Friday, July 31, 2015

Paleo Banana & Almond Butter Ice Cream

 If you're missing ice cream or looking for have something sweet, this paleo banana & almond butter ice cream just might be the thing for you! It doesn't have any added sugar or sweeteners, it's simple to make, and it's both vegan and paleo. Best of all, you can enjoy a bowl without feeling guilty about what you're putting into your body! The recipe below is for one person, double or triple it as needed. 

Here's What You'll Need:

- 1 large frozen banana
- 1 large tbsp almond butter (or any other nut butter)
- Cinnamon
- Vanilla extract 
- Sea Salt 
- Crushed pecans (or any other nut)

Here's How To Put It Together:

- Dice up the frozen banana and place it in a high powered blender (without the peel!)
- Blend your banana until it becomes a thick past 
- Add your tbsp of almond butter to the blended banana 
- Add a dash of vanilla, sea salt, and cinnamon to the blended up banana
- Blend again until everything is mixed
- Take the mixture and scoop it into your favourite bowl
- Top with crushed pecans 
- Enjoy! 

- Tim 

Monday, July 27, 2015

6 Easy Exercises To Ease Back Pain

 Back pain is a common problem faced by many people. It doesn't matter if you're active and training all the time, or if you can't even remember your last workout, back issues can happen to anyone. Back pain can stem from any number of sources, many people experience back pain caused from muscle imbalances. If you're pain isn't the result of a serious accident, a nice place to start when dealing with back pain is to open up the fascia in the back line of the body and stretch out your tight muscles. 

What is fascia and what is  the back line?

 There's giant sheet of "webbing" that runs through out your entire body, wrapping around all of your muscles and tissue. This "webbing" is called fascia, fascia helps hold everything in your entire body together and is essential to effective movement. When the fascia isn't being worked or moved on a daily basis, due to injury or lack of activity, it becomes dense and locked down. When the fascia becomes dense and locked down it impairs your movement, leads to poor posture, and increases your risk of injury. 

 While fascia is essentially one giant web, it has been divided into a hand full predominant "lines" (or paths) through out the body. Each line runs through/around a series of muscles and joints. The back line runs from the bottom of the feet, up the backs of your legs, all the way up the back to the top of the head. Most people tend to be tight throughout the back line, especially those who sit all day. In my experience, just working on opening the back line of the body helps many people deal with their back pain. It's a great place to start! 
The Superficial Back Line 

Opening up the back line!

It will require manual stimulation in order to break down the dense fascia and get it moving again. This means you'll need some serious massage! Don't worry, you don't have to spend all of your money on a massage therapist to get this done! All you need is a lacrosse ball, a little bit of knowledge on self myofascial release, and a little bit of stretching. The sequence in the video should help you break down that dense "locked down" fascia, stretch the muscles of the back line, and help ease back pain you may be experiencing. 

 THIS IS NOT a replacement for medical advice. Please, if you're experiencing serious back pain, get check out by a physiotherapist and doctor to get an expert opinion. 

1.) Roll the bottoms of your feet with a lacrosse ball, each for 1-2 mins
2.) Roll the calves, each for for 1-2 mins
3.) Place the lacrosse ball under your hamstring on a chair, focus on tight points for 1-3 mins each
4.) Roll your back with a foam roller or PVC pipe for 1-3 mins
5.) Stretch your calves, 30 seconds - 1 min per leg
6.) Perform the standing hamstring stretch, 30 seconds - 1 min per leg

- Tim

Monday, July 20, 2015

3 Simple Tips To Stop Hunger On The Paleo Diet!

 I hear it time and time again with new clients, they've started eating paleo but they're always hungry! I get it! Getting your nutrition on track, cutting out junk foods, and replacing them with whole foods can be a tough transition for most people. It's even worse when you're hungry all the time. After all, those chips, cookies, and pizza look a lot more appetizing then they ever have before when you're starving on your new diet. How the hell are you going to follow a paleo diet if you're miserable and craving foods like no tomorrow? 

 Fear not! It's not that they're anything wrong with you, or that the diet isn't working. You just need to make a few simple changes that will nip that hunger in the butt! These 3 tips are based on really common mistakes I see time and time again with my personal clients. I'm sure they can help you too! 

                    These 3 simple tips will help stop your hunger when transitioning to eating paleo!

1. Eat more food: 

 I know what you're thinking, "How the heck am I going to lose weight if I'm eating more food?". Well funny enough, under eating can actually cause you to hold onto body fat and lot of people under eat when they start eating paleo. Under eating can put your body in a state where it believes it's starving, this leads to it slowing down your metabolism and holding onto body fat. It doesn't want to let go of that reserve body fat because it needs it to keep you alive during what it perceives as a time where food is scarce. 

 Eating too little will also produce a little side effect called ... you guessed it, hunger! Not only does eating too little trick your body into holding onto stored body fat, it also leaves you hungry. Do your self a favour, eat as much paleo friendly veggies, fruits, meat, fats, and nut/seeds as needed to satisfy your hunger and stop before you're stuffed.  This is the same basic advice I give to all new clients who are just starting out on the paleo diet. Snacks also tend to be a problem, most people stick to just fruit and veggies. Try adding nuts in to your snacks to help beef them up and make them more satisfying. 

 If you're thinking that you need to eat 1200 calories a day to lose weight, you're just doing yourself more harm than good. If you're only eating one egg and some fruit at breakfast, boost that up 2 eggs, bacon, and fruit. If you're eating 1/2 a chicken breast and a light salad for dinner, eat the whole breast and add avocado to your salad. Eat more! 

2. Eat more fat:

 This is a big one! Many people drastically reduce their fat intake (knowingly or unknowingly) when they begin eating paleo. Why? Because they don't want to get fat! Well guess what, fats don't make you fat. They're not the bad guy and you need them. 

 When people cut out fat they end up eating a lot of low calorie veggies/fruit and a decent amount of protein. This leaves them hungry and grumpy ... and no one wants to be around someone who's hungry and grumpy! Further more, a lack of fats in your diet can lead to a lack of energy and  reduced mental clarity. Your body needs fats, your brain is primarily made up of fat! You body enjoys using fat as a source of energy, it will switch to running on fat as it's main fuel when you reduce your carb content greatly. 

 Increased fat intake will also help you feel more satisfied after a meal and keep you satisfied much longer between meals. This means no spike and crash after meals and you'll be able to last for hours between meals. Fat's also yield a lot of calories per gram, meaning they'll help you bump those calories up and not under eat! How do you do this? Simple! Olive oil on salad, butter in coffee, coconut milk on fruit are just a few ideas. What fat's should you be adding into your diet? Here's a few! 

- Butter (real butter, not margarine)
- Avocado
- Coconut Oil (virgin)
- Palm Oil 
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Milk (full fat, duh!)
-  Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews etc.)

3. Eat more protein: 

 I don't know why, but some people forget the part of the paleo diet that suggest healthy portions of meat. Fresh cuts of red meat, chicken, fish, sea food, pork, and eggs deliver a large amount of protein. Protein (as I'm sure you know) is a building block for lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have the more energy is needed to maintain that muscle and the more body fat you can burn. Protein, much like fat, also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals. It also helps keep you feeling satisfied for a longer period of time between meals. 

 Meat is also loaded with various essential nutrients. For example, red meat is rich in iron and B12, fish is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, and all fresh cuts of meat also come with a healthy dose of fats making it a "two for one" deal! Meat, being high in protein and fat, is also very calorie dense. This means it will up your over all calorie content for the day, leading you to not be under fed. Each one of your meals should contain a protein source, preferably from some kind of meat. 

 I know that some people have a hard time eating more animal products, or they don't enjoy certain kinds of meat. That's ok, we're all different and you can still get quality added protein into your diet with a little added supplementation. A quality whey protein powder (nothing fancy) from a clean/reputable source would go a long way towards adding extra protein into your diet. If you're the kind of person that enjoys a morning smoothie for breakfast, try adding a scoop of protein to round it out as a meal and increase calorie content. While protein powder does come in handy, it's no replacement for actual meat! I would suggest the protein powder as an additive to shakes/smoothies, but the majority of your protein should come from actual cuts of meat. 

- Tim 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Iced Coconut Milk & Black Strap Molasses

 Black strap molasses is the thick, dark, and viscous molasses left over after maximum extraction of sugar from raw sugar cane.  Black strap molasses, not to be confused with table molasses, is loaded with tons of nutrients not found in table sugar. 1 table spoon of black strap will provide you with up to 20% of your recommended daily intake of B6, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium. Yes it's a sweetener and it shouldn't be eaten in large quantities, but a small dose a day is an easy way to get in a little extra nutrients. Best of all, it's fairly cheap for a large amount. You'll want to buy one without sulphates and preferably organic.

 Black strap molasses is fairly bitter, it's not as sweet as the table or fancy stuff. It's the kind of thing that puts hair on your knuckles! I would compare the flavour to that of a dark rum, after you've had a spoon of black strap it's not hard to tell that rum comes from sugar cane. That being said, it's not likely that everyone will enjoy taking a spoon of the stuff straight! This is why I enjoy mixing mine with a little bit of full fat coconut milk, water, and ice. The recipe is simple and it doesn't require you to do any strict measurements. Just mix and enjoy!


Here's What You'll Need: 

- 1 tbsp Black Strap Molasses
- 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (eye ball it and use what you like)
- Water
- Ice

Here's How To Put It Together:

- Pour your coconut milk into your favourite mug or glass
- Spoon in your black strap molasses
- Add a few ice cubes
- Top off with cold water until you get the desired amount. If you want it thick, add less. If you want it light, add more.
- Stir with your spoon to mix it all up
- Enjoy!

- Tim 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Honey Citrus Salad

This just might be one of the best summer salads I've ever made. It's simple, made up of things you might have in your fridge right now, and doesn't take much time at all to make! The dressing is tasty and best of all it's home made so you know you're not eating any nasty oils or preservatives. 

Here's What You'll Need:

- Hand Full of Pecans
- 3 Clementines 
- 2-3 tbsp Goat Cheese
- 2-3 thin whole slices Red Onion
- Romaine Lettuce 
- 1/3 cup  Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey 

How To Put It Together:


- Lay the bed of cut up romaine lettuce on your favourite plate
- Top the lettuce with goat cheese, pecans, one clementine pulled apart, and onion slices


- In a blender (food processor, magic bullet etc.) add your honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and 2 clementines
- Blend until smooth
- Pour into small separate bowl or dressing container
- Add your desired amount to your salad and enjoy! 

- Tim 

Monday, July 6, 2015

2 Simple Intermittent Fasting Methods

 Intermittent fasting has a ton of benefits! Everything from improving insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, improved gut health, and weight maintenance/fat loss, can all be achieved through effectively using intermittent fasting. For those of you who who don't know what intermittent fasting is, it's fasting for a set period of time (usually a few hours) and then resuming normal eating patters during the unfasted period of time. Fasting, lower calorie diets, and consuming primarily whole foods have been associated with improved health and longevity for ages. I've written about it fasting in detail in a previous post that you can find here! But, how exactly do you start intermittent fasting in your regular life? It's actually easier than you would imagine, and today I'll be discussing two simple methods to include it in your life!

1.) The Feeding Window

 Using a feeding window is simple, and one of the most popular methods when it comes to fasting. There's no set number of hours you need to fast, but there are set ups that are used more than others. The first is to fast for 16 hours, and then have an 8 hour feeding window, popularized through "Lean Gains". The second method is to fast for 20 hours, and eat during a 4 hour feeding window, popularized through "The Warrior Diet".  I'm a fan of the 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour feeding window. How does it work? Simple! For example, you would have a feeding window where you can eat from 1pm-8pm, then from 8pm-1pm the next day you would fast. This includes the time when you sleep. During the fasted window you can drink water, coffee, or tea ... with very little to no cream and NO SUGAR! During the feeding window you don't stuff your face or go crazy, you simply eat when you're hungry and stop before your stuffed. Eat as much as you need to in order to achieve that feeling and all from good whole foods.

2.) Simulated Fasting

 In a recent study, it was found that the participants who were fed a low calorie diet that simulated intermittent fasting, achieved all the benefits of fasting, without having to actually fast! In order to follow this simulated fasting diet you would take the amount of calories you eat per day, cut it in half, and eat that for around 5 days. Once the 5 days are up, you go back to eating your regular amount of calories for the next 25 days and repeat the reduced calorie intake at the end of those 25 days. Let's say you're eating 1800 calories per day, you would then cut your calories down to 900 calories for the day during the reduced calorie week. My suggestion for anyone follow this type of diet is to follow a whole food diet, track your calories and macros, and take additional supplements during your fasted week to make sure you're getting in enough vitamins and minerals. A green powder, multi vitamin, fish oil, and BCAA's will do just fine.

 In my personal opinion, the easiest method to follow is the 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour feeding window. The week long simulated fasting is tough, but if you hate not having any food for period of time then it may work for you. If you're starting out with intermittent fasting, take it slow at first and try implementing the feeding window 1 or 2 days per week. If you're comfortable with that, then you can try booting it up to 3-4 days or trying the simulated fasting method.