Tuesday, February 26, 2019

CNC Weekly Macro Plans FAQs

A common misconception about macro-counting is that it’s difficult and time-consuming. Sure, I get that. It might seem like it takes a lot of work, but it’s actually really quite simple, especially if you have recipes with the macros listed right at your fingertips!

As a working mom and wife, I don’t have all the time in the world to prepare and calculate perfectly macro-balanced meals – nor do I want to! And working with nutrition clients over the years, I’ve realized that a lot of them know what they should be doing with regard to healthy eating, but they simply don’t have the time to meal plan, calculate macros, or know what to eat, which why I created the CNC Weekly Macro Meal Plans – to take the hassle out of meal planning and macro-counting! You get macro meal prep recipes delivered right to your inbox.

Each month, you’ll receive 4 flexible meal plans (one each week) with macro-friendly recipes (no calculations needed) to use as a framework for the upcoming week. Each week includes whole food recipes, a grocery shopping list, and a meal prep “game plan” to make the most of your time in the kitchen as well as your grocery bill. Our weekly plans take the guesswork out of macro-counting, meal planning, and grocery shopping!

What’s included with the meal plan subscription?

Each week, you’ll receive a brand new, diet-specific (flexible) meal plan to use as a framework for the upcoming week. Your meal plan will include 5 macro-friendly and balanced recipes delivered right to your inbox, including breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and even dessert ideas. Also included is a grocery shopping list as well as a meal prep “game plan” to make your time in the kitchen as easy as possible. Every Thursday, your new recipes will arrive in your inbox, which takes the guesswork out of meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking the next week. You’ll also receive a “macro quick guide” to get you started with tracking, and you’ll be invited to our private Facebook group where you can find support and ask questions! 

What does “flexible” meal plan mean exactly?

The flexible meal plan is not a black and white meal plan because I know how life can go. It’s meant as a guide with plenty of wiggle room for you to swap in your own meals and snacks (as well as desserts, protein shakes, wine, etc.) based on your macronutrient goals, what’s in your fridge, social activities/dining out, and cravings.  The last thing I want is for you to feel “off track” because you aren’t able to stick to a meal plan. Having an adaptable meal plans gives you the option to adjust as needed, especially if events or activities pop up or you have a bunch of leftovers to use up.

What if I have a special diet?

You’re in luck! I offer 3 options for customers with special diet needs: The Perfect Paleo Plan (grain/gluten- and dairy-free), Whole Food Plant-Based (vegetarian and easily modifiable to vegan), and Meal Prep Master Plan (real, whole foods). While these plans aren’t custom to the individually, they are easily modifiable. If you would like specific diet recommendations, you can always ask for suggestions in our private Facebook group or sign up to work with a coach one-on-one.

What’s the difference between the weekly plans and macro coaching plans?

The CNC Weekly Macro Meal Plan is a weekly flexible meal plan with macro-friendly, diet-specific recipes and a grocery shopping list to help you with your meal planning while keeping your eats interesting and exciting. If you would like a custom macro calculation, you can purchase one at discounted price when you sign up for the subscription plan.

CNC Macro Coaching + Plans provides you with personal macro goals as well as nutrition coaching (on the 4- and 8-week plans). Our goal with the CNC Macro Coaching + Plans is to give you the tools to track macros on your own – either via our 16-page “Getting Started Guide” provided with the “Just the Macros” plan or with the help of a coach over 4, 8 or 12 weeks.

How many servings do the meal plans include?

The number of servings per recipe vary from 1-8, and it will be clearly stated on the recipe and within your plan. A lot of the time, extra servings will be used as leftovers later in the week. You can also freeze extra servings for future use or have you family members eat them up!

What makes these meal plans different?

I can’t tell you how much time (and money) I’ve wasted calculating macros and searching for the perfect recipes. Who has time for that?! I always wished there was someone to just tell me what to eat and figure out nutrition facts and easiest way to prep that was worth my time. Basically, with the CNC Weekly Macro Meal Plan you get to skip all of the nonsense and get right down to business with exactly what you need: A flexible meal plan, grocery list, and easy-to-make macro-friendly recipes, which are good for you and your family!

Are the recipes family-friendly?

Yes! I select recipes, especially the ones for dinner, that the whole family can enjoy together. No more chicken breast and steamed broccoli for dinner! The last thing I want is for you to have your face in your phone calculating macros at dinnertime and thinking you can’t have any fun or eat anything normal. I want you to be able to incorporate these recipes into your everyday life and share them with the people you love, so the majority of these recipes are ones that your family will enjoy too!

Are the meal plans based on an individual’s macro goals?

The plans are not custom to an individual’s macro goals. Instead, they provide a guide for your meals and snacks each week. You’d then fill in the gaps with regard to tracking macros on your own. If you purchase a macro meal plan subscription, you can purchase a personalized macro calculation at a discounted price.

When do I receive my meal plan?

Meal plans are sent out on Thursdays, so keep a look out in your inbox!

What’s the difference between the Perfect Paleo and Meal Prep Ninja Plans?

The Perfect Paleo Plan is dairy-free and gluten-free. There’s actually a lot of cross-over between the two plans and their recipes, but the Paleo plan doesn’t include ingredients like oats, beans, cheese, etc. Both plans include whole, real foods. Additionally, the Meal Prep Ninja plan is delivered weekly via email while you’ll receive all 12 weeks of the Perfect Paleo plan at once.

On the areas in the meal plan that are blank, are we supposed to be fasting?

The weekly macro meal plans are a framework for your week, so those blank spots are for you to fill in with your own meals and snacks. The plan is meant as a guide with wiggle room for you to swap in your own meals and snacks (as well as desserts, protein shakes, wine, etc.) based on your macronutrient goals, what’s in your fridge, social activities/dining out, and cravings.

What is the cancellation policy?

With the Perfect Paleo and Whole Foods Plant-Based plans, you’ll receive all 12 weeks at once when you place your order.

For the Meal Prep Ninja plan, you can cancel your subscription at any time. When you do, you’ll have access through your paid billing cycle (so if you purchase the 6-month membership and cancel after 3 months, you won’t receive a refund for the payment you’ve already made, but you will have access to the new meal plans and other resources until the last day of your pre-paid period).

If you choose a monthly membership, your first week will be free, which I hope gives you a risk-free chance to try a meal plan before you commit to a longer membership!


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Dear Mark: Fasting, Training, and Growth Hormone; Wear and Tear on the Arteries

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple of questions from the comment sections of the last couple weeks. First, it’s been established that fasting and exercise both raise growth hormone. What about fasted exercise—does that have an even stronger effect? And what about continuing to fast after your fasted workout? Then, I discuss the inevitability (or not) of wear and tear on the arteries from blood flow-induced shear stress. Is shear stress “bad,” or do certain factors make it worse?

Let’s dig in.

Marge asked:

So fasting raises growth hormone levels? Interesting. So does weight lifting. I’ll bet fasted weight workouts would be pretty powerful.

They do, and they are.

What’s even better is to work out in a fasted state and keep fasting after the workout. This keeps the GH spike going even longer. And in my “just so story” imagination—which is actually quite accurate, judging from real world hunter-gatherers—it mirrors the circumstances of our Paleolithic ancestors. You’d get up early to go hunting without having eaten. You’d expend a lot of energy on the hunt. You’d make the kill, procure the food. And then you’d bring it back to camp to finally eat. Maybe you’d pass the heart and liver around the circle before heading back. And sometimes, you just didn’t make the kill. You didn’t eat at all.

Makes sense, right? Fasting, doing something physical, and continuing to fast shouldn’t be a monumental undertaking. It should be well within the realm of possibility for the average person.

Now, I wouldn’t do this all the time. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. A hormetic stressor can become a plain old stressor if it’s prolonged for too long. Instead, I would throw post-fasted-workout fasting in on an occasional basis.

Nor would I expect huge “gains” from this. Physiological growth hormone production won’t make you huge or shredded. In fact, workout-related increases in testosterone and growth hormone don’t actually correlate with gains in hypertrophy. Instead, I’d expect more intangible benefits, things you won’t notice right away. It’s important in cognition. It helps maintain bone health, organ reserve, and general cellular regeneration. It’s great for burning fat.

Growth hormone does way more than promote overt muscular growth.

Steve wrote:

In the linked article it says:

“Endothelial cell dysfunction is an initial step in atherosclerotic lesion formation and is more likely to occur at arterial curves and branches that are subjected to low shear stress and disturbed blood flow (atherosclerosis prone areas) (7,8). These mechanical stimuli activate signaling pathways leading to a dysfunctional endothelium lining that is barrier compromised, prothrombotic, and proinflammatory.

So it seems that endothelial disfunction comes first, triggered by blood flow stresses. It’s common wear and tear in exposed areas. The patched knees on jeans. Managing endothelial health and healing may slow or diminish rate of progression or is it mostly too late for that?

I’m not a doctor. This isn’t medical advice. This is just speculation.

I find it rather hard to believe that healthy arteries are inherently fragile and prone to damage and incapable of weathering the “stress” of blood flowing through them, even at the “susceptible” curves. I find it more likely that poor health, poor diets, and poor lifestyles make us more susceptible to otherwise normal stresses.

Do the mechanical stimuli weaken the endothelium in people with healthy levels of nitric oxide production? Or are we talking about people whose poor nitric oxide status is exacerbating the damaging blood flow patterns, leaving their endothelium vulnerable to atherosclerosis?

Think about how much context matters in our response to stimuli. If you’re shy around girls, a school dance will be a traumatic experience. If you’re comfortable around girls, a school dance will be a great experience. If you’re weak, lifting a barbell will be scary, and you may injure yourself. If you’re strong, lifting a barbell will be second nature, and you may get stronger. The baseline context determines the quality of the response.

I’d argue that blood flowing through your arteries should be a commonplace occurrence. It shouldn’t be a traumatic experience. Now, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is stressful regardless of the baseline endothelial health and the amount of nitric oxide you produce. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. But:

  • We know that, as you quote, atherosclerosis tends to occur at bends and curves of the arteries—the places most likely to be subject to “disturbed flow” patterns.
  • We know that “laminar flow”—blood flowing smoothly through the artery—is protective of the endothelial wall, promoting anti-inflammatory effects and making the endothelium more resistant to damage.
  • We know that “disturbed flow” has an opposing effect on endothelial health, promoting inflammatory effects and rendering the endothelium more susceptible to damage. This increases atherosclerosis.
  • The question I’m wondering is if “disturbed flow” at the curves and bends of the arteries is inevitable or not. And if disturbed flow is always “bad.”
  • We know that hyperglycemia—high blood sugar—makes disturbed blood flow more damaging to arterial walls. Diabetics have higher rates of atherosclerosis because their elevated blood sugar interacts with disturbed blood flow patterns.
  • We know that nitric oxide increases vasodilation in response to shear stress—widening the arteries to accommodate the increased stress and mitigate the damage done. We know that people with hypertension don’t get the same vasodilatory benefits from nitric oxide.
  • We know that “functional increases” of shear stress attained via exercise increase nitric oxide and oxygen production and induce autophagy (cellular cleanup) in the endothelial walls.

That sounds like there are a lot of factors that increases and mitigate the effects of shear stress on the endothelial wall. It sounds like some factors make shear stress more damaging, and some factors make it less. There may even be factors, like exercise, that make shear stress healthy.

This topic is really pretty interesting to me. It deserves a deeper dive, don’t you think?

What about you, folks? What’s your take on fasted workouts and GH secretion? Ever try one?

And do you think your arteries are doomed to fall apart at the seams?



Nyberg F, Hallberg M. Growth hormone and cognitive function. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2013;9(6):357-65.

Park SK, La salle DT, Cerbie J, et al. Elevated arterial shear rate increases indexes of endothelial cell autophagy and nitric oxide synthase activation in humans. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2019;316(1):H106-H112.

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Our Trip To Great Wolf Lodge

My parents were supposed to visit us a few weeks ago and my mom came down with a bad cold right before their visit and they had to cancel. They rescheduled for this past weekend, and then her cold returned and they cancelled again. Mazen was very sad, and we had a wide open weekend with a forecast of cold rain.

Thomas and I brainstormed a few fun things we could do, and an overnight to Great Wolf Lodge moved to the top of the list. It’s a resort that has tons of activities for kids, including a giant indoor water park! I booked a last minute (probably overpriced) bunk bed room and we found ourselves en route to Williamsburg on Saturday morning! (There are Great Wolf Lodges all over the country – you might have one nearby!)

Lunch In Williamsburg

Our first stop was Thomas’s cousin Mason’s restaurant, Old City BBQ. In fact, we were able to meet up with a lot of his cousins, aunts, and uncles there for lunch at the last minute. If you are ever in Williamsburg, this is the place to eat! (See my post about their opening weekend here.)

We had smoked pimento cheese, wings, the most delicious brussels sprouts, and BBQ platters. I was busy catching up so I didn’t get too many photos, but my BBQ, cornbread, and collards platter was 100% delish.

Mazen had a great time running in circles with his cousins. (We were in the events room so they didn’t bother other guests.)

A Surprise Trip

As of Thursday, Mazen knew we had “something fun” planned on Saturday, but we didn’t divulge too many details until we were on the way.

His clues:

  • You haven’t been there before
  • It’s 2 hours away
  • You will need your bathing suit
  • There is water

You should have seen his excitement when we arrived! I am 36 years old, and couldn’t wait to explore this place!

The Water Park

Room check in isn’t until 4pm, but if you get there after 1, you can use the water park. We had packed a separate pool bag with our suits, and so we didn’t waste a minute. It was insanely crowded (as expected) and the water slide lines were long, but we still had a great time. Thomas and I tag-teamed Birch. We didn’t want to attempt having him swim yet. (Can you even put a swim diaper on a breast fed baby? I don’t know!)

Mazen and I waited about 15 minutes in line for one of the big water slides, chatting with the family in front of us who had little kids and said the slide was fun. We got to the top, sat down in a little raft, and held hands as we were pushed into a giant dark tube. Inside it was totally blackout, and we couldn’t see a thing as we twisted and turned up the sides. I screamed the whole way and we were spit out at the bottom with Mazen in tears!! It was exhilarating yet also so fun. Mazen couldn’t have been too scared because he did it again with Thomas the next day. There were two other “big” slides that you could ride double in a tube plus two smaller body slides and tons of little tiny ones for younger kids. I tried all of the big ones, including one called the Tornado where you literally climb the walls of a giant code-shaped tube in your raft! (Mazen didn’t attempt that one even though he was technically tall enough for everything at the park.)

Our Room: The Kid Cabin

After a few hours of swimming, our room was ready so we went to check it out and change.

Mazen absolutely LOVED the bunk beds and told Thomas he would be sleeping in the lower bunk. T had to lay there at bedtime until Mazen was asleep and then snuck back to the big bed.

Our room was cozy with a gas fireplace (great for drying bathing suits!) with plenty of room for our pack and play. We also had a microwave and mini fridge.

Not sure what’s up with this paint job?! There were two bunks and a twin in here, so you could fit a large family.

Wolf ears, wolf teeth! #alwaysonthetopbunk

My only complaint was the view. Yikes. We definitely did not enjoy morning coffee on our balcony.

The Arcade

Mazen is really into arcades at the moment, so he was THRILLED to spend some time there with Thomas (who loves anything a six year old would love ; ) ) I ended up walking around with Birch, who napped in the carrier, while the boys played arcade games.

When I returned, they had won 1300 tickets! Mazen got a cool dart board for his bedroom.


We went to dinner in the only sit-down restaurant on the property which had a dinner buffet, although we realized the following day there is an “order off a menu” restaurant across the parking lot. (See below!) Luckily it was not too crowded, and we sat right down to a table.

The buffet, which was $20 for adults and $7 for kids, was actually pretty good. I made a big salad plate with bites of this and that on top. And I had a beer! (That little corn dog bite was my favorite – haha!)

And I hit the dessert table hard with this tasting plate. Yum yum!

Donuts + Coffee

Birch slept pretty well in his pack and play, but I tossed and turned all night unfortunately. I rarely sleep well in hotels – I am always too hot! In the morning Thomas brought us coffee and donuts from the on-site Dunkin’ Donuts which was cheaper than going to the breakfast buffet. (I think it was $15 for adults and $10 for kids – a little too much since no one was that hungry.) The donuts were yummy and held us over till lunch.


At 8 we went to the MagiQuest and bought Mazen the special wand so he could play the resort’s interactive adventure game. It was quite confusing to figure out at first (even for us adults who can read well!) but a nice boy gave us a tutorial and then it started making sense. Thomas and Mazen ran back and forth down the halls looking for crystals while I pushed Birch in the stroller for a short nap. I think the game is best suited for older kids, but Mazen still loved making the objects light up with his wand.

Water Park Round II

The water park opened at 9, and our goal was to get there early so we could hit up some of the big slides before the crowds. Unlike the day before, on Sunday it was pleasantly uncrowded and we were able to sit at a table and relax. Mazen loved the wave boogie board ride, the obstacle course, and the wave pool. There were parts of the park we didn’t even dip into (like the hot tubs!)

If only we’d had another hour or two! We had to check out at 11am (and take showers). There is a 2pm late checkout option, but it was fully booked for the day we left. In the future, I would not come without getting it. 1pm on one day to 2pm on the second was a great amount of time. (I’m not sure I would have wanted to spend two full nights. Mazen would have.)


Our final stop was lunch at The Huntsman’s Grill, the restaurant I mentioned across the parking lot. (I don’t think it’s affiliated with the resort.) If we return, we might try to do dinner here instead of the buffet because we prefer to order off a menu. The food was good, and I had a great spinach salad with salmon, potatoes and bacon.

Planning Our Next Visit

Mazen spent Sunday night with Matt, and I got a text from Matt after bedtime that said he heard Mazen crying in his room and when Matt went to comfort him Mazen was crying because he missed Great Wolf so much. <3 Our main motivation of going was to see the joy on his face, and I’d say, mission accomplished.

We will definitely go back, probably on a weekday and probably in the summer when we can see more of the outdoor attractions (like mini golf and ropes course). We also didn’t even see the bowling alley, 4D theater ride, or finish the MagiQuest (I am going to hold onto that wand so we can hopefully use it again next time!) My tips: save the water park for off-peak times, bring your own breakfast in the mini fridge, and take advantage of early arrival and late check out to maximize your time.

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Episode 419 – Mikhaila Peterson – Carnivore Diet Advanced Blood Work


This episode of the podcast we have guest Mikhaila Peterson. Mikhaila has become well known for putting her severe Rheumatoid Arthritis into remission by using a carnivore diet after trying everything else.

Listen in as we chat about the carnivore diet and the results of her new blood work she had done recently.

Show Notes

[0:53] – Summary and pre-intro
[2:18] – Introduction, and Mikhaila’s previous carnivore bloodwork
[3:15] – Last ditch effort to manage autoimmune disease (RA)
[3:50] – Pregnancy affecting autoimmune disease
[6:50] – Inventing the autoimmune paleo diet protocol
[9:08] – How the carnivore diet got on Mikhaila’s radar
[15:50] – Mikhaila’s first round of blood work on carnivore
[17:38] – Advanced testing blood work results (second round)
[24:50] – Mikhaila’s takeaway from her recent bloodwork
[27:40] – Robb’s great experience with loperamide (Imodium)
[31:14] – How people are doing the carnivore diet
[33:11] – Paleomedicina experience in Hungary
[35:15] – Case studies reversing Type-1 diabetes when caught early
[40:0] – Robb’s 6-week carnivore diet experience
[45:30] – What Mikhaila has coming up

Link to first round of blood work on Carnivore: http://mikhailapeterson.com/2018/08/07/blood-work/

Mikhaila’s second round of blood work on Carnivore (more advanced): PDF Download

Is the carnivore diet for you? If you want to learn more: check out our Carnivore Diet 101 guide



Coming soon…..




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Clean Eating Corn Casserole Recipe

This clean eating corn casserole is a delicious, dairy free alternative for this home-style family classic!

If you love corn casserole, give this dish a try. It’s darker in color then the regular… Read more →

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