Monday, August 27, 2007

Machaca scramble...and Espresso!

Hey there! Sorry for the delay in posting. We have been updating the office at the gym and a few other goodies. Gotta love DIY projects! Thanks to Shawn, Chrissy, Gary and Penny for the help. VERY NICE!

Back to serious feeding y'all! I made a machaca scramble this weekend and it was YUMMY. Here is how you do it:
Brown 1/2lb ground grass-fed meat (Ours was buffalo). Add ~1-3Tbsp of chili powder, 1Tsp cumin powder, dash of cinnamon and 1Tbsp coco powder. mix ingredients over high heat, browning meat and mixing spices. Scramble 6 Omega-3 eggs and add to the meat. Stir to prevent sticking, cook thoroughly. Serve with Cafe La llave espresso.
Time to completion:6-10 min.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

B-Day for Death Grip!

Hey Y'all!!
Nicki unleashed a can of B-day Whoop-ass on the 6am crew today. The reason? Well, it's a well known fact that Nicki is the reigning FB (ask her what that means) but more important than that it was the Birthday for Mike "Death Grip" Shaw!
Mike has been crushing on his workouts. His kip is getting dialed and his numbers are up on EVERYTHING. He also has a FOUR MINUTE STATIC HANG FROM THE PULL-UP BAR!!! Way to go Mike! When you see Mike give him a High-5 but watch out for the handshake! That guy is Death Grip!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lunch: It's What's In The Fridge!

Hey Y'all!

Many people talk about being busy. I can's tough. We are way busier than what our genetics are wired for. I offer this moment of silence to lament the loss of our Paleo Lifeway.

OK, suck it up and move on! Being busy is not an excuse to not feed yourself well and it does not require loads of time. Case in point:
Yesterday I shopped at Costco. I bought some pork loin, romaine lettuce and a few other goodies. I cooked a good bit of the pork loin yesterday as well as some artichokes. Today when I was hungry AND busy I opened the fridge, grabbed the artichokes and meat, cut up some of the lettuce and threw the whole mix in a bowl. I garnished things with olive oil, balsamic and some diced ginger. It took about 10 minutes yesterday to cook the meat and Nicki and I have eaten 4 meals from that effort not counting the lunch pictured here. My time investment to day? About 2 minutes. I've spent far more time today writing about this meal than it took me to make it.

Make it easy on yourself: Cook food ahead of time. Use it for several meals. No excuses!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Look Good Neked...and Kick Some Arse!

At NorCal S&C we are in this "fitness" business. Some people come to us wanting to run faster, jump higher and scale tall mountains, but most of our folks just want to be "fit", have fun and look good. Nothing wrong with that, in fact it makes me pretty darn happy as we get to keep the lights on, the bills paid and make a living in this "fitness" biz...but for our folks who do not want to scale mountains and run faster per-se...why train with us? Why not a bodybuilding Globo-Gym?

Bueler? Bueler?

Here's the deal: This functional, mixed modal approach works better than the Globo-Gym, parts and pieces body building chicanery. Bold statement? Perhaps. I can guarantee you however that 3 sets of 10 on the abduction machine followed by curls, and tricep kick-backs, all washed down with a low fat, high carb diet is not going to deliver the goods unless you have stellar genetics or a pharmacy in your gym bag.

Want a few examples? I'll throw you a few here:

Above we have Michele on the left and Nicki on the right doing some pull ups. Notice any muscles on these girls? Nice, symmetric balanced aesthetic physiques...and they can kick your ass! No amount of lat pull-down, curls and tricep kickbacks will build functional bodies like these. Check out Katie on the foot elevated push up and the Dead Lift:

Legit strength, balance and aesthetics. Freaking AWESOME!!!

So one element of this puzzle is the training. Come get a hard workout, push your boundaries, make progress, feel good. Pretty straight forward. The other element to this puzzle is food. I'll let you in on a secret that helps our folks loose fat, gain muscle, drop pant and dress sizes...are you ready for the secret...sitting down?...WE MAKE THEM EAT!! Our clients do not starve, they do not follow fad high carb unhealthy diets. You know why? They can not make progress on their PERFORMANCE. This is what ties the whole thing together and is a bit of a shell game at times...but we get our folks interested in and obsessed about PERFORMANCE...not aesthetics. The looks come, the fat loss happens...that is NOT the focus however. Performance is the focus. Why? If someone gets focused on aesthetics they will skip meals, binge, purge and a whole host of neurotic behaviors to try to fast track the process of getting to some arbitrary scale weight or some similar external motivator. Bad idea. It does not work as evidenced by our ballooning population and the revolving door of thousands of people who sign up for gym memberships...only to never attend the gym. We approach things differently. We get people focused on performance: 1 pull-up, then 5 then 10...some females at our gym are near 40 pull-ups. We have several females over the age of 50 with more than 10 pull-ups. The Globo Gym will not deliver those goods. Functional movements and a focus on performance clears up eating problems because if you skip meals...if you eat garbage...your performance will suffer immediately. You experience instantaneous feed back and most folks really dislike the experience of having 20 pull-ups on Friday, eating poorly all weekend, and then having 15 pull-ups on Monday.

Want to look good and Kick Ass? Focus on performance and the sound Paleo-nutrition that supports optimum health.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Getti'n Hitched: Part Deux

Hey Y'all! The juicy news for today: Shawn "Very Nice" Gower got down on one knee this weekend and asked one Chrissy "Crush-yew" Violetti to spend a lifetime of wedded bliss with him. After smelling salts were applied she accepted and promptly cried. I'm so damn happy!
Here is a picture of the Happy Couple during a recent Beat Down:

Here is the After Glow:

Congrats you two!
Don't forget the Wheat Free Beer for the reception and hopefully married life is easier than working out at NorCal!!!! HA!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Quick Salmon Salad!

Hey there! Here was a quick salad Nicki threw together today (yep...she "cooks occasionally").

!/2 can of Trader Joes Wild Alaskan Salmon, 1 small head of romaine lettuce diced, handful of arugula diced, fresh tomatoes (yep, you guessed it...diced) garnish with olive oil, balsamic, pistachios...time to grub.

Time to prep-5min.
Quick, easy and yuuuuuumay!

In this picture we have Johny International from Trucker performing some incline parallel bar walks. Good times!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Beans are Good For you...Right?

Confusion. That's what we see on peoples faces when we start talking nutrition. People think they are "doing good" when they down a glass of juice and bagel. People think they are doing REALLY good when they gnosh a vegan burrito with organic wheat and kosher, mercifully culled Pinto Beans. What can I say, swing and a miss.

People are starting to clue in a little bit about carb content. Bread, rice, pasta etc. register as "carbs" for most folks and for a few there is an inkling that these foods may not be as good as we were once told. Cool. Making some progress....but the carb content is only part of the story. Another major issue is gastrointestinal irritation from grains (wheat, rice, oats, corn) and legumes (beans). What?? These foods are the base of the Food Pyramid! they have to be good for us! Well...perhaps not. These foods contain things called Lectins that may be VERY problematic for many people. Below is an article from the British Medical Journal. If you do not think our medical establishment is clueless on this topic just consider that one of our clients who was diagnosed with celiac was counselled by a prominent local celiac educator/RDA to include oats in the diet. OOPS.

Read the article, draw your own conclusions. If the AMA and ADA were dead wrong in recommending dense carbohydrate sources as the basis of our food pyramid (they were), how far-fetched is it to imagine that lectins play a significant role in many diseases? I'll tell, ya, not far fetched at all.

BMJ 1999;318:1023-1024 ( 17 April )


Do dietary lectins cause disease?

The evidence is suggestive---and raises interesting possibilities for treatment

In 1988 a hospital launched a "healthy eating day" in its staff canteen at lunchtime. One dish contained red kidney beans, and 31 portions were served. At 3 pm one of the customers, a surgical registrar, vomited in theatre. Over the next four hours 10 more customers suffered profuse vomiting, some with diarrhoea. All had recovered by next day. No pathogens were isolated from the food, but the beans contained an abnormally high concentration of the lectin phytohaemagglutinin.1 Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins present in most plants, especially seeds and tubers like cereals, potatoes, and beans. Until recently their main use was as histology and blood transfusion reagents, but in the past two decades we have realised that many lectins are (a) toxic, inflammatory, or both; (b) resistant to cooking and digestive enzymes; and (c) present in much of our food.2 It is thus no surprise that they sometimes cause "food poisoning." But the really disturbing finding came with the discovery in 1989 that some food lectins get past the gut wall and deposit themselves in distant organs. 3 4 So do they cause real life diseases?

This is no academic question because diet is one part of the environment that is manipulable and because lectins have excellent antidotes, at least in vitro. Because of their precise carbohydrate specificities, lectins can be blocked by simple sugars and oligosaccharides. Wheat lectin, for example, is blocked by the sugar N-acetyl glucosamine and its polymers.5 These natural compounds are potentially exploitable as drugs should lectin induced diseases be identified.

Wheat gliadin, which causes coeliac disease, contains a lectin like substance that binds to human intestinal mucosa,6 and this has been debated as the "coeliac disease toxin" for over 20 years.7 But coeliac disease is already managed by gluten avoidance, so nothing would change were the lectin hypothesis proved. On the other hand, wheat lectin also binds to glomerular capillary walls, mesangial cells, and tubules of human kidney and (in rodents) binds IgA and induces IgA mesangial deposits. This suggests that in humans IgA nephropathy might be caused or aggravated by wheat lectin; indeed a trial of gluten avoidance in children with this disease reported reduced proteinuria and immune complex levels.8

Of particular interest is the implication for autoimmune diseases. Lectins stimulate class II HLA antigens on cells that do not normally display them, such as pancreatic islet and thyroid cells.9 The islet cell determinant to which cytotoxic autoantibodies bind in insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is the disaccharide N-acetyl lactosamine,10 which must bind tomato lectin if present and probably also the lectins of wheat, potato, and peanuts. This would result in islet cells expressing both class II HLA antigens and foreign antigen together---a sitting duck for autoimmune attack. Certain foods (wheat, soya) are indeed diabetogenic in genetically susceptible mice.11 Insulin dependent diabetes therefore is another potential lectin disease and could possibly be prevented by prophylactic oligosaccharides.

Another suspect lectin disease is rheumatoid arthritis. The normal human IgG molecule possesses carbohydrate side chains, which terminate with galactose. In rheumatoid arthritis much of the galactose is missing, so that the subterminal sugar---N-acetyl glucosamine---is exposed instead. These deficient IgG molecules feature strongly in the circulating immune complexes that cause fever and symptoms.12 In diet responsive rheumatoid arthritis one of the commonest trigger foods is wheat, and wheat lectin is specific for N-acetyl glucosamine---the sugar that is normally hidden but exposed in rheumatoid arthritis. This suggests that N-acetyl glucosamine oligomers such as chitotetraose (derived from the chitin that forms crustacean shells) might be an effective treatment for diet associated rheumatoid arthritis. Interestingly, the health food trade has already siezed on N-acetyl glucosamine as an antiarthritic supplement.13

Among the effects observed in the small intestine of lectin fed rodents is stripping away of the mucous coat to expose naked mucosa and overgrowth of the mucosa by abnormal bacteria and protozoa.14 Lectins also cause discharge of histamine from gastric mast cells,15 which stimulates acid secretion. So the three main pathogenic factors for peptic ulcer---acid stimulation, failure of the mucous defence layer, and abnormal bacterial proliferation (Helicobacter pylori) are all theoretically linked to lectins. If true, blocking these effects by oligosaccharides would represent an attractive and more physiological treatment for peptic ulcer than suppressing stomach acid. The mucus stripping effect of lectins16 also offers an explanation for the anecdotal finding of many allergists that a "stone age diet," which eliminates most starchy foods and therefore most lectins, protects against common upper respiratory viral infections: without lectins in the throat the nasopharyngeal mucus lining would be more effective as a barrier to viruses.

But if we all eat lectins, why don't we all get insulin dependent diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, IgA nephropathy, and peptic ulcers? Partly because of biological variation in the glycoconjugates that coat our cells and partly because these are protected behind a fine screen of sialic acid molecules, attached to the glycoprotein tips.10 We should be safe. But the sialic acid molecules can be stripped off by the enzyme neuraminidase, present in several micro-organisms such as influenzaviruses and streptococci. This may explain why diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis tend to occur as sequelae of infections. This facilitation of lectins by micro-organisms throws a new light on postinfectious diseases and makes the folklore cure of fasting during a fever seem sensible.

Alternative medicine popularisers are already publishing articles about dietary lectins,17 often with more enthusiasm than caution, so patients are starting to ask about them and doctors need to be armed with facts. The same comment applies to entrepreneurs at the opposite end of the commercial spectrum. Many lectins are powerful allergens, and prohevein, the principal allergen of rubber latex, is one. It has been engineered into transgenic tomatoes for its fungistatic properties,18 so we can expect an outbreak of tomato allergy in the near future among latex sensitive individuals. Dr Arpad Pusztai lost his job for publicising concerns of this type (20 February, p 483).

David L J Freed, Allergist.

14 Marston Road, Salford M7 4ER

Monday, August 13, 2007


Howdy Y'all! of the most common questions we receive, both in person and via email is "what do I eat for breakfast?" Well...the same types of stuff you eat for lunch and dinner! I know that is uninspiring to many since we advocate silly stuff like lean protein, veggies, fruit, nuts, avocados etc. I mean how on earth could one construct a breakfast from such things? Sorry, I may be a little cranky on this topic but here's a news flash:

Does this mean eating should be a dull, joyless existence? Absolutely not, I think the recipes presented here illustrate this perfectly and no one, not even Robb-the-food-nazi is advocating a life without occasional forays into dicey food options (refined carbs) but I do think people eat too often from a place of filling emotional needs and not an opportunity to experiment, try new things and promote ones health, body composition and performance. Too preachy? tough crackers Amigos Y Amiga's, everyone else is saying breakfast burritos, muffins, bagels and juices are healthy and "OK" for breakfast. That's bullshit...they are not fit for daily consumption. Just come to terms with that and no one needs to get hurt!

So, breakfast. Like I mentioned in a previous post, we were given some fantastic salmon and cod a few days a go. We have defrosted this fish at various points and thrown together some great meals. Here is what we did the other day:

Brown 1/2 lb. of salmon in a pan. Break into small pieces as it cooks. Add 1/2 bag of Trader Joes green beans. mix and cook until green beans are tender. Add 6 omega-3 enriched scrambled eggs. Cook thoroughly. Garnish with ground black pepper and fresh espresso.

The meal provides, protein, good fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It will stick with you for hours and you will not have a mid morning energy crash. Bagels, juice, oatmeal and similar crap do not offer these benefits. Give it a shot, you'll like it!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cardio Junkies Take Note!!

Hey Everyone, I just wanted to throw a few resources your way to help dial in your endurance efforts. The first is the Triathletes Training Bible from Coach Joe Friel and the other is The Paleo Diet For Athletes By Joe Friel and Prof. Loren Cordain.

I will be pestering y'all about changing your nutrition in the future not only to enhance your performance, but also to help some silly crap like health and longevity. I don't know about you, but I find all those topics to be important. The conventional endurance athlete wisdom of high carb, loads of grains and Franken-foods like GOO is horribly flawed. It can work, but at a high price. What I'm proposing is you can eat healthier, perform better and live to tell the tale. For now I'm just going to leave you with an excerpt from The Paleo Diet For Athletes describing Coach Friel's conversion to the paleo diet. Before I get to that it is interesting to note that Coach Friel is one of the most sought after endurance specialists in the world, was an Olympic team coach, nearly every endurance athlete I know owns one of his books...and NO ONE pays any attention to the nutritional recommendations.

Here is that excerpt:

I have known Dr. Cordain for many years, but I didn’t become aware of his work until 1995. That year we began to discuss nutrition for sports. As a longtime adherent to a very high-carbohydrate diet for athletes, I was skeptical of his claims that eating less starch would benefit performance. Nearly every successful endurance athlete I had known ate as I did, with a heavy emphasis on cereals, bread, rice, pasta, pancakes, and potatoes. In fact, I had done quite well on this diet, having been an All-American age-group duathlete (bike and run), and finishing in the top 10 at World Championships. I had also coached many successful athletes, both professional and amateur, who ate the same way I did.”

“Our discussions eventually led to a challenge. Dr. Cordain suggested I try eating a diet more in line with what he recommended for one month. I took the challenge, determined to show him that eating as I had for years was the way to go. I started by simply cutting back significantly on starches, and replacing those lost calories with fruits, vegetables, and very lean meats.”

“For the first two weeks I felt miserable. My recovery following workouts was slow and my workouts were sluggish. I knew that I was well on my way to proving that he was wrong. But in week three, a curious thing happened. I began to notice that I was not only feeling better, but that my recovery was speeding up significantly. In the fourth week I experimented to see how many hours I could train.

“Since my early 40s (I was 51 at the time), I had not been able to train more than about 12 hours per week. Whenever I exceeded this weekly volume, upper respiratory infections would soon set me back. In Week Four of the “experiment,” I trained 16 hours without a sign of a cold, sore throat, or ear infection. I was amazed. I hadn’t done that many hours in nearly 10 years. I decided to keep the experiment going.”

“That year I finished third at the U.S. national championship with an excellent race, and qualified for the U.S. team for the World Championships. I had a stellar season, one of my best in years. This, of course, led to more questions of Dr. Cordain and my continued refining of the diet he recommended.”

“I was soon recommending it to the athletes I coached, including Ryan Bolton, who was on the U.S. Olympic Triathlon team. Since 1995. I have written four books on training for endurance athletes and have described and recommended the Stone Age diet in each of them. Many athletes have told me a story similar to mine: They have tried eating this way, somewhat skeptically at first, and then discovered that they also recovered faster and trained better.

Check out the books by Coach Friel and Prof. Cordain. Your Performance, Health and Longevity will thank you.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rope Climb for Meat Balls!

Hey there! I hope you're hungry, this is a goody!

1lb grass fed ground beef. Break up and place in a mixing bowl.

Grind 1/4-1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds (almonds or another nut will work) in a coffee grinder. Shoot for a flour like consistency. Mix into the ground beef. Add garlic powder and spices to taste. Salt optional. Cook over medium low heat with ample olive oil. Turn every 2 minutes until all sides are browned. Once the meatballs are done remove from pan and add 1lb of Trader Joes frozen green beans to the infused oil. Cook covered on high heat for 5-10 minutes. While the green beans are cooking slice tomatoes and place on a plate. Serve 4-5 meat balls with 1/3 of the plate tomatoes and 1/3 green beans. Garnish with olive oil, balsamic or spicy french mustard.

Prep time ~10 min.

Rope Climb!

Kelly and Angela demonstrated some mad skillz on the rope climb today! Great job Amiga's!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Birthdays with Cod, Tomatos and LEGIT PUSH-UPS!!

Hey there! Here is another easy recipe. You will see a lot of tomatoes in the coming recipes...just what we have on hand. Another client gave us some fresh caught cod...we were in a hurry so here's how dinner went:
1lb. of cod cooked over med-high heat with loads of olive oil. While the cod cooks slice 8-10 tomatoes. Place tomatoes on a plate. You can pull the cod off the fire once it is cooked through (about 2 minutes per side) or you can cook it down to a hash consistency, which only takes a few moments longer. Serve cod with the tomatoes, add black pepper, balsamic and olive oil to taste.
Total time: 4-8 min.

Now on to Birthdays and Push-ups! Celebrating a birthday today was the ever philosophical and one-liner enriched, Bill Brent. No details on the exact age but Nicki unleashed a good fanny kicker for the occasion. Here is bill hitting some GHB-sit-ups. Careful, these can enlarge the testicles:

And what's a good B-day workout without some push-ups?'s the deal. Most people have a VERY artistic interpretation of what constitutes a push up. Silly us, we think push ups mean a plank straight body, moving all the way down to the ground with the chin, chest hips and knees all contacting at the same time...then driving ALL the way back up to full lock out. What we tend to see, especially from the big burly guys out there is an abomination. Flexed hips, droopy back and incomplete range of motion on both the top and bottom. Some of our main offenders complain they can not go all the way down due to flexibility issues in the shoulders... I don't know but maybe some full range of movement exercise might be good for the aching shoulders, eh guys?

Well our morning crew no longer falls into the spanky push-up category. These guys are LEGIT. Check out Mike Shaw's perfect top and bottom positions:

Great Job Mike and Happy B-day Bill! By the way, if you think you are a push up stud or studette and can knock off 50 perfect consecutive push ups (to our standards) I'll give you $100 dollars. Easy money, right? Ha!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Salmon, Tomato & Zuke Lunch!!

We hit the Jack-pot this week as several clients brought us tomatoes, Zukes, Salmon and Cod! We hardly need to shop and this generosity will help to illustrate how easy it is to cook quick, healthy meals.

Here's how this one went:
Seared ~1lb fresh caught salmon in a pan with olive oil. Cook on each side 4-5 min. While the salmon is cooking dice 4-5 medium vine ripened Zucchini and peel 4-5 cloves of garlic. Once the salmon is cooked remove from pan and add cubed zukes to the salmon infused oil. Cook covered for 5 min then un cover, stir and add garlic via garlic press. While the zukes brown slice 6-8 vine ripened tomatoes and place on a plate with the salmon. Once the Zukes are finished add to plate and serve. Total time~ 15 min and you will get several meals from this effort. If you notice from the photo the plate is ~1/3 salmon, zukes and tomatoes respectively. How many vegetarians do you know that had that many VEGETABLES in a day let alone a single meal? There is no healthier way to eat folks!

Dress the whole affair with black pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you are set. Feed yourself and your family well! There are NO DAMN EXCUSSES!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back In Action!!!

Hey Everyone, sorry for the nearly one year absence. Too busy and all that Jazz. Well, we are back at it and things will be hoping along pretty well from here on out. Not only will we highlight the efforts and achievements of our rock-star clients but we will provide resources like recipes and information on Performance, Health and Longevity. What more could you ask for??! Today we will start things off with a quick dinner we had last night and a lunch for today. Quick, nutritious yummy food.

Here's what we did for the Aug 5 dinner:
Brown one lb of grass-fed hamburger in a pan with olive oil.
Add diced broccoli and vine ripened tomatoes
Stir and cook veggies to desired tenderness then add several cloves of garlic.
cook for 2-3 min with frequent stirring. Add One can of Trader Joes Marinara sauce. Cook covered 5 min. Serve Hot!!
The Notion that good food takes a long time to cook and is not worth the trouble is WRONG!! You can do it, we will help with ideas!