I’ve gotten a lot of response on the superfoods, mainly how to actually consume them. Here’s how I work those top 4 into my daily diet:
Goji Berries- I’ll generally have a handful to start my day but if you want something more entertaining you can mix them in greek yogurt, oatmeal, or on a salad kinda like cranberries.
Spirulina- This one is tough because the powder is very clingy and gooey when it gets wet, I just blend it up in protein shakes. Sometimes I’ll mix it in oatmeal, if you do this you’ll want to make sure you have some honey and fruit for taste because the spirulina is an algae and can have a moldy taste. Some of you may prefer the tabs/pill form which they say is just as effective but you have to be careful that they weren’t made with some kind of agent to hold them together.
Cacao- I love mixing this is with oatmeal, gives it a chocolate taste. Again, add some honey or fruit if you want a little more flavor value. I’ll also blend the powder into protein shakes/smoothies.
Bee Pollen- I’ll just take this straight to the face, I like the taste and eat mine about 30 minutes before a workout. It can be rough on the stomach when you’re first getting used to it so some of you may prefer mixing it in oatmeal, greek yogurt, smoothie, or sprinkling it on top of a salad.
Superfood Green Monster: If you want to get it all in one meal try this concoction I came up with, I like to use it for a post-workout meal.
Stir in Spirulina and Cacao and a scoop of whey protein with steel-cut oats and top with goji berries and bee pollen. You’ll want to flavor it with some honey also (to mask the taste of the spirulina). It looks like slop they might serve in prison but it actually tastes really good and is perfect for helping your body recover from a tough bout at the gym.
In terms of amounts for these superfoods many of you will reap the healthy benefits by following the serving sizes on the package. If you’re training at a very high intensity level then you’ll see better strength and endurance gains from increased amounts of bee pollen and spirulina. I take 30g of spirulina and 1/2 cup of bee pollen per day, the goji berries I keep to an ounce and Cacoa 2.5tbsp like it recommends on the package.
I’ve become a huge believer in the power of superfoods. I’ve been taking them daily for just over 3 months and the effects are like nothing I’ve experienced with any other types of nutrition or supplements. My energy levels are ten times higher, my strength has increased nearly double, and my overall mood and mind are constantly positive and excited. Here are my top 4 superfoods, even if you just consistently get one or two worked into your daily intake it’ll be a huge benefit to your training and longevity:
Spirulina contains an amazing array of essential nutrients for our bodies. Not only does it contain over 60% complete protein (almost three times as much as that found in beef!), it has high concentrations of many other important vitamins and minerals, such as B complex vitamins, vitamin E, carotenoids, iodine, iron, manganese, zinc, essential fatty acids such as gamma linolenic acid (which is only otherwise found in mother’s milk), and more beta carotene than you can find in carrots! Spirulina is also one of the few plant sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for healthy nerves and tissues.
Studies suggest that Spirulina can help stimulate the immune system, increasing production of antibodies, and promoting a healthy response to allergens. It may also help reverse age-related declines in memory and learning, have thyroid protective properties, help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and promote the formation and development of red blood cells. Spirulina has also been shown to promote the growth of probiotics, which can help maintain intestinal health.
With over 15% protein, 21 essential minerals, and 18 amino acids, as well as lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP), goji berry is a nutrient-dense superfood in a class all its own.
Studies show that LBP polysaccharides are exceptional sources of the essential cell sugars necessary for proper immune function and intercellular communication. These polysaccharides can enhance health in a variety of ways, including helping cancer patients rebuild their natural defenses, improving DNA restoration and repair, and maintaining normal cell growth, and they may help slow the aging process.
LBP also contains lutien and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial to visual acuity. Goji berries are an abundant source of nutrients that can provide retina protection, and are thus particularly recommended for diabetic patients.
In addition to LBP, the fruit contains a full complement of other nutrients:
- 18 amino acids, including the 8 essential ones
- More antioxidant carotenoids than are found in any other known food, including more beta carotene than carrots, and zeaxanthin (which protects the eyes)
- Nearly as much protein as bee pollen
- 21 trace minerals, including germanium, an anti-cancer substance rarely found in foods
- Vitamins B1, B2, and B6, and vitamin E
Research validates a broad range of beneficial effects from using goji berries:
- Strengthens the immune system
- Increases longevity and protects from premature aging
- Helps prevent cancer and aids remission
- Protects the liver
- Builds strong blood and promotes cardiovascular health
- Supports eye health and improves vision
- Maintains healthy blood pressure and blood sugar
- Stimulates secretion of human growth hormone
- Strengthens muscles and bones
- Supports normal kidney function
- Improves fertility and treats sexual dysfunction
- Helps reduce obesity
Referred to as “nature’s perfect food”, bee pollen contains 96 known nutrients, with a high degree of bioavailability. No other single food offers the array of vitamins, minerals, protein, amino acids, antibiotics, enzymes, trace elements, fats, and hormones found in bee pollen. It can alleviate the nutritional deficiencies common in today’s world, and help the body rebuild and rejuvenate itself.
Bee pollen contains up to 40% high-quality protein, more than any animal product, and all the essential amino acids, making it an excellent food for nourishing the brain and building strength. It is a rich dietary source of zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, and other minerals, and provides the highest concentration of vitamins of any food found in nature.
It is also packed with live enzymes, as well as phytonutrients, including co-enzymes, bioflavonoids, phytosterols and carotenoids. In order to preserve enzymatic and nutrient value, do not expose bee pollen to heat.
Bee pollen is perhaps the highest dietary source of rutin, which helps increase the strength and integrity of blood cell walls, strengthens the heart, and helps control high blood pressure.
In addition, bee pollen is a natural antibiotic in which bacteria simply cannot exist, providing increased resistance to infection. Antibiotic factors present in the pollen have been proven effective against E. coli, proteus, and salmonella organisms.
Used by many cultures around the world for its remarkable range of health benefits, bee pollen serves to:
- Increase energy and stamina
- Strengthen the immune system
- Reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Promote production of healthy blood cells
- Assist asthma and allergy sufferers
- Help regulate body weight
- Rejuvenate unhealthy or aging skin
- Relieve menstrual and menopausal symptoms
- Decrease chronic prostrate inflammation
- Increase alertness and well-being
- Perform myriad other functions to enhance physical and mental health
Many athletes take bee pollen to help increase their energy levels and endurance, and it has been widely used by Olympic athletes to increase their stamina while training. It has been of particular benefit to underweight athletes, enabling them to increase body weight and lean muscle mass. Because pollen is particularly rich in B-complex vitamins, minerals like potassium, and amino acids, it supports the glandular system, which is responsible for increased stamina and surges of vitality.
Pollen is also an excellent free radical scavenger that can protect against the negative effects of pollution and exposure to radiation.
The wide range of nutrients found in bee pollen work together, providing a synergistic impact that seems to improve their overall absorption by the body and enable better utilization of other nutrients present in the diet. Pollen corrects imbalances caused by deficient nutrition, and provides particular benefits when the body is challenged during times of increased stress.
Antioxidants: Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Health benefits of these antioxidants include:
- Promote cardiovascular health – Help dilate bloods vessels, reduce blood clotting, improve circulation, help regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
- Protect from environmental and metabolic toxins – Help repair and resist damage caused by free radicals, and may reduce risk of certain cancers.
Neurotransmitters: By increasing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains, cacao promotes positive outlook, facilitates rejuvenation and simply helps us feel good.
- Serotonin – Cacao raises the level of serotonin in the brain; thus acts as an anti-depressant, helps reduce PMS symptoms, and promotes a sense of well-being.
- Endorphins – Cacao stimulates the secretion of endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation similar to the “runner’s high” a jogger feels after running several miles.
- Phenylethylamine – Found in chocolate, phenylethylamine is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. Acts as mild mood elevator and anti-depressant, and helps increase focus and alertness.
- Anandamide – Anandamide is known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released by the brain when we are feeling great. Cacao contains both N-acylethanolamines, believed to temporarily increase the levels of anandamide in the brain, and enzyme inhibitors that slow its breakdown. Promotes relaxation, and helps us feel good longer.
Essential Minerals: Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
- Magnesium – Cacao seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency, present in 80% of Americans, is linked with PMT, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and joint problems.
- Sulfur – Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails and hair, promotes beautiful skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning.
Essential fats: There is a misperception that chocolate is fattening. In truth, the fats in cocoa butter are healthy fats. Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, also found in olive oil, that may raise good cholesterol. Also, substances found in cacao are known to help reduce appetite.
I get all of my superfoods from www.livesuperfoods.com, I found them to be the best priced and highest quality product. (Also, all descriptions I took right off the website, not trying to claim false credit).
I’ll be the one to say it- Subway is not good for you. Again, due to convincing marketing they’ve made us all think it’s a fresh, natural choice for a quick healthy meal. Their meats are packed with cancer causing nitrates, their breads made with enriched flours, corn syrups, etc. Essentially, they mask fast food product similar in quality to the McNugget Goo I posted the other day with some vegetables to make it seem healthy. Check out the Subway ingredient list for yourself http://www.subway.com/Nutrition/Files/usProdIngredients.pdf
If something has more than 4 or 5 ingredients you want to stay away from it, ideally you want just 1 or 2. If you look at all of Subways products you’ll find paragraphs of ingredients. Your best bet is to buy some quality sandwich foods and make them yourself; you’ll save money and improve your health. Boar’s Head brand deli meats are nitrate free, and a high quality Ezekiel or %100 whole wheat bread loaf will cost you $5 for a weeks worth of sandwiches.
Also, Subway’s latest commercial brags about how they achieved the “200 calorie” barrier for a breakfast sandwich. Remember that calories aren’t the enemy, we need them as long as they are coming from quality food sources. I’d bet that Subway’s hope for this campaign is that customers will buy more sandwiches because they think “oh they’re only 200 calories a piece”. Remember that they just care about their profit and keeping you hooked on their product- don’t fall for it.
If you workout superfoods are essential to maximizing results and the health benefits are unparalleled. One of my favorite superfoods that I consider to be most important, especially for athletes, is bee pollen. Check out this site to learn about the benefits of pollen and how to take it for your goals- The Power of Pollen
I’ve been taking bee pollen for a few months now and back it 100%. My energy levels and strength improved dramatically, just make sure to read on how to introduce it to your diet properly.
Happy New Year Everyone!
I’m almost finished with the new format for the site and have a ton of new content to start adding, I’ll have new videos up this weekend and I’m looking forward to getting feedback on the new site design. My goal is to make creating a healthy lifestyle plan for yourselves as simple as possible, you’ll see that there will now be sections for the girls, for the guys, CK Extreme (for the athlete/advanced strength trainer), and a Nutrition Hub that will outline healthy eating and link you to all the best online sources for super/organic/healthy foods.
I wanted to have it up for the new year but this is the busiest time of the year for me so I had to take care of business first, thanks for your patience! Please bear with me this week as a lot of content/site features will be moving around.
Also, I took Allison out with a bunch of the girls she used to workout with the other week she is looking and feeling great and has high hopes for recovery! Thanks again for everyone’s donations and I’ll keep you posted on her progress.
Have to vent a little today everyone and I hope that most of you will take this to heart and put it to use. All day I watch people drag themselves through the work day, listen to people at the gym complain about being tired, and marvel at the lack of physical health in society that is declining at an increasingly scary rate. I explain to people why eating healthy, organic foods is the key but for some reason nobody believes me or has an excuse not to (‘ expensive, I don’t have time, etc). I’ve already answered those objections for the Fit Notes Nation so I know all of you are aware that eating right doesn’t have to consume your life or your wallet. But for any of you who aren’t sold on the idea that food is the answer to all of your health & energy deficiencies I want you to try this for one day and feel the difference:
Wake up: 12oz of water 1 cup of greek yogurt & drizzle with honey or mix in favorite fruit
– Sip on another 12oz of water
Breakfast: 2-4 whole organic brown eggs scrambled with chopped kale and topped with shredded cheese/salsa, 1/2-1 cup of oatmeal with honey or berries
– Sip another 12oz bottle of water
Lunch- Grilled chicken on a 100% whole wheat wrap with spinach, tomato, avocado, and mustard/light mayo
– Sip another 12oz bottle of water
Dinner- Grill up some Wild caught sockeye salmon/Wild caught tuna steak/Shrimp (pick one). Serve over brown rice that you cook and mix in chopped Kale, onions, and carrots (saute the rice and veggies after the rice is cooked in some olive oil).
Purchase all organic fruits/veggies/meats JUST FOR ONE DAY. We all talk about how much energy we had as kids, yes we were young but back then even my generation was eating WAY better, more natural foods.
My point is that we are all malnourished and dehydrated and that’s why we depend on sugar (coffee, energy drinks, fast/processed food) to barely make it through the day. I’M NOT SAYING GIVE UP YOUR MORNING CUP OF JOE…..coffee has it’s benefits, you just don’t want to depend on multiple cups all day long. I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it again, you only get one body and it blows my mind how many of us fail to provide the best nutrients possible to live a long and vibrant life. Please take a day and try eating the “old fashioned” way and I promise you’ll feel 100% better.
I’m redesigning Fit Notes once again to accommodate your feedback, look for the new format and videos coming in January. Until then I’ll be posting some workout outlines based on the videos/content already provided so you have some new challenges to roll into the new year with. Have a great holidays and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on EATING RIGHT!
It’s time to come together and help make a difference in a great person’s life. My client Allison is undergoing some serious surgery for cancer this Monday. Myself and her friends are taking it upon ourselves to do everything we can to help her beat this and have a successful recovery.
I’ve been researching and experimenting with Superfoods (ie. Spirulina, bee pollen, cacao) and coincidentally was getting ready to begin posting about them before we found about Allison. Superfoods such as the ones mentioned above are being used by doctors to CURE cardiovascular disease and in some cases cure cancer and other previously considered terminal diseases. Unfortunately this research is being pushed aside due to the strong influence of big pharmaceutical companies who are more concerned with profits than progress. Watch “Food Matters” and you’ll see the importance of addressing your diet, especially with these Superfoods.
I’ve built my diet around Superfoods for the past 6 months and I’ve never felt better. My energy levels are through the roof and my physical performance has increased drastically. There is tremendous research backing up the impact these foods can have on such a recovery process and I refuse to let Allison undergo surgery and then be fed Wonder Bread & Jell-O while the doctors “hope for the best”. I’m going to be donating all the money I make with my Body Blast class to funding her superfood diet and we’ll also be setting up donation centers around downtown San Diego.
I’m hoping that a good amount of the Fit Note faithful can find the time to send a check so we can make sure Allison is getting the best nutrition possible for her recovery. I’m only asking for $5.00 and for those of you who contribute I’ll send you a copy of CK FUEL so you can help yourself with your own diet too. To donate send checks made out to “Vai Fitness” below:
Vai Fitness LLC
1130 7th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
I know there’s a million causes out there to give to but if we can help Allison and support those trying to show that these superfoods work we can help a ton of people in the long run. Pass the word to your friends or post on your facebook and lets see what kind of impact we can have!
During this process I’ll be tracking donations on the site and updating on Allison’s status as well as what exactly we’re buying and preparing for her and why so you can guys can all learn while you help. Thanks in advance for your support and I’ll do my best to get back to posting new workouts when possible!
Allison….clearly on a “choice” day
Over the past few months I’ve gotten requests for custom programs and meal plans so I’m going to be offering some added services starting SEPTEMBER 1st, 2011:
CK CUSTOM: A custom 4 week training program for those of you who need more direction or who have a very specific goal in mind. I’ve done some trials with friends & clients from back east and it’s been going great, I’ll have testimonials coming in the next few weeks. Here’s what you get:
– 4 week progressive workout plan based on your goals and initial fitness assessment results
– Weekly phone conference (30 minutes) to go over training, questions, problems, highlights, etc.
– Customized meal plan with target calories, macronutrients, and most importantly grocery lists and prep instructions/time (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners & snacks of course)
Price: $300.00 (Each month you continue after you’re first month is $150.00)
****I will only be taking on 5 programs/month in the interest of being as involved as possible in each clients program/progress. The CK CUSTOM plans will be offered on a first come, first serve basis so if you’re ready email me at email@example.com or call me directly at 203-417-0410 to reserve your spot.
CK FUEL: A bible for your kitchen. For the past 5 years I’ve been obsessed with finding the best way to shop, cook, and fuel your body. In the last year with the help of nutritionists, my own research, and a ton of trial and error I’ve created a system that’s easy, affordable, effective, and ENJOYABLE! Here’s what you’ll find inside:
– How to stock your kitchen so that you’ll always have what you need, when you need it, with minimal grocery trips
– Instructions on how to cook 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners, and 5 snacks all based off the same core ingredients. You’ll have the variety you need and the peace of mind knowing that all meals are healthy and balanced.
– A section to build and record your own meals so you can put the education to work and prepare for the long run of healthy eating
– The “Real World” version of why most of what’s available to eat out there is garbage and how to avoid it (best options to order when you eat out, what to grab at a gas station, etc). Without getting into confusing science and terminology I’ll break down what makes up food and what types of food you want to eat and avoid.
Price: $30.00 (includes shipping)
I’ll be back this weekend with some new workout videos, keep up the hard work!