The Bobby Rock Newsletter #70 (8-6-22) - Healthier Eating with "Macro-Snacks"
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #70 (8-6-22) - Healthier Eating with "Macro-Snacks"
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Hey Gang -
Once again, I'm checking in from the road and, once again, we are hugging the border of two different states… this time Nebraska (where the hotel is) and Iowa (where the show is), a mere mile-and-a-half apart. Been a hell of a week out here since last Saturday’s Newsletter, but it’s all good, believe me. Love the life. And I hope you all are well. Thanks, as always, for joining me.
This week I offer a more extensive article on healthy snacking, along with a few quick items of potential interest. Let’s get into it!
In This Issue:
- 36-Year Anniversary of the debut Vinnie Vincent Invasion record this week!!!! Damn.
- Snack Happy: A few ideas on “Macro-Snacks” to bolster your clean protein, high-fiber carbs, and healthy fats… as needed.
- It’s Quotable: Here’s a quote to contemplate from Charlotte’s Web author extraordinaire, E. B. White.
VVI Debut Turns 36 Years!
Yes, friends, it’s another anniversary for the one that started it all.
Last year, I had included in Newsletter #19 this brief excerpt about launch day of the VVI debut from my book, The Boy Is Gonna Rock.
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On August 2nd, 1986, the Vinnie Vincent Invasion self-titled debut record would see its official release. Man, there was a palpable vibe surrounding this record, especially in my hometown of Houston. Friends, family, and newfound fans converged upon the local record stores and snapped up copies of this thing like gallon jugs of water before a hurricane. To help matters along, at least on a local level, I had scheduled a record-release party at a Cactus Records, and a drum clinic at an H&H Music, right next door, on the same day. Both were well attended, and the drum clinic in particular would foreshadow a whole other career path I would pursue in short order.
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This year, I had since received (an incredibly rare) photo from the above-mentioned release party, compliments of Sally Branam: the wife of my great friend and weightlifting mentor, Big Lynn Branam:
That’s Sally on the left and Wendy, a fellow gym rat, on the right. We all used to train together at Costa’s Gym in Houston.
This was my first official public appearance related to the Invasion, plus it was in my hometown, so it was a special day. I remember someone had arranged for this successful business guy they knew to pick me up in his white Jaguar and simply drop me off at the signing event. (Not sure why he agreed to do it… must’ve been a favor!) It was just him and I, but, of course, I sat in the back like it was a limo and took my time about getting out of the car once he dropped me off curbside, fashionably late. It was important that the modest line of folks inside the store saw me get out of that car.
I realize how preposterous this probably sounds 36 years later, but hey, look what the fuck I was wearing for this signing! That should tell you all you need to know about what we all thought was important back then (especially, to me, as a 23-year-old).
Nonetheless, I still have so many great memories from this truly unique era of hard rock and pop culture.
Healthier Between-Meal Eating with Macro-Snacks
NOTE: There are two broad-strokes categories of essential nutrients that we all need: Micronutrients and macronutrients. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and the thousands upon thousands of phytonutrients available in plants (especially fruit, veggies, herbs, spices, mushrooms, etc.). Macronutrients are “the big three:” protein, fat, and carbohydrates, which represent the bulk of all our calories. And while I’m a big fan of micronutrient-heavy snacks (with fruit and cooked greens being at the top of that list for me), if you’re looking to supplement your meals with more calories, fiber, protein, carbs, and healthy fats, then macronutrient-heavy snacks—or “Macro-Snacks” as I like to call them—offer the most bang for the caloric buck. Read on for the lowdown…
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I burn a shitload of calories every day. So in addition to my usual two to three full meals—one of which is always a superfood smoothie—I tend to “graze” throughout the day. This is the most effective way I’ve found through the years to: 1) get the necessary aggregate amount of calories I need to keep my weight up and fuel my activities; and, 2) get those calories in smaller, more easily-assimilated amounts so I never have to eat too much at one time, which would affect my training, practicing, or performing algorithms. Snacking also insures that I get adequate amounts of macronutrients—protein, carbs, and healthy fats—with protein being the one macro that we are all on the hook to get a certain amount of each day (although I don’t believe we need as much as many popular diets recommend). On average, one-half gram per pound of bodyweight seems to be just fine for most folks, with slightly higher levels for athletic peeps... which comes about naturally as you consume more calories.
Here are a few of my mainstay, macro-rich snacks (with a decent amount of protein), in two broad categories:
I’m regularly asked which vegan protein/energy bars I recommend. It’s a tough question because, frankly, there are not a ton of options that I would recommend, due to all the “candy bar-like” junk you find in most of them. But, bars are super convenient—especially if you’re on the go a lot—so here are a couple suggestions, based on what’s most readily available out there.
First, Clif Bars. They are ubiquitous, high in fiber, and generally weigh in at 10 grams of protein and 260 calories per. This makes them the perfect pre or post-workout snack, and also great to take along if you need extra fuel on an extended run or cycling excursion. In other words, they are convenient and practical and have always really worked for me, given my schedule and lifestyle.
However, they do have a fair amount of added sugar, although: 1) it’s of an arguably healthier variety than the typical refined white or high fructose corn syrup types and, 2) the high-fiber content likely promotes a slower assimilation of the simple carbs into the bloodstream. But if someone is looking to cut back on all forms of added sugar, you might want to pass, beyond the occasional serving.
This holds especially true for all of their other bars (which are as delicious as candy bars, in my book!): Builders, Luna, Nut Butter, etc. I would try to enjoy sparingly. That said, these bars have always burned super clean for me without any issues.
Which brings us to Lara Bars. These are probably the cleanest, most high-quality bars out there, at least as far as what’s widely available most everywhere. They are super clean and simple, with only a few ingredients per flavor, and only a few of their flavors have added sugar. But, they have half the protein of Clifs, so keep that in mind if you’re relying on your Macro-Snacks to hit a certain protein quota every day.
There are tons of other bars of varying quality out there, but the main thing I recommend is bars with plant-based proteins, even if you otherwise have animal products in your diet. A ton of excess animal protein is not doing you any favors, so why not mix it up with more plant-based sources?
Beyond the Bars
In the alternative of bars, here are a few of my Macro-Snack staples:
Nuts and Seeds
Raw nuts and seeds have been a regular part of my regimen for years. Yes, they are super-dense in terms of fat and calories. But, when eaten in their raw form and in modest amounts, they are nutritional powerhouses that will add to your daily protein and fiber quota, as well as offer many other vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
But again, eat them raw and in modest amounts! Once you start adding oil and tons of salt to them—as virtually every commercial producer does—it’s a different story. Sadly, it’s difficult to find raw nuts at most markets.
What's one of the healthiest items at Walmart? Raw nuts!
On the road, I usually buy a few different varieties then mix them together for a custom blend. But this will last awhile. I seldom do more than a handful or two per day, and remember, that’s with my high-calorie regimen.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
If you use the best ingredients, this ol’ staple makes for a tremendous snack. Key #1: Start with a top-quality bread, of which there are very few. The best? Ezekiel.
You will generally have to look in the frozen food section for this one. And remember, it’s not going to taste like Wonder bread. (But then again, you won’t have to “wonder” what’s in it, and how in the hell the shit lasts for so long unrefrigerated!)
Key #2: Try to find super-clean peanut butter that avoids sugar and, when possible, added oil, as well as jelly that avoids sugar. Good luck on both counts! Availability is ugly out there.
Speaking of great bread, once you find some, make some toast and spread some hummus on it. It can be tough to do while traveling, but it’s a mainstay at home… not only as a pre-workout snack, but as a quick addendum to a veg-heavy meal that adds close to 10 grams of protein per slice.
Desperate Hours Tip: Speaking of peanut butter and hummus, if good bread is nowhere to be found, but you do have access to a nut butter spread or hummus, you can use Reduced Fat Triscuits as a “desperate measures” substitute. They are basically just whole wheat crackers, with a bit of salt and oil… which, of course, we always want to cut back on. But again, you could do a lot worse for a between-meal holdover snack. Decent fiber source, as well.
And speaking of Ezekiel, they also make some of the best cereals out there. I snack on these dry. But here again, it’s not gonna taste like Lucky Charms. The shit is “dry” in more ways than one and likely an acquired taste. But their protein and fiber content is impressive. It’s a best-kept secret. Start with small amounts. Your belly might do a few flip-flops until you get used to the density. But this is real food.
And finally, I direct you all the way back to Newsletter #5, where I talked about this all-star protein-rich snack: Edamame. Here’s the cut-and-paste:
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Edamame is basically soybeans in their native state, right out of the pod. Typically, you would have them as part of a Japanese-style meal, and they would be served in their steamed or boiled pods that you would break open to access. Beyond this, they are great to add to salads, or as a side dish, but I really like them for snacking. They have an ideal macronutrient profile: high in protein and fiber, yet low in fat, and with a decent amount of fuel-ready carbs. And their anti-cancer properties are legendary.
While there are better ways to prepare them—and I always recommend going organic when possible—the easiest introduction to edamame as a snack is to simply buy one of these “microwave-in-the-bag” varieties. They take four or five minutes to prepare, then you can pour them into a small, cup-style Tupperware container for easy travel, and also to keep in the fridge.
Start with a handful or two and see how you feel. Their high-fiber content might be a bit tough on the belly in large amounts at once. Pace yourself and see how it goes (and if necessary, give yourself a little time to adjust to this fiber-rich superfood). You can also toss a few handfuls into a salad to create more of a complete meal. But as a snack, there is little else out there better.
PS. And please, ignore the anti-soy hysteria out there. Yes, of course, we want to enjoy our processed soy goodies sparingly, because they are highly-processed foods that are typically riddled with tons of the SOS: salt, oil, and/or sugar. However, edamame is a time-tested, super-healthy staple in many traditions around the world, and there is a heap of solid science out there in support of the almighty soybean. So, indulge in good conscience!
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Just a few ideas, kids. Take it slow and easy if some of these ideas are new to you. It can take a minute to adjust to high-fiber foods if you’re not used to eating them… as can the comparatively blander flavors of some of these suggestions. A little at a time...
It’s Quotable: E. B. White
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
E. B. White
I think this is a hell of quote to contemplate. For me, it seems that the sweet spot in “Zen Land” is somewhere in the middle: we should aspire to proceed through our days in such a way that we both improve the world (for the future) while also enjoying the world as is (in the present). In this way, we might achieve both ideals simultaneously... regardless of what we plan.
Just my take...
Thanks again, everybody. Connect next week!
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