7 Foods I Never Go Without

food man

Ok, so if you couldn’t tell, my featured pic for this article is a young bodybuilder performing an intense set of dumbbell shoulder presses to build up his cannonball-like deltoids with his banana arms, banana legs, banana smile, halved potato ears, oatmeal nose, avocado biceps, buttery neck and traps, washboard chicken abs, and sunny side up gaze.

Cute? Yeah.

Lame? Probably. But it works ūüėČ I had no featured image for this article and I like to use my own pics, so I asked Rhianna for her input to which she responded “why don’t you make a food face?” So I gave it my best! She approved and I love her so there you have it.

But anyways… 7 foods I never go without.

Originally this post started out as “My Top Foods For Muscle Growth and Healthy Hormones” containing nearly 20 different foods. As I wrote, I realized that not every food on my list was one I ate every day, let alone every week, so I narrowed¬†it down to just 7 that I eat on a weekly basis, 52 weeks out of the year.

Below are the foods that make up the biggest chunk of my diet, my 80% that I eat all the time and end up on every one of our grocery lists. And note that this isn’t our entire grocery list, as Rhianna has some of her own go to foods that she always has on hand plus stuff for the kids.

Fair warning this is my biggest article yet! We’re big fans of food here so there was a lot to say.

#1 The incredible edible egg

green eggs

Eggs take the number one spot on my list of foods I never go without. They’re versatile, going great with any meal of the day eaten alongside gluten free pancakes¬†and bacon, a big juicy steak, or atop burgers or even¬†thrown into salads. Heck, I’ve even drank them. I could probably eat eggs for every meal of the day and it’d never get old.

One large egg will provide the body with only 70 calories, 6 grams of complete muscle building protein, 5 grams of fat, and zero carbs.

Eggs are also very nutrient dense, containing many vitamins and minerals. A single egg has 35% of the daily needs for biotin, 25% of the daily needs for selenium and choline (both great for natural test production), 20% of the daily needs for iodine, as well as decent amounts of zinc, iron, and vitamin D. Overall, when it comes to muscle building and keeping high test levels naturally, eggs are a win.

But wait, aren’t eggs bad to eat because of the high cholesterol??

Well to be honest… that’s a a tough one. For years, experts have been at odds with one another for years on whether whole eggs should be consumed and how many eggs per week can be eaten safely. Recently however, more and more studies have come out giving us the OK to eat them.

As with anything else, I believe moderation is key, so I limit myself to no more than 4 a day. The 4 eggs I eat plus the red meat I eat on a regular basis hasn’t set off any red flags on my blood cholesterol panels, so at least at this point in my life I’ll keep my eggs and eat them yolk and all. But hey, that’s just me and everyone is different so be sure and talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about any food or diet practice!

For more info on egg nutrition and safety check out:

www.eggnutritioncenter.org

For a couple high protein egg recipes check out our:

 

steak#2 Grassfed beef

Since the time I was a kid, a good steak has been a long time favorite of mine. My dad has always been a big steak eater, so my brothers and I grew up lucky enough to enjoy a thick juicy delmonico once or twice a week. Fast forward to the age of 26, and beef in all of its forms is still a staple in my daily diet, eating anywhere from 6-8 ounces everyday.

Beef is another great source of protein with a 3 ounce serving of 90% lean beef giving you 22 grams, plus saturated and monounsaturated fats which are both very important in terms of natural testosterone production.

Beef is also rich source of carnitine, zinc (36% daily value in 3 ounces!), iron, b6, b12, selenium, and even a bit of creatine, though you’d have to eat a ton to get the same muscle building benefits that taking creatine as a supplement will give.

When choosing beef in any form, I’ll always try to opt for grassfed opposed to conventional. It’s a bit more pricey, but for the sake of my health I’d rather not eat a cut of meat loaded with antibiotics and artificial hormones. Totally worth it.

A few top Sweet Machine Fitness beef recipes:

#3 Free range chicken breast

img_4550Full of lean protein and so many different ways to prepare, it’s no wonder that chicken is a staple food choice for bodybuilders, power lifters, gym rats, and fitness followers alike! It definitely has its place in my diet as a good change up from beef from time to time.

One 4 ounce boneless skinless chicken breast offers 22 grams of protein, zero carbs, and a measly 2.5 grams of fat, making it comparable to most protein powders on the market.

Chicken isn’t too bad when it comes to vitamins and minerals either, having high amounts of selenium, b6, and niacin.

But let’s be honest here. Chicken breasts are usually pretty bland and boring, so we here at Sweet Machine Fitness have trained ourselves to be quite the chefs specializing in making healthy eating enjoyable again ūüėČ

Check out some of our delicious chicken recipes:

And don’t forget, there’s more to the chicken than just the breast! We also like making juicy chicken thighs (barbecue for the win), baked buffalo wings, as well as whole chickens. More recipes to come!

img_1752#4 Potatoes

If you couldn’t tell from some of my recipes articles, potatoes are my favorite carb source for my gaining muscle and keeping the big T high. Much like eggs and beef, potatoes go well with any meal of the day, especially when following a diet that’s flexible enough¬†to include toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and bacon.

We know potatoes are delicious but how healthy can they really be? Let’s take a look.

A single medium sized potato contains close to 40 grams of starchy carbs, more potassium than a banana (25% daily value!), and 70% of the daily value of vitamin c, all for just over 160 calories.

What I really like about potatoes though is the magnesium content. Magnesium is an essential mineral that has a calming effect on the body, aids in getting a good night’s rest, and helps the body free up and use testosterone (source).

While one potato only has 12% of my daily needs, I take in over 300 carbs daily so I’ll eat anywhere between 3 and 5 potatoes in one sitting. Paired with other high magnesium foods such as bananas, oatmeal, spinach, and dark chocolate, and I hit well over the recommended daily amount from food alone, no supplementation necessary.

Another interesting fact about potatoes is that they score higher on the satiety index than any other food. This means if you were to eat 300 calories worth of potatoes vs 300 calories from any other food, the 300 calorie potato meal will fill you up faster and keep you full longer than anything else out there. This is a real helpful tool when trying to cut down because you won’t feel as hungry as you would if you were to be eating rice as a main carb source. I know this first hand from experience. If I eat a couple big potatoes with my first meal of the day, I won’t be hungry again until well over 6 hours later making 2-3 big meals spread out over the the day much easier because I don’t get too hungry in between. Intermittent fasting and loads of potatoes for the win!

For more info on the satiety index and potatoes, as well as an explanation of the experiment used to support the findings check out this Scott Abel Fitness article.

All in all potatoes have been a big improvement to my daily diet supplying me the the carbs and nutrients I need to keep growing.

img_4752#5 Bananas

I make sure to get plenty of fruits in my diet but if I had to choose just one to eat for the rest of my life, it’d have to be bananas.

In my first couple contest preps before I discovered flexible dieting, bananas and any other fruit were off limits because “any sugar would keep me from leaning out.”

Looking back with what I know now, I understand how ridiculous a statement like that is, especially with foods that are so full of vitamins and minerals. Nowadays I eat up to 3 bananas a day almost every day of the week and have no problem keeping my body fat levels low enough that I can see my abs year round. Let’s look at the nutrition.

One banana will give you close to 30 grams of carbs for just over 100 calories. Bananas are also a good source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin c, as well as a great source of vitamin b6 with one banana containing 20% of the daily value.

As you can see, bananas are a great addition to my diet as a good way to get in vitamins and hit my carbohydrate needs, as well as tasting great and being as simple as peeling and eating.

img_5746#6 Oatmeal

Another “bro food” that I still like to include in my diet a few days a week is oatmeal. It’s easy to cook, can be eaten in a ton of different ways, and costs very little for a lot of it.

A cup of dry oatmeal will give you 339 calories, 58 grams of carbs, 12 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fat. It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals, being super high in iron, b6, vitamin a, and calcium. Oatmeal is also another food on my list that is high in magnesium, giving you another 32% towards the recommended daily value.

Plain oatmeal doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor, making it a good base to add many different toppings to to turn it into something not only healthy but delicious too. If I’m going to eat oatmeal I usually eat some before bed, giving me plenty of carbs and magnesium to sleep on. My personal favorite toppings are:

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Banana
  • Raw honey
  • Raw sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Dark cacao chips (more magnesium)
  • Knox gelatin mixed throughout (I know it sounds weird but it adds protein and thickens it up a bit)

 

img_4726#7 Fats and oils

My diet (or any diet for that matter) is not complete without a bit of added dietary fat. Back in my competition days, I’d try to eat as little fat as possible, surviving mostly on
chicken, egg whites, strictly oatmeal and brown rice for carbs, and broccoli. While of course those foods are h
ealthy, dietary fat is a necessity for proper brain functioning and hormonal health.

That all changed the day I snapped had my peanut butter incident, which led to my discovery that flexible dieting worked for me as well as the inclusion of whole eggs and other food sources back into my daily diet.

Nowadays I really don’t eat too much peanut butter because number one its full of polyunsaturated fats and number two Rhianna is allergic and¬†if I want a kiss I can’t be smelling like peanut butter. So my added fats these days come in the form of butter (the real deal not margarine), virgin coconut oil, and a couple avocados a week.

Ok so I know that’s 3 different foods grouped into one but hear me out. Each of these foods has their positives and negatives and I believe in moderation with most things so I like to rotate my fat sources to keep things fresh.

Butter. A tbsp of butter provides you with 100 calories and 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of which are saturated. While butter might not be the healthiest option, I’ll take it over polyunsaturated fat loaded oils any day. I mostly use butter for scrambling my eggs or as a topping. As with anything else, I opt for organic over conventional.

Coconut oil. A tablespoon of coconut oil contains 130 calories all from fat, with 12 out of 14 grams being saturated. Coconut oil is also a zero cholesterol food compared to butter and eggs which are high in it. Like butter, I use coconut oil as an oil to cook with or as a topping spread across gluten free toast, pancakes, and even potatoes.

Avocados. One large avocado has an impressive 29 grams of heart healthy fats, 20 grams of which are test and heart health friendly monounsaturated, as well as 4.3 grams  saturated fats. An avocado also has more potassium than a banana, a good amount of vitamin c, as well as b6. Avocados are also very high in a antioxidants great for flushing out toxins and heavy metals. I like to eat 2-3 of these bad boys a week, especially in guacamole or atop a beef dish.

The rest of my fats just come from the foods I eat. I like to aim for at least 80 grams a day, some days going up to around 100. That’s what works best for me, with the rest of my calories coming from a bit of protein (around 130 grams) and a lot of carbs.

Fats are very calorie dense compared to protein and carbs so be careful! Its easy to go overboard and overeat a lot of fats so measuring them out is key.

As always thanks for stopping by and eat hard! Nutrition is the biggest part of fitness so do your research and see what works best for you. Oh and for more information about foods and testosterone production, check out¬†Anabolicmen. It’s a wealth of information on everything testosterone related, and if it wasn’t for the research done there I wouldn’t know half of what I know.

-Luke

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on¬†Twitter¬†and¬†Bloglovin’¬†to stay up to date on the latest Sweet Machine Fitness recipes and articles!

Check with a physician or qualified healthcare provider before embarking on any changes made to lifestyle, training, supplementation, or eating.

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