Thursday, March 29, 2012

Popcorn is healthy? Really?

Side note: I do NOT like the new blogger interface. Is this minimalistic looks supposed to be more modern and fashionable?

 So apparently popcorn is good for you because it's a whole grain and has all sorts of anti-oxidants! LOL!

We all know how I feel about grains, whole or otherwise. And yes, corn is a grain, it's not a vegetable. 

But that's okay. Who cares if we get obese and/or diabetic? We have antioxidants!

If you're SO WORRIED about your polyphenol and other antioxidant intake that you just must start eating popcorn, you're diet is in shambles. Stop kidding yourself, eat more berries and kale. And if you're trying to lose fat, you don't need these carbohydrates.

 Let's look at the Glycemic Index of popcorn compared to other things:

Food Item - Glycemic Index
Table Sugar (for reference)- 65
Popcorn - 55
Carrots - 39
Sweet Potato - 54
Spaghetti, white - 41
Banana - 54
Strawberries - 32
Raspberries - 32
Blueberries - 40
Whole milk - 27

Glycemic Index - A number representing the ability of a food, relative to that of glucose, to increase the level of glucose in the blood. Generally speaking, a higher number would also mean a greater insulin response. There are a few exception, like in the case of milk where the insulin response is much higher than milk's glycemic index would warrant.

So of all the things that I chose to look at, obviously table sugar is has the highest glycemic index, and popcorn comes in second. I even threw in refined spaghetti to show that somethings most people would agree is high carb has less of an effect on blood sugar than popcorn.

I threw in bananas and sweet potatoes, because generally those are avoided on ketogenic diets, and I use them as my sugar source when I practice "carb back loading". Those have a lower glycemic index, though admittedly not by much.

 Worried about your precious antioxidants? Berries, fool! Strawberries are like CANDY to a person on a Paleo or ketogenic diet. Blueberries and raspberries hold a huge antioxidant and polyphenol punch. And if you're not sick of hearing about kale, you need to leave your cave-home. (Yeah, yeah, you're being Paleolithic and shit.)

I really wish scientists would stop looking at shitty food and tying to find excuses to eat shittily. I really wish mass media sources would stop taking these "studies" and start touting them as the next coming of Christ. I didn't even bother writing about the red meat debacle recently, other people have addressed it far better than I could have.

Have some common sense.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Putting Money Where Mouth Is

It's no secret that I don't train myself the way that I train my clients (I prefer to think of them as my athletes. I push them like athletes, after all.) I'm hoping to get most of them to a place where if they decide they want to try something new next week, they'll have the coordination, strength, and confidence to do it. This involved lots of heavy lifting, and high intensity intervals, mixed in with some skill based days here and there.

I don't do this with myself, since after all, I'm a "specialized" athlete. But given that I'm starting to branch out to other activities, I'm beginning to really notice where my specialization has left me weaker. For instance, my lower body is disproportionately stronger than my upper body, so when I'm supposed to use my arms to leverage myself for pole dancing or trapeze, it's REALLY hard and half the time I fail at the more complex stuff.

So next week, I'm biting the bullet, and putting it out here for people to see so I can't back down. I'm starting Tabata Tuesdays. For the first few months of getting back into conditioning, I'm going to start doing 3-4 Tabata sets on Tuesdays. Easy goes it, right?

Since I'm still doing lots of leg strength based work, these sets will primarily be upper body and midline (pull-ups, sit ups, push-ups, etc).

In the three years that I've been a weightlifter, I've done the occasional rowing interval session, but really the only CrossFit-esque workout I've done was during my level 1 certification weekend. Team Fran. It left me wrecked for a week. Fran will not be my first foray back into conditioning (though I'll probably attack her in a couple months to start a test/re-test).

So, if you see me next Wednesday, ask me if I did my Tabata Tuesday. And if I say no, you have full permission to force me to a Tabata workout right then and there. Assuming enough people see this, a Wednesday Tabata day could be worse than what I try to wuss out on. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Trying New Things: Pole Dancing

Trying new things, whether it's an activity or skill, is a great way to make your life feel more fulfilled. Lots of sources impound upon the importance of pushing our comfort zones and expanding our horizons.

- Eleanor Roosevelt saying, "Do one thing every day that scares you."
- CrossFit's mantra of "Learn and play new sports."
- A TIME Health and Happiness to do list.
- The Happiness Project talks about creating an atmosphere of growth.

So I'm starting a new series of blogs I'll post on occasion that follow me as I try new things. On the heels of realizing that I'm not happy as a athletic specialist, I'm going to start putting myself out there and attempt to find another hobby or three that I can immerse myself into.

Pole Dancing

I've now taken classes for about a month at Studio Botan which is located on the border between the Financial District and North Beach. It's actually a relatively short stroll to the bar where I once hosted speed dating events. Too bad I don't do that anymore, talk about some stories to tell!

Anyway, you can kind of see the awesome bruises on my inner thighs, and you can hear the squeak as my skin doesn't want to slide along the pole going down. In some ways, being strong with a dance background, I'm made for pole. But in other ways, my legs being WAY heavier and stronger and I barely  have to use them, I'm very much not built for pole.

Here is a video of ManFriend and I doing a double's chair spin on a spinning pole:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Second WellnessFX Consult

My first consult was with a "paleo friendly" physician. You got to see the results of the blood work and what she had to say about it on that post with results screen grabs. This next consult was with a nutritional consultant, licensed acupuncturist, and functional medicine practitioner.

I got a LOT of information.


First we discussed my poor sleep. I try to go to bed between 10 and 11pm, depending on whether I have to wake up at 6am or 7am. I can fall asleep just fine, but I wake up around 3am, and then it's drifting in and out of sleep until I have to get up. She said that this could be a symptom of adrenal fatigue. Between the stress of a new and constantly shifting career situation and the recent end of a high refined carbohydrate diet, my adrenal hormones could be shot. That can lead to poor sleep and immune disfunction. And since some of my other markers, such as low white blood cell count and high thyroid stimulated hormone, are off in a similar fashion, these could all be directed that way.

What could also be happening is with my cortisol levels high from stress, it's causing my liver glycogen to be depleted faster. Suddenly I'm in a "starvation state" in the middle of the night and cortisol will rise even higher, trying to release more glucose. This would make sense since I've experienced waking up feeling a slight panic for no reason.

-->Recommendation: Protein before bed so my body can regulate blood sugar levels through the night.

Blood Cholesterol

Then we moved onto cholesterol. Basically, my high level profile is fine, but with the LDL profile being bad, my take away shouldn't just be about getting those numbers in line, but secondarily making sure that I don't have any other influencers that will cause these particles to cause me harm. It's not about the mere presence of the small, dense LDL, but also about making sure I'm protecting myself against inflammation so that these particles don't have a reason to form artery wall plaques.

-->Recommendations: Since I have the genetic ability to easily process fats, I should be taking emulsified fish oils with cofactors to reduce inflammation, and also supplement with glutathione for anti-oxidant.

White Blood Cells

My WBCs are low, which means that something has been bugging my immune system for a while. This could relate to adrenal fatigue as well. When a person gets an acute infection, white blood cell numbers usually go up, but if there is a chronic thing going on, like an underlying, low grade virus that hasn't gone dormant, over time fatigue sets in.

-->Recommendation: Another place the glutathione can help out.

Free Fatty Acids and CO2

These are probably off due to poor carb management (still evident since the blood was taken only two weeks after going paleo). And since the FFA is pretty borderline, given my eating history, it's probably already on the way down.

--> Recommendations: Watch the snacking too much on nuts due to phytic acid and it's oxidation. Use adoptogenic herbs, which should also help with the sleep.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

My TSH could be high because my thyroid isn't responding as it should for one of two reasons: either my thyroid is under active, or there could be an autoimmunity issue with my thyroid. She requested that I get my thyroid antibodies checked before I take any supplementary action toward correcting this. I suppose I could see eating as much wheat and refined sugar as I have in my recent past that I could have some immunity issues here. Regardless, I should see my PCP and get those antibodies checked out, because getting this in line could be a HUGE boon to optimizing my athleticism.

-->Recommendations: Nothing until I get those antibodies checked so we know which way to go with it.


That first liver enzyme might be a little off because the liver has to work a little harder to handle the detox from certain kinds of hormonal birth controls, and apparently mine falls in that category. It's not off much, but worth watching.

--> Recommendation: A special protein powder that has probiotics and chemicals that help enhance detox enzymes in the liver. This could also help with my cholesterol profile.

That is a lot of information!

Wow, this is something I can really work with! I didn't really like being told "Oh, you're doing all the right things. Keep it up!" because I feel like there is always something else that can be done to make things better. I want to take an active role in my health, and as an athlete, I want things optimized as much as I can. Just being healthy, in the form of absence of disease, isn't enough. Of course, that is how most medical professionals view the population, get people out of a diseased state. It's people like today's consultant that are typically more about getting people beyond healthy to optimized.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fast Breakfast: Poached Eggs and Bacon (done)

Nice paper on how saturated fat DOES NOT correlate to heart disease.

And in celebration of that, here is what I eat for breakfast at least three times a week: lots of saturated fat!

I love poached eggs. The runny yolks to dip bacon, sausage, asparagus, or whatever into. Plus, they are super fast to make. For most breakfasts I make two poached eggs and two strips of thick cut bacon.

Remember to collect your bacon grease to use for cooking other meats and vegetables in! Also, you never pour animal fats down the sink. Collect it, let it cool, and when the container is full, throw it away. (Good use for all those nut canisters we paleo people end up with.)

For poached eggs, people seem to think this process harder than it is.

1) Simmering water. I turn my stove up to full heat, then back down to 6. (If your oven goes to 11, adjust accordingly.)
2) Stir the water into a whirlpool and drop the eggs into the center of the whirlpool. I'll cook 2-4 eggs at a time this way.
3) Simmer for three minutes. Trust the timer. Every time I've gone over, the yolk gets cooked to some degree.
4) Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs.
5) Eat them! (With the bacon, of course.)

It's an easy and quick and filling breakfast I make most mornings, and scaling up for ManFriend doesn't add any extra time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Thanks to my awesome brother Clark Newman for sending me this cartoon:

Two Step Paleo Dessert

Despite being Paleo and ketogenic, there is something comforting about having a treat after dinner. Thanks to friend and fellow strong lady Andrea for this: coconut milk and blueberries.

First, you want to refrigerate the coconut milk. It will make the milk thicken up and have a more yogurt-like consistency. Second, you want Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk. I got Chaokoh brand at first, thinking "what can it matter?" For whatever reason, I would assume the fat content, it just doesn't thicken up as nicely.

Blueberries are generally a safe treat for the ketogenic diet, they are a lower sugar fruit, and like most dark berries, are chock full of vitamins and antioxidants/phytochemicals.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Arnold / Weightlifting Olympic Trials Detailed

I know that I said I would blog about the event as it happened, BUT it would cost me $10/day to get internet access in my room. Were it $10 one time for the length of my stay, I'd probably have done it. What is it about hotels that the nicer they are the more likely they are to nickel and dime you for extra stuff?


Body airbrushing booth

We didn't have anyone on our team lifting on Friday, so it was a day to relax and just see some sights. There were some 300 vendors at the center, with booths and samples and lots of uber muscled people. It was also the day that we got to tease our coach about being recognized by random people for his 0-600 lb squat video and his recent record breaking 705 lb raw squat. And as Big Mike says, too bad they were all dudes. 

That night was one of the most exciting men's weight classes: the 94 kg class. You have Jon North, Phil Sabatini, Ian Wilson, Jared Flemming, and Coard Wilkes, all of whom have some major accomplishments to their name in both National and International competition. 
Ian Wilson on his first snatch at 147 kg

This year, the National Champion title went to Ian Wilson, who is only 18 years old. He's also taken second at the Junior Pan American Championships, so it will be super exciting to see what he's capable of in the coming years. 


This is the day that most of my team competed. We start at 10am with Big Mike and had someone in every session until 6 pm. 
Big Mike jerks 160 kg. 
Sandra at full extension for her second snatch. 
Jo Ann makes her second snatch.
Overall, people did pretty well. Sandra made a National Master's record with her third snatch. Jo Ann, after making the same national competition total for the past three (I think) times, put up some big numbers that more than blasted that out, and Jenny (not pictured) also made some competition PRs. 


It sucks to lift on a different day than the rest of your team. It happens at every national meet I've gone to, except my very first American Open where I was still lifting at 69 kg bodyweight. But a few things made it all worth it:
Me and Misha Klokayaev
First, Misha Klokyaev decided that it was a good time to train before we had to start our warm-ups. So of course, I scamper over to the training hall and get my picture with him. Luckily, he seemed pretty cool with people interrupting his training to get pictures and hand shakes. Then:
Yup, that's the Governator.
Arnold decides this is a good time to stroll into the warm-up room to meet the lady lifters there. He shakes my hand for I don't know how long talking about what a fan of women's weightlifting he is and asking how I feel about the competition today, do I feel good and am I going to pull heavy weights? Well, now I will! 

So I don't pull then numbers that I usually do, but considering that I haven't been able to lift any more than 55kg/ 75kg without excruciating pain in my hip flexor area, I'm okay with that. Usually, after a big meet, I tell myself, "Dammit, Kristin, you need to train more! You need to train harder! You need to get back to your former glory!" This time, however, I thought, "Well, that was fun. I don't need to train more, I just need to better optimize what I do with my 3-4 days of lifting and hope my dalliances in other activities don't hurt it too much." It's a nice change of mentality. 

Regardless of how serious or carefree you are about a sport, when you make the decision to travel and compete at a national level, it's stressful. Any support in any form is so much appreciated. Also, this:
I swear, it's just apple juice...