“Family, Football & This Adventure We Call Life” is a year-round column by Nate Polvogt that shares a Colorado dad’s outlook on life and his fantasy football advice. Nate enters the offseason with his favorite dynasty buy low trade targets and tips for small, healthy lifestyle changes.
“You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.” – Unknown
Our household does not subscribe to the idea of the New Year’s Resolution. We’ve tried it in the past, and we now have two costly coat racks in our basement to show for it. Like most people, our issue has been going big out of the gate, which will set you up for failure nine times out of 10.
Change is hard, but there are ways to make it easier. Gradually shifting your habits and lifestyle can help make the desired transitions more manageable and more likely to stick around. For example, our home has recently made a shift to healthier eating, and using this tactic has undoubtedly helped us maintain a more well-rounded diet.
When You’re a Foodie
There’s a perception amongst food lovers that being healthy means sacrificing flavor. It was something that held us back from making a shift to a more nutritious diet consistently. So instead, we regularly treated ourselves to fatty burgers, smothered burritos, fried tacos and bowls full of pasta, sausage and cheese.
We regularly tossed in salads, soups and the obligatory” meat and potatoes” dinner, but we didn’t hold back when we wanted a treat.
The stress of the COVID-19 Pandemic pushed us to indulge in our favorite comfort foods more often, as it did for many. We got into the habit of ordering delivery at least twice a week, and salads and soups became increasingly rare when cooking at home. However, after a few months of our unhealthy habits, my wife Jen kicked us into gear. She had seen ads for a program called Noom and signed us up.
This isn’t an ad for Noom. Let’s get that out of the way. It worked for us, and as part of my story, it’s an important detail.
Noom isn’t about dieting or restrictions. Instead, it works on the psychological aspect of eating and portion control and has changed our lives. We lost a significant amount of weight using the program for a year and have mostly managed to keep it off. While we no longer actively use the program, the lessons have stuck with us. As a result, we try to be more active during the day and mindful about what we eat and when we eat it.
The great thing about Noom was not feeling guilty about indulging in our favorite unhealthy foods. We still ordered the chili cheese fries and smothered burrito. When we wanted a burger, we had one with an egg on top. Pasta was a regular fixture in our lives, and we ate smaller portions.
We kept the weight off, with some fluctuations depending on our stress level and ability to be active. There have been times over the last few months when we have a week full of delivery food because our lives are simply too busy. We don’t have the time to put into cooking a meal, let alone sit down for an extended time to enjoy it. We always brushed it off because we ate smaller portions, weren’t gaining weight and believed we were on the right path.
Wake Up Call
Turning 40 is a wake-up call of sorts, one which I wrote about not too long ago. Mortality becomes a very real thing, as does high cholesterol and hypertension. I’m not sure I was being naive, refusing to acknowledge it or a combination of both, but the reality of those issues has recently come to the forefront of our lives.
I am a researcher at heart, and when the idea of heart disease being a real possibility down the line, I hit the internet hard for some answers. I needed to know what we could do to ensure we were here for a long time. But I was nervous about what I would find.
I expected to be told we needed to eat kale and cucumbers every day, with absolutely no cheese, carbs or delicious meats. Lucky for us, that isn’t the case at all. If you’re willing to be creative and try new things, you can have all the flavors and maintain a healthy lifestyle simultaneously.
You Can Cook With This, or You Can Cook With That
If you’re looking to make some healthy changes without sacrificing the joy of eating, there are many ways to go about it. Here are a few things we have implemented frequently that are already making a noticeable difference in our energy levels and overall healthy feeling:
Substitute greek yogurt in recipes that call for full-fat dairy products, such as heavy cream, sour cream & whole milk.
The truth is that full-fat dairy products are meant for young children and calves (obviously) to help their bodies continue to grow rapidly. But unfortunately, in adults, all that fat is converted into artery-clogging Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which will cause heart disease over time.
Greek yogurt is lower in fat and boasts a whole host of gut-healthy probiotics, a healthy amount of protein to keep you feeling full longer and essential vitamins such as C and B-12.
Quinoa Isn’t Just a Superfood Fad; It’s the Real Deal
Quinoa was first used in Central and South America between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago. It was a staple of Incan food culture and revered as a miracle seed that was a cure-all. While it isn’t magic, the Incans weren’t far off. The seed that grows best at high altitudes is loaded with protein, antioxidants, dietary fiber and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.
As Jen wrote about not too long ago, we’ve taken quite a liking to this pseudocereal superfood. One reason is that it’s so healthy and filling. Another reason is that it’s an easy and quick meal option. Not only do I use it as a replacement for rice and some pasta in our favorite recipes, but I always keep some pre-cooked. In addition, it’s an excellent replacement for breakfast grains such as oatmeal and makes a great, healthy base for a lunch protein bowl or a quick afternoon snack to keep you going.
Not All Pasta Is Created Equal
It’s unsurprising that the typical white pasta we consume isn’t exactly healthy. While it isn’t flat-out terrible, the load of refined carbohydrates can present a problem for your arteries and waistline. However, some options, not just quinoa, can keep you enjoying your noodles without feeling guilty.
Most brands have an alternative to their typical pasta, and most are good. You can find whole wheat options. While still heavy in the carb department, they also supply a fair amount of dietary fiber and other vital nutrients. Various types of chickpea, almond flour, soy flour and cauliflower-based noodles also present a healthy alternative without much of a difference in flavor or texture.
Then There Was Couscous
Another pasta alternative is another pasta but of the Mediterranean variety. If you’ve never had Israeli couscous, you’re missing out. These small, sphere-shaped pasta balls are delicious and loaded with antioxidant selenium, which promotes healthy cell growth, reduces inflammation and helps scrub your veins of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.
Couscous, like quinoa, is very easy and quick to prepare. I always toast them in a pan with olive oil before adding water or chicken stock (if you go this route, make sure it’s of the low-sodium variety). You can get as creative as you like with seasonings and additions. Fresh vegetables lightly sauteed go well with this mini-pasta, and it works well as both a primary and a side dish.
You Can Do It
The key to making anything important stick is to take it slow. Significant change doesn’t happen overnight. If you try, it will likely fail. But, on the other hand, you’ll be surprised how a few seemingly simple changes can make all the difference in the world.
Managing a healthy life is similar to managing a healthy dynasty fantasy football roster. Much like we fall in love with a specific dish we can’t live without, we also fall in love with players we have rostered that might not be the best for our championship ambitions.
It isn’t always easy, but now is the time to unload those veteran favorites weighing you down for some younger, up-and-coming players that could keep your dynasty squads lean and ready to fight for years to come.
The season is still fresh in many managers’ minds, and it couldn’t be a better opportunity to get players with unreasonably low value rostered before the pack catches on. So let’s get to it in this week’s edition of “Hot, Medium & Mild: Dynasty Buy Low Bargains.”
Hot, Medium & Mild: Dynasty Buy Low Bargains
All that is left of the 2022 fantasy football season are memories; hopefully, they’re good ones. Now, all we can do is look forward to next season and keep wheeling and dealing to get our teams in playing shape.
This week, I have two running backs being criminally undervalued and deserve a look at their current price in dynasty formats.
(All player dynasty Points Per Reception [PPR] rankings courtesy of PlayerProfiler)
HOT — Naga Viper Pepper
Khalil Herbert (RB, Chicago Bears) | RB33
What started out as a trainwreck in Chicago this season turned into something to be hopeful about heading into 2023 for Bears fans. Second-year quarterback Justin Fields made leaps and bounds both in his rushing and passing acumen, and this squad looks to build on that momentum next season. The Bears possess the most salary cap room of any team in the league heading into 2023 and are in line to make some blockbuster moves to bolster their offense this offseason. However, one position they won’t need to break the back at is running back.
Veteran ball carrier David Montgomery is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) ahead of next season and will have interest once he hits the open market. However, general manager Ryan Pace will likely let Montgomery walk, and third-year vet Khalil Herbert looks poised to become the RB1 in the Windy City.
Last season, Herbert averaged 5.7 Yards Per Carry (YPC) on 129 carries in limited work due to injury. His best performance of the season came in Week 3, absent Montgomery for part of the game. In that contest, he logged 15 carries for 122 yards. The following week, Herbert notched 19 carries for 77 yards.
What To Do
Given his current dynasty ranking of RB33, Herbert is the definition of a bargain. Despite rumors to the contrary, Fields is the quarterback of the future in Chicago. That means this team will continue to favor a run-heavy approach, and Herbert could see a significant bump in production in 2023. So it’s not out of the question that he could sneak into RB1 tier territory by the end of next season. You might be able to acquire him for a late-second or early third-round rookie pick, paired with an aging veteran.
HOT — Naga Viper Pepper
Brian Robinson (RB, Washington Commanders) | RB38
There are a lot of questions in Washington right now and no real clear answers. Despite playing well and getting the team into playoff contention, quarterback Taylor Heinicke was benched in Week 17 for veteran Carson Wentz. That went as you might expect, and the Commanders again missed the playoffs. However, Week 18 saw head coach Ron Rivera finally give rookie signal-caller Sam Howell a chance to start, signaling this team is about to make some significant changes.
One thing we do know, however, is that rookie running back Brain Robinson cemented a significant in the Washington offense moving forward. Despite missing five games in 2022 and being behind Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic on the depth chart, he still managed to finish as PPR RB43. He saw 15 or more carries eight times, with five being over 20. In those games, he had under 70 yards rushing only twice. With the team looking to shift to Howell or another option at quarterback, Robinson’s ability to shoulder a heavy workload will become even more critical in 2023.
What To Do
It’s surprising that Robinson is ranked as an RB3 in dynasty formats. He showed explosiveness at the line, an ability to improvise when lanes broke down and ran well in the red zone. It’s clear the Gibson experiment was just that, and McKissic doesn’t have the chops to be a primary back in a run-heavy attack. Robinson’s ceiling, much like Herbert, is a back-end RB1 in 2023 and beyond. It will cost you a mid-second-round rookie draft pick to acquire him, but it could cost much more if you wait too long.
I hope you find my spicy and not-so-spicy dynasty buy low takes useful. Until next time!
This week’s #DadJoke reminds me why I’m glad I find myself in the fantasy sports injury. Enjoy this corny laugh on me, and pay if forward!
My boss asked me why I only get sick on work days. I said it must be my weekend immune system.
As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @NatePolvogt.