Monday, October 2, 2017

Turkey Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Good morning and happy Taco Tuesday to you! If you’re a taco fan, you are going to love today’s recipe! 🙂

Taco night is pretty much a staple in our house nowadays, so, now that fall and colder temps are officially here, I decided to put a comfort food spin on it. I’m ditching the infamous, gonna-break-and-make-a-mess taco shell and calling on the sweet potato to take its place. These colorful Turkey Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are nutritious and delicious and perfect for Taco Tuesday, fall game days, and quick lunchtime eats (just prep ahead and pack away on Sunday)!

Turkey Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Preheat Oven 375◦ F
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1 pounds lean ground turkey
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup water (if needed)

Ingredients for seasoning:

  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • ½ tbsp Cayenne pepper (omit to if you’re not a fan of spicy)
  • ½ tbsp Paprika
  • ½ tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • ½ tbsp Salt
  • ½ tbsp Pepper

Ingredients for toppings:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tomato

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Scrub and clean sweet potatoes and poke all over with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and cook on the top shelf of the oven for about 55 minutes until the potatoes are tender to touch. The larger the potato, the longer it will take to cook, so I always try to choose potatoes that are roughly the same size so they all cook evenly.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add diced onion. Cook the onions down until they are tender and smell delicious.
  3. Next, add the ground turkey to the onions, separating any large pieces using the back of a spoon or spatula. Cook the turkey until it’s just about done, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine spices. Then, add the spices to the ground turkey and onion mixture.
  5. If the turkey appears dry (if it’s super lean, it will not release much fat into the pan), add some water to the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 1-2 minutes until the water thickens to a sauce.
  6. While you’re waiting for your potatoes to finish cooking, begin dicing your veggies and toppings. You can use anything you want, but the ones suggested above are some of my favorites!
  7. Once the sweet potatoes have finished cooking, cut them down the middle in a cross shape.
  8. Spread the potato open and pile high with turkey, your favorite toppings, and serve warm!

 

 

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Dear Mark: Hormone Normalizing Questions

Inline_DM_Normalizing_Hormones_10.02.17For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions from last week’s hormone normalization post. First I discuss a lack of purpose in the mornings affecting sleep and what to do about it. Next, I explore the prospect of sun and fasting as hormone modulators. After that, I explain the meaning of max aerobic heart rate and correct a mistake I made. And finally, I suggest to one reader that she may need to eat more calories to normalize her sleep and thus her hormones.

First, Jason asked:

Loved the article ! I have tried all this but it has become almost impossible for me to sleep on time. Not that i don’t sleep enough but the timings are way too off. Maybe because i don’t have anything in the morning to look forward to. Can anyone please help ?

I’m not entirely clear on the meaning of “timings are way too off,” but I’m going to give it a shot. I hope it helps.

You say you don’t have anything to look forward to in the mornings. This is a common problem. It’s also a very serious problem that you need to address ASAP.

In a very literal sense, the morning is the beginning of the rest of your life. Each morning, you wake up from a black void. You’re dreaming, and your brain is active, but you’re not conscious in the sense we normally think about consciousness. “You” don’t really exist when you sleep. For all intents and purposes, you wake up each morning an entirely different person.

To start your life each day without purpose or meaning or even a vague idea of what to do will never produce positive results.

Your disordered sleep is a product of this. Search within and find meaning. It doesn’t have to be grandiose. Maybe you join a CrossFit box for morning workouts or sign up for a yoga class or a martial arts class in the mornings. Maybe you sit down right now and plan your mornings.

What are you going to make for breakfast?

Is the coffee maker clean and ready to go?

What will you wear?

When will you brush your teeth?

Get all that planned out and ready to go.

A purpose in life can be mundane. If you’re just stumbling toward a purpose, the mundane is actually the best choice because you have to do mundane things no matter what.

Good luck.

Aklay offered up a couple other ways to normalize hormones:

Hi Mark…..Sunbathing and fasting might have been missed?

Sunbathing is a good one. It increases vitamin D synthesis, which is required to produce steroid hormones. It’s relaxing, which can reduce stress. Yeah, sunbathing will help.

Fasting is a trickier question. I certainly considered it, but found the effect too variable for general use. Reason being, fasting is a stressor. If you’re in good shape, fasting can be a hormetic stressor—a stressor that you recover from stronger than before. A stressor that forces you to improve yourself and your health.

If you’re in a bad place, fasting can simply be a major stressor—one that makes you worse, not better. One that you can’t recover from. One that weakens your constitution rather than strengthens it.

I always suggest that people add intermittent fasting to an already-solid base of health, training, and stress regulation. IF can help you burn more fat, slip into ketosis, control your appetite. All this serves to reduce oxidative stress and the overall inflammatory load.

If the wrong person starts fasting, they get worse. It becomes a major impediment to hormone normalization. For example, I would never suggest that a pregnant woman or a woman trying to conceive embark on an intermittent fasting regimen. It’s pretty clearly deleterious to fertility hormones. Women in general are more sensitive to the stress-related effects of intermittent fasting, so I’d be extra careful if I were a woman.

If I had to boil this down, fasting can solidify your control over your hormones if you already have control. It will make your normal hormones even “normaler.”

LlamaAnna asked:

I don’t understand the comment about ‘lowering his assumed aerobic base heart rate’. The way you say it sounds like he just decided one day to concentrate really hard and things changed. What are you actually talking about here? If the exercise didn’t change, what did and how?

Thanks for the question. I actually misspoke. When Brad’s T was low, he was treating 145 as his max aerobic heart rate—the fastest his heart could beat and still remain in an aerobic, or fat-burning, state. So during runs or any endurance training, he’d keep track of his heart rate, slowing down only when it exceeded 145 under the assumption that he was in the maximal fat-burning state. This was a big mistake.

His actual max aerobic heart rate was 130, a full 15 points lower. Instad of spending his training time in the fat burning zone, he was spending all his time as a sugar burner. Yet, he was living and eating as if he was a fat-burner. Don’t get me wrong. Brad was still burning fat. It’s not a binary on-off switch from fat to sugar burning. But he was burning significantly more sugar than he assumed, and it was wrecking his hormone levels.

The exercise “changed” in that it got easier. He went easier. Same movements, same runs, different intensity.

Wilhelmina wrote:

I like the sleep more part, seriously I do. But having the menopause knocking at my door it isn’t easy. I want to, but I can’t convince my body to do the same. Some nights I sleep easily up till 12 hours, but there are nights I barely sleep at all. I have a cold and dark room, since I easily get it too warm, I have magnesium before bedtime, I got dim lights in the evening, barely more than candle light, eat clean (Really Mark, your low carb diagram made me even lose weight, where most would gain, awesome!) . Any suggestions are more than welcome!

Are you eating enough calories?

You say you’ve lost, or are losing weight. The older you get, the harder it gets, and the more you have to restrict yourself, which increases the toll that takes on your body. The more you have to restrict yourself, which the body can interpret as a stressor. Assuming you’ve covered all the other sleep hygiene facets—and judging from your comment you have—you should look at calorie intake.

Eating the fewest calories you can while obtaining the most nutrients and avoiding the negative side effects of calorie restriction, like lack of sex drive, loss of muscle or bone density, and low energy levels, is the way forward, as far as I’m concerned. Sleep disturbance is a lesser known but perhaps more dangerous side effect of too low a calorie intake.

I’m not saying pig out. Just try eating a bit more. An extra serving of butternut squash with dinner, another egg at breakfast, that sort of thing. Slowly and gradually titrate up your calorie intake until it produces a change in your sleep quality. If it doesn’t help, at least you’ve eliminated a factor from contention and you can move forward in your quest.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care and be sure to chime in with your input down below!

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The Perfect Day

All the smiles, love, and happiness.

Thank you to the best photographer ever, Sarah Cramer Shields!

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More Than Business Advice from San Fran + Where to Eat Near the W Hotel

Hi, guys! Happy Monday!

Our trip to San Francisco was great. Kerrie and I learned a lot at the Sales Pipeline Intensive (best practices for selling Nutrition House Software), but we also had plenty of fun, too! When we arrived on Wednesday morning, we immediately rented a car and drove to Muir Woods National Monument for some hiking and exploring. It was an incredible experience, and I’m so glad we made the trek (about an hour from the city).

The next morning, we were up and at ’em (ok, well, we were on East coast time, so we naturally woke up at 4:30 AM) for the Sales Pipeline Intensive, a two-day meeting hosted by our business mentor Dan Martell. I literally knew nothing about sales before this meeting, but now I can confidently say I know a few things! 😉 But, seriously, it was an awesome experience and the information and frameworks provided by Dan as well as the opportunity to network with people in the SaaS space were truly invaluable. I’m so glad Kerrie and I went!

I realize a lot of you guys aren’t in the SaaS space, so instead of boring you with sales jargon, I wanted to share some “more than business” advice from the conference – tidbits and pieces of information that really resonated with me on a personal and business level.

  • The secret to saying young, according to John Kim, a speaker at the meeting, is don’t do the same thing for more than 5 years.
  • Startup/SaaS life is a roller coaster. You go from “I’m going to take over the world” to FML in the same day over and over again. The secret to dealing with this crazy ride is ENTHUSIASM in your work, life, everything.
  • If you want to become a better public speaker, always says yes.
  • On an airplane, initiate a conversation by simply asking: “Is this trip for business or pleasure?” If your seatmate doesn’t want to chat, no big deal. If they do, you have a new best friend by the end of the flight.

WHERE TO EAT

In addition to learning ALLTHETHINGS about sales, Kerrie and I also had a phenomenal time enjoying the delicious food scene in San Francisco. Holy cow, we ate well. And, for reference, all of the places mentioned below (minus one) are a quick walk from the W Hotel where we stayed. If you find yourself near the financial district in San Francisco, definitely check out these recommendations!

  • Blue Bottle Coffee – We went every day of our trip, and I even bought some to take home with me! I fell in love with the New Orleans Iced Coffee and can’t wait until the NEW Boston location opens! 🙂
  • Juice Shop – Loved this place for a quick boost of nutrients! The staff was also super friendly!
  • The Grove – Awesome breakfast spot! Dine or takeout – just give yourself plenty of time. The line was out the door! I ordered the Avocado Toast with Poached Eggs and it was incredible.
  • Gaspar – Wonderful French brasserie and bar. We made a reservation on OpenTable and had no problem getting in on a Friday night. The wine selection and escargot were especially excellent!
  • Soma Eats – Great grab-and-go option with lots of healthy salads, sandwiches, etc. I ordered a big salad with salmon on top, and it was super fresh and flavorful.
  • Lao Table – Laotian cuisine with a modern twist and, oh, so tasty. It was super busy at lunchtime, but we scored some seats at the bar. I ordered the Chicken Satay with peanut butter (omgggg, so cool) and a side of steamed veggies.
  • El Techo – Not super close to the W Hotel, but it was worth the ride as it’s one of the only rooftop restaurants in San Francisco.

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