Nutrition Blog

Little White Lies

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Nutrition | 1 comment

I’m baaaaackkk.

With newly fueled, intense feelings about how much BAD FOOD may still be hiding in your life.

I want you to live a long, strong, bada$$ life. I want you to do this by lifting heavy (preferably at CFR, of course), and by avoiding little white lies.

They are bad for your health, you know this-your parents have been telling you this since you were 5:  ”Honesty is the best policy”.  This we know. So, don’t skip reps in your WOD, and


Vegetable oil? What is wrong with vegetables?!?  (And better yet, what does vegetable oil have to do with little white lies?)

Great questions. Nothing is wrong with vegetables. Eat them until the grass-fed cows come home.

Vegetable oil, on the other hand, is a lie. It is not made of vegetables. Think about it for a moment: when is the last time you were in the produce section thinking, “Man, that cauliflower looks extra greasy today….”. Yeah, that would be never. 

Now an even better question: when is the last time you picked up some delicious rapeseed or canola at the farmers market? Yeah, that would also be never. Read on to find out why…

You better check yo’self, before you wreck yo’self


Vegetable oils (and margarine, made from these oils) are oils extracted from seeds like the rapeseed , soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, etc. They were practically non-existent in our diets until the early 1900s when new chemical processes allowed them to be extracted. Unlike butter or coconut oil, these vegetable oils can’t be extracted just by pressing or separating naturally. They must be chemically removed, deodorized, and altered.

“During WWII, inedible rapeseed oil was used as a high-temperature lubricant on steam ships, but with the switch to diesel engines in the following decade, industrial demand declined. Initially, consumer demand for rapeseed oil was negligible because it naturally contains high amounts of erucic acid.(–a substance associated with heart lesions in laboratory animals–) Erucic acid was enough of a concern that in 1956, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned rapeseed oil for human consumption. In addition, demand for rapeseed meal was low because of high levels of glucosinolates, a compound that at high doses depresses animal growth rates.

By the early 1970s, plant breeders developed low-erucic acid rapeseed (LEAR) varieties that also had low glucosinolate content. In 1978, the Western Canadian Oilseed Crushers Association registered these varieties with the name “canola” for marketing reasons. (…CANada OiL…) Over the next 10 years, European seed producers also developed LEAR varieties, which they dubbed “double-zero” or “canola-equivalent.”

Because of the higher palatability of LEAR varieties, FDA granted the oil produced from LEAR varieties Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status on January 1, 1985. With its low level of saturated fat, LEAR oil appealed to health-conscious consumers, and production increased steadily.” (CLICK for source: USDA Economic Research Service)

So, canola oil has been GENERALLY REGARDED AS SAFE (?!? Seriously. I have more than a ‘general regard’ for the safety of people I don’t even like. Researching this is giving me nightmares) since 1985, it is genetically modified, and it is found in a majority of items on the inside aisles of your local grocery store. From organic salad dressing, to sports drinks and ice cream, to fluffy loaves of bread.
Just to reiterate… your great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and you, never touched this stuff until 1985, because it was either stuck in a pretty yellow flower and inaccessible, or because it was BANNED.

Just take one gander at the increase of use in the last few decades…








Wait, are you still wondering why canola is referred to as a vegetable oil?

Me too…

You WILL have a reaction to this video.

And you REALLY need to watch it: use your sharp, conventional-wisdom-questioning eye…

Seems pretty natural, right?!? You’re just dying to run back to the low-fat craze, aren’t’ ya? (Death pun intended) That ‘first solution’ they refer to? It’s hexane. And after you take the ‘vegetable’ oil home and use it to cook with…it further oxidizes and becomes even more dangerous. ‘Chemical analysis shows that even bottles of organic, expeller-pressed canola oil contain as much as 5% trans fats, plus cyclic hydrocarbons (carcinogens) and oxyphytosterols (highly damaging to arteries). (Shanahan,2009, Deep Nutrition, 181)
Ew, ew, EW!



I actually want to go home and eat kerrygold butter from the tub after watching that.

Right after I go to all of my relatives’ homes and throw out their vegetable shortening.  And then buy a cow to feed grass so I know my meat isn’t chocked full of CANOLA CAKE.


Unless it’s fueling your diesel VW…I don’t think I need to answer that one for you.

So, no more little white lies….do not cheat yourself on your wod, and do not ingest steam ship lubricant.

Until Next Time…




2014 Be Strong Challenge Winners

Posted by on Feb 23, 2014 in Nutrition | 0 comments

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  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!



Resolution Revolution

Posted by on Jan 29, 2014 in Nutrition | 1 comment

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.
photo credit

You have 80 points left to think about what this 2014 Be Strong Challenge will be for you:

Resolution or Revolution?

Until Next Time…

The Case for Candy Canes

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Nutrition | 0 comments

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!

This is happening. Don't hate.

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!

Seven ingredients:

  1. Almond Butter
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Honey
  4. Cocoa Powder
  5. Peppermint Extract
  6. Vanilla Extract
  7. Salt
  8. 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.

Layer One. Check!

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.

7a. Try not to eat them all. 

Store these bad boys in the fridge for best results. And try with coffee.

Until Next Year…



Fifty Shades of Squash

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in Nutrition | 0 comments

It’s a delicious food…it’s an adorable decoration….IT’S SQUASH!!!

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
In a medium to large sized pot, melt 1Tbsp kerrygold butter (or other oil) on medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, squash, and apples, and cook until soft.
Add coconut milk, chicken broth, seasonings and bring to boil.
Cover pot and let soup simmer for about 10-15 minutes. (The more time you have, the better it will become!)
Serve as is, or blend until smooth. I used an immersion blender, but you could also transfer to a food processor or blender.
Full disclosure…I added 2 Tbsp goat cheese at the end…it was a delicious decision.
Until Next Time…

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.