When Should You Choose Organic?

when to go organic

If You Choose Organic, Does That Mean It’s Healthy?

“Organic” always means “healthy,” right? Well, sometimes. Choose organic foods and you’ll avoid a lot of toxic chemicals, which is ideal… but think twice before you rely on the “organic” label just to justify that organic pastry or lollipop for your kids.when to go organic

What separates conventional farming from the organic way?

The National Organic Program, a regulatory program within the USDA has established national standards for organically grown foods. To earn the label of “organic” in the U.S., farmers must adhere to certain standards such as: submit to audits conducted by accredited certifying agents, give animals access to the outdoors, make use of crop rotation, mechanical tillage, hand-weeding and other management methods to control weed growth. They must NOT: treat animals with antibiotics, growth hormones, or feed made from animal byproducts, fertilize with sewage sludge, apply prohibited substances to their land for at least three years prior to harvest.

Simply stated, organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. “Organic” does not necessarily mean animals are humanely treated, free to roam pastures or grass-fed. And it is not synonymous with healthy, low-sugar or unprocessed food…but, that’s what marketers want you to believe. You know, so they can charge you more. Confused yet?

Be a smart consumer. Here is the organic label lingo to become aware of:

Organic Labels

Many people get caught up on trick labels like “healthy,” “fresh,” “natural.” It’s easy to get confused. Always check the ingredient list and the nutrition-facts panel to see what’s really in your product. If you can pronounce the ingredients, you won’t need a chemistry degree to decipher the label.

  • “100% organic”: This product must contain 100% organic ingredients.
  • “Organic”: This product must have at least 95% ingredients organically produced.
  • “Made with Organic ingredients”: This product must have at least 70% organic ingredients.

 

Choose Organic with the Dirty Dozen

Each year, the Environmental Working Group identifies the fruits and vegetables that contain the most—and least—chemical pesticides. They call them the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.” The ”dirty dozen” list is a good place to start going organic.

  1. Strawberries (these are the worst offenders hording the most pesticide residues)
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
  13. *Hot Peppers

NOTE: A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

Even though it didn’t officially make the list (because it’s processed), the EWG also included a special report about raisins. EWG says that 99% of nearly 700 raisin samples tested positive for traces of at least two pesticides, and one sample had 26 different pesticides. “If we included raisins in our calculations, they would be number one on the Dirty Dozen,” said Thomas Galligan, Ph.D, a toxicologist for the EWG, in a press release. So, go organic with your raisins!

Clean 15

The Clean 15 list, on the other hand, includes produce that is least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Almost 70% of these food samples had no pesticide residues whatsoever. You can typically go conventional with these fruits and vegetables.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papayas
  6. Frozen Sweet Peas
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupe
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew
  15. Kiwi

Keep in mind, organic foods can cost up to 50% more than conventional products, so do your research first and choose wisely.

Do Your Research

Is there a trick label that often confuses you? Take a moment to look it up, define it and share it.

But, I know, Google can be equally confusing. Here are a couple more reputable sources to consider for your own research:

 

More on our Salus Nutrition Coaching Blog:

Set Real Expectations

So, you’re motivated to make some changes and you’re willing to do anything you possibly can to achieve these goals. I would love nothing more! But, anytime you start a journey to make a lifestyle change, it can be tough. You can expect some bumps along the way which is why it’s important to set real expectations. For the long run.

Hey, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect… and no one expects us to be. Because they’re not perfect either.

Set Real Expectations in the Face of Challenges

Sustainable change is all about learning how to set real expectations in the face of life’s challenges. If there’s one thing you can expect in life, it’s that things will always come up: parties, birthdays, anniversaries, life-altering events, stress, work, travel, sickness…COVID-19. Challenges will always be there whether we like it or not.

Don’t run from challenges. Anticipate them.

Challenges are part of life and unique opportunities for learning more about ourselves.

Research shows that while our behaviors may seem “spur-of-the-moment,” when it comes to over-eating, for example, the groundwork is laid several hours, days, months…years, in advance by our daily rituals, habits, mindset and automatic thinking. Your actions in the face of a challenge are simply the last link in a long chain of decisions.

The goal of today is all about recognizing your actions in the face of a challenge:

  • What is the root cause of those actions?
  • How can you learn from those events?
  • … and most importantly, How can you move forward?

According to James P. Leahy, author of Bridging the Expectation Gap: The Key to Happiness, unrealistic expectations create an expectation gap which leads to unhappiness and feelings of failure.

If you’re in this for instant gratification, don’t expect your changes to last. On the other hand, if you’re in this to embrace life-long, healthy habits that you can learn from, you can expect some amazing things to happen now, next month and even more the following year at your annual physical. That’s why if you make a mistake, it’s important to be nice to yourself.

Don’t let one mistake derail an entire day or a whole week.

Set Yourself Up For Success with Real Expectations

Expectations have an enormous effect on our outcome, energy, drive.

In fact, multiple studies show that the way we manage our expectations can heavily influence our ability to experience happiness in life, work and even health outcomes.

When life gets crazy and you end up making a mistake, the one thing that you can control is how you RESPOND in that moment. Remember, you are in charge of your own actions, choices and reactions, regardless of any circumstance.

Letting emotions control you is the easy way out. It’s easier to do (or say) things in the heat of the moment… that you may regret down the line.

But, it takes internal strength to pause, breathe, and make a sound decision by staying calm under pressure. And that starts with setting realistic expectations for yourself in the face of a challenge. 

“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl

Rather than focusing on perfection, anticipate challenges to occur and then pour all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best every day with the hand you are dealt.

Common Mistakes and Their Fixes

Here are a few common mistakes many people struggle with and their common “fix.”

The Mistake:

You deter from your normal way of eating and indulge in something outside of the norm, feel guilty and then proceed to eat everything in sight.

The Fix:

Remind yourself that slipping up a little is not the same as slipping up a lot. Own up to your choices and move forward.

The Mistake:

Eating portion sizes like a 5 year old during the day and then binging at night.

The Fix:

Of course you feel ravenous. ⁣
Of course you feel hangry.⁣
Of course you feel out of control.⁣

Your body is trying to do everything it can to signal to you that it needs to fuel itself.⁣ Instead, by eating balanced meals full of animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds throughout the day– you will reap the benefits of feeling satiated, full of energy, sleeping sound & through the night, and saying ‘goodbye’ to feeling ravenous late at night.⁣

The Mistake:

Waiting until 9pm to realize you still have 1,000 mL of water to drink.

The Fix:

Plan. Ahead. Do the math based on how much water you need and spread it out throughout your day. Rubber bands on water bottles, water app, giant jug…whatever set up works best for you, embrace it and just be ok with the fact that you’re going to probably be going to the bathroom a lot more than you were before. Just don’t let it interrupt your sleep by waiting until night to chug a liter.

Set Real World Expectations

For the next few weeks, focus on making deliberate choices that reflect reality.

There is so much outside of our control.

Focus on what you can actually control and let go of the things you can’t. Set real expectations for yourself, expect challenges to be there and use them to grow stronger.

Ask yourself these two questions:

What’s one thing that I can expect to get in the way of achieving my goals?

And what can I do today to help me keep going when I face that specific obstacle?

To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, give us a shout at info@crossfitsalus.com.

 

Sleeping Tips for Athletes

Most of us know how important sleep is for our health. But do you know how important it really is for our digestion, thinking, performance…even body composition…oh yea, and our sanity? But we get it, even if you read all the sleeping tips in the world, the moment your head hits the pillow, you just can’t seem to fall asleep. You’re not alone.

 

Sleeping Tips for Athletes
Getting Zzz’s is important, especially as an athlete.

Find out why getting your Zzz’s is so important, especially as an athlete, and some quick and easy sleeping tips to help you fall asleep…and stay asleep.

Sleep, Your Most Powerful (and Legal) Performance Enhancer

If your nutrition and training are on point, but you still don’t perform or look the way you want, poor sleep habits may be to blame. You better believe it, sleep is the most powerful recovery aid out there. And it’s legal.

In fact, research even shows that physical and mental impairments caused by one night of bad sleep can dwarf those caused by an equivalent absence of food or exercise. And those who sleep less than 6 hours per night (or, surprisingly, more than 9 hours) gain almost twice as much weight over a 6-year period as those who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.

Not surprisingly, more than ⅓ of adults get fewer than the amount of sleep they need to keep their risk of health problems in check. So, what’s that magical baseline number?

Adults need 7 hours of sleep a night- minimum. You need more if you’re training hard in the gym or sick.

Sleep and Body Composition

There’s no question that a lack of sleep causes havoc in your body. When you’re more rested, you’ll be more successful if your goal is to stay lean and recover better so you can perform stronger.

Here’s how.

Research shows that sleep deprivation can create insulin resistance and reduce insulin sensitivity in subcutaneous fat cells, which play a key role in energy metabolism and balance.

Poor sleep habits drain our energy (and our mojo) and screw up the regulation of our hormones. It’s no coincidence that we’re hungrier when we’re tired. That’s because those hunger-regulating hormones that tell us to eat more, go up (ghrelin) and the precious ones that tell us when we’ve had enough, go down (leptin).

A lack of sleep also alters the activity of our hypothalamus, resulting in increased cortisol. Higher cortisol levels have been shown to increase appetite in some people, and can even increase fat storage.

In other words, develop good sleep habits to help your body and mind recover. In turn, it will help us in our efforts to stay lean, perform stronger, stay happy, focus longer and stay healthy.

Sleeping Tips that Work

The good news is that research shows that returning to adequate sleep (7+ hours) can quickly reduce any of the above risks.
So how do we go about getting that performance-enhancing, mojo-regenerating, energy-filling shut-eye?

Try one of these quick sleeping tips tonight!

1. Create Your Own Sleep Routine
Sleeping Tips: Unwind
Create environmental cues to help you wind down and de-stress at night. Sip herbal tea, stretch or roll, take a bath, read, meditate… you get the idea.

We need time to transition from the day to the night. Create environmental cues to help you wind down and de-stress at night. Sip herbal tea, stretch or roll, take a bath, read, meditate, sit outside… you get the idea.

2. Be Consistent with Your Sleep Schedule

Whenever possible, aim to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day/night. I know that’s tough for those with a strong social-game, but the more consistent you are, the more your body will naturally release those calming hormones before your head hits the pillow making that whole falling-asleep process much easier. Plus, a schedule helps to stimulate those necessary hormones that help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to attack the day.

3. Moderate Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

Even though a nightcap may sound relaxing, consuming more than 1-2 drinks at night will interfere with deep, restorative sleep. Same goes for caffeine after 2 p.m.

4. Eat Properly

Eating too large of a meal right before you hit the sack can interfere your ability to fall and stay asleep. Your best bet? Eat a balance of protein, carbs and fats and walk away from your plate feeling satisfied, not stuffed, at dinner. Oh, and steer clear of those heavy late night mindless snacks.

5. Stop Bugging Out

We’ve all been there, your brain is wired and running through all the unchecked to-do’s on your list. The more you think about the fact that you cannot fall asleep, the more you lay there staring at the clock. Instead, grab a paper or create a voice-to-text note to write out whatever’s bugging you out. Dump whatever’s on your mind so you can finally relax.

6. Turn Off Electronics
Sleeping Tips: Turn off your Phone
The light from a digital device stimulates our brain and interferes with melatonin production making it harder for us to fall asleep

Your phone, your computer, your TV: turn them off at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The light from a digital device stimulates our brain and interferes with melatonin production making it harder for us to fall asleep and, you guessed it, stay asleep.

7. Set a Bedtime Alarm

Seriously, set yourself an alarm to turn off your devices and start unwinding. Then, set another reminder alarm to head to bed. This will help to snap you out of whatever social channel you’re scrolling through and put the focus back on you, your pillow, and your health.

8. Make the Room Dark and Cool

A dark room will help you to maximize melatonin production. So close the blinds, unplug the hallway night light and flip your smartphone screen face down. Additionally, research shows that most of us sleep better when it’s cool (about 67 F). Set the thermostat to automatically drop a few degrees after bedtime.

Bottom Line

It’s time to get real about the health risks of poor sleep.

Give one of the above sleeping tips a try tonight and start working your way to those 7+ hours of sleep.  When you do, you’ll find that you can ward off stress easier, keep illnesses away, maximize performance & recovery and keep your mojo alive, too!

How do you wind down after a busy day? What’s your favorite pre-sleep hack?

Check out our series on sleep:

Want more health and fitness tips? Check out our recent posts:

Do I Need to Count Macros?
Choosing a Jump Rope
Looking for Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu Season?
Importance of Staying Hydrated
Bar Muscle-Up Progressions
Olympic Weightlifting in NJ: Some Basics
Is Sugar Bad?
Mobility for CrossFit: Why You Need to Do It
What to Expect During Your First CrossFit Class

Top 3 Healthy Party Tips

Social Survival: 3 Easy Healthy Party Tips

Whether you’re at a holiday party, summer BBQ or on the road, take these 3 healthy party tips along with you to stay healthy, hydrated and still have some fun.

3 Easy Healthy Party Tips

1) Load up on the greens!

Start each meal with veggies, snack on raw veggie sticks, or any of the vegetable-heavy dish. This will help keep you full, hydrated and energized.

Plus, if you’re trying to control your macros, the simple action of chewing raw vegetables takes longer than it does eating most calorie-dense foods.

Just remember to keep your eye out for organic produce and quality meats, especially the dirty dozen. Read: When Should You Choose Organic? to learn more about the dirty dozen, clean fifteen and figuring out all those confusing labels.

2) Drink plenty of H2O!

Especially if you’re outside, drinking alcohol or getting active, you’ll need even more water than usual.

Having a hard time fitting in all water?

  • Start your day off with a large glass water. Before coffee. Before breakfast. Before you even brush your teeth.
  • Make some herbal or green tea the night before and then chill it for a refreshing midday drink.
  • Whip up a mocktail. Make some fruit-infused water with berries, oranges, lemons, limes, or even cucumbers. Add sparkling water and mint to make it really fancy.

Not sure how much water you need in the first place? Read: How Much Water Should I Drink? for more tips on hydration.

3) Be mindful and relax!

If there’s a sweet treat or certain drink that you really love, enjoy it, but do so in a relaxed (not guilty) state.

Take a moment to taste every flavor and chew slowly.

The simple act of slowing down will help you get more in tune with your hunger levels as well.

Be mindful about your choices, rather than mindlessly picking while you’re chatting. Read: Mindful Eating for more tips on slowing down while you’re eating.

 

Life After the Nutrition Challenge

life after the nutrition challengeLife After the Nutrition Challenge

You made it! After weeks of clean eating, being mindful of your portions, staying hydrated, exercising, mobilizing, sleeping like a baby, working toward your goals and motivating everyone around you! But, now what? What happens after the nutrition challenge?

Preparing for life after a nutrition challenge is not a huge topic many nutrition challenges address (resulting in a lot of those notorious ups and downs). But, since we’re all about making changes for LIFE (not just during the challenge), here are a few things to keep in mind.

Dealing with All the Occasions

Vacations, holidays, celebrations, unexpected dinners out, etc. These are important moments – they’re happening now, they’ll be facing you next month, next holiday…each and every year. And you should be able to enjoy them without stressing out. “How will I deal with those occasions,” you ask?

By practicing your new set of skills.

Hopefully you feel armed and ready to attack the real world with all the knowledge, new habits and shift in your mindset. As you’ve learned, being mindful with what, when and how you eat is a skill that must be practiced regularly.

Whether it’s a celebratory beer at the beach on the fourth of July, a taste of your nephew’s birthday cake or those famous nachos you’ve been dreaming about, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

“Learning is discovering that something is possible.” ~Fritz Perls

Once you are comfortable with your normal, day-to-day quality and quantity choices, it is okay to enjoy a splurge “treat” once and a while. But remember, this is not an excuse to go off the rails and eat everything in sight. Take this time to practice the skills you have learned throughout our journey – rely on your hand for portion sizes, stay in tune with your body’s fullness signals (think 80%), stay away from those things you know are going to make you feel like crap the next day (refined sugars, etc), plan ahead (be mindful) and hey, don’t stress about it. Turn your focus more on who you are with, your surroundings and how the food tastes.

But, I get it. It may not only be dinners out or fancy celebrations that pop up. Sometimes, we just feel physically or mentally exhausted… and all we want to do is veg with our meal in front of the TV. And that’s OK. It’s impossible to be perfect 100% of the time…I’m sure as heck am not. And no one expects us to be.

The biggest challenge we’ll ever face is that of our mind. When we don’t do what we believe or feel deep down in our gut to be “right,” we won’t feel good. And our bodies will show it. But, if we live according to our values (and often, healthy choices), life “flows” much more effortlessly. You must be willing to face your own doubts and fears. You know you’re going to face difficult situations in the future. You can’t control the future. But you can control the choices you make, your reactions and your mindset.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

No matter where you are, practice what you learned over the challenge and keep your mindset…and portions, in check.

Identify Your Goals for After the Nutrition Challenge

After the nutrition challenge is over, it’s important to clearly identify your goals going forward.  Figure out your long term and short term goals. This will help you stay motivated and find a clear (and safe) path to take.

If you love how you felt over the past few weeks and have decided this is now how you’d like to continue living life. Keep doing what you’re doing! Find an alternate way to stay on top of clean eating meal prep and check-in with your goals regularly – whether that’s with a buddy, a coach, an app. There’s not necessarily one right answer for that, different things motivate different people.

If you love how you felt over the past few weeks, but you’ve decided to add back in some of the foods you were avoiding (gluten, dairy, soy, processed foods, sugars, etc), it’s important to carefully re-introduce them slowly to avoid feeling ill. If you had an “off-day” any time over the challenge, you know exactly what I mean.

life after nutrition challengeHere’s what you need to know about reintroducing foods back into your life after the nutrition challenge.

Implementing an Elimination Reintroduction Plan After Your Nutrition Challenge

Think of this lifestyle nutrition challenge as a bit of a science experiment in the sense that I want you to realize that food isn’t just fuel…it’s information. Every bite we eat sends messages to our body and our body responds. Sometimes louder than others.

Think about this: the GI tract doesn’t just have the job of digesting and absorbing food…. It also has its own working nervous system (the enteric nervous system). That means our gastrointestinal tract is abundant in neurotransmitters, chemical messengers, bacteria, enzymes and hormones. That’s pretty awesome, right?

But now consider this: given the amount of devoted resources our body needs for a properly functioning GI tract, when things go wrong in our gut, all hell breaks loose. From microbial imbalances and detoxification abnormalities to motility issues and inflammation, food intolerances or sensitivities can directly contribute to gut problems like gas pains and bloating, AND it can also harm other body systems at the same time.

GI disturbances have been linked to unwanted symptoms such as arthritis, skin conditions, autoimmune disorders, asthma, addiction, migraines, mood disorders, kidney problems and a whole slew of other conditions.

after nutrition challenge
After you’ve eliminated potential food sensitivities and you’re ready to reintroduce them back into your diet, you must proceed with caution.

Proceed with Caution

So, all that being said, after you’ve eliminated potential food sensitivities throughout this challenge and you’re ready to reintroduce some of these foods back into your diet, you must proceed with caution.

1. Grab a pen and paper or use a handy app like myfitnesspal where you can record what you eat and jot down notes about how you felt after and monitor yourself for symptoms.
2. Slowly reintroduce only a SINGLE food group that you previously eliminated for one day only. Then monitor yourself for two days. (example: if you decide to reintroduce dairy on Monday, that day you might try milk in the morning, some cheese at lunch and maybe even a little cottage cheese at night). The key word being: slowly.
3. Monitor yourself for any abnormal reactions through Wednesday. Negative reactions to watch out for include: insomnia, fatigue, joint pain, skin breakouts, headaches, bowel changes, brain fog, bloating and even respiratory issues.
4. If you don’t notice any negative symptoms, it’s time to reintroduce a different food (example: sugar) on Thursday. Proceed with the same timeline as above.
5. Continue this process for a few weeks, reintroducing one new food only every few days, no sooner.

Depending on how much you eliminated, this process could take up to 6 weeks, but at the end of the experiment, you’ll know a whole heck of a lot about your body and how it responds to different foods…which as you saw above, can give you more than just gas and bloating.

The bottom line: Don’t waste all your effort over the last few weeks. Take the time to learn even more about your body and how it responds to your every day choices.

Reflections on Your Lifestyle and Nutrition Challenge

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this lifestyle and nutrition challenge. As your Foundation Nutrition Coach, it is my goal to educate and inspire you to develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. I has been a pleasure guiding you through and I hope I’ve helped you:

  • Have the desire to eat more fresh, minimally-processed foods.
  • Discover how to balance lean protein, veggies, nutrient-dense carbohydrates and healthy fats.
  • Learn to adjust portions that directly meet health, performance and body composition goals.
  • Become aware that many other areas, in addition to nutrition, affect our physical and mental state. Sleep, environment, hydration, exercise…they all play a role, too.

Please Share

I genuinely appreciate any and all feedback on your experience, so please take a moment to drop a review on Google or Facebook.
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Create Healthy Nutrition Habits for Life

And, after the challenge, if you’re interested in learning more about a customized plan that really dials in to your individual health and nutrition needs, or you have any other nutrition-related questions, reach out to foundationnutrition@crossfitsalus.com to set up a free 15-minute consultation.

Check out our series of posts from previous nutrition challenges:

LEVEL UP? Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge Rules

WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?

The Level Up Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge is a habit based program to help you achieve your body composition and performance goals. The challenge begins Monday, Sept 9 and runs through Sunday, Oct 20. All nutrition challenge rules are below.

Do you want to lose body fat, gain muscle, perform your best at the gym or gain more energy for life?

Then this challenge is for you!

Nutrition is the cornerstone for optimal mental and physical performance.

No matter your goal, the 6-week Level Up Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge will introduce nutrition and lifestyle changes in an incremental way resulting in the ability to lose body fat, build muscle, and, most importantly, learn how to maintain these results moving forward.

You will gain the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve your goals in an approachable, sustainable way.

Heading up the program is Coach Angela Salveo: CF-L2 Coach, Precision Nutrition Coach, 7-year CrossFit Athlete and International Masters Weightlifter.

HOW TO TAKE THE CHALLENGE?

Decide- Make a decision that your health is worth it. Kick off fall and attack your goals stronger than ever!

Commit- Tell a friend and sign up for the challenge together for the ultimate level of accountability.

Dominate- Everyone is on their own journey, so you have options! Choose a level for each goal and challenge yourself to make at least one positive change every day. They all add up!

IT’S THAT SIMPLE.

Sign up today: levelupfall2019.wodifyrise.com 

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WHAT THIS CHALLENGE IS NOT

…A quick fix. You are starting a nutrition and lifestyle make-over. It requires a long-term investment. 6 weeks is just the beginning to guide you in the right direction so you can produce long-term results!

…A meal plan. Specific meal plans are simply not sustainable. You will, however, receive guidance about what kinds of foods to eat and how much to eat to ensure you’re getting enough macro- & micro-nutrients. 

…A deep dive into unique needs. This challenge is designed to introduce better eating & lifestyle habits. For more specific individual coaching needs (emotional eating, counting macros, nutrient timing, eating to perform, weight-cuts, etc.), we are offering the option of individual nutrition coaching at a discounted rate (50% off) throughout the challenge. Take advantage of this incredible value by contacting  foundationnutrition@crossfitsalus.com 

 


LEVEL UP CHALLENGE RULES

NUTRITION QUALITY 

Rules: Eat only whole (unprocessed), nutrient-dense foods from the food list. This will be entered in the “food journal” section.

  • LEVEL 1: Made one positive change today. (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Stuck to the food list for at least two meals and two snacks. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Stuck to the food list for all meals and snacks. (5 points)

 

NUTRITION QUANTITY (PORTIONS & HYDRATION)

Rules: Follow portion guidelines and hydration guidelines.

Eat 3 scheduled meals and 2-3 planned mini meals/snacks (**no mindless picking when you’re bored)

Eat only to satisfied, never stuffed.

  • LEVEL 1: Made one positive change today (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Stuck to the portion guidelines for at least two meals and one mini meal. Made hydration goal by at least 80%. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Stuck to the portion/hydration guidelines all day. (5 points)

 

What if I’m following macros?

For those of you who are already weighing/measuring your food and following prescribed macros under the guidance of a nutrition coach, you are encouraged to continue doing that during the nutrition challenge. If this is the case, your scoring will look like this:

  • LEVEL 1: You are more than + or – 15 grams away from your planned target ranges (0 points)
  • LEVEL 2: You stay within + or – 15 grams of protein & carb macronutrient target. And within + or – 10 grams of fat macros (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: You stay within + or – 10 grams of protein & carb macronutrient target. And within + or – 5 grams of fat macros (5 points)

 

SLEEP

Rules: Follow sleep guidelines for your age range.

Note: this will be scored for the NIGHT BEFORE.

See sleeping tips and bedtime routine tips on our blog.

  • LEVEL 1: Slept within 1 hour of recommendations. AND made one positive change to establish a bedtime routine. (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Slept within 30 minutes of recommendations. AND turned off electronics 15 minutes before bedtime. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Slept according to the recommendations AND turned off electronics 30 minutes before bedtime. AND followed a 10 minute bedtime routine (such as stretching, meditation, reading, etc). (5 points)

 

MOVEMENT

Remember, a little bit of activity goes a long way. Whether it’s a walk outside or a superset of pushups and sit ups, any exercise is better than no exercise. That’s why getting up and moving around is a big component of our lifestyle challenge. Working out at home? Check out free workout apps like NikeTrainingClub for some fun, free workouts.

Dedicate time in your schedule each week to make exercise a priority. And remember to tell a friend when you’re going to help you stay accountable.

  • LEVEL 1:  Made one positive change today (like taking the stairs, standing on a conference call or parking further from the door). (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Completed at least 20 minutes of physical activity. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Completed at least 45 minutes of physical activity (if it is your recovery day, this means adding in a low intensity workout, like a walk). (5 points)

 

MOBILITY

Mobility (stretching, myofascial release, etc.) can alleviate ‘everyday’ aches and pains as well as improve our body awareness & performance.

  • LEVEL 1: Stretch and/or roll for at least 5 minutes. (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Stretch and/or roll for at least 10 minutes. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Stretch and/or roll for a minimum of 15 minutes. (5 points)

 

STRESS MANAGEMENT

Implement stress-relieving techniques to take better care of your mind, body and spirit. This can be meditation, yoga, taking a bath, walk, organizing a messy area, talking to a friend, drawing, getting a massage, taking a nap, etc. Everyone is affected by stress differently, so try a variety of strategies to discover which ones are the most effective for you. 

Note: Screen-time for the purpose of this challenge is referring time spent on devices such as a smartphone/tablet doing recreational activities such as gaming, getting sucked down the social media rabbit hole, etc.

  • LEVEL 1: Destress for at least 5 minutes. (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Destress for at least 10 minutes. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Destress for a minimum of 10 minutes AND limit recreational screen-time to less than 1 hour each day. (5 points)

 

 

How to Use MyFitnessPal Effectively | Foundation Nutrition Coaching

Ready to take your food tracking, water intake and measurements a step further? Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, lean out or feel more energetic throughout your day, MyFitnessPal is a user-friendly tool to help you reach your goals and set you up for success. On this post, I’m going to dive into some insider tips on how to use MyFitnessPal effectively.

How to Use MyFitnessPal Effectively

As a Nutrition Coach, I love having the ability to see what my clients are eating and hold them accountable. As an athlete, I love having the ability to plan ahead and maximize my macros for performance goals. It works for all levels, all ages all goals. But the key, like most things, is being consistent with your tracking.

10 Insider Tips on How to Use MyFitnessPal Effectively

With a handy barcode scanner, recipe importer, custom reminders and progress charts, MyFitnessPal makes food tracking a breeze! Here are 10 tips to get you going!

Be Honest.

Track everything, from the olive oil spray you put on the pan to the breath mint you grabbed from your coworkers desk. The more honest you are in tracking, the better you’ll be able to stay accountable to your actions…the faster you’ll achieve your goals. Not tracking that bite off your kids plate doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Track Ahead of Time. Then Adjust.

One of the best things I love about MFP is the ability to plan my day ahead. Whether it’s the night before or the morning of, map our your day of meals and snacks to balance out carbohydrates, proteins and fats and hone in nutrient timing. As your day throws you unexpected curves (like most day), simply adjust accordingly.

Test Yourself.

Learn to eyeball portion sizes. The more you weigh and measure your food, become aware of how those portions look using your hand as a guide. This is extremely helpful when you’re eating out, at a friends house, holiday party, etc.

Set Reminders.

As you start this new tracking method, you can set up custom reminders through the app to be reminded throughout the day if you forget to track a meal or snack.

Save Your Meals.

Do you eat the same thing for breakfast nearly every day? Save the foods as a favorite meal so you can add all items to your diary with one simple click.

Copy Your Meals.

Leftovers tonight? Flip back to yesterday’s entry and click “copy meal” to copy those foods to today (or tomorrow…or any other date). Quick and simple.

Scan the Barcode.

Can’t find the right item in the search bar? Simply hit the barcode button and scan your package then adjust portions accordingly.

View Nutrition Progress.

Either flip your phone horizontal and scroll to the bottom or click the menu bar and then the Nutrition tab to view that day’s nutrients.

Experiment.

Start with the free app as you’re getting started. If you feel this is a helpful tool to keep you on track, you can go with Pro, but the free app works well, too!

Add Your Coach.

Gain an extra layer of accountability by adding your Nutrition Coach or a friend to have access to view your food diary. You get to decide the level of privacy they can see.

There you have it: my top 10 tips on how to use MyFitnessPal effectively. Take your goals to the next level with one-on-one nutrition coaching. With ultimate accountability and guidance, Coach Angela will help you achieve your goals.

Isn’t it to time to take care of you? Let’s chat! foundationnutrition@crossfitsalus.com.

Control Stress Before It Controls You

Most of us spend our days putting out fires and trying to control stress. Whether it’s handling household tasks, responding to work demands or wiping little noses, our lives are full of stress.
Here’s the thing…
Many of us thrive on those demands. We’re wired to put other people first and tackle epic to-do lists.
That is, until our energy runs out and we realize we don’t have anything left to help ourselves. One day we find ourselves mentally and emotionally drained, craving sugar and junk, canceling our workouts and feeling run down.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s time to break the chain.

Control Stress Before It Controls YouControl Stress for a Happy Gut

Before we dive into a few realistic tips to help you reduce stress. I just want to touch on how stress affects our gut. Most of us know that stress affects our nervous system, but many of us may not realize how much stress can affect our digestive system.

Did you know that you have more nerve cells in your bowel than in your spine. 80-90% of serotonin is made in our gut.

Healthy gut = happy you.

Under normal circumstances, our digestive system goes about its daily task of breaking down food and sending nutrients to our body while preventing the entry of toxins. But, when distressed, we experience permeability in our gut wall, and it can also lead to irritation and inflammation. Now our gut can’t act in our defense.

Our gut communicates with every cell in our body, which means that disruptions in the gut can show up as disruptions in the brain (and vice versa). Stress (both acute and chronic) directly influences gut health and can manifest itself as seemingly unrelated symptoms such as night sweats, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, fever, etc.

In addition to learning how to control stress with the strategies listed below, we can take control of gut distress by removing common food offenders such as:

  • Lectins- This is a type of protein most commonly found in grains, legumes and peanuts that are categorized as anti-nutrients since they block the absorption of some nutrients.
  • Gluten- Commonly found in found in wheat, rye, and other grains, gluten is pretty much a buzz-word now (and requires its own post), but can lead to leaky gut, inflammation and limit nutrient absorption. Many of us are gluten intolerant and may not even realize it.
  • Casein, lactose, and other immunoglobulins in dairy. It’s estimated that between 65-75% of us are genetically unable to properly digest dairy. Being lactose intolerant can lead to digestive problems, headaches, irritated skin and in increase in mucus.

Get the root cause of your gut troubles. Take the time to learn about your body and what it’s trying to tell you through symptoms.

Control Stress

True, for some people, especially athletes, small doses of stress can stoke the fire for performance-driven motivation, alertness and focus. But, too much stress can end up having the opposite effect and lead to digestion troubles, increased anxiety, poor sleep quality and a depressed immune function which can potentially lead to some pretty serious health consequences.

From clearing out the clutter and getting outside to laughing more and spending time with a loved one, here’s how you can find a greater sense of calm and clarity in your day.

Clear the Clutter

Being in any space where we have more things in front of us than we can manage, sends a visual message that our life is out of control. That can be your closet, your office, your computer desktop, etc. For most, clutter leads to procrastination which in turn becomes chaos and added stress. This cycle repeats endlessly.
Declutter in 3,2,1…go:

  1. Tackle one (only one) small project and start with just 2 minutes at a time.
  2. If it doesn’t bring you joy (it’s neither useful or sentimental) get rid of it.
  3. If you feel like you just can’t part with it right now, put it in a box labelled with an expiration date. If you don’t open by the expiration date, give it away.

Get Outside

When was the last time you genuinely took some time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smell of nature? Research shows that ‘forest bathing,’ the practice of spending time in a wooded area is good for your mind, body and spirit.

Step outside for a moment to read, meditate, eat without distraction or even add in some exercise. Go for a bike ride, walk or jog…without your headphones, or even your phone. It’s all about the state of mind that you achieve while you’re there. This will allow you to focus more on how your body feels, control stress and tap into the vital energy of the great outdoors.

Connect With Loved Ones

If you ever needed a reason to schedule a date night, here it is!
Many of us have heard the advice before about how date nights can help keep relationships strong. But, we all know that’s easier said than done. Especially with kids.
So, be realistic about how it can work for you and your partner. Whether it’s simply sitting outside together after the kids have gone to bed to talk uninterrupted or scheduling a night out twice a month, make a date with your partner…and make every effort not to cancel on each other.

Studies show that time invested in being alone — together, without the kids or the chores — results in happier couples. Plus, if that time alone is spent getting freaky, you could reduce the stress response even more, see a boost immunity, relieve pain and sleep better, too.

Laugh More

A good laugh can place most stressful issues into a different light and help turn something negative around.
It really is the best medicine for controlling stress.
Laughing increases endorphins released by your brain, stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation, improves immune system and even relieves pain. But, we don’t need studies to tell us that laughing can help reduce anxiety and ease mental stress, making us happier, healthier and just more fun to be around!
Go ahead, read a funny joke…then share it with someone; watch a funny movie with a friend; or just act a little silly and experience a mood lift asap.

Take Control of Stress Before It Controls You

Take perspective of stressful situations surrounding you right now. If the nightly news elevates your heart rate, turn off the TV. If traffic makes you tense up, use that time to listen to something calming, listen to an educational podcast or audiobook.

Ask Yourself

If there something in your life that’s making you anxious, how can you focus your time and energy elsewhere and take control of your environment?

For example: choose a small section of your house to declutter, do the dishes, download a playlist for your drive to work.

Go ahead…do it now!

More on our Foundation Nutrition Health Coaching Blog:

Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating: Slow Down for a Moment

Why do you eat when you eat?
Are you hungry, bored, stressed?

Today, we’re going to review some simple ways to recognize these habits (you may not even realize you’re doing it), and talk about ways to navigate around them for more mindful eating.

Mindful EatingEat With Your Brain

Most of us are guilty of aimlessly walking into the fridge after just eating a meal, opening it up and searching for something else to eat.

Are we really still hungry or maybe it’s just that we’re bored… or simply in the habit of grabbing something sweet after dinner. There are so many different environmental factors that play a role in mindless eating. And many we don’t even recognize.

In order for the body to realize it is becoming full it needs to work with the mind. When you pay attention when eat, you not only allow yourself time to feel full, but studies show that you’ll also enjoy what you’re eating more.

Refresh your perspective.

Diets and challenges are pretty much synonymous with short-term restriction and feelings of deprivation. Because of this most diets fail after the first week.
We’re not going to let that happen.
Prepare healthy, not convenient, food and refresh your perspective on the healthy habit changes you’re starting to implement to embrace them as a lifelong change.

Be present.

Sit down when you eat.

Take a breath and appreciate what is in front of you and be present in the moment.

Take a look at the ingredients list and read each word. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, put it down (and then don’t buy it again).

Giving thanks or saying a mantra to yourself might help you slow down. Try something like: “I eat to nourish and energize my body.”

Put down distractions.

Distractions take away from our intention to appreciate the food on our plate. Its texture, smell, taste and how it will benefit our bodies, energy, performance, etc. Try to identify when something other than hunger is making you want to eat and then steer your attention to your goal oriented activity instead.

Listen, I’m a mom of twins. I know a distraction when I see one. Use what you’re learning as a teaching tool for your children, but set real expectations. Help them instill mindful eating habits early on to set them up for success later in life. It won’t happen overnight… and they will most likely get distracted by the bunny in your yard time and time again. But, if you can you can make an effort to be present as a family, just a little bit at a time, you’ll be more likely to succeed.

Ask Yourself

Where were you at lunchtime or dinner time yesterday? Who was with you and what did you talk about? If you were alone, did you do anything else besides eat? What was your mood like when you were eating?

Some days we won’t be able to remember the answers to these questions. The truth is, some days we’ll be lucky enough to sneak in a meal in between meetings and kids practice.

Make an effort to enjoy a peaceful meal over the next couple days.

Don’t let food become a mindless afterthought.

Read more on The New York Times, “Mindful Eating as Food for Thought.”

More on our Foundation Nutrition Health Coaching Blog:

Changing Habits

Changing Habits With Success

Changing habits, like changing a training program, comes with a natural ebb and flow. One day you’re making tremendous progress and the next day you feel like you’ve regressed. It’s an normal (and important) part of the process.

It’s normal, but it’s not easy.

I get it, finding a steady rhythm of consistency to change your habits and food choices can be challenging. But thankfully there are a couple proven ways that you can set yourself up for success: choosing your battles and staying focused on your goals in as many ways possible!

Changing Habits Against the OddsChanging Habits Against the Odds

Working on changing your habits?

Here are 2 quick tips to help you navigate the lows and come out on top.

1. Choose your battles.

You don’t always have to fight the lows.
Be smart and instead, change the timing of your highs.
For example, it’s 10:00 pm and you still have an hour of work to do (and mobility…and have to get up early for your kid’s soccer game). You sink into the couch, open your laptop and the eyelids start to flutter immediately. Your first instinct may be to fight through the fatigue with less than stellar focus, nodding your head a few times before giving in to the pillow… But this time, try a new approach. Close the laptop, hit your 10 minutes of mobility then go to bed so you get your 7 hours (or even 6) of quality sleep. Set your alarm 20-30 minutes earlier and knock out that work you had to do with a fresh mind.

2. Write down your goals, post them close by and remind yourself of them often.

Keep them eye level at your desk reminding you to drink water, on your mirror reminding you to attack your goals, on the refrigerator reminding you to eat more greens or even on the TV to remind you to stretch.
Because, that exact moment you’re on a downward trend, that little post-it written in your own handwriting will remind yourself of those important goals and help you keep plugging away. And during those awesome moments when you’re on the upward trend, having your goals front-of-mind will help to channel your energy in the right direction.
Success!

Changing Habits is Tough – We’re only human after all.

Some days you’ll be able to make it to the box on time, smash out a productive day of work, cook a clean meal, fit in the time for your family and get to bed on time.
Other days, your day feels like it drags on forever and the only thing you can imagine doing is watching Netflix.

Like everything else in life, goals come with its ups and downs. You can’t escape them. But you can learn how to navigate through.

Ask Yourself

What has been the most significant change you’ve made toward your goals recently and what can you to to increase your confidence that you’ll be able to carry them over with you through life?

Making those connections is key to your long-term success. Good luck working on your goals! Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions along the way foundationnutrition@crossfitsalus.com or call/text 732-800-1269.

In good health,

Coach Angela

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