Nutrition

Recipe: Instant Pot Turkey Chili

During the colder months I always crave soups and stews and chili. One of my favorite chili recipes is a paleo bean free chili you make in a crockpot. But since getting an instant pot, I haven’t been making dinners in my crockpot as much (typically because I forget to set a reminder to prep everything and get it into the crockpot midday). Through a little trial and error I’ve made an instant pot version of my favorite chili recipe and am excited to share it with you!

This recipe is chock full of veggies in place of beans, but feel free to add in some beans if you’d like! Whenever we make this recipe, it makes enough for about 6-8 servings (so we usually eat it for dinner, and lunch the next two days). You can also freeze some of it to have on hand for emergency meals!

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Instant Pot Turkey Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. of ground turkey (you could also use ground beef)

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2-3 large carrots, diced

  • 2-3 ribs of celery, diced

  • 2 bell peppers (I like to use 1 green and 1 red/orange/yellow), diced

  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional - leave out if you want a milder chili)

  • (2) 14-ounce can of crushed or stewed tomatoes

  • (1) 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes (try fire roasted for an extra kick)

  • (1) 15-ounce can of tomato sauce

  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon each of oregano & cumin

  • 1 teaspoon each of salt & pepper

  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne (optional - makes it spicier)

  • Optional toppings: apple cider vinegar, chives, avocado, crumbled bacon, lime

Directions

  1. Turn Instant Pot to sauté and once hot, add fat of your choice (coconut oil, olive oil, etc)

  2. Add onion, cook for 1-3 minutes, then add garlic, cook until fragrant (~1 min)

  3. Add turkey, break down and brown

  4. While turkey is cooking, chop the rest of the veggies

  5. Once turkey is cooked through, add everything else to the instant pot (carrots, celery, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomatoes, and spices). Give everything a good stir making sure the spices get evenly distributed.

  6. Close the lid and set the instant pot to cook on Manual - High Pressure for 15 minutes.

  7. When your chili has finished cooking, you can manually release if you’re ready to eat, or let the pressure release naturally and eat when you’re ready.

  8. Season with additional salt, pepper, and apple cider vinegar to taste.

  9. Serve and top with your favorite toppings (like avocado, crumbled bacon, or chives!)

  10. Store extra in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Are your sleeping habits hurting your fitness goals?

We all know that sleep is important. But did you know that good sleep can play a big role in helping you reach your fitness goals? And the reverse is also true -- bad sleep or lack of sleep can drastically hurt your fitness progress. 

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Here are a few ways sleep can help or hinder your fitness goals:

Sleep helps your body recover. Sleep is when your body repairs the wear and tear you put on the body from working out. It rebuilds your muscles through protein synthesis. It also repairs other body tissues/bones/organs, and replaces aging and dead cells. Sleep also replenishes your energy stores. The less you sleep, the less your body can recover, the less muscle it can build/repair.

The amount of sleep you get also regulates a number of hormones directly tied to appetite. Lack of sleep leads to elevated ghrelin levels (regulates your desire to eat) and lowered leptin hormones (regulates your satisfaction from food). In short, this means your desire to eat increases and your ability to be satisfied with what you eat decreases. Sleep also is closely tied to cortisol levels. Cortisol is your stress hormone - and the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to eat more often, make less healthy choices, and to eat larger portions. In fact, a 2004 study Read more about a study showing a correlations between sleep, ghrelin, leptin and BMI here. 

Lack of sleep can lead to fat being stored instead of burned. Sleep also controls your metabolism and your body's insulin sensitivity. In simple terms, this can lead to excess insulin, resulting in storing fat in all the wrong places. 

So if sleep is so important, what can we do to get more adequate sleep. 

Here are three sleep habits to help you get a better night of rest:

1. Create a bedtime routine for a good nights rest

If you do the same thing each night prior to going to sleep; your body will know this and start it’s own internal process to fall asleep. Try this and modify to fit your routine: 

Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. 
Brush your teeth, wash your face, and/or take a shower.
Meditate for 10 minutes.
Get into bed, read a book for 10 minutes.
Turn out the light and get some Zzz's

2. Keep your room dark and cool

Your brain interprets darkness as time to sleep and light as an alert to be awake. To keep your room dark, eliminate or cover electronic devices (TV, alarm clocks, or other devices with lights) and use blackout curtains if street lights filter in. Try to cool your house to ~5 degrees cooler than you keep it during the day. If you wake up hot throughout the night, you might want to look into a cooler mattress or mattress topper.

3. Avoid electronics for at least 30 minutes before bed.

Try switching off the TV, putting away your phone, and reading for 15-20min before bed instead. Watching TV or looking at your phone not only stimulates the mind but it also sends blue light impulses to your brain (mimicking daylight), telling your brain its time to be alert and awake. This can make it even harder to wind down. Getting a deep sleep helps your body recover faster, reduce soreness and increase testosterone which is needed by both men and women to stimulate muscle recovery and growth.

4. Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.

Caffeine causes activity and alertness in your brain. Alcohol on the other hand, while it may appear to make some people sleepy, significantly alters the stages of sleep leading to lest restful sleep. 

Want to see how we can help your fitness journey? 

5 Tips to Clean Up Your Nutrition and Get Results

One of the biggest factors in a successful fitness or weight loss program is what you eat. Why? Because food is how you fuel your body. You can work your butt off in the gym, but you can't out exercise a bad diet. 

Here are 5 simple tips you clean up your nutrition to start seeing results:

1. Avoid overly processed, boxed, and packaged foods

Boxed, packaged, and processed foods contain many additives and not so good for you ingredients. These can wreck havoc on your gut, lead to inflammation, and can pack on the calories. You end up with a smaller quantity of food with a much higher calorie value while being low in nutrients. Start by cutting out soda, candy, and dinner in a box meals. 

2. Eat protein with every meal (such as eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, steak, pork, etc)

Protein is critical to your body's ability to maintain or grow muscle, and helps control your appetite. Eating protein helps your body focus on burning and losing fat instead of eating away at muscle. Find protein sources that you enjoy eating and learn new ways to prepare them!

3. Eat veggies with every meal (including breakfast!)

Veggies are a fantastic source of micronutrients (minerals, vitamins, etc.). For breakfast, try adding spinach, bell peppers, or mushroom to eggs to make a scramble or omelet. For snacks, try cut up carrots, celery, snap peas, and bell peppers. 

4. Stop eating fast food and limit eating at restaurants to once a week

When you prepare and cook your food, you're more aware of what you're eating and more likely to make healthier choices. Fast food is full of calories but low in nutrients. It can be addicting, and can cause you to overeat. 

5. Limit dessert to once a week

Dessert and treats aren't bad in and of themselves, but when you're trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve performance, aim to limit your sugar and treat intake. A good rule is to limit treats to one serving once a week. When cravings hit, try drinking water or tea, eating veggies or a handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit. 

Need more guidance or assistance with your nutrition? We offer a free nutrition consult and nutrition coaching.

'High Fructose Corn Syrup' is getting a makeover!

'High Fructose Corn Syrup' is getting a makeover!

So what happens when the corporations who mass produce food get clever?

Get this, consumers are actually getting smarter with their food choices and in some ways are filtering what they are purchasing based on what they can find in on the box. There are tons of trends that seem to come up all the time. "All natural"; "Minimally Processed"; "No added preservatives"; and in this case, "All natural." Now, we have to learn the new name of the all to easy to produce, "High Fructose Corn Syrup."

Instead of food companies doing what the consumer wants, they will cut corners and protect their bottom line first, by tricking the consumer into 'thinking' they are getting what they want. Of course there are many companies out there that have integrity in their products but in the mainstream products, we seem to need to shy away more and more altogether.

So when they get creative, we need to get wiser!

Companies are now masking the ingredients we are always trying to avoid. There was a time when there was hardly any sugar in anything. But now, it's nearly impossible to purchase products that are lacking. I'm not talking about sugar in natural things like fruits and veggies, no no, the all to popular, high fructose corn syrup.

"The product is General Mills’ Vanilla Chex, an updated version of the Chex cereal sold in most conventional grocery and discount stores for many years. The front of the box clearly states that the product contains “no high fructose corn syrup” (HFCS), but turn it over to read the ingredient list and there it is – the new isolated fructose."

So whats the big deal?

'The Corn Refiners Association is now labeling high fructose corn syrup as fructose. Packing on products such as General Mills Vanilla Chex cereal now states the product contains no high fructose corn syrup, while the ingredients list contains the simple word, "fructose." This fructose is actually a manufactured sugar called HFCS-90, and is made up of 90% pure fructose. High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, contains 42% or 55 percent fructose. Health issues relating to free fructose include diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, and liver failure.'

Well, according to the CRA:

 “A third product, HFCS-90, is sometimes used in natural and ‘light’ foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label [anymore], they will state ‘fructose’ or ‘fructose syrup’.”

“Simply eliminating the high fructose corn syrup designation for the laboratory sweetener that’s nine-tenths fructose and calling it what it really is: fructose. And that’s how a processed-food product like Vanilla Chex that contains “fructose”, a substance that, according to the corn refiners, used to be called HFCS-90, can now declare itself to be high fructose corn syrup-free.”

So, while looking for HFCS on the back of your foods ingredients, you will now see it as just "fructose." Don't be fooled by their sorry attempts to get you comfortable. We have very little regulations in this country on our food companies to begin with. It's up to you to know and make good choices.

So what do we do?

I would suggest that you buy organic as much as possible and stay away from foods that ecould possibly have added artificial sugar in them. Buy local at farmers markets and actually prepare your own food. Stay away from anything that is in a box that you know is NOT good to put in your body. Especially while you are training. Sure if you want to occasionally have a doughnut or some cookies, GO FOR IT! But if you are taking in those kinds of processed foods on a regular basis, you will not only see your fitness deteriorate in the gym, but your health as well outside of the gym... Not to mention not losing the weight or putting on muscle. Also, you have heard me say before,  if it is not good enough to put in your body, its not good enough to put in your families bodies either!

"The CrossFit Way"

We believe that nutrition is the cornerstone of health and fitness, and that achieving your fullathletic potential is impossible without tuning up your diet.

The CrossFit rule of thumb is: eat real food.  Base your diet on vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.  If it has ingredients you don’t recognize, don’t eat it.  If you can’t imagine its path from a farm to your plate, don’t eat it.  If that path must have included some sort of factory, don’t eat it. Pretty simple, yeah?

Some say well it's too expensive... Look I get it. It's not cheap, so do your best! Changing your lifestyle won't happen over night, but one step at a time. But you have to be taking those steps to get anywhere.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you are struggling in this area and would like us to assist you!

- Jeff

Source: 'www.hlfteam.com'