"Definitely worth the 30 min drive up!"

-Patricia Wang, Diablo CrossFit 

 

 

 



The 7 Sacred Rules at AllStar

At CrossFit AllStar we commit to live the following:

  1. I promise to do my best. My best will vary from day to day, minute to minute. But in that minute I will do my absolute best.
  2. If I can run, I run. If I have to walk, I walk. When I am forced to crawl, I crawl. Then I rest and live to fight another day.
  3. I may struggle, curse and cry but I will never quit.
  4. I will never criticize or beat myself up for what I can't do today. I will just try again tomorrow.
  5. I promise to believe in myself, beginning each workout with the thought that "I can do this!"
  6. I show up to my workouts because I am committed to my health. My commitment to health is an act of self-love.
  7. I acknowledge that my diet is the most important part of my program. The cleaner it is, the better I do.
CrossFit Journal: The Performance-Based Lifestyle Resource

 

Where is CrossFit AllStar? Waimea/Kamuela, Big Island, Hawaii

 

Thursday
Oct312013

Whether it is the corn syrup ladden Hunts and Heinz or highly priced organic versions, ketchup is a staple on many of our kitchen tables.

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir the blood of man and probably will themselves not be realized.  Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering noble, logical diagrams, once recorded, will never die.  Daniel H. Burnham

written by Elin

WHY? why, Why, WHY?!!  I ask on bended knee hands raised to the heavens.... Why do we love this stuff so much?

It is chemistry plain and simple.  No, no, it is not the fault of corn syrup, or secret unpronounceable additives, or even the gazillion dollars advertisers spend to make us believe that our lives would be perfect if we just had a heated pool of the stuff in our back yards...(Insert Matt Groening'esqe humor here with California tar pit inspired springs made of ketchup, red neck BBQ references and Big Gulps)...I digress.  It is the chemistry of a not often mentiond sense of taste that drives even the most celebrated foodies to have a bottle of ketchup in their refers.  We all know quite well the sence of tastes Salty, Sweet, Sour and Bitter but the unsung hero of magic making is Umami. Umami magic only happens when two certain food compounds mix in the mouth and create a new magical sense of a savory taste. It is highly difficult to describe so I will not try.  If you want more info try the umami link above.

The following excerpt and recipe are from Saveur magazine.  A stunning publication both visually and gastronmically. 

It began life as ke-tsiap, a 17th-century Chinese brine of pickled fish and spices, and now shows up, in its modern-day tomato-based version, in restaurants and on home tables across the nation—and across the world. Heinz, the company that invented ketchup as we know it, says that it squeezes 24 of its own specially bred tomatoes into each bottle, along with white vinegar, corn syrup, salt, and flavorings (plus a secret ingredient, which SAVEUR contributor Stephanie Pierson is pretty sure she identified, while touring the Heinz factory in Fremont, Ohio, as clove oil).  

  • 28-oz. can organic tomato purée
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • *1⁄2 fresh jalapeño, stemmed and seeded*
  • **2 tbsp. palm sugar or a seeded date or 2
  • 1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch celery salt
  • Pinch dry mustard
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put tomato purée, onions, garlic, jalapeño, and sugar into a blender or food processor and pulse until blended. Add vinegar and 1 cup water and purée until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan; add cayenne, celery salt, mustard, allspice, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 month MAKES 3 CUPS

*heat is a key component but does not have to be jalepeno.  Chili pepper water, Siracha, tobasco, or my favorite chipolte pepper can be used in the amount that is suitable to your taste.  Start at 1/4 tsp and work your way up.  **sweetener is optional as well for those of you who are aspiring to a life 100% clean.  I might add though that as in all things, balance is key. Cooking is no different balance is where the magic happens. Balance and umami.

A childrens book on wacky food combinations by Nick SharrattThe variation listed below is a convention that is closer to the true roots of ketchups Chinese predecessor.

Umami Ketchup

 Umami, a savory taste associated with foods like aged cheese, tomatos, and mushrooms, is the signature flavor of this delicious condiment.

 MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

  • 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1⁄3 cup packed palm sugar or 3-4 dates
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tsp. tamari
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 5 anchovies, finely chopped and 
mashed into a paste

Purée tomatoes in a blender; set aside. Heat oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomato purée, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 1 hour. Purée cooked tomato mixture in a blender. Transfer to a bowl; season with salt and stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and chill before using.

 

 

Friday
Oct042013

The answer is chocolate of course. Browines to be exact.

 After eating chocolate you feel godlike, as though you can conquer enemies, lead armies, entice lovers. 
~Emily Luchetti

written by Elin

Emily Luchetti is a renowned pastry Chef and with the above statement, I suspect her to be true CrossFitThis is not Emily Luchetti, but could quite possibly be any woman CrossFitter in the world at any given time. material at heart.  I envision her powering her PRs with towering fountains of chocolate.  Now, whether you should actually eat these little tasties of mine pre WOD, post WOD, or intermittently through out your WOD....well that is entirely up to you.

A few words on sugar...

click on the image above to get more information on sugars and how they work in the body.To make a very complex topic very simple lets strip it down to the basics.  Carbs are sugars.  The body reacts to different types of sugars differently depending upon the ease in which the body can process it.  If you want to educate yourself on sweeteners click on the sugar dish at right to be linked to a site I stumbled upon that has some good info. In general I am a proponent of whole foods.  Unrefined and as close to their natural state as possible.  Palm sugar is what I used in the recipe and is a sugar.  Just like honey is sugar, maple syrup is sugar, brown sugar, refined sugar, raw sugar, liquid or cubed. Sugar, sugar, sugar. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger Editor of NaturalNews.com says it best "Palm sugar is nutrient-rich, relatively low-glycemic, crystalline sweetener that looks, tastes, dissolves and melts almost exactly like sugar, but it's completely natural and unrefined. It's acquired from the flowers growing high on coconut trees, which are opened to collect their liquid flower nectar. This nectar is then air-dried to form a crystalline sugar that's naturally brown in color and naturally rich in a number of key vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6."  That being said it is still sugar.  Sugar in any form, natural, unrefined, organic, cultivated by virgin Monks is still sugar.Sugar in its current abundance is one of the root causes to many of the health issues plaguing humanity currently. All treats and sweets should be consumed with tremendous caution, with thought to serving size, and with consideration of what your specific nutritional goals are. Nothing consumed in a mindless fashion, with reckless abandon is good for you not matter how you market it.                                      

Paleo Style Cakey Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
.  Grease an 8 or 9 inch square pan with coconut oil.

  • Heaping 1/4 cup organic cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 med size organic eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of organic vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons strong coffee
  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar 
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 Tablespoons high quality 80% finely chopped chocolate or to taste.  

Beat eggs with a whisk along with sugar, vanilla, coffee and almond butter until light and very well combined. Whisk melted coconut oil in a slow steady stream to egg mixture and whisk until it is smooth. In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients then mix dry ingredients into the wet mixture along with diced chocolate and nuts if using.  Bake 20 minutes on the center rack, turning pan 180 degrees 1/2 way through baking.   At 20 minutes check for doneness.  Depending on your oven and the type of pan used, the bigger the pan, the thinner the batter, the quicker they cook...they may be done by now.  Check buy inserting a toothpick into the center. It should come out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.  I always tend to err on the side of under cooking as I like the center pieces a bit soft.  All about personal preference.  Let cool, cut into squares.

Monday
Sep162013

Paleo treat that is not cheat, well technically.

Having in my life been bitten by the jaws of both victory and defeat, I must rush to add that success is to failure as butter pecan ice cream is to death.  Rupert Holmes

written by Elin

Do you have a self proclaimed sweet tooth?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!If so you probably fall into 1 of 3 categories. You love cookies and candies...loli-pops, or baked goods, bite size packages of refined sweetness that are easy to eat.  You are a certifiable chocoholic...anything encased in, surrounded by or solitarily including chocolate.  OR, you love ice cream and all of her devious relatives. Frosty concoctions of various flavors and ingredients that are nutritional nuclear bombs on so many different levels. Even the most organically produced home made product is loaded with milk fats, sugar, and ....guilt. Commercially made products vary in "quality" but most are full of artificial sweeteners like corn syrup, funky emulsifier and artificial flavorings.  Organic or homemade sitting down to a bowl of ice cream is never good for your body... the emotional eater in you maybe, but that is beyond the scope of this post.

Just because it is Paleo does not mean you can eat the whole bowl.

No joke.  The recipe I am about to give you is AHHHHmazing, so delicious you will wonder if it is really "Paleo"......STOP. RIGHT. THERE. Be aware of your mind set and check the ingredients.  "paleo" is not a blank check to cash in for copious amounts of food.  This is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with fat.  Good fat, "paleo" fat, but fat none the less.  Just because it is good for you does not mean it is good for YOU. Each one of us has a different goal, trajectory and reason for our dedication to CrossFit.  Nutrition is as individual as the modifications during a WOD.  Know what your goals are and then be conscious of how this food choice fits into what your goals are.  You will need a blender and optimally a automatic Ice Cream maker. If you do not have ice cream maker and you enjoy ice cream I highly recommend picking one up.  Costco has one for about 20 dollars.  The combinations are endless for frozen fruit deserts... a follow up post on those later. The recipe below is a 'cream' based creation an option for those who like traditional styles of ice cream.  It is a basic vanilla 'base' that is open for the addition of alternate flavors.

Avocado Coconut milk Ice cream

  • Ice Cream machine*
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 creamy variety avocado, like Haas
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped of its seeds or 1-2 tsp extract*
  • 6-8 dates.**
  •  

Pre freeze your ice cream machine insert for at least 24 hours.  At the same time place your coconut milk and avos in the refrigerator. Once equipment and materials are ready to go, Place coconut milk and dates/banana into blender and mix on high until the dates are completely liquefied and only small specks of them remain.  Place remaining ingredients and blend again until thoroughly incorporated.  Place mixture into refrigerator to cool completely prior to adding into the ice cream maker.  Freeze the mixture according to the manufacture directions.  Once complete the ice cream is ready to eat soft serve style or place in a freezer safe container and enjoy at will, but in moderation.  

*If you do not have a ice cream maker...

...you can fake it with a process that is a bit more labor intensive and the resulting texture not quite the same.  Once all items are blended place the blender in the freezer and then every 20 minutes or so pull it out and blend making sure to scrape down the sides.  Continue this process until either you or the blender gives up.  Pour mixture into a baking pan and freeze until solid. Once frozen using a fork run it across the surface to making what is called a Granita.  It will have a more crystalline texture but still tastes good.

Sweetness of dates vary variety to variety as does the size....

 ** to personal taste...So start with 4 or 5 and work your way up.  Note that the sweetness of the frozen mixture will ‘seem’ less sweet than the unfrozen mixture so when testing for sweetness errr on the side of being slightly sweeter than what you feel you like. Bananas can also be used in place of or along with dates if you are a banana fan.  Try mashing them up and cooking some of the water out of them, about 5 minutes, then cooling prior to using as the sweetener.  This will condense the sweetness and banana-ness as well as creating a silkier texture once frozen.  ** DID YOU KNOW many commercially available vanilla extracts contain sugar?  You can easily make your own by taking rum, vodka, or cognac and splitting a vanilla bean or two and covering with liquor. Then leave it be for a few weeks.  If you do not drink, small mini bottles of alcohol can be purchased at the Waimea Liquor store up by the register. I like to use dark rum or Courvoisier.

Options for flavor.

  • zest (finely diced) and juice of 1 Tahitian lime...about 1-2 tsp zest and 2-3 Tbls juice.
  • Fresh grated ginger and or finely diced candied ginger (yes not paleo, but...)
  • Chopped fresh fruit, nuts, dried fruit, toasted coconut, lavender, mint, pineapple basil
  • Endless variety of essential oils and or extracts...lemon, peppermint, almond...

 

Saturday
Sep072013

When it comes to dense nutrition, portion size is crutial to success.

Big ol bowl of oatmeal vs. a hard boiled egg

The worse form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. ...Aristotle

Nutrient Density vs. Caloric Density = Need for Protion Control.

Yes, size does matter, but not for what you are thinking.  Size matters when it comes to the portions we eat of nutrient dense whole foods like the nut based oatmeal posted last week.  In our modern culture, we have become accustomed to eating a grain based diet that requires a much larger volume to be consumed in order to attain the level of nutrients needed to sustain life. When we switch to a Paleo / whole foods way of eating, it takes more thought and effort than just deciding what is going into your shopping basket. We must address not just what we eat but how much we eat.  Just because foods are made from whole foods, (Paleo friendly pancakes, fauxtmeal, or the upcomming Avo/coconut ice cream) it DOES NOT mean that you can eat as much as you want. These food creations are nutrient dense and must be eaten in moderation.  They are not gram for gram replacements of their grain based counterparts. The following content was written by Fred Hahn on July 27th, 2010, and provides a good understanding why not all calories are created equal. It is also a point of information to get you thinking about taking control of your own body and food choices.

There’s a big difference between the nutrient density and caloric density of foods.

More for your money does not mean better for you.Unfortunately, many dietitians, doctors and nutritionists don’t seem to consider this difference – not fully at least. They’ll say that they want you to eat a nutrient dense diet and at the same time hand you a leaflet for the USDA food pyramid where grains are at the bottom (eat the most of) and meats and eggs (eat less of) are nearer to the top. This ranking would suggest that grains are the most nutrient dense of all the food groups.

But are they?  And what precisely is meant by “nutrient density?”

As I see it, its the total amount of micro and macro nutrients within a given caloric amount of food. For fun, let’s do a simple food comparison.  If you compare (calorie for calorie), meats and other animal food sources to whole grains by themselves (meaning unfortified), grains actually come up wanting for many nutrients (fiber is not a nutrient by the way). Using an online nutritional database called Nutrition Data, let’s compare a single egg (80 calories) to a third cup of oatmeal (100 calories). Oatmeal is generally considered to be among the best grains money can buy.  If you open up the links in separate windows to compare, you’ll see that the egg is far more nutritionally dense than the 1/3 cup of oatmeal. (And the egg has 20 less calories!) If you compared the same amount of egg calories as the oatmeal, then the egg would be ahead in virtually every category. 

Now, look at the top middle of each page on the ND site where the site ranks the foods in terms of optimal health, weight gain and weight loss. Oatmeal has a better score than eggs for optimal health yet, doesn’t hold a candle to an egg in terms of nutrient density. Why would the folks that run this site rank oatmeal over the egg? Oatmeal is also ranked higher than eggs for weight gain but equally for fat loss! Go figure. 

Many experts argue that the USDA food pyramid is just a grain-based, agriculturally conceived pyramid which is not supported by good nutritional science.

In thinking about this blog I thought of a good way to look at this issue. (Fear sometimes does wonders for one’s thinking process.) We can indeed safely assume that the USDA food pyramid is agriculturally driven because grains are at the bottom of the pyramid, meaning, they are what the USDA says we should eat the most of. But any registered dietitian or doctor worth her salt would tell you that fruits and vegetables are far more nutrient dense than breads and cereals and contain all of the vitamins and minerals that grains do as well as have far more fiber. No nutritional expert would ever suggest that a whole wheat bagel is healthier for you than a mixed green salad. If the pyramid is supposed to reflect how humans should eat to obtain optimal health, why at least aren’t fruits and vegetables at the bottom?  Now that is good food for thought!

Yes, even YOU can boil an egg. 

The go to, on the go, agghhh… I am starving and did not plan ahead protein in my house? The humble and perfectly packaged by nature, hard-boiled egg.

  •  Take 1 dozen eggs*, use a straight pin to poke a hole in the fat “bottom” end of each egg. 
  • Make sure the needle goes just far enough to pierce the shell. Place them into a Large deep saucepan in a single layer and cover with cold water so that they are about 2 inches under.
  • For every 3 cups of water add ½ teaspoon of baking soda, it helps make peeling easier.
  • Uncovered place pot on the stove and heat over high heat.  Once the water comes to a roiling boil, set a kitchen timer for 1 minute.
  • After 1 minute take the pot off the heat and cover for 10 minutes.
  • Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  • After 10 minutes remove the eggs from the pot and transfer them to the bowl of ice water for 5 minutes.
  • Peel each egg starting from the bottom end. Don’t wait until the eggs are completely cool — they should still be warm to the touch.
  • *preferably 1 week old if using freshly laid, it will make them easier to peel

 

Friday
Aug302013

Fauxtmeal..... oatmeal.....get it ?!

written by Elin

Food is therapy for a lot of people.  When we say comfort food, we really mean that.  The food is releasing dopamine and serotonin in your brain that makes you feel good.  Brett Hoebel

For me nothing is quite as satisfying on a chilly morning than a hot cup of tea or coffee along side a bowl of hot cereal.  

Born in the beautiful but cold and damp Northwest, and raised in a even colder and darker Alaska, oatmeal was a staple on my breakfast table. Served up with a touch of butter, a healthy splash of cream, and as much brown sugar as I could sneak in before the parental unit took the bag away.  Oatmeal is a true comfort food for me. One that ranks up there with beef stew, or bacon and eggs.  Though unlike beef stew and eggs and bacon, oatmeal resembles something more suitable for affixing wallpaper to the wall than true good, body nourishing eats.  Even so, it just speaks to my food loving soul on a visceral level.  It grounds me, calms me, and to the tips of my toes, warms me both physically and emotionally.  But, the breakfast table should not be a place of multi tasking items in my life.  So, how have I come to satisfy that need for something hot, dense, fortifying, and hearty without the introduction of modern grains, a drowning portion of cows cream, and bodily assault of my body weight in refined sugar all before the sunrises?  So easy and delicious, the answer is faux oatmeal, get it? fauxtmeal?  OK, I know, lame play on words.... but delicious and every bit as easy as the original given a little prep work.

The recipe below is pretty general, a road map of sorts.   

It really is personal preference as to the type of nuts and seeds you want to use as well as the milk or 'milk like' product you prefer.  I use almonds, pecans, macnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds as my finely ground 'base'.  This is where having the right tools will save you a tremendous amount of time and quite possibly a case of carpel tunnel syndrome.  Getting the right texture can be done old school with some effort and a chefs knife for sure, but I like the food processor for this job 100%.  It allows you make a large jar of "base" ahead of time and store in the refrigerator so that it is a no brainer when I decide, or cold wet Waimea weather dictates, that it is what's for breakfast.  In the time it takes to prep one serving of ingredients with a chef knife, you can have dozens of servings prepared, put away and food processor washed before you are done corralling the nuts on your chopping block with a knife.

Not our parents idea of hemp and chia pets...

Hemp hearts are a nutritional power house that have an amazing texture and flavor.  Costco has been stocking them as of late but they can also be found in healthfood stores or online.  Ground chia seeds also have many nutritional benefits and above that, in this recipe, they lend a helping hand to the texture of the finished product. Chia seeds have water attracting properties that help to thicken the nutty mass.  Without the ground chia the end product will be much more soupy than cohesive. They are easily found in the bulk section of most healthfood stores.

Faux*t*meal

  • 1/3 cup finely ground nuts 
  • 2/3 cup milk alternative
  • 3 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 1-2 teaspoon ground chia seeds
  • small pinch of salt, optional.
  • 2 Tbls unsweetened dried fruit *optional
  • Fresh fruit

In a small sauce pot bring 'milk'  and small pinch salt to a slight boil.  Add your finely ground nut and seed mixture just as you begin to see bubbles starting to surface.  Stir and add hemp hearts, ground chia seeds and your dried fruit of choice.  If using only fresh fruit wait untill the end of cooking to add.  Bring to boil, stir, turn off heat and cover for about 5-7 minutes. Stir again and then top with fresh friut.

Additional yummy additions: 1, 2 or all together... Toasted coconut flakes, coconut oil, candied ginger, sweet potatoes, dice of cooked kabocha pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice. A dollop of canned pumpkin would work too. Coconut whipped cream ....Whaaaaat? Soooo yummy!