Review – Mt. Capra Protein

Filed under: Nutrition

I recently wrote about a goat milk protein that a reader had asked me about called Mt. Capra Double-Bonded Protein.

Well, based on that little piece that I wrote the clinical nutrition scientist, Joe,  from Mt. Capra Wholefoods Nutritionals contacted me. Joe sent me a bottle to try and give a real review of the product.

It took me a while to get around to it, but I have finally tried the protein in a few ways to give it a test.

First off I will say a few things that I like about the production of the product. It is an excellent blend of whey and casein (since it is casein from non-cow’s milk it is less problematic). It also does not contain sucralose (Splenda) or any other artificial sweeteners, as it uses stevia.

The first time I tried the protein was simply by itself in some unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I shook it up and gave it a shot. I am not going to lie, I didn’t love it. It did not mix that well, and was a little clumpy, which really decreased its palatability.

So I put it back on the shelf and didn’t give it a second shot until a week or so later. This time I tried it in my Chocolate Cherry Bliss smoothie recipe, and I must say, I was absolutely floored by how amazing it tasted. In all honesty, I think it was my best version of that smoothie ever, and I drink that nearly every day!

Blending that protein made it nice and smooth, and it really thickened the smoothie and made it extra delicious. So while I can’t say I loved it as a stand-alone protein, in my smoothie recipes, I would say it can’t be beat!

For those of you looking for something different, trying to avoid artificial sweeteners, or intolerant to cow’s milk, give it a shot!

On a final note, for those of you looking for the RSS feeder, I did not set it up on my new site. Instead in the very near future I am going to set up a FREE weekly newsletter, which once you sign up for will update you on all of my blog posts, news and interesting tidbits. Rather than be redundant, I figured that would work best for everybody.

Have a great weekend!



Posted on October 29th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

2 Comments »

Are Energy Drinks Dangerous?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Well I had planned on writing a particular blog today, but I got an interesting email from EC last night, and I thought I would delay that planned blog until tomorrow, and provide my thoughts on his email today.

Yesterday there was a piece written on espn.com EC sent me about energy drinks, their popularity,  lack of regulation, and potential health consequences of their consumption. Apparently this piece was written in conjunction with an E:60 segment on the topic. For those who don’t know, E:60 is basically ESPN’s version of 60 minutes, where they actually do some investigative journalism on a specific topic.

In the article there was also a video segment, and I highly suggest you check them both out before you read my thoughts on the topic of energy drinks, as I would rather not have my writing taken out of context.

In the piece it is mainly about a high-school football player who consumed two NOS energy drinks, and the following day suffered a seizure that his neurologist attributed to the two drinks. Those two NOS drinks contained a combined 520mg of caffeine, which is most definitely a significant amount.

The piece also mentions some other teenagers who have had reported events from energy drink consumption. These two kids though, had undiagnosed heart conditions.

So the piece basically asserts that these drinks can be dangerous and lead to seizures and potentially even death, and that no one (or at least high school kids) should consume them.

Here are my thoughts:

I am not sure I buy that 520mg caused this kid to have seizures, or is the only factor. Maybe it is, I am surely not a neurologist, but that is less than 4 cups of coffee. Nobody is pointing any fingers at Dunkin’ Donuts here.

The other kids they mentioned had undiagnosed heart conditions, so what would have happened when they went to college and drank jager bombs, or pounded coffee pulling an all-nighter?

The problem is people, especially kids, abusing these drinks, and caffeine in general. Two to three of those drinks, with the caffeine and other stimulants? I think most people “know” that that is definitely not a good idea, but they do it anyway. People “know” that smoking, chewing tobacco and driving without a seat belt are dangerous, and yet they do that anyway too.

To be honest I am really not a fan of energy drinks, my energy drink of choice is coffee (one is some man-made concoction of chemicals, one is real food). It contains a good dose of caffeine, it also has tons of antioxidants.Another concern I could see would be is if you can equally compare the caffeine in coffee, with all of its associated phytochemicals and antioxidants, and isolated caffeine in drinks (along with yohimbine, guarana, and other stimulants they pack in there). Is it the same, or does the isolation or combination with other stimulants make the caffeine more potent? Who knows.

Are these drinks dangerous? Define dangerous. Are they health-promoting? No. Will consuming one cause any issues? Probably not. Will abusing them and exceeding the warning on the label (which I admit reads more like marketing than a warning, but it is a warning none-the-less) potentially cause issues? I think this is clearly the case.

So to me, it is dose-dependent just like everything else. Is aspirin ok in recommended doses? Absolutely. Is it dangerous or deadly when consumed to excess? Absolutely.

The moral of the story is, don’t abuse any stimulant (caffeine, ephedrine, yohimbine, etc). Reasonable intake should pose no threat to health, but when you place high school kids into the equation, reasonable intake goes straight out the window, and that is the problem.

Posted on October 28th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

6 Comments »

Random Wednesday Thoughts

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

I am backed up with a ton of work, school work and client work right now so I don’t have time for anything too intense. But here are a few neat little tidbits that I think you guys will enjoy.

1. So far in my Master’s program there hasn’t been anything too intellectually challenging going on yet. This semester my classes are pretty vanilla, but it will really start to pick up next semester where I have Advanced Human Nutrition and Metabolism, as well as Advanced Clinical Topics among others.

The saving grace for this semester though has been Case Study Presentations by the Senior Dietetic Interns (I am currently a Junior Dietetic Intern). We had our first presentation last Friday, with another presentation this Friday. Each Senior Intern presents a case study on a patient from their Dietetic Internship. The entire treatment process, from diagnosis to outcome, with an emphasis on Medical Nutrition Therapy.

This has been by far the most fascinating thing we have been done, and I was absolutely enthralled by the whole process. I still do not believe that I in any way want to be a clinical dietitian, but it has been interesting nonetheless. This is an area where I can grow a lot, and I am really looking forward to it.

2. There has been a recent lovefest with the newest “superfood” – black rice. Black rice is black due to its extremely high anthocyanin content, higher than even blueberries, which is a powerful anti-oxidant.

It is also a good source of iron and fiber, as well as some vitamins and minerals. One of the coolest features of black rice is that it is a good source of not only water-soluble nutrients (like anthocyanins) it is also a pretty good source of fat-soluble ones as well, which is pretty rare.

With all that in mind, it definitely seems like a fine food, but does that mean it is like the only rice you should ever eat? No. While it does have some excellent nutritional value, it is merely another healthy Real Food option, nothing more, nothing less.

3. Here is a random one. I went to the health food store near my parent’s house to get some butter and a few other things, and I noticed they had some Ezekiel wraps. Usually health food stores are more expensive, and I usually just get mine at Hannaford, but here they were $1.30+ cheaper!

Strange, but definitely awesome.

4. I wanted to ask you, my readers, what else you would like to see me blog about? Any questions, or nutritional concerns you guys want answered? Anything I currently do that you want to see more of? Just let me know!

Posted on October 27th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

9 Comments »

A Day in the Life

Filed under: Nutrition

I have gotten requests from several readers for me to do a new Day in the Life segment, as people love to see what I am eating on a daily basis. Below is a snapshot of what a normal day looks like for me. Feel free to ask any questions or make any comments.

Wake at 5:00

Breakfast at 5:15

  • 5 whole pastured eggs, scrambled
  • 1.5 tsp pastured butter
  • 1 slice Ezekiel toast
  • ~1-2 tsp organic raspberry preserves
  • 1 banana
  • 12oz water
  • 2-3oz POM Wonderful
  • 10oz coffee (sometimes organic, sometimes not)
  • 1 multivitamin
  • 1 tsp Carlson’s Finest Fish Oil
  • 5,000 IU vitamin D
  • 1 probiotic

Snack at 9:00

Lunch at 12:00

  • 1 Ezekiel tortilla wrap
  • 2 tbsp olive oil basil pesto
  • 2 tbsp guacamole
  • 2 handfuls organic baby spinach
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 10 baby carrots
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • water as desired

Pre-Training Smoothie at 3:00

  • 4oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4oz unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 5 grams creatine
  • 1 tbsp organic cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp organic milled flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup organic frozen cherries
  • water as desired, sometimes 10oz more coffee

Gym 4:30-5:30

Walk Dog 5:30-6:00

Post-Training Dinner at 6:30

  • 1 chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 whole pastured egg
  • ~2 tbsp organic quinoa flakes
  • ~2 tbsp organic shredded coconut
  • 2 cups green beans & carrots
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • seasoned to taste
  • 4 dried figs

Bed at 9:00 or 10:00ish, usually 10:00.

Misc

  • I will often have a few cups of green tea mixed in there as well.
  • On an non-training day here is what I would do differently: the Pre-Training Smoothie just wouldn’t have the oats, and post-training I probably wouldn’t have the figs. Other than that, it would be a very similar day, though definitely no 3:00pm coffee.

Posted on October 25th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

12 Comments »

Alan Aragon’s Research Review Index

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

I only have time for a quick one today, got a bunch of school work to do and an article to finish. Plus I got wrapped up reading the absolutely fascinating A retrospective to the fructose alarmism debate and its 300 comments over on Alan Aragon’s blog.

I like to think that I had a firm grasp on the fructose literature, but that blog and its associated comments taught me a thing or two and really solidified my beliefs on the topic. Which I must say are right in line with Alan’s.

Anywho, I hadn’t been to his site in a while, but I do frequent Alan’s awesome Research Review, where he gives critical analysis on research relating to nutrition, training and supplementation. It is one of the best sources of information on those topics anywhere.

My one complaint was that it was so damn hard to find previous studies and topics you had read, because there was no way to quickly search for them. You had to check out each issue and do an individual search, which sucked.

Fortunately Alan has graciously created a Research Review Index which he will continually update with each monthly issue. This index will allow for much easier searching of topics, and location of desired study/analysis. This will be a lifesaver when trying to find a reference!

For those of you who already subscribe, this is sweet. For those of you don’t, and who go past the desire for casual knowledge and want to delve deep into actual science, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Posted on October 21st, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

4 Comments »

Digging Through the Archives

Filed under: Nutrition, Recipes, Training

Here is a list of some highly recommended reading:

Quinoa 2.0 – This is a blog from March that highlights what I think is one of the most highly underrated grains, buckwheat. I go into great detail on the health benefits and tremendous nutrition of buckwheat, highlighted by the fact that it is gluten-free.

Blueberry Apple Crisp – This is one awesome recipe. It is incredibly versatile and can be used as either a healthy dessert, or as a high-quality carb source that is great for pre/post-training or at breakfast. Leigh Peele also used this recipe for her fantastic Body By Eats.

Lifting Heavy Stuff: Single Leg Style – Do you know why it is so important to include single leg training in your program? I lay it all out for you, plus there is a sweet video of me dominating some heavy single leg work, be sure to check it out.

Posted on October 20th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

No Comments »

America: A Big, Fat, Stupid Nation?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Ok, so I don’t really think America is stupid. That title comes from a Huffington Post article that Tony Gentilcore linked to yesterday. That article, for lack of a better word, was awesome.

In this article author Justin Stoneman points out how America has been fooled to eat crap and think it is good for us. He points out how a fat and unhealthy America is good for the food and pharmaceutical industry, and makes them billions.

I highly recommend you check this article out, as he has some excellent things to say. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Latest figures confirm the ridiculous: three out of four of you will be ‘overweight or obese’ by 2020. To gauge perspective: there are now more ‘fat’ people than ‘white’ people in America. Perhaps our bigots of the future will swing their hatred away from ‘race’ to the slim and healthy.

The shrinking minority are, indeed, the shrinking minority.”

This is a long one, but he just has so many excellent point.

Americans (still) rule the world. They can stroll on the moon, influence global diplomacy, finance unstable countries around the world…yet they cannot keep their own people relatively healthy? Of course they could, if it were actually desired. Unfortunately, for the world’s most powerful companies, an unhealthy America is, perversely, a very profitable America.

If I own a sock company, I need people with feet to maintain my business. Similarly, if I own a diet company (total combined U.S. industry value: est. $45-$100 billion), I need fat people. Luckily for the diet industry, the even more powerful food industry (estimated value: astronomical — U.S. food-based retailing alone >$1,200 billion) make their main profits from cheap processed foods. Foods which make people fat.

The medical industry is similarly grateful — the unhealthy obese are as vital for their profit margins as oil is to the oil business. And we’ve seen what happens when the oil industry has their supply stream compromised.

So, if industries (with a combined net worth and power exceeding many actual countries), need a vital supply chain to survive, we can safely say that they will probably work out how to get it.

They need fat people. So what do they do?

I should probably be careful with this next one since I am a member, but it is unfortunately true.

The ADA (American Dietetic Association) has complete monopoly on dietary advice. To keep the bubble airtight, the full might of the law has even been implemented. Kim Jong-il would be proud of the attention to detail.

With that in mind, who precisely is ‘sponsoring’ the ADA and the nutritional advice you receive?

My friends, it is a beautiful army. Partners (recent and current — and their latest annual revenue figures):

Coca Cola (revenue $31.4 billion), GlaxoSmithKline (revenue $42.5 billion), Hershey’s (revenue $5.3 billion), Unilever (revenue $55.8 billion), Aramark (revenue: $12.3 billion). There are even some ‘premier sponsors’: Mars (revenue: $30 billion), PepsiCo (revenue $44.3 billion), Truvia sweetener (revenue of parent company Cargill: $116.6 billion), Kellogg’s ($12.7 billion).
ADA ‘sponsors’ have combined revenues of over $400 billion
.”

Another simple piece of common sense.

Your grandparents were raised in a generation aware that God’s supermarket was better than man’s. Saturated fat was a vital part of their diet. For them, obesity was not a common health problem. They were not suffering malnutrition in the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Remarkably, you, dear Western reader, probably are.”

And finally…

Your commercially sponsored weight loss advice is making you gain weight. It would be laughable, a comic irony, if the consequences were not so tragic. From diabetes to obesity to cancer to heart disease, the price being paid for corporate profit is in lives.”

I highly recommend you check out the entire piece, it is absolutely fantastic. He also provides an excellent graph showing exactly when the US obesity rates began to climb, and his reasons why. Fascinating stuff.

Posted on October 19th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

Vegan Propaganda

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Recently a reader sent a me a link to an article and interview done by Wolf Blitzer with Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn about Bill Clinton. It was all about how Dr. Ornish and Dr. Esselstyn have inspired Bill Clinton to go on a plant-based diet where he has lost 24lbs and begun to reverse his heart disease. You can find out more about it right here.

This is Clinton’s back story, so clearly he needed to make some changes -

In 2004 Clinton underwent quadruple bypass surgery, taking four veins from elsewhere in his body and using them to circumvent the four blocked arteries to his heart.  In 2005, Clinton underwent more surgery, for scar tissue damage and fluid which had accumulated as a result of the 2004 surgery.

In February of 2010, Clinton’s bypass failed, with one of the four veins installed in the bypass having become 100% blocked. Surgeons installed two stents inside the clogged vein, in order to prop open the cholesterol-filled passage.”

I think there are a lot of great things said in the interview. They talk about how we need to focus on treating the disease, not treating the symptoms. Changing lifestyle factors and not focusing on drugs are two things they discuss and I agree with wholeheartedly.

Unfortunately there is a lot of false crap as well. Stating that foods like olive oil and meat and dairy (regardless of production methods) damage the body and cause heart disease is most definitely not shown in the literature. How is it that so many cultures and societies consumed large amounts of meat, or dairy or saturated fat and had little to no incidence of heart disease? How did these “damaging foods” not damage these people?

Here are my thoughts. Is it actually the fact that the former President is not eating meat that has reversed his heart disease, or is it that he is eating a ton more produce, has dropped down to a healthy bodyweight (a huge plus), is not consuming any man-made food products or edible food-like substances, and has changed many other lifestyle factors? I know where I stand.

Here is also what we know. There has never been a single documented hunter gatherer society that was vegetarian/vegan. Not one. Even if they ate mostly plants, they would still eat some animal products, because they were recognized as essential. How else would they get iron, zinc, and b-12?

To me the difference they made for Clinton is the removal of crappy man-made industrial food products. When making a drastic overhaul in diets it can be easy to point the finger at one thing for being the savior, but in reality many things have changed, and who really knows what actually produced the benefits. Is it the removal of meat and animal products (doubtful), the increase in produce (possibly) or the removal of edible food-like substances that we as a society consume in vast amounts (likely).

Now I am not saying that what they are doing isn’t working, what I am saying is that they, and the media, are oversimplifying (or purposely misinterpreting) what is actually providing the benefit.

When you improve someone’s diet, help them lose weight, decrease stress, quit smoking and increase exercise, how can you give all of the credit to the improved diet? That is what Dr. Esseltyn and Dr. Ornish do. While their system works, it is most definitely not only because they have put their patients on low-fat plant-based diets, it is because they have drastically improved many of the lifestyle factors that contribute to heart disease, as well as removing the industrial food products that actually are damaging.

I will lastly mention that this interview was posted on vegsource.com, a website solely dedicated to everything vegetarian. I perused it a bit and I am just blown away by the absolutely propaganda and false information on that site. Why is it so hard for people to believe that consuming a diet rich in nutrient-dense plant and animal foods is the ideal diet composition. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is simply because you choose to do so, not because it is inherently healthier.

Posted on October 18th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

Training: BSP Style, Day III

Filed under: Training

Today I will wrap up my series on how I train. One thing I want you all to keep in mind is that this is merely one program. While I generally stick to the theme/template I laid out here, this is not how I always train.

This style of training fits in really well with my current goals and chaotic schedule. If I could train more I would, but right now this works well for me.

This last day is a Total Body/Upper Body day. I label as such because sometimes it is only an upper day, it really all depends on timing. Though I have stated that my Upper Body day is Monday and my Lower Body day is Wednesday, it certainly does not always work out as such.

There are many weeks when I have to fit my training in on a Tues, Fri, Sat schedule. Unfortunately I may not know this until Friday! So, I improvise.

If I am able to get in a rest day between my Lower Body session and my Total Body session, then I do Total Body. If not, then I do Upper Body. While this means that I will often only train my lower body once per week, for now I am ok with that. I hammered my lower half for years, and in all honesty I really don’t need it to get any bigger.

Friday – Total Body/Upper Body

Pre Work: Foam Roll at home, Dynamic Warm-up at gym

A1. Alternating DB Incline Bench Press – 3×5/side

A2. 1-Arm DB Chest Supported Row – 3×8/side

B1. DB Bulgarian Split Squats or 1-Arm Push Press – 3×8/side

B2. Facepulls – 3×12-15

C1. Tricep Rope Pulldowns – 3×12-15

C2. Split Stance Cable Lifts – 3×8/side

D. corrective work of choice, or some curls, depends on the mood

So that’s it. That is training, BSP style. Any questions?

Posted on October 15th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

2 Comments »

Training: BSP Style, Day II

Filed under: Training

Last Wednesday I wrote about what a normal Upper Body day my look like for me. I noted how I am not a fan of volume, or lots of extra conditioning.

My Lower Body days are much the same mindset. These days I bang out a few quality sets and call it a day. I will note that I do spend quite a while warming up when I squat or deadlift. I will do roughly 5-6 warm up sets before I even start counting them as work sets.

This allows me to groove my pattern, bar speed and continue to warm up my joints and CNS. It makes a world of difference for me.

Wedneday – Lower Body Day

Pre Work: Foam Roll at home, Dynamic Warm-up at gym

A1. Back Squat – 2×3, 1×5-6

A2. Various Mobility – Wall Hip Flexor Mobilizations, No Money Drill – 3×8 (/side) of each

B1. Walking DB Lunges – 3×6-8/side

B2. Usually catching my breath, some various corrective work – Side Lying External Rotations – 3×12/side

C1. KB Swings – 3×20 (I only have a 35lber, but I am asking for a bigger one for Christmas)

C2. Turkish Get-Ups – 3×5/side

To be totally honest I don’t even always do that much volume. On days when I am feeling a little beat up or run down, I may just do 2 sets of lunges and 2 sets of swings. It is really based on how I feel.

To me the take home point is that your training does not have to be overly complicated, with crazy half-cocked exercises. Train hard (and smart) and eat real food and that will take care of so many things.

I will wrap this up with my Total Body/Upper Body day that finishes off my training week. If anybody has any questions or wants to see any more reasoning behind any of the program, just let me know!

Posted on October 14th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

3 Comments »

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