Recipe of the Week 9/2/16 - Baked "Buffalo" Wings

The hardest part about changing my eating habits is missing my favorite foods. My all time favorite is buffalo wings. Smokeaters was a place I would go to at least once a week and indulge in sweet fried goodness.

Luckily, I have found a substitute, and truthfully, I like these more because I don't get that grease filled coma after!  So here it is, baked "buffalo" wings

What you need:
- 2lb chicken wings. (Trader Joe's has an organic choice that's perfect!)

 - 1 cup Tapatio hot sauce ( for zone diet, it's basically a freebie)

- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or more it you want)

Cooking Instructions:

1. Let wings thaw if frozen
2. Melt butter and mix with hot sauce and garlic
3. Put chicken in large Ziploc bag (or bowl) and mix it all up
4. Let chicken sit in sauce for an hour in fridge
5. Use a cookie sheet and cover in foil
6. Preheat oven to 375
7. Place wings on sheet and cook for 20 minutes
8. Turn wings over, cover in any additional sauce left from step 3
9. Cook another 20 minutes or until wings are no longer pink in middle
10. Grub!

5 wings is four blocks if you’re zoning!

By Chad Artery - CFSV Athlete

Recipe of the Week 8/19/16 - Garbanzo Bean Omelet

Welcome to our first installment of the Recipe of the Week! Each week we will bring you new, flavorful suggestions to super charge you on your way to your fitness goals! This week we will begin where any meal planning should… BREAKFAST!

Garbanzo Bean Omelet


  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Onions - diced
  • 1/4 cup Green bell peppers - diced
  • 1/4 cup Garbanzo beans canned - rinsed/drained, slightly mashed
  • 2-3 Whole Eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • (optional) 1 oz slice Low-fat Provolone cheese, reduced fat
  • 1/3 cup Mandarin orange slices - in water


Alright, let’s start with those garbanzo beans. The recipe calls for canned, drained and rinsed. Yeah you should definitely do that. I got ambitious and decided to go with uncooked and I can now say that turning uncooked garbanzo beans into properly cooked garbanzo beans hardly seems worth the hassle. If you have time on your hands go for it, plenty of resources when you google “how to cook garbanzo beans”, but if you’re busy and need to eat go with canned.

Everything else is pretty straightforward:

  1. Heat oil in pan.
  2. Add onions and green peppers to sauté.
  3. Add beans and cook until heated through.
  4. Beat eggs separately and mix to pan.
  5. (Optional for the lactose tolerant: Top with slice of cheese.)
  6. Cook on low-medium until eggs are desired omlettey consistency.
  7. Flip onto plate, top with salsa and a side of oranges.

Approximate Nutritional Info:

  • Fat:       10g
  • Carbs:   36g
  • Protein: 28

Bring it on 2015!!!

Hello CFSV!  I wanted to share this article with all of you that I wrote for my office at Positive Motion.  Please take a look and do not hesitate to ask me any questions in regards to the cleanse, or our informational meeting.  You do not need to be a patient to attend the meeting on Jan 13th, or obtain the items for our cleanse.

Hope you all had a wonderful new year celebration, and I hope 2015 will be your best year yet!

In Positive Motion,

Vanessa Nordin, DC, Positive Motion Health, CFSV Health/Lifestyle Coach

Pre- and Pro-biotics: A Symbiotic Balance

Our gut is often referred to as a second brain.  It communicates with our brain, and can greatly affect the quality and efficiency of our brain and other bodily functions.  This is referred to as the gut-brain axis.”  In fact, many of your hormones are produced in the gut as well as in the brain.  For example, 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, which ironically contributes to feelings of happiness, appetite and sleep.  This can partly explain why we may feel happy, satisfied and tired after eating.

The healthy bacteria in our gut create an enclosed system called the “microbiome.”  The health of our microbiome is dependent on eating a healthy diet to maintain the beneficial bacteria and keep bacterial overgrowth or harmful bacteria out.  

The result of an unhealthy microbiome is called dysbiosis, and can lead to an increase in inflammatory cells and other issues.  This in turn can lead to effects such as poor thinking and memory, skin problems, poor immune defense, poor digestion (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, etc), and even bad breath!

So, how do we maintain a healthy microbiome?  We need to supply our body with healthy bacteria, and we also need to maintain that bacteria by feeding them!  Yes, I am serious, we need to not only eat for our own sustenance, but for our bacteria as well!  

I suspect your next question will be, “how do we know we are feeding the right bacteria, and not promoting the growth of bad gut bacteria?”  This is accomplished with what is known as a  prebiotic.  According to research, a prebiotic is a selectively fermented ingredient that will feed only the beneficial bacteria in our gut flora. How cool is that?! 

Prebiotics, based off of this research, are “only bifidogenic, non-digestible oligosaccharides (particularly inulin), its hydrolysis product oligofructose, and (trans)galactooligosaccharides.”  There has also been other talk that resistant starches such as glutamine, are possible prebiotics, but still require more research to be confirmed (1).

If none of those words made any sense to you, here is a list of common foods that contain those big words listed above: onions, jerusalem artichoke, and fruits and vegetables high in soluble fiber (sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, asparagus, turnips, mango, avocados, strawberries, apricots) (2).

Note:  If you have IBS or bloating and gas more regularly, then you will not do well with a pre-biotic while dealing with a digestive issue.  This is because when bacteria break down food their waste is our flatulence.  If you have too many bacteria and begin feeding them more then the amount of flatulence produced will be greater, thus more discomfort.

If you currently do not have any major gut problems, then incorporating prebiotics into your diet regularly will be excellent for the maintenance of your gut health.

If you are trying to eat a low-carb diet, then pre-biotic supplementation is a great alternative.

Remember! A pro-biotic is useless unless you are feeding the bacteria you are adding to your system!  This is why pre-biotics are so important.


Probiotics literally means ‘for life’, and are the actual bacteria required for maintaining a healthy gut.  Like everything in life, nothing lives forever, which is why it is important to consistently consume probiotics.  You can consume certain foods daily to keep the bacterial population high and strong.  Some food sources include: kefir, yogurt (be careful you are not buying yogurt with artificial sweeteners!), and fermented foods and beverages such as kim chi, sauerkraut, ginger beer, or kombucha.  

If you choose to consume your probiotic via supplements, then the daily intake will be dependent on the products recommendation.  I generally recommend people to not be on the same probiotic for long periods of time.  Switching brands will allow for different dosages of each bacterial strain, and some brands will contain strains that others do not.  Be sure to check to see if the probiotic also contains prebiotics.  If it does then you can opt to decrease your dietary intake of prebiotic foods, especially if they make you bloated.

If you suspect you are suffering from a chronic health issue you should consult a health care professional.  Battling gut bacterial issues can be a delicate process that can differ from patient to patient.  When to consider talking to a health care professional: 1. If you have poor food digestion (including but not limited to bloating, irregular bowel function or bowel movements) 2. skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or dermatitis 3. nasal congestion or bad breath.

Professor Loren Cordain suggests that if you feel you are eating adequate amounts of fruits and veggies every day, but still feel constipated you should follow these steps below:

-Probiotics: between 6-9 billion bacteria/day during one month, then cut down to 4-5 billion.

-Prebiotics: 4-6 grams a day during one month (if you do not improve with 4 grams increase up to 6 grams). Then cut down to 2 grams a day.

-Coconut oil (a good source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids): a tablespoon per day.

Happy bacteria feeding :)

-Dr Vanessa Nordin, CFSV Health/Lifestyle Coach, Positive Motion Health

Shine a little Vitamin D on me!

Quick Facts about Vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D is in fact not an essential vitamin because our bodies can synthesize it from the sunlight.
  • There are two forms: D2 and D3.  D3, cholecalciferol, is the more bioactive form of vitamin D and comes from animal products (primarily) and UVB exposure.  

I know you are at the edge of your seat wondering “How does our body absorb something from UBV light and make it available for metabolic utilization?!”  Ok, maybe not in those exact words, but the answer put simply:  When the UVB rays hit your skin it is converted into a cholesterol derivative, which is then converted into D3.  The active form of D3 is actually a hormone called calcitriol. 

Main Functions of Vit D:

  • It helps to regulate calcium and phosphorus blood levels.  Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which is very important for bone growth and muscle contraction.
    • Fun fact! Do you get little twitches or fasciculations in your muscles that are involuntary, especially after a work out?  This is usually an electrolyte imbalance, and the most common deficit substance is calcium.  If you think you are well stocked in calcium, but not vitamin D, then your body will not adequately absorb calcium, thus muscle spasms occur.
  • Vit D helps to modulate cell growth, neuromuscular and immune functions, and reduces inflammation (1).

Cell growth and degeneration are regulated by gene encoding proteins which have receptors for the active form of vitamin D.  Properly functioning receptors supplied with adequate vitamin D will keep bone, collagen and other tissue types healthy and strong (3).

Sources of Vit D:

  • One of the top sources is from fish/shellfish oils (cod, mackerel, salmon, and tuna), but can also be found in butter and egg yolks.
    • Cod liver oil is an excellent source because you get one of the best sources of omegas and vitamin A along with the vitamin D.
  • It can also be found in fortified foods such as dairy, and orange juice (beware of sugar content with this one!).
  • SAFE sun exposure can actually (brace yourselves) reduce your risk of cancer and suppress tumor formation in skin cells.  Remember we discussed earlier that vitamin D helps to regulate healthy cellular growth and degradation?  Check out this article to read more about this fact.
    • Remember! Don’t go out and get all the sun you possibly can in one day.  Build a nice base tan, and ease your skin into sun exposure.  When you burn you are damaging your skin cells, and this can raise your risk of skin conditions including cancer.
    • Sunscreen and sunblocks can decrease vitamin D absorption, however they protect you from overexposure of UBA and UBV rays.  Sunscreen can be toxic for the skin because of the chemicals it is made out of, which our skin absorbs.  If you want protection buy sunBLOCK which allows for minimal skin absorption of the lotion and harmful UV rays because it mostly reflects the sun rays.  Natural sunblocks can be found at natural food stores or a dermatologist. 

Daily intake of vitamin D by Food and Nutrition Board:

400-800IU (under 50)     800-1,000IU (over 50)

Vitamin D Council Recommended Daily Intake:

5,000-10,000IU/day for adults (1,000IU/25 pounds for children)

***Note: vitamin D is fat soluble so your body can have a difficult time getting rid of it.  It is highly recommended that you take no more than the upper limits of the suggested dosage unless your health care professional says otherwise.  That being said, it is best to take vitamin D with meals that contain fat.  Supplementation intake is especially good during times of the year when sun exposure is less.


Best times of sun exposure?

Mid-day is optimal because the sun’s rays are efficiently entering the earth’s atmosphere (2).  Rule of thumb:  If your shadow is longer than you are tall, your absorption will be less (2).


Skin types and absorption:

The more pale your skin, the more easily your absorb UV rays, thus less time is needed in the sun (2).  When your skin turns slightly pink or deepens in color slightly you know you are at your daily intake that is necessary.  For some people, this could be 15 minutes, while others closer to an hour.


  1. NIH - Vitamin D Facts Sheet for Health Professionals
  2. Vitamin D Council.  How do I get the vitamin D my body needs?
  3. 3. Carlberg, C. Genome-wide (over)view on the actions of vitamin D. April 29, 2014.

By: Vanessa Nordin, DC at Positive Motion, CSV Health/Lifestyle Coach 

Acidic vs. Basic Diet

Our body is designed with many checks and balances in order to stay balanced and functioning optimally.  Thankfully, it has a powerful system to balance the acids and bases that we ingest or create from physical activity because there is very little wiggle room for the bodys ideal pH to fluctuate. The normal pH for a human being is about 7.4, and if it goes lower than 7 or higher than 7.7, you would be in severe distress.

When food enters our stomach it is doused with stomach acid composed primarily of hydrochloric acid (HCl), which has a pH of 1.3-3.5.  So, no matter what pH your food may have been before it was ingested it surely will become acidic once it enters your stomach.  As the broken down food enters the small intestines it is buffered with bicarbonate to become more alkaline, and allow our body to finish the digestion process.  The pH of our food after it is broken down is most important, which is why foods like apple cider vinegar is beneficial (see below).

Let us back track just a little bit.  What do you think regulates your bodys pH?  If you guessed the stomach you are partially correct!  However, our lungs and kidneys are the two big hitters. 

For the purpose of keeping this post from being too long I will not go into depth of how our lungs regulate pH.  Just know that when you breathe oxygen and carbon dioxide are being exchanged from our blood stream through our lungs and into the air, and the other way around.  This process allows the body to increase or decrease acid molecules in the blood.  The frequency of our breathing is dependent on oxygen need and acid-base balance.  The more you breathe the more oxygen is inhaled (for example, during physical activity for muscle function), and your body decreases the pH (become more acidic) of its blood.  The reverse is true for increasing the pH of blood.

Our kidneys regulate blood pH primarily through the excretion of hydrogen ions, which is a fancy way of saying excreting acid.  Our kidneys, like our stomach and intestines, have buffers like phosphors and bicarbonate to keep our blood close to that sweet alkaline spot of 7.4.  Your urines pH can be altered quickly by what we eat or drink, but this does not reflect the core pH of our entire body. 

So then, you ask: Whats all the hubbub about using pH strips?  Great question!  pH strips can be a great way to monitor your bodys acid base balance over time.  If over the course of a few weeks your body is constantly showing high excrement of acid, then you can try to alter your diet to incorporate more alkaline foods.  Remember, your body will get rid of excess acid based off of immediate changes such as after eating, which will appear in your pH urine stick fairly quickly.  So, it is best to evaluate this process over several days to weeks.  This will give you a better idea if your overall diet is balanced rather than specifically what the last thing you ate the night before is doing to your body and making large diet changes based off of that. 

This is also important to know because, as mentioned before, our lungs also balance acid and bases in our blood, not just our kidneys.  Also, other processes in our body create excess acid as metabolic waste such as… you guessed it: exercise!  So your pH strip can give you information off of things other than your diet.

Take home notes/review for acid-base balance in our bodies:

-    Eat in a way that optimizes pH balance by not over consuming meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol, artificial and processed foods, and consuming more fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and seeds.

-     In general, animal products and grains are acid forming, while fruits and vegetables are alkali forming. Pure fats, sugars, and starches are neutral, because they dont contain protein, sulfur, or minerals (1).  So, again, find the balance.

-    Alkaline foods are beneficial to us because they help to eliminate from our diets harmful foods such as sugars, processed foods, or too much red meat.  These foods when consumed in excess can cause inflammation, which is the real problem causer (1).

Apple cider vinegar:  Judds Fav!

This information is taken from, which is a great brand of apple cider vinegar:  Apple cider vinegar also possesses a number of characteristic acids, vitamins, mineral salts and amino acids.  Among these active ingredients are soluble fiber in the form of pectin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene and lycopene. This elixir also contains minerals such as sodium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium (try saying all of those components in one breath!).

This amazing liquid has several other functions such as an astringent, detoxification, acne, dandruff, etc.

Pectin, which is a type of insoluble fiber as mentioned above is particularly important because high-fiber foods increase feelings of satisfaction and fullness.

Please note!  Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains all of these benefits!  The clear non-cloudy types you may find in major supermarkets have been distilled and may be ok to use around the house, but not for health benefits!

Finally, what is ash? After foods are metabolized or broken down, the ash is their left over products, and the pH of that food is based off of its ash.  For apple cider vinegar, which is acidic before being metabolized, its ash is basic which is why it is great for maintaining an alkaline diet! 




By: Vanessa Nordin, DC, CSV Health/Lifestyle Coach

Is Sugar Good for You?

Just a Spoon Full of Sugar Helps the Medicine... Wait, what?!

            Believe me, I could talk about sugar for days.  There is a whole side and aspect of sugar in how it interacts with the brain with addiction, the habits we create from when and why we eat it, etc.  However, I will leave this topic for another day.  For now, I want you to gain an understanding of the different types of sugars that are out there, and a general understanding of how our bodies digest them.

One take home message from this article should be that sugar is not unhealthy for us.  If consumed appropriately and in moderation it serves as a source of glucose to our bodies that we need for energy and brain function.  Many forms of sugar or sweeteners also are accompanied by other important nutrients.

            Over time the food industry has tried to find other ways for us to enjoy sugar and sweets by using less of a sweetener to obtain a sesired amount of sweetness (thus less calories), avoiding it triggering reward centers of our brains (thus avoiding the addiction and cravings), or finding “healthier” alternatives.  There are three major forms of sugar used today: natural sugars, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols.  Let’s take a look at them.


Natural Sugar: Refined sugar, stevia, maple syrup, molasses, and honey

Honey: With a composition ratio of glucose to fructose ratio similar to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), it’s flavor is often mimicked in processed foods with HFCS(1).  However, unlike HFCS, honey has many health benefits. 

Regular consumption can enhance antioxidant defense in healthy adults (2), as well as supplying vitamin C and increasing other immune defense substances in the body (3).  Using raw local honey can also assist with seasonal allergy sensitivities. 

If choosing which honey to purchase, Id recommend raw honey, and locally grown (you can usually find this at a local farmers market) to be sure that all of the enzymes and nutrients have been preserved and not damaged by heat.


Stevia:  Its good, its bad, its good, its bad...which is it?!

There has been a considerable amount of debate about Stevia, and whether or not it is safe to eat.  Stevia has almost no calories, and has shown in many studies to help control insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar in humans and rats, which ultimately is very beneficial for those who need assistance controlling diabetes (4, 5).  It appears at the moment that Stevia is a safe sweetener; especially for those with blood sugar controls issues or want a non-caloric sweetener.

Maple Syrup and Molasses:

Both of these sweeteners contain many other nutrients such as calcium, zinc and iron, and are made primarily of sucrose, with smaller amounts of glucose and fructose (6).  We all know maple syrup comes from trees, and molasses is simply a sticky by-product from refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar.  Both are safe, and natural choices for sugar alternatives.

Refined sugars: primarily sucrose (table sugar)

Refined sugar simply means that the sugar underwent a process to remove any impurities and colors.  Molasses is a by-product of sugar refining.  Though, refined sounds bad, it simply means that the sugar went from raw and was stripped down to a more pure state of sugar.  There is no reason to be afraid of refined or raw sugars.

Artificial Sweeteners:  Do they cause CANCER?!?!!!

At the moment, there have been several studies on the risk of artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet) leading to cancer.  One study, which looked at a large network of case-controlled studies that evaluated the possibility of different types of cancer linked to sweeteners conducted between 1991-2004 (7).  The conclusion was that there was a lack of association between artificial sweeteners and the risk of cancer. 

Many artificial sugar companies are or were owned by major food producers, such as Monsanto.  My theory on this “lack of association” is that big food businesses have the money to conduct studies to make their products appear safe.  The current evidence of artificial sweeteners may be politically skewed.

Studies have shown that consuming artificial sweeteners will stimulate the reward centers of the brain just as natural sugar can, and maybe even heighten the reward response. 

All in all, I would look at artificial sweeteners as something to be consumed with caution or avoided until proven safe or unsafe.  Keep in mind that artificial sweeteners are used in foods and beverages that are supposed to be avoided to stay healthy (sodas, candy, fruit juices, snacks, etc).  The use of an artificial sweetener should help you to second guess whether or not you should be consuming the food or beverage in the first place, independent of if it was made with natural or artificial sugar.


Sugar Alcohols: Xylitol, Sorbitol, and Erythritol.

Sugar alcohols have a low calorie content and low glycemic index, which is beneficial for those who are watching calories.  Based off of research, which there is not as extensive research on the toxicity of sugar alcohols as there is for artificial sweeteners, it is generally accepted that sugar alcohols are safe.  At the moment, there is no significant evidence that sugar alcohols cause an insulin response or blood glucose spike, which is another perk.  Xylitol can be beneficial for preventing tooth decay as well.  Beware, that many people have a sensitivity to sugar alcohols, and cause gas, bloating or even diarrhea.  So eat, or chew products with sugar alcohols with caution.  If you choose to use toothpaste that contains xylitol, which can be very therapeutic for your dental health, be sure to spit out all of the toothpaste, and avoid swallowing as much as possible.  This problem is more common in young children.

This is a great review on much of the information that I just covered on sugar alcohols:


There is much to consider when eating different types of sugars.  The most important factor to note is if the sugar you are consuming is replacing calories, or adding on top of them.  As in, is the sugar you are consuming adding to your daily intake of calories or to the amount glucose you want for the benefit of your body, or is it extra calories?  When considering foods or beverages with artificial or non-natural sugars, take a second look at the product before you consume it and ask yourself: "Is putting this in my body really worth it?  With the unclear and conflicting information about non-natural sugars, is putting this in my body worth the gamble in the long run?"


Finally:  Don't think avoiding sugars is the way to go!  Enjoy the sweetness every now and then!  Indulgence is allowed if you know your limits of self-regulation.    Remember, indulgence or satisfying a craving can be accomplished with sweet natural foods such as berries, or cherries, pineapple, mango, or even 75% or greater cacao dark chocolate.  Get creative, and dont always settle for the cookie.


One last thing!  Remember that when reading food labels the sugar listed are only natural sugars, whether they are added or not.  So sucrose (table sugar), fructose (fruit sugars) and lactose (dairy sugar) will be added to the daily serving percentage, but other sugars are not!  So artificial sugars, and sugar alcohols are NOT added to the daily sugar grams per serving.


OkIm done :)









Post By: Vanessa Nordin, CFSV Lifesyle Coach

Recovery Part 2: Body Recovery

No Pain, No Gain…wait, what?!

We all know how it can feel when we begin to make strides in our workout regimen.  Muscle mass increase, weight loss, increased speed and power make us excited and pumped up to continue on.  We begin to think that if we continue with the same pace or a greater pace then our results will also become greater.  But, of course as we all know, too much of a good thing can be bad for us.


The image of a bell curve that most of us are familiar with is something to keep in mind throughout this discussion.  On the rising side is where you will be working out with your maximum intensity with maximum metabolic benefits, and at the top of the curve is where you transition from benefits to loss.  The declining side is where a decline in your health can take place by training too much.


irst and foremost it should be noted that if you are reading this article most likely you are an active CrossFit member.  Congratulations!  You have chosen a style of exercise that is one of the best for your body, and that is high intensity exercise.  Studies show that high intensity training can decrease your risk for metabolic syndrome (factors that increase the risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions,  obesity, etc), and improve health and physical function (1, 2).  Sadly, high intensity activity is also the easiest to reach overtraining and oxidative stress on the body.


What are some signs that you are over training? 

Decreased physical performance, with difficulty to complete or recover from workouts, or increased injuries. 

Decreased motivation, depression, competitive drive, and poor sleep

Weakened immune system, increased or decreased body weight


Why does this happen? Physical and emotional stress

Cortisol deregulation: insomnia, energy crashes, depression, weight gain, and memory impairment

Hypoglycemia: depression, weight gain, poor digestive function

Inflammation: Causes more stress to your adrenal gland (cortisol deregulation), and increases gut permeability (chronic inflammation and food sensitivities AND weakened immune system)

Inadequate sleep, and poor food, water and electrolyte consumption for recovery: dehydration, decreased energy, cramping, poor sweating, etc.


Exercise creates muscle breakdown, depletion of energy stores, and metabolic stress.  It is important to realize that when you rest and recover you are supporting your body to rebuild, replenish and relax.  Along with this your body has time to adapt to the new increased physical stressors you have placed upon it such as increased frequency of working out (specifically if you are just beginning to work out on a regular basis), increased lifting weight, increased speed, and (what many of us forget about) new movement patterns.


So?  How do we cope? 

Long Term Recovery, which will help you to continuously work out on a yearly schedule:  For example: 4 weeks on and 1 off.

Short Term Recovery, which will help you work out continuously from week to week:  For example: 2 days on and 1 day off, or 3 days on and 1 off.  This can be unique to each individual too.  Maybe you like 4 on and 2 off.

Cross train: Keep high intensity workouts to about 3 days per week, and do something such as interval sprints, weight lifting, distance running, or yoga for the remaining work out days

Get adequate amounts of sleep!!!  ***See Recovery Part 1 post

Eat healthy, and remember when it is best to eat certain macronutrients (Refer to Pre/Post Workout post)

Drink plenty of water!


***Remember! Your rest days dont have to be zero physical activity.  Go for a light run or hike, do a light yoga class, or do a long stretch and foam roll session. The main goal is to keep your heart rate low (less than 50% of your max heart rate, which is 220- your age in years).






Post By: Vanessa Nordin, CSV Lifestyle Coach


Recovery Part 1: Mind Recovery

“Takin’ out the trash…During sleep?!”


Wouldn’t it be great if your trash were taken out while you sleep, and you could wake up with a fresh and clean house?  Well your brain does!  Recent research has suggested that one of the main reasons that we sleep is for our brain to restore itself by removing the waste that our nerve cells produce in order for us to function as the highly intelligent beings that we are2.  In fact, the cells in our brain shrink about 60% during sleep, which allows the waste to be removed more efficiently with increased space to flush the waste2.  Keeping that in mind, our brain does not reduce the amount of energy it consumes during sleep.  Why is that?  The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which helps to carry and remove cellular by-products from the brain, requires a great deal of energy2.  This may be why we require sleep, since the brain could not perform both information processing and cleaning at the same time. 


At this point I hope you are asking, “If I sleep more, then I will have a greater ability to have clear thinking and store memory?”  Yes!  Your brain’s prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is made up of grey matter, is responsible for cognitive thinking (making decisions, interpreting language, emotional control, etc.), and also has a significant effect on low wave activity during sleep1.  Low wave brain activity is when we reach our REM sleep cycle, or deep sleep.  As we age our grey matter volume decreases, and this can also occur with brain conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  This may contribute to our changes in memory, and performing daily activities as we age.  It is also important to remember that the amount of grey matter is the real reason between getting a good or poor night sleep, not necessarily age.


To all of those living the busy Silicon Valley life (Yes, I’m talking to you): If you thought you could fine a loophole to this situation by making up for your sleep on the weekends… think again!  Dr. Epstein of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has found that, “After two weeks of sleeping six hours or less a night, [subjects] feel as bad and perform as poorly as someone who has gone without sleep for 48 hours… [subjects] getting adequate amounts of sleep performed better on memory and motor tasks than did students deprived of sleep”3.  Dr. Epstein also mentioned that inconsistent sleep patterns throw off your internal clock.  Therefore, how awake you feel during the day could be caused by something as simple as the amount of sleep you have been consistently getting! 

The following tips are provided by the AASM to help people get the most out of their sleep:

·       Go to bed early 
People should go to bed early enough to have the opportunity for a full night of sleep. Adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

·       Get out of bed 
If you have trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.

·       Stay out of bed 
Don’t study, read, watch TV or talk on the phone in bed. Only use your bed for sleep.

·       Limit naps 
If you take a nap, then keep it brief.  There are 5 stages of sleep, and the first two stages, which are light sleep stages, occur within the first 20-30 minutes of sleep.  The following stages are where the body transitions from light and into deep sleep.  Naps should stay in the light sleep stages, and be more than five minutes, but less than 30 minutes.

·       Wake up on the weekend 
It is best to go to bed and wake up at the same times on the weekend as you do during the workweek. If you missed out on a lot of sleep during the week, then you can try to catch up on the weekend. But sleeping in later on Saturdays and Sundays will make it very hard for you to wake up on Monday morning.

·       Avoid caffeine 
Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and at night. It stays in your system for hours and can make it hard for you to fall asleep.

·       Adjust the lights 
Dim the lights in the evening and at night so your body knows it will soon be time to sleep. Let in the sunlight in the morning to boost your alertness. Our body’s “master clock”, which governs our circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake cycle, is called the superchiasmic nucleus (SCN)4.  How is the SNC, which is a part of our brain, related to the intensity of light around us?  The SCN is a structure that sits above where our two optic nerves cross.  So, as the lights are dimmed or increased, our master clock receives signals that the day is coming to an end or starting a new, and prepares our body for sleep or wake time.

·       Wind down 
Take some time to “wind down” before going to bed. Get away from the computer, turn off the TV and the cell phone, and relax quietly for 15 to 30 minutes.

·       Eat a little 
Never eat a large meal right before bedtime. Enjoy a light healthy snack so you don’t go to bed hungry

Creating good sleep habits now will surely set you up for a healthier brain as your age.  Plan your day ahead of time to assure you will be able to get an adequate amount of sleep.

Sweet dreams!



1.  University of California Researchers.  “Does Getting More Sleep Reduce Memory Loss”, Jan 29, 2013.

2. Nedergaard, Maiken M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine.  “To Sleep, Perchance to Clean”, Oct 17, 2013.

3. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “College Students: Getting Enough Sleep is Vital to Academic Success”, November 30, 2007.

4. National Institute of General Medical Sciences. “Circadian Rhythms Fact Sheet”, March 2014.

Post By:  Vanessa Nordin, DCPositive Motion HealthCFSV Health/Lifestyle Coach

The Fat Facts

Fats play a very important role in our bodies.  First and foremost I want to point out that if you are eating the correct types of fat THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY MAKE YOU FAT!  Boom, myth debunked!  What you should think when you eat fats is that they are excellent sources of energy, and help to increase your muscle mass!...You seem perplexed by this.  Think about it, muscle is made of protein and FAT!  The fat that your muscles store is directly used for energy they need to function.  Do not confuse muscle fat with that bit that keeps getting stored on your (insert your problem area).  Lastly, fat provides a more steady supply of energy throughout the day than carbohydrates, which can cause fluctuations in blood sugar (See the previous post about Pre and Post-workout nutrition for more information about carbohydrates and how we use them for energy).


Let’s quickly meet our different fats (In no particular order): 

Long Chain Saturated Fats (LCSFA)

  • These are the fats that come primarily from milk or ruminant animals like cattle and sheep.
  •  They represent the primary form of stored energy for humans.  In other words, when the body wants to store energy this is the type of fats it likes to use.
  •  Leaves no toxic by-products when it is metabolized by the body...just H2O and CO2!
  •   Benefit: Ghee is stable at high cooking temperatures, and resistant to oxidative stress.  Is is also free of whey and casein, which many people have a food allergy or sensitivity to!


Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)

  • Also a saturated fat, and comes from coconut and mother’s milk.
  • These fats do not have to interact with bile acids or be absorbed by the small intestines, but can be brought directly to the liver: This means it is easily digestible energy!
  •  Benefit: Coconut oil is stable at high cooking temperatures and resistant to oxidative stress so it can be cooked at high heats!


Monounsaturated Fat (MUF)

  • Primarily found in beef, olive oil and avocados
  • Also has non-toxic by-products!
  • Great to eat, but beware that foods like avocados and some nuts are high in OMEGA 6s! (more on this below)


Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAS): Omega 3 and 6

Want a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to 6, this is very important!

Omega 6: Having omega 6 is important for our bodies; however, we want to keep low levels of it in our diets because it can become toxic at high levels.

  •  Found in refined oils: soybean, cottonseed, safflower and sunflower oils.
    •  Check your cereals, chips, crackers, SALAD DRESSINGS, etc.
  •  Also found in most nuts and dark meat of poultry

  •  Most Americans eat too much omega 6s, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, autoimmune diseases, etc

Omega 3: Three types: ALA(short chain), EPA and DHA (long chain)

  •  ALA: found in walnuts or flax
  • EPA and DHA: found primarily in seafood
  • The body requires PUFAS to be in the EPA and DHA forms.  ALA can be converted into EPA or DHA, but the body is very inefficient in this process (less than .5% conversion).  So, it is not a good idea to rely on flax as a primary source of PUFA fats if your are vegetarian.

 Trans-Fats... I won't even breach this topic... just AVOID!


Quick Summary:

  • Eat freely: LCSFA, and MCTs

  • Eat with caution: MUF

  • PUFAS: be sure you are eating a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to 6


Fun Fat Facts:

  • Did you know?! Glucose (which directly comes from carbs) can be made from breaking down glycerol from fat!  ... It can also undergo several transformations and converted into fat (why we want to limit our carb intake to individual body demands).
    • Fat > Glycerol> Glucose 
    • Glucose> several chemical reactions> Fat
  • Did you ALSO know?!  The saturated fats and triglycerides that cannot be absorbed in our intestines are brought to our MUSCLES to be absorbed and broken down.  This is why LCSFAs and MCTs are a better choice when considering muscle energy expenditure.
    • Fat absorbed by fat: Stored L
    • Fat absorbed by muscle: used for muscle ENERGY J 
  •  Why and when are fats better for energy rather than carbs?!
    • ATP is a molecule that directly transfers energy in cells to be used for metabolism… in other words it is responsible for delivering the goods to our cells so they can create energy for us to function.
      • Carbs: Easily mobilized for use and fast acting, but 1 molecule of glucose produces only 36-38 molecules of ATP.
      • Fats: Slower to digest and utilize, but 1 molecule of fat produces 130 molecules of ATP!
      • Protein: It is not best to rely on protein for energy because we need it for tissue repair and growth, immune function, etc.

Nerd Out:

By: CSV Lifestyle Coach Vanessa

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition... and a little breakfast too!

Breakfast: Stick to fats and proteins to keep metabolism slow and not elicit an insulin response too early in the day which could lead to fat storage.  So, eating less carbs for breakfast will also keep us fuller longer until lunch!

 But we need glucose for our brain fuel you say?!  Glucose is SO important for our body that it has ways to synthesize glucose from amino acids or fats…No way!  Yes way! 

Pre-Workout: We want to sustain energy and hydration, increase muscle energy, and boost performance and recovery. 

Simple! Eat all 3 macronutrient categories: protein, fats and carbs.  We want to prepare the body for what it's about to do on all levels.  This should be ingested no less than 1.5 hours before workout. 

Carbohydrates (fuel source) are the thing that you want to test around with: If you're crashing during or near the end of your workout: increase consumption (especially if you know you are about to do a big WOD, or a long race)

Protein: important for muscle building (Did you know?  When you work out your muscles are actually undergoing trauma, and when they re-build and re-pair the end result is more muscle fibers, aka muscle hypertrophy.  That’s how we build muscles, and we need an abundance of protein to do this!) ***Special Note: Carbs aid in protein absorption, so if you cut your carb intake in half when mixing with protein and you'll get same energy effects.  This is great for those who are trying to become leaner.

Fats: Another source of energy and slows digestion (don't want to become hungry during a workout). 

Hungry 1 hour before your workout? Almond or coconut milk, half serving of protein powder, berries, or non-starchy veggies are a great choice!  We don’t want to take energy needed for digestion away from our bodies if we are working out on a full stomach, and we can’t utilize undigested food for energy. 

Post-Workout: 4 R’s: Recover, Rehydrate, Refuel, Rebuild

The "30-min window" – There is a great deal of controversy over specificity of having to eat with in 30 min post-workout.  My recommendation is to be sure to eat within 1 hour of working out, however our bodies do have the capability to replenish our muscle energy stores in the absence of food.  Take home message?  Try to eat 30 minutes to an hour post workout, but don’t fret if one day here or there this cannot be done.  Our bodies are smarter than you may know to keep you in tip top condition!

Nerd out with these if you dare:

Rapid carbohydrate loading after a short bout of near maximal-intensity exercise.

Post-Exercise Muscle Glycogen Repletion in the Extreme: Effect of Food Absence and Active Recovery.


Avoid: Too much fats post workout because you risk the body storing it in places you may not want it to.  Fats will also slow your metabolism, and in the 4 R’s phase you don’t want your body working harder than it just did to obtain the 4 R’s.  If you’re cooking with fats then that’s just fine, but keep it to a minimum. 

Morning Athletes! Simply take the rules applied to each meal and shift them to your schedule.  For example, your pre-workout meal may not exist because of lack of time to eat and digest before your workout.  Your post-workout should follow the same rules as above, and your lunch should follow the same rules as breakfast (take it easy on the carbs), and your pre-workout meal is your dinner.  If you absolutely need to eat before your workout, then the same rules apply as above for less than 1 hour pre-work out foods.

Endurance Athletes - Carbs and calories are your friend, especially during activity.  If doing long runs, be sure to carry carb and electrolyte chews, goos, drinks, etc.  Think things your body can quickly utilize for energy. 

Building muscle? (without losing weight or needing leaning out***): Carbs and calories are also your friend.

***Note:  There can be a great deal of conflicting evidence on this topic with new research coming out all of the time.  I greatly welcome your questions and comments!

By: CSV Lifestyles Coach Vanessa