nutrition

Eat This/Not That: Staying Hydrated

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We’ve all been raised to believe that we need eight glasses of water a day. But what’s a glass? When do you drink? What should be in that water? Does it need to be water? What about during workouts? Here are some answers.


Why drink? Sixty percent of your body is composed of water, including 75 percent of your muscle and 85 percent of your brain. It’s why a headache, fatigue, and weakness are the first signs of dehydration. You need water to absorb vitamins and nutrients; to ensure proper digestion; and to detoxify your liver and kidneys.

Does coffee count? Actually, no. Coffee and energy drinks with caffeine (as well as alcohol) act as diuretics and thus contribute to dehydration.

How much to drink? The idea we need to drink 8 glasses (2.5 liters) stems from a 1945 government recommendation. But the reality is that how much you need to drink depends on your own individual composition and activity level. I recommend drinking at least 25 percent of your body weight in ounces with an ideal goal of 50 percent. So if you weigh 140, aim for 70 ounces (about ten, 8-ounce glasses). And make sure you drink after workouts. The American Heart Association recommends a pint of water for every pound you sweat.

Should I drink during workouts? If you can. If you’re dehydrated, studies find, it could affect your performance. And make sure you hydrate before a workout, too.

Do I need sports drinks or added electrolytes/carbohydrates? Not unless you’re engaged in duration exercise, something like Murph, or it’s really hot. For our typical workouts, plain water is fine. There’s some evidence that cold water is even better in terms of performance. Having said that, if you work out early morning before you eat consider adding some Xendurance Fuel 5+. It contains a blend of sweet potato carbohydrates and caffeine to provide quick energy.

Is there such a thing as too much water? There sure is. It’s called hyponatremia and it can actually be fatal.

So how do I stay hydrated? Glad you asked. My best tip is to carry a water bottle with you throughout the day and keep it filled. If plain water is boring, add fruit or cucumber slices or sugar-free flavorings. Just keep sipping!

Eat This/Not That: Should You Try a Meal Plan?

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By: Alex Carlson

You may have noticed the large Origins refrigerator in the lobby of RPE1. This is our newest meal plan delivery service. We’ve been using Kettlebell Kitchen for about a year now but decided to add Origins because of the quality of their ingredients. We will still keep Kettlebell Kitchen.
 
Origins is a small company based in Minneapolis. It sources all its produce, meat, and poultry from local farmers in the Midwest, and makes all meals and all ingredients from scratch (including nearly all sauces and condiments). The meals, which come in Paleo, Keto, or macro-balanced options, are all locally prepared and gluten-, dairy-, and peanut-free. The chefs use coconut, olive, or sesame oil for cooking, with no added MSG or other preservatives. You can choose to have two, three, or five meals a week for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
 
So how do you know when a meal delivery plan is right for you?
 
I think it comes down to time and convenience. I like having prepared meals on hand to “fill in” on days when I’m too busy to cook or behind in my meal prep. It comes in particularly handy when I’m at the box all day. Knowing that I have a healthy meal in the fridge that meets my macros keeps me from running out for something I might regret later.
 
Sure, it costs more to have a complete meal delivered than to cook one yourself. But not any more (and possibly less) than eating out. Plus, there is the added benefit of getting time back.
Other members tell me it comes in particularly handy if they live alone or their partner is traveling so they don’t have to cook a meal just for one.
 
If you’re interested in trying Origins, sign up on their web site and use code TAKE20 to receive a discount on your first order.
 

Eating Out: It’s All About Planning

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By: Alex Carlson

Many of my clients wonder if they can track macros and still eat out. I say, of course! It just takes a bit of planning. Here’s what I recommend:                          

  • Choose the right restaurant. Check the menu online before you go. Look for words like “grilled,” “broiled,” “baked,” or “roasted.” Skip “fried” and “creamy.”

  • Keep it simple. Stick to the basic food groups; protein, carbs, and fats. In other words, opt for the salmon with a side of veggies versus the pasta with a rich sauce.

  • Ask for it on the side. As in, “Can I have the sauce/dressing on the side?” Trust me, you’ll wind up using a fraction of what they give you.

  • Do the math first. If you’re following a macro-based plan, enter the macros before you leave the house (you’re able to do this because you checked the menu ahead of time, right?)

  • Skip the minefields. That means alcohol and dessert – the minefields of dining out. Try sparkling water with lime in a wine glass rather than Chardonnay, and a cup of great coffee after dinner rather than the chocolate ganache.

Fighting the Family for Healthy Nutrition

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I was just talking to one of our members who is struggling with a common problem: he knows how to eat healthy, but he can’t bring himself to stay away from the not-so-healthy snacks he buys for the kids. “I’d rather gain weight than listen to my kids scream about not having snacks,” he told me.
 
I don’t have kids, but I understand. So, what’s the answer?
 
Get everyone else on board. Get the entire family to eat healthy.
 
A great place to start is by involving your kids (assuming they’re old enough to complete full sentences) in shopping and cooking. Sure, that’s easier said than done especially with young kids who are picky eaters. But involving your kids gives them a sense of control, which can translate into better choices. There are dozens of kid-friendly cookbooks out there that you and your children can pore over. Here’s a place to start.
 
Also remember that you’re still in charge. Until your kids have their own car and credit card, what you buy is what comes into the house. That’s doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate snacks. But you can make better choices. Fried chips or baked? Packaged cookies or homemade (where you can control the ingredients)? Sugary drinks or flavored seltzer water? Try keeping containers of cut-up fruit and veggies, single-serving hummus and guacamole packs, and sugar-free yogurts handy where your kids (and you) can reach them on their own.
 
And don’t forget the potential of gamification when it comes to healthy eating with your kids. How about making a game of grocery shopping? Can you get everything you need by keeping to the perimeter of the store? That’s where you find “real,” (read: unprocessed) food, including lean meats, poultry, and seafood, fresh or frozen vegetables, fruit, and low-fat cheese and dairy.
 
Pop into a couple of aisles for healthy oils, pastas, and a few canned goods and voila! Your kids have won the prize of health.

Making Room for the Donuts

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Anyone who knows me knows how much I love donuts and ice cream. I could eat both at least twice a day given the opportunity. But I don’t. Instead, I plan my sugar highs around my macros rather than planning my macros around my sugar highs.

In other words, I don’t eat donuts and ice cream and then figure out how many carbohydrate and fat macros I have left. Instead, I decide that on Tuesday I want a cup of ice cream, input the fat, carb, and protein macros first, then build the rest of my food around those to meet my daily requirements.
 
Do I slip up? Yes, of course, especially when I pass a Joe’s Donuts. But the key to meeting my nutritional goals and having the foods I love is moderation.
 
I try to only give myself two to three “treats” a week but I’m not perfect. If I find that I’m indulging too frequently, I’ll just dial back for the next week or two. It’s easy to make justifications on why I should have that donut but  I focus on trying to become a little bit better each day.
 
Moderation is important but knowing what your next meal will be is one of the best ways to keep yourself on track. That way, little over-indulging doesn’t knock me off track.
 
I never want my clients to view the healthy eating plans we come up with as restrictive. If you like a glass of wine, you can have a glass of wine – just build it into your macros. And if you like a donut or bowl of ice cream, you can have those, too – within your macro framework. You’re not “cheating.” You’re planning.