Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again. Time to find that perfect gifts for family and friends or perhaps suggest something for yourself. Here are a few items that I’m quite fond of:

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Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites has put out a great book that is half science and half cookbook. This book is filled with pictures, diagrams and methods to fine tune your nutrition. I had the opportunity to meet Diane when I was in Houston and let me tell you that she knows her stuff. Grab one for your friends and family but make sure to get a copy for yourself too!

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GORUCK Bags are second to none. They come in several sizes and are built to withstand the harshest of treatment. GORUCK products are made by hand in Bozeman, Montana. They make organizing a snap. I carry a GR2 and use it for my luggage, gym bag as well as my bug out bag. Get them at GORUCK.com.

The GORUCK Challenge Official Video from GORUCK Challenge on Vimeo.

If you’ve got a mud run fanatic, crossfitter or adventurer on your list give them the gift of a GORUCK Challenge. I’m proud to be part of the GORUCK family , something you can only obtain by finishing a challenge. This is a gift that they will thank you for every day!

BadAssChickLove – Featuring Jessica Camacho

BadAssChickLove began as a weekly recognition on twitter of the women out there who do some amazing things in the world of functional fitness and nutrition. While it will continue on Twitter, each month I will feature someone worthy of BadAssChickLove on the blog.

For the very first feature I bring you Jessica Camacho. Jessica is both the brains and braun behind the popular blog Girl Walks Into A Bar(bell). She embodies what it is to be functionally fit, working out and using that fitness to make the world her playground.

Tell us about your workouts for a typical week.

I structure my workouts according to the season. Sort of. In summer, I mountain bike and (try to) climb. In winter, I snowboard… provided I’m not nursing a sprained ankle from back tuck practice on a trampoline, like I’m currently doing right now! Despite the season, one thing is consistent: I powerlift on the regular. I like the structure of a dedicated strength program so I squat, bench, deadlift, and press once a week in that order. Wendler’s 5/3/1 works well for me, mentally, so I gravitate towards his programming. My accessory strength exercises vary according to the sport I’m playing that season. For example, during climbing months, I’ll “accessorize” with pullups or grip exercises. During riding months, my accessory work is legtastic with barbell good mornings and lunges. After strength, I’ll do a CrossFit type of metabolic conditioning but I’ll usually cap it at 10-15 minutes. That being said, I like my workouts to relate to my sports so if a movement doesn’t correlate to anything I’d use in the outdoors I tend to sub it out… like kipping pullups. :) I sub those out for strict pullups.

 What motivates you to work out?

I just FEEL GOOD after a heavy lifting session! Everything from the way I sit, to the way I carry groceries up a set of stairs just feels better when I work out. I also have a lengthy family history of diabetes and heart disease so living a healthy lifestyle is one way I’ve tried to inspire my family while metaphorically flipping amputations and cataracts the bird, if you know what I mean.

 Have you always been athletic?

Uhh… NO.  I could never clear the high jump or serve the volleyball over the net. And this one time, in 6th grade, I tried to catch a softball but it ended up hitting me in the face and breaking my glasses. My parents were like, “Give it here! We’ll just solder it fixed.” So, no. I was a total nerd growing up. But I was able to skip college-level math classes because of it so things even out, I guess!

 Tell us about your nutrition.

I would say 90% Paleo. I mean, we cook and eat Paleo, drink our coffee black, make my own shampoo, and one day I’ll have backyard chickens. But, I do save room for Mom’s homemade cultural foods or some aged cheese sprinkled on my stuffed 3-egg omelet every once in a while.

 What athletic activities do you participate in other than a typical work out?

Mountain biking, trail running, sometimes climbing, snow shoeing, snowboarding, hiking, and my husband and I just got a whole split board setup so I guess I’ll be trying to pick that up this season, too!

 Do you have any specific goals set for yourself ?

I love setting goals! I want to learn Orienteering and do an Adventure Race in 2013, snowboard Silverton with my husband by 2014-2015, and learn to surf in Costa Rica!

 What’s one thing that everyone should know about you?

I work hard and I play nice.

Food Porn Friday

This week I had dinner at Feast in Houston, TX. It’s a farm to table restaurant that does it right. Enjoy!

Duck Liver

Pork Heart Tartare

Crisp Pork Belly Over Potato Cake (flourless) with Pickled Red Cabbage & Apples

WELL FED – A Review

A few weeks ago, WELL FED by Melissa Joulwan was released just in time to put under the tree. There has been no shortage of paleo books and cookbooks this year.  Why should you buy this one?

1. This cookbook has no “paleo cheats”. WELL FED is full of what you should be eating to optimize yonr health (Perfect for those New Year’s Resolutions). 

2. Melissa has included a variety of  flavors including Greek, Indian, Thai, Moroccan and French.  For the novice cook she has made interchanging flavors to add variety to dishes easy. For the experienced cook you will appreciate the use of seasonings and find endless options.

3.  The food in this book is damn good!

4.  It’s well written, well organized and interesting .

I bought this as a present for my wife and it has really excited her about paleo cooking again. She made the paleo pad Thai and it was amazing! I rarely follow recipes in cookbooks but rather use them for inspiration. The recipes in WELL FED are so good that we will cook our way through the book as well as find inspiration for new dishes.  Melissa, my hat’s off to you. WELL FED is the best paleo cookbook that I’ve encountered. 

FOOD PORN FRIDAYS

What better way to start off FOOD PORN FRIDAY than with bacon…..

and….

local farm eggs

Big Ass Steaks!

Paleo and Performace by Travis Schefcik


Nutrition seekers usually track down diet information for one of only a few reasons. These reasons swirl around people that want to lose body fat, overcome a medical condition, or want to increase their athletic performance. And because we’re Common Sense Warriors, let’s focus on increasing athletic performance using the Paleo diet. 

Something we must understand before we begin is this. Trying to increase athletic performance while eating a poor diet is like trying to race an Indy car with low grade fuel, the car simply cannot perform as it was designed to perform. Oh sure, you may make it a little way down the road, but eventually the engine will start to knock and will become hard to start in the morning. And once you get the engine going, and you’re finally driving down the road it sputters and struggles to keep running.  

One of the stanchions that athletic performance stands on is nutrition. An Indy car requires high-performance fuel, and so does your body. All the parts designed to keep the Indy car hurtling through turns mean nothing if the car stalls anywhere on the track. The Paleo diet is the high-octane fuel your body calls for to stop the stalls.  

Now, here’s the thing. I refuse to open my briefcase of scientific data to back up my claims like the Indy car designer would. What I do have, and that’s much more powerful, is only the experience I’ve lived, and those experiences I see and read about again and again in those who eat a Paleo diet. 

My (butt to the floor) back squat shot up from 245 to 305 lbs in two short months while eating a Paleo diet. Sure, other factors could have boosted that 60 lb jump, but the only thing I changed during that time was switching to a Paleo diet.  I’ll leave it up for you to decide if the diet change resulted in my back squat increase. For me, I hold no doubts about where the increase came from. 

So, if you doubt an increase in athletic performance while eating a Paleo diet, call Art De Vany, or Robb Wolf and tell them you’re not a believer. You’ll be handed more Paleo diet science than you could sift through in a year.

 

 

 

 

Travis Schefcik is the author of Uncommon Wellness, a paleo and fitness blog. He is a Crossfit level 1 trainer and serves in the U.S. Navy.

 

 

 

Back to School Paleo Lunch Ideas

Many of you have children going back to school and nutrition is a concern as the majority of school lunches are comprised of processed foods and sugar. Your best bet is to have them bring a lunch. Not allowed at their school? Get a doctors note ( You may already have a physician that knows the virtues of a paleolithic diet. If not then check out http://paleophysiciansnetwork.com/).

With the great variety of inexpensive, insulated food carriers available these days, keeping paleo leftovers from spoiling before lunchtime is a breeze.

This makes planning lunches even easier since the food is already prepared. Simply put it in a locking Tupperware container (kids tend to drop and throw stuff around) and place it in the lunch tote. You might also put a different spin on last nights meal by packing some lettuce pieces to make wraps or by adding last nights meat to a salad.

“But my child is too cool to carry a lunch tote.”

Keeping individual sealed packs of cooked chicken legs, thighs, meatloaf, turkey legs or roast is a great way around this. I’ve found that they defrost just in time for lunch and keep everything else in the bag cool in the process.

All in all, it’s really pretty easy to send your kids to school with real nutritious food. Keeping them educated about nutrition also helps them make good choices when you’re not around. Remember, in school there will inevitably be times when your child eats non paleo food items. don’t stress. Remember the 80/20 rule and they should be just fine.

Monday Meal Idea for the Road Warrior

Carne Asada, Grilled Vegetables, Coconut Water & Mineral Water

A great alternative to eating at a restaurant when traveling is stopping by a grocery store and picking up dinner. Stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market always have good quality options but most local stores carry rotiserie chicken and have salad bars. You might find this a refreshing change from restaurant dinning if you travel frequently like I do.

3 QUESTIONS EVERYONE SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES ABOUT THEIR DIET!

I often hear about other’s diets. Some are drinking meal replacement shakes, some are taking a “magic pill” and some are eating specific diets. Those specific diets range from things like eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and a salad for dinner to eating mail ordered prepackaged meals.

I believe that everyone should ask themselves  the following questions about their “diet” -

1. Is it sustainable? Can you eat like this forever?

2. If the answer is YES ,  what are the long term effects?

3. If the answer is NO, what happens when you stop?

I challenge everyone to ask themselves these questions about their dietary habits. Some of you will be very pleased. You are eating real, quality food and enjoying it along with good results. Others will realize that they are not on a sustainable path or on one that will not make them a healthy person.

Meal Replacement Shakes

1. Deprive you of the pleasure of eating. Eating should be pleasurable!

2. There is NO scientific reason that a meal in liquid form will help you lose weight.

3. Often are loaded with things that you don’t want to put into your body.

4. By nature are highly processed.

Weight Loss Pills

1. Most are over the counter and claim to be a “break through”. Let me assure you that if it really were a miracle that big pharma would be selling it to you at a very high price.

2. Harsh cleansers that are very popular strip the gut of vital bacteria.

Prepackaged Weight Loss Meals

1. Unless they are local prepared meals for convenience then odds are that they are not real quality food. There is a reason they can stay fresh in a box.

These are some things to consider when looking at your diet. They are great reasons not to ingest this stuff but also reasons that these diets are ultimately doomed to fail. It’s no secret that I advocate a paleolithic diet of fresh, quality meats, vegetables,fruits,  nuts, seeds, no added sugar and no grains or legumes. Perhaps, if you find your diet unsustainable, you should too.

Community (or Meeting Up With Friends to Partake of Mutual Suffering in Unbearable Heat)


Tonight while in Dallas,Texas on business, I met up with Jake (Compete Every Day), Cesa (Fight Through) and Jaimie (Body By Crossfit & Paleo) at Crossfit Strong for a workout. We did an AMRAP of deadlifts, games push ups and box jumps in 111 degree heat and then grabbed some paleo grub.

Thanks to Crossfit Strong for having us. If you haven’t yet checked out Jaimie’s blog, make sure you do so. She travels all over the country and has visited more boxes than anyone else I know. If you’re not yet donning Compete Every Day and Fight Through shirts…then go now and order yourself one, two or all of them. They are made by crossfitters for crossfitters (unlike some others who claim to be) and are top notch gear.

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