Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spirulina: Why take it? And HOW to take it!

Every now and then my body comes through with some craving that is so loud and oddball that I just have to listen. I'm not talking Ben& Jerry's cravings, brownie cravings, French fry cravings or anything like that. I mean, I'm driving down the road and feeling kinda dreary when, WHAM "I need fish oil right now, I need O-3 NOW!" Couple weeks ago I was sitting on my couch (apparently sitting helps my brain think) and I thought, "arugula!" So I put every lunch and dinner for several days over a bed of arugula.

I'm not sure of the trigger for this one, but spirulina came over the loud speaker quite clearly the other day. So I went, bought some Hawaiian spirulina and then did my research on what exactly it would do for me. Wrong order of events, but at least I bought the right kind to best avoid having it taste of "swampy fish ass," as one reviewer so eloquently wrote. Whew, dodged that bullet!

I copied the following from the Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica website about the supposed wonders of this stuff:

As one of the most nutritious, concentrated whole food known to humankind, one 3 gram serving of Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica provides:
• 60% protein and an excellent source of Vitamins A, K1, K2, B12 and Iron, Manganese, Chromium*
• Rich source of health giving-phytonutrients such as carotenoids, GLA, SOD, and phycocyanin*
• More nutrition gram per gram than any other Spirulina on the market*
The Nutritional Benefits
• Strengthens the immune system*
• Boosts energy levels*
• Supports cellular health*
• Supports cardiovascular, eye and brain health*

I also read that it "cures" acne. I guess if you have a nutritional deficiency that causes acne, then I can see how this spirulina could help that. I did also read that you can use spirulina as a face mask (make paste with water, leave on 20 minutes, towel off for glowing skin). I haven't tried that yet, haha, but I WILL post those pictures if I do!

The most difficult part for me is taking the stuff. The suggested dosage of 1 tsp (yes, I purchased powder instead of pills, because it was a better deal) feels kind of hefty if you dive right into it in a simple 8oz glass of water. It floats, coats the bubbles and looks like a Halloween gag. Thank goodness mine doesn't taste like swampy fish ass to boot!

HOW to take it

Google it and you'll find studs that just take it straight in water, those that mix it into smoothies, and recipes for date-nut-spirulina snack balls. Well great. I don't want to put that much effort into my spirulina thanks, and I don't drink smoothies. So what's a girl to do? Two words.

Apple. Cider.

8 oz cider (or 4oz cider, 4oz water if you're watching fruit/carb intake),

1 tsp spirulina

Mix, drink, done. Easy!


OMG, why isn't this information out there? Brilliant ;-)

Now I will go forth and drink spirulina cider! I will follow up if I have any news at all!


With fittest intentions,



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Top 2 Tips to Baking with Coconut

Just two. Why? Because I've only come across two major issues that'll mess up your final product and cause you baking aggravation!

Coconut Flour: Fluffy magic stuff...if used wisely! I just made fantastic blueberry muffins and they came out so light and fluffy, not at all dense or crumbly. The primary complaint I hear from folks on Paleo is how their various baked recipes came out crumbly or weird. So here we go with...

Coconut Tip #1

SIFT, SIFT, SIFT! Whatever amount the recipe calls for, let's say 1/3 cup, I will measure a scant 1/3 cup and then sift the flour. If you skip this step and just break the clumps with a fork, or whisk the flour and say, "that's good enough" it never will come out right. Take the extra 30 seconds and get out the mesh sieve/strainer. Place it over the mixing bowl for the dry ingredients, dump in the coconut flour and run a spoon through it. Voila! Light and fluffy baked goods!

Next major baking with coconut issue involves temperature discrepancies. Usually a recipe will call for dry ingredients and then wet, which you typically mix in a separate bowl and then you incorporate the wet into the dry. A sample recipe of wet ingredients will read thusly:

4 eggs

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 tsp Vanilla

1Tbsp orange zest

Trouble is that three of the four kids will play in the pool nicely together. The fourth (melted coconut oil) is a misunderstood child ESPECIALLY if confronted with chilly eggs fresh from the fridge! The coconut oil will seize up into aggravating clumpies that you will desperately try to whisk out. Joke's on you if you go this way. You can drive yourself crazy & ruin your eggs by whisking OR you'll get clever and put the metal mixing bowl in the heated oven and warm it just enough to melt your oil. You risk cooking your eggs though. If you haven't noticed by now, this is all a GINORMOUS pain in the rear. So this leads us to:

Coconut Tip #2

Melted coconut oil is last but not least. Mix your dry. Mix your wet. Mix the wet into the dry THEN drizzle your melted coconut oil in. If you're following a recipe by someone that has their act together they WILL specify this. Wether or not we actually read this instructional part is a different story. We're all old dogs used to using butter or canola oil which isn't as temperature sensitive. So now that everyone is playing nice in the pool together, you are saved from separated or cooked eggs and a whole lot of feeling like, "F*#¥ it I'm just going to buy Betty Crocker!"

I hope this helps you out next time you decide to do some Paleo style baking. Good luck!

With fittest intentions,



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The "Power" of the Scale

Its taken over 30 years to realize that I don't care what the number on the scale says. My day won't be ruined if I weigh in one pound up. I won't entertain any thoughts that my worth has been compromised should my weight increase and likewise, I will not feel like I am a better person should my weight decrease.

To clarify, with this post I don't intend to imply that my weight doesn't concern me. Nor do I mean to say that I've given up and that I wouldn't care if I weighed 300#! I mean to say that I don't have a particular number in my head that I believe is my "best" weight. I do not believe that there is a single magic weight for me at which all my performance and health goals will come true. So whether it's 135# or 155#, I do not care so long as my health and performance is getting better daily! I will not sacrifice either in order to achieve a "magic number".

Use the number on the scale as a single data point in an ongoing "study". Too often is a sudden weight change due to the gain or loss of water, so it's not worth getting all worried about being up four pounds the day after a wicked food and booze bender. [Actually, wtf are you doing weighing yourself the day after that? I mean come on, if you haven't pooed yet all that food is still in you. The scale doesn't lie but it can't un-weigh your dinner, it sure isn't magic!] What does concern me are trends like a steady and significant increase in weight or a change in weight along with a simultaneous increase in exhaustion or malaise. Using the number on the scale in conjunction with other information such as how I feel, how my clothes fit, how my digestion is doing and how I'm recovering from workouts, is more appropriate and can better assist in learning more about how your own body responds to its environment. 

Do not imbue your scale with supernatural powers! It isn't a deity, just a battery-operated tool!

Trust me though, it hasn't always been this way for me. I used to weigh in each day or two with the sole purpose of seeing if my current diet plan was working. I'd also weigh in after a cheat to see how much damage I had done. Using the scale was either rewarding or punishing; never just retrieving data, free from emotion.

So what changed my mind? It was my body that changed my mind for me. All I had to do was LISTEN to my body, eat, allow my body to tell me what it needed, eat clean and train right. And eat.

Four years later,150#. "OMG I'm huge!"
This second picture is just four years later (2012) when I weigh 150#.

OMG I'm huge right? In those four years I should have beaten my self up emotionally every time my weight went up right? I mean, this is obvious proof that all weight gain is bad...right? [For all of you that miss out on sarcasm, the answers to the above questions are all 'no'.]

All joking aside, I sometimes think about all the things I would have missed out on if I had allowed the scale to decide for me how skimpy my dinner would be that night. It's staggering. I can say that I am pretty dag-gone happy (and SO thankful) to have gained those 20#! I wouldn't be the person I am today because I wouldn't have enjoyed the experiences I have had.

More important than the black and white number on the scale is your health and happiness, now AND in the long run. Let your GOALS be your guide!

With fittest intentions,


I'm "That Girl" Yet Again!

(*these are not my actual confused baristas)
I spend a good amount of time at my local Starbucks doing work (and writing to you) in between classes, and am most thankful to Starbucks for their hospitality. I am here often enough to now know certain people and what to expect from them (as my Facebook status updates regarding the "smoking penis" can attest to). So I wondered today if the roles are reversed: do people here know me and know what to/what not to expect from me?

Ha, I don't think so.

If you've been following along at home, I recently discovered the joys of buttered coffee. Yes, i discovered that adding a tablespoon of my smooth and creamy Organic Valley pastured butter to my morning coffee practically GUARANTEED a fantastic day. It's astounding ;) I love having good days, so I naturally got to wondering what would my friendly neighborhood Starbucks barista do if I asked for butter with my coffee?

Me: "Hi there! I'd like a grande Komodo please. Also, can you tell me if I ordered a bagel with butter, do you butter the bagel for me or would you give me a couple packets of butter?"

Barista: blank stare

Me: patient stare back

Barista: "Um. Like, to put butter on the bagel?"

Me: ...

Barista: "Oh, well I...I don't think we can do it for you because of sanitation rules."

Me: "haha don't worry I'm not asking you to put it on for me. I just want to know if you have individually wrapped packets of butter."

Barista: "haha, oh okay. Yes, we give you individually wrapped pieces of butter."

Me: "Great! Can I have a couple packets, please?"

Barista: "Sure, what kind of bagel do you want?"

Me: "No bagel, just the coffee and the butter please."

Barista: ".......okay."

As I stood there dropping the butter pats into my coffee this is what was happening across the counter...

Yea, I'm pretty sure I'm just another perfectly normal regular that is known for her keen fashion sense and winning personality!

It kind of feels good to be "that girl" again.


With fittest intentions,


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Kettlebell Beast Recap

Just wrapped up the second year at the Kettlebell Beast at the Durham Fairgrounds in Connecticut. I'm a relative outsider to this group of kettlebell enthusiasts, as my focus is primarily CrossFit and OLY lifting up to this point. Despite my lack of know-how with the bells, this kind group pats me on the head and politely corrects me if I get a term wrong or get carried away and issue a time "warning". We do that in a CrossFit metcon, but I learned that a "warning" wasn't exactly appropriate. Oopsie hee hee.

The day got started not-so-brightly but certainly early on Saturday by loading the car with mats and bells in the frosty air. My workout for the day was quite primal, as it really just consisted of walking around carrying heavy or awkward objects. Mats, bells, benches, tables. At least I had started the day right with hot buttered coffee! (om nom nom nom)

This year the Powerlifters' event was next to us with the OLY lifting not too far away either. Throughout the day I could just glance over to see what was happening at each event. The guy benching 500#, the woman doing 176 kettlebell snatches in her set and achieving a new rank of Master of Sport, the woman hitting 171 on her clean and jerk. Overall, it was an awesome show of skill, strength and endurance!

Despite the cold, everyone remained in good spirits and turned out some great performances. I'm thankful for the kindness of the athletes: the powerlifter that succinctly answered my newb bench press questions, the kettlebell instructor that showed me how to practically plaster-cast the handle with chalk. Thank you everyone, because I had a great time mingling and learning!

If you've never done a kettlebell competition, but are interested, then let me recommend this one. Everyone's supportive, helpful and want to see the others succeed! Stay in contact with The Kettlebell Beast next year by writing to Also you can keep an eye on The Beast of The East updates online or on Facebook.

With fittest intentions,

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Worst Part of the Race

(This is you. This is you punching fear in the face.)
I was talking with some classmates about long distance runs when one said, "the most difficult distance of that whole race is the six inches between your ears." Boy, that says it all doesnt it? That is also true for ANY race, competition, event, problem, project, endeavor, dream, lift and pose. So while you may consider yourself a weightlifter, a CrossFitter, a runner, a yogi, a dancer or what have you we are always wrestling with that six inches between our ears.

What is the number one reason I have found for attempted, but failed, lifts? Fear. Fear keeps us from dropping under the snatch. Doubt nags at us and makes your brain freeze mid-pull. How many times have you seen someone, or yourself, go for a clean only drop the bar from the top of the triple? That's just that six inches messing with you. Sometimes it's justified and rational but there are times that it's just fear. JUST fear.

A lift is just a lift. Trikonasana is just a yoga pose. But we LOAD these things with meaning. I can't begin to list all the times that I've thrown or wanted to throw the jump rope across the room because I was screwing up on double-unders, judging myself (wrongly) for it, getting emotional and allowing the Thing to become shameful judgement of Me. It's just not right! Here's a quote from Swami Karmanada Saraswati about approaching your practice with fairness and without fear. He's specifically discussing yoga, but oh how this applies to any of our crafts!

"Do not fight your body. Do not carry the world on your shoulders like Atlas. Drop that heavy load of unnecessary baggage and you will feel better. Do not kill the instinct of the body for the glory of the pose. Do not look at your body like a stranger, but adopt a friendly approach toward it. Watch it, listen to it, observe its needs, its requests, and even have fun." -Swami Karmanada Saraswati

Oh the things we could accomplish if we had no fear or doubt, if we could access our body and will's full potential! If we weren't carrying the weight of judgement on our shoulders maybe we wouldn't drop our shoulders on the dip-drive. Maybe that bar would feel lighter at the lockout if we weren't inhibited by imposed responsibilities. Maybe you could kick up into a handstand if you weren't afraid you'd crumble, literally and figuratively.

Remember that your craft, your practice, is yours. When you're in the moment BE. IN. THE. MOMENT. Because the six inches between your ears doesn't just give you fear and doubt. A tremendous source of power lies there waiting to be spoken to. The power though wants to feel loved, it needs to be inspired to come out. Power needs a muse.

Interact with power; be power's muse!


With fittest intentions,