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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Meal Timing

Hey guys,

It's been a while since I've blogged but personal training & Fitness Symmetry have taken off, so life is super busy and fun!! Most of you know that I'm a HUGE fan of Robb Wolf - The Paleo Soulution Diet - and I listen to his podcast daily.  Yesterday I started personal training a new client and his main goal is to loose weight.  He's in his late 40's, 6'3", and well over 300 pounds.  He's a very succesful business man, married, and has three boys, so to he's one busy dude!  For those of us who work, are married, and have children, well, we can relate.  24 hours is not enough!  So, to cut to the chase, this guy's health has taken a "back seat" to his family and business and now he wants to change his hierarchy of needs.  Kudos to him!!

My first PT session with clients invloves NO physical fitness.  I need to learn about the individual, their lifestyle, eating habits, sleeping habits, needs, and wants.  In regards to how many meals/day and what types of food my new client eats well,he eats 6 meals/day involving complex carbs (primarily breads & pastas), soda, and dessert at night.  Shit, who wouldn't like to have ice cream at night, every night, and pannini sandwhiches with melted cheese...freaking delicous but SO bad for you.  I also asked him what he ate first thing in the morning and he replied, "I don't.  I have a cup of coffee and I'm out the door."  Not what I wanted to hear but an easy fix!

Now, I tell ALL my clients when they ask for nutritional advise that I am NOT an nutritional expert nor do I have any certificates in this field.  I simply go off of what I read regarding the Paleo Diet, Robb Wolf's podcast, my own experiences, and friends of mine who have made amazing heath changes eating paleo.

Meal Timing information - Robb Wolf's podcast (3/5/13)

I explained to my new client the vital ole of breakfast.  From the information I learned from the podcast, much of which I've already new about, I told him to have roughly  30-50 grams of protein first thing in the morning as it seems to be effective because he will most likely not to be as hungry throughout the day, and the temptation to eat "crap" should decrease.  Also people who are stressed out and have poor sleeping habits tend to have high cortisol levels, which makes one's blood sugar level look like an EKG!!  People, like my new client,  should be on a 4 meals/day and one snack to help keep blood sugar levels more consistent because the peaks and valleys, "EKG" example, seem to irritate the whole adrenal fatigue/burnout.  After eating 4 meals/day with a healthy snack and better sleep, are cortisol levels will level off into a regular pattern (more like rolling hills - smooth and consistent).  After a few months of following these suggestions, with moderate exercise, my client will get healthier, and then we'll lower his meals to 3 per day with a healthy snack.   We've been told to "graze" all day long but humans are not meant to graze all day.  We're not cows! Another great recommendation Robb Wolf expressed for people to loose weight,  is to  decrease the amount of carbs as we approach the later evening.  This seems to have a better effect on the body composition, suppressing cortisol and healing restoration kind of mode, so that seems solid for those who are overweight or want to loose 20-30 lbs.  Obviously everyone is different and some things work for some and not for others, but this is a great starting point for someone like my new client.  

Hopefully this is a helpful tip for some of my 9 followers!!  

Have a great day and remember, U-Can-Paleo!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Switch It Up

Do you eat the same thing for breakfast almost every day of the week?  I'm guilty of this.  My breakfast staple is: 2 strips of uncured bacon, 2 cage free eggs (mashed into some form of an omelet), fruit (blueberries, blackberries, apple or banana) and of course, COFFEE!  Sometimes I get crazy and have a protein shake for my protein with some coconut milk (my fat) and oatmeal if I'm going to wod.  Yes, I know this is a Paleo blog and yes, I just said I sometimes eat oatmeal which is clearly a grain, but take a deep breathe hommies.  I'll explain why I sometimes eat oatmeal but let's dive-bomb into our breakfast choices.

So, this morning I had to wake up ass early to drive the kids to their snowboarding lessons, and when I opened the fridge I quickly saw that there were no EGGS!!!!  What the fugazi?  Are you shitting me?  As I started to hyper ventilate I grabbed a brown paper bag and caught my breathe.  I then opened the fridge again hoping that I just missed those brown babies, but NOPE we were OUT!! Now the kids are up and cannot find their gear, like every Sunday, so their flipping out too.  The dog gets up and has to do his "thing" and starts to bark....and all I can think to myself, "if I only had some mother f'n eggs"!  I let the dog out and that cold air smacked some sense into me and I realized I had a lot of delicious left overs I cooked yesterday.  Now we're talking!  I opened the fridge for the third time and still no eggs, but that's cool because I decided on heating up left over crock pot chicken with 2 strips of uncured bacon (I'll never ever run out of bacon!), a banana with 1/2 cup of blueberries, and ..... cafe!!  Pretty tasty I must say!

How many times have you dumped out left overs?  There's nothing more frustrating, at least to me, to throw out left overs.  Especially a meal that was so tasty a few days ago, but now has some stanky smell... yeah you guys know what I'm talking about.  So, why not have left over dinner for breakfast? Seriously Christian?  Yes, I am serious and it's pretty damn tasty.  There's something about reheating food on a cast iron skillet with some coconut oil.  Don't knock it until you try it!  At least if you do this 2 or 3 days a week you won't eat the same thing every day and you also won't have to toss out perfectly, or what used to be perfectly, good food.  Remember,  groceries are not cheap!  Don't waste your grub!

Okay, do you guys want to know why I started to eat oatmeal and brown rice?  I'll take that as a yes.  I've been eating Paleo for nearly over three years and crossfitting for four.  A few weeks ago I watched a couple of videos on youtube of high performance crossfit athletes who talked about why they incorporate carbs other than veggies and fruits into their diet.  A common complaint from people who dive into the Paleo Diet feel tired a lot in the beginning, but usually after 3-4 weeks your body adapts and you feel amazing.  This is all true but after Thanksgiving I started following Outlaw Crossfit which is a very intense workout routine that typically takes 1 1/2 - 2 hours to complete, so for the past month I've been feeling more tired than usual.  My numbers in the box are not where I would like them to be, so with the higher volume in my wods I needed the fuel from grains (organic oatmeal and brown rice) to give the energy I needed.  Other than oatmeal and rice I am strict paleo, and I only eat them on the days I workout.

I realize I've rambled and my writing skill blow, but at least this blog has shaved off some time here in the lodge.

God bless!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Paleo Crock Pot Meatballs

For us New Englanders we absolutely LOVE our crock pots!  There is nothing better than putting food inside the crock pot for 6-8 hours and then coming back to a delicious hot meal.  Yes, my crock pot and I are bff (is that how kids say that??) and this morning I decided to make some paleo meatballs!!

I always give credit and site where I got my information from because.. it's the right thing to do.  Now, when I was in high school..... lets just say, I thought differently.  So, for anyone who has researched paleo meals online probably has run into the site.  If you haven't, well, I highly recommend checking it out!  Sarah Fragoso is the founder of Everyday Paleo and she has written three books (one for kids and paleo) and provides great information on paleo and tons of recipes!!  So, guess where I got my recipe guys are wicked smaaat!

The basis of my recipe comes from Everyday Paleo but I tweaked it a bit by removing some things and adding others.   Here’s the recipe:

Mix together (use your hands)
2lbs grass fed ground beef
chopped cilantro (1oz), onions (1 yellow), and carrots (2 lg. organic)
3 eggs (cage free)
1/2 cup almond meal
lots of dried oregano, garlic powder, cracked black pepper, and a little cayenne 
Form into large meatballs and cover bottom of crock pot, you might have to stack them depending on the size of your crock pot.
For the sauce mix:
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
5-6 coarsely chopped garlic cloves
a couple pinches of sea salt
cracked black pepper to taste.
Cover meatballs with tomato sauce and cook all day on low.  These were even better the next day for lunch!!
Doesn't get any easier!!  Give it a try and let me know what you think?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Back On The Blog!

Wow, I cannot believe it's been almost nine months since I last blogged on U-Can-Paleo!!  Needless to say 2012 was a really busy and trying year for us, and then the Holiday Season "snuck" up on us...does it always come at the same time of the year??  Well, now it's almost February 2013 and I'm back blogging about Paleo Living.

Before I get starting talking Paleo I want to fill all of my 9 followers, U guys are the best, about my fitness class that I started last February.  This class originated from discussion I had with a group of friends while we watched the Patriots loose to the freaking G-Men, otherwise known as the NY Giants!  So you can picture the food at the Super Bowl Party, right??  I'm talking nachos, buffalo chicken wings, Doritos, potato chips, pizza, cheese dips, and a veggie platter.  Yes, there definitely was a veggie platter because I remember guarding that platter like it was my job and I ate almost the whole thing!!  Oh, I almost forgot to add beer.  Ah, that's "paleo" friendly when you team is playing.  I read that in Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution The Original Human Diet, it was on page 237. Haha -

So, during the party Michelle and I met a few new carpet baggers (haha - love u guys!!) and we welcomed them to Natick, MA.  A lot of my childhood friends were there as well (us Townies seem to never leave or come back..I know, weird!) and someone brought up Crossfit and Paleo, so of course I wanted to hear what they had to say.  One of my friends bought his wife a month membership to a local CF Box for Christmas and she LOVED it, but she couldn't afford the monthly membership.  Another friend joined for a couple of months but was intimidated by the Olympic lifting and the class sizes.  Other friends chirped in the conversation and I just sat and listened.  Basically what I heard was they were looking for a "boot camp" style class with body weight exercises with less than 30 people in a class, and where they can get a great workout in a care free/fun  atmosphere.  This is where I chirped in after letting out a small and nasty belch of veggies....nasty.

I had the location, facility, fitness certification to teach, and some days to make this the Garage Gym Fitness Class was established 2/2012!  We began with roughly 6-8 members in each class (2 days/week) and now we consistently have 10-16 per class (depending on kids sports schedule...damn kids!!! haha).  Besides the growth in members (with zero advertising), the most important change since last February has been every one's physical and overall health improvements.  One of the members has lost 48 lbs since we started!!  Others have lost a lot of weight and others have added muscle mass and leaned out at the same time!!

With all of these great changes and improvements each member has consciously made to do, they've done this with small to moderate changes to their diets.  Folks, yeah that's right - I just said folks! - there are three major components to being HEALTHY. ( These are not in any specific order)
1.  Nutrition
2.  Fitness
3.  Quality Sleep

If you're getting 2 out of 3 you're spinning your wheels.  Sure, your health will improve if you were only doing 1 of the 3 and then you added another component, but if your goal is to OPTIMIZE your overall health you need to dial in on all 3.  I know, trust me I know, for many of us quality sleep (8-9 hours) is hard to get every night, but how many of us spend time online or watch tv before bed?  I bet some of us spend a few hours looking at FaceBook, Twitter, crossfit videos, youtube.... you get me point, right?  Well, if not, call me and we can chat ;) -

Okay, I'm all over the board here but like I've mentioned in my previous blogs, or if you couldn't tell, my writing skills are sub-par at best, so deal with it!!

So, before I give you guys a GREAT chicken/crock pot recipe I want to invite people to my fitness class (first one's on me!  It's like drugs but healthier!!)at the Garage Gym (Cross Courts 19 Tech Circle in Natick, MA).  Check on the blog for class schedule or you can follow the Garage Gym Fitness Group on FB.

Okay, here's the delicious paleo meal I was talking about!!

Marinade + slow cooker = super tender.

This recipe actually involves making a marinade in your food processor or blender. For those of you willing to take that extra step, I assure you that it will be worth it. This whole chicken recipe works best when you let things marinate overnight. I know, you like easy dump-and-go recipes. You hate food prep and waiting, I know. Don’t fret kids, this recipe will help save you time over the next couple days when you have these delicious leftovers to spice up your salads, lunches, and even breakfast scrambles.
This recipe uses a dry chili rub for the chicken and a wet cilantro lime marinade. This bird will come out of your slow cooker fragrant, moist, and super tender. You won’t be able to lift the bird out in once piece. You can try, but I will be there standing over your shoulder, laughing and mocking you. Well, not really, but you will have a fall-off-the-bone chicken that will set you up for a few days of clean eating. If you’re following a clean eating such as the 21 Day Sugar Detox and want to stay on point, cooking a whole chicken while you’re at work is a great plan of action to take.



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spread The Word! It's Contagious.

Three years ago a co-worker introduced me to Crossfit, and within the Crossfit NewEngland Community I was introduced to the Paleo lifestyle.  Like most of my million blog followers, we are crossfitters who have adopted the paleo lifestyle and we've experienced AMAZING physical, mental, and spiritual changes.  We spread the word to our family, friends, co-workers and even strangers because we BELIEVE!  We've EXPERIENCED and WITNESSED the amazing benefits CF and Paleo bring to the human body.

It's truly wicked cool how many people have heard about the Paleo Diet within the past few years.  Even wicker cooler (nice English...haha) is how many people have taken the chance and now adopt the paleo lifestyle.  People have reversed diabetes, eliminated psoriasis, and other autoimmune diseases when eating paleo.  When we finally take the leap of faith and try paleo for a month or so, we realize how much better we look, feel, and perform in the box.  Now we've gone from skeptics to BELIEVERS and onto PREACHERS.

Give Paleo a try.  Shit, people try every other freaking scam they hear and see on how they can loose weight within two weeks by either drinking one shake a day or eating freaking cookies.  Seriously?  People will try that crap and actually pay for it instead of buying and eating REAL food?  Think about it people....paleo = eating REAL food.  Give it a shot for a month.  When you look, feel, and perform better, give me a call and I'll give you a box of paleo books to hand out in your neighborhood.

The more we spread the word, the healthier our community will be mentally, physically, and spiritually.

God Bless,


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Competitive Spirit Within

I decided to zig instead of zag today,  and instead of talking nutrition I want to talk about the importance of the competitive spirit that lies within ALL of our souls.  For those of you who really don't know me, I've been crossfitting for 3 years now and CF has completely changed my life.  Through crossfit I learned a lot about eating healthy, so I began eating the paleo diet since and I've never felt, looked, or performed better in physical fitness.  It safe to say that I am 100% healthier and stronger now at age 38 than when I was playing Division 1 soccer at Boston College at age 18.  NO DOUBT!  Nothing like sharing a quick bio of yourself on a social network, but hey, it's 2012 and I'm going to give you guys a quick pic of Christian Rodriguez prior to crossfit and paleo.

Rewind to September 1991 when Pearl Jam, G-N-R, and Metallica were rocking arenas all over the world!  I was a skinny (135 lbs) soccer player with a killer mullet.  I had played soccer since age 5 and I considered myself to be a really good player until I got to BC.   The talent at BC was pretty insane and I quickly realized I wasn't as good as I thought, but the desire to improve was in me because I LOVED the sport, so I worked at it as hard as I could.  Another fact about me, is that I didn't do so well at high school, so getting into BC was truly a gift from GOD.  To say that I struggled is an understatement!  The first day at school was like me jumping into the Bearing Sea in February with a weighted vest.  I decided to stop playing the one thing I loved in life at the time, so I could hopefully graduate from one of the best Colleges in the country.  After freshman year I had an amazing 1.67 GPA, but I graduated three years later with a 3.2 GPA.  So, what the H double hockey sticks does this have to do with the competitive sprit within?  Bare with me, I'm getting there.  So, from 1992 to 2009 (17 years!) I didn't have any competitive drive in me....NADA!  Yeah, I went onto grad school, got a "real" job, then moved to Miami where I became a police officer for 2 1/2 years, got married and had a beautiful son, well, I didn't have him, she did.  Yeah, I had goals and I accomplished them and I'm proud of that, but I never had that COMPETITIVE drive in me.

Forward to January 2009 - a friend/co-worker of mine introduced me to crossfit.   I did it for a couple of weeks and fell in love with it.  I had never loved and hated something so much as I did with the crossfit wods (workout of the day).  It was so much fun to see with what movements and wods you excelled at and also the ones you didn't.  Since I started 3 years ago I think it's safe to say that I usually score pretty well.  Not great like firebreathers Dave Hammell, Ben Bergeron, Billy Nelson, Derek Mohamad, MDV, James Hobart, Heather Bergeron, Mel Ockerbery, and Scotty "Ralph" Lacerra, but more or less within the top 50% of CFNE members.  Yesterday was the wod that put me at the very bottom of the scores!

Yesterday's wod:  Michael consisted of 3 rounds: 800 meter run, 50 back extensions, 50 abmat sit ups.  I've only heard of some scores from CFNE members, and I think the average was in the early to mid 20 mins and some in the mid teens.  It took me 33:07 to complete that wod.  Yup, 33:07.  That is not a typo. When I told fellow crossfitter friends my score, they were like, "get the F out of here"!  But it's the truth and one of the beautiful things about crossfit, is that you may not be great at everything, but you won't suck at everything either!  I clearly suck at running and back extensions, but just because I suck at it doesn't mean I'm gonna skip the wod or quit.  To the contrary!  I could have easily quit or scaled it down without anyone noticing because I wod alone.  So what kept me going?  Wouldn't it have been easier to quit or scale down.  For sure it would have been easier, but is that what we want to do?  Don't we teach our children NOT to take the easy way out?  Don't we teach our children that the reward of fighting through something until it's completed is priceless?  My competitive spirit within me kept pushing me until I completed that wod no matter how long it took me.  When I finished I felt such joy that I felt the need to tell everyone about my experience.  It felt just as good as any PR or when I've had one of the top scores of the day.

Prior to crossfit I worked out at globo gyms just like most of the you guys and I always found an excuse either not to go, to leave early, or to change my workout because someone else was using that particular machine.  I NEVER had a competitive spirit at the globo gyms.  NEVER.  Today, I'm just like all of you guys.  We wake up, go to work, do whatever we need to do to care for our kids or ourselves, and then get ready to do it all again the next day.  Same underwear different stain.  But for me and other crossfitters, we get an hour each day to be a competitor.  For that hour you're a gladiator, a ninja, a superhero or whateva!  You're competing against YOU and that competitive fire within your soul rejuvenates you more than you ever thought it could.  At the end of the wod you're wasted.  You're like a fish out of water desperately waiting to breathe and being able to focus.  You're absolutely spent, yet you've never felt BETTER!  Part of that "great" feeling is not only the output of energy you just gave, but the satisfaction of giving it 100% and igniting that competitive spirit you've kept locked up inside yourself.  Some of you may be thinking to yourselves, I've never had a competitive fiber in my body.  But you do!  You just haven't exposed it yet.  Please don't think that crossfitter looks like the characters in the movie 300 or are all x-college athletes, because that is not true!  Crossfitters come from ALL walks of life.  Some are x-college athletes, some are already in good or great shape, and many are just walking into a box (term for gym) for the first time in over 15 years.  Crossfit is NOT a one size fits all program.  It's for EVERYONE!

Ignite that competitive spirit that is desperately wanting to come out in you!  The competitive spirit will not only make you feel better physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.

Get to a crossfit box near you today!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Breakfast Choices

Good morning everyone!  What an amazing day here in New England!  Today I'm going to give you all some quick, creative, and delicious breakfast options.  I love eggs and making omelets like the rest of you, but not only does it get old, but we need VARIETY with our breakfast options.  Now this can present a problem for us paleo people, especially newbies to the paleo lifestyle, because we've eliminated the old "western" diet breakfast options such as:  cereal, dairy products (yogurt, milk), bagels, breads, and any other gluten-gut irritator.  So us paleo maniacs need to be creative to come up with tasty breakfast options.

One thing we can do besides eating EGGS, is to have left overs from dinner the night before.  Yes, dinner for breakfast.  We love having breakfast for dinner, so why is it hard to think of reversing it?  Try it! For example, this morning I had left over salmon and picadillo (A Cuban dish of grounded grass fed beef with veggies) for my protein.  Then I made a carb/fat smoothie consisting of 1 entire bag of kale, 6 oz of organic blueberries and 2 cans of coconut milk.  Now I didn't drink this entire concoction.  I had 12 oz of it with my breakfast.  So I balanced my breakfast with all 3 macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) and it didn't include eggs!

Here are some quick options for when you don't have time to make breakfast in the morning or you're someone who goes to the gym in the morning before work and you don't have time to cook breakfast.

1.  Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  Take a muffin pan and lather coconut oil or olive oil in each muffin spot.  Then place whatever you want inside.  For example, we sometimes put red peppers, bacon, tomatoes, spinach, kale, onions and cheese for the kids.  Then beat 1 egg for each muffin spot and poor the beaten egg over whatever you put in the muffin spot.  Repeat until each muffin spot is filled with egg and paleo stuff.   Once oven reaches temp put muffin sheet in for roughly 25-30 mins.  Keep an eye on them after 20 mins because some ovens cook quicker.  They should be puffy and ready by 30 mins.  Now you have 12 egg muffins that can be ready on the go, re-heated, or eaten right then and there after being cooked!  They are so good and kids LOVE them, especially with a "little" cheese.  Each muffin has one egg which equals 1 block of protein for those who do the zone diet.

2.  Smooties are such an awesome way to get all 3 macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) when time is NOT on your side.  Toss 2-3 eggs, some greens, coconut milk with some ice and blend away!  If you're not ready to down some greens early in the morning, then toss some blueberries, raspberries, bananas, apple or whatever fruit you like.  There's nothing like a smoothie right before work!

These are just two ideas to help you guys NOT to skip breakfast.  Studies have shown that when we consume a healthy portion of protein in the morning, we are less likely to have cravings for complex/crappy carbs throughout the day.  If you're able to eat a healthy (all macronutrients) breakfast, then you should be able to make it to lunch without being hungry.  I realize I'm rambling about multiple topics here, but my editor has taken up a new job at Crossfit NewEngland (fittest Crossfit Box in the Da' WORLD), so I'm on my own here.

So, basically what I'm trying to say is, you don't have to eat "breakfast" foods for breakfast.  I'm sure our ancestors didn't pass up some meat to eat because the sun just came up, so why should we?  Be creative! The more variety we have in our daily lives the less likely "things" will appear to be "boring" or "old" and we'll be able to wake up everyday feeling better, looking better, and performing daily tasks with ENERGY!

Have a great day!