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Make it Convenient

by Geoff Rand


Time.  I challenge anyone to truthfully tell me they think they have enough of it.  I often find lack of available time an obstacle to preparing, cooking, and ultimately eating, healthy meals.  So when I recently heard about the Instant Pot and its insanely short cooking times, I was intrigued.  Previously, I only knew of pressure cookers’ more nefarious purposes, but after some research into their cooking history and safety features, I felt comfortable purchasing one.

Now, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to most things in the kitchen, but I can follow directions.  One Amazon search later, and boom, Paleo Cooking with your Instant Pot was on its way to me.  I’m still going though the book, but there are 80 recipes, most only taking 6-10 minutes to cook.  Awesome!

The sirloin steak recipe I chose to try used some very simple ingredients and just a three-hour marinade.  It suggested a 4-minute cook time for a medium steak.  I prefer my steak to not have that “meat taste” and always ask for it to be cooked to “dental records” when I eat out.  So, I opted to double the cook time.

Eight minutes later, the Instant Pot finished, but a check of the steak still showed some red inside.  It was probably between a medium-well to well-done level.  I put it back in for another 2 minutes and reset the timer.

Bingo.  Grey throughout and surprisingly dry even after being cooked in the marinade.  It was nearly perfect.  I found the ability to check the meat and easily put it back in for additional time a great attribute of the Instant Pot.  I still prefer the charring only a grill can provide, but the time savings and ability to cook indoors when outside temperatures are uncomfortable for grilling, make up for the Instant Pot’s shortcomings.

While I'll never understand why someone would want his or her steak to be juicy or have red showing inside, I’m confident the Instant Pot could provide those results if you reduced the time to what the recipe suggests.

I added some previously cooked sweet potatoes and some spring greens to complete the meal.  Quite tasty, and so quick and easy.  I’m looking forward to trying other recipes in the book.

The Instant Pot comes in several sizes and there’s even a Bluetooth version that allows you to start, stop, or monitor your Instant Pot remotely, if desired.  The functions are simple enough that you could prepare the meal in a bag and leave directions for a spouse or responsible child to start the cooking so it is ready when you get home.  However, most of the recipes have such ridiculously short cook times that you’d often be able to throw it in the cooker right as you walk in the door and be just fine.  Another benefit of the Instant Pot is the ability to be used as a slow cooker if you prefer to not use the pressurized settings.  The Paleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot cookbook also has a slow cooker variation for each meal if you want to use that instead.  I've also found endless Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest.

Preliminary results show the Instant Pot might be a game changer for me that could potentially eliminate the obstacle of time that I’ve been experiencing when trying to eat better.   Whether you are new to healthy cooking or a veteran, an Instant Pot and this cookbook might be a worthy purchase, especially if you plan to participate in the Eat & Exercise Challenge, which is just around the corner.  Making healthy eating more convenient is a key hurdle to overcome on your way to creating long-lasting, healthy habits.  

Have a favorite pressure cooker recipe?  Share a link in the comments.



Eat Pizza to Lose Weight

Quick Reminder:  Pizza isn't allowed during the Lurong 2016 Championship Challenge, but you can reward yourself with a slice when it's over in October.  Registration for the Challenge opens at 2PM on August 1st, and there are early bird prizes for the first 175 people to register, plus Box prizes based on number of entries, so set your alarm and get in on this early.  This is a fun Challenge and a great way to hit the reset button after a long summer of eating chocolate covered crickets, or what have you.

by Geoff Rand

So, you’ve completed weeks and weeks of food journals on the recent Challenge, or you’ve already adopted a 100% Paleo diet, or maybe you’ve just figured out the right combination of fuels to feed your body to keep yourself fit.  So how does pizza fit into any of these equations?  Simple.  Planning to eat a cheat meal like pizza can help you stick to your healthy eating lifestyle.

Think about it.  As Americans, we’re subjected to the daily bombardment of advertisements for sugary cereals, tasty dollar menus, drive up feed bag delivery, and countless other unhealthy choices being pushed on us as a result of our country’s generally horrible eating practices.  You really need to work at it to eat healthy.  That means meal planning and prep, going out of your way to buy healthier foods, having a salad while your co-workers stuff their faces with sandwiches and pasta, and bringing meals with you to work or school.  It’s quite a struggle when the foods that are the worst for us are the easiest to obtain, and all the work that goes into eating right can wear you down.

So how do you stay true to your healthy eating style long-term?  You plan to cheat.  A pre-planned cheat meal will help break up the monotony of the weighing and cooking and planning, and help you keep to your ultimate goal of sticking with your eating plan.

A recent study in Portugal, as reported by Men’s Health, supports this.  In the study, two groups of participants were placed on a reduced calorie diet.  One group had to strictly stick to the prescribed diet.  The second group did the same, but was allowed to eat whatever they wanted on Sundays.  At the end of the study, both groups had reduced their overall body mass index.  There was no significant difference in the amount of weight the two groups lost, but the group that was allowed to cheat on Sundays was happier and more motivated to continue working towards their weight loss goals.

The study supported the thought that if you feel happy about your eating habits and are still seeing results, you are more likely to stick with that healthy eating plan.  Treat the cheat as a reward for eating right.  If you didn’t stick to your plan that week, you get no reward.

Now, a pre-planned cheat meal is different than a spur of the moment decision to hit Dunkin’ Donuts on your way in to work.  Detours like that will quickly derail your healthy diet.  You need to plan to cheat like you plan to work out or plan to get your teeth cleaned.  Put it on a calendar if you need to.  Scheduled cheats will help you stay true to your healthy eating lifestyle.

Note that even though the study participants were allowed the whole day to eat whatever they wanted, that is probably not the best idea to maintain a long term healthy eating style and that is not ideal if your goal is to lose weight.  A single cheat meal once during the week is better.  And, if you do cheat, be careful not to turn it into a binge meal, or worse, a binge day.  Reward yourself for sticking to your diet with a single indulgence, but keep it within reason.  Have a slice or two of pizza, or an ice cream cone, not the whole pie or whole gallon.

If you can plan the cheat meal for immediately following a workout, that would be ideal since you’ll likely burn up most of the calories during your recovery anyway.

Work out hard, eat right, and plan to reward yourself for doing so.  That is how you can stay on track to a healthy lifestyle.




Easy Button Your Eats

by Geoff Rand

I’m probably not blowing your mind by telling you the keys to being healthy and fit are a combination of hard work in the gym, getting sufficient rest/recovery, and fueling your body with quality food.  The fuel part seems to be the hardest for me.  I suffer from a condition known as I Hate F@#&ing Cooking, for which there is no cure.  I did well on a Paleo Challenge a few years ago, but all the food prep was tough.  With my schedule of varying shifts, it’s hard to find time to shop for and make meals, even if I didn’t mind cooking.  Well, all my problems and excuses are about to be rendered null and void.  Welcome, Power Supply.

What Is Power Supply?

Power Supply is a healthy prepared food delivery service.  They source the ingredients and prepare them locally and focus on providing varied menus of food that is a fuel source, not a calorie deficit diet meal.  You will not find any artificial ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, un-natural sugar, chemical additives, or other crap in their meals.  Basically, if you shouldn’t be eating it, they don’t use it.

How it works

1.  Choose a pickup spot (duh, CrossFit Frederick!) or home delivery.

2.  Choose one of three eating styles, Paleo, Mixetarian (similar to Paleo, but with some less inflammatory types of grains, legumes, etc. added in), or Vegetarian.

3.  Choose one of three portion sizes according to the calorie intake you desire.

4.  Choose delivery time:  early week, late week, or all week.

5.  Choose breakfasts, lunches, dinners, or all three.  Power Supply posts their future weekly meal plans in advance.  You can choose to get their menu as is, or substitute meals if you find something you’re not particularly fond of.  You can also add in soups and snack bars for even more variety.

6.  Your order is dropped off to the Power Supply fridge at CFF or other pick up site with your name on it.  You then take it home, open the package, and put it in your mouth.

That’s pretty much it.  You decide if you want a one-time order, or if you want to make it recurring (at a discounted rate).  Meals are delivered once or twice weekly, depending on the number of meals per week you select.  You are not locked into a contract; you can pause, resume, terminate, or modify your choice of service at any time.  You don’t even need to be a CFF member to use it, and if for some reason a different site is more convenient for you, there are pick up locations all over the DC metro area.

Pricing is $9.50, $12.50, or $15.50 per meal for each meal size, respectively.  These prices reflect the 5% discount if you select recurring order.  Individual order pricing is 5% more.

Not sold on it yet?  Have more questions?  On Tuesday, June 14th, a rep from Power Supply will be at the Box.  They will be doing the 5PM WOD with us, and then staying on at 6PM with free sample tastings of their foods and will be able to answer your questions.  They will also have coupons for a free first meal from them.  They will add CFF as a delivery location on June 10th, with orders shipping here starting the week of June 20th.

Power Supply is an easy and convenient method to supplement what you already may be doing, or it could be a way to get you back on track to eating right.  Or, simply use it as a way to free up some time in your busy schedule.  Whatever your reason, we hope you enjoy this new service.