Category Archives: Clean Eating

Meal of the Week (burn your turkey edition)

This week for our Meal of the Week we are going to change things up just a bit. We are now 8 days out from Thanksgiving. We all know that this is the ultimate “cheat day.” Here at Union Fitness we truly believe in helping each and every one of our members in and out of the gym. You may spend 1-10 hours a week in Union Fitness and we hope to empower you during that time to be your best self and live your best life. Too often as strength and fitness professionals we all lose sight of the end game, a better life. So with this in mind we are preparing to stuff ourselves on Thanksgiving day with friends and family and invite you to do the same and feel no guilt about enjoying your day.

The other thing we want to do is take care of yourself and others. On Thursday November 28th we invite you (and friends, member or non-member) to come down to Union Fitness and join us in our biggest class. We have named this class the Turkey Burn. If you are using our discount and running the Turkey Trot with our friends at the YMCA we will let you slide on this one. If you are free come down and join in the superclass. All we ask of you is three things:

  1. Bring a canned good so that we may donate to those less fortunate than us. Don’t worry there will be coffee for after the workout.
  2. Bring your Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) and maybe some friends or family to raise their holiday spirits too.
  3. Sign up for the class online so we know how much coffee to bring. We have already added more spots to this class three times so let’s burn some turkeys.

The workout will consist of some cardio class, some lifting as well as a special Powerful with CJ workout. We will have the entire gym to ourselves so should be a great day of training. The workout will begin at 9 AM and wrap up at 10 AM, just in time to check your burnt turkey at home.

If you have any questions please ask any of our staff members. Now let’s empower each other for greatness.

CJ’s Spicy Salsa

It’s Wednesday so that means it’s time for meal of the week. We at Union Fitness love a good spice and nothing says spicy food like a cold day, so with winter creeping upon us we give you this recipe from Charles Jasper (CeJ, CJ, CG).

If you’re looking for some quality spice in your life, I suggest you try out this tasty salsa recipe. After my buddy Anthony B tried it out, he gave me his high five of approval. I’m not a guy that follows recipes to a tee but here is the baseline of ingredients .

CeJ’s Salsa Party
1-14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1-10oz can diced tomatoes w green chili
3- cloves of garlic
1/2-onion of your choice
2- jalapeños
Couple squeezes of honey( I used hot honey)
1/2- Cup of cilantro
A Bump of Salt
Lime Juice
Toss all these into the blender, pulse it up and enjoy!
Stay Spicy my friends,
CeJ

Cayt’s Meal Of the Week

For those that may not know, powerlifting is a weight class sport and in hope to maintain the theme of the upcoming meet, I am going to talk about my mindset going into weigh-ins this meet.  This may be my first full power meet that I don’t try and cut weight to make a weight class.  The thought alone messes with my head a little for a few reasons, but I am trying to find peace with it being an option.  I am slightly above weight so once we reach 7 days out I will decide if it is something I can and want to manage.  

For someone with a past of eating disorders, I am very aware of my own triggers.  I am still learning how to entirely combat those feelings, but I am also learning to accept that it will be a process of good and bad days and even better and worse moments.  Leading into this meet, I am acknowledging that a few of my personal triggers are developing and when this happens I have to prioritize those that I can control and cannot control.  

With that said, for the time being, my goal is to eat enough to regain energy, to train and recover as necessary, and to COMPETE well.  

I made a big pot of chili over the weekend for one of my meals.  I rarely use measurements and tend to use my eyes as a judgment call for recipes like this.  However, these are all of the ingredients: 

93/7 ground turkey 

90/10 ground beef 

Black beans

Light red kidney beans

Dark red kidney beans

Carrots

Celery 

Onion

Green, yellow, and red pepper

Tomato sauce 

Diced tomatoes

Chicken broth

 

Meal of the Week – Mariah’s Cilantro Lime Salmon

Can you say superfood?! Salmon has so many health benefits as well as being uber tasty! It’s probably top of my favorite sea meals. Going forward, I’m trying to incorporate new dishes into my prep besides just chicken and rice. I want to add some flavor to my routine so let’s see how these couple weeks go, and I’ll keep you updated!

 

So back to what you came for. Salmon is a good source of potassium, balancing blood pressure, and your immune system. It also is an anti-inflammatory so helping with recovery thanks to its Omega-3s for all my lifting friends.

 

With this main dish, I would pair it with 1 cup of 5 min white rice I usually squeeze lime juice and garlic powder to give it some flavor as well as 1 cup of steamed brussel sprouts. I just buy mine from Aldis usually cost around $1.27 for a bag. Their 5min white rice usually comes out to be $1.70.

 

So delicious! And guess what it takes only 20 mins for the whole meal, so if you’re looking for a quick dish this week this one is a goooo!

 

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Total time: 15 mins

Serving: 6

 

Ingredients:

2 tbs oil

1 lime (juice/zest)

2tbs cilantro, coarsely chopped

½ jalapeno, coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped (I used 1tbsp of minced garlic)

2 lb salmon fillet

 

Directions:

  1. Puree the oil, lime, juice, and zest, cilantro, jalapeno and garlic in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Place the salmon on foil on a baking sheet, pat dry, season with salt and pepper, spread on the cilantro and lime mixture and bake in a preheated 400F/200C oven (or barbecue) until just cooked, about 10-15 minutes.

 

Nutrition:

245 Cals

14g fat

1.5 g carbs

30 g protein

 

Lindsey’s Quick Ramen Bowl

During our “fake fall,” my cravings for warm, comforting things came back full swing – weighted blankets, sleeping in, pumpkin spice everything, and naturally, soup.

 

It’s 90 degrees out right now, so that’s a bummer, but I’m still on the soup train. I’m working fairly late, so by the time I get home and take care of BB, I have to get food in pretty quickly in order to get to bed on time. For a long time, that meant eating a prepared salad and calling it a night, but I’ve been making a little more effort as of late. Here’s a soup option that won’t take more than 15-30 minutes (with a little prep). It does include a few special ingredients, but I’ll include some substitutions that you’re more likely to have on hand.

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 pack Brown Rice and Millet Ramen (from Costco, but use any ramen pack, no seasoning)
  • Avocado oil (or your choice cooking oil)
  • Veggies of your choosing, sliced thinly (and lots of them)
    • I used Napa cabbage, carrot, red bell pepper, snow peas, and a ton of shiitake mushrooms
  • 4-8oz of prepped proteins of your choosing
    • I normally use chicken thighs that I’ve pre-prepped. Today I did 2oz of those, 3 oz. shrimp, and 3oz pre-cubed tofu (it was a hard training day, needed the calories and protein)
  • Lime Juice
  • Fish Sauce (or soy if you don’t have it on. you, just go light)
  • Sesame oil
  • 8oz chicken bone broth (I love this one with turmeric)
  • Water to taste
  • Herbs and toppings of your choice (I did a huge handful of Thai basil I was gifted and half an avocado)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Make:

  1. Slice and dice your veggies, set aside in a bowl (I like to group my slower cooking veggies in one bowl and my faster cooking veggies in another).
  2. Prepare your protein(s). I shelled my shrimp and set aside, then sliced up my cooked chicken and set it aside with the cubed tofu.
  3. Bowl the ramen according to the packaging in a small pot. When it’s finished, drain and set aside.
  4. While the ramen is cooking, start cooking your protein and veggies. In a medium-large pot set to medium heat, warm the avocado oil. When it’s hot, add your protein if cooking from raw. If you’re using cooked protein, go right in with the slow cooking veggies. Season with salt, throw a lid on it, let them cook.
  5. Once they’ve started to brown, add your slower cooking veggies and your proteins. Season with salt again. I cover and make sure to shake them around a bit.
  6. By this point, your ramen is ready to go. When the veggies are cooked to your desired done-ness (I like them pretty crunchy, so it’s quick in my kitchen), throw in your noodles.
  7. Immediately top with your chicken bone broth and enough water to reach your desired soup consistency.
  8. Season with fish oil (a few splashes is plenty), lime juice, and a bit of sesame oil.
  9. Let everything simmer together for 3-5 minutes.
  10. Top with your herbs/toppings of choice, throw it in a bowl and go to town.

This particular bowl came out to 750cals, 62g protein, 69g carbs, and 23g fat. Right on target for me, and totally customizable for you!

Meal of the Week – Alison’s Edamame Noodles

Say hello to my newest obsession: Edamame Noodles. 

 

I stumbled upon these bad boys at Aldi this weekend while my kids were searching for the perfect noodle. (Unbeknownst to me, I might have found mine too!) They settled upon linguine and I popped these organic, gluten free & vegan noodles in the cart too.  A good gluten free noodle is hard to come by, so naturally I was a little wary.  I’m happy to report that they got a gold star from me!

 

  • Tastes good
  • Fast cook time
  • Cheap
  • Healthy
  • Versatile

 

I’m always excited to find a noodle that has a hefty amount of protein and just one serving (about 2 oz dry) packs a massive 24g of protein, only 20g of carbs and 3.5g of fat.  Wins all around!

 

For lunches this week, I tossed the noodles in about ½ teaspoon of pesto sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, paired with BBQ grilled chicken and fresh from the farm green beans.

Holiday Healthy Habits

 

I would bet that during the days after Thanksgiving, Google sees a sharp increase in searches for weight loss tips and tricks. Most of us have been there: maybe went a little too hard on the sweet potato casserole and pie, feeling a little bit bigger than we’d like after, and hyperaware of the 5 holiday parties we have just around the corner. It can be tempting to let those negative voices push us towards some quick fix juice cleanse we found on Pinterest in a desperate effort to shed the 5 pounds we supposedly gained since Thursday. I’m here to gently push you in the opposite direction. We’re here for lifestyle change, and a normal healthy lifestyle necessarily includes (over)indulgence sometimes.

 

Our main goal here at Union Fitness is to encourage all of our members to adopt healthy, maintainable habits for the rest of their life. That means that sometimes we’re going to have days where we eat whatever we want (and a lot of those days come during the months of November and December). There is no shame in that, and it’s truly not something to worry about. The key is getting right back to your normal routine, avoiding those quick fixes you’re seeing in your Facebook ads. Here are a few “dos and don’ts” to keep in mind this holiday season:

 

DO: go right back to your everyday diet.

The holiday came and went, and it’s time to get back to your normally scheduled routine. Sometimes one day of total indulgence leads to a weekend, a whole week, or even a whole month of full-on binge eating, especially if you’re prone to black-and-white thinking patterns. If you find that you can either stick with your diet and training routine 100% or not at all, this is probably you. Remember that just like eating one salad won’t magically make you healthy, overeating one day won’t magically make you unhealthy either. Our health is determined by what we do regularly, and hopefully for you that means a diet with lots of whole foods!

 

DO: be realistic about weight gain.

Yes, I’m sure we’ve all put on a few pounds since Thanksgiving. Most of that weight is likely due to increased water retention and bloat (that’ll happen when you load up on carbs and sodium, like most of our favorite Thanksgiving foods). By getting back to  your normal routine, you’ll see that weight drop back down to normal ranges very  quickly.

 

DON’T: ever use a Pinterest cleanse or detox.

Just don’t. They’re all terrible. Your liver is really, really good at removing toxins from your body. A magical drink is not going to fix anything, and in reality will just make you more predisposed to binge when you’re “allowed” to eat again. Think long term.

 

DON’T: let the holiday season be an excuse to binge eat.

Humans are really great at rationalizing. “Well our work holiday party is next week, then my family holiday party is the following weekend. May as well just live it up for the next  month and get back to it for the New Year.” While this line of thinking is tempting to our baser instincts, it will absolutely set you back in your performance and aesthetic goals. In addition, the habit of binge eating is incredibly difficult to break: eating lots of food does make us feel good in the short term, but makes us sick in the long term. Humans are also really bad at long term thinking, so do yourself a favor and nip this one in the bud now. Every meal is an opportunity to feed yourself well and progress towards the health and fitness you want. Don’t let one or two meals stand in the way of that.

 

DON’T: turn to overexercising or fasting to negate your holiday eating.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may feel the urge to fast or exercise a lot longer/harder than usual following a big meal. While these methods may feel logical in the moment (especially for black-and-white thinkers), they fall under the category of purging behavior. Despite what some chart equating a piece of pie with the exercise that will burn it off suggests, you don’t need to punish yourself for being indulgent over the holidays. It’s ok to enjoy your meal a little more than usual sometimes. Like getting in the binge habit, breaking the purge habit is similarly difficult, and can lead right back to binge eating. These are opportunities to practice some self-compassion.

 

Finally, DO: thoroughly enjoy the holiday season!

Food is far from the most important part of this season. We get to spend quality time with friends and family, give (and receive) gifts to those we love, enjoy the earliest and prettiest parts of winter, and take some time to relax. Every day is a gift. Enjoy it. Enjoy   every part of it, right down to your mom’s Christmas cookies and the champagne toast on New Year’s Eve. We only get so many.

 

 

 

Facts and Myths About Protein and Protein Shakes

 

Myth– Protein shakes will make you lose weight. Proteins are broken down in the body through glycolysis the same way that carbohydrates are, so if you consume too many calories whether it’s from protein, carbohydrates, or fat, you will gain weight.

 

Myth– Protein shakes will make you “bulky” or “fat.” If you add whole milk and peanut butter, you might! If you’re trying to keep it lighter but jazz up your shake with something other than water you can add skim or almond milk, plain yogurt, fruit, or PB2 peanut butter powder.

 

Myth– You will get “too muscular” from drinking protein shakes. Consuming protein doesn’t produce more protein, which means you won’t directly gain muscle from drinking a protein shake. It takes a lot of physical effort to gain muscle over a long period of time.

 

Myth– You need to consume a protein shake within the 20 minute post workout “anabolic window” to gain benefits. The body doesn’t work in this overly simplified way. Get your protein in post workout but don’t stress if it’s an 60 or 90 minutes after you’re done.

 

Myth– Protein is bad for your kidneys and you can only absorb 20-30 grams of protein per meal while the rest is excreted in urine. Again, an overly simplified view of how the body works. Consuming more protein is not “wasted”, it just takes longer to digest.

 

Myth– “If I’m not exercising, I don’t need to consume protein.” Whether or not you’re active, protein is an essential macronutrient. Athletes and non-athletes still need adequate protein intake. Athletes may require slightly higher amounts to support muscle repair and fill their caloric needs but the amount doesn’t necessarily need to be drastically higher than that of the average person. For any given individual, of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, & fats), the amount of protein per day should remain consistent while the carb and fat amount can vary based on activity level.

 

Fact– Protein deficiencies are very common and an increased protein intake has powerful effects on increasing the rate of injury repair and reduce illness.

Fact– Protein shakes are supplements (as in they should supplement the diet) not replace whole, minimally processed food sources like vegetables, lentils, beans, and meat.

 

Fact– There are different kinds of protein powders that have different effects and purposes. Whey is fast absorbing so it is suggested to consume post or intra-workout. Casein is slow absorbing and suggested to consume midday or closer to bed-time. Neither is better or worse than the other.

 

Fact– Protein shakes are not for everyone. Whey and casein are derived from milk proteins, so if you’re lactose intolerant or have a sensitivity to dairy products (or tend to feel bloated or gassy), try a different brand or other protein powders such as pea, beef, hemp, soy, rice, or egg.

 

Fact– All protein is made by plants. Only plants can take nitrogen from the air, break the nitrogen molecules apart, and incorporate the nitrogen into amino acids to make proteins. Because plants are producers of protein from which all other proteins are derived, they have a much more beneficial effect on the body. Animals are consumers of plants or other animals, so their proteins are recycled in the food chain.

 

Fact– There’s nothing magical about consuming protein powder, it’s just a convenient protein source.

 

Check out Registered Dietician Andrew Wade’s Recipes (macros and calories included!!) to make protein smoothies, protein pancakes, protein oatmeal, protein yogurt, protein cupcakes, protein bars, AND protein waffles!

http://casespecificnutrition.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Daily-Whey-Recipes.pdf

 

Andrew will be speaking at our Free Nutrition Seminar on August 24th from 6-7pm at Union Fitness!

Are Your Eating Habits Affecting Your Training?

 

There are not too many times that an answer to a fitness related question is simple or straightforward. Most of the time there are multiple solutions to a problem, a million different ways to look at or treat the same thing and even sometimes the exact same exercise/movement is called something different depending on whom you ask. So when we start to look at something quite complex, like eating habits, nutrition and if it affects your training, you can expect a complicated answer, right?

I’m going to make this VERY simple. YES. Yes, your eating habits are absolutely affecting your training!

 

Ok great, but how? Now isn’t that the million-dollar question! In fact, there’s a multi-billion dollar industry out there trying to answer that question. “Try this protein shake”, they say, “it’ll make your muscles HUGE without even lifting a weight!” They want to sell your pre-workout powders, post-workout powders, during workout powders and ten weeks before working out powders (ok, I’m exaggerating a little bit here but you get the idea). There are so many different philosophies on eating & training: intermittent fasting, eating before bedtime, carb cycling, large meals vs. small frequent meals, gluten free diets, dairy free diets, vegan diets, the list goes on & on. One-day fats are the enemy then the very next day a professional tells you that no, actually carbs are the enemy and to avoid them at all costs. There are scores of literature about every single nutrition & training theory out there. So how DO you navigate how your eating habits are affecting your training?

 

Go old school and keep a journal. Begin to track your food and your workouts. Write down how you felt before/during/after your training and throughout the day. Then begin to piece together the puzzle. If you need help figuring it all out, get a professional to take a second look to find out what works best for you, your training and your lifestyle.

 

Try not to get too caught up in the all gimmicks. Eat when you’re hungry. Make smart choices. Drink tons of water. Be consistent. But most importantly, do what works for you— and just YOU. It’s great that Sally across the street lost 20lbs in one month by drinking blue algae shakes that she harvested in her aquarium. Will that work for you? Maybe, maybe not. Ultimately the best guide to figuring out how your eating affects your training is YOU.

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

 

High fat diets have become much more popular in recent years but it is important to note that this kind of diet may not be the best fit for everyone. Eliminating or significantly reducing entire food groups can be detrimental to your health and limit access to essential vitamins and minerals.

 

That said, fats in moderation are incredibly important to our health and have many benefits, including:

1. Provide energy- the most energy dense macronutrient
2. Help manufacture and balance hormones
3. Form cell membranes
4. Form our brain and nervous system
5. Help transport fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K
6. Provide essential fatty acids that the body can’t make (omega 3 & omega 6)

 

Dietary fats do not inherently make us fat. Excess calorie intake is the culprit of unwanted fat gain.

 

The caloric density of fat is high. More than 2x as high as that of a carbohydrate! One gram of fat contains 9 calories whereas one gram of a carbohydrate contains 4 calories allowing you to consume much more volume with much fewer calories.

 

Not all fat types are the same. Take a tablespoon of olive oil and half of an avocado for example. Both have about 125 calories, BUT half an avocado weighs about 75 grams, contains 5 grams of fiber and 12 grams of fat. A tablespoon of olive oil weighs about 14 grams, contains 0 grams of fiber and 14 grams of fat. It’s a no-brainer that with the fiber and volume of the avocado, this is a more satiating choice.

 

Balance of fats. Saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats should be consumed in balance with the exception of trans fats which should be eliminated from the diet completely and are found in many processed foods.

 

Foods can contain all three types of fat. For example, eggs (thought to be rich in saturated fat) are 43% monounsaturated, 39% saturated, and 13% polyunsaturated. Some foods are considered one or another because they contain mostly one of the fat types.

 

Foods rich in the following fats:

1. Saturated Fat
• Beef, pork, lamb, chicken (with skin), butter, cheese, milk, tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil)

2. Unsaturated Fat
• (Mono)unsaturated Fat & (Poly)unsaturated Fat
• Fish (tuna, trout, salmon, sardines), plant based oils (canola, olive, peanut, safflower, sesame), seeds (flaxseed, sunflower, sesame), nuts (peanuts, pe-cans, almonds, walnuts), avocado, olives
• Omega 6 Fatty Acids- (consume less) corn oil, safflower oil, meat
• Omega 3 Fatty Acids- (consume more) flax, walnuts, hemp, fish

3. Trans Fat
• Partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, fried foods, some baked goods