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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I Scream for (Healthy) Ice Cream!

In the past month I have been on a kick for ice cream as my post exercise carb source of choice. Being hotter then blazes out lately nothing seems to fit the bill better then an icy cold almond milk blended protein shake and some ice cream. During this time I have been checking out some brands of ice cream marketed as being healthier versions of the real thing. This is not the same thing as frozen yogurt types which are by their nature healthier than ice cream. Nor is this the same as half the fat, "lite" or "no sugar added" types of ice cream. This is a review ONLY about products that are intended to be ice cream alternatives for the health conscious folks like me who still want to get my fix without the guilt of cheating on my diet. 

So in the past 4 weeks these are the 3 brands I have been sampling. I have tried about 4-5 flavors from each brand and found which one from each I liked best. This is not a what is best kind of review simply because you cannot compare different flavors head to head. Its like red apples to green apples to golden apples.....all similar yes but not the same thing. I post the facts from the websites for each of my brand favorites. Take a look and then go try them yourself and you be your own judge for what you like best. I really don't think you will find yourself disappointed with any of the 3 options below. Enjoy this cool treat during these blazing days of San Diego summer and relish in the calories your saving without even knowing it. And just found a way to have "A Better Bite."


Special findings: 
Lowest protein content
Low calories
Longest list of ingredients
Super deep and rich brownie flavor
Melts very quickly
Chunks of tasty brownie like bits packed inside


Special findings: 
Highest protein content
skim milk/milk as main ingredient
5g a fiber per serving
very good combo of sweet caramel salt
does not melt too fast
most expensive


Special findings: 
High protein content
Lowest in calories
Shortest list of ingredients
Creamiest in texture
Very authentic strawberry flavor

Monday, July 18, 2016

Acai Bowls Have my Attention!

Ever since I was in Hawaii via Pearl Harbor/Waikiki for a few days stay during my two stints in port visits during the summer of 2014 and again in Dec 2015 with my commands for work I have found myself in a love affair with the well known staple of Hawaiian cuisine. That being the famous Acai bowl.

$9 for the full size at Swami's Cafe

I have several of these items during the port visits mentioned above and vowed to find something like it back here in San Diego. I have come close on several occasions after going to places like SOL CAL Cafe in downtown San Diego with their Epic Acai Bowl, Jamba Juice locations all over San Diego and their Acai Primo Bowl. But none had the impact and wow factor like those of HI. That is until recently......

I came across the recently opened Swami's Cafe in Point Loma that just opened its doors a few months ago. I had never even heard of Swami's until this one opened up. I learned that they were well known all over SoCal and cater to the natural, fresh, healthy, organic crowed. Music to my ears! The do some amazing breakfast items, killer lunch specials and well reviewed dinner entrees as well. The place has a vibe designed for CA based on its menu alone from what I can tell.

When a look at showed me some outstanding pictures of these massive "bowls" I had to know more. The reviews were many and positive. The picture were drool worthy and the $9 price for these moster portions seemed like a win on all fronts. I had to go and see for myself......and so I did....twice!

Last week  Monday I stopped in around 730pm (and again Thursday about the same time) and got the basic acai bowl to go after a killer gym session. I needed a good deal of healthy carbs and fruit to go with my protein shake and this fit the bill. Being I am on my contest prep diet it's nice to find places like this that are very much adaptable to my diet and enjoyable at the same time! As the picture shows its a FULL take out box full of low fat vanilla yogurt, fresh berries, sliced banana, low fat granola, grape nuts, shredded coconut and a hearty dose of chilled acai fruit. This thing was awesome! Tasted as good as it looks and then some. And for the price you cant go wrong! The largest portion I have gotten of all the places I have ordered an acai bowl so far.

Having now seen these and raised my standard for a good acai bowl in SD, I now look to try a couple other spots I am demanded to try from peers and foodie friends of mine. Those two I plan to try very soon are Juice Crafters in Coronado and Northside Shack in Point Loma. I hear very good things about both of these venues but I can say now, they got their work cut out for them knowing what I will be referencing them to!

However when it comes to an acai bowl, no matter where you get it in SD, the nature of the item its good all round, super nutritious, delicious and perfect for hot summer days. Its the perfect way to find yourself "A Better Bite" this summer.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Popular Diet Plans; Good, until there not.....

At this past weeks NSCA National Conference in New Orleans, of the 18 lectures I attended, one of them had immediate resonance with me on the nutritional side of things. A new perspective gained I had not before considered in my work with sailors, athletes and public clients of mine.

The topic was given by Marie Spano, one of the worlds leading authorities on sports nutrition, speaking and writing. Her topic was "Navigating your clients/athletes through the maze of today's popular diets."

Or should you??

The major areas she covered centered on research based evidence on diets related to ketogenic diets, Paleo diets and intermittent fasting based diets. Others were touched on briefly but primary focus was the first three.

The information she gave was very appealing in showing what did work, what did not and what still needs to be determined by research and time itself. Much research has been done across many demographics, ages, genders, time frames and structures as well as looking at many different outcome variables in response to these diets from various health markers, weight loss, compliance rates etc.

In the end it was basically shown that all of the diets worked to some degree with respect to weight loss, health improvements and disease management both short and long term. In fact in most every case the results were equal in terms weight lost, muscle retained, blood markers measured etc.

What this tells me is that it is not right or wrong to want to follow one of the mainstream popular diet philosophies if a client or athletes comes to me motivated and excited to begin on one of them. It wont be better or worse then a generally clean, wholesome, calorie controlled eating plan would be.

I really thought long and hard about this because I do get hit with this question all the time from those I work with. "Should I do diet X, Y, Z, 1, 5, 7 etc......"

My answer is almost always to try and deter them from a (super sexy sounding and appealing) fad diet back to a more (plain Jane, boring) middle ground nutritional approach to help them with their needs and goals. Many times this works and I can get them on board with the traditional route. However many times I just cant convince them that they do not need to be on any fancy, cool, hip sounding diet to see weight loss. They are dead set on doing it their way and despite my best attempts they go about their own way determined to see it through on their own terms. Now 90% of the time they come back 4-6 weeks later at best claiming they "tried so hard" and "did so well at first" but then found it too hard, too inconvenient, too unsustainable, too restrictive etc.....and back to ground 0 we go.

So like the research Marie Spano shared, the diets do work, can work and in the lab via controlled clinical settings with professional support, tracking, payment incentives etc.... to finish the study.....people will see positive outcomes just as good as a traditional approaches to weight loss. So its not wrong to let my clients go that route.....IN THE BEGINNING.......

If I get a super charged client, motivated as hell, committed to the skies, eager to begin, confident in their abilities to succeed, driven to comply, taking the steps needed to create change  in their life about diet and nutrition and Diet XYZ1000..... happens to be what spurs their actionable first steps then I am going to ride that wave of self created motivation they brought to me all on their own and see to it we ride that out as long as we can with my guidance and support. (I will not and do not support the idea of detox cleanses longer then 72 hours let me state that right now! For my take on cleansing please see this guideline and leave it at that!) Personally as long as the diet does not completely omit or forbid an entire food group I can allow it to move forward.

So as long as said diet program you find has good match-up with for your preferences, likes, food prep resources, kitchen skills, budget, family needs and preferences, religious beliefs or other food related beliefs then yes go for if your compelled "this is the one for you."

However if you find yourself (as I often do with 90% of my clients in and outside the Navy) 4-6 weeks later when one or even "all the rules" of the said diet you have been on catch up with you and you start to hate what you just loved become clear, DO NOT give up! Adjust!

If those first 4-6 weeks got you some weight loss then GREAT! Well done and nice work! Now that it's gotten harder to sustain don't go and throw in the towel, call it quits and drop everything because you want to break a "rule" of your new diet by eating an item "forbidden" on the diet, off limits to you, eating too early, too late, too often, the wrong food combinations etc.....if your still able to lose weight even by "ADAPTING" the rules of any diet plan then your still getting closer to your goals! I cant tell you how many people I talk to about why a diet failed them despite doing so well at first. Its all due to 1 or 2 simple "rules" of a diet plan they felt they had "broke" and figured it was all over then because they were not doing it 100% by the book. WRONG!

Using myself as an example:

I could feasible say I follow a (being formal about it).........

IIFYM-Flexible Dieting-New Nordic Diet

And I would be 100% honest it giving it this name. I do follow many concepts of IIFYM, as well as flexible dieting principles and it aligns very closely with Nordic diet foods selections and omissions.

So if I am NOT 100% compliant to any 1 of the above 3 diets then am I cheating? Am I doing it wrong? Am I breaking the rules and sabotaging myself? HELL NO! In fact I am seeing what is now one of the most productive years of my training career as well as some of the best health measures I have ever had tested for. I have ADAPTED parts of each just a little to work for me the way I need them to so I can sustain them long term. Follow them day to day and still reach my goals of performance in the gym, at work and in my health and well-being.

I urge you just like my clients, athletes and sailors to do the same. As you find struggle or resistance in a popular diet or any dietary program you are on or plan to go on in the near future use this simple process to keep yourself going forward......

  • Identify what is working well and what is not working for you and why that is so.
  • ADAPT the part or parts not working so you can keep the rest of the plan intact.
  • Do not just give up everything because 1 "rule" was broken.
  • Review your plan often, ask, is it still manageable over time, others around you, your resources?
  • Assess an objective measure like weight loss but don't expect change every week!
  • Keep a food log or use an app to log daily intake to track trends in food intake, types, times, amounts.
  • Be mindful of how you feel, respond and react to foods, note this as you progress.

So in closing IT DOES NOT MATTER what diet you follow as per the laundry list of research brought up by Marie Spano during her lecture. As long as calorie intake was controlled for over time all subjects would lose weight, some more, some less. But if weight loss was the goal then everyone went from A to B. How one gets there is a matter of "what's best for me" and that is where guys like me come in to help start someone off right, customize things for the person at hand and their goals. Having sat through this lecture however has given me a more open mind on how to work with versus against the person who comes to me 100% SURE that Paleo or IF is the key to their weight loss goals........they say their is more than one way to skin a nutritional science and dietary approaches to weight loss.....this could not apply more....and for you readers......their is always more then one way "To find A Better Bite."

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Back to the root of it!

Finally I am putting up a blog post that gets us back to the root of the blog in the first place! Food! San Diego Food! And what better place does this city to food best? Festivals of course!

This time my uber foodie companion Magie Brennan and I took on The Great American Foodie Festival at Qualcomm Stadium. Our first time attending this event.

This was actually a 3 day event and for $10 a day you got in to sample from what we counted to be about 35 food trucks in one place! You do pay for each food truck you sample from but most were $12 or less for good portions. We did a roundabout tour to see what we had to pick from first then we made the hard choices of what we would actually sample out. This was not easy!

Again, being I am in full force contest prep mode I had to be a bit more picky. My choice ended up being a pretty healthy and delicious pick from Flavors of East Africa where I got a combo meal of Curry Chicken, African Sweet Jerk Chicken, Wali (yellow rice mixed with African spices and vegetables) Sukuma wiki (collard greens and cabbage sauteed in mild spices and garlic) as my side selection.

Both of us sampled this plate out and thoroughly enjoyed it. Great use of spices, seasonings and very tender meats, both well marinated in the unique ethnic spices.

I would have tried SOOOO many other vendors as well but I actually had a training group to lead and partake in myself soon after our visit so I had to be on best behavior and not over indulge.......

How I felt passing by the "naughty" food offerings.

So without getting to long with this blog post as I could easily do.....lets just let you "feast" you eyes on the many vendors present at this years Foodie Festival. One note.....about half or more of the food trucks present were from North County or further north still. Some we had never seen or heard of. More the better we came to this as its unlikely you would ever see many of these food trucks around town. Not that we have any shortage of them anyway!

Photo slideshow link

Last notes:......Vlog #2 is also live over on my YouTube channel so please take a sec and migrate over there to see what news I have for you this week!


Click above to download my recent obsession with this DIY oatmeal creation just about anyone will like and can make with 0 kitchen skills.

As always people......keep an eye out for all the awesome food finds in this great city of San Diego! Your surely never too far away from finding your next "Better Bite"

Sunday, July 3, 2016

YouTube Vlog Now Live!

Please sit back and listen in to this first of many weekly video blogs (Vlogs) for my Youtube Channel where I will discuss things I like:

  • things I am doing
  • places I am going
  • fitness, gear, gadgets and tech I am using and why i like or dislike it
  • sports supplements I use and or like
  • nutritional/diet program I like and dislike and why
  • fitness resources, deals, books, websites, podcasts i like
  • fitness competitions and training groups
  • food and recipes I like
  • brands and products I like or dislike
  • my love affair with sushi, coffee and acai bowels

Each weeks show will be 30 minutes long. This one a bit more so due to the intro section.

I will note that if your YouTube/video savy I am looking for a specialist who can take my raw data and upload it to YouTube with some better flare, character and professional appeal. If that's you let me know now and we will talk!