Join us in congratulating our 2014 Be Strong Challenge Winners!
First Place and winner of $500.00 and a free month membership Goes to Sindi Eyler.
Second Place and $350.00 goes to Danielle Marsalek
In a tie for third place was Jason Eckard and Holly Rowe. They each received $150.00.
Every participant had unbelievable results and picking this year’s winner was one of the most difficult decisions we have made. Hands down, this was one of our best challenges with the biggest changes we have probably ever witnessed. We are so proud of all who participated and we hope you got as much out of it as we did witnessing your amazing progress. We sincerely hope you learned more about proper nutrition and its effects on body composition and performance , but more importantly, that you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to do. We also hope these effects will stick with you and that you’ll spread the good word to any friends at CFR or non-members you feel could benefit from a Be Strong Challenge.
If you or someone you know would like to participate in our next Be Strong Challenge and reap the awesome rewards, please have them contact us for further information at email@example.com. Please check out Sindi’s fabulous results below to see how FIVE WEEKS can transform your body and change your life! Congratulations to all participants involved and thank you for making this such a successful Be Strong Challenge!
Today puts you at 85 food-points into CFR’s 2014 Be Strong Challenge.
The literal half way mark…80 food-points to go!
How’s it going? Noticing anything yet?
My bet is that all of you have started noticing some sort of change. Maybe the pants are a little looser. Perhaps that black coffee didn’t taste exactly like burnt tar this morning. Less congestion could be occurring for many of you since cutting out wheat and dairy. What to eat for lunch may no longer be a heart-wrenching, pain-inflicting decision process. Clearer heads and no mid-afternoon crashes, anyone? Better mood and sleep are likely an unexpected side effect for a few of you as well.
You can bet that your coaches already see a change in many of you. It is shocking how much body composition can change in just 85 points.
Shocking until you think about why this change is so marked. By completely cutting out grains, added sugars, and dairy from your food intake, each of you Challengers have eliminated a whole host of BAD NEWS from your body. Bad news you may not have even realize you were inundating yourself with. Boston cream donuts? Sure, you may have realized they weren’t the best dietary decision. But I bet many of you didn’t think that your wheat toast smeared in smart balance was inflicting the kind of inflammation in your system (from brain to bowels) that can set you up for a whole host of auto-immune issues; from allergies to IBS to heart disease. Dr. Loren Cordain, who is basically the Father Christmas of the Paleo Diet sums up the changes up very well:
I know that Paleo perks up mood and mental outlook in people who are seemingly normal without depression, or other mental disorders. Robb Wolf and I have heard anecdotal success stories from people all over the world whose lives have been improved from the Paleo diet and have cured themselves from chronic depression, bipolar disorder, and other psychotic illnesses, including ADHD, autism and Asberger’s syndrome in their children. I believe that multiple elements of the Paleo Diet operate in synchrony to normalize brain function. The brain is no different than any other organ in the body, as all organs respond positively when their internal mileau/environment is returned to “normal” as dictated by our genes. Besides it’s low glycemic and fructose load, the Paleo Diet is devoid of wheat which produces opiods in the gut upon digestion and which can bind brain opiod receptors. Similarly, the digestion of casein in all milk products produces casomorphins which also influence brain opiod receptors. The Paleo Diet is rich in long chain omega three fatty acids which also have been demonstrated clinically to reduce depression and improve mental health. Finally, this lifelong way of eating is much more nutritionally dense in the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) required for optimal nervous system function than either the USDA My Plate diet, the Meditteranean Diet, vegan or vegetarian diets or any other popular diet people follow. (check out this link for the fascinating post called ‘Grain and the Brain’ that this excerpt was pulled from)
While we at CFR know and love that each one of you are unique snowflakes, we also truly believe that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU will benefit in some way from doing the Be Strong Challenge. Why? Because it is true. Try this on for size:
In 2009, Dr. Frasetto and co-workers put nine inactive subjects on a Paleo diet for just 10 days. In this experiment, the Paleo diet was exactly matched in calories with the subjects’ usual diet. Anytime people eat diets that are calorically reduced, no matter what foods are involved, they exhibit beneficial health effects. So the beauty of this experiment was that any therapeutic changes in the subjects’ health could not be credited to reductions in calories, but rather to changes in the types of food eaten. While on the Paleo diet either eight or all nine participants experienced improvements in blood pressure, arterial function, insulin, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. What is striking about this experiment is how rapidly so many markers of health improved, and that they occurred in every single patient. ( Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M, Morris RC, Jr., Sebastian A: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009)
This is the real deal. You Challengers have taken a huge leap of faith and tried something totally different. (Even if it is the second…or fifth time.) Maybe you did it for the money. Maybe because your WOD-buddy made you do it. Maybe because you can’t pass up a challenge thrown your way. Maybe your it was your New Year Resolution to lose weight or eat better.
Well guess what. The proof is in the pudding. And sorry, Challengers, but you have (proverbial) pudding all over your faces.
a firm decision to do or not to do something.
♠ ♣ ♥ ♦
a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.
You have 80 points left to think about what this 2014 Be Strong Challenge will be for you:
Resolution or Revolution?
It is time! CFR will once again run our annual Paleo Challenge. This year there have been a couple changes as we continue to make the challenge better each year. The first is the name. This year’s challenge will be called the CrossFit Retribution 2014 Be Strong Challenge. For those that have participated in former challenges there have been a few minor changes so please read the post carefully. I would print or bookmark the post to pull up useful dates and information should you have any questions throughout the challenge.
We will be giving a free one month membership to the winner and a cash prize. The last challenge totaled around $600.00 in prize money and we expect this one to be much bigger. You will have this week to begin to prepare for the challenge. Go to the store, rid your house of crappy food, explain to your loved ones what will be happening for the next 5 weeks (you will need their help), and prepare for the awesome changes that await you.
We will hold a Q&A for all participants on Wednesday, January 8th at 6:45. If you can make it this will be a good time to ask your questions, meet new members, pick the brains of the Paleo pros, learn something new from those that have been doing this for a while, and enjoy good company with a glass of wine.We couldn’t be more excited to see the changes. Good luck to all of our CFR family!
Important dates to remember:
1. January 8th, 6:45pm – We will host a Be Strong Challenge kick off question and answer. Our 6:45pm class will be cancelled. Beau will explain the rules and answer any rule questions you may have. Angie and Mallory will then answer any additional questions you may have about how to get started, what to eat, where to get it, how to make an easier transition, why we avoid the foods we do, and just helpful tips and pointers to make you successful. Bring your favorite beverage and we will plan on a nice Wednesday evening social gathering to have a chance to meet new members, help those new to Paleo and spend a great evening with friends. We will wrap it up by 8:30pm.
2. January 13th – start date. $25.00 must be turned in to start the challenge no later than Monday the 13th. There will be an envelope on the stereo, place your money inside and write your name on the envelope. Before photos must be taken BY THE PARTICIPANT. Before and after photos are critical. Here is a great example of what the before and after photos should look like. Email the photos to Beau. Photos must be sent to beau82nd at gmail.com.
3. January 18th – The before Paleo challenge workout must be completed. The workout can be completed any time that week. Just tell the trainer you are doing the Be Strong WOD. There will be a book by the stereo to record your WOD time.
4. February 15th – Be Strong Challenge ends on the morning of the 15th. The last day to collect points is the 14th of February. After photos must taken BY THE PARTICIPANT no later than the 15th.
By midnight on 16 February participants must send an email to beau82nd at gmail.com which includes the following:
– After Pics
– Pre and Post WOD challenge times
– Total Food points
Here is how the winner will be decided:
1. You will all start with 215 points. 5 points are given for eating paleo foods for that day (possible 165 points) and if you attend a CFR class at least 3 days during a week you receive 10 points (possible 50 points collected for the 5 week challenge). If you eat a food that is not allowed during the challenge you will lose ALL 5 POINTS FOR THAT DAY. If you do not make it to CFR at least 3 days for any given week you will lose ALL 10 possible gym points for that week. So, if you eat a piece of cake on day two of the challenge you will now only be able to collect 210 possible points at the end of the challenge. Those that eat 100% paleo for the entire 33 days will collect all 165 food points. Those that make it to CFR at least 3 times a week for the entire challenge will collect all 50 gym points. You will keep track of your own points daily and turn them in at the end in the final email to Beau.
2. The person with the most improvement in the before and after challenge workout will receive 50 points. Second place will receive 40 points, third place 30, fourth place 20 and 5th place 10 points.
3. The before and after pictures will be judged by disinterested third party strangers who know none of you. They will be ranked in order from first to fifth. The same points will be awarded for each place as above.
4. The person who collects the most points will be declared the 2013 CFR Be Strong winner.
Food choices, what’s allowed, what’s not?
1. NO SUGAR. I don’t care if it’s super natural 100% raw organic made by bees that eat only grass fed flowers. It’s still sugar and it’s not allowed. Here are a few more ways sugar can be hidden in your foods by an alias name. If you see things like this written on your package it really is just plain old sugar. This includes ALL forms of artificial sweeteners. Sugar from fruit is allowed (an actual piece of fresh fruit).
2. NO GRAINS. This includes bread, rice, pasta, cereal, oatmeal, corn, and every other pseudo grain like quinoa, even if they are gluten free. Beware sneaky ingredients like dextrin and maltodextrin that isn’t made in the USA.
3. NO DAIRY. NO Milk, cheese, yogurt…Butter IS ALLOWED.
4. NO LEGUMES. This includes peanuts, peanut butter, beans, peas, and lentils to name a few.
5. ONE GLASS OF WINE or gluten free alcoholic beverage per day is allowed.
6. Because we are a strength focused gym and I make the rules, you are permitted to use protein powder. But your protein powder must not have any of the above banned substances in it. So 100% pure unflavored whey protein is allowed. Mix in water, of course.
Remember; eat meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, good fats from animals, Olive oil or coconut oil, some fruit and no dairy or sugar. Drink plenty of water. If you have a question about whether a food is allowed or not chances are it’s not allowed, so don’t eat it.
The before and after workout will be:
1 round for time of:
50 air squats
400m run (flat side)
You can complete the WOD any time during the week, just tell the trainer. They will time your WOD and judge the movement standards.
What you need to do:
Take your before pictures and send to Beau’s email (by January 13th)
Start “being strong” by eating correctly and logging your daily food points
Complete the before Paleo challenge workout (again by January 18th)
Continue logging daily food points and weekly CFR attendance points
Complete post Paleo challenge workout (by February 15th)
Turn in before and after photo, food points, weekly gym points, and pre workout and post workout times in an email to Beau by the midnight on February 15th.
Collect the winning purse!
This brings us to what the winner gets:
The CFR 2014 Be Strong winner will receive a cash prize and one free month membership to CFR. Of course you will become a CFR legend and people will turn to you for help and guidance on their journey. You will also start the spring healthier and feeling great with awesome habits that will allow you to continue this journey for the rest of your life. This is true for all participants so really you have nothing to lose! To get you motivated here is a link to last years winner!
Please bookmark this post to return to for important dates. Everything you need to know is in this post. Any specific questions you can post them up in the comments section or ask them at the Q&A Wednesday Jan 8th.
Let me be Frankincense, er, frank:
Sugar is not good for you. Does not matter how much it costs at Whole Foods, or if it’s so darn local it came from your backyard bees. It just isn’t.
Now, a Gold(en) Rule:
95% of you are going to eat sugar, regardless.
Myrrh(y) Christmas to You:
The other 5% of you have been having ‘a little’ sugar…it IS the holidays, after all.
Where does this leave the good ol’ CFR nutrition blogger?
With a delicious recipe, of course!
Paleo(esque) Peppermint Bark Fudge.
It ‘s easy. It’s delicious. It requires no cooking; only your freezer. Even Great Aunt Sally (the one who makes biscuits and bread pudding every Holiday) will love ‘em!
- Almond Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Cocoa Powder
- Peppermint Extract
- Vanilla Extract
- ahem…this one is not paleo…enter the ‘esque’. And so I didn’t count it. Suckers, it is eight ingredients if you use CANDY CANES! You know you want to. And if you don’t, then by all means, DO NOT! They really just look pretty, nothing will be lost if you stick to your paleo-guns.
No need to involve any off-limit grains or difficult to use nut/coconut flours to arrive at this amazing treat. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results, which are creamy and amazing. There is indeed honey, which you can alter to taste if desired, however if you would like a few reasons why indulging in this bark isn’t all bad, read on.
Coconut Oil, one of the major players in this recipe, is amazing. It’s health properties have been identified for everything thing from improving your skin to increasing the body’s energy expenditure and decreasing adiposity (fancy word for fat). Coconut oil has been found to help normalize blood lipids and is associated with improved blood sugar and insulin control and, hence, the prevention and management of diabetes. Coconut oil is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which makes it different from the fat found in animals(like butter) and other nut/seed oils (like olive oil); which are made of Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs). MCTs are absorbed by the body more quickly via the GI tract, and are more readily available for energy use than LCTs. (Aka the body doesn’t hold on to each type of fat the same way.)
Instead of going on and on about how wonderful coconut oil can be when included in a paleo or primal lifestyle, I will save that for a more detailed post next year, and get on with the recipe.
Whip this PPB up between wrapping presents and addressing Christmas cards, and have a safe and awesome Holiday Season!
Paleo(esque) Peppermint Bark Fudge.
These will take around 30 mins start to finish. Don’t be scared by the steppage.
First comes the Chocolate layer:
1. In a food processor (or blender, and probably even a mixer would work if you’re patient), add:
- 1 cup Coconut Oil (in solid form, just break up and huge chunks)
- 1 cup Almond Butter
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 cup honey **you can also wait & mix honey in by the tablespoon after the above ingredients are blended, until it reaches preferred sweetness**
- dash of salt **if you’re almond butter is salted, blend & taste first before adding any extra salt**
2. Process/blend until all ingredients have combined. You may need to stop it and use a spatula to scrape sides a time or two. Mixture will be pudding-like, and completely smooth when finished. Taste and tweak ingredients if you would like it sweeter, more chocolately, vanilla-y, etc.
3. Use a spoon to scoop mixture into cupcake liners, either placed on a cookie sheet, or in a cupcake pan. Fill liners approx 1/3 of the way up. Should fill 18-24 standard sized cupcake liners. (You could also use the little guys, or get creative like I did with ice trays. That idea was better in theory…!)
4. Place in freezer while you make the Peppermint Layer
1a. In food processor, add:
- 1 cup Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract
- 1/4 cup Honey **You can wait until blended to incrementally add honey here, too**
- dash of salt
2a. Mix all ingredients until smooth, scraping sides of bowl with spatula as needed. Should resemble vanilla pudding and be completely smooth when finished. Alter flavor to taste, some of you may want more peppermint, for example.
3a. Take layer one out of the freezer (note how crazy fast the coconut oil gets hard!).
4a. Spoon peppermint layer onto the chocolate layer. You want the cupcake liners to be about 2/3 way filled.
5a. If you are so inclined, crush 4 candy canes in a ziploc baggie (I used the back of a wooden spoon, and recommend not trying that, it is less than efficient), and sprinkle on top.
6a. Place finished fudge back in freezer for about 10 minutes.
Store these bad boys in the fridge for best results. And try with coffee.
Until Next Year…
There is something to be said about a food that can be turned into a bird feeder, be set on your porch beautifully-maimed and lit-up from within, and even still; grace your plate as either faux-spaghetti, a delicious soup, or lasagna.
You can even roast the darn seeds for a snack.
Seriously. What is there not to love about squash? (Other than the name. I feel like perhaps that was an afterthought, because lets face it, unless you are a juvenile delinquent running wild on Oct 31, the LEAST easy thing to do with a squash is…squash it.)
Even my neighborhood squirrels won’t leave my squash alone. There is photographic evidence. The jerks even stole the tops to my carved pumpkins. I wish I were joking.
Here is something else you probably didn’t know about squash. The delicious winter squash we are talking about today, are a member of the species Cucurbito Pepo. (Why not call them pepo’s?!? My squash naming-theory is gaining ground, here.) This includes pumpkins, acrorn, spaghetti, butternut, and delicata squash, to name a few. My paleoista’s will be happy to learn that the lovely cucurbito pepo is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, domesticated species with the oldest known locations being in southern Mexico 8,000-10,000 years ago. Its ancient territory extended north into Texas and up the Greater Mississippi River Valley into Illinois and east to Florida, and possibly even to Maine.It is known to have appeared in Missouri at least 4,000 years ago (thanks, wikipedia). So, our pepo buddies have been around for awhile.
I bet you didn’t realize we could talk so long about squash. This is the home stretch, pinky promise.
Winter squash are chocked full of the micronutrients we love, like vitamin A, calcium (see-no dairy required!), magnesium, and potassium. They pack a ton of flavor, and are a great way to sweeten dishes without using added sugars. Next time you are craving a sweet potato, give butternut squash a try, I bet you will love it, and it is about half the carbs and (natural) sugars. Winter squash also have a RIDICULOUS shelf life. I’m talking up to six months, for some varieties!
How is that for 50 shades of squash?
Go forth and eat cucurbito pepo, people.
Start with this:
Fall in a Bowl
- 1Tbsp kerrygold butter (or coconut oil, etc)
- 1/2 sweet onion diced
- 1T minced garlic
- 2 honey crisp apples peeled and sliced
- 1.5 cups peeled and sliced/cubed butternut squash
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1/2cup broth (I used chicken stock)
- 1t cinnamon
- 1t salt
- Sprinkle of fresh nutmeg
- Sprinkle allspice
- Fresh ground pepper
p.s. First official post from a plane. I feel really.awesome.sauce. Even though I paid $8 and my beautiful pictures won’t load.