FEATURE: Battle Brew Puts Plain ‘Ol Coffee to Shame

Before the Zumba Party at Beyond Greenhills the other night, I walked with co-teachers to the newest coffee joint across the Beyond Studio at Metropointe Center, San Juan. Backyard Coffee serves good coffee (they have a strong brew which I love), offers a handful of meal choices and has a good atmosphere. Ever since it opened, I would hang out and order a cup of Americano before teaching my class at the studio.

So last Friday, I went up to the bar to order a cup. I sat next to a co-teacher and found her talking to a guy at the bar. His name was Mark Dee. Mark offered a free cup of what seemed to be a special brew. If I were to accept any drink from a stranger, it would probably be a cup of coffee. At a bar. In a cafe.

Mark brought out a couple of bottles. One was labeled Clarified Grass-Fed Butter (Ghee), and the other, MCT Oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides). The barista poured about a spoonful of oil from each of the two bottles into freshly brewed coffee and began to blend them all together. A bit of Xylitol was added into the mixture as a sugar replacement. The result was a creamy beverage that looked and tasted almost like a latte. Before I knew it, I was halfway through my cup. Now, I know things happened way too fast. The preparation took only a few minutes and I was just as quick . As I was drinking the other half of my Battle Brew, I made sure Mark told me more about it.

Battle Brew Kits retail at Php2000 each and would last for about a month
Battle Brew Kits retail at Php2000 each and would last for about a month

Battle Brew is a mixture of brewed coffee and healthy oils (MCT and Clarified Butter or Ghee from Grass-fed cows). This power combo fuels up the body, boosts metabolism, increases the brain’s ability to focus and optimizes the body’s overall performances. At about 300+ calories a cup, Battle Brew provides you with (good) fat, moderate protein and a good amount of carbohydrates, enough to replace your usual breakfast. It can also sustain you through physical activity making it a good pre-workout drink. According to Mark, this is great for Crossfitters, athletes, the regular gym-goers and even yogis. 😉

A tablespoon each of MCT Oil and Grass-fed Clarified Butter goes into freshly brewed coffee and are blended together to until frothy
A tablespoon each of MCT Oil and Grass-fed Clarified Butter goes into freshly brewed coffee and are blended together until frothy.

Four things go into the brew:

1. Brewed Coffee- Any regular brewed coffee will do. But they’ve partnered with Backyard Coffee and now the cafe serves Battle Brew for only Php150 per cup.

2. MCT Oil (Medium Triglyceride Oil)- Think of it as coconut oil concentrate. The saturated fat boosts metabolism, increases the brain’s capacity to focus and even cures several health problems. Now, don’t get turned off by the words “oil” and “saturated fat”. The thing is Saturated Fat from Coconut Oil is very healthy and beneficial for the body. The body actually needs good fat (like the ones you get from eating avocados) in order to feel fuller, longer. MCTs are easily digested and metabolized by the body, unlike other forms of fat. The awesome thing about it is that this  actually helps you burn body fat. Perfect for weight loss.Learn more about MCTs here.

3. Clarified Grass-Fed Butter (Ghee)- Clarified butter is fat rendered from the butter that we all know and use. The milk solids are separated and skimmed off to leave a clear yellowish residue. Ghee is known to lower the risk of heart problems and decrease body fat in overweight individuals. Battle Brew prides itself in using only clarified butter from grass-fed cows to maximize its nutritional value.

4. Xylitol- You got it. Apart from the wonders it does to your teeth, Xylitol acts as a sweetener that doesn’t cause the same spike in insulin as regular sugar. However if you like your coffee black, feel free to skip this one.

As for Battle Brew’s effect on me that night, let’s just say I survived leading a 90-minute, high intensity Zumba Party without having to eat anything prior to the event. I drank one cup at around 6:30, partied like crazy at 7:30 and had dinner at 11PM. And I wasn’t really starving then. My energy didn’t really shoot up but it certainly didn’t crash either.

Only downside to it is that the complete Battle Brew is not suitable for vegans. Apart from that, not everyone is comfortable with using Xylitol as a sweetener. Luckily, Battle Brew allows you to purchase these items separately. You may opt to just grab yourself a bottle of MCT oil which, on its own, already has a ton of health benefits IMO. If you’re interested to learn more about Battle Brew, check out their website here or follow them on Instagram @battlebrew.

New to the idea of Battle Brew? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

STRETCH LAB: Chest and Shoulders

Melting Heart

Alright, you guys! It’s Sunday and it’s time to take it a little easy. I’m starting this new section called Stretch Lab to show you stretching poses that would complement your fitness routines and help keep those muscles supple and working optimally.

Many of us take stretching for granted because of the subtle effects it has on the body. If you’re not into activities that require much flexibility, chances are you either don’t take stretching seriously or may even skip this part sometimes. I’ll talk about the benefits of stretching in a separate entry but for now, check out this chest and shoulder opener known as “Melting Heart” in Yin Yoga.

Remember to hold the pose for at least 2 minutes to maximize the benefits. Work your way up to five as you increase flexibility in the target areas. Note that there will be a slight compression in the back so come into a neutral position for the spine by lying flat on your back or belly immediately after the stretch. Lastly, there’s no need to muscle your way into any stretching pose so make an effort to RELAX and let go of any tension especially on the front side of your torso.

5 Reasons Why Drinking Water is a Chore

1.  It doesn’t look appealing enough to drink

A series of experiments done at the University of Illinois showed that image or presentation is linked to the amount of food or beverage a person consumes. The more attractive or enticing it looks, the easier it is to consume more of it.

Find a container you like to drink from and keep it with you at all times. It could be a glass, bottle, a mason jar, or a tumbler. I personally like to purchase and collect hydration bottles. I like the ones that pop out with color but are very handy. I make it a point to switch them up every now and then just to keep things interesting. Nothing like using a “new” bottle all the time, right?

2. You think straight water is the only way to go

If you think plain water is boring, you’re not alone. Straight water being plain and well…tasteless is one of the main reasons why we often choose another beverage over it. There are tons of healthy ways to make your water much less boring. Try adding some of these things:

  • Lemon or lime slices
  • Cucumber
  • Mint leaves
  • A sprig of Tarragon
  • Fresh, whole strawberries

Okay, who am I kidding? The possibilities here are endless. Fresh fruit (Just don’t squeeze the juice out) and herbs are guaranteed to keep you drinking. Apart from the numerous health benefits, this still guarantees maximum hydration.

3. You wait ‘til you’re thirsty

Chances are, your body is already moderately dehydrated when it starts sending thirst signals. At this point, it’s more difficult to replenish whatever has been lost to the point of hydration. We constantly lose water—and I’m not just talking about sweat, or urine but what’s called the insensible losses through our skin, feces and even through our breath. So, if the body constantly loses water, it only makes sense to constantly rehydrate it.

Thirst (as in the desire to gulp a big-ass glass of cold beverage) doesn’t have to be the signal you wait for before taking at least a sip. Go for more subtle ones such as slight dryness on the lips and in the mouth.  I find this the best indicator because the lips dry out the fastest and easily show signs of dehydration.

4. You chug it down all at once

This one’s closely linked to #3. Remember that there’s no need to down a full glass right away. I mentioned that the body loses water all the time. If it’s through so much sweat after a physical activity, then a larger intake is needed. Although it’s always best to drink 1-2 cups of fluid prior to excessive sweating to avoid dehydration.  Otherwise, just take small  but frequent sips of water.

According to Ayurveda, the traditional system of Hindu medicine, there is a proper way of drinking water: take a small sip, swallow, breathe and repeat. This allows the body to fully absorb the fluid rather than just let it pass through the body, which happens when we down everything right away. The good thing about this is that it doesn’t fill the stomach with so much water, allowing you to take another sip sooner than you would if you had taken in more. When you take smaller sips, you’re actually able to drink more in the long run.

5. It’s too cold

Growing up in a tropical country has got me thinking there’s no point in drinking water if it isn’t cold or iced. I probably am not the only one used to drinking cold water to cool the body most especially in the hottest weather. What most of us don’t know is that cold water brings no benefit to the body. In fact, according to Ayurveda, it literally douses the digestive fire. This means it sets your digestion off and out of whack.

Warm or room temperature water is enough to bring the body back to its normal temperature. Cold fluids (not just water), on the other hand, only cause distress to the body. While it may feel refreshing as you drink, you might notice that your body will only allow you to drink or take in so much. Apart from that, you get this false feeling of satiety after you’ve practically soaked your warm organs in an iced beverage. When this used to happen to me, I felt like my thirst was satisfied longer. But now as I look back at it, I think the reason why it took me awhile to rehydrate after a cold drink is because my body needs more time to recover from the temperature I put it in that it doesn’t want to take any beverage until it’s gone back to normal.

There is honestly, no single way to properly drink water because every body is different. But one thing is for sure: we all need to constantly make up for the water we lose every second, with every breath.  So do it. You owe it to yourself.

Source Articles:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200410/brain-playing-your-food

http://www.health.arizona.edu/health_topics/nutrition/general/waterhydration.htm

http://www.peacewardyoga.com/the-art-of-drinking-water

http://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/columns/narural-healing-the-dangers-of-drinking-cold-water/

Apple Chia Pudding

Two superfoods packed in one filling meal!

Ingredients:

2 tbsp Chia Seeds (I get mine from www.thesuperfoodgrocer.com)

Half an apple 1 tsp Raw Cacao Nibs (also available at www.thesuperfoodgrocer.com)

1/4 cup Almond nut milk (optional)

Preparation:

1. Soak Chia seeds and allow them to bloom. I add half a cup of water to one tbsp of chia.

2. Once the seeds have formed a pudding, add the almond nut milk and stir.

3. Add apple slices or any other fruit.

4. Sprinkle Cacao Nibs.

The combination of soluble and insoluble fiber in Chia works as an amazing energy supply for the body. No crashes. Just look at it this way, I teach 2 Zumba classes, 1 Yoga class, do weight and resistance training and practice gentle yoga afterwards all in a day. And when I get home, I still have enough energy to spend with my loved ones (especially my crazy dogs). 💪

Steamed “Fish” with Avocado and Parmesan Vinaigrette

Rule of thumb: Work OUT, Eat IN.

Take your food with you wherever you go. Plan ahead and prepare your food to avoid having little to no option when dining out.

Prepared this vegetarian meal in 30 mins.

Here’s how:

Moringa Red Rice
1. Steam red rice. 1 cup uncooked rice is to 2/12 cups water
2. Once cooked, sprinkle the desired amount of dehydrated Moringa leaves or chopped fresh leaves. I add in about half a teaspoon per cup.

Steamed “Fish” with Avocado and Parmesan Vinaigrette
1. Cut mock fish meat into thin slices. And steam for 5 mins. (I get mine from Harvester’s Vegetarian Grocery along Banawe Street.)
2. Mash 1 ripe avocado and add a tsp of coconut sugar
3. Top steamed fish with a tsp of avocado per slice
4. Lay on top of lettuce and thin tomato wheels (optional)
5. Drizzle with parmesan vinaigrette or sprinkle with feta or parmesan cheese.

Pack and take it with you wherever. Quick, easy and good too!

5-minute Workout: Heart Breaker

Whether you’re just starting out or starting over, the pocket workout series will help you get onto the road to fitness. This is also perfect for when you don’t have time to hit the gym or when you have no equipment with you.

I put together this pocket workout because it’s very easy to follow and isn’t time consuming. I recommend doing as many reps as you can without losing your form and your breath.

Beach Yoga

Practicing yoga outdoors definitely makes a lot of difference. It’s gives such a liberating feeling, don’t you think? Summer has ended in the Philippines and I’ll definitely miss practicing by the sea.

Lotus
Underwater lotus in Boracay
Bakasana at a Lakehouse in Caliraya
Bakasana at a Lakehouse in Caliraya

I probably had the most fun out of my yoga practice last summer.

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana at Pico de Loro
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana at Pico de Loro
IMG_0351
Astavakrasana at Pico de Loro
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Mermaid on a raft at Magalawa. Love this one!
IMG_1362
Tiger with the Boracay sunset in the background.
IMG_1363
Child’s pose with my girls on the shores of Boracay.

What are your favorite beach yoga photos? Email me at nki.torres@gmail.com to share them on Pretty Darn Fit! <3

Lifestyle | Wellness | Nutrition