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2 c quick oats
1 c ground flaxseed
3 scoops/servings vanilla protein powder
1 1/3 c dried fruit and seeds (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, apricots cut up, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or other)
¾ c honey
1 c raw almond butter, unsweetened (can substitute peanut butter; decrease honey quantity to ½ c if not raw unsweetened)

Quickly mix first four ingredients, then use your strong CrossFit arms to stir in the almond butter and honey. Press firmly into 9 x 9 or 9 x 13 pan. Refrigerate. These are delicious, but hard to keep together in “bar” form. Can cut and separately wrap into individual servings to make it easier to eat.

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Proportions of each ingredient are up to you:

Broccoli slaw (bagged)
Grilled chicken, chopped
Slivered almonds
Fruit –berries, raisins, peaches or grapes (your choice) cut in small pieces
Poppy seed salad dressing

Mix a small amount of dressing into broccoli slaw first. Because of the fruit, very little dressing is needed. Then mix in other ingredients.

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We have been taught from an early age that to lose weight we need to eat low fat and reduce our calorie intake.  With the somewhat recent flood of low fat and fat free versions of products onto the store shelves, there has been the counter claim that low and non-fat foods replace the fat with added sugar and other carbohydrates in order to boost the flavor and lower calories.  I decided to do my own grocery store shelf comparison to research this claim.  I compared identical 18 products versus their reduced fat or fat free version.  Here are my findings:

Food Item Serving size Calories Protein Carbs Fat

Milk

Whole 8 oz (1 cup)

150

8

11

8

Skim 8 oz (1 cup)

80

8

12

0

Peanut butter

Skippy Creamy 2 T

190

7

7

16

Skippy Creamy reduced fat 2 T

180

7

15

12

 Jif Extra Crunchy 2 T

190

7

8

16

Jif Extra Crunchy reduced fat 2 T

190

7

15

12

Cheese and Dairy

Kraft Sharp Cheddar 1 oz

120

6

0

10

Kraft Sharp Cheddar reduced fat 1 oz

90

7

<1

6

 Best Choice American singles 1 slice

60

3

2

4.5

Best Choice American singles reduced fat 1 slice

30

5

3

0

 Philadelphia Cream Cheese original 1 oz

100

2

2

9

Philadelphia Cream Cheese original fat free 1 oz

30

4

2

0

 Crystal Farms Shredded Mozzarella 1/4 cup

80

7

2

6

Crystal Farms Shredded Mozzarella reduced fat 1/4 cup

70

8

2

4

 AE Cottage Cheese 1/2 cup

90

12

5

2.5

AE Cottage Cheese fat free 1/2 cup

90

14

6

0

 AE Sour Cream 2 T

60

1

2

6

AE Sour Cream fat free 2 T

40

1

3

2.5

Salad Dressing

Hidden Valley Ranch, original 2 T

140

1

2

14

Hidden Valley Ranch, fat free 2 T

25

0

6

0

 Wishbone Italian 2 T

80

0

4

7

Wishbone Italian fat free 2 T

15

0

3

0

 Newman’s Own Caesar 2 T

150

1

1

16

Newman’s Own Lite Caesar 2 T

70

1

3

6

 Kraft Classic Catalina 2 T

90

0

9

6

Kraft Classic Catalina fat free 2 T

50

0

11

0

 Kraft Thousand Island 2 T

130

0

4

12

Kraft Thousand Island fat free 2 T

50

0

11

0

 Best Choice Italian 2 T

70

0

3

6

Best Choice Italian fat free 2 T

20

0

4

0

 Best Choice Ranch 2 T

140

1

2

14

Best Choice Ranch fat free 2 T

45

0

10

0

 Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette 2 T

90

0

3

9

Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic 2 T

45

0

2

4

 Hellman’s Mayonnaise 1 T

90

0

0

10

Hellman’s Mayonnaise Light 1 T

35

0

1

3.5

 Kraft Miracle Whip 1 T

40

0

2

3.5

Kraft Miracle Whip Light 1 T

20

0

2

1.5

 

Conclusions from my small and informal sample are less dramatic than I expected:

  1. Carbohydrates rose significantly for fat free products in a limited range of products, namely peanut butter and ranch and thousand island salad dressing.
  2. Calories remained unchanged between regular and fat free peanut butter and cottage cheese, exchanging fat for carbs.
  3. Protein content rose a small, but consistent amount in the fat free versions of dairy products.

I will end with a few broader statements:

  1. Our bodies need fat in order to function.  Healthy fats are best:  olive oil, avocados, fish, and nuts and seeds.
  2. Fat takes longer to digest and keeps you feeling full longer than the other macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates).
  3. Eating healthy fat helps your burn body fat.
  4. Read the product labels before buying to make the best choice for you.
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At CrossFit we all work out hard day after day.  Along with a multitude of other benefits, CrossFit builds muscle.  It burns some calories and fat too, but primarily it builds muscle.  But if you want to lose fat, you have to eat for performance.    This differs significantly from the typical American diet.  Generally this means eating only foods that are high in nutrients, while getting adequate protein and healthy fat with every meal.

The first and biggest step in eating for performance is eliminating or significantly reducing the empty carbohydrates you consume.  The top empty carb categories are:

  1. Foods made from flour and processed grain including bread, cereal, crackers, and pasta
  2. Alcohol
  3. Sugar
  4. Potatoes
  5. White rice

Try cutting one out thing at a time and substituting a vegetable (or occasionally a fruit) in its place.  Once that becomes something you can live with, try doing it again with a different empty carb, and again, and again….  It really is just a matter of forming new habits; finding healthy alternatives to your old go to’s.  When you do eat an empty carb, make it a conscious choice, enjoy it completely, and recognize it as a treat, possessing close to no nutritional value.

Without a good diet, you cannot attain your full physical potential.  In addition to losing fat, eating for performance allows you to increase your intensity and muscular endurance.  I am not suggesting that all CrossFitters eat 100% for performance. That is not a maintainable lifestyle.  But chances are that you can improve upon your current diet.

Maybe you haven’t chosen to change your eating habits.  I wasn’t willing to when I started CrossFit.  But eventually it became something I wanted to do in order to perform better.  If you are looking for suggestions regarding how to go about this, talk to your fellow CrossFitters about their diet or read the information on the nutrition tab and the associated posts.