The Mass Gainers Essential Egg Salad

When I think back to my Gold’s Gym days, a time I was most definitively learning “the ropes,” as well, my way around a gym floor. I can clearly remember a few very serious lifters – with some very serious dedication – sitting on equipment between their sets eating from large containers full of egg salad, and drinking out of gallon water jugs.

Egg

If they were “off season” or not I couldn’t tell you, I didn’t give it quite that much thought. However, I definitely think it has something to do with why, to this day, I go through so many eggs. In fact, I know it does.

Egg

I was a gym neophyte, a newbie, the quintessential ectomorph striving for gains. The proverbial sponge, I listened to any and everyone and their advice, read everything I could, and ultimately relied on good ol’ trial and error. Lets call it, Applied Bodybuilding.

Protein

So – you wanna get big? Ya need a lot of protein. Our muscles require it, and how. We know of protein’s importance to our overall growth and development. Standard advice is one gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you don’t want to take my word for it click here. To gain a serious bulk, plan on upping that ante to 1 – 1/2 grams per pound. Ya, man. Everyday. Sound like a lot? It is.

This is not the sweet pickle relish deliciousness that mom used to make for the pot luck, (which I love) though I do believe it to be a serious contender.

Just be sure to wait until you are off the workout floor to consume it. The management will appreciate it.

Ingredients

  • 12 -16 eggs
  • 1/2 of a medium size onion, diced
  • 3 – 4 tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 – 4 tbs spicy, brown mustard
  • salt & cracked black pepper to taste

The Perfect Hard-boiled Egg

Step 1

Submerge eggs in a large pan of room temperature water and bring to a rolling boil. About 8 minutes. Boil for exactly 10 minutes.

Egg

Remove pan from heat and let sit for exactly 10 more minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan and submerge in a bowl of ice water. After about 5 minutes of cool down, test one. Voila.

Step 2

Combine all the other ingredients together well. Peel the eggs and roughly dice. (no need to get hairsplitting meticulous here) Fold the mixture into the eggs. I measure 4 eggs per container. 6 grams per egg x 4 eggs equals 24 grams of pure protein per serving. Done.

Egg

Back in the day

That Gold’s was an enormous cavern of a space. We were truly spoiled. The dumbbells stretched half the length of one side, and the leg area was the envy for miles around. Even during peak hours you rarely had to wait for a machine. And one more thing – it was clean – really clean.

Ripley would not believe it, but monthly membership was only $15. Ah, the good ol days. Any and everybody came and trained. I knew former bodybuilders, physique competitors, true gym rats, two CEO’s, and everyone in between. Gyms are communities, and there is something to be said for community. This was a cross-section of everyday folk just trying to get fit. I like that.

Aside from the customary self-absorbed knuckleheads, most everyone was supportive and had some knowledge and experience to share. I like that old school environment. Watching those bodybuilders eating all that egg salad got me curious about eggs. I’d always liked eggs. Growing up my father taught me how to make the perfect omelette, using water not milk. They inspired me to learn everything I could about them, building muscle, and more. Again, don’t just take my word for it.  click here

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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”  – Aristotle

Meal Prep Secrets

Seasoning

From my new eBook: All Four Burners  Ways to Make Meal Prep and Time in the Kitchen Easier

Flavor

b. alter or enhance the taste of, food or drink, by adding a particular ingredient

Lux Life

The world’s most expensive spice continues to be Saffron weighing in, at the time of this writing, at a staggering $1500 a pound. Of course, if you are Mama and Daddy Warbucks and have deep pockets then it isn’t an issue forking that much moolah over the stuff. Then again what home kitchen needs a pound of any spice?

Seasoning

In Greek Mythology, the mortal youth Crocus was good friends with Hermes the god of athletes and travelers. One day, Hermes accidentally fatally injured Crocus turning him into a flower. These gorgeous flowers produce red stigmas and it is from here pure saffron is harvested. Labor intensive to say the least, distinctive in taste, a little goes a long way. Native to central and south Asia it is believed to have been first cultivated by the ancient Greeks.

Now, Iran currently holds the title of the world’s largest producer of Saffron with an estimated ninety percent of the world’s supply grown there.

Back in the cafe I went through an enormous amount of chicken. My little grills were busy, and just like Col. Sanders notoriously secret blend, mine remains a secret. Some things simply have to be, however after deciding to write this eBook, I figured I’d have to give a hint or two. So – get a good quality black peppercorn grinder. A staple in my kitchen the aroma is spicy, pungent and pepper goes on just about everything.

Native to South India, black pepper remains the world’s most traded spice. At one time Europeans paid extremely exorbitant prices for those little peppercorns. Thought of like semi-precious jewels, it has been said that workers in 1500’s were required to wear clothing with no sleeves to prevent them from smuggling them out.

Hippocrates also wrote about using pepper for medicinal purposes, and in traditional Chinese medicine it is thought to “warm the interiors,” and used for stomach and intestinal issues. Vietnam continues to be the largest exporter of pepper in the world today.

“Variety’s the spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavor” –  William Cowper

Meal Prep Ideas COUSCOUS SALAD

COUSCOUS SALAD

Couscous

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

That phrase originated from an old detergent commercial. Clean they wanted those dishes. When speaking of eating cleaner, I always like to preface with this: Eating cleaner means different things to different people. To me, it means eating foods with as little additives and preservatives as possible. Fresh.

Versatile, inexpensive, and healthy, this has been a staple in my meal prep Rolodex for awhile now.  It also continues to be a client favorite as well. The crispness of the ingredients, little prep time needed, and versatility make it a year round no-brainer. Couscous, a whole-grain, has been around for centuries, and is full of vitamins and minerals. It took me years to get rice right, but couscous – it really doesn’t get much easier than this.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box plain couscous
  • 1 can chick peas, drained & rinsed
  • I bell pepper, seeded & diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 half (or more) medium red onion, diced

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup good, quality olive oil
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • salt & cracked black pepper

PREP TIME 

15 mins

COOK TIME

15 mins

INSTRUCTIONS

couscous

Cook the couscous according to the directions on the box. 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, set aside, and let cool. Once cooled combine with all the prepared ingredients and toss well. Keep dressing on the side until time to eat. Done.

couscous

SUGGESTIONS

The ingredients in this dish are raw, crunchy, and full of flavor. When using a dressing I like a good, quality olive oil a lemon squeeze, and a little salt & cracked pepper. Use what you like, however it is the ingredients you want to shine – not a dressing. The additions are endless – cherry tomatoes, olives, and in the middle of summer – feta cheese and watermelon.

I also like to add a piece of grilled chicken from the George Foreman Grill. The chicken breasts cook terrifically  fast (around 6 mins) making dinner at home after a long day hassle free, and for me, that is a huge benefit of my meal prep.

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“The kitchen is a country in which there are always discoveries to be made”  – Grimod de la Renyaire

Mediterranean Diet & Getting Started

Mediterranean 

Like buttah

There has not been butter in my fridge for a very long time. That’s not to say I don’t ever eat it. But this isn’t about cheat meals, or about “diets” as we know them to be. Rather, the Mediterranean Diet is more a style, or  way of eating – based on foods native to countries and regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Stretching from The Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, along southern Europe and Northern Africa, to the coast of Turkey, the Mediterranean Sea covers approximately 970,000 square miles. So, let’s go to club Med, shall we?

Origins

In Part I of my ➡ eBook series Inventing Fitness, The Greeks, a Society, and its Strength, I researched the typical diet of a Greek citizen 2500 years ago. One aspect I found particularly interesting, is how archeologists now have a clear view, and better understanding of the foods this civilization ate, by analyzing the residue on terra cotta dishware, storage pots, and plates unearthed on digs.

Mediterranean

A Hellenistic Period Fish Plate

4th Century BCE

“At Athens, under Pallus eye; Boetia sends us eels to fry.” 

Fish tales told here

The highfalutin saved meat for special occasions. Fish was the primary staple in the ancient Mediterranean diet, and remains still today. Bronze Age murals of Crete, the largest island of Greece, show fisherman carrying fish of every kind, including squid and sardines – as do surviving late Classical and Hellenistic fish plates. With small sections in the center to hold oil, they are painted like the amphora vases, in characteristic red and black and show multiple types of marin life.

It is clear that our ancient Greek predecessors refined and sustained on the original Mediterranean diet. Seasonal, fresh, and oh so simple, the citizens of this society ate straight from the land and sea – from farm to table. Many surviving works of Dioclese, Galen, Plato, and Hippocrates show complete, thorough, and sometimes exhaustingly in depth looks into their understandings of food, and it’s correlation to health. In the Classical Greek Reader, The Sophists at Dinner is described as “the earliest known surviving cook book in western literature….” In 15 books no less.

Mediterranean

“But with respect to whatever of these fruits are eaten raw; such as pears, and figs, and Delphic apples, and such fruits, one ought to watch the opportunity when they will have the juice which they contain…”

Mediterranee

Why join this club? Studies show that a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids is beneficial for the brain. “Brain food” as it’s known, and rightfully so. Healthline.com “Omega – 3’s are crucial for brain growth and development in infants. DHA accounts for 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain and 60% in the retina of the eye.” DHA, or Docosahexaenoic Acid, a long chain omega -3 fatty acid, is the most abundant.

Mediterranean

Fats, one of three macronutrients, are necessary to the bodys function. No, not all fats are created equal, and trans fat in particular, have been the scour of dieters for sometime. Trans-unsaturated fatty acids, first widely produced in the 1950’s for baking and frying, have been shown to greatly increase risk of coronary heart disease. Seemingly overnight everything has become “0 Trans Fat.” Now, some countries have limits as to how much can be used.

Olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, (“good”) became a very lucrative commodity during ancient times. Athletes who took to rubbing it on their skin before training required sponsors. A costly skin care regimen indeed. Studies continue to show that populations from these regions, have lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes. A 2017 CDC report states, “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women,” in the United States. According to The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food & Nutrition Guide 4th Edition, “Another reason to consume healthy oils in place of solid fats: neither monounsaturated nor polyunsaturated fats raise LDL (“bad”)  cholesterol levels in the blood.”

Herb de Provence

In regards to a “correct” way to start this – there is no right or wrong way. Below are several options to get started with that absolutely, with no question, will “fit into your macros.”

Apple Cider Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar

Beans & legumes

Fruits

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  – Hippocrates

Mediterrenean

Lemons

Nuts

Olives

Red Wine Vinegar

Seafood

Vegetables

Whole grains

What to avoid or limit?

Athenian citizens did not have vending machines in the agora. We call it “junk” food for a reason – and soda’s, candies, and powdered, processed what not, may be fine for a cheat day – but steer clear from putting them into you’re shopping cart.

Red meat – I love a good steak. Really, I do. This year, on my birthday, the grill marks on my Strip were as picture perfect as the starched white tablecloths. Red meat has never been a large part of the Mediterranean Diet.

Refined sugar. Why? According to the  Annals of Internal Medicine author Hannah E. Bloomfield, “It turns out that the obesity epidemic in this country is probably more due to our increased consumption of refined grains, and added sugar and not so much from our fat consumption.”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – The Greek Philosopher Aristotle  384 322 BCE

21 countries border the Mediterranean Sea. With that sort of abundance in influence I like to think of a Mediterranean diet as more than just the core principles of olive, seafood, and grains, and the typical “..dairy that comes mainly in the form of cheese and yogurt.” I take pride in that I have perfected my variations of chermoula with chopped parsley and coriander – from time working in a Moroccan restaurant – bruschetta from a stint in a Sicilian owned establishment years ago – and a calamari recipe I should publish.

I do not believe in over complicating things. Is this a “diet?” No. To me, it is a style, and way of eating. That of fresh, full of flavor, and nothing but – healthier versions of macro-nutrients our bodies need. For those who question or doubt – is broiled salmon better than a Big Mac? Is a salad dressed in oil and vinegar not better than one in buttermilk? Fresh vegetables don’t have nutrition labels to check nutrition facts before purchasing. (We just know to buy them, right?) While the naysayers ponder this all – I’ll go back to making my ➡ tapenade. 

Follow @ jwilltrain on Twitter.