Challenge Info. with a Side of Veggies

Happenings This Week:

I hope everyone had a fabulous Week #1 of the Nutrition and Wellness Challenge! I don’t know about you guys, but I feel amazing! If you are not feeling so well, do not fear (or give up) things will get much better in the coming days.  There are a few things I would like to go over pertaining to the challenge.

I have noticed a lot of people still seem to be a little confused about this challenge verses regular everyday Paleo eating. This should be way different (more strict) than just Paleo. Many times we allow other things the work their way into our diets that may feel fine to our bodies; for me this is feta cheese and corn tortillas as I find these things do not affect my performance or digestive system. This challenge is a way to re-edit them out in order to remind ourselves why we started eating this way in the first place. In addition, it becomes a problem when we allow ourselves to cheat a little more often than we should be. Cheating often even in small amounts is not only is a quick way to get off track, it also makes your body crave sugars and processed carbs more often- sugar is addicting- and we find ourselves strapped to those cravings. Once you remove those things from your diet for an extended amount of time it can function properly and not have those nasty sugar and carb cravings on a regular basis which is what this 30 days is all about. You may also notice your foods start to become more potent in natural flavors, and then sweet things suddenly become way too sweet to consume as often. So with that being said, things such as almond flour and coconut flours are not allowed. Although those things are OK ON OCCATION, with this challenge they are not permitted.  No paleo pancakes, cookies, brownies, pizza, or breaded chicken. I would also like to reinforce the NO SUGAR rule; no maple syrup, honey, or agave. Thanks to a question from one member I was able to determine that bean sprouts are allowed, and YES you can eat fruit, but try to limit it as much as possible. Also, when reading a label read the ingredients list for added sugars and such. If in the nutritional information it lists a certain number of grams of sugar it does not necessarily mean it contains added sugar as many things may contain natural sugars.  PLEASE also limit your nut consumption and make sure you are eating other types of fats such as oils and avocados.

I have also noticed many different nasty sicknesses are making their rounds. It is still possible to make good choices even while sick (even with the stomach flu!). Some good options that help with nausea are apples, avocado, and organic low sodium chicken broth – crackers and 7-up are not necessary! You can also find many noodless chicken soup recipes online. AGAIN, this challenge should be different than your normal every day Paleo diet, and should be CHALLENGING. Just think how much easier making proper choices will be once you practice and work really hard at making those choices now. Please ‘Like’ our CrossFit Bako Nutrition page on Facebook where you can post as well as get information pertaining to nutrition and the challenge including any questions you may have. You can also email any questions to

Lastly I would like to mention and remind everyone that you guys need to be completing the Opens WOD’s along with the competing athletes as these are the benchmark WODs we are using for the challenge. You have until Wednesday February 29th to complete Workout #1. Workout #2 will also be announced Wednesday February 29th and you only have until Sunday March 3rd to complete it. If you attend the Saturday class you will be completing the WOD along with the class. Make sure to get your scores/finishing times to me by 1)email 2)insert them into the green folder located on the counter at the box or 3) send them to the Nutrition Facebook page. You can scale the workouts accordingly, but please make sure to write down your scaleing as you will need to repeat it at the end on the challenge when one of the workouts is chosen to re-test.


Resource: Sugars via Balanced Bites

I feel like the sugar nazi over here, but really I just want you all (myself included) to get the best out of your health and nutrition. America is addicted to sugar; how horrible is it to actually crave it, or to feel like you can’t drink your coffee without it!? Sugar comes in MANY forms and you can guarantee is in most if not all prepackaged food items INCLUDING your beloved bacon. Diane Sanfilippo of the awesome blog Balanced Bites has made a handy chart that lists all the many faces of sugar. She also has many other useful charts that you can find on her website under the tab ‘Resources’ then click the ‘Useful Guides’ link. Now, keep in mind, ALL of these things are NOT allowed during the 30 day challenge, but some are okay in moderation post 30 day Nutrition and Wellness Challenge. This chart is to keep you aware while label reading (ingredients lists) during the challenge, and even after.

Click here to view the chart.


Cooking Tip: Vegetables

Currently my favorite thing to do is to try different ways of cooking vegetables because sometimes just steaming them is not very tasty! My favorite way to cook them is by roasting them, or cooking them in the oven I should say. You can also sauté them in a large skillet with some coconut oil, garlic powder, and pepper over medium heat. Do not add salt until they are almost ready to come out of the pan because salt can draw out the juices and water within the veggies and will make them mushy. Also, I like to try and come up with different ways to add them to a meal without just eating them on the side. You can add a variety of vegetables such as zucchini, crook neck yellow squash, bell pepper, and mushrooms to almost anything as long as you chop them into small pieces. I have added them to meat balls, meat loaf, and meat sauces. Zucchini can also be used at a base for your meat sauce. I usually cut them into small spears, sauté them for a few minutes with some pepper and garlic powder, and then drizzle them with a little olive oil before I put my meat sauce on top of them. Who needs spaghetti noodles when you have yummy zucchini?! Here are a couple other way I like to cook up my carbs:

Carrots: Recently I have found a new way I love to cook my carrots, you just need to experiment a little. First I sauté them in a large skillet in grassfed butter with pepper for about 5-8 mins, or until they look a little wrinkly- roll them every couple minutes so they don’t burn on one side. Then I add a few tablespoons of water and quickly cover with a lid and let them steam until they get soft (about 10 mins, test with a fork). Make sure you give the pan a little shake every couple minutes so they do not burn on one side. Even if they do burn, they still taste amazing; I was completely surprised at how much flavor they have.

Sweet potatoes (yams): Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse yams and first cut length wise and then across to make half circles about half of an inch thick and spread in single layer on a baking sheet. Melt a couple tablespoons of grassfed butter in the microwave in a small bowl and then stir in a couple teaspoons of cinnimon within the melted butter. Brush a small amount on each piece of potato, and then take a spatchula and mix them all around to spread the butter and cinnamon. You could also place them all in a large bowl and pour the butter and cinnamon over the pieces and mix with a spoon, either way you want them to be coated relatively even with the butter and cinnamon mixture. Place your baking sheet in the oven and cook for about 10-20 minutes or until they are browned on the outside and can easily be poked with a fork. I also flip mine half way through the cooking time to be sure both sides were nice and brown.

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower: Rinse and cut heads of broccoli into smaller pieces. Pre- heat your oven to 350 and place them in a glass baking dish or on a baking sheet in one single layer, sprinkle some salt, pepper, and garlic powder on them and bake for 10-20 minutes or until they start to brown on the tips. After you pull them out, toss them in some olive oil for some added healthy fat.

Cauliflower: Mashed cauliflower has been a huge hit in my house as of late. The best way to get it completely smooth is with a food processor, blender, or I use a handheld immersion blender. Rinse and cut your cauliflower into small pieces, place in a pot of water over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil. I usually let mine boil for a couple minutes and then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10 min, or until you can easily poke with a fork. Then strain out the water, move to a bowl, and add in a couple tablespoons of Kerrigold’s garlic herb butter, sea salt, and pepper and blend until smooth. You could also use olive oil instead of butter, or just salt and pepper. Another option is adding in some fresh chopped rosemary and minced garlic for added flavor.

There are so many different ways to eat your veggies and enjoy them too!


Happy Eating, Mal