HOW CFCC EATS, the Epic Post.

Before you address the rest, if you’re interested in seeing some physical results of past challenges, check out the links below!

ERIN’S PROGRESS  I now compete in the 58kg class for Olympic Weightlifting (when I am competing) and walk around at about 135lbs. while NOT eating bread or other gluten-containing substances except for on EXTREMELY rare occasions (like, if my 8 year old cousin bakes me cookies, I may try one and live – but usually, this situation is never a problem).  I literally don’t own a pair of normal pants from over 2 years ago because they fall off me (and that’s just embarrassing).  I’ve found that cutting out gluten entirely for me (in spite of still eating some dairy, chocolate, and having wine and cider *some* of the time) has helped my body composition, moods, sleep, strength, conditioning, digestion, skin, and I haven’t felt deprived at all. Feeling good is important to me, and REALLY worth it. :) – E.

CFCC BCCC Results, Fall 2012.

CFCC BCCC Results, Summer 2012.

 

CFCC BCCC Results, January 2012.

CFCC BCCC Results, August 2011.

CFCC BCCC Results, May 2011.

CFCC BCCC Results, September 2010.

 

For the purposes of the BCCC (and all year round) – we’re not in the business of telling you what to do (I guess we are, when it comes to weight on the bar or burpees). What I mean is this – when it comes to food and how you feel, no one knows your body and your life and your history better than you do and NONE of us can care about the state of things MORE THAN YOU CARE. Below, we offer information about a lot of things you can experiment with to feel/look/perform better. We’ve divided these into different “levels,” hopefully to make things a little easier to wrap your head around, but it’s up to you to figure out what you want to focus on for the duration of the BCCC with an eye to where you’re coming from. If you eat Subway for lunch and McDonald’s every night for dinner, and you want to commit to cooking all your food, that’s a great place to begin (Level 1 – eat whole, fresh real food!). If you already make your food at home but you’re still eating a lot of sandwiches and oatmeal, perhaps consider starting at Level 2 and replacing those with less refined options. Already eating a pretty “Paleo” diet but maaaaybe the beer sneaks in and every weekend you have a cookie or some candy? See how it feels to really, without slips, drop sugar and gluten for an entire month.

Here’s what Whole9 thinks about the idea of 30 days of commitment.

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.

 

 

WHAT DOES FOOD DO?  HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

-Sometimes It’s Hard from Whole9
-Depression – a huge series of articles on all things related, from Chris Kresser
-Chronic Street, Cortisol Resistance, and Modern Disease, a GREAT podcast.
-Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival – a quick read, and an indispensable resource… FIRST you’ll think it’s CRAZY, then you’ll be VERY concerned that the author is RIGHT.
-Sex, Lies, and Menopause – also an INCREDIBLE read – but more for women than men.
-So much awesome information about food and mood, from Dr. Emily Deans.

WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?  WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH BODY COMPOSITION?

A basic definition from Wikipedia.

A basic definition of Paleo. (the truncated version of the below)

For those of you who want to skip the details and get right to the WHAT CAN I EAT PART: a Quick Start Guide.

AN ORDER OF OPERATIONS FOR QUELLING INFLAMMATION – start at the top, work your way down.  The more you avoid certain things at the top, the closer you are to knowing what happens when your body is recovering at its best.  The more you your body recovers, the better you feel and the better you are at achieving any number of life and performance goals that are important to you.

Level 1. Focus on eating REAL, WHOLE, FRESH FOODS.

The less that your body has to work twice as hard to recognize and “dissect” a food intro pieces it can handle, the more likely you are to digest it easily and therefore not waste energy or valuable defense mechanisms in dealing with a food.  Here’s a more thorough blurb on “whole foods” as a foundation of a healthy diet. What are whole foods?  Check out this list or, take a cue from many a paleo grocery shopper and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store: eat nothing from a box or package – that is, if it doesn’t have a face, or if you literally can’t imagine growing it and eating it yourself, you probably shouldn’t be eating it in the first place.

Level 2. Avoid all PROCESSED, REFINED FOODS.

AVOID GLUTEN: if there’s one thing that I would actually BEG you to try if you never have, it would be to give up gluten in your diet.  If you must know why – there’s a whole HOST of actual reasons…(the below scratches the surface) but if you don’t need to know why, just DO IT and see what happens.  

AVOID SEED OILS: seed oils are processed at extremely high temperatures which causes them to oxidize and become highly inflammatory once digested.  Saturated Fats are actually some of the most stable fats you can digest.  The more stable the fat, the less likely your chances of incurring cellular damage as a result of having ingested it.  No, you shouldn’t start swigging bacon fat, but yes, you should begin to examine the truth behind what fat is and how too much of it can create a caloric binge, too little of it can cause the hormones that are most responsible for keeping you well to rebel, and the wrong kind altogether may just be the principal cause of heart disease in our nation today.

AVOID CHEMICAL SWEETENERSOnce you’ve eliminated things that are potentially pretty harmful to your gut as they are, it’s time to take a look at your sugar intake (and by extension, your insulin levels).  As weird as it sounds, fake sugar is the first step.  If you’re reading this with a can of diet coke in hand, fear not: people have lived through where you are to where you can be – and they have not suffered for it.

AVOID SUGAR: This is a tough one, but be aware that sugar can take many forms: glucose in vegetables, fructose in fruits, lactose in milk, etc.  Weening yourself off of a constant stream of sugar (note: it’s not that we NEVER want you to have a sweet thing in your life!) may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but in the end, it MUST be done for optimal health, and is something that MOST of you will find entirely fine after the first few weeks of struggle, and HUGELY relevant in the fight for feeling and looking your best.

  • What is insulin resistance? a video by Robb Wolf.  Why does sugar withdrawal happen?  Why do sweet potatoes suddenly taste SO sweet when you’re not dumping 15 sugars in your coffee(s)?
  • The Definitive Guide to Sugar from Mark’s Daily Apple.
  • How Sugar can Suppress Your Immune System, I’d be willing to bet this is REALLY why we get sick around the holidays!
  • What does all of this have to do with diabetes?
  • It could be a really great idea (for more than just lean body composition purposes) to lay off the fruit. Learn more here - and yes the video linked in the article is FOREVER long, but it is actually REALLY fascinating if you have the time.
  • Sugar, Sugar, Sugar – how sugar hides in your foods, from Whole9.
  • Sugar Tantrums – your body is going to do EVERYTHING it can to get sugar because it’s the EASIEST fuel we burn, don’t let it happen!

Level 3. EAT TO SUPPORT DIGESTION/GUT HEALTH.

Why is Gut Health so important and how do I fix my gut if it’s broken? 

The following three food groups are ones that you may not even REALIZE are giving you trouble until you try to eliminate them. IF you’ve gotten rid of all the other stuff we discussed above and you’re still having trouble, consider the following (ESPECIALLY if you have an autoimmune condition):

AVOID LEGUMES: It’s at the end of the list because it’s not the END of the WORLD if you eat peas.  In fact, you may feel worse after eating brussel sprouts than you do after eating peas… but that’s a WHOLE other ballgame.  If you have come this far and you are curious about what being at your best is really like, the BIG legumes are below.

AVOID DAIRY: For those of you who were fortunate enough to be able to digest lactose, I congratulate you on being able to have fun at various dairy-ridden parties as a kid.  Many of you, are in my camp, and find that dairy, no matter which way you swing it, isn’t your friend.  If you’ve come this far you’re used to the idea of just trying things to see if they help, KNOWING in full that you can keep putting heavenly full fat grass-fed cream in your coffee for years to come should you choose to do so. 

AVOID NON GLUTEN GRAINS: Once you’re good on living a life without gluten, you can move on and attempt to examine whether or not some of the non-gluten grains are a good idea.  Most find that a few are ok, and many are not.

  • Rice – the lowdown on this is that most are fine to digest it, and some even NEED it in lieu of potatoes, and other commonly “ok” paleo dense carb sources… if a lean body composition is your primary goal you may want to examine your intake – that said, here are some helpful thoughts:

– How Bad is Rice Really? From Mark’s Daily Apple.
– The White Rice Question – full of great links to other thoughts on practical uses for white rice in a diet.

  • Corn – Corn is Not a Vegetable from Mark’s Daily Apple.  Super-sweet, super-modified, and pretty devoid of any substantial nutritional content, corn just isn’t worth it.  It’s not the devil, but it’s not really worth TRYING to include in your diet for any reason at all.
  • Alternative to Grains: including a question about quinoa, and the fact that being healthy does not always equate with being “low carb”, healthy carb choices are important for many athletes!

Level 4. Support blood sugar regulation – aka, how MUCH should I be eating? 

It’s true that it’s really hard to overeat real, whole foods (who cracks out on carrots and chicken breasts, after all) but at some point, whether your goal is to lean out or get big, you may need to start playing with the amount of food you’re eating at every meal.

  • There are some details about how to determine body fat here, along with some suggestions on just how much you need.  Basically, it’s .8-1g of PRO per pound of LEAN (NOT TOTAL) bodyweight, at least 50g of FAT a day – and sometimes more -, and anywhere from 100-150g of CHO today depending on your size/activitylevel/goals.

 

COMMON CONCERNS/FAQs

1. Meat Consumption vs. No Meat Consumption. No matter who you are or how you eat, I can pretty much guarantee you there’s a very good chance that you could do better: more protein of some kind, less sugar in some way, more high quality meat in more meals, and/or less cooking with oils that irritate you and cause your recovery to drop. Here are some thoughts from those wiser than I:

2. Cholesterol? Fat Intake? Heart Disease? OH MY!  For most of us – these three topics seem to be irrevocably linked – the truth of the matter is that many of us have GROSSLY misunderstood each of them.  The resources below are extremely helpful, and if you have questions or concerns about this in the immediate or long-term sense, OR if you have familial hypercholesterolemia, it’s important for you know your way around this topic.
3. What am I going to eat? (Answer: you HAVE to cook) 
4. Cost?
5. Fasting?
 6. What if I want to grow?
  • You HAVE to train.  And hard.  And in some cases, more frequently or harder than others. You HAVE to eat, most likely WAY more than you’re currently eating…and usually liquid (whey protein included, and straight up dairy for those who aren’t sensitive to it) and in some cases, you have to stop eating sometimes, and then eat a WHOLE lot.  The trick is, you ALSO have to rest – only just enough, but not too much.  Yup, mass gain is VERY tricky – but it CAN be done!
  • Clean Mass Gain from Whole9 – get ready to eat tapioca!!!
  • Robb Wolf’s experience with Mass Gain
  • Choose your training WISELY(read, STOP chasing the sexy metcon) – you may be the way you are, but be patient, start by learning what to do for 40 days… and BIG things will happen over time (from Eric Cressey – these before and after shots are AMAZING.)
  • Can you be leaner, stronger, and faster at the same time?  It depends on where you’re starting from – but this is an interesting account from Jocelyn Forest.
7. How am I going to get enough calcium if I don’t have dairy?
8. Supplements?
9. Must I live without coffee? Chocolate? ALCOHOL???

10. How do I fuel appropriately for workouts and after? The real answer is that it really depends on the time that you train and what your goals are.  Here are some good places to start:

  • If you are training and feeling extremely sluggish while training, say, in the a.m. or after work, there’s a good chance that you might need to have something small and carb-ey before training – your work output should be better because of this.  Good examples of easily-digested, pre-workout food would be a coconut water – (my FAVORITE is TasteNirvana which can be found at this store on Walnut in the VERY back, in a green glass bottle), and, if you’re not worried about fructose in general for body composition purposes, something simple like a banana works as well.  If you’re not off coffee for other reasons (see above), it’s not a bad idea to have a bit before training – green tea works as an alternative to this too.
  • Fasted Training, though often thought as being the exact opposite of what you’d want to do, can be an awesome tool for body composition.  We run sessions that work particularly well for this in the morning on Tuesday and Thursday (our Conditioning only sessions).  These are sessions that range in intensity and volume but are generally low enough in volume that if you wanted to, you could attend regular classes later and still be good to go on the strength portion of your training.  If you are just recently acclimating yourself to new habits in eating or in training, fasting should NOT be the first habit you start and should be limited to only one day a week at first.
  • Generally, if you don’t mind the sluggishness of a morning or an after work workout, this is all you’ll need: BCAAs will greatly assist in your recovery ability, especially if you are not training in a “fed” state. You should be slightly hungry before you take them and then train. If you don’t want to wait for the TrueProtein kind, you can always walk to VitaminShoppe and get some.  10g/5-10g (M/F) 15 minutes both before and after your workout. IN WATER. They will taste bitter. It’s worth it. Try using crystallized lime or lemon to mask the taste.  More info on BCAAs is here – they are NOT animal derived, but are chemically created amino acids (the stuff that makes up protein and aids in muscle metabolism, growth, etc.)

11. What is SEX WITH YOUR PANTS ON? Read this.  You’ll understand.

 

 

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