The Low Down

The human body is a metabolic marvel comprised of dozens of little systems connecting to create one complex system. Food is the fuel, the input, for the systems. Our metabolic machinery evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to function optimally on select fuels. These fuels were the original, Primal foods of the human organism. Over these hundreds of thousands of years our Big Game Hunting, small prey capturing, scavenging, foraging, gathering, opportunistic ancestors accumulated experience and wisdom about nourishing themselves. The learned to preserve and predigest foods to maximize the quality of their metabolic fuel. Eventually they learned to cook foods without destroying the important nourishing properties of the food, and then they learned to heal the human body with food. Only recently in the human evolutionary experience, have we abandoned all these hundreds of thousands of years of accumulated epicurean genius. Now we fuel our marvelous, complex metabolic machinery with crap invented to create profits for agribusiness. We have become dumb eaters. As we regain our eating intelligence it doesn't make sense to move back to the savannah and put out our fires or climb into our cave and pretend there is a glacier next door. It makes sense to fuel our bodies with all the primal human foodstuffs, prepared and preserved with accumulated ancestral wisdom and served up for the undeniable desires of the human taste buds. Primal, paleolithic food choices, handled according to ancient food ways resulting in outrageously good food.

Monday, April 18, 2011


A green love note for all the Coaches at CrossFit Works. Ingredients for their own Green Smoothie.
Met with a certain amount of skepticism by certain people who verified that it all goes in the blender together...and, yes, you drink it. Less work than chewing up those interminable salads!
Many athletes and people who begin a fitness or training program wonder about what they should eat to aid in their recovery. People start talking about proteins or carbohydrates or purchase expensive powdered mixes or consume corn syrup in artificial coloring-filled “sports drinks”. Many performance oriented folks are very savvy about clean protein with a high percentage of their carbohydrates post workout. We can talk about branch chain amino acids and creatine and all those useful things. It is rare to hear mention of green vegetables in a conversation about sports recovery. Isn’t post-workout nutrition the one place where green vegetables don’t matter? Afraid not. Greens are especially meaningful in these days of increasing heat and profuse sweating.
Let's not let your stereotype of the yoga/juice bar crowd prevent us from developing a close relationship with the green smoothie for recovery. In fact we can even learn a little bit from some old school "doping"...soda doping. Athletes involved in high intensity, anaerobic sports have been shown, clinically, to improve speed by ingesting baking soda. Baking soda is a powerfully alkalinizing substance which is thought to assist performance by increasing the rate at which the acidic muscle waste products can be removed and the production of ATP kept high. Clinical studies are more in agreement about the performance boosting effect of baking soda than a lot of the other fancier, more expensive performance aids. Ummm, yes, unpleasant digestive side effects can occur, as well as the negative effects of ingesting large amounts of sodium (baking soda is sodium bicarbonate). OK, so I'm not suggesting baking soda for performance enhancement, I'm just providing a little background to get you to take the alkalinity of the body seriously with regard to training and performance.
Our ability to benefit from our workouts is determined by our ability to recover from them. Recovery involves the inflammatory process, the anti-inflammatory response, glycogen replenishment, muscle building and bone modeling/construction. There is a wide assortment of nutrients involved in these complicated metabolic processes, but one controlling condition for many of them is our pH, particularly the pH of our blood stream. Working out, and heavy breathing increases acidity in the body. Healing , recovery and rebuilding happens most effectively at a slightly alkaline pH. If we remain in an acidic state we risk breaking down muscle tissue and cannibalizing our bones and losing calcium. Your body tries to restore alkalinity by releasing calcium from your bones and nitrogen from your muscle tissue-exactly what you don’t want! We can easily use food to quickly restore alkalinity to the body. The best foods (those with the most basic-producing pH) to restore alkalinity to the body are the vegetables and some fruits. Spinach, celery, carrots and zucchini are all good. Blend them up in your blender with water, ice and a lemon wedge. Add mint, parsely or basil if you'd like. Raisins, black currants and bananas are also alkaline producing. If weight loss is one of your fitness goals choose the vegetables over the fruits.
Raw greens also provide lots of minerals (especially the more bitter ones like dandelion greens), plenty of electrolytes and a dose of heat sensitive vitamins like Vitamin C.

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