About Carlos Capistran


Carlos Capistran is currently the Executive Chef at the Lol-Ha Restaurant and Snack Bar at Hotel Akumal Caribe in Akumal, Mexico, as well as cooking expert and author here at PrimalHealthyFit.com. Chef Carlos is constantly experimenting with Paleo recipes which are available to subscribers of the PrimalHealthyFit.com email list. Chef Carlos recently received the award for Best Dish at the 3rd International Food Festival in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.  He will also be presenting a new dish at this year's Taste of Playa International Food Festival in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. In the past, Chef Carlos has worked for Eddie V's Prime Seafood Restaurant and Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill in Austin, Texas.

Posts by Carlos Capistran:

The Carb Question for Athletes

Austin Marathon

I just registered for the 2012 Austin Marathon, which is in about 3.5 months. I am very excited about the race, but this will be my first marathon eating paleo. As I was running this morning, I began thinking about how athletes typically eat before a big event, and I got worried. There’s always a big dinner party the night before for all of the athletes, and guess what they serve? PASTA. What do I eat the night before my race if I don’t eat grains like everyone else? Do I need to just “cheat” so I can “get the carbs I need before the big race”? I KNOW that will make me feel terrible… All of these questions sent me looking for information about paleo for athletes.

I found two pretty good sources: One source says that you can get enough carbs from veggies and fruits (including the starchy tubers we are typically advised to avoid). Eating the starchy tubers is only OK because of the intense physical activity to come, otherwise they’re big trouble. The other source likewise recommends you get your carbs from fruits and veggies, with the added comment that the time to eat “nonoptimal foods” like bread and pasta, is after a hard workout. This loophole to eat grains completely contradicts paleo (and I found it on a site focusing on paleo for athletes). Plus, it tells me to eat grains at the opposite time I used to (after the race as opposed to before the race). In addition, The Paleo Diet for Athletes discusses the possibility that “carbing up” may not be as good for us as we have been taught. So, I’m confused… and I’m the kind of person that has to see it to believe it.

It looks like I am going to have to experiment myself and figure out what works for me over the next few months. My plan is to try something slightly different for both pre- and post-activity each time I go for a long run (over 10 miles). I am going to keep notes on how I fee during and after my runs, and post more blogs with what I find works for me. Hopefully I can get a solid before and after meal by the time February 19th comes around, and help other paleo athletes in the process. Feel free to comment with your own experiences or questions.

Here are the two websites I found so you can check them out yourself:

Paleo Diet Carbs by BalancedBites.com

Quick Guide to The Paleo Diet for Athletes by TrainingPeaks.com

How to Grill Fish

Fish has alway been one of my favorites meats to cook. I love the texture and the smell, plus there are so many types, all with a diferent unique flavor. Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook fish, but it will take some time for a beginner cook to get this right. However, once you get this technique down, you will become a grilled fish lover. Here are some tips that will help you master grilling fish.

The result of grilling fish will depend on what type of grill you are using (charcoal, gas, wood ). For example, if you use a charcoal grill, the fish will turn smoky black if you don’t focus on the cooking procces. If you use a wood grill it is harder to control your fire and easier to burn your fish. I personally recommend using a gas grill, because you can control the flame easier and avoid damaging or scorching the fish.

The King Fish

King Fish fresh out of the Caribbean

First you want to turn you grill on high so it heats up quickly. Once your grill is hot, turn it down 1/2 way so it hot enough to cook your fish, but not hot enough to burn it. Then, spray some oil on the grill and some on the fish as well. Place the fish chest side* down first, or if your fish has the skin on it, place the skin side up first on the grill. The reason you don’t want to cook the skin side down first (which is typical for pan-cooking), is because doing this straight on a grill will burn the skin.

*All fish filets have a chest an a back side. Usually the back side is the flatter side.*

If you are cooking a thick piece of fish (1″ or more) it will take around 10 to 15 min. to cook (equal amount of time on each side if without skin; if fish has skin on it, cook it mostly on the side without skin). Don’t turn the fish a thousand times, because it will take longer to cook and it will damage the fish. Use tongs for a thick cut and a spatula for a flat fish. Always flip the fish carefully, so you don’t end with ½ of the fish on the spatula or tongs and half on the grill.

You can tell when the fish is ready when it starts splitting open or flaking. Grilled fish always goes well with any type of salad, vinaigrettes and light dressings, as it really bring the flavors together.

Work Out! No excuses

Driftwood for box jumps and a Palapa for pull-ups

When it comes down to it, there are few excuses not to work out.

I live in a really remote area where there isn’t a gym or any workout facility around… the closest is 35 minutes away. If I had a gym close to me I would use it, but I don’t. In my desire to stay healthy I decided that not having equipment or a workout facility is no excuse.

I started by running around where I live, but I felt like running wasn’t enough because I also wanted to build muscle. I watched some videos about working out without equipment but they were still showing things that you can only find in a city. So I decided to start looking for replacements, and found things that could function the same way. These things would let me do a simple but effective workout.

I started using a horizontal palapa support to do pull ups and a huge piece of driftwood to do box jumps. I use a bent over coconut tree to do inclined exercises like downward facing mountain climbers. I play catch with a coconut instead of a ball. I swim in the ocean and run on the sand.

I do what I can with what I have, which is pretty much nothing. So if you want to keep yourself healthy but don’t have gym access, that’s no excuse to work out. No matter where you are or what you have you should be able to find a way to stay fit.

Running Basics – from a Marathoner

I started running about 10 years ago. It started as a hobby and a way for me to try to lose weight (even though I wasn’t big, I wanted to have a better shaped body), I didn’t go to any club or join any gym, I just started running on my own. After a while, running became a huge part of my life. I was running more and more and started participating in races around Austin, TX, but realized that I needed some help in the running arena because I knew I wasn’t training the best way I could.

After many painful races, I learned some basic lessons that I wish I had known when I started:

  1. Having the right tennis shoes is really important, especially for beginning runners. It’s best to go to a local running shoe store to get fit into the right shoes for your skill level and body. The wrong shoes won’t provide enough support and will kill your back and knees.
  2. Using the right clothes is also incredibly important and will let your body breathe better and make you feel lighter.
  3. I always like to run alone, but some people find it beneficial to run with a partner. If you don’t like to do things alone, find someone who motivates you to run with you.
  4. Don’t overrun, even if you feel like you can. You might be able to run 20 miles that day, but the next day you’ll be in pain. Pace yourself, and use common sense. If you’re a beginner, don’t try to run over a couple of miles for the first couple runs, or you will wear yourself out or even hurt yourself.
  5. STAY HYDRATED. Even if you don’t think you’re thirsty, your body is losing water and you need to recuperate that water.
  6. Keep yourself cool: Run in the shade; use a hat; run in the morning or late afternoon. Avoid running between 11am and 4pm, which will wear you out quicker (plus you run the risk of getting burned which can cause skin cancer).
  7. Eat right. You need the right food to fuel your body- despite popular belief this does not mean loading up on pasta. Visit the diet page to learn about the proper way to eat.
  8. Proper sleep: Visit the Sleep page for information on how to rest well
  9. Time yourself, keep a record of your progress.

If I had known these things 10 years ago when I started running, I would be a lot better off right now. Take my advice, learn from my mistakes, and take care of yourself.

-Carlos Capistran

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