DNA Guarantees 1 Thing…

…that we can get you ripped in six months, training three times per week for thirty minutes. No BS, no pills, no supplements, no weird fad diets, and most important of all, NO hours of torturous training.







Caption: “We Can Get You Ripped by Summer”

When Angel walked in for the first time, he was unsure about taking on personal training. It was December ’13, I asked him what he wanted to achieve, and like many who walk through the door for the first time, he responded “lose a few pounds, and gain some muscle”. I looked at him and said “I Guarantee that if you follow my program I can get you ripped by summer, just in time to hit the beach the way that most people want to; defined and muscular”. The above photos tell the rest of the story. ~Dave

(see his testimonial here)

We at DNA can confidently make this guarantee because:

  1. We understand the way the human body responds to training. In technical terms this is called the hormetic effect of exercise*.  The study describes the benefits of low to moderate “doses” of exercise, as well as the negative effects of inactivity, and the negative effects of too much activity. With this knowledge, we are able to understand and manage the level and dosage of activity to get the best results for any individual. This is what most programs out there don’t understand, and people get injured, or get little results.
  2. We understand how the body uses different nutrients for different needs. Are you training for a marathon? Then you probably need a different food (macro) profile than someone who wants to focus on muscle building. Are you over the age of 45? Then your body needs a great blend of nutrients to reduce inflammation, and increase cellular function. Are you training for a sport or military? Then the macronutrient ratio in relation to caloric intake must be ideal to handle the sheer amount of volume of physical activity.
  3. We understand the psychological triggers that influence the actions and outcomes of the individuals in our programs such as;
    • Making lifestyle changes at home, work, school, and in your immediate circle.
    • The negative mental impact of participating in an exercise-you-to-death type of program.
    • The consequences of being too strict on a nutrition plan.
    • The positive changes of “getting things right”.

Those are just a few examples, but our program really is, you hiring scientists who understand you and your body, and are able to help manage you effectively.

Of course, this guarantee doesn’t suit everyone’s situation. It’s obvious that if you are very obese, then it will take more time to reach a goal to get ripped, but it can get done, and much sooner than expected. Especially if you’ve experienced mediocre results in a crappy program in the past. On the other hand, if you have an underlying health issue, then that can really complicate things. For those in the above categories we do, however, “Guarantee that the programs at DNA will change your life forever”.

Who’s up for the challenge? Contact Us

*Exercise, oxidative stress and hormesis
Zsolt Radaka, Corresponding author contact information, E-mail the corresponding author, Hae Y. Chungd, Erika Koltaia, Albert W. Taylorb, Sataro Gotoa,

The Rest of Me

It’s funny how things change, and how we can learn to appreciate, and embrace, different aspects of training.

As an age-group (i.e., not outstanding) distance runner in my 20’s and 30’s, I rarely stopped to rest. Many runners view rest as a sign of weakness; running the whole race without stopping is a badge of honor, especially at longer distances. I tried to make it as far as possible through training runs without taking a break, sometimes going for well over an hour at once. Elites did it, so I should too, right? I figured that avoiding rest was a good way to build endurance. Never mind that my pace was pretty mellow, in training anyway – LSD, long slow distance, was the name of the game.

As I progressed into triathlon and cycling, uninterrupted athletic efforts just got longer. My bike team would go out for six hours every Saturday and sometimes on Sunday, stopping just a few times for water. The intensity level varied, but was usually relatively low. Those water stops felt great and everyone enjoyed a good coffee (or burrito) stop during a ride. However, I never really thought about the difference that a little rest could make in my performance.

In swim training, I deliberately kept my rests short to try to improve my endurance. I worked on sprints as well as long slow distance, and my swimming improved drastically, possibly due in part to more frequent rests during each workout. Great coaching from Olympian Anna Wilson and the other Tricat coaches also made a big difference, but I doubt I would have developed very well as a swimmer if I never took a rest.

After having kids, my available time for training in three disciplines shrank, and I had far less interest in spending an entire weekend morning on a bike. I discovered CrossFit and kettlebells, and learned that I could thrive on short, intense workouts. I loved the increased efficiency, and also started to appreciate rest more. The intensity required pauses (sometimes so that I didn’t pass out) as well as more recovery, and I began to incorporate more rest into my training – with great results. I was less beat up and having more fun (usually!) than during my days of long distance workouts, and the rest periods became a treat and a necessity instead of a sign of weakness.

The older I get, the more I am learning about the value of rest. Taking a week or two off from lifting allows me to recharge, and usually to return with more strength; I recently bumped through a plateau on my press, and am improving even after six years of lifting (and aging!) I went swimming this morning and was thinking about how stopping every lap or two just felt better – I gave myself a chance to breathe, and the next lap was a little faster and less painful than it may have been without rest. For that matter, I have stopped in the middle of some DNA workouts just because I felt like I had had enough and wouldn’t gain much from continuing.

Granted, I am not training to break any swimming distance or speed records, but taking breaks when you feel like it may be the key to unlock lifestyle fitness. People get discouraged when they feel like they are working into a zone of intolerable pain, or any pain at all, and for some athletes – especially beginners – that discouragement can drive them right back onto the couch. A little exercise or exercise punctuated by rest is far better than none at all, and increasing rest and prioritizing recovery can keep an athlete training, uninjured, throughout his or her lifetime.

Now I understand why my mom loves to swim all summer, and is unconcerned with speed, taking breaks when she feels like it. She has always been active, and at 65, is probably in the top 3-4% of her peer group for fitness (depending how you measure it), without ever racing or forcing herself to do activities that she doesn’t enjoy. She found a formula that works for her, and has kept going over the years, resting as needed and varying activities with the season and the company. She walks with friends – the social aspect also matters.

Some workouts are designed to be short and sharp with no rest, and are best performed as such, but even those workouts are worth a strategy switch every now and then. I recently knocked a staggering 30 seconds off my Fran time (more than 10%) by giving myself an extra few seconds to breathe whenever I stopped, rather than jumping back on the bar as fast as possible. I have gotten stronger thanks to supplemental body weight training, which helps, but I was amazed with my latest PR as I didn’t feel rushed. I just took an extra breath and was faster when I got back on the bar than when I rushed my short recovery pause. A similar principle applies to rowing; taking a longer recovery stroke leads to a more forceful drive, and the “boat” goes faster with less (or similar) perceived effort. It’s almost a free lunch!

Next time you’re pushing yourself past the point of pain, try taking an extra little rest before you hop back in, and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Speaking of rests, after a 2.5 year distance effort, I have officially transferred my interest in DNA to David de la Pena, who is now the full owner. I’ve had a lot of fun and have really enjoyed meeting and working with our fabulous trainers and clients, and I am immensely proud of all of the positive change that DNA has catalyzed since we opened in May 2012. YOU have done the hard work; we just give you the tools to be successful, and you ROCK! I’ll still be around training and helping out with coaching periodically, but will be devoting more time to my responsibilities in the AF Reserve and other ventures, not to mention my family. I will also be taking more rest, and hopefully not working as hard!

I wish Dave and Tina the best of luck as they move DNA forward!

Photos that give Personal Trainers a bad rap


by AJ


Nice squat form, trainer.

Why does it seem like nearly every article about fitness includes a photo of a “personal trainer,” usually a guy, trying to stop a skinny, pony-tailed brunette in cropped yoga pants from injuring herself with tiny weights?

Have you noticed this phenomenon? I don’t see it on the CrossFit-related pages or in any material related to any other functional fitness program – RKC, Gym Jones, etc. – but the mainstream media’s perception of personal training baffles me. Perhaps these journalists have never been in an actual training facility, or spend all their “workout” time slurping Gatorade on the elliptical at a large commercial gym, trying not to break a sweat. In any case, I sincerely hope that these ridiculously non-representative images are not driving people to dismiss personal training as a waste of resources.

To demonstrate my point, I searched on images for “personal trainer” and found numerous examples – sadly, far more examples of tiny weight assists than of real trainers in action. Many of these photos border on sexual harassment. When was the last time a trainer spotted your press? There’s a reason that we stay out of the way: teach an athlete to use proper form, and the weight will move or it won’t. Pushing your elbows won’t help either of us.

Without further ado, I present the Cheese Trainer Montage. Try not to hurl. (I particularly like the guy who is helping his client keep her knees out over her toes, so that she can’t do a good squat because he’s in the way.)


(note:  Watermarks intentionally left in place for credit to the photo sites where I found them. Images are presented for entertainment purposes only.)

Guess what? Female trainers apparently do it too.


How can you help break the misperceptions of personal training that may or may not actually prevail in today’s society? Simple: tell people about DNA. If a friend is thinking about trying personal training but isn’t sure that he/she can handle the rigors of curling a 5 lb neoprene-wrapped dumbbell while a burly college student* in a fitted tee or sleeveless top supports his/her elbow, you can reassure that person that real personal training is much different. Tell them about how we teach proper movement, and work with our students to build their strength with real weights, at an appropriate pace that balances safety and challenge. Promise them that nobody will judge when they decide to wear shorts instead of cropped yoga pants. They will thank you, and so will we!

Our personal training looks more like this, and click here for more photos:

marybeth chinup600x315

Real strength. Yeah!

*Nothing against college students – I’m sure that there are some very competent, experienced personal trainers out there who happen to be college students. I just haven’t met them.

The Whole Hog: a Word on Pork and Bacon

I get questions every now and then about the role of bacon and pork in the nutrition plan. Let’s take a look at pork, bacon, and related delicacies.

dna personal training crossfit 520

Not a DNA Client.

The pigs that end up in the meat case at the grocery store today are raised much differently than the pigs of old. A Google search for “commercial hog raising” turned up…a lot of articles about sustainable pig farming. The megafarms don’t want us to know how our bacon got to us, as it’s not pretty. Wikipedia shed a bit of light on the topic, but in short, the pigs are kept in crates or very small spaces, fed plenty of grain to fatten them up fast (not necessarily their natural diet, and much of it is genetically modified corn, which has its own issues), shot with antibiotics to prevent disease in the closely-packed barns, and then butchered unpleasantly en masse. (Sidenote: commercial dairy cattle are also kept corralled and fed junk food as corn gets more expensive, including stale candy and cookies, which is one of the reasons we do not recommend milk as a beverage and we suggest sticking to organic  if you consume dairy products.) Commercial pig farms also produce a significant toxic waste burden.

Pigs don’t have sweat glands, and thus don’t release toxins easily, which are then stored in their ample fat. They are natural scavengers, and as susceptible to diseases like trichinellosis (flu-like symptoms) and worms. Numerous medical websites recommend avoiding pork because of the health risks, as do entire religions. PETA will tell you that piggies are smart animals, one reason why most Americans don’t eat dog meat.

The demand is rising for pastured pigs, but they require more management and are slower to raise.  Therefore, “clean” pig products are often twice as expensive (or more) than commercially produced ones. Increased awareness of pig farming methods and market forces such as Whole Foods have helped the small pig farmers grow, so better-quality pork is becoming widely available again (as it was before the dawn of CAFOs – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – around 40 years ago), but at a price.

DNA Personal Training Crossfit 520

Wilbur. Babe. Tasty?

Well, that was too much information…so should I eat it or not??

You are what you eat. Do you want to eat a fatty pig that ate a lot of junk that you wouldn’t eat? Or do you just not care – ignorance is bliss, and bacon is AWESOME?

dna personal training crossfit

I’m not sure that I would call this awesome. Creepy, creative, but not awesome.

Based on the facts, we can’t recommend commercially farmed pork products. However, life is too short not to eat bacon, and most people can’t afford $13/lb regularly for organic bacon. Therefore, if you want to eat pork, your best bet is to enjoy it on a limited basis, and get the good stuff whenever possible. Smoke a rack of ribs or a pork butt, roast a tenderloin, or braise a pork chop – whatever you love – but don’t do it every day, and make it a feast, not just a meal. Savor that bacon in the morning, and enjoy it on a salad, but ask them to go easy on it when eating out. In restaurants, you can assume that the pork is mass-produced unless the menu says otherwise, so choose accordingly. If it’s your birthday and you really want ribs at Brushfire, be all means, go for it!

Also, you have choices. Some chicken and turkey sausages have gotten pretty tasty – check the labels for lab-made ingredients, but brands like Applewood and Trader Joe’s carry some relatively clean non-pork sausages. I still can’t get into turkey bacon, but I’ll eat other meats at breakfast – steak and eggs, anyone? You can also just skip it altogether, and try other animals, like lamb and bison, that are always pasture-raised.

DNA Personal Training

You don’t have to eat pork. You can snuggle with it instead.

Of course, mass-produced chicken and beef have issues too, but we’re talking about pigs here. If in doubt, look for hormone-free meat and get organic if you have the coin. It may reduce your risk of serious disease, and your body will thank you.


The sheep-pig. 50% fat! Yes, it’s real!

Spring Leaning: the 21-Day Challenge

If you have checked your email at all in the last 2 weeks, you’re aware that we are holding a 21-day Spring Leaning Challenge, kicking off this weekend. The Challenge includes meal plans and group training for 21 days.

Sara and Drew: What Happens When You Do it Right!

Sara and Drew: What Happens When You Do it Right!

Why 21 days? Simple, but not what you think. Turns out that stuff about 21 days to make a habit is hooey. Apparently, developing a habit generally takes more than 2 months. In 21 days, you can get a solid start and get through the first big psychological hurdles, while keeping motivation and teamwork high. Also, most of us can get our brains around committing to 21 days of extra discipline; longer than that and the challenge can get daunting. Most importantly, people start to feel terrific after about three weeks of clean nutrition and good training. The graduates will launch from Spring Leaning with new motivation, well-prepared to keep up their healthy lifestyle!

SPRING LEANING Goal: get you back on track with nutrition, or to get you started right if you are brand new to DNA and training. Secondary goals: drop up to 4% body fat and feel great!

We’re excited to welcome about three dozen current and new clients who have accepted the Challenge, and we’ll be posting about their success as the 21 days progress. Meanwhile, please cheer them on as they launch into Spring Leaning!

For more information, click on this link.

Basic details:

Orientation @ Swan – 10am, Saturday, 12 April

21 Days: 13 April – 3 May

Tuition: $97 for new members, $29 for current DNA clients

Prerequisites: a great attitude and a desire to buckle down and get results fast!

It’s Mardi Gras! Stupid Easy Jambalaya Recipe

Laissez les bon temps roulez! It’s time for hurricanes, king cakes, beads, chicory coffee, and partying…or it’s just Tuesday. In either case, jambalaya is on the menu.

Our wonderful world has a few ubiquitous comfort foods that show up in every culture. They can be simple, complex, dressed up, stripped down, and interpreted according to the local spices and flavors, whether that requires a day of intense prep and cooking or five minutes with a bag of bread, jars of jam and peanut butter, and a plastic knife. You’re familiar with these foods and have eaten plenty of them. Here’s a partial list:

  • “The Wrap” – food wrapped in other food, usually making it portable and convenient. Examples include sandwiches, wraps, and rolls.
  • “Hot Bev” – leaves or beans broken into small pieces and steeped in hot water to make a beverage. Tea and coffee are the obvious examples.
  • “The Stew” – food chopped up and cooked in liquid, resulting in a hearty soup-like concoction. May or may not include spices, meats, starches (potatoes or rice in most cases), vegetables, legumes, and broth. Can be made from leftovers and whatever is in season, or is in the fridge.

Jambalaya is a cajun variation of the stew, and commonly involves chopped andouille sausage, green peppers, onions, shrimp, and spices cooked with rice in chicken broth, spiced to taste. It’s not very hard to make, but takes a bit of prep time and isn’t as easy as opening a can of Campbell’s Chunky. The web has plenty of great jambalaya recipes for home cooks who don’t mind chopping. Here’s an easy-peasy shortcut for those among you who could burn water and don’t exactly enjoy spending hours in the kitchen.

Stupid Easy Jambalaya Recipe
Recipe Type: easy
Cuisine: cajun
Author: AnneJ
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: how hungry are you?
Convenience version of the classic cajun dish
  • 1 bag of frozen fajita mix, with sliced peppers and onions (chop it up if you feel ambitious)
  • 1 lb frozen or fresh shrimp (raw is fine)
  • 12 oz package of andouille sausage – Trader Joe’s chicken andouille is great, and sorry but you will have to chop it up
  • 1 14oz can chopped tomato
  • 2 c chicken stock (one can or half of a box)
  • 1 c rice (or 1 c cauliflower if not a training day – see instructions)
  • fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot sauce and/or cajun seasoning to taste (at least 1 tsp seasoning)
  1. Grab a big pot, and set it on the stove on med-high heat.
  2. Tear open the fajita mix dump it em into the pot.
  3. Chop up the sausage and dump it in.
  4. Throw in the oregano, paprika, and cajun seasoning. If you don’t feel like measuring, just eyeball it. 1/4 tsp is “a little” and 1 tsp is “a good hit.”
  5. Optional: splash some wine or beer in there. Yeah. Cook it off for about 5 minutes.
  6. Open the tomato can and dump it in.
  7. Dump in the rice* and broth.
  8. Bring the heat up until you see bubbles (boiling), then turn it down to low, cover, and ignore for about 40 minutes.
  9. Rip off some parsley and throw it in, or if you are feeling fancy, chop it up.
  10. Throw in the shrimp, and cook on medium for 5-8 minutes, until the shrimp is pink and not frozen.
  11. Stir, scoop up a cup, and nail it with Tabasco! Enjoy!
  12. *Cauli rice: you can “rice” cauliflower with a food processor, or just knife the hell out of it, but it’s not the same – it’s a substitution if you’re not doing starch today, but goes beyond the “stupid easy” definition and violates the spirit of the dish and of Mardi Gras. I suggest using rice or just leaving it out and reducing the broth – meat and peppers with cajun spices is still a tasty dish.


The #1 Most Important Kitchen Tool

Whether you are an experienced cook or just getting started with the nutrition program, good kitchen tools make a huge difference in how well you fuel your body. While a full kitchen remodel can easily cost $20,000 or (much, much) more, you can drastically improve the quality of your cooking experience by investing a bit in high-quality kitchen tools. For example, if you still have the same warped frying pan from college in your cabinet – you know, the one that your mom gave you freshman year – you can replace it with a new heavy-duty stainless pan for $30 or more, and start sautéing your veggies without burning them. A complete anodized aluminum pan set can be purchased for as little as about $80. If you’re not concerned about budget, by all means, head over to Williams-Sonoma and pick up a beautiful set of All-Clad copper core cookware. Most of us do well with good old Calphalon! By the way, research is emerging that links PFOA, chemicals used in making nonstick coating (brand name Teflon), with cancer, so choose cookware that balances your risk tolerance with your level of desire to scrub pots and pans.

Gets a chef excited.

In addition to basics such as pots and pans, kitchen tools about for performing all kinds of culinary tasks with ease and style – silicone spatulas, European egg whisks, mango slicers and shrimp deveiners are all available for your kitchen. Rather than filling your kitchen drawers with every conceivable implement, we recommend figuring out which items get the most use, and buying high-end versions of these. For example, we fix eggs daily at my house, and having a great spatula makes cooking and cleanup a breeze. For just $10, you can have this little piece of awesomeness for cooking your breakfast, too.

Who knew that the spatula could be so fantastic?

Gizmos are subjective and everybody is entitled to have a favorite, but there’s one kitchen tool that can make a huge difference for ANY cook – gourmet or simple, vegan or carnivorous, novice or advanced, and that’s a GREAT KNIFE. I took a knife class (yes, they have those) a few years ago and was shocked at the difference that having a big, sharp knife can make in cooking. It’s more fun and a whole lot easier to cube chicken, slice steak, mince garlic, and perform and other cutting task with a sharp piece of high-quality steel in hand. You can get a decent knife at Target for $20, but if your budget allows, a more expensive knife is worth the cost. This set is a great value and includes a smaller paring knife for jobs that don’t require a big blade – though you can do most cutting tasks with one good chef’s knife.

Read this article to get a cooking geek run-down on knife options.

Also, taking care of your knives is important. Sharpening them regularly and always washing, drying, and putting them away immediately after use can make them last longer. Leaving knives wet (including putting them in the drainer) and running them through the dishwasher will make them go dull faster. Here’s a guide to knife care.

By the way, if a nice $150 knife is just not up to your standards, perhaps you would prefer the $40,000 Nesmuth diamond-studded knife. When’s your birthday?

I keep this in the glove box of my Tesla S, for roadside culinary emergencies.



Goal Posts

What are your goals?

If you’ve been training for a while, sticking to your nutrition plan, and seeing good results, but are starting to plateau on strength or just want to spice things up, goal-setting can be a great way to focus your efforts. DNA’s programming is designed on cycles that are designed to make you progressively stronger over time, but it still helps to have targets to aim for to keep you motivated.  Excelling at many things at once is very tough to do; people who win triathlons are rarely the fastest swimmer, cyclist, or runner, but they’re darn good at all three events.  All-around strength is fantastic for quality of life, but sometimes having a specific achievement in your sights can be the best way to push yourself to the next level.


A folding ITSA GOAL from Sheffield

Goal areas

You can set goals in any area of your life, but we’re going to focus on your body.  At DNA, many clients have a body fat goal. To attain 9% for guys or 15% for women, for example, much dedication to both nutrition and training is required, but the goal can help you stay on track when confronted with chocolate cake or a tall cold one. Your choice has context – you can indulge and enjoy, but you will take a step back from your goal.

Strength goals are easy to set. You can choose a lift that you love or hate, at which you excel or struggle. Time goals are great too – Fran time, 1 mile run time, 30 man-makers…all will work. Competition is great too – if you want to deadlift more than your spouse, for example, you have a goal!

Goal setting

I learned the SMART goal setting framework in the corporate world. It works well in the gym too.

imagesMake your goals SMART!

Specific: just what it says. A 300lb deadlift is a specific goal. “Get stronger” is not. State it clearly and own it!

Measurable: quantify – body fat percentage, run time, lift weight…your goal should be something you can describe objectively, preferably with a number. Yes / no also works – as in “successful strict unassisted pull-up.”

Attainable: start from where you are now, and pick something that you can realistically achieve. If your one rep max squat is 120 lbs, then 250 lbs is not a very good goal (for now, anyway). 150 lbs is a better choice. When you get there, you can pick a new goal!

Relevant: each goal should be relevant to your overall direction. If you want to get stronger, a deadlift goal is a great idea. If you want to build muscle mass, a fast 5K run is not the best choice.

Time-bound: self-explanatory. Time frames of a few months are generally better for motivation than longer ones, and shorter ones are sensitive to bumps in the road. For example, if I can do a 35 lb Turkish getup, setting a goal to lift the 53 lb bell in 2 months is achievable but requires that I do everything right. If I have a business trip in the middle of the 2 months, the goal may become un-achievable. A longer timeline of 3 months gives me wiggle room, and if I get there faster, then great!

What are your goals?

Pick a few goals – 2 or 3 will suffice – and write them in your logbook. Challenge yourself! You can work on your weak areas, or build your strong ones – it’s up to you, but I like a mix. For example, it took me a long time to break 300 lbs on my deadlift, and I worked on it for at least a year; I could aim for 325 lbs by July. However, I’m more interested in working on my pushups at this point, aiming for a one-arm pushup by July. I’m on Step 6 of 10 of Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning pushup progression, building on a strength, and drilling my close pushups a few days each week. I’m also on step 2 of the handstand pushup progression, which is a weak area for me, so giving myself more time to get to a HSPU (September). Both goals are specific, measurable (can I do a one-arm pushup and a handstand pushup, or not?), attainable (!), relevant (working on overall strength and specifically getting better at bodyweight exercises), and time-bound.

Will I get there? Yes! I’ve achieved SMART goals before – a 70 lb KB snatch, a 300 lb deadlift, a 200 lb squat – and I’ll do it again.

Will I have to work? YES!

Are these goals motivating and helpful in focusing my efforts? YES!

Write your goals, and if you need help devising a plan, talk to your trainer – we’ll help you get going!

Soup for You

We don’t have many cold, miserable days in Tucson, but every so often it gets chilly and soup is in order. We had a day like that in mid-December, which gave me an excuse to finally enjoy the chicken soup at Little Cafe Poca Cosa (on north side of the main library, 8am-2pm M-F, cash only, muy delicioso; I recommend the mole, and everything else for that matter).

Turns out that soup can also be ridiculously easy to make at home. Like everything else in the kitchen, you just have to shop and plan ahead a bit, and you can whip up a big enough batch to leave leftovers – the flavors are often better the second day. Here’s a very easy and kid-friendly recipe that we just discovered. Enjoy!

Italian Sausage Minestrone
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Comfort food
Author: Chef in a Flash
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 or so
Delicious and easy minestrone recipe – quick prep too.
  • 1 ounce olive oil (splash in the pan)
  • 1 carrot – peel and chop it
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, or 1 tsp crushed garlic from a jar (add more if you like garlic)
  • 1/2 of an onion – peel it and chop it
  • 1 celery stick – chop it
  • 32 oz (1 box) of chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf (not critical but adds flavor)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste, or 1/2 tsp each if you don’t know what that means
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian chicken sausage (other sausage will work fine, but these are low in fat and sugar)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (optional, if you tolerate legumes)
  • 1 bunch of spinach, washed and chopped (or just buy a bag of baby spinach and toss in some handfuls)
  • Shredded parmesan cheese (optional but yummy)
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat for about 5 mins
  2. Saute (cook uncovered and stir periodically) the carrot, garlic, onion, and celery with the olive oil until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock and spices, and simmer for 15 minutes (low heat, partially covered – put the lid on at an angle).
  4. While the soup is simmering, slice the sausages lengthwise and chop into bites, to your preference. I get out the ruler and make each piece 1 cm wide. (not really, but I do slice the sausages lengthwise into quarters)
  5. Add sausages, beans, and spinach to the veggies and heat through, about 2 minutes, The spinach will wilt.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve, and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Awesome Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Recipe Type: Side, veg
Cuisine: American
Author: Anne Johnson
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Brussels sprouts have an unfair bad rap. They’re not the nasty cabbage minis that your grandmother boiled into oblivion when you roast them like this. Recipe also works for broccoli and cauli florets!
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil (garlic-infused makes it extra amazing)
  • 1 t salt, adjusted to taste – skip it if you’re eating really clean
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 t from the jar)
  1. Preheat oven to 400’F
  2. Slice the sprouts in half, or quarters if they’re really big
  3. Mix everything up in a big old bowl
  4. Spread it on a big cookie sheet (covered with foil if you’re feeling lazy about cleanup)
  5. Roast for 20 minutes
  6. Optional decadence, if you have room in your macros: sprinkle with crumbled bacon and/or drizzle with balsamic vinegar
  7. Enjoy!


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