Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Friday 5

Hi and happy November (oh my gosh, how is it November!?)!

I hope you had a very happy Halloween! We dressed up as a family of Pokemon yesterday – ooooh, yes! 🙂 Of course, we got our costumes from Amazon – totally last-minute for Mal and me, but weeks ago for Quinn. 😉 He was MORE than ready to be Pikachu for Halloween and must have asked to wear his costume to school a dozen times leading up to yesterday! 🙂

Not only was it fun to dress up as a family, but my costume was also super warm and cozy to wear as we took Quinn trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. Anyone else do a family costume this year? I figured sooner than later Quinn won’t be into dressing up like his parents, so might as well do it while he’s young, right?

We also had quite the pre-trick-or-treating get-together at our house. It started a few years ago with just a few close friends, but now our guest list has grown quite a bit! It was fun having a house full of friends and kids dressed in Halloween costumes. We ordered pizza and had a few (adult) beverages before heading out. It was definitely a great time and hopefully a tradition we’ll continue for years to come!

Anyway, here’s 5 things I’m loving lately including a hair product I’ve used for a decade now, my favorite pair of jeans that fit like leggings, and an incredibly good podcast about healing acne through a functional medicine approach.

Happy weekending, friends!

1. Trader Joe’s Advent Calendar for Dogs

I saw this advent calendar for dogs at Trader Joe’s yesterday and immediately purchased it for Murphy. I mean, is it not the most amazing doggie holiday treat ever?!

Trader Joe's Advent Calendar for Dogs

2. Broken Brain Podcast: A Functional Medicine Approach to Treating and Healing Acne with Dr. Robin Berzin

As some who has struggled with hormonal acne, I really enjoyed this podcast that talks about healing acne through a functional medicine approach. Dr. Berzin talks about the underlying causes of acne, the connection between gut health and skin issues, the problem with topical antibiotics, and more. If you struggle with acne, I highly recommend you give this a listen!

Here are some blog posts and products that have helped me clear up my acne:

3. NuDerma Portable Handheld High Frequency Skin Therapy Wand

Speaking of skin, I just recently ordered this skin wand, but I’m loving it already! The NuDerma Skin Wand (supposedly) amplifies cell turnover by supercharging ATP synthesis to slow, halt, and ultimately reverse the aging process leading to firmer younger skin… and it’s also supposed to help with acne scarring – we’ll see! If you guys are interested, I’ll do a full review!

4. Nordstrom Sarah Jeggings

These are honestly more like super stretchy jeans, than they are actually leggings – but, oh my gosh, are they comfy. I wear them ALL the time and always get questions and compliments on them. The best part is they’re priced right and go with everything – perfect to dress up or down all Fall long!

5. Kenra Silkening Hair Mist

I’ve used this hair mist for YEARS, but just ordered a new bottle from Amazon the other day, so I figured I should give it another shout out! 🙂 It makes your hair feel soooo soft and look sooo shiny. A lot of the time, I’ll air dry my hair and then spray some of this on to calm the frizzies and give it a finished looked. It’s also great for smoothing out ponytail frizz!

Flashback Favorites

Sales of the Week

Double Chocolate Protein Muffin Giveaway

Thanks so much to everyone who entered to win some Double Chocolate Protein Muffins from Health Warrior! Here are your winners:

Sarah T
My favorite healthy treat is a date stuffed with natural peanut butter and dipped in dark chocolate w/ a sprinkle of sea salt. So good!

Laura
I love black grapes! It’s so hard for me to not grab a few every time I open the fridge (I usually don’t resist, haha).

Kim N
Currently loving string cheese or Chobani Flips (not super healthy). But I always keep the Kodiak Cakes version of these microwave muffins in my desk drawer for a quick late morning or late afternoon snack. I haven’t tried these yet!

@swissmissalina

@toriw83

@elsamorgan06

Congrats, winners! Please fill out this form to claim to your prize. Once I receive your information, I’ll send it along to Health Warrior to mail you your box of protein muffins.

If you want to try these delicious double chocolate protein muffins for yourself, you can save 20% off your Health Warrior order with code carrotsncake20!

 

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission from the company if you decide to purchase the product linked to. This compensation helps with expenses to keep CNC up and running. Thank you for your support!

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Dear Mark: Why “Game Changers” Isn’t Worth My Time and Sugar Addictions

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple questions. The first one is a big one, one that multiple people have asked me across several different mediums: why don’t I do a full review of “Game Changers,” the vegan documentary on Netflix, or at least watch the film? I explain why I won’t watch it, why I don’t think it’s worth your time, and why I’ve already addressed it all before. Then, I answer why sugar is such a fixation for us and give some options for avoiding or mitigating it.

Let’s go:

Mark,

How come you dismissed the “Game Changers” documentary without watching it?

Because it’s not worth my time. The premise is simply preposterous.

Humans are omnivores. We have eaten meat for millions of years. And not just “eaten meat.”

We used animal femurs as bone marrow storage containers. We fought off massive African predators just to get at the meat and crack the bones for the goodness inside. We slurped brains. We smashed bones to bits and boiled them in animal skin bags to extract every last ounce of collagen and fat. We drove entire species to extinction in our lust for large portions of fatty animal meat.

Even after we were hunter-gatherers, the importance of animal products persisted. The biggest influx of humanity that provided a large portion of extant DNA across Europe and huge parts of Asia were livestock-driving nomadic herdsmen who ate cheese and yogurt (animal products—and not low-fat), drank blood, and hunted game. They farmed a little but relied so heavily on animal products for their calories that they had to borrow the agricultural words from the populations they displaced. To give you a taste of how important animal products were to them, their word for wealth was the same as the word for cattle.

What—that just goes away? Those millions of years of slurping and gnawing and atlatl-ing and spear throwing and stalking and weapons-craft and herding…don’t matter?

So, when a persuasive documentary comes out preaching about the evils of red meat (and let’s face it: it’s always about red meat) and the benefits of excising all meat from your diet in favor of plants, I laugh. I shrug. I smirk even.

Red meat consumption is down across the board. People listened to the “experts.” And guess what? Health got worse. Waists grew. Healthcare spending shot up. Diabetes spiked. Heart disease persisted (deaths decreased, thanks to better emergency care, but incidence is still there).

Does the documentary address all that? Does it mention the word “evolution”?

My time matters too much to me to waste it on the documentary. The arguments I’ve laid out in other responses to attacks on meat eating stand and, most likely, apply to the arguments in the documentary. Check these out for a few of my explorations of the “meat is bad” topic:

Is meat as bad as smoking?

Will meat give you diabetes?

Is charred meat bad for you?

Does red meat give you colon cancer?

Will red meat kill you?

Is saturated fat deadly?

Read those, then get back to me. And I probably still won’t watch the documentary.

I’d rather spend my time:

Helping people who want the help.

Coming up with interesting new products that help people make better choices in the grocery store.

Standup paddling.

Playing Ultimate frisbee (and playing in general).

Writing about new topics or new developments of old topics.

I have yet to see a new argument from the plant-based crowd. I’ve heard the same things for years upon years. Nothing changes. “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

We have better things to do. Bigger fish to fry (in a gluten-free breading using low-PUFA oil kind of way).

How to conquer sugar addiction and is there a primal need to eat something sweet? Would Grok ever get the urge for something sweet?

Our relationship with sugar goes way back. In ancestral situations, sugar was rare. The urge to eat something sweet was so strong because it was so hard to get—a powerful urge was required to coerce the organism to do the work required to get the sugar. And in those situations, sugar was beneficial. An odd trove of honey represented a potent source of caloric energy, a way to replenish glycogen stores. Acute doses versus chronic overload. We have old cave paintings from 25000 years ago of honey hunters climbing trees to grab hives; that’s how much they prized it. Fruit, while not always plentiful or as oversized as today’s fruit, definitely existed—albeit to varying degrees depending on the climate and region. The farther you got from the equator, the scarcer sweet tastes became.

Even up to a few hundred years ago, when sugar was actually available, it remained a luxury item. It had to be imported, out of reach for most regular people.

Today, sugar is everywhere. We’re glutted with the stuff. We can’t escape it. And yet we still retain that ancestral mindset of sugar scarcity. Our bodies still crave it. Our physiological desires were molded in the context of low sugar availability. Introduce them to a sugar-replete environment and you get obesity, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and tooth decay.

I’m not sure if there’s a physiological need today to consume sugar. But there’s certainly a physiological desire to consume it. And really, the only way past it is to erect artificial barriers to sugar consumption.

Don’t keep sugar in the house.

Don’t use artificial sweeteners or even natural ones like stevia or monk fruit if they trigger the craving for real sugar.

Just say no. Sheer willpower may not hold out forever, but in those instances where you’re faced with an intense dose of sugar and you don’t want to eat it, don’t give in. You can do this.

Chronic doses of sugar are the real killer: those little peanut butter cups at the co-worker’s desk you grab every time you walk by, those peanut M&Ms at the secretary’s desk, those half donuts in the break room—they add up. They always add up. Acute doses of sugar probably aren’t a big deal for most reasonably healthy people. High quality dessert after a great dinner out? Birthday party and the host is a legit whiz in the kitchen? Try it.

Avoid anything you’re intolerant of or allergic to, of course. Avoid gluten whenever possible.

Whatever you do, don’t waste your acute doses of sugar on garbage. Don’t eat a Hostess donut. Don’t eat a half gallon of low-fat frozen yogurt from those places that charge you by the ounce.

Eat real ice cream made with great ingredients—just a child’s scoop. Don’t get the weird “ice cream” shake from the fast food joint.

Don’t get the microwaved lava cake from the chain restaurant. Share a portion of real panna cotta from the fancy restaurant.

That’s it for today, folks. If you have any other suggestions or comments or questions, throw them in down below.

Take care, everyone.

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Happy Halloween & The Best Pumpkin Carving Tools

BOO!!

Hope you have your pumpkins carved and ready to light tonight. See below for our new favorite pumpkin carving tools that we used to make the pumpkin above. Last year on this day we came home from the hospital with little Birch! It was a chaotic time to bring a newborn home, but also sort of a fun memory. Did I ever tell you guys that the night before a nurse came into my room in the dim light to check my vitals. She moved about the room doing business as usual and I barely looked up until finally she approached my bed….wearing a witch hat and full witch costume! I burst out laughing and said: “OMG you’re a witch!” The super dim lighting and the fact that I hadn’t noticed for about two full minuets made the situation extra funny.

The Best Pumpkin Carving Tools!

I have to tell you about the new pumpkin carving tools we got this year that made the process so much easier! First, this scooper. So much better than the short plastic one I had used in year’s past. And second – these cut-out shapes! Think cookie cutters for punching through pumpkin skin. You do need a rubber mallet (not included) to bang them in. (Mazen loved that part). He needed help getting the shape started in the right spot, but once we got it going he banged it the rest of the way in. We also found Thomas’s nail remover tool to be key to get the pumpkin out of the cookie cutter after punching through.

But these are such a great invention because 1) they saved SO much time for the grown-ups who would have otherwise had to do most of the carving and 2) our face looks really good, doesn’t it?!

The only knife we used was to cut the top of the pumpkin off.

Thomas and I traded off pumpkins while the other snuggled with Birch on the porch. Next year he can carve too!

The brothers have started playing together!

I think things will get a lot easier for Mazen (and a lot harder for me!) when B can walk. I kind of want to fence in our front yard because we do live on a busy street, but Thomas said it’s not that simple.

Sweet Swinging

To contain him for now, Birch has a new swing! This company is the alternative to the plastic primary color swing hanging in your front yard. He loves it! The swing fabric is indoor/outdoor, although you’re not supposed to leave it out in the rain/snow/bright sun. Right now it’s on our front porch, which is SO great for watching the “cas” go by, but we’ll move it to the back porch when it’s finished. We can sit on our rocking chairs and push him at the same time!

And speaking of sweets…

I had to share two pics from our visit to Vivi’s Cakes and Candy. When Sweethaus expectedly closed, so many of us were devastated. But it re-opened not too long ago as Vivi’s in the Ivy Road location. Same amazing cupcakes and candy as before. (This was where we got Birch’s birch cake.) If you’re ever in town, get the cookie dough frosting!

Think after all the candy he gets tonight he’ll be like a kid in a candy store!?

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Sweet Potato Breakfast Scramble With Seitan

This Sweet Potato Breakfast with Seitan is an easy, plant-based breakfast recipe that will help you start your day on the right foot! Plenty of veggies and protein to keep your body fueled all… Read more →



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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Is Keto Insomnia a Common Problem?

When I did my first earnest attempt at a keto diet a few years ago, one of the benefits I quickly noticed was improved wakefulness and energy during the day. I chalked this up to sleeping better on keto.

It turns out that I might have been one of the lucky ones. While plenty of people report improved sleep, a fair number also complain of insomnia, sleep disruptions (waking frequently during the night), and generally poor sleep once they go keto.

Can a keto diet really impact sleep quality? What might be the mechanism behind a correlation? And how does one work around any potential effect?

I’ve written a lot about sleep over the years, and I don’t intend to rehash what I’ve already written. Rather, I want to explore why a very-low-carb ketogenic diet specifically might impact sleep. I’ll link to some of my past posts at the bottom for those interested in improving overall sleep hygiene.

What is “Keto Insomnia?”

Insomnia disorder, as defined in the DSM-5, involves the following:

  • Difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and/or waking too early without being able to fall back to sleep
  • Symptoms occur at least three nights per week for at least three months
  • Sleep problems are not explained by other illness, medication, and so on
  • Distress and/or impaired ability to function in daily life

Acute insomnia is similar, but it’s short-term and might be attributable to a specific trigger, such as a stressful event, major life change, or travel.

People who complain about “keto insomnia” seem to mean one of two things:

  • Sleep disruptions that occur during the transition phase—the days or weeks immediately after starting keto (acute)
  • Sleep issues that start after being keto for a few months or longer (might be acute or chronic)

It can be hard to know whether the latter are actually related to keto at all. However, if diet is the only obvious change these folks have made, keto seemingly takes the rap.

Why Might Keto Mess with Your Sleep?

On possible clue is this oft-cited study in which participants experienced decreased REM and increased slow-wave sleep when following a keto diet. Decreased REM sleep can contribute to the subjective experience of insomnia. However, total sleep was not impacted. This study was also small, involving 14 participants who followed a keto diet for just two days.

Other than that, however, there’s not much to go on. A couple studies found no change in sleep quality among healthy adults following a keto diet, and a handful of others reported improved sleep quality (in epileptic children and obese adolescents).

Moreover, the team at Virta Health recently released their findings after one year of treating diabetic and prediabetic patients with keto diet interventions. Their patients enjoyed significant improvements in sleep quality and daily functioning compared to baseline and compared to individuals who didn’t go keto.

All together, the research so far suggests that when it comes to sleep, keto is neutral-to-positive for healthy adults and beneficial for individuals struggling with certain health conditions. Of course, the data are still quite sparse.

A somewhat larger, but still limited, body of research has looked more generally at how the macronutrient composition of one’s diet affects sleep. To be blunt, the results of these studies are all over the map. There’s tremendous variation from study to study in terms of how diets were constructed or measured, food timing, other relevant dietary factors such as total calorie intake and fiber content, as well as what aspects of sleep were assessed and how. Depending on which study you’re reading, consuming fat, protein, or carbohydrates might seem to help, hurt, or have no effect on sleep.

In short, there’s no compelling scientific explanation for when or why keto would harm your sleep. I know this is no comfort to those of you who are experiencing sleep disruptions now, however. Let’s turn to some things you can try if you’re not in the camp of good sleep while keto.

Possible Solutions

Despite the dearth of research, it’s possible to make some reasonable guesses about what might be causing your sleep issues. Of course, before trying any of the supplement suggestions below, consult your doctor. Likewise, get help if your sleep is so poor that you are having trouble functioning.

First, the obvious: basic sleep hygiene. These are the things I harp on all the time, like avoiding blue light at night and honoring a consistent bedtime. Sure, you probably didn’t change any of these when you went keto. However, it might be that something about keto eating—like getting less tryptophan to your brain (I’ll explain in a minute)—is making you more sensitive to poor sleep habits. Refer to my other sleep posts linked below for more details.

Check your electrolytes. Especially if you’re new to keto, electrolytes are the most likely culprit for sleep issues. You want to aim for the following daily:

  • 3-5 grams of sodium on top of what you get from food
  • 3-5 grams of potassium
  • 500 mg of magnesium

Most keto newbies drastically underestimate how important electrolytes are, not just for sleep but for energy, workout performance, and avoiding the keto flu. Check out this post for more details.

For sleep issues, start with magnesium. Make sure you’re including plenty of magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens, dark chocolate, and hemp seeds in your diet.  You can also supplement with magnesium—the glycinate form is preferred for sleep—starting with 100-400 mg as needed.

Also consider adding a mug of warm bone broth to your evening routine. Besides being soothing, it’s a great way to get sodium and the amino acid glycine. Glycine is the most abundant amino acid in collagen. Supplementing with 3 grams of glycine before bed has been shown to improve sleep.

You can also supplement collagen for its many benefits. Aim for at least 10 grams at night. Maybe whip up a batch of Chocolate Collagen Pudding (sweetened with stevia or monk fruit for keto).

Make sure you’re neither too hungry nor too full at bedtime. As you adjust to your new way of eating, try to avoid extremes of hunger in the evening. If you’re practicing intermittent fasting, make sure your fasting window isn’t leaving you stuffed or famished at when it’s time to hit the hay.

Dial back the caffeine. Is it possible you’ve been a little too enthusiastic about fatty coffee since going keto?

Get your stress in check. We all know that stress is a sleep killer, and I see stress running high in the keto community. Micromanaging macros, worrying about which foods are and are not “allowed,” trying to do too much too soon—keto folks can really get themselves worked up. If this sounds familiar, you need to take a step back and work on stress reduction.

Try adding a small amount of high-glycemic carbs to your dinner. Wait, what? Am I really telling you to eat more carbs on keto? Yes, for a good reason.

As you probably know, melatonin is the hormone primarily responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle. The amino acid tryptophan is a precursor of melatonin. In the brain, tryptophan converts to 5-HTP, then serotonin, then melatonin. To get into the brain, tryptophan relies on protein transporters, which also carry other amino acids across the blood-brain barrier. When there is too much traffic—that is, too many other amino acids trying to use the protein transporters—not enough tryptophan can get across.

Insulin shuttles those competing amino acids into muscles, leaving the roads clear for tryptophan so to speak. By adding some high-GI carbs to your last meal of the day, you bump up insulin and facilitate this process.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend this as your first option if you are brand new to keto. However, if you’re one of those people who is suddenly struggling with sleep after being keto for a while, this is worth trying. Michael Rutherford, NTP, Primal Health Coach, and moderator of our Keto Reset Facebook group says his clients have had good results adding ~20 grams of carbs to their last meal of the day. Potatoes or sweet potatoes are good choices.

If you just can’t bring yourself to eat more carbs, you can also supplement with tryptophan. A dose of 250-500 mg is a good place to start, increasing as needed. Chris Masterjohn recommends taking tryptophan on an empty stomach and as far as possible from other sources of protein.

Another possible workaround is to supplement with 5-HTP, which is a common ingredient in sleep aids. Rutherford advises his clients to start with 100 mg of 5-HTP taken 30-60 minutes before bed. Be cautious with this supplement if you have depression or anxiety.

Skip the middlemen and supplement melatonin. Melatonin supplementation is somewhat controversial. It’s not my first choice—I’d rather you start by addressing sleep hygiene and tweaking your diet—but I’m not opposed to supplementing as needed.

Doses as low as 0.5 mg can be effective, although as much as 5 mg is generally regarded as safe. I recommend starting at the bottom end, since lower doses are closer to normal physiological levels. Take melatonin at least an hour after eating your last food of the day.

Get your thyroid and cortisol levels checked. If none of your self-experimentation works, or if you’re having other signs of thyroid imbalance, get your thyroid function and cortisol levels checked. While I don’t believe keto is inherently bad for thyroid or adrenal health, it’s certainly worth a trip to your doc.

What’s your experience? Are you sleeping like a baby on low-carb/keto—or not? Have you found any solutions other than those suggested here? Comment below, and have a great week, everyone.

______________

More sleep tips from Mark’s Daily Apple

7 Ways You Might Be Inadvertently Sabotaging a Good Night’s Sleep

10 Natural Sleep Aids: What Works and Why

Does “Sleep Hacking” Work?

How to Manufacture the Best Night of Sleep in Your Life

The Definitive Guide to Sleep

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References

Herrera CP, Smith K, Atkinson F, Ruell P, Chow CM, O’Connor H, Brand-Miller J. High-glycaemic index and -glycaemic load meals increase the availability of tryptophan in healthy volunteers. Br J Nutr. 2011 Jun;105(11):1601-6.

Levenson JC, Kay DB, Buysse DJ. The pathophysiology of insomnia. Chest. 2015;147(4):1179–1192.

Peuhkuri K, Sihvola N, Korpela R. Diet promotes sleep duration and quality. Nutr Res. 2012 May;32(5):309-19.

Riemann D, Spiegelhalder K, Nissen C, Hirscher V, Baglioni C, Feige B. REM sleep instability–a new pathway for insomnia? Pharmacopsychiatry. 2012 Jul;45(5):167-76.

Silber BY, Schmitt JA. Effects of tryptophan loading on human cognition, mood, and sleep. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010 Mar;34(3):387-407.

St-Onge MP, Mikic A, Pietrolungo CE. Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality. Adv Nutr. 2016 Sep 15;7(5):938-49.

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Olive Oil Is Here! + a Giveaway

I’ve always been an avocado fan—and, by extension, an avocado oil proponent. I enjoy the buttery flavor and cooking versatility. I love avocado oil—but…it’s not exclusive.

Anyone who knows me well has seen how much I enjoy Mediterranean food, and for that extra virgin olive oil can’t be beat. It’s been on my list for a while now—create the olive oil I want to eat with every Mediterranean meal. I took my time sampling and choosing for sure, but I couldn’t be happier with the result.

And I hope you’ll enjoy it, too. Bright, peppery, and nuanced, Primal Kitchen® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil a blend of Spanish and Tunisian olives—perfect for dressings, dipping, and light cooking.

I love using it in recipes where I can really taste and savor it—from fish to lamb to a tomato and cucumber salad and more. I’ve said before that the flavor of a good extra virgin olive oil is nuanced enough to elevate the simplest dishes, and that’s what I’m happy to offer—with the same careful dedication to quality I ensure with all Primal Kitchen products: Whole30 Approved®, Certified Paleo, Keto Certified, Certified Organic, and Non-GMO Project Verified, so you know you’re getting the best. 

Now For the Giveaway…

How do you use extra virgin olive oil in your Primal and keto cooking? Tell me in the comment section—OR—suggest a future recipe or topic for the blog.

Be sure to comment by midnight PDT Friday (11/1/19) to be eligible. (U.S. only for this one, I’m afraid.) I’ll choose 3 random commenters to receive a bottle of Primal Kitchen Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Thanks for stopping in. I’ve got a feature coming up. ‘Til then, have a great day, everybody.

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I’m A Better Mom When I Wear A Sports Bra

I’m a better mom when I wear a sports bra

The best/worst way to tell kids you can’t play with them? “Sorry sweetie I don’t want to get all sweaty!” Just like when I’m wearing athleisure I’m more likely to exercise, if I’m wearing comfortable clothes I can move in I’m much more likely to actually PLAY with the kids. My BFF Sarah plays with her kids in dresses and heels – I have no idea how she stays comfortable :mrgreen: While it’s nice to shower for the day, I’m so much more likely to do fun mom stuff if I’m dressed like I’m ready for exercise.

Birch and I have been talking walks after lunch for a nice little activity. It’s a great way for us to get out in the fresh air. And it’s SO nice now that it’s not 100 degrees at 1:00.

If Mazen wants to play tag or kick a soccer ball after school, I’m much more inclined to say “sure!” if a wardrobe change does not need to happen first.

Actual footage of me after playing hard with the boys

I’m a better mom when I am well fed

I have guilt around losing my mojo in the kitchen after having kids. But the truth is that I just don’t love cooking when I’m feeling rushed and distracted and would rather be spending time with my kids instead of telling them to skidaddle. I need to GET OVER the guilt and accept that by asking for help I am so much happier and healthier than I would be otherwise. Plenty is a made-from-scratch personal chef business we have been using since Birch was born and it’s LIFE CHANGING. Della (the chef) uses the tagline “Food Is Self Care” and she is so right. Eating nutritious healthy food is a huge priority of mine and supporting her business ensures that I am meeting that need while also saving me tons of time I would be otherwise in the kitchen. We don’t order all of our food for the week from Plenty – usually 1-2 dinners and a few lunch salads – but it’s enough to make a huge difference on the busiest of weeknights. One thing I remind myself: this season of young children is not going to last forever.

I’m a better mom when I have some company

I love playing one on one with my children….for a while. Then I really start to crave adult mental stimulation. I need some girlfriend conversation, some gym time, or even Instagram time (because you guys are my virtual friends!) to ease the loneliness. It makes me wonder how women on the frontier got by without anyone for miles and no digital connections. I’m an extravert and need to chatter away for energy. My boys do too – Mazen begs for playdates and Birch has loved some recent visits to KidsZone. ACAC was my life connection when Mazen was young. It wasn’t just a place to workout but my social outlet as well. Dropping down to one nap sometime soon will help tremendously with our availability. I need to make sure I schedule playdates and get to the gym more as we move into winter.

What are some of the realizations you’ve had since becoming a parent?

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

All about Orangetheory Q & A

Hey guys!

Welcome to the next CNC Instagram Live – Orangetheory addition! For those of you that have just started following along, I’ve been going to Orangetheory (OTF) regularly for about a month and have been absolutely loving it! I actually used to go to another location before and loved it, but it was almost a 30 minute drive – a bit far to take a class, so I wasn’t going very often.

Luckily for Mal and I, there’s now a location right down the street from our house! I’ve been getting so many questions from you guys, and I’m more than happy to share my experience! Just remember that whether or not you’re already an OTF junkie or are just curious about trying it out, all of our experiences can be different!

Are you ready for Hell Week?

Our local OTF is brand new, so sadly we’re not participating in Hell Week this year. It’s definitely a bummer since I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun. We’ve been doing all-new, launch-type workouts, which has been great, but starting November 1st we will be on the same schedule as everyone else as a “legit” OTF!

Why didn’t you get a heart rate monitor? The whole point is seeing real-time results!

There’s a good reason for this, and I have a reliable alternative! 🙂 Back when I was still working out at my old OTF location, I had purchased one of their older heart rate monitors (they have a new model now). Every time I took a class, it would work for a little bit and then just… die. I wrote it off as it just being an old monitor. When I started attending the new location, I had every intention of purchasing a new heart rate monitor. However, after borrowing one a couple of times, I realized that the chest strap was just not going to work comfortably with my sports bra, and the wrist and forearm option, died on me both times! Ughhhh! 

I don’t know if it’s just that I get too sweaty or my heart rate gets too low on the floor, but the OTF monitor doesn’t work for me. I wear my Fitbit all the time, and it actually does a pretty good job monitoring my heart rate in comparison. I wore it both times that I used the OTF monitor, and the stats were pretty similar to each other! It’s annoying to have to click around for my heart rate on. y Fitbit versus seeing it up on the screen, but it’s not that big of a deal. I still think it’s a pretty good way to measure my effort, and I generally don’t have a problem pushing myself without the OTF monitor. I have scoliosis and back/hip issues (along with an autoimmune disease), so, if anything, I don’t need to push myself as hard as I do. According to my Fitbit, I am normally in the low 170s, which puts me in the orange or red zone for most of my OTF workouts.

How many calories do you burn, and how many times do you go per week?

According to my Fitbit, I burn somewhere around the upper 300s/lower 400s – but of course, it depends on the workout. If we’re having an endurance day and really moving, I’ll burn more. The treadmill torches calories! If we’re doing more rowing or floor work, I’ll burn less.

As far as how many times I attend a class, it’s usually twice a week. I used to have an unlimited membership, but I just wasn’t able to go that many times in one week. OTF is a very intense workout, and because of my back and hip issues, I haven’t been able to go multiple days in a row. I really need a day or two off between workouts. Mal, however, is a runner, and has an unlimited membership. He goes 3-4 times a week and doesn’t have any issues with recovery. 

In addition to OTF , I also go to CrossFit 2-3 times a week (I’ll talk about that more below). Basically, I assess how I’m feeling from week-to-week and adjust my workouts accordingly. 

What makes OTF better than other gyms?

I wouldn’t say OTF is “better” than other gyms; it just depends on what you like. Personally, I like that OTF has you moving the entire time, from the moment the workout starts. You’re there for an hour and you do not stop, so you really get both your time and money’s worth. Plus, there’s a ton of variety, which I love because I am someone who cannot do the same workout over and over. I get bored so easily! And although every class is different, it’s always a full-body, head-to-toe workout that goes above and beyond the treadmill, incorporating things like rowing, TRX moves, dumbbells, the BOSU, Ab Dolly – a ton of stuff! You can push yourself as little or as hard as you want, and the coaches are great at motivating you to crush your workout!

Top tips for someone who has never been? What do I need to know before going?

I would definitely plan to get there early and let the coaches know that you’re a first-timer. During your first workout, the coach will typically take you in ahead of time and show you the lay of the land. He/she will explain how things work and what you will need to do. The coach will also explain the different components of the workout i.e. running, floor work, lifting weights, core exercises. There will be a variety of things and the class moves fast, so just be ready for anything! You might get on the treadmill, off the treadmill, back on the treadmill, so it’s important to pay attention to what he/she says. But the coaches are so nice and helpful, and they really want to help you understand how it all works so you can have a great workout. After class, the coach will explain splat points, the different zones, and how to read the stats. So, if it’s your first time, don’t be intimidated! Everyone who works at OTF is there to help!

Is it harder than Crossfit?

A lot of people ask this because I’m from the CrossFit world, and my answer is that it depends on the workout, and how hard you push yourself. CrossFit can be “social hour” because you make a lot of connections, so sometimes when you get there, you’re chatting with friends while stretching and lifting – you’re not just moving and grooving the whole time. OTF is ALL BUSINESS. There’s no chatting during the workout! But CrossFit is also structured differently – you might warm up a little by working on strength or skill and then get into the WOD for 10-20 minutes. OTF workouts are longer and you’re moving at a fast pace the whole time. However, while OTF does use heavy-ish weights, it’s not the same kind of “heavy” as CrossFit, and that’s why I keep both memberships. I personally think really heavy lifting works well for me. I see better results with my body and build muscle more easily. Plus, I really like the people! We love hanging out with our friends at Salt Shack, so that’s why I don’t think we could ever leave. Having both memberships is awesome – you get in a great full-body workout at OTF and save the heavy stuff for CrossFit!

Looking for something to do postpartum – would you recommend OTF?

Yes, I think OTF would be a great option for postpartum. That being said, any postpartum workout should be eased into, and, of course, check with your doctor first to make sure you’re cleared for exercise. If you’re brand new to OTF, definitely go ahead of time and let the coach know that you just had a baby and are getting back into working out. The coach can 100% give you modifications (they actually do show modifications for the floor exercises, etc.). You also don’t have to run on the treadmill – you can totally walk! At the location I go to, there’s a whole power walking crew that completes the same workout except walking at an incline instead of running. The treadmill is really all about doing your own thing – you can start by walking or jogging before progressing to running. If you’re injured (or the treadmill isn’t your thing), they even have bikes! No matter which way you spin it, OTF could totally be a great workout for postpartum. Of course, talk to your doctor first and make sure you’re in the clear to workout. If you are, then it’s a great option because it’s a full-body workout that’s totally customizable to what you enjoy and what your fitness level is.

That’s all I have for questions! Thank you for sending them along. I love talking about OTF, and it has been so fun getting back into it. Of course, if you have any other questions send them along, and I’ll be more than happy to answer them!

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Ancestral Resting Positions: Video Guide

Earlier this year, I collaborated on a pair of papers (1, 2) with Matthew Wallden, Global Head of Institute of Education for the Chek Institute and an absolute obsessive when it comes to applying ancestral lessons to modern life. The papers were all about how humans today are failing to honor their tissues at rest: by sitting in chairs, slumping on couches, and slouching at the computer. The sad fact is, we’re ignoring the myriad ancestral or archetypal resting positions that humans have been using for hundreds of thousands of years, and this is having huge consequences on our health.

I wrote a blog post explaining the consequences. Not only are modern resting positions destroying the health and viability of our connective tissues and muscle function, they’re even inhibiting our ability to control blood glucose levels. We’re getting injured more often, ending up with terrible conditions like osteoarthritis, and we’re making our already substandard blood glucose control even worse.

The point of all this is that sitting in one single position with the majority of our tissues supported by furniture is incredibly harmful. Instead, we should be shifting our body from position to position. We should be stretching this muscle in one position and stretching the opposing muscle in the next position. Our rest should be productive. It shouldn’t be turning off the entire body for 8 hours. It should be resting one piece while engaging another—and switching things up constantly. Even our rest, whether from our workouts or daily life, should involve movement, in other words.

Despite being “ancestral” or “archetypal,” it’s a foreign concept if you’ve never done it. These can be hard to visualize through text alone. So I’ve made a helpful video showing some of them. As you can see, these positions aren’t always “easy” or “natural,” especially if you’re coming from a background of modern resting positions (like all of us). But do what you can, and work toward achieving these resting positions. Even breaking up all that sitting with an hour or two of shifting ancestral positions on the floor will be a huge help.

I hope you enjoy the video, and I hope you give these a shot. You can also listen to my podcast with Matt here.

Let me know what you think. Which of the postures do you see your incorporating—now or moving forward?

References:

Wallden, Matthew, Mark Sisson, “Biomechanical attractors—A paleolithic prescription for tendinopathy & glycemic control.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 23, Issue 2, 366 – 371.

Wallden, M., Mark Sisson, “Modern disintegration and primal connectivity.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 23, Issue 2, 359 – 365.

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Weekend High Low High

Hey friends!

I apologize for the delayed weekend recap. If you visited CNC yesterday, you might have experienced technical difficulties. My new homepage is causing quite the problems! There was an old plugin that totally threw it for a loop. I *think* we have things worked out now, so, hopefully, it’s smooth sailing moving forward. Technology… blah.

The Hauperts had quite a fun fall weekend – with some highs and lows in the mix. I know you guys love a good High Low High blog post (and they’re fun for me to write), so let’s recap with some highlights and lowlights from our weekend!

HIGH: Visiting the new Lucky Finn at Merchant’s Row after CrossFit on Monday morning. The original Lucky Finn in Scituate is my favorite coffee shop ever. It’s absolutely adorable and the food and drink it awesome. I actually picked to go there on Mother’s Day last year because it’s one of my favorite places. Long story short, the Lucky Finn people opened a second location 7 minutes from our house, and I’m beyond excited!

LOW: Having no appetite for food at Lucky Finn. Wahhh! I’m ALWAYS hungry, but, apparently, my breakfast did a good job holding me over. I passed on food and ordered a hot decaf coffee instead. I know… WHO AM I?! The next time I visit, I’m definitely going to order The Figgy! I mean, I devoted a whole recipe post to the sandwich. It’s THAT delicious!

HIGH: Visiting Sauchuk’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch for some fall family fun! We visited for the first time last year and had THE BEST time – we just had a go again this year. We definitely had a great time! 🙂

LOW: Waiting 40 minutes for face painting. Quinn really wanted a lizard painted on his face, so we waited… and waiting. It was worth it in the long run, but there was so many other cool things to do at Sauchuk’s! Oh well… it made Quinn happy! 🙂

HIGH: Carving pumpkins on Sunday morning! Quinn really got into this year! 🙂

LOW: It’s rained since we carved our pumpkin, so we haven’t had a chance to light them up yet, which, of course, is that best part!

HIGH: Watching the Pats game and eating Pixie Wings (from Whole Foods). Quinn even ate one – his very first chicken wing. Woohoo!

Question of the Day

How was your weekend? What are some highs and lows? 

P.S. If you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to enter to win a box of double chocolate protein muffins from Health Warrior! They’re seriously SO GOOD!!

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Birch is ONE!

Our little baby is turning ONE today!

One Year Ago

We welcomed sweet Birch into the world! He came swiftly during the night seven days past his due date. (Much the same way his brother did!) Every time I read each one of my birth stories I get tears in my eyes! I do not plan on having any more babies, but I sure would love to experience those first few days again. They are filled with so much excitement, joy, and adrenaline.

Highlights of One

  • Cruising confidently, perhaps taking a single step and falling into me or the couch.
  • Words: “ca” (car), Guh-guh (Gus), Dada, a very rare Mama, bath, guck (truck)
  • Waves bye bye and claps
  • Teeth: two on the bottom
  • Loves: stroller walks, the front porch, his brother’s silly faces, Cheerios, all fruit, exploring, my ponytail (he’s obsessed)
  • Dislikes: being contained, vegetables that are not in a pouch.
  • Still nursing 2-3x per day

He is still the sweetest, happiest little guy!

Let’s take a trip down memory lane!

Newborn

November

December

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

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