Nutrition

Articles about the Science of diet. (May include recipes etc.)

Of Curried monkeys…

Stardate: 22nd January, 2017

Hey all!

A number of you, having read our previous article (“What’s in your post-workout shake?“), expressed interest in seeing other moderately exotic but doable recipes you could try at home.

So here’s one, from this morning.

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The backstory:
Following @jaysmilezz’s workout this morning… I proposed a #smoothie challenge. “Pick a colour”, I told her. “I’ll make something healthy, delicious, and relevant to your goals… In that colour.”

She picked yellow.
Yellow of all things.
I mean… who picks yellow?!
Yellow foods have great anti-inflammatory effects… but they’re generally not what you think about chugging down in a smoothie.

Anyway… challenge accepted.

Our #smoothieoftheday? I call it a Curried Mango Monkey.

Ingredients:

  • Ginger
  • Curry
  • Fresh Mint
  • Coconut milk
  • Whey protein
  • Nutmeg
  • Frozen mango
  • (Optional: Low caloric sweetener of choice, to taste.)
  • (Optional: a pinch of cayenne pepper.)
Now… this was fucking delicious. Perplexingly delicious layers of atypical flavours.
But, ‘healthy’?
Let’s dissect that claim.
Curry:
‘Curry powder’, is actually a blend of several spices. Depending on the region of acquisition, those ingredients can be turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil… with sexy additions like fennel seeds, ginger, and cinnamon… each of which has health benefits on to itself.
Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric, which gives it [and curry] that rich yellow/orange colour) has been shown to have CRAZY antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We’re talking reduced joint pain, reduced plaque build-up in arteries… and SO many other potential applications. And this is just ONE component of curry powder. I hate the word superfood… but, were I one to toss it around, I’d definitely include curry under that umbrella.
Mango:
Mango is LOADED with antioxidants, which may have cancer preventative/fighting effects. Some of these include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat. Its enzymes can positively impact digestive health. Mango may also clear the skin up, as well as positively impact your sex life.

Yes.
Clean, clear skin.
And sex.
Win.

Mint:
Mint is delicious.
The end.
No, but seriously, its amazing flavour aside… mint can positively impact digestion, reduce nausea and headaches, improve mood and perceived energy levels, as well as positively impact alertness. Due to it germicidal and antibacterial properties, it has been shown to improve oral health, as well as skin health. Its enzymes are also being researched for their cancer-fighting potential.
Also… did I mention how fucking delicious it is?
Shit.
(NB: We discussed the health benefits of whey protein, coconut milk, ginger, nutmeg, as well as the neutrality of non-caloric sweeteners in our previous article.)
So… how does the Curried Mango Monkey stack up?
To re-cap:
Low in calories… A moderate amount of fibre… High in protein… Moderate in health-promoting fatty acids… Loaded with potentially amazing, naturally occurring, phytochemicals.

Let me know what you think, in the comment section below. πŸ˜‰

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

6 months to live

Stardate: 16th January, 2017

“Ask him”, a woman’s voice said.
“Excuse me sir”, I heard a boy say. “Are you a trainer? Can you train us?”

I smiled, angling my head in the direction of those voices. A mother. Her three young boys. It was June of 2016… in a random carpark… at a random mid-morning hour.

“I have cancer”, the mother informed me. “I’ve been given 6 months to live. I’m going to beat it though. So, I’m going to hire you for 12 months.”

On July 7th, I pulled in to her driveway. Off and on for months, we trained hard. 6 months passed. She was still alive.

Last week, during month number 7, she messaged me. “I have bad news. The cancer’s spread to my bones. I am in SO much pain.”

She didn’t respond to any of my follow up messages. Her doctor had basically told her to say her goodbyes. I thought… Christ… that our last conversation, would be our last conversation.

Stage 3 cervical cancer.
Stage 3 lung cancer.
Silently, I stalked her social media… vicariously experiencing the days through her eyes.

This morning… Monday, 16th of January, she showed up at my door in workout gear.

img_20170116_094714

“I don’t know if this makes sense”, she said.

She’d given up.

I haven’t.

To date, she hasn’t documented her fitness journey.
Today, I’m sharing a snippet… without revealing her name or face.
Hopefully, your kind outpouring will encourage her to do the same.

…to know that she’s supported, loved, and admired.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

What’s in your post-workout smoothie?

Stardate: 15th January, 2017

What’s in your post-workout shake?

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A lot of people find the planning and execution of this meal confusing: an exercise unto itself, taken to extremes.

Either, their shakes:

  • nutritionally, are akin to a sugar-laden milkshake
  • are only protein powder
  • are only fruit and ‘super foods’ (mostly sugar, plus sugar, plus a hard-to-pronounce additive)
  • are a smorgasboard of foods considered ‘healthy’, that taste HORRIBLE (and digest equally horribly) in combination, and are thus not a sustainable meal.

Your postworkout smoothie should provide the substrates necessary to facilitate the shift into recovery mode. It should provide adequate protein, some fatty acids, and (depending on your goals, and diet over the course of the day) some carbohydrate. My personal preference as well, is some fibre. Additionally, it should not take your over your daily caloric allotment. Neither should it cause gastric distress (- the latter being a heavily neglected point, as many people believe that farting away their lives after a shake is just part of the process. It isn’t. Shouldn’t be rather).

Personally, I believe every ingredient should have a purpose.

Take @jaysmilezz’s smoothie this morning as an example.

Ingredients:
1. whey protein
…rich in Branch Chain Amino Acids, particularly Leucine, which promote muscle growth. It may help to reduce systemic inflammation, and aide in inflammatory conditions such as IBS.

2. natural peanut butter
…contains healthy fats, some protein, fibre, antioxidants, and it’s effing delicious.

3. hemp seeds
…excellent source of healthy fats, some protein, may help to balance our hormonal profile… and adds great texture.

4. oatmeal
…rich in antioxidants, and fiber. May help to lower cholesterol.

5. flax meal
…high in fibre, low in carbohydrates, may improve the condition of skin and hair. Also, may help with post-meal satiety.

6. kale
…PACKED with micronutrients. Honestly, this space isn’t big enough to delve into this nutritional powerhouse.

7. sunflower seeds
…rich in bone-strengthening nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and copper… as well as selenium and numerous phytochemicals. Sunflower seeds may improve mood, as well as thyroid health.

8. coconut milk
…great source of lauric acid, which is both antibacterial and antiviral in effects. This fatty acid may also improve cholesterol levels, and be cardioprotective.

9. ginger
…helps with digestion, and eases gastric distress. Additionally, it may help reduce exercise-related muscle soreness.

10. nutmeg
…may improve cognitive function, reduce insomnia, aide digestion, increase immune system function, and aide in detoxification of the body. Also, it’s sexy and delicious. Believe that.

11. vanilla extract
…antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activity. Also, tastes effing amazing.

12. non-caloric sweetener and angostura bitters (optional)
…These are optional ingredients. I like them, because bitters (- namely the main ingredient: gentian) can aide in digestion. The multiple herbs and spices therein can also have very positive effects (- AND, they add an amazing flavour profile). The major drawback however, is that it is infused with ethanol. So, it may not be suitable for people who are restricting alcohol and ’empty’ calories. Additionally, non-caloric sweeteners are a matter of preference. Many theorists disagree on the ‘healthiness’ of their addition. But they serve our purpose in moderation.

Purposeful.
Specific.

We’ve tonnes more easy recipes over at getnarked.net too.

Check ’em out.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

5 Supplements You SHOULD be using, that you’re probably not.

Stardate: 18th April, 2016

Greetings!!

supplements

As many of you would know, I’m not big on supplements. When asked “hey bro. Should I take [*inserts name of popular go-to fad*]”, my reply is always a blunt two-pronged one:

1: “I don’t take that stuff… I eat food. Lots of it.”
2: “Supplements… should supplement your diet. Novel idea. I know.”

The stuff I actually DO use isn’t fancy. It’s functional.

i.e. It’s the stuff nobody really cares about: the stuff that helps your gut et. al. work better. Why should YOU care about ’em though?

Simple: Gut health is everything. The gut impacts the immune system, the brain, our ability to gain muscle and mobilise fat stores, the quality of our sleep and skin. I mean, holy shit, why would you NOT be interested?

Let’s get down to it!

Here are my mainstays, and a couple notable mentions:

  1. ‘Colon Cleanse Powder’

…aka Psyllium Husk Powder. This product is usually sold as a laxative. But, that’s secondary. I don’t believe in the whole ‘colon cleansing’ notion… but I do recognise that most of the population suffers from a too-low fibre intake. Even dieters, who are eating loads of ‘bush’ (lol) often complain of constipation and the like. The average person, for one, severely underestimates the amount of fibre they eat and need… and it doesn’t help that shady companies represent the minuscule amounts of fibre in their products as something monumental. “Oh. Eat my cereal. It’s fiber enriched! 1 gram of fiber per serving (of 20 grams of sugar and other useless shit)!” What the fuck man?!

Guidelines indicate that we should be taking in 30 grams of fibre per day. i.e. 10-15 grams per 1000 calories. Most of us struggle to get in TEN grams per 2000-3000 calories. That’s crazy!

That. Is. Crazy.

Enter psyllium. One tablespoon gives you 5 grams of fibre. Personally, I blend 3 tablespoons in to my smoothie… and I’m currently up to 5 tablespoons per day.

Try 3 tablespoons per day, plus a couple servings of broccoli, kidney beans, and/or oatmeal spread over the day, and you’re set! 30 grams easy!

2. Probiotics

One of the things I’ve noticed about adulthood is the prevalence of digestive issues. And, it affects all of us… even the fitness personalities like myself. Stress is a major contributor. It absolutely wrecks the gut.Β  For one, it affects the balance of ‘good’ bacteria to ‘bad’. As this bacteria influences the immune system, we can generally say ‘Stress affects the immune system!’

If it were only stress though, this section of today’s article would be a lot shorter.

Unfortunately friends, our gut flora gets attacked from multiple other angles. Stress, the overconsumption of sugar and starch, wanton overprescription of antibiotics, the absence of prebiotics (i.e. fibre), Exercise (or its absence). Tonnes of stuff really.

A good probiotic is essential shit!

Pun.

3. Digestive enzymes (especially proteolytic ones like bromelain)

I’ve noticed, particularly in new clients, a lot of younger people are complaining about bloat, indigestion, gas… and generally feeling like their food just sits there. Some of them have that lower tummy pouch going on. But, upon pinching the skin there, one realises that it isn’t usually fat. It is legitimate bloat.

I mentioned the prevalence in younger people, because the above used to be an older person’s ailment: Usually an age-related decline in enzyme production, and quality (i.e. the elasticity of the actual enzyme’s protein – blah, blah, blah, science stuff). Nowadays, we’re living longer… but we seem to be aging faster. At least, our organs seem to be.

Fixing the diet, reducing stress, and adding digestive enzymes helps. Not just from the digesting of food standpoint (- which is pretty fucking major as a standalone). Naw… the addition of dietary enzymes can also reduce systemic inflammation. And, this means, enzymes can potential reduce our risk of diseases we shouldn’t even have been at risk for in the first place.

Anyhoo… That there is a rant for another time.

Back on topic: I like bromelain. I use a lot of it. I’ve used it to recover from injuries, swelling, soft tissue damage, and poor digestion.

If you try only one supplement. Try this.

And… while we’re on the topic of inflammation:

4. Quercetin

Quercetin, is basically a plant pigment…Β  a flavonoid, with SERIOUS antioxidative power, found in richly coloured fruits.

Being a great antioxidant aside, it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory (which means it can potentially help mitigate inflammation-based diseases such as insulin resistance, heart disease, arthritis etc.). It’s also proven to help with allergies, pain, and boost endurance.

Holy shit right?!

I use 1000mg per day. I don’t know if I’ll live longer. But I sure as hell plan on doing everything I can to improve my quality of life!

*pops another cap*

5. Chromium Polynicotinate.

I’ve written about chromium EXTENSIVELY in the past. For about 2 decades, it’s been a mainstay in my supplement regime. I can’t say enough about it’s benefits. But, I’ll rehash anyway:

It may aide in longevity.

It may improve insulin/carbohydrate sensitivity.

It may improve body composition.

It may [blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, super-cool stuff!]!

Bottom line? Chromium is an awesome addition… especially in a population, like ours, whose diets are so starch heavy! I mean, who DOESN’T want to be leaner, healthier, and better able to process carbohydrates? AND it’s cheap. Who doesn’t like not breaking the bank?!

*pauses for dramatic effect*

That’s it!

Hit the health store!

I’ll see you at bootcamp tomorrow!

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

The Right Fat-loss Diet for you

“Hey! I just saw your client [*inserts name*]. Their progress has been seriously impressive! What diet did you put them on?!”

Stardate: 9th December – 2015

Hey all.

I get questions like that one at least once each day. I try to answer politely each time, though (if we’re to be honest) the answer… the true answer… is unavoidably one that will ruffle feathers.

That answer? “What I did with him/her isn’t relevant to you… at all.”

Invariably, the person asking will assume that I’m being an asshole. But, let me extrapolate: Any sensible diet works… and there are tons of them out there.

-Did I mention that they, basically, ALL work?-
So, it doesn’t matter whether it’s:

  • Low-carb with high fat and moderate protein
  • Intermittent fasting and its myriad of variations
  • Low-fat, moderate-to-high carb, and high protein
  • Paleo
  • IIFYM (If it fits your macros)
  • 80:20
  • The Military Diet
  • The It’s-Income-Tax-Season-So-I’m-Broke Diet

It truly does *not* matter.
What matters then? I’ll tell you:

  1. Picking a style of dieting (based on how its precepts fit your personality, lifestyle, and needs – Logically, if your life requires that you work for 12 straight hours without a meal, a diet plan that requires 6 small feedings will fail you).
  2. Adjusting your caloric intake to your needs and goals ( – here’s a handy little guide to calculating your caloric needs).
  3. Sticking to your plan.

It’s that simple.

No.

Really.

youre-welcome

Yours in health, peace, and fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

p.s. Let’s talk about the right diet for you in the comments below.

p.p.s – A rundown of eating correctly for your goals et. al.