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Time to Eat

Could eating within our bodies’ natural internal schedule be the key to maintaining a healthy weight and fighting epidemics like diabetes?  Scientists are studying the effects of Time Restricted Feeding (TRF) and the results are promising.



Are You Eating Too Fast?

by Geoff Rand

I’ve been conditioned to eat quickly all my life.  With three brothers, I had to scarf my food down fast if I wanted seconds.  In military school, we had to square our meals (an extremely slow method where you take a forkful, extend your arm parallel to the table, raise it up to mouth level, bring it to your mouth and chew it, placing your fork down between bites), but because squaring took so long, we would hardly make a dent in our plates.  The upperclassmen would always eventually yell, “Shovel!” and we’d commence an all out assault on whatever remained on our plates with total disregard for manners or healthy habits.  Now, as a police officer, I have to eat quickly because I never know when a radio call is going to come in and force me to abandon my meal.

But there are some serious downsides to eating your food so quickly.  First, when we eat too fast, we are more likely to overeat.  This is because it takes around 20 minutes for our stomach to signal our brain that it is full.  The faster you eat, the more calories you can ingest before you feel satiated, and this leads to weight gain.  And studies have shown that people who scarf down their meals feel hungry again sooner than people who take their time.

Fast eating also leads to a bloated feeling from gulping in air along with your monstrous bites.  Related to bloating are acid reflux and heartburn, caused when esophageal valves fail to close, releasing stomach acids upwards into the esophagus.  Over time, this acid goes from being uncomfortable to becoming a serious health risk.

But there are ways we can all slow down, enjoy our food more, and eat in a way that is better for us.

One of the easiest changes you can make is to put your fork down between bites.  Fully chew and swallow before going for the next bite.

Put down the phone and turn off the TV.  Being distracted tends to make us eat faster.  Instead of remaining plugged in during meals, try the ancient art of conversation with other humans.  I know it sounds weird, but give it a try.

Cut your food into smaller pieces and focus on chewing it fully before swallowing.  Your mouth is the first step in the digestive process, and fully chewed food is easier for the body to process completely.


Change your utensils.  Switching from a fork to chopsticks will definitely slow down your meals.  Or, go to a fondue restaurant like the Melting Pot, where you skewer and cook your food in pots of hot oil.  You can’t eat quickly there.

Drink water.  Having water with your meal aids in digestion, but also assists in helping us to feel fuller faster, saving us from overeating.

However you do it, there are some real benefits to incorporating healthy changes to your eating habits.  By slowing down you can improve the relationship between your body and food.






Make it Convenient

by Geoff Rand


Time.  I challenge anyone to truthfully tell me they think they have enough of it.  I often find lack of available time an obstacle to preparing, cooking, and ultimately eating, healthy meals.  So when I recently heard about the Instant Pot and its insanely short cooking times, I was intrigued.  Previously, I only knew of pressure cookers’ more nefarious purposes, but after some research into their cooking history and safety features, I felt comfortable purchasing one.

Now, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to most things in the kitchen, but I can follow directions.  One Amazon search later, and boom, Paleo Cooking with your Instant Pot was on its way to me.  I’m still going though the book, but there are 80 recipes, most only taking 6-10 minutes to cook.  Awesome!

The sirloin steak recipe I chose to try used some very simple ingredients and just a three-hour marinade.  It suggested a 4-minute cook time for a medium steak.  I prefer my steak to not have that “meat taste” and always ask for it to be cooked to “dental records” when I eat out.  So, I opted to double the cook time.

Eight minutes later, the Instant Pot finished, but a check of the steak still showed some red inside.  It was probably between a medium-well to well-done level.  I put it back in for another 2 minutes and reset the timer.

Bingo.  Grey throughout and surprisingly dry even after being cooked in the marinade.  It was nearly perfect.  I found the ability to check the meat and easily put it back in for additional time a great attribute of the Instant Pot.  I still prefer the charring only a grill can provide, but the time savings and ability to cook indoors when outside temperatures are uncomfortable for grilling, make up for the Instant Pot’s shortcomings.

While I'll never understand why someone would want his or her steak to be juicy or have red showing inside, I’m confident the Instant Pot could provide those results if you reduced the time to what the recipe suggests.

I added some previously cooked sweet potatoes and some spring greens to complete the meal.  Quite tasty, and so quick and easy.  I’m looking forward to trying other recipes in the book.

The Instant Pot comes in several sizes and there’s even a Bluetooth version that allows you to start, stop, or monitor your Instant Pot remotely, if desired.  The functions are simple enough that you could prepare the meal in a bag and leave directions for a spouse or responsible child to start the cooking so it is ready when you get home.  However, most of the recipes have such ridiculously short cook times that you’d often be able to throw it in the cooker right as you walk in the door and be just fine.  Another benefit of the Instant Pot is the ability to be used as a slow cooker if you prefer to not use the pressurized settings.  The Paleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot cookbook also has a slow cooker variation for each meal if you want to use that instead.  I've also found endless Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest.

Preliminary results show the Instant Pot might be a game changer for me that could potentially eliminate the obstacle of time that I’ve been experiencing when trying to eat better.   Whether you are new to healthy cooking or a veteran, an Instant Pot and this cookbook might be a worthy purchase, especially if you plan to participate in the Eat & Exercise Challenge, which is just around the corner.  Making healthy eating more convenient is a key hurdle to overcome on your way to creating long-lasting, healthy habits.  

Have a favorite pressure cooker recipe?  Share a link in the comments.



Holidays Without Regret

Thanksgiving Week Schedule Reminder

AM Classes only Wednesday, November 23rd.

NO Classes Thursday, November 24th.

9, 10, 11, and 12 noon classes only on Friday, November 25th.

Also, if you normally pickup Power Supply meals on Thursdays, they will be delivered on Wednesday this week.

Most Americans view Thanksgiving as the start of the holiday season.  But when it comes to overindulging, the season has already begun.  A Cornell University study actually places Halloween as the start of the string of food-centric holidays, and their research shows that the weight gained between Halloween and Christmas can take over five months to lose.  I’d say the season extends beyond Christmas and into New Year’s and even Super Bowl Sunday.

However you define it, no one wants undo all the hard work they’ve done throughout the year because of some poor choices during a handful of holiday meals and parties.  Now is the time to develop your holiday strategy to make sure you can still enjoy the company and meals with friends and family without regretting your choices in the days and weeks that follow.  Here’s some help.

Don’t starve yourself.  A lot of people skip a meal before a large holiday meal thinking the calorie deficit will offset the large food intake to come.  But in reality, this backfires.  Going into the meal starved tends to make you fill up on chips, cookies, candy, and alcohol while you wait to eat.  A better option would be to eat a normal meal before the party and just enjoy the holiday foods in moderation.

Step Away.  Those platters of fresh cookies, pies, and other sweets are so inviting and draw you in like the Death Star’s tractor beam.  Don’t hover around those trays.  It’s easy to lose track of your intake as you talk and drink with friends.  A cookie or two becomes 4 or 5 or a lot more.  Get a small plate, pick a reasonable number or treats and walk away from the table to socialize.

Keep busy.  Offer to help set up or clean up to keep yourself from over-snacking before or after a meal.  Go for a walk or play with the kids or animals.  Just avoid having that idle time if the allure of going back for seconds or thirds or loading up on desserts is too much for your willpower.

Downsize.  Have that pumpkin pie, but cut down on the portion or share with someone.

Penalize.  If it works for you, assign an indulgence penalty.  100 burpees for every treat should keep your cravings in check.  If you really want a dose of reality, check out this holiday food caloric content chart and corresponding time to walk, jog, swim, or cycle that food off.

Make substitutions.  Find healthier versions of your holiday favorites.  My family swapped the traditional mashed potatoes for Celery Root Puree (see recipe below) over a decade ago.  It’s a great tasting low carb vegetable alternative to starchy mashed potatoes.

Bring your own.  Enjoy the family favorites of others that might not be the best for your diet, but bring a healthy side dish of your own to share and to supplement the not-so-healthy components of your meal so you have a healthy alternative and the meal is not a total loss.

Eat Restaurant Style.  Instead of sitting down at a table of food, leave the food in the kitchen and take your plate to the food and sit down to eat at an empty dining table.  If food dishes are not within reach and you have to get up for seconds, you’ll be less likely to overindulge.

Pass the Bread.  And keep passing it right by your plate.  Simple carbohydrates like bread might seem innocent enough, but they break down quickly in the body and create a spike in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling hungrier, faster.  Take an extra vegetable serving instead.

Seal it up.  If you’re hosting a party, buy a bunch of disposable Tupperware.  If you’re going to the party, bring your own.  If you’re the host, getting guests to take home food keeps you from turning Thanksgiving or Christmas Day into a week of overeating.  If you are the guest, bringing your own containers allows you to politely refuse second servings, but still take a small portion home.  This avoids upsetting the host and keeps your intake at a reasonable level.

Hydrate.  Drinking water is never a bad idea.  With the extra alcohol you’re probably consuming and all the sugars and carbs you’re gobbling up, water is going to help in several ways.  It offsets the alcohol and helps to keep you feeling full, which cuts down on you munching on sweets.  It also aids in digestion.

Stay active.  The holidays can become very busy, but don’t neglect yourself.  Plan an active family activity for after the holiday meal.  Every little bit helps to offset the increased calorie intake.  Keep working out.  Don’t let a day or two off turn into a week and then a month.  Hit the gym hard right after the holiday and get back to your normal routine as soon as possible.

With a little bit of pre-planning, you can enjoy the holidays without sabotaging all the hard work you’ve done the rest of the year.

Celery Root Puree (from Suzanne Somers’ Eat Great, Lose Weight)

(I usually double the recipe)

3 celery root (you can get it at Whole Foods)

1/4 cup heavy cream

4 Tbs. butter

Salt and Pepper

Peel the celery root, being careful to remove all the brown.  Cut each root into about 12 pieces, then place them in a steamer over a large pot of boiling water.  Cook for about 20 minutes until tender.  Transfer to a food processor, add cream and butter and puree all until smooth.  (use a mixer if you don't have a food processor)  Add additional cream and/or butter if needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.




Easy Button Your Eats

by Geoff Rand

I’m probably not blowing your mind by telling you the keys to being healthy and fit are a combination of hard work in the gym, getting sufficient rest/recovery, and fueling your body with quality food.  The fuel part seems to be the hardest for me.  I suffer from a condition known as I Hate F@#&ing Cooking, for which there is no cure.  I did well on a Paleo Challenge a few years ago, but all the food prep was tough.  With my schedule of varying shifts, it’s hard to find time to shop for and make meals, even if I didn’t mind cooking.  Well, all my problems and excuses are about to be rendered null and void.  Welcome, Power Supply.

What Is Power Supply?

Power Supply is a healthy prepared food delivery service.  They source the ingredients and prepare them locally and focus on providing varied menus of food that is a fuel source, not a calorie deficit diet meal.  You will not find any artificial ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, un-natural sugar, chemical additives, or other crap in their meals.  Basically, if you shouldn’t be eating it, they don’t use it.

How it works

1.  Choose a pickup spot (duh, CrossFit Frederick!) or home delivery.

2.  Choose one of three eating styles, Paleo, Mixetarian (similar to Paleo, but with some less inflammatory types of grains, legumes, etc. added in), or Vegetarian.

3.  Choose one of three portion sizes according to the calorie intake you desire.

4.  Choose delivery time:  early week, late week, or all week.

5.  Choose breakfasts, lunches, dinners, or all three.  Power Supply posts their future weekly meal plans in advance.  You can choose to get their menu as is, or substitute meals if you find something you’re not particularly fond of.  You can also add in soups and snack bars for even more variety.

6.  Your order is dropped off to the Power Supply fridge at CFF or other pick up site with your name on it.  You then take it home, open the package, and put it in your mouth.

That’s pretty much it.  You decide if you want a one-time order, or if you want to make it recurring (at a discounted rate).  Meals are delivered once or twice weekly, depending on the number of meals per week you select.  You are not locked into a contract; you can pause, resume, terminate, or modify your choice of service at any time.  You don’t even need to be a CFF member to use it, and if for some reason a different site is more convenient for you, there are pick up locations all over the DC metro area.

Pricing is $9.50, $12.50, or $15.50 per meal for each meal size, respectively.  These prices reflect the 5% discount if you select recurring order.  Individual order pricing is 5% more.

Not sold on it yet?  Have more questions?  On Tuesday, June 14th, a rep from Power Supply will be at the Box.  They will be doing the 5PM WOD with us, and then staying on at 6PM with free sample tastings of their foods and will be able to answer your questions.  They will also have coupons for a free first meal from them.  They will add CFF as a delivery location on June 10th, with orders shipping here starting the week of June 20th.

Power Supply is an easy and convenient method to supplement what you already may be doing, or it could be a way to get you back on track to eating right.  Or, simply use it as a way to free up some time in your busy schedule.  Whatever your reason, we hope you enjoy this new service.