By Coach Kathleen
Let’s put it out there – setting Goals can be tough!
While we have the opportunity to create and set out on conquering new goals each day, the start of a New Year seems to fuel to the fire for change. This is a great opportunity to harness that motivation, and hold us accountable, starting today.
Let’s start by writing down SMART goals, whether that’s in an excel spreadsheet, a note in our phone, or scribbled on a piece of scrap paper, let’s put them where we can see them every day.
SMART Goals are:
For example, we can take a simple goal like, “I want to start exercising more”, and refine it.
How can we make this goal specific? What, specifically are we trying to do? Where will this take place, and most importantly, why do we want to achieve this goal?
· I will start taking CrossFit classes at TILT in Sudbury in order to lose body fat
Next, let’s make this goal measurable. How will we evaluate if we are truly working towards our goal?
· I will track my body fat percentage (BFP) using an InBody machine
Actionable: What amount of growth do you plan to achieve? What actions can we take to set ourselves up for success?
· I will take the 5:30pm CrossFit class three times per week
Is our goal realistic? Is it even possible? If I commit to the above plan, will I improve?
· If our BFP is currently 20%, we know that setting a goal of a 2% BFP loss is feasible, where a 10% BFP loss or more would be unrealistic
And finally, time bound. When will we collect evidence of our accomplishment?
· I will attain this goal in 6 months
Putting it all together, our SMART goal would be:
To take the 5:30 class at CrossFit TILT in Sudbury three times a week in order to lose 2% BFP over the course of the next 6 months which will be tracked using an InBody machine.
After acquiring a list of SMART goals, let’s stop for a second and think about how we can devise a systematic approach to properly prepare for this new venture.
We could build out our work schedule to make sure there are no conflicts with our exercise plan. We could gather any necessary gym items we might need, like sneakers and gym clothes, and pick a class to attend that has 15 minutes of cushion time in case traffic is bad. This ensures us that, on the day we plan to begin, we know that we have purposefully navigated some speed bumps that could have otherwise hindered us. Of course, other things outside of our control will always come up, but if we respond to them with an open mind, we can certainly overcome them without deviating from our path.
Let’s make right now, the ultimate time to begin taking action on our journey to greatness.
TRAINING WITH INTENTION
BY COACH BRIAN
When you come into the gym, are you competing with other athletes to “win” the workout, or are you training to become the best athlete you can be? Looking at the whiteboard every day, comparing your scores to others, and trying as hard as you can to get a better time on the clock may be making you less fit. Knowing the difference between practice, training, and competing is crucial to your longevity and fitness. Find out more below on how to train with intention!
MECHANICS – CONSISTENCY – INTENSITY
Mechanics, consistency, and intensity are three components embedded in CrossFit’s program. They are all interrelated and lead to results.
Mechanics refers to being able to properly perform movements efficiently, effectively, and safely. An example would be performing an air squat with all 4 points of performance… 1. Weight in the heels. 2. Knees tracking outside to toes. 3. Maintaining your lumbar spine. And 4. Achieving a full range of motion.
Consistency refers to being able to perform movements with proper mechanics over multiple repetitions. It’s being able to perform the air squat with all points of performance over 10, 20, 30, 40+ repetitions in a row. The second piece to consistency is showing up. Showing up to the gym to workout on a daily basis.
Intensity, defined by CrossFit, is equal to power (force times distance divided by time). Simply put, intensity is how much work you do and how long it takes. As Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, stated, “intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with favorable adaptations.” Intensity is the shortcut to results- the harder one works, the more results they will see.
Sound mechanics and consistency are certainly the safest way to train. However, proper movement also allows athletes to move large loads, long distances, quickly. It allows athletes to move more weight and perform repetitions faster. Being able to do work in less time produces a higher power output. The higher the power, the higher the intensity. The higher the intensity, the greater results. Although intensity will get us desirable results, it all starts with proper technique and movement!
PRACTICE? WE TALKIN’ ‘BOUT PRACTICE!
As we now know, the first step to developing skills and results is done through mastering the mechanics of movements and performing these movements with consistent mechanics. We call this practice. Practice is where we develop and refine skills. It takes into consideration mechanics and consistency and is done with low heart rates, low loads (under 60%), and with the intent of improving technique.
Practice isn’t always sexy- it’s not always fun. Practice requires you to detach yourself from results and focus on becoming better without worrying about the outcome. Practice is taking the time to do snatch skill work with a PVC pipe, an empty barbell, or with light loads. It’s things like spending 10 minutes working on muscle-up transition drills and kip swings, or sitting on a box with your hands on a rope, working your J-hook lock and letting go without actually climbing.
How can we focus on practicing when coming into the gym?
Some of us may not even realize it, but you are practicing every day when you take class! Our coaches build in the time during class to work on the mechanics and consistency of the movements in the daily workout. It is why we spend time drilling barbell movements with the PVC pipe and empty barbell, breaking down gymnastic progressions, or drilling the pieces of our catch, drive, and recovery phase on the rower before the workout begins. It is in these moments where we are making changes in our movement patterns and get better under the watchful eye of a coach.
Although practice is a piece incorporated in class, it should not just end there. Athletes can also spend time practicing on their own. Let’s take an athlete that wants to get better at the snatch. Practice for this athlete could be working with a PVC pipe, empty barbell, or loads under 50-60% of their 1 rep max. Performing drills such as the Burgener warmup, position snatches (1, 2, and 3), tall snatches, and snatch balances under low loads and fatigue will improve positioning, technique, and timing.
Practice, however, must be done with intention where athletes are getting feedback and constantly thinking about change. One will not become a master at something by just going through the motions.
TRAIN FOR GAINS
Training is done with heavy weights, high heart rates, with the goal to improve one’s engine, strength, endurance, and stamina. Training develops capacity that is necessary to compete and challenges skills with added intensity. The key to training within your daily workouts is blending intensity with the deliberate thought of improving your movement patterns. The magic happens when blending mechanics, consistency, and intensity!
If you are looking at the whiteboard every day, comparing your scores to others, and looking for every possible shortcut to improve your time, you are competing. Competing is done with max loads, maximum effort, and with the goal to beat someone else. Adaptations that take place from competing are very minimal. Yes, you can possibly get stronger and a better engine through competing, but in the long run, you could potentially compete yourself out of shape. Imagine an Olympic track athlete that excels in the 400 meter dash. Their training is not stepping onto the track every day and trying to PR their 400 meter dash. Their workouts incorporate practice, training, and various drills that will aid in the process of PRing in the future. We can say the same for any NFL team. They compete once a week, on game day. Practice and drills throughout the week are non-negotiables for all teams during their weekly preparations. If competing happened every day, athletes’ central nervous systems would be destroyed, in turn, risking injury and production.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PRACTICE, TRAIN, AND COMPETE?
Most regular gym-goers practice 5%, train 20%, and compete 75% of the time. If you are looking to improve yourself for tomorrow and get fitter in the long run, a shift towards practice and training must take place. Instead, focus on structuring your week with 45% practice, 45% training, and 10% competing. In regards to practicing, this can be anything from focusing on coach led warm-ups, practicing a skill inside of a workout, or spending time before or after class developing a new skill. Training should happen during your workouts by focusing on moving better while working hard. Competing should happen one to two times per week. Pick a workout that you are going to give it everything you got, try to PR, and chase a score!
Our goal is a trajectory of fitness. We want to be fitter at 50 than we were at 40. Maximum intensity every day can eat people up. Taking your foot off the pedal, focusing on your movement patterns, and allowing yourself to become better, will help you get fitter in the long run.
“Practice? Training? Or Competing?” by Ben Bergeron and Christine Bald. April 19, 2019. https://comptrain.co/media_posts/practice-training-competition/
CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide. http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_English_Level1_TrainingGuide.pdf
“How to Train with Intention || Chasing Excellence with Ben Bergeron || Ep#016”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOobQ4TDVmw
One of the most common questions when it comes to health and wellness is “Should I try this diet?”. We have all heard of Paleo, Keto, Atkins, Vegetarian, Vegan, and so forth. We choose diets to follow for many reasons. Some of us eat a certain way for religious purposes, others for ethical purposes, weight loss, performance, etc. Whatever we choose to eat is considered our “diet” and to take it one step further to the origin of the greek word “diata” means, “way of living”. Our diet represents the way we live, and how we nourish our bodies, so let’s breakdown diet dogma and learn more about what is really the best diet for us.
When we look into how indigenous cultures ate, there were a wide variety of diets based on availability of food sources. There were no supermarkets importing goods from across the country and world, local and seasonal was the only option. Of these populations, almost all proved to be quite healthy despite having wildly different ways of eating. Fast forward to this day and age, we can choose to eat however we want without much hassle. Want to try Keto? We have all of the accessibility to do everything from reading clinical research studies to ordering prepared meals that fit the exact criteria of the diet.
The problem arises when we choose a diet that doesn’t jive with our bodies. For instance, the ketogenic diet can be extremely healing and effective for people who do endurance style training. This is because it puts the body into ketosis where it is primarily burning fat for fuel. As we have learned, fat is a slow burning source of fuel and can sustain us at a low to moderate activity level for quite some time. Conversely, if we are extremely active and participate in a lot of high intensity interval training, this particular diet can leave us feeling fatigued and cause more stress to our bodies, however this is bio-individual and there are outliers on both sides of the coin.
So how do we find the correct diet, or way of living, for ourselves? A great way to start is through trial and error. Participating in group challenges that emphasize a particular diet is a phenomenal way to test the water while having some accountability to stay on track. Picking a time frame of no less than 4 weeks to devote to a certain style of eating will give us quantitative data as to how our bodies respond. Another option would be to work with a nutritionist to develop a baseline style of eating that compliments our lifestyle and moves us in the direction of our goals. Keeping one key point in mind, that we must commit to sticking to a certain way of eating for a set period of time in order to see the true results. Results can’t be determined in a test period of 3 days. Let’s commit this upcoming year to creating the diet that compliments our lifestyle and allows us to live fully, feel great and accomplish our goals!
Whether it is going away for work or vacation, there are a variety of ways to stay fit while traveling.
Between dropping in at local gyms, utilizing a hotel gym, or doing travel workouts, there are many opportunities to workout while away.
Take a look at some tips below!
Drop-In at a Local Gym
There are thousands of CrossFit gyms all over the world! Most gyms will allow athletes from remote gyms to drop-in on their classes. Contact the gym ahead of time and get familiar with their schedule and drop-in policies. Most gyms will have a small fee for dropping into a class. Looking for a gym near your next travel destination? Check out the CrossFit affiliate map here: https://map.crossfit.com.
Don’t want to drop-in at a CrossFit gym? Search fitness complexes in your area and drop-in. Take a class, do your own workout, or use their machines!
Modifying TILT’s Workout of the Day
Head down to your hotel gym and see what they have for equipment. If there a variety of weights and equipment, consider modifying TILT’s workout of the day. If there are minimal weights, a travel workout might be your go-to. Or, consider modifying TILT’s workout of the day and substituting any weighted movements with bodyweight movements. Check out some examples below:
No Gym, No Weights, No Problem!
If dropping into a local gym sounds like too much of a hassle and you have minimal equipment..have no fear – bodyweight movements will do the trick!
It doesn’t take much to get in a good workout. There are so many workouts that require little to no equipment and can be done virtually anywhere. Think about the variety of movements that can be done with just your bodyweight..squats, push-ups, sit-ups, running, burpees, lunges, and so much more! Take advantage of your hotel room, hotel fitness center, or any space that is available. A list of travel workouts can be found below. Need other ideas? Email a coach for help!
50 or 100 Burpees For Time
3 Rounds For Time: Run 800 meters, 20 Squats, 20 Push ups, 20 Squats
4 Rounds For Time: Run 400 meters, 50 air squats
7 Rounds For Time: 10 Pushups 20 Sit ups 30 Squats
5 Rounds For Time: Run 200 meters, 10 Burpees
3 Rounds For Time: Run 400 meters, 30 Pushups
AMRAP 12: 10 Burpees, 15 Sit ups
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of burpees and a 100 meter sprint between each set
21-15-9 for time of: Burpees, Air Squats and Pushups
For Time: Run 1, 2 or 3 miles for time
3 rounds of 200, 400, 600m run – rest equal running time
In 10 minutes complete 1 mile run and as many burpees as possible
5x400m Run, 1 minute rest
10x100m sprints, Every minute on the minute.
24-21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps of push ups and Jumping Lunges
Tabata Squats, Push ups, Burpees and/or Sit ups
3 Rounds: 50 Situps, 400 Meter Run
10 Rounds For Time: 10 Walking Lunges 10 Pushups
4 Rounds For Time: Run 400m 50 Air Squats
10 Rounds For Time: 10 Push-ups 10 Squats
Tabata Squats: 20 seconds on 10 seconds rest, 8 rounds (or, pick any other movement!)
For Time: Run 800m 100 Air Squats Run 800m
:20 on/:10 off
Hollow hold or sit-ups
Russian Twists (2 count)
:20 Hollow hold into..
:20 Flutter kicks then..
:10 rest (5-8 minutes)
100 Sit-ups for Time
How Should I Warm-Up?
Always do a light warm-up before your workout. The goal of the warmup is to get moving, get sweaty, and prime your body for the workout ahead.
Here is a basic bodyweight warmup that can be done anywhere:
:30 Jumping Jacks
:30 Quad Stretches
:30 Knuckle Draggers
:30 Sampson Stretch
:30 Walkout to Plank
15 Air Squats
Within 7 minutes you should be warmed up and ready to go!
As you can see, there are many ways to stay active while traveling. Don’t let a week away from TILT ruin your progress.
No matter where you are in the world, there is always an opportunity to sweat and move!
by Coach Kathleen
Whether we are inactive or extremely active, chances are we all have used some form of deodorant or antiperspirant. Body odor occurs when bacteria on our skin mixes with sweat. There are various kinds of odor-causing bacteria that result in different odors based on the reason we are sweating. Sweat caused from stress or hormones will cause a different odor than sweat caused simply from expelling water and electrolytes from physical activity.
A simple and effective way to remove body odor is to shower with anti-bacterial agents. Many essential oils like tea tree, lavender and lemongrass have strong antibacterial properties and are safe to use as natural fragrances. Natural deodorants can also do the trick if we choose the correct brands. Deodorant should still allow for perspiration, our bodies natural form of detoxification. It should also contain ingredients that we recognize which could include coconut oil, baking soda, beeswax and essential oils. Additionally, we can limit foods that cause an increase in body odor like processed foods, refined sugar and dairy, and fried foods. Antiperspirants are another product that can lessen body odor but before we grab one from the shelf, we should make sure to understand the potential risks first.
Antiperspirants aim to do exactly what the name applies: stop us from perspiring. While some people genetically tend to sweat more than others, let’s recall that our skin is a detoxification organ. If we inhibit our body from expelling toxins out of our skin, we are trapping them inside and allowing them to continue causing damage. Our skin also absorbs everything we put on it, and as with deodorant, reading the ingredient label is imperative. Antiperspirants often contain toxins and metals like aluminum which can lead to DNA damage, abnormal cell function and changes in gene expression. Concentrating these toxins and metals in places like our underarms can lead to a higher risk of lymphatic and breast cancer in women.
In order to keep ourselves smelling fresh but also working towards optimal health, it’s best to do our homework when it comes to deodorant and antiperspirants. If we are simply sweating from physical activity, we generally will not produce an odor from expelling just electrolytes and water. Managing stress and eating healthy will also greatly lessen the need for any additional products. When necessary, spending the extra few dollars on a brand without chemical additives that has natural bacterial fighting agents will accomplish the goal and keep us warding off the nursing home for years to come.
- Levy, Jillian. “5 Natural Deodorant Remedies, Plus How to Make Your Own!” Dr. Axe, 15 Feb. 2018, https://draxe.com/health/natural-deodorant/.
- Integrative Nutrition. “A Guide to Natural Deodorants.” Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Integrative Nutrition, 17 Jan. 2018, https://www.integrativenutrition.com/blog/2018/01/a-guide-to-natural-deodorants.
By Coach Kathleen
For thousands of years we have been comforted with “chicken soup” when we are feeling under the weather. It turns out there is more behind chicken soup than simply warming our souls. Traditionally made chicken, beef, lamb, fish, or vegetable broth (to name a few) is made from boiling bones, tendons, ligaments and other parts of the animal that we wouldn’t eat. The finished product, now referred to as “bone broth” is packed with essential nutrients that can greatly impact our health in a positive way.
The method of boiling down bones and other animal parts extracts nutrients into the water. Bone broths are rich in collagen, the most abundant protein in our bodies. They also contain gut-healing amino acids like glutamine which can repair intestinal permeability, also known as “leaky gut”. Proline, glycine and arginine are other amino acids found in high concentration in bone broth. They help boost our immune system, prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue, stimulate the production and release of growth hormone, and can help regenerate and repair cartilage and heal joints. Bone broth also contains glucosamine, another powerful joint supporting nutrients, as well as abundant amounts of minerals and electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
Bone broth is extremely easy to make, the hardest part in our culture is finding a place that carries bones and other parts of pastured animals. Finding these parts usually requires asking the butcher what he has hiding in the back room, as they are less readily found in the front shelves or freezer. Once our bones are sourced, there are a variety of ways to make a tasty, versatile broth. The base of most broths consists of bones, fat, meat, vegetables and water. Apple cider vinegar is also added to help extract more nutrients from the bones. Bones with meat should be cooked, while other bones and ingredients can be added raw. Add all ingredients to a large crockpot, cover with water, bring to a boil and let simmer for 4-6 hours. Then proceed to cook on low heat for 24-48 hours total. As the broth cooks longer it will become more concentrated and gelatinous. Strain the broth through cheesecloth to remove herbs, bones, vegetables and other particles and let the broth come to room temperature before covering and storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Fat from the broth with separate and solidify on top. This fat can be kept in the broth or removed and used for cooking.
Homemade broth is best consumed within 3-5 days or can be kept frozen for up to 6 months. There are also some high quality brands that can be found premade. When choosing a store bought broth, keep in mind the quality of the product and be sure each ingredient can be identified. Bone broth can be used to sip on, as a nutrient-dense caffeine free alternative in the morning or evening. It can also be used in recipes and as a base for homemade soup or stew. Due to its powerful nutrient profile, bone broth is considered a “superfood”. If we want to keep our immune system strong, preserve muscle mass, boost our digestion and metabolism, and ward off the doctor’s office this fall and winter, let’s try out some hearty bone broth to keep our bodies primed for whatever life throws our way.
- Axe, Josh. “#BoneBroth Benefits for Digestion, Arthritis, and Cellulite.” Dr. Axe, 23 Jan. 2019, https://draxe.com/nutrition/article/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/.
- “Bone Broth Benefits: Everything You Need to Know.” Chris Kresser, 27 Aug. 2019, https://chriskresser.com/the-bountiful-benefits-of-bone-broth-a-comprehensive-guide/.
“Cold & Flu Prevention”
By Coach Kathleen
As the seasons begin to change, cold and flu symptoms will slowly but surely emerge in the general population. While we can certainly catch a cold any time of the year, certain viruses flourish at different temperatures and the fall and winter are ideal for common cold viruses. Some of us may be more prone to catching colds while others can skate through an entire year with barely a sniffle. What causes some of us to get sick more often than others?
Our bodies “catch” a cold when we are unable to effectively fight off a virus. Not being able to ward off harmful intruders can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies or a depressed immune system. Other causes include lack of sleep, mold exposure, an impaired digestive tract, increased stress and traveling. In all of these cases, the immune system is compromised. So, how do we ensure our immune system is strong enough to keep the common cold and dreaded flu away?
Supporting our bodies with potent immune boosting foods is a great place to start. Bone broth is an ancient remedy that has regained popularity over the last decade, for good reason. It’s amino acid and mineral rich composition make it great for boosting the immune system and repairing the gut, which is located within our immune system. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties and can break down mucus along with another cold-preventing beverage: hot water! Water alone will help the body move nutrients in and toxins out, as well as breakdown congestion. When we add in antiviral components like honey, ginger and lemon, we have an immune boosting, and cold-fighting super drink! Last but certainly not least, garlic is an incredible addition as it is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. Garlic is great for both prevention and treatment as it will boost and aid the immune system in fighting off any infection or virus present. Wondering why orange juice wasn’t on this list? It turns out that “OJ” may actually do more harm than good when it comes to fighting off the common cold and flu.
Orange juice along with other concentrated fruit juices are not all they’re cracked up to be when it comes to nutrient density. They also come laced with more sugar which can inhibit our white blood cells from fighting off infections. When going for vitamin C, choosing a whole orange that also contains water, fiber, and ample amounts of vitamin C, is best. Refined grains can compromise our immune system by harming our digestive tract, causing inflammation, and causing vital nutrients to be lost (leaky gut). Finally, conventional dairy can actually thicken phlegm in the throat, making congestion worse.
Considering the steps above may not make us invincible to airborne illnesses, but it can certainly give us the fighting edge. The common cold last for about 7 days, and if we empower our bodies with nutrients that will help us fight it off, we can incur the least amount of “sick days”. So let’s whip up an immune boosting concoction this fall and cheers to being able to spend more time around our friends, family, and in the gym this “cold and flu season”, instead of quarantined in our bedrooms!
- Myers, Amy. “10 Tips for Preventing the Cold & Flu Naturally.” Amy Myers MD, 13 Aug. 2019, https://www.amymyersmd.com/2018/10/prevent-cold-flu-naturally/.
- Price, Annie. “Common Cold Remedies for Fast Relief and Prevention.” Dr. Axe, 7 Nov. 2018, https://draxe.com/health/cold-and-flu/natural-cold-remedies/.
By Coach Kathleen
Branched-chain amino acids are a commonly used supplement in the athletic world. They include three amino acids that have a chain branched to one side: leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are also essential, meaning the body cannot produce them and we must get them from a food source. There are also 6 other essential amino acids and 20 total amino acids that our bodies need to grow and develop. As all amino acids are imperative for our health, why are these three highlighted and recommended as an additional supplement?
BCAA’s are used to enhance muscle growth and aid in faster recovery time. They work to prevent muscle loss by reducing the amount of muscle atrophy when taken around exercise. More muscle mass means we burn more calories at rest, resulting in a better body composition with less body fat. Since BCAA’s are converted in the muscle instead of the liver, they can also support liver health by lessening its daily strain. If we would like to build and maintain lean body mass, and recover fast enough to get back into the gym daily, BCAA’s are necessary to get us there. We can find BCAA’s in supplement form, and also in animal proteins and legumes.
If we are eating a diet with a variety of high quality animal proteins, we may not need additional supplementation! Chicken, beef, tuna, salmon, tilapia and turkey contain about 6,000mg or more BCAA’s per serving compared to the average BCAA supplement which contains around 5,000mg. Multiply that by the 3 or so meals we consume daily, and we are certainly getting in those essential amino acids! BCAA’s can effectively be used to replenish our bodies in the absence of animal protein, especially right after a hard workout.
When looking for a BCAA supplement, beware of brands containing high amounts of sugars, fillers and dyes. These seem to run rampant in BCAA supplements, making them less effective by exposing our bodies to harmful chemical agents that contradict the powerful benefits of branched-chain amino acids. A good rule of thumb is avoiding products that have ingredients listed that we can’t easily identify. To keep our muscles fueled and recovering efficiently, let’s make sure to get high quality animal sources in most of our meals, and when necessary, utilize a clean BCAA supplement to keep us feeling our best, inside and outside of the gym.
Holeček, Milan. “Branched-Chain Amino Acids in Health and Disease: Metabolism, Alterations in Blood Plasma, and as Supplements.” Nutrition & Metabolism, BioMed Central, 3 May 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934885/.
Link, Rachael. “The Essential Amino Acids That Enhance Muscles & Athletic Performance.” Dr. Axe, 6 June 2019, https://draxe.com/nutrition/supplements/bcaa/.
by Coach Kathleen
Activated charcoal is another historically used substance that has been making its way back into the spotlight. We may have seen it being used in the form of toothpaste, skin care masks, and of course as an emergency detoxification method for those who have consumed too much alcohol. Activated charcoal is not to be confused with the charcoal we use for grilling! It is formed through controlled decomposition of carbon based compounds like coconut shells and peat that are “activated” through the exposure to high temperature gases. The final product is a porous, negatively charged substance that is able to bind positively charged toxins and gases. Once bound, activated charcoal requires adequate amounts of water to flush through our system and out of our bodies.
Ingesting activated charcoal isn’t only for cases of alcohol poisoning, it can greatly benefit our bodies in other ways as well. It can be used to soothe an upset stomach, binding the gases produced by negative food reactions. It can help lessen our “toxin load” when it comes to environmental toxins like pesticides, chemicals, metals and molds. By removing toxins, activated charcoal use can improve the function of major organs like our liver, kidneys and adrenal glands. As our overall health is a reflection of the internal function of our body systems, it would seem that using activated charcoal is a no-brainer!
While there are plenty of benefits of using activated charcoal, there are also some potential side effects we should also consider. As charcoal is a porous substance, it can bind to substances like vitamins, minerals and medications, therefore interfering with their absorption. If we are going to try out this substance, it’s best to take 90-120 minutes before consuming a meal, supplement or medication. Activated charcoal may also cause constipation if too much is consumed, and should be avoided by people with chronic dehydration or severe intestinal damage. In cases of alcohol poisoning or drug overdose, activated charcoal has been effective in doses of 50-100 grams. For reducing and preventing digestive symptoms like gas and bloating, charcoal may be used in doses of 500-1,000 milligrams per day. Finally, 4-32 grams daily has been used to lower cholesterol levels.
If we choose to utilize activated charcoal, making sure we are using it properly is key. It can be a great supplement to help us detoxify from over consumption of alcohol, or from the toxins acquired throughout the day. Making sure to stay hydrated while taking charcoal will ensure we are moving the toxin-containing charcoal through our bodies efficiently. It’s best to keep activated charcoal use short term due to its ability to affect nutrient absorption. Therefore, activated charcoal can be a great addition to a weekly self-care routine in the form of a face mask or digestive toxin cleanse!
Axe, Josh. “Activated Charcoal Removes Toxins, Whitens Teeth and More!” Dr. Axe, 5 July 2019, draxe.com/nutrition/supplements/activated-charcoal-uses/.
Derlet, R W, and T E Albertson. “Activated Charcoal–Past, Present and Future.” The Western Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 1986, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1306980/.
“Milk: To Drink or Not To Drink?”
By Coach Kathleen
Many of us recall the prevalence of milk in our diets as children. Perhaps we still consume milk regularly, or have switched to a dairy-free alternative. There are many factors that go into deciding if milk is right for us, so let’s start by discussing the basics.
As infants, consuming milk from our mother is how we got our first boost of nutrients that support vitality and growth. We attain a number of nutrients, growth hormones and beneficial bacterial from this raw, undenatured milk. As we wean off of human milk, it’s generally recommended to incorporate cows milk. Signs of cow’s milk reactions date back about 2,000 years ago, around the same time that pasteurization of cow’s milk began. While both raw and pasteurized milk contain milk proteins like lactose and casein that many people react to, raw milk may support the body helping build a tolerance to cow’s milk.
Pasteurization is a process using heat to kill off potentially harmful bacteria. It was developed as a way to protect us from foodborne illnesses derived from strains like salmonella, E. Coli and mycobacterium tuberculosis. The downfall of pasteurization is that it also kills off beneficial bacteria and reduces the nutrient content of milk. The nutrients in raw milk like probiotics, immunoglobulins, and vitamin D naturally boost the immune system, therefore reducing our risk of allergies. The harmful bacteria are certainly nothing to take lightly, however the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that of the 48 million foodborne illnesses each year, only about 42 cases (0.0005%) come from unpasteurized milk.
Along with the pasteurization process, conventional milk is also homogenized. This is an additional steam treatment process where the fat in milk is broken down, becoming oxidized and often rancid. Lower fat milk also contains thickening agents, “fortified” or “enriched” vitamins, meaning synthetic vitamins that the body has a hard time recognizing, as well as added sugars and artificial flavors. These processed and artificial components are another large reason why many people react to conventional milk products.
In learning more about the milk we are used to seeing on the shelves and the prevalence of milk sensitivities, it’s more clear to see how conventional milk has become another processed food. While raw milk may be a better option in terms of nutrient availability and also helping us build a tolerance to milk proteins, it’s certainly not easy to get a hold of. Due to it’s time and heat sensitive nature, it’s best consumed straight off the farm. Choosing a dairy source that maintains a high quality lifestyle for their producers is also important. Farms who keep their cattle on open pasture, treated humanely, inhibit the use of hormones and have sanitary measures for milk extraction will be the safest to consume raw milk from.
When deciding if milk is right for us, we should also understand that true allergies (IgE antibodies) tend to be ours for life. Sensitivities (IgG antibodies) can come and go as we work to improve our immune health and repair our gut lining. Removing things that we react to and then adding them back in after a period of reprieve and repair generally results in better tolerance. If we are looking to regain a tolerance to cow’s milk, adding raw milk may aid in the process. Milk is a great source of healthy protein, fat and carbohydrates in its undenatured form, it can be a nutrient dense addition to our diets or we can choose to lead a healthy life with the plethora of dairy-free alternatives. If our goal is to be fit and healthy for life, it’s best to listen to our bodies and avoid foods that cause internal stress. The true answer to drinking milk or not is – it depends.
Edwards, Rebekah. “Do You Drink Pasteurized Milk?” Dr. Axe, 22 Aug. 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/article/9-myths-of-pasteurization-or-homogenization-better-options/
Axe, Josh. “The Truth about Raw Milk.” Dr. Axe, 13 Mar. 2014, draxe.com/nutrition/article/raw-milk-benefits/.
Thorning, Tanja Kongerslev, et al. “Milk and Dairy Products: Good or Bad for Human Health? An Assessment of the Totality of Scientific Evidence.” Food & Nutrition Research, Co-Action Publishing, 22 Nov. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5122229/.