Try this Paleo Banana Pancake Recipe

paleo banana pancake recipe

This Paleo Banana Pancake recipe is simple to make.

It’s also quick to prepare, nutritious and delicious.

Typically pancake mixes many ingredients. Most of them fail the “can you eat it by itself?” test. They have ingredients such as flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, caster sugar, eggs, milk and butter.
(For example check out . Have a look on the side panel of ready-made pancake mix next time you’re at the supermarket.

My recipe is way easier and better for you.

This Paleo Banana Pancake recipe has 3 or 4 ingredients. It can be ready in less than 10 minutes. It’s good for you and tastes fantastic.

To make about 6 pancakes the size of a bread plate you will need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • a big pinch of cinnamon
  • salt to taste (optional)

  1. Mash the banana with a fork or potato masher
  2. Whisk the eggs until fluffy
  3. Combine the banana and eggs and mix well
  4. If using optional salt – add it now
  5. Poor the mixture into pan or hotplate (low/med)
  6. Sprinkle on the cinnamon
  7. Turn when the middle is starting to firm up (about 5 mins)

Add blueberries or strawberries as a garnish or side.

Enjoy the yummy goodness! Please also try delicious Paleo Chocolate Brownies!

New Year Resolutions: How to make them work

This is a special guest post from Lachlan Heasman.

New Year’s resolutions have the same reputation as pre-election promises. As early as the second of January you find yourself keeping the resolution that you actually made, rather than the one you might have liked to have made. Having these good intentions can sometimes be effective, but most of the time are not as our past behaviour is the strongest indicator of our future behaviour.

One simple way of to overcome this problem is to be specific and challenging in what you intend to achieve. For example having a resolution that you will “get fit this year”, is not as effective as “being able to do 50 push ups – in one go – by Easter”. Here you’ve moved from the vague to the specific and (maybe) challenging.

Specific Goals

Another simple way to stick with your resolutions is to make a simple plan. If the goal is 50 push ups, then the plan could be “whenever I go to turn the TV on I will do as many push ups as I can”. This plan has three important elements, 1 – you need to goal (specific and challenging), 2 – you need an action that will help you attain a goal, 3 – you need a situation that will trigger you to do the action. You then put your plan together like this: “When situation X arises, I will perform action!”.

Intentions

Intentions

For a reminder on SMART goal-setting, click here.

Of course this is not the panacea for keeping your resolutions. You need to actually care about goal you have set in your resolution, you also need to be committed to taking action, and the situation needs to be something appropriate and workable.

So here’s a test for you when kicking back in front of the cricket on the 2/1/2014. Ask yourself the following;

What do I want to achieve this year? Or this quarter?

How much do I care about this?

What am I going to do to make this happen?

What are the situations where I will be making this happen?

Recipe: You want Paleo Pizza? Hello Meatza!

Paleo Pizza, known as Meatza is delicious and nutritious.

When I went Paleo I missed pizza. Thankfully, there is something you can have that is even better.

Try it and you’ll see. It is at least as good as, if not better than, pizza.
This is a recipe suggestion. As with pizza tastes do vary considerably.
If there’s something on here you don’t like then by all means remove it or substitute something else. Better that than not trying meatza-goodness!

Try googling Meatza and see the variety.

Preparation Time: About 10 minutes
Cooking Time: About 40 minutes

Ingredients:

(For the base)
1 kg beef mince
1 egg
Herbs (chilli, basil and oregano)
Tomato paste or passata sauce

(Toppings)
Olives
Tinned Peas, Carrots and Corn
Tinned Asparagus
Tinned Pineapple
Fetta Cheese
Shredded tasty cheese

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl
Add herbs
Add mince
Mix thoroughly
Grab a flat baking tray with a decent lip as there is some meat juice
Flatten the mixture on to the baking tray about 1/2 cm thick
(You could make it square, circular or make multiple mini ‘pizzas’ at this point

When the oven is at temperature bake the base for 20 minutes

Take it out and drain the juice (you could keep it for stock)
Add tomato paste or passata sauce in a thin coat – leaving space at the edge for fingers!
Add olives, peas, carrots, corn, asparagus, pineapple and fetta.
Layer the tasty cheese over the top and put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Bon apetite!

Goal Setting: Planning to Succeed – this is really Important!

Do you know how to set a goal that will help you achieve what you want?

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
– Rabindranath Tagore

Goal setting may be one of the most important skills you can learn.

In fitness, knowing what you want means you and your trainer can put together a plan to work towards your goals. Whether you want to lose ‘weight’, improve your strength, get leaner, improve your core strength, get more flexible/improve mobility, increase your cardiovascular or muscular endurance or have sport-specific goals has a huge impact on the programming – exercise selection, timing, rest, sets, reps and loads.

In martial arts, knowing whether your true interest lies in MMA, fitness, kata (patterns), tournaments or street-realistic self defence can have a huge impact on the style you choose or the emphasis you want to put on different aspects of your training.

Start the process by choosing 1-3 targets. Limiting the number means you won’t get discouraged if you have lots of things you’d like to improve. Map them out – making sure they are SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time-based

Specific
This means the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific they must say exactly what is expected and why is it important.

A specific goal will usually answer five “W” questions:
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Who: Who is involved?
Where: Identify a location.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.

Measurable
This stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if it is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether progress is being made toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to you stay on track, reach target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.

A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:
How much?
How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?

Achievable
This stresses the importance of realism and attainability. While an attainable goal may be a stretch to achieve, the goal is not extreme. That is, it is neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and capacity to reach them.
An attainable goal will usually answer the question:
How: How can the goal be accomplished?

S.M.A.R.T goalsGoals-mistakes

Relevant
This stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A bank manager’s goal to “Make 50 peanut butter sandwiches by 2:00pm” may be specific, measurable, attainable, and time-based, but lacks relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish it. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered relevant.

A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match my other efforts/needs?

Time-based
This emphasizes the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps efforts to be focussed on completion on or before the due date. This part of the SMART goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in life. A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.

A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:
When?
What can I do six months from now?
What can I do six weeks from now?
What can I do today?

Using these criteria – think hard about what you really want. Write it down. Start planning. Start achieving your goals!

Paleo Diet Position Update

Science encourages us to constantly update our ideas – so here’s my update on my position on “Paleo” eating.

We start with a hypothesis, work out measurement criteria, and rigorously test.
If the hypothesis is supported by evidence we accept it – until such time as something better comes along. If the hypothesis is not supported by evidence we reject it – and hopefully something better comes along.

As someone who tries to base decisions on these tenets – I feel it’s time to give you an update on my position on “the Paleo diet”.

Those of you who know me know that I’ve been a proponent of the Paleo diet for a few years now. The reason for choosing it was at the time it seemed to have a sound internal logic to it that elegantly encapsulated what is now starting to be referred to as “evolutionary medicine.”
A fundamental principle being the Dobzhansky quote “Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution.” Paleo espouses:
“eat what your ancestors ate because that’s what you have adapted to eating.” The ‘trouble’ is there is no one “Paleo” diet. Depending on your latitude you may be eating a huge variety of food, and to suggest there is only one way is misguided.

I would describe humans as opportunistic omnivores.
There is no such thing as a toxic substance – only a toxic dose.

Rather than thinking about food in binary terms: as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, perhaps a more useful way would be so visualise a scale or continuum. I would grade the scale based on nutrient density per kilojoule (this is the volume of vitamins and minerals relative to the energy load.) “Real food” tends to be at one end, some processed foods appear in the middle, and what everyone would agree is ‘junk’ appears at the bad end. Then the trick is eating the ‘good’ stuff, having some ‘middle’ stuff, avoiding the ‘bad’ stuff – and not eating too much of any of it.

Paleo Diet

The common theme that’s running through the “optimal diet” is eating real food.
Unlike processed foods there tends to be high nutrient density relative to kilojoules contained.

Wild Salmon Broccoli Sweet Potato Potato White Rice Pasta Kit Kat

The links above point to nutritiondata.com. Here you can find nutritional breakdowns of a huge variety of food, including macro and micro nutrient ratios (vitamins and minerals), protein profiles, inflammation factor, glycaemic indices, fullness factor and other information.

The Best Strength Training Program

What is the most successful strength gain program?

Starting Strength? Wendler 5-3-1? Stronglifts? Madcow? Texas Method? Smolov? OPT? Catalyst? A hybrid system? [Insert other serious sounding name here]?

The most successful strength building program is:

is…

The one that you stick with!

I know, I know – you really want to know which program will give you the best “bang for your buck” to get you lean/jacked/cut/shredded/toned/pumped/(flayed?) the fastest, ideally with the least effort.

Sorry to burst the bubble. Real, lasting progress takes time and effort. If it was easy – everyone would be doing it. It takes determination to show up week-in week-out, when you don’t feel like it, when it’s cold, when it’s hot, when you’re tired, when you’re [insert excuse here]…

Just show up.

The world’s best strength coaches do have differences in their philosophy, approach and programing. They may differ on small stuff like “a huge impact on the programming – exercise selection, timing, rest, sets, reps and loads”, but I challenge you to find a decent (reputable and respectable) strength coach, be it Mark Rippetoe, Jim Wendler, Jason Ferruggia, Greg Everett*, Charles Poliquin or anyone else who would say that for consistent gains you can or should do anything other than “show up consistently”. Anyone who would say that you should do anything other than low reps and high load on Back Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Press and Power Cleans. The auxiliary exercises may differ, but the main lifts are the main lifts for a reason.

*Greg Everett has an Olympic Lifting focus, so would put more emphasis on development of the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch – two AWESOME strength and power development movements, but I’m sure if you asked him about the utility of ‘the Big 3’ and presses and power cleans for strength development he would agree they do get the job done well.

Yes, your exact sets and reps are open to debate. Do I do 3 sets of 5, or 5 sets of 5 for maximal strength gains with some size development? Answer: it depends. Are you a beginner who needs volume? Are you an intermediate lifter who is closer to your genetic potential where doing 5 heavy sets would be too much volume and stress on your central nervous system? How old are you? How did you sleep? Are you eating properly? How much recovery do you get?

What ever program you do – to get progress you need to train consistently and train hard. Almost all strength programs call for at least 80% of your 1 rep max for the work set(s). The idea of progressive overload is shared universally. The way to get stronger is to lift more than you did last time. Expand your comfort zone by working outside your comfort zone. You only know what you can do when you try to do more than you can.

That’s not to say you should always train all out. If you’ve had 3 hours sleep, are stressed to the eyeballs or are sick. If you’re contagious stay home – but otherwise, show up “oil the groove”, de-load if you need to but show up and lift.

You might even do what Mike did last night. Really not feel like it, show up anyway, eventually get into it and hit a clean and jerk PR!

So show up – even when you don’t feel like it.

What is skinny fat and why is it so unhealthy?

Skinny fat vs lean and fit

The difference between skinny-fat and lean-fit. Note that she’s ‘heavier’ but in better shape

Hey folks,

Conventional wisdom says that if you are thin you are healthy and if you are overweight you are unhealthy – but new research points to just how dangerous being skinny can be — if you are a “skinny fat” person, that is.

The medical term for this is “MONW,” or metabolically obese normal weight, which I prefer to refer to as being a skinny fat person. This is someone who is not overweight and has a skinny look but still have a high fat percentage (especially belly fat) and low muscle mass. Usually those people have a low calorie diet, that’s why they are skinny, but are not involved in any sports activities or training and that’s why they don’t have any muscle. To the uneducated, untrained eye, a skinny fat person may appear to have a physique of the same caliber as an individual who is comprised of significantly more lean tissue.

While we know that 63 percent of Australian males and 48 percent of females are overweight (1), and that most have diabesity — being somewhere on the continuum of pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes — the shocking news from a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is that nearly 1 in 4 skinny people studied have pre-diabetes and are “metabolically obese.” (2)

It seems it is better to be fat and fit than thin and out of shape. It turns out that if you are a skinny fat person and get diagnosed with diabetes, you have twice the risk of death than if you are overweight when diagnosed with diabetes (2). Perhaps having that extra muscle on your body from having to carry around those extra pounds protects you.

Get the Right Tests

So how do you know if you are a skinny fat person? There are a few criteria you can use that can help you identify yourself as having diabesity or being skinny fat, including family history of Type 2 diabetes or early onset of heart disease (heart attack in relative under 50 years old), or even looking down and see a little pot belly. And if you are of Asian or Indian descent, you can get diabesity at a much lower body weight.

There are some important blood tests that you should have your doctor do:
Fasting blood sugar or glucose (normal 4.0 – 6.0 mmol/l*)
Triglycerides (the recommendation is for less than 2.0 mmol/l*)
HDL (“good” cholesterol (normal greater than 3.5 mmol/l*)
Blood pressure (normal is 120/80*)

*Please be aware that reference ranges or “normal” depends on a number of factors including patient age, gender, sample population and test method, and numeric test results can have different meanings in different laboratories.

There are a few special tests your doctor may not do that you should insist on that tell the true story and help to detect diabesity much earlier. They are:

1. An insulin response test (what most doctors call a glucose tolerance test but with the addition of insulin measurements) that will measure glucose (blood sugar) AND insulin levels while fasting and one and two hours after a 75-gram glucose drink (the equivalent of two soft drinks).

2. A NMR Lipid Particle Test which measures the number and size cholesterol particles. Most cholesterol tests just measure the total amount but the particle test is MUCH better at predicting risk for heart disease. When you are a skinny fat person with diabesity you have too many particles, and they are the small, dense, dangerous kind.

The Treatment for Skinny Fat Syndrome

The treatment for the skinny fat syndrome is the same as the treatment for someone who is overweight with diabesity.
It is quite simple actually.

Get enough Sunlight — 15 to 20 minutes to 20% of your body per day will do it unless you’re dark skinned.

Get enough Sleep — Sleep deprivation alters metabolism and increases cravings for carbs and sugar. Sleep is sacred. Make your bedroom a sleeping temple and stay there for 7 to 8 hours a night.

Eat a Low-Glycaemic Load Diet — Meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar.

Power Up with Protein — Start the day with protein and at each meal. This makes your metabolism run hotter and cuts hunger. Incorporate eggs, nuts, seeds, chicken, fish or protein shakes.


Don’t Drink Your Calories — No soft drinks, juices, sweetened drinks and no more than 3-4 glasses of wine or alcohol a week with meals.

Avoid the Deadly White Powder or Flour — Including gluten-free flour products. Even whole grain flour acts like sugar in your body.


Beware of Frankenfood — Factory-made foods are often science projects with fake ingredients including MSG (which causes ravenous hunger and is hidden as “natural flavoring”), high fructose corn syrup, artificial colours, preservatives, and chemicals.


Get an Oil Change — Eat omega-3 fat-rich foods including sardines and wild salmon and avoid refined and processed vegetable oils except olive oil.


Get Fit and Get Strong — Both cardio and strength training are key (3). Cardio builds fitness and improves metabolism, and strength training builds muscle so you won’t be a skinny fat person.

Supplement if necessary — Fish oil (EPA/DHA,) and vitamin D do the trick for 95 percent of people – if they can’t get what they need from food.

References:

(1) Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4125.0 – Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2012 (Retrieved 10th Dec 2012)

(2) Carnethon MR, De Chavez PJ, Biggs ML, Lewis CE, Pankow JS, Bertoni AG, Golden SH, Liu K, Mukamal KJ, Campbell-Jenkins B, Dyer AR. Association of weight status with mortality in adults with incident diabetes. JAMA. 2012 Aug 8;308(6):581-90.

(3) Ribeiro JP, Schaan BD. Physical activity advice only or structured exercise training and association with HbA1c levels in type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2011 May 4;305(17):1790-9. Review.

Weight Training and Size

A common misconception about resistance training (weights) is that they’ll make you get big and muscular. Some women especially think that doing weights will make them look undesirably big and masculine (like a lady-wrestler).

The type of weightlifting, sets and repetitions will dictate the result. This is the science behind the training.

There are 4 types of resistance training outcomes possible and they are dependent on a number of factors.

Some hypertrophy (size) can occur from training in all of these types, but muscle gain can be as fast as 3 weeks from the start of training whereas fat (which is closer to the surface than the muscle – making it look like you’ve gained size) takes longer to reduce. Generally the strength training type is the one that can make people ‘bulkier’ but even then – only if they’re also eating for ‘size’ (especially milk).

If you’re a BEGINNER STRENGTH trainee then you’ll be looking at using a heavy load, 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps at a slow-medium pace with 2-3 minutes rest – training 2-3 days a week.

If you’re an INTERMEDIATE STRENGTH training athlete then you’ll be looking at using a heavy load, 1-6 sets of 2-6 reps at a slow-medium pace with 3-5 minutes rest – training 2-3 days a week.

If you’re developing POWER then you’ll be looking at using a medium-heavy load, 3-6 sets of 4-8 reps at a fast-max explosive pace with 2-5 minutes rest – training 2-3 days a week.

If you’re training for LEANNESS then you’ll be looking at using a low-medium load, 1-5 sets of 6-20 reps at a very slow-medium pace with 1-2 minutes rest – training 2-3 days a week.

If you’re developing ENDURANCE then you’ll be looking at using a light load, 2-3 sets of 15-30 reps at a medium pace with minimal rest – training 2-3 days a week.

(Adapted from: ‘The Fitness Leader’s Handbook’; Egger, Champion, Bolton; Table 6.1: Resistance Training Regimes)

So pay attention to what you’re doing. If you are doing a heavy load – is it fast or slow? (Strength / Size or Power)

If you’re doing a light / medium load is it at a moderate pace and between 15 – 20 reps? (Leanness and Endurance range)

The more you know about how to do weights – the better able you are to discern the right exercises for you.