Fats:

Nuts, Nut Butters and Seeds:  Walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and pistachios are marvelous foods to snack on.  Keep the portion size small, but in moderation these powerful foods can lower cholesterol, increase fat burning and fill you up quick.  Use almond butter to spread over a piece of fruit or celery (instead of bread) as a power snack.  Nuts are crazy good in the “good fats”, are high in fiber, and are loaded with vitamins.  Have a palm-full every day!

Coconut Oil:  The more I learn about coconut oil the more I like it.  It’s filled with a certain type of medium-chain triglycerides which fights a multitude of bacteria’s and viruses.  It beats the tar out of all kinds of ailments such as strep throat, stomach ulcers and urinary tract infections.  This particular acid in the coconut oil not only tears through all this bacteria, but does it in a way that promotes healthy digestion and keeps the good bacteria intact.  The fatty acids in coconut oil are loaded with antioxidants which fight an amazing number of ailments. 

I love coconut oil because it is an awesome oil to cook with.  It has a really high smoke point (great for high heat cooking) so you can cook with it on an old stove like mine that tends to heat everything up way too much.  Finally, please don’t panic about the saturated fat in coconut oil.  The healthy oils in coconut are NOT what are causing heart disease.  As a matter of fact, it has been shown to have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol because it is NOT the same saturated fat found in a happy meal.  Do yourself a favor and try it!

Olive Oil:  This is an oil that I’m sure most of you are already using and for good reason.  It’s filled with powerful antioxidants and cholesterol fighting fats (by raising the “good” cholesterol and lowering the “bad”).  It’s even been shown to decrease blood pressure, reduce the risk of certain cancers and even helps keep your arteries open wide for better blood flow.  Make sure you’re buying cold-pressed and extra virgin which just means you’re getting the best stuff.

Macadamia Nut Oil:  I first came across this powerful oil in Tim Ferris’s new book, The 4-Hour Body, and then I realized it had a star by it in Jonny Bowden’s, 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth book too, so it must be good!  Macadamia nut oil is even higher in monounsaturated fat than olive oil (monounsaturated is reason olive oil is so good).  Monounsaturated fat is an omega-9 oil that when combined with omega-3 oils is an extremely potent weapon against heart disease and cholesterol (again by lowering LDL and raising HDL).  Macadamia nut oil is also the lowest of the oils in omega-6 which we already get too much of in our Western diet.  For cooking I prefer the taste of this oil as well because it tastes more like butter and has a much higher smoking point.  The only places I’ve found it so far are online and Vitamin Cottage.  I’m sure it’ll be getting more popular here soon, but until then it’s worth going out of your way for.

Fun Foods:

Herbs/Spices:  Get creative here.  This stuff is the spice of life!

Cinnamon:  one of the most powerful spices on the planet.  Put it on everything you can!  Use just the plain ‘ol, cheap cinnamon powder as that’s best.  From controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, providing antioxidants, attacking inflammatory and much more, cinnamon is a miracle powder sitting in your cupboards right now.  If you don’t want it on the foods you’re about to eat, one of our RBC Champs, Paul Enright, recommends a cinnamon capsule that can be taken with meals for all the healthy reasons listed above.  It’s called “Cinsulin” and he picked it up at Costco.

Garlic and Ginger: powerful anti-cholesterol spices!

Note:  While these are the best ones for helping with cholesterol, there are many other powerful spices and herbs that will boost immunity, fight diabetes, cancers and inflammation.  Oregano, turmeric, vinegar and even pepper (among many others) are all good spices for your foods.

 

Fun Foods:

Dark Chocolate:  The flavonoids in cocoa (which is found in other foods like teas, apples and red wine) provides a protective layer in our arteries from toxins and also hampers our blood’s ability to clot.  Preventing our blood to clot is a good thing because that leads to a reduced risk of strokes and heart disease.  The flavanols in dark chocolate (cocoa) also help lower blood pressure.  Dark chocolate is such a super that it made it on a short list of foods that a team of researchers listed in the British Medical Journal.  The foods, if eaten daily, were guesstimated to bring down the risk of heart disease by 75%! Their list:  Fish, wine, vegetables, fruits, nuts, garlic and dark chocolate!  Make sure you buy low sugar and 70% or higher cocoa rating.   

Red Wines:  Dry, red wines are the best choice for when you need a drink.  Keep it to 1-2 small glasses in the evening.  The best choices here are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  My favorite wine is a good Chianti which is a great choice too.  Save the cold beer, margarita or vodka on the rocks for your free day, and definitely keep those in moderation.

 

Beverages: 

As far as beverages go, the RBC program recommends water!  The aim is 50% of your bodyweight in ounces.  You can use some of this water in making teas and green drinks as well.  Teas should be high in antioxidants and use the caffeinated ones just when you really need it.  As for the green drinks, The ROCK sells one of my favorite green drinks.  I’ve tried tons of them but the one by Supreme Greens is the easiest for me to drink.  I actually crave it now and one small container lasts quite a long time.

Workout Beverages:  Peri-workout (before, during and after) drinks that contain some whey protein and simple carbs are a good idea.  If you’ve eaten within the last 2 hours (a good, RBC meal) then you probably don’t need anything before, but a recovery drink after an intense workout is a great idea.  On light workouts or long walks I like to do those fasted (4+ hours of not eating) but for anything intense I feel better with something in me.  Personally, I prefer Karbolyn (a very quick digesting carb) and some simple vanilla whey protein (and I’ll usually throw in a scoop or two of BCAA’s and creatine).  It’s very easy to drink (even after a killer) and gets into your system faster than any other recovery product I know of.  Just give me a shout if you’d like to try a sample and I’ll whip you up one of my special concoctions after a workout anytime! 

That’s it for now.  Leave your favorite fat burning and cholesterol fighting foods below,

Darin

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Ready for some more power foods that kick major butt and increase your health and energy?  Here goes.  Today we’ll focus on proteins. 

Power Protein Sources (my favorites):

Wild Game and Grass Fed Beef:  These meats are low in saturated fats and high in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid which helps reduce fat around the abdomen and has cancer fighting properties along with other health supporting assets).  Also, wild game and grass fed beef are shown to have a much higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids which is crucial in our western world if we’re ever going to return to health.  It would be worth visiting with your doctor if you’re concerned about eating grass fed beef or wild game but this stuff is NOT the saturated fat filled, hormone injected grain fed red meat in a colorful wrapper at the large grocery stores.

Eggs:  Eggs have gotten a bad rap because they have cholesterol in them; however, the essential nutrient choline that is found in eggs actually helps thwart cholesterol and fat build up in the liver (remember, the cleaner your liver is, the better job it does at metabolizing fats…that’s good).  Eggs have all sorts of cancer fighting and health promoting benefits as well.  Sure, the calories can add up and excess calories can lead to fat, which can lead to increased cholesterol but I can’t find anything about having an egg a day being a bad idea.  Also, add some extra egg whites to boost the protein if you like, but stick with at least one whole egg in your omelets (go with cage free and organic and get omega-3 enriched ones if possible. Although the cage free ones will already have extra omega-3’s).

Free Range Chicken and Turkey:  High in protein and essential nutrients; boneless, skinless chicken breast, and lean cuts of turkey can be powerful tools in your fat loss and cholesterol burning toolbox.  The RBC is all about some lean protein and chicken breast does the job well.

Seafood:  Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, halibut, and other fish are an outstanding source of low calorie, omega-3 rich, and nutrient dense foods.  Fish is best consumed in moderation because of its potential for mercury, but it should not be avoided because of its amazing health properties.  Always buy “wild” and avoid “farmed” at all costs for that reason as well.  Canned tuna can also be a good option. Go for the light tuna when possible.  Fish oil supplements should be consumed daily to help increase omega-3’s and these should also be high in purity and potency, which will help with fat loss and cholesterol (the combined totals of the DHA and EPA content in the fish oil capsules should make up 50% or more of the total omega-3 content).

Whey Protein:  It’s amazing how many health food gurus will list whey protein as one of the top favorite foods (out of all foods!  Not just protein related).  Whey is extremely powerful for your immune system because it provides the essential nutrients that help our bodies make glutathione, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants known.  Also, there are a host of protein fractions which boost immune function and power up our disease fighting ability.  Even tumors and high blood pressure have shown to get a whoopin’ by whey protein.  To top it off, whey is low fat, low carb, and low lactose.  If you prefer some carbs or fat with your protein, those can easily be added in.  Finally, whey is probably the easiest digesting of all the protein powders on the market.  I recommend trying to find one that is not filled with artificial flavors and is in the isolate form as well as cold processed (this will ensure the highest quality and purest form of whey available).

Greek Yogurt:  My brother-in-law first turned me on to Greek yogurt a little over a year ago and I was amazed.  Greek yogurt provides a strong 20+ grams of protein while being fat free and low carb.  Do check the label though because many Greek yogurts have added sweeteners.  I add a handful of berries and a half scoop or so of whey to mine to have a balanced meal that is high fiber (the berries), high in phytonutrients (also the berries), high in protein (the yogurt and whey) and high in probiotics (the yogurt) and low in fat.  Also, Greek yogurt is great added into a smoothie for some extra bulk and protein.  I’m not crazy about the taste when it’s all by itself, but with the whey and berries it makes a great meal that I enjoy.

Ok gang.  Conquer today!  Reread “part 1” of this article if you need reminded of the most important foods to fill your day with and shoot me any questions or comments below.  Also, stay tuned for part 3 where we’ll go into healthy fats, spices and fun foods for optimal health!

Until next time,

Darin

I was discussing with a friend on how to attack his cholesterol through nutritional strategies and I started thinking of all the tips over the years that I’ve picked up on this topic. As I started rattling off foods and ideas it dawned on me that I was recommending the RBC program.
Once you have a powerful grip on the RBC lifestyle, I believe you’ll also have your best foot forward in the fight against “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and in boosting your “good cholesterol” (HDL). Also, I believe this to be one of the healthiest and highest fat burning ways to eat…so let’s get started.

First things first: eat clean foods in their natural state. This means that most of your diet should come from foods that look just like they did when they grew out of (or into) the earth. If all you did to fight fat and cholesterol was to focus on having a majority of everything you eat be a plant based food (plants meet this rule obviously better than any other foods) then you’d have an awesome game plan.

Let’s focus on some of the powerful fat fighting/cholesterol attacking foods:

Carbohydrates

Can carbs lower fat and cholesterol? You bet! Here’s another area where we’ve just gone wrong as a society. First fat was evil and bad, and then it was carbs. Well, I hope you’re still not living in that darkness. Just like fats, carbs are very important for a healthy diet and a crucial part of the RBC; however, the type of carbs you eat is what really matters. The RBC does not recommend a “low carb diet” but rather a “slow carb diet.” What this means is focus on foods that digest slowly.  How do you know if a carb digests slowly without doing research on everything you eat? Think FIBER (fiber is a carbohydrate)!

That’s right; high fiber foods are the best. If it has lots of fiber and is low in sugar then that fiber will slow the digestion of the carbs and help your body avoid insulin and blood sugar spikes (and crashes).  High fiber foods are ones that usually take a while to chew up, therefore giving us a chance to realize we’re full (good for fat loss) and fiber, soluble especially, has been shown over and over as a cholesterol fighting champion. Also, high fiber foods that are “live” such as vegetables are usually our best source.  If most our diet came from vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts and some whole grains we’d be doing awesome.

A few plant based foods have gotten a bad image over the years it seems, but while I hear things about certain fruits and vegetables being bad for this or that, it’s amazing how simple sugars, artificial sweeteners, and highly processed foods still keep sneaking their way into our diets.  My friend was eating a “healthy breakfast smart bar” every morning.  When I looked at the label, I couldn’t find hardly one thing on there that I knew what it was. The stuff I did recognize were bad fats, simple sugars, a low fiber content and yet because it only had a couple hundred calories and said “smart and healthy” on the label, he fell for it. All of that processed crap is way worse than any piece of fruit or vegetable.
With that being said, here are some of the big dawgs in the fiber arena (best for fat loss and cholesterol lowering):

Vegetables:  There are just too many to list!  A diet consisting of a variety of colorful veggies is one that increases fiber, fullness and health.  This leads to more energy, less bodyfat and lower cholesterol.  Everything from kale, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes and romaine make for a powerful serving of fiber and health.  If you’re not sure if you should eat it but it’s a vegetable, you’re probably fine!  This list could go on for quite a while.  Buy organic whenever possible.

If you’ve struggled getting veggies into your diet, start small.  Try getting a big head of romaine or spinach and just get through that one bushel through out the week.  Over time, add more variety and color.  The more the better here and portion sizes are not important when it comes to non-starchy veggies.  With vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams, just stick to the size of your fist for a serving.

Beans:  You can’t go wrong having some of these in every meal you can.  (This includes all kinds of beans, chickpeas and lentils.)  Beans have more potassium than bananas, have a decent portion of protein, are loaded with vitamins and fiber, and to top it off, they’re cheap. So eat some beans for every meal. They really are the magical fruit!

Fruits:  For cholesterol and blood sugar reasons some fruits may be better than others and (once again) they’re all better than processed carbs, but here are some of the heavy hitters:
     Berries (snack on these and add them to your raw milk or Greek yogurt; high in fiber; make sure to try and get organic with these whenever possible as they tend to be a big sponge with pesticides)
     Guava (powerful antioxidants and great source of fiber)
     Cherries (Eat these post workout or for dessert as a special treat that is delicious and crazy healthy; also best when organic)
     Kiwi (works like aspirin as a blood thinner and has twice as much vitamin C as oranges)
     Avocados (more potassium than bananas, high in healthy/essential fats and they help block cholesterol)
     Apples, grapes, grapefruit, dates, coconuts, and on and on…

Note:  For blood sugar, insulin and/or diabetes concerns just eat these in moderation and check out the glycemic load of your favorite fruits to see if you should avoid them or not.  And yes, fruits have sugar, so don’t sit around slamming fistfuls of grapes and oranges all day, but instead, enjoy as a snack between meals or a small serving with some Greek yogurt to fix a sweet tooth.

Whole Grains and Live Grain:  Quinoa (have you tried this yet?), Oatmeal and Brown Rice (in moderation) are best.  Also, for a great live food that falls in this grain category, try sprouted grains.  In the freezer section of your health food store you can find sprouted whole grain breads and tortillas.  These are minimally processed, are loaded with nutrition and are high in fiber and very low in sugar.  Do stick to proper serving sizes on all whole grains and live grains.

Make sure to avoid “quick” oats and rice as these are junk.  If they cook fast then they metabolize fast (remember: sloooow carbs, ok!).  Most breads, pastas and white colored carbs are NOT part of the RBC program because of their glycemic load (rise in blood sugar and insulin) and this is true with “whole wheat” bread vs. white bread, almost all cereals, and even brown rice vs. white rice (hence why even brown rice should be used in moderation). Processed breads, pastas, and cereals will never have any comparison to that of non-starchy vegetables when it comes to low calorie, high fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Within the grain category, the RBC program recommends a fist size serving because while the above listed foods are great for you, the calories can still add up, but that doesn’t mean to avoid them.  A cup of oatmeal every day can go quite a ways at filling you up and hammering on some bad (LDL) cholesterol at the same time.  These foods tend to do better for people earlier in the day, as you’ll be needing the energy they provide, but start cutting back on them in the afternoon. By the time an afternoon or evening workout comes around you’ll have the energy you need in your system from the carbs you ate earlier, and by bedtime it’s not like you need a whole lot of energy to sleep, so stay away from them at that time.

Finally, if you really can’t go without a bowl of cereal or a slice of bread, shoot for low sugar and high fiber (again).  Here’s a generic rule we shoot for in our house when it comes to things in boxes and bags: at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.  An occasional slice of toast or high fiber cereal is much better than you denying all your cravings and ending up at Dairy Queen in the middle of the night.  I’ve never done that, but I’ve heard of people who have ;-).  Also, as these carbs are a little quicker in their digestion, so shoot for one of these (if you must) right before or after a workout as they can be used as quick energy and/or recovery. …stick to portion sizes and do NOT rely on these for your main source of energy/carbs.  The high fiber, live foods listed above do a much better job and provide much better nutrition too.

That’s it for today.  Tune in next time for Part 2 where we’ll focus on proteins, fats and other fun foods!

Lately, I’ve been visiting with a friend on some tips for lowering his cholesterol. He wants to take a swing at seeing how much he can bring down his number (which is astronomically high) without getting on any drugs. I told him that the first thing he needed to do was listen to his doctor and make sure he was taking his/her advice, and if he didn’t like it to get another opinion but to only take what I say with a grain of salt (or, let’s make pepper instead).

My first TRAINING advice was heavy lifting. He’s got some extra bodyfat he needs to get rid of and lifting weights is the fastest way to transform one’s body (apart from proper dieting). When people’s bodyfat goes down often their cholesterol does too…so he’s lifting heavy 3 days per week. Check.

Next, I told him to avoid long, drawn out bouts of “cardio” and instead, take the dog for some brisk walks every day (20-40 minutes, 5+ days/week) and on his non lifting days to hit some Super High Intensity Training (aka: SHI Training 😉 ) in the form of bodyweight exercises (martial arts moves, burpiees, bear crawls, sprints, jumping jacks, agility drills, plyometrics and other movements that are just plain hard!). He’s doing that 2-3 days per week (more is not better here). Check.

I told him that these workouts could take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes (40 tops) and that “how long” was not as important as “how hard”…that he should be pushing himself to the limit but keeping them short and sweet so he can get on with the rest of his life and give time to recover as well. I think he’s figuring this out slowly but surely. Check.

Finally, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, were big changes in his diet. He had some major areas to improve in here and sense his numbers were so high he is VERY motivated. I really kicked his butt when it came to the stuff he’s stuffing his face with and I think he’s slowly getting his mind wrapped around his new (and mandatory) way of eating.

I’ll share with you the tips on how I’m getting him to eat in tomorrows post. Until then, let me know how you TRAIN to keep your cholesterol numbers in check! (Don’t worry, you can share with me your nutrition tips TOMORROW!)

Train Hard,
Darin

A tip of the ol’ hat

Posted: January 24, 2011 in Results

Watching the rodeo this past weekend I was moved at the humbleness of most the cowboys.

No matter if they just had the best ropin’ and ridin’ of the whole night or just got bucked off the bull in the first second, you couldn’t tell from their body language whether they had won or lost. It wasn’t a showboat attitude or an attitude of defeat. (Can you imagine if pro football was like that). They simply walked off the dirt, occasionally stopping very briefly to tip their hat at the crowd, or point up to the Heavens as if thanking God for blessing them with another safe ride.

Also, I felt that each and every one of them ‘er cowboys gave a level 10 effort…even when it was apparent that there was no way they were going to beat a certain time (like in calf tie up event, whatever it’s called). It was as if they just didn’t care what the final score was. What mattered to them (at least in my eyes) was that they were doing what they loved and they did it with everything they had.

The event inspired me somehow…even today, I’m inspired today to give it a level 10. That does NOT mean perfection. I just want to focus on the things that matter most today: God, wife, kids, teaching martial arts, connecting with some friends, working out, and eating in a way that empowers me…I want to be my best for God and my family today because I love them. I want God to be glorified somehow in my life today. I want my wife to know I love her. I want my kids to feel pursued and desired by me because of my actions and attitude toward them.

Anyone wanna join in? …you know, in giving a level 10 today. I’ll figure out tomorrow when I get there as today has enough to worry about in itself. I want to get to the end of the day and be able to point upward and say “thanks” to God who watches after me. I want to tip my hat (so to speak) at my wife and kids and give them a little grin knowing I did my best for them…cause I love ’em, like a cowboy loves his rodeo.

Thanks for reading,
Darin

Yo’ Adrian

Posted: January 19, 2011 in Results

“Yo’ Adrian, I did it”

Rocky Balboa hollered these words as he stood victoriously in the ring awaiting the embrace of his girlfriend (soon to be wife) in Rocky I.

…actually, he didn’t even win the decision (on the judges scorecard) in the 15 round grueling match up against the current champ, Apollo Creed, but he did make it the entire 15 rounds and that was his goal!

(Did you even know he didn’t “win” that fight? Probably not, because we were all so excited to see him make it the distance with the champ, it was an emotional charge! In our eyes, and his own, he did “WIN”).

He won because he finished. He did something he’d never done before and had the HEART OF A CHAMPION. He was committed to going the distance.

(If you can carve out a few minutes, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywuse55qU2A…the story of Sylvestor Stallone is even more inspiring than the ROCKY movie itself…I LOVE this! …and hearing Tony Robbins tell it is even better.)

Right now, I want you to commit to going the distance. That does NOT mean perfection by any means. Rocky got hit…a bunch!…but he never quit, and when he got knocked down, he got back up. (As did Sylvestor in the youtube video story above…you gotta check it out).

And when you’ve fallen so hard it seems too hard to get back up, remember “your” Adrian…that someone special that just thinking of them gives you an extra ‘umph to your day and your focus.

You are worth it. Your loved ones are worth it too. Make today an awesome day. Make decisions that help you and them.

To Becoming ROCK SOLID,
Darin