GMOS: THE CONTROVERSY

Hey guys,

This is a “guest” post. My daughter Madalyn has written a paper on genetically modified organisms and why it is a controversial topic. If you aren’t familiar with GMOs, this is a pretty good overview of some of the dangers.

GMOs: The Controversy

Dating back to the paleolithic era of American history, real food, believe it or not was actually being consumed. Cavemen ate off of the land, hunted, and grew their crops. In the “good ole days,” before the 19th century, an idea American’s have come to know and love over the years had not yet been implicated into society. This “idea” is now commonly known as processed food. Over time Americans have taken a step up in the food processing industry to a new concept, genetically modifying foods so as to transform the size and variation of the food. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are plants or animals that have undergone a process wherein scientists alter their genes with DNA from different species of living organisms, bacteria, or viruses to get desired traits such as resistance to disease or tolerance of pesticides. Due to the harmful effects that genetically modified foods inflict upon the environment and the human body, I strongly believe America should ban the use of GMOs.

According to a website that raises awareness about GMOs, today, roughly 85 percent of corn, 91 percent of soybeans, and 88 percent of cotton grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. Other common GMO foods include canola, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa. The argument pertaining to the genetic modification of such a large number of crops is in fact a valid argument. Some may argue the benefits of GMOs, stating that the number of crops being produced could have a significant effect on nutrition and hunger issues in the developing world.

Though it may be true that genetically modifying crops will produce significant amounts of food to aid in world hunger issues, how is feeding people chemicals going to solve any problems?

As mentioned earlier, when a crop is genetically modified, it is not only altered for sizing purposes. Chemical companies genetically engineer DNA from bacteria into food crops to enable them to survive high doses of the herbicides they sell. Overuse of certain pesticides has created “superweeds” and “superbugs,” resulting in GMO crops now being designed to withstand even more toxic herbicides. More toxic herbicides and pesticides being used on these crops results in more residue from these chemicals ending up on the plates of people all over the world. In a recent study done on GMO corn produced by Monsanto, (a leading chemical engineering company), research has discovered a new toxin is being produced that causes the stomachs of insects consuming the toxin to explode. With the resistance to this toxin by the plant constantly building up, more of the toxin will be consumed by humans. If this toxin, commonly known as the BT Toxin, explodes the stomachs of insects, eventually it could have the same affect on humans. In addition to digestive tract issues, the BT Toxin has recently been found in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, and in the now destroyed homes of monarch butterflies, whose population has already gone down 50% in the last nine years. The biggest harm GMOs inflict upon the environment and the human population of the world is the result of one word, PESTICIDES! Yet, there are still several people who believe planting these crops and dumping millions of pounds of pesticides on them are simply keeping bugs out of our crops.

Looking at genetically modified crops on global soil, there are many farmers who have major issues with chemical companies, such as Monsanto. Monsanto will sue any farmer who is supposedly using seeds or pesticides that is owned by the company and will literally confiscate the farm if ONE seed is found on property that does not belong to the company. This is where much controversy comes into play. It is common knowledge that when the wind blows, seeds travel through the air, as well as chemical residue. So if a family farm is located anywhere near a farm owned by Monsanto, it is at a much higher risk of being contaminated. There have been several instances in which family farms have been wrongfully taken over, thus adding more space for genetically modified crops to be grown. See the problem yet?

According to a website opposing GMOs, sixty countries around the world have already put restrictions or bans on GMO products, thus a new question has risen. If sixty countries have already regulated genetically modified crops, why won’t America follow the trend and take similar action? In a recent poll over labeling GMOs, 90% of the American population said they would like to know what they’re eating. There are currently many movements occurring in an attempt to get the United States to label which food products are using GMOs. However, to counter these movements, many corporations are paying whatever cost necessary in order to not have to label their foods. The logic behind not labeling GMO products is very simple; if people realize what they’re eating is genetically modified, they are less likely to spend their money on it.

Over the years, America has transformed from a society of farmers envisioned my Thomas Jefferson, to a society who, rather than eating real home-grown crops, mostly eats food that has been processed or genetically altered. Though beneficial to world hunger issues, genetically modifying crops in order to produce a larger quantity or different variation of the crop, to protect the crop from herbicides, or to simply keep pests away from the crop, has a much more negative impact on the environment and the people of the country than a positive impact. I will henceforth stick to my belief that America should place on ban on the genetic modification of our food.

Bibliography

“GMO Facts.” The NonGMO Project RSS. NonGmo Project, 2014. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.

Bello, Walden, and Foreign Policy In Focus. “Twenty-Six Countries Ban GMOs-Why Won’t the US?” The Nation. Foreign Policy in Focus, 29 Oct. 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

Caldwell, Maggie. “5 Surprising Genetically Modified Foods.” Mother Jones. Environment, 5 Aug. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

Network, Jolie Lee. “What You Need to Know about GMOs.” USA Today. Gannett, 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.

“What Are We Eating?” LabelGMOs. Label GMOs, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.

“What Are GMOs?” TakePart. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

GENERAL PHYSICAL PREPAREDNESS (GPP) AND HOW WE MEASURE IT

CrossFit’s main goal is to improve an athlete’s General Physical Preparedness (GPP). How is this measured?

One standard that CrossFit uses is the 10 General Physical Skills:

Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance: The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
Stamina: The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
Strength: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
Flexibility: the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint
Power: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
Speed: The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
Coordination: The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
Agility: The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
Balance: The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
Accuracy: The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

WHAT WE CHOOSE DAILY IS WHO WE BECOME

What we choose daily is who we become.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt

Every day you wake and are faced with thousands of choices. The impact of all those daily choices add up. They define us.

What if we actually took the time to examine each choice and look at the impact it has on our lives.

You are choosing to over-consume alcohol, you will become an alcoholic.
You choose to overeat every day, you will become fat.
You choose to smoke, you will get cancer.
When that person cuts you off in traffic, you choose anger.

Daily you have choices. Are you choosing wisely?

Choose to be happy!
Choose to be positive!
Choose to forgive!
Choose to stop that addiction!
Choose to eat healthy foods!
Choose to exercise!
….It’s your choice.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO LOSE BODY FAT? (WITHOUT LOSING STRENGTH)

You guys hear me talk all the time about the importance of nutrition and why it is key to fitness. So, let’s talk a little bit about eating for your goals. Specifically the goal of losing body fat while maintaining and even increasing our strength. There are numerous factors that play into that but there are a few things that I do know for certain. One, diets don’t work. Two, what you eat is just as or more important than how much you eat. Finally, you need a little intense exercise to stimulate fat loss.

So you ready for the BIG secret? Change the way you eat and the way you move. Notice I did not say reduce your calories and exercise more. Why? For the simple reason that it is not that simple. Honestly, most people that come into the box do not eat enough and some exercise too much. Most have been told for years to cut calories, reduce fat intake, and exercise and they will lose weight. Why is everyone still overweight then? Look around you, obesity rates have tripled in the last 3 decades and have surpassed smoking as the leading cause of death in the US. Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, among numerous others, are growing at epidemic levels and have all been linked directly and/or indirectly to obesity. Chances are, especially for those of us that live in Texas, if you are not obese you are overweight. (70% of Texans are overweight)

Now, let’s talk about what to do about it. First let’s change the way we eat. High carb, low fat diets DO NOT work. What works is eating real foods the way God intended for us to eat, foods that are nutrient dense and do not wreak havoc on our hormones. When we think of hormones we typically think of darling children that, seemingly overnight, turn into monsters covered in acne. Truth is, our hormones play key roles in almost every function in our bodies. They effect growth and development, metabolism, mood, sexual function, and reproduction.

Let’s take a moment to look at a couple notables that play key roles in body fat storage:

Insulin: If you are looking to blame one hormone in particular for your body fat, insulin is that hormone. Insulin’s role in the body is fat storage. Insulin is the hormone that regulates how your body uses food for it fuel. It is the hormone that directs your muscle, liver and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood and store it.

If your body is always in a state where your insulin is elevated then you begin to see insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to fat storage and the fatter we become the more insulin resistant we become.

What is the primary driving force of insulin resistance? Overconsumption of carbohydrates.

Your body has a limited capacity to store carbs. Initially, your body uses carbs for energy, then it is stored as glycogen. Your body stores glycogen in the liver and muscles, once those are full the remaining is stored as body fat.

Insulin that is always elevated not only keeps fat around, it locks the door to your fat cells so that the fat releasing hormones like glucagon can’t get in. So, as long as your insulin level is elevated you will not lose body fat.

Glucagon: Glucagon performs the exact opposite function of insulin, it melts fat. Per The Perfect Diet, “In the presence of glucose, your pancreas releases insulin. But in the absence of sugar (if your blood sugar is very low and you haven’t eaten for 5 to 6 hours), glucagon is secreted. Why? Because your tissues need sugar and energy. In turn, glucagon pulls sugars out of storage—first from the liver, and then from fatty tissues to raise your blood glucose level.” So if you are always eating, it would be impossible to lose weight because your body would never release glucagon. Glucagon production is inhibited as long as insulin elevated. They are polar opposites: Insulin stores fat while glucagon releases fat.

So what do we eat to balance these two hormones and lose body fat? Below are a few suggestions.

· Eat veggies—TONS of them. Especially dark green leafy vegetables.

· Limit dense carbohydrates to when you have earned them. For instance a long, intense workout. Dense carbs are things like sweet potatoes, oats, rice, quinoa and fruit. This does not mean that you need to replenish your body with dense carbs, or any carbs for that matter, after every workout. Remember, if there is glycogen in your body adding to that will be stored as body fat.

· Cut back or eliminate gluten from your diet especially wheat gluten or any grains containing the same gluten. (barley, kamut, rye, spelt, triticale, wheat (and wheat germ))

· Avoid sugar, soy, junk/processed food, and vegetable oils. (Artificial sweeteners also have been shown to increase insulin so I’d avoid those as well)

· Eat foods that are natural and clean. Think fresh/frozen veggies, lean/unprocessed meats. (more on meats below)

· Drink plenty water. Men this is about 3 liters per day and for women about 2.2. More if you are exercising obviously.

· Cut back on stimulants such as caffeine to let your adrenal glands recover. 1 cup of black coffee per day is fine (in my opinion – but if you have foggy memory, struggle with you energy levels – start eating cleaner and cut back/cut out coffee/caffeine for a few weeks)

· Eat your PROTEIN. Aim for about 1 to 1.5g per pound of lean body weight. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Adequate protein ensures that you are getting all the amino acids, building blocks of protein, in your diet. The best sources of protein are grass fed beef, wild caught fish, organic pastured poultry and eggs. If you cannot find those, choose the leanest cuts of conventional meats because toxins are stored in the fat of those animals.

· Move your butt! It is essential that you are doing movements that build strength, muscle, and boost hormones. (Squats, deadlifts, Olympic lifts, sprints) These have been shown to boost hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone which are important to both male and female athletes.

· If you feel you are losing weight too quickly, gradually build up your protein and fat intake. If you are still losing weight too quickly add in more carbs post workout.

A few final thoughts

Sometimes losing body fat requires a bit of trial and error to see what works for you. There are however, some hard and fast rules. For instance, everything you put in your body has a direct effect on your body. It either effects you in a positive or negative way. When choosing foods, look for those that are nutrient dense. In other words, foods that give you the most bang for your buck. (Dark leafy greens like Kales and spinach, wild caught fish and game, grass fed beef) If something is not working for you, then change it, play around with your nutrition to see what works for you. I can tell you from experience that if I eat like a high level athlete I gain weight, in the form of body fat, like a glutton. I just am not active enough to require that much food. A prime example, when I was marathon training I gained weight. I was running about 20-40 miles per week and working out 5 days per week lifting weight and yet I gained body fat. Why? I was taking in far more food than my body needed.

Finally, have fun with your nutrition. If you have a meal that is not optimal, or just down right crappy, don’t sweat it. Just choose wisely at your next meal. Make sure you choose wisely most of the time and you will be successful in reaching your goals.

Sources: Gary Taubes “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” “Good Calories Bad Calories” Jonathan Bailor “The Calorie Myth” Dr. William Davis “Wheat Belly” Dr. David Perlmutter “Grain Brain” Web sources: WWW.LEANANDJACKED.COM WWW.GARYTAUBES.COM WWW.MERCOLA.COM WWW.ROBBWOLF.COM WWW.BALANCEDBITES.COM

TOUGH MUDDER 2014

This past weekend a team of us from Loudhouse CRUSHED TOUGH MUDDER CENTRAL TEXAS .  I thought I’d take a few minutes to share how truly awesome it was.

For me, this was my second Tough Mudder, and I must say I was less prepared physically for this one than the last. However, was reinforced for me is the fact that Crossfit is great  for preparing you for events like this, even with no specific run training.  Our biggest issue was a couple of us, including me, were cramping pretty bad at about the halfway point so we ended up walking quite a bit.

Below are some pics of the event and I can say with 100% certainty that everyone came away saying they had a great time and would do it again.  TEAM LOUDHOUSE!

PALEO-ISH

Paleo…ish

This past weekend we had a visitor from another box show up to WOD with us.  He was in for the weekend visiting family.  I always love to hear everyone’s Crossfit story so I asked how long he’d been doing Crossfit and how he liked it.  He told me that he’d been at CrossFit Silverback for about 8 months and that he had lost 65lbs.   Of course, I told him that was awesome.  Then I said… So, how’s your nutrition? To which he replied “paleo…ish”.  Which I thought was a great response.

If you guys know me at all, you’ve probably heard me talk about nutrition.  Nutrition is my passion, I have struggled my entire life to overcome obesity and related issues that were a direct result of poor nutrition while growing up.  You also know that I eat and recommend that everyone eat a paleo diet. Over the years I have been, at times, very dogmatic in my approach.  (This is the ONLY thing that works, and you are just being ridiculous if you don’t eat this way) Also, for years I have prayed that God would help me to find balance; balance to overcome my food demons.  What I have learned and what I still try to implement daily is an approach to nutrition that is flexible enough to “eat and be merry” and yet still reach my overall goals of health and fitness.

Enter paleo…ish.  I love this term because it is truly how I feel we should approach nutrition.  The approach…. Eat well most of the time, treat yourself occasionally and just enjoy life.  Don’t beat yourself up over that piece of cake, but don’t make it a daily habit either.

I have several friends that work at a local Mexican restaurant and they know that I love to come in on the weekends and enjoy some Mexican food and a margarita or a good beer but, then I go back to my normal diet after that meal.  I don’t make it an everyday thing, I make it an every now and then thing and I eat very clean the rest of the time.

Treats are awesome, enjoy them but, they should not make up the bulk of what you eat.

Need some help with your nutrition? Shoot me an email JASON@LOUDHOUSECROSSFIT.COM or message me on Facebook.

JUST EAT REAL FOOD

Just Eat Real Food

 I have always just assumed that the concept of real food was fairly simple. However, the more I talk with people about nutrition, the more I’ve come realize that most people really have no idea what they are actually eating, nor do they care.  They rely on others to prepare “food” for them and when you talk to them about grocery shopping and cooking they are relatively clueless.  We have become a society that allows marketing and price to determine what we eat and we trust, because our government ensures us that it is safe to consume.  (McDonalds, Subway, IHOP, Healthy Choice, etc…) Since the early 80s they have told us to base our diet on “healthy” grains, low fat, and moderate protein. Yet, year after year the obesity rate grows, as does obesity related diseases.

So, let’s talk about real food.  Real food, is food that is not processed, refined, or preserved. It has very few ingredients or better yet, doesn’t need to list ingredients because it is what it is. (I.e. an apple) Real food is perishable. (Twinkies last decades vs. a banana that last days) It is food that has not been GENETICALLY MODIFIED like 80% of all corn, wheat, and soybeans grown in the US nor, does it contain ingredients that you have to have a degree in chemistry to pronounce. Real food is just the stuff that God put on this earth for us to eat before science started jacking it all up.

How do you start eating real food again?  Well, first you have to stop eating all that fast food as well as “TV” dinner style garbage.  Yes, that includes all those “healthy” and “smart” dinners in the frozen section. Next, you have to learn how to cook. Don’t tell me that you don’t have time.  You just have to schedule and prepare ahead of time.  There are some fantastic resources online to provide you with healthy recipes and tips on how to prepare them.  My suggestion is to find a few that are simple and fast and let them be your “go to” meals.  Next, you will need to spend some time at the grocery store or local market learning how to shop.  Real food tends to be on the perimeter of the store. (Produce, meat, and dairy)  I typically avoid the center of the store except for items like healthy fats and frozen veggies.  Look for SEASONAL fruit and vegetables they tend to be more reasonably priced.  Also, the local farmer’s market or local CSA’S (Community Supported Agriculture) are excellent places to find organically grown veggies and grass-fed and free range meat and poultry.

Nutrition is relatively simple; you just have to re-learn how to eat what is truly healthy.  There was a time, in our grandparent’s or great grandparent’s generation, that it was just a normal way of life to eat a diet rich in local, seasonal fruits and vegetables and locally raised meats and poultry.  We have simply forgotten how to eat that way.   I say start now, choose real food.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FISH OIL

The Importance of Fish Oil

Whether you are looking to maximize brain function, lower your triglyceride levels, or build muscle, you must include a high quality fish oil supplement in your diet. There are few supplements on the market that offer as many benefits as fish oil.

What is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is derived from the tissue of fatty fish and contain omega-3 fatty acidseicosapentaenoic acid(EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid(DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation in the body and have other health benefits. Omega-3 fats are the good fats and block the actions of the bad fats or omega 6 fats. Omega 6 fats are chemicals that are acted on by enzymes in our bodies to make inflammatory mediators. It is important to know that not all omega 3 fatty acids are useful to our health. ALA, an omega 3 fat, found in flax seed oil is an omega 3 fatty acid, but there is no convincing clinical data in support of ALA improving our cardiovascular or inflammatory index. For ALA to work, it must first be converted to EPA. Our bodies convert ALA to EPA at a very low and erratic rate. EPA’s beneficial actions are considered to mainly involve peripheral (non brain) actions. DHA is considered to be brain active.*

Benefits of Fish Oil

The scientific literature indicates that omega 3 oil is good for general health issues, and has been reported to control inflammation, prevent sudden cardiac death, and to lower serum triglycerides. Inflammation is either a cause or result of diverse diseases such as asthma, ulcerative colitis, congestive heart failure, and Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise will induce inflammation. Besides increasing pain, inflammation will degrade muscle. It is very important to control chronic inflammation. *

Omega-3 Oil Key Factors*

1. POTENCY:

  • The higher the concentration the better the effect (heart, inflammation, brain)
  • High concentration helps drive omega-3 fats into key target tissues such as all cell membranes, heart, fat, skeletal muscle and brain
  • All cells in our body derive benefits from high dose omega-3 oil

2. LIQUID FORM:

  • Liquid fish oil absorbs faster than gel caps
  • Effective when taken with our without food.
  • May be taken in a divided dose once in morning and once at night
  • Fast absorption improves accumulation in cell membranes

3. SIDE EFFECTS:

  • There are virtually no side effects
  • Doses exceeding 20 grams/ day have been used for months without side effects
  • It is theoretically possible that omega-3 oil could increase bleeding time, but this possibility has not been shown, to date, to be a problem.

* Courtesy of STRONGER FASTER HEALTHIER

The “S” Word

The “S” Word

Other than eating well, gaining the right amount of sleep, and routinely hitting the gym, the single most important thing any of us can do to maximize our CrossFit performance is to stretch. Stretch (and roll!) everything…with bands and foam rollers and a lacrosse ball if you have one…every day.

Ah. Easier said than done.

Our experience is our members have less of a problem taking on an actual WOD then they do with the concept – or reality — of stretching. People simply hate to do it. This makes sense: we don’t like to stretch because it hurts. It hurts because we lack mobility. We lack mobility because we don’t stretch. What a vicious — I’d even say dangerous — circle.

Before and after every WOD, you are provided with the necessary equipment, space and time to warm up and cool down. We don’t mean sitting on a foam roller gabbing with your fellow CrossFitters (there’s time for that, too). We mean the real deal. If you are not taking advantage of this, what can we do to help? If you are not stretching, what is holding you back?

What about outside the gym? Do you stretch at home? A few minutes stretching your back, calves and hamstring right when you awake can set up your day. At the office, try getting out of your chair and standing (sitting = horrible for us). Watching a movie in your living room? Why not try the couch stretch? The movie may prove a great distraction.

Dr. Kelly Starrett is a name well known throughout the CrossFit community. His blog/website, http://www.MobilityWOD.com is a tremendous resource on the topic of, well, mobility. If you haven’t checked it out, do give it a try. Also, Kelly’s bestselling book, Becoming a Supple Leopard was published earlier this year. At nearly 400 pages, it’s loaded with a plethora of easy-to-follow information on how to “resolve pain, prevent injury, and optimize athletic performance.”

By building stretching into our daily lives, we have the opportunity to minimize injury, to move more efficiently, to improve our athletic ability and overall fitness. Just as everything in CrossFit, however, it only works if we DO it.

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MOBILITY? Sign up for our exciting new Mobility class.  Every Friday at 7:30pm beginning Oct. 11. The class will be 45-hour in length.  Ask a coach about pricing and how to sign up!

Stuck

The “constantly varied” part of CrossFit is what keeps each of us on our toes. “Constantly varied” means the workouts will be different every day, calling upon different skill sets and muscle groups. It also helps keep away boredom. And for those of us who logged hours and hours in globo gyms, or trained as endurance athletes being put through the same routine day in and day out, “constantly varied” is a real blessing.

Nonetheless, there are times when even the most hardcore lovers of our sport experience some sort of stagnation. We become stuck. We have trouble motivating. We may even feel “burned out.” If you believe you’re falling in a rut, consider taking some steps to pull yourself out:

1. Change your schedule
Routine can be a necessity, and it can be comforting. We’re all for it. But if you’re dragging to class and no amount of caffeine or power food is helping, maybe you just need to mix it up! If you regularly attend the 8:00 a.m. class, try coming at 4:00 p.m. If you are partial to one particular coach, try training with another. People give off energy in the gym: perhaps you need a new set of faces to “throw down with.”

2. Revise your goals
It’s important to set fitness goals. It’s critical to regularly evaluate those goals. If you’ve been working on double unders every day for a month then it’s likely you have them by now, but, if not, put down the rope. If your attempts to master muscle ups are proving to be more frustrating than fruitful, leave the rings. When you fail at handstand pushups, come off the wall. Practice may very well make perfect but mental fatigue can be every bit as damaging as physical. Take a little time off, go work on something else, and then return to your nemesis with renewed commitment.

3. Relax the Rx
Finishing a workout “as prescribed” is an important milestone in a CrossFitter’s journey. It shows that you have gained a certain level of strength, speed, and/or agility. Just don’t be obsessed with having that Rx next to your name on the whiteboard. Instead, focus on technique. Take some of the weight off your bar and really work on the depth of your squats. And never mind about what other people are doing! That’s their business.

4. Take some days off
As shocking and impossible a concept this might be for some of you hardcore CrossFitters, not coming to the gym is an option. Go do something else: ride a bike, go for a hike, hit yoga or, yes, just rest. We’ll be right here waiting for you.

When faced with burn out, also take a good look at other areas such as diet, alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, or other life stressors. Are there other things in your life weighing you down? If so, address them. By making a few adjustments you may experience new found energy, new PRs, and maybe a new love for CrossFit.