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Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

Post Exercise Nutrition (recovery-drink) Part 1

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

rogue-shaker-bottle-2_2It’s hard not to notice the assorted blender bottles filled with some mysterious, powdery concoctions that CrossFitters run to inhale after they finish a WOD.  Have you ever wondered exactly what it is we’re drinking and why?  What is this strange powder? These interesting concoctions are our important post-exercise recovery drinks.  Now, allow me to explain the “why.”

Post-exercise nutrition can improve the quality and the rate of recovery after a serious exercise. The right nutrition ingested immediately following a workout, and up to two hours later, can drastically improve one’s recovery time. Classic signs of poor recovery include fatigue, lackluster workouts, extended muscle soreness, lack of increased strength, and lack of increased muscle mass.  Obviously, we’ll experience certain degrees of these signs at different times, but wouldn’t it be great to minimize them?

First, a little science lesson to aid in your understanding:  From a physiological perspective, muscle fibers are made of protein and will increase in size if the protein is synthesized. Exercise increases the breakdown in muscle protein while decreasing protein synthesis. Exercise also depletes glycogen (consisting of glucose molecules), which is what the muscles use for energy.

The goal of post-exercise nutrition is to replenish the glycogen stores and encourage protein synthesis, or muscle building. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of glucose, the molecule used to build glycogen. By ingesting carbohydrates, glycogen stores are replenished rapidly, which is important because consistently low glycogen stores lead to a breakdown of muscle protein and a loss of muscle mass. Carbohydrates also increase the body’s insulin concentration, which is essential for glycogen and protein synthesis. Carbohydrates also promote the release of growth hormone, which promotes protein synthesis, and leads to increased muscle mass. Finally, carbohydrates decrease cortisol concentration. Cortisol, also known as a “stress hormone,” is released in response to both physical and psychological stress. During a workout, cortisol levels are increased, causing muscle protein to break down.

Adding protein to a carbohydrate mix will significantly enhance the release of insulin compared to carbohydrate alone.  Whey protein is quickly absorbed, while additional amino acids increase their availability to be used as building blocks. An important essential amino acid in a recovery drink is leucine because it works synergistically with insulin to maximize protein synthesis.

What does the the optimal post-recovery drink nutrition look like after a high intensity WOD?  The drink would consist of a mixture of carbohydrates and protein, with no more than a 2:1 ratio. If the recovery drink is consumed immediately following exercise, the rate of glycogen synthesis is three times higher than if it is consumed two hours after exercise completion. Therefore, it is important and more beneficial to consume the drink as soon after exercising as possible.

So, the next time you witness a box full of sweaty, exhausted CrossFitters reaching for their blender bottles filled with mysterious powder, you’ll know they are just making sure to get the most out of all the hard work they just did.

In the next post, we’ll compare and contrast the most popular recovery drinks!rogue-shaker-bottle-2_2

A Real Food Recipe

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

perfecthbeJaime’s great post and Colleen’s simply beautiful photograph* have inspired me to keep it as real as it gets this week with a recipe for hard boiled eggs. Healthy fast food doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Cook up a bunch of these puppies for grab-and-go convenience all week.


  • Eggs. Up to as many as comfortably fit in the pot you use.
  • Salt.
  • Water.


Place eggs in a pot, then run cold tap water to cover eggs 1 inch over and add 1 teaspoon of salt. (Note: starting with cold water lets you heat the egg more slowly, which keeps the whites from getting rubbery, and adding salt prevents egg whites from spilling out of small cracks that can form in the cooking process.)

Bring to boil at medium heat. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat but leave the pot on the stove and cover with good-fitting lid. Leave the eggs in the hot water for ten to fifteen minutes. It is important you do not start the timer until you turn off the heat. Too much time will make the eggs discolored and smelly, while too little time will cause them to be runny. 

After 10 or 15 minutes, plunge eggs into cold water to arrest the cooking process.

These will keep in the fridge at least a week. Grab one before you go to your workout at The Cave for quick post work-out protein. Pack them in school lunches peeled for no mess, unpeeled for more fun. Make a quick sauce of equal parts Paleo mayonnaise (great recipe in the current edition of The Cave cookbook available in the office) and your favorite mustard. When you run out of hard boiled eggs, make some more. No excuses for not having quick real food on hand, guys!

*When Colleen Donaldson isn’t working out at The Cave, one of her many talents is professional photography. She took the above picture for the next edition of Cooking in The Cave which should be available this holiday season and will include tons of fantastic real food recipes and awesome photographs!

What Is Real Food? by Jaime Jereb

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

10:45pm Tossing, turning, not sleeping.  ”Real food…..real food…..real food.  How to explain real food…”  Mmmmmm, fooooooood…

11:03pm Hunched over my sink like a rat — chowing, mowing — definitely not sleeping.

“Real food…..real food…..real food.”  Mid-bite and with possibly two chicken legs hanging out of my mouth (true story), it suddenly dawns on me:  I actually have to explain what “real food” is!  WTH?  How did our world get so screwed up that there is anything other than real food even available?

11:17pm Wardrobe change — somehow my chicken legs cascaded down my shirt.  I can’t write while smelling like chicken; I have enough distractions.  But, before I change my shirt, I should probably reorganize my bar.  How can I write with my vodka sitting next to the bourbon?

11:34pm Bar alphabetized? Check.

11:51pm Somewhere between The Beam and Kettle One, I come up with the best explanation of all time.


Said differently: REAL FOOD = NOT KRAP

In another language: EALRAY OODFAY = OTNAY APCRAY

If pig latin doesn’t clearly explain it, try this:

What is REAL FOOD? Real food is food that is as close to it’s natural state as possible.  Starts with a single ingredient, ends with a single ingredient. Simple. No chemicals. No hormones. No antibiotics. Happy. From the earth.  From something that eats things that come from the earth or eats things that eat the things that come from the earth. Nourishing.


  • It tastes better.

  • We feel better.

  • You look better.

  • It’s what our bodies need and nothing they don’t.

  • It’s the only medicine without side effects.

  • Humans are designed to eat this way.

  • Your kids will back-talk less and listen more.  Truth!

What is FAKE FOOD? Fake food is “food” that is a far cry from nature’s intention. Processed beyond recognition. Starts with a single ingredient, ends with multiple ingredients comprised mostly of words and chemicals you can’t spell or pronounce. Complex.  From the lab.  From a scientist who works in the lab being told to create something that resembles real food because if the public knew what it really was, they wouldn’t touch it.  Addictive.




Our bodies are designed to be perfectly functioning bad-ass machines.  In nature’s design, our hearts will never skip a beat, our lungs will never forget to breathe, our bones will never lose integrity.  So, do you want to keep moving, breathing and living?  Then fuel with quality food, Dummy!  Simply stated: Eat crap, krap or apcray on a regular basis (or hang with Carrot Top) and you’ll eventually become fat, sick or dead.  The end.

Am I exaggerating?  I don’t think so.  Just look at our country’s growing epidemic of disease, cancer, obesity and the whole slew of existing ailments.  In the ancient past, even as little as 100 years ago, we simply did not have these problems in mass quantities like we do today.  Is it any coincidence that our food system has changed more in 50 years than in the past 10,000? 100,000?  I think not.


Big food companies LOVE to confuse the consumer. “It’s healthy!”  “It’s low fat!” “It’ll save your life!” “This box of cereal will actually raise your children and pay for their education.” Don’t fall for it folks.  Anything claiming to be good for you is most likely bad for you and certainly not a real food.  If you don’t believe me, walk up to a head of lettuce and see what it has to say.  You might be there a while.


I’m dumbfounded by the complexities of simple real food being stripped of it’s natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrients just to be fortified with man-made crap from Dexter’s laboratory.  Am I the only one who finds this a little nutty?  Oatmeal is a great example.  In it’s natural state,  oatmeal is one ingredient: Oats.  How about adding some apples,  cinnamon and grass fed butter for a total of 4 ingredients.  4!  That’s a real food meal.

Apparently that wasn’t enough.  Here’s the other version that is found in most cupboards across the country:

Ingredients: Whole grain rolled oats (with oat bran), sugar, dehydrated apples (treated with sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, and sodium bisulfite to promote color retention), salt, cinnamon, calcium carbonate (a source of calcium), natural flavors, citric acid, guar gum, niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, reduced iron, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin mononitrate, folic acid.

How many ingredients is that??  I mean, at least there’s that amazing health claim “Reduces cholesterol!” Not to mention, who wouldn’t want to look like that sexy Quaker?



Somebody is hungry all right and it’s name is Big Food Corp.  Somewhere down the road (around 60ish years ago) food developers decided that it was much cheaper and easier with higher profit margin to start lacing our food with hydrogenated oils, chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors and everything you can imagine to make them taste good and stupid addictive.  Remember Lay’s famous slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one…”  NO kidding we can’t, because it’s drug-like reactions on our systems makes it impossible to stop.  We are already predisposed to craving salt, fat and sugar.  Thanks Frito Lay, but you’re just not helping the situation.  Real food doesn’t do that.  Do you recall going back to the kitchen and eating 2,3,4,10 apples, chicken breasts or heads of chard?  No way!  Nature is no dummy.  Real food is designed to nourish and be done.


We get smart!!  We get educated!! We stop being lazy and stop making excuses!! We spend an extra 10 seconds and think about what we’re about to shove in our Dorito hole, and it better not be Doritos either. We ask questions. We do our research.  Not all animals, not all veggies, not all food is created equal.  Even if it’s a single ingredient, know where it’s coming from and know who grew it. That’s where farmers’ markets, co-ops and  CSA’s come in handy.  They source from legit local farms and ranchers.

If you choose to shop at grocery stores rather than haul a wagon to Farmer’s Market, check out this handy flow chart!

Remember:  Keep it simple. Real food is as easy as it gets.  Take a meat. Take a plant.  Cook. Consume.

Know Why (Gluten Issue)

Sunday, July 13th, 2014


As an informational society, we are constantly bombarded with “advice.” This advice reaches into every aspect of our lives — nutrition, exercise, finances, career, sleep, raising children and just about everything else. Some of this advice is good, some is bad, and at times it can be quite difficult to determine which is which. Developing a set of sources that you trust is a quick method of validation. It would be impossible to research the validity of every bit of advice you are going to receive, so you will have to sometimes simply trust the information.

Given the above, I still strongly advise that you understand the reasons behind the advice you choose to follow. Often, people take advice without having any understanding as to why. The advice may be good or bad, but in either case the recipient may have absolutely no understanding behind the choice. The humorous video above makes it very clear that many people just blindly follow “advice”, in many cases, from fairly uninformed sources.

So, to avoid any embarrassing appearances on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, allow me to educate you about gluten. Gluten is a protein (specifically, a composite of a gliadin and a glutenin) found in wheat and many other grains. Gluten is a known gut irritant. In extreme cases, individuals are diagnosed with Coeliac (Celiac) disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes an inflammatory reaction that interferes with the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. It is clearly very important for these individuals to avoid gluten. In less extreme cases, individuals may be diagnosed as “gluten intolerant.” These individuals may experience some gastro-intestinal distress of varying degrees when they ingest gluten. Then, there is everyone else, who, even among those who may not be classified as “gluten intolerant” can suffer some gut irritation. This can lead to systemic and chronic inflammation which will have some impact on overall health.


Recent research indicates that gluten itself may be less of a problem than we have been led to believe. Researchers that had originally published significant evidence connecting gluten with many negative health consequences have now published further findings indicating that gluten may not be the culprit. FODMAPs (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, And Polyols - a class of short chain carbohydrate) are another “nutrient” category that may be the cause of many of the ills that have been attributed to gluten. FODMAPs are a topic for another post, but whether the health concern is FODMAPs or gluten, doesn’t change the dietary recommendations we have been making for the past decade. Avoid things like bread and pasta. There are many gluten-free products on the market today, but these may be no better for you than the original products due to FODMAP content. Ultimately, if you are eating meat and vegetation, gut irritation is simply not an issue.

gluten-free-seal-16256523Now, let’s discuss chemical nomenclature so you can more quickly identify nutrients. Food labels will try to hide certain information by using unfamiliar terms for nutritionally deficient ingredients. But, if you know basic chemical nomenclature you can often identify ingredients without having to memorize thousands of terms. First, any word with the suffix -ose is a sugar. Second, the word hydrogenated (partially or otherwise) is a trans fat. Third, any word with the suffix -ol is an alcohol. Many food companies are now replacing sugars with sugar alcohols in certain products. The health consequences of this change is not well researched or understood.

Educate yourself. Spend some time discovering the reasons behind your lifestyle choices. Create a network of trusted sources for those cases where researching the why is unfeasible. Be prepared in case Jimmy Kimmel’s crew comes along and asks you a simple question about your life choices.

Brussels Sprouts Chips

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Nom Nom Paleo chips

Nom Nom Paleo chips

Thank you Nom Nom paleo for this amazing recipe!
I LOVE these chips! This is the perfect snack for anyone that loves chips, but is looking for a healthy alternative.
What you Need

  • 2 cups of brussels sprouts leaves (from about 2 pounds of brussels sprouts
  • 2 cups of melted ghee
  • kosher salt to taste
  • Lemon Zest (optional)
  • How you make them
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2. Cut the stems off right at the base of the baby cabbages and pull off the outer leaves.
    3. Wash the leaves
    4. Mix the leaves, ghee and salt together in a large bowl
    5. Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper. Divide the leaves evenly in a single layer on each tray.
    6. Bake each tray for 8-10 minutes until crispy and brown around the edges
    7. add optional lemon zest
    8. CHOW!!
    I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

    Eat at Home

    Thursday, June 19th, 2014

    salmon_kebabsMy grandparents always shared cooking with their kids, grandkids, and anyone in the neighborhood who ran into the kitchen and wanted to help stir. It’s been that way for millennia. We’ve co-evolved with whole, real, hearth-cooked foods filling the home.

    But a dramatic shift has occurred since our grandparents’ day when nearly all meals were prepared and eaten at home. Today, home cooking accounts for only half the meals consumed in the US, and 67% of those are eaten in front of a television.

    One of the best things you can do for your health and your family’s health is simply to sit down to a home cooked dinner. Research tells us that preparing one’s own food reduces calories, saturated fat, and sodium while increasing fiber and micronutrients. Research also shows that kids who have regular meals at home are more likely to have better grades, healthier relationships, 42% less likely to drink, 50% less likely to smoke, and 66% less likely to smoke pot.

    Thanks to the example my grandparents set, I can cook. But they also made furniture and could saddle a horse which I cannot. As the convenience of department stores and the inevitability of cars precluded them from passing these skills on to me, I hope that the food industry hasn’t made prepared food so convenient to my generation that it will leave my grandchildren scratching their heads and wondering how I ever boiled water.

    This week’s recipe:
    Faster-than-you-can-say-takeout Grilled Salmon Kebabs
    (serves 4)

    • metal or bamboo skewers
    • 1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets with skin removed
    • 3 or 4 pineapple spears
    • olive oil
    • about 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
    • salt to taste

    Clean and oil grill (salmon mercilessly sticks to any grill debris) and set heat to medium-high.

    Dice fillets into roughly 1 inch cubes, and slice pineapple spears into half inch thick slices.

    Toss salmon cubes in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat.

    Thread skewers starting and ending with salmon and alternating with slices of fruit.

    Test grill by holding your hand about 4” from grill and start counting. If you make it to 4 to 5 seconds before having to pull your hand away, it’s ready. Longer than that, not hot enough. Shorter means too hot.

    When ready, place kebabs on grill and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes on one side, then turn 180° for another 4 minutes.

    Sprinkle with cilantro and salt.

    Serve with a simple streamed veggie like kale or broccoli and do a hi-5 selfie for cooking at home!

    What is Mila and why is the Cave selling it?

    Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

    You probably have noticed the shiny purple bags on the way to the bathroom. It probably catches your eye, but you are in such a rush to get back to your double-unders that you have not really thought about it. It is a brand of chia seeds called Mila that is the best in class for chia seeds.

    Chia seeds are an amazing source of Omega 3’s, protein (with all the essential amino acids), fiber, and antioxidants. Mila by itself has the perfect functional blend of carbohydrates to fats and proteins (4:3:3… the very same as the Zone diet). That is all well and good, but perhaps still not convincing enough for you to buy a bag of seeds.

    For many people (but certainly not all), Mila has had profound and life enhancing effects. For me personally, it has helped regulate my horrendous monthly mood swings, massively reduces my post CrossFit inflammation and the pain in my knees, and really helped me embrace a Paleo lifestyle and even got me enjoying food preparation and to top it off, opened a number of doors towards a healthier lifestyle. I will never stop eating my Mila and I can’t help but want to share it with my friends. If you come over for a meal, chances are I’m sneaking some Mila into your diet… kids too and the fussier the eater your child is, the more I will sneak it in!

    For many of my friends, Mila has had an even more powerful impact on their health. For many people it has significantly reduced (if not eliminated) life long chronic migraines, allergies, helped stabilize digestive conditions, diabetes, helping with ADHD and Autism pushed extreme, and shifting competitive and even recreational athletes to the next level. Some friends have carefully come off Lipitor, Antidepressant meds, pain killers, carefully and with doctors monitoring their blood work, etc. These are not just stories, these are my friends, my friend who cleans my house, the parents at my school, my Mom’s older friends (one who is terminally ill with cancer but has found joy and energy through eating Mila), even my own Mom. It brings me to tears to just write about it. Mila is just a food, not a medicine, but as the saying goes “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates”.

    Roger is a huge proponent of a healthy diet as being an integral part of getting fit and getting into shape. In clinical studies, Mila outperforms the other chia seeds on the market (it is a specially selected blend of chia from around the world that has been cold fractured to make all the oils remain intact yet be bio available), so Roger brought Mila into The Cave to help people with their fitness, recovery, and health. Yes, it is more expensive than what you find at the supermarkets, but the results are what counts.

    In order to see health impacts, one needs to eat Mila on a daily basis. A typical adult serving is 2 tablespoons a day and maybe some of our athletes will end up thriving on more than that. Extreme athletes eat up to 8 scoops a day when they are competing. Mila also stabilizing how water is delivered to one’s body and stabilizes such things as carbohydrate transformation and nutrient delivery. I like to drink my two to four tablespoons a day in a 32 ounce container of water, or coconut water when I feel the need for a treat. I also like to cook with Mila and use it in sauces, kid pancakes, popsicles, smoothies, fruit bars. You can bake with it, freeze it and use it in just about any way possible. My daughter thinks that it is cool and will have it in her water, my 5 year old son is not as convinced, so he does not need to know that he is eating it. It’s a part of their diet whether they like it or not.

    Some people from the get go and other after about one to two months of eating Mila consistently, feel more full of energy, more joyful, healthier, less body inflammation. Coach Amanda is hooked on Mila as are a number of other Cave folks. I am obviously very passionate about Mila and would love to help Cave folks people figure out how to incorporate it in their diet and those of their children. Consistency is key and finding that consistency can be tricky at first, but once you see the health benefits, you too will be hooked.

    There is more technical info here on how it can help all you athletes:

    If you are looking for ways to incorporate it in your diet or have other questions, shoot me a message: or comment on the blog.