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Tag Archives: Healthy Living

Live Life To The Fullest

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If you truly want to live then you have to make time for the things that you enjoy and the people that you love and care about.  My parents sold there house last year and moved into a retirement community.  It was because my father has dementia and is also undergoing dialysis 3 times a week.  At 84 my mom is in great shape and continues to swim.  She even competed in the Senior Olympics 2 years ago.  No matter what kind of shape she is in and how strong she is mentally and physically there is a lot that she has to deal with while taking care of my dad.  The move provides her with more support if needed and less to deal with relating to taking care of an entire house.  She often tells me that she is fortunate because there are a lot of people who deal with much more being a caregiver then she has to deal with but I can see how things are much more difficult for the caregiver then the person that they are caring for.  Honestly, my dad really couldn’t remember if he had a good day or a bad day.  My mom has to watch someone that she loves and has spent most of her life with deteriorate.  I can’t even image what she deals with on a daily basis because I have never had to take care of him even for a day.  Up until a couple years ago they were both very active and traveled quite a bit.  I remember growing up that the two of them traveled all over the world for my dads work and vacations.  As a family we (my parents and my two brothers) had trips every year up until I was about 14.  We would go skiing, camping and to a cabin in Vermont.  We actually took one last trip as a family when I graduated college, when we went skiing in Austria.  Because of my dads situation they had to stop traveling.  I know that my mom missed our annual trips to Vermont which they started back up around 15 years ago.  I joined them on about half of the Vermont trips.  I realized that one of the biggest things that my mom really missed was traveling.  Several months ago, I was talking about a cabin that I rented in the woods in Tennessee and my mom told me that she really missed going to Vermont.  At that point I realized what I would give her for her birthday.  A trip somewhere.  So on her birthday this last August, I told her that her present was a trip with me.

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I decided on Puerto Rico for several reasons.  1 – She is still very active and a big outdoors person and she loves nature.  Puerto Rico has several national parks including an amazing rainforest and a bioluminescent bay (she had been to PR but never to the rainforest or bay) 2 – It wasn’t too far away  3 – It wasn’t too expensive.

I looked at the trip several different ways.  If you don’t take or create the opportunity you may lose it.  I had never taken my mother on a trip before and now that I live 12 hours away from her, I really don’t get to spend very much time with her.  This would be a great opportunity to spend some quality time with her.  The other thing was that the amount of stress that she must deal with while caring for my father is really unimaginable.  When you spend all of your time taking care of someone else, it is difficult to spend time on yourself.  The stress can take a toll on you.  This trip would give her a nice break from it and give her a chance to relax and cut down on her stress.  I’m very grateful that one of my brothers was willing to stay with my dad while my mom was with me.  My other brother filled in for him for a day.  I couldn’t have taken her on this trip without their help.  My Aunt (her sister) also joined us on the trip.

I did this trip for her benefit, but I got a lot out of it as well.  The time we spent together has provided me with memories that I will never forget.  And at the age of 84 (her sister is 86), both of them were able to keep up.  We didn’t just go and sit on the beach.  We went kayaking in the bay and in the ocean on a rough day.  We hiked in the rainforest which had some pretty steep trails.  And we also sat on the beach.  But both her and her sister swam in the ocean quite a bit.

Live life to it’s fullest.  Whether you are 20 or 84.  Don’t take your parents for granted and appreciate everything that they have done for you.  Let them know you love them and show them that you appreciate them with a memorable experience.

Love you Mom.

Sticking To Your Promises

conditioning
Everyone has a day when they just don’t feel like following through with something. Sometimes I get into the gym and am dreading part of my workout. I just feel out of it. Usually, I get into my workout and by the time I get to what’s been traumatizing my day, I feel so energized that I just get it done. Even if I’m not into it yet, my training partner will be and I will have to do it. Just so that I don’t hear him run his mouth. Actually, I would feel like I let him and myself down.

A week ago we decided that we needed to bring conditioning back into our workouts. We have been doing very little of it for a few months and it’s becoming very noticeable. So we said that we would do it 3 or 4 days a week. Our conditioning can last for 10 minutes and it can last for an entire workout. It might not last long but if you aren’t in shape it sucks. We can get more out of 10 or 15 minutes of conditioning than if we ran for 45 minutes.

I got in today and we got our workout done and I wanted no part of conditioning today. Something I woke up thinking about. If you are hitting it hard, you will feel like you are drowning because you are so out of breath. I say to my training partner, “Lets get our conditioning done.” He says, “No, I don’t have time today.” Now all of the sudden I really want to do it, so I start talking crap to him. After calling him out, I say, “Hey, we made a commitment to do it 3 or 4 times a week. And it will only take 12 minutes. You don’t have 12 minutes? Today will be day 2 and we will still have 1 or 2 more days left. Are you going to break your PROMISE?”. He gets this look on his face like he is going to start calling me a couple of choice names.
We got it done in 12 minutes. It was not fun but both of us were happy that we followed through with our PROMISE. #PromiseToFinishWhatYouStarted

Dairy Free Raspberry Oatmeal Pancakes

raspberry pancakes

In the past when I made Oatmeal Pancakes, I would use Cottage Cheese, but a lot of people told me that they didn’t eat dairy.  I rarely have it anyway.  I started trying them without any Cottage Cheese and these are great.  

I also added Raspberries because of the way that they fight cancer and also fight fat.  After the recipe I have posted what you can expect from Raspberries.

Oatmeal Pancakes with Banana and Walnu
ts.
Makes 4 Servi
ngs
1 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled O
ats
6 eggs or egg whi
tes
3 Tablespoons of RAW Honey (make sure that it is RAW-look for it on the lab
el)
1.5 tablespoons of cinnamon
teaspoon of organic vanilla extr
act
One ban
ana
1/2 cup of waln
uts
Unrefined Coconut
Oil

Blend Nuts into a rough powder in a food processor add Uncooked Oatmeal, Eggs, Raw Honey, Cinnamon, Vanilla Extract and Banana.  Blend together.
Heat Skillet on Medium and add Coconut Oil as nee
ded.
Poor several pancakes and cook until golden br
own.
No syrup need.  If you use syrup try Raw Ag
ave.

Also try out
Oatmeal Pancakes with Macadamia Nuts with Fresh Co
conut
1 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled Oa
tmeal
6 eggs or egg w
hites
3 Tablespoons of RAW Honey (make sure that it is RAW-look for it on the l
abel)
1/2 Cup Walnuts
1/2 Pint Raspberries
1.5 tablespoons of cin
namon
1 teaspoon of organic vanilla ex
tract
2 Tablespoons Unrefined Coconu
t Oil

Chop up Raspberries. Blend Nuts into a rough powder in a food processor add Uncooked Oatmeal, Eggs, Raw Honey, Raspberries, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Extract.  Mix together
Heat Skillet on Medium and add Coconut Oil as needed.
Poor several pancakes and cook until golden
brown.
No syrup need.  If you use syrup try Raw Honey or Raw
Agave.

Raspberries Benefits:
Raspberries contain Anti-Cancer properties
Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Properties lead to Anti-Cancer benefits
But they also may change signals to existing cancer cells and begin the cycle of cell death in those cells. In potentially cancerous but not yet cancerous cells they may signal them to remain non cancerous.
Raspberries Fight Fat
They can Increase Metabolism in Fat Cells. This decreases the chance of fat being deposited into fat cells and can help use up fat that is already stored there.
They also may make the body digest and absorb less fat.

Eggs Benefits:
May prevent macular degeneration
Lowers risk of developing cataracts
May help prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attacks
Helps regulate brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system
May improve lipid profile (Cholesterol Levels)
May lower risk of breast cancer
Promotes healthy hair and nails

Oatmeal Benefits:
Lowers Cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease
Makes you feel full longer
May reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
May reduce heart disease
May reduce high blood pressure
Contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
May reduce risk for certain cancers

Cinnamon Benefits:
May lower cholesterol
May help treat Type 2 Diabetes
Contains antifungal properties and may rid the body of candida
May reduce proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells
When added to food inhibits bacterial growth and is a natural food preservative
Boosts cognitive function and memory
Helps eliminate headaches and migraines
Helps stabilize blood sugar
Increases metabolism

Walnuts Benefits:
Contains minerals, antioxidants and vitamins
Contains good fats including omega-3’s
Helps lower Cholesterol
Helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure
Helps prevent certain cancers
Promotes Anti Aging
Helps remove free radicals from the body

Vanilla Extract
Antioxidant Properties
May fight Cancer
Boost Metabolism
Reduces Anxiety
May fight infections and fever in children
Reduces Nausea

Coconut Oil Health Benefits:
New research claiming that it has been helping Alzheimer’s patients improve and even reverse effects.
Positive results for people affected with Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Increases thyroid health by raising body temperature.
It increases metabolism (increases body temp)
Increases energy
Coconut oil on the body can promote healthy skin and hair.

Living A Healthy Lifestyle Is The Fountain Of Youth

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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.

Quinoa with Salsa

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1 Cup Quinoa
1/2 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 Red Onion
1 Jalapeno
3 Basil leaves
2 Cups Water

Add Water and Quinoa to small pot and bring to a boil.
Cook for 10 Minutes
Add Tomatoes, Onion, Jalapeno and Basil to food processor
Blend
Place Quinoa in bowl add mixture and mix

Health Benefits

Quinoa
Antiseptic (helps with healing the skin)
Contains Antioxidants and Flavonoids
Anti-inflammatory
Contains Protein and Carbohydrates
Contains 9 Amino Acids
Contains Riboflavin
Contains good fats
Good for brain function
Increases Stamina
May lower Risk of type 2 diabetes
May Lower Risk of Cardiovascular disease

Red Onions
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Fungal
Anti-Bacterial
Anti-Inflammatory
Fights Cancer
Fights Free Radicals
Fights Colds
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Low Glycemic – Suppresses Blood Sugar Spikes

Jalapeno
Fights Cancer
Lowers Blood Pressure
Anti-Inflammatory
Good for the heart
Reduces Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Increases Metabolism.  Helps body burn fat.

Tomatoes
Contains antioxidants
Fights Cancer (prostate, cervical, stomach, rectum, breast and mouth)
Lowers Cholesterol
Helps keep digestive system healthy
Detoxify body
Alleviates Type 2 Diabetes
Good for Healthy skin, hair, nails, teeth and bones
Fights urinary tract infections and bladder cancer
Prevents Gallstones

Basil
Great Source of Iron
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Bacterial
Anti-Inflammatory
Protects Against Free Radicals
Great for the Eyes
Supports Blood Pressure
Anti-Aging Properties
Good for Bones

Spiced Chicken & Tomatoes


20121205_193129 3 Chicken Breasts
1/2 Red Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
3/4Pint Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Lemon
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
Dash of Cloves
Dash of Paprika
Dash of Cumin
1/4 cup of Vermouth
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Put frying pan over a medium flame and add oil
Chop up Onions
Chop up Garlic
Sautee Onions and Garlic
Chop up Tomatoes
Add tomatoes to frying pan
Chop up Chicken Breasts
Add Chicken Breasts to frying pan
Squeeze Lemon over Chicken
Add Pepper
Add Cloves
Add Paprika
Add Cumin
Add Dry Vermouth
Cook for around 20 minutes and stir ocassionally

Serve alone or over Rice or Quinoa

Health Benefits

Chicken
High in Protein (Builds and repairs Muscle)
Fights Alzheimer’s
Fights Cancer

Red Onions
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Fungal
Anti-Bacterial
Anti-Inflammatory
Fights Cancer
Fights Free Radicals
Fights Colds
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Low Glycemic – Suppresses Blood Sugar Spikes

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

Tomatoes
Contains antioxidants
Fights Cancer (prostate, cervical, stomach, rectum, breast and mouth)
Lowers Cholesterol
Helps keep digestive system healthy
Detoxify body
Alleviates Type 2 Diabetes
Good for Healthy skin, hair, nails, teeth and bones
Fights urinary tract infections and bladder cancer
Prevents Gallstones

Lemon
Helps the body become Alkaline by increasing PH
Antibacterial
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

Cloves
Contains Antioxidants
Antifungal
Antiseptic (placing on wounds, bug bites, etc..)
Effective in treating Indigestion, Asthma
Eases Tooth Ache Pain, Sore Gums, Mouth Ulcers and Sore Throats
Fights Stress
Clears Nasal Passages – Great for Colds
Controls Blood Sugar
Fights Diabetes
Great for the Immune System
Fights Bad Breath

Black Pepper
Fights fat by breaking down the fat cells
Relief from respiratory problems
Antibacterial and Anti-Inflammatory
Helps with Digestion

Cumin
Helps with Digestion
Helps stimulate and relax and helps with Insomnia
Helps with Respiratory Problems
Antiviral (fights colds)
Good for lactating mothers
Detoxify the body
Fights Cancer

Paprika
Contains Antioxidants.
Anti-Inflammatory.
Helps with blood circulation and regulates blood pressure.

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
Fights Osteoporosis

The Power Of Mind Control

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The most important part of my transformation has been the psychological aspect.  That is how I came up with the acronym S.W.I.M. (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration, Motivation).  Honestly once I figured this out and thought about what it meant it made my transformation that much easier for me.  It allowed me to set a psychological goal if that makes any sense.  It was tough at first but after a little while it became easier.   At this point it’s almost funny.  I figured out how to control my own mind.  I looked at how many things I did out of habit or temptation.  I was addicted to food.  I felt peer pressure.  If I went out to dinner, I would eat anything that hit the table.  Not just a slice of bread but usually about 2 loaves.  How many appetizers could I cram down my throat before my main course?  If there was calamari, I was probably eating two appetizers.  If I went to a bar, I drank.  What else would you do in a bar?  (I’ll still go to bars once in a while but rarely drink).  If I walked into the supermarket I would walk by the cookie section about 10 times for the free samples.  I would buy 3 boxes of Oreo cookies to save for my “cheat day”.  I would than convince myself that I was just going to eat one and save the rest for later.  Within 3 hours the first box was gone.  The next two might make it for about 3 more days.  I would travel and convince myself that I needed  to stay out of the gym during the entire trip.

I took at look at how my lack of self-control had made me feel crappy about the way I looked at myself.  I realized that it was a weakness.  I was WEAK!  I couldn’t control my own mind.  I felt like I had an addiction and had no control over it (I actually did).  How could I be that weak?  It was embarrassing.

Once I became honest with myself and could actually look in the mirror and say that I need to lose 40 pounds not 10.  I need to realize what else is affecting my life.  What do I need to do to make this transformation?  5 days a week in the gym (already doing that), running 5 days a week (right now I run 4 days a week.  2 days are light and 2 are tied into my workouts).  Stick with a nutrition program that I can live with, without cheating.

It’s amazing how many situations I end up in where I pass on things that I would have jumped all over in the past.  I actually feel really good about myself when I sit down to dinner with friends and don’t touch the bread, which I use to gob with butter.  I don’t need it.  I wanted it.  My health is more important and the truth is that when you can control your mind over things like this you can also control it over other things.  I chewed tobacco for over 20 years and every time I quit I constantly thought about it.  I needed it when I drove, drank, or had stress.  I had a lot of stress.  I could not even tell you the day that I quit.  It is irrelevant to me.  It really doesn’t matter since I don’t think about it.  I almost forgot to write about it in this post.

It is important that you enjoy the food that you do eat.  6 healthy nutritious small portioned meals a day that include both carbohydrates and protein.  Be creative with your food.  There are plenty of things that you can eat that taste like they are bad for you because they taste so good.

Being able to control my own mind influences many other aspects of my life.  It also makes me consider how my actions may affect other people.  I rather be a positive influence than having a negative influence or no influence.  I have also realized that I can do much more now at 46 then what I ever thought that I could.  I don’t set limitations for myself anymore (this will be a future post).

I would challenge to try something next time you go out to dinner with friends.  When bread is brought to the table don’t eat any for the entire meal.  See if you can resist it.  If you don’t like bread try using this with a similar situation.  Pass on cake at a party at the office.  Don’t bother getting some just to bring home and eat later.  Just pass it up.  This is less about your nutrition than it is about being able to control your own mind.

If you thought that this post was about bending spoons or controlling someone else with your mind, sorry to disappoint you but the truth is that if you can learn how to do this than you will change your life for the better.  You will accomplish more.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE AND LEARN TO S.W.I.M.™

Forbidden Rice with Orange and Tomato

I like to be creative and try some different things out.  Instead of just having plain rice as a side dish, I decided to make rice that had a little more flavor.  I also used Forbidden Rice which is a black rice.

1 Cup Forbidden Rice (You can use brown rice)
2 Cups of water
1 Orange
1 Tomato
1/2 Red Onion
1/2 Green Pepper
Several Leaves of Fresh Basil

Put water and rice in a pot
Cover and bring to a boil
Lower heat and cook for 30 minutes
Peel Orange and cut up into bite size pieces
Cut up Tomato into bite size pieces
Cut up Onion into small pieces
Cut up Pepper into small pieces
Cut up Basil
When rice is done remove from heat and strain any excess water
Add orange, tomato, onion, pepper and basil

Health Benefits

Forbidden Rice –
Great source of carbohydrates
Contains Fiber
Contains Antioxidants

Oranges
High in Vitamin C and Flavonoids
Contains Fiber
Fights Cancer (Keep the white part on it)
Lowers Cholesterol Production
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Great for the Immune System
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones
Protects Against Viruses

Tomatoes
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Inflammatory
High in Vitamin C and Beta-carotene
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Fights Cancer
Great for bones
Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s

Green Peppers
High in Vitamin C and Vitamin E
Contains Antioxidants
Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Fights Cancer
Reduces Blood Sugar
May Reduce Risk of Cancer

Red Onions
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Fungal
Anti-Bacterial
Anti-Inflammatory
Fights Cancer
Fights Free Radicals
Fights Colds
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Low Glycemic – Suppresses Blood Sugar Spikes

Basil
Great Source of Iron
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Bacterial
Anti-Inflammatory
Protects Against Free Radicals
Great for the Eyes
Supports Blood Pressure
Anti-Aging Properties
Good for Bones

Shrimp And Scallops With Tomato Sauce Over Spaghetti Squash

1 LB Scallops
1 LB Shrimp
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Large Onion
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
6 Large Organic Tomatoes
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Cumin
Fresh Ground Pepper as desired
1 Teaspoon Rosemary
3 Bay Leaves
2 Jalapeno’s
Spaghetti Squash

Heat frying pan on medium heat
Add Oil
Sauteed Onions, jalapeno and 1 Garlic Clove (cut up) in Olive Oil.
Add Shrimp and Scallops
Cook until Shrimp are pink.
Drain any water.

Heat Large Pot
Add Tomatoes to Food Processor and puree
Place Tomatoes in Pot
Add 1 Garlic Clove, Oregano, Paprika, Cumin, Fresh Pepper, Rosemary, Bay Leaves
Add Shrimp, Scallops, Onions, jalapeno and Garlic.
Cook until high simmer

Pre-heat Oven to 350
Poke holes all over Squash with fork
Put Spaghetti Squash in on a metal pan
Cook for 1 hour

Remove Squash and cut in half.  You may have to let it cool off
Remove Seeds and guts
Take a fork and scrap the insides of squash onto plate.
It will come out looking like spaghetti
Add Seafood Sauce

Healthy Benefits

Scallops
Helps with Cardiovascular System.
Improves the immune system.
Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids and B12.
Helps control high Blood Pressure.
Reduce chances of Stroke.
Fights free radicals.

Shrimp
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

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)

Onions
Good for the liver
When mixed with protein they
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

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
Fights Osteoporosis

Tomatoes
Contains antioxidants
Fights Cancer (prostate, cervical, stomach, rectum, breast and mouth)
Lowers Cholesterol
Helps keep digestive system healthy
Detoxify body
Alleviates Type 2 Diabetes
Good for Healthy skin, hair, nails, teeth and bones
Fights urinary tract infections and bladder cancer
Prevents Gallstones

Oregano
Antibacterial.
Contains Antioxidants.
Contains Omega-3’s.
Rich in Fiber.
Contains Iron.

Paprika
Contains Antioxidants.
Anti-Inflammatory.
Helps with blood circulation and regulates blood pressure.

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

Cayenne Pepper
Anti-Fungal, Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Inflammatory.
Fights Cancer (prostate, lungs and pancreas).
Great for the cardiovascular system.
Reduces Cholesterol and triglycerides.
Increases metabolism.
Good for intestinal health.
Including healing stomach and intestinal ulcers.
Aids in digestion.

Rosemary
Antioxidant.
Anti-Allergic, Anti-Fungal and Anti-Septic.
Helps with Cardiovascular system.
High in Iron.

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

Jalapeno
Fights Cancer
Lowers Blood Pressure
Anti-Inflammatory
Good for the heart
Reduces Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Increases Metabolism.  Helps body burn fat.

Cumin
Helps with Digestion
Helps stimulate and relax and helps with Insomnia
Helps with Respiratory Problems
Antiviral (fights colds)
Good for lactating mothers
Detoxify the body
Fights Cancer

Spaghetti Squash
High in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Nutritional Guidelines That I Followed During My Transformation

The most important thing about my transformation was and still is mostly psychological.  It is all about controlling my own mind.  I have to make choices and they include not eating processed foods, sugar, drinking alcohol.  It also means that I  will make sure that I eat 6 healthy meals a day.

More Self Control.  Know when to say when.
Portion control is something that people have a great deal of trouble with and I was no exception.  When people eat out the portions are typically huge.  An easy way to figure out a good portion is to look at the palm of your open hand and that is what your protein portion should be.  Your fist would be your carbs and for vegetables that would also be your fist.

I don’t really like to refer to what I eat as a diet, because I believe that the word diet comes with a negative connotation.  People try diets.  People do diets for a set amount of time and in some cases an undefined period of time.  Low carb no carb, grapefruit, 30 day diet.  These are diets that you can’t stick with.  I guess you get on them and lose some weight and go back to your old ways.  You are setting yourself up to fail.  Planning is a great idea, however, I don’t like to plan to fail.  If it happens, I’ll learn from it but I don’t want it predetermined.  In 1998 when I did the Body for Life and got my body fat into the single digits, I was on a diet that I couldn’t stick with. It was pretty much a bodybuilder diet.  All of my food was bland.  If I wanted to get crazy and spice things up, than I would put spicy mustard on my bland chicken.  In some cases I would also cut my carbs.  You do cut fat, but you also burn muscle and you feel like crap.  I stuck with it for a long time. Eventually, I failed.

My new program had to include a nutrition plan that I could stick with for life.  I had to enjoy my food.  Based on my past history this would have been impossible.  I didn’t think that I could find something that was good for you that also tastes good on a daily basis.  I learned enough from the turkey baster diet to start looking into organic vegetables and fruits and free range chicken and eggs and grass feed beef.  Plus seafood.  First of all this way of eating tastes so much better than the crap I was buying prior to my transportation.  I already knew that processed foods were not good but still had to have the self control to avoid those foods.  I got rid of all of the food that I no longer allowed my self to eat.  I cleaned out my cabinets and it all went to a food drive.   Instead of getting sauce out of a bottle or can, I started to make my own with organic tomatoes and other organic vegetables.

The following are the guidelines that I set up for my transformation and that I continue to follow:

It provides more of a view of what to eat and what not to eat. I did make changes throughout my transformation but most of it was early on.  I still make changes occasionally.   I started screwing around with a different diet and dropped it close to the start of the program because I looked at it and realized that I could not do it for life.  I didn’t think that I could do it for another day.  Oh, I guess I couldn’t.  The nutrition program that I ended up following is awesome.  The food is great and I can do it for life. I don’t feel like I need a cheat meal and I am not anxious. I have been ripped before and ate bland food and it doesn’t work as a life style. You always want to cheat. There are lots of options with the way that I eat.

When I finished the first 12 weeks I had started to pay attention to calories for the next 4 weeks, in order to see how many calories I was eating. They ranged between 2500 and 3000.  I eat protein and carbs with every meal and I have 6 meals a day. Protein intake is close to my body weight in grams. I am estimating that I eat around 200 or more grams of protein a day.  Typically, my carbs in my first two meals come from Oatmeal. It ranges between 1/2 a cup and a full cup.  Oatmeal takes a long time to break down and it is low on the glycemic index. The other meals are usually sweet potatoes which break down quickly. Sometimes I replace them with brown rice or quinoa. Carbohydrates are fuel.  These foods will provide you with energy and will help you build and retain muscle.  They also possess many other benefits.  I actually use them in several different recipes.

Carbs
Vegetables – I eat organic vegetables – for the most part I stick with spinach and asparagus, sweet potato and occasional will add other vegetables to food that I make.  There are plenty of choices.
Fruits – Go with organic here also – tomato, avocado, grapefruit, bananas.  I add a number of other fruits to my diet as well.  Tons of choices here also.
Grains: I stay away from grains with the of exception of oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice.
Nuts: They are high in fat and carbs, however they are very nutritious and should be a part of your diet.  Just don’t overdue it.   I probably eat almonds more than any other type of nut. And I do eat peanut butter or almond butter every once in a while.
Protein – I stick with food that doesn’t have hormones or other crap in it. Grass Feed Beef, Bison, Seafood (usually fish), Free Range Chicken and Eggs

The way I define processed is anything man made.  This includes bread and pasta.  Both of which I love.  When people talk about carb loading the day before an event, I don’t consider pasta.  I eat, extra sweet potatoes and oatmeal.

I eat RAW honey and cinnamon 2 to 4 times a day.  Both of these are very beneficial.  If you are going to try it out make sure that you get RAW Honey.  In order for your body to digest it easily it has to be RAW.  Processed honey will cause your blood sugar to spike.

I replaced table salt with Sea Salt because table salt has a negative effect on your body and Sea Salt provides electrolytes and minerals for your body.  It contains some great health benefits.

I take supplements which includes a good protein powder every day.  If I want additional carbs with my protein shake, sometimes I will add half of a baked sweet potato to it.  One way to see if you are taking a good protein powder is to check the label and see how high Cholesterol is on the product.  Good protein will be low in Cholesterol.  Typically it is going to be more expensive.

I also add Metamucil or Psyllium Husks to my regular diet.  It adds needed fiber to your diet and has many benefits including reducing cholesterol.

This is my sample diet on a typical day

I add things to my diet which will help burn fat, lower cholesterol, provide energy, lower blood sugar and other things that play a role in being healthy.  If you take a look at any of the recipes that I put in my blog, you will notice that I put the benefits of the ingredients at the end of the recipe.

Wake up
Make a shake with 3 raw eggs, 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of oatmeal, raw honey, cinnamon  sometimes add protein powder sometimes add a banana or other fruit – add a couple ice cubes

Run within one hour

1 hour after run
3 egg omelet with tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot peppers

cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon and a grapefruit

or
Oatmeal Pancakes
Grapefruit

3 hours later
Almond Coconut Honey Chicken
Tropical Sweet Potato 

Spinach

Prior to workout
Protein Shake with half a sweet potato blended into it

Post workout
I take a recovery product that has carbs and sugar immediately after workout (I stay away from sugar other then post workout)
Protein Shake within 15 minutes of my workout ending

1 hour later
Seared Tuna with Mango and Ginger
Asparagus

3 hours later
Protein Shake

I usually get my carbs from vegetables at night.

Water is an important for health and it will also help fill you up.  Drink 50% of your weight in ounces of water,  plus 16 ounces for each pound that you lose working out.  I try not to drink water 30 minutes before or after I eat.  It can interfere with digestion.

I allow for one cheat meal a week.  However, it usually ends up being once every two weeks.
It could be pizza, pasta, pf changs, a steakhouse where I eat bread, ice cream or something out of the ordinary for me.  It never seems as good as i use to think that it was.  Still tastes good but i eat so many other good things that are good for you.  To tell you the truth I have felt terrible the day following a cheat meal several times.  My body isn’t use to some of the things that I rarely eat and it reacts in a negative way.

Self Control and Will Power are crucial for your diet.  I still go to dinner with friends and I am very careful when ordering out.  There are plenty of temptations when you go, from bread to alcohol.  You have to be strong enough to control your mind.  Also, if you don’t plan on eating something that comes with your meal it is always better to have it removed from your plate before it is brought out.  Remove the temptation.  Plus it’s a waste of food.

Funny thing is that people think that when they are trying to lose weight, they can’t enjoy their food.  That is exactly what I thought because that was my past experience.  Not only are my regular meals good but I eat several things that make me feel like I am cheating, including the Oatmeal Pancakes.  If you love chocolate checkout the recipe in my blog for Coconut Flavored Chocolate.

Planning is another important aspect of the nutrition program.  I wrote down everything that I planned to eat and followed up with what I actually ate during every meal, every day.  I got into such a routine, even though my meals varied that after about week 8 or 9 I stopped writing anything down.

Enjoy your food and make it work for you not against you.  Take advantage of the healthy benefits that these foods provide.  Learn to S.W.I.M. to improve your life.

Cristian Mihai

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