Nutrition Focus Archives - Elite Performance SF

Easy Dinner- Delicious & Nutritious

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Easy Dinner

Easy Dinner

Its always a good idea to eat healthy. But, I know that this can be hard sometimes, especially during the Holiday season.

So, after this week long period I like to get back to healthy and balanced meals.

Keep it simple with this dinner option.


Spinach salad topped with olive oil & vinegar and grilled, sliced salmon (15 minutes)

Couscous (8 minutes)
Butternut Squash Soup (5 minutes)
Sliced pieces of baguette (1 minute)

Its easy. Delicious. Nutritious. And a fun option.

Try new, healthy foods. Eat clean.

And remember:

In order to achieve something you’ve never done before, you must be willing to become somebody you’ve never been before

 

Your Second Brain

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Our Second Brain

Our Second Brain

Do you remember having to stand up in front of class when you were younger and getting all those butterflies in your stomach? Or getting ready for a sporting event, even when you’ve prepared for months, waiting for the starting whistle and you get that jittery feeling deep in your gut?

Well, theres a network of neurons in our gut that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our second brain.

The second brain, which can operate independently of the brain, contains more neurons than the spinal cord! This large system of neurons enables us to ‘feel’ the inner world of our gut and its contents.

Nearly every chemical that controls the brain is also located in the stomach region including hormones and neurotransmitters such as: more than 90% of the body’s serotonin (the Happiness neurotransmitter) and 50% of the body’s Dopamine (the Reward neurotransmitter).

The gut is probably responsible for more than just the butterflies in our stomach when we experience excitement, fear and stress says Dr. Gershon, Chairman of Columbia University Medical Center.

Just think about what you put in your stomach on any given week. For an average person, they’re ingesting coffee, sweets, genetically modified organisms, alcohol (which is actually a poison), healthy calories, plus a lot of things we don’t see like bacteria.

From our guts perspective, eating is laced with danger. In severe cases, our second brain triggers diarrhea or alerts the brain to initiate vomiting.upset tummy

So the gut does much more than just handle digestion or cause the occasional nervous feeling. Doctors are starting to realize that this second brain partly determines our mental state and plays key roles in certain diseases throughout the body.

Leading scientists believe that the second brain could have ties to Obesity, Diabetes, Autism, Chronic Depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and may also have an effect on Ulcerative Colitis and Krohn’s Disease.

This is the reason to eat and drink cleanly. Take care of your gut and it will take care of you. Watch what you put in your body. Your body was designed to deal with harsh environments, occasionally. Help out your “second brain” and it will help you.healthy eating

And remember:

In order to achieve something you’ve never done before, you must be willing to become somebody you’ve never been before

Skin Health & You

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Healthy Skin

Healthy Skin

Up until a few years ago I didn’t care much about my skin. I could be in Tahoe in the winter, snowboarding in the freezing cold or working out hard and showering afterwards thinking that I had done enough for my skin. But, when I started to pay attention to the dryness on my face, hands and feet, I noticed that I could feel and look better.

Guys think that lotions and creams are only for females, but when we males start using lotion, girls will start noticing us for healthy looking skin and not for Scaly Hand Syndrome.

Choose alcohol-free hand sanitizers, soap-free cleaners and moisturize your skin to keep it from chapping.

Its getting into the colder weather and the skin is more prone to small cuts, dryness and sensitivity, so keeping the skin hydrated is a must.

 

There are several types of moisturizers you can choose from, according to your skin’s needs. Lets dive in:

Humectants, such as glycerin and lactic acid, attract water and help skin retain moisture. Emollients, such as fatty acids and ceramides, soften and soothe. Occlusives (known as “barrier creams”), such as petrolatum, dimethicone or lanolin, leave a film on the surface of the skin and seal in moisture.

Most products contain a combination of humectants, emollients and occlusives, so it’s easiest to choose a moisturizer based on your skin type–there are formulas for oily or acne-prone skin (look for “oil-free” and “non-comedogenic” on the label), sensitive skin, and dry or mature skin.

You’ll also notice that moisturizers have different textures. (Occlusives tend to be the heaviest of the bunch.) Lotions are light, and creams are a little more substantial. For anyone with dry or extra-dry skin, you want something that has more substance-it’s better to use a cream, which tends to protect skin better than lotion advises Dr. Chaturvedi, Dermatologist.
Also, what you eat and drink is a vital part of skin health.

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits in winter especially the ones which are rich in protein, antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, B1 and B2 .

Try out these foods: low-fat dairy products (yogurt), whole grain products, eggs, meat, legumes, green leafy vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and plums).

And of course drink plenty of water= Hydrate!

Drink water. Keep moisturized. Eat healthy.

And remember:

 In order to achieve something you’ve never done before, you must be willing to become somebody you’ve never been before

Tasty Moroccan Soup Treat

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Moroccan Tomato & Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut butter

Moroccan Tomato & Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter

Last night my girlfriend made a delicious soup and I wanted to share it with everybody. It doesn’t take too long and the process is easy too!

This soup has great texture and flavor. Its great for those cold nights, which are coming in hard and strong right now. cold emoji

 It has about 6 servings in it and takes about 30 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to cook. (We ran out of celery and tomatoes but add them in to get the full flavor, texture, and nutritional benefits)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 celery stalk, diced

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  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 Cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and finely diced (~ 2 cups)
  • 1/2 Cups smooth natural peanut butter

Directions

In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.

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Add onion, celery, garlic, chili powder, ginger, cumin and cayenne, stirring occasionally, until softened (~ 4 minutes). Add tomatoes, broth and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil.

 

 

 

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Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife (~ 20 minutes). Whisk in peanut butter and let simmer for 5 minutes.

 

 

 

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Season to taste with salt and pepper. Soup can be served chunky or pureed. To puree, work in small batches and transfer soup to a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

 

 

 

YAY, you’re done! Now sit back, relax, and enjoy this great soup!

 

And remember:

In order to achieve something you’ve never done before, you must be willing to become somebody you’ve never been before

Product Review: Evolution Fresh Breakfast

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evolution fresh breakfast

 

After a recent weekend workout on a sunny Sunday afternoon my friends and I ventured to a new spot for a post-workout meal.

Obviously feelin’ the healthy vibes flow through us, we decided to checkout Evolution Fresh on Fillmore Street in San Francisco.

I can only comment on what I ate (mostly because I’m lactose intolerant and couldn’t try anybody else’s meal). crying emoji

It was super good. The portion sizing might seem small but it was actually perfect. Mostly because we had just worked out; and second, there’s no reason to stuff myself and go into a food-coma.

After stealing some quick facts from their website, here’s a quick breakdown of what I ordered.

I got the Southwest Scramble, which is a hot breakfast dish. It has eggs, quinoa, black beans, roasted red peppers, baby spinach, mild harissa sauce, and feta (which I obviously didn’t get).

With everything in it, including the cheese I missed out on, my breakfast dish was only 230 calories. Not bad! The Evolution Fresh website lists Calories, Fats, Proteins, Fiber, Sodium, and Carbs for many of their options, which is a helpful nutritional analysis.

It was a light meal and though I didn’t feel stuffed, I was definitely satisfied. The Evolution Fresh breakfast is a great option and I recommend the Southwest Scramble highly.

Look for healthy options when you go out.

And remember:

In order to achieve something you’ve never done before, you must be willing to become somebody you’ve never been before 

The Dreadful Empty Calorie

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Empty calories have many negative side effects

Empty calories have many negative side effects

Empty calorie food have very little or zero nutritional value, containing almost no dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals or amino-acids (the “stuff” that keeps our body working optimally).

Most people know the common offenders (sodas, candy, pie, cake, etc.) but even health foods can be harmful to you, so its important to read labels. Its usually a good rule to stay away from anything that has more than 10 ingredients in it. And the ingredients you should definitely stay away from are enriched and bleached flour, artificial coloring, MSG, sodium nitrate and nitrite.

What does this mean for you?

The problem with eating food with a low nutritional density is the resultant nutrient deficiency means that you have to take in more calories, possibly a surplus of calories to get the amount of vitamins and minerals you need.pizza

Empty calorie foods also leave you hungry after consuming them, making you want more later in the day. Soda is a good example, because people will drink it to satisfy their thirst, just to end up thirstier than before and wanting more.

So how can this affect your body?

When eating foods with lots of empty calories, you experience a blood sugar spike, which falls almost as quickly as it peaked. This is known as the “crash” you experience after things like sodas, candies, or desserts. This swing in blood sugar can be intense, leaving you tired and craving another boost from these empty calorie foods.

This swing can lead to a negative cycle in your body, easily leading to weight gain.

So why do people eat these foods?

Empty calorie foods are made to taste good, they’re convenient, they’re cheap, you can find them almost anywhere, and they set off the ‘reward system’ of your brain, which sends off signals of pleasure.

What are they?

These empty calories are made from solid fats (shortening, butter, beef fat) and added sugar (sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup), and are added to make foods more enjoyable.

                                                                                Examples:

Added sugars- fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sodas

Solid fats- ribs, bacon, hot dogs, sausages, cheese, pizza

Both solid fats and sugars- ice cream, donuts, pastries, cookies, cakes

                                                                                  Easy changes:

Sweetened applesauce = choose unsweetened applesauce

Regular ground beef = choose extra lean ground beef (95% lean)

Sugar-sweetened cereals = choose unsweetened cereals

 Its time to decrease the empty calories and eat for good health.healthy eatings

And remember:

In order to achieve something you’ve never done before, you must be willing to become somebody you’ve never been before

Calorie Break Down

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Calorie-Facts

I’m going to break down what a calorie is, how its used, and some other fun facts!

 

So just to be clear, calories aren’t bad for you, they’re needed to survive.

Plain and simple, a calorie is a unit of energy that the body uses to function.

And there are 3 main sources of calories: Proteins (1g = 4 calories), Carbohydrates (1g = 4 calories), and Fats (1g = 9 calories). We need all 3 sources to survive so trying to cut out any one of these is not a good idea.

Lets put this information to use.

We’re gonna take a look at an oatmeal label, and see how the calories, Proteins, Carbohydrates “Carbs”, and Fats play out.

On the label, our oatmeal has 2 grams of Fat, 4 grams of Protein and 32 grams of Carbs, producing a total of 162 calories.

Of these 162 calories,

18 come from Fat (9 cal x 2g),

16 come from Protein (4 cal x 4g) and

128 come from carbohydrates (4 cal x 32g).

 Your body can only do 2 things with this energy: burn it (daily living & exercise) or store it. And the #1 pathway is to store this energy as fat!!!

 

Do you have goals of losing weight? Gaining weight? Maintaining weight? nutritional eating

Ultimately, your body weight is dependent only on the difference between the amount of calories that you consume versus the amount of calories that you burn (aka caloric balance).

  • If you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight
  • If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight
  • If you eat the same amount of calories that you burn your weight will not change

Also, there is no such thing as good and bad calories. Molecules don’t come with labels indicating where they came from, whether that’s processed, organic, free range, etc. (that doesn’t mean I don’t care where they came from for other reasons such as added hormones).

Be sure to check back for my follow up post on the dreaded “Empty Calorie” and what it means for you.

And remember:

In order to achieve something you’ve never done before, you must be willing to become somebody you’ve never been before