When Gourmet Meets Nutrition

Categorized under Diet & Fat LossEating

Sometimes “health food” is just plain awful. And
it’s this simple fact that drives some folks away from eating
healthy altogether.

While I lament this fact, I have to admit I feel most sorry for
those poor folks who decide to lower their heads and keep at
it — those who keep eating miserable tasting food because they want
to lose weight or accomplish some other health or physique-type
goal.

And I feel sorry for them because they don’t even know
there’s a better way.

You see, every day, there are people out there eating healthy,
easy-to-make meals that might easily be found in gourmet
restaurants. Meals that could impress the most discerning
foodie. Meals that could fool a first date, a reluctant
spouse, or picky-eating kids. Meals that just plain taste
good. Meals that, when planned and eaten consistently, can
improve and even completely transform your body.

And how do they do it?

With the principles of what I call “gourmet
nutrition.”

Traditionally, the worlds of gourmet cooking and healthy
nutrition have been at odds. The gourmands have sacrificed
all (including nutritional value) at the altar of flavor and the
“artistic presentation of food.”

And the nutritionists have sacrificed all (including flavor) at
the altar of physiology and nutritional value.

Yet flavor and nutritional value are not mutually
exclusive. I prefer to think of them as absolutely
reconcilable. And by using the principles of “gourmet
nutrition” you can create meals that both taste great and are
healthy, too.

To this end, a “gourmet nutrition” meal must conform
to the following:

It must taste great.

Simply put, to be considered “gourmet nutrition,”
meals must taste great, and not only to your weightlifting
friends. They must taste great to everyone from chefs, to
foodies, to guys and girls whose idea of “gourmet”
includes chocolate-mint flavored protein shakes.

It must contain lean, complete protein.

Protein is the building block of muscle. And even if you
don’t want to build more muscle, you definitely want to
preserve the muscle you have for as long as you can. This
helps to keep your metabolism revving, improve your fat loss
profile, and reduce cardiovascular disease risk. And
that’s why I encourage you to eat a lean, complete protein
source with each gourmet meal.

It must be low in sugar and processed carbohydrates.

Sugar isn’t always the demon ingredient it’s made out
to be, but there are valid and strong reasons to limit sugar and
processed carbohydrates in your diet. These types of
carbohydrates (when ingested outside the workout window or in the
absence of complete meals designed to slow digestion and
absorption) digest too quickly, leading to erratic blood sugar,
energy levels, and hormonal responses — none of which do your
health or physique any favors.

It must prioritize healthy fats over bad fats.

Whenever possible, the goal of every health-conscious individual
should be to eliminate the nasty trans fat we hear so much about.
But even beyond avoiding trans fats, it’s important to keep
our saturated fats in check while prioritizing healthy mono and
polyunsaturated fats. Gourmet nutrition means eliminating
trans fats while balancing out your saturates, monos, and
polyunsaturated.

It must control calorie intake and density.

One of the major reasons many people gain fat as they age (aside
from lack of exercise) is the fact that their daily meals are often
too high in calories. Indeed, many popular food choices can
be quite calorie dense. And this means that even though you
don’t feel like you’re eating a lot of food, you’re
packing in too many calories with each meal. To this end,
“gourmet nutrition” meals should be designed with calorie
density and portion control in mind. This helps you avoid
sneaking hundreds of extra calories into your diet with each meal,
unknowingly.

It must include fresh, natural, additive-free
ingredients.

In general, the fresher the ingredient, the better it is for you
— and the better tasting. So, when choosing your meals,
ask yourself if you’ve ever seen what you’re about to eat
growing in the ground or running around on a farm somewhere. If the
answer is no, you’re about to eat processed food. Ditto
for anything that comes in a box or plastic container.

Be wary of processed foods masking themselves as
healthy.

Please understand it’ll be next to impossible to avoid all
processed foods. In fact, there may be some processed foods
that you want to include in your diet. That’s
okay. Really, you just want to make sure your daily diet
draws mostly on fresh, whole foods.

It must offer you carbs only if you “deserve”
them.

You’ve probably read all about high carb vs. low carb
dieting. In my opinion, this high vs. low carb debate is a
little misunderstood. As the body handles carbs best when
it’s in an exercised state, the best carb strategy is this: eat carbs only if you’ve earned them.

Have you exercised? If so, you’ve earned a higher
carb meal. Have you exercised a lot? If so, you’ve
earned even more carbs. However, keep this in mind; if you
haven’t exercised, your carb intake should probably be
lower. Therefore “gourmet nutrition” means having
two categories of meals — higher carb meals (for when
you’ve earned them) and lower carb meals (for when you
haven’t).

Post Workout vs. Anytime meals.

My meal classification strategy uses the distinction between
post workout and anytime meals. Why does this classification
exist? Well, research shows us that the body handles
carbohydrates best during and immediately after exercise. From
this, we know that it’s a good idea to consume most of our
daily carbohydrates during and after exercise (Post Workout).
Likewise, if we haven’t exercised, it’s best to avoid
higher carb meals during this time — instead focusing on
proteins, good fats, and fruits and veggies.

Please note that this rule is a general rule of thumb that works
well for most as a starting point. Now, I should mention that
some people are actually able to tolerate higher carbohydrate
intakes outside of the Post Workout period. These individuals
generally know who they are. They’re often naturally
very lean, and sometimes very skinny.

If you don’t fit into that category, you’re best off
consuming carbs only in the two to three hours after an intense
workout, or at least using that as the starting point for some
trial and error, slowly introducing carbs outside that window and
measuring the results.

So there you have it — 8 criterion for designing
“gourmet nutrition” style meals — meals that both
taste great and can help improve your body. And now that
we’ve defined this criterion, I’d like to share with you
some wicked recipes that personify “gourmet
nutrition.”

The Protein Shake

Popeye Fruit Smoothie (Post Workout)

Servings

1 large or 2 small

Prep Time and Cooking Time

Prep time: 5 minutes

Prelude

Spinach is a super-food high in anti-inflammatory nutrients,
vitamins and minerals, and alkaline potential in the body.
(No wonder Popeye ate it to boost his strength.) As a result,
we try to include spinach in many of our meals, including our
shakes. And while spinach doesn’t seem like it’d be
a great smoothie ingredient, this shake tastes awesome as
raspberries, goji berries, and cashews lend their unique flavors to
the mixture.

Ingredients

1 cup raspberries (frozen)

1 cup spinach

1 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/4 cup cashews

2 scoops Vanilla Low-Carb Metabolic Drive

2 tablespoons fresh goji berries

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a countertop blender. Blend on
high until mixture is a smooth consistency.

Variations and Options

  • If you’re lactose
    intolerant or wish to avoid dairy, replace the 1 cup of yogurt and
    1/2 cup of milk with 1 cup of lactose-free yogurt and either 1 cup
    of unsweetened soy milk or 1 cup of water and 1/2 scoop protein.
    Alternatively you can substitute with non-cow’s milk dairy
    (i.e. goat milk, yogurt, etc.)
  • For a major vitamin
    boost, add up to 3 cups of spinach to the recipe.
  • If you can’t find
    goji berries, you can substitute with goji berry juice or
    raisins.

Nutritional Information

Per serving

large

small

Calories (k/cal)

780.0

390.0

Fat (g)

20.0

10.0

SFA (g)

3.7

1.9

MUFA (g)

9.1

4.6

PUFA (g)

3.7

1.9

omega-3 (g)

0.2

0.1

omega-6 (g)

3.0

1.5

Carbohydrates

80.0

40.0

fiber (g)

15.8

7.9

sugars (g)

36.7

18.4

Protein (g)

70.0

35.0

Approximate Caloric Ratio

Carbs (%) 40
Fats (%) 20
Protein (%) 40

Popeye Fruit Smoothie

Breakfast

Eggs Benedict with Grilled Onion (Any Time)

Servings

1 large or 3 small

Prep Time and Cooking Time

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Prelude

Eggs benedict is a high carb, high fat breakfast tradition;
delicious but not so friendly to the waistline. So with this
recipe, we’ve decided to cut the carbs, replacing the English
muffin with grilled onion slices. We also decided to cut the
fat with a low-fat Hollandaise sauce. The net result is a
veggie-packed breakfast that’s not only delicious, it’s
nutritious, too.

Ingredients

Eggs Benedict

Olive oil cooking spray

3 onion slices (1/4 inch thick each)

5 oz (140 g) smoked chicken breast low-fat deli
meat

3 cups spinach

3 tomato slices

1.5 oz parmesan cheese (grated)

3 whole omega 3 eggs (individually poached or
fried)

Hollandaise Sauce

2 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise

1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard

pinch of salt

pinch of Splenda

pinch of chili powder

Instructions

Preheat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Lightly coat with
spray and gently place the 3 whole onion slices in the pan. ** Tip:
The onion slices are in place of an English muffin, so it’s
important not to break them.

Cook until the bottom is nicely browned and then gently flip
each slice. Cook until onion is nicely browned on both sides.
Carefully remove from pan and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, whisk all hollandaise sauce
ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add mixture to a small
saucepan and gently heat until mixture is warm but not boiling and
set aside.

Once onions are done, re-spray pan and add the spinach. Cook
until spinach shrinks to at least half its original size. Remove
from pan and set aside.

Place three onion slices individually on a plate. Put a tomato
slice on top of each onion slice. Place 1/3 of the chicken,
spinach, and cheese on top of each onion slice. Top with an egg and
garnish with hollandaise sauce.

Variations and Options

  • Post Workout
    Option:
    Add two slices of whole grain toast or any Gourmet
    Nutrition oatmeal recipe.
  • For a meat variation,
    substitute chicken with 2 oz (70 g) of lox or 5 oz (140 g) of
    turkey ham
  • For a cheese variation,
    substitute parmesan cheese with slices of havarti or aged white
    cheddar
  • For a veggie variation,
    substitute the spinach and tomato with other vegetables such as
    sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, or red peppers.

For a sauce variation, replace Hollandaise sauce with fresh
home-made Pesto (recipe provided in Gourmet Nutrition
V2).

If you’d like to avoid Splenda, you can replace it with a
small amount of Stevia.

Nutritional Information

Per serving

large

small

Calories (k/cal)

687.0

229.0

Fat (g)

38.1

12.7

SFA (g)

13.6

4.5

MUFA (g)

10.6

3.5

PUFA (g)

9.5

3.2

omega-3 (g)

2.0

0.7

omega-6 (g)

7.7

2.6

Carbohydrates

20.2

6.7

fiber (g)

2.8

0.9

sugars (g)

10.5

3.5

Protein (g)

66.0

22.0

Approximate Caloric Ratio

Carbs (%) 10
Fats (%)50
Protein (%) 40

Eggs Benedict

Lunch

Pesto Chicken Pizza (Post Workout)

Servings

1 large or 2 small

Prep Time and Cooking Time

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes

Prelude

Pizza seems to have an almost primal draw with people in all
cultures eating some form of the dish. Of course, regardless
of its widespread appeal, pizza has never been known as a
“healthy” offering, owing to the fact that it’s
typically high in processed carbs and saturated fats. With
this dish, we’ve lightened it up by using our own home-made
pesto, chicken, and a host of veggies — all on a whole wheat
tortilla. If you like pizza, you’ll certainly come back
for seconds of this thin crusted alternative.

Ingredients

6 oz (170g) boneless skinless chicken breast

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Olive oil cooking spray

Whole-wheat tortilla shell

3 tablespoons pesto

1/4 cup broccoli florets (small)

1/4 cup sundried tomato (thin sliced)

1/2 cup asparagus (cut into 1/2 inch
pieces)

1/2 cup aged white cheddar

Instructions

Season chicken with salt and pepper and then sauté.
Set aside.

Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.

Lightly coat a baking sheet with spray and place the tortilla
shell on the tray. Spread the pesto base evenly around the
shell leaving the outside inch free for the crust.

Combine all of the other ingredients except for the cheese in a
mixing bowl and toss until mixed together. Spread evenly
covering the pesto. Top with the cheese and bake until cheese
is melted and shell is lightly toasted (about 10
minutes).

Variations and Options

For a flavor variety, try using home-made pesto, hummus,
tzatziki, or rosemary eggplant (all provided in GN
V2).

Use seasonal vegetables whenever possible as they not only taste
better, but have healthier nutritional profile.

For a cheesy variety, try using mozzarella, feta, havarti, or
Swiss instead of cheddar.

Nutritional Information

Per serving

large

small

Calories (k/cal)

658.4

329.2

Fat (g)

20.8

10.4

SFA (g)

4.9

2.4

MUFA (g)

11.1

5.5

PUFA (g)

1.2

0.6

omega-3 (g)

0.7

0.3

omega-6 (g)

1.1

0.6

Carbohydrates

50.9

25.5

fiber (g)

15.9

8.0

sugars (g)

7.4

3.7

Protein (g)

67.0

33.5

Approximate Caloric
Ratio

Carbs
(%)
30
Fats
(%)
30
Protein (%)
40

Pesto Chicken Pizza

Side Dish

Coconut Cauliflower Mash (Any Time)

Servings

1 large or 2 small

Prep Time and Cooking Time

Prep time: 2 minutes Cooking time: 15
minutes

Prelude

If you like mashed potatoes but worry about the high carb
content, worry no longer. Mashed cauliflower tastes just like
mashed potato, but has far fewer calories and packs a bigger
nutrient punch. In this recipe, we’ve included a crunchy
twist to mashed potatoes by adding cashews.

Ingredients

3 cups cauliflower (rough chopped)

1/4 cup cashews (crushed)

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 pinch salt

1 pinch pepper

1 pinch cinnamon

Instructions

Add all the ingredients to a pot and turn on medium heat.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting
lid. Simmer for 15 minutes and then remove from
heat.

Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time if necessary to get the mixture
moving.

Variations and Options

  • For a great anytime
    meal, serve with homemade Sirloin Burgers or Shrimp Skewers (see
    Gourmet Nutrition V2.0 for recipe)

For additional flavoring, try adding your favorite herbs to the
mash. Paprika, safflower, or coriander are awesome spices to
try in this recipe.

If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash with a
fork.

Nutritional Information

Per serving

large

small

Calories (k/cal)

409.4

204.7

Fat (g)

27.3

13.6

SFA (g)

13.3

6.7

MUFA (g)

8.6

4.3

PUFA (g)

2.8

1.4

omega-3 (g)

0.0

0.0

omega-6 (g)

2.8

1.4

Carbohydrates

27.8

13.9

fiber (g)

8.6

4.3

sugars (g)

9.2

4.6

Protein (g)

13.3

6.6

Approximate caloric ratio

Carbs (%) 30
Fats (%) 60
Protein (%) 10

Coconut Cauliflower Mash

Dinner

Spaghetti Squash Pasta (Post Workout)

Servings

2 large or 4 small

Prep Time and Cooking Time

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes

Prelude

If you love eating spaghetti but hate what it does to your body
fat %, you’re not alone. Yet spaghetti squash can act as
an excellent pasta substitute. So why not simulate your
favorite spaghetti recipe with this take on spaghetti with a meat
sauce.

Ingredients

4 cups spaghetti squash

1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter (melted)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Olive oil cooking spray

12 oz (340g) ground sirloin or extra lean ground
beef

1 cup onion (small diced)

2 cups tomato sauce

1/4 cup cashews (crushed)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut squash in half and clean out the centre and seeds.
Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil or butter.
Season with salt, pepper, and cinnamon and then place in the
oven.

Bake squash for 45 minutes or until squash is tender enough to
stick a fork into it with minimal resistance. Remove from
oven and allow to cool a little.

While the squash is baking, preheat a non-stick frying pan on
medium heat, lightly coat with spray and add the ground sirloin.
Sauté the sirloin in batches if necessary, until lightly
browned and cooked all the way through. Add onions and
sauté for 2 minutes more.

Remove from heat, add in the tomato sauce and cashews, and set
aside.

Once squash has cooled a little, scoop the flesh out of the skin
with a spoon, measure and add it to the meat sauce. Next,
reheat in the frying pan on medium until warm.

Garnish with the parmesan.

Variations and Options

Make this a chicken recipe by substituting sautéed chicken
breast for the ground beef.

For a lower carbohydrate anytime dish, reduce spaghetti squash
from 4 cups to 3 cups.

For a more gourmet approach, plate the warm squash first, top
with the hot meat sauce and then garnish with the parmesan, adding
some chopped basil on top.

Nutritional Information

Per serving

large

small

Calories (k/cal)

709.1

354.6

Fat (g)

31.2

15.6

SFA (g)

15.6

7.8

MUFA (g)

10.3

5.2

PUFA (g)

2.8

1.4

omega-3 (g)

0.4

0.2

omega-6 (g)

2.2

1.1

Carbohydrates

52.4

26.2

fiber (g)

9.7

4.8

sugars (g)

22.9

11.4

Protein (g)

54.7

27.3

Approximate Caloric
Ratio

Carbs
(%)
30
Fats
(%)
40
Protein (%)
30

Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Home-Made Protein Bars

Peanut Crunch Bar (Any Time)

Servings

4 large or 8 small

Prep Time and Cooking Time

Prep time: 10 minutes

Prelude

If you’re addicted to peanut butter like I am, you’ll
absolutely love these peanut crunch bars. They’re chewy,
creamy, and chunky — all in the same bite. Just be
careful, you might not be able to eat just one.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon pure honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup water

1 cup all natural peanut butter (chunky)

5 scoops Vanilla Low-Carb Metabolic Drive

1/2 cup oat flour

1/4 cup almonds (sliced)

Instructions

Add the honey, vanilla, cottage cheese, cinnamon and water to a
food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Transfer to a mixing bowl along with the peanut butter.
Stir to combine. Add the protein powder and stir to combine
(this may take a minute). Add the oat flour and stir to
combine again.

Using a 9″ x 9″ baking pan for measurement, pull out a
piece of plastic wrap about 2x the length of the pan. Then
cover the baking pan with the wrap, allowing the extra plastic
length to hang over the edge of the pan.

Scoop the mixture above onto the plastic wrap inside the bake
pan. Next, lift the corners of the extra plastic wrap and
fold over the top of the mixture. Spread out the mixture with a
spatula, making sure it fills the pan and that there’s a layer
of plastic wrap above and below the bars.

Next, uncover the top of the bars and press the sliced almonds
into the top of the bars.

Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.

For a large bar, cut into approximately 4″ x 4″
pieces, and for a small serving cut into 2″ x 2″
bars.

Variations and Options

If you’re lactose intolerant or wish to avoid dairy,
replace the 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with 1/2 cup plain,
lactose-free yogurt. Alternatively, you can replace with
non-cow’s milk dairy (i.e. goat milk, yogurt,
etc.).

You can make your own oat flour by adding rolled oats to a food
processor and pulsing until a fine, grainy flour is
achieved.

If you like a smoother bar, choose smooth peanut butter.
If you like a chunkier bar, choose chunky.

For some variety, replace the peanut butter with almond
butter.

Post Workout option: Add some mini marshmallows and
chocolate chips for a peanut smore bar.

Nutritional Information

Per serving

large

small

Calories (k/cal)

747.0

373.5

Fat (g)

44.1

22.1

SFA (g)

6.2

3.1

MUFA (g)

21.9

11.0

PUFA (g)

12.0

6.0

omega-3 (g)

0.1

0.0

omega-6 (g)

11.9

6.0

Carbohydrates

34.3

17.1

fiber (g)

9.4

4.7

sugars (g)

11.6

5.8

Protein (g)

53.2

26.6

Approximate Caloric Ratio

Carbs (%)20
Fats (%) 50
Protein (%)30

Peanut Crunch Bar

Want More Awesome Recipes?

Look, I’ve been there. I’ve eaten more bland, dry,
terrible food than I care to remember. All in the name of
looking good.

But at a certain point, it got tiresome. It got old. So
instead of trying to overcome the protests of a thousand
unsatisfied taste buds, I decided to do something about it. I
sat down with my good friend and noted recipe maestro, Dr. John
Williams, and created the ultimate physique-friendly cook-book, Gourmet Nutrition.

Originally appearing as an e-book, Gourmet Nutrition Volume 1
instantly became an Internet best-seller. The feedback was
exceptional. It seems people really get behind the idea of
eating great tasting food that’s great for
them.

Go figure.

Yet there were two problems with Gourmet Nutrition Volume
1.

First, it was an e-book. And people wanted it as a
hardcopy, as an in-the-flesh book they could hold in their hands
and lay flat on their counters while they
cooked.

Second, Gourmet Nutrition readers wanted photos. I know,
it seems so “Martha Stewart.” But, as they say, a
photo says a thousand words. And, admit it — even you
high-Testosterone men got a little hunger pang from the Pesto
Chicken Pizza photo.

In response to these two requests, I decided to get back to work
and create another volume of Gourmet Nutrition. This
time I enlisted the help of gourmet chef, Michael Williams and his
culinary counterpart Kristina Andrew. And between the three
of us, we came up with over 120 additional Gourmet Nutrition
recipes — each of them presented in Gourmet Nutrition
2
, a beautifully photographed hard-copy that you can lay out
flat on your counter top.