Tag Archives: health

Salmon Poke Recipe


We know that preparing our own food is a great way to have control over what we eat. We know that eating good quality food has a good effect on our health. However, often we find ourselves thinking “I know I should eat better, but I don’t know WHAT to make!” At FitMentality, we like to share ideas on what you may want to rustle up in your kitchen. As written in previous articles, just because one likes to eat a healthy diet meant to aid us in creating/sustaining strong/healthy bodies, does not mean we do not love food. On the contrary, we love how making good (tasting and quality) makes us feel great.

Tom Lee is a business development associate for the Santa Barbara Fish Market where you can support local fishermen and buy fresh seafood online or buy fresh fish online. He stopped by FM to share his own recipe.  Since I, myself, have little experience in the seafood realm of the culinary arts, I was excited to welcome Tom for a guest post. Enjoy.


Homemade Salmon Poke



If you’re new to Poke dishes, it is basically a very simple dish that consists of raw fish “marinated” in a soy sauce based sauce. This recipe is a twist on the more popular Hawaiian dish of Ahi (Tuna) Poke. The only difference in this recipe is that salmon is used instead of tuna and that no avocado is used. Tuna is a much lighter tasting fish and avocado gives Ahi Poke a more buttery taste. However, salmon is little bit more fatty (containing lots of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids) and avocados in this dish might make it too rich tasting.





Since this dish uses raw fish, only the freshest fish will do. When purchasing, always try and perform a smell test. Fresh fish should never have any type of “fishy” smell to it. Also when purchasing, make sure to ask your salmon fillet to be de-boned and skinned. Once you have your salmon fillet, it’s all down hill from here. The roasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, and soy sauce can usually be found in the Asian section of your local grocery store.



This is a pretty easy dish to make, even if you have little experience in the kitchen. You only need to cut 3 things and mix together the rest of the measured ingredients. Remember to keep the fish cold (refrigerated) until it’s time to cut it and mix with the rest of the ingredients. After everything is mixed, letting it sit for a few minutes will really let all of the flavors soak into the salmon. Salmon Poke can be eaten by itself, but many prefer it to be served on bread chips or crackers. Healthier alternatives would be to serve it on top of cucumber slices or whole-wheat crackers. 


8 Ounces King Salmon
¼ Cup Shallots

¼ Cup Green Onions
½ Roasted Sesame Seeds
¼ Teaspoon Siracha Garlic Chili Sauce
1 ½  Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Few Drops of  Sesame Oil


1. Chop enough green onions to fill up a ¼ cup.

2. Thinly slice enough shallots to fill up a ¼ cup.

3. Cut up the skinless salmon fillet into small pieces, about the size of ¼” cubes.

4. Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix together. You want to do this gently so you do not squish and mash the fish.

5. Let sit for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. 


You may be thinking “Wait, raw fish?” Is this safe? I asked Tom to address this concern. He explained the following:


Eating any type of meat, such as chicken, pork, or even steak can have risks. Seafood is no exception. In this case with salmon, we have a few things to check to make sure the food we are eating is safe. First off, there are two types of fish that can be eaten raw: sashimi grade fish and fresh grade fish. Sashimi quality fish means the fish has been frozen at a very cold temperature for a set amount of time, usually a few days or more. This is done in order to kill off any parasites. Fresh fish is fish that has never been frozen. From a quality fish department, there is no difference in taste from sashimi grade and fresh grade fish. The only worry would be parasites. With that said, it should be noted that a good fish market will have quality fishmongers who can easily spot out parasites and remove them from the fish. The second main concern is bacteria. A cold environment prevents bacteria from growing on fish. When buying fish, it is always good to ask for ice to accompany your purchase until you reach home. When cutting the fish, make sure you do it as quick as possible, and then return the fish to the refrigerator until needed. Lastly, the smell of fish is a great indicator of freshness. It’s a strange statement to make, but fresh fish should not smell fishy. Fresh fish should have a relatively low scent. If there is any scent it should be a light ocean scent. Often times you can ask a fishmonger to smell the fish before you buy it. If it smells bad at all, don’t buy it. I personally have been eating raw fish for at least 10 years now, both fresh and sashimi grade. Not once have I gotten sick. Stick to a reputable and quality fish market and you shouldn’t have any problems!

As with any food preparation, one must take responsibility over what we choose to prepare and how we choose to do so. FitMentality assumes no responsibility over options written about on our website. We simple share what has worked for us, so that we each may make our own decisions. As always, consult with your doctor before making fitness/diet adjustments.

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Why I Changed The Way I Eat

This is how I felt about not being able to figure out why I wasn't feeling so great.

This is how I felt about not being able to figure out why I wasn’t feeling so great.


This is a story all about how, my life got flipped, turned upside down.

Seriously, it is. I felt like the baby in the picture above; frustrated.

I want to share a personal experience that you, my friend, may identify with. “But I don’t know you, how can we be friends?!” Well, reader, the fact that you are reading this post means that you visited fitmentality.com. The fact that you are here means you, at the very least, somewhat care about living a strong and healthy life. I also share this interest. This makes us friends.

Let’s hop in our FM version of the Delorean. We’ll go back in time to 2005. I was in college, loving life and preparing myself for the real world. I was happy, working hard, and excited about the future. I would study hard, workout hard, and try my best to enjoy what was supposed to be “the best years of my life.” I had no complaints, other than my own lack of time management skills that would lead to me making multiple promises to myself to never procrastinate and have to write a paper the night before it was due. Just don’t tell my parents that. It’ll be our little secret 😉 See? We are keeping secrets for each other. Like I said, we are friends.

Then, something began to happen. I started to notice that periodically, my body would feel exhausted and achy. I would go through periods of time that for a few days I would want to do little else than lay on the couch. After some time would pass by, I would feel better.  At first, I figured “oh, I just got sick, it’s okay. It happens.” It’s true, we do get sick, and it does happen. However, I didn’t have many other symptoms along with feeling this way. Also, it would happen almost regularly, every couple months. Not only did it make it tough to do the things I needed to do during these episodes, I would need to completely abandon any physical activity I had planned. This was more than an inconvenience. I wasn’t able to force workouts, either. Being able to be active is something I cherish. When it was taken away from me, it was more than “aw man, oh well.”

I went to the doctor, and found nothing. My blood sugar was fine. My thyroid was fine. No other diseases were found. I was grateful that this was the case. However, I still didn’t have answers. This went on for years. Without warning, I would be down for the count every month or two, for a few days. “What is going on hereeeee?!?!?!” I asked myself. Now, there are folks who live with conditions worse than this on a daily basis. I respect very much when people with difficult situations, find the strength necessary to achieve their goals. I don’t pretend to think that I had it worse than anyone. It was simply a personal struggle.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago. I was getting my internet surf on, while listening to ESPN in the background. I forget who the report was about, but I remember hearing about a professional baseball player who would go through periods of time where exhaustion would keep him from practice. The report stated that he even fainted during a practice while feeling this way. They explained symptoms that he would have periodically. I wasn’t paying full attention to the TV, but when I heard this, I immediately stopped what I was doing. The report went on to talk about how the baseball player discovered he had an intolerance to gluten. When he started eating gluten free, he started to feel better. I quickly turned my attention to the TV and had a light bulb go off in my head. “OMG, what if that’s what’s happening to MEEEEE?!?!?!?!” I’m not sure if I actually said  “OMG,” but i wouldn’t doubt it. I was pretty excited. I immediately started looking into this way of eating as a lifestyle. I began to do some research and was on my way to give it a shot.

After a few months of eating this way, I did notice a difference. I felt less bloated throughout the day. I would still feel the way I described before, but there would be longer periods of time in between. Over time, this would happen less and less often. I also realized I would either get less upper respiratory infections (colds, etc) than before, or I would get better quicker. The more time went on, the more time would pass between feeling like a punch to my health’s face. I have been eating this way for about a year and a half. I feel great and I have been able to stay more consistent with being active. I don’t pretend to be Superman, but I do notice a difference. Thank you, ESPN.

This doesn’t mean I think you should immediately drop the piece of bread you are eating. I don’t mean for the reader to think that I feel that everyone should eat gluten free. I am simply sharing an example of when I wasn’t feeling all that great, and decided to take an active approach to trying to feel better. How do you feel? Have you been wondering if maybe you could feel a little better, more often? Taking a close look at your fitness level and your eating habits could be a great place to start.

To be clear, when you don’t feel good, talk to your doctor. I am not advocating for us all to be our own doctors. Modern medicine is incredible and should not be overlooked. Always check with a health care professional when looking to make diet changes. However, there is nothing wrong with knowing that eating better and getting more active, more consistently,  just may help us feel a little more awesome.

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Why Core Training is Important

We hear about it a lot when talking/reading/hearing about fitness. Core training this, core training that; it’s everywhere!

What do you think about when you hear someone talk about core training? What do you picture? Most would think “Core training? Hmm, sit ups.” You might say that core training is important when you want to have nice abs. It’s important to do when you are pursuing that elusive six pack, right?

I am here to explain to you, my friends, that core training is so much more than that. It is so much more important to our bodies and lives as a whole, than having or showing a flat tummy. First of all, what you would consider core exercises, do very little to actually make your abs show, if they don’t already. Check out a previous article written specifically about why your abs may not be showing. I want to bring to light the reasons that are more important to us as to why core training is so crucial in our lives.

Let’s start out with defining what the core actually is. Let me get a little technical for a second. The core is defined as the structures that make up the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, otherwise known as LPHC. This includes the lumbar spine, pelvic girdle, abdomen, and the hip joint. Right off the bat, we see that the core is made up of more than just those abs we may first think about when we hear this term. The core is where all body movement originates and it’s where our body’s center of gravity is located. An efficient and strong core is needed to maintain proper muscle balance throughout our entire human movement system (interrelation of our muscular,skeletal and nervous systems). Human movement system!!! HMS!!!  If that doesn’t sound important, nothing does!!

Ok, ok, ok, you’re convinced that core training is important. You might be thinking “but what happens if I don’t have a properly trained core?” When the previously described body concepts don’t work properly, we can run in to problems. When our movement system doesn’t work correctly and efficiently, our likely hood for injury increases. Also, we may not be able to reach our optimal performance ability in different activities. When you hear folks talk about lower back pain, that is often attributed to a weak or inefficient core. A sedentary lifestyle, a job that has you sitting most of the day, muscle imbalances, are all possible contributors as to why one may experience this type of pain. For these reasons, among many others, a good knowledge and application of core training strategies is important.

When doing core training exercises, keep the following ideas in mind. It’s important to maintain neutral spine during most (if not all, depending on the program one is following) movements we engage in. It helps improve muscle balance, posture, and stabilization.  Picture the natural curvature of your spine, if you aren’t sure what neutral spine may look like. Leaning forward and rounding your back, or leaning backward and creating pressure on different parts of your spine are examples of what would NOT be a neutral spine position.

Now, a couple concepts to keep in mind, that aid in training your motor control of the body’s stabilization systems as well as help strengthen and help the endurance of these muscles.

  • Drawing-in Maneuver: Pull in the area just below the navel toward your spine, while maintaining the cervical spine in neutral position.
  • Bracing: In simple terms, you do this by tightening muscles in your core.

To be clear. This wasn’t an article about how to get a six pack. This wasn’t an article to tell you exactly what exercises to do. Flattening the mid section is more complicated than a few core exercises, and in order to tell someone what type of exercises to do, it would require a proper fitness assessment. This article is mainly a reminder and explanation as to why it is so important to have a strong core. It’s much more than simply what we see on most fitness magazines. The purpose of this is to make sure we keep the right things in mind, while on our fitness journey. Knowing why certain movements and exercise theories are important, help us on this active lifestyle path.

In order to live a strong and healthy life, we can’t forget our core!

P.S I have nothing against wanting a tighter midsection. There is nothing wrong with striving for that elusive six pack. It has been a focus of mine many times. I just wanted to point out that it’s not that simple!

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ANOTHER healthy pizza option?

Yes, my friend, another pizza option that isn’t as likely to make you have to stretch to another belt loop.

So, previously I wrote about how excited I was about the cauliflower crust pizza. It tasted so good, it got me thinking “hmm, what other kind of pizza variation can I make that would also tip on the “healthy” side of food.”

Enter, the portabella mushroom mini pizza. Simple. Easy. Tastes great. Again. What’s not to like?

There are so many variations to the recipes for this meal that I don’t feel like I stole it from any one source. Everyone has different opinions of how long to cook it and how to keep it from getting too watery. This is an example of a “see what works best for you” type thing. That’s half the fun of cooking. Adjusting the recipe to your specific liking!

Ingredients: Whatever you happen to like on your pizza! I chose the following:

Sliced Mushrooms

Organic Sliced Olives

Artichoke Hearts

Organic Goat Cheese

Pieces of Chicken

Organic spaghetti sauce

How much of each ingredient? It depends on how much of each ingredient fits on the size of portabella mushroom you bought. For me, it turned into a game of food jenga. I piled on what I could, without it all falling over.

Cut the stem off of the mushroom and place the mushroom on a cookie sheet into the preheated oven to 375 degrees gills/stem part facing down.  Cook the mushroom for about 5 minutes and take it out. Flip it over and put the sauce on the inside, just like the crust of a pizza. At this point, feel free to pile on whatever toppings you want to pile on. Place the cooking sheet back in the oven for another 20 or so minutes. Or, until the cheese gets golden brown. This is another example of the amount of time ranging. Just keep an eye on the pizza. When the cheese begins to get golden brown, take the sheet out and let cool for a few minutes. Now, EAT UP, PARTNER!!!

A couple notes. When I made this, the mushroom got a little watery throughout the baking process. Some people have commented that it’s a good idea to scrape out the gills before baking it. Others have said, you just need to bake it longer for the first portion of the baking process. I will need to mess with the process myself, to see what keeps the mushroom more dry.

For the most part, though, it’s a pretty simple and painless process. Try it out!!

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