No Amount of Change Can Buy Change

Recently a potential client asked my opinion of a nutritional supplementation line used and promoted by many crossfitters and fitness enthusiasts. I have been approached several times about promoting various lines of products that include proclamations of, “sugar free sources of long lasting energy,” “all natural,” and,”chemical and toxin free,” on their labels. Regardless of the product it is my unrelenting conviction that the crusade for optimal health begins with behavioral changes in how we approach food. There is no product on the market today that forces anyone to make behavioral changes; we have to do that ourselves.

Without burying this post in a diatribe on the, “special ingredients,” that are responsible for selling hope to thousands of people, I can say with great certainty that the results people experience from these products are either short lived (show me the longitudinal studies – there are none), or the effect of embracing better nutrition and exercise habits. So, when we cut through the fat of what these products are promising, we find that real, lasting changes occur because of healthier choices, not because of a product.

The potential client did not like my response. His counter argument was, “Yeah but what about for real people. People who aren’t personal trainers and have to work in an office and have kids and busy lives?” Slightly offended that I don’t come across as a “real person,” my response is this: We all have the same 24 hours in the day. I often work 9+ hour days at various locations without access to proper nutrition. I have to pack a cooler of food to keep with me so that I can survive. The calories I require to teach classes, train clients and transport equipment is is often greater than the “real people,” sitting at a desk, which means I have to prepare even more food. While i have not personally been blessed with children, the time I invest into starting and growing a small business and all that entails (I won’t bore you with the list) absorbs my free time in the same way. When I grew up I ate what my parents made available to me or I didn’t eat. Those who see nothing wrong with poisoning their precious gifts from God (and I mean that sincerely because children truly are) with fast food and other such garbage for the purpose of convenience or pacification may want to re-evaluate some priorities.

Priorities are really what our behavior relating to food is tied to. Meaning, if something is truly important and a priority to you, you will find a way to make it happen, period. No excuses, no victim mentality.

Change is this nebulous area floating around outside our orb of comfort. Change means possible uncertainty, letting go of the fear of failure, faulty footing or low confidence at first. Change means letting go of bad habits and consistently practicing new ones even when it sucks and you don’t want to. Change means altering routine and choosing what is better instead of what is socially acceptable, popular or most convenient. Change means holding yourself accountable, ending the pity party and breaking free of the chains binding you to the spin cycle that has been the past. Change means taking one baby step and focus all intentions on the next step forward.

None of the above paragraph is available in a bottle, pouch, canister, vial, video, box, gym or even with a personal trainer! Yes, that’s right, your personal trainer can’t change you. But, the great, awesome, wonderful news is that YOU can. Yes you can. Everything you need to be the person, have the health and feel and function the way you want to is within you and no one or nothing else. Life is happening right now. What are you waiting for?

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CARBS – What are they? Why do I need em? What’s the difference between slow, low, and no no carbs?

Several member of Treetop Training and myself are on a group quest to conquer The Whole30. All for one and one for all!!! Along the pathway it seems that some of us have stumbled upon some deep wells of low energy that seem too vast to escape. Hopefully this carbohydrate tutorial will alleviate some of the energy depletion and get everyone back into fighting shape to continue to fend off the terrible sugar dragon (insert eye roll here).

Carbohydrates are macronutrients; they are one of 3 ways the body gets energy (Calories). Fat and protein are the other two ways the body obtains energy. Carbs fuel the CNS (central nervous system – brain & spinal cord) which controls most of the functions of the body and mind. They are important for brain function, mood and memory. The RDA (recommended daily amount) is based on how much the brain needs to function properly. Thankfully, my brain is small and so I don’t need as many. Heh, heh, heh. Yes, an attempt at humor. The truth is, we NEED carbs to thrive and not be as lifeless as a bump on a log.

Carbs are simple and complex, much like most humans. Think about it simpletons can be fun, but are they really as interesting or riveting as a person with a little depth? Lets look at carbs the same way! A doughnut is simply delicious, and that’s about all the good we can say about it. As an example of simple carbohydrates the doughnut is digested and absorbed quickly into the bloodstream.  Simple carbs can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and sugar highs, not to mention that most foods composed of simple carbs are lacking in vital nutrients and therefore a total waste of calories. Examples of complex carbs are potatoes, yams, parsnips, carrots, swede/rutabaga, butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash and other starchy vegetables. These vegetables are prime sources of vitamins and minerals that the body needs, as well as excellent sources of carbohydrates. Eating complex carbs like these promote sustained energy.

Sometimes carbs get a bad rap for weight gain, but eating the right kind of carbs can actually help you lose and maintain a healthy weight. This happens because many good carbohydrates, namely the ones WITH skin, are loaded with  fiber. Fiber makes us feel full! Good carbs are also linked to better mental health because they possibly help with production of serotonin in the brain. PASS THE POTATOES PLEASE! “Carbs may help memory, too. A 2008 study at Tufts University had overweight women cut carbs entirely from their diets for one week. Then, they tested the women’s cognitive skills, visual attention and spatial memory. The women on no-carb diets did worse than overweight women on low-calorie diets that contained a healthy amount of carbohydrates.” (Livescience.com)

Not getting enough carbs is BAAAAA-D. Without carbs, we won’t feel energized, ever. Without glucose from the good carbs, the CNS can be disrupted and cause dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion, disorientation and hypoglycemia (HANGRY-NESS). Without enough carbs, the body will go after protein as its next fuel source and start chowing down on all the beautiful muscles we’ve worked so hard for.

In closing, if you are doing The Whole30, do not just assume that this is the new and improved Dr. Frankenstein, excuse me Atkins, diet. Your goal is not ketosis. Your goal is to replace simple carbohydrates with enough complex carbohydrates to fuel your brain and body. This requires work, yes, as most things worth having do. We must prepare our carbohydrate sources in advance as vending machines, fast food and cafeterias are not guaranteed to provide us plain baked sweet potatoes or plain baked butternut squash when we feel faint. Please. please, please do not look at this as a “low carb” diet. This is a balanced way of eating full of delicious and nutrient dense carbohydrates that we are made to enjoy!

SALAD, The breakfast of Champions

Certain foods take on roles within our daily meal structures. Restaurants typically don’t serve steamed cod with grilled asparagus and capers for breakfast, just as old-fashioned oatmeal with a side of greek yogurt is less than likely to appear on the dinner menu. Midday meals fall within the gray area of either or both breakfasty or dinnerish offerings, and IHOP is open 24/7 for those who enjoy punishing their bodies with anything goes.

The idea of eating a large plate or bowl of mixed field greens, raw broccoli and cauliflower pieces, perhaps some baked butternut squash or sweet potato chunks, topped with an egg, slice of bacon, a little chicken and dressed with a tablespoon of hummus or salsa for breakfast is not quite the norm for the average bear. But when we think about the shape of most of our day it totally makes sense. Morning is really the only time of day we are untouched by life. We haven’t had back to back meetings or encounters with annoying co – workers, battled traffic, or experienced any stress. Our schedule hasn’t bulged out forcing us to work through lunch or settle for sub par cafeteria fare, and we have not been drained of our energy and alertness by the requirements of the day. So, doesn’t it make sense that the first, unadulterated time we consume fuel for our bodies we could choose the most nutrient dense, power packed, satiating foods available?

It may take several minutes more than a bowl of nutrient lacking cereal, or an energy depleting granola bar, but consider the benefit of feeling strong, energized, focused and truly healthy throughout your morning at work. The pros outweigh the cons. Oatmeal may give you a dose of carbohydrates for instant energy (which usually is not needed in our sedentary lives) but a bowl of salad greens can strengthen bones, sharpen eyesight, rev up muscles, fight breast cancer, protect your heart, and reduce risk of diabetes. Salad for breakfast, give it a try!

The Health Benefits of Portabella Mushrooms and How to Enjoy Them Regularly

Mushrooms are not the most glamorous organism on display in the local produce section or farmer’s market. They are not nearly as sexy as a bunch of vibrant, crisp kale or as succulent as a buxom, ripe tomato. Most adults probably grew up eating the canned and jarred mushrooms which likely further decreases their appeal. But, did you know that this unassuming, unattractive, homely dark horse of a fungus has unprecedented nutritional qualities? YES! I am so excited!!!

Mushrooms are not fruits or vegetables, therefore their nutritional profile is very different. So, in addition to eating several servings of vegetables per day, nutrition gurus are now proclaiming the benefits of also consuming a daily serving of mushrooms. Routinely eating your mushrooms can strengthen and improve your body’s performance in the immune system, anti inflammatory response, antioxidant enzymes, cardiovascular system as well as provide many anti-cancer benefits.

Regular consumption of crimini mushrooms can fortify the immune system by supporting balanced activities among our white blood cells (disease fighting cells). Intake of whole, fresh mushrooms have also been shown to block production of pro-inflammatory molecules; molecules that contribute to chronic inflammatory conditions. Crimini mushrooms provide an excellent amount of selenium, and a very good amount of zinc and manganese. All three minerals are critical antioxidant nutrients and are also required for the functioning of antioxidant enzymes. In addition to providing us with these key antioxidant nutrients, mushrooms also positively impact our oxidative metabolism. research studies show that crimini mushrooms can help protect us from cardiovascular disease by protecting our blood vessels from oxidative damage as well as chronic inflammation. Research studies on laboratory animals with high blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (TGs) have also shown that daily intake of crimini mushrooms over a period of 1-2 months can reduce levels of all three blood fats (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and TGs. Of special interest in this health benefits area have been studies on breast cancer and prostate cancer. In the case of breast cancer—especially hormone-related breast cancer—it may be the presence of a special fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in mushrooms that is especially important. 

Ideas for serving:

1. chopped on top of salads
2. chopped up in an omelet or frittata
3. use 2 portabella caps in place of a bun for a burger or sandwich
4. use a portabella cap as a “pizza” crust and bake with your favorite, healthy pizza toppings
5. marinate with olive oil, cilantro, lime and garlic sea salt and either bake in the oven or grill
6. add to brown rice or quinoa pilaf
7. use baked portabella strips in place of steak in a fajita

Portobello-Mushrooms

The Dirt is in My Blood. My Sweat is in the Dirt.

There is no way to describe a trail that embodies the most elemental essence of who I am, where I came from and how I exist where I am today. Its dirt is in my blood and my sweat is in its dirt. Family hikes, picking bouquets of wild queen anne’s lace and bluebells and daisies, soccer practice conditioning, marathon training, romantic dates with the could have beens and once were’s, meditation, reflection, soul screaming purges of emotion and transformative healing all converged on this ribbon of stone and soil, rolling alongside the Rocky River.
Although life has carried me down shifting paths in other seasons, my roots have always led me back to this place where my soul first breathed. Out the front door of a redbrick ranch cottage to an asphalt road, leading down a steep hill into Cleveland’s Emerald Necklace is the start of the familiar trek. A moment on the bike path until the bridle trail emerges from the woods, underneath the Brookpark Road bridge is just enough time to get the breath moving and legs loose. From there it’s onto the trail, embraced by the arms of timeless trees and fringed with lush greens and wildflowers. A half a mile on the crunch of sandy dirt and crushed gravel reveals the ethereal rays of sun, pouring onto an earthy river, babbling in the spring and sluggishly creeping through summer. The scent of the trees and plants, entwined with the sounds of gentle waterfalls and flowing water resonate through the walls of my body and penetrate the core of my being. In this moment I can fly, I have no limitations, I can truly be and do anything.
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Whole30 Review

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For the past 30 days I have been following the Whole30 method for my nutritional intake. Here are the general rules:

Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.

Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)

Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.

Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).

Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)

Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.

Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.

See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.73bdlvmR.dpuf

Today is my 30th day following this style of food intake, so I would like to provide a review of my experience with it. Here are the highlights:

First 10 days were pure hell. I had been sugar free except for honey and maple syrup which I obviously was severely addicted to.

After that everything settled down and became the new normal.

I struggled with binge eating before, and I had a few fruit binges (which I attribute to over exercising and not refueling), but overall my chronic bingeing is subsiding.

I don’t weigh myself, ever, so I don’t know the before/after on that but all my clothes still fit the same.

While I don’t feel smaller, my skin feels tighter and my muscles are more visible through my skin, as if maybe I lost some fat.

Never having stuck to any eating plan, except paleo, this was a great accomplishment for me.

Learned that I thrive off of protein way more than carbs, and that I need a proper balance for my body type/activity level at every meal. This means, there is no longer room for mindless consumption. I have to be awake and aware of proportions.

Increased my water consumption to almost 100 oz. a day which is effortless to drink

Experimented with lots of new to me vegetables and meats

Became glaringly aware of my abuse of food and dependance on it as a coping mechanism

Whole30 is as transformative as each person wants it to be. For me it’s been about adopting a healthy and grateful relationship with food, at a higher level of awareness than before starting it. I will continue to practice this way of life indefinitely.

So, overall I think it can be a very beneficial method for identifying food intolerances, creating awareness of mindless eating and learning how to be present in food selections, and it can also help with weight loss. Having gone 30 days with eliminating all of the items listed above, for me the next step is better meal balancing between carbs, fat and protein. Additionally, I feel that I do still have a problem moderating sugar intake, so moving forward to the next 30 days I will be eliminating fruit for at least 5 days out of 7 per week. Food intake will only consist of meals and will not include snacking. Intermittent fasting will also begin in this next 30 day cycle, which for me, means no eating after 7pm and no eating before lunch on certain days of the week.

I am not a nutritionist, so I will not advise that anyone follow this program. I can only say that it is working for me which encourages me to continue to practice and perfect it to my individual needs. With that being said, if you are longing to see the gym results and you have been consistently busting your butt without seeing them, then you need to put your food intake under a microscope. If you continue to do what you did, you will continue to get what you got. Nutrition is the part of the fitness equation that allows your hard work to be seen, so put your fuel on trial and get rid of whatever may be holding you back.

Endurance

Thirteen months and thousands of miles of training had all brought him to this moment. He approached, for the fifth time, the blue tarp, makeshift tent adorned in Christmas lights, welcomed by a blue dinosaur wearing a Santa cap. The volunteers working the aid station were tired, but cheerful, trying to keep each runner that passed through their establishment as comfortable as possible on their quest to reach 100 miles. This landmark was the 15.5 mile marker on a 20 mile loop and this was his last time approaching it, putting him at mile 95.5.

The thrill of the race had been lost to the trail hours before. Every step was pure agony. The repetitive impact of feet meeting trail, rock and root had taken its toll on every ligament and bone. The well of adrenaline was dry. The desire to be done was overwhelming, but the thought of taking just one more step inconceivable. At this point in the race, even with all the effort, determination, focus and training the thought of stopping is there. It’s human response to this type of physical exertion.

So what then, when all the glory of the finish seemed like a mirage, and the pain of enduring 4.5 more miles felt crushing, transpired to propel forward motion? The answer to that question is the topic of this post.

Any time we set a goal, or take on a new project the excitement and newness of the challenge generates an energy that almost effortlessly moves us forward. We are on track, getting it done, proud of our work, patting ourselves on the back and the goal seems well within reach. As time passes we see some results of our efforts and those results fuel the focus to keep pushing. Often the gains that we may have experienced early on begin to slow down, the going gets tough. The option of quitting is there beckoning us back into the hole of a comfort zone we crawled out of in the first place. We question why we ever thought we could do this, how bad do we really want it, is it even possible, we make excuses and we procrastinate. This is the brain’s defense mechanism against doing something it knows is going to be uncomfortable or difficult.

When the newness wears off, the results go unnoticed or unseen, and we arrive at what seems an insurmountable wall separating us from our own personal finish lines, practicing endurance is what eventually delivers the dream. Endurance is the ability to resist, withstand, recover, and have immunity from hardships, disappointments, fatigue and boredom. Developing endurance is achieved by placing ourselves in situations which require us to practice overcoming the aforementioned obstacles little by little. No one who wants to be successful jumps straight into a 100 mile race. Months of training at shorter distances, building endurance is what allows finishers to run, walk or crawl across the line.

The pursuit of any goal in fitness, relationships, career or nutrition requires endurance. Maybe you have been “good all week,” with your nutrition plan and suddenly someone brings your favorite dessert into the office or friends suggest a night of heavy drinking. Perhaps you’ve been busting your butt at work for recognition and a promotion that doesn’t seem to be happening, so you feel like giving up and rationalizing mediocre work. What if you’ve been putting a ton of effort in with your spouse only to feel like there is no reciprocity and you are tempted to resign yourself to a lackluster relationship for the sake of harmony? Those situations are in that moment your mile 95.5. What will you do? Will you exercise endurance and finish the race, or will you disqualify all that you have already invested for the sake of what momentarily feels more comfortable?

Peace, love and running.

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Gobbling vs. Chewing

Digestion begins in the mouth and ends in the anus. Take a moment and allow that to marinate in your mind. Every time something passes through the oral orifice it embarks on an awesome winding, topsy turvy journey through 25-30 feet of digestive conduit, efficiently and ingeniously packed into the human machine. Below is a diagram of the digestive system:

 

 

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And here is a breakdown of what happens at each mile marker in the process:

Functions of the Digestive Organs
Organ Major functions Other functions
Mouth
  • Ingests food
  • Chews and mixes food
  • Begins chemical breakdown of carbohydrates
  • Moves food into the pharynx
  • Begins breakdown of lipids via lingual lipase
  • Moistens and dissolves food, allowing you to taste it
  • Cleans and lubricates the teeth and oral cavity
  • Has some antimicrobial activity
Pharynx
  • Propels food from the oral cavity to the esophagus
  • Lubricates food and passageways
Esophagus
  • Propels food to the stomach
  • Lubricates food and passageways
Stomach
  • Mixes and churns food with gastric juices to form chyme
  • Begins chemical breakdown of proteins
  • Releases food into the duodenum as chyme
  • Absorbs some fat-soluble substances (for example, alcohol, aspirin)
  • Possesses antimicrobial functions
  • Stimulates protein-digesting enzymes
  • Secretes intrinsic factor required for vitamin B12absorption in small intestine
Small intestine
  • Mixes chyme with digestive juices
  • Propels food at a rate slow enough for digestion and absorption
  • Absorbs breakdown products of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, along with vitamins, minerals, and water
  • Performs physical digestion via segmentation
  • Provides optimal medium for enzymatic activity
Accessory organs
  • Liver: produces bile salts, which emulsify lipids, aiding their digestion and absorption
  • Gallbladder: stores, concentrates, and releases bile
  • Pancreas: produces digestive enzymes and bicarbonate
  • Bicarbonate-rich pancreatic juices help neutralize acidic chyme and provide optimal environment for enzymatic activity
Large intestine
  • Further breaks down food residues
  • Absorbs most residual water, electrolytes, and vitamins produced by enteric bacteria
  • Propels feces toward rectum
  • Eliminates feces
  • Food residue is concentrated and temporarily stored prior to defecation
  • Mucus eases passage of feces through colon

 

 

The description of the processes above all involve the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food so that our bodies can absorb the nutrients of what we eat. The very first part of the process begins with chewing, and that is the focus of this post.

BEEP, BEEP. BEEP, BEEP!!!!!!! The offensive sound waves emitted by the electronic reminder of how nice it would be to sleep in come crashing mercilessly against our bleary eardrums. And with that a new day is born. Maybe we got up in enough time to prepare breakfast, or maybe a granola bar or banana is snatched up on our blind rush for the door. It’s breakfast; our first foray into fueling our engines and initiating this day’s digestion. Many times getting the kids and family ready to get out the door, or even just getting ourselves ready can be a task. The thought of sitting in a quiet, relaxed space and calmly chewing our food into a liquified state is laughable.

We blaze through the morning stoked up on caffeine and adrenaline, and maybe a mid morning snack, arriving at lunch with either no appetite (due to coffee overdose) or completely ravenous (due to insufficient caloric and water consumption). So, either we skip lunch, force ourselves to eat, or inhale whatever the option is for that day. Again, taking the time to turn down the noise and truly look at this food as a gift, one bite at a time isn’t on our list of priorities.

At some point in the day this routine of indifference to our food and lack of recognition of its value will catch up with us. It could be around 3pm when we start craving something salty or sweet, or we just need a diet soda to hold us over till dinner. It could be when we get home into our comfort zones and graze or binge on anything available as a way to relax and “enjoy” our time to eat. If the act of sitting down and mindfully eating a meal from start to finish doesn’t seem like a conscious decision, then I urge you to monitor your behavior the next time you eat something. What did you eat, why did you eat it, when were you satiated, how quickly did you consume it and were you mentally present in each bite?

When we mindlessly eat for reasons other than hunger we abuse food. When we use food as a coping mechanism, it loses its importance as our fuel. When we keep going back for more of what we do not need, we are unconsciously practicing ungratefulness and taking for granted that which we are beyond blessed to have at our fingertips.

So the challenge is to wake up and stay checked in as you are eating. Instead of gobbling it up like there could not be a next meal, slow down, be thankful for every single bite, be awake in every single bite, and make every meal as special as you possibly can. We were given the cognitive ability to choose what, when and how we eat. The only person ultimately responsible for those choices is us. Choose well and chew longer.

Delicious, Filling, YesICancakes

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Pancakes have always struck me as a weird creation. Flour, egg and sugar pan fried in butter? Don’t you think that sounds less than appetizing? But what if you could make a balanced breakfast meal in one pan that will keep you full until morning snack time, while making you also feel that you are getting to experience the satisfaction that Ihoppers will never find? Well, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
3-4 egg whites
1/2 cup whole oatmeal
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
A few drops of vanilla extract (or not)

Add ins:
pomegranate seeds
chia seeds
protein powder
any berries

Spray small skillet with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour contents of bowl into skillet. Run pancake flipper around the edge of the skillet while first side is cooking. Slide flipper under pancake after about 3-4 minutes to see if it is solid enough to flip. When it feels like it will stay together, flip it. Use your hand if necessary to keep it intact while flipping. Cook the other side 2 min. Serve and enjoy with 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup.

One house, different metabolic needs: Creating harmony

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To begin let me say that I love my husband. Based on the images above you can probably imagine where my inspiration for this blog comes from. You see the guy I live with is not only a card-carrying member of the ectomorph tribesman, but as an ultra marathon runner he is also likely a chief. Let me now also say that I love my family heritage. However, there are many unhealthy, overweight and non athletic people chilling in my family tree. While my other half has to consistently strive to simply maintain rather than lose weight, my battle is definitely against the billowing bulge. So how is it that we are able to coexist under one roof and still get what we need from our nutrition? Well, it’s a process.

If you are an ectomorph living with an endomorph, I’m sorry. If you are an endomorph living with an ectomorph, I’m sorry. The first thing to realize is that navigating nutrition at either end of the spectrum is a challenge for both poles. The endo may see the ecto as being lucky to be able to eat as much of anything as they want, but in reality a true ecto has to really struggle just to avoid being underweight. The ectomorph likely feels bad sometimes that they can eat whatever they want while watching their co habitation partner fight ice cream, cookies and cakes like they are fighting an invisible demonic force. The point is, it can be difficult, in different ways for both parties.

Breakfasts should be pretty easy for each person to get what they need without outside influences. Ectos load up on the carbs and starches, i.e. oats, cereals, breakfast burritos, bagels etc. while endos fuel up with high proteins and whole carbs like protein smoothies, eggs, chia porridge, fruit etc. Next stop of the day is place of work. Ectos thrive in this environment with ample choices supplied by a wide array of snack dealers. Endos can successfully step through booby snack traps by having their own stash of treats that specifically work for their needs, i.e. fruit, raw mixed veggies, paleo muffin or cookie, larabar, pb&apples, smoothies etc.

Lunch time again, can be easy for both extremes. It would be great if both parties prepared lunch at home for their individual needs, but there are many half way decent options at popular lunch places. Again ectos need the high carb options like subway sandwiches, pastas, rice/beans etc. while endos will want to veer towards lean meats, veggies and complex carbs like sweet potatoes, Ezekiel bread or whole wheat tortilla that fit within caloric needs. Afternoon snacking should resemble the morning snack time.

And that brings us home to dinner and more snack time, the final challenge of the day. Because of the very different needs of both, different options need to be available to both for dinner. One easy-ish way to do this is with side dishes. Ectos can decorate their meat serving with whole wheat home-made biscuits, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes or pasta of some kind etc. Endos will want to gravitate towards one serving of quinoa, 5 oz. of sweet potato or mashed rutabaga as their starch option. BOTH types need vegetables and I am of the opinion that half any person’s plate should be filled with green vegetables. The other method is to prepare 2 completely separate meals. Typically this resembles some sort of one pot casserole type meal for the ectomorph that includes protein, carbs, fat and vegetables. The endomorph’s plate would look like the above description. Preparing the meals separately sort of draws a line, “This is your meal, and this is mine,” and the line is so clearly drawn that it does require conscious effort to step over it because time was taken to prepare both.

If you are at one end of the spectrum living with the other end let me just encourage you. We are not all built the same, and because of that we simply can’t all eat the same. Once that is accepted and even embraced, we can be free to take care of our own individual needs while also being aware and sensitive to the needs of others. Take care of you this holiday season! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or calls normal. You are the captain of your physical body, keep that ship on course!