Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Macro-Friendly Meal Prep Dinner Recipes

You guys know I’m all about easy, macro-friendly recipes, especially if I can prep them ahead of time. Sunday is typically my food prep day in the kitchen, so the more meal prep ideas I have, the better! I really love starting the week with some of my favorite recipes at least semi-prepped, so dinnertime doesn’t feel as daunting, especially mid-week when I’m just not in the mood to cook. I sometimes lose my cooking motivation, so give me all of the macro-friendly meal prep recipes! Plus, it feels like I sort of have my sh*t together! 😉

I also love meals with a short ingredient list because, hello, who has time to round-up all sorts of hard-to-find ingredients or shop at a zillion different stores. Not me! Keep it simple, baby! Healthy eating doesn’t need to be difficult, so, below, I’ve shared my favorite macronutrient diet recipes. These are tried-and-true recipes that we make again and again in our house. There’s even a macro-friendly pasta recipe! The best part about them though is that they can be prepped ahead, so you can just reheat and EAT during the busy work week!

4-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Ole

High-Protein Italian Pasta Bake

Instant Pot Garlic Honey Chicken

Easy Pizza Cottage Pie

The Easiest Chicken Fajitas You’ll Ever Make

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5K Training Plan to Celebrate Global Running Day

Here’s a 5K Training Plan to Celebrate Global Running Day!

I don’t know about you, but my love for running always seems to increase when the snow melts and the warm weather arrives. With Global Running Day (aka National Running Day) not too far away, I wanted to make sure I was fully prepared for this fun running holiday.

Sure, I’ve run all winter long, but only on the treadmill. I’ve dominated Orangetheory-style workouts, but I haven’t run very much outside or at my usual “longer” distances. As a result, I’ve pretty much only done interval training for the past few months. Of course, this means I’m not in any type of “endurance” shape right now. You know what they say: If you don’t use it, you lose it! Obviously, this isn’t a big deal, and I know I can get back to my usual running routine with some training. Therefore, I created this 5K training plan with the hope of it keeping me on track for celebrating on June 5th!

 Wearing: Run Happy Tank

When is Global Running Day?

Global Running Day is celebrated annually on the first Wednesday of June. This year, it’s June 5, 2019. Be sure to mark your calendars! It’s a great way to celebrate your love for running. That feeling of knowing that people from all over the world are doing the same is so cool. I mean, isn’t it great to be a part of something much bigger? I think so!

If you’ve never participated, runners of all ages and abilities pledge to take part in some type of running activity on that day. It can be any form of running or distance from trail or treadmill running to a single mile or much longer distance. That said, I plan to run a 5K to celebrate. And if you’re interested in joining me, here’s a training plan to get you started. Happy running!

Are you looking for some additional running workouts to train for this year’s Global Running Day? I’ve got ya covered! 🙂 Check out this post for some workouts: 12 High-Intensity Running Workouts For Global Running Day.

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10 & 2 Q: Should You Eat Fat To Burn Fat? Part 2

In the last 10 and 2 Q, Nicki asked me about the idea of eating fat to burn fat…

I debunked this notion but you guys had LOTS of questions. So we’re back on the same topic. I’m diving a little deeper, answering more of your thoughts/concerns around eating dietary fat to lose body fat.

Eating loads of fat to burn off your body fat is contentious topic in the keto world. Click above to listen to my take on it.


Full Transcript:

Nicki: So Robb, you had some follow on comments to the eat fat to burn fat ten and two question that we had.

Robb: Yeah. It was a super popular question and appreciate all the comments. This is how I learn and continue to figure out what people need. So, I super appreciate that stuff. It’s interesting in the beginning of a low carb or ketogenic diet, it does almost feel like magic because you kind of feel like you can eat more than what you’ve ever eaten in the past, and you still lose weight, you feel better, your energy levels are kind of regulated. I’ve talked to Luis Villasenor, Tyler Cartwright of Ketogains, and there’s a lot going on there in the beginning of this process.

Robb: I think people are pretty inefficient at using fat, and so, they’re not really utilizing the full caloric load that they’re taking in, particularly if we things like nuts, which are honestly pretty hard to digest. So, even though the package may say a quarter cup of almonds is 25 grams of fat, for example, it may be kind of difficult to extract that full 25 grams of fat out of that versus, say, doing butter straight up, or some sort of a process fat. But, honestly, over the course of time, what we find is that as people legitimately become fat adapted, they probably need fewer calories, not more.

Robb: And, this is one of the big problems that’s persisted in the low carb and ketogenic space, is that there’s this narrative that you can just eat unlimited amounts of fat. And again, in the beginning, that may be kind of true. That was an experience that I had. I was eating probably 5,000 calories a day. I felt good, I got leaner, I got lean, right in the love handle region, which is kind of that insulin resistant fat. So those things improved, but then it kind of stalled out. And, I did need to start limiting my caloric intake.

Robb: And, it’s interesting, years ago I was talking to Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit. He was, and is, a big fan of the Zone diet. Which most people aren’t aware, the zone diet, when you get to a level of leanness that supports your activity level and the body composition you want, you actually add a significant amount of fat. It may be a 65, 70 percent fat diet when everything is all said and done. And, what he observed is that people run maybe as much as 20 to 25 percent lower in caloric need than what we would generally expect. And, this is really consistent, again, with what Tyler and Luis have seen within their practice, within Ketogains, is that people may actually need fewer calories on low carb, particularly Keto, or a peri-Ketogenic diet.

Robb: I think if you’re getting lots of nutrient density, whole unprocessed foods that generally you need fewer calories when it’s all said and done. There’s some natural downregulation in thyroid production, which we’ve talked about that, and we can dig into that again, but I think that that’s actually normal and natural. And, when we look at calorie restriction and longevity research, this is actually very consistent with that. So again, the reason why I think that there is some confusion on this fat intake topic is, in the beginning, your body may actually respond differently than what it does after you’re fat adapted.

from The Paleo Diet

What’s the Pegan Diet? (And How Does It Compare To Primal?)

Because people don’t have enough diets to choose from already, there’s a new one on the scene: the Pegan diet. Actually it’s not that new—Dr. Mark Hyman started writing about it back in 2014, but it’s gained traction since he published his latest book last year, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?

According to Hyman, Pegan is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek play on the fact that it’s not quite Paleo and it’s not really vegan, hence Pegan. It claims to combine the best of both diets, namely a focus on eating lots of vegetables, as well as an emphasis on sustainable agriculture and ethical and ecologically sound animal farming.

Setting aside the obvious issue that it’s 100% possible to be a vegan who eats few to no vegetables, or to be a paleo dieter who cares naught about the environment, Pegan is touted as being easier to stick to than either vegan or paleo (presumably because Pegan allows for consumption of foods not allowed on either). Frankly, trying to frame it as a bridge between the two hasn’t proved to be a seamless, happy compromise based on social media conversation, but that’s probably of little surprise to anyone here.

I’ve had some readers ask me about the merits of Pegan and whether it offers any particular advantages over paleo/Primal, and I’m taking up that question today. (Note that I’m only focusing on the Pegan diet proposed by Dr. Hyman, not the “Pegan 365” diet offered by Dr. Oz. The latter isn’t paleo at all, allowing whole grain bread and pasta, corn, tofu, and a weekly “cheat day.” You can imagine my response to this version.)

Defining the Pegan Diet

These are the basic tenets of the Pegan diet in a nutshell:

Focus on sourcing high-quality food – Prioritize organically grown and pesticide-free produce as well as meat, eggs, and fats from pasture-raised and grass-fed animals and finally sustainably harvested seafood. Choose seafood with the lowest possible mercury content. Buy local when you can. Avoid CAFO meats and foods containing chemical additives.

Eliminate processed modern food-like substances and franken-fats – Processed carbohydrates have a high glycemic load and lead to excessive insulin production. Refined vegetable and seed oils such as canola and sunflower are pro-inflammatory. Avoid all such products.

Go gluten-free – Even if you don’t have celiac disease or an obvious gluten sensitivity, modern wheat is still a frankenfood, and gluten can damage the gut. Occasional consumption of heirloom wheat (e.g., einkorn) is ok if you tolerate it.

Go dairy-free – Dairy is problematic for most people and is best avoided. If you do decide to include some dairy, consider choosing goat and sheep milk products instead of cow. Grass-fed butter and ghee are acceptable.

Make vegetables the centerpiece of your diet – Vegetables (mostly non-starchy) should comprise 75% of your diet.

Enjoy healthy fats – Focus on omega-3s, as from small, oily fish. Eat plenty of healthy fats from grass-fed and pastured meats and whole eggs, nuts and seeds, avocados, and coconut products. Use olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil for cooking.

Eat meat sparingly – Dr. Hyman uses the term “condi-meat” to emphasize that meat should be a side dish, not the focus of the meal. He recommends no more than 4 – 6 ounces of meat per meal.

Include gluten-free grains and legumes in small quantities – You may eat ½ cup of gluten-free grains like amaranth or quinoa, plus ½ – 1 cup of legumes (preferably lentils) per day. If you are insulin resistant, you should limit these or refrain altogether.

Limit sugar – Avoid refined sugar and conventional “treats.” The bulk of your vegetable intake should be from non-starchy varieties, and opt for low-glycemic fruit. Natural sweeteners like honey should be used only sparingly for the occasional treat.

How Does Pegan Compare to Primal?

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Gee, Mark, this sounds an awful lot like the Primal diet,” I agree. While there are some differences between Pegan and Primal, they aren’t particularly dramatic:

Primal allows full-fat dairy consumption. Pegan discourages but doesn’t outright ban dairy.

I don’t actively encourage people to consume gluten-free grains and legumes, but I’m not as strongly opposed to them as others are in the ancestral community. I’ve said before that I consider quinoa, amaranth, wild rice, and legumes to be moderation foods (when well-tolerated, which is more an individual thing). They deliver pretty substantial carb hits relative to their nutritional value, but they certainly aren’t the worst options out there. I don’t think they should be dietary staples by any stretch—and daily consumption is too much in my opinion—but if Primal folks want to eat them occasionally, I’ve seen it work for people.

The biggest difference is in regard to protein. The Pegan diet explicitly limits protein consumption, while the Primal Blueprint recommends moderate protein consumption tailored to your activity levels, goals, age, and medical needs. On the surface, this might seem like a substantial difference, it’s probably not very disparate in practice. If a Pegan eats 3 eggs for breakfast, a large salad with 4 ounces of sardines at lunch, and 4 ounces of skin-on chicken thigh at dinner, that gets him or her to about 70 grams of protein, not counting the (admittedly incomplete) plant protein from the salad and any additional veggies included with breakfast and dinner, plus nuts and seeds. That’s within the realm of Primal guidelines, albeit less than I’d recommend for some populations.

That said, if Pegans are taking the whole “treat meat as a condiment” mantra to heart, they are probably at greater risk of underconsuming protein compared to the average Primal eater. This could present a problem for athletes and older folks looking to preserve lean mass. Likewise it is surely harder to get enough protein while also practicing time-restricted eating—and perhaps only eat one or two meals per day—and trying to follow Pegan guidelines. That isn’t a knock against Pegan per se, just a cautionary note.

Finally, while we’re on the subject of protein, I must object to Dr. Hyman’s appeal to environmentalism as a reason to limit meat consumption. I’m not at all convinced that raising livestock taxes the environment more than monocropping acres and acres of corn and soybeans.

In my opinion, Pegan could simply be called “vegetable-centric Paleo with permission to eat small amounts of quinoa and lentils if it suits you.” That isn’t catchy, though, so Pegan it is.

That said, I appreciate how Dr. Hyman for his version of the Pegan Diet emphasizes that there is no single diet that is exactly right for each individual and, like me, he advocates for self-experimentation. Dr. Hyman also speaks out against diet dogmatism and encourages his followers to focus on big-picture health. These are obviously messages I can get behind.

The Bottom Line

I’m a fan of anything that gets people thinking about food quality instead of just robotically tracking macronutrient intake and/or plugging calories into a magic weight-loss formula. Supporting sustainable agricultural practices, eating locally and seasonally, and avoiding environmental pollutants have always been part of the Primal Blueprint recommendations. In short, there is a lot I like about the Pegan diet.

However, I don’t agree that the Pegan diet is necessarily easier to implement than vegan or Paleo, which is supposed to be one of its big draws. If you’re a vegan who gets by on bagels, pasta, and Oreos, or a Paleo person who dutifully eschew grains but relies on the myriad processed, packaged Paleo food options, Pegan is not going to be easier. Changing your diet to focus on carefully sourced “real food” is still going to be a massive shift. It’s going to be much more expensive and time consuming to prepare your meals, and it will probably be incredibly burdensome at the beginning.

Sure, being able to include a small serving of gluten-free grains and legumes might make life a little easier for Paleo folks… but how much really? (For this reason I’d be skeptical if you’re considering using the Pegan diet to lose weight.) Are a lot of Paleo folks really falling off the wagon because they are feeling deprived of ½ cup of lentils? Dr. Hyman has said that his issue with Paleo is “some use the paleo philosophy as an excuse to eat too much meat and too few plant-based foods.” I’m not really seeing this pervasively in the Paleo/ancestral community, to be honest (intentional carnivore dieters notwithstanding). This strikes me as an attempt to solve a problem that didn’t need solving.

Truthfully, the things I like about Pegan are all the ways in which it is similar to Primal, which are many. Both Primal and Pegan have vegetables as the base of their food pyramids. They similarly emphasize the importance of choosing healthy fats and oils, avoiding grains and processed modern junk foods, and moderating carbohydrate intake (which Dr. Hyman frames as maintaining low glycemic load, but the effect is the same). Still, for many people the tighter Primal guidelines around carbs are probably better suited for weight loss and even weight maintenance.

Most days, if you were a fly on the wall in my kitchen, you’d see me eat a big-ass salad for lunch and a piece of meat with several types of vegetables on the side for dinner, and you wouldn’t be able to discern if I was Primal or Pegan. Then again, those nights when I tear into a giant steak would you most certainly be able to tell… and, trust me, I’m not giving those up any time soon.


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Sunny Side Everywhere

Bright and sunny morning to ya! When Mazen was a toddler he would walk into direct sun and say “TOO SUNNY! TOO SUNNY!” (Eventually I convinced him to wear sunglasses.) I am such a sunshine lover that the only time I say “too sunny” is when it’s 100 degrees at the beach in July at noon. Otherwise – bring it on!

Sunny Breakfast

Two scrambled eggs, clementine, Irish Soda Bread from Great Harvest

When Your Name Is A Tree

Your mom must buy all the tree-themed clothes! Obvi. These are by Kate Quinn Organics! (And Birchie’s friend Fern had to buy all the fern ones 🙂 )

Nutrients For Your Bod

These samples recently made their way to my mailbox. The brand is Seed Phytonutrients, and the packaging is the first shower friendly paper bottle made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper with a post-consumer recycled liner. Pretty cool! Look for the brand at Whole Foods and online.

My Ideal Lunch

This is my ideal lunch!! Half a leftover Roots bowl plus the Plenty curried farro + sweet potato salad with a few pita chips on top for crunch. Combine and eat in 30 seconds!

Delicious Rolls….From The Freezer!

This was a chicken orzo soup from Plenty we had with sourdough rolls I found in the frozen section at Wegmans. They toast up SO well and are great to have on hand with soup all winter. I noticed they also had rosemary and a seeded one, so I want to try those too.

The Brothers

We have moved on from bathing Birch on the kitchen counters to putting his bath in the big bath. Thomas tried filling up the big bath around it, and it worked! So the brothers could have a bath together. (We also tried once to have Mazen hold Birch in his lap and that did not go well!) It will be so fun when they can actually take a bath together. I hope Mazen won’t be too cool for that when B is ready! 

If you saw on Instagram, Mazen had me trace his body on some roll-out white paper, and we have used it all week as a life-size paper doll to plan his outfits each night. He even made cut out faces for when his hoodie covers the base face – lol!

That boy has so much personality! He showed up in my bed looking like this the other morning. (And that towel was there because I woke up leaking milk all over the sheets because B slept 10 hours straight!  Ahhh!)

This is how we watch The Bachelor. What did you think of the finale?! {Raccoon outfit here!}

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