Sunday, January 22, 2012

Whole9 Foundations of Nutrition

Yesterday I was fortunate to attend the Whole9 Foundations of Nutrition workshop. I was lucky enough that they were scheduled to speak at a local crossfit studio in the middle of my Whole30. And by local, for once, I don't mean on the OTHER side of Los Angeles, I mean up in Monrovia which is a foothill community right down the road (OK freeway) from me. So here's my highlights & thoughts.

1. Melissa leads with the psychological impact of good food choices and this has been SO important to me. I'm going to write a long, intimate post on this when my Whole30 is over. But so far the last 21 days have been a revelation to me about the interaction of my neurochemistry, my mind and the food that I eat. Basically, her discussion made it very, very, VERY clear to me that my reliance on calorie free pseudo-foods (especially for me Diet Coke) has been a massive problem in my life. When she asked people in the audience to picture the thing they'd want most to eat, something really amazing, they all jointly came up with a chocolate cake with snickers on top... my brain just totally shorted out and all I could think of was Diet Coke. Melissa would say "Snickers Cake" and my brain just kept snapping to a picture of a 20oz bottle of Diet Coke next to an ice filled glass half full of Diet Coke with a straw in it. Yeah, things are that bad. I think I'm giving up Diet Coke for good... nothing that's such a big obsession can be good for me.

2. The technical discussions on hormonal interactions & gut permeability were interesting. Most of the insulin stuff I knew, but some of the details about other hormones like glucagon & leptin were interesting. I think it's the kind of thing that if I was an endocrinologist, I could understand in depth, but when I try to dig into it on my own I get really confused. Stats I can do, biochemistry ain't my strong point. Dallas did a really good job of explaining a lot of complex interactions without being obtuse. Well... maybe his diagram was a little messy, but we all got the point. The gut permeability issues were something I understood roughly with regards to a couple of my friends who have celiac or severe food allergies, but I didn't understand the ways in which it affects someone with relatively normal gut function... Which leads me to my next point.

3. I think I gotta give up the duck eggs. I've known for a long time that I have a moderate gut intolerance to chicken eggs... it waxes and wanes, but I've never been able to down an entire chicken egg without some problems. Then late last year I discovered duck eggs and HEY, I can eat these! Except that on the Whole30 I've been eating one every day, and at day 21 I'm still having GI symptoms. GI symptoms that I did not have before the Whole30 (with the exception of eggs I've always had an iron gut, in the face of everything I throw at it). I discussed it briefly with Melissa and she was really thinking the eggs could be a problem, maybe they're cross reacting, maybe I'm just not very good at breaking down egg protein. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to reintroduce them later. So from now on, I'm egg free... I need some help with meat/veggie breakfast ideas if anyone has them. I've never been the kind of person who's able to face a leftover roast first thing in the morning. :-/

4. The rest of the day was devoted to going over food types and what works and what doesn't. Most of it is stuff that's covered in some way on the Whole9 website, but we got a little insight into how Melissa and Dallas implement things, as well as which guidelines go out the window when they're vacationing in Mexico. But most valuable, we took some time to swap local resources for grassfed and pastured meats. I need to check into a new option for a pastured chicken supplier that looks cheaper than our old supplier AND may have livers (our old supplier would bundle the chickens with feet for stock but no organs). The one kind of dangerous thing is that Melissa was really pushing the superiority of macademias over other nuts, with regards to fatty acids. The only problem: macademias are like crack to me. I can eat a small handful of almonds and be fine, but macademias I just keep coming back until the bag is empty. Maybe I need to try some hazelnuts... monounsaturated fats, tasty, but not tropical nutty nut-crack.

5. There was an extensive discussion of pre & post workout nutrition for crossfitters that was interesting, but I'm not entirely sure how it applies to me. Circus arts are challenging, but it's more like a 1.5 hour gymnastics class than an all out punishing workout. There are portions that are all out, then there are portions that are conditioning and recovery, and portions where you're not doing anything except getting instruction, or watching someone else work through instruction. However, I'm starting partnered aerial work, and that's definitely verging on "punishing", since for portions of the class I'm lifting someone else my own size. There's two ways of pairing people up, either a strong base and a light flyer, or two equally sized strong people who trade off base & flyer. My partner and I fall into the latter category, so it means we're going to be lifting each other a lot. Anyway... this means I may have to get more serious about post workout nutrition. I feel like I kind of have some tools, but I'm still a little shaky on how to apply the ideas to my situation.

6. After the workshop there was a fish oil tasting with Stronger, Faster, Healthier. Yeah... I know... a FISH OIL TASTING! Just those three words had my husband cracking up over the dinner table. But honestly, their stuff is GOOD! And I've taken some fish oil in my day, but this stuff was nearly tasteless except for the flavors. I was not entirely impressed with the chocolate, but the lemon & tangerine were good and OMG... THE VANILLA SMELLS LIKE CUPCAKE BATTER! It doesn't taste quite as sweet as cupcake batter (no sweeteners), but it's still very mild and vanilla-y. The thing is, personally, I like to get my fish oil from eating actual fish rather than a disembodied oil. My son even likes fish quite a bit, so we do eat it often in our house... I'm not sure if "often" is optimal or not, especially considering that >50% of our beef is grassfed. But this stuff might be helpful for my husband who has to travel a lot, and eat sub-quality meat (SFH even makes a TSA compliant sample pack!!!), if I can get him over the idea of actually tasting it.


  1. Thanks for your review. I am trying to decide if I want to sign up for seminar in my area or not...this was very helpful!

  2. Hi- I just came to your blog from the Whole30 Facebook page. I wanted to suggest that you try just the yolks of the eggs. I sometimes get a reaction from eggs, but I've found that it's the whites that do it, not the yolks. Typically, people with egg sensitivities are reacting to the protein in the albumin, not the yolk.

  3. Yeah, and that might be part of the reason I don't react so much to duck eggs... the ones I get are the same size as chicken eggs but with HUGE yolks and much less white. But I think for now I'm going to cut them out to see if it gets my gut sorted... or it might not have a difference. Never know until I try.

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