Father Andrew's Hot Body Gym

April 2, 2010

Primal Challenge 2010

Filed under: diet — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Mara @ 8:08 am

As part of our goal here at FAHBG to shape our bodies and minds closer to the ideal God created us for, we have decided to undertake a Primal Challenge (based loosely on Crossfit Integrity’s Paleo Challenge). Many of us have been off our game recently – whether still recovering from holiday snack habits or fasting for Lent – and our diets and fitness levels have generally not been what we hope they would be.

It’s time we got back on the wagon, hardcore. To help us do this, we have set up a point system to track our dietary habits and keep us accountable, and simultaneously we will be embarking upon a strength program based on Whole9’s PTP program. Basically, we will be deadlifting and overhead pressing multiple times every week, focusing on strength over metcons (no matter how sexy).

So pull up your shorts (ala Josh), chalk up your hands, and purge your kitchen of all illicit food-like substances, ’cause this here is fo’ real!


Duration: Saturday, April 10, 2010 to May 22, 2010

Before and Afters:
Photo – front, side and back view (optional)
Measurements – body weight, waist circumference, and body fat (optional)
Performance – 1 mile run, CrossFit Total, Fran (if you’ve done these within the last month or so, you can count those times, if not, you need to do them before we start)

Nutrition Log – track your eating habits for at least a week before the challenge begins so you can see how much your habits change during the challenge

Results:
1.  Measurement Improvements – weight, waist, and body fat plus visual change
2.  Performance Improvements – 1 mile run, CrossFit Total, Fran
3.  Scoring – points from daily nutrition and activity log

Scoring:
You will be required to keep track of your eating in a Nutrition log.  From this log, you will give a daily score of 0-10 based on your compliance with the Primal Diet.  A score of 10 would represent a day of eating like a true hunter gatherer: nothing but meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
~ 1 point off for every serving of: beans, hummus, peanuts, peas, agave, honey, real maple syrup, dried fruit, sweet or creamy salad dressings, or dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. and not including butter, heavy cream, or protein powder)
~ 2 points off for every serving of: soy products, quinoa, hot dogs, fast food meat
~ 3 points off for every serving of: grains of any kind including oatmeal, corn, millet, whatever.
~ 4 points off for every serving of:  Soda, juice, sports drinks, white potato, most restaurant appetizers, cookies, all non-primal baked goods, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sweets, pancakes, processed marinades, BBQ sauce, anything with high fructose corn syrup, sugar added dried fruit, pizza, beer, wine and all alcoholic drinks. Exceptions: dark chocolate over 60% is no penalty, and up to 4 oz of red wine is no penalty.

If you know something is not primal but you’re not sure how many points to take off, just use your judgment. Obviously eating a donut should merit more points off than eating some lentils. If you make a primal dessert, just count off for any honey or flour you use, rather than counting it as a sweet. If you make butternut squash (primal food so no penalty) but add HFCS maple syrup substitute, you will need to subtract 4 points for every serving of syrup consumed. If you consume only half a serving size, then only subtract 2 points.

Note: It is important that you track absolutely everything you consume. Guess on your portion sizes if you’re eating out, but be as accurate as you can. Overestimate rather than underestimate – a portion size is often smaller than we think. For example, 1 can of soda is 2 servings.  This means that if you drink an entire can you would lose 8 points. A serving of ice cream is usually half a cup, but most of us usually eat at least twice that in a sitting. If you go out for ice cream, you’re probably looking at 3-5 servings!

BONUS POINTS:
You may earn up to 8 bonus points per day to help make up for all those dietary cheats.

1.  One bonus point for everyday you participate in a CrossFit-style, high intensity workout. The benefits of a Primal lifestyle are magnified when combined with a training program that combines constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements.

2.  One bonus point for everyday you consume at least 6 grams of Fish oil. Our primary goal with this challenge is to reduce Silent Inflammation.  Silent inflammation is far more insidious than classic inflammation because it is at the molecular level and may not be detected until it’s too late. It doesn’t generate the pain associated with classic inflammation and therefore goes untreated for years or even decades. Virtually every type of chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s) has a significant inflammatory component as its underlying cause. Fish oil and its high quality Omega 3s seems to be a miracle cure.

3.  One bonus point for everyday that you stretch MORE than 10 minutes.

4.  One bonus point for every night that you sleep 8 hours or more.

5. One bonus point every time you engage in a low level activity (like going for a walk, playing a game, gardening) for MORE than 30 minutes.

6. One bonus point every day you eat at least .7 grams of protein per lean pound of body weight. For example, I weigh 145 pounds, with about 20% body fat which equals about 30 pounds of fat. So my lean body weight is 115, multiplied by .7 equals 80 grams of protein per day.

7. One bonus point every day you eat LESS than .7 grams of carbohydrate per lean pound of body weight. So with the example above, I would need to eat less than 80 grams of carbohydrate per day.

8. One bonus point every day you eat at least 3 cups of green (or otherwise high nutrient) veggies (including real lettuce (not iceberg), spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, beets, kale, etc. and NOT including carrots, sweet potatoes, avocados, tomatoes, or green beans, which are higher carb/fat veggies).

By tracking your eating and activity, you should come up with your total for each day: between – infinity and 18 points.

I like to use mydailyplate.com to track my eating habits, which is free and user friendly.

Post questions and comments below…. Who’s with me??

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February 11, 2010

Agave – The Great Debate

Filed under: diet — Tags: , — Micah Vandegrift @ 10:06 pm

Back in October Mara wrote this post on using agave as an alternate sweetener to sugar. Since then we have all been gung ho about the option, using it in all our drinks and desserts. Then, a few days ago Crossfit Invictus dropped a bomb, in this post ripping agave a new one for being “not Paleo and it’s definitely not good for you.” Ahhh!! Where is the truth?

Stepping boldly into the blogosphere Mara added a post to Mark’s Daily Apple, a blog on primal fitness that many of us read and follow. So far the post is getting some great responses. Read it here and please add comments!!

Where do you fall on the great agave debate?

December 22, 2009

‘Tis the Season to Cheat – Part II

Filed under: diet — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Mara @ 5:46 pm

I am finally writing the follow-up to my first post about cheating during the holiday season. It seems a fitting time to do so, as the house is quiet with the insulin-induced slumber that followed the grit, biscuit, and beignet-filled meal my we enjoyed upon my parents’ arrival. We tried to ameliorate the carbs with some salmon and sausage, but there was only so much they could do.

It is so easy during these times to throw caution to the wind and just not care if we get fat/spike our insulin/feel momentarily sick, etc. The food is just too good, too available, and too festive to pass up.

But I was reminded again today of the impact our diets have on our well-being when it was evidenced through our friend Graham’s athletic performance. He was saying that he’s been feeling like he just doesn’t have it in him about five minutes into the last couple workouts, and I asked what he’s been eating. He grinned, sheepishly. I hated to remind him, because of course I’m reminding myself as well, but the clearest and quickest way to see the impact of a bad diet is in your performance of the gym. Now, you may not really care if your Fran time doubles this month. But, your suffering athletic performance is a sign of the stress and havoc being done to your body on the inside. And that is something you should care about.

So, in an effort to assist us all with keeping some semblance of health during our holiday bingeing, I am writing these posts. If you haven’t read the first post, start there. The most important things to remember to keep yourself on track is portions. Little bits of even the most sugar-drenched items will not hurt you that much. But if you’re wanting to really dig in, try one of the following ideas.

Eggnog

A treat only available during the holiday season, it is all the more tempting for its transience. This one’s actually made of pretty decent materials – eggs, cream, yum! – but it’s loaded with sugar. Add least all the fat helps to control your insulin response.

There are a few ways to attack this sweet, creamy beast of a drink.

1) Buy the normal stuff and cut it with milk. This is the lazy (wo)man’s option. I find that if I mix it half and half with milk, it is still thick and delicious, but I can enjoy a large glass without much of an insulin spike. Milk has the bonus of a little extra protein, but you could also use half-and-half or heavy cream – anything to reduce the sugar.

2) Make your own with raw milk and alternate sweeteners.

Here’s one recipe:

4 beaten egg yolks
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar (use 1/8 t stevia and 2 Tbl agave, or whatever your favorite sweeter may be, instead)
1 cup whipping cream
Ground nutmeg

Mix the egg yolks, milk, and sugar in a large saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture gets slightly sticky. Remove from heat. Submerge pan in sink or bowl of ice water and stir for 2 minutes. If you wish, stir in whipping cream, 2 tablespoons bourbon, 2 tablespoons rum, and vanilla. Chill for at least 4 hours. Sprinkle each glass with nutmeg.

3) For non-dairy folks, make your own with coconut milk. Use the above recipe but use 3 cups coconut milk instead. It will have a distinct flavor, but doesn’t coconut eggnog sound delicious?

Christmas Cookies

Ok, if it’s sugar cookies you love, you’re out of luck. As the name should indicate, they’re pretty much diabetes incarnate. However, if it’s just the tradition of making, baking, and taking sweet morsels of goodness while a frosty wind blows outside, why not try a less evil version? The apple spice cookie recipe below comes from a childhood friend (with a few modifications) and is scrumptious.

Apple Spice Cookies

1 1/2 Cups SIFTED WHOLE WHEAT (OR ALTERNATIVE  ALMOND, SPELT, OAT) FLOUR

1 LG SCOOP VANILLA PROTEIN POWDER

2 TBSP GROUND FLAX SEED

1 TSP BAKING SODA

½ Cup SOFT BUTTER

1 Cup SUGAR (OR 1/3 C SUGAR, 1/4 TSP STEVIA, 1 TBSP AGAVE)

½ TSP SALT

1 TSP CINNAMON

1 TSP GROUND CLOVES

½ TSP NUTMEG

1 EGG

1/2 C NUTS – CHOPPED

2 APPLES

1 C RAISINS – CHOPPED

  1. PRE HEAT THE OVEN AT 375 DEGREES. GREASE COOKIE SHEET.
  2. SIFT FLOUR , PROTEIN, AND BAKING SODA IN BOWL.  ADD FLAX SEED.
  3. PUREE APPLE JUICE, EGG, SHORTENING, SPICES, SUGAR IN BLENDER. COMBINE WITH DRY INGREDIENTS.
  4. ADD CHOPPED NUTS, APPLES, RAISINS. MIX UNTIL WELL-BLENDED. WILL BE LUMPY
  5. SPOON IN 1-2 INCH GLOBS ONTO COOKIE SHEET. WILL BE IRREGULARLY SHAPED.
  6. BAKE 5-10 MINUTES. SPRINKLE/SIFT WITH POWDERED SUGAR FOR AESTHETICS IF DESIRED.

Makes about 40 cookies. Two cookies have about 100 calories – 6 fat, 10 carbs, 3 protein.

Peppermint Bark

Another deadly temptation is peppermint bark. Usually arriving in large sheets or unevenly broken pieces, portion sizes are hard to figure and chaos generally ensues. There’s no way to make this one good (well, all of these things are not actually GOOD), but at least you can make it better. Stay away from the white chocolate versions (what is white chocolate besides all the bad and none of the sex-hormones?), and go for a dark version of this holiday favorite. The darker the better.

Midnight Peppermint Bark

  • 8-12 oz. of high-quality, organic, dark chocolate – we like around 70% cocoa
  • 2 regular sized candy canes, crushed up
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

1 Break up peppermint candy into very little pieces. You may need to put it into a think plastic ziploc and pound it with a hammer. Since we’re cutting back the candy, you’ll want it very fine so as to distribute it more evenly.

2 Melt the chocolate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, usually in a double boiler. Once melted, add the peppermint extract and stir. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.

3 Pour the melted chocolate out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out with a spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle the peppermint candy chunks on to the chocolate and gently press them in with your hands.

4 Place in the freezer for 5 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces and serve or store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Those are my ideas, for now. If you need to bring a dessert to Christmas dinner, try making a fruit crisp with minimal extra sweetener and nutty topping. I’ll be making a mixed berry crisp with just a little tapioca, stevia, and agave in the fruit with a crumble of pecans, cinnamon, agave, stevia, and butter on top. I’ll let you know the proportions when I make it.

Merry Christmas!

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October 14, 2009

Introducing Agave, Primal Ambrosia

Filed under: diet — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Mara @ 6:02 pm
NOTE: I have revised my stance on agave since writing this post. For a more up to date look at agave and its effects on your body, please see this post and especially my comment at the bottom. In a nut shell, while the insulin response is low, there are other problems with agave that may make it worse than sugar.
Sweet tooths rejoice!
Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

While perusing the Vivaldi-graced aisles of Fresh Market, I happened upon a sparking bottle filled with honey-colored liquid. This organic Agave nectar claimed a low glycemic response, and since I had seen it in recipes on MDA and such (and since it only cost about $7 for a hefty amount), I decided to drop it in my basket. After a bit of internet research and a taste test (a teaspoon added to my plain greek yogurt with walnuts and dried cherries – delicious!), I have concluded that this is God’s gift to zone/primal sweet tooths.

For those adhering to a zone-ish (equal proportions of macro nutrients in each meal) or primal-esqe (eating like a caveman) diet, the necessary restrictions on sugar in all its magnificent forms can be quite a sacrifice. Not only do we have to often forgo the cookies, pies, ice cream, etc., we also have to take other foods in much less sweetened forms than we did previously. Yogurt is a good example. Plain yogurt straight up is not for the faint of heart. But the sweetened kinds have a ton of sugar, or worse, artificial sweeteners, that fly in the face of our dietary wisdom. We can make our own desserts, but dessert isn’t dessert if it’s not at least semi-sweet. So what to do?

Stevia has been the only safe option. It remains the only approved (meaning non-carcinogenic) calorie- and carb-free option, but its bitter aftertaste makes using it in any substantial quantity rather unsavory. I have had success using a bit of stevia mixed with regular sugar or honey, but I still end up with a fairly high-sugar result.

Enter Agave Nectar. Slightly less thick than honey, making it easier to work with, 25% sweeter than sugar, and without any kind of aftertaste, it is like honey without the guilt, so better. Now, it is not stevia; one tablespoon has 16 grams of sugar. But its insulin response is very different. According to the zone master, Dr. Barry Sears, because agave is 90% fructose, it has relatively a low glucose content, which gives it a low rating on the glycemic index.  On a scale that uses white bread as the standard with a rating of 100, agave nectar has a rating of 46, while honey comes in at 104 and white sugar comes in at 92. You also need to use less of it than either honey or sugar to get the same level of sweetness.

Yes please!

I will now be incorporating agave nectar into my recipes, for shizzle. 3/4 cup of agave can replace 1 cup of granulated sugar, though you want to reduce the other liquids in your recipe if texture matters. I’ll probably try to throw in a dab of stevia as well, to reduce the agave a bit further, but agave will now be my main standby.

Sweet ambrosia, agave, how I adore thee!

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