Josh Bowen: Best Damn Grocery List Ever

joshI have a few people request nutritional advice and/or grocery store lists. Using my Exercise Nutritionist certification from Precision Nutrition, I have compiled the best damn grocery store list I could compiled. These are only items you will see in a big box grocery store, some local farmer’s markets or Whole Foods may have a wider variety, but I wanted to keep it to things you could find where you shop now. I also didn’t want to link it to anything, so that you would have all the information in this email for you to print off and go to the grocery store.

Aspire Fitness Supermarket Survival Guide

Shopping time!
Hit the grocery store prepared with our handy Supermarket Survival Guide, which will help
you:
• navigate the supermarket like a pro;
• shop as efficiently as possible;
• reduce temptations and distractions; and
• ensure you get all kinds of healthy foods!

A few notes:

These shopping lists are to give you ideas. You don’t have to buy everything on the list! We suggest you start with a few of your favorites from each group. For example:
• 3 veggies: spinach, carrots, broccoli
• 3 fruits: blueberries, oranges, grapes
• 3 proteins: extra-lean ground beef, salmon, lentils
• 3 fats: coconut, avocado, almonds
• 2 grains: oatmeal, wild rice

If there’s something we’ve missed that fits the criteria, please feel free to try it. For instance, you might find other fresh fish than the ones we’ve mentioned, or another fruit or veggie.

Always shop with a list, whether that’s ours or your own. If it’s not on the list, you don’t buy it.
That saves you time, money, and having to throw out impulse buys.
Good luck!

Supermarket map
Most supermarkets are laid out the same way: Most of the healthy stuff is around the edges.
Most of the stuff to avoid is in the inner aisles.
Here’s a sample supermarket layout to help you plan your attack.
Stick mostly to the perimeter, where you’ll find lean protein plus fruits & veggies. Areas to avoid
or visit sparingly are orange. Be especially cautious around the cash register and ends of the aisles, where there are often eye-catching displays of

Fruits & vegetables
Look for colorful fruits and veggies and much as possible. Eat the rainbow!
Look for what’s in season and/or local. It’ll be fresher, cheaper, and tastier.

Purple & blue
Eggplant
Red cabbage
Purple kale
Beets
Blueberries, blackberries, lingonberries
Purple carrots
Purple potatoes
Black cherries
Black/purple plums

Orange & yellow
Oranges
Winter squash and pumpkin
Orange peppers
Carrots
Cantaloupe
Orange cauliflower
Yams
Apricots, peaches
Mangos

Dark green
Spinach
Beet greens (the tops of beets)
Kale
Broccoli
Any other dark leafy green (e.g. turnip
greens, collard greens)
Brussels sprouts
Fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, basil)
Green beans, green peas
Avocado
Zucchini, cucumber (if you eat the peel)

Red & pink
Red peppers
Tomatoes
Strawberries
Cherries
Cranberries
Red grapefruit
Red-skinned apples
Red grapes
Red radishes
Red lettuce, radicchio
Rhubarb stems

Misc
Onions, leeks, shallots
Garlic
Mushrooms
Cauliflower
Celery
Lean protein

Meat
Lean/extra-lean cuts of beef
Lamb
Lean pork (e.g. pork tenderloin)
Wild game (e.g. venison, elk)

Poultry
Chicken
Turkey breast
Duck
Eggs & egg whites

Fish
Salmon
Tilapia
Cod
Smaller fish like herring and mackerel

Seafood
Shrimp (fresh or plain frozen)
Mussels, clams, scallops
Crab, lobster

Plant-based proteins
Lentils
Beans
Peas
Hummus
Tofu, natto
Vegetarian protein powders (e.g. hemp
protein, brown rice protein, vegan blend)

Good fats
Of course, you’re taking your fish oil… right?

Cold-pressed oils
Extra-virgin olive oil
Walnut oil
Hemp seed oil
Pumpkin seed oil
Avocado seed oil
Flax seed oil
Extra-virgin coconut oil
Grass-fed/organic butter
Fresh avocado

Nuts & seeds
Raw, unflavored, unsalted nuts
(e.g. almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans,
Brazil nuts, hazelnuts)
Raw, unflavored, unsalted seeds
(e.g. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
Ground flax seeds
Fresh coconut
Natural peanut butter
Natural nut butter

Whole grains
Remember, you want whole grains. The whole thing.
Oats (steel-cut or oat groats)
Brown rice
Wild rice
Red rice
Amaranth
Quinoa
Wheat berries (whole wheat kernels)
Spelt
Kamut

Label reading checklist

LOOK FOR
Whole foods
No more than a few ingredients
Food that is close to what it used to be
Organic if possible
Local if possible
Minimal or no packaging

AVOID
Sugar (look for trick words and phrases)
Other sweeteners
Hydrogenated and fractionated oils such as
corn or palm oil
Additives, preservatives, and colouring
Any other ingredients you don’t recognize
More than a few ingredients

Trick words & phrases
“Syrup” – corn syrup, brown rice syrup,
agave syrup, etc.
Words ending in “ose” – sucrose, glucose,
fructose, etc.
Words starting with “malto” – maltodextrin,
maltitol, etc.
“Made with / contains real fruit”
“Fortified with”

Don’t be fooled!
Ignore what the front of the package says. Look at the back of the package. Remember, if a
packaged food claims to be “healthy”, it probably isn’t. “Organic sugar” is still sugar.

Josh Bowen: Consistency — The Most Important Word for 2015

joshIt is time to get to work. Most everyone has fitness on their mind when discussing their plan for 2015. Hell, even I have fitness related goals I would like to focus on for the next 360ish days. Most of my goals have a common theme and today when discussing 2015 with a client something hit me like a ton of bricks. It was an epiphany of sorts. While trying to simplify the process, I discovered the most important word for the the process, consistency. Without it, there is no workout plan, juice cleanse, yoga retreat, treadmill known to man that will create the results MOST are seeking out. Consistency is everything when discussing fitness. Those that do not have consistency have no results. Its a fact.

“So specifically what are you talkin bout JB?”

Most everyone would agree true, long lasting results take time. Even the the January resolution crowd that is showing up at your neighborhood gyms know that results take a while. So what are the keys to results? In my opinion it falls down to consistency. Those that are consistent in their workouts, eating habits, keeping stress low are more successful than those that are sporadic. Lets simplify this even more:

Here are the four areas I see where the results start to wane and frustration starts to set in because of lack of consistent habits.

Workouts
Plain and simple, if you do not work out on a regular basis you are not going to achieve the maximum amount of your goals. Start small, commit to 3 days per week to go workout (whatever combination you would like) and be consistent. You do not have to have the craziest of workouts every time you workout (leave those to me) just be consistent ( are you tired of reading that word yet?) Side note: Do not cancel on your trainer unless you absolutely have too. If you book an appointment, keep it. You will not be disappointed.

Nutrition
A huge gaping hole for most people is how they eat. Most are neither consistent nor nutritious which leads to no results. We may need to start small by simply making it a priority to prepare our lunch every day. It literally could be the same meal all week if you would like. Any thing to start a consistent behavior pattern.

Sleep
I do not sleep enough some days. It is a goal of mine to achieve at least an average of 7 hours of sleep a night. My body needs and your body needs it. There is a correlation with happiness and the amount of sleep one’s gets. Let that sink in.

People Clutter
Huh? Yes I am going there. If you have negative people in your life, get rid of them. They are detracting from what you are trying to accomplish. They are in your way, consistently. It is preventing you from reaching your full potential. Say goodbye!

Resolutions are great, declarations are better. Declare 2015 as your year and keep the theme of consistency in the forefront of your mind as we process through this new year. Victory will be yours.

Josh Bowen: The Anti-Resolution Solution

joshI Choose

2015 is here. Have you started on your resolutions? Have you already given up on your resolutions? Whichever boat you are in, I would like to share with you my mantra for 2015. With a brief description of what each eloquent line means to me.

Warning! Motivation and inspiration may ensue. Enter at your own risk.

I Choose

To live by choice, not by chance,

We all have choices in this world and by all accounts we are judged by those choices; good, bad or indifferent. Make choices that add value to your life. Be with people who make you better and rid yourself of those that bring you down. Don’t want for things to happen, make things happen.

To be motivated, not manipulated,

Ultimately you are motivated or you are not. There is no one foot in and one foot out. Either you do it or you don’t. And by such we cannot be conned or fooled into living our lives for someone else. We are unique in our decisions and should hold our ground when making them. Be you and don’t let others sway your judgment or motivation.

To be useful, not used,

We are meant to add value to other’s lives, not be used for our unique talents and genuine generosities.

To make changes, not excuses,

Change can be scary. It is a place outside our comfort zone. However, it is important to make change when change is need. It is not important to make excuses for why you can’t doing something because you are scared to change.

To excel, not compete.

Life is about wins and losses. You win some, you lose some. The only competition is the person in the mirror. Only make comparisons to the person you use to be versus the person you are.

I choose self-esteem, not self-pity,

Confidence and the self belief in one’s ability will drive you further in life than feeling sorry for yourself when life doesn’t go you way. Live to fight another day and be thankful to be able too.

I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinions of others.

Your gut will never lie to you. Your heart will, your brain will and your eyes will but never you gut. It is your inner voice that knows all. Always listen to it. It will always tell you to keep pushing and make headway. That anything is possible and all the doubters are wrong.

I choose to do the things that you won’t, so I can continue to do the things you can’t.

The choice to get up early, work late, workout when everyone is asleep, eat broccoli instead of French fries is all ours. We can chose to make the sacrifices necessary to be extraordinary, it is up to us. Do what others won’t so you can continue to do what others can’t.

Lauren Mayer: Stupidity Can Be Bipartisan

Even though I am an unabashedly liberal political satirist, I have immense respect for any efforts at bipartisanship.  (I was a competitive debater in high school and college, where we had to argue both sides of any given topic, and it was great training not just for politics but for marriage . . . . but I digress.)  Which is why I’ve always been proud to contribute to this site whose whole foundation is to encourage bipartisan discourse.

However, my admiration for seeing both sides of an issue has largely been theoretical.  On the issues that matter to me, from women’s reproductive choice to marriage equality to the environment to income inequality, I have had a very hard time seeing any validity to the arguments on the opposing side.  And when that opposing side is based on a wholesale denial of facts, evidence, and science, it’s even harder to remain balanced.

However, an issue has recently come up where science denial originated on the left – the ant-vaccination movement.  And while a few right-wingers have made idiotic, pandering remarks about parental choice, or a ‘temporal link’ between vaccines and autism, just as many diehard conservatives have come down squarely on the side of science.  Who knew we’d find a subject on which Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson express the same point of view?

So for a change, the sarcasm and disdain in my political satire song is aimed equally at Democrats and Republicans who persist in willful ignorance:

Josh Bowen: Are All Fruits Created Equal

joshAs children we were always taught to eat our vegetables and our fruits, that these held a certain superior nutritional value to all other foods. And how that could be true it does not come without the phrase, “this over that.”

For our entire existence on earth, we have been eating fruit. If you recall, apples were the cause of some pretty hairy stuff in the days of Adam and Eve. However, for the 21st century health and physique conscious individuals, some fruits may be better than others. So to take a stab at this conundrum I will look at certain fruits that could be better options than other fruits. But first..

I truly believe there are no bad foods, just better options. In certain cases it may be OK to eat certain things in other cases not so much. Also, generally speaking, most whole fruit would be a better option than most any processed food you can find in the grocery store. This article is about which are better options and show you that not all fruits are created equal.

There are litany of fruits available to us in all different categories. Lets look at the most well known fruits:

Apples
Apples are a great snack and provide the phytochemicals your body needs to ward off to disease and sickness. The old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” may be overstated but it isn’t too far from the fruit. Another component of apples that may them great choices are the fiber in the skin. Fiber helps keep the digestive system “regular” as well as blunting the effect of insulin.

Bananas
Probably the biggest associated with bananas is potassium. However, potassium can be attained from broccoli just as well as it can from bananas. If eaten too much, gastro-intestinal problems can arise. Also, very few grams of fiber in a banana.

Grapes
Grapes are one of the biggest culprits of sugar overload. That’s why they make such delicious wine. If you love grapes, try and limit yourself to ten or twelve at a time. Naturally, raisins, the dried counterparts of grapes, have even more sugar which is used in the drying and preserving process.

Avocados
Most people forget that these are a fruit. Avocados pack a ton of healthy fats so they are naturally higher in calories but the Omega 3 packed fat helps with inflammation and body fat loss. It is recommended to eat only half of one per day.

Dried Fruits
Dates and other dried fruit like figs, cherries, banana, and pineapple, contain a lot of sugar that is used to retain the flavor lost during dehydration. Dried fruit also loses a lot of its nutritional value during this transition, so whenever you can, try and find fruits in their original condition.

Some examples of fruit and their sugar content:
1 cup strawberries = 8g sugar
1 cup blueberries = 5g sugar
1 banana = 15-20g sugar
1 cup pineapple = 17g sugar

Moral to the story…chose strawberries and blueberries over bananas and pineapples.

In closing, just like in any food group, there will be better options that some. Remember not all sugar is created equal either. A pineapple is much better than a candy bar, even they may have similar sugar counts. BUT it does not mean you should eat pineapple all day every day. True enough, it would be packed with vitamins and minerals a candy bar wouldn’t, plus it would have more water content thus leading to more satiety than a candy bar. However, the amount of calories could be lessened by eating a strawberry than a pineapple.

Josh Bowen: I Can’t Squat

joshIf there are any trainers that read my rants you can sympathize with me on the following statement made by a client, “My doctor told me not to squat.”

Oh he did, did he? Well isn’t that great, what in the world am I going to do to strengthen your legs?

Hold up!

Do me a favor and get up and down from that chair. So you know what I am getting at. There are some uneducated people out there that tell patients to stay away from certain activities, not realizing that those activities could potentially help the situation.

I’ve incurred this situation several times in the 11 years I have been a trainer, nothing surprises me. The squat is the most basic, primal movement that humans do. We squat when we get in and out of a car, we squat when we get up and down from a chair and when we have to go to the bathroom (#2 for men and always for women) we squat.

So how on earth could someone tell me that I can’t squat? Most doctors are not as educated on fitness and it impacts the body, so its easy to tell people what to stay away from. If you have a bum knee its probably not wise to load a bar up with 300 lbs and go at it. But what doesn’t make sense is why you wouldn’t perform the movement at all, without weight.

Have you ever looked a baby and how they sit back on their heels and drop their butt to the floor in a full squat? The point I am trying to get at is humans were meant to squat, in some shape, form, or fashion. It’s true so you cannot argue!

So how does squatting benefit me if I have knee problems? Well let’s first look at your “knee problems.” More often than not (general statement here) the problem is not your knee. Huh? Yes, the problem often stems your ankle or your hip causing the pain to occur in and around the knee capsule. This is called “site VS source.” The site is not always the source of the problem. So if you have hip issues or ankle issues, proper squat technique can actually realign the body to its correct movement pattern. Also becoming more flexible in the hip flexor and hamstring area will help as well.

Here are the benefits of proper squatting (body weight progressing to weighted):

  1. Neuromuscular coordination Squatting (weighted or bodyweight) will train the brain and the muscles to work in harmony. If you have trouble squatting correctly place a box or bench behind you and sit back and touch and explode up.
  2. Lower Body Strength No exercise (no exercise!) builds strength better than squatting. Everyone needs strength, whether you are a stay at home mom or a professional athlete, our lives demand a certain amount of strength.
  3. Injury Prevention/Rehabilitation To prevent injuries you must make sure the body can handle and create force. Squatting allows the body to build muscle and strength required of everyday life. Also, allows the body to become flexible in the lower extremities (cause of a lot of injuries).
  4. Squatting Makes You Look Great Naked I call it like I see it. Move for move, exercise for exercise, if you had to pick one to do the squat would be it. The sheer amount of muscles that is used during the squat is enormous, thus the caloric expenditure is magnified. This burns body fat and helps build muscles. Plain and simple.

 

So, in conclusion if your doctor tells you not to squat or advises you against the resistance training, please take the facts and apply it to logic. Squatting is a must for anyone including those who want to be fit.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Positive Self Talk

jyb_musingsThis morning as I walked briskly from the parking lot to my first meeting I saw my reflection in a store window and thought to myself,

“I may be 51 but I have the gait of a 40 year old. Bam!”

===

When I see a guy wearing a “slim fit” shirt I know it is because he is genuinely slim. (I also know that I probably won’t like him and definitely don’t trust him.)

But when a guy wearing a “slim fit” shirt looks at a guy wearing a “classic fit” shirt, I wonder if he knows that “classic fit” is really just a euphemism for “out-of-shape and portly?” And if so, is feeling sorry for us and knowing we are not a threat part of the reason slim-fit guys seem inclined to like and trust us?

===

I have just finished going off a medication and suffering withdrawals that no woman should ever have to endure. And that many men shouldn’t ever have to endure either. And I am in that group of men.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: The Aging Optimist

jyb_musingsI have a feeling today is going to be a great day. But don’t know what it is that is going to be great today in my life.

But since I am in my 50s and won’t be able to remember tomorrow whatever great thing happened in my life today, I am OK with not needing to know specifics about today’s great things that I feel are going to happen.

I am content just knowing today is going to be a great day. Involving something. I just don’t know what and, even if I did, I wouldn’t remember it anyway. But because of my “can do attitude” that won’t stop me from being an optimist.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: What does Walgreens know about me that I don’t know?

jyb_musingsI love Walgreens. Don’t get me wrong.

But the “Be well” mantra from every Walgreen’s employee at the end of each verbal exchange is making me more than a little paranoid. And has me wondering what is wrong with me that the Walgreens employees know and aren’t being straightforward about with me.

I went to Walgreens today to buy some vitamins and toiletries. The sales clerk who helped me was very helpful and as I walked away she said sincerely “Be well.” I took it as a kind of encouraging “atta boy.” It seemed like a natural –if somewhat meddlesome—thing to say to me. After all, she had helped me find vitamins that will make me healthier or “weller,” in the Walgreens parlance.

But before leaving Walgreens I looked at some phone chargers for my phone and the sales clerk who helped me told me that didn’t carry what I was looking for. I thanked him and he, too, told me to “Be well.” He said it in a more concerned tone and almost knowing manner. I thought that was odd and, frankly, it scared me a little. I don’t know him personally and I was just looking for a phone charger –not something that affected my health. Had he talked to the sales clerk who helped me with the vitamins? Did he know I was taking a vitamin supplement because I worried my diet wasn’t sufficient? Or was he just repeating a catch phrase he was told to say to every customer and was only pretending to be deeply concerned about my health (and, presumably, my phone charger situation)?

As I walked to the check-out counter I wondered if Walgreens had somehow gotten involved with the Church of Scientology. I remember meeting some members of the Church of Scientology years ago and they seemed “programmed” and had certain buzz words they used as they encouraged me to do a personal “audit” within the Dianetics program. Interacting with Walgreens employees is always pleasant. In fact,a little too pleasant. Almost robotic And every conversation ends with the same mechanical “Be well” farewell and hope that my health (physical, mental and emotional health?) will somehow improve. But it isn’t clear what they are really saying to me. Do they know something about my health failing that I am not aware of? Or maybe Walgreens employees are using this hypnotic “Be well” chant to “guide me” to a better level of “being” within the Dianetics framework of personal growth.

I thought to myself I could easily see Tom Cruise and John Travolta shopping at Walgreens instead of Rite Aid. Why didn’t this occur to me earlier?

As I checked out and tried to pay the sales clerk, he asked me if I was a “Balance Rewards Member.” I said I didn’t know what that meant. I figured it must be one of the levels of Scientology but didn’t say anything. I gave the sales clerk my phone number as requested and he told me I was at the “Balance Rewards” level. As I watched him type in my phone number all sorts of data about me was processing before his eyes.

I was informed I had reached a level of 27,000 points. I couldn’t tell if that was good news for me –or if perhaps it meant my health was in jeopardy. As I took my bag and walked away the cashier, who was a thoughtful and quiet man, he kept staring at the floor and muttered to me against his will to “Be well.”

Obviously he didn’t mean it and was saying it merely as part of some Scientology “group speak” based on all the information he had about me. I think he knew I wasn’t going to make it. I turned back to him and motioned toward the vitamins I had purchased. I wanted him to know I was at least trying. But he said nothing. Not even “Be well.” again or “Hang in there. You can still make it.” Just silence. What else could I conclude except he knew I didn’t have much longer to live and that he was just trying to let me down easy by not being more direct and specific?

I left Walgreens with my vitamins and toiletries. But when I got home I felt like it was pointless to even start taking the vitamins. My fate was sealed and based on my interactions with Walgreens employees, I figured it was time for me to get my affairs in order.

Who knew that the Walgreens employees and their creepy and overly solicitous “Be well” comments would convince me to update my will and to start making peace with the fact that my days are numbered? I just needed a multi-vitamin and some shaving toiletries. Geez!

I wonder if I should try going to CVS for a second opinion?

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Weather Reports

jyb_musingsA Layperson’s Weather Report

Today’s temperature is a witch’s teat minus 20 degrees served inside an ice cube tray.

That is without the wind chill factored in.

And if you have a body piercing you are probably going to re-think that decision this morning.

===

Today’s weather report:

No one will care today if it is going to be cloudy or not. It is too cold to look up.

===

Mornings this cold can make a coward out of a Super Hero.

If Louisville were Gotham City this morning, I could easily see Bruce Wayne deciding to put Alfred in a nursing home, selling the mansion and moving to a condo on the West coast with Robin and letting Gotham fend for itself.

===

I can’t help but suspect this morning’s frigid weather is more evidence of the Democrat’s (or is it the Republican’s) “War on warm weather.”

OK. Maybe not. I just can’t resist the American tendency of whenever we are uncomfortable to assume that there is a conspiracy by our political enemies to blame.

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