RSS Feed

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why does Turkey make you sleepy?

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 10.39.42 AM

Because of Tryptophan?  Maybe it’s a huge meal with a lot of carbs.
What is Tryptophan?
It’s an essential Amino Acid (Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein biosynthesis)
Tryptophan also raises Serotonin levels in the brain.  Serotonin does regulate a persons mood.  It helps with memory and learning.  Serotonin also converts into Melatonin, which can help with a deep sleep.
It has been used to treat depression.  Sounds better than the advice from the guy who told me that if I was depressed I should squirt hot butter up my ass ( ).

You can find Tryptophan in other foods including: Chicken, Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp, Halibut, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Asparagus, Eggs.


Crock Pot Shrimp


4 Lbs Shrimp
2 Juice from Lemon
10 Pearl Onions
4 Green Onions finely chopped
5 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 TBS Sea Salt
1/4 Cup Capers
4 Bay Leaves
I TBS Coriander
1 TBS Red Pepper Flakes
1 TBS Ground Pepper
3 Cups Farro (can substitute rice or quinoa)

Put Farro into crock pot next add shrimp.  Add all other ingredients.  Set Crock Pot on low and cook for 4 hours.

Fights Cancer (Prostate).
Good for skin, hair and nails.
Strengthens Bones.
Promotes red blood cell production.
Increases energy.
Good for the thyroid.
Stabilizes blood sugar

Green Onions
Anti Blood Clotting properties
Decreases Cholesterol
Good for Bones
Good for Connective Tissue
Fights Cancer

Pearl Onions
Anti Bacterial
Anti Microbial
Anti Inflammatory
Good for the liver
Lowers Cholesterol
Thins blood, reduces risk of blood clots
Fights Asthma
Fights Bronchitis
Fights Hay Fever
Fights Diabetes
Reduces risk of stomach cancer
Detoxify the body of heavy metals

Garlic Cloves
Contains Antioxidants
Attacks free radicals
Fights Colds and Flu
Lowers Cholesterol
Acts as a natural antibiotic (bacteria doesn’t grow resistant to it)

Red Pepper Flakes
Boosts Metabolism
Good for Eyes
Decreases Chances of Developing Blood Clots

Contains Antioxidants
Strengthen Capillaries
Great for Circulation
Lowers Cholesterol
High in Vitamins and Minerals

Helps the body become Alkaline by increasing PH
High in Vitamin C
Strengthens Blood Vessels
Great for the Heart
Good for Teeth and Bones
*Lemon Juice can destroy tooth enamel.  Dilute with water or something else.
Helps rid the body of kidney stones and other kidney and bladder problems

Black Pepper
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Inflammatory and Antibacterial.
Great for the digestive Tract.
Reduces Gas in the intestines.
Speeds up metabolism.
Supports weight loss.
Fights fat by breaking down the fat cells.
Relief from respiratory problems

Sea Salt
Alkalizes the Body
Contains Minerals
Good for the Cardiovascular System
Good for the Brain
Good for the Skin
Important for Hydration
Boosts Immune System
Helps maintain Sugar Levels (good for Diabetes)
Prevents Osteoporosis
Prevents Muscle Cramps and Spasms
Reduces Cholesterol
Reduces Inflammation in respiratory system (Good for Asthma)

Olive Oil
Contains Antioxidants
Contains probiotics
Improves Blood Vessel Function
Boosts the immune system
Fights Cancer
Fights Heart Disease
Regulates Blood Pressure
Fights Diabetes
May help fight Obesity
Fights Arthritis
ts osteoporosis

Bay Leaves
Contains antioxidants.
May fight cancer.
Aids in Digestion.
Good for the nervous system.
Good for Cardiovascular system

Coriander Seeds
Lowers Blood Sugar
Lowers LDL (Bad) Cholesterol
Increased HDL (Good) Cholesterol
Fights Free Radicals
High in Iron
Aids in digestion

High in Fiber
High in Magnesium
Low Glycemic Index
Increases Immune System
Lowers Cholesterol

Set Backs Don’t Mean That You Have to Make a Bad Decision

I was suppose to be doing the Spartan Beast Race in Vermont today.   Plans changed when I took a spill on 40” box jumps last Saturday.  What I originally thought was a little scrap, actually was (as the doctor described) fillet to the muscle.   When I saw how deep it was, my first thought was, “How am I going to take care of it so that I can do the race.”  Crazy glue was my first great idea  (no I didn’t do it yet).

A few hours later, I was showing it to a friend of mine.  I was able to move my skin like a sleeve.  I flexed my toes and the muscle would move and the skin would stay in place.  Wow, that’s kind of cool, but it might be a bigger problem than I thought it was.   So I made the decision to go to the doctor.  Probably one of my better ideas.  When the doctor saw it he said, “Oh my God that looks terrible.”  I started to laugh.  I said, “You’re a doctor, you see stuff like this all the time.”  He said, “I’ve only seen one other that bad and the guy was in a motorcycle wreck.”  Personally, I’ve seen worse stuff, so I’m a little confused.  Personally, I think it sounded much worse than it was.  That is until the doctor told me that I can’t run in the Spartan, because if I do than I will probably end up with a staph infection.  I have known people who had that and I definitely don’t want it.  I guess I will have to overcome my own stupidity and listen to the doctor instead.  In the past I have blown off doctors advice when it came to injuries and participating in sports.  Torn cartilage, messed up back, torn ligaments, and a number of things that I never told anyone about (that I would have been advised to pass up).  I honestly have no regrets about continuing to compete.  I didn’t end up in a worse situation and I overcame the pain.  This time it’s different.  I’ll do a different race.  I’m disappointed but I have to move on.

I was supposed to be meeting up with my brother David who had also planned on doing the race.  I still decided to come out here to support him.  The closer it gets to race time the more bummed out I get.  It’s a good thing that I didn’t bring any of my gear, because there is a good chance that I would convince myself that I would be fine doing the race.

Part 2 of this story is listening to my friends talk about how, I can’t jump and that I am uncoordinated and that it looked funny when I slammed into the box.  I already know all of these things so they aren’t telling me anything new.  So, I will get even with them by kicking their asses in our workouts, which won’t include box jumps.

Inspired By Mom: Where Did You Get Your Drive And Determination?

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 11.16.28 AM

Not long after my mom committed to participating in the Senior Olympics, she called me to tell me about her adrenaline rush during her training.  She talked about this amazing feeling that she had while swimming and thinking about her competition.  It’s one thing to go out and get involved in an athletic activity but it’s another to compete or prepare to compete.  When you visualize going up against your competitors and pulling away for the win or reaching your goals it’s amazing how much that can motivate you.  It’s a feeling that I love to get and hearing her talk about it makes me proud of her commitment.  She has always challenged herself.   She was swam mostly in order to stay fit and relax, more than anything.  I’m sure when she first started, it was so that she could get away from 3 rowdy kids (me and my brothers) for a little while.  A couple of years ago she took a Gold in the Maryland Senior Olympics and did it again this last year.  As I write this she is going on her second day of the National Senior Olympics.  Her events are 100, 200 and 500 Freestyle.  The only thing that makes me realize that she is 81, is that when referring to “Freestyle”, she says, “I’m doing the Crawl”.

She came to most of my football games, wrestling matches, swim meets, soccer games and plenty of other stuff.  She even comes to our annual Turkey Bowl sometimes so that she can watch a bunch of old guys run around and pull hamstrings.  She has always been my biggest supporter.  It’s about time, that I came out to see her compete.

I’d have to be an idiot, not to realize that I am who I am today because of her.  I definitely have to acknowledge my dad for instilling hard work and many other things into me, but this blog is about my mom.  Anyway, I remember being asked, “Who are your “Heroes”?”, when I was younger.  I would think about it and come up with some guy who played in the NFL, that I had no connection to, other than watching him play on Sundays.  Watching a talented ball player can definitely build motivation, but if I don’t know someone than they probably won’t be a “hero” to me.  I still may respect them and appreciate what they do.  There are a few people who I actually would consider “Heroes” to me and a couple of them are professional athletes that I personally know.  For me it is about more than what they do on the field.  It’s about how they prepare and commit.  These guys give it their all and then they give the other 10%.  They make a Promise to Fail in order to get better.  But they also promise not to Quit.   They are also the same guys who go out of their way to help others.  It’s not “all about them.”  Well, when it comes to “Heroes” I can’t rank these guys as high as my mom.  Being Inspired and  Motivated by her has strengthened many of my qualities: Dedication, Determination, Persistence,  Heart, Commitment, etc…  She taught me to know what it takes to Win, to Succeed.

She was also ahead of her time when it came to nutrition.  And she has always been fit and active.  My brothers and I grew up playing sports year round as well.  She participated in running, tennis and swimming.  Not only that but she was living a healthy lifestyle before a healthy lifestyle was “IN”.  Most of our meals were home cooked and they almost always  contained a protein and a carbohydrate along with vegetables.  We had a salad with homemade dressing (usually a vinaigrette) with our dinner every night.  Most of our meals were as a family at the table.  Fortunately, my mom is a great cook.  Enjoying good food everyday, is probably why I also learned how to cook great tasting food.

Honestly, based on how I eat now there are a number of things that I do not include within my Nutritional Guidelines , but for the most part we ate very healthy.   We only had sodas in the house when we had a party.  My parents didn’t really have a problem with it, because if we were out we could get it, but they were able to limit it, by not having it readily available.  After dinner we were almost always given homemade cookies and ice cream for dessert. I guess that we sort of had some kind of cheat every day.  I look back and think that it’s kind of funny that our parents never realized that by giving us sugar after we ate dinner, they were basically asking us to go kick the crap out each other until our sugar high came down.  Either that or it was to get us wound up and then tired out so that we would sleep through the night.   Not sure that the second one was the case.  I guess that was a way for us to burn off some excess calories after our meal.  We would go out to dinner occasionally, but I can not think of a time when we ate at McDonalds.  We  did have fast food maybe a handful of times, but McDonalds wasn’t one of them.  (Unless we went with friends, but not my mom or dad)

My mom would also always make us bag lunches for school.  Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches were our typical lunch along with a piece of fruit.  On occasion my dad would make lunch for us, if my mom was not around.  We learned very quickly that it was a big mistake letting him make it.  He would tend to get very creative with his sandwich making ability.  His favorite was a Peanut Butter, Butter and Jelly sandwich.  And no that wasn’t a typo and I didn’t stutter.  He really would add Butter to our Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.  And it would be a huge hunk, which he would place in the middle of the sandwich.  There is nothing like enjoying your Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and then all of a sudden, you bite into it and are surprised by biting into a huge lump of butter.  I like butter but not a huge piece on my peanut butter and butter and jelly sandwich.  I would gag on it.  I literally almost puked.  And as a stupid kid it took me a while to figure out that if dad made lunch open the damn sandwich up and remove the stick of butter that he tried to choke you on.  How the hell would I be surprised by this every time.  It must have happened at least 10 times before I learned.  Either that or it happened once and it was so traumatic that it turned into a few hundred times.  If you want to torture your kids try it out on them.

When I was about 9 years old and my brother David and I went shopping with our mom.  As she was walking down the aisle, picking out healthy food to bring home, we were grabbing all kinds of crap and throwing it in the cart.  As soon as it would land mom would take it out and put it back on the shelf and say, “Additives  and Preservatives.  Additives and Preservatives, that’s all that these are.”  We really didn’t know what those big words  were but had assumed that they were bad.  They sure as hell tasted good.  The words just sounded funny to us.  For the next couple years we would mimic her out of the blue.  “Additives and Preservatives”.  It still comes up once in a while.  Talk about something being etched into your brain.  I guess I’ve got  additives and preservatives carved into my mind.  I can’t walk down certain aisles in a supermarket without thinking about that.  This is a good thing.

All of my friends were impressed by how athletic my mom always was and they would talk about how athletic she was…Actually they still talk that way.   Growing up hearing others talk about her definitely made me proud.  Even prouder that she is still doing it.   As my mom got older she cut out the running and cut back on the tennis, but swimming has been a great exercise for her.  It’s great to see her take it to a competitive and challenging level.  For 20 years I missed out on competition and most physical challenges.  Getting myself back into that is the best thing that I have ever done.  I did that at 45.  Seeing my mom do it in her 80’s (she turns 82 in a few weeks), is amazing.


Does Milk Really Do A Body Good?


I rarely have dairy.  I have always loved it.  Growing up I use to drink more than a gallon of milk a day.  During my junior year in college, I came back from a run and realized that I didn’t feel sick.  That’s weird, normally I feel sick after each of my runs, I’ve even puked on the football practice field during warm ups.  How come today is different?  I feel great!  So the next day I was back to my normal self.  My stomach felt awful and I realized that I have been feeling like this for a long time.  I didn’t even remember when it started.  So what did I do or didn’t do yesterday that was different from any of these other days?  Well I got up and I had my shake and I went for a run.  Hang on.  We were out of milk yesterday.  I used water in my shake.  Don’t tell me that I am lactose intolerant.  

Over the course of the next 3 days I went without milk and noticed a huge difference.  I felt great.  On the 4th day I drank milk and immediately felt awful.  With that figured out I knew what I had to do and I wasn’t very happy about it.  I stopped drinking milk but I did continue with other dairy products but just not as frequently.  Could I really give up Ice Cream, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Pizza?  Nope.  I still would get sick from these things but it was not every day.  

When I went through my transformation I decided to remove almost all dairy because I noticed that when I have any kind of dairy I develop mucus in my throat.  I had tried raw milk and did not develop mucus when I drank it.  Mucus is a sign of inflammation.  When you have inflammation one of the bodies responses is to produce mucus to get rid of it.  So in my case, “Milk Does A Body Mucus”. 


If you give it 100% that is great.  You are giving it your all.  But for you to improve you need to give it 110%.  This is how I define 110%.  When you are ready to quit and you continue to push yourself you are giving it 110%.  When you have reached a certain level and you surpass it than you are giving it 110%.  If you train yourself to your limit every day is that going to make you better?  Doesn’t it make sense to push for the extra rep?  You’re going to need a spotter because you are going to fail.  But your failure is that extra 10% that is going to make you better.  Image

Changing Atmosphere Can Give You The Edge That You Need

Xtreme Jeff CLay

Sometimes you need a change of atmosphere.  When I first started my transformation, I had already been working out.  My biggest change would be my nutrition.  But I really wanted to feel like I was starting over and wanted someone else’s input.  For that reason I decided on a change of atmosphere.  I wanted to make sure that everything around me was positive and that it was all about accomplishing goals and training.  My decision was to train at Emerge Fitness for my change of atmosphere.  Once I reached my goals I went back to my old gym.  I was revitalized and continued with a great workout routine and even incorporated some of the things that I picked up at Emerge into it.

Next I decided that I wanted to train at a higher level so I went to Xtreme Speed in Plainfield, IL.  I trained there for about 10 weeks 3 days a week.  The atmosphere definitely breeds success.  The opportunity to train with other people who work hard every day and train at a high level of intensity, not only motivated me but opened the door to a different style of training that I was not use too.  I thought that I knew what High Intensity was until I met these guys.  Trying out different types of training is great for developing the body and it is also a great way to stay engaged.

Around the holidays I ended up back at my gym and was incorporating Xtreme’s training methods into my own workouts at home.  A couple of weeks before the Super Bowl I was feeling like I was overtraining.  The overtraining was not due to what I was doing in the gym, it was due to the amount of cardio that I was doing.  I set a goal of running 1,000 miles this year.  I was running about 25 miles a week which wasn’t really something that I was use to.  It was close to 10 miles further than I had been running a week.  I got to the point in which my joints were sore, I was running slower, I was losing strength and my mind did not feel right.  My memory was not what it had been a few weeks before and I was feeling agitated.  I knew what was going on but I was hoping that I would work through it.  I finally smartened up and decided to take a break.  The way I finally saw it was that my Cortisol levels were too high and the only way that I could get them under control was to take off.  Initially it was going to be one week but I decided to take a second week off.  I listened to my body and it was telling me that I wasn’t ready.  I almost worked out at the end of the second week because I started to feel like I needed to be in the gym.  Kind of like I was getting withdrawals.

Two weeks off after a couple of weeks of lame workouts. Now what?  Do I start-up slow?  Nope, I left on Sunday for Plainfield, IL and would workout from Monday to Wednesday at Xtreme Speed.  Once again I wanted to fire it up again with the right atmosphere.  It’s not like I hadn’t fallen out of shape again so I felt great getting back in there.  They still kicked my ass.  First and third day are upper body days and the second day is a leg and cardio day.  After the second workout it felt like a fog had lifted.  I feel awesome and my thought process seems like it getting back to where I was before I was losing my mind.

Although I needed the rest, I also needed a change of atmosphere.  That atmosphere has to be positive.  It can be the physical place and it can be the people that you train with.  It can even be the workout.  Finding a group of people with a high level of intensity is what works best for me.

I also learned that if you set a goal that is not going the way that you wanted like I did then you better change it before it is too late.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of a mistake.

For me healthy life style is not an ongoing battle.  It is about getting in tune with your body, learning and reaching your goals.  I have a passion for this new phase of my life, so I choose to spend the time on myself and also on helping others figure out what works for them.

Living A Healthy Lifestyle Is The Fountain Of Youth

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 5.09.07 PM

One of the benefits of dropping 40 pounds was that now I look younger.  Instead of being embarrassed about sharing my Before Picture, I now have something that makes me proud.  It’s almost surreal looking back at that before picture.  I love it when people claim that my Before and After pictures are two totally different people.  I almost agree with them.  I don’t even feel like my former self.

I feel 10 years younger and think that I look 10 years younger.  I’m sure that a big part of it is that I guess I must have had a lot of fat in my face, because it is a lot thinner.   But when you live a healthy lifestyle it can make a huge difference with the aging process.

When Oxidation takes place in the body it creates Free Radicals (Damaged Cells).  When metal Oxidizes it turns to rust.  The human body has a similar effect.   Oxidation is part of the aging process and can be sped up by having an unhealthy lifestyle.  Smoking, Alcohol, Stress and other factors will speed Oxidation.  Not only will the body age quicker, but a person can be at an increased risk of heart disease, cancer and other heath related problems.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Eat blueberries they have Antioxidants in them.”
Ok so what do they do?  Antioxidants prevent and reduce free radicals (damaged cells caused by oxidation).  In comparison if the body were rusting like metal than the body would prevent the body from rusting.  They are in a wide range of foods and each of them do different things.  This is another reason why you want to eat a balanced diet.  (Examples of some Antioxidants: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene and Selenium)  One of the best sources of antioxidants comes from Blueberries, raspberries and other berries.  They also show up in fruits, vegetables, nuts (almonds, walnuts), Spices (cloves, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, oregano).

I try to add certain things to my nutrition each day that provide antioxidants as well as other benefits.  I probably add cinnamon to 3 or 4 of my meals a day.  I add different types of fruit to my shakes.  I use a lot of black pepper and garlic.

A healthy balanced diet will do a lot more for you than just help you drop weight.

Top 10 Excuses Not to Workout

As the saying goes, “Everyone has one and they all stink”.  The only way to reach your goals and turn your dreams into a reality is to be stronger than your excuses.  I had my own excuses.  I still come up with some sometimes, but instead of blowing off what I am supposed to do I make sure that I get it done.  I feel a lot better about being stronger than my excuse.

Going into the gym intimidates me. (You are going for yourself.  Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.  Don’t let someone else stand in the way of your goals.  Especially yourself.   Focus on yourself and you will see improvements.  If you are still worried about setting foot in a gym, try working out at home.  You can even have a trainer come to your house.)

I’ve never worked out before.  I wouldn’t know what to do. (Hire a trainer or go with someone who knows what they are doing.  Having someone with you will also help with motivation.)

Every time that I work out I get so sore that it takes me a week to recover.  (You will get lactic acid build up in your muscles.  Especially when they haven’t been used for a while.  The more often that you workout the less you will be sore. Get through the first one or two weeks of it and you will be fine.)

Lifting weights is boring.  Running is boring. (You can get a workout done in 25 minutes.  You should also change your workouts up.  I change my workouts every day.  I also run trails with my dogs outside.  The scenery and my dogs cure my boredom.  When you are seeing results, you won’t be as bored.  If you feel like you can’t take it anymore because you are bored try something different.  If your gym has different classes, you should be able to find something that you like.  You will also have other people going through it with you.  You can try workout programs like P90X and Insanity.)

I’m too out of shape. (I’m not sure how people come up with this excuse.  This should be the reason that you get into the gym.  Get active.  Get into shape.  Start a good mix of cardio and weight training.  You aren’t going to get into shape without training.)

I’ll do it tomorrow.  (The best time to start is right now.  The longer you hold off on starting the harder it is to start.  The sooner you start, the sooner you can feel the benefits of transforming your body and your life.)

I can’t afford a gym membership.  (Have you check all of your options on gyms in your area or are you just saying that?  There are a lot of bodyweight exercises that you can do at home.  So if money is keeping you out of the gym, get it done at home.)

I’m too old.  (You are never too old to start.  Just because you are old doesn’t mean that you can’t workout.  After 12 weeks, you will feel like you are 10 years younger.  I’m doing things that I never thought that I would be doing.  Such as Spartan Races and Tough Mudders.  I’m 46 and don’t consider myself old.  But when I was 45, I was old.)

I don’t want to get too muscular.  (Your body can make some drastic changes but you probably won’t be competing in the Mr. Olympia or Ms. Olympia.  Set goals for where you want your body to be.  Your workouts and nutrition can help you get there and you can switch some things up if you feel like your results are to extreme.)

I don’t have time.  (You can get your workouts done in 25 minutes 3 or 4 days a week.  That is enough time to make a change.  I workout for about an hour 5 days a week and I run for about 45 minutes 5 days a week.  I’m addicted to it and I have goals that are centered around my training.   You could wake up earlier and workout.  If you workout in the morning, then you will feel more awake for the rest of the day.  How much time do some people waste during the day?  One less episode of Honey Boo Boo.)

Do you want it bad enough?  Are you learning to S.W.I.M.™?




Tribute To Marsha: Fight Heart Disease and Strokes Through Nutrition and Excercise

Yesterday I had a very good friend die from a stroke.  Marsha App had just turned 67 the other day.  That’s 3 people who have died within the last year that I was close too.  Two of the three died from cardiovascular complications.  I also came very close to losing my father from a massive heart attack.  Fortunately, he survived and is doing very well.

My transformation has done much more for me than just change my body.  It has changed me.  I have learned more this year than any other.  I have become more open-minded. I have discovered that I can do much more than I ever thought possible at my age.  These things and many others have become possible for me because, I have been able to take control of my own mind.  For me it breaks down to being able to S.W.I.M. (Self Control, Will Power, Inspiration and Motivation).  The one thing that I can’t control is what happens around mean.  I can’t control the death of someone who I care about or someone who is close to someone who I care about.  .

What I can do is continue to write my blog and hopefully change the lives of people who I care about and even people who I don’t know.  You can improve your health and even your active lifestyle.  You can be there for your family.  You can be active with your kids.  They can be your motivation to live a longer happier life.

Marsha did live a very happy life.  She always thought about others first and left behind a son, a daughter and a grandson and many friends who will have some great memories of her.  I will miss talking with her and going out to dinner with her.  She always made me smile.

Fight Stroke and Heart Disease by eating healthy and with exercise.   Take control of your life and learn to S.W.I.M.

I Am a Spartan

"Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure"

JanaBanana, RD

Registered Dietitian. foodie. coffee lover. runner. Healthy Living Blogger. Book-a-holic. Ring Out Ahoya. Go Blue!

She's Evolving


Gluten Free Gus

Baking Joy Into Every Gluten-free Bite

A is for

A is for Amuseless



Almost Thirty-Something

Millennial. Blogger. Happy soul. (coming soon)

Sporting Local Athlete Reviews & Listings

The Better Man Project

the story of a human being unfolding

Matt Mayberry's Blog

Professional Athlete, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Fitness Guru

Kat's Health Corner

A young mother striving to raise a healthy family.

No 'FRIES' for 365

- My Journey: A Blog About Fitness, Nutrition, & Overall Health -

Jen's Dish

Life...with Recipes

Rantings of an Amateur Chef - What works, and what doesn't!