating them in a condensed time period.

I know, I know, I'm still eating oats, so I'm not 100% grain free. However, they don't seem to be causing me any big issues of GI upset or energy fluctuations.  I'm still getting results ( better skin, better body comp, alleviation of GI symtpoms) so I'm going to keep on keeping on like this! I am eating gluten free and organic oats, so I am trying to go with the most benign oat option out there.

On the topic of oats...

A staple activity on my weekends for the past few weeks has been to make granola!  During exams it's always important to find some tasty and easy to make food, and what's easier than tossing some almond/coconut milk into a bowl of tasty homemade granola!

As I say every time, most foods that I make don't really have a hard and fast recipe to them- tinker with the recipe so it's right for you! Here's the jist of what I make the majority of the time. Feel free to make any changes you would like: switch out the nuts I've listed for other nuts or seeds, or trade out the dried fruits I've put in for other options! Whatever you want. Have some fun in the kitchen!

The one thing that I've found does NOT work is baking the dried fruits: they dried out even more, and a large majority of them burned in one of my previous attempts. Add them AFTER the rest has baked.

Homemade Granola
You'll need 2 baking sheets, a large mixing bowl ( I use a large soup pot), a frying pan/saucepan and some measuring cups.

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes
1.5 cups hazelnuts
1.5 cups walnut halves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup coconut oil ( or olive oil/butter)
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup almond butter
1 TBSP vanilla

-1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cherries
-1/2 cup dried goji berries
-1/2 cup dark chocolate, cut into small chunks. (I get mine from Chocosol in Toronto)
-1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries

-Side note, these are next to impossible to find. Most dried cranberries at grocery stores are sweetened, so use the sweetened ones if you can't find them without sugar. Also, if you have a consistent place that you can find UNSWEETENED cranberries, please post it in the comments! Thanks

Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit

-Mix all the dry ingredients in a large container, and set aside. I usually use the largest soup pot I've got.
-Melt the coconut oil in a pan on medium heat and add in honey, almond butter and vanilla. Stir until all ingredients have melted and become homogenous.
-Once the Wet ingredients have all melted together, pour them over the Dry ingredients. Make sure to stir this well, and cover as much of the dry ingredients as you can.

-Lightly oil the baking sheets
-Divide the granola mixture onto the two baking sheets, and put them in the oven!
-Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven, and stir the granola on the baking sheets so they mixture gets baked evenly.  If one baking sheet was above the other, switch them around for even cooking
-Bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

-Remove the granola from the oven, and let cool. Once the granola has cooled, mix in your add ins. I usually do this in the same container as I plan to store it, but do as you wish!

-Store in an air tight container, and enjoy at will! I usually don't refrigerate it, but that's just because it only last 5 days for me, haha.

Coconut Milk Concoction

1 tetra pak (945mL) of unsweetened almond milk
1 can full fat coconut milk (try to find the highest percentage of coconut that you can)
1 tsp cinnamon
3 scoops of protein powder of your choice ( I use unflavoured, unsweetened whey- which is lactose free for all of you lactose intolerant people out there. I know, I know, not paleo either, but it's another benign option, as most people are allergic/intolerant to the lactose or the casein.  Since whey doesn't have either of those, and it has been shown to have good health benefits, I've bit the bullet and I add it in!)

Mix all the ingredients in a large mason jar/ juice container and mix well.  If you have a blender ball, then add that in so the protein powder doesn't clump up as much.  If you're really finding that it's clumping, remove the blender ball and toss the mixture in the blender and give it a whirl.

Most important of all...



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Winter breakfasts

Almost every single breakfast can be as delicious and satisfying as a classic Saturday morning breakfast! Eggs, Meat, Roasted veggies. yum.  This is probably the most awesome thing about eating Paleo foods.  This is the kind of yin food that I've been craving lately.

I know I've spoken about this before in previous posts but here goes once again ( consider this a refresher). Eating seasonally is a big tenet of Tradition Chinese Medicine.  When the weather is colder and more dry, eating warmer food (roasted veggies and slow cooked meats, for example) will be more digestible   When the weather is warm and moist, more crisp and cold food (salads and seafood) will be more suitable for the Spleen and Stomach ( In TCM terms)

In TCM, the organs described are not physical organs as we know them from anatomy and physiology, but they are representations of energy patterns (meridians) that course through the body.  When TCM was first being developed thousands of years ago, autopsies were not allowed to be performed, so all internal conditions had to be described by external manifestations(otherwise known as symptoms and signs).  As an example, instead of knowing that beta cells of the pancreas are malfunctioning and causing glucose dysregulation; the manifestations would be someone who is more hungry and thirsty than normal, urinating more than normal, and had nervous system dysfunction beginning.  No blood tests, no biopsies. All knowledge and understanding about the human body was based on these signs and symptoms, and the physical exam.

Groups of symptoms were recorded and studied, and eventually, certain patterns of symptoms started to become clear.  These pattern groupings were originally ascribed numbers, and then given names.  It was also noticed that even though there were distinct symptom groupings, each of the seemingly seperate symptom groupings had important interactions between each of the other patterns as well.  Nowadays in TCM, we speak about the Heart organ as having to do with anxiety, palpitations and insomnia, when in originally, this grouping of symptoms was given the number "1".  I'll go into detail about TCM more on another day, but here's a primer on the Spleen and Stomach.

The Spleen and Stomach are the two TCM organs that are most closely linked to digestive health, however, every TCM organ has an integral part in the proper functioning of the other organ systems.  The Stomach organ receives the food (easy to agree with that- common with the Western knowledge of the stomach) and the spleen will warm and transform the food (Gu Qi) into usable energy called Ying Qi.  The Spleen and Stomach operate best in warm and moist conditions, so it is most important to give them these foods in the winter when it is NOT that temperature outside!

All in all, warm foods in the winter make sense in many traditions, be it Eastern or Western.  Save your spleen and stomach! Eat warm food.

Optimal warming choice: Freshly cooked Fire/Oven baked food
One Step Down: Reheated food in an oven (or toaster oven)
Another step down: Microwave reheated food (IN A GLASS/PYREX DISH) no plastic. bad news.

Enjoy your Saturday everyone!  I'm still going strong on the IF and Paleo shtick.  I had some weird energy fluctuations yesterday, but I think it was due to some acupuncture that I got yesterday afternoon, and eating a fair amount of chocolate during the afternoon as well.  Moderation Andrew... moderation.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thoughts on training and Shoulder Mob of the day!

Thought on training for today...

People are more than willing to put time into exercise in order to improve their overall physique and wellbeing, improving FUNCTION is one big area that increasing mobility can really help.  Being mobile in various planes of movement at the same time is critical to improving resiliency to injury, and decreasing the overall chances of getting injured. If you're strengthening your body in only uni-planar movement ( like all of the machines at the gym teach you to do) is that really mimicking what is going to happen in life?

How often are you going to do a curl with your elbow resting on a pad for support? Not very often all: you're much more likely to do a curl as you're lifting a bag of groceries, with an unsupported elbow.  Unless you're doing rehabilitation of that joint, I believe that it makes a lot more sense to practice (exercise) with function in mind for every day life!

For those of us that already have our joints all jammed up from years without stretching or mobilizing joints, try this one for your shoulder!

I didn't post last night because I was busy studying for the exam I just wrote.  4 down, and 5 more to go!

I ate basically the same thing yesterday that I've been eating consistenly the rest of the week, so I won't bore you with it again.  Synopsis: meat, lots of veggies, granola and coconut milk- all packed into my belly between 10am-6pm.

Normally I would have a lot more variablity in my diet, but I am currently in exams, so I am taking the road more travelled, and the recipes that are tested and true ( and easy to make in bulk).  When I'm back home for the holidays I'll have a bit more fun with what I'm eating!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hip Mobilization fun and Exam #2

For how long can you hold a deep squat?  Ankle, Hammy and Glute flexibility will be put to the test here.  It looks easy, but it ain't.  I can barely hold the position for 2 minutes without holding on to anything, and that's even a stretch.

We wrote our third year nutrition exam today, and it was very straightforward. Can't argue with an open book exam- it's really just a matter of showing up and putting some thoughts down on paper.

Botanical medicine is tomorrow, which should be a good lil' challenge.  We have to know the toxicities and actions of over 100 herbs for the exam.  It's known to be one of the more nasty exams of the entire time at CCNM, so we'll see how I feel afterwards tomorrow!

Food today!

10:30am: 3 cups roasted veggies, 1 hot Italian sausage, 3 eggs. 1/2 cup homemade hummus
2pm: 2 cups ground beef/veggie stir fry
5:30pm: 2 cups granola with coconut milk concoction, 2 ripe bananas

Note: The 2 bananas left me feeling pretty exhausted after eating them. I would imagine it's because I'm not eating a lot of higher glycemic index foods, so combining them with the granola made it a big bollus of carbs AND a glycemic bollus to boot: too much for this lowish carb dude.  After eating those bananas, that was probably the first time I've felt less than optimal during my fasting period so far, and it wasn't even related to the fasting itself!

I've lost about 1.5 pounds this week, and I'm feeling a lot more light and mobile (getting back in the swing of workouts helps too).  I haven't eaten consistenly cleanly like this for a while, and it's so good to know that everything that is being put in my body is intended to go there: that's one of the many benefits of cooking your own food!  Since I make everything I eat from scratch, there's no chance that a bit of something nasty like MSG, gluten or preservatives gets into my food!

Monday, December 10, 2012

First Final of 2012 Done! and made it to day 7!

Today flew by.  After setting up coffee, tea and snacks for the students at school I tried my best to stay focused all day long, but I'm getting to the point where I really just need a break!  I wrote the exam at 5pm and was home by 7:30 for a cooking marathon.

I go through roasted veggies VERY fast, so I've got to make a boatload of them every few days. Here's my recipe from today (usually I just throw together whatever I've got lying around in the fridge):

1/2 cup olive oil/ coconut oil ( whatever you've got)
2 TBSP dried rosemary
1 TBSP dried thyme

1 Butternut squash, chopped
1 Sweet potato, chopped
1 Yam, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
6 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit
Before chopping vegetables, mix the spices and the oil in a bowl and let sit.
Chop all the vegetables, and put them in a large pot.
Pour the oil into the large pot and make sure all pieces of vegetables are coated.
Bake for 40 minutes!

Food I ate today
11am: 3 cups roasted veggies, 3 eggs, 1 sausage, 1/2 cup hummus, 4 pieces dark chocolate
1pm: 1 cup baby bok choy, 3oz salmon, banana
4:30pm: Big bowl o' granola with coconut milk concoction

Today was a compressed feeding schedule because the exam was at 5pm. It's 10:44 now and I'm a bit hungry, so we'll see how I feel in the morning! Might eat at 9am tomorrowing since I started my fast an hour earlier tonight.

Have a great night!

Day 6.....and waiting for my first exam

Exams late in the day really grind my gears! I just want to write it already!

Today's Men's and Women's Health exam isn't until 5pm, so I'll be biding my time studying for botanical medicine and Asian Medicine for the bulk of the afternoon.  I've gotten to that point where I just don't want to look over the same material anymore, and that few more minutes of attention to details really won't bring me much in terms of answers on the exam. So I'm heading to go workout!

In other news...

Another day in the books of living the IF lifestyle!

Yesterday was a full day of studying at school, and I made sure to take a lot of breaks so I wasn't seated for the entire day.  Got to school around 10:30 and left around 9. Solid day! My attention wavered frequently( as it always does) but I'm pleased with the work I was able to put in.  As my father would say, I need to FOCUS POWER. Well, the power is focusing, but it's just taking a while to warm up.

What I ate:

10am: 1.5 cups beef/vegetable sautee, 1.5 cups of baby bok choy, 1 sausage, 2 pieces of dark chocolate
2pm: 3 cups roasted veggies, 1/2 cup hummus
5pm: Squat work/Lat pull down/Seated row
5:30pm: Big bowl o' granola and coconut milk concoction