Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Me:  Let’s have a conversation.

I’m going to make a bold statement.  Pasteurized milk (the milk you get at the grocery store) is terrible for you.  Stop drinking it.

You:  That’s not what they say on TV.

Me:  This may come as a shock to you, but the media knows jacksh*t about nutrition.  Media is marketing.  Marketing is business.  More money for them; worse health for you.  That’s the way life is.

You:  But I buy the organic milk, is this ok?

Me:  No, it’s not ok.  Most organic milk is still pasteurized.  If you’re going to buy milk, buy raw milk.  The only problem is, it’s illegal in most provinces and states to sell raw milk.  Here’s the loop-hole.  Go to your local dairy farmer and purchase raw milk directly from them.  Make sure that the Holsteins are grass fed and not grain fed.

Listen to the cow. Girl power!

You:  What’s raw milk?

Me:  Straight from the cow.  It’s the milk that your grandparents used to drink.  It was the stuff that was delivered directly to their doorstep when they were children.

You:  Your argument has no credibility.  Sources, please?

Me: sums this up nicely.  Also, a simple Google search will also link you to tons of articles discussing how bad milk is for you.

Here are a couple of arguments presented by Realmilk:

The following nutrients are degraded during pasteurization: Vitamin C , Calcium, Folate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Iron, Iodine, Minerals.  These are some of the nutrients that are supposed to make milk healthy, but, if they are degraded, then how healthy can the stuff be?

Many studies have linked consumption of pasteurized milk with lactose intolerance, allergies, asthma, frequent ear infections, gastro-Intestinal problems, diabetes, auto-Immune disease, attention deficit disorder and constipation. During a period of rapid population growth, the market for fluid pasteurized milk has declined at 1% per year for the past 20 years. Fewer and fewer consumers can tolerate pasteurized (and ultrapasteurized) milk (Don’t Drink Your Milk, Frank Oski, MD, 1983).

The Protective components of Milk are generally destroyed in Pasteurization process:

PROTECTIVE COMPONENTS: Raw milk contains numerous components that assist in:

  • Killing pathogens in the milk (lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, leukocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, antibodies, medium chain fatty acids, lysozyme, B12 binding protein, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria); Preventing pathogen absorption across the intestinal wall (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptides, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria); Strengthening the Immune System (lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, antibodies, hormones and growth factors) (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).

Many of these anti-microbial and immune-enhancing components are greatly reduced in effectiveness by pasteurization, and completely destroyed by ultra-pasteurization (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).

It is also important to note that the consumption of pasteurized milk contributes to fat storage.  This study found that milk was even more insulinogenic than white bread!  This means that when you drink pasteurized milk, your body releases a hormone that tells your body to store fat.  In fact, it tells your body to store more fat than white bread!

You:  What about protein powders derived from milk?

Me:  If you read the whole study recently listed above, you will notice that whey protein with added lactose is less insulinogenic than pasteurized milk.  The scary thing is, lactose is a sugar.  Sugars are usually greatly insulinogenic.

You:  Ok, you convinced me not to drink milk.  I live nowhere close to any farms, so buying raw milk is out of the picture.  What should I drink?

Me:  Water.  If you still have the need to drink something similar to milk, opt for unsweetened almond milk, or unsweetened coconut milk.


If you feel like this argument was one-sided, it’s because it was.  I care about your health.  I care about your fitness goals.  Thanks for the talk.

*If this topic interests you, check out this awesome article by Jason Ferruggia here:  The War on Raw Milk*


Gun Show: Paul and Jason style

It’s not often that I give up a beautiful Sunday afternoon to be in the gym.  I like to use Sunday as a day to rest.  It is a way to make sure that I don’t train every day.  Two days ago was an exception.  Why?  Geoff Girvitz and Paul Valiulis.

Mr. Geoff Girvitz

Enter the S2B Seminar at Bang Fitness.  Let me say one thing, these two guys know how to talk shop.  I’m fortunate enough be able to talk to Geoff on a regular basis…and Paul…not so much.  For those of you who don’t know, Geoff Girvitz is the owner of Bang Fitness in Toronto, Ontario.  Geoff is a fitness genius.  He’s one of those guys that you know you should listen to in the gym; he always has something smarter to say than you do.  On the other hand, Paul Valiulis is one of the Scrawny to Brawny coaches from Precision Nutrition.  He is a nutritional God.  In this case, take the word “God” literally.  Picture Thor from Norse mythology.  That’s Paul.

Paul's Scrawny to Brawny transformation

What is Brawny?

The seminar started with Paul asking the group, “What is Brawny?”.  The funny thing is: most guys didn’t have the answer.  All they knew was that they wanted to be bigger.  Paul, himself, said that he didn’t even know what “brawny” was until he decided to enter his first bodybuilding show last month (in case you were wondering, he won).  It seems that when you finally figure out what brawny is, you will see “brawny” as something different than your neighbour.  One person may picture their favourite bodybuilder, while another may picture their favourite athlete.  It is important that when you set a goal for yourself, you actually need to know what the goal is.

Paul just being Paul AKA Brawny

S2B Takeaways

Aside from creating our own definition of brawny, the meat and potatoes of the seminar was movement related.  This was Geoff’s forte.  What were the key takeaways?  Here’s your answer:

  • While deadlifting, it is easier to injure yourself while lifting submaximal weights.  This is because you are not properly engaging your core, thus, not protecting your spine.
  • On the deadlift, only work in the range of motion where your pelvis doesn’t start to tilt (butt tucking under your belly).  When the pelvis starts to tilt, you will start to feel lower back pain.  Instead, raise the barbell up and perform a Modified Deadlift (MDL; basically a rack pull).  Load the shit out of the MDL and get yoked.
  • If shoulder mobility is a problem in the push press, you have to regress to a seated incline shoulder press.  The incline should be approximately 80-85 degrees.  Do not use the smith machine.  There are no straight lines when it comes to the motions of the body.
  • In order to increase shoulder mobility, do a wall slide, but on the floor (floor slide?).  Move the hands far from your head, point your thumbs to the floor, and drive your shoulder down, focusing on firing the lats.  You want to crush the ground with your hands.
  • “Your body is what it is”.  That’s a Geoff Girvitz quote.  Accept your mobility while lifting, but focus on increasing this mobility while foam rolling and during your dynamic warm-up.
  • “If you’re going to push someone, do you put your elbows in or out?” (Krista Schaus; she was one of the few females at the seminar, but she sure deserved to be there).  This question will help you answer the age-old question of where your elbows go while bench pressing.  Hint: approximately 45 degrees from the body.
  • Power stance:  contract glutes, spread floor, shoulders down, lats engaged, core braced, hands squeezed.  Now that’s how to unlock your strength potential!
  • Paul was the “foam rolling guy” during the seminar.  Every day for the next two weeks, everyone should be foam rolling their adductors, glutes, and IT bands.  Remember your stripper butts!  (inside joke, but you probably laughed even though you didn’t understand it).
  • “Professionals are here for a reason.  Listen to them 100% and try to prove them wrong.  It is only after this that you can conclude that something doesn’t work” (Paul Valiulis).  This is great advice.  Don’t tweak your programs or nutrition.  “Even though your mom may have told you that you were special, you’re not special enough to change your workout programs and nutrition” (Geoff Girvitz).  The truth hurts.

Krista Schaus and Paul Valiulis checking out some dude's stripper butt.

All in all, it was an awesome afternoon.  I feel like it is safe to say that the ones who decided to attend this seminar are a step ahead of the rest.  Enough said.  Special thanks goes out to Geoff, Scott, Michael and the rest of Bang Fitness for hosting the event, and to Paul Valiulis for coming all the way from Vancouver (ok ok, he may have been in town to see his family as well).  Yeah buddy!!!

Paul, Geoff, Scott

Riddle me this…

I have a great idea.  It consists of you guys asking me fitness/health/nutrition related questions, and I’ll answer them.  It’ll be my gift to you.  I’ll release the answers to your questions in a monthly article.  Sound good?  I thought so.

Ok, here’s how to ask:  Email your questions to with the subject line: “Your Questions Answered”.  If you feel like remaining anonymous, ask your question in the comments box below.  Simple.

Warning:  Immature questions, or questions unrelated to fitness, health, or nutrition will be deleted and ignored.  Don’t waste your own time and don’t waste mine.  This will make our lives more enjoyable.

Until then, I’ll be looking forward to your questions…


The answer’s “yes”.  I ate this everyday when I applied my knowledge and lost 22 lbs of fat in 10 weeks.  Even though I’m finished my diet, I still eat this meal everyday.  It’s just that good.

Doesn't this look delicious?

The best part is: it’s super easy to make:


  • 1.5 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Large Mushroom
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Slices of Havarti Cheese (30 g)
  • 2 Slices of Reduced Sodium Turkey Bacon
  • 1/4 of a Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Italian Tomato
  • 1/2 Cup of Spinach


Cook Turkey Bacon in 1/2 Tbsp of Coconut oil in a pan over medium high heat (until crispy).  While the turkey bacon is cooking, chop all of the vegetables.  Remove turkey bacon from pan and sautee all the vegetables together.  While the vegetables are sauteing, beat 3 eggs in a bowl.  Add 1 tbsp of Coconut oil to the vegetables, add cheese, then pour eggs over top.  Continue to mix eggs and vegetables in pan until the eggs are only slightly runny (this prevents the eggs from over-cooking).  Place scrambled eggs on plate with turkey bacon.  Wait 10 minutes before eating (this allows the eggs to finish cooking while on your plate).  Eat your heart out.  Take 2 g of EPA+DHA (from fish oil) with meal.

Congratulations, you have just made and eaten the most amazing (and healthy breakfast) of your life (hopefully).

Nutrition Facts for Whole Meal

The recipe above is meant for an average sized male.  For females, split the recipe into half.  Enjoy!

Should I take the red pill or the blue pill?...wait...What colour is viagara again?

I’m not going to lie; supplements are a staple in my diet.  Do I need them?  Perhaps.  Do I like them?  You bet I do.

It’s kind of funny.  People are either against supplements, or they support them.  I think that 99% of the population who are against supplement are oxymorons (not the correct definition, but you’ll understand my pun shortly).  The top 2 reasons that people are against supplements is that:

  1. People are afraid of synthetic forms of nutrients, and
  2. They think that they are able to get these nutrients through food.

The latter is actually a valid argument.  The former is BS.  Here’s what I have to say about that:  STOP EATING PROCESSED SH*T, GROW UP AND EAT LIKE AN ADULT, then (and only then), are you able to argue against #1.

Now, let’s get to the point.  I’m going to break down a select few (by few, I mean bunch) of supplements into three groups:  1. Mandatory for Everyday Health, 2. Not Mandatory – But Useful, and 3. Not Mandatory – But Awesome.

Click to buy some Fish Oil!

Mandatory for Everyday Health

  1. Fish Oil – Miracle Supplement.  Studies show that fish oil will:  boost metabolism, act as an anti-inflammatory, decrease body-fat percentage (one study found that a Fish-Oil-Supplementing-Group lost 2 lbs of fat and gained 2 lbs of muscle compared to a control group that didn’t change at all), better glucose and insulin tolerance, and a VAST amount of cardiovascular and blood lipid benefits.  AVOID COD LIVER OIL!  Talk about bang for your buck!  Dosage:  Dr. John Berardi, PhD recommends between 3-6 grams of EPA and DHA combined per day.  This dosage is usually 3x that of the recommendations on the label.  Listen to him; he’s the Doctor.  The supplement companies (who make the recommendations on the label) are not doctors.
  2. Vitamin D3 – Unless you’re a surfer, or you work outside all day, your vitamin D levels are probably low.  Vitamin D helps keep your bones and joints strong and healthy.  Recommendations:  Winter:  Take 4000IU’s each day.  Summer:  Take 2000IU’s each day.

Not Mandatory – But Useful

  1. Protein Powder – Try to get most of your protein from real food.  When that is not possible, it is advised to use a protein supplement.  Also, protein shakes are an awesome treat when you are on a very strict diet and need a “cheat meal”.  Recommendations:  Find a powder that has as little ingredients as possible.  The main protein source should be from either: whey isolate, milk protein, casein, rice protein, or a mixture of the four recommended.  The powder should not include any forms of sugar (look for a powder that has less than 2g of carbs per serving), and should be sweetened with stevia.
  2. Greens Supplements – If you’re not getting at least 6 cups of non-starchy vegetables a day, you need to use a greens supplement.  Greens supplements help restore the natural pH of your body (so you’re not too acidic – like vinegar, or basic – like bleach).  Recommendation:  Take 1-3 scoops daily.  Favourite Brand: Genuine Health Greens+ Daily Detox – Natural Tea Flavour.
  3. Workout Drinks – Before I begin: Workout Drinks are mandatory for athletes.  The best way to get the most out of your workout is to drink a workout beverage before, during, and/or after your workout.  The specifics of this topic are enough for a whole new article, so I’m going to stop now.  Recommendations:  For fat loss, sip on 5-10g of BCAA’s throughout your workout.  For everything else, drink a 2:1 carb:protein drink with 5-10g of BCAA’s.  Extra credit:  Adding creatine, and beta-alanine for individualized goals.
  4. ZMA – If you are lifting heavy weights, your body will need more zinc and magnesium for better recovery.  Also, this stuff helps some people sleep.  Recommendations:  Males: Take 3 capsules before bed.  Females:  Take 2 capsules before bed.

Not Mandatory – But Awesome

  1. Melatonin – If you’re having trouble sleeping, this is your absolute last resort (but it WILL work).  Be careful with this stuff (as it is one of the few hormones sold over-the-counter).  Dosage:  Take no more than 5mg as you lie down to sleep.
  2. Valerian Root – Valerian root is great for relaxing your body before bed.  I find that if I am jittery before bed, this is a great supplement to help me fall asleep (it also works amazingly with melatonin).  Dosage:  500-1000mg before bed.
  3. Creatine monohydrate – Before you say something:  it’s safe.  The more research that comes out, the more I fall in love with this supplement.  Besides the obvious strength and power gains, supplementing with creatine monohydrate has shown to have cognitive effects, positive energy effects, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the elderly.  By the way, this supplement is mandatory if you are over the age of 50.  Dosage:  Men:  Take 5g (1 teaspoon) per day.  Women:  Take 2.5 g (1/2 teaspoon) per day.
  4. Beta-Alanine – This is my new favourite supplement.  Beta-Alanine helps buffer lactic acid, healing, muscle recovery, and muscle contraction.  In other words, you can run longer, play harder, lift heavier, and recover faster.  I have found that combining this supplement with creatine and BCAA’s is the single best athletic performance enhancer that is legal.  This has to be what drugs feel like.  Recommendations:  Research is very new concerning this topic.  I have found that I have best results with two 3.2g (1 teaspoon) dosages per day.  Take one in the morning, and one in the afternoon.  Warning, beta-alanine gives a temporary pins and needles feeling the first 1-2 weeks of dosing.

There you have it.  Everything you need to know.  I purposely didn’t include references because this is a blog, not a journal article.

Also, everything I wrote above is meant to be recommendations.  I am NOT a doctor, and I take no responsibility for whatever foolish ideas you come up with (taking creatine monohydrate until you have diarrhoea – which is a possible side effect if you take above 5g per day).

Good luck and happy supplementing.

Eat to Win

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Articles, Nutrition
Tags: , , ,

There are 168 hours in one week.  This is a fact.  When people aren’t happy with their bodies, they decide to go to the gym more.  Yet, how many hours a week do you workout?  Three? Five?  Ten?  This takes up approximately 2% to 6% of your time per week.  What are you doing the other 94% to 98%?  You’re eating.  Do you want an awesome body?  Well, you need to eat to win.

Eating to look and feel good isn’t as hard as you think.  The difficult part is forcing yourself to change.  People don’t like “change”.  Here is a fool proof plan to getting the body you want:

How it works.  Each week, you will start doing one new thing.  You will build on all these new things until you are eating to win.  For example, in the first week, you will do what it says in Week 1 below.  In the second week, you will do what is says in Week 1, and in Week 2.  In the third week, you will do what is says in Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 etc.

Week 1 – Take fish oil every day.  The benefits of fish oil range from a healthier heart to a better looking body.  John Berardi recommends getting 3-6 grams of EPA and DHA (combined) per day.

Week 2 – Only drink water or green tea.  Calorie containing drinks (including fruit juices) are stored as fat once digested.  Avoid them.

Week 3 – Only eat “real” food.  We all know that processed food is bad for you.  So why do you keep eating it?  Convenience.  What may be convenient for you now will not be convenient for you in a couple of years when you’re always feeling sick, and your joints hurt.  Avoid anything that isn’t found in nature.  For example, a carrot is found in nature, but a cracker is not.  Below is a sample list of “real” food:


  • Lean ground beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Bison
  • Venison
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Roughy
  • Eggs
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Beans
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (no sugar)
  • Raw Unpasteurized Organic Milk
  • Protein powder (with less than 5g of carbs)


  • Eat any vegetable you like (spinach is a great one)


  • Eat any fruit you like.  Only eat 1-4 pieces per day (unless you are trying to gain muscle, or are an athlete).

Starchy Carbohydrates:

  • Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Whole Oats
  • Corn
  • Quinoa


  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Avacado
  • Nuts

Week 4 – Eat protein with every meal.  Take a look at the list above and pick a protein from it.  Make sure you’re having one of these (a portion the size of your palm) with every meal.

Take off the fingers and thumb. You have a palm.

Week 5 – Eat fat with every meal.  Take a look at the list above and pick a fat from it.  Make sure you’re having one of these (a portion the size of your 2 thumbs) with every meal.

Week 6 – Eat something every 3 – 4 hours.  If you force yourself to eat something (even a small snack) every 3 – 4 hours, you won’t find yourself overly hungry later in the day.  When people get too hungry, they tend to make poor meal decisions.

Week 7 – Eat vegetables with every meal.  Vegetables contain so many nutrients that I could write a whole article on it.  One portion of vegetables is the amount of two handfuls.  This rule may feel weird to follow at breakfast time, but after a while, it will be second nature.

This much vegetables!

Week 8 – Only eat Starchy Carbohydrates the first meal after a workout.  This concept is known as “nutrient timing”.  Basically, if you eat starchy carbs, they have a large chance of being stored as fat (unless it’s after a workout).  After a workout, starchy carbs help replenish energy stores and repair muscle.  This is a very powerful tip to losing body fat.  One portion of starchy carbs is one handful.

Cusp that hand, baby!

Week 9 – Eat 1 to 2 cheat meals each week.  Plan these meals at the start of the week so you have something to look forward to throughout the week.  I am a firm believer that cheat meals help you to stick to your eating habits.  Your cheat meal can be pizza, a piece of pie, some Doritos, a doughnut, or anything you like.  Just try not to overdo it.  If you feel sick after your cheat meal, you overdid it.

That’s it.  It’s literally that easy.  Gradually build upon this plan, and in 8 weeks, you’ll be on the road to the body you want.  These rules can be used to lose fat, gain massive amounts of muscle, feel better, or perform your best in an athletic event.

On the go often?  Prepare your meals in advance.  I often find myself cooking massive amounts of food at a time and storing them in Tupperware for future meals.  It’s fast, it’s quick, and it’s efficient.

Does this food sound dull?  Do yourself a favour and buy a copy of Gourmet Nutrition by John Berardi.  In my opinion, it’s the best cookbook on healthy eating available.  The recipes taste great, and also follow the rules above.

Gourmet Nutrition - Click the image above to order your copy today.

Good luck.