It All Starts in the Kitchen

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Lets play a game. Walk into your kitchen and open up the cupboards. What do you see? Chances are they’re full of things like Cheetos, bagels, Wheat Thins, 100 calorie snack packs, or any number of highly processed, minimally nutritious foods. Now, open up your fridge. What do you see? Again, if I were a betting man, chances are I’d see bottles of soda, pre-packaged cold cuts, a wide variety of tv dinners, and what in the hell is that in the bottom drawer? Is that a science experiment?

Understandably, this isn’t necessarily the case for a lot of people who read this blog. It stands to reason that if you’re going out of your way to read my blog (or any number of fitness blogs for that matter), you’ve probably got your nutrition bases covered. Of course, as with anything in life, there are exceptions to the rule.

I work with a lot of different people during the week. Some I see almost everyday. Others I only see once or twice per week. Put another way, I have 1-2 hours per week with most of my clients. As such, the bulk of my time is spent coaching them through their training sessions – working on technique, correcting any postural issues they may have, pointing them in the direction of the puke bucket, etc.

Unfortunately – as is the case with many people who work with a trainer or strength coach – once they leave the facility, they’re on their own. I know for a fact they’re getting coached well, and if they are doing any training sessions on their own, I’m confident that they’re not going to break their spine in half.

Where it gets tricky – and what ends up being the achilles heel for many trainees – is what they’re putting down their pie holes when I’m not there standing in front of them. I’m going to be blunt: It’s imperative to plan ahead and make sure you have the appropriate foods available to you when you need them (depending on your goals, of course). It all comes down to what Dan John always says:

– What are your goals?

– Do your actions meet your goals?

Sorry, but that mocha latte you guzzled right after spin class isn’t going to help you shed those last 20 lbs of fat you’ve been trying to lose for the past ten years. Likewise, what good is it to work your ass off all week, only to go home on a Friday night and polish off the rest of the left over pizza in your fridge?

If you’re still not picking up what I’m putting down, let me be a little more straight forward. If you have REAL, wholesome, minimally processed, nutrient dense foods readily available, chances are you’ll probably eat it. Conversely, if you have nothing but crap surrounding you, you’re more likely to eat that. Weird how that works, huh?

Essentially all I’m trying to say is that if you make a concerted effort to get rid of the junk in your kitchen, and replace it with the right kinds of foods, you’ll not only start to see good things happen with your body, but you’ll feel infinitely better as well. As an example, here’s what I buy every week:

Weekly Items:

– 4-5 bags of spinach, lambs lettuce, or leafy greens

– 3-4 packages of multi-colored peppers (that I chop up to last me the week)

– 1-2 containers of chopped celery, onions, and carrots (that I add to the peppers)

– 1 container of salsa, and 1 container of hummus

– 4-5 cartons of eggs, 2 cartons of Azuluna pastured eggs

– TONS of fresh, organic fruit: apples, pears, bananas, grapes, etc

– TONS of frozen, organic fruit: cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries

– TONS of fresh, organic veggies: tomatoes, onions, squash, kale, chard

– TONS of frozen organic veggies: broccoli, green beans, etc

– 2-3 lbs of 85% grass-fed beef

– 1-2 packages of natural, skinless chicken breast

– 3-4 containers of almond “milk” (to use for shakes)

– 1 loaf of Ezekiel bread

– 5-6 containers of Chobani Greek yogurt

As Needed:

– Rolled oats

– Quinoa

– Bag of garlic

– Ginger

– Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans

– Natural peanut butter

– Pastured butter

– Bottle of apple cider vinegar

– Spices: salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano, cinnamon, cajun, etc

– Cacao nibs, Chia seeds, ground flax seeds

– Unsweetened coconut

– Dried fruit: dates and figs

I split my shopping among three different stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and a local Market Basket), and it probably takes more a little more than an hour to do it; luckily, all of them are within two miles of my apartment.

Of course, it looks like a follow a strictly paleo diet, and for all intents and purposes I guess I do. Call me crazy, but I like the way I feel knowing I’m eating REAL food and not a bunch of processed crap. I eat all the food I want to support my needs, and I feel amazing to boot. What’s more, I have a steel plate for abs, can deadlift close to 600 lbs, and I once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. No big deal.

This isn’t to say, however, that I don’t ever splurge and eat pizza from time to time. I do. As well, whenever my girlfriend and I go out to dinner (which is usually every weekend), I’m not scared to order pasta and……GASP, dessert. I mean, I am human. But all in all, the way I eat supports my lifestyle and my goals – and it all starts with what foods I put into my kitchen.

The question then becomes, does the way YOU eat support your lifestyle, and more importantly, your goals? Take a look in your kitchen; the answer is right there.

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