Tags Articles tagged with "nutrition"


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Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

When we work out intensely, we damage tissues at the microlevel, and we use fuel.

This is what ultimately makes us stronger, leaner, fitter and more muscular, but in the short term it requires repair.

Repair and rebuilding occurs through the breakdown of old, damaged proteins (aka protein breakdown) and the construction of new ones (aka protein synthesis) — a process known collectively as protein turnover.

Muscle protein synthesis is increased slightly (or unchanged) after resistance workouts, while protein breakdown increases dramatically. We’re doing a lot more breaking-down than building-up.

The relationship between these two parameters (rate of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown) represents the metabolic basis for muscle growth.

What to eat

Post-workout nutrition requires two things:

  1. Protein to aid in protein synthesis
  2. Carbohydrates to help replace muscle glycogen (and to enhance the role of insulin in transporting nutrients into cells)

You could certainly eat a whole food meal that meets these requirements after exercise. However, whole food meals aren’t always practical.

Some people aren’t hungry immediately after exercise. Whole food digests slowly, and we want nutrients to be available quickly. A whole-food meal that requires refrigeration might be less practical.

On the other hand, consuming a liquid form of nutrition that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates (e.g. maltodextrin, dextrose, glucose) and proteins (e.g. protein hydrolysates or isolates)

  • might accelerate recovery by utilizing insulin for nutrient transport into cells;
  • can result in rapid digestion and absorption; and
  • is often better tolerated during and after workouts.

Data indicate that it may only take about 20 grams of protein after a workout to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

Once your workout is complete, have a whole food meal within an hour or two.

If priority No. 1 is to lose body fat, use only BCAAs as a workout drink, and five to 15 grams per hour of training. (If you weigh 200-plus pounds consume closer to 15 grams; less than 200 pounds, closer to five grams). If you’re leaner but still want to lose fat, choose a smaller dose (like 1/2 dose) of the protein plus carb combination, or opt for BCAAs.


Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, owns Longevity Athletics.

This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.


Proper poaching brings out the flavor of food without adding a lot of calories. Submitted photo

By Chef Neil Magbanua

Chef Neil Magbanua

This month’s subject will not be a specific recipe but a cooking technique. It is rarely used in modern restaurant kitchens anymore because of its slow process and relatively undramatic look. I am referring to poaching.

By definition, poaching is cooking a product slowly while fully submerged in some sort of flavorful liquid.

For the sake of this column, we will be concentrating on water-based poaching, as oil-poaching does add some potentially unwanted calories to the food. While animals such as chicken, pork and beef are good candidates for poaching, they are more suited for dry cooking techniques such as grilling. For your money, fish and seafood are, in my opinion, better poaching candidates. It also makes sense to me as these animals originate from water.

Have you ever eaten shrimp where it had the texture of a rubber band or eaten a piece of fish that was supposedly “poached” and it tasted dry, mealy or overcooked? The reason for that is poor temperature control.

You must realize that heat is heat, whether it is dry or wet. The same temperature rules apply in poaching as in roasting. Too high a heat or too long in the heat will result in overcooked food.

For poaching success, the rules are simple.

  1. Make sure your poaching liquid has flavor. It should have a good amount of seasoning since you will not be seasoning the food before it goes in the liquid.
  1. Only use enough liquid to cover the food. This is not like cooking pasta where you use a lot of liquid to cook the product. Water is very dense, and it holds onto heat very well, so too much liquid could overcook your food even if you turn the burner off.
  1. You have picked and seasoned your flavorful water based cooking liquid (beer, stock, wine, etc.), chosen your cooking vessel (pot, sauté pan, etc.), and food to be cooked (shrimp, salmon, tuna, etc.). Now, simply place the food in the vessel and cover with just enough liquid.
  1. Remove the food and bring liquid to a boil. That’s right, a full boil. The purpose of this step is to add the food and liquid first to make sure you have just the right amount of liquid. Then, removing the food and bringing the liquid to a boil will ensure that any bacteria hitching a ride on the surface of your food is eliminated, without overcooking your food.
  1. Finally, add your food to the boiling liquid and back the heat down, cooking slowly until the internal target temperature of the food is reached. For shrimp and most fish, that’s about 155 degrees. Once your food reaches the temperature of your liquid, in theory, you could keep it there for a very long time. The result should be a moist and flavorful, healthy meal.

Good luck and good eating.

Neil Magbanua is chef at Arroyo Grille at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.

This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Salmon Lyon

By Chef Neil Magbnua

Chef Neil Magbnua
Chef Neil Magbnua

When I was first told I would be contributing an article about healthy cooking, I was a bit taken aback. Being from the Midwest, specifically Michigan, my idea of healthy eating is a smaller piece of meatloaf, only one scoop of mashed potatoes, a salad with lite ranch and half of whatever dessert is offered (the other half will be eaten at a later time, likely 30 minutes later).

The dish I am sharing with you is one we did recently for a TroonFIT special. The challenge was to come up with a tasty lunch dish that was also under 500 calories. Quite a task for a chef who believes in the old saying, “Fat is Flavor.”

Salmon Lyon

Rice, portioned as needed
5-ounce salmon filet (thick cut, skin on preferred)
1 ounce red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon minced garlic
3 ounces olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herb of choice
4 cherry tomatoes cut in half
3 cucumber slices cut into strips
A few slivers of red onion to taste
Kosher salt
Cracked pepper

Cook the rice as needed. For us here at Arroyo Grille, that means 1 2/3 cups of water and 1 cup of Basmati rice simmered for 10 minutes. Then take off the heat to rest while still covered for 15 minutes. Fluff the rice immediately after to stop the cooking and cover to keep warm.

Whisk red wine vinegar, minced garlic, olive oil and herb. Add tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. For maximum flavor, allow this to marinate for 1 hour. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Dry the outside surface of the filet thoroughly with a paper towel. Brush a teaspoon of olive oil on the flesh side, season with salt and pepper, and place flesh side down on a very hot grill. The grill is hot enough if you can’t hold your hand over it for more than 2 seconds. Salmon is rich with healthy oils; as those oils are released, some smoking may occur. After 1 minute, check to see if the fish releases from the grill. If it doesn’t, don’t force it. It will release when there is a sufficient crust formed on the surface of the fish. Once the salmon is off the grill, place it in a dry, hot pan, skin side down, and cook to your liking in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. When the fish is done, simply slide a spatula between the skin and the fish. The skin helps to insulate the fish while it cooks, adds flavor and makes the fish easy to remove from the pan.

For best results, prepare in the following order; salad, rice, and then fish. To assemble the plate, place 3 ounces of rice in the center, top with the salmon, drain the salad of extra liquid, and place on top of the fish.

Good luck and good eating.

Neil Magbnua is chef at Arroyo Grille at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.

This column appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

By Claire Bullivant

Claire Bullivant
Claire Bullivant

Sadly, this is going to be my last article for InMaricopa. Bead & Berry is closing its Maricopa location and hopefully doing something new elsewhere in the near future. In the meantime, I wanted to leave you with a quick guide to staying healthy over the holidays.

Christmas has become synonymous with overeating and drinking – an almost compulsory homage to gluttony that begins months earlier than is reasonable (‘Bah humbug!’). But is it possible to avoid binging and yet still enjoy the holiday?

Here are a few tips:

1) Eat a hearty protein-packed breakfast on Christmas morning, so you’ll be less tempted to overeat at lunch.

2) Plan ahead. Offer to bring a salad or healthy side to the festivities. This way, you’ll know there will be at least one nutritious dish you can munch on.

3) Fill up on the healthiest, low calorie foods first. Indulge in the richer foods once you’re less hungry and put just a small amount on your plate to satiate the palate.

4) As Christmas is no longer a one-day event, avoid getting suck(er)ed into the Christmas ‘feel good’ aisle in supermarkets.  Just because those unneeded calories are dressed up in candy-stick red and white doesn’t mean they need to go home with you.

5) To enjoy the run up to the season, make your own favorite cookie recipes healthier by using these substitutes:

•    Opt for superfood coconut oil to replace margarine and refined oils.

•    Sweeten with unrefined brown sugar or stevia, honey, molasses, maple syrup or bananas instead of refined white sugar.

•    Instead of eggs, use ground flax and/or chia seeds with water – the health benefits of these two super-seeds (ahem) supersede eggs on a myriad of fronts.

•    Replace about half the white flour in the recipe with whole grain flour.

With that, I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

By Claire Bullivant

Claire Bullivant
Claire Bullivant

Hands up anyone who has tried to lose weight, eat healthier and failed. What went wrong?

One of my top three strategies for successful, healthy eating is time management. Any intent to eat well gets forgotten when I have to rush out of the door or meet a deadline. In that mode, I grab anything from anywhere – and it’s usually not good.

That’s why healthy meals in a jar are so brilliant. These jars are airtight so food can usually last three or four days without spoiling, which means you can make food for half the week, put the lid on and not think about it again until you grab it from the fridge – take it to work, eat it at home or make it a healthy TV dinner.

You can prepare food in jars for your kids so they have a hearty meal waiting for them anytime.

You can freeze certain meals. I’ve made lasagne, chili con carne, even chicken and mashed potato. Caution when microwaving the glass jars, though. I only microwave from fridge temperature, and my attempts to heat glass jars in the oven got … well, shattered. And you might have to invest in a mason jar koozie (yes, it does exist!).

What about salads? Until now, the main reason not to pack a salad was the dressing; if you dress the salad, you are later left with a wilted pile of greens. And if you take the dressing in a separate container, the risk of it spilling is off-putting. Not so, the mason jar salad. There’s a plethora of pictures and advice about how to make these salads on the web and I highly recommend taking a peek, so that you can have grab and go healthy food every day.

If healthy, convenient, fast food exists, this is it.

Claire Bullivant is the owner of Bead & Berry Coffee House, which has a grand re-opening this fall.

This column appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

Dehydrated vegetables can become objects of craving with the right seasoning and dips. Submitted photo

By Claire Bullivant

Claire Bullivant
Claire Bullivant

How many of us never grab a candy bar to get us out of dire straits? If you’re like me, you want to eat healthily and get sporadic spurts of good intentions. You enthusiastically buy organic beets to roast when you get home …  and then …. life happens, and three weeks later and you’re surprised to find a watery bag of unidentified vegetable goop in the depths of the refrigerator.

Introducing my new love – the dehydrator! Dehydrating fruits and veggies means you always have a healthy snack on hand. Plus, if you sprinkle your favorite spice mix on them, you will literally find yourself craving these tasty morsels – take them to the office, have them in the car, handbag, wherever.

Here are my tips:

1) Plan time and guard it. Let’s face it, kids, jobs, spouses, wannabe and ex- spouses, friends, pets, hormones, other people’s hormones are all going to suck up any time that isn’t resolutely protected.
2) Do it anyway. You don’t need a dehydrator. Use your oven. You don’t need to have done it before. Watch a few YouTube videos and use what you have in your pantry plus your imagination. Mix and match your favorite spices and experiment with small batches. Only buy the veggies and fruit when you know you have time.
3) The dip/dressing. How much you enjoy the dip will somewhat determine whether you keep coming back for more veggies. Use healthy oils such as avocado or coconut and fancy them up with a teaspoon of decadent truffle oil (oh my, this oil is so delicious). Or just eat them plain instead of potato chips.

Next month I’m gonna get decadent with my chocolaty, lemony guilt-reduced desserts made with local farm or organic ingredients. Mmmmmh.

Claire Bullivant is the owner of Bead and Berry Coffee House, which is on hiatus for the summer.

This column appeared in the July issue of InMaricopa.