Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cooking with Chris: Almond Crusted Pork with Onions and Sweet Potatoes

Here is one of my go-to recipes which is easy to make and delicious. I grabbed the original off and adapted it to fit my nutritional needs. (for instance, the original recipe included cheese, so I just didn't include it, and instead of flour coating on the pork chops, I chopped up almonds)  If you're having a holiday party, it might be a good recipe to tinker with!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Running a Marathon: Powered by CrossFit

For those of you that remember, last year I ran a half marathon by doing no running other than in the WODs (Workout of the Day) at CrossFit King of Prussia. I ran 13.1 miles in just over 1 hour, 30 minutes for a pace of 7:00 min/mile. My end lesson was that if I did another long-ish run (13 miles or more), that I would get some long runs in beforehand to get the bottoms of my feet ready for the pounding. Little did I realize just how soon I would running a marathon.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Food for Thought

Food for thought: the human body is resilient. It WANTS to survive and thrive. If you are someone who has experimented with the "starvation" diet (i.e. reducing calories in order to lose weight) you probably know that this method is not sustainable. Why not? Because if you don't nourish the body, it will intentionally store fat. It doesn't KNOW that you are intentionally starving it, it really thinks you're starving! So it's going to store fat.

If you are looking to "lose weight" aka lose excess body fat, make sure you are:
1. eating to satiety (protein and fat will help you feel full longer)
2. losing the grains and dairy (inflammatory to your system, plus grains get broken down as sugar quickly and stored as fat),
3. eating ample FAT (as your body gets away from the grains, it will look to metabolize fat for fuel. Please realize that eating fat will NOT make you fat. You need fat for your brain to function properly, for cell membrane structure, etc. )
4. weight training/sprinting (NOT long slow distance. Running on the treadmill for 45 minutes induces a cortisol response and causes your body to store fat. Keep things short and sweet). 

Anyone have failed or successful training programs or weight management programs? Does losing weight = healthy???

Friday, October 29, 2010

At Home with Chris P.: Hardboiled Eggs

 Breakfast. Some would say it's an integral part of nutrition, but how can you eat on the go? We know things like cereal or those breakfast bars will spike blood sugar and leave us hungry mid-morning, so how can we get good protein in our life? Watch my Sunday night routine below. (Timing of the sound is a little off during the bloopers, sorry!)

What do you eat for breakfast? Do you have any tips or tricks?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Foggy and Groggy

Are you foggy and/or groggy during the day? Do you get that slump after eating lunch? There are probably several factors working in there, but the biggest is probably your food. Wait, what about sleep? Yes, that is an important factor, but one that is obvious and one that you've probably tried to correct while not getting great results. However, you might have overlooked the nutrition piece. Eating a SAD diet (Standard American Diet - think food pyramid) causes big sugar rushes and insulin spikes whether you know it or not. You may think you eat a low-sugar diet, but remember that having bread (yes, even "whole grain" bread) and pasta (yes, even "whole wheat" pasta) will break down very quickly in your system and be converted to sugar. It is this roller coaster ride that can contribute to those slumps in the day. Remember, your body normally has about a teaspoon of sugar flowing through it, or about 5 grams. If you were to eat the exact proportions of the food pyramid recommended by some doctors, you would be consuming the equivalent of 300 grams of sugar a day!

Take out the grains and sugar, add in plenty of protein and fat (yes, fat is good!) and you get rid of the slumps and fogginess. Also, get good, quality sleep as this is also a factor. Hit the link below for more specifics on what food head towards.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Guest Post on RadicalHateLoss

Head over to Radical Hateloss to see a guest post I wrote. Steph V. is an athlete at CF King of Prussia and runs the blog. She has an amazing story of ups and downs with her weight, self-esteem, and journey through fitness. It was an honor to write a post for her.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Supplement: Magnesium

Everyone talks about calcium, but what about the other side of the coin? Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.* The problem as a paleo/primal/meat,veggies,nuts etc. eater is that good sources of magnesium are found in things we try to avoid: grains like cereal, bread, etc.** As a supplement, it will help relax the muscles and systems in your body, boost your immune system, maintain heart rhythms, and get better sleep. 

Although there are many magnesium supplements out there, I personally take Natural Calm. It is touted as an anti-stress powder, but I like it to help me sleep better. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a supplement is working, but when I take 1-2 tsp. of this powder mixed with water before bed, I am definitely more alert the next morning and sometimes even jump out of bed because of how well rested I am. Essentially, it makes my sleep more efficient

Be sure to read up on side effects, follow directions to ramp up the dosage over time, and of course talk to your doctor if you have any conditions to see if you can take this. Magnesium supplements can be found anywhere (CVS, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, etc). You will probably discover that there are Magnesium + Calcium supplements out there. I don't see a reason not to get this if you want, but if you're eating enough green veggies and getting Vitamin D, you should be fine in retaining calcium. 


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Perception vs. Reality

The more I talk with people about their eating habits, the more I realize just how different they are. Even when people think they are eating exactly the same as others, they usually aren't. Portions are different, types of food are different, and perception has a lot to do with this. "I don't drink a lot" can mean one or two beers a month or it can mean one or two beers a night, but there's obviously a big difference here (50-60 beers worth). "I eat healthy" can mean whole grain bread, fat-free snacks, and diet soda to some people or it can mean meat, veggies, and coconut oil to others. Again, similar statements, but vastly different lifestyles.  Add in the fact that genetics plays a role in appearance and health and you end up with an infinite amount of possibilities. "I eat 90% paleo." Wait, what does that mean? You have one huge cheat meal a week? You drink dairy? You eat coconut pancakes? Hold on, are you saying coconut pancakes aren't paleo?

Do you see how things can get murky?

So what can you do to truly be "healthy"? Start with simple guidelines that apply to humans from an evolutionary standpoint: eat meat, fish, veggies, some fruit, little starch, no sugar (Glassman). From there, tinker and play with food so that you can find what works FOR YOU. Some of you will hate the taste the broccoli, some of you will love it. Some of you will hate almonds, others will devour them. Some of you will want to gain weight, some will want to lose it. Some will be very active, others will not. Some will need quick food on the go, others have time to cook every meal from scratch. While sharing your experiences with others, be specific and give actual examples of what you eat. Be especially mindful of this when talking with people not familiar with words like "paleo." Actually, don't say things like "I eat paleo plus dairy" because paleo is NOT dairy. It's like saying "I'm a vegetarian plus beef." It just doesn't work. Say things like "I had a palm sized piece of chicken, a hand sized portion of broccoli, and a tablespoon or two of olive oil for dinner" and people will not only have a better idea of what you eat, but also a better idea of what to make for dinner.

How does perception play a role in talking about
Have you made small changes in lifestyle with big results?

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Fitness is Like Money - #1

At first glance, fitness and money have nothing to do with each other, but actually there are several similarities. One of them is time. It takes time to get results from both. When people invest their money, compound interest may start slowly, but over time can build great wealth. Being fit takes time and dedication as well. There are no quick fixes despite what infomercials tell you. Can you crash diet and lose weight quickly? Sure. Is it healthy and/or sustainable? Absolutely not. Just like you could go to the casino and lay a big bet down, you're gambling with your health if you look for quick fixes. To build strength and lung capacity, there is no secret formula, but there is a simple blueprint: Lift heavy, sprint, and eat real food, and the benefits will come with time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Survey Says: What do you eat?

Spaghetti Squash and Sausage - looks and tastes like the real thing, without the food coma afterwards!

I get this question a lot: "What do you eat?" I think knowing the science behind nutrition is important for buy-in, but sometimes you just need to know what other people eat! Some people have a pretty good routine of eating while others are still experimenting and learning what works for them. One of the best ways to figure things out is by sharing with others in hopes of learning something from them. I try to have a protein/fat/carbohydrate at every meal, especially the protein and fat. During a typical work week, our food looks like this:

Breakfast - 3 hard boiled eggs, V8 vegetable juice and or piece of fruit like a nectarine, nuts/seeds or avocado.

Lunch - spinach salad with baked chicken, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, avocado and/or nut bar.

Dinner - this varies, but basically we'll do protein/fat/carb (same for every meal). Examples are steak/avocado/asparagus, eggs/avocado/fruit, salmon/sweet potato/nuts, or the spaghetti squash and sausage pictured above.

Snacks - usually I don't snack, but I do keep some nuts/seeds and cans of sardines in my desk. Some people find that gross, but I like the taste and they are easy to keep. Jerky is another great option.

Here's a link to pictures and descriptions of things we have in the refrigerator/freezer/cabinets. We have gotten away from dairy a fair amount, so there is no cheese around anymore. 

On Sundays, we do a lot of preparation and cooking. We'll cook 30 eggs (3 each for 5 days), 5-10 chicken breasts which we season, bake, cut up, and put in spinach salads ready to go. (Different seasoning = more variety.) If we're good, we'll divvy up fruit into plastic bags also ready to go. This way, each night we can prepare the next day's food for breakfast and lunch at work. Yes, as you can imagine it is Tupperware Central, but it's worth not having to think about what to eat later in the week.

On weekends, it's pretty much the same except since we're home I'll make omelets or take more time to make stir-fry, or more elaborate dish. And yes, I have certainly indulged in a cheat meal or two, but mentally I know I am around 80/20% compliant. 

For more food habits sharing, check out my friend, Laura's blog at Against the Grain

What do you do for food? Do you have a routine or prepare ahead of time?

Monday, August 9, 2010

But It's My Destiny! (or is it?)

With nutrition comes the classic debate: nature vs. nurture. Is your health and the way you look determined more by your genetics or your habits? The nature camp would say that your genetics is your destiny and there is little you can do to control it. The nurture camp would say that habits and lifestyle largely affect your health and appearance. So which is it?

Pictured above are German twins, Otto and Ewald. As you can see, one is physically larger and healthier looking than the other. So why is this picture so important? Because genetically, Otto and Ewald started out identical, but clearly their lifestyle and habits affected their appearance. Essentially, they were able to CONTROL their genetics! There is actually a name for the study of this: epigenetics. By having different lifestyles, you can majorly affect your "gene expression," and change your so-called Destiny. 

To give you an example of this, let's look at alcoholism. Many people would say this is an inherited disease, but what happens if an "alcoholic" never has alcohol? Yes, genetically they may be predisposed to alcoholism, but if alcohol is never introduced into their system, the disease would not manifest itself! Too skeptical of even this analogy? Take the scenario of a fair skinned person and dark skinned person at the beach. Who is going to sunburn quicker? Obviously the fair skinned person, due to genetics. But let's keep that person indoors, or put long sleeves on them, and all of a sudden they have changed how their genes are expressed!

The same idea can be applied to Type II Diabetics. Diabetes occurs when a person can no longer manufacture insulin which controls blood sugar levels. A Standard American Diet (SAD) messes with blood sugar levels so much that a record number of people are diagnosed with Diabetes every day. If one were to stay away from grains, sugar, and starches, the disease would most likely not manifest itself because the stimulant is not present, just like alcohol to the "alcoholic."

It's amazingly sad that people will essentially "give up" effort to eat well because they think it's their "destiny." Just imagine a person saying "Well, it's my destiny to be an alcoholic so I might as well drink as much as I can." You would probably be outraged if this were a friend or family member. The same should be true for those choosing to let "destiny" control their health. Anyone with Diabetes in their family history (or obesity, or heart disease, etc etc) needs to realize that they DO have control over their future and yes, it might need some extra effort compared to others around them, but I hope they see that it's worth it. Some people need a little more vigilance when it comes to diet, just like a fair skinned person needs to be more vigilant about the sun.

For those who are new to this blog or wondering how to start, check out: How to Be Healthy 101

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Save Money: Buy More Meat!

As you know, meat is a big part of a performance and health diet, but it can get expensive to keep the cuts of meat constantly varied! One solution is to buy bigger parts of the animal to cut down on cost and the number of trips you need to make to a butcher or store. Some people will buy a whole cow while others will split parts of the animal with groups of people. While the cost upfront can be steep (upwards of $2,000 for a whole cow), it will save you money in the long run because the cost per cut goes down. Plus, you don't have to head out to the store as much. All you need is some planning and enough freezer space. Deep freezers are ideal if you have the room for one. 

Here is an excellent guide by Iowa State on what cuts of beef and pork look like and what to expect when buying in bulk. It's very thorough and goes through things like the differences among live weight vs. hang weight vs. cut weight; plus it has colorful pictures of different cuts of beef so you can actually know what the difference between a NY strip and T-bone are: Beef and Pork Whole Animal Guide

Eat Wild has a listing by state of farms that will sell whole-eighth of animals, here is the link for my Pennsylvania friends, but you can get to any state from here: Eat Wild - PA

Have you bought animals in bulk? Would you consider doing it if a group of people went in on one?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Supplements: Vitamin D

Check out the video above for a great explanation of Vitamin D. Basically, you want to get a good amount of natural sunlight everyday (20-40 minutes at least, but without burning) and if you cannot (especially during the winter months on the East Coast) then supplement with Vitamin D from a store. Eating meat will also provide a small amount of Vitamin D, but the best source hands down is the sun. Supplements are super cheap and depending on skin color, diet, etc. you could take anywhere from 4000-10,000 IU per day. By doing so, you bolster your immune system, retains calcium, reduces inflammation, and help a host of other processes in the body, including defenses against cancer and infections.

How much sun do you get per day? Do you notice your physical or mental health vary with the amount of sunlight you are exposed to? 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Big Isn't Strong, Strong is Strong

Big isn't strong, strong is strong. Do you agree or disagree?  When I went to my USAW certification and saw a 26-year old guy clean and jerk 225# at 5'2" and 120 lbs. it really humbled me. (and that was his daily practice, not even an PR) Now to be clear, he had been oly lifting for 8 years and had amazing technique, but it was fun to watch him work. 
"Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy" occurs when fluid in the muscle increases due to muscle fatigue. The guys who want to get huge should train for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. "Myofibrillar hypertrophy" occurs when the actual muscle tissue increases in size due to muscle tension. This results in a dense muscular look. The small olympic lifter would train mostly singles and triples (reps) under maximal tension, therefore resulting in mostly myofibrillar hypertrophy. 
So, what are your thoughts on perception of strength and reality? Have you encountered people who you think are strong, but they don't live up to expectations? Or vice versa: have you encountered people who are "normal" sized or even small and are stronger than you ever expected? Is there a difference between technical lifts such as the the clean and jerk and "real world" strength such as lifting a box? Which would you rather be?

Shorter, More Frequent Posts

The title pretty much says it all. I find it challenging to sit down and write long posts that require a few hours of research/writing. So I'm going to change over to more frequent posts, but much shorter length. Every so often I will throw in a longer post when it's necessary. I hope this is ok with everyone! Of course you can always throw me anonymous feedback with the box in the upper right corner.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On the Road with Chris P.

Sometimes we go away for a weekend for a vacation or a work-related event, but the food that is offered is less than ideal. With a little preparation, you can do pretty well in a pinch. Check out the video for what I did on a recent trip to Pittsburgh.

-What do you do in a pinch?
-Any tips or tricks for those on the road?

Monday, June 7, 2010

What Kind of Shoes Should I Wear?

CrossFit is all about going back to the basics: eat real food such as meat and veggies, and do functional exercises such as squatting and deadlifting. By going back to our roots, we are letting our bodies function and thrive on what our ancestors and genetics have been used to. In this day and age of marketing and consumerism though, it's easy to make misinformed decisions, especially when it comes to your health. So as much as you might think the Shake Weight and Slim Fast will lead to a strong, healthy body, sadly they do not.  The same thought can be applied to running shoes, specifically those used in CrossFit style workouts. Here I will examine several types of shoes and give my take on each type. 

Monday, May 17, 2010


 Aimee Lyons of Crossfit King of Prussia pulls a PR deadlift: 280# (over 2x bodyweight)

I had the fortune of going to the CrossFit Central East Regional competition in Logan, Ohio just over a week ago. I was also able to judge, which put me right in the middle of all of the action. Going to competitions always wakes me up to the INTENSITY that come pouring out of competitors. They literally put their blood, sweat, and tears into competing, and it's just an incredible sight to see. I recently talked about Chasing the Rx'd, where I recommended scaling to keep the stimulus of a workout. Now, I'm here to tell you to CHALLENGE yourself to be even more intense than before.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Double Down Dilemma

Let's take a poll. If you were hungry and someone offered you KFC's Double Down sandwich, you would say:
a.) "No thanks, I don't feel like having a heart attack right now."
b.) "Sure, but I need a bun too."
c.) "Chicken and bacon? Heck yes I'll take it!"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Training for a Race by NOT Running: A Case Study

EDIT: updated with link to a CNN article about the runners and heart conditions

With the weather getting nicer on the East coast, more people are out doing the most common form of exercise: running. Some of these folks will do races ranging from your local town 5k to ultramarathons out west. On August 26, 2009, I decided to turn myself into a guinea pig. I decided to run a half marathon that was scheduled less than a month away. Not only that, but I decided that I would not run, unless the run came up in a workout at CrossFit King of Prussia. The day before the half marathon I totaled up the previous 30 days' worth of running: less than 6 miles. The next day I was supposed to run 13.1 miles non-stop?? What was I thinking? Not only did I finish, but I set a PR and was back to working out the next day, setting two more PRs in the gym. Here is a breakdown of what I did to prepare, how the race went, and what the days were like after. 

Robb Wolf: Paleolithic Solution Seminar

Any Paleo person worth their salt knows who Robb Wolf is. For those of you who don't, he's the owner of NorCal Strength and Conditioning and the average CrossFitter's authority on the Paleo Diet. He currently runs a blog and posts podcasts that offer great information. He also used to lead CrossFit's nutrition certifications, but has since taken to the road for his own seminars. I've been following Robb's work for about two years now, so when the opportunity came up to go to one of his seminars at CrossFit Hoboken, I jumped at the chance (along with four other members of CrossFit King of Prussia: Aimee, Evan, Laura, and Dave) Robb presented the 60 or so participants with a wealth of knowledge, both scientific and real case studies and we probably could have spent a week there just asking questions. While I'm not going to steal Robb's presentation, I do want to point out two major topics that are uber important, plus a peek at what future posts will be covering.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chasing the Rx

CrossFit prides itself on universal scalability – the ability to adapt any exercise to any person regardless of age, weight, disability, etc.  As a general physical preparedness (GPP) program, this is beneficial because it can assist anyone from an elite athlete looking to tweak their performance to an 80 year old looking to just get out of bed in the morning. Usually though, the very nature of timing workouts and recording scores will draw competitive people to CrossFit.  While this can be beneficial for us to push each other in a positive way, I believe it's very easy to fall into the trap of focusing solely on doing a workout as prescribed (Rx'd). While it is a great accomplishment to get “Rx” next to your name, we need to look at how you got there and if it is appropriate. If you're wondering why you've hit a plateau, or why you aren't progressing as fast as you want, this post is for you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Food and Family

Even the Duggars might disagree on food and health

This past weekend a lot of families got together to celebrate Passover, Easter, spring break, or just nice weather. My family was no exception. My aunt just started CrossFit, so as we were talking about working out, the topic of food came up. Some of my family know about this blog, so they started asking questions on how to start eating healthy. Most of them do not CrossFit and are not familiar with words like "Paleo" or ideas like "grains are unhealthy." Trying to explain the basics made me remember that people are going to be on all levels of understanding when it comes to nutrition, but it was a good reminder. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to Read Past the Fancy Labels

In an ideal world, you would have your meat and eggs come from a local farm, your fruits and veggies right from your backyard, and you would subsist from only these elements. In the real world, you probably don't have a farm that close and you don't have enough time to tend to your own garden, let alone have a climate to sustain an orange tree out back. So where do you get food? The next step would be a local farmer's market where they bring food from farms too far for you to drive, but not too far for them to get to a market. Or perhaps you belong to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or to something like we do, a Farm Share Program. Still though, in a pinch you might have to run to the grocery store. You've probably heard of "shop around the perimeter" before, and for the most part, that's a good thing. But what's on the inside of that perimeter? Well, to be honest, it's a lot of junk full of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other nasty items (I'm not even going to call it "food.") But so much of it can be deceiving to people of all nutritional education backgrounds, so how can you read past the fancy labels? Recently I took a stroll through a well-known supermarket and snapped away with my phone so we can take a look at some of the more popular ways stores and brands try to get you to buy their product.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Top 10 Practical Tips/Tricks to Healthful Eating

CrossFit King of Prussia is commencing a clean eating challenge starting April 1 and lasting the entire month. Some people will choose to eat paleo, primal, Whole30, or a combination of any of these, but the main point is to be more conscious of eating healthful foods instead of unhealthful. What is going to get you not only feeling better throughout the day, but also performing better in the gym and at work? What is going to help you maintain energy levels and be able to play with the kids when you get home? What is going to prevent those midmorning or afternoon slumps where you feel like you could just take a nap at your desk? Besides the basic things like cutting out grains, sugar, starch, and eating more meat, vegetables, and some fruit, there are some other tips and tricks I've learned along the way that can help you get on track. Here are just some I thought of off the top of my head. If you have any, feel free to post to comments!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup - When Sweeter is Worse

Edited for request of: Do you have a list of fruits and their levels of fructose?

A study that just came out of Princeton (abstract) found out that high fructose corn syrup is worse than sugar. Now, I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I think this is important news to hit even mainstream media.  There are people who probably know HFCS is bad, but they might also think it's equivalent to sugar. Not so. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How the 80/20 Rule Applies to Cheat Days and Appearance

 Note: The box to the right is an anonymous way of asking for certain topics to be covered here. This is a post in response to someone's request. 
Ice cream. I find it hard to believe that there's even one person out there that doesn't enjoy ice cream. Personally, I love it, but it's always surprising to co-workers and family when they hear I eat ice cream. "I thought you always ate healthy!" "Aren't you the meat man?" (Yes, I have literally been called the "meat man" by more than one person) "But Chris, aren't you being a hypocrite by telling people about healthy eating and then you go ahead and eat ice cream?" Controversial dairy issue aside, no I don't think I'm being a hypocrite because my mantra has always been "Everyone's needs are different." And that brings up the 80/20 rule.

Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 CrossFit Games: PA/MD/DE Sectionals

Edit: Updated with my results below each WOD

So in case you are not engrossed in the community that is CrossFit, the PA/MD/DE sectionals are Saturday, March 13, 2010 at our very own CrossFit King of Prussia. Over 120 men and over 30 women are registered; only top 20 men and top 20 women move on to Regionals which will be held in Ohio in May. Below are descriptions of the workouts and links to the official Games pages. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Proof is in the Numbers

Whenever I mention that I eat lots of meat and eggs, people always ask, "But what about your cholesterol??" Well, if you've been paying attention, you should know that consuming good fats will help joint mobility, brain function, mood, and many other facets of life. While there's a LOT of science behind it, I also think proof is in the numbers. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Healthful Eating Tip #942

It's Taco Night, but you've read the Grain Manifesto and you are refraining from hard shells and tortillas. What do you do?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grain Manifesto by Whole9

Melissa and Dallas of Whole9 put together a succinct and easy to read explanation for why grains should not be in your diet. Yes, even "whole grains" and things like quinoa. It might go against everything you've heard/read, but there is science backing this info, so check it out. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Low Down on Fish Oil

Few people would dispute the benefits of having omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. Even people that might not understand why fat is good usually agree that omega-3s are good for you. But SAYING they're good for you and know WHY and HOW are two different things. So, without further ado, I present my version of Fish Oil FAQs.

UPDATE 10/10/2011: Robb Wolf's Fish Oil Revision

Monday, February 22, 2010

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Note: The box to the right is an anonymous way of asking for certain topics to be covered here. This is a post in response to someone's request. 

adipose tissue (fat) can easily be observed in the cross section of a woman on the left

Losing weight. Come New Years or spring break or summer vacation or a 20th reunion, you can always find someone who wants to "lose weight." What does this really mean though? If I take off my shoes, I've just lost weight. If I cut my hair, I've just lost some weight. Of course people don't think of these things when they say "lose weight;" they mean "lose excess fat." When people want to "get in shape" (another very loose, relative term) the hope is that they want to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. Let's be honest folks, YOU WANT TO LOOK GOOD NAKED.  Maybe you don't want to be shredded like Ahhnold back in his prime and hopefully you don't want to be twig-thin like these models.  But you DO want to maintain a healthy bodyweight. So how do we go about this? I can tell you right now, Diet Coke and rice cakes is NOT going to help you be lean and strong (but they can help you be emaciated and weak). Let's take a look at some factors and how to actually do this.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Food Rules

Not only does food RULE, but everyone has different food rules for themselves. Some people will have dairy, some not; some will have real fruit juice, others will not; some will have 10 chips with guacamole and not consider it having grains, some will not. So what do YOU do and what are YOUR rules? Do you have rice with sushi? Do you have sugary drinks like Vitamin Water? Do you drink alcohol? If you observe the Catholic season of Lent, are you giving anything up? Post thoughts to comments.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Nutrition, Fitness, and Health: 101

Living a long, happy, healthy life. I think most people would say they want this, but how many know HOW to do this? If only it came in a bottle like the picture above. Actually, there's no one simple answer like taking a pill, but I believe there are some guidelines for basic areas of your life: eating real foods, getting quality sleep, and getting strong.  I don't think there's ever a day that someone wakes up and suddenly knows what to do in regards to these areas. It's a process and something that takes time not only to cognitively be aware of what to do, but how to actually implement that information in your lifestyle.

So while it's good to know about advanced topics such as arachidonic acid and how to snatch, let's start with some very basic guidelines of living a healthy lifestyle.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whole Foods or Whole Fools?

Check out this post by Jimmy Moore about Whole Foods' new campaign for a low-fat, vegetarian lifestyle for everyone. Post thoughts to comments.

Low-Carb Community Responds To Whole Foods Exclusively Marketing A Low-Fat, Vegetarian Diet 



This guy is certainly no light weight, but he makes the bars seem like it! 1005 pound CrossFit Total is impressive...doing it for 10 rounds in less than 5 minutes is stomp-on-my-face amazing. And oh yeah, he weighs 180 pounds.
Backsquat - 425lbs.
Press - 135lbs.
Deadlift - 445lbs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Produce Junction, What's Your Function?

Eating paleo/primal is not necessarily cheap when it comes to grass-fed meat, but you can probably find some SUPER deals on veggies/fruits. Instead of going to Genuardi's and paying $81.47, I just got back from Produce Junction in Glenside, PA and paid $25.25. Yes, $25.25 for:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where's the (dried) Beef? Homemade Jerky

Jerky. Portable, nutritious, and downright delicious. But so expensive! A 3oz. package could be $3-$5 PLUS it has a ton of nitrates and preservatives in it.  So what do we do if something is worth having, but not always worth buying? Make it yourself! Don't have a smoker or dehydrator? Me neither. If you have an oven or a box fan, you can make your own jerky.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Java or Not to Java? That is the Question

Coffee. As an educator, it's hard to find someone I work with that doesn't drink coffee. If I do find someone, they're usually drinking tea. It's well known that coffee/tea is addicting due to the caffeine, but what are the health pros/cons and how does it affect performance in the gym?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Chris P. Chronicles

If any of you have the CrossFit Journal, you know it's a worthwhile investment. For $25/year, you get access to a ton of great PDFs and videos about everything ranging from how to deadlift to interviews with firebreathers like Tanya Wagner. You also are probably familiar with CrossFit HQ's Pat Sherwood's "Zone Chronicles." These are a series of videos where Pat tapes his meals and explains why he eats what he does. I'm always fascinated by these because as much as people will give guidelines on how to eat, I want to see how REAL people eat and WHAT they are eating. This inspired me to take pictures of our fridge and cupboards to show you what KDitty and I eat. So here we go.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Baby Got Back

Let's take a journey through your average morning. You get up and head to the bathroom, maybe taking a peek at your disheveled self in the mirror. You take a shower and after drying off, you probably look in the mirror. As you brush your teeth, you have no choice but to look in the mirror. As you're getting dressed, you look in the mirror. When you have to do your hair and/or do your makeup, what do you need? A mirror. As you head out the door, you take one final glance in the mirror to make sure everything is in place.

Do you see a theme?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paleo Fudge Babies!

check out this great recipe for a little treat. (Just because there is no added sugar doesn't mean you should eat 30 fudge babies in one sitting!)

1 1/3 cup Dates
1 cup Walnuts
4 Tbs Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla

Dump into a food processor, hit the big button that say ON. Process the food...roll with fingers into little "balls" also known as Fudge Babies...chill and serve.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Almond Butter on the Cheap

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you've ever been 5 years old, (and I bet you have) you've probably had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As benign as you may have thought it, the classic PB&J could possibly symbolize everything that is wrong with Conventional Wisdom.

what CW saysthe reality
bread"grains are the base of the food pyramid, therefore they are good. Whole grains are even better!"Grains are gut irritants and cause an insulin response promoting fat storage, no matter how "whole" they are.
jelly"made from all natural fruit. Fruit is good for you. Therefore jelly is good for you."One word: sugar.
peanut butter"Smooth or chunky, it's a great source of protein and vitamins."Peanuts are not actually nuts, they are legumes. Legumes are gut irritants and can literally cause small perforations where bad stuff can leak into your system, aka leaky gut.
If you would like more in-depth posts on any of the above topics, post it in comments

So while you can pretty much rule out bread and jelly, there ARE great substitutes for peanut butter, namely, nut butters. Almond butter, walnut butter, pecan butter, macadamia nut butter...the list goes on. Loaded with good fats, they are not ideal for someone looking to lean out, but a great portable way to get some fat in. But if you've ever looked in the store, nut butters can either be too expensive, or not even available! So what is a CrossFitter/Paleo/Primal eater to do??

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't Mess with Breakfast

this post was inspired by Meighan, who was wondering today what the heck to eat for breakfast
K-Ditty may or may not have this T-shirt.

What are the first things that come to mind when you hear "breakfast"? If it is cereal, pancakes, or waffles, you are not alone. This is how we grew up and this is what we know for breakfast. We're always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (those who IF - intermittent fasting - may have a different viewpoint), but if we are learning about Paleo/Primal/Zone, how are we supposed to implement these ideas into our breakfast? We're told we can't eat grains or sugar, so what are we supposed to do with that pancake mix, boxes of cereal, and frozen waffles?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Post Workout Nutrition

So you're hooked. "Tabata," "AMRAP" and "Fran" all mean something to you and you can thank (or blame) it on CrossFit. You live for refreshing your internet browser at 10pm just so you can see the WOD for the next day. You are a CrossFit addict. Hopefully a CrossFit KoP addict.
So how do you make the most of your time and energy so you can PR like crazy (as a newbie) or reach a new plateau (as a veteran)?  One of the many (overlooked) ways is paying attention to post workout nutrition.


This video is just wild! The precision needed to maneuver like that and the speed are just incredible. (found on Crossfit Endurance)
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