It's an interesting debate, both can be very beneficial to your health and both can be expensive and inconvenient. With that being said, I've noticed people with meal plans don't normally stick to it as long as they should, I mean let's face it most meal plans can be strict, boring and tasteless. I'm not anti-meal plan I think they're a great start, and they have proven to play a vital role in the lives of those striving for a healthy lifestyle, it is what's out there is the problem. I've seen many meal plans over the years, unfortunately most of them on the surface in my opinion are not that good, and my guess is one of the reasons why people quit after a week or two. However in its defense, if you find the right meal plan it can be a great source of knowledge to understanding how to eat healthy and thus transition into meal planning using the meal plan as a guide toward your good health.
Meal planning on the other hand is easier to incorporate into your daily life. It allows more freedom to pick and choose what you want to eat, to an extent of course. Create more meals in shorter period of time and actual cooking time is reduced down to minutes rather than half an hour to an hour. Also knowing your meals ahead of time is essential to living a successful healthy lifestyle. The downside is when hectic times occur causing you to miss necessary prep times throwing your weekly routine into a tailspin for the week or weeks to come. The upside, it's easier to get back on track once the craziness settle down.
In the end, both meal plans and meal planning are great sources to a healthy lifestyle, and although my preference is meal planning, I'll never forget that if it weren't for a particular strict, boring, tasteless meal plan I endured for twelve weeks I would have never written this book or created this website.
As a trainer I see people come in and do their same workout routines every day and leave. If they should ask for assistance I help by giving them advice about proper techniques for lifting, nutrition, or any other information they may need.
Lately the questions have changed to, "Nothing is working what can I do to improve my work out?" My response is always, "Change your routine and do something different every workout." If you want the results you're searching for, you can't do the same basic routine every day and expect a different outcome. Most often my response is followed by a blank stare and a slight tilt of the head to the right... sometimes they tilt left, but for whatever reason I must admit I do get a kick out of it, I especially enjoy the look on their faces when they have a light bulb moment, because once upon a time I was doing the exact same thing.
Changing your routine can be as simple as:
These are many ways to improve your workouts to make it challenging. Most often, it's usually a tweak here or there, however sometimes you got to shake things up.
See you in the gym.
The number one problem with most people trying to get fit is losing the belly. Some try to walk it away by putting many miles on a treadmill, others do sit ups until the cows come home. The truth is your abs reflect everything you eat and drink. Let me repeat that, the secret to having great abs is all in what you eat, I know it sounds crazy but it's true Abs are made in the kitchen.
You can eat poorly and do 10,000 sit ups and may end up with halfway decent or okay abs and there's no shame in that. Or you can eat 4 to 5 clean meals a day and do 5,000 sit ups and have great abs with more definition in less time. If you are, however overweight it may take a bit more time along with a strict cardio regime to accomplish your goals. Now I say this, because I was driving myself crazy doing endless sit ups until I learned abs are made in the kitchen... and I'm a chef imagine that.
I've been a gym rat since junior high school so I've always had decent abs, not great just decent, and for years I was working my abs on average 5 times a week sometimes every day and I was only able to manage a four pack... a four pack!
When I was in training and eating clean I working abs three times a week, and over the course of 3 months I developed abs I had never seen before. Yeah! I was almost sexy! Of course you still have to work for it, and your results will be determined on how much you really want it. Proper consistent exercise do play a significant role in developing great abs, however the general rule I follow is... "If you don't want the fat, then don't eat the fat. "
Eating the right type of carbs is also beneficial in acquiring a flatter belly. From my experience if you want a flatter stomach slow down on breads, pastas or any flour wheat based products and replace it with rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa or a gluten free carb. Some of you may choose to go without carbs and that's fine, you have the control to slowly implement carbs back into your diet as needed. Keep in mind the more active you are the more carbs you will need for the energy exerted throughout the day.
Calories in to calories out is also a great method if used properly, I'll only add develop good eating habits along with it. It's not always what you eat, it's how you eat it. Keep up the good work and do your best and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Good luck everyone!
Essentials are the foundation to every kitchen. When going to the grocery store we all have a particular group of foods we buy each and every time. Let's say you buy avocados, usually it's prepared a specific way, for instance a guacamole or sliced for a salad or on a sandwich.
Now let's take it a step further and make Avocado Butter, which takes minutes to prepare. It's a healthier alternative to butter and can be used in many ways in numerous dishes.
Avocado Sauce: Heat a little almond milk and a spoon of avocado butter, add a little cayenne and now you have Avocado Sauce. Add more cayenne and it's a Spicy Avocado Sauce.
Avocado Dressing: Place a tablespoon or two in a blender with a little white wine vinegar and blend while drizzling olive oil to a smooth consistency.
Avocado Mashed Potatoes: Potatoes mashed in bowl, a little olive oil, heat and add almond milk, salt and pepper and mix in a desired amount of avocado butter into the almond milk.
I use Avocado Butter in all of my baked potatoes. Simply fluff the inside of the potato make sure you get all the potato on the bottom and the sides or you will be wishing you had later. Drizzle a little olive oil with sea salt and cracked pepper and mix in a desired amount of avocado butter as the base. Most often I'll sauté some chicken or beef with some veggies season well and place in potato and now you have the healthiest, tastiest baked potato you've ever had. Other uses are toppings on meats, fish, tacos, wraps, omelets, use as a spread and as a dip. Whew!
Ladies and Gentlemen... Avocado Butter
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon minced ginger
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 lime juiced ( 2, if lime is not juicy)
light olive oil
In a food processor and blend while slowly adding olive oil till it binds to a smooth consistency and taste. Seal in an airtight container and place in refrigerator for 1 hour before using.
The hundreds of cookbooks I once had are all gone now... every last one. I'm starting from scratch and most of the recipes I acquire will mainly come from my writing and my love to create healthy recipes for all of you.
To tell you the truth, I haven't looked at a cookbook since I threw out the first batch of recipes and started rewriting the book from scratch, and that was in April. I started writing in October of 2015, and almost a year later I find myself in a different city and state the last place where I expected to be... home. The order and place in which I thought everything would happen is completely different and I find myself learning and growing in ways I never imagined.
The way I see food is so different now, and they way I feel about food has definitely changed. I used to create food to show how talented and creative I am, however somewhere along this journey I find it's not about that anymore...
I used to watch quite a few of the cooking shows on the cooking channel, however based on their standards I would never be good enough no matter how talented I may think I am. It didn't last, over time the shows became stale, repetitive and some shows were made out to be a competition or game show with ridiculous ingredients cooked in a hubcap. I've always rebelled against subjective opinions, because that's what it really comes down to is their opinion of what they think of you, your talents and your food, so I stopped watching the shows.
Before I started writing, I pushed and pushed for many years to own a restaurant and have reinvented myself many times over. However, no matter how much I've tried to change the food, it stayed the same... my way of cooking remained the same. During that time I sat down with quite a few millionaire business owners, some were friends others were investors or potential partners and some meetings went well and some did not. I did however learn a few things from sitting a lion's den. One question they all asked me that still rings in my ear today is... What are you bringing to the table?... or... What's your skin in the game? Wow! What an eye opener!
You mean after all these years it came down to how much money I had in my pocket?
Not a vision, not hard word or dedication and certainly not creativity or experience... It came down to money.
At that moment I knew I had reached a dead end. My quest for opening a restaurant was over and cooking was gone forever, everything I had worked for and the sacrifices made when the cooking went away my passion was gone, my life was gone and I was lost.
At that time I didn't know another door was opened and I had already walked through it, and a few years later when I started writing recipes something happened, I felt what I was writing and creating, and it was then cooking took on a whole new meaning.
Thought for Food...
In the beginning I changed the food, molded and created it from a talent perspective to reach an end result that didn't matter what I put in it as long as it tasted great. As chefs it is what we are taught to do.
Now time has passed and the food is molding me. I cook with a deeper sense of purpose and a belief to contribute to something bigger. Change.
I was literally looking at the very bottom of my fridge but I was able to come up with this. If I did not have any essentials this would not be possible. Try it, you will love it!
1 cup quinoa, cooked
3 egg whites, 1 yolk
1 cup baby spinach
2 tablespoons sliced turkey bacon
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2-3 oven drieds, sliced
1/2 cup asparagus, cut
1 teaspoon caramelized onions
1/2 teaspoon toasted coconut
1 tablespoon sliced green onions
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon cilantro, chopped
Heat two pans, in one pan saute turkey bacon for 2 minutes and add onions, mushrooms, asparagus and oven drieds and saute for a few minutes. When hot fold in spinach and season. Add quinoa to the mix and combine, start your eggs add toasted coconut and season. When veggie mix is combined add quinoa and thyme. When eggs are scrambled to your desired consistency fold into quinoa season and top with cilantro. It's really simple and really good. Feel free to add a little chili spice or a roasted jalapeno if you want a little heat.
I was in a hurry, and this is what I came up with some leftover beef, a few spoons of avocado butter, 1 potato, some green beans that needed to be eaten and some chili sauce I made last week. If you must know, it was magnificent...Wow!
7 ounces beef tri tip, cooked medium rare
1 potato, cooked mashed
4 spoons avocado butter
6 ounces fresh green beans
1-2 ounces chili sauce (base)
2 tablespoons almond milk
1-2 teaspoons caramelized onions
light olive oil
Heat a skillet, sauté green beans until they have some color on them, and add caramelized onion to combine. Meanwhile...
Heat a little chili sauce in a small pan, once hot add beef to warm with a little salt and pepper.
Mix in avocado butter in hot mashed potatoes seasoned with almond milk, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper combine thoroughly and plate.
What is your Why? A very good friend of mine asked me that question over twenty years ago. In the beginning I didn't have an answer for him, at least I didn't think it was a good answer.
Back then I was a young aspiring chef in my 20's on the verge of stardom and becoming a mogul restaurant owner. Fast forward to today and my Why is more than just one reason. What I thought wasn't a good answer to the question asked twenty some odd years ago has come to pass and holds true to my beliefs.
My first business plan mission statement was 'Change the way people see food' and although the meaning of that statement has shifted it still holds true today.
My mindset during that time were about my talents, I only wanted to make pretty food that tasted great no matter the consequences. When my health became an issue in my mid 30's as a product of those 'consequences' that mindset faded quickly, and I had to look at food differently to change my reality. It took 10 years before I realized I was the problem, my style of cooking had to change... I had to change. It's not always what you eat, but rather how it's made for you to eat it. And I've since vowed to be part of the solution rather than the problem and show people how to cook simple, tasty meals for a healthy lifestyle.
If my friend were to ask me that question today I would say, "My Why is clear, I want to change the way people see food." Why? Because eating is the most important thing we do for ourselves every day. Why? Because cooking healthy helps keep away issues such as high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease that's why.
We are allowed to have one body in our lifetime... take care of it.
Sorry, I just did not have anything in my fridge. It was a late lunch early dinner scenario and this was all I could scrape up. It was amazing!...as usual. Again, my apologies.
1 cup diced chicken tenders
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 cup sweet potatoes, diced
5-6 ounces asparagus (about 12)
2 tablespoons roasted corn
2 slices turkey bacon, sliced
2 spoons pesto
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon roasted ginger
1 tablespoon thai basil, chopped
Heat two pans, season chicken with salt and pepper. Saute chicken and turkey bacon till cooked and bacon is crisping. Meanwhile, in another pan saute potatoes and asparagus for a minute or two,then add corn and ginger for a few more minutes, mix in quinoa and season and toss in basil at the end. Deglaze chicken with white balsamic vinegar and stir in pesto. Plate quinoa with chicken on top. Enjoy!