Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What I Eat

I devote a decent amount of posts on this blog to telling readers about what NOT to eat. I've done posts on how to frind what's hidden on nutrition labels, the dangers of eating saturated fats, bread, fast food, artificial sweeteners, throwing out processed food, why you shouldn't drink diet soda, why food dyes are bad, and most recently...why Nutella is terrible.

I very rarely talk about what I think you should eat. I've mentioned that we don't eat very rarely eat processed food and that we try to buy local and organic when possible...but I've never really given you a glipse into my typical daily diet. Are you excited yet??

So about two weeks ago I decided to log everything that I ate for a full week. I used a website called Calorie Count, but there are others out there that do the same thing. The website has a pretty extensive list of raw veggies and fruits, restaurant fare and processed foods. But for someone that eats as much home-cooked meals as I do, the site made it difficult to track my calories and nutrients very accurately. They have the option of creating your own meal and plugging in all of the info yourself, but I simply didn't have the time to do this. So I used the existing list of foods that were on the site and tried to find something as close as possible to what I actually ate. I also took a screen shot of some details on what the site had to say about my diet for that day. The calorie count might be a little off, but the distribution is probably pretty accurate.
So here is a complete list of everything that I ate during this seven day span:

Thursday, June 13th
Breakfast (post workout)
  • Cultured Coconut Milk (yogurt)
  • Quinoa porridge with blueberries (made with almond milk and honey)
Snack (around 10am)
  • Earth Fare Trail Mix with Dark Chocolate (about 2 hand-fulls)
Lunch (work meeting at Smoketown USA barbeque restaurant)
  • Pulled Chicken BBQ
  • Green Beans
  • Pinto Beans
Snack (around 3pm)
  • Garden of Life brand Protein Powder mixed with Coconut Milk
  • Grilled Chicken Breast topped with feta cheese
  • Plain Sweet Potato
Friday, June 14th
Breakfast (post workout)
  • Oatmeal with Raisins and Apples
  • Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cereal with Coconut milk
Snack (around 10am)
  • Earth Fare Mixed Nuts (about 2 hand-fulls)
Lunch (work meeting at Drake's restaurant)
  • Grilled Chicken Asada soft tacos
  • Guacamole
Snack (around 3pm)
  • Piece of dark chocolate
Dinner (leftovers)
  • Grilled Chicken Breast with feta cheese
  • Black Bean burger
Saturday, June 15th
Breakfast (post workout)
  • Cultured Coconut Milk (yogurt)
  • Banana with almond butter
  • Blueberry muffin
Snack (around 10am)
  • Homemade mix (almonds, raisins, honey)
Lunch (GreenBEAN Farm Fest)
  • Grass-fed burger
  • Greens salad
  • Pasta salad
  • Corn Chips & salsa
  • Ham & Cheese Roll-Ups with Avacado
Snack (around 9pm at BW3's)
  • Chips & Salsa Appitizer

Sunday, June 16th
  • Cultured Coconut Milk (yogurt)
  • Egg Omelet with ham and avacado
  • Baby Carrots & Hummus
Snack (around 3pm)
  • 1 scoop of Strawberry Ice Cream
Dinner (Father's Day with extended family)
  • Country-Style Ribs (oh yeah!)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Fruit Salad

Monday, June 17th
Breakfast (post workout)
  • Cultured Coconut Milk (yogurt)
  • Banana with Almond Butter
  • Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cereal with Coconut milk
Snack (around 10am)
  • Earth Fare Trail Mix with Dark Chocolate (about 2 hand-fulls)
Lunch (work meeting at Against The Grain restaurant)
  • Tacos Carnitas (BBQ pork & pickled veggies)
  • Cilantro Rice
Snack (around 3pm)
  • Earth Fare brand Veggie Chips
  • Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with roasted veggies over brown rice

Tuesday, June 18th
Breakfast (post workout)
  • Cultured Coconut Milk (yogurt)
  • Banana
  • Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cereal with Coconut milk
Snack (around 10am)
  • Earth Fare brand Veggie Chips
Lunch (leftovers)
  • Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with roasted veggies over brown rice
  • Country-Style Ribs
Snack (around 3pm)
  • Garden of Life Whole Food Greens bar
  • Organic Steak (top sirloin)
  • Sweet Potato

Wednesday, June 19th
  • Cultured Coconut Milk (yogurt) 
  • Quinoa porridge with blueberries (made with almond milk and honey)
Snack (around 10am)
  • Earth Fare brand Ginger Bliss Snack Mix
Lunch (work meeting at Jason's Deli restaurant)
  • 1/2 turkey sandwich
  • Red Grapes
Snack (around 3pm)
  • Mary's Gone Organic Crackers & Hummus
Dinner (after bike race)
  • Small bag of cashews
  • Clif bar
The only thing that I consumed not listed here are my daily supplements and my personalized herbal tea concoction that I get from Meridian Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine, which I will discuss in more detail in another post.

I also drank only water, with the exception of a beer while watching the UofL baseball game at BW3's. I also drank some hot tea one night before bed. I typically drink between 200-250 fluid oz. of water a day.

As I typed out what I ate, I realized that with Father's Day thrown in there, it wasn't a "typical" week for me. I normally wouldn't scarf down the meal that we had Sunday night; but it was a special occasion. I firmly believe that in order to stick to a good diet, you have to allow yourself to indulge once in a while. I usually save these meals for holidays and vacations. 

Looking at the data from the Calorie Count website, I see that my typical diet consisted of about 41% carbohydrates, 22% protein and 37% fats. I used to go with a 55/30/15 mix of carbs/protein/fats, but I've done a lot a reading on the benefits of healthy fats, so I've swapped out some carbs for fats over the last 6 months or so. 

My average daily calories were 2,305. I know that I would like to be between 2400 and 2600 calories per day. (resting metabolic rate is around 1800, plus I burn about 600-800 calories a day while training). So without ever actually counting calories, I was pretty close to my goal intake. 

I also wanted to mention that I have a fasting period of about 12-13 hours every day (which I recommend for males). We finish dinner around 6pm and I don't eat again until after my morning workout, around 7am the next morning.

I didn't go into details on the homemade meals, but we get 90% of our food from two sources. First is our fruits, vegetables and some meats. They call come from a home delivery service called GreenBEAN Delivery. Every Tuesday we get a bin full of organic produce (from local farms whenever possible) delivered to our front door. On Sunday afternoons, when Jessica usually plans out our meals for the week, I get on the GreenBEAN website and customize our bin for the week - full of the produce we need for the meals she's planned. 

Whatever produce and meats we don't get from GreenBEAN, I try to buy from Earth Fare. Earth Fare is a unique grocery store that I drive out of the way to go to. What makes them different is not what they do carry on their shelves, but what they don't. Nothing, I repeat...nothing in the store contains any of the following:
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Artificial Fats
  • Trans Fats
  • Artificial Colors or Flavors
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Artificial Preservatives
  • Bleached or bromated flour
  • Synthetic growth hormones
  • Antibiotics
This means that I don't have to walk up and down the isles reading labels - like I have to do at Meijer, Kroger, Walmart or even Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  I know that everything I pick up, while not always healthy, is at least not full of artificial junk that is harmful to myself and my family.

As you can see, my diet isn't perfect. I strive for a 90/10 split. If I make good choices 90% of the time, then eating unhealthy the other 10% of the time isn't going to hurt me. 

Feel free to ask me any questions or comment. I can talk about this stuff all day long!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Supplements 101

I'm a big believer in getting vitamins and nutrients through the food you eat. This guarantees that they are in their most natural form and easiest for the human body to breakdown and use. However, I also realize that it's not easy to eat in a way to make this happen. This is where supplements enter the equation. 

sup*ple*ment - noun: Something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole

Too often people look for the easy way out and think that they can replace healthy eating with vitamins and protein shakes. As you can see above, the definition of supplement is to ADD to complete a thing. In this case, we are adding a supplement to complete our required nutrition. We are not substituting.

A few years ago I was looking for a good Omega-3 / fish oil supplement. After reading about the many benefits of fish oil with EPA and DHA, I realized that I was not getting enough of the nutrient in my diet. The best natural forms of EPA and DHA are found in wild-caught, deep-water fish and seafood, such as salmon, trout and sardines. You can also find Omega-3 fats in chia seeds, flaxseeds and leafy greens. 

I was only eating fish about once a week and knew that I needed more. Instead of asking my wife to fix fish for dinner more often, I decided to find a supplement. So I started by just looking for a good Fish Oil gel capsule at Meijer. Big mistake! After about a week of popping these after dinner, I was sick of the burping. I knew that this was a common side-effect, but I wasn't sure why. I did some research and found out that the indigestion was a product of a crappy supplement. Turns out that most fish oil/Omega-3 supplements that you find on the shelves in a grocery store are very unstable and degrade very quickly. Once they go bad, the oxidized fish oils actually become harmful for human consumption...and make you burp. Taking fish oil capsules that have gone bad increase the risk of blood clotting and hardening of arteries...which is basically what people take them to AVOID!

After doing lots of research on supplement companies to find one that made a high quality fish oil supplement, I came across Garden of Life. They only use raw, whole foods, from organically grown sources in their supplements...as close as you can get to getting the nutrients by eating actual food. 99% of the vitamins and supplements you find on the shelves are full of fillers. These fillers are added for several reasons. To make the manufacturing process easier and faster, to add colors to the pill/supplement to make it look more appealing, and to coat it with something so it's easier to swallow. None of this is necessary and is actually harmful. These additives and fillers are hard for your body to digest and actually block the absorption of the nutrients that you are trying to get! It's really sad that so many people spend their hard-earned money buying something that they think is going to make them healthier, when it reality it's doing to opposite. Some common fillers are Hydrogenated Oils, Magnesium Stearate, Titanium Dioxide, and Artificial colors.

I switched to Garden of Life Omega-3 pills and have never burped up a single one. So stay away from the shelves at Meijer, Kroger, Walmart, Cosco, etc. You have a very slim chance of finding a quality vitamin or supplement in these stores. Garden of Life brand products can be found at most health food stores like Earth Fare, Whole Foods, or Rainbow Blossom. We've tried to order them online from Amazon, but they showed up in a box that was about 120 degrees on the inside...making the product useless. My wife had to battle with Amazon and their supplier for a long time to get our money back. So stick with just buying them in the store. On that note, probiotics should be kept in a refrigerated section. If they are on a shelf at room temperature, don't buy them!

In full disclosure, I am currently sponsored by Garden of Life...but I sought them out as a sponsor after using and recommending their products for many years. I would never encourage anyone to use a product that I didn't use and believe in myself. I'm sure that there are other companies out there that make high-quality, whole food supplements, but I haven't looked for them since finding Garden of Life.

So what supplements do I take daily and what do I give to my family? Here you go...

Omega-3: Oceans 3 Better Brain
Vitamin D3: Vitamin Code Raw D3
Probiotics: Raw Probiotics Men

My Wife
Omega-3: Oceans 3 Oceans Mom
Vitamin B-Complex: Vitamin Code Raw B-Complex
Vitamin D3: Vitamin Code Raw D3
Probiotics: Raw Probiotics Women
Prenatal: Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal

Multivitamin: Vitamin Code Kids

Garden of Life just sent me some new things to try out (see picture to the right). So I'm going to give a few of these a try and I'll let you know if any of them make it into the rotation. I'm particularly excited about the Ω-Zyme ULTRA. These digestive enzymes will help me process proteins, fats and carbs when taken with each meal.

Garden of Life has generously given me enough Probiotics that I want to share the love and give some away. I'm going to give away a 30 day supply of both Men's and Women's Raw Probiotics. If you don't know about the benefits of probiotics, here are just a few:
  • Supports colon health, bowel regularity and overall digestive function (yay!)
  • Supports gut-realted immune system function and overall immune system health
  • Supports healthy microbial balance by promoting healthy bateria in the gut
  • Supports healthy nutrient absorption and assimilation
  • Releives occassional gas and constipation
  • Supports healthy stress levels, and well as prostate and heart health
  • Supports vaginal health (women only) and healthy thyroid function
So leave a comment on this post (here on blogger, on Facebook, Twitter, or Goggle+) and you will be entered to win. In your comment, tell me what vitamin/supplements you take and why.

Feel free to print out this coupon and give one of these Probiotic targeted formulas a try:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Swim Stroke Analysis - Revisited

The last time I had a real in-depth analysis of my swim stroke was back in December of 2011. I wrote a post back then describing some of the glaring flaws in my swim technique. I figured that it was time to have an expert take a look at my swimming and tell me how I can become faster and more efficient in the water. So last week I met with my former Train Smart Swim Group coach and friend, Manny Nieto. He's an eleven-time All-American and current Assistant Swimming Coach at St. X High School here in Louisville...so he knows what he's talking about!

So Manny gave me a few things to work on, but before I get into that, I wanted to compare some still shots from now and December 2011.


December 2011 - while taking a breath, my opposite arm would cross over my mid-line.
June 2013 - after taking a breath on my left side, my right arm stays under my shoulder...much better form.


December 2011 - As I took a breath, my legs would separate, creating drag
June 2013 - Legs still separating...maybe even worse!

My times are faster in both the pool and in races, so I know that my form has improved...but there's still plenty to work on. The leg separation is something that will take time to correct. More than anything, this is a balance issue. As I rotate to take a breath, I feel my legs sinking, so I instinctively pull my legs apart to keep them closer to the surface. The goal is to keep my feet inside of the "tunnel" I create with my shoulders. A shorter, faster kick is the goal. 

Here's what it should look like - legs together at the knees and separated below that only to kick.

Other things that I need to work on:
  • Make sure my hands enter the water with my fingers pointing down (particularly an issue with my right hand).
  • Start my pulling phase with more force - using my chest to initiate the pull
  • Finish my pull by incorporating my triceps more
  • Keeping a straight line from the top of my head down through my torso/legs
Here are the raw videos of me from last week. Please comment if you see some other flaws that I need to correct!

Be sure and visit all of my sponsor's websites. I sought out these companies because they provide great products and services.

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