Friday, January 22, 2016

Strength & Health TV - Episode 25: Eating Plants to Gain 20lbs. of Muscle.

In this week's episode I talk about the ridiculous idea that you can't gain muscle and strength eating a plant-based diet, and how my friend Stic from the hip hop duo Dead Prez proved it.

Together with his wife Afya, we put together a training and nutrition plan that helped Stic accomplish his goal of gaining 20 lbs. of mass on a 100% whole-food, plant-based, and supplement-free diet.

The project became the book, "Eat Plants, Lift Iron" which is divided into 3 sections - Stic's personal narrative, Afya's nutrition and recipes, and my training plan.

If you'd like to grab a copy of the book, click here. 

Stay Strong AND Healthy,


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Strength and Health TV: Episode 24: Deconstructing the Deadlift.

In this week's episode we are looking at my favorite barbell lift, the deadlift.

While one of the most simplistic lifts, there are a few key technical points, that when addressed, can add more plates to the barbell quickly.

In this video we look at both the conventional and sumo deadlift, cover proper set up and lifting technique, why you need to pull the bar back and not up, and address common mistakes.

I also talk about how to "wedge" youself between the bar and ground to increase tension and power at the beginning of the lift and to hopefully get more out of the pull.

Stay Strong AND Healthy,


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Fast Food the Healthy Way!

Without a doubt Mother Nature does a much better job at creating fast food meals than McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, Burger King and all the rest of the drive-through joints out there.

One of my favorite meals is simply to take a couple of minutes and blend up a greens and fruit based smoothie and eat a couple more pieces of fruit on the side. 

If you're like me and a big fan of Dr. Michael Greger and his "daily dozen" that he presents in his amazing new book, "How Not to Die", this meal knocks out all of his daily recommendations for berries, other fruit, cruciferous vegetables, greens, flax seeds, spices, and one of the five recommendations of beverages all in one nutrient dense meal. That's 39% of his recommended daily dozen and this meal requires less than 5 minutes of prep time.

I just finished Dr. Greger's book and cannot recommend it highly enough! Click here to get your copy now!
What blows me away is that I have actually had people tell me this fast food meal that I eat daily is way too low in protein, way too high in sugar and will likely contribute to weak teeth and Type 2 diabetes. Are you freaking kidding me? This meal is low in calories, incredibly nutrient dense, and contains more fiber than most people I know get in an entire day. Plus there is plenty of research out there that indicates whole, plant-based foods such as this contribute to Type 2 diabetes prevention, along with many other chronic diseases.

This meal pictured here is a lot of food and keeps me full for quite some time.

The smoothie is:

  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 cup of mixed berries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 4 cups of mixed greens (chard, spinach, kale)
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seeds (flax meal)
  • 1/4" of fresh turmeric root
I add in a couple pieces of fresh fruit to eat on the side, in this case an orange and apple, and that's it, literally less than 5 minutes prep time.

Let's see how my favorite fast food meal stacks up against what I've been told is a "healthy" option from one of the major players in the fast food industry.

My choice contains 465 calories, 23 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein. Whereas a grilled chicken sandwich and side salad from the popular chain restaurant contains 385 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of protein. That's at a quick glance without even looking at things like fat / saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc. Plus I think it's pretty safe to say that my choice is loaded with way more health promoting phytonutrients as well.

Eating healthy does not have to be expensive or require a lot of preparation. Stick with whole food staples like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds and minimize the amount of processed foods you eat, and don't beat yourself up about the occasional indulgence (I sure don't). 

It really can't be more simple than that!

Stay Strong AND Healthy!