Posts Tagged ‘Paleo Challenge’

Say It or Be A Fraud

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Feb 25 2015

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“If you see fraud and don’t shout fraud, you are a fraud.” -Taleb

Part of what first interested me in Paleo and what honestly continues to interest me most about reading and studying about the diet is the ethical coda above. Gary Taubes was the first person to come on my radar in his article “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” in 2002. The biggest eye opener in the piece is not that fat is good for you, but that Ancel Keys and then George McGovern manipulated data and public perceptions in order to get Americans to eat a way that dramatically aided large, government subsidized food companies and caused the death and disease of millions of Americans. Taubes went on to write “Good Calories, Bad Calories” which is a beautifully written book that expands on these themes as well as the good science and bad science done around human nutrition.

The second great body of work and someone who was willing to stand up and say “this is a fraud” is Lierre Keith in her book “The Vegetarian Myth”. Lierre was a vegan for almost 20 years. She accepted the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle and paradigm as a way to be spiritually, physically, and environmentally conscientious. She had noble instincts that led her to this way of life. She said she wanted “…my life to be a battle cry, a war zone, an arrow pointed and loosed into the heart of domination“. But what she found was that while her animus was noble, her means were wrong. She finally concluded, after years of living and preaching this lifestyle, that “The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won’t save us.”

I honestly think the eating the Paleo Diet long term is pretty easy, and is summed up neatly in CrossFit’s dietary prescription “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” But what motivates me far more than abs or Fran times is first, exposing the frauds that are trying to get you to eat “whole wheat” and “fruit sugar” and claiming it’s good for you, and second, destroying the kleptocracy that makes up the US government/food industry hydra that subsidizes harmful foods and places impossible hurdles in front of healthy, natural foods.

[Originally posted Paleo Challenge 150127]

Cholesterol

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Feb 24 2015

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I set out to write a unique and interesting blog post today about cholesterol, but once I found Robb Wolf’s post, I gave up. This sums it up too nicely for me to even try to compete. The following is reprinted from Robb Wolf’s blog. You can also tune into his Paleo Solution podcast here and purchase his books and ebooks here. Enjoy!

The basics of the diet-heart hypothesis go like this: High cholesterol leads to atherosclerotic plaques that precipitate a clot which can result in a heart attack or stroke. This whole notion grew from a disease called Familial Hypercholesterolemia and subsequent experiments that involved feeding rabbits (herbivores) oxidized cholesterol. These critters do not eat ANY cholesterol so the fact oxidized cholesterol caused problems is not surprising but also completely unhelpful when talking about people.

Anyway, 50 years to failed dietary recommendations to lower cholesterol have done nothing to alleviate the CVD epidemic. In fact, the epidemic is rolling along bigger and badder than ever before. Well This Study was pretty interesting. It indicates that most people who suffer a heart attack have…low cholesterol!

Now, everyone is in a fix to get folks on cholesterol lowering diets and statins to save them, but most heart attacks are in folks with…low cholesterol! Ok, doesn’t make any sense and it completely calls into question the notion that we need to reduce cholesterol levels…but why not give people statins and see how folks do on those. Well, interestingly, statins appear to decrease heart attack rates in people…with low cholesterol.

The mechanism? Possibly a reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of systemic inflammation. Know what else reduces systemic inflammation? A paleo diet which controls insulin levels, removes gut irritating foods, balances omega-3/omega-6 fats. Add some vit-d and consistent good sleep and you have effectively turned off the type of inflammation underlying CVD, cancer and neurodegeneration.
Oh! Then there is the fact low cholesterol increases stroke rates!!
So, just to clarify:

1-Cholesterol supposedly causes CVD, But
2-Most heart attacks are actually occurring in people with low cholesterol, Yet
3-Doctors insist on cholesterol lowering protocols, including statins, Even though,
4-The benefit of statins has nothing to do with cholesterol, but rather it’s mild anti-inflammatory action, Which
5-Can be accomplished with simple dietary modifications and a few inexpensive supplements.
It would be funny if people were not dying from this stuff.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140120]

The Cure is the Process

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Feb 23 2015

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As we approach the end of the Paleo Challenge, I want you to think about unicorns wearing football helmets.

No reason there, but I think wherever you are and whatever you’re doing the idea of a unicorn wearing a football helmet is funny. Obviously, the horn would go through their helmet and they wouldn’t be playing football, because if you have a horn and too much head protection, that’d be dangerous.

Anyway, Irvin D. Yalom is a pretty smart guy sometimes and he has a great quote “The cure is the process.” Yalom is a psychotherapist who is a big proponent of group counseling sessions where individuals simply (or not so simply) discuss their thoughts, feelings and emotions to a group.

What was confusing and enlightening for me when I first got into his work were two things: First, that he had a hard time describing what the end state of therapy was. Second, that a lot of the group dynamics and the patient/therapist relationship had a lot of similarities to CrossFit training and coaching.

Part of this similarity is in describing the goal, or “end state”. I’m a bit obsessed with the idea of “end state”. It’s something that’s drilled into us in the Marine Corps. The task you assign may have to change constantly, which is why we are always drilled to give “task and intent”: what do you want to have happen and what are you planning to accomplish with this?

The end state of Yalom’s methods are described in a variety of ways: “courageous engagement with…life’s predicaments and personal distress”, “claiming our own freedom”, “overcoming existence pain.” I find these descriptions similar to the end state of CrossFit “increased work capacity over broad time and modal domains.” What’s the thing that jumps out at you immediately when you look at all these: they are relative, not absolute.

Secondly, his group therapy techniques and description of the client/patient relationship is pretty similar to what we do in the Paleo Challenge and in CrossFit. So partly because you are getting quasi-kicked out of the nest soon at the end of the Paleo Challenge, I want to equip you with some knowledge bombs that will help you out.

Obviously, you can still ask me questions, but because you won’t have a defined “end state” anymore, e.g., the “Paleo Challenge Finale” on the horizon, I want you to have some tools you can use:

1) Get some Paleo buddies. Folks you can reach out to and hang out with and enjoy some Paleo chow together.
2) Continue to try to get better. Get a little wackier with your food. Try a CSA, buy some new kinds of meat, try some different restaurants. In short: don’t make your diet boring.
3) Ask for help. Coaches and your fellow athletes like helping you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

[Originally posted Paleo Challenge 150126]

“I’m Shocked, Shocked To Hear There’s Gambling Going On Here!”

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Feb 20 2015

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I probably use that line too much. But in the case of what popular “medicine” figures out, it applies.

The Atlantic recently published a story about a rheumatoid arthritis and gut health. The basic gist of this is that, shockingly, ingestion of grains and legumes can cause severe inflammation of the joints.

I’m going to use this word “shocked” one more time: I’m very not shocked that this is taking so long to get traction in the media. It’s really hard to monetize eating real food and very easy to monetize a magic pill or a dramatically subsidized package food (and hence, advertisers). Not easy to monetize pasture raised, beyond organic meats and fresh vegetables.

This tie between grain and legume ingestion and arthritis was written about as far back as 1905 in Weston A. Price’s seminal “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”: Careful inquiry regarding the presence of arthritis was made in the more isolated groups. We neither saw nor heard of a case in the isolated groups. However, at the point of contact with the foods of modern civilization many cases were found including ten bed-ridden cripples in a series of about twenty Indian homes.

Further, Loren Cordain has been publishing studies at least as far back as 2000 (that was as much googling as I had time for):“Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis”, which states that “Despite the almost universal clinical observation that inflammation of the gut is frequently associated with inflammation of the joints and vice versa, the nature of this relationship remains elusive. In the present review, we provide evidence for how the interaction of dietary lectins with enterocytes and lymphocytes may facilitate the translocation of both dietary and gut-derived pathogenic antigens to peripheral tissues, which in turn causes persistent peripheral antigenic stimulation.”

In short, grains and legumes are bad ummmkay.

[Originally posted Paleo Challenge 150121]

Variety is Good

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Feb 19 2015

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Come morning
it was as though the songbirds of the valley
had drunk spiced old wine
they winged and warbled so.
And the wild life,
lost drowned in the farthest reaches of the flood,
looked like pulled up bulbs
of wild onion.
-The Muallaqat, Imru al Qays

I was just looking for an excuse to put some IAQ in a paleo blog post, so there you go…..

But it brings us to an idea of “what the fuck do I do with all my time now that I can’t drink!?!?!?!?!?” Great question.

Taleb (and others) talk a lot about changing your scenery. As hunter gatherers, we would have been exposed to different sense stimuli constantly. Variance would have been a constant: temperature, colors, shapes, sounds, tastes. Everything would be changing all the time.

But now what do we do? We get up in the same bed every morning with the same temperature that we set on our wifi enabled thermostat. We drink the same coffee made the same way on our programmable coffee maker. We make the same breakfast, take the same route to work, sit at the same desk every day, and do the same thing.

This is not what we’re designed for. Here’s a couple things you can do to stimulate yourself the way we’re designed to be stimulated:

Play. Don’t care if it’s hop scotch or basketball or water polo or even bridge. Get a group of people together and play (CrossFit should be like this most of the time). Double bonus points for playing music (not listening, go get a recorder and watch some YouTube and get playing!).

Get outside. Realize this is coming from somebody who hates “the outdoors”. As a former Marine, anytime anyone asks me to go camping or hiking, I’m convinced I’m going to walk for three days straight with one MRE and a canteen of water and only sleep for 30 minutes at a time because with only two people we’ll have to set up alternating watches at night and I don’t want to dig a fighting hole. Now they say you don’t need a fighting hole in Great Falls, but I think that’s just what Charlie wants you to think. But you can go camping and shit, it’s probably good for you. Bang. This is pretty self explanatory.

For more on Taleb, getting outside and fun maths!, click here.

[Originally posted Paleo Challenge 150115]

Focus on the Fundamentals

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Feb 18 2015

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During the kick off we talked about setting up a “Paleo Framework”, which is very similar to what Andrew talked about on Monday and Tuesday’s posts.

The big system we’re trying to get you to understand is the difference between via negativa (to take away) and via positiva (to add). Lots of folks that join the gym go out and buy new shoes, new workout clothes, etc. While I see this as not necessarily a bad thing because it has a lot to do with tribal identity, which is programmed into us. But where it is bad is that we live in a complex world that we’re not designed for. Constant aerobic stressors (which we talked about during the kick off) are not something we are equipped to deal with, just like we’re not equipped to handle grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar.

So the biggest bang you get for your buck healthwise is not buying supplements or adding volume or drinking kale juice, it is taking things out of your life. As may things as you can handle.

For further reading on this social paradigm, check out Marshal Sahlins’ The Original Affluent Society.

[Originally posted Paleo Challenge “Focus on the Fundamentals”]

Why the Paleo Challenge?

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Feb 16 2015

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While folks seem to enjoy my in-person sales pitch “Sign up for the Paleo Challenge, and you get to give me money”, there’s actually slightly more to it than that.

The number one reason why you should do the Paleo Challenge is that your diet is the single most important factor in your health. Whether you’re sold by the bodybuilding adage of “abs are made in the kitchen” or Hippocrates guidance: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”, you’ll benefit from giving the Paleo Diet a real effort for one month.

The second best reason is you’ll figure out if I’m full of shit or not. Let’s face it, part of you wants me to be wrong and you’d love to prove it. So give it a try and then you can tell me how much healthier you were before the Paleo Challenge.

Third I’ll appeal to the foodie in you. Variety is critical in palatability as well as health, and chances are you’re eating some of the same stuff all the time. Come on board for the big win and we’ll show you how to dramatically expand the types of foods you’re eating by focusing on fresh and seasonal foods.

[Originally posted Paleo Challenge “Why the Paleo Challenge?”]

Paleo Challenge Wrap Up

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Nov 06 2014

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As many of you know, our Fall Paleo Challenge just ended. Congrats to the Paleo Challenge Powe Couple/Winners: Garrett R. and Karen S. They both crushed it.

If you don’t know how we Run the Paleo Challenge, it’s mostly a performance based competition. We rank you on an initial three WODs, your improvement in three WODs, and your before and after photos. Whoever has the best rank combined on all three categories is the winner.

So you have to do well initially, improve, and show some increase in lean body mass (LBM). So as you can see above from Garrett’s photos, he saw a big difference in his LBM. What’s very interesting to me comparing scores within the Paleo Challenge (which you can see here) is that Garrett and Karen went about winning the Paleo Challenge differently. Garrett was first place overall in the initial WOD, and still managed 7th in improvement. So while he did really well initially, he still made a big improvement in four weeks.

Karen was 4th in the initial WODs, and 6th in her improvement. She crushed the photos though (which I’m still harassing her to let me share :)) and that put her over the top.

We tell our athletes in Class 1 of Foundations: “Focus on performance, and aesthetics will come”. We think the Paleo Challenge does a fairly good job of reinforcing this.

We only do these Paleo Challenges 2x/year. If you’re interested in getting started with Paleo sooner, you can check out our quick start guides here or email info@potomaccrossfit.com for info on our Nutritional Consultations.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 141009]

Elite Alcohol Fueled Performance: Part I

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Nov 04 2014

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There are a plenty of athletes in the gym that are very high performers, very strict Paleo eaters, and very admirable drunks. While I only meet two of those three criteria, I’ve still seen a lot of performance increases over my last eight years of CrossFit and living in Arlington, the day drinking capital of the world.

My advice to my nutritional consulting clients and my Paleo Challengers is simple and ripped off from Robb Wolf: “Drink as little as possible to maximize performance, and as much as necessary to maximize your sex life.”

“BUT HOW MUCH CAN I REALLY DRINK BRIAN?!?!?!?” is the question I often get. Well let’s look at why you should minimize first:

  • Alcohol blunts protein synthesis. Alcohol in your bloodstream will decrease the amount of amino acids your body can use to form complete proteins which grow and repair muscle tissue.
  • Alcohol decreases your energy levels by dehydrating you. Because alcohol is a diuretic, it will expel water from your body that’s necessary in the creating of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a key chemical compound in Kreb’s/Citric Acid Cycle, which is how the body uses food for energy.

There are plenty of other reasons to skip or reduce alcohol consumption (and there’s a longer rundown from Bill Imbo here), but hopefully that’s scared you a little bit.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m with Malcolm Gladwell and Omar Khayyam on the wonderful relationship between man and booze, but we need to look at the why and how to make half way decent non-Fireball based decisions. Next week we’ll discuss the question of “how much” and “how to”. Until then either cloister thyself or enjoy drinking prior to eating the fruit of knowledge.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140925]

Paleo Challenge Liftoff!!!

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Sep 11 2014

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So the Paleo Challenge is in full swing. You can do the play at home version by following through our Paleo blog where we post helpful info or through our FAQ for basics on how to get started.

The biggest question you might have is “What’s in it for me?” My answer based on running hundreds of people through this diet is: everything. Want to get #sexyasfuck: do Paleo. Want to improve your performance in CrossFit: do Paleo. Want to improve every aspect of your health from auto-immune deficiency to staying more awake and alert after lunch: do Paleo.

There’s plenty of excuses that you can offer yourself for not doing Paleo or doing a watered down version. But compliance gets results. It might be hard at first, but you just have to have some skin in the game either through a Paleo Challenge or doing some 1:1 nutritional counseling. So help us help you, there’s bacon and being #sexyasfuck in it for you.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140911]