Thursday, May 31, 2012


I love all things about coconut.  First of all it tastes amazing.  It’s filled with minerals, great source of potassium, and it’s a healthy fat!

Here are a few great coconut ‘products’

Coconut Oil:  great for cooking, frying, roasting, even pretty tasty in coffee.  Coconut oil is a very stable fat and it does not become toxic when heated.  It is high in saturated fat which offers many health benefits some include:
            Giving out cells firmness and integrity
Vital for bone health.  For example, at least 50% of our dietary fats need to be saturated for calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure.
            They protect the live from the toxic effects of alcohol and certain drugs
            The enhance the immune system
They are needed for proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated Omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet if rich in saturated fats.
The fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated, the heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract because of their important antimicrobial properties.           

Mark Sisson has a bunch of great articles on coconut… here is a good one on Coconut Oil.

Coconut Water:  This may seem like a trendy drink.  But it is great for rehydrating after a good sweat.  (Which for me happens on a regular basis, I drip sweat when I workout…gross)  It’s a good source of potassium, it is not meant to be a replacement for water.  It does have sugar in it, but as long as you check the ingredients it should only be coming from the coconut.  No added sugar.  My favorite brand is Blue Monkey which I have mentioned before, and unfortunately (or luckily, otherwise I may be drinking it everyday) I have only ever found it at Whole Foods.   

Shredded Unsweetened Coconut:  This is a great source of healthy fat.  I love adding it to a bowl of fruit to give it a little crunch and flavor.  I have also used it mixed in with almond flour and spices as a great “breading” for pork chops and fish.  So delish!

Coconut Crème Concentrate:  I made some of this today, simply by buying shredded coconut from the bulk section of Whole Foods and throwing it in the food processor.  AND….. Pressing ON!  Sooooo simple.  It probably took about 10 minutes or so of processing, stopping every minute or so to scrape the sides of the food processor to be sure it was all getting mixed in.  It eventually creates a thick paste substance.  I stored it in a left over Coconut Oil jar.  It can be used for baking, usually in paleo treats.  Here is a  great recipe that uses the crème… Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (balanced bites)

Coconut Flour:  is the fiber from the coconut meat after most of the oil has been extracted to make the oil.  It is high in dietary fiber and protein and is also gluten-free!  It can be used for baking, great in breads, muffins, pancakes, and treats.  Some recipes may call for a mixture of almond meal and coconut flour.   When baking with coconut flour your recipes may require less sweetener because the flour contains some sugar from the coconut meat. There is a great coconut flour pancake recipe here!  Do they not look AMAZING? 

Try some coconut!

Work Out Today:

Strength: Bench Press for sets of 8 reps (today got up to 95lbs for 8reps) 
finished with only 2 reps at 100lbs.

Metabolic Conditioning:
4 Rounds of 
400 Meter Run
15 Goblet Squats with 44lb. Kettle Bell 
15 Push Ups
this metcon took me 14:45
Cash Out: 1000meter row

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blue Monkey!

Have you tried Blue Monkey Coconut Water??????  You NEED to!  It is soooo good!

The only place I have found it at isWhole Foods, which may be a good thing because if it was at every other grocery store I would probably drink way too much of it.

This is not something you need to drink everyday, but its pure coconut water, nothing else.  Its great for electrolytes, so if you have ever seen me sweat during a workout (gross I know) you would know that i need to replenish my electrolytes!  I also use to have some major issues with leg cramps due to sweating so much and not replenishing my body with proper nutrients (to the point that I was taking electrolyte pills).   Now thanks to a more nutrient dense diet and the occasional coconut water leg cramps are gone!!!

Anyone else out there tried Blue Monkey Coconut Water or have a another favorite?

P.S. Going to the Crossfit Regional Competition this weekend in Boston.  I am super siked!  I will be working with Wodify at their booth.  Wodify is an awesome software program that tracks scores/#'s for your Wod's!  If you crossfit you definitely will want to pass this along to your gym owners to check out.  Watch the videos on their homepage... see if you can spot me? 

I will post more on the crossfit regionals when I return.  I just can't wait to be surrounded by crossfitters for 4 whole days and watch some amazing competitions, lifts, and strong men and women! Woopwoop!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

30 days are over...Re-Test!

Today is the final day of our 30 Day Real Food Challenge with Crossfit Aspire.  This 30 days went by really quick.  I am thinking it went by much faster than the first 30 day challenge I did because I didn't really change too much from my normal eating habits because I have been eating a pretty strict paleo diet on a regular basis.  The only change this time was I gave up all nuts/seeds for the 30 days as well as any baked "paleo treats" using almond flour/cocout flour etc.

It was good to see that I made it through 30 days with no almond butter, lara bars, or handfuls of walnuts.  I could eat an entire jar of almond butter in a few days, so it was time for a little de-tox from that.

I really focused on loading up on protein and veggies for this challenge.  I tried to limit my fruit intake as well.  During the week I would do pretty well with that, 1 serving a day or sometimes none.  But when the weekends came around I felt like I would eat my weight in fruit, don't know what that was all about.

Another goal I tried to work on for this 30 days was not "eating on the run" or while staring at the computer or TV.  Most of the time I tried to sit down at the kitchen table with no TV distracting me while I ate my meal.  And there were only a few times that i ate while driving :(  If I had to pack my lunch to eat in between gym, work and yoga classes I would try to make time to pull over in a park to eat and not attempt to spoon food into my mouth while driving.  I wanted to start appreciating my food more, take time to actually chew to help digestion, and mentally be aware of real hunger and not just eating out of board-em.

And now for the workout...
Re-Test today at Crossfit!

My workout from April 23rd:
10 rep Back Squat - 155lb
Pull-ups - 5
Burpees in 1 minute - 22
800m. Run - 3:20

Today after the 30 days:
10 rep Back Squat - 160lb
Pull-ups - 10
Burpees in 1 minute - 23
800m Run - 3:10

Improved in everything.  I was pretty excited about doubling my pull-ups.  I have really been working on them, so any progress makes me happy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who Doesn't Love Chocolate Pudding?!

Looking for an easy paleo friendly treat?  How about some chocolate pudding?

The great thing about this is that it has very little sugar, and the majority of the pudding is made from healthy fats, like coconut milk and avocado.  So after you eat it, you have a more satisfied feeling instead of that sugar rush which just leads to more sugar cravings.  But it also tastes wonderful, great texture and you can play around with toppings...say sliced strawberries, blueberries, banana, shredded coconut, homemade whip cream w/organic whipping cream, almond butter, fresh mint.  Whatever your little heart desires (well almost whatever)

Here are a few great recipes you can try, they each are just a little different...

Banana-cado Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Avocado Pudding from Dessert Stalker 

Paleo Chocolate Pudding from There She Goes

And here is the recipe for the one that I usually make:

2 Ripe Avocados
5 Tablespoons of Coco Powder
6 Pitted Dates
1/2 Teaspoon of Almond Extract
1 Teaspoon of orange zest
2-3 Tablespoons of Full Fat Coconut Milk (the kind in a can!)

Place all ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender.  Blend together.


Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt on top and any other toppings you want :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cholesterol is not your enemy!

It never ceases to amaze me when I tell people how many eggs I eat in a day or how much bacon, grass-fed butter, coconut oil I consume the response I get is "that's a lot of fat and cholesterol!"

"Saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet are not the cause of coronary heart disease.  That myth is the greatest 'scientific' deception of the century and perhaps any century."
-George V. Mann, M.D. professor of Biochemistry and Medicine

The truth that the government, "Scientist," and drug companies will never tell you is that cholesterol does not cause heart disease, and low cholesterol does not prevent heart disease.  Cholesterol is not the cause to arterial damage but is actually there to repair and protect the arteries from further damage.  The question should not be if your cholesterol is "high" or "low" but "what has caused the tear in the artery that caused the body to send cholesterol to repair it?"  We have been asking the wrong question and just masking the real problem AND actually fighting our natural response/healer (cholesterol). 

Here are 13 Very Important Facts to know about Cholesterol:
1.  Cholesterol is produced by the body in larger quantities relative to other substances.
2.  All cells contain it and tissues make it.
3.  Cholesterol is so important that every cell regulates its own level internally.
4.  Cholesterol gives cell membranes their integrity and strength: without cholesterol we would be soft, flabby, and worm-like.
5.  Cholesterol enhances the permeability-barrier properties of the lipid by-layer.  This means that nutrients get in and impurities are kept out.
6.  Bone would be hollow and brittle if it were not for cholesterol and protein.
7.  Cholesterol had a major structural role in the brain, where it is found in high concentrations.
8.  Cholesterol enables nerve impulses.
9.  Vitamin D is made from the interaction between cholesterol and sunlight hitting your skin, so that calcium can be utilized.  A defective cholesterol structure is at the heart of sun-cancer issues. 
10.  Bile, manufactured by the liver and essential for proper fat digestion is produced from cholesterol.  A major portion of the body's cholesterol is used by the liver to produce bile salts.  These salts are crucial in digestion to make sure fats get broken down and that oil-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) get utilized
11.  Cholesterol is essential for the liver and intestines to function properly.
12.  Cholesterol protects the skin again absorption of water-soluble toxins.
13.  Cholesterol holds moisture in so that we do not dehydrate.  Cholesterol will give your skin a nice, naturally moisturized feel.

"The more natural, real cholesterol-rich foods you eat, the lower your serum (blood) cholesterol levels will be.  The less cholesterol in your diet, the higher your serum cholesterol.  Why?  Because if you don't give your body the right foods, it will ATTEMPT TO over-compensate for what it's lacking, thereby producing more cholesterol."

Sooo bottom line, Cholesterol is not your enemy but Cholesterol lowering drugs are. 

For more detailed info read this article!  The Cholesterol Myth

Monday, May 7, 2012


Here is a great article to help answer the question "What About Calcium?" when eating a dairy free diet.  (although I am not totally apposed to some Grass-fed Heavy Cream or Raw Milk when possible)  But I do think its good for everyone to go dairy free for at least 30 days and only add back in the GOOD stuff if your body can handle it.

So if you want to know more about what calcium really is, how it is absorbed, how much do we really need and the lies we have been fed by marketing companies check out this article!

What About Calcium?

Friday, May 4, 2012

A yogi going to the gym and lifting weight? NO WAY!?

I was super siked when I got this months Yoga Journal magazine and saw an entire article talking about the importance that strength training can have in your yoga practice.  They had some great info from yoga instructor Amy Ippoliti who talked about how adding cross-training into her life and even hiring a personal trainer (gasp.) helped heal her of some injuries and aided in her yoga practice.  She always thought that yoga was the cure-all for everything she now is a firm believer in being open to other modalities when it serves her.

I have come to really see the benefits of both strength training and yoga together in balance.  To quote Amy "I'm always looking for integrated flexibility.  I think that flexibility without strength is out of balance, and strength without flexibility is, too."

I have seen many people who are naturally flexible with very little muscular strength, and we tend to look at these people as "naturals" in the yoga world, however they are the ones who are more prone to injury because they are at the point of being hypermobile.  They need to find strength and awareness of their body.  They are the ones who tend to sink into their joints and over time can cause injury and pain.  I have known people personally who were hypermobile and pushed their limits and actually needed to take a break from yoga and were forced to get cortisone shots in their hips to deal with the pain of over stretching.  I have also known women who were too afraid of lifting weights and only wanted to do yoga and when forced to lift anything over maybe 10 pounds they would injure themselves.  Now this is not very helpful in everyday life.  We need to have strength to prevent injury and not be incapable of everyday tasks that may require lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying etc.

On the other hand, you can be too focused on strength training and become immobile.  I have seen this too.  No hip mobility will limit your depth in a squat.  Tight hamstrings may throw off your posture for a deadlift.  Tight shoulders will limit your overhead mobility in a press.  You can also be prone to injury if you are constantly strength training and never letting your muscles stretch.  Things get tight, start to pull and can cause pain :(

If you are a hardcore yogi who is scared to death of the gym or lifting weights focus on brining the body awareness you have from your yoga practice into your strength training.  Use you breath, inhales and exhales as you lift.  As you gain strength notice you become more powerful in your chaturangas, find more stamina in your standing poses, gain strength in your core and legs to help maintain intelligent alignment, become stronger in your lift off and enjoy those arm balances.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Day in the Life of FOOD!!!!

Here is the food I ate for one day...if anyone cares to know :)

2 Fried Eggs, Steamed Spinach & mushrooms, bacon!

Lettuce topped with a grass-fed beef burger topped with Apple, onion, bacon, balsamic chutney! A side of roasted cauliflower w/ coconut oil and turmeric!

Salmon topped w/ grass-fed butter, roasted Brussels sprouts, steamed spinach w/ mushrooms (again)

AND DONE!  Never thought I could live without snacking.  But when you eat real food, good fats, its possible.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hello again!

Its been a while since I have updated the blog, so lets see what has been going on lately...

GOT A COOL LOGO Design from my friend Emily Tornquist!  She rocks and is awesome at what she does.  Thanks Emily :)

Attended a Balanced Bites seminar at Crossfit Aspire on April 21st - great stuff!

Started a 30 Day Real Food Challenge on Monday April 23rd with Crossfit Aspire. 

Been getting PR's in almost all of my lifts lately...pretty exciting (however I feel like my thighs are HUGE)

Enjoyed my cousins wedding this past weekend (even kept it Paleo while there) bonus points!

Trying some new recipes lately, I tend to get stuck in a routine when it comes to cooking. Trying to mix it up some.

Today for lunch I made some hamburgers with this awesome apple, onion, bacon, balsamic chutney from PaleOMG!  It was sooo good and simple.  I love simple. Check out the recipe.

I will have to post a picture of this amazing stuff.

Excited for a Paleo Potluck this Friday at Crossfit aspire.  Cool People.  Good Food. Friday Night.  Can it get much better?  I think not.  Still trying to decide what I am going to make to bring.  I have a few ideas... maybe meatloaf, meatballs with mango chipotle mustard, or possibly shredded enchilada chicken in the crockpot.  Decisions.  Decisions.