Fitness Over 40

Day 2: 21 Shred Wrap Up

First complete day of a 16 hour fast, followed by a workout in which I could barely move in the beginning.  Legs are very sore, which was anticipated, and within a few minutes had the blood flowing and reduced the soreness by about 70%.  Allowed me to at least complete my workout, and to help with recovery, I took out the jump lunges and lunges with side laterals and replaced with a plank dumbbell row and a shoulder complex movement.

Once 11am hit this morning, my first veggie smoothie tasted better than just about anything I can remember.  Here was my diet intake for the day:

  • 11am: parsley, chia seed, 1/2 banana, blueberries, 2 scoops vegan protein powder
  • 1pm ish:  almonds and apple
  • 3ish:  baja salad mixed with quinoa and brown rice blend
  • 5ish:  beet powder, and supplements recharge
  • 7pm:  grilled swordfish over spinach, avocado, tomato

Will finish with my fat burning cocktail in about an hour, then off to bed for day 3 to begin!

Health and Happiness!

Fitness Over 40

Day 1 on 21 Shred: In the books

Like anything in life, the excitement of beginning something new helps fuel the motivation and ambition to succeed.  When that “honeymoon” phase wears out, it is what separates the doers and the not-doers.  So completing day 1 was a success, and I am proud of my accomplishment (more the decision to undertake this mental and physical challenge) and I will look to use the accomplishment as more motivation to keep myself going.

Took my son with me in the afternoon to shop for food at the wholesale club and our local farmers market for some organic fresh veggies.  Here was my list:

  • Coconut milk
  • vegan burgers
  • raw almonds
  • vegan vanilla protein powder
  • avocados
  • guacamole
  • wild caught swordfish
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • organic corn
  • organic black beans
  • spaghetti squash
  • turkey
  • bananas
  • spinach

I posted my 21 Shred routine in the previous blog, so this one is dedicated to my “Veg-aleo” approach to my diet yesterday.:  All the times are “-ish”.

  • 11am: fruit and veggie smoothie with almond milk (no pic
  • 12:30: tried a new vegan burger and was impressed!
  • 2pm: handful of raw almonds and apple
  • 4pm: my favorite baja salad over whole sprouted brown rice and quinoa
  • 7pm:  turkey spaghetti in a bowl of spaghetti squash.
  • 9pm: fat burner tonic to cleanse the body

Now that the food intake is complete, nothing will be consumed(except for black coffee in the morning) until 11am the following morning.  Yesterday, I weighed myself at 227, which was about where I expected, but still hard to digest how fat I have gotten.

Definitely was sore this morning from yesterdays day 1 workout.  Wasn’t trying to go easy, but also wasn’t trying to kill myself either.  But no doubt, the glutes and hamstrings are sore, so needed a little more warmup this morning before Day 2 of 21 Shred.

Have an awesome day!  All recipes are posted on our private facebook page.  Register now at www.whatsyour21.com and use coupon code 21Shred for 50% off for a limited time.

Fitness Over 40

Tomorrow: My life changes forever!

It has really been a mental warm up to get to this point, but I am ready for the challenge, and more importantly, the change.  Tomorrow morning will be my first day on my 21 Shred challenge, which is going to test me mentally and physically by going 21 consecutive days performing the 21 Shred workout program, and the 21 day nutrition plan that includes Veg-Aleo and Intermittent Fasting.  Truthfully, that is the easy part for me.  It is also the first time in almost 10 years that I will be refraining from alcohol for that long of a period.  It seems so sad to me to even write that, but it’s true.  But I am doing this for my children, and most importantly, my middle son with special needs, who needs his dad around for a much longer time.  He will be my motivation through this.  No doubt, I am excited, but at the same time, so nervous.  My anxiety has been a challenge to deal with, and the use of alcohol for almost 10 years has created that dependency that will be hard to break.

My hopes are that I will be able to connect with others who are going to be going through similar challenges, and we can all pull together to encourage and motivate one another to create this change that will hopefully be long lasting.  I have been around the block long enough to know that it takes 21 consecutive days to form a new habit, and at the age of 46, teaching this old dog a new trick will be nothing short of a miracle.

Tomorrow morning will be my first of the exercise program, which not having exercised rigorously for over a month, I am going to welcome the challenge.  My objective however, being that I have to do this for 21 consecutive days, I will have to remember to not completely exhaust myself in that I will create soreness that will make day 2 very uncomfortable!  I have my dumbbells, and I have my space cleared out to get this program under way!

This is a call to any out there like me, who have been wanting to overcome either a food or lack of motivation habit, and want to finish the year of 2017 in a stronger and healthier body.  Go to www.whatsyour21.com and consider joining the challenge with me!  The more we get together for support, the better chance of success we will all have!

Cheers to a healthy and happy rest of 2017!

Fitness Over 40

Tackling Monday Like a Champ!

Started the day off with a great workout, and had some wonderful food that nourished my body and mind! A successful day!

My post workout meal, with some Hemp seeds sprinkled on top of peanut butter and banana on Ezekiel toast.


Lunch time smoothie, letting the ground up chia seeds soak in water


Time to add some parsley banana and a carrot into my nutribullet


Afternoon snack was some rolled oats, almond/coconut milk with vegan protein powder


For dinner, after some carrots and hummus snack, had a bowl of my quinoa and rice with green beans and some wild caught swordfish. Oh that was so good!


Here’s to a good day! Onward and upward!

Fitness Over 40

Eat’n Clean Saturday

Had some really fresh and organic foods yesterday that left me satisfied, leveled out the blood sugar so had energy all day and just felt great!

Mid day snack was Ezekiel bread topped with vegan mayonnaise and spinach, sliced tomato (from my garden!) and avocado.  Washed it down with a ice coffee with coconut milk and some stivia


For dinner, I took out my container of my vegan black bean burger and cooked in olive oil. Topped with mixed greens, hummus, and cucumber(from my garden too!) in between two pieces of toasted Ezekiel bread! Cold beer to wash that baby down!

Have a healthy and happy day!

Fitness Over 40

The “Food-Like” Culture

As I write these food related posts, I must begin to explain that I too, like the rest of society, has been sucked in to the culture of “food-like” nutrition that has plagued our American diet.  I spend a lot of time discussing this in my book, since overcoming the addiction of what food manufacturers have created is by far, the biggest obstacle to overcome in the quest for proper health and nutrition.  So what is “food-like” products?  I would probably imagine by now you can read between the lines and figure out it is food that has been converted, processed, refined, artificially flavored, colored, and preserved and put into a very attractive bag or box, celebrity endorsed or just heavily promoted, and typically inexpensive food that sits on the shelves at your local grocery store.  I briefly touched on this in my last post about the meat industry, stating that 100 years ago, there was no such thing as any of the above listed items found in our food.  The introduction of all these chemicals have created a very unhealthy society, and it’s only getting unhealthier.

Unfortunately, as much as these products taste good, our society truly doesn’t understand the magnitude of the food they are consuming.  Again, pointing back to the fact that we have become so detached from our food, that we don’t even question its relevancy anymore to our overall health and well being.  To us, it’s about enjoying the taste, and providing the calories that our body and mind think we need.  I will spell it out right now:  THIS IS NOT FOOD!  I know that the old phrase, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck; it’s probably a duck.  So you think to yourself: “it smells like food, it tastes like food, so it must be food!”  Unfortunately some truth there, but looking further into the industry behind that food sheds light on a completely different picture!  There is a great book by Michael Moss, called “Salt, Sugar, Fat,” which really opens the door to discussing how the food manufacturers are working to create a food so closely to have the same addictive properties as a drug.  By combining those three things into food, and at exact amount in order to create something called a “Bliss Factor” which creates this immediate pleasure to the system that says, “oh yeah! I want more of that!”  It is really funny to think about the idea that these food manufacturers are basically scientists that are in a lab, adding more of this, taking away some of this, adding this, and all in search to get you addicted to their product so that you keep coming back for more.  This is how sad our food system has become, it has pretty much gone away from the farm, and now is built inside a laboratory.

With this much effort put into creating an addictive food product, no wonder it is so hard to try and eat a well balanced and healthy diet! Not to mention, if you are a father like me, having 3 teenage boys who see these commercials and they see their friends bringing it in their lunch bags to school, they ride your coat tails to get some in the house. And of course, in a weak moment, you come home, you are hungry, it will take 30 minutes or so to prepare a healthy meal, so it is so easy to just grab that bag or box and eat a few, and a few more, and some more, and next thing you know, you have consumed the same amount of calories you would have consumed in that healthy meal you were about to prepare. So what do we do?

This was an area I had to discuss about more thoroughly in my book, since the psychology of eating plays a much greater factor in our food choices than simply the nutrition or purpose.  I (at the time of my vegan run) had to daily work on verbally announcing to myself when I saw a bag of something on the shelf or a box of something in the pantry, I had to tell myself, “that is not food!”  and I would have to search my house for something that nature had provided me, not the laboratory.  Simply put, the only thing I would allow myself to eat would be a food item where the ingredient, was the ingredient!  Make sense?  It had to in its natural form, a piece of fruit, vegetable, or something else that grew out of the earth, but not in a processed form!  If there were more ingredients than the ingredient, it was off limits!

This little activity actually began to give me power.  Sounds funny, but having the strength to say no to artificial food-like food and yes to something natural, even though I would go through periods of feeling hungry, this sense of inner strength made me proud of my decision and each time, it became easier and easier.

Try practicing this activity, and I promise you will begin to see improvements in your health and energy levels!

Fitness Over 40

Vegan Black Bean Burgers

If there is one thing I learned from being Vegan for over a year, it is how to make some pretty awesome tasting non-meat food.  I came up with this recipe through trial and error, but even my youngest son loves these!  Any vegan will say the hardest thing about eating Vegan, is being able to make patties that actually stick together.  I learned that grabbing a box of Falafal mix helps a considerable amount.  In a pinch, I also learned rolled oats works well too.

What I use:

  • 1 can black beans rinsed
  • handful of parsley
  • 1/2 zuchinni
  • 1-2 spring onions
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 package of falafel mix

The key is to do the Cuisinart in stages so that it gets everything well shredded up.  Also, since the zucchini and  carrot have a high water content, I shred them separately and fold them into the mix.  I forgot to add 2 cloves of garlic, so I had to use garlic powder. I cooked in some olive oil and served with sliced tomato and avocado over some spinach.  My seasoning is:

  • Chili powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • cayenne red pepper powder
Fitness Over 40

What the beef?

It is certain if there is a topic that get’s people talking besides politics, it’s about food.  And why not, it brings so much pleasure to our lives.  However, the unfortunate reality of it all, is that we enjoy it so much, but appreciate it so little.  Not in the pleasure aspect, but to consider how far we have come in the access to food, that we take it so much for granted.  Our bodies are actually designed to release certain hormones and slow down our body processing systems in order to prevent starvation.  You understand that the only reason our bodies do this was the evolution of our existence having to ward off starvation?  And the saddest of it all, is that when we have such an abundance, there are still people in this world starving.  To show how detached we’ve become to our food, just look at the example that we as a country, nation, world (if the shoe fits..), have actual contests on how much of a food item we can eat in a specific duration of time.  Sorry folks, but that to me is just plain disgusting in all forms.

When I made the decision to go Vegan for a year, it truly opened my eyes to the wonders of food.  It brought me a oneness with the food system, in that, I mean it helped me truly understand the beauty in food, and appreciation of it.  It motivated me to begin my own garden (which has grown to 3 now) and take pleasure in the cultivating and nurturing (yes, I said nurturing) of your own food.  As part of my Vegan diet, I eliminated all processed and refined food which made me realize how desensitized we have become to the natural tastes of food.  I was amazed how growing up, I had always disliked the taste of peppers, tomatoes, spinach to name a few, and the reinvention of my taste buds allowed me to grab a orange or yellow pepper and just eat it like an apple.  I can remember how shocked I was that it tasted so good!

The purpose of this post is not to convert anyone, however if you truly care about your body and the earth we live on, it is time to wake up and take accountability for what you put into your body.  I am speaking to myself as well here.  That being said, I will call our society out and say that why in the hell do we feel that our bodies require to have meat all meals of the day?  Most people will answer we need protein.  True, but let’s look at our society more closely.  According to the CDC, 2/3 of our population is overweight.  Do we really need that much protein to sit at a desk all day, and maybe, on a good week, we walk a few miles?  Protein is an essential part of existence, it rebuilds the cells that have been destroyed or damaged and allows your body to keep repairing itself.  But animal protein also has dietary cholesterol, which is fact that as humans, we need cholesterol for hormone regulation, but do your realize that humans produce their own, and even without dietary cholesterol, we produce enough to maintain homeostasis.  Practically all dietary cholesterol just simply gets stored along our arterial walls, or our body is able to dispose of some.  Wonder why the leading cause of death in our country is Cardiovascular disease?  It’s not a lack of animal protein that is for sure.  What’s even better, vegetables have protein too! ( I discuss the amino acid profile in my book)

Animal protein does however, provide some essential nutrients that are abundant to help with body processes: Vitamin B12 is found in animal protein (dairy, eggs too) and B12 has been shown to help cognitive development and brain activity.  This ongoing conflict I developed during my Vegan days, led me to how I viewed the human was designed to eat.  This lead to “Veg-Aleo” which I describe about in my eBook.  I truly believe that if we are to become healthier as humans, we must learn and adopt a diet that is consistent with how our bodies are designed to eat.  100 years ago, there was no fast food, there were no bags of potato chips.  Especially, there was no Genetically Modified Food, no chemical preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors.  You realize that these are chemicals right?  Even if you decide to eat less, they are being fed to the animals that you then consume.  So either way, you may not grab that bag of processed food, but that burger you consume ate the chemicals you are attempting to stay away from.

Here is the thing as I try to wrap up my thoughts(this is why food and nutrition is about 70% of my book!), we as humans have destroyed the food system.  Big business has made us believe that we need pork for breakfast, processed meat for lunch, and a cow slab for dinner.  As I was stating earlier about be removed from our food, if people actually gave thought and researched how the food got to your table, I believe our society would do an about face.  You may be saying, “I don’t care, I just want to eat it!”  And that’s your prerogative,  it will be your health you have to deal with later on in life.  So let’s look at that typical day of eating.  That breakfast sausage or bacon is part of 23 billion pounds produced annually (according to World Health Organization).  You don’t have to look far on the internet to see that pigs are not out tramping around in the mud and running through field, but raised in metal cages, along sick and diseased ridden pigs, lying in their own feces, until time to be slaughtered.  Pigs produce 10x the amount of waste that humans produce and if you ever see the waste pools outside of pig farms, you might not want to eat pork again.  Lunch time and its a ham sandwich or turkey lunch meat.  Well, according to the WHO again, a serving of lunch meat is ranked as the same level of a carcinogen as a cigarette.  And that is 5.8 billion pounds of it our country produces annually.  At least there is that juicy steak at the end of the day to reward us for a job well done to provide for our family.  Much like those pigs, they don’t walk around in fields and eat grass!  Our system is feeding them tons of steroids to make them grow really fast, feed them all sorts of chemicals and unhealthy feed, and get them to your plate as fast as possible.  Not too mention, most of the time people are getting 1 or 2 meals from fast food chains, which are the largest buyers of beef in our country.   Adds up to 33 million cattle per year to supply us.  Maybe this is a little rant on my part, it just frustrates me on how detached we as a society have become from the food we eat and the result is a unhealthy country and it comes back to us all in medical costs and insurance premiums.  I am not saying somebody should become Vegan and not consume meat products, but I bet if we learned how to minimize our meat consumption, meat packing industries would probably be able to have cleaner facilities, healthier animals, and as a result, the meat on our table would do what it was intended to do thousands and thousands (keep going) of years ago.

To the Native Americans who still practice the sacrificial component of killing their animal for food, I respect and admire you.  You give thanks to the animal, you understand it had a purpose and to feed your family is a blessing.  You don’t discard anything that is not prime meat, you utilize the animal in all aspects to show your appreciation for giving its life.  We has US citizens don’t have to go to this extreme (unless we keep destroying our land) but watching a few documentaries on the food industry or researching about health and disease might open your eyes to the direction we as a society are heading very fast!

Be well my friends!

Fitness Over 40

Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan? Which is best?

I love food and nutrition.  I almost went back to school to receive my nutrition degree, but I believed at the time preparing my son for college was more important.  I didn’t think that having that degree would significantly advance my career.  But during my time teaching college, I would teach a basic nutrition course for my students, and we always enjoyed learning about the “popular diets” and eating styles that people engage in, all looking for that “secret” to better health.  Let’s look at a few of the most popular ones:

  • Vegetarian: no meat products, but will eat byproducts of those such as eggs and dairy.
  • Vegan: Absolutely no meat or meat related products.
  • Paleo: Eat as first humans ate, just from the land.  Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and meat.

There are plenty of other diets that fall into the category of “fad” diet, so I would like to focus on these and lead into how Veg-aleo came into play.  Looking at that list, if you had to choose which one our body was most conditioned to follow from a basic human nature standpoint, which would you choose?  I hope you said Paleo, since for millions of years until up to the last almost 100 years; the human being only was able to eat what the land provided.  There was no such thing as a cookie (in today’s terms at least) a thousand years ago.  So it is logical to think that we are conditioned to eat in a certain way, it is in our DNA, and it is how the human evolved into our current state.  Now, advancement and the current evolving of our society is going to change, there is no doubt about that.  However, it cannot be argued that we are in the unhealthiest of states we’ve ever been and it just gets worse every year.  The food we eat becomes more and more processed (looking for that bliss factor), and we become more sedentary as a society, putting everything within our finger tips reach.  My point is that this has just occurred over the last 100 years, and it’s only getting more advanced by the minute.  But the hundreds of thousands of years before that, the human being did not eat foods that were filled with artificial ingredients and chemicals.  This has become a shock to the body, and the only way the body can react is to become sick and unhealthy.

For me personally, I believe you cannot go wrong consuming as many fruits and vegetables in a day as you can tolerate.  Most people don’t realize that by consuming more fruits and vegetables, you will fill up the stomach much faster than processed foods and fats.  I love this diagram:

veggies-oils-fats-1024x576

This is why during the day, I try to keep my cooler filled with a bag of spinach, apple, banana, carrots, strawberry’s, kale and any fresh stuff I can get my hands on.  I keep my nutribullet at work with me, and every few hours, I grind up some chia seeds, let it sit in the water for about 15 minutes, then throw in my fruits and vegetables.  In the afternoon, I also like to add a scoop of vegan protein powder and some branched chain amino acids for muscle repair.

a1

I purchase mine right online from A1supplements.com.  Today I added a handful of organic spinach, about 8 strawberries, teaspoon of ground up chia seeds, a scoop each of Muscle Martini and Vanilla Vegan Protein Powder.  Trust me, add 1 or 2 all fruit and vegetable smoothie into your diet, and you will be surprised how little your blood sugar spikes and crashes, leaving you feeling more satisfied throughout the day.