Ode to the Almond

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Food Nazi: Nuts to You

Almonds Hardcore weight training: That's the yellow and black Camaro 2SS
sitting out in the driveway ready to blow your mullet clean off.

Got that?

Now, if intense training is the sports car, then what does that make food?

No, Bumblebee, not the gasoline. Food is the steering wheel.

And not getting the right food into your piehole is, without a shadow of a doubt, the brake.

That's
how powerful food is in the bodybuilding game: it steers the direction
of your balls-out training. In fact, as many of us have experienced,
you can take the same training program and turn it into a mass phase or
a cutting phase just through food manipulation.

From the crucial peri-workout feedings to the last meal of the day, the foods you consume drive the results of your gym efforts.

So let's quit spinning the wheels on that Camaro and talk food.
Foods to get you bigger, foods to get you leaner, and foods to make you
live long enough to chase your great-grandkid's girlfriend around the
house, no frickin' electric scooter required.

Anabolic Almonds

Fiber, healthy monounsaturated fats, protein… Yawn.

Yeah, yeah, you know almonds are good for you, but here's something really cool:                                  Toasted almonds + butter = pie crust. F' you, fat-free dieters!Almondpiecrust

In a study published in the International Journal of ORMD,
one group of reduced-calorie dieters enriched their diets with almonds
while another group ate the same amount of calories but consumed no
almonds.

The result? The almond-eaters lost more body fat and
more inches off their waists than the non-almond eaters. Remember, the
study participants ate the same amount of calories.

This
result may be partly due to the fact that the fiber in almonds prevents
some of the calories from fat from being absorbed. "The fiber binds
with a portion of the fat so that it doesn't come into contact with the
intestinal wall," researcher Dr. Michelle Wien, explained. "It just
gets flushed out of the body."

So, almonds are sorta like that
Orlistat weight loss drug and its impotent cousin, Alli, only, you
know, without all the anal leakage and explosive shitting.

Dr.
Jonny Bowden notes that epidemiologic studies universally show that
those who eat the most nuts also tend to have the lowest levels of body
fat. No, you can't eat them by the handful all day long when in a fat
loss stage, but the good fat, the protein, and the fiber content
combine to make almonds super satiating (filling).

Long story
short, make three ounces of almonds part of your summer lean-down or
your next contest prep and you'll lose more body fat than if you
didn't.

Not on a diet? Wanting to get so big that an ox yoke
looks more appropriate on you than a necklace? Well, for the
mass-seeking bodybuilder, almonds provide clean calories and have been
recommended by bodybuilding nutritionists like Mike Roussell for those
seeking to ditch the "skinny-fat" look.

Keep a bag of natural
almonds in your car, your laptop case, or at your desk and snack on
them throughout the day. Just a handful here and there can help you
reach the 800 to 1000 additional calories per day that most hypertrophy experts say are needed to fuel muscle growth without gaining ridiculous amounts of body fat.

Now,
since we all love to eat, here's a badass way to get more almonds into
your diet. As a bonus, if you make this for your wife or girlfriend,
her panties will fly right off and hit the ceiling… and stick.

Almond Orgy Cheesecake                                                       Not all that pretty, but damn tasty. Like that chick you booty-call on Tuesday nights.

IngredientsAlmonddessert

Big package of slivered or sliced almonds
A few pats of omega-3 Smart Balance butter
1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
1.5 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup Splenda or your preferred artificial sweetener
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 8oz package of cream cheese, fat free or plain depending on your goals

Directions

1)
Combine the gelatin with two tablespoons of water. Let sit for five
minutes or so until it thickens up and turns into a hockey puck.

2)
Melt the butter in a pan and toss in enough almonds to cover the bottom
— use a lot for a thick crust, a little for a thin. Toast for a bit,
then toss to coat. Pour butter-coated almonds into pie pan and spread
evenly to form "crust." A springform pan works best. (Ask your granny
to borrow hers.)

3) In a small saucepan, whisk together the almond milk, sweetener, and vanilla. Bring to a boil.

4) Once boiling, add gelatin mixture. Bring down to simmer and whisk until dissolved.

 5)
In a food processor (or even your blender) add cubed cream cheese. Pour
hot almond milk mixture in and pulse until smooth.AlmondFlour                   Not all flour is bad.

5.5) Resist the urge to drink it right out of the blender, Mondo.

6)
Pour mixture into pan over almond crust. Add some extra almonds on top
to make it pretty, 'cause you know you like that stuff, tough guy.
Refrigerate for 2 hours before making a damn fool of yourself eating it
in one sitting while watching Jersey Shore.

Notes and Variations

• Need more quality calories, pencil-neck? Blend in a tablespoon of almond butter along with the cream cheese.


Want a chocolate-almond cheesecake? Use unsweetened chocolate almond
milk or a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. (More on almond milk
below.)

If you make it, hit "discuss" below, show us your pics, and tell us about your variations.

Gotmilk "New" Food Discovery: Milk for Grown-ups

Yeah, I have a hard-on for almonds this month. Beats that one time in 7th grade when I had a hard-on for Funyuns. Now that was embarrassing. But almonds? No shame, baby.

Now, let's piss off half our readership and talk about the only subject more divisive than health care reform: milk.

Milk
is always a controversial topic. Is it a staple bodybuilding food and a
good source of protein? Or is it a toxic sugar-bomb packed with
pregnant-cow hormones (and not the good ones!)?

Bodybuilding
and powerlifting nutritionist Shelby Starnes notes, "I never use milk
and I don't allow my clients to either. Lactose is just not a good carb
source, not to mention many people are allergic to it. Casein and whey
are exceptional protein sources though, but get them on their own from
high quality powders like Metabolic Drive®, without the fat and lactose found in milk."

Dr. Jonny Bowden also recommends against milk, unless it's raw, unprocessed, and straight from the teet.
Not that practical for most of us since raw milk is illegal in 22
states. Plus, in spite of all the raw milk cheerleading, reports still
surface every year of salmonella typhimurium infection caused by raw milk consumption. So, it's tricky stuff.

Plus, I'm not allowed within 100 yards of a cow since the "tipping incident" of 02'. In my defense, the cow tripped as I went to pet it. At 2AM. While on a sangria bender. But still.                                                  Okay, sometimes it's okay for you to lap up every drop of milk in sight.

Survey
most bodybuilding nutritionists and they'll tell the physique-conscious
person to avoid or at least reduce milk intake. It's very allergenic,
it's sugary, it quite possibly decreases Testosterone in males,
and many bodybuilders notice a bloating, abs-blurring effect from it.
And, well, when it comes right down to it, it's kinda weird for human
adults to be drinking baby juice meant to nurse another species.

Sure, sure, milk is better for the skinny 14-year old kid than Pepsi, but not so great for many of us grown-ups.

If
you're one of those lifters who avoids regular milk because of the
lactose or whatever reason, a good substitute has been Calorie
Countdown milk beverage (formerly known as Carb Countdown). Now another
alternative is making its way into the mainstream: almond milk.

Many
lactose intolerant lifters and bovin-lovin' vegans have been making
almond milk for years. The process involves a lot of overnight soaking,
blanching, pealing, and straining. It's a tedious, expensive, and
rather wasteful process to say the least. Thankfully, the Blue Diamond
almond people have brought it to the mass market.

Almondcoffee You can get
the unsweetened variety in plain, vanilla, or chocolate. It contains
only 40 calories per cup, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of carbs (one
of which is derived from fiber). Compare that to regular skim milk,
which has 90 calories per cup, 12 grams of sugar and 13 grams of
questionable carbs.

Now, almond milk isn't a protein source;
it only has a gram per cup. Rather, it's a milk-replacer for recipes,
your Fiber One cereal, or your coffee. I like a big cold glass with one
of Dr. Lonnie Lowery's "lab rabbit" protein cookies.

Look
for almond milk in health food stores and higher-end grocery stores. It
runs about $3.59 per half gallon at my local market. More expensive
than real milk, but hey, cheaper than bullshit soy milk!

Here's a quick way to use it and give Starbucks the finger at the same time:

Almond Iced Coffee

In a shaker bottle, add:
1 or 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 packet artificial sweetener of choice
1 serving instant coffee                                                                                                                            Get lean while simultaneously shooting Starbucks the bird.
Handful of ice

Shake it like you're mad at it, then enjoy.

Options

1. Add a scoop of vanilla or chocolate GROW!™ Bioactive Whey Protein for a snack on the go.

2. Use one of the other flavors of almond milk.

Testosterone Bread                                                                                                Man bread.

Almondbread Bread
— yes, even bread containing whole grains —is a physique wrecking-ball
for many bodybuilders. (And in this context, I'm defining "bodybuilder"
as someone who wants to gain a lot of muscle without unnecessary fat gain.)

As
many of us learned during the fat-free diet crazes of yesteryear,
getting rid of dietary fats and replacing them with junk carbs from
breads not only lead to fat gain, but the lack of dietary fats even
caused Testosterone levels to plummet. Mike Roussell even notes that we
should embrace saturated fat as part of our diets because it likely
helps support healthy Testosterone levels.

The lesson? To get big and V-shaped, ditch the bread and embrace the whole eggs.

Sadly,
tell most people to dump bread and they'll look at you like you just
gave their favorite grandma a purple nurple. During church.

Now we may have a solution here: high fiber, low carb, high protein bread that, as a bonus, also contains some Testosterone-supportive fats.

The secret ingredient? You guessed it: almonds. Actually, almond flour in this case, which became popular after every woman in America decided she was allergic to gluten.

Almond
flour or almond meal is nothing but ground-up almonds. If it says
unblanched that means the skins are left on. Blanched means the skins
are removed which will give you a lighter, whiter, smoother bread if
that's what you prefer. (I used unblanched in the pic you see here.)

Here's
how to make your own T-supportive almond bread. Don't worry, it's so
easy even Ronnie Coleman could make it. If, you know, he could fit into
a kitchen.

Ingredients

2 cups of almond flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
4 whole omega-3 eggs
5 tablespoons of virgin organic coconut oil (heat to liquefy if needed)
1/2 cup hot water
Non-stick baking spray

Directions

1.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. The oven is that boxy thing somewhere
near your fridge. No, not the microwave. The bigger boxy thing. With
knobs 'n shit.

2. Whisk the wet ingredients together. Mix the
dry ingredients together. Now mix both together. The result is swamp
sludge. But it'll look better soon.

3. Pour into a sprayed-up 4 x 8 loaf pan or disposable foil pan.

4. Bake for 40 minutes or so.

5.
Eat in one sitting. Go to sleep. Poo like the god Thor the next
morning. Take a photo of it. Put it on your Facebook wall. Bask in the
glory that is you.

Options

1. This
recipe makes a savory loaf. For a dessert-like bread, add 3 or 4
tablespoons of Splenda, a shot of vanilla extract, dried fruits, and
chopped nuts.

2. Various dried spices like cinnamon, clove,
nutmeg, ginger and allspice add tons of flavor and no unnecessary
calories if you're cutting and keeping meals volumized.

3.
You can also go with 1 cup of almond flour and 1 cup of milled flax
seed. But don't eat that in one sitting or you'll blow your bunghole to
China the next day.

4. Almond flour expert Elana Amsterdam, author of The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook,
says not to use Bob's Red Mill brand of almond flour or your recipes
may turn out runny. She also says to use only the blanched stuff, but
I've had great results with my uncircumcised almonds. So there, Elana.

Bonus Factoid

A study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology
(which I found on the back of TC's office toilet, the nerd) discovered
that finely ground almonds — almond flour in other words —
significantly increased the levels of beneficial gut bacteria.

As
you know, digestion issues are hot topics amongst several TMUSCLE
coaches and nutrition gurus who believe that we've neglected that part
of the bodybuilding equation for far too long.

Wrap-up

Steer the direction of your training efforts. Use foods like almonds tactically to manipulate your body into packing on more muscle and dumping excess body fat.

That's right, body-build with heavy weights, cheesecake, a coffee drink, and bread. Whoulda thunk it?

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