Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What I’m Loving Lately 116

Hi, guys!

I’m back with another edition of What I’m Loving Lately. I’ve received great feedback on these lately, so look for me to share my favorite finds on the regular. I also love hearing what you are into lately, so please leave a comment and let me know what I should check out next!

I’m actually hitting publish on this blog post early because there is a MASSIVE Beautycounter sale happening right now, and I want you guys to have first access to it – details below!

HUGE BEAUTYCOUNTER SALE – This is seriously the biggest one yet – I’ve never seen a Beautycounter deal like this before! Get 20% off site wide with promo code LOVE (excludes the Flawless in Five, Get the Look, Peel and Countersun)! The offer goes public tomorrow and is good thru August 13th. It’s time to stock up on your favorite products! Quantities are limited, and I assure you things will sellout, so act fast! If you’ve wanted to try Beautycounter, NOW is the time! ***Just make sure you use the promo code – no discount can be applied after that.

Simple Mills Almond Flour Cracker Snack Packs – I’ve always been a fan of Simple Mills products because they are made with high-quality, simple ingredients – not to mention they taste amazing! Their crackers are SO good, which means they can be a little addictive. Has anyone else eaten a whole box of Simple Mills crackers in one sitting? I love that they have these pre-portioned snack packs to keep me from eating them all in one sitting. Plus, they’re easy to pack up for the beach, school, or travel for adults and little ones.

Primally Pure Ugly Truth Behind Drugstore Deodorant Blog – Over the past year or so, I have worked to be more mindful of what I put on my skin – starting with my beauty products (above) and deodorant. I found this article to be an interesting read for anyone curious about making the switch to a more natural deodorant. I personally love the Primally Pure Charcoal Deodorant because it WORKS and doesn’t leave white residue all over my clothing.

Women’s Sugar Zeffers – Flip flops from Allbirds!?! I’m in love! I don’t own a pair YET, but these look so comfortable and lightweight. And, of course, I love the fun colors as well! My current flip flops had a fun summer, but it’s time for a new pair. I can’t wait to scoop these up for next year’s summer wardrobe!

Brooks Launch 5 ON SALE at Zappos – You guys know I love my Brooks running shoes, and these are definitely a favorite. They are lightweight, but supportive – I love running shorter distances in them (anything less than 7-8 miles). The Launch 5 are on sale right now for just $79.95 – not to mention you get free shipping both ways – in case they don’t fit, your return is no problem! FYI: The Launch 5 are also on sale on the Brooks website (same price), so check both places for the best selection!

PAIR

Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese Style Spread – Apparently, I’m on an almond kick! Between the Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers and this delicious cream cheese spread, I’m certainly hitting my nuts quota! This flavor is incredible – just like the real deal – and the perfect pairing for an afternoon snack. It’s great with crackers, chopped veggies, or used as a based for a party dip. I also like it spread on toast first thing in the morning. Yum!

“Beach bum” sweatshirt – How adorable is this sweatshirt? I love having a comfy lightweight sweatshirt to toss on over my bathing suit once we have the AC going on the ride home. This cute top is on sale right now and a perfect addition to your late-summer wardrobe!

women's beach bum sweatshirt - women's knits

Deland Bakery Millet Zucchini Bread – I stumbled upon this bread at Whole Foods a couple of months ago and thought I’d give it a try. The millet and zucchini combo sounded interesting, and I loved the whole food ingredients. It did not disappoint and since has been part of my regular bread rotation! It’s also is super allergen-friendly for those that need to be mindful of certain ingredients.

Striped snap-neck sweatshirt – J. Crew is one of my go-to stores when I want to add a few new pieces to my wardrobe. While I’m still living the summer life, fall is just around the corner. I happened to see this cute striped sweatshirt and thought it would be a classy addition to my closet.

women's striped snap-neck sweatshirt - women's knits

ButcherBox – I’ve used ButcherBox on and off for years now. Off because I often just forget or our schedule gets busy so I put deliveries on pause. On because I think it’s so convenient to have the best quality meat delivered straight to our doorstep. I really feel good about serving my family protein from healthy, happy animals, and ButcherBox makes it so easy. Plus, I just like having a well-stocked freezer, so I can reach in and grab what I need when meal planning/prepping.

26 Movies to Watch on Netflix – I love enjoying a good movie, but cannot stand searching Netflix for hours. It’s the worst, right? Here’s a great list of recommendation – vecause we all need a little bit of Netflix and chill time. 😉

Question of the Day

Have you started shopping for fall yet?

What new food product are you loving right now? I’m always taking recommendations! 🙂

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Alcohol While Keto?

People like to get healthy, burn body fat, increase their aerobic capacity, and improve their cognitive function. The ketogenic diet is an excellent way to obtain those outcomes, which partially explains its meteoric rise in popularity. But people also like to drink alcohol. You might say it’s a toxin—I wouldn’t disagree. You might say we’d be better off without it—perhaps. The fact remains that people have been drinking for tens of thousands of years, and they’re not going to stop anytime soon.

Can keto and alcohol coexist? Is there anything we need to take into consideration?

First things first, does alcohol inhibit ketosis?

There are very few human studies that even look at this issue. Let’s go over the best one I could find.

How Does High Intake of Alcohol Affect Ketosis?

A 2002 study out of Poland examined the bodies of 16 recently deceased people who had died from hypothermia, mostly alcohol-induced. Most were alcoholics. They found that ketone levels and blood-alcohol levels were inversely proportional. The higher the blood alcohol, the lower the ketones. The higher the ketones, the lower the blood alcohol. In the discussion section, the authors explain:

Liver cells ‘‘engaged’’ in ethanol utilization do not accumulate larger amounts of Ac-CoA (which is a substrate for ketogenesis) because an increase in the NADH/NAD ratio during ethanol oxidation inhibits b-oxidation of fatty acids, and the acetate created from ethanol is activated to AcCoA mainly in the non-liver tissues which cannot produce ketone bodies.

In other words, at a high enough intake, alcohol metabolism supersedes and inhibits ketogenesis because both processes occur in the liver along similar pathways. The Polish study is an extreme example—alcoholics, hypothermia, death—but the basic mechanism is sound.

What About Normal (Moderate) Intake?

In real world situations, however, where people are having a drink or two, low-sugar alcohol (red wine, spirits) is unlikely to derail ketosis. Sugary drinks will inhibit ketosis because of the sugar. Alcohol-induced junk food bingeing will inhibit ketosis because of the junk you’re eating. But it appears to take some serious doses of ethanol to make a noticeable dent in your ketone production. Even then, a degree or two less ketosis isn’t the end of the world (unless you have a serious health condition warranting constant ketosis, in which case are you sure you should be drinking?).

A friend of mine, Mark Moschel, is the health evangelist for Dry Farm Wines and an avid keto dieter and self-experimenter. He recently ran an interesting experiment to determine the effects of his low-sugar dry-farmed wines on ketosis. (If you’re a numbers junkie and love charts, you’ll appreciate seeing how he put it together.)

He fasted for three days to get deep into ketosis. Two days in, he opened a bottle of wine and started drinking.

After the first glass, there was no change. Ketones and blood sugar held steady.

After the second glass, ketones dropped a bit. Sugar rose a bit.

After the third, ketones dropped some more. Sugar went down this time.

Yet, at no point was he “out of ketosis.” Even after the third glass, he was still showing 1.4 mmol. And upon waking the next morning, he had bounced back to 2.3 mmol. By the afternoon, ketones were back above 4 mmol.

Something tells me the “3-day wine fast” is going to catch on in some circles….

Are There Any Negative Interactions Between Alcohol Consumption and Ketogenic Diets?

Maybe. A commonly reported side effect that hasn’t been shown in studies (because the studies haven’t been done) is reduced alcohol tolerance on keto. People report getting drunk quicker and having worse hangovers. Let’s assume for the sake of this post that it’s true, that the anecdotes are conveying something that’s actually happening to a large portion of the keto-eating world. What could be causing reduced alcohol tolerance?

Crowded CYP2E1 Pathway

Alcohol detoxification occurs along two enzymatic pathways, one of which—the CYP2E1 pathway—is also activated by ketone bodies. The CYP2E1 pathway is ultimately a detox pathway, but some of the metabolites it produces in response to the various toxins it processes, like alcohol, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and tobacco, can increase liver inflammation and peroxidative damage. If the ketones you’re making are triggering CYP2E1, drinking alcohol may put you over the top and push you toward greater oxidative stress.

This could explain part of the reason why drinking on an empty stomach (fasting, hence elevated ketones) tends to heighten the toxicity and enhance the hangover.

Excessive Omega-6 Fatty Acid Intake

A high-fat diet can very quickly become a high-omega-6 fat diet if you aren’t careful about the foods you’re eating. You’re eating out for lunch every day at Chipotle; it’s low carb, but everything is cooked in rice bran oil. You’re snacking on almonds and sunflower seeds. Your favorite meat is whole chicken with the skin on, and you use the chicken drippings to cook up a bunch of greens. The more fat, the better, right?

All those foods are moderately-to-very high in omega-6. If that’s a daily diet, you’re getting upwards of 30+ grams of omega-6 fats, mostly linoleic acid. Why is this a problem specifically in the context of alcohol?

Omega-6 fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, are particularly harmful when you drink alcohol:

Polyunsaturated fats combined with alcohol also raise CYp2E1 more than alcohol alone, an indication of the combination’s toxicity.

Saturated fats, such as cocoa butter, coconut oil, and monounsaturated fats, such as avocado oil, olive oil, are far better in the context of alcohol.

Inadequate Choline Intake

High-fat diets are liver-intensive. The more fat you eat, the more choline you need to help metabolize it. High-fat diets with inadequate choline can lead to fatty liver, even if you’re eating the most Primal-friendly balanced source of fats.

Alcohol is also liver-intensive. The more alcohol you drink, the more choline you need to help metabolize it. High-alcohol diets with inadequate choline almost always lead to fatty liver, even if you’re drinking the healthiest, purest sources of ethanol.

Combining alcohol and a high-fat ketogenic diet requires even more choline than either alone. The best sources of choline are egg yolks and liver. Make sure you’re eating enough of one or the other to support your liver.

Inadequate Intake Of Phytonutrient-Rich Plants

Whether it’s coffee, chocolate, ginger, turmeric, green tea, the phytonutrients within the wine itself, or even non-psychoactive cannabidiol in cannabis, most plants make alcohol less toxic. Keto dieters who drink should definitely eat some or all of these foods.

Alcohol consumption presents a few notable challenges to people following a ketogenic diet, but they aren’t by any means insurmountable. Provided you eat a good ketogenic diet—not too much omega-6, adequate choline, plenty of phytonutrients— and make good beverage choices, moderate amounts of alcohol shouldn’t throw you out of ketosis or pose any special threat to your health.

I know we have a lot of readers with considerable experience following a ketogenic diet. Have you noticed anything different about the effects of alcohol? Has drinking hit your harder? Has it inhibited ketosis for you? I’d love to hear your experiences.

For those who are interested in a keto-friendly option, Dry Farm Wines is what I drink (and have for the last two+ years). (For those of you who stopped by our keto cocktail hour at Paleo f(x), we were serving up Dry Farms Wines there.) Mark M. and his team are good people in my book, and they get what the Primal message (and keto living) is all about. In my estimation, they’re the perfect choice for keto dieters who want to drink good wine and limit the negative health ramifications of alcohol consumption.

All their wines are lower in alcohol, 12.5% ABV or lower (validated by regular tests). Less alcohol, less toxicity.

All their wines are also low in sugar, with a maximum of 1 gram per liter. A fourth of a gram of sugar per glass doesn’t make a difference.

All the wines are dry-farmed, meaning they’re less “washed out” from excessive watering, more complex, and more of the “grapeness” comes through in the finished product. That usually means a higher percentage of polyphenols as well, many of which mitigate the deleterious effects of consuming ethanol as mentioned above. If you’re interested, check ’em out.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a proud affiliate of theirs as well as a big fan. I only support and advertise a few companies on Mark’s Daily Apple that I thoroughly believe support healthy Primal living in the modern world. If it’s not in my kitchen, it’s not on my blog.

Have a great day, everybody. Take care and Grok on.

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Making a Difference Together: Our Masterclass—Miami Beach Style

I’m still riding the high of holding another Primal Health Coach Institute Masterclass event—this one in Miami Beach, July 27-29. A couple dozen Primal Health Coach Institute students, graduates, staff and I gathered to take a deep dive into ancestral health, coaching and business building (and paddle boarding!), and it was an incredibly inspiring experience.

If you’re not familiar, Primal Health Coach Institute is the first and preeminent ancestral health coaching school in existence. I co-founded the school with my business partner Aaron Fox a few years back with the vision to help 100 million people reclaim health and wellness through education and coaching. Our mission is to build a global network of well-trained coaches that deliver excellent health outcomes for clients. And I’m proud to say we’re doing just that.

We now have thousands of students that have passed through the program, and many of them are running successful businesses (see herehere, and here for starters). They’re helping others, making an impact, doing what they love, and making a living doing it. What’s better than that?

My enthusiasm for the school, the work we’re doing there, and the people involved grows every day. I believe that collectively we really can make a difference. So, if you’ve ever wished that you could make more of an impact and do more meaningful work, if you’ve ever desired to turn your passion for health and wellness into a purpose-driven vocation, or if you feel called to spread the Primal message to others because you personally know the life-transforming power that it has, I hope you’ll consider joining our program and tribe, and helping us fulfill the mission.

To learn more you can download the short guidebook How to Become a Health Coach: 5 Steps to Embarking on a Career You Love. Or join me and Master Coach Christine Hassler on an upcoming webinar by registering here.

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I Trained at OPEX for 2 Months & Here’s What Happened

Hi, guys!

If you follow CNC on Instagram, you probably saw my fitness adventures at OPEX South Shore. I shared them pretty much everyday I went as part of a partnership with the owner, Bobby Scott. Our partnership was 2 months long, so I’m no longer working out at OPEX, but it was a tough decision to stop since I saw such great results. I might actually go back in the fall when things settle down – more on that below.

OPEX is a nationwide chain of fitness facilities that offer personalized one-on-one programing and coaching. The core of OPEX is based in functional fitness (the founder was a CrossFit guy), and your workouts are tailored to your individual needs, goals, lifestyle, and more. Your coach creates your workout plan, which progresses and changes from week-to-week. You use the OPEX facility like a regular gym and on your own schedule. There aren’t any classes, so you can pop in for your workout during “open gym” hours. I actually really liked this aspect of OPEX with regard to my morning schedule. I was typically in and out in about 45 minutes, and I worked out 3 times per week (with 1-2 CrossFit workouts mixed in).

I initially started OPEX after dealing with a number of injuries due to muscle imbalances and scoliosis. Here’s the full story. Obviously, I love CrossFit, but the workouts are created for a class, and I really needed something more personalized if I wanted to deal with my (ugh, frequent) injuries and imbalances, and this is where OPEX South Shore came in.

I actually learned about OPEX South Shore through friends, who did an InBody assessment at our local Lululemon store. (Local readers: OPEX does free assessments at the location at the Derby Street Shoppes about once a month.) They told us about their experience, including how the InBody assessment identifies muscle imbalances. Obviously, I was intrigued. The next day, I sent an inquiry to Bobby to see what OPEX was all about.

My first session at OPEX included an InBody assessment followed by one of three 60-minute assessments where Bobby tested a number of aspects of my fitness – everything from Bench Press and Pull-Ups to my cardio capacity via Airdyne bike. It was quite comprehensive and much more so than any other fitness assessment that I’ve ever done.

OPEX is big on testing, so this initial assessment was my starting point for working together. Typically, clients complete their InBody assessment monthly and fitness assessment as needed – it just depends on the client. I ended up pushing out my assessments to the 2-month mark because “I didn’t think I’d see much change.” Well, to my surprise, I saw quite a bit of change!

OPEX fitness

MY RESULTS

Body composition

When I did my InBody assessment after 2 months, I was so surprised by the results because I really didn’t think my body changed all that much. I definitely FELT better because I wasn’t beating myself up like I had been in the past at CrossFit, but I didn’t realize this more personalized training would benefit me so much. I actually think NOT stressing out my body  and working out LESS was really good for it. Additionally, I was counting macros and paying attention to my diet, so I’m pretty sure the good nutrition and proper fueling gave me results too.

As you’ll see below, my weight on the scale went up a little more than a pound as well as my muscle mass, which increased 3 pounds. Holy cow! My body fat percentage went down 3%, which just shows you the scale does not tell the whole story.

OPEX results InBody

A little side story: I shared these results on Instagram Stories and received so many questions from followers asking how tall I am. On a good day, I’m 5’4″. I then received a lot of replies commenting that it doesn’t look like I “weigh that much.” Again, the scale is not an accurate measurement of body composition or progress toward your goals.

Muscle imbalances

Because I have scoliosis, I will always deal with muscle imbalances, but OPEX helped to even them out a bit – or at least make my arms and legs more proportional to one another overall.

  • Left arm
    • 5.97 pounds –> 6.37 pounds
    • 123.3% –> 134.6%
  • Right arm
    • 6.11 pounds –> 6.44 pounds
    • 130.2% –> 135.9%
  • Left leg
    • 16.14 pounds –> 16.91 pounds
    • 108.7% –> 113.0%
  • Right leg
    • 16.07 pounds –> 16.65 pounds
    • 108.2% –> 111.4%

Strength gains 

  • Close Grip Bench Press: Increased by 5.26% (100 pounds)
  • Strict Press: Increased by 6.67% (80 pounds)
  • Weighted Dip: Increased by 30% (32.5 pounds)
  • Weighted Pullup: Increased by 20% (30 pounds)
  • Strict Knees to Elbow: Increased by 300% (15 reps)

The increase in Knees to Elbows was crazy. I could only do 3 strict during my initial assessment, but 2 months of serious core work made all the difference – and I couldn’t believe how easy they were to do! Holy gains!

On the CrossFit front, I finished “Murph” (a hero WOD) a whole 3 minutes faster than the previous year, which is a huge improvement – AND I did the workout by myself and not in a class, so I definitely wasn’t going all out. I can only imagine how much faster I would have been with the community support. Even still, I credit OPEX with this time improvement!

Overall, I’m so pleased with my experience at OPEX South Shore. It was a hard decision to stop going because I saw so many awesome results. Sadly, I’m not sure I can swing a membership there + my CrossFit membership. OPEX is not cheap (double the price of CrossFit per month). I really love CrossFit and my friends there, so I’m still on the fence about what to do. OPEX definitely gives you results, but I enjoy working out in a class setting more. OPEX also doesn’t have childcare.

My plan moving forward is to treat my CrossFit class workouts more like the ones that I did at OPEX (i.e. single-limb movements, focus on core and glutes) and not go all out during them. I’m too old for that! 😉 I also plan to do more low-key strength training like I did at OPEX – most days I didn’t even break a sweat, but I realize my body likes these workouts quite a bit!

Question of the Day

Have you ever heard of OPEX? What are your thoughts on one-on-one/personalized training?

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Empty Nesting

It has been so quiet here that I don’t know what to do with myself! I’m trying to work ahead as much as possible given that my workdays can start at 7 and end at 7 and my life is going to be turned upside down sometime this fall (speaking from experience!) I have a handful of sponsored posts scheduled for Nov + Dec that I’m trying to tackle now so that I can really embrace some maternity leave this go-around. (Side note: does anyone know where I can buy egg nog in August?! I might have to just make it from scratch!) 

I’ve been missing my West Coast boy so much and Facetiming with him when I can. Just a few more days until we fly out! I’ve been pulling on my invisible string and embracing our E.T. & Elliott connection while he’s gone. (His Abercrombie Kids shirt has me all excited for fall!)

One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed between life with and without having a child around is the time I’m spending in the kitchen. When it’s just me, cooking is something I love to do to relax and unwind. There’s no rush to get anything on the table because there is no looming bed/bath time routine and Thomas and I can easily wait until dinner is ready to eat.

Even though Mazen is very self sufficient these days, I still find it overwhelming at times to cook dinner and have it perfectly timed for our family to eat. While I get him to help out sometimes, that in itself is an extra challenge. I think the bottom line is if you have anyone depending on you to eat at a certain time, you must do planning and prep in advance.

Smoothie bowl fun with bananas, yogurt, milk, Vega, and cinnamon topped with turmeric granola.

Sandwich dreams!! All that yellow is a fat heirloom tomato. Plus lots of Seaside cheddar, avocado, a tiny slice of ham, pickle on Cville Crunch bread from Great Harvest.

More of the same the next day plus chips + cherries + arugula.

T and I have kept dinners lighter the past few weeks and have been loving dinner salads. They are heartier than they seem. This one had rotisserie chicken, homemade croutons, goat cheese, green peppers, avocado, greens, and Whole Foods brand lemon basil dressing.

Virgin margarita for adult mocktail hour and dinner making time! I am all about limes right now and squeezed a TON of fresh lime juice into this!

I have also realized that before having a child around I used to spend more time on my house. I’ve been in nesting mode and totally organized the kids’ bathroom.

I bought this teal drawers piece when I moved in, and it provides wonderful bathroom accessory storage space. But the drawers have never been organized well by category. I would sometimes open 5 of them to find what I needed (Bandaids, soccer pre-wrap, washcloths.)

So I labeled each drawer (minus one that is TBD!) with letters. I thought about writing whole words, but the chalk pen I have is fat and I didn’t want it to look sloppy so I just simplified things with a letter. Here’s the easy-to-memorize guide:

W: Washing

M: Mazen

B: Brother

*Blank*

i: iphone things (random, I know, but I needed an upstairs place for this with our office moving)

S: Sports

O: Outdoors (sunscreen, etc)

Everyday items are in the baskets. Also: note my Birchbox collection. What should I do with them?!

Now: what to organize next?!

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