Smothered Steak

Leaning out for the summer doesn’t mean all your meals have to be bland and boring to be effective. With a little effort and creativity there are plenty of lean meats other than boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Eye of round for one, a delicious yet lean cut of beef that will add variety and flavor to your springtime lean out.

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Chock full of protein and flavor this cut of beef has a mere 4.5 g of fat per 3.5 oz serving. If it’s a training day and you’ve earned your carbs serve with a side of mashed taters.

Nutritional Information per serving*:
Serves 6

Calories:  296, Protein 32 g, Fat 14 g, Carbs 6 g
*does not include potatoes

Recipe & Ingredients

2 pound of grass fed eye of round roast, cut into 1/2 -3/4″ slices
1 tablespoon tallow or coconut oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup homemade beef stock (or organic store bought)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon non GMO cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

Preparation

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Slice roast into 1/2 – 3/4″ slices.  Pound each on both sides to tenderize.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Heat tallow or coconut oil in cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Brown steak on both sides and transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onions and mushrooms until slightly tender.  Add in the garlic and saute for another minute.

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With a spatula push the mushrooms and onions to one side of the skillet, add the steak back to the skillet along with any juices and cover or smother with the mushrooms and onions.

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Add in the beef broth.

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Cover and bake at 300 for 1 and 1/2 hours or until steak is fork tender.

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Remove the steak, mushrooms and onions transferring to a bowl or platter and keep warm. Place the skillet with the juices over medium heat.  In a small cup mix the cornstarch with the water.  When the juices just begin to boil stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until thickened adding a little more water if necessary.

If you’ve earned your carbs for the day serve with mashed potatoes.  To keep the meal fitting your leanout macros simply mash the potatoes with a little raw milk or broth; the gravy is so delicious you won’t even miss the butter!

What Can I do for my Abs?

I am often asked “what can I do for my abs?” “what can I do to reduce lower back pain?” what can I do for my butt?  Ladies the answer to all these questions is pick up the bar.  There are many great movements and one that comes to my mind is the deadlift.

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While this photo is circa 2010 the deadlift continues to be a staple and one of the most fundamentally functional exercises there is.  Talk about more bang for your buck.

What are the benefits of the deadlift

  • Builds muscle which is your best friend – more valuable than diamonds
  • Enhances fat burning
  • Improves cardio – you question that?  Try a few sets of 10 deadlifts at 65% of your 1 rm
  • “Core” strengthener – I prefer the term trunk, you call them “abs”.  A name is just that, deadlifts will strengthen your abs, lower back and glutes and guess what? Those muscle groups  predominately compose which is called the core or trunk

In addition to the above dead lifting will also reduce injury, increase hormonal levels, improve your grip strength, work multiple muscles at one, improve your posture and transfer to ‘real life’ strength and functionality.

Melissa
While the deadlift is king of compound exercises you will also want to add in the squat and press which additionally and effectively target your abs.  And while what you do in the gym is of importance for building a strong trunk (and yes, “abs”) what you do in the kitchen will allow you to actually see them.

Pork Salad Annie

This falls into our K.I.S.S. series of meals; quick yet delicious and perfect for busy weeknights. Pork salad Annie has become a favorite of ours and I’ve created two versions depending on whether its’s a training or rest day.

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Ingredients

1 pound pastured pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon lard or bacon grease

Preparation

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Season it

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Sear it:  melt the tablespoon of fat over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet and sear the pork on both sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 – 15 minutes.  Let set for 10 minutes before slicing.

While the pork is cooking tear up your favorite salad greens, top with your choice of add ons such as bell peppers, cucumbers, onion, carrot and a few olives.  Top with the sliced pork and dress with olive oil and vinegar.  Perfect for a rest day dinner meal.

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If it’s a hardcore training day and you’ve earned your carbs serve with a side of freshly steamed spinach and white rice with a dollop of butter.

To get two meals out of one simply double the recipe above.

Focus

Focus yields success.  FOCUS defined:  “Follow One Course Until Successful”.  I didn’t coin it but I like it.  Focus can also be described as “power”.  It’s the skill to gather all your abilities and focus on the task or goal at hand.  It is essential to success.

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Let’s look at some situations in life where focus is a matter of life or death.  In military combat when enemy fire flies only one of you is going home that day.  Lose your focus and you will lose your life; being good is not always good enough. While the majority of us will not face military combat during our lives there are other situations where having focus will greatly increase the chances of success.  When someone leaves the world of job security, steady paychecks, benefits and retirement plans for entrepreneurship they must sharpen their focus because few survive and even fewer thrive.

Let’s take focus into the gym, a common ground for most of us.  How many of us have made up our mind to go on a diet, lose the nagging 5 – 20 pounds or get a six pack for summer only to quit as soon as the chocolate cake was cut? The same goes for those committing to a new exercise routine, vowing to get in shape but after a week they quit and go drinking to relieve the pain in their muscles.


The ability to focus personal powers will allow you to achieve what you want in life.  Use the power of focus whether in a fight for your life, in business, in your diet and in the gym.  If you make up your mind to do something it is the ability of focus that gets the job done.  It’s easy to have focus from breakfast to lunch or in a workout but to have focus for weeks, months and years is where the true power lies.  You must stay successful beyond the goal to keep the weight off after you’ve lost it or to stay fit.

When you are in a focused state the words “I’ll try”, “I can’t” and “I’ll do it tomorrow” are forced out of your vocabulary.  True focus actually means “do or die”.  Do not focus on the belief that life is easy because it is not.  Set your goals high but back them with knowledge, plans, education, mentors and action.  Realize that along the way you will be uncomfortable, you will fail at times and ultimately you will grow from that and succeed.

CF Jaguar Coaches Practice what they Preach

Pragmatic and sustainable.  I’m a straight shooter and admire others that are. I find in many circumstances that approach will help people achieve their goals.  We recently had a coach’s challenge at our box CF Jaguar and when it came down to casting my vote one of our coaches stood out above the rest.  While his results were certainly impressive they were not overly dramatic because of his starting condition–the dude is a hardcore CrossFitter and was not overweight.  His approach and process was straightforward and one that would work long term. While all individuals will vary in their caloric needs, macronutrient ratios, activity levels, supplement needs and genetics his approach and attitude will work for most.  I’d like to share is response upon finding out he won…

Antonio Featured Athlete

“Sweet! Starting January 4th, I realized that i’m not invincible; sure I can drink like a fish, and eat pizza, burgers and donuts without getting obese but it’s a poor health choice and it will eventually catch up to me. I made a choice to get healthy, not just strong, and it’s made a big difference. First thing I did was go on http://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/ to get my baseline calories. Once I had that, I set it up to lose about a 1lb a week to keep as much muscle as possible. I divided my base calories into 35% carb, 35% fat and 30% protein. I cut alcohol down to 1 to 2 drinks per week, I logged EVERYTHING in my fitness pal. I ate almost exclusively real foods (meats, veggies, some fruit, and nuts/seed). I did have peanut butter every night before bed (there’s got to be science to this), and 2 dark chocolate hershey’s kisses just about everyday to stave off any cravings. I allowed myself 1 cheat meal per week (not a cheat day, but a meal). I drank more than 100oz of water everyday. Supplement wise, I started having a protein shake post workout with a high quality hydrolized whey, fish oil at night before bed, and vitamin d3 in the morning. It took about 8 weeks before my body started to give up the extra weight. My energy has gone way up, and my anxiety way down. I feel great in the gym, and in my day to day life. It took a lot of discipline to get started and rewire some bad habits with good ones, but it’s been worth it. Thank you for the recognition, let me know if I can help anyone else on the way to their goals.”

Exemplary Coach Antonio.

Tacos

Tacos?  On a Boardshorts & Bikini challenge?  Is that legal?  Well honestly I’m not sure; I had a request and decided to experiment.  I sourced out Garden of Eatin’ yellow corn taco dinner kit.  The taco shells are made with organic yellow corn that is non gmo.  That’s all good or is it?

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The ingredients are:  Organic stoneground yellow corn masa flour, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil.  The good news:  only 2 ingredients and both are easy to pronounce.  The bad news:  it’s still processed and at high temperatures.

We’ll come back to the taco shells, the grass fed ground beef is obviously a winner for clear reasons.  We’re going to add some taco seasoning to it so let’s take a look at what’s in that.

Taco seasoning:  organic rice flour, sea salt, spices, organic evaporated cane juice, organic onion powder, paprika, organic garlic powder, dehydrated onion, citric acid, organic sunflower oil, extractive of paprika, yeast extract, silicon dioxide (as anticaking).  Hmmm, the negative  — a little more than the basic spices; the plus — only 1 chemical when compared to most commercial brands.  We can fix this by making our own…

Homemade seasoning:  1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients.

Taco sauce:  organic tomatoes, organic green chili, water, jalapeño, lime juice, garlic powder, salt. We’re good here

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The toppings:  lettuce, tomatoes, black olives and onions.  Cheese?  Depends on what side of the dairy fence you stand.  I’m for it as a healthy source of fat but it should be raw from grass fed cows and in amounts that fit your macros. This meal falls into our K.I.S.S. series (keep it simple stud/ette).  Prep your toppings by cutting up the tomatoes, onions, olives, lettuce and cheese if using.

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Place your shells on a baking sheet, heat up a cast iron skillet to brown the meat — you will not need any additional fat to sear it in as we working with 85/15.  Once browned drain the drippings.  Stir in your taco seasoning and 1/3 cup of water if you made your own, 3/4 cup of water if you used the package seasonings.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed.  While that is simmering heat your taco shells at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

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Stuff with your favorite toppings and eat!  These were the Jag’s

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And mine were a little greener.  I went cheese less (sniff) since I had already met my fat quota for the day.

Oh yes, the shells…you can always make a taco ‘salad’ and go without.

So, final verdict?  I would give it an A sans shells and homemade seasoning and a B- with the shells and package seasoning.  It can definitely be a “refeed” aka “cheat” meal on occasion.  Meaning if you’ve been doing very well and staying with your meal plan have it once in awhile.  “Once in a while” would not be anymore than once a week if you’re making consistent progress towards your goals.  Get in some exercise the next day, drink extra water to flush any over indulgence of sodium. And enjoy!