In Nutrition, Videos

January 23, 2011

Video Article

“This recipe is going to be a super-easy chili recipe that we’re going to be able to eat all week long,” says Cherie Chan of CrossFit Verve, located in Denver, Colo.

Join Cherie and husband Matt for an inside scoop on their nutrition as they prepare a hearty dish. They use Zone Diet proportions to figure out a total block count for the meal.

“In the chili recipe, we started by deciding how much protein we were going to put in the recipe,” she says.

For the protein, Cherie uses ground beef from a grass-fed cow they purchased. Then she adds an equal amount of blocks of fat, using olives. Finally, she adds vegetables and salsa as carbohydrates to reach the desired consistency and blockage. According to Cherie, “Carbs are always the last thing that I do on the recipe.”

After the chili is finished, Cherie measures the quantity and does the math to figure out portions.

“You gotta write everything down. If you don't write it down, you will forget,” she says.

To cook up a batch of Chan Chili for yourself, download the recipe here.

6min 14sec

Additional reading: CFJ Issue 21: Zone Meal Plans by Greg Glassman, published May 1, 2004.

Free Download


35 Comments on “Nutrition Prep Day with the Chans: The Chili”


Scott Meyers wrote …

all that math is making my head hurt.
It must be nice to be able to put that much time and effort into food prep


wrote …

What is this obsession with the Zone diet?

Do people really still do all of this block nonsense?


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

another great video guys. hopefully there is more to come.

just out of curiousity Cherie, why would you rather not include fruit in your meal?


wrote …

Jack Lalanne(RIP)
arguably a founder of modern fitness in America, giving nutrition basics from 40+ years ago.
WFS- Sample daily menu, take out the toast from breakfast and its pretty darn primal.
WFS- sugar-holics even in 1950-1960's there were people advising against sugar in everything.

Two great short clips, there are many more. Please check them out.



wrote …

Great mention, Andrew. May God bless Jack Lalanne, this day after he passed. We all owe him.


wrote …

I need a wife


wrote …

Love your videos. It's nice to know I am not the only one still measuring and calculating my food. I love the zone.


wrote …

How do you buy a cow for $300?!


wrote …

I really do appreciate the way crossfit takes all the data that they gather from their top athletes. The workout times and weights, their programming and their diets. This might be over the top for 99% of folks but these athletes are serious about what they do and it is great to see what goes into making a top athlete like Matt Chan.


wrote …

Elijah - we bought a quarter of Longhorn beef, packed at $350 for 150 lbs,

Chris - Most importantly, Matt and I both feel and perform better when we eat more veggies as our carbohydrate blocks.

Scott - Generally we spend 2 hours or less a week prepping.

Thanks for all the comments. We are stoked on our nutrition choices, have done it for years now and Zone coupled with Real(Paleo) food has changed our lives.



wrote …

I love a good chili recipe! Any chance of getting it posted where we can cut'n'paste it, and/or print it out ? Transcription by hand wastes valuable time I could use crossfitting :)



wrote …

The chili looks delicious! Olives and salsa are my favorite and I have never thought about adding those ingredients to the chili. On another note, it was really cool seeing Matt load the dishwasher in the background. That is my job when my wife cooks. Thanks for the great video!


wrote …

16/8=.5.... haha


wrote …

Cool video on how you can prepare things ahead of time. Which I have been doing lately...however, that might be the WORST chili recipe I have ever seen. Maybe not the ingredients but the cooking process, chili should be slowly cooked, at least in my opinion. Whatever floats your boat I suppose :)


wrote …

Now math majors can be zone dieters.


wrote …

Love CrossFit but simply can't understand the promotion of the Zone Diet. Few in the Nutrition Science world take it very seriously and the evidence simply isn't there for its unique effectiveness. Its "fake" percision.


replied to comment from Daniel Pastor

I can't believe you're the only one that has mentioned this so far. I had to watch that part twice just to make sure that's what she said and that that was what they showed on the screen!


wrote …

Cherie and Matt, thank you for the vids. This really inspires me to take a few hours one day and go out with my wife and do this cause 1 it gives me somthing healthy and fun to do with the Mrs. and 2 hell its healthy. Can't wait to get back to the States =(


replied to comment from Elijah Capel

Last year when I was first introduced to paleo diet I searched around and got lucky at Lowes and bought a 15.3 cubic foot freezer for 25% off (floor model with a small dent). You don't really need one this big but thats my style, Go Big or go home lol. Anyway with a little research you can find a local farm and purchase a grass feed free range cow and stock up your freezer. I bought quarter of a cow a year ago and still have half left lol. I went in with another Crossfiter and we got a deal for buying 75% of the cow at one time. It may seem like a lot of money at first but it will last you months and tastes great! Remember you can never spend enough money to maintain the only body you got.


wrote …

This vid was inspirational, I personally am so interested in getting my nutrition better every day. I still have a lot of work to do, I wand to be even more of an elite athlete. It would be great to stop by the CHan Box someday soon


wrote …

I am also puzzled by the overt promotion of the Zone diet. I agree with the above comment that the nutrition science literature simply doesn't support the notion that it has unique effects or that the efforts required to measure out food leads to substantially better outcomes than just improving diet quality by reducing or eliminating high glycemic index foods. Also, it is interesting to me that few CrossFitters that I have met use the zone, and I have been to more than 25 boxes nationally. At a grassroots level, it is my impression that most eat paleo or primal style. Just a thought.


wrote …

A bit too anal for me. Where's the garlic? Where's the cumin? Where are the pepper flakes? And chili powder and not to mention cayenne pepper? Tomato salsa from a jar? Are you kidding me? Use real roma tomatoes. Cheaper, better tasting and way less acidity. Can we dice the onions? Throw in some low sodium chicken stock.


wrote …

Very cool, Mr. and Mrs. Chan!


replied to comment from james darden

Bro, you sound like me in that you probably enjoy cooking and are pretty decent at it. They both admitted they aren't good cooks. This chili doesn't sound horrible. I feel like without the addition of the extra calories and fat that things like spices and herbs go a hell of a long way to improve the taste of "diet" food. A little Ancho Chile powder, some diced up Jalepenos and some cumin might go a long way. I loved the last line "squeeze out the freshness" haha. Great vid guys...keep em coming. I second Clayton's post about needing a wife. lol


wrote …

The Zone again; people attempting to eat numbers, numbers prescribed from an incomplete knowledge base (nutritional science). With one foot in quantitative, the other in qualitative but not really getting to grips with either.

I just want to say I am not knocking Cherie and Matt, intake should at some point be addressed and monitored, they are putting the work in and the results show, clearly, and of course there's many ways 'up mount Fuji as it were', but that's the point...

There is no 'zone': metabolism, physiology and the result you get is the interaction of your genotype, epigenetic factors and your environment and actions.

I'd say at best the Zone is a starting point to work from but there are many others just as useful, if not more so.


wrote …

I have used the zone for two years and can say that it is a relative easy system to use. At first i was slow and was a bit confused but after a few months all those calculations i could do in my head. I have scores of data saved from each of my eating cycles and can now simply look up anything that I'm not clear of. Yes the task seemed daunting for first but it really lets me analyze my overall results as far as how nutrition might play a part, allowing me to tweak my intake according according to the data I have collected. I guess if i am going to measure every variable in my fitness path, i just choose to make nutritional intake a metric to. People being strict with weighing and measuring is not a new thing either and has been brought many times before. I do agree that the quality of your food is one of the most important factors in diet and even Dr. Sear emphasizes quality over quantity, but i just would hate to think all the quantifiable data I would have lost had i not measured my portions. Well thats just me

To the Chans:

Thank you for the video and instruction. It helped me to better explain multiple proportion preparation to a client along with keeping it taste. We had fun cooking the chilli.

To my fellow Crossfiters: Thank you all for making the forum interesting and thought provoking making crossfiter ever better for it. Stay Strong! Stay Crossfit!


wrote …

Lost me at the salsa


wrote …

At least they are doing paleo zone and not eating grains, legumes, and dairy. I think it's a bit overkill but I'm not anywhere near the level of Matt Chan either. It seems ever since Robb Wolfe and Crossfit had a falling out they don't promote paleo anymore. I recently read the "Paleo Solution" and everything in that book is backed up with science and real life stories. Paleo is a lot easier to deal with too...


wrote … guys must be freaking out on Christmas time! :)


wrote …

I've got one of the best paleo chili recipes ever! and i don't have to count olives


replied to comment from Elijah Capel

I live in Connecticut where there are two farms that offer half cows. One yield of 150lbs is approx. $1600 and the other is about $2100.


wrote …

These videos are absolutely fantastic....I love this so much I could watch it all day! Thanks Chan family!! I hope you make more of these in the future!


wrote …

I love this video series. I do the exact same thing about twice a week (So i always have fresh veggies and fruit). I keep a spreadsheet of everything I eat everyday too so i make sure i'm hitting my RX but also gives me a tracker of how much food to buy. Truely inspired by the chans, I love the meticulous detailed work you put into to the simple things like diet. I have been eating paleo zone for 2 months now and the difference is amazing. btw I am totally going to use your chili recipe it looks great.


wrote …

This recipe was awesome and super helpful for ppl (ie students) with busy schedules. Any chance you could share more make-in-bulk recipes via text document or video?


wrote …

Excellent ... Thanks for sharing such a good recipe Chan family.

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