Friday, 20 January 2017

Crunchy Mango & Cardamom Granola

03:35 Posted by Trevor Mehta
The combination of mango with cardamom is warming and exotic, and somehow slightly naughty with it’s hint of savouriness. This granola uses these flavours to make a hearty topping for your favourite yogurt or fresh fruit at breakfast time, or a lovely mid-afternoon nibble straight from the jar, perfect for little ones exploring new textures and spices. It also makes an unusual gift in a pretty jar. The egg white adds extra crunch, but leave it out if you prefer.

Crunchy Mango & Cardamom Granola

Crunchy Mango & Cardamom Granola ingredients:

  • 115g Gluten Free Oats
  • 110g Buckwheat
  • 80g Cashew Nuts
  • ½ tsp Ground Cardamom (the seeds from about 6 pods)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 75g Honey
  • 30g Coconut Oil
  • 1 tbsp Egg White (optional)
  • 75g Chopped Dried Mango
  • 50g Toasted Coconut Flakes

Crunchy Mango & Cardamom Granola method:

  • Preheat the oven to 150˚C, line a large baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone mat.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, buckwheat, nuts and spices until well combined.
  • Add the coconut oil to the honey, and mix together. If the coconut oil is still solid, warm it gently in a microwave until liquid (about 30 seconds on low power). Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients until thoroughly coated. Finally, add the egg white and mix again.
  • Spread the granola mixture out onto the baking sheet and place into the oven for 30 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, check the edges are not browning too quickly, if they are, give the granola a little stir to combine them back in.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray. When completely cool, add the mango and coconut flakes, and store in an airtight container.
  • Makes 6-8 Portions

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Paleo + Fitness = Paleo Fitness?

07:20 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
you might say that it's "nutrient­dense whole foods," or a "biologically appropriate way of eating." If you get pinned down, you might be forced to boil the answer down to "fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, meats and healthy fats," but would then have to follow up with the caveat "unless you're avoiding nightshades," or "maybe dairy is okay for you, but that would be 'primal."' The bottom line is that affixing a tidy little definition to Paleo is difficult. As most longtime followers of Paleo know, Paleo is actually a nuanced, personal and malleable way of eating, moving and living, and one that lends itself better to long conversations than quick, canned answers.

Paleo fitness

Another word that is difficult to define is "fitness." Is fitness strength? Is fitness endurance? Is fitness the ability to do one thing exceedingly well or the ability to do a lot of things moderately well? From an evolutionary perspective, "fitness" refers to the ability to pass along your genes, in which case, living past 25 has very little to do with "fitness." For most of us, however, maintaining vibrant health well into our twilight years is the very definition of "fitness." Once again, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to take into account individual goals, predilections and circumstances, both genetic and environmental, as well as the personal paradigms that shape behavior and mental attitudes.

After reading all of this, you might think we're crazy to tackle something called "Paleo Fitness." If two words are hard to define on their own, you can only imagine what happens when you combine them! Luckily, we see this as an exciting opportunity rather than an insurmountable obstacle, and the simple fact that you, one of our very first readers, made the point to download this publication and take the time to read it tells us that we are not the only ones interested in exploring the fertile territory "Paleo Fitness" provides.

As we see it, Paleo Fitness isn't just running around barefoot and bare-chested in the deep forest, banging out a brutal CrossFit WOD, or biohacking our way into single-digit body fat percentages. Our vision of Paleo Fitness is one that is equally at home in the woods, CrossFit box or biohacker's lair as it is in your local Gold's Gym. Can a biceps curl be "Paleo"? Why the heck not? Maybe having big arms confers a reproductive advantage-that would certainly fit the evolutionary model. Just as the Paleo diet takes into account individual goals, so does Paleo Fitness, but that doesn't imply a free-for-all, either.

Doing a workout simply because the biggest guy in your gym does it, taking a supplement without doing your research, or checking your brain at the door is not Paleo Fitness. This is a thinking person's approach that implies careful consideration before action. At the end of it all, Paleo Fitness is a lens through which any situation can be perceived.

As you read through this issue, you will see the diversity of content that typifies Paleo Fitness. Whether it is "Separating 'Fat Burner' Fact From Fiction," "The Principles of Sitting and Standing," "6 Muscle-Building Rules for women fat loss" or "The Only Equipment Is YOU: Bodyweight Basics With Al Kavadlo," you will find new perspectives on old themes, old ways to do new things, and in every case, a thoughtful, reasoned approach that puts you in the driver's seat of your own Paleo Fitness destiny.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Women and Fat loss

02:29 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
IN THE PART OF MY CAREER in which I'm a trainer and gym owner, it has always been evident to me that there are typically two types of people in pursuit of women fat loss those who are overwhelmed by what needs to be done, and those who possess a strong "mane is better" mentality. However, I firmly believe that a clear and concise view of the big picture can set a person on a more successful path than either of these perspectives tends to produce.

Women and Fat loss
To understand what's really required for sustainable fat loss, we must begin with the disparities between how we actually live and what our bodies think is happening to the world outside our skin. Whether or not we want to admit it, we don't have bodies that are well adapted to "playing society" in our modern world. In reality, we have bodies that expect to live in the perpetual camping trip that was the hunter-gatherer lifestyle in which we evolved over the past 2.6 million years. As such, alarm clocks, bills, lousy bosses, traffic, corrupt politicians, schedules, exams and everything else that we experience as stressors are all quite foreign to our bodies and the tools we have evolved to deal with stress.

Think about it, when was the last time you experienced a stressful situation in which your survival was at stake? Maybe you recently narrowly avoided being run over by a car? Okay, so when was the last time you experienced a stressful situation that was not related to your survival? That's kind of a silly question, isn't it? We all experience stress in non-life-threatening ways all day long, especially if we want to get really technical with our definition of stress. We don't get enough sleep, we work at jobs we don't like, we are surrounded by strangers and people we don't love, we fret about money, we eat and drink things that harm us, we compare ourselves to an inconceivably large pool of people, we sit way too much, and we ruminate on our past mistakes and our future worries while the present slips by unnoticed. Then, when our bodies adapt to all this craziness (because they are amazing), we hate them for it and throw insane diets and exercise regimens on top of all that stress. Isn't it weird that failure is the norm? No, not really. All of this is to say that I understand both sides. Sustainable fat loss will only happen through lifestyle change. ''Dieting'' won't get you the results you want, and neither will the latest exercise craze. Only equal parts proper nutrition, responsible exercise, quality sleep patterns and stress management will create the health and vitality that will result in a
great-looking body. If you don't know where to start, it is perfectly natural to be overwhelmed.

If you are a "more is better" person, it's probably because somewhere along the way, your frustration led you to heap on more of whatever got you some results in the beginning. After a while, you sort of became a fitness and/or nutrition hobbyist (also visit tips on paleo fitness). This is your "thing" now. When the pursuit of your goals morphs into part of your identity (you're a "runner," or a "CrossFitter"), you will also tend to turn to those things for stress relief. But is more stress what you really need? Without working with you, I can't say for sure, but how is it working out for you? You might find yourself thinking, "I wish I could lose this midsection fat. Maybe I should add another workout each week." If this is you, you might need a little less.

Exercise is an acute stressor. we work out, and ideally, our bodies adapt by gaining muscle and losing fat. In the beginning, dietary changes can also be acute stressors. After years of conditioning our bodies with less-than-ideal foods, a dramatic change will usually cause some degree of pushback in the form of things like brain fog, wild energy fluctuations, mood swings and cravings.

It can also be terribly stressful psychologically to suddenly change a lifetime of habits and try to find new things to eat, leaving behind your old standbys.

With exercise, the point should always be to cause enough acute stress to get results, but not so much that it becomes chronic stress, stalling results and detracting from overall health. This is good news for the overwhelmed crowd, because it means you can ease into a routine that might not even end up being as much total exercise as you are currently picturing in your head. It won't be quite so easy for the "more is better" crowd, because backing off of something you depend on for your sanity can be tough-but it's important to occasionally remind yourself why you started exercising in the first place. At one time, all you wanted were the results, and the exercise itself was just a means to an end. (When exercise is the goal, we call it "sport.") Return your focus to the results of your exercise and then acknowledge that more can't possibly make sense forever.

As for dietary changes, there is no need to make yourself miserable with a complete overhaul in a single day. The world is full of diet "challenges" right now, and I'm not a fan. Long-term goal setting is already an abstract concept for which we are not hardwired, but we make it so much worse when we set massive goals and change everything at once. It makes more sense to make small adjustments that Dy under the radar of stress. We can't change most of the things we talked about earlier that make our lives difficult, but we are often ever so eager to make ourselves miserable, and set ourselves up for failure, by setting the largest goals possible and ensuring that our willpower is absolutely depleted by the middle of each day.

Let me give you an example of what a minimalist approach can produce. I'm currently working with a police department in my local area. It's no secret that cops have stressful jobs, and I took this into account from Day One when they asked me to help them with their health and vitality. We began with a test group of eight officers and support staff. We worked out (resistance training in supersets and intervals) twice each week for eight weeks, with each workout session lasting about 45 minutes, including warm-ups and mobility work. I only asked them to remove grains and sugar from their diets, and I gave them options to baby-step into those changes if they needed to. I started them on three minutes per day of breathing-focused meditation, and I asked them to add a minute each week until they were at 1 O minutes per day. Wherever possible, we prioritized sleep by making small shifts (15 minutes at a time) toward better sleeping patterns. I also asked them to walk as often as they could fit it into their days.

That's it. That's all they did for eight weeks, but the results were fantastic. Everyone saw fat loss, muscle gain, and improved energy and mood. The top male lost 4.5 inches in his waist and hips, and the top female lost 3.75 inches from her waist and hips-all with 90 minutes of designated workout time per week, just two dietary changes, and some minor lifestyle tweaks that easily fit into their busy schedules.

Despite the fact that we think we need to do insane things to get results, the research data has often pointed to the opposite. Here are a few exercise study examples:
In a study titled "Exercise without dietary restriction as a means to long-term fat loss in the obese cardiac patient," researchers came to this conclusion: "A daily walking program without dietary restriction induces a favorable change in body composition and lipid profile in moderately obese cardiac patients. An exercise-induced increase of resting metabolism apparently makes an important contribution to this outcome." In plain English, moderately obese people didn't do anything but walk more each day and they lost fat. No dieting, no spin class, no anything but walking.

"But Jason," you say, "I'm not obese! Walking won't do it for me! I need hours of cardio to lose weight!" I honestly believe walking is a better way to go, but I'll step up the intensity with you for the sake of argument. In a study titled, "Two minutes of sprint-interval exercise elicits 24-hr oxygen consumption similar to that of 30 minutes of continuous endurance exercise," researchers found that two minutes of sprint intervals resulted in the same level of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) as three minutes of steadystate cardio. EPOC can be translated as the fatburning state created by exercise. In this study, EPOC was measured 24 hours after both forms of exercise and found to be equal, meaning two minutes of total sprint effort is the fat-burning equivalent of 30 minutes of traditional cardio. Since we also know that cardio comes with excess oxidative stress, sprinting isn't just a time saver-it's also a health saver. Yes, sprint intensity needs to be high, but intensity is relative to your current fitness level.

So what about total time spent in the gym? If you don't believe the story about my police officer clients only training for 90 minutes each week, let's take a look at one more study that's titled, "The Effect of Weight Training Volume on Hormonal Output and Muscular Size and Function." In this one, 27 men with one to four years of weightlifting experience trained for 10 weeks using three sets, six sets or 12 sets per exercise. "Pre and post measurements assessed muscular size via ultrasounds; strength via maximum squat and bench press; and power via vertical jump and bench press throw." In the end, the researchers concluded that the study's results "support the use of low volume training for muscular development over a 10 week period."

So, if you're overwhelmed by what seems like an enormous journey ahead of you, and maybe a little discouraged by your past attempts at fat loss, I strongly encourage you to consider taking on a little less this time around. Here I am, a professional who has built his career helping people lose fat forever, and I'm giving you license to take it easy on yourself and start slow. And if you're going hard and not getting what you want out of your efforts, maybe consider backing off a bit. Maybe an increase in what you're already doing isn't what you need. Whichever perspective describes you best, I've given you some good examples, and I only ask that you experiment a little. If you desire something better, go get it, but don't make it harder than it needs to be.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Tips to get Paleo Fit

22:14 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
WHILE THE BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY have long been recognized, the modern environment tends to encourage a lifestyle of inactivity. Humans are lured by gadgets, transport options, laborsaving devices and technological solutions that have led us down a path of reduced movement. It's a temptation that's hard to  resist, and for many people, physical exertion is becoming increasingly optional, if not extinct. Recent research suggests that sedentary behavior is  a significant risk factor for chronic disease and mortality. A recent meta-analysis of 43 studies (amounting to more than 43 million people) found that significant periods of sitting were associated with a 21 percent increased risk of lung cancer and a 24 percent increased likelihood of colon cancer.

Tips to get Paleo Fit

This was independent of the quantity of exercise undertaken, meaning that high levels of activity alone do not cancel out the ill effects of extended periods of sitting for several hours a day. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) proposes reducing sedentariness for all, regardless of one's physical activity level, by interspersing intervals of standing with short bouts of physical activity between periods of time spent sedentary. In other words, doing a little bit more often and sitting less can be more healthful than one significant work effort at the end of the day after slouching at the desk for several hours. Most exercise programs target a few specialized areas; for example, we often just focus on doing cardio right, or resistance work. We may concentrate on a particular skill or movement alone, to the detriment of others. But these approaches have one fundamental flaw: They ignore our ancestral heritage and nature's prescription for adaptation that got us here. The human genome was not framed around enduring ultra-marathons or engaging in exclusive, repeated heavy lifting to develop fitness. Through natural selection, we thrived on a broad repertoire of activity and intensity; we were designed to be movement generalists, multi-skilled and multi-faceted, rather than specialists in one or two areas-and our training should reflect this. The types of exercise for which we are evolutionarily adapted include a variety of activities performed intermittently, at moderate intensities, for reasonable durations. This variety not only improves our physical capability, but it also lowers the occurrence of repetitive stress injury, provides inherent motivation and increases the likelihood of long-term adherence to exercise programs.

One possible solution is to get back to basics and reference the movement patterns of our huntergatherer ancestors, who were naturally lean and strong thanks to the activities they had to do daily. Tips on paleo fitness is a model used to tune in to how our bodies evolved and to get us to move as nature intended, by training above and beyond function to meet life's challenges.

Get Outdoors

TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO OUTSIDE TO TRAIN. Research tells us the profound impact that fresh air, grass, trees and colors in the natural environment have on mental health and physical well-being. A study at the University of Queensland in Australia found that people who exercised outdoors on a regular basis had higher levels of serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood, than those who exercised mainly indoors. The outdoor exercisers also had higher levels of endorphins, which cause the "rush" that occurs after exercise.4 Science even has a term for this: biophilia. It means "love of life," and it refers to our deep affinity for the natural world. We don't need science to confirm that being outdoors is good for us; most of us feel this instinctively. Evidence for biophilia demonstrates that exposure to and interaction with nature can have a profound effect on mental performance, selfawareness, vitality and appreciation of our environment and of others. Being outside more is also associated with higher levels of vitamin D thanks to additional sun exposure. This has significant health benefits, including boosting the immune system, improving heart health, improving calcium absorption and bone health, and preventing cancer.

Be Playful

MAKE ACTIVITIES FUN AS WELL AS CHALLENGING. Use your imagination to create scenarios that will make your workouts more enjoyable. For example, when doing a bear crawl, imagine you're crawling under low-hanging branches covered in thorns at varying heights. It sounds like child's play, but engaging the brain in this fashion will increase muscle activation and make you work harder. Athletes often use visualization when training to improve their athletic performance. Scientific studies demonstrate that visualization brings about quantifiable improvements as well as physiological changes. Research has also shown that using mental imagery for muscle movement can create similar electrical activity to that seen during actual movement. Imagination also helps to increase motivation, and allows us to create whatever environment we need to accomplish our goals.

Be Pratical

THINK OF FITNESS AS THE ABILITY TO IMPROVE WHAT YOU NEED TO DO DAY-TO-DAY AS WELL AS THE CAPACITY TO COMPLETE THE EXTRAORDINARY TASKS THAT LIFE SENDS OUR WAY. Make your fitness not just functional but practical. What does your fitness allow you to do? Are you strong enough to push a car, or would you rather wait for help? Quick enough to sprint for a bus, or would you just wait for the next one? Would you be able to climb to a position of safety or just succumb to the danger?

Integrate Movement

INTEGRATE MOVEMENT INTO YOUR DAY, EVEN WHEN YOU'RE NOT EXERCISING, BY AVOIDING SEDENTARY OPTIONS. Don't feel that your training needs to be specific to a time or place. Fitness regimens are often structured around a set place or time of day that may or may not be convenient, which can become another reason to avoid exercise. Integrating physical activity into your daily routine will reduce the need to fall back on the "lack of time" excuse.

Avoid segregating or isolating movement from your day-to-day life. If you treat exercise as a hobby, then you will fit it in only after all the other priorities-instead, make physical activity something you do all the time by avoiding sedentary options. This doesn't mean you have to dedicate all your time to movement. For example - begin to explore and expand the possibilities that you have to move. Run ( or even better, sprint) for the bus, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the local grocery store and carry back several bags of shopping, stand up when talking on the phone, and take movement "snacks"-engaging in brief periods of opportunistic, whole-body movement a couple of times an hour, to get you out of the chair.

Sleep More

JUST A FEW NIGHTS OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION CAN INCREASE THE LEVELS OF HORMONES THAT BOOST APPETITE AND REDUCE YOUR ABILITY TO REGISTER THE "FULL" SIGNAL. A lack of sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol, increases the risk of lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, and promotes fat storage especially around your middle. Don't let your training regimen get in the way of your sleep; aim for a minimum of eight to nine hours of restful sleep daily. And find time for rest and relaxation to ensure full recovery after physical exertion.

Avoid Overkill

REGULAR EXERCISE IS PROTECTIVE AGAINST CHRONIC DISEASE, BUT EXTENDED PERIODS OF INTENSE ACTIVITY CAN BE DETRIMENTAL. We were designed for routine light-intensity activity such as walking and carrying things for several miles a day, as well as intermittent moderate-intensity and duration activity, with very brief periods of vigorous, high-intensity activity. Extended periods of high-intensity exercise are associated with damage to the heart, joints and muscle.

Be Mindful

HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU EXERCISED AIMLESSLY AND MINDLESSLY, DOING AN EXERCISE WITHOUT PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT, HOW OR WHY YOU'RE DOING IT? Instead, focus on the experience of the moment, and ensure a mind-body connection with everything you do. Move with intensity and purpose, as our ancestors did. Think less about exercise prescription, but dwell on your individual movement philosophy.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

A Case for Cardio: Are you doing it right?

10:45 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
LATELY, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF HATING ON CARDIO among fitness professionals. With topics like adrenal fatigue, metabolic damage and chronic stress popping up more frequently in both the blogosphere and mainstream media, it's easy to villainize cardio as the culprit. In a society that has traditionally overemphasized aerobic exercise, it's easy to champion weight training. And with good reason. But perpetuating the idea that doing cardio right makes people fat is doing everyone a disservice. It might not be the best way to lose weight, at le?? sustainably. And it can be detrimental if overdone, but to say that any kind of exercise is bad for you, especially if you love it, is shortsighted. There are plenty of reasons to keep some form of cardio exercise in your weekly exercise routine. But like with anything else, the key is finding the right mode and the most effective amount, and not going overboard.

IF YOUR GOAL IS FAT LOSS OR MUSCLE MAINTENANCE, THEN THERE IS. Shorter, more intense interval or sprint training (40 minutes or less) optimizes our hormonal profile of catecholamines, cortisol, growth hormone and testosterone to maintain muscle and preferentially burn more calories after the workout is over. The higher the intensity of the workout, the more we use sugar to fuel the workout, and in turn we use fat stores to replete post-workout-also known as the "after-burn" of the workout.

Longer bouts of cardio can change the hormonal situation to a more cortisol dominant, chronic-stress state because we naturally down-regulate the intensity. We have to, as longer workouts automatically induce pacing. Intensity suffers and we end up with more of a moderate-intensity workout. This outcome is not necessarily "bad," and certainly long-duration exercise is critical for those training for endurance events, but chronically high output of cortisol and catecholamines is not ideal for fat loss or muscle gain/maintenance.

WHEN IT COMES TO CARDIO, IT'S POSSIBLE TO REACH A POINT OF DIMINISHING RETURNS. More cardio does not always equal more results. One key to remember is that more is not better; better quality is better. Always engaging in workouts that create an unopposed cortisol state (longer, moderate intensity) can impact results. IT CAN CHANGE HOW WE STORE FAT, WHERE WE STORE IT, AND HOW GOOD WE ARE AT BUILDING OR MAINTAINING MUSCLE. Too much cortisol around the clock can strip muscle. This is why you commonly see distance runners with skinnier arms and legs. It's simply harder to build muscle in a more catabolic state.

Also, chronically high cortisol, whether created via exercise, fasting, injury or emotional stress can increase hunger and cravings over time. So increasing cardio is not benign. Exercise more, and it'll often turn into eating more, too. For a minority of people, excessive long-duration cardiovascular exercise can also excessively tax the adrenals, and over time might have implications for the thyroid and other endocrine organs.

You've probably heard of metabolic damage, a condition that has been getting more traction lately. Essentially, it is the resultant fat loss resistant state that occurs in some people who have been doing hours of cardio for years and years (often while also following low-calorie diets). Over time, these practices can wreak havoc on the metabolism to the point where the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis becomes down-regulated and less metabolically active.

However, it's important to note that although this can be common in fitness competitors and longtime yo-yo dieters and should be taken seriously-most people won't experience it. Metabolic damage occurs on a sliding scale, and for most people, IMPLEMENTING THE RIGHT KINDS OF EXERCISE (MAINLY HEAVY, INTENSE WEIGHT TRAINING PLUS LEISURE WALKING) can rectify the situation fairly easily, along with a tight diet.

Here are some great reason you should cardio

It's a natural mood enhancer. Cardio, in particular, has been shown to boost mood and overall wellbeing when done for pleasure, and is a solid part of a natural health protocol to treat depression.

Cardio done outside offers a natural high and can feel exhilarating. TRY A JOG1RROUGKTAE WOODS OR DOWN TAE BEACA, AND TEll Mc YOU don't FEEL AWESOME AFTERWARD. Vitamin D production is a bonus.

Cardio exercise increases, well, cardiovascular fitness. Lately, there's been some talk about marathon training being detrimental. This is sensationalized, because honestly, when it comes to the general population, people truly need to be exercising more, not less. In light of the fact that most people are sedentary, 99 percent of people will benefit from any/all kinds of cardio. The key is not to use cardio exclusively when you're trying to lose weight.


Sometimes moderate intensify is a good option when you don't feel like killin yourself. If you feel reat, go or it with track sprints, high-intensity interval training or something similarly intense. But you have to be in the right space for that. Sometimes takin it easy: can feel good, too. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Sprinting is the most underrated exercise to develop the abs. EVER FINISH A TOUGH TRACK WORKOUT. DOING SOMETHING LIKE 100-METER REPEATS, RESTING TWO TO THREE MINUTES BETWEEN EACH ONE? TELL ME YOUR ENTIRE CORE ISN'T SORE THE NEXT DAY. Need proof? Check out Olympic-level sprinters. They don't have defined abs because they are doing thousands of crunches. The way they move-intensely and in the sprinting movement pattern-generates that physique.

Sprinting can boost functionality. IT BOOSTS POWER, SPEED AND FLEXIBILITY, AND MIGHT EVEN BUILD MUSCLE. Opt for shorter sprints, like 70 meters or 20-second uphill sprints for best results. Rest as long as you need to in between.

Cardio can be fun! So many people have fallen in love with exercise not because they were killing it in the weight room, but because they loved Jane Fonda or Zumba or long distance running or Tae Bo. If Zumba is the only thing that will get someone into a gym and get their paleo nutrient, who are we to tell them not to do it?

Cardio is for many a gateway workout. It's the place one begins when getting started at the gym. Perfect. Maybe one day they'll wander into the weight room. Maybe someday they'll feel confident enough to load up a barbell or try some machines. THE KEY IS PREFERENTIALLY CHOOSING THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO MOVE THAT IS ALSO ENJOYABLE AND EFFICIENT. Weight training is superior in the effective and efficient categories, but as for enjoyment, that's a personal choice. Choose wisely.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Jump Start Your Paleo Nutrient in 30 Days

07:52 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
There comes a time in most athletes' training lives when they realize they can't out-train a crappy diet. Whether it's lagging performance, getting a bit softer around the midsection, or a string of injuries that won't go away, there's usually something that causes people to grasp the idea that food matters. In this article, I'll share my top tips for jumpstarting your paleo nutrition in a month and giving yourself a food makeover. As always, consistent dietary change over a long period of time is the best way to make positive shifts that will build a stronger foundation for performance.


Excess sugar, pro-inflammatory industrial seed oil and low nutrient-to-calorie ratios are the hallmarks of the processed junk food that's in your face every time you walk through the supermarket. The first step to jump-starting your nutrition is to eliminate these foods and swap them out for more nutritious options. As someone who's testing themselves with more physical activity than a sedentary person, you need the right macro- and micronutrition to not only fuel your performance but also allow for proper recovery. You need to build muscle and other connective tissue, combat inflammation and refill your fuel tank. If you're subsisting on a diet of protein bars, candy, chips and other junk, you may be getting calories, but you're probably seriously lacking in the micronutrition department.

And while things like shakes and bars can be convenient ways to get a bit of food down the hatch when you're in a pinch, they shouldn't take the place of real food on a regular basis. For 30 days, avoid sugary drinks, candy, protein bars and meal replacers, frozen meals and anything that has a long ingredient list with things you can't identify or pronounce.


If you're eliminating processed foods, what the heck are you going to eat instead? How many times a day should you be eating? While there's no single answer that works perfectly for everyone, start with three full meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. (And no, coffee isn't breakfast.) If you can't make it at least three or four hours after eating without feeling low on energy or the gnawing of hunger in your belly, increase your food intake at meal time. Grazing all day keeps your digestive system constantly working and results in everfluxing blood sugar. Plus, having to always eat or snack requires more food-prep time and planning.

For each meal, include protein, carbs and fat. The most nutrient-dense sources include meat, seafood and eggs; veggies (including starchy veggies) and fruit; and healthy sources of plant and animal fats, respectively. Start with a 5- to 6-ounce portion of protein, then fill your plate with veggies and add an occasional piece of fruit. Finish with some healthy fat like avocado, coconut, ghee or olive oil. Of course, body size and activity level will dictate how much you're eating, but this will give you a good template to start with. If you're training fairly often, include starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, white potato, yucca and plantains, particularly in the post-workout period.

Not only will these foods provide the necessary macronutrients, they're dense in antiinflammatory compounds and micronutrients like vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that are vital components of a truly healthy diet. The key to eating three square meals for most people is being prepared, which means meal prepping. I recommend taking one day a week, and preferably a day off, to do a large batch of cooking that'll give you options for the first half of the week. I like Sunday for this.

That way, you can reach into the fridge for some sweet potatoes, shredded meat, hard-boiled eggs, roasted veggies and other convenient foods when you're just too busy to make a meal from scratch on a weeknight. Then, do a smaller meal prep later in the week. I usually do this on a Thursday. You'll have a few things on hand so you're not tempted to call for takeout if your fridge is bare.


Many athletes I consult with under-consume protein chronically. Additionally, many of them are eating very few calories relative to their activity level, employing a restrictive "dieting" mentality either purposely or simply because they're unaware. While some sports, such as powerlifting, have specific bodyweight requirements, even these athletes must be careful to not drastically reduce their intake and run the risk of hormonal dysregulation. The long-term implications of this include muscle loss, decreased performance, low testosterone and accumulation of body fat, just to name a few.

Barring any pre-existing conditions such as kidney disease that would severely limit protein intake, a good range to start with is somewhere between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This helps support recovery from training, including the muscle protein synthesis that accompanies it. Muscle has endocrine characteristics and is able to affect the properties of tissues other than itself. Put another way, building muscle mass helps improve body composition and losing weight.

If you have no idea how much protein is enough, I recommend weighing and measuring your intake for at least three days. Plug your intake into an on line tool or app such as MyFitnessPal, and get a sense of how much you're really eating. You may also want to estimate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the baseline caloric expenditure for your body to simply keep itself running. If your total daily caloric intake is significantly lower than your BMR, it's time to increase it.

It's not necessary to log your caloric or macronutrient intake long-term. Don't get "analysis paralysis" by becoming neurotic about tracking consumption or be tricked into thinking it's an exact science. Just get a general idea to figure out if you're seriously under- or overeating or if things are about right. Remember, the more active you are, the more energy you require, so if you're training, your daily intake will be higher than someone who's sedentary. Once you have a baseline, fill your plate with nutrient-dense foods, and learn your body's signals for hunger and satiety.

Eating protein at breakfast is especially important because it provides the building blocks for producing serotonin and consequently, melatonin-the hormone that helps put you to sleep at night. (That's why I said earlier that coffee is not breakfast. If you only drink butter coffee in the morning, add protein to it.)


The number one question I get is, "What should I eat post-workout?" If you're training regularly, especially at higher volume or intensity, eating a post-workout meal can really help jump-start recovery and improve your performance.

First, let's understand what protein eaten post-workout does. It's a source of amino acids that will help repair muscle. There are about 20 amino acids, and three of them are really important in the post-workout period: leucine, valine and isoleucine. They have a branched structure and are thus named "branched-chain amino acids" or BCAAs. They matter because they're the ones specifically used by your body to make new muscle tissue in a process called muscle protein synthesis.

The BCAAs are "essential," which means the body can't make them on its own, so they have to be obtained from the foods you eat. Yes, there is protein in plant-based foods, but you'd have to eat a lot of plant material to provide you with the BCAAs you need for recovery. It just so happens that animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood and eggs are dense in BCAAs. When you're planning a post-workout meal, be sure to also include carbohydrates. Their function (which is different from protein's) is to replace the glycogen-a long chain of stored glucose-that your body uses during training. If your exercise included highly intense, intervaltype training or endurance activity, you've significantly tapped into your glycogen stores. Post-workout is also a period of generally increased sensitivity to insulin. When you eat carbs, glucose enters the bloodstream, and the pancreas releases insulin to move that glucose into your tissues, including muscle. Adding protein to your postworkout mix also allows you to take advantage of that increased insulin sensitivity, bringing amino acids into your muscles.

The best type of carbohydrate for post-workout is one that's rich in starch. Your body digests starch into glucose, which directly replenishes muscle glycogen. Fructose, the sugar found in fruit, goes directly to the liver for processing first. That's why fruit isn't an optimal choice for postworkout carb refueling. Some fruit has a higher concentration of glucose, such as pineapple and banana, so those are better options if you must eat fruit instead of a starchy veggie.

In general, a good ratio of carbs to protein in the post-workout meal is 2-to-1. If you plan to eat about 30 grams of protein, then you should aim for about 60 grams of carbohydrates. Try to keep your post-workout meal lower in fat. Healthy fats are an important part of a sound nutrition plan, and they're great for helping us feel fuller longer, but they also slow gastric (stomach) emptying. That, in turn, slows recovery. Again, this is an important guideline to follow when your training frequency is high, because time matters more.

Let your body come down out of a sympathetic, aroused state after training and then eat your post-workout meal as soon as you can. This is especially key if you plan to have another training session later that day or perhaps the next morning. In other words, the sooner your next workout, the more important it is to be expeditious with your post-workout meal.


When jump-starting your nutrition in 30 days, eliminate processed foods; eat three nutrient-dense meals with protein, carbs and fat each day; get a handle on your protein and overall caloric intake; and eat a post-workout meal of protein and carbs. This will help you fortify the foundation that will support our longer-term training goals.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Losing it!

22:37 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
How do you get the body you want for the summer months and keep it, all the way to next summer, and the summer after that, and the summer after that?

By losing fat, not weight, and by putting on muscle. Adding lean body mass is the fat-burning secret. Did you know that a pound of muscle uses between 75 and 100 calories a day and a pound of fat uses just 3? Also, let's think about this for a moment-that pound of fat does nothing for you, while that pound of muscle is working for you and helping you lose fat at an alarming rate.


But because those pounds of muscle you are putting on are burning through calories, what do you need to feed those muscles? Adequate amounts of food. When the average person wants to lose weight, they typically cut calories and go to the gym to either run on the treadmill or mindlessly push through some other form of cardio. They are eating a fraction of their daily caloric needs, which results in losing weight and muscle, which is never sustainable.

Look at it this way: Remember how that pound of muscle needs about 75 to 100 calories a day? Well, let's say you weigh 160 pounds; you'll burn through roughly 1,760 calories a day by doing nothing. Add in some frantic, cardio-type exercise, then cut your calories down to about 1,000 a day or less, and you will lose weight (which means muscle and fat). Next, you will get "hangry" (angry and hungry), and then you will eat your way back to fatter, with less muscle than you started. Furthermore, you won't be strong enough to support your joints, which means you won't be able to avoid injury, which means you'll be in a really bad place when it comes to sustainable fat loss.

So, my dear "I want to get shredded and hot before summer" friends, let's start painting a different, more realistic picture! You need to become a fat-burning machine in order to maintain healthy fat loss, and there are some specific steps you need to take to get there. Here's what I recommend to all of my clients to gain muscle and lose fat-an awesome combination that will make you a lean, mean, fat-burning machine and let you keep that bikini body from the moment you attain it all the way up until you are the hottest grandma/grandpa on the beach!

Fat Loss Tips (AKA, Steps you need to take to get hot)

LIFT. HEAVY. WEIGHTS. Find a personal trainer who knows :What the heck he/she is doing and listen to him or her. Make sure your trainer is encouraging you to not over-train, because when under 'extreme stress, your body is more likely to hold on to body fat. YOU ShOULD BE lifting, BaSeD on your ability to recover. Handle STRESS, AROUND TWO TO THREE TIMES A WEEK. Those lifting sessions should include compound movements like the dead lift, back squat, bench press and strict press. These movements are multi-joint movements that use large muscle groups, and as you train these movements, you will lose more fat. Compound movements also increase joint strength, help you to prevent injury and literally help tou live longer! Also, add in some isolated movements. Working on building smaller specific muscle groups is okay and not bad thing. I am a huge fan of aesthetic gains in the gym, and I'm EOrry-but bicep curls are valuable. Want to get better at chin-ups? IThen add in some bicep curls and get awesome arms to boot!


EAT ENOUGH CALORIES TO SUSTAIN YOUR LIFE! Please don't starve. It's not super sexy or cool to not eat. In fact, it makes life dull and miserable. MOST WOMEN AREN'T EATING ENOUGH ALREADY, and then they start a workout plan and wonder why they are not seeing any results. You have to actually eat enough calories to sustain fat loss; when you are eating a clean, awesome, delicious Paleo diet, this is the magic elixir needed to help to lose fat and put on lean muscle mass. So, EAT! Most women need at least 1,800 calories a day in order to sustain healthy fat loss and put on muscle! Although I'm not a fan of calorie counting, it might be a really good idea to track your food for a few days to make sure you are not way under your caloric needs.


That's right-relax a little. If your body thinks that being alive really sucks, there is no way it's going to let go of that extra fat. I'm a huge fan of sitting down during the day for about five to 10 minutes, closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing. (Shhhhh ... it's called meditation, but that word tends to scare folks away, so let's just call it "breathing.") It's truly amazing that this one little thing can really help you lose fat. IF YOU ARE OKAY IN YOUR HEAD, YOU'LL EVENTUALLY BE OKAY IN YOUR BODY. It's just how we tick. You must be at peace with yourself in order to see results, so set a reminder on your phone to take a timeout and just breathe, every day.


Crazy, right? What do you mean, sleep? I can sleep when I'm dead! I can't sleep! I need time to get shredded! Well, sorry, but if you don't sleep, you won't recover. You make your muscle-building and fat-burning gains when you are resting, not when you are actually pumping iron. So make sure you get at least eight to 10 hours a night of shuteye. Other amazing results of getting enough sleep include HEAL THIER-LOOKING SKIN, HAPPIER HORMONES AND A JUMP-STARTED SEX DRIVE (my second form of exercise next to lifting weights).


Run fast, but not for very long. Simple as that. Do not pound the pavement for miles or take out your aggression on a poor, defenseless treadmill. Go outside and sprint! Short duration at high intensity is magical. This is where you'll get lean, baby. There are moving vans filled with science on how this works, but I'll just give you a visual: Close your eyes and imagine the Summer Olympics. Think about the marathon runners, and then think about the sprinters. Which ones do you want to look like? Enough said.


Yup, walk. Your body understands this. It's not overly taxing, IT'S GREAT FOR YOUR MIND. BODY AND SPIRIT, and it will help you lose fat.

That's it! LIFT SOME HEAVY WEIGHTS, EAT ENOUGH CALORIES TO SUPPORT FAT LOSS, CHILL THE HECK OUT FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES A DAY, SLEEP PLENTY, SPRINT AND WALK. Now, I can't wait for you to send me some real "before" and "after" pictures-and the coolest thing is, you'll be able to keep those "after" pictures forever!

Mind hacks for Paleo diet

09:19 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
If you're reading this and you're already implementing the idea that being Paleo involves some semblance of daily movement-as well as occasional, intense masochistic urges to grind yourself into an exhausted pulp at the gym-then you've probably also experienced an exercise slump.

The slump is that time when you know you should move, but you just don't friggin' want to. Perhaps you have brain fog as you're changing into your running shoes, and you're second-guessing whether you can even make it out the front door. Perhaps you bend down to pick up the barbell and you'd rather walk away and go sit in your car. Perhaps you finish up the day and want to go for a walk, but you have a deep urge to instead curl up on the couch and pass out drooling. If you've studied exercise even a little bit, you probably would think that this lack of motivation is simply a touch of overreaching, a bout of overtraining, or perhaps too many hard workouts the week before. And sure-that's often the case. But sometimes a distinct drop in motivation has nothing to do with pooped-out muscles, but instead specific nutrient deficiencies or neurotransmitter issues that leave you mentally incapable of pulling off a tough effort, no matter how prepared your muscles are. Of course, the solution to this is simple: Take Modaf1nil or Adderall, gulp your tomato jalapeno salad, suck down three cups of coffee and kick that fatigue in the butt. I jest. Actually, the solution is to address the nutrient, neurotransmitter and stress issues that can cause a lack of motivation. I call these motivational mind hacks for paleo diet ( don't you just love the word "hacks"?), and you're about to get seven that I personally use or implement with my clients when the brain seems to break.

Taper Off or Avoid Antidepressants.

I'm kinda shocked at the number of "healthy" athletes and clients who come to Greenfield Fitness Systems for coaching-"healthy" athletes who are on antidepressants such as Prozac, Sarafem, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Cymbalta or Pristiq. Most of these chemicals increase brain levels of serotonin or block reuptake of serotonin, but the problem is that this can cause a short-term flooding of the brain with neurotransmitters, followed by the fast degrading of those neurotransmitters. This results in low levels of naturally available neurotransmitters, a need for a constantly increased dosage, a depletion of 40 to 60 percent of the serotonin receptors in the brain, and damaged receptors in the liver, kidneys and colon. And frankly, most of these antidepressants really aren't that effective, anyway. (Just visit Chris Kresser's website and read his "Dark Side of Antidepressants" article.) By following some of the other advice below, you'll probably find antidepressants are far less necessary.

Avoid Stimulants

Caffeine, ephedrine, ephedra, guarana, Ritalin and other stimulants and energy drinks can all create neurotransmitter resistance or longterm receptor damage. Like antidepressants, they require constantly higher levels to be effective. Not only do I recommend introducing 10 days of "no caffeine" every two months (if you close your eyes, decaf tastes a lot like regular), but I also recommend judicious use of stimulants such as only for your hardest workout of the week, before a big race or competition, or in emergencies, like when you need to stay up all night with a sick kid. Most workouts are not an emergency, and if you're relying on
a cup of butter-filled coffee pre-workout, green tea-infused kombucha post-workout and some kind of special pick-me-up pill in the mid-afternoon, then you're not really avoiding stimulants at all.

Avoid Toxins.

Before you skip this one because you don't have an endocrine-disrupting air freshener hanging in your car, you should know that a lot of things you're probably exposing yourself to contain toxins that can affect production of or sensitivity to neurotransmitters including whatever they cleaned the treadmill with at your gym, the carpet in the house you bought, your deodorant, the water you shower in, and that dentist visit two months ago. Think twice about those glutenfree
GMO corn tortillas, use natural cleaning chemicals (lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, etc.), use natural personal care products (avoid parabens, dyes, fragrances, etc.), use home air filters and home water filters, get a holistic dentist you get the idea. Choosing toxins goes way beyond getting organic apples. Ever think that maybe the reason you walk into a gym and feel like crap is because you just got flooded with neurotransmitterdisrupting perfumes and cleaners?

Fix HPA Axis Dysfunction.

Issues with the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (yep, there's a Wikipedia page for this one, too, so go read up on it) are a bit more hormonal than neurotransmitter based. But you have to take into account this axis, since high levels of cortisol can cause neurodegeneration, brain fog and low  active thyroid hormone status, and low levels of cortisol can leave you unable to mobilize stored carbohydrates for energy or properly stimulate your adrenal glands. I'll keep this simple: The top three issues I see causing HPA axis dysfunction in the folks I work with are emotional, exercise and relationship stress; poor sleep quality; and gut problems (more often caused by stress than by diet in Paleo folks and clean eaters). The magic bullet is always a tough one to swallow: Fix your relationships, sleep more and stress less.

Okay okay perhaps you thought "hacks" would involve binaural beats, glasses  that  emit  special light flashes, an infrared mat, and some little-known, overpriced herbal magic elixir. In truth, when I sat down to write this article, I was actually thinking about going that route, and delving into phone apps, bio-hacking gear and advanced supplementation strategies. But let's face it: When it comes to motivation (and avoiding decision fatigue), most folks just need to simplify, not complicate. Scan up and read through my list again. Most of those seven things are pretty simple
to grasp and/or free, huh?

Yes,  in advanced  cases of  neurotransmitter  depletion, you may need more advanced tactics, such as urinary neuroendocrine testing, neurotransmitter repletion with the use of supplements  such as  tyrosine and  5-HTP,  and  work with a good practitioner who can dig into these issues even more deeply.  (Somebody certified in the  Kalish  Method is usually a good place to start.) But honestly, most folks just need to quit drinking so much damn coffee, clean up their personal environment, fix their relationships, eat a wider variety of nourishing foods and quit soaking up loud movies, loud music and a fast-paced lifestyle.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Tomato Salad with Jalapeño Vinaigrette

23:38 Posted by Trevor Mehta ,
I love the versatility of a cherry tomato salad Jalapeño Vinaigrette. By simply swapping the dressing with another favorite, you can create an entirely new dish with very little effort. And I’m all for very little effort in the kitchen! Try this one with the dressing from the Grilled Chicken Antipasto Salad for a satisfying change of pace.

Tomato Salad with Jalapeño Vinaigrette


  • 2 pints (32 ounces) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 TBSP finely diced red onions
  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP minced shallot
  • 1 small jalapeño, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 TBSP lime juice
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serves 4

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the salad ingredients.
In a food processor or bullet blender, combine the dressing ingredients. Process until all the ingredients are well blended, although some small chunks are fine.
Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat.
Refrigerate the salad, or place it in a cooler until ready to eat.
Stir the salad again before serving.

Grilled Chicken Antipasto Salad

23:35 Posted by Trevor Mehta ,
My original antipasto salad recipe appeared in Paleo Indulgences and has been a family favorite for years. While we have enjoyed that particular version many times, I realized recently that it is more of a delicious side dish than a main meal when taken on the road. So I added grilled chicken in the grilled chicken antipasto salad, swapped the black olives for kalamatas, updated the dressing, and increased the measurements to feed a crowd. Now I have a one-bowl meal that travels well, and the whole family can enjoy it! Every once in a while, just to keep things interesting, I add chopped cooked bacon, pickled asparagus, mushrooms, or chopped raw cauliflower. This one’s best made the day before so that it soaks up the dressing and gets all yummified! You and also take ques from citrus red onion slaw to add to this recipe.

Grilled Chicken Antipasto Salad


  • 1½ cups pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 cups artichoke hearts, frozen or in water (be sure to squeeze out any excess water with a paper towel)
  • 1 cup julienne-cut sundried tomatoes
  • 8 ounces salami, sliced into wedges
  • 1½ cups diced grilled chicken
  • 3 TBSP chopped fresh basil (about 8 leaves)
  • 3 TBSP chopped fresh parsley


  •  2/3 cup olive oil
  •  1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 TBSP minced shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serves 4-6

  1. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake to mix well.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat.
  4. Cover the salad, and refrigerate it until needed.
  5. Stir the salad again before serving.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Citrus Red Onion Slaw with Grilled Chicken

23:31 Posted by Trevor Mehta ,
Want to know a secret? I originally created this recipe with red cabbage. I had it all planned out, with the recipe jotted down. Then I went to prepare it one sunny afternoon, and bam! No red cabbage in the house. How did that happen? I was writing a book, for heaven’s sake. I shouldn’t make those mistakes! But I do. All. The. Time. Why am I telling you about my incompetence? Well, because I want folks to understand that no one is perfect, and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, be flexible, and think outside the recipe box. I had green cabbage on hand, knew it would taste great, and changed the name accordingly. Voilà! Citrus Red Onion Slaw! Don’t let small hurdles get in your way in the kitchen. Think of a fun way to come up with something new. Oh, and if you’d rather use red cabbage, feel free. It works! For extra flavour you can include the garnishing from tomato avocado salad recipe.

Citrus Red Onion Slaw with Grilled Chicken


  • 1 medium head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I like to grill mine)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts


  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serves 4

  1. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients.
  2. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake well, and pour it over the salad. Toss to coat.
  3. Store the salad in the refrigerator or a cooler until ready to eat.

Tomato Avocado Salad with Grilled Chicken

23:28 Posted by Trevor Mehta ,
There is nothing better than tomato avocado salad with grilled chicken with a light vinaigrette to bring out their intense flavors! You can use your favorite tomatoes here, but I highly recommend splurging on some organic heirlooms. The colors and textures they bring to this salad can’t be beat. While my whole family enjoys this particular combo, you can vary the ingredients and change it up however you like. This salad would be great with steak instead of chicken and perhaps some mushrooms or bell peppers. Use the recipe as a jumping-off point to let your imagination fly!

Tomato Avocado Salad with Grilled Chicken


  • 2½ cups cubed grilled chicken
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes (or beefsteak)
  • 2 small avocados
  • 4 or 5 basil leaves, torn into smaller pieces
  • 1 cup black olives, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup diced red onion


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp tarragon
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Serves 4

  1. Place the chicken in a large bowl with a lid.
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half, and then into thin wedges. Add them to the bowl with the chicken.
  3. Cut the avocados in half, and remove the pits. Slice the flesh lengthwise. Using a spoon, gently scoop out each avocado half. Separate the slices, and place them in the bowl with the tomatoes and chicken.
  4. Add the basil, olives, and onion to the bowl.
  5. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake well, and pour the dressing over the salad. Use as much or as little as you’d like.
  6. Cover and refrigerate the salad until needed.
  7. Stir the salad before serving