Pulled Pork Tacos + mango pineapple salsa

Few things are more delicious than slow cooked, high quality pork, shredded to perfection. I am going to share this EASY recipe with you all. You can eat it plain, on organic corn taco shells, stuffed in a roasted sweet potato, however you’d like!

For an 8# pork, this will make about 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large pork shoulder (high quality meat source, local or from Whole Foods)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Dash of apple cider vinegar
  • Clean BBQ sauce (for adding after pork is finished – optional)

Method:

Pat the pork down with the sea salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to all sides as well, and place it in a large crockpot. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Shred with two forks when finished. **note: if you purchase a larger pork shoulder such as 8#, it may take longer than 10 hours on low to cook. Just check it, and if needed, cook an additional hour or two on low before shredding. It should shred fairly easily.

For the mango pineapple salsa:

  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • small handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced and diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded, sliced and diced (optional)
  • Sea salt, pepper

Mix ingredients for the salsa together in a bowl. Serve on top of the pork – you will have leftovers.

This recipe is great paired with my cilantro lime slaw with avocado “mayo”.  Also great is organic jasmine rice topped with cilantro OR roasted sweet potato fries – great for higher carb days post-workout! Enjoy!

817a3009-b2cf-4619-aeb8-131df81cdd6f

FullSizeRender.jpg

13312743_1025232600846062_6010760048668014307_n

13342913_1025232594179396_395449063522194644_n

 

Not all meat is created equal: is your meat ruining your health?

Probably the most imporant thing to spend your money on is clean meat. What is clean meat? Many of you may not be aware that all conventional meat is terrible for your health. I know you’ve seen grass-fed beef at the grocery stores, as well as organic meat, and you may wonder why it’s so much more expensive than conventional meat – and whether or not it is even better for you (hint: yes it is). You may not realize that this meat is so much better for your health, especially if you eat meat on a daily basis. It’s more expensive because of the way the animal is raised prior to packaging. Think about it: factory farmed animals are crammed by the millions into small spaces, fed genetically modified corn and soy, given antibiotics to fight off infections (more on this to come), and slaughtered and processed by the millions which leads to a cheap price on the packaged meat at the grocery store (because they use cheap feed, and cheap methods for processing). Whatever that animal previously ate, you are eating by eating the meat of said animal. I am going to discuss a few reasons why it’s important to spend the few extra dollars per pound on higher quality meat – not only for the sake of your health but for the sake of the animals’ well-being before it’s killed and also for the sake of our environment.

  1. You are eating antibiotics when you consume conventional meat: More than 80% of antibiotics in the year 2011 were fed to livestock in factory farms (NY Times Article by David Kessler). The animals are fed these drugs in order to keep them “healthy” in conditions that would otherwise make them sick. You may think this is good for us: that these drugs are protecting us from disease from the animals, when in reality, this is contributing to the rise of superbugs: deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  2. Eating conventional EGGS and CHICKEN can cause acne. The Western diet, which is usually high in meat and meat products such as eggs, refined carbohydrates and processed foods, increases insulin and inflammation in the body (Charles Bollmann, MD). Non-organic eggs, especially, come from poultry that is often fed hormones which will disrupt the hormonal activity in the body. The antibiotics that are also fed to these animals eventually makes its way into our system when we eat the animal/egg and this interferes with the balance of bacteria in our intestines. Intestinal bacteria plays a huge role in acne. While all people are different in their reactions to foods, if you are suffering from acne take a good look at your daily diet and decide if perhaps what you are eating is the culprit. Switch to organic!
  3. You are supporting the awful treatment of animals when you consume conventional meat: I really can’t go into much detail here because it’s truly heartbreaking. If you knew the treatment of the animals in factory farms you would not be able to eat the meat that comes from this. It’s hard to be a vegetarian, I know, I tried it for two months and couldn’t do it any longer because I started to feel very fatigued, weak, and just never satisfied from a meal which is why I now promote and live a mostly paleo-based lifestyle. You do not have to be a vegetarian but you also do not have to buy or support the meat of factory farmers! The animals in these conditions, pigs for example, are kept tightly packed in cages because it cuts costs. This causes severe distress to the animals as well as cause infection from sores and ulcers that may occur from the tightly packed spaces. This is an awful way to live – and another reason not to purchase conventional meat. Veal calves are also abused and forced to wear heavy chains to keep them from becoming overactive in their stalls. They are also kept in total darkness – which just seems absurd and abusive! Chickens are forced into small cages, similar to pigs, as well as the egg-laying hens. As little as 0.6 square feet of space per hen – which is smaller than a regular sized piece of paper! All you have to do is start buying better quality eggs – cage free AT THE LEAST! But even that’s not enough. I know it seems expensive but the only way to stop factory farming and this terrible treatment of the animals is if we vote with our dollars. Another disturbing fact: 82% of U.S. Dairies practice something called ‘tail docking’ – which is removing the tails of livestock by burning or constricting the tail with an elastic band. This causes pain (obviously), distress, and infection, and this has been outlawed by many countries, e.g., New Zealand. California is the only state in the United States where this is illegal.
  4. No antibiotics/hormones, grass-fed, organic, is HEALTHIER. As though this wasn’t already obvious, grass-fed beef and chickens that are either organic or pasture raised are much healthier for you (hint: no antibiotics given to the animals). Grass-fed beef comes from a cow who has grazed in a pasture year-round rather than eating processed food/corn/soy most of its life. This improves the quality of the beef, making it richer in omega-3 fats, vitamin E, beta-carotene and CLA (beneficial fatty acid). The cholesterol content of grass-fed beef is also lower than the cholesterol of beef from factory farms – 22-39%. This undoubtedly contributes to your total cholesterol intake. 500-800 milligrams of CLA is what you will be getting from a 4 ounce serving of grass-fed beef in comparison to non-grassfed. CLA is conjugated linoleum acid – it’s associated with immune and inflammatory system support, improved bone mass, improved blood sugar regulation, reduced body fat, reduced risk of heart attack, and maintenance of lean body mass. The omega-3 fat content of grassfed beef is due to the wide variety of crops that are planted in pastures – which is where the animal is grazing. These are all reasons to spend the extra few dollars and always buy grass-fed beef as you are getting much more health benefits, all while supporting the farmers who practice cruelty-free livestock farming.
  5. Grass-fed meat is not the same as grain-fed. I want to reiterate this. Grain-fed meat will look similar and perhaps taste somewhat similar (though I disagree with the latter), it’s not healthier. These are two completely different meats. Factory farmed meat, aka grain fed, has the wrong fatty acids, contains obesity-causing hormones, and usually has mycotoxins which is a nasty biotoxin formed by mold in cattle food and meat processing. Following my paleo/primal lifestyle will only work for you if you are purchasing clean meat – so you simply must start putting in a few extra dollars and cut costs elsewhere so that you can buy this type of meat. The cow will not make nutritious meat if it’s not fed the proper ingredients. Feeding cattle junk food will turn them into junk food! Think about it…if the animal is living off of cheap, processed crap, its meat will turn into crap and you are then eating said meat/crap! 
  6. BETTER FOR THE WORLD. Eating grass-fed, purchasing pasture raised/NOT factory farmed meat is better for the economy and environment. Factory farming is awful for the environment because of the way the animals are raised, fed, and treated. With over 9 billion animals raised and slaughtered each year for human consumption in the United States alone, modern animal agriculture puts a huge strain on natural resources like land, water, fossil fuel. These circumstances are also contributing to climate change. In the US alone, factory farms generate more than 1 million tons of manure PER DAY. Factory farms store animal waste in huge lagoons, as big as several football fields, which are prone to leaking and spilling. In 2011 a hog farm in Illinois spilled 200,000 gallons of manure into a creek which killed over 100,000 fish! According to the USDA, animal waste can contaminate water supplies and omit harmful gasses into the atmosphere when over-applied to land (which factory farmers do). The demand for livestock pasture is a driver of deforestation. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has estimated that 70% of land formerly supporting Amazon rainforests has been turned over to grazing (Farmsanctuary.org ). So once again, you are voting with your dollars as well as improving your health/cholesterol/appearance, quality of life for the animal, and helping the environment (or at the very least not harming the environment) when you you purchase grass-fed beef or pasture raised animals.

I hope this blog has at least opened your eyes to the fact that we all must get together and start to change the way animals are treated and harvested and stop supporting factory farmed meat. This includes all large company meat brands such as Tyson, Smithfield Foods Inc (world’s largest pork producer), ConAgra (owners of the Butterball brand), Pilgram’s Pride (undercover investigations showed workers violently throwing and stomping on chickens to kill them-major supplier for KFC restaurant), and Domino’s Pizza. AVOID THOSE BRANDS. One way to ensure the meat you are buying is NOT factory farmed is to shop LOCAL or at Whole Foods! Whole Foods has very strict standards regarding the meat they sell – a rating system of steps 1-5, with 5+ being the best (think pasture raised, happy animal 🙂 ).

SUMMARY

Spend the few extra dollars and ensure the meat you are buying is quality meat, otherwise, you are ingesting the awful things that animal ingested, as well as supporting mistreatment and abuse of animals. Choose labels that say NO ANTIBIOTICS (hormones are technically prohibited by the FDA although they are still probably used), grass-fed, organic (USDA organic stamp means the animal hasn’t consumed any genetically modified corn or soy which is important for our health,  as well as ensuring no antibiotics were used), pasture-raised, etc. Stop buying meat because it’s cheap – if it’s cheap, that means it’s not good for your health. Sorry, but it’s true. Your health will vastly improve if you make these changes.

REFERENCES:

 

Cilantro Lime Slaw + avocado mayo

I love a good Cole slaw! Only problem is most are not clean. This version is so clean, refreshing, light and amazing. Try it out! I’m having this tonight alongside clean bbq pulled pork!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head green cabbage, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1-2 chopped jalapeños
  • 2 handfuls chopped cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt + pepper

**for the easy avocado mayonnaise : 1 avocado, 2 tablespoons olive oil, dash of salt and garlic powder, blended well using food processor or high-powered blender.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Then mix the avocado mayo in! Store in refrigerator. Makes about 6-8 servings

image.jpeg

 

Cocoa-Bacon-Oat Muffins : gluten free

The recipe for these popped up on my timehop today so I knew I had to make them and tell you all about it! These are so clean and healthful and have a salty sweet twist because of the bacon! Muffins don’t have to have flour, as you will find! These are awesome – you can also feel free to add some dark chocolate chips if you’d like!

ingredients:

  • 5-6 pieces nitrite free cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1.5 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa or cacao
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw nuts (I used cashews)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (remove pit)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of cinnamon & sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 350. Cook your bacon on the stove and chop it into pieces first! Then:

Mix dry ingredients together and wet ingredients separately. Be sure your egg and maple syrup are close to room temperature before mixing in your melted coconut oil (or the coconut oil will solidify). Then add your wet ingredients to your dry and blend well, spooning into 12 lined muffin tins. Bake for ~30 minutes and enjoy! Good as a snack or on the go breakfast!

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

WORKOUTS Week of 5/22 – 5/28/2016

SUNDAY: Rest

MONDAY: Rest 

TUESDAY: LEGS

  • Back squat: 4×5: 100, 110, 115, 125#
  • Front squat: 4×5: 65, 70, 70, 70#
  • Walking lunges 5×16 per leg @ (2 sets with 30# DBs, 3 sets with 35# DBs)
  • Leg press 2×20 @ 180; 3×10 @ 270; 2×15 @230#
  • Plie Squat 5×10 @ 90#
  • Single leg deadlifts: 3×10 per leg @ 2 2=30# DBs
  • Ham curls 5 sets to failure
    • superset 4×15 tricep pushups
  • Leg extensions 5-6 sets to failure

WEDNESDAY: Shoulders/abs

  • 3×10 Barbell shoulder press
  • 3×8 pushpress 55#
  • Clean & press: 8×10, 10, 8, 6, 5, 5, 5, 10 @ 65, 70, 75, 65 #
  • Push press 3×6 75#
  • DB shoulder press 4×5-6 @ 30# DBs (that’s 2 30s)
    • superset lat raise 3×15 12.5# dbs
  • DB upright row 3×7 (alternating arms, 30# DBs)
    • superset 3×12 lat raise 10# DBs
  • DB upright row 3×10 with 25# DBs
    • then 5×10 total: seated – standing rear delt fly/raise (7.5# DBs)
  • Seated lat raise 3×12 7.5# DBs
    • superset 2×10 single arm KB swing 35#
    • 3×15 KB swingt 40#
  • Leaning lat raise 3×10 15# DBs
  • 5×10-12 Face pulls superset Russian twists 4×50 (25# plate)
  • CARDIO: Alternating squats – pushups: squats go 50-40-30-20-10 and pushups go 5-10-15-20-25 – complete this in as little time as possible; I got less than 7 mins
  • FARMER WALKS: 3 sets of about 100 feet each 2 45# DBs

THURSDAY: Full body circuit

5 TIMES:

  • 400 meter row
  • 30 jump squats
  • 15 HRPU (hand release pushups)

5 TIMES:

  • 10 wall balls (20#!)
  • 10 pull-ups

THEN…I did some bicep work…curls, 21s, cable curls, etc. Stretched. Didn’t want to kill myself too hard today since I am SO SORE!!

FRIDAY: Chest/power cleans/FARMER WALKS

  • 7×6-10 Heavy Bench press 2 warmup sets then 5 working sets up to 90#; superset 15 tricep dips on bench + 4×20 squat jumps
  • 3×12 DB chest fly
  • 4×10 DB incline press superset 24 lunge jumps
  • Power cleans @ 65, 75, 85, 90, 95, 90, 85, 75, 65. 2-7 reps EACH, multiple sets. I didn’t keep track. I just did them til I was dead 😉
  • 3x 100 foot farmer walks with 45s
  • Run 2 miles : every quarter mile-half mile do pushups, I did 10, 12, 15, 20,  pushups-first 2 sets being tricep pushups
  • 2×50 Russian twists with 25# plate superset 50 mountain climbers

SATURDAY: Legs/Back

  • Lat pull-downs (I like to do these first and superset squat jumps because it warms up my body): 8 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 8, 10, 12 superset 3×20 squat jumps in between some sets
  • barbell row superset Romanian deadlifts: 11 x 10, 10, 8, 8, 8, 8, 6, 6, 4, 4, 8 for rows and 15, 15, 12, 12, 12, 12, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 for deadlifts at 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 85 #
  • 3×10 single arm row 40#
  • 4×10 double arm row 30# DBs
  • Hex bar deadlift 4 x 8 125#
  • Seated cable row 6x 12, 10, 8, 6, 8, 10
  • Wide grip cable row 3x 8, 10, 12
  • Back squat: 2×5 100#, 3×5 110#
  • Front squat 4×5 70#
  • Back extensions 4×15 25# plate
  • Cardio: 10 burpees, 20 Russian twists with 25# plate repeat 5 times as quickly as possible

image.jpeg

Back vs. Chest: Why Back is Superior + Exercises to Do

All too often, men (mostly men) prioritize chest day over any other muscle group. Leg day is often skipped, back day may be under-utilized, and chest may be worked as many as 2 days per week! In reality, having a strong back is so much more beneficial to daily activities, as well as being helpful while working other muscle groups, i.e., legs in the squat. My favorite body parts to train are legs and back, followed by shoulders, because I think these three muscle groups are the most beautiful as well as most functional. Having a strong back (similar to strong legs) helps you pick up things, carry heavy things, keeps your spine strong and straight and helps stabilize your core. What does having a strong chest do for you? I mean really? Not much. Plus, no one really cares about huge pecs on guys (or girls for that matter)…I think a muscular back and big, strong SHOULDERS is much more appealing than pectoral muscles. Now, I am not saying AT ALL that you should quit training chest and quit doing bench press. Bench press is important. I am just saying it’s not the most important…and I would argue that training legs and back should take precedent. So, now I go into detail about why I love to train my back muscles super hard and often:

  1. A strong back helps you squat. Having a strong lower back and upper back helps you squat more weight.  Doing bent over rows (especially) aids you when you are squatting because you’re improving core strength, working your latissimus dorsi and traps- so include these every week in your strength training program. Bent over rows also improve your deadlift. Strengthening your lower back, also, will help strengthen your core simultaneously which will help you with front squats too. Ever tried heavy front squats? If you have, you know exactly what I am talking about. You better have a strong lower back and core before attemping these. Your back is a huge component of your core!
  2. A strong back helps daily activities. Speaking of core, having a strong back helps you carry out daily activities. Sitting in a chair, bending over, housework, gardening, moving, picking up boxes at work, these are all using your core/lower back/back muscles. Lower back pain can be debilitating if you don’t ever strength train – and you probably have this pain from a weak core and weak back muscles! So by exercising your back muscles, you will also work your core, and alleviate lower back pain. Did you know dumbbell rows work your obliques, too? This is why BACK day is practically my favorite day of the week! Because I love to strengthen every part of my back as well as increase core strength. You will feel better every other day of the week if you have a super strong back. Plus, a muscular back is super sexy! Since I started lifting heavy and often, and truly focusing on lifting heavy on back day, I have ZERO back pain from my scoliosis. It’s a dream come true.
  3. A strong back helps you have good posture – which most people do not have. I am lucky because I am a former ballet dancer so I know all about proper posture and good body placement. But most people are not as lucky. People neglect their rear delts as well as the rest of the back muscles – and working your rear delts, lower back and trapezius (along with core muscles) will help you have better/perfect posture! Working your chest too often (and skimping out on back exercises) will do the opposite. Especially with people sitting too frequently at desk jobs and slouching at the computer, you truly must focus on exercising and strengthening the back muscles and core to aid good posture. Next time you are sitting at the computer, think about your body placement at that moment. Are you slouching? Not engaging your abs or sitting up straight? I thought so! I am constantly aware of my body placement – and I do my best to engage my core 100% of the day and not let myself “sink” into my lower back, so to speak.
  4. A strong back = strong core. The back is such a large group of muscles – and it includes your core. Your core is comprised of your abdominal muscles as well as middle and lower back muscles. This is what helps stabilize your body – which is such an important factor in daily activities. Having a strong back/core helps your spinal alignment and will allow you to live a pain-free life! It also helps if you have even the slightest amount of scoliosis (like I do). Strength training your back and core will help you as you anti-age in terms of loss of bone density/fragile bones, weakening posture, worsening of scoliosis, and more.
  5. A strong back is sexy. When you work your back frequently, you will love how GOOD it makes you look. Working your lats will give you that “V” tapered look, while also making your waist appear smaller. Because your back is such a large group of muscles, it truly helps shape your entire appearance. There are so many different muscles in the back and when you start to train them at many angles, you will love how good it looks (and how strong you are). Having a strong back looks good and feels good. So, if you’ve been neglecting your back, I recommend you start training it ASAP. Below are some of my favorite exercises!

MY FAVORITE EXERCISES:

  • Barbell row, first and foremost (this one helps improve your squat!)
  • Seated cable row (wide and narrow grip)
  • Deadlift (so many different variations here – I like sumo and Romanian)
  • T-bar row
  • Dumbbell rows (one arm and both arm)
  • Lat pull-downs (short for latissimus dorsi)
  • Face pulls (rear delts worked here)
  • Weighted hyperextensions
  • Pull-ups

References:

WORKOUTS 5/8/16 – 5/14/16

SUNDAY: Rest

MONDAY: Shoulders/abs

Warmup: 4×20 arm circles both directions; light lateral raises (2 5# weights); light shoulder press; stretching, then:

  • 3×10 strict barbell press 45# barbell
  • 1×10 55# barbell press
  • 2×10 60# barbell press
  • 4×10 alternating DB front raise (2 20# DBs), superset lat raises (4×15 with 10# DBs, both arms)
  • TRISET: 4×7 upright row with DBs (2 30# DBs), 3×12 (12.5 #) lat raises, 3×10-12 weighted squat jumps (20# DBs)
  • TRISET: 4×10 upright row with (25# DBs); 6×15 rear delt flyes with 7.5# DBs, then 10# DBS; 4×10 weighted squat jumps
  • 4×10 25# plate front raise
  • 4×12 cable front raise superset 50 toe taps on box
  • 4×10 face pulls superset 50 mountain climbers
  • 4×12 40# Kettlebell swings superset 10 push-ups
  • Run 1 mile
  • 3×6 strict toes to bar; 3×50 25# plate weighted Russian Twists
  • Finish with 3×15 rear delt cable pulleys & bent over rear delt fly with cable (light weight here, one arm at a time for bent over flyes)

TUESDAY: Legs

  • Back squat: 1×6 110#; 1×6 125#, 1×3 140#, 1×2 145#
  • Front squat: 1×5 70#, 1×4 85#, 2×4 90#
  • Bulgarian split squats: 1×10 per leg 45# barbell across back; 3×10 per leg 55#, 2×10 per leg  60#
  • Leg press: 6×10-20 (with varying weight: minimum of 4 plates maximum of 6)
  • Plie squat 3×10 85#, 2×10 80#
  • Front rack lunges: 1×20 45# barbell, 2×20 65#
  • Glute bridge 3×25 with 45# plate (I lay on the floor with legs up on a bench that doesn’t  move – legs at 90 degree angle – place 45# plate on thighs and squeeze and press glutes up to ceiling, then lower, repeat 25x) superset 3×10 steps per side – heavy banded side walks
  • Ham curls: 4×10-15
  • Leg extensions: 4-6 sets 10-20 (working both legs as well as single leg extensions)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Chest/Triceps/Circuit/Abs

  • TRISET: Bench press: I warmed up with the bar 1×10, then 1×10 65 #, then did 3×8 75#, then 3×6 80#, then down to 2x to failure 70#)
    • 3-4 pull-ups between each set
    • 4×12 DB flyes 2 20# DBs

then cardio circuit, repeat 3x:

  • 400 meter row
  • 10 HRPU
  • 10 KB swing, 40#
  • 10 burpee
  • 20 lunge jumps (10 per leg)

then

  • 4×15 Weighted dips, 35# plate; superset overhead tricep extension 3×8 (last rep was essentially to failure) 35# DB
  • 4 TIMES: Farmer walks with 2 40# DBs to failure; superset 12 decline pushups on bench
  • Abs:
    • 30 Russian twists 25# plate
    • 2×50 weighted bicycles 10# DB
    • 30 second flutter kicks, 2x
    • 20 plank up-downs
    • 1 min plank hold

I wanted to do more abs…or repeat this circuit more times…but I was SO fatigued at this point I just stretched and went home.

Friday: Full body circuit:

21-16-9-6-3-3-6-9-16-21 REPS OF: (minimal rest!)

  • Push-ups
  • Front squat 65#
  • Burpee

then

  • Row 1600 meter (8 mins)
  • 3×6 TTB (strict)

Saturday: Back/Legs/Biceps

  • Warmup 6×8-10 Lat pull downs superset 15 squat jumps
  • Back Squat: 1×4 115#, 3×4 125#
  • Front Squat: 1×5 65#, 1×5 70#, 2×5 75#
  • 6×6-8 Barbell rows, 6×10-12 Romanian deadlift using 85#, 90#, then back down to 80#
  • 3×10 40# DB row, 3×6 45# DB row
  • both arms – DB row 3×10 (2 30# DBs)
  • Cable row 5×8-10 superset straight arm pull downs 4×12
  • Weighted hyperextensions 3×15, superset bicep curls 3×10 20# DBs, 1x to failure curls with 30# barbell, 1 set of 21s with 12.5# DBs
  • THEN battle ropes and 15 wall balls: 3 sets of each – battle ropes to failure