11/12/2013 Restaurant Review

Grecian Gyro - Hapeville, GA 

It’s been awhile since I have posted a restaurant review, but I couldn’t let this place slide by without spreading the word. Even though I have driven by it more times than I can count, I had never eaten at the Grecian Gyro in Hapeville, GA until I was cruising around yesterday looking for a place to eat and stopped in to give it a try.  The food was excellent and despite the hustle and bustle inside the space, the outdoor area was relatively quiet and provides views of the planes coming and going at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. I love Greek and/or Mediterranean food because it fits so nicely into my dietary preferences and because it usually offers a range of proteins for your plate. I had the Souvlaki plate, but subbed the potatoes with extra salad and doubled the meat. The Souvlaki was delicious and the salad was anything, but boring. Nick’s Grecian Dressing was a tasty blend of oil, vinegar and spices without overpowering the flavors of the greens and veggies in the salad.

If you’re in the area and looking for a quick, yet healthy meal, the Grecian Gyro is a solid option!

11/05/2013 - Workout/Exercise Ideas for New Parents

New Daddy/Mommy Workouts

As a newly minted father of a beautiful little girl, Lilly (right), my free time has become a fading memory and my priorities have been shifted toward spending time with my wife and daughter instead of in the gym. It’s been an amazing, yet challenging first month and I have had trouble finding time (and energy) to workout with the same vigor and consistency I had been so accustomed to prior to Lilly’s arrival.

So…this post is for all the new Dads and Moms out there looking for quick workout ideas to do in between feedings, diaper changes, and naps.

Here are a few workouts I have done over the last month (some of them more than once!). Each workout can be done in under 25 minutes including 5-7 minutes for a warmup. Try this Dynamic Stretching routine if you are looking for a quick, yet effective warmup.

Enjoy and if you try any of these workouts, hit us up on Facebook or in the comments section with how you did!

Workout #1: Total time 23 minutes

Warmup (90 seconds Jump Rope followed by Dynamic Stretching Routine)

Run 1.5 miles

5 Rounds of

10 Box Jumps(I used a 22” wall at the park by my house)

10 Squat Thrusts

10 Squats

Run 0.5 miles

 

Workout #2:  Total time 14 minutes

Warmup (90 seconds of running followed by Dynamic Stretching Routine)

50-40-30-20 and 10 reps of

Russian Kettlebell Swings(use a heavy bell)

Situps

 

Workout #3:Total time 20 minutes

Warmup (90 seconds of running followed by Dynamic Stretching Routine)

Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes complete the following

7 Dumbbell Thrusters

4 Burpees

***NOTE #1: No DBs at home? No problem! Use two 1-gallon milk jugs or water jugs. No jugs? No problem! Use two objects you have around the house that have relatively equal mass and can be safely handled and pressed overhead…be creative! If you have twins, use them! I am kidding (kind of)!

***NOTE: #2: If you are relatively new to exercise, you will want to scale the reps down a little. Try doing 4 Thrusters and 2 Burpees and work up for there if you need more.

 

Workout #4: Total time 12 minutes (in case you really need a quick workout and need to do it quietly in the living room!)

Warmup (90 seconds Jumping Jacks followed by Dynamic Stretching Routine)

Complete as many rounds as possible in 7 minutes

3 V-ups

5 Pushups

7 Squats

Happy sweating, diaper changing, baby soothing, and baby feeding!

10/25/2013 - Bill's Birthday

"What happened to my birthday?"

This past Wednesday, Bill C. (member of the Barrett Park All Stars) celebrated his birthday (I'll withhold the actual number, but let's just say that in his lifetime, he's been around to witness Hank Aaron hit majority of his 755 homeruns!).  It was a different kind of birthday for Bill this year...No cake, no pizza, no beer...maybe his family forgot?

Not a chance!

Take a look at the pics below and you'll see that this is Bill's first Paleo style birthday! Tasty meal, awesome dessert, and lusterous, new a pair of dumbbells for a present! Nice work to his wife, Diane, for putting together his eats and picking out the gift, (to quote Cousin Eddie)..."that keeps on giving the whole year!" 

Congrats, Bill and I hope this is the first of many more to come!

 

 

Simple Marinade for Chicken or Pork

Here’s a really simple recipe for a 30-minute marinade to be used on your chicken or pork before tossing it on the grill. I use it regularly for pork tenderloin and boneless chicken breasts.

Ingredients

½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Spicy Brown or Dijon Mustard

1 clove Garlic finely chopped

½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Pinch of Sea Salt

Pinch of Black Pepper

Directions

Place your pork or chicken in a one-gallon ziplock bag. Combine the Apple Cider Vinegar, Mustard, Garlic, and dried spices in a small mixing bowl. Slowly stir in the Olive Oil and continue whisking until complete. Pour the marinade into the bag along with the meat, seal and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You’re ready to rock, so get that grill fired up and get those sides prepped! 

Let me know what you think and enjoy!

Nutrition Challenge 2013

GOAL:  To eat clean, unprocessed foods; log our intake, document how we feel physically and mentally, and learn about how our body responds to the foods we consume.

WHEN: October 21, 2013 – November 18, 2013

Basic Requirements for Participation

Every participant must:

1. Keep a log of everything you ingest. Be detailed and specific, it is not necessary to weigh and measure your foods, unless you think it will help keep you accountable. If after a meal you feel you have over/under eaten, record it, so you can adjust at your next meal.

2. Keep a log of your sleep each night. Record how many hours you slept, if you feel rested, and any events that occurred to disrupt your slumber.

3. Keep a log of how you feel each day. Be specific about your energy levels, mood, and physical states.

***Note: You can keep all this info in one log. Use a page for each day or if you prefer electronic logging, download Evernote to your phone and keep a log there. Evernote is a great resource for logging because you can share it with others and they can check out what you are eating, how you are feeling, and they can help keep you accountable. You can even take pictures of your meals and build them into the Evernote log. I use Evernote with several of my clients to help them stay on track with their fuel and it has proven to be very effective.

4. Take at least 1 picture before the challenge begins and 1 picture at the conclusion of the challenge so we have a record of your body composition changes. If you desire, although not required, take measurements of your waist, neck, chest and thighs.

5. Tell your family and friends what you are doing and get their support! Let them know it’s important to you to learn how your body responds to food.

Levels of Participation

GOLD:  Remove grains/gluten, beans (legumes), sugars/sweeteners (no sugar substitutes even if they are labeled “natural”), and alcohol from your intake.

SILVER:  Remove grains, beans (legumes), and sugars/sweeteners from your intake. Alcohol is allowed, but make sure you are avoiding grain-based alcohols.

COPPER:  Remove grains from your intake.

 

Grading-Compliance-Scoring

You must record your “compliance grade” each day.  To keep it simple, there are only two grades; an “O” or and “X”, but you can use a minus sign (O-) if you feel you had a good day, but had a small slip. For example, if you slipped and added sugar to your coffee, but nailed everything else all day, you could give yourself an “O-“.  A large slip receives only one grade…an “X”. Be honest with yourself.

Some things to think about…

1.     What to eat: Lean meats, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruit, little starch, and no SUGAR!

2.     If it doesn’t rot in 7-10 days, it is probably not food.

3.     Stay away from foods that have more than 5-7 ingredients on the label and the ingredients listed should consist of words that do not require an advanced scientific degree to pronounce.

4.     The perimeter of the grocery store is your friend, the aisles the enemy. Food located on the perimeter is usually fruits, veggies, and fresh protein sources. Food located in the aisles is usually highly processed, boxed crap that has an indefinite shelf life…aka NOT FOOD.

5. If you made a great meal, snap a pic and tell us about it! I'll post it to share with others.

Resources

One of the main goals for this challenge is to LEARN how your body responds to the foods you eat and how it feels without the foods you are not eating as a result of participation in the challenge. There is a wealth of information on the web and in books. I encourage you to seek your own answers to questions and educate yourself on why it is important to eat a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods.  You can also use the “Healthy Eating Guide” I sent you as a quick reference for what to eat.

Here are the websites I visit most often when in need of resources for nutrition and recipes (in no particular order):

a.     http://www.marksdailyapple.com

b.     www.Robbwolf.com

c.      www.whole9life.com

d.     www.paleocomfortfoods.com

e.     www.growinguppaleo.com

f.      http://www.thepaleodiet.com

 

You CAN do it! Good luck and happy eating!

08/22/2013: Just a quick Thursday thought...

An Idea…

I just finished coaching the second session of Boot Camp at Woodward Academy where there is an incredible group of educators driven toward improving their health and fitness. I left Woodward and headed over to my favorite little coffee shop in Hapeville (http://www.dripatl.com/) to do some work and sip on an Americano. As I sat down to work, I started thinking about how we could turn good fitness, health, and nutrition practices into cultural change.

A health pyramid scheme is what has been going through my head…uh-oh…where is Smugs going with this?!?

Think about how a pyramid scheme works... one person gets a group of people to buy into some product and then that group goes out and gets other people to buy into the product and…this continues until a huge network of people are buying into and selling a product. The beauty in this is a large population of people have “bought into” a product or idea. The ugly in this is most pyramid schemes result in someone at the top getting wealthy by stomping on a large group of zombie-like worker bees that get drawn into the idea of quick, easy money and can’t get out because it doesn’t really exist. How is my plan different? My health pyramid-like scheme does not have a tangible product for sale, does not require financial buy-in, and does not require you to go around begging people to buy into some crappy product line. Instead, what if we used a pyramid-like scheme to ignite a cultural change toward better health, exercise, and eating by making a concerted effort to freely share healthy habits with others and encourage others to do the same.

Here's what is might look like…

I talk to my neighbor, coworker, friend, or unsuspecting stranger on MARTA and pass on some knowledge to him about exercise, treat him to some good food and the knowledge to identify good food, and encourage him to go for his yearly check up at the doctor's office. In return, he goes to the next neighbor's house and does the same thing I did with encouraging him to eat right, exercise and engage in other preventive health measures. As he is dropping some healthy living knowledge on the next neighbor, I haven't stopped spreading the good news of health and fitness to other people and continue encouraging them to go out and do the same…If we continue this process with each of us spreading the word, before you can say “Burpees, Burpees, Burpees!”, we’ll have a huge web of people out there growing our health pyramid. If everyone can just convince just one person to jump on the health train, think about how quickly we would see a cultural shift toward regular exercise, good eating and better health!

Thanks for reading and if you’re left thinking, “Smugs…you’re a dreamer, dude…what you are proposing will never work!” Well, you are probably right, but where would we be without ideas and dreams? I’m not ready to give up on this one! 

08/05/2013 - Special Guest: Jane G. Shares Some Inspiration!

 

Today’s post is the awesome story of how Jane Graham rediscovered her passion for healthy living and successfully transformed herself into “The Grahaminator”.

 

Jane Graham is a teacher in the Upper School English Department at Woodward Academy (College Park, GA.) Over the past 3 years, Jane has experienced amazing changes in her life by reclaiming her passion for exercise and healthy eating.  Read her story below and post your thoughts to comments.

 

Jane says…

In mid-October, 2010, I sat at my desk and stared at the e-mail that all Woodward Academy employees received which invited us to join boot camp. The first session had actually begun on October 1st, and even though I was tempted to join then, I had talked myself out of the opportunity by telling myself that I was too old and too out of shape to start an exercise program ever again. I allowed myself to question this opportunity with a great deal of self-doubt and negativity.  Isn’t everyone else in better shape than I am? How will I ever keep up? Why would I want to make myself vulnerable in front of my colleagues? How could I ever come even close to being a successful participant?  I was my own worst enemy. However, I could not get this second invitation out of my thoughts and somehow felt that it was some sort of sign for me at least to try. I stared at my computer screen for what seemed hours. After much trepidation, I sent a reply to Sam stating that I would like to join boot camp beginning on November 1st, 2010. Sam sent an immediate response welcoming me to the program. I showed up at 5:30 a.m. on November 1st, and my life changed.

When I began boot camp, I could not do a push-up or sit-up or complete most of the exercises. I even fell when we did the butterfly stretch at the end of the first session. By taking that initial step of just going, however, I had decided that I was not going to quit and that showing up and doing horribly was better than not showing up at all.  Sam knew just how far to push so that we did not injure ourselves or become discouraged. After a couple of weeks, I was hooked. I knew that at the very least that I had to try to get into shape and that becoming fit would take time and effort.  My family has a history of heart and health issues; I was falling into the genetic trap that I assumed was my destiny. I eventually adopted the attitude that it had taken me a long time to get so out of shape, so it was going to take a while to start seeing the results of my endeavors.  Surprisingly, however, I did not find it difficult to work out because I enjoyed feeling such a strong sense of accomplishment.  I have to admit that I was SO sore for weeks, but I enjoyed the bragging rights that came with the soreness. What I knew for sure was that I was addicted to boot camp!

 

Top:  Jane in 2009 (right)

Bottom: Jane in 2013 (middle)

 

By January of 2011, people began making comments about the changes in my body. People started asking me what I was doing since I appeared to look lighter and fitter. Sam continued to give us positive reinforcement as we continued to get stronger. The die-hard boot campers congealed as a group and as friends. By the spring of 2011, I had to start buying new clothes; my daughter told me that my clothes were baggy enough to be pajamas. By my birthday in August of 2011, I weighed 40 pounds less than I did on my birthday in 2010, and I weighed 13 pounds less by my birthday in 2012. Between feeling better physically and finding camaraderie among the other boot campers, boot camp became an important part, in fact an integral part, to my newly found desire for self-improvement. 

 

I also changed my eating habits with the implementation of the exercise.  Sam made certain suggestions about the food that we put into our bodies, and I gleaned what to fit into my routine. I have not gone as strict as to remove all grains, but I try to limit grains and to eat only whole wheat when I do so. I have been eating more fruit and vegetables and limit sweets.  I am much more aware of what I eat each day.  I have started thinking of what types of food, like more protein, I need to eat in order to provide fuel to burn when I exercise.

I am also extremely excited about getting in running shape again. I have started running by tackling local 5k races. My time has improved over the past year. I ran the 2012 Tri-Cities Run in College Park with a time of around 36 minutes. When I ran the race in 2013, my time had improved to around 32:30; I also won my age group! In fact, I have claimed the prize in my age group (55-59) four times since December, 2012.  My immediate goals are to try to run a 5k in under 30 minutes and train to run a 10k with a decent time. My daughter and I have started signing up for races together. She is so proud of my accomplishments! Our ultimate goal would be for the two of us to train for and to complete a half marathon.  My husband is also very supportive and proud of what I have done; he has enjoyed our change in diet and has also begun a walking regimen. Boot camp has directly affected me while indirectly impacting my family.

Right:  Jane and daughter, Ashley, after crushing the Atlanta Hot Chocolate race in January 2013

I feel like a different person.  I am proud of my accomplishments and my dedication. I have more energy and more confidence.  I am now able to do sit-ups, real push-ups, the dreaded burpee, and to complete successfully the work-outs that Sam provides. I now exercise at least five days a week and have a better level of fitness than I ever thought I could achieve. Overall, I feel that I have succeeded in my now on-going quest for self-improvement. I am extremely grateful. So now I have only one question for myself- what was I thinking when I was so afraid to join boot camp?  Becoming a part of this program has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made for myself.

 

Jane - You inspire high school students everyday in your English classes and your dedication to improving your health, renewing your passion for running, and investing in your family serves as inspiration for us all! Thanks for sharing your story and keep up the great work!

07/31/2013 - Dinner Time!

 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork served with Mustard Slaw and Stir Fry Broccoli

It's been awhile since I've written a blog post, but as it is the final day of July and summer is rapidly coming to an end, I thought I’d share a delicious and simple summer meal with you.  I prepared this one yesterday with little effort, but BIG flavor!

INGREDIENTS

Pulled Pork

3-4 pound bone-in Pork Butt

2 cans El Pato sauce (7 ¾ oz per can)

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

Slaw

1 bag of cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage, carrots)

½ cup diced sweet onion

½ cup diced green pepper

2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard

2 tablespoons greek yogurt (substitute paleo mayonnaise if you don’t eat dairy)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon honey

pinch of salt and black pepper                                    

Broccoli

1 pound broccoli, chopped into florets

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

3 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon chili paste

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

pinch of salt and black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Trim pork of excess fat, salt and pepper all sides and place into the slower cooker. Add the El Pato sauce to the slow cooker so the pork is covered. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 8-10 hours.  To prepare the slaw, add the slaw mix, onion, and green pepper to a bowl. Place the mustard, greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and honey to a separate bowl and whisk together briskly to prepare the dressing for the slaw. Add the dressing to the slaw mix and mix together. Refrigerate until ready to serve and finish with some fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Heat a skillet or wok to medium-high heat and add the coconut oil until it melts. Toss in the broccoli, onions, mushrooms, and peppers and cook, tossing occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, chili paste, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 3-5 more minutes (I like the broccoli to be crunchy, so I don’t cook it for very long). When you are ready to serve the meal, remove the pork from the slow cooker and place it in a glass bowl. Shred the pork using a fork , plate the slaw and broccoli and you’re ready to roll!

Enjoy!

-Smugs

02/20/2013: Restaurant Spotlight on Pit Boss BBQ (Hapeville, GA)

 

This week’s spotlight is on Pit Boss BBQ located on Virginia Avenue in Hapeville (near Hartsfield-Jackson), Decatur, and Marietta.  If you’re looking for a Paleo/Primal friendly meal, I highly recommend checking out Pit Boss BBQ.

Four friends (all of whom are very passionate about their Paleo lifestyle) and I sampled a few selections from the menu and collectively gave Pit Boss BBQ, ten thumbs up!  We ordered 3.5 pounds of Chopped Pork Barbeque, 30 Smoked Wings, a large order of Collards, a large order of Cole Slaw, and two bags of Pork Rinds (one HOT and one PIT BOSS flavored). We sat down to eat and slammed the delicious, smoky and spicy wings in less than 5 minutes and then worked our way into 3.5 pounds of chopped BBQ, Cole Slaw, Collards, and Pork Rinds. Over the span of the next 15 minutes we managed to demolish the pork and slaw, while making a huge dent in the two bags of Pork Rinds. The Collards, although tasty and cooked with bacon, were forgotten for a few moments amidst the piles of carnivorous awesome, but were quickly finished when we all went back for seconds. The Chopped Pork was succulent and smoky and paired perfectly with some hot sauce and slaw. In addition to the great food, the service was great – friendly, funny, and happy to help!  

I’ll be back to Pit Boss BBQ for Round 2 soon…who’s coming with me?

Check out their MENU and stop in soon for a tasty, carnivorous feast!

Restaurant Spotlight: Mediterranean Grill

Mediterranean Grill (Atlanta Area)

 

This week’s spotlight is on Mediterranean Grill located in Midtown, Decatur, and Marietta.  If you’re looking to eat a healthy, delicious meal for lunch or dinner, you need to check out the Mediterranean Grill. I frequent the Decatur Location (North Decatur Road at Clairmont near Emory) and the Midtown Location (across the street from Park Tavern on Monroe) and each time I have been very pleased with the service, the food, and the variety and flexibility of the menu options so I can always stick to my nutrition plan.

For lunch, the best deal in Atlanta is the “Business Lunch Special”. Packed with lots of protein (Shish Kabob, Kufta Kabob, and Gyro Meat), good carbohydrates (Greek Salad – remember…skip the pita and substitute the rice for double salad), and healthy fat (olive oil in the dressing) and priced at just $7.60, you’ll have trouble finding a better meal at a better price.  For you Paleo/Primal folks trying to stay on the tracks, remember to also tell them to hold the feta cheese.

FYI:  The “Business Lunch Special is available Monday – Friday from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

For dinner, I go for the Grilled Vegetable Entrée and add protein (I usually add the chicken or the gyro meat for my protein). The grilled vegetables are juicy, tasty and seasoned to perfection!  When ordering, skip the pita, substitute salad in place of the rice and if you’re trying to maintain a Paleo/Primal lifestyle, substitute the hummus for extra salad and hold the feta cheese.

Check out their MENU and stop in soon for a tasty, healthy, and reasonably priced meal!

Pages