Thursday, August 17, 2017

What I’m Loving Lately 92

Hi, guys! Happy FRIDAY to you!

What’s up for the weekend? Any fun adventures? We have a busy few days ahead, but all good stuff. Today, we’re going to the zoo with Qman followed by (an adults-only) dinner with Mal’s coworker and his wife at a new restaurant. Saturday, I’m heading down to the Cape to hang out with friends. Then, on Sunday, I’m running the Falmouth Road Race and then heading home for another friend’s birthday party. Basically, we’re jamming everything in before the end of the summer. Summer in New England is a sprint, not a marathon! 🙂 Ok, let’s get to this week’s edition of What I’m Loving Lately!

Corkcicle Tumbler – I love this thing so much! I use it just about everyday and recently discovered it’s perfect for the beach (and cocktails)! Smile

What Your Period Can Tell You About Your Health – This blog post was super interesting!

Why I Quit Hormonal Birth Control – This post was also really good and had some great info about FAM (Fertility Awareness Method). So much, in fact, it inspired me to buy Taking Charge of Your Fertility and a basal thermometer. (Yes, knowing everything about hormones is my newest obsession!)

Lululemon Align Pant – I just bought a pair of these – and it was LOVE at first sight. They’re super soft and fit so well. I want them in every color now!

Count Your Chickens game – I just wrote about this game yesterday, but it’s worth another mention. I mean, we’ve played it everyday for a couple of weeks now! It’s just the best game for little kids. It’s a cooperative game, so everyone works together to get the chicks in the coop and the focus is on numbers and counting, so it’s educational too.

Three CrossFit Myths That Make Affiliate Owners Crazy  – Nearly 6 years later, I’m still pushing CrossFit. Haha! Obviously, I love it, but it’s been life-changing for me in so many ways.

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios – Yup, I’m just a tad obsessed. I think I’ve eaten them just about everyday since they came out! Smile

Derby Street Sweat Fitness Series – This one is more for the local followers, but I love what the folks at Derby Street are doing with regard to healthy living and fitness. Once again, they’re offering FREE outdoor Rev’d spin classes (August 23rd through August 25th) as well as complimentary Oh Baby! Fitness Stroller Workouts on Wednesday mornings through the end of September. Just click on the links to register! 🙂

Question of the Day

What are YOU loving this week?

Are you still enjoying summer or are you back-to-school already?

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From Cheerios to CrossFit to Counting Chickens

Holy cow, does anyone else feel like this week is totally flying by?! I can’t believe it’s already Thursday – and the day is already half over. Hey, I’m not complaining because I’m definitely looking forward to the weekend, but, whoa, this week has been quite the whirlwind.

My Hump Day started bright and early with the buzzing of my alarm. My original plan was to get up before everyone else to get some work done, but, unfortunately, our noisy dog woke up Quinn. The pug is just too darn excited about breakfast! I am too, so I get it, but, jeez, he is LOUD in the morning.

Speaking of breakfast, I started my day with a bowl of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios with sliced banana, pumpkin seeds, and some collagen mixed into the almond milk. I actually used to mix protein powder into my milk, but the collagen doesn’t add such a strong flavor –  actually, it barely adds any flavor at all. And, of course, it added a decent amount of protein to my breakfast. #boom

Quinn was happily watching TV, so I headed into the kitchen to put away the dishes. As I was putting them into the cabinets, I realized just how many random ones we had accumulated since we moved into our house a couple of years ago. I suddenly had the urge to purge ALL OF THE DISHES. Does that ever happen to you? You just want to get rid of everything? I’m totally in one of those phases right now. I’ve heard I need to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

After that, Quinn and I woke up Dada. Mal wanted to go to CrossFit with me, but we still needed to walk Murphy and drop Quinn off at daycare. Mal ended up having a slow start to his morning, so I walked Murphy, dropped Quinn off at daycare, and then met him at the gym later on. (We needed to take two cars because I had plans with a girlfriend after class.)

The workout at CrossFit was definitely a good one. It was mostly running with a few strength movements mixed in. The 25 minutes actually seemed like quite a long time!

After class, I grabbed an iced coffee with a friend at Coffee Shack. We sat and chatted for a while and then headed back to her house, so she could color and cut my hair.

Gym. Hair. Iced coffee.

Hooray for new hair!! I love the color and cut so much! 🙂 Plus, my grays we’re definitely starting to take over, so I’m glad I was able to say goodbye!

After my hair appointment, I headed home for a shower and then lunch. In the mix: Shredded chicken, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and feta.

After lunch, I spent the rest of the afternoon working. I had a bunch of phone calls, followed by a ton of social media stuff for Designed to Fit Nutrition. Mid-afternoon, I started to get a little hungry, so I snacked on cinnamon spice Pumpkin Seed Health Warrior Bar. I figured with the seed cycling protocol I’ve been doing, it was a perfect snack!

I did a little more work, snacked on half of a banana with sunflower butter, and then took Murphy for a walk.

While I was gone, Mal picked up Qman from daycare. When we all returned home, everyone said they were hungry, so I broke out some hummus and carrots for us to snack on.

I didn’t do a huge grocery shopping this week because we have so many plans that involve dining out, so we mostly just winged it with meals. Mal and Quinn ate leftovers, and I nuked a Fire Roasted Quinoa Bowl from Kashi.

I mixed it with some leftover zucchini and summer squash, and it was really good – much better than expected! It had some awesome flavors and textures.

After dinner, we played a few rounds of Count Your Chickens, which is THE BEST game for a 3-year-old. It’s a cooperative game, so everyone works together to get the chicks in the coop. Plus, the focus is all about counting and even adding, so it’s an educational game too. We’ve played it a lot lately! 🙂

After we put Quinn to bed, I was starving (hormones?), so I ate two rice cakes, each with a thick layer of sunflower butter.

Mal and I watched Big Brother and then hit the hay.

The end.

Questions of the Day

What game are you (or your kids) loving right now? 

Gray hairs: Cover ’em up or let ’em fly?

P.S. If you have a second, TODAY is the FINAL day (of this round) to VOTE for me in Massage Envy’s “Train Like a Pro Challenge.” Please head over and cast a quick vote for me! I totally appreciate it! 🙂

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CrossFit Training: How to Support Overall Wellness and Longevity with Primal

Close-up of man holding heavy kettlebell at gymThere are some who hold the view that at birth, each of us is allotted a finite supply of energy which exercise depletes, thus hastening our demise. An intense regimen like CrossFit, in this paradigm, would hasten a person’s demise.

That’s wrong, of course. Those who remain sedentary their entire lives often have short, miserable ones, while regular exercisers enjoy better health throughout their time on earth. Exercise has real potential to prolong life and compress morbidity. But it is a major stressor that, if applied incorrectly or excessively, can reduce health and overall wellness.

Here’s the good news for CrossFitters and anyone else engaged in similar combinations of aerobic, strength, and anaerobic training:

Strength training promotes healthy longevity, even in people with hip fractures.

The stronger your grip, the longer you live (even if you’re overweight).

The more lean mass you carry, the better you’ll survive injuries and disease.

The more briskly you walk, the lower your mortality risk.

The more functionally capable you are, the longer you’ll stick around on this rock.

In heart failure patients, a combo of endurance and resistance training is better for long term outlook than just endurance training.

Sound familiar? Between all the deadlifts, the squats, the box jumps, the multi-modal development of fitness across multiple energy pathways, the muscle endurance, and the strength, CrossFit appears to support all the pro-longevity factors listed above.

But there are some things to watch out for that could derail your health and longevity—and going Primal can help.

Injuries

Injuries are a fact of life. Anyone who pushes their body to the limits will eventually overstep them. That’s okay, but you can increase your body’s resistance to injury with a few Primal interventions. Namely:

  • The increase in collagen intake, which supports connective tissue health.
  • The regular consumption of omega-3-rich seafood and reduction in omega-6-rich seed oil consumption, which improves inflammatory status.
  • The elimination of gut irritating-foods like gluten grains, which reduces gut inflammation and prevents excessive intestinal permeability.
  • The consumption of full-fat dairy, which provides vital calcium and anti-inflammatory fatty acids.
  • The promotion of barefoot living, which, provided you go slowly and gradually, increases foot strength, ankle stability, and proprioception.
  • The forays into ketosis, which increase anti-inflammatory ketone bodies.
  • Add these uniquely-Primal interventions to a CrossFitter’s rock-solid technique, ample mobility training, good sleep, and mind-body intuition and you’ll have a better shot at staying injury-free.

Fat Adaptation

Any CrossFit athlete interested in living a long, healthy life should devote at least three or four weeks to getting fat-adapted. Going full-on ketogenic is the quickest way to do it, and easier and more congruent with your training schedule than you might think, but you can go basic low-carb, too. And you don’t have to stay there.

Hit the point where the low-carb/keto flu stops. Where you start feeling good (consistent energy throughout the day, no more headaches or irritability, no more carb cravings, steady appetite, lucid thoughts). That’s the signal that fat-burning mitochondria are ramping up.

Stay there for 2-3 more weeks. Really get settled, get those fat-burning systems established.

Then, try the cyclical low-carb approach I described in a previous post. High-carb on training days, lower-carb on rest days. That should be enough to maintain your fat-burning machinery while replenishing your glycogen for future endeavors.

Excess Carbs

All else being equal, it’s a good idea to burn as much fat as you can and as little glucose. Burn the glucose you’ve earned, of course. I’ve always said that. But don’t eat extra if you don’t have to. Insulin you don’t really need will only hurt longevity.

CrossFit is carb-intensive, as I’ve covered before and anyone who’s actually attended a box for more than a month can attest. So while you’re not going to go low-carb, go as low as you can while still maintaining your performance or hitting your performance goals. If you want to improve your performance, you’ll probably eat more. If you want to maintain, you’ll probably need less. But the point is that most of us are eating more than we need and can probably drop the carbs and, thus, the insulin, a bit without compromising our performance.

Excess Protein

CrossFit compels a high protein intake. You come home from lugging around heavy iron and manipulating your own bodyweight and a large steak starts sounding very, very good for a very good reason: Your muscles require the protein it contains. But is excess protein a problem?

The link between protein and longevity is a tricky one. In short to medium-term studies, high protein intakes are great. They’re safe (as long as you don’t have pre-existing kidney trouble), they help people lose body fat and retain lean mass, they promote satiety and reduce hunger, and they improve body composition, especially if you’re lifting heavy things.

I’m not exactly sure where I come down on this. We don’t have any strong direct evidence that high protein intakes reduce longevity in humans. If anything, older folks need more protein to derive the same effects because they’re less efficient at processing it. Some research suggests higher meat intakes are linked to better longevity in the elderly.

That said, protein does elevate mTOR, a pathway that, if activated to excess or without respite, does reduce lifespan in animal models and may promote the growth of tumors. When mTOR is activated, autophagy—cellular cleanup of damage, necessary for health aging—shuts off. Yet mTOR also increases muscle protein synthesis. In short, it’s the “growth” pathway.

A nice middle ground is intermittent protein fasting. Every once in awhile, eat less meat than you normally would. Or fast outright. This allows you to take advantage of the benefits of mTOR (muscle building) while giving you the benefits of mTOR restriction (autophagy).

Overtraining

Overtraining is a constant concern for any elite athlete. CrossFit is particularly demanding.

You have your training schedule, and I’m not trying to change that. Adopting any of the Primal lifestyle laws (and honorable mentions) will improve your resistance to stress of all kinds, make you more robust in the face of your demanding training schedule.

Lack of Collagen

Skinless chicken breasts, whey protein isolate, egg whites, and other similar foods are staples in many CrossFitters’ diets because they’re extremely high in protein. They’re also extremely high in methionine, an essential amino acid. The thing about methionine is that it increases our need for glycine, an inessential amino acid found in collagen.

The more methionine-rich meat we eat, the more glycine our bodies utilize. In rat studies, high methionine diets reduce lifespan. If you add glycine to the high-methionine diet, however, the rats live longer. For a CrossFitter slamming protein and lean chicken breasts, balancing the methionine with glycine could mean throwing in some oxtail stew, bone broth, and collagen powder. Pretty simple (and delicious).

Glycine may also impact your risk for various degenerative diseases often linked to “meat consumption.” In one study, controlling for glycine status abolished the link between red meat and diabetes. In another, low levels of glycine in the blood predicted the risk of diabetes. While it’s not as if the average CrossFitter is at risk for diabetes, this data is compelling evidence that muscle meat intake should be balanced with collagen intake for healthy longevity.

Performance and health are often cast as opposites. I reject that. I’m convinced that, using Primal principles, a CrossFitter can maintain and improve performance without sacrificing his or her short-term or long-term health.

What about you?

Thanks for reading today, everybody. Have a great end to your week.

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Never Pack This In Your Child’s Lunch + Back-To-School Recipe

The quality of food served by school lunchrooms across the country is appalling. Although my little one isn’t in school (yet), I am saddened that many school districts feed children hot dogs, greasy pizza, and nachos for lunch. How this has even become acceptable is the subject of a future investigation… but in the meantime, do whatever you can to take control of the situation by packing your own lunches.

People who eat homemade food avoid thousands of unnecessary food additives they’d otherwise be exposed to. If your kids are away from home during lunchtime Monday through Friday – that adds up to about 22 lunches a month… or 22 opportunities to choose something healthy and homemade. Think of all the GMOs, preservatives, and other chemicals your children can avoid by packing a lunch. 

But… don’t go down the path of buying all those conveniently packaged “Back To School” snacks and drinks that line the shelves at the grocery store. Not only do they get expensive, but they’re just as unhealthy (maybe worse) than what they serve in school lunchrooms, filled with GMOs and additives to avoid like BHT, TBHQ, artificial colors, flavors, and tons of added sugar…

It’s especially ridiculous they keep selling products with yellow 5 and red 40 which are linked to hyperactivity in children (requiring a warning label in Europe). How are children expected to pay attention to learn in school after eating food like this?

Even organic packaged foods can be extremely processed and unhealthy without any real nutrition. Take the new Organic Lunchables for example. These might be certified organic, but I’d NEVER buy them…

When children grow up eating processed foods regularly, they grow up less likely to crave fresh foods like fruits and veggies. I want to teach my daughter to love all that real food has to offer, the tastes, the textures, and the amazing nutrition that it provides her body – and not trick her tastebuds with processed foods full of added sugar and fake flavors. 

When my daughter starts going to school, this is the type of REAL FOOD lunch I’ll make for her…

It’s not complicated or expensive… just a simple wrap, some fresh fruit or veggie sticks, and baked homemade chips.

The main course in this lunchbox recipe are some fun Hummus Roll-ups that you can put together the evening before so it’s all ready to go in the morning. I like to make my own hummus because most store-bought versions are made with GMOs and inflammatory oils (like canola and soybean) instead of olive oil. This is my go-to hummus recipe. If you buy store-bought hummus, just look for one that is organic and made with olive oil. 

To assemble your Hummus Roll-ups, start out with either an organic sprouted grain or coconut wrap (I like to use these ones by Food For Life, found in the freezer section at most natural food stores). Spread on a couple spoonfuls of hummus and top it with a couple slices of cheese and crunchy romaine lettuce. Thinly slice a cucumber lengthwise and layer it on top…

Then just roll it up tightly and cut into pinwheel slices that are easy for little hands to hold and eat…

Food Babe's Hummus Roll-ups

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 2 slices cheese or avocado
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 4-5 slices cucumber, cut lengthwise
  • 1 sprouted grain wrap (gluten free: use coconut wrap)

Instructions

  1. Spread 2 tablespoons of hummus down the center of the wrap.
  2. Top with the cheese, lettuce and cucumbers.
  3. Roll tightly and cut into pinwheel slices.

Notes

**Please choose all organic ingredients if possible.**

3.4.3177

 

Instead of traditional potato chips, try baking up these parsnip chips… They’re healthier, inexpensive, and taste even better than store-bought chips!

All you do is thinly slice a couple fresh parsnips and spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment…

Drizzle them with a touch of coconut or olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and bake at 375° for about 10 minutes. Take them out when the edges start to get brown and crispy.

Food Babe's Parsnip Chips

 

Author: Food Babe

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 parsnips, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the julienned parsnips on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges start to become browned and crispy.

Notes

**Please choose all organic ingredients if possible.**

3.4.3177

 

To pack this lunch box, I used containers by my partner Ukonserve… they’re non-toxic and leak-proof…

I’ve personally used Ukonserve’s containers when traveling for years, and their divided lunch containers are PERFECT. You can put sandwiches, sliced fruit and veggies in their own little leak-proof compartments, and then tuck it into one of these lunch totes made from recycled plastic bottles!

Unlike other storage containers and baggies, Ukonserve’s containers don’t leach toxic chemicals into food and are free of BPA, phthalates and lead. Since I’m such a big fan of their products, my team was able to negotiate a limited-time discount for the entire Food Babe Army…

Get your lunch boxes ready with…

  • Food Kozy Wraps – Get rid of plastic baggies for good! These wraps are reusable and great for wrapping sandwiches.
  • Glass & Silicone Water Bottles – Instead of buying packaged juice drinks full of sugar and fake flavors, fill these up with filtered water instead. If you have kids in sports – these are a must-have!
  • Ice-Packs – These non-toxic gel packs keep lunches cool.
  • Eco-Friendly Lunch Totes made from recycled plastic bottles!
  • Divided Containers – These leak-proof containers make packing sandwiches and sides easy. 

Pick up your lunchbox essentials here – and don’t forget to enter the code “FOODBABE” at checkout to get 20% off – Ends Monday 8/21.

If you know anyone who would love some back-to-school lunch tips like this, please share this post with them! 

Xo, 

Vani

Posts may contain affiliate links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will automatically receive a small referral fee. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.



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Nurture By Nature and Fall Routines I Love

Nurture By Nature

As much as I enjoy the relaxed vibe of summertime, back-to-school season (and the beginning of those crisp fall days) is my favorite time of year. I am one who loves the predictability of routine and the organized feeling that it brings. To me, back-to-school is even more about resetting goals and examining habits than New Year’s is. Thus, as Mazen’s school year starts up in about 3 weeks, I am hoping to get my own routines in order too.

The pillars of feeling great are: sleep, nutrition, beauty, and fitness. Here’s how I am embracing routine in each of these areas.

1 // Sleep. The foundation of a healthy life! Truly. If you aren’t well-rested, you won’t have the energy you need for all the other areas. I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, which is a nice routine to embrace. I set an alarm on weekdays to try and beat Mazen out of bed, but I barely beat him. I would like to move my wake-up time back 30-45 minutes in order to have a little personal time and get the house organized before my little guy gets up. Probably the biggest factor in this is not spending 20-30 minutes catching up on my phone in bed. I admit I am slow to rise but I think if I just get up and do some of that on the computer, the procrastination of getting up will be minimized.

Routine: sleep the same time every day. alarm. 5 minutes. get up. get going! 

Nurture By Nature

2 // Nutrition. Just like pumpkins creep into August and Santa creeps into October, I have already started getting back into a routine on the meal prep front. For the first half of summer, I tend to wing it, eating from the garden, going to out to dinner more, and attending all the fun social events that pop up when the weather is at prime temp. But by August I am craving the routine of a predictable meal schedule and healthier options. This post I wrote about Prep Day has all the key tips for an organized week of meals.

Routine: meal plan. shop. prep. cook healthy real food. don’t procrastinate. 

3 // Beauty. My beauty routine is all over the place. And with the wedding coming up, I want to get on a schedule of doing some nice masks and hopefully keep my skin in tip-top shape. Generally, when I think of “pampering” I think of doing masks and face creams at night, but I have found that I am always too tired to put something on and let it sit for 10 minutes. I’d fall asleep! So my new thing is putting on a mask in the daytime. Not necessarily first thing, but whenever I am ready to shower, I put the mask on 10 minutes prior and then rinse it off when I get in. So much more user-friendly for me!

After I wrote this post about Pura D’or hair products, the company sent me samples of their Nurture by Nature skincare line, also known as NxN. Like the Pura D’or line, this collection contains organic ingredients that I can pronounce. NxN products are powered by key organic ingredients, free of artificial colors, paraben free, sulfate free, hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested and made in the USA.

Nurture By Nature

I love the Gel to Milk Cleanser from the Total Moisture kit with coconut, Amazonian cacay oil, camellia, green tea, and grapeseed oils. It comes out as a gel and then magically turns into a creamy milk texture in your hands.

I have also been using the Zero Gravity Whipped Day Cream, which includes a blend of marine minerals, raspberry seed, sea buckthorn, grapeseed, and Amazonian cacay oil. The texture of this cream is just as it sounds delightfully rich but not greasy. Because it’s whipped, it absorbs very quickly. I have dry skin, and this is the perfect level of moisture for me. Beauty Sleep Invisible Hydration Mask is the night cream. This bad boy boasts chia seed extract, pumpkin seed oil, Amazonian cacay oil, and grapeseed oil, and I love that, like the day cream, it’s not greasy at all.

Nurture By Nature

haaaayyyyy!

But perhaps my favorite product they make is from the Zero Shine kit the Power Detox Clear Complexion Mask. Its ingredients, like green clay and kaolin, fermented red ginseng, and Amazonian cacay nut, draw out impurities and clear pores. My face had a nice red glow after rinsing it off!

Both of the kits at 2 Minute Club come with a free Glow Remedy Powered to Foam Exfoliator right now, which has the popular activated charcoal inside. It becomes a nice scrub with a little added water and left my face so smooth.

As a gift to you, NxN is offering either of their kits for $30 off with the code KATH. That’s the set for only $9.99! Check here to check them out.

Routine: Religiously use a complete line of beauty products made with natural ingredients and incorporate a mask into my daytime routine when I will actually have the energy to do it.   

Nurture By Nature

4 // Fitness. My exercise routine gets all out of wack in the summer with two mid-week soccer leagues going on (sometimes at the same time), and all the fun we have outside. Now that Mazen will be back in school and travel season is (almost) over, I’m ready to get back into a weekly gym schedule. Matt and I are also working on streamlining our co-parenting instead of just working around social events and travel, so once that is more predictable, my workout schedule can fall into place. I’m thinking it will look something like this starting with my double soccer Sundays:

Soccer – Hot Yoga – Afterburn – Strength – Afterburn – Run – Wildcard (Ath Con, Run, Rest)

Routine: keep workouts varied, consistent, and fun!

Nurture By Nature

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What are your favorite back-to-school routines? New classes? Crisp Saturdays at the farmer’s market before you meal prep? Favorite beauty tricks?

This post was sponsored by Nurture by Nature Skincare and 2 Minute Club

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