Monthly Archives: July 2012

Underground Wellness Interview!

Diane Sanfilippo of Practical Paleo will be interviewed on Underground Wellness tonight!
If you have the chance to listen, they will cover things like Gluten Intolerance, Blood Sugar Regulation and Digestive Health.
You can watch it live here
or watch it later
Or call in tonight to listen – 347.237.5608

It airs 5pm/ET (2pm/PT)

Should be entertaining!

Monday Mania

WOW – what an amazing idea.
Check out this link to the Healthy Home Economist (also found in the Blog links to the right…>)
An awesome collection of Real Food links/recipes/blogs/etc are being collected there.
If you have something to contribute, read the instructions and post away!

If you find something super interesting – please let us know by directing us in the comments below.
Have Fun! (you might not get a lot of work done if you click on the above link – sorry).


Meal Planning

Every weekend I pull out my favorite Paleo cookbooks, Make It Paleo, Everyday Paleo, WellFed and now Practical Paleo along with my personal calendar.  I figure out how many nights I need to make dinner and I make a plan. 

I map out a week’s worth of dinners, I look in my fridge and pantry to see what I already have, then I make a shopping list.  For me, it is easiest to cook only once a day, that being dinner, so while making my list I make sure I write down how much I need of everything so that I can have breakfast and lunch leftovers each day. 

This is just one approach that works for me and my busy life.  I shop only once a week, I cook only once a day and I always have leftovers.  I find the only drawback to this approach is keeping my kids from eating all the fruit I buy in the first day.  Occasionally, I do end up at the store mid week to buy more apples and oranges.  Believe me, I have considered hiding the fruit in my room! 

I love this write up regarding meal planning by Amy Kubal.  Do you make a weekly plan?  Are you more of a creative person that can simply throw a bunch of stuff together?  What is your approach to ensuring you have a “meal plan”?

~ Carie

Post Workout Recovery Fuel

I get this question a lot:
“What should I consume Post Workout?”

The answer is tricky. If you read all of the marketing and the hype, you would go CRAZY… There are bars, gels, drinks, ‘real food’, mashed up fruit, smoothies, etc. Magic powders, pricey supplements, and in some cases ‘consume nothing’.

When it comes down to it, you need to have a couple of things sorted out:
1. What are your goals?
2. What did you do?

If your goals are to simply lean out – there is a specific answer.
If you goals are to become HUGE like the Hulk – there is a is a specific answer.
If you goals are to train hard everyday and successfully recover – there is a specific answer.

You get the idea here…

In general, assuming your workout was pretty taxing and pushed your physical limits, a combination of Carbohydrates and Protein immediately after your workout is ideal. What kind of breakdown of Carbs/Protein ratio will vary based on your activity and desired results.

The important thing here is to test it and find the ideal combination for you.
You know it is working if:
1. you feel ‘recovered’ the next day – anything that puts you back within 90% of your potential is great
2. you are able to take the next workout as hard as you want to (you don’t need to dial it back)
3. you continue to make gains (this may take 3-6 weeks to really notice)

Here is a little article discussing the added benefits of Carbs and Protein vs just carbs.

My personal favorite is Sweet Potatoes and egg whites (or chicken). I like whole foods for recovery. The starchy tubers like Sweet Potatoes replenish glycogen stores. The egg whites supply the protein. Add a little Pumpkin Pie spice and I am a happy camper. Obviously – this takes a little more planning and prep work than finding a powder and adding water (shake, shake, shake). For those of you who need an instant beverage of sorts – I like Stronger Faster Healthier’s line up of products. They are pricey, but at least you have the comfort of knowing the sources are coming from GrassFed and are Gluten Free. My Quick/Cheap go to is a simple Whey Protein from Whole Foods (365 Pure Whey) and I add dextrose for ‘carbs’. It’s not fancy. Technically, dextrose is not Paleo as it is derived from corn – but neither is is Whey (depending on what Paleo Camp you hail from). In this situation, I am choosing to make a sacrifice in Paleo compliance for improved performance. Sometimes, you just can’t have it all. Why would I choose ‘Dextrose’ over some other source of sweetener? GREAT question… Dextrose is pure Glucose. If my goal is to replenish the glycogen stores in my body, I don’t want carbs with high fructose content. Glucose is utilized throughout the body, where as fructose goes directly to the liver and can cause a whole host of other problems (including fatty liver disease).

Do a little research – type into Dr. Google ‘Fructose vs Glucose’ – you may decide to stick with Sweet Potatoes and Egg Whites



The last post was focused around Rest and Recovery. Paying attention to how you ‘water’ your body is another important factor to a balanced lifestyle. Proper hydration helps everything work better. From recovery to maintaining performance, replacing your lost fluids is like keeping oil in the engine of your car. Run it dry and you have major melt down. Run it with too much and you start blowing gaskets and seals.

How much water should you drink? It depends.
Chris Kresser recently posted a thorough article about the topic – so I won’t re-write it here.
Check this link out to see it in more detail.

The ‘quick’ notes are:
* Pay attention to your thirst – this is your best indicator that you need water
* Eat a Paleo-ish diet with plenty of veggies and fruits, these foods are H2O dense
* Acknowledge the weather, climate, and your activity – they all have an impact

Hydration is important – but you may not need to stress about gulping down 64oz a day… listen to your body, it is a great communicator (when we pay attention to what it is trying to say ).

Rest and Recovery

“I wholly recommend that you focus the 23-½ hours daily of non-exercise not on increased physical performance but on enriching your soul.” – Coach Glassman

So far, we have talked a lot about food and overall nutrition. Optimizing your potential will come from aligning all of the stars together – Nutrition, Exercise, Rest/Recovery, and overall Stress Management.

In the early years of CrossFit, the CrossFit Journal looked much different. Many of the original articles from back then are available for FREE… they are great little insights to Coach Greg Glassman’s thought process at the time.

I dug up an article that discusses the topic of Rest/Recovery, Overtraining, and maximizing your Optimal Performance. I like what Coach has to say – there is a fine line between Overtraining and Optimal Performance. If you never find yourself teetering on that line, you have not fully explored your potential. Spending too much time getting massages, relaxing, doing yoga, etc. will simply keep you further away from achieving your desired performance goals. At the same time, working out for 3 hours is essentially 2.5 hours too long. Pushing yourself to High Intensity and finding your performance limitations in a 30 minute window on a regular basis is ideal.

The another thing that Coach reiterates – Nutrition is KEY to effective recovery. If you have never seen the CrossFit Pyramid for Success, the FOUNDATION is Nutrition. “Eat Lean Protein, Veggies and Fruit, Nuts and Seeds, no Sugar, little Starch” – that has been the CrossFit mantra for Nutrition for the longest time… sounds very Paleo to me. I have plenty of reasons why I would tweak that mantra a little, but it is in the right ball park.

Here is the LINK for the article written by Coach.

Low fat, high carbs makes me cry…

As some of you know, I was Vegan for over 12 years. I focused my exercise primarily on running and cycling – not a lot on weight training. I subscribed to all of the fitness magazines. I ate my body weight in soy products daily. I felt I was a prime example of ‘Health and Wellness’.

One day, I was sitting at the table for breakfast. My lovely wife was working on making some vegan pancakes and tofu sausage links. The jug of maple syrup sat in the middle of the table along with the tub of ‘butter’ spread (vegan of course). I was working on my second cup of coffee while poking around on the Internet.

(caution… Unpleasant details are about to come up)

I was doing some research…recently I had noticed blood in my stool. I had started to get worried about what the hell was going on back there. The Internet is not the place to look for information on this… Everything I read lead to cancer. Holy Sh*t… (no pun intended).

As I am reading horrible stories about how I am going to die, along with jacking up my adrenals with caffeine and living off a HIGH CARB/Low Fat diet, I started getting a little shaky and light headed… The next thing I knew, I was waking out of a ‘dream’ with my wife on top of me and talking on the phone… She was calling my name, trying to get me to ‘come to’ and talking with an emergency dispatcher on the other end of the line.

I had passed out.

The ambulance showed up, checked me out and suggested I go to the emergency room to get checked out. My wife and I jumped I the car and off we went.

I felt fine. I was a little scared of the whole thing. I had images of cancer running though my body. I was nervous.

We learned nothing from the emergency room other than confirming there was trace amounts of blood in my backside.

I went to my doctor on the following Monday. He signed me up for a battery of tests… From colonoscopy to nerve tests to blood work and a 24 hour heart monitoring deal. Everything came back ‘Normal’ except my blood work. I was told that I am essentially becoming pre-diabetic and that I need to lay off the cookies/cakes/chips/fried foods and I need to exercise more. I told the doctor that I had just completed a marathon 6 months prior. He looked at me and replied “that was 6 months ago. A lot changes in 6 months.”

I could not believe that I went from thinking I was at the peak of health and wellness, then suddenly at the bottom and apparently on my way to even worse conditions.

This was 8 years ago…
About 4 years later, I attended a CrossFit certification on Nutrition taught by Robb Wolf. He was presenting the Paleo diet and discussing the health benefits of this Anti Inflammatory and Insulin Controlling way of eating. He made me ask myself an important question:

Why am I eating a Vegan diet?
The blood issue was a result of inflammation.
The passing out was a result of an insulin dump because of the high blood sugar.
Both issues were because of my diet choice… Lots of grains, carbs, and little fat.

I was only eating this way because I thought it was the pinnacle of Health.
I decided to give this Paleo way a shot. I broke the news to my wife (which was harder than the changing my diet – she had been Vegan for over 20 years at this point) and began shopping for food.

It was the strangest feeling standing in front of the meat section of the grocery store. I knew nothing on how to shop for meat. I felt awkward and weird looking at the meat. Like I was ‘dirty’ or something.

Let’s fast forward 3 years… I now eat in a way that is high fat, moderate protein, and fairly low carb. A complete opposite approach to how I ate 4 years ago. I added almost 10lbs of lean muscle mass simply from changing my diet (and doing CrossFit type workouts). I hover around 14% body fat at any given point in time – without weighing and measuring my food. I focus on quality meats, eat plenty of veggies and ensure I have fat with each meal and snack.

My fat intake includes lard, beef tallow, coconut oil, GrassFed butter, olive oil and some nuts (ok, sometimes lots of nuts). I consume fish oil almost daily, unless I have a nice big piece of Salmon for dinner. Fat makes up for nearly 50% of my daily calories.

I bring all of this up because I am trying to stress the fact that FAT does not make you Fat. My health was at its worst with a Low Fat/High Carb diet. My fitness was also in a terrible state at that point.

Here is a great article where a Cardiac Surgeon speaks to a similar story about the dangers of a High Carb diet. Lowfat diet scientifically and morally indefensible

If you are interested in making a change to your diet and overall health, let me know. I love to talk about this stuff.

Help Fund a Project

There is a documentary in the works trying to get funding.
In Defense of Fat will have some great exposure to the ancestrial/primal way of eating and the health benefits found within.


Here is the blurb about the film from the Kickstarter site:
“In Defense of Fat” clarifies the complex relationship between human evolutionary history and the science – and politics – of nutrition and health. The film is firmly rooted in current scientific research on Ancestral Health, a theory which proposes that the human body is not adapted to an agricultural diet, and especially not to the many processed foods in our daily lives. As a result, ‘healthy’ low fat diets and “essential” carbohydrates may actually increase rates of diabetes and obesity, and dietary fat may not be to blame for our expanding waistlines.

Through in-depth interviews, animation, and examination of our cultural attitudes, “In Defense of Fat” will explain the complex issues at play in our national discussion of diet and health.”

To help support, follow this link… You can donate as little as $1
In Defense of Fat


I recently had an interesting conversation with my dad about preparing for the zombies, economic meltdown, war, a natural disaster, etc. He asked me how long I believed my family would be able to live if I was no longer able to get them food. How much food do I have on hand?

This got me thinking…Honestly, since I actually do EAT REAL FOOD, I do not have boxes or cans of anything (with the exception of olives) in my house. I do have a freezer full of grass fed/finished cow and a fridge full of veggies from the CSA, but that is it. 

What would I do if the zombies came?  I asked one of my favorite people in the whole world, Mike Healy, as well as the always insightful duo at Whole9.

Mikes’ answer was absolutely brilliant, completely changed the way I was thinking about this and literally relieved me of the stress I was feeling for not being “prepared”.    

Mike Healy: “If zombies attack, there might be more problems than whether or not we have enough food on hand.  I believe, if the serious question has to do with some sort of natural disaster or destruction where we are cut off from food supplies and access to fresh veggies, we are going to truly need to tap into our “hunter gatherer” genes and head out foraging.  My guess is that the limiting factor is not going to be food supply (you can last at least a week without food and still maintain your current muscle mass), but rather it’s going to be water and our ability to find shelter/hunt.  In this case, health and longevity is a secondary factor to simply survival.  If you have a whole garage filled with food that you could live for years off of, you are also TRAPPED in your current location and therefore screwed if the zombies (or other people who are in a panic) find you.  I would imagine you would want to be mobile and learn how to live off the available supplies you can source on the road.  Stock up on some canned tuna.  Grow some sweet potatoes/white potatoes. Learn how to make tallow.  Haven’t you watched Walking Dead? They don’t have an endless supply of canned/packaged food… their first priority is to be mobile.  Sourcing gasoline is the bigger issue.”

I absolutely LOVE this answer…makes so much sense to me.

Additionally, in response to my question, Whole9 released The Official Whole9 Zombie Preparedness Guide  While there is an element of fun with all the zombie talk, the true purpose of the article is to let people know that they can and should store up GOOD REAL FOOD in case of a disaster or other circumstance (all zombies aside).  We should understand that we do not have to go back to oats, beans and rice for survival, but rather water, fat such as animal fats, butters, oils, nuts/seeds.  Proteins such as meat canned, dried and powdered.  Carbs such as dried and/or canned veggies and fruit, baby food. 

Just as Mike said…there may be bigger issues than just nutrition and good food alone won’t carry us through an invasion so keep yourself healthy with good sleep, exercise, stress management, active recovery, injury rehabilitation, fun and play. 

 ~ Carie



Real Food Summit – wow…

The last 4 days have been very interesting. The Real Food Summit, hosted by Undergroud Wellness, has had presentations by different guests each day who are cover their various topics of expertise. All of the guest links and websites are captured in the ‘Links’ section of this blog (look to the right —>).

These links will continue to be updated throughout the Summit. If you are interested in the entire Summit including the transcripts and nicely packaged collection of the entire event, check out Real Food Summit.