Let the 2014 Games begin!

A few weeks ago I hit by 1 year CrossFit anniversary! In case I’ve ever been unclear, I LOVE CrossFit. I drink the “kool-aid.” In gallons.

In May I went to Day 2 of the CrossFit SoCal Regionals, and I had a fantastic time! Watching the individual women competitors was extremely inspiring. Tomorrow morning, the 2014 CrossFit Games begin for the individual competitors, and I am so excited. It’s hard for me to contain my enthusiasm! My goal is to watch as many individual women’s events as I can. And next year, since the Games happen in my backyard, hopefully I’ll be a live spectator!

Book Review: Eat the Yolks

Eat the YolksI’ve been listening to the Balanced Bites podcast for a few months now, and I really love Liz Wolfe’s sense of humor. The minute I heard about her book Eat the Yolks, I got my library to buy it (which Liz appreciated!). Now, I’ve had the chance to read it and overall, I loved this book.

The word Paleo simple represents the foods eaten before feedlots, global commerce, the refinement of sugar and grains, and the hydrogenation of fat changes our food landscape from one of nutritious, natural food to one of easy, cheap, and shelf-stable products.

In the beginning there was a lot recapping what was just said to drive a point home, which was a little overkill, but it teetered off as Liz seemed to find her writing groove. Also, this book has the tone throughout that everything we know is wrong. Generally, I don’t love that tone because it can over sensationalize and devalue the message. In this case, I agree with the content in this book and it does go against the grain (pun intended?) so it works.

The one thing I loved learning about is now our current diet dogma came to be. This topic was also covered in Fed Up, which I saw last month. It’s not a pretty story – so much of what we think is true when it comes to nutrition was developed as part of marketing or political ploys and is not backed in legitimate science (sigh). Processed foods are not food. They are industrial products! It is so crazy how those of us trying to eat real foods have to defend that choices to others because it goes again conventional diet wisdom.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants more information about food myths, diet dogma, and how we ended up in this weird place we are (as obsessed with diet as ever, but also increasingly unhealthy). This book is not for learning about the basic guidelines of the Paleo framework, it’s more about why Paleo is a great way to eat, and it provides great ammo for those awkward conversations that start with comments like “doesn’t eating all that meat increase your heart attack risk?” Or “what’s wrong with whole grains, they’re healthy!”

Now go forth, and eat those yolks!

CrossFit SoCal Regionals – Day 2

When I learned of the CrossFit Regionals schedule, I knew I couldn’t miss attending in SoCal. Even though I live close to the Games venue, tickets are expensive. Regionals provide a more affordable option to see the athletes in action. And since they were happening in Del Mar, close to my hometown, I decided to make a weekend of it and stay at my parents’ place afterwards for Memorial Day.

The Competition

I only really cared about watching the individual women competitors so I planned to watch those 2 events in their entirely. There is just something about seeing strong ladies kick ass that really inspires me! I was especially excited to see Lauren Fisher and Lindsey Valenzuela. On Friday I found out Jamie Hagiya, former USC basketball player, was in the running too so I added her to my cheer list (have to support fellow Trojans!).

Lauren Fisher killed it as I expected. She just blows my mind considering she is only 20 years old! I’m really looking forward to following her as she progresses. Lindsey didn’t do as well as I expected, and ultimately she didn’t get a spot in the Games. It’s crazy that 2 of the 3 women who won the Games last year aren’t going back!

Women – Event 5, Heat 3 Lindsey approaching the end of a sprint in the foreground, Lauren Fisher towards the back left.

Everything Else

Besides the competition, I was excited to see what food and vendors were going to be there. I needed lunch pretty soon after arrival. There were a lot traditional fair food options but also a few Paleo & Whole Life Challenge compliant ones. I opted for Pete’s Paleo over the Burger Lounge because Pete’s Paleo is a sponsor for the Balanced Bites podcast that I listen to and I wanted to try it. I got slow cooked lamb, sweet potato and roasted veggies. The lamb was fantastic, sweet potato good, and roasted veggies pretty plain/standard.

Lunch - Pete's Paleo

Lunch – Pete’s Paleo

Vendor wise, I knew I wanted a shirt of some kind and I was pretty sure I’d get suckered into a jump rope if they had them. I ended up getting a commemorative SoCal Regionals tank from Reebok, and an Rx Smart Gear custom jump rope! I got to pick my colors and length, and an hour later they had it made for me. I tested it out the next day and finally nailed double unders!

IMG_1413

My new custom jump rope!

The last thing I bought was some snacks from Steve’s PaleoGoods. I was happy to learn 15% of proceeds go towards a CrossFit for kids non-profit Steve’s Club, and I got a free reusable bag with it!

Honorable Mention

On my way back to Los Angeles on Monday, I ended up going to Burger Lounge and having a Paleo burger. It was FANTASTIC. So tasty! Highly recommend checking this place out if you live in San Diego or Los Angeles county.

Paleo burger from Burger Lounge

Paleo burger from Burger Lounge

Overall, I had a fantastic time. Attending Regionals really emphasized the CrossFit community for me. I loved being around so many like-minded people all in one place.

 

It’s about Meaning

Listening to podcasts has become my new obsession. I finally found a way to make my time spent driving, cleaning, cooking or walking even more productive.  I’m currently subscribed to a mix of Paleo and entrepreneurship podcasts. One of my favorites is a weekly show called Good Life Project. This week’s episode was amazing!

Minutes 16-20 are particularly fascinating to me. Older generations (including my parents’) focused on fulfilling basic needs (providing for a family, etc). They didn’t really take the time to think about finding greater meaning (either through choice or not). I’ve witnessed first hand what ultimately manifests from a lack of self reflection – health issues from not caring for yourself, and a general feeling of being lost and “stuck” because by the time  your 50 you don’t want to make significant changes to the status quo.

Take the time to think about what gives you meaning and purpose, then use that information to guide your activities/career/personal life. You won’t regret it!

Whole Life Challenge vs. Whole30

Yesterday I started the Whole Life Challenge (WLC) with my gym. Back in January I did the Whole30. There are a lot of food/eating/lifestyle challenges out there right now. I’ve only ever done the Whole30 and WLC (this is my 2nd time) so I thought it would be helpful to break down some of the key differences between these two programs.

Whole Life Challenge

  • Registration fee covers website to record daily score
  • Set up like a game – if you don’t do something or eat against the rules you take away points but can still continue in the challenge (each day is a fresh start)
  • Challenge is 2 months long and has set start and end dates
  • Comprehensive – addresses nutrition, mobility, exercise, and lifestyle factors
  • Compete with a team and get support from others / build a community
  • Three levels of difficulty – advanced, intermediate, and beginner (advanced is almost identical to the Whole30 rules)

Whole30

  • No cost to participate, the entire program can be found online
  • Self-driven – you decide when you want to start, if you want to participate with others, etc
  • There is only one set of strict “rules” related to food, other areas like exercise are not addressed
  • All or nothing – if you eat something that’s not allowed, you must start over
  • Focus is on gut healing and resetting your body via proper nutrition

I think both of these programs are great and can provide value. Whole30 is more intense, but shorter. WLC is about playing a “game” as a community. With either, the key is mindset. Last time I did the WLC I came in to it thinking “oh, I can cheat if I need to,” and that led to a lot of not following the guidelines… and almost no results. This time, I’m going into WLC with the mindset that I need to follow those Intermediate guidelines as closely as I can. I would like to be more self motivated with my food choices, but I still feel a need for these formalized challenges/programs to help me stay on track (though I hope to need them less over time).

On my mind…

From the Interwebs

In a quest to make my commuting time more productive, I signed up for a class on Coursera and went on a podcast downloading binge which led me to discover this recording: “3 Things I’d Tell My 20-Something Self.”

I’m only half way through my 20s, but I had a mini career/life crisis a little over a year ago. This clip perfectly sums up what I learned from that experience. Don’t worry about mistakes or failure! Take them as learning opportunities to guide you to a better place.

K.I.S.S.

I’m really proud of tonight’s dinner thrown together using what I had in the kitchen – burger topped with cooked apple, baby kale salad with avocado & Paleo ranch, and sweet potato fries with mayo to dip. The ranch and mayo were already made. All I had to do was cook the burgers and sauté the apples while the fries baked in the oven. I get too hung up on following recipes when I should just remember to keep it simple, stupid (K.I.S.S.)!

Tonight's yummy dinner.

Tonight’s yummy dinner.

My First Coachella

Today I’m breaking away from fitness topics so I can share what else has been on my mind. I’ve been absent for a few weeks because it’s my busiest time of the year at work, and I was trying to prepare to my first ever COACHELLA! I have been to many music festivals, but never Coachella so I wasn’t sure what to expect and I got stressed out over details.

Coachella

View of the festival grounds.

Top Performances

The Coachella lineup included a lot of artists I didn’t know, and I was unable to spend much time researching/listening to new music before hand. Frankly, day 2 overall fell flat on me because I just wasn’t interested in many acts. That said, I still saw some great sets throughout the weekend.

  •  Zedd – I can never get enough of him.
Zedd

Sahara Stage – Zedd

  • Rudimental – Seeing the vocalists live was awesome!
  • Calvin Harris – Played most of my favorites and had some fun pyrotechnics.
  • Ellie Goulding – Our first set on Day 1, it set a great tone for the weekend.
Ellie Goulding

Coachella Stage – Ellie Goulding

  • Kid Cudi – His gratefulness and positive attitude was infectious.
  • Adventure Club – Danced my butt off.

I’m sad I missed Skrillex, Disclosure, and Flume. I heard great things about these sets afterwards. Unfortunately I was impossible to catch everything – festival lineups always have conflicts.

Other Notable Mentions

Art Installations/Food: I loved the roaming astronaut and the rainbow lights against the palm trees. There was a ton of food variety including healthy options and items for special diets (impressive!).

Astronaut

The astronaut’s face changed each day.

Weather: Overall, Weekend 2 definitely lucked out on the weather front. We didn’t have any sandstorms and temperatures were moderate/high day 1 & 2. Day 3 was hot but cooled off at sunset.

Chill Vibe: I am used to attending Insomniac events, which are all EDM and a little on the crazier side when it comes to outfits and production. I appreciated the relaxed vibe at this event. I didn’t have to dress over the top to fit in, and I especially loved not having to force myself to stay awake until 6am like at EDC (Coachella ends between 12-1am each day).

Day 1

Day 1 – Ready to experience the awesome weekend ahead :)

New Friends: I went with a group that I had mostly not met yet, and they were all awesome (shout out to the tribe)! I felt totally at home. We also stayed in a sweet house and took the shuttle to the festival which was super convenient.

Backyard

Our house’s backyard!

Overall

I recommend staying near a shuttle stop, and shuttling to the event. I hear it can take hours to get out of the main parking lot, so I didn’t mind paying $60 to avoid the hassle. Also, it’s should be possible to meet your dietary needs at the event if you choose to maintain them (I stayed gluten-free but indulged in other areas). Coachella Weekend 2 was amazing and I definitely want to come back next year!