Casting for Regular Families

TV CASTING: Are finances and money making your family stressed? Do you wish you had more savings and less credit card debt? Are you and your family living paycheck to paycheck? Is your financial situation stressful? Do you have interesting ways to save money? Did someone in your family recently lose their job? Or take a second one to help with money? Do you think more money would make your problems go away? A major cable network is looking for middle-class American families to share what they are doing to make ends meet. Times are better for some people but we know that money is still the number one stressor in people’s lives. This series will follow families from across the country to show what they do to support themselves. If you and your family have always thought you’d make an amazing reality show — and are not afraid to share your opinions with each other — then we’d love to hear from you. Please email with your: Name Photo Email Address Phone # and best time to reach you Current job / profession AND MOST IMPORTANTLY … Tell us why you and your family are PERFECT for this series! *THIS IS NOT AN ACTING ROLE *THIS IS A DOCUMENTARY SERIES WHERE YOU WILL BE YOURSELF. *YOUR REAL LIFE MUST BE A MATCH FOR THIS PROJECT

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Sushi Healthy

Quinoa, lauded as a “superfood,” was rated healthy by about 90 percent of nutritionists. Ordinary Americans were uncertain.

Both nutritionists and the public were split about the healthiness of many common items, including butter, red meat, whole milk and cheddar cheese. 

No food elicited a greater difference of opinion between experts and the public than granola bars. About 70 percent of Americans called it healthy, but less than 30 percent of nutritionists did.

Is popcorn good for you? What about pizza, orange juice or sushi? Or frozen yogurt, pork chops or quinoa?

Which foods are healthy? In principle, it’s a simple enough question, and a person who wishes to eat more healthily should reasonably expect to know which foods to choose at the supermarket and which to avoid.

Unfortunately, the answer is anything but simple.

The Food and Drug Administration recently agreed to review its standards for what foods can be called “healthy,” a move that highlights how much of our nutritional knowledge has changed in recent years – and how much remains unknown.

With the Morning Consult, a media and polling firm, we surveyed hundreds of nutritionists – members of the American Society for Nutrition – asking them whether they thought certain food items (about 50) were healthy. The Morning Consult also surveyed a representative sample of the American electorate, asking the same thing.

The results suggest a surprising diversity of opinion, even among experts. Yes, some foods, like kale, apples and oatmeal, are considered “healthy” by nearly everyone. And some, like soda, french fries and chocolate chip cookies, are not. But in between, some foods appear to benefit from a positive public perception, while others befuddle the public and experts alike. (We’re looking at you, butter.)

“Twenty years ago, I think we knew about 10 percent of what we need to know” about nutrition, said Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “And now we know about 40 or 50 percent.”

Here’s what we found.

Foods considered healthier by the public than by experts
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Granola bar 28% 71%
Coconut oil 37% 72%
Frozen yogurt 32% 66%
Granola 47% 80%
SlimFast shake 21% 47%
Orange juice 62% 78%
American cheese 24% 39%

Of the 52 common foods that we asked experts and the public to rate, none had a wider gap than granola bars. More than 70 percent of ordinary Americans we surveyed described it as healthy, but less than a third of nutritional experts did. A similar gap existed for granola, which less than half of nutritionists we surveyed described as healthy.

Several of the foods considered more healthful by everyday Americans than by experts, including frozen yogurt, a SlimFast shake and granola bars, have something in common: They can contain a lot of added sugar. In May, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new template for nutrition labels, and one priority was to clearly distinguish between sugars that naturally occur in food and sugars that are added later to heighten flavors. (You’d be surprised how many foods contain added sugar.) It’s possible nutritionists know this, but the public still does not.

Foods considered healthier by experts than by the public
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Quinoa 89% 58%
Tofu 85% 57%
Sushi 75% 49%
Hummus 90% 66%
Wine 70% 52%
Shrimp 85% 69%

On the other end of the spectrum, several foods received a seal of approval from our expert panel but left nonexperts uncertain. Most surprising to us was the reaction to quinoa, a “superfood” grain so often praised as healthful that it has become the subject of satire. (At the moment, The New York Times cooking site offers 167 recipes for quinoa, roughly a third of which are explicitly tagged “healthy.”)

In addition, tofu, sushi, hummus, wine and shrimp were all rated as significantly more healthful by nutritionists than by the public. Why?

One reason may be that many of them are new foods in the mainstream American diet. Our colleague Neil Irwin measured mentions of trendy foods in Times coverage over the years, and found that quinoa had only recently picked up steam. Others may reflect mixed messages in press coverage of the healthfulness of foods. Shrimp was long maligned for its high rate of dietary cholesterol, though recent guidelines have changed. And public messages about the healthfulness of alcohol are conflicting: While moderate drinking appears to have some health benefits, more consumption can obviously have real health costs.

We weren’t surprised to find areas in which both ordinary Americans and experts disagreed.

We expect researchers to be better informed about current research, and everyday consumers to be more susceptible to the health claims of food marketers, even if the claims are somewhat dubious.

But some of the foods in our survey split both the public and our panel of experts.

Foods that both experts and the public have mixed feelings about
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Popcorn 61% 52%
Pork chops 59% 52%
Whole milk 63% 59%
Steak 60% 63%
Cheddar cheese 57% 56%

Four of the foods listed above – steak, cheddar cheese, whole milk and pork chops – tend to have a lot of fat. And fat is a topic few experts can agree on. Years ago, the nutritional consensus was that fat, and particularly the saturated fat found in dairy and red meat, was bad for your heart. Newer studies are less clear, and many of the fights among nutritionists tend to be about the right amount of protein and fat in a healthy diet.

The uncertainty about these foods, as expressed both by experts and ordinary Americans, reflects the haziness of the nutritional evidence about them. (If you’re a steak lover and you find this news discouraging, our colleague Aaron Carroll has written that red meat is probably fine in moderation.)

It’s clear that many shoppers do want to eat healthful foods but are unsure what to choose. To gain some perspective on this, we asked Google which foods were most commonly part of a simple search: “Is [blank] healthy?” We used these results to generate some of our survey questions. The food people were likeliest to ask about was also one nutritionists generally approve of: sushi.

Is _________ healthy? What American internet users searched for most often

4.peanut butter
11.brown rice
15.cottage cheese
18.rye bread
23.white rice
26.dark chocolate
27.coconut milk
29.canned tuna
30.feta cheese
32.frozen yogurt
33.beef jerky
36.chinese food
38.greek yogurt
39.brown sugar
41.sparkling water
42.turkey bacon
45.sourdough bread
46.smoked salmon
47.dried fruit
48.miso soup
49.Indian food
50.Basmati rice

There are some areas of nutritional consensus. Nearly everyone agreed that oranges, apples, oatmeal and chicken could safely be described as healthy, and also agreed that chocolate chip cookies, bacon, white bread and soda could not.

Foods that both groups think are unhealthy
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Hamburgers 28% 29%
Beef jerky 23% 27%
Diet soda 18% 16%
White bread 15% 18%
Chocolate chip cookies 6% 10%
Foods that both groups think are healthy
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Apples 99% 96%
Oranges 99% 96%
Oatmeal 97% 92%
Chicken 91% 91%
Turkey 91% 90%
Peanut butter 81% 79%
Baked potatoes 72% 71%

Where does this leave a well-meaning but occasionally confused shopper? Reassured, perhaps: Nutrition science is sometimes murky even to experts.

Your overall diet probably matters a lot more than whether you follow rigid rules or eat just one “good” or “bad” food. Our colleague Aaron Carroll has published a list of common-sense rules for healthful eating, which represents a good start.

We also asked our experts whether they considered their own diet healthful, and how they described it. Ninety-nine percent of nutritionists said their diet was very or somewhat healthy. The most popular special diet type was “Mediterranean”; 25 percent of our nutritionists picked it. But the most common answer, even for experts, was “no special rules or restrictions.”

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Pink Drink by Jim Elser

I’m not sure exactly how Jim Elser FBA Team of the Year and big time champion makes a pink drink but I’ll take a stab. 

Jim Makes the best drinks in the World. 

Pink Drink

75% Vodka

23% Lemonade

2% Cranberry Juice

100 % Hell Yeah!

Sweet Smoke Q has created the best injections in the world and the best Pink Drinks in the world for sure!  If you do try to replicate this drink please raise your glass and cheer for Jim Elser and Sweet Smoke Q.

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Intermittent Fasting

The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is the practice of abstaining or reducing consumption of food, drink, or both, for a specific period of time. Everyone fasts for at least some part of the day, generally the eight or so hours that one spends sleeping every night. Physiologically, fasting can refer to a person’s metabolic status after not eating overnight, or even the metabolic state after the complete digestion of a meal. Once you’ve gone eight to 12 hours without eating, the body enters a state of “fasting.”

The practice of fasting can lead to a number of metabolic changes within the body. These changes typically begin approximately three to five hours after eating, when the body enters a “post-absorptive” state – rather than the state on ongoing digestion, where eating frequent meals means the body is always involved in some sort of digestive activity.

Intermittent Fasting

Whether you practice more long-term fasting for health reasons or for spiritual reasons, most people will have to fast at some point for medical reasons. Patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures that require a general anaesthetic will usually fast prior to the treatment, but fasting is also practiced before a number of other medical tests, including cholesterol testing, blood glucose measuring, or a lipid panel. This enables doctors to achieve accurate results and establish a solid baseline to inform future testing, if necessary.

Here are 15 amazing benefits of intermittent fasting.

One: weight loss

Instead of running on fuel from the food you just ate, fasting allows your body to tap into reserves – fat, which accumulates on the body to be burned whenever food supply grows scarce. This results in a slow, steady weight loss that can be a huge benefit.

Since fasting is often incorporated as a lifestyle change instead of a temporary fix, this type of diet is much more sustainable than many other “crash diets.” In fact, many studies support the practice as a valuable, reliable tool for weight loss and weight maintenance. Initially, you’ll see a marked weight loss as a result of losing water weight, but according to the author of Eat Stop Eat, each day you fast will show a loss of 0.5 pounds of true body fat.

Two: improved tolerance of glucose

For diabetics, fasting can be a fantastic way to normalize glucose and even improve glucose variability. Anyone looking for a natural way to increase insulin sensitivity should attempt an intermittent fast, as the effects of fasting can make a huge difference in how your body processes glucose.

Generally, insulin resistance is the result of accumulation of glucose in tissues that aren’t built for fat storage. As the body burns through stored fuel in the form of body fat, that excess accumulation becomes smaller and smaller, allowing the cells in your muscles and liver to grow increasingly responsive to insulin – great news for anyone looking to be less dependent on medications to assist these processes.

Three: boosts metabolism

Part of the reason intermittent fasting helps practitioners lose weight is because the restriction of food, followed by regular eating, can help stimulate your metabolism. While long-term fasting can actually cause a drop in your metabolism, the shorter fasts promoted by intermittent fasting have proven to increase metabolism – by up to 14 per cent, reported by one study.

This is also a more effective tool than long-term calorie restriction, which can often wreak havoc on the body’s metabolism. Weight loss often goes hand in hand with muscle loss – and since muscle tissue is what burns through calories, having less muscle leads to a drop in your body’s ability to metabolize food. Intermittent fasting, though, keeps your metabolism running smoothly by helping you maintain your muscle tissue as much as possible.

Four: longevity

Research from University of Chicago scientists revealed that intermittent fasting can “delay the development of the disorders that lead to death” – meaning that regular practitioners can enjoy a longer, healthier life than people who eat a regular three meals a day or follow a traditional restricted-calorie diet.

A theory on this, according to head of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience laboratory Mark Mattson, is that the mild stress that intermittent fasting puts on the body provides a constant threat – increasing the body’s powerful cellular defenses against potential molecular damage. Intermittent fasting also stimulates the body to maintain and repair tissues, keeping every organ and cell functioning effectively and efficiently.

Five: understanding hunger

It’s important to learn how to accurately decipher the signals your body gives you, and intermittent fasting is a great way to understand the cycle of hunger. Before true hunger sets in and the body, if not fed, enters starvation mode, you’ll feel pangs of “hunger” that can generally be attributed to psychological cravings. This emotional desire is confused with hunger all the time, but fasting will give practitioners the opportunity to experience real “hunger pains” in the stomach, and even withdrawal and detox symptoms associated with our usual consumption of processed foods.

You’ll also develop a deeper appreciation of food – if you’ve ever eaten after a period of “true hunger,” you’ll know what eating is supposed to feel like. Each bite tastes more delicious than the last, and you’ll experience a sensation of deep contentment and pleasure. It’s absolutely worth the hunger you endured to get here.

Six: establishes routine

Unless you’re following a random fast type of diet, having strict eating times followed by periods of fasting can help your body develop a solid routine. You’ll be able to recognize your own hunger cycles, you’ll sleep more regularly and soundly, and you’ll start scheduling appointments during convenient hours. It can be difficult to establish this routine at first, especially if you have a family or an inflexible work schedule, but once you’ve developed a consistent plan, you’ll soon start to see all the ways a set routine can benefit your life – and your health.

Seven: stimulates brain function

A study, discussed at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in 2015, revealed that intermittent fasting offers “enormous implications for brain health.” According to the study, which was undertaken on both humans and animals, stimulates the brain in a number of different ways: promotes the growth of neurons, aids in recovery following a stroke or other brain injury, and enhances memory performance. Not only does intermittent fasting help decrease a practitioner’s risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, there is evidence to show that it may actually even improve both cognitive function and quality of life for people living with those conditions already.

Eight: boosts immune system

According to scientists at the University of Southern California, fasting has the power to “regenerate the entire immune system” by boosting the body’s production of new white blood cells, which is how your body fights off infection. Fasting in cycles, like practitioners of intermittent fasting will do on a daily or weekly basis, enables your body to purge the damaged, old, or inefficient parts of the immune system, and replace them with newly generated immune system cells.

Studies showed that a 72 hour fast was even enough to help protect cancer patients from the harmful and toxic effects of chemotherapy treatments – which generally causes significant damage to the patient’s immune system. Further clinical trials are needed, but many researchers are confident that intermittent fasting could be incredibly helpful for immunocompromised individuals and the elderly.

Nine: rejuvenates skin

Acne sufferers know that one of the best ways to control bothersome skin conditions is through diet – eating only unprocessed foods and limiting consumption of dairy products. It’s no surprise, then, that regular intermittent fasting can offer impressive benefits that can be seen all over a practitioner’s glowing, radiant face. Many of these conditions are caused from food sensitivities, which can lead to inflammatory conditions and acne. After a fast, introduce foods one at a time and note any changes to your skin, to accurately pinpoint which foods should be avoided.

Intermittent fasting also has a positive effect on your hair and nails, helping them grow healthy and strong. Not only will you feel good after incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, you’ll look great, too.

Ten: improves spiritual well-being

Fasting is practiced by almost every religion around the world – it’s no surprise, then, that a lifestyle that includes intermittent fasting could lead to a deepened sense of spirituality. Regular practitioners have reported feeling at peace during their fasts, and studies have proven that fasting can help regulate mood by reducing levels of anxiety and stress. In fact, fasting is recommended as a natural treatment for a variety of emotional and sexual problems.

Whether or not you fast for religious reasons, intermittent fasting will help you feel more connected to nature and the world around you, and you’ll benefit from having a clear mind and a positive outlook.

Eleven: reduces oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance in the body’s production of reactive oxygen and its antioxidative defenses, and may lead to chronic diseases and cancers. Unstable molecules, known as free radicals, can react with important molecules like DNA and protein – damaging these molecules and creating an imbalance.

The weight reduction brought on by regular intermittent fasting can lead to a reduction in the body’s level of oxidative stress, helping prevent the development of these unpleasant conditions. A greater antioxidant capability is a huge benefit that comes with intermittent fasting, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking to pursue improved health and well-being.

Twelve: improves heart function

A lower body fat percentage has wide-reaching benefits through the entire body, but possibly none more important than cardiac function. Consistently, studies have shown that Mormon populations show lower cardiac mortality – generally attributed to the fact that the people who follow the religion don’t smoke, drink, or eat large amounts of meat. In addition, Mormons practice intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting can lead to a reduction in cholesterol levels – particularly triglycerides, which the body uses to create energy. Having less body fat also takes some strain off the kidneys, lowering blood pressure and increasing the body’s production of growth hormones. Combined, these wonderful benefits can mean a significant improvement in heart function.

Thirteen: helps prevent cancer

Intermittent fasting’s impressive ability to stimulate growth hormone production is also important for reducing a practitioner’s risk of developing a number of types of cancer. Regular eating triggers the body to produce more and more new cells – which can inadvertently speed up the growth of certain cancer cells. Fasting, however, gives your body a bit of a rest from this activity, and lessens the possibility of new cells becoming cancerous.

In addition, studies have indicated that when combined with chemotherapy, a “fast-like diet” can help tear down the protection that prevents the immune system from attacking breast cancer and skin cancer cells.

Fourteen: speeds healing and recovery

Exercise while on a fast can be tricky, but there are some powerful benefits to be gained by combining the two – especially when you can get a solid workout in at the end of your period of not eating. Some studies have reported that after three weeks of regular overnight fasting, endurance cyclists noted a more rapid post-workout recovery – with no decrease in performance. Studies examining weight training in a fasted state showed an increase to the subject’s “intramyocellular anabolic response” to the post-workout meal, indicating that the period of fasting upped some of the body’s physiological indicators of muscular growth.

Even if these studies aren’t entirely conclusive, the healing power fasting and the improvements to your sleep and eating habits definitely aids the body in recovering from a workout, no matter how intense it is.

Fifteen: triggers autopathy

During a fast, the body’s cells begin to undertake a process called autopathy. Over time, dysfunctional or damaged proteins can build up within cells, and this waste removal process helps the body filter out this excess material. This process is an important part of the body’s ability to repair and detoxify, and some researchers assert that increased autopathy offers a boost in protection from a number of diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Autophagy helps cells overcome stresses brought on from external causes like the deprivation of important nutrients, as well as internal issues like pathogens or invading infections organisms.

Suggested meals

Generally, intermittent fasting means you can eat whatever foods you like – within specific feeding windows, and as long as you are getting the nutrients you need. If your goal is to achieve the benefits of intermittent fasting, you won’t get there by indulging on fast food and candy. Use these meal ideas to help come up with some nutritious ways to fuel and nourish your body during your specific eating windows or periods of partial fasting.

Under 300 calorie suggestions:

  • one serving of oatmeal: approximately 250 calories
  • roasted vegetables with balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon: approximately 260 calories
  • pesto salmon with kale: approximately 290 calories
  • sausage with roasted ratatouille: approximately 260 calories
  • prawn and squash curry: approximately 290 calories

Under 200 calorie suggestions:

  • light salad with spinach, feta cheese, lemon, and beetroot: approximately 150 calories
  • sliced apple with 1 tbsp of nut butter: approximately 145 calories
  • 100g serving of low-fat yogurt, 1sp of raw honey, 2 sliced plums: approximately 150 calories
  • omelette with spinach: approximately 160 calories
  • 40g of hummus and a bowl of raw vegetables: approximately 175 calories

Under 100 calorie suggestions:

  • one serving of miso soup: approximately 40 calories
  • one soft boiled egg: approximately 70 calories
  • lightly salted edamame beans: approximately 85 calories
  • handful of almonds: approximately 90 calories
  • one chopped and peeled kiwi: approximately 45 calories

These meals can be combined and altered to suit your taste, but it’s a good idea to try and keep each meal small and easy for your body to process. Focus on eating raw fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, organic lean protein, plenty of fibre, and lots of healthy fats to ensure that during your scheduled eating windows, you’re getting all the nutrients you need to keep your energy level up and satisfy you through your periods of partial or complete fasting.

Types of fasts

People practice fasting for a wide range of reasons, so there are a number of types of fasts to accommodate this variety of needs. Most will offer similar benefits, so there is really no type of fasting that is necessarily superior to others – it comes down to what works for an individual’s lifestyle, faith, or general well-being.

Dry Fasting

This type of fasting is done without food or water. A soft dry fast allows the individual to shower and brush their teeth, but an absolute dry fast, or a black fast, requires no contact with water whatsoever. This type of fasting is the most extreme, and is typically practiced as a spiritual act rather than for health reasons.

Liquid Fasting

While fully abstaining from solid food, a liquid fast allows individuals to consume water or juice – and has become quite trendy since the “Master Cleanse” or Lemonade Diet was introduced in the 1970s. This type of fast is typically short-lived, lasting between one to three days, and can include the use of laxatives and enemas to ensure full cleansing of the body’s lower digestive tract.

Partial Fasting

Also referred to as “selective fasting,” this type of fasting is incorporated into many cleanse diets or mono-diets. This means either limiting the amount of solid food consumed, or limiting consumption to specific types of food, like eating only brown rice, grapefruit, or apples.

Intermittent Fasting

This type of fasting involves sticking to a diet that cycles frequently between a period of fasting and a period of non-fasting. There are various ways to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle – alternate day fasting, one day per week fasting, or 24-hour plans – but all provide similar benefits.

Planning an intermittent fast

Intermittent fasting is one of the easiest ways to see the benefits of fasting without making huge lifestyle adjustments – but it certainly takes a bit of planning. Luckily, there are tons of recommended schedules to help you figure out when to eat and when not to eat, which means that there is an intermittent fast plan that can accommodate pretty much any schedule or lifestyle. Before embarking on a specific plan, consider what you want from the fast – are you looking to lose weight? Support a training plan? Make it a part of your regular healthy lifestyle? These factors will all play a role in helping you choose an intermittent fast schedule that will work for you.

16/8 Fast (also known as Leangains)

Fitness expert Martin Berkhan popularized this method of fasting, requiring practitioners to fast for 14 to 16 hours each day, with a restricted eating period of only eight to 10 hours – typically, you’d finish dinner at around 8 p.m. and then not eat again until noon the following day. Women sometimes have a more difficult time with longer fasts, so many women adjust this schedule to include a fast period of 14 to 15 hours, instead of the recommended 16.

For people who don’t eat breakfast, this type of fast will feel incredibly natural, but big breakfast eaters will have a harder time waiting all morning before eating their first meal. However, during your feeding window, practitioners are encouraged to fit in 2 to 3 healthy meals. Water, coffee, and other calorie-free beverages are allowed during fast periods, to help curb excessive hunger.

Possible 16/8 Fast (Leangains) Schedule

Sunday night, 8pm: finish eating last meal of the day

Sunday night, 11pm: go to bed (fast time – 3 hours, so far)

Monday morning, 7am: wake up (fast time – 11 hours, so far)

Monday morning, until 12pm: continue fasting, drinking only calorie-free beverages

Monday, noon: Fast time – 16 hours!

Monday afternoon, until 8pm: enjoy one or more meals, sticking to healthy choices

Monday night, 8pm: restart 16 hour fast

5:2 Fast

This would be considered more of a partial fast, as practitioners never truly abstain from solid foods – the diet encourages normal eating for five days of the week, with two days of restricted calorie intake, generally between 500-600 calories per day.

Popularized by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley, this diet allows for an easier adjustment for people who have never counted calories before – but in order to achieve the benefits of the fast, it’s important to eat healthy, nutritious foods both during the fast days and on regular diet days, as well.

Possible 5:2 Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: follow reduced calorie diet – throughout the day, consume only 500-600 calories

Tuesday: eat normally

Wednesday: eat normally

Thursday: reduce calories again, staying between a daily total of 500-600 calories

Friday: eat normally

Saturday: eat normally – continue to fuel your body with nutritious foods

24-hour Fast

Whether you decide to begin fasting after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, under this diet plan, you wouldn’t eat again until the same meal the next day – after 24 hours of straight fasting. This method has been quite popular for the last few years, after being touted by fitness expert Brad Pilon.

It’s important to ensure that your diet remains healthy, and that you’re not overeating during your feeding periods – especially if one of your goals is to lose weight. It can be difficult to adjust to this type of fast, so experts recommend starting with 14 to 16 hours and working your way up to a full 24-hour fast. One day per week is challenging enough, and those who plan to attempt to 24-hour fasting periods each week should take care to get enough rest and limit physical activity during the fasts.

Again, during the 24-hour fasting period, non-caloric beverages like water or coffee are permitted.

Possible 24-hour Fast Schedule

Saturday night, 8pm: finish eating last meal of the day

Saturday night, 11pm: go to bed (fast time – 3 hours, so far)

Sunday morning, 7am: wake up (fast time – 11 hours, so far)

Sunday, all day, until 8pm: continue fasting, using non-caloric beverages to curb hunger

Sunday night, 8pm: Fast time – 24 hours! Enjoy a healthy meal, you’ve earned it

Alternate-Day Fast

This is a rather extreme type of fast, which can be undertaken in varying degrees of intensity. Some practitioners don’t eat at all during the fasting period, while others do a partial fast with a drastically reduced intake of calories, around 500 for the day.

Since this type of fasting is difficult, it’s not recommended for beginners or people who are looking to introduce a sustainable lifestyle change. However, it has proven to be very effective in helping practitioners gain a wide range of health benefits.

Possible Alternate Day Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: eat sparingly, sticking to a 500-600 calorie limit

Tuesday: eat normally

Wednesday: partial fast, consume no more than 500-600 calories

Thursday: eat normally

Friday: limit intake to 500-600 calories for the day

Saturday: eat normally – focus on nutrition

Warrior Diet

After fasting or eating small amounts of raw produce throughout the day, practitioners of this type of partial fast end the day with a huge meal in the evening, within a four-hour feeding window. This style of fasting rose to notoriety in recent years thanks to fitness guru Ori Hofmekler, and was one of the first popular diets to incorporate intermittent fasting.

The Warrior Diet is based on the theory that “ancient warriors” ate lightly during the day, if at all – and feasted in the evening after bringing home their “hunt.” With this diet, your food intake will consist primarily of one evening meal, and won’t require any calorie counting.

Possible Warrior Diet Fast Schedule

Saturday night, 6pm: finish eating last meal

Saturday night, 11pm: go to bed

Sunday morning, 7am: wake up

Sunday, 7am to 5pm: enjoy calorie-free beverages, snacks of raw fruits and vegetables

Sunday, 5pm: enjoy a large, healthy dinner

Random Fast

This type of fasting is something we all do from time to time – skipping a meal on occasion, when you’re not hungry enough to eat or when you’re too busy to take the time to prepare a meal and sit down to eat it. There is a misconception out there that if you don’t eat every few hours, your body will go into “starvation mode” and start burning muscle, but this kind of eating is actually fairly typical of how our ancestors lived.

Before we learned how to preserve foods for later consumption, meals were eaten whenever food was available. Following this kind of eating schedule can provide similar benefits to any other type of fasting, but is much easier to accommodate into a busy lifestyle. A Paleo type diet is recommended when practicing a spontaneous type of fasting, and can be a challenge for people who need structure and routine.

Possible Random Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: skip breakfast, eat a healthy lunch and healthy dinner

Tuesday: reduce calorie intake to 500-600 for the day

Wednesday: eat normally

Thursday: eat normally

Friday: skip breakfast and lunch before eating a large, healthy dinner

Saturday: snack throughout the day, limit to 500-600 calories

If none of these types of fasts can work with your lifestyle, don’t lose hope. Fasting doesn’t have to follow strict rules or schedules – find a fasting style that works for you. Experts recommend making one small change at a time and maintaining that adjustment for at least two weeks, to give yourself a chance to evaluate whether the change works for you or not. Then, continue to introduce further small changes as needed, until you’ve reached your ultimate goal.

Keep in mind that no matter what kind of schedule you decide to follow for your intermittent fasting, you should never go more than 36 hours without eating. When you do eat, make sure you’re eating healthy, nutritious meals – not enjoying “cheat days” by bingeing on junk food. Fasting isn’t just about not eating, it’s about helping your body function in a more effective, efficient way, and filling it with empty calories and various chemicals isn’t conducive to the process.

Can I exercise while fasting?

Since food provides your body with the fuel necessary to get through a tough workout, it is beneficial to exercise during your fast – as long as you do it correctly. Your body generally uses stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to power you through your workout. During a fast, when your glycogen reserves are depleted, your body will be forced to turn to other energy sources for fuel – like fat. However, experts recommend that if you’re fasting, keep your workouts short.

“When glycogen is in short supply, your body also reverts to breaking down protein – your muscles’ building blocks – for fuel,” said Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University and a board-certified sports dietetics specialist.

This means that even though you will likely burn more fat if you’re exercising on an empty stomach, you could also start burning protein if you work out too hard without fueling your body with carbs – leading to a loss of muscle mass, in addition to fat.

Without food, you’ll also feel the weakening effects of lowered levels of glycogen and blood sugar. As your body adjusts to regular intermittent fasting, you’ll be able to handle this energy loss a bit better, but initially, overdoing it with your workouts could be detrimental. Make sure you’re getting enough rest to compensate for your lowered energy level before you attempt to get on the bike or start pounding the pavement.

Challenges to expect during a fast

Fasting can be a difficult practice to incorporate into a busy lifestyle, especially for individuals who have never monitored meals or counted calories in the past. For people who are newly adopting a healthy diet and exercise program, it’s a good idea to develop a routine and let your body adjust before attempting to bring in an intermittent fast plan.

Working your scheduled fast periods around your family, job, and other commitments can also be a struggle. If you have the support of your workplace and your loved ones as you incorporate fasting into your life, it will be a lot easier to stick to your eating routine. Since you will likely face a brief period of lowered energy and some mood swings initially, it can be beneficial to arrange for your first fasts to fall on weekends, or days with less scheduled activity. Be prepared to feel a bit rundown as your body adjusts to a new eating schedule.

People who have struggled with eating disorders in the past can find that fasting may trigger relapses – particularly binge eaters. The hunger that can develop during a period of fasting could lead you to overeat during your feeding days, but this is generally not a problem for people who have a healthy attitude toward food and eating. If you’ve experienced food-related mental health issues, a diet that incorporates any period of fasting for longer than eight to 12 hours might not be appropriate.

Finally, fasting is generally not a good idea if you’re pregnant. When your body is growing another human inside it, you’ll need to fuel it frequently and make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need in regular doses – however, there is no research to show that fasting is a harmful practice for pregnant women. Some Muslim women do choose to practice fasting during Ramadan even throughout a pregnancy, but all pregnant women are encouraged to discuss drastic dietary changes with their doctor to ensure it will be safe for the baby.

Fasting throughout history

For thousands of years, fasting has been promoted as a spiritual healing practice, employed by religions around the world. The widely recognized “father of modern medicine,” Hippocrates of Cos, wrote, “to eat when you are sick is to feed your illness.” Hippocrates regularly prescribed fasting as a way to speed healing from a variety of ailments.

The practice was also adopted by Greek writers and philosophers Plato, Aristotle, and Plutarch, who wrote, “instead of using medicine, better fast today.” Ancient Greeks much preferred using natural healing methods – and since humans, like animals, lose their appetite when suffering from an illness, this universal human instinct is embraced through the practice of fasting.

Even more modern thinkers have recognized the value of fasting as a way to encourage the body’s natural healing process – including Philip Paracelsus and Benjamin Franklin. However, the practice has been primarily utilized by religious groups. Virtually every religion in the world promotes fasting as for spiritual reasons, since the practice has been touted in the scriptures of Jesus Christ, Buddha, and the prophet Muhammed. Cleansing, or purification, has been embraced by a wide variety of religions and cultures throughout history.

Buddhists will often eat first thing in the morning and then fast for the rest of the day – going without solid food until the next morning, when they wake up. Water fasts are also regularly practiced by Buddhists, sometimes lasting for days or weeks. Traditional fasting is frequently practiced by Greek Orthodox Christians, for up to 180 to 200 days of each year. For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan requires nightly fasting from sunrise to sunset, and weekly fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is also recommended by Muhammad. Judaism, Hinduism, Gnosticism, and even South and North American Indian traditions also incorporate various forms of fasting.

While modern western medicine is somewhat reluctant to accept the traditional, natural remedies of the past, the practice of fasting has managed to continue to this day. In the 1970s, the idea of “cleanse diets” emerged as a solution to help people lose weight and detoxify their bodies, and the popularity of yoga has encouraged more modern practitioners to embrace fasting as an Ayurvedic healing therapy. As more people recognize the power of the mind-body connection, the more important these self-healing practices will become – and the fact that many groups and individuals continue to fast to this day proves this ancient practice has earned a place in the modern world.

written by Jen Reviews

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From Backyard to BBQ Competition

From Backyard to BBQ Competition


So you consider yourself a decent BBQ cook. You’ve spent countless hours perfecting your craft and all your friends and family rave about how good your cooking is. Well, it’s time to take your BBQ to the next level and enter your very first local completion. The problem is, you don’t even know what the first step is and the more you think about it, the more overwhelming the whole idea becomes. You know you love to cook awesome BBQ, but simply do not know where to start.


Our backyard to completion guide is here to help. In it we cover what to expect, what you can anticipate on spending, and some tips and tricks to make sure you stand the best shot at taking home the prize.


How Competitions Weekend are Structured


Most competitions start Friday afternoon, as everyone participating starts to arrive and has their meat checked in. There will also usually be some sort of cook meetings to familiarize you with the rules, and many times also include music and festivities. For friends and family that have come along, this is usually the best part of the weekend!


Most teams will plan on getting their smokers going Friday evening, and putting in their pork and brisket butt so it can smoke overnight. Then, Saturday morning is generally when teams will put their chicken and ribs on the smoker to get those going. If you’ve ever seen a competition in person or on TV, you’ve probably seen the contestants preparing the meat in presentation box with parsley and lettuce. This will take place sometime on Saturday before you actually turn it into the judges.


Most competitions will follow the following structure: Chicken should be at the judging tent by 12:00 p.m., pork butt is at 1:00 p.m., and brisket finishes it off at 1:30 p.m.


Depending on the competition, there may be additional categories like sauce, sausage, etc., and some will also vary the above turn-in times, but those are very rare in my experience. Remember, any later than up to 5 minutes before turn in time will result in a disqualification. Judging is typically over by 2:00 p.m. and an official representative of the KCBS enters the cards into the computer. The award ceremony follows by about 1-2 hours. This window is usually when you pack up all of your gear and equipment.


At the awards ceremony, you will have the chance to congratulate and root for your fellow contestants. This is one of the best things about competitions and the BBQ community in general. Everyone sincerely wishes success for everyone else, and at the end of the day it’s all about good BBQ.


Now that we have a very generally idea of how everything is laid out, let’s get into some nitty-gritty details.


Tips to Prepare for Your First BBQ Competition


In my opinion, one of the best things you can do to familiarize yourself with the process and take some of the fear out of the whole thing is by attending competitions as a spectator before competing yourself. If you go on Friday night, you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and pick the brains of people who are already seasoned. The BBQ community is incredibly friendly and more than willing to share their knowledge of competition practice to someone looking to become involved. Also, they will be much less busy Friday night than they are on Saturday.


However, even though most teams will be too busy to chat on Saturday, keep your eyes peeled. By simply watching and observing, you will no doubt pick up on invaluable information and smoking/cooking techniques. Pay extra close attention to the timelines, and when the teams start preparing their boxes and bringing them to the judging tent. Before I started competing, I actually volunteered in and around the tents and learned a lot in exchange for my time.


Another great way to learn is to become a volunteer judge. This is probably some of the best prep you could ever receive and it’s a lot of fun, too! There are no real prerequisites outside of a love of good BBQ, but you may want to consider a judging class, which is offered by the KCBS. Make sure to call ahead and get everything squared away with the coordinators and don’t just show up and expect the competition to accommodate you. Also, make sure you look at the KCBS rules handbook before you attempt to help judge a competition. You can acquire one of these through the KCBS office and if you have any questions, they will be happy to clarify any points you might not totally understand.


When you do finally enter your first competition, it’s helpful to take a more measured approach and just enter one or two categories at first. You obviously won’t be in contention for the top prizes, but only having one or two things to focus on will make the experience more manageable and much less stressful, especially your first time at bat. Some competitions will offer “fun” categories and these are a great idea for beginners as it will offer you your best shot at going home with a ribbon.


Selecting Your First BBQ Competition


When people ask me how to choose their first cook-off, I usually recommend something small and local. It does not need to be a large sanctioned contest to give you a good experience and a true sense of what the competition environment feels like. I also recommend contacting the organizer to inquire about how many teams they had participate the year before. If it was fewer than 20, you know that the event will be more relaxed and a better opportunity to get your feet wet. Plus, with a smaller competition, you will most likely get more individualize “fist-timer” attention.


Also important for your first competition is mindset. Don’t go into it expecting to take the whole thing. It normally takes a few times to go home with a ribbon. However, taking the time to find a smaller event does increase your chances.


How Many Team Members Do I Need?


I have seen many teams crush a competition with only one or two people, but somewhere between four and six is more common. It doesn’t matter who makes up those people, as long as they are up for a little hard work and a lot of fun. And since there are some costs associated with entering and cooking, it’s nice to have a group to spread that out over.


How to Choose a Team Name?


When participating in a competition, you’re going to need a team name. Get together with your teammates and figure out something that fits and is representative of the group.  Make sure to get creative and have some fun with it, but also remember that there will be other people at the cook-off, most with families.


How much is This Going to Cost Me?


Most competitions have a $100 fee to enter, but some are lower than that and some are higher. When purchasing all your meat and various ingredients, you can reasonably expect to also spend about $100, and another $100 for other expenses like miscellaneous equipment, food to eat throughout the weekend, etc. While some teams are going to go the extra miles and make sure to procure specialty (and expensive) meats, you can easily make it out the door for $300.


What Do I Need to Bring With Me?


Obviously, you need to bring your smoker, 2 pork butts, 2 briskets, 12-16 pieces of chicken, and at least 3 racks of ribs. Make sure to come prepared with enough sauce for all of your meats, marinades and spice rubs, charcoal and/or wood.


Everything you need to prepare your entries likes knives, basting brushes, foil, plastic wrap, dish soap, water, gloves, etc., should also be packed up and brought with you. Also, don’t forget that you need two portable tables that will serve as your kitchen counters. My team and I are big coffee drinkers, so I like to make sure that we have plenty to last us throughout the weekend. You can buy a catering package from somewhere like Starbucks, but I prefer to make large batches of espresso ahead of time with my Jura espresso machine and add hot water later. This usually ends up saving me a good amount of money.


What Type of Smoker Should I Purchase?


A lot of teams produce great BBQ with small Weber grills or other backyard units. Other teams go bigger and purchase commercial cookers, but don’t feel like you have to in order to compete. There are world championships that have been won with very humble equipment. In my home kitchen, I opt for nice, high-quality cookware since I’ll be using it day in and day out. When I cook for competitions, I keep it super simple and have never had any problems.


What Happens When I Arrive Competition Day


Show up as early on Friday as possible. As soon as you arrive at the grounds, locate the coordinator or a representative who will be able to show you to your team’s cook site. This person may be able to check-in your meat on the spot, or someone might come shortly after to do so. I always suggest having all of your meat in one container to make this process as quick and easy as possible. At this stage, the meat must be raw and contain no seasoning, in addition to being stored on ice. As far as trimming your meats, you can do this beforehand or when you arrive on Friday.


What Happens Post Check-In


This is where the cooking and fun begins. The most important event that takes place on Friday is the cooks meeting where you will get all the info you need and probably some one on one coaching. Just let the rep know it’s your first cook-off, and they will make sure that you understand all the rules you need to.


How is Judging Performed?


At the meeting mentioned above, you will get your Styrofoam boxes which will be used for presenting your meat to the judges. These boxes will have a number on them which corresponds to your assigned team number. Before turn in time, you will be required to place at least six pieces of meat in each container, along with some parsley and lettuce as decoration. I generally put more than six pieces in the box, which makes it look more attractive and the extra portions will be appreciated.


You will turn your box into a rep, who will then take it over to the judge’s table. The judging uses a blind system so the to ensure a fair an impartial judgment and no personal relationships effect the outcome. The judging occurs based on this set criteria: the appearance, taste and tenderness/texture. In each of these areas you will receive a score from 1-9. The taste score is doubled so this will count for the majority of your score. If you want to know the exact mathematical multipliers, these can be found in the KCBS handbook.


What’s Next?


This guide should have given you all the info you need to be well on your way to entering in, and successfully completing, your first BBQ competition. This is an extremely fun and rewarding hobby filled with great people that are likely to become lifelong friends.


See you at the competition!


Remy Bernard – Owner and Editor at Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes. A baker, chef and writer, Remy started Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes as a way to deepen and spread her passion for making delicious food. Since starting the blog, her focus has shifted to a more eco-conscious, greener way of living that emphasizes small steps which can have a big impact.


She can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.




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Grease Fires

Grease Fires

When ever you have raw meat over a open pit of charcoal, wood, gas fire.  The grease is going to fall directly into the pit.  Off set smoking the fire source is to the left or right so the grease never actually hits the fire. At least its not suppose to.

If you have a commercially bought pit that seals when you close the lid it should put the fire out.  The logic is that when you close the lid on a gas grill or a big steel charcoal cooker that seals it will put the fire out by denying it oxygen.grease fire

In a big steel cooker this only works if all the vents are closed.  When I cooked 60 hamburgers the other day on the Tucker Cooker I closed all the vents to form a seal against oxygen.  When a flare up occurred I shut the lid and the fire went out.  Actually the flare ups kind of added some great coating to the burgers.

I actually closed all the vents on the Tucker Cooker and the fire went out but the charcoal still cooked at a great temperature!

Fires have gotten away from cooks on occasion. Cleaning your smoker is very important.  It helps if the only grease your worrying about is the grease coming from the hamburger.  When you already have grease for the fire to access. You already have two fire sources the grease in your food and the grease on the walls and possibly the floor of your cooker.

Close the lid. Close the air vents. Close it down and the fire will go out.  Or have all the air vents closed and simply shut the lid.  If a grease fire gets out of hand still close the lid but put water on it till you put it out.  Some people say water doesn’t work but it does. You have to reach the quantities high enough to get it out. 

  • Never cook to close to your house or other valuables.  

  • Don’t put excessive amounts of charcoal.  

  • Keep a hose handy that is on with a nozzle.

  • Know where the vents are and be ready to close them.  

  • Keep your smoker/grill clean

  • Be ready for anything


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Chafing Dish Skirts

The Toby Company Chafing Dish Skirt performs like no other wind block on the market today. This product adds a special touch, protects customers from open flame and saves dollars by reducing heat loss to a minimum.

This patented chafing dish skirt with coordinating table cloth dresses up any catering function from low key Bar-B-Que’s to upscale Hotels and Country Clubs.

The Toby Company has been in business since 1998. Our database of 250+ satisfied customers includes, but is not limited to, catering companies, catering suppliers, golf and country clubs, hotel and motel chains.

To order now call 817-496-3751

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How to cook Ribs

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How to cook a Boston Butt/Pork

Listen in as I explain a lot of the important points on how to cook a Boston Butt

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Barbecued Fennel with Black Olive Dressing

Barbecued Fennel with Black Olive Dressing

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes


Ø  2 sliced fennel bulb

Ø  1 Tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoon chopped black Kalamata olive
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon
  • chopped parsley and basil


  • Heat a barbecue and flip the fennel in the oil.
  • Cook each side for 6 minutes until browned.
  • Mix lemon juice, olives, and oil in a bowl and make the dressing.
  • Add chopped herbs and mix.
  • Place the fennel on a plate and smear the dressing.

In conclusion

If you and your friends had a boring summer last year, hold your horses. We have got you indemnified this time. With the recipes above, the possibilities are endless. Go ahead and prove that it is your birth right to enjoy BBQ on this God’s green earth.


Writer’s Bio:

Jane Grates

Jane Grates is an award-winning web lover and the Co-manager of some health sites like Jane’s Kitchen Miracles, Monica’s Health Mag, GearWeAre, Fishing Gadget Hub and Fighting Report. Travel Scholar. Writer. Health Enthusiast. Food and Health Practitioner.

Jane Grates


Jane Grates is an award-winning web lover and the Co-manager of some health sites like Jane’s Kitchen Miracles, Monica’s Health Mag, GearWeAre,Fishing Gadget Hub and Fighting Report. Travel Scholar. Writer. Health Enthusiast. Food and Health Practitioner.


Links for the following archor texts : 


Jane’s Kitchen Miracles –


Monica’s Health Mag –


GearWeAre –


Fishing Gadget Hub –


Fighting Report –


Certified BBQSuperStars Best!

Amazing BBQ Ribs

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