Category Archives: Nutrition

Hungry Food Fun

Hello my hungry homies,

 

If you follow along on my adventure shenanigans you can see that I love cooking and trying new exciting foods with a twist. What you may not have known is that I’m pretty much a veg head these days. Long ago a grumpy gray bearded man told me I couldn’t get bumpy by being a veg head, so we had to stubbornly prove him wrong. Also, I’m team animal and team save the planet which helps fuel the fire, and forces me to think outside of the box and be more creative. With all that being said, I have two fun and easy food recipes to show you that will definitely spice up your life and give you a twist on some classics, veg head style of course.

 

First we have the Black Bean & Beet Fiesta Burger which was inspired by our trip to The Independent, a Squirrel Hill tavern and restaurant (a fan favorite).

 

Take your Beets (fresh is better for most things) black beans, chickpeas, quinoa, jalapeños, onion, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, a bit of A1(for that umami hit) and send it all through the food processor. Mix all that up well and refrigerate for a bit, then create your patties and cook them like you would your favorite burger. Then Boom, toss your go to toppings, some guac on that burger and send it between some fresh buns. There you have it, a quick and easy twist on a tasty burger.

 

As a nice side for the Triple B Fiesta Burger we created a Cashew Queso, for our lactose belly ache friends out there. I believe we first had this on our adventure pit stop at a brewery in Boulder Colorado but it could have also been on a ride up Pacific Highway 1. I’ll consult the elders for the determination.

 

Any-who, get some cashews and soak those puppies overnight to start the process. Boil some potatoes, take some unsweetened vegan cream or almond/ cashew milk, diced tomatoes, chopped jalapeños, garlic, salt, onion, cayenne powder and nutritional yeast. That is correct, I don’t measure anything, just all eyes and elbows over here. Blend all that fun stuff together and TADA Cashew Queso. Dip your chips and enjoy.

 

There you have it my hungry homies. Let me know if you tried these out and how it all went. Hold onto your butts for more twisted food ideas.

 

Cheers,

CeJ

Meal of the Week; Breakfast of Champions

Years ago I used to write for elitefts, I was lucky enough to be a columnist for a decade or so with them. For the younger or newer people reading this elitefts was the go to for all things strength. Dave Tate had assembled some of the top coaches, lifters, and scientists to write about training. On a few occasions we did programs or articles together. One article was entitled, “Breakfast of Champions.” I am going to borrow that name for today’s blog. The article was just a pic and description of what each of us ate for breakfast. Today I will do something similar, and hope you start your day off with a healthy and nutritious breakfast.

 

My diet tends to be solid at the bookends of the day. When I am at work I fall apart due to all of you bringing me treats (don’t stop please). I am at the point in my life where I don’t worry too much about my diet, as long as it isn’t terrible. For breakfast I pretty much stick to the same outline with small variations daily. It is important to have some variation to your food no matter how healthy. Without going too deep into science you must vary your food or even the healthiest of foods can become unhealthy.

Eggs are key. I don’t eat much meat so I need to keep my protein up. From there veggies are a huge part of breakfast. One mistake I see often is people wait to eat their veggies. Get them in early, today is radishes, tomatoes (fake veggies), peppers (more fake ones), garlic, and tons of mushrooms. Add eggs and a little cheese, this is the perfect main course. For the sides I go with fruit and a Dave’s bagel (Tenzing calls them Popeye bagels). Add some water, freshly ground coffee and there it is.

 

When people hear what I eat daily the response is often, I don’t have time to do that. My entire set up takes 15 minutes. So find 15 minutes to get your day started right and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Go EAT BIG!

 

 

Know Your Protein

Unioners,

 

We always talk about Getting Bumpy but often don’t mention one of the building blocks of the bumps, protein.

 

Getting enough protein is important for muscle, metabolic, and tissue health. However, not all protein is created equally. There is complete and incomplete protein. The difference between the two proteins is the amount of essential amino acids they contain. What are amino acids you ask? Well they are molecular building blocks that combine to form the protein you eat. When you eat protein-rich foods, your body breaks those proteins back down into amino acids. We then use those amino acids to build muscle, repair tissues, support metabolism, and support other processes in the body.

 

Out of the 20 amino acids, 9 are essential, meaning the body can’t produce them. Those 9 are, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. The only way to get these amino acids is through food. Foods that contain all of them, and in amounts similar to those required by the body, are called complete proteins. Those that do not contain enough of one or more essential amino acids are incomplete proteins. All animal-based foods; meat, dairy, and eggs contain complete protein. The majority of plant-based protein sources, such as whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, spinach and others are incomplete. However, some plant-based foods, such as soy, quinoa and buckwheat are complete. Many incomplete protein sources have some of every single essential amino acid, just not in levels high enough that protein can accomplish everything. Leucine, which is a main driver of muscle building, tends to be relatively low in most incomplete proteins. If you’re eating meat, you’re good to go with essential aminos and if you’re eating a wide variety of plant-based protein sources you can get all of the amino acids you need also. Thankfully, whether you try to pair protein at each meal or do so throughout the day, you don’t have to worry about memorizing each amino acid. Just focus on variety of sources. Eat your whole grains, veggies, legumes, seeds, nuts for you veggie heads, toss in some meat for you carnivores and you’ll be good with your portion variety. 

 

Variety is the spice of life and let’s keep our meals interesting. You’ll be seeing some fun food recipes coming your way very soon from my end of the blogs. 

 

Eat up my friends, 

 

CeJ

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, and HFCS

The good old American diet, quick and assessable greasy fat or sugary foods. YUM, am I right? In America, there is heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and an obesity epidemic. There is room to point fingers at a lot of reasons but in this, we’ll focus on added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  

 

HFCS was invented in 1965 and in the 70s it was being marketed. Over the years, this has been used more often for food and drink products. Which is found in most of the foods and drinks we consume (e.g. bread, soda, juice, canned fruit, cereal, & coffee creamers, etc). This has become a common ingredient because it is cheap and easy to manufacture. 

 

High-fructose corn syrup is an artificial sugar made from corn syrup. HFCS needs to be broken down into glucose, glycogen, or fat by the liver before being used as fuel. In America, the increased sugar consumption per person per year has greatly increased. This increase consumption can cause serious health issues mentioned in the beginning. Glucose will stimulate the area of your brain that controls appetite, whereas, fructose does not, which means you could eat more than planned. Are you wondering what overeating can lead to? Well, have you heard of visceral fat? It is the most harmful type of body fat. HFCS will promote visceral fat build-up on your major organs such as the liver, kidneys, pancreas, intestines, and heart. This can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, artery disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

 

I’m not saying avoid HFCS or sugars at all costs. These sugars are everywhere and can be hard to avoid, especially in our more sedentary, grab-and-go society. Just try to be mindful of what you are putting into your body. 

Member Spotlight

Here at UF we love our members so much it’s time we show you off and have CJ climb the incline like King Kong, he will shout your presence from atop of the highest point of Mt. Washington!

 

This week we’d like to shout out Jessie Theisen.

 

Ladies & Gents, here is Jessie in her own words.

 

“I grew up in central California (where the cows overpopulate the people) in a small town called Visalia, however, I was born at Fort Bragg, NC (military brat- dad was 20 years 82nd Airborne and mom a marine). After spending the majority of my childhood in central CA, at 19 I picked up and moved to LA in 2008 where I lived there intermittently through 2016 (moved to PGH with my then boyfriend, now husband summer of 2016). Of my past lives, the most interesting is probably the opportunity I had as a professional makeup artist working in film, runway, magazines, commercials and doing everything from beauty makeup to special effects/gore (the latter was the most fun)! I was a professional makeup artist for the 8 year stint I was in LA.

 

For my current work, I am a team lead for a group of loan analysts at a financial tech company called LendingHome (they specialize in mortgages for people who fix and flip houses)- my team helps process that product, attempting to locate any process/design flaws and work with our engineering team to better perfect it. In short, it’s a fancy customer service job. I love the people I work with and can’t imagine being anywhere else anytime soon.

 

My training background really starts with Union Fitness. I was never the sporty or athletic type- I was a band nerd who could play Sweet Child O’ Mine on 5 different instruments while marching in a god-awful wool suit (feather and all). I would always strive to find ways to be active, though; I just never really landed on what worked for me. Took everything from cardio barre, to pilates, yoga, I just didn’t fit in any of those spaces. My drive and motivation quickly waned until I found UF, where they encouraged people of all athletic abilities to pick up a weight, and put it down, and pushed to do the same the following day/week, only heavier. THIS.WAS.MY. SHIT. Attending the #powerful classes on a regular was therapeutic for me. There were stents where I was going 5-6 days a week, sometimes two-a-days. It wasn’t even just the workouts anymore, it was the community of people who went to the same classes, continuing to build each other up and cheer each other on in their small(or big) victories. A place of misfits that I could call my own; UF is home to where I’ve made some of my closest friends. I’m grateful to the atmosphere it has cultivated and maintained from its origination until now.

 

The fun shit:

  1. If I could eat one food every day it’d be a cold-cut turkey sandwich (you’re free to DM me on particulars), I’m a fanatic and those close to me know it, there’s a certain consistency to the bread, color combo of the mayo and mustard together, a particular type of ground oregano- there’s an art to it, I promise; to which I must add, PITTSBURGH! Stop heating that shit up and putting fries on it…. STOP THAT SHIT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!
  2. If I was a piece of equipment at Union, I’d probably be the EliteEFTS PRO, short monster mini band (yeah, the small green one) – functional, small, sturdy, pain in the ass.
  3. I’m competing in my first ever bodybuilding competition this May 8th. Signed up last March a week before Covid shut everything down- (original show meant to be last Oct). I have gone through 2 cuts now, and 2 refeeds. What was originally meant to be a 6 month prep will be 14 after all is said and done. I’m f’n jazzed to get on stage and have one of them cold-cuts mentioned under #1 right after!
  4. The most under-rated candy is Chewy Sprees.
  5. I have only ever owned pitbull dogs as pets; they’re the biggest derpsters and I love everything about them. I have a black and white named Trouble; I would die for her.
  6. Oh, fave exercise:  deadlifts.”

 

Thank you, Jessie for being a great member of our community!

 

Cheers,

CeJ

Peanut Butter Pie

Today let’s indulge in some delicious food. While scrolling da ‘gram yesterday I saw my guy Ryan Nosak posted a recipe. In Ryan’s words, “I usually don’t make many of the high protein or so called “healthier” desserts because let’s face it, usually they are never close to the real thing.” Well I can promise you (Tenzing too) that this dessert is great!

 

Here is the recipe.

 

Filling

 

1 & 1/4 cups peanut butter (unfortunately it must be peanut butter with sugar for mixing purposes).

1 & 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt.

1/2 cup raw honey.

1/4 cup almond milk (you have options here depending on your calorie requirements).

 

Crust

 

Make your own out of graham crackers or just save time and use store bought.

 

Now putting it all together.

 

  1.  Add all ingredients and mix in bowl.
  2. Freeze crust for 4 hours.
  3. Add filling to crust and freeze for another 4 hours.
  4. Add toppings of your choice (be careful with too much sugar here just be smart).

 

Now enjoy this dessert and give Ryan Nosak a follow for other great options.

 

 

 

I Love Eggs and You Should Too

Hang around lifters, (the humans not the bad nickname for your shoes) long enough and the topic of protein will come up. The rule of thumb that most of you have probably already heard is eat one gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight. For me I float around 200 lbs so around 200 grams of protein a day is a good goal. There is some debate about this number yet we can use it as a starting point. From there the quality of protein matters. If you do not understand amino acids that’s OK here is how you can think of it. For this blog we are going to just use numbers to represent different amino acids(AA). Let’s say AA your body can produce AA’s 1-5 but not 6-10. AA’s 6-10 must one supplied through diet. That is what makes a protein a “complete protein.”

 

Your goal for protein intake can include some non complete protein, yet getting complete proteins is very important for recovery. Another rule of thumb (no this is not a fact yet a decent rule of thumb) is animal proteins are generally complete. This is why being a vegetarian is so hard. Often times you will have to supplement with AA’s that you miss in your diet.

 

Onto the egg. Here are some fun facts about eggs.

 

  1. Eggs are a complete protein
  2. The yolk has as much protein as the white.
  3. They are one of the few foods high in Vitamin D.
  4. The are delicious and easy to prepare.
  5. This is the big one. The egg has a cheat sheet inside of it to tell you how awesome it really is. That cheat sheet is the yoke. A yellow yoke=BAD egg. A dark gold or almost brown yoke=Gainz. Without delving into hens diets too much a darker yolk means that the animal had a healthier diet and more than likely a better life. Run an experiment for yourself. Go to a local grocery store by the cheapest eggs you can look at the the yolk, cook it and taste it. Now go to a farmers market or east end food co-op, do the same thing. See and taste the difference for yourself.

 

Clearly point #5 was the one I really wanted to write about. The yolk tells you most of what you need to know. Now I am aware that people will say “Hamer, those eggs are expensive.” I do understand yet let’s look at the bigger picture. If you are willing to spend 4-6 dollars on your fancy coffee yet not 4-6 dollars on your eggs then you made your decision as to what’s important. I love the fancy coffee too and I also know the fancy eggs are more important. So skip the mocha, soy, chai, skinny, latte, with the sugar free, sugar infused vanilla and a pump of hazelnut and buy some real eggs.

 

Eat real food.

 

Hamer

 

Drink Coffee, Get Bumpy.. Mo Joe

Union, Let’s raise a cup of Joe ,

 

It has been said loooooong ago in a land far away, that a herd of goats stumbled upon a berry, ate said berry and had a jolt of energy. The goat herder took these berries to the local monastery for the monks to observe. A drink was made with these berries and boom, the nectar of the gods which we call coffee was born!

 

The Effects of Coffee on Exercise:

1) Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain which in turn reduces grogginess & smacks the parasympathetic system up, boosting alertness & response time. 

2) Caffeine improves blood circulation, which brings oxygen and other nutrients to muscle tissues.

3) A study by old Johnny Hopkins University suggests 200-400mg of caffeine can improve mental and physical performance.

4) Pain in post exercise soreness decreases with pre-training coffee consumption.

5) Coffee has antioxidants which are badass and help defeat evil inside of you.

 

Now go french press your own, or head on over to your local coffee beanery and enjoy a cup for your health & performance. 

 

Cheers, 

CeJ

Staying On Track During the Holidays

It’s that time of the year. The holidays are here and the new year is upon us. You’ve worked hard to get to this point and want to make sure that you stay on track during the holidays and into the new year. Although getting to this point has been a bit different than past years, the same rules still apply.

 

1) Take the time to sit and reflect back on the past 365 days and all of the things that have gotten you to this point. This includes the good, as well as the bad. Each decision that we’ve made and experience that we have encountered has placed us here, exactly where we are supposed to be. What we choose to do with it going forward is up to us.

 

2) Think about how you will approach the upcoming 365 days. What will you do to continue upon the path that you are on, or how will you make the adjustments for some things that you would like to change? If you have you achieved your goals, then great. Keep doing it! If not, then that’s okay. We don’t always get to check them off the first time around. Going forward, set small goals and put together a mental outline of what you want this next trip around the sun to look like for you, and then take the steps necessary to make it happen. 

 

3) Don’t stress about working out or not working out. If you want to continue to exercise and stay active over the next few weeks, that’s great! Keep it rolling and keep that momentum driving forward. If training isn’t appealing to you at this time and you feel as though you need a mental and physical break, then by all means, take it. You’ve been building and conditioning your body for days, months, and years. It is not going to get erased in just a few weeks.

 

4) Be open minded with your diet. Just as with training, if you have been consistent with your nutrition, then a couple weeks of eating Christmas food will not ruin the progress that you’ve made over the last year. Enjoy a good meal with loved ones, have some cookies, and drink a glass of your favorite beverage (milk included). It’s okay to be a kid again.

 

5) Find alternative forms of activity. Whether you choose to partake in exercise or not, do something that may be outside of your normal routine. Take a day to explore some new land, pick up a new sport, or play outside with friends and family. One of the best things you can do is go for a morning walk to collect your thoughts and reflect. Maybe even do some bodyweight squats and pushups along the way. Who knows, you may even stumble upon something new that sparks your interest going forward.

 

6) Most importantly, enjoy time with others, or even just yourself. Remember what this time of the year means to you. Regardless of what’s going on in the world, this does not change. Tell the people in your life that you love them, look out for each other, be grateful for the things and those people in your life, and remember that each day is a blessing.

Nutrition Tips For Thanksgiving

The holidays give a lot of people anxiety when it comes to eating, being fearful of overindulging, not being able to control their intake, or for some, not sure how to approach any holiday while still enjoying the foods they love. My simplest piece of advice that I can offer always reigns true for anything in love, eat mindfully but allow your space to indulge without guilt, how do we do this? Well if you keep following along you’ll find out.

 

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays, mainly because I get two in one year. As a Canadian we celebrate Thanksgiving in October however also being American, we celebrate this holiday but in November. From the pie to the stuffing to the gravy, this holiday is all about the food and I’m here for it (sometimes I end up in a food coma, actually let’s be honest, I always end up in a food coma around Thanksgiving).

 

As always, my tips are just suggestions and in no way do you need to follow them head-on. I’m simply sharing what I share with clients who struggle with this holiday and want to also stay on track with their goals while enjoying all the amazing food that sits in front of them.

 

Fasting for Thanksgiving is a big no-no, you do not need to fast for this festivity unless you are someone who already follows an intermittent fasting schedule. Instead, let us look at the day this way:

 

  1. Enjoy a high protein, low carb, and fat breakfast
  2. If your Thanksgiving dinner sits in the early afternoon, instead of having lunch, make yourself a high protein, low carb/low fat snack.

 

          • If anything, people struggle with getting enough protein in on this day so having 1-2 meals or one meal and one snack that is high in protein will set you up for success.

 

      3. For your Thanksgiving meal, the following is a suggestion:

 

          • 1/4 protein, 1/2 carb, 1/2 vegetable, 1/4 fat (can be included in protein/carb). Within this structure, you’re still hitting all your core groups and you can visually see on your plate where each macronutrient sits.
          • For dessert, if there are many different kinds sometimes I’ll opt for smaller portions to allow more space for a variation or if I’m more prone to want just apple pie, 1-2 slices is the perfect amount for me (I’ll never skip dessert, it’s the best part).

 

Remember, these are just suggestions to get the most out of your holiday without feeling like you overindulged. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t struggle with these feelings then please disregard my suggestions or follow them if you want to also stay mindful of your goals. Everyone is different and we all have different relationships with food, that is why what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for the next person.

 

If anyone needs any extra advice or wants to reach out to speak on the holiday, feel free to DM me on my personal Instagram. I’m always available for a little chat, especially since I’ll be spending the Holiday virtually with my family.

 

Have a great Thanksgiving Union Fam, much love,

 

Jocelyn