Thursday, January 26, 2017

What I’m Loving Lately 76

Good morning and very happy FRIDAY to you!

I still have a few more meal plans to make this week, but I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging on Friday and over the weekend, so I decided to put together another edition of What I’m Loving Lately. I heard a rumor you guys like these posts! 🙂 Ok, here we go!

Qman asking me to cuddle with him. Oh my heart. Qman knows how much I love to snuggle him (and sniff his hair like a creep), so he’s started to ask me to cuddle, which, a lot of the time, sounds like “turtle.” The first time he asked me to “turtle,” I could not for the life of me understand what he was saying. Haha! We’ve figured it out since! 🙂

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Roasted Garlic & Chive Hummus from Whole Foods. This hummus is so darn tasty and especially amazing in our DTFN Hummus Chicken Salad. Mmm!

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Trader Joe’s “Ends & Pieces” Uncured Applewood Smoked Bacon. My gosh, it’s delicious. It’s thick and flavorful AND much more cost-effective than their regular strip bacon!

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This AMRAP 10 from Salt Shack CrossFit. My quads and triceps are still SO SORE from this 10-minute workout. Oy. What a butt-kicker.

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Speaking of CrossFit, this video is what it’s all about. It’s not about the athletes that you see on TV at the CrossFit Games. It’s about the everyday people who improve ALL aspects of their life through fitness. And, I promise you, you don’t need to “get in shape” to start CrossFit. Everyone can do it. “You have to accept where you are and start from there. Everyone starts from where they’re at.”

Speaking of videos, I’m loving our new Designed to Fit Nutrition User Tutorial that our Registered Dietitian, Ashley, made for us. If you’re curious what our new system is all about it, please check it out!

Organic Almondmilk Chocolate Pudding – A friend gave me this pudding to try, and it’s REALLY good. It tastes just like regular chocolate pudding, but dairy-free!

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Having bulk purchases delivered right to our front door via Boxed. After all these years, we still love Boxed for purchasing diapers, wipes, toilet paper, tissues, batteries, paper towels, floss, deodorant, hand soap… the list goes on and on!

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Collarless Military Jacket. I’m so obsessed with this jacket right now, and I think it would be so great for Spring, right?? It comes in “washed steel” too (a light blue/gray), and it’s perfectly broken-in. I’m so tempted to buy it, especially since Lucky has free shipping on orders over $50. They’re also having an awesome 40% off sale right now!

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Real Food Slow Cooker Recipes (aka the best slow cooker ebook ever)! Seriously, there are so many awesome recipes inside! Each recipe is strictly Paleo and Whole30-friendly, so no grains, dairy, sugar, natural sweeteners, legumes or alcohol – just real food and flavor. And you can get 30% off with code CARROTS30! I promise, you’ll love it! 🙂

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Peanut butter mixed with Churro protein powder spread on a rice cake with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Best snack ever.

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Question of the Day

What snack are you especially loving right now? 

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Contest Poll: 2017 Primal Blueprint Recipe Videos

Diet 101: Whole30

As a registered dietitian, I’ve got a healthy skepticism towards most diets. Being in private practice for almost a decade will do that to you. I’ve seen clients come in on just about every eating pattern imaginable, from raw-food to paleo and everything in between. With the growing popularity of Whole30, I set out to examine the basics of the diet and nutritional truths behind some of the claims.

 

What is Whole30?

Whole30 is an elimination diet, with shares a similar philosophy with the Paleo trend. Both recommend eating lots of fresh, high-quality foods while ditching anything processed. Specifically, you are removing all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, certain preservatives and artificial sweeteners from your diet. According to the authors, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, these foods have been linked to hormonal imbalance, systemic inflammation, gut issues and more, though most of those claims aren’t backed by evidence-based research. Ideally, Whole30 is to be done strictly for 30 days; afterwards you can gently add back in said foods to see how your body responds.

 

Mindful eating

In addition to the diet recommendations, Whole30 encourages no calorie counting, measuring or weighing yourself for the entire 30-day process. Instead, the program focuses on non-scale victories, like improved sleep, skin, energy and overall feeling. The program isn’t promoted to be a long-term diet, but instead a reset button to focus on whole-foods that nourish your body.

As a long-time student of intuitive eating, I’m a big fan of switching the focus to non-scale victories and removing the added pressure of specific numbers and goals. For most dieters, these are big detractors and can often feel like punishment rather than an empowered choice. However, one of the tenets of intuitiveness is allowing yourself to eat whatever you want, without any parameters in place. Whole30 can fit this mindset if you are truly enjoying the foods you are eating and don’t feel deprived, but it’s not an automatic switch to mindful eating.

 

Whole grains are not the enemy

Whole30 encourages the removal of all grains; whole, unprocessed grains included. While some people report feeling better after the removal of gluten from their diets, many grains are naturally gluten-free. But in fact, eating whole grains may be more beneficial than taking them out. Grains contain essential micronutrients and both soluble and insoluble fiber, and they are also inexpensive and may improve longevity. In a recent meta-analysis published in BMJ, whole grains can help you live longer by reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and infections diseases. The same report also states than consuming 90 grams of whole grains daily cuts risk for all mortality by 17 percent.

While you can get enough fiber from fruits and vegetables, there is likely not an additional need to cut out all grains. If you feel that you do better without gluten, check out gluten-free varieties like quinoa, millet, oats, sorghum and brown rice.

 

Processed-free

While the term processed-free gets thrown around often, there is some benefit in reducing intake of packages snacks, sugary treats and preservatives. For one, eliminating intake of these foods almost all but forces you to cook from scratch, which has big payoffs. Cooking your own meals, especially for novice chefs, reinforces life-long habits, improves kitchen confidence and helps you control exactly what goes into each meal. For those who have shied away from cooking before may find that they actually enjoy the process and will continue to do so well after Whole30 is complete.

It’s no secret that the Standard American Diet is high in refined grains, sugar, salt, processed meats and salt. An excess of any of these has been linked to both chronic disease and a lower mortality rate. Tackling the Whole30 plan allows you to check-in with your current diet to asses how much of these foods you currently eat and positive ways to cut back.

 

Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of Delish Knowledge (delishknowledge.com), a resource for healthy, whole-food vegetarian recipes. In her private coaching practice, she helps individuals find their “Happy Weight.” 



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Why Millennials Should All Have To Powerlift

Written by: Kevin Cann

This article is not going to be one that beats up on the millenials. In fact, according to Wikipedia the millenials start with people born in 1981 and I was born in 1983. This makes me a millennial. I do feel there are some major differences between those of us born in the early 80s and those of us that were born in the early 2000s.

When we were growing up, we were the first generation to experience certain jumps in technological advances. I remember a time when cordless landlines were “the shit”, and the first cellular phones were called “car phones” because they were just that. They were a giant phone in a bag that worked through your cigarette lighter in your car. That is another thing I remember, there were cigarette lighters in everyone’s cars.

I went through college without a cell phone or a Facebook account. College was my first non-dialup internet experience, and it was mind-blowing. Now, my 9 year old has her own iTouch and has access to the internet at her fingertips. This immediate access to information has led to quite a few changes in our society.

We now live in a society where instant gratification is at our fingertips. This sets a standard in our lives and what we expect. One day this generation enters the workforce and they find that they do not get the same instant gratification from their employment that they expected, and things become very difficult moving forward.

I have known quite a few people in their early 20s that quit entry level jobs because they felt that they were not “making a difference.” Little do they understand that in order to make a difference you need to put your time in and learn the ins and outs of your field. Going to school did nothing more than teach you that you are good at taking tests.

Putting in the time and effort in things seems to have gone away. This is why I feel everyone should be required to powerlift. There is nothing subjective about lifting weights. You will go into the gym on day 1 and be capable of lifting X weight, and if you put in the time and effort into your training, nutrition, and sleep you will be able to lift more than X later on.

Training will teach you a lot about yourself. You will be sore and tired at times. There will be times that you absolutely do not feel like training. That is fine if you do not feel like training. You will just not get as strong as you could have if you skip days in the gym, and the results will show on the platform.

You will not always succeed. The weight does not give out participation trophies. This sport will teach you how to fall off the horse while the horse stomps on your ego, and how to climb back on. Powerlifting is unlike any other sport I have ever participated in, in my life.

You can trick yourself into thinking that you are good in any sport. However, that is not the case with this one. You are only as good as the weight on the bar. There is no fooling anyone. It is as black and white as that.

This sport will teach you patience. You need to embrace the process and understand that it is more a marathon than a sprint when it comes to getting strong. You can get stronger pretty quickly, but to be strong takes time. If you try to rush the process you will fail your lifts and risk getting injured.

I just completed my 3rd powerlifting meet at the USAPL Worcester Open in Massachusetts on January 15, 2017. I started my journey in this sport in July of 2015 and competed for the first time in October of 2015. This was after playing college soccer and years of training in mixed martial arts. I love competing. I love the pressure and nervous energy of meet day.

There is another lesson that powerlifting can teach you. It teaches you how to control your emotions. It teaches you how to handle the nerves of lifting in front of judges (although at times I think the internet takes care of this), and in front of a crowd. It teaches you when to release your aggression and when to relax.

At this meet I hit some personal bests. I had hit 184kg in training in the squat, but my coach, Boris Sheiko, kept my squat attempts conservative. I went 9 for 9 overall, without even receiving one single red light, and hit a 180kg squat, 135kg bench, and 235kg deadlift at a bodyweight of 96kg.

These numbers are by no means impressive when compared to the elite and even the intermediate lifters in my weight class. However, since October of 2015 I have put 41kg on my squat, 10kg on my bench, and 26kg on my deadlift. That is an increase in my total of 169.4lbs.

That increase did not come easy. I have worked with Sheiko since October of 2015. If you know anything about Sheiko, he is big on volume. The training was very difficult, both psychologically and physically. I loved the challenge of the program and how it pushed me to be stronger in both areas.

I had tests that went really poorly in this time period. Tests where I failed to hit my previous bests. On one such occasion I was testing my deadlift two days before my wedding in July of 2016. I missed the lift because it rotated out away from me and I got a spasm so bad in my back that I could barely walk, not to even mention standing up straight.

I took one week off for my honeymoon and came back to training. I did what I was capable of and I let pain be my guide. Learning what you can train through and what you absolutely can’t train through is essential in any competitive sport. I had no radiating pain so I decided to train. I recovered from the spasm and a sprained SI joint very quickly. Within two weeks I was back to hitting my training numbers. Most PTs will probably cringe reading this, but not babying the injury and loading the tissue probably allowed me to heal faster than some unloaded breathing drills.

Through all of those poor tests I had to pick myself back up, brush myself off, and continue to train. Finally, the test right before this meet went extremely well and my confidence was very high going into this meet. Halfway through my novice years in this sport and I have hit an over 400lb squat, 300lb bench with a pause, and well over a 500lb deadlift.

Back in October of 2015 these numbers seemed so far away. All I wanted was a 400lb squat, 300lb bench, and 500lb deadlift back then. However, there was no instant gratification. There was over a year of working my ass off, training when I was sore and tired, continuing to train after poor tests, and just trusting the process and embracing it.

This couldn’t be done without my great support system at TPS. The fact that I had to work hard for these numbers made these lifts gratifying. However, the gratification quickly comes and goes and it is on to the next numbers. There was no instant gratification, but the gratification was instant.

For those reading this that are looking for something to make them stronger and teach them some life lessons along the way, I encourage you to find a good coach and pickup a barbell. Nothing beats the reward of some hard work. Step outside of your comfort zone and instant gratification, you will not be sorry.



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Winter Date Night With Blue Apron

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron

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Thomas is a great cook, and we have loved cooking together as a “get to know you” activity. One of the first meals he made for me was barbecue chicken on the grill. Friends, I got lucky with a man who knows his way around a kitchen! We have been getting Blue Apron meals to make together for a while now (see this post for a recap of some of those!), and they’ve been a really fun activity to do together during these cold, dark winter nights, especially when a sleeping boy keeps us home-bound.

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Blue Apron isn’t new to KERF – you guys have read about it many times! (I have an offer for you newbies at the end of this post 🙂 ) What I love about the recipe delivery service is that everything you need for the recipe comes in a box to your doorstep – fresh real food ingredients and recipes – and you make the meal from scratch in 40 minutes or less (when two of you are working together!) We actually tried a few other boxes this summer, but Blue Apron remains my favorite because I honestly feel that their recipes always have an extra ingredient, step, or layer of flavor that elevates them above something I’d just whip up on my own.

Like this fresh cavatelli!

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And lemon zest. I must remember to always zest my lemons!

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I also loved that the recipe instructed me to roast the carrots for the salad, something I wouldn’t have bothered to do myself but was so delicious.

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We’ve tried both the 2-Person Plan and the Family Plan, but I find that if I’m going to make a recipe, I want to have enough for leftovers for lunches and Mazen the next day (if we’re cooking after bedtime), so the Family Plan best fits our needs.

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I love this new way of writing the recipes – the check boxes were SO HELPFUL for a type A girl like me, especially when there were two of us working together. It was clear who had finished each step.

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This recipe came together quickly, and was great for dinner and lunch the next day.

The formal recipe was Fresh Cavetelli & Broccoli with Roasted Carrot and Arugula Salad. Each week you can choose your recipes between a handful of options, and I love that flexibility.

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This dish was awesome, and I loved this pasta shape! Plus the creamy lemon sauce. And the salad! Arugula, goat cheese, walnuts and roasted carrots in a homemade dressing.

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If you’re new to Blue Apron, the first 25 readers will get three free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Click here for all the details. 

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Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post. 

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Photos from Quinn’s Camera

Good morning, friends!

So, remember when I mentioned that Qman has recently showed an interest in photography? Well, a reader suggested that I share some of his photos on CNC, and I immediately loved the idea. What a fun idea! And, hopefully, Quinn continues to snap pics on the regular, so we can see how his photography skills improve over time! 🙂

Quinn took over 100 photos on his first camera roll, so I decided to include the best very ones (aka in focus/not blurry). I love that they give a little insight into his life as a toddler– everything from the subject matter he selected to the angles of his images. I hope you guys enjoy the Qman’s photos as much as we do!

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Common themes: Dada, Mama, and Murphy (aka “Huffy”).

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Ok,, well, this photo of Dada is pretty blurry, but it cracked me up! Haha!

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There were A TON of blurry Murphy photos on Quinn’s first roll. He loves that little furball so much and just followed him around the house.

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Of course, Murphy was like: Stop being such a creep, kid. Haha!

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Qman also took a bunch of up-close shots of the fridge one day…

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Hey, Uncle Greg!

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I love the toddler angles of his photos…

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And, finally, Quinn took a bunch of shots of “Geet,” his beloved blanket. So cute!

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The end.

 

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Clean Eating Spaghetti Pie Recipe

Clean Eating Spaghetti Pie Recipe

The Italian dinner table is the epicenter of everything that happens in the lives of the people who sit at it.

Often large and welcoming, this table, with all its comfortable chairs, seems to call… Read more →



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