Thursday, April 26, 2012

My experience on the 21 Day Sugar Detox

On April 2, I started the 21 Day Sugar Detox by Balanced Bites. Why, you ask, would I do that???
For a number of reasons.
1a) My eating had gotten out of control. I was being cavalier about eating since I'm in training for the Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC), eating waaaaay more than I should and not necessarily eating the right things. I was eating paleo friendly treats as meal replacements or in conjunction to meals. I was eating a TON of fruit. I was eating dark chocolate EVERY night, and not just a square of it. I was consuming large amounts of raw honey during the day in my smoothies and tea and sometimes just eating it straight up. I was chewing a ton of gum - not sugar free. All around not ideal situation for training my body; not an ideal situation for a healthy body in general.

1b) I seemed to have forgotten my portion control skills. This still remains an issue, even after the 21 days, however, it is much more in check than it was prior.

2) I want to keep my weight in check. For RKC, there is an extremely physically demanding test I am going to have to do, the RKC Snatch test: If you are under 123.5 lbs, you qualify to use a 12kg bell...over 123.5lbs, you must use a 16kg bell. I am under 123.5lbs, but would like to have a nice, wide buffer going to my certification.

3) I want to maximize my diet for training purposes. Detoxing/Reducing the sugary foods meant replacing them with healthy fat sources, high quality protein, and veggies as well as some dense carb sources, all things necessary for a body in training.

What was the program all about?
I chose to do the most strict of 3 levels of detox available.
For the 21 days, I was to have no fruit, other than 1 green-tipped (not fully ripened) banana OR 1 green apple per day, no sweeteners whatsoever, natural or synthetic (no honey, maple etc), no grains, no beans/legumes, no refined carbs, no dairy, and no alcohol or other sweetened beverages. Coconut water (in limited amounts) and unsweetened nut milks were fair game.
I could have all meat and fish, veggies (limiting intake of beets and squash), nuts and seeds (other than cashews and peanuts), and healthy fats (avocado).
The one caveat I had going for me was since I am considered an "athlete", I could have some of the dense carb sources that were off limits to the non-athlete on the detox, such as sweet potatoes and yams.

How did I do?
I think I did pretty well. The program changed my perspective on eating in many ways.
The first 3 days were TORTURE for me. I came off of snacking on fruit all day long and putting raw honey in everything (smoothies, tea, a spoon, you get the idea).
I felt like crap - my body was cold and headachey.
To stave off hunger, I ate nuts, nuts and more nuts, and then nut butter. I went nuts.
But then I figured it out.

I figured out when to eat my dense carbs to maximize my workouts. I figured out what veggies to snack on. I figured out that I LOVE hard boiled eggs! I figured out what high quality proteins to eat. This all took the 21 days that I was on the detox, and I'm still figuring it out.

It was not easy, at all but slowly the cravings went away. I started to realize that with a craving, I didn't need to turn to chocolate, fruit or dare I say it, ice cream....I learned to enjoy a nice hot cup of tea.

I lost 1 lb.
1 lb you might ask, that's it??? Well, to tell you honestly, I don't really need to lose that much weight. As I said, I would just like to cushion my buffer zone going to RKC. You also need to understand the level of training I am doing as well. It's 6 days a week, working the kettlebells and teaching spin 2x. I am made of a lot of muscle. I feel that with my current level of training and the changes I made to my diet towards the end of the 21 days, and will continue to finesse, that I will shed a couple more pounds.

I've been feeling good and strong in my workouts and definitely progressing. My energy levels are high. My mood has been lifted. I've noticed less inflammation in my lower back, where I have facet joint arthropathy of my lumbar spine.

I am waaay more mindful about eating - more so than ever before. I need to be in the best shape of my life to go to RKC and everything I eat depends upon it.

What do I eat now then?
Pre/Post-workout I drink an amazing smoothie made from frozen banana, almond butter, homemade almond milk, coconut water, chia seeds, raw cacao, maca, and coconut creme (which is pure coconut, just in a concentrated form). I'll also eat a sweet potato post a heavy kettlebell workout.

Breakfast is usually my pre-workout smoothie and a hard boiled egg, or scrambled eggs w. canadian bacon or bacon or smoked trout or whitefish or smoked salmon.

Lunches have become mega salads, with greens, mixed veggies, a protein such as wild caught salmon, or tuna, or trout or sardines, or maybe a grass-fed beef burger, avocado and a chopped hard boiled egg, topped w.a squeeze of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

Dinners are paleo friendly meals again with high quality proteins (grass fed beef, pastured pork and poultry or fish of some sort) with different veggies.

Snacks are nuts or a green apple w.a nut butter or paleo approved jerky (which from Steve's original is the best I have tasted)

I'll enjoy fruit post workout or as a dessert.
It's all working for me.

Would I recommend this detox?
Absolutely, Yes! There are 3 levels that you can chose from, with level 1 being the least strict and level 3 being the most strict. There is a very comprehensive guide that you get when you purchase the detox. There are several sites that have 21 Day Sugar Detox approved recipes to follow, some even with meal plans for the 21 days.
Is it easy? No.
Is it worth it? Definitely.

To find out more please visit: 21 Day Sugar Detox website
Feel free to contact me w.any questions you might have about my experience.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Southwestern Deviled Eggs

For some reason, my entire life has been spent throwing out the yolks of hard cooked eggs. The hard cooked yolk, utterly disgusted me. This past week, I got a Cobb salad. I figured I could pick the yolk out and eat just the white. When the salad came, the egg was all chopped up, white and yolk together. Hmmm, I thought, do I bail on eating the egg completely, or go for it, and eat it w.the yolk. Well, I did the latter and really LOVED it! It was like an epiphany!
What had I been missing my whole life???? The yolk of hard cooked eggs, that's what!

I think over the past week, I've eaten over a dozen hard cooked eggs. I wanted to come up with a fancier way to eat them though. I knew that a fellow blogger, kettlebell nut and friend, Adrienne from liked to make deviled eggs. So I asked her what her favorite recipe was....her answer included using Beyond Organic Amasai, a fermented grass-fed dairy, very similar to buttermilk. I followed her lead and used that instead of mayonnaise and put my own spin on it, making the eggs Southwestern style.

Let's talk hard cooking eggs: it's so simple. Put eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water by 1 inch. Place on stove and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover pot. Allow the eggs to sit undisturbed for 10-12 minutes. Drain eggs from pot, and shock in cold water to halt cooking process. That is it! This method of cooking ensures an nice yellow yolk. No ugly green yolks here :)

4 hard cooked eggs, cut in half, lengthwise, whites reserved, yolks placed in a bowl
1 small leek, whites only, chopped and washed well
1 Fresno chile or other chile of choice, diced small
1/4 cup Plain Amasai or mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
2-3 TBS chopped cilantro
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika, plus more for dusting top of eggs
Juice of half a lime
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute the leeks and chiles until softened, over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper; add the leeks and chiles to the bowl with the yolks.

2. Using a fork, start to mash up the yolk into the leeks and chiles. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well, using fork to mash up lumps of yolk. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

3. Fill the hole of the white of the egg with the yolk mixture.
4. Dust the top with smoked paprika.

5. Try to eat just 1.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Woah! Paleo Wings! And why not, an RKC training update

I've made some good progress over the past week to week and a half training.
I hit a couple PRs this week:
1) Chin-ups - I was able to do 2 consecutive, unassisted chin-ups just yesterday...3 sets of them! That is pretty huge for me. I've never been able to do consecutive chin-ups, ever!
2) 16kg TGU! I'm now able to do 16kg TGUs on both sides. The arm bars have really been helping. I've been doing them 18lb bell, and my mobility is getting better.

Here's a recap of my workouts for the week:
5x10 2 hand swings 20kg
5x5 2 hand swings 24kg
5 rounds of 5R/5L single arm deadlifts 24kg, 3R/3L single arm swings 20kg, 5R/5L single arm swings 16kg
5X 5R/5L snatches- 12kg

Arm bars 18lbs
3 TGU R/L 12kg
3 TGU R/L 14kg
5 rounds of 5R/5L single arm deadlifts 24kg, 3R/3L single arm swings 20kg, 6R/6L single arm swings 16kg
9 rounds of snatches, R/L 12kg, 1 min on/1 min off, , switching arms at 30(s) mark - here's my min-min break down R/L:
13, 10
10, 12
10, 11
10, 10
10, 10
9, 10
8, 9
8, 8
8, 8....if I did my math right = 174 snatches

04/10/12 Chin-up and TGU PR!!
3 rounds of arm hangs off pull-up bar 10(s), 2 chin-ups
3 TGU R/L 12kg
3 rounds of arm hangs off pull-up bar 10(s), 1 chin-up
3 TGU R/L 16kg
Press ladder: 3 X 2,3,5 R/L - 12kg
Single arm swings 10X 5R/5L - 16kg
Long Cycle Cleans 5X 5R/5L -16kg

Arm bar - 18lb
2 TGU R/L -12kg
2 TGU R/L -14kg
2 TGU R/L -16kg

5x5 deadlift - 32kg
3x 5R/5L single arm deadlift -24kg
5X 3R/3L single arm swing -20kg
5X 7R/7L single arm swing -16kg
2 hand swing ladder, 8x5 each 24kg, 20kg, 16kg

So, I'm working hard. Hopefully I can stay on this track training for the next 5 months....To train, you must eat, so here's a clean recipe for chicken wings!

I'm not a huge chicken wing fan, but the other day I saw some local, pastured, chicken wings at the market and picked them up.
My traditional wing recipe has soy in it and vinegar.....I decided to keep it Paleo and try something new.
I made a basic marinade out of 5 ingredients (other than the wings):
1/2 cup coconut water (for sweetness)
1/4 cup mustard
2 TBS coconut aminos (for saltiness)
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
That's it! Mix all ingredients together and place in a bag. Place wings in bag and mix the marinade all over the wings. Refrigerate to marinate, for 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Note: I used a pound of wings for the ratios above, scale up ingredients as needed.

Note: Coconut aminos is a liquid made from the sap of the coconut tree. It is very similar to soy sauce, dark in color and salty. It has approximately 17 amino acids in it as well as minerals and vitamins.

Remove from refrigerator about a half hour before baking, and set oven to 425 degrees.
Place wings and marinade in a single layer in baking dish.

Then bake for about 40-45 minutes. Turn wings over after 15 minutes and after 15 more minutes, turn again. Turn one last time for the last 10-15 minutes. The wings self baste and get gooey and yummy.

The marinade is tangy from the mustard, salty from the coconut aminos and sweet from the coconut water. Nice tender meat and lots of flavor. Definitely crowd worthy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Paleo friendly Charoset

Happy Passover to those who observe!
Here's a quick and easy paleo friendly and kid friendly version of Charoset.
This recipe makes 4 servings, scale up as needed; to make a more traditional version, add 2 TBS of a red wine of your choice.

3 green apples, peeled, diced into 1/2inch-1inch pieces

3/4 cup raw, unsalted nuts, chopped (I used pistachios, but use whatever nut you like)

Juice/Zest of 1 lemon
1-3 tsp maple syrup or honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch sea salt

1. Mix everything together in a bowl.
2. Eat and enjoy :)
Hope your seder is quick!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner and an RKC training update

I made some strides this past week in training, specifically in my Military Press. In between the last 2 weeks I had a session w.Mike Perry of Skill of Strength. We worked on a bunch of things, thing being the position of my arm in the rack. That subtle shift caused me to be able to press better. 2 weeks ago in my Clean, Squat, Press complex, which I do 4 sets of (2,3,4 reps each side), I used the 12kg for 3 sets, and had to drop down to 10kg for last set. This past week, after changing my arm position, I was able to use the 12kg for all 4 sets.

I've been swinging the 16kg single arm and it seems to not be getting any easier for me. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not strong or if it's just poor technique. Probably the latter.
It's a real downer, because I've been working very hard. Not progressing makes it probably seem like I'm not putting the time in, but that's just not the case. But it just gives me the drive to make it work because like I've said before, making RKC is a personal goal of mine for 2012. I have to believe that I will prevail (or I won't).

I took away from this week's session w.Mike some exercises to do which will (hopefully) improve my arm strength - one is the heavy Single Arm Deadlift, doing it prior to swinging the bell. This morning I did 8 X 5 R/L SADL w.24kg and then did 15 X 5 R/L SAS w. 16kg. I already see a small gain in strength, helping me to nail my form. So, for the next couple weeks, I'm going to concentrate on nailing down my single arm swing. I feel confident that I can do that.

The other thing we spent some time on is the RKC Arm bar (straight and bent). I had never seen these exercises so it was a real eye opener for me in terms of getting my lats to engage and increase my T-spine and shoulder mobility. That area on my body is my least mobile (confirmed by FMS) so it's important that I improve it. I'll be working on these exercises as well to help arm stability in the TGU.

All this training makes me hungry so, here's a recipe for you.....

Sometimes I want something for dinner which might not be dinner, but rather breakfast. There's nothing wrong with eating breakfast for dinner!!!
Here's a real quick, protein packed dinner idea, a riff off the LEO (Lox, Egg, Onion) I make the BELS - Broccoli, Egg, Lox and Scallion....scallions are sauteed, chopped broccoli is added in, then lox and lastly, the egg, to bind it all together. It's a great savory and salty dish.

Take 2 scallions and a few florets of broccoli and chop them up. You'll need some lox as well. Lox is smoked salmon, and it's luscious. I used wild Coho lox for this recipe. I used about 2 oz per serving. Plan for 3 eggs per serving as well, which you whisk up until frothy.

Saute your scallion over medium heat until softened.

Add in broccoli and saute for about 2 minutes, then add in lox, continuing to saute for about a minute.

Pour in your eggs.
You can leave the egg to set around all your ingredients or scramble the egg up with the ingredients. I chose to scramble :)
The lox is salty, so watch how much salt you use to season the dish.

If you don't have broccoli, feel free to substitute any fresh ingredient you have such as asparagus or even cauliflower.