Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blog no longer active

Hey dudes,

This blog is no longer active and will be taken down next Monday 2/24 but feel free to follow me (Dana) at my new nutrition blog home-- http://functionalfuel.blogspot.com.  Take care and keep in touch! You can find me here and can always email me at dana.l.newell@gmail.com.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 5!

The Science of Nutrition

CrossFitters are a smart bunch that ask questions and really seek to understand. This is most evident in the gym as athletes ask how they can deadlift more, run faster, or get a better Fran time. But what about nutrition? Most athletes follow the paleo diet and understand the basic prescription. Other options are the primal approach or zone/paleo.  In order to understand how to best optimize your nutrition we will start at the beginning and consider the basic chemistry of the food we are using to fuel our bodies.  


What are macronutrients? According to wikipedia a macronutrient is "the class of chemical compounds humans consume in the largest quantities and which provide bulk energy are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats". For our purposes we are going to limit our consideration to carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We will leave our discussion of micronutrients to a different day.

Carbohydrates are compounds made up of types of sugars. Carbohydrates are classified by their number of sugar units: monosaccharides (such as glucose and fructose), disaccharides (such as sucrose and lactose), oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides (such as starch, glycogen, and cellulose).

Proteins are organic compounds that consist of the amino acids joined by peptide bonds. The body cannot manufacture some of the amino acids (termed essential amino acids); the diet must supply these. In nutrition, proteins are broken down through digestion by proteases back into free amino acid.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

Fats consist of a glycerin molecule with three fatty acids attached. Fatty acids are unbranched hydrocarbon chains, connected by single bonds alone (saturated fatty acids) or by both double and single bonds (unsaturated fatty acids). Fats are needed to keep cell membranes functioning properly, to insulate body organs against shock, to keep body temperature stable, and to maintain healthy skin and hair. The body does not manufacture certain fatty acids (termed essential fatty acids) and the diet must supply these.

Whew! Did you keep up with all that.  Pretty interesting huh? Keep up the great work! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 4! Paleo on a Budget

Paleo on a Budget

Eating healthy does not have to break the bank.  Many of you have been asking how to eat paleo on a budget.  We discussed how to navigate the grocery store previously.  If you pair that with a little planning and some helpful websites you will find that eating paleo is very do-able and very worth it.

Where to buy:
Eating paleo does not mean that you have to buy everything at Whole Foods.  Costco, Trader Joes & of course the farmers market are all great sources for clean meat and vegetables.  Here are some of my favorite sources for my go-to ingredients:

  • Costco: The membership cost is well worth it.  You can find organic chicken breasts and thighs, wild caught fish, broccoli, spring mix etc.  I find I can get a great deal of my shopping list completed at Costco.  The one main exception is red meat.  My local Costco does not carry any grass-fed meat. (If your local Costco does post to comments I would love to find one that does).  
  • Trader Joes:  TJ's does carry grass fed meat as well as organic chicken and free range eggs.  The produce tends to leave something to be desired.  What are your favorite go-to items at TJ's? Paleo on a budget provides a weekly list of current TJ's deals that comes in very handy.  
  • The Milk Pail:  (located in Mtn. View)  The Milk Pail is a small european style market located in Mtn. View.  They offer grass fed beef and organic chicken.  Unfortunately the organic vegetable section leaves much to be desired.  Post to comments and let us know if there is a local market in your part of town that you like to frequent.
  • Farmers Markets: Your local famers markets offer fresh, local protein as well as local, sustainable fruits and vegetables.  The California Farmers Market Association has a user friendly website that can help you find the farmers market closest to you.  

What to buy:

  • Meat, Fish & Eggs 
  • Vegetables & Fruit
  • Fat

Easy as that. Well, almost.  Whole9 has an awesome step by step guide to the grocery store and what to buy when you get there.  Paleo on a budget provides a handy weekly meal plans that cater to what's on sale.  Robb Wolf just came out with a whole book on how to eat paleo on the cheap.

Pick your battles and figure out what has to be organic.  There are some fruits and vegetables that are considered especially toxic if not purchased organic.  These are known as the "Dirty Dozen" (see below).  In terms of fruits and vegetables there are some that are considered "safe".  These are known as the "Clean 15".  You can print out your own copy here.

Have any great tips that you want to share? Post them to comments.  Enjoy! 

Day 3!

Playing Nice With Others 

There are three topics of discussion that are sure to rile up even the calmest of individuals; politics, religion and diet.  Chances are your non-paleo friends have hassled you about your eating habits from time to time.  They already think you are a "crazy cross fitter" and your diet is now proof that you have really "drank the koolaid".  

Mark Sisson recently posted the following on how to respond about your high fatgrain free diet.  For many of us we choose the paleo diet because it makes us feel and look better but there is a reason why it works.  Mark's discussion provides a great jumping off point for beginning to understand how your body works and how you can best support it.  Enjoy! 

The top 8 most common reactions to your grain free diet (and how to respond): 

“Oh, is that a low-carb thing?”
While grains represent an easy, cheap source of carbohydrates (that most sedentary people simply don’t need), they also contain “anti-nutrients,” proteins and lectins and other nutritional factors that impair digestion, perforate the intestinal lining, increase inflammation, and can even exacerbate or (possibly) induce auto-immune diseases. Since the purpose of life is to reproduce and that grain has to make it into the ground to germinate and turn into a plant, grains don’t want to be eaten, and they use the anti-nutrients to dissuade consumption in lieu of the running, climbing, flying, crawling, biting, and stinging that animals use to survive.
Response: “Kinda, but it’s more than that. In order to survive and spread their genes, a grain uses anti-nutrients to dissuade animals from eating them. Some animals have adapted quite well, but humans haven’t, so I choose not to eat them.”
“I could never give up bread. And aren’t grains the staff of life?”
For the past several thousand years of human history, bread has been a staple food. The ancient Egyptians baked it. The Greeks and Romans made it. You probably grew up with it. It was – and is – cheap and filling. Today, because billions simply need calories from wherever they can get them, grains are the ticket, the “staff of life.” But it’s not like we’ll wither away into nothingness, all because we failed to heed the biological dietary necessity to eat grains ordained by some higher power. Grains aren’t the staff of life in an inherent sense, but rather because they’re cheap, reliable, and easy to work with. They provide calories and a modicum of nutrients to people who absolutely require those calories, regardless of any nutritional downsides. Having joint pain and bloating because you ate some whole wheat, while unpleasant, is better than dying of starvation because you refused it.
Response: “An unfortunately large number of people are forced to subsist on grains as a staple, because they’re cheap and plentiful and calories are scarce, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to eat. Grains aren’t necessary if you have access to plenty of fresh animals and plants.”
“Where do you get your fiber?”
As if only cereal grains contain non-starch polysaccharides. As if all the world’s inulin, pectin, chitin, beta-glucans, and oligosaccharides are found solely in wheat, barley, rye, rice, oat, and corn. As if some of the richest sources of soluble fiber – you know, prebiotics, or the kind that our gut bacteria can ferment and convert into metabolically-active short chain fatty acids – aren’t fruits, roots, nuts, and green vegetables. And, as if the richest sources of insoluble fiber – the metabolically-inert stuff that pretty much nothing can digest and which serves only as a bulking agent for improving the robustness of our bowel movements – aren’t whole grains.
Response: “I get my fiber from fruits and vegetables. Best of all, our gut bacteria can actually digest the fiber from fruits and vegetables, thereby producing short chain fatty acids that improve our metabolic health. Grain fiber is just a bulking agent that fills your toilet bowl.”

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/top-8-most-common-reactions-to-your-grain-free-diet-and-how-to-respond/#ixzz1x2Wi69Lt

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 2

How is it going? Many of you have been emailing asking what is "normal" and when certain cravings will subside.  The good news is we are in this together.  Hopefully you and your partner are supporting one another.  The Facebook page is another great resource for recipes and all things nutrition.  If you haven't connected with someone else who is going through the same process I HIGHLY recommend it.  It is not too late (email me if you need help).  

If you haven't heard already, Whole9 is a great resource for all things paleo.  The following is an excerpt from an article by Whole9′s own Robin Strathdee, for all of you participating in our January Whole30®.  You can read the whole article here.
"The fine folks of CrossFit Springfield (my home gym, and a Whole30 Nutrition Partner) recently wrapped up their first Whole30® program. As a part of their kick-off meeting I was asked to provide a little perspective on what participants could expect during their 30 days. As I sat and tried to come up with a paragraph that would cover all the key elements, I noticed some trends in the emails, comments and personal accounts I was getting. That led me to create what the CF Springfield Whole30er’s came to know as The Timeline.
As with any process that involves personal experience, your results may vary, but it’s my hope that this timeline will give you a hint (and a chuckle) at what you can expect.

Day 1: So what’s the big deal?

It’s 3 p.m. on day 1. You had a guilt-free plate of steak and eggs for breakfast, breezed through the morning with coffee and coconut cream by your side, and had a nice big salad for lunch. Your body is telling you it’ snack time, so you grab a handful of almonds and an apple and head back to your desk to finish out your day. You’ve got a slow cooker full of chili infusing your kitchen with a heavenly smell, and right now you can’t see why anyone thinks this is hard.
This delusion is somewhat akin to the first episode of any given reality show on which the contestants are herded together and forced to live in one house. At the end of the first episode, everyone can just tell they are going to be best friends for life. Those of us on the other side of the screen know better, though, don’t we? No one really believes this mess to be true, but everyone humors it… because how long can it last, really?
The truth is that you’re feeling empowered by making one good choice after another, all day long. And you should! Take note of that Rock Star feeling, stash it away and bring it back out when days get rough. Because rest assured that after a lifetime of suboptimal choices, things are going to have to get worse before they can get better.
Speaking of rough…

Days 2-3: The Hangover.

The alarm rings on day 2 and you pop out of bed expecting the same kind of Charlie Sheen winning feeling you had yesterday. Instead, you get the other side of Charlie…you know – the pounding-head-cross-eyed-can’t-see-straight side. You know you didn’t down a fifth of tequila in your sleep, so what the heck happened?!
Remember the pre Whole30 bender you went on? Pizza, cookies, Jim Beam, jelly beans (oh, the jelly beans)? Yeah. This is when it comes back to bite you in the butt. (And the head.) And it is definitely true that the amount of suck you experience in this phase is directly proportional to the amount of crap you consumed before you began the program. Especially if you consumed it consistently. This phase is especially hard for the habitual Diet Coke (and Diet Dr. Pepper here in my part of the world) drinkers. You know who you are.
Many Whole30ers report headaches, fatigue, and general malaise during this part of the program.This, my friends, is completely normal. Your body is working its way through a whole host of junk it stored from the foods (or food-like-products) you used to eat. This process lasts a day for some folks, but for others it can take a few days longer. Relax, drink a lot of water, and keep making good choices. And do your best to earn the sympathy and support from friends and family, because…

Days 4-5: Kill ALL the things!

Day 4 dawns and you tentatively step out of bed, expecting to feel like you took a strike from Thor’s hammer in the temple. Instead, your head is surprisingly clear. Your limbs all feel functional. This could be a good day! You walk into the kitchen and as you’re greeted by the smiling face of your significant other you are suddenly overcome…with the desire to punch them in the face for smiling this early in the morning. Congratulations! You’ve made it to day 4.
Now, I have no clue why this phase happens, or why it happens here (and not on, say, day 14).* I just know that it happens. Often. Even experienced Whole30ers (myself included) go through this phase. Every nerve is lit, temperance is non-existent and the only solution to the problem seems to be to Kill All of the Things.
This phase, too, will pass. Beg your spouse, children, parents, co-workers, for patience and forgiveness – as nicely as you can (and no, “shut up and leave me alone!” does not count as nice). Take a deep breath and eat some sweet potatoes. I promise, you’ll feel better soon.
*It’s probably because your brain is never very happy when you tell it that it CAN’T have something, and take it out of it’s habitual and accustomed comfort zone. An unhappy brain is a stressed brain, an anxious brain, a fearful brain. No to mention your hormones are desperately trying to keep up with your new food choices, your gut is trying to heal, you’ve had a headache for the last three days, and you REALLY MISS YOUR DIET COKE. So yeah, maybe we do know why this is happening now…

Days 6-7: I just want a nap…

Okay, so its day 6 and you made it through the last phase without smiting anyone. The thing is, today you don’t feel like you could smite anyone if your life depended on it! It’s 10 am and all you can think about is crawling under your desk for a catnap. As the day drags on, the surface of your desk is morphing, from hard wooden surface to snuggly warm pillow, right before your eyes. You hit the gym, but only halfheartedly, unable to face the barbell with any kind of conviction. You crawl into bed at 8 p.m. only to drag yourself out eleven hours later feeling no more rested than you did the night before.
So what’s the deal?! Isn’t eating like this supposed to increase energy levels? Yes…in the long run.Right now, you’re body is learning that it can’t rely on all those easy access energy sources it used to know and love. Gone are the days of cinnamon crunch muffins and Frappuccinos. Now your body is learning to efficiently burn fat and protein as its fuel sources, and that takes more effort – and some time. If you can hold out just a bit longer, you’ll definitely reap the benefits. (Besides, you could probably use a day off from the gym anyway, right?)

Days 8-15: Boundless energy! Now give me a damn Twinkie.

Hurray! The slump is over! Your energy levels are better than normal – you’re downright Tigger the bouncing tiger! But something weird is happening. You’re dreaming. Not crazy nightmare or strange surrealist dreams, either. Incredibly normal and realistic dreams – about donuts. Or Twinkies. Or Snickers.* In your mind, sometimes you get caught and feel guilty. Sometimes you just brazenly eat the contraband. But then, the feelings start following you into the waking hours. Suddenly, you’re craving things you don’t even like. (For me, it’s Diet Coke and Twinkies, for Melissa Hartwig, it was fast-food cheeseburgers!) Your co-workers; heads transform into giant Girl Scout Cookies as you gaze on in disbelief. Seriously, you’ve almost hit the halfway mark, and now this?!
All joking aside, though, this phase gets really intense and for some people. This is the part of the program where our minds try to drive us back to the comfort of the foods we used to know. Our food relationships are deeply rooted and strongly reinforced throughout the course of our lives and breaking through them is really big deal. Journaling can be especially enlightening and helpful during this phase, and helpful for reflection later. Take some time to jot down what you’re craving, how you’re feeling and what tools you’re using to work through the cravings.
*The cravings people get, and the dreams they often have, rival those of pregnancy. One person told me they craved pickles and Doritos (together) during this phase!"

Monday, January 6, 2014

Day 1!

Welcome! You did it! You made it through day 1. Nice work! How are you feeling? Remember you are not alone.  We are all in this together.  Check out this link for a great "what to expect" timeline.

We also have a Facebook Group that we would love to have you join.  

How are your food logs going? Here is a sample food log for your reference.  Please try to be specific and use quantities whenever possible.

Sample Food Log:

  • Breakfast: 3 eggs scrambled with 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup peppers, 1/4 cup tomato salsa
  • Lunch: 2 chicken thighs, 1 cup broccoli, 1 tomato, 1 avocado
  • Post workout: SFH protein with coconut water
  • Dinner: 2 cups mixed greens, 8 oz ahi tuna, 1/4 cup mango, 2 oz sunflower seeds, 6 black olives, 5 cherry tomatoes

Let us know if you have any questions.  Keep up the great work!

Friday, December 27, 2013

NorCal CrossFit Fuel Challenge January 2014

As we begin the new year we have an opportunity to start 2014 off with a commitment to improving our human performance. The starting point will be different for each one of you. Some of you eat strict paleo and have been doing so for years. Others adopt a 70/30 approach to paleo eating while some prefer a primal approach. Then there are those of you who are curious about what this whole paleo thing is all about but have no idea where to start. This year's NorCal CrossFit Fuel Challenge will have a place for all of you.


Dates: January 6th – February 5th, 2014
Entry Fee: $20 (paypal or by check the day of the kickoff)
This is not a weight loss competition. This challenge is a way to better health and promote optimal gene expression. In short, how to be more awesome! 
**Kick Off at NorCal CrossFit Mtn. View on January 5!**

Where to start:

Step One. Choose an approach

Approach 1: (Preferred) Whole30 as outlined here.

Approach 2: Choose a Level.   Please note that the levels are cumulative.  If you choose level 5, you are subject to numbers 1-5.  If you choose level 8, you are subject to 1-8.  Etc.

1. Eliminate all processed foods and refined and added sugar 
2. Eliminate Grains/Gluten and Soy (includes corn & beer) 
3. Eliminate Legumes, Beans and Lentils 
4. Eliminate all alcohol
5. Cook with animal fats/coconut oil 
6. Eliminate starches (white potatoes, rice,) 
7. Eliminate all dairy (heavy cream, butter)
8. Balance macronutrients at every meal (more on this at the kickoff)

Step Two. Register. 
In order to participate log your information here by January 1. You are highly encouraged to choose a partner who is also taking part in the challenge.  Email dana@norcalcrossfit.com with any questions. 

Step Three. Set a baseline. 
Pictures: Front and back view in athletic clothing or bathing suit 
Measurements: waist circumference, hips, thighs, neck 
Benchmark WODs to be performed between 10-12 on Jan 5th. 

Daily Requirements:

Eat real food.
Adhere to the standards you set out for yourself as outlined above.
Maintain a food log (you will receive a link to the journal template once you register).

Wrap-up, Raffle, and Selection of Fuel Challenge “winners”:
We will meet again on Feb 8th for a wrap-up seminar where we will discuss how to use what you learned through the challenge as you transition back into “real life” after the challenge. 

Everyone will receive a raffle ticket for participating and will be eligible for awesome prizes. 

At the end of the challenge you will have an opportunity to submit a short write-up and pictures/stats to be considered as the Fuel Challenge “Winner”.  We will select 3 finalists and the entire group will vote on Feb 8th when we meet for the wrap-up.  The winners will receive cash prizes as well as other awesome gifts. 

So, are you in?