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Spring Leaning Challenge Day 7 – April 20th, 2014

Happy Easter!

Congrats on making it through a full week, I can already see some changes in appearances, you guys already look fantastic – keep up the good work! Please post your daily food log and point total for Sunday to the comments section below. Don’t worry if Easter put a wrench in the works, you can pick it up on Monday.

This week’s theme is getting into the right mindset for the challenge. Your daily bonus challenge is to read the Q&A and comments below and to post your favourite new paleo recipe or tip to the comments below.  I recommend that you post recipes or tips related to real food and avoid emphasizing treats and deserts here!

We are looking at having our first Q&A and support group at the end of this coming week, either Friday evening or Saturday during the day. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Notes  and Q&A from Week 1:

* Make sure you are eating enough, remember that this challenge does not include caloric restriction of any kind.  We are looking to create long term sustainable habits so you need to eat.

* Make sure you are getting enough vegetables.  Paleo doesn’t mean just eating bacon, nuts and fruit all the time.  You should have veggies, particularly greens at every meal.  If you have an auto immune condition or problems with digestion, you can still have veggies but make sure that they are well peeled and cooked.  Soups and broths with veggies are a great way to improve your digestion.

* If you are trying to lean out, ditch the dried fruit, and focus on berries rather sweeter tropical fruits, as these are high in nutrients and anti oxidants but lower in sugar. With the dried fruit, it is very difficult to gauge the amount of sugar you are eating as it is so concentrated. But if blood sugar management or leaning out is not an issue for you, it is ok as long as it doesn’t have any added sugar or oils.  Much of the dried fruit is dried in vegetable or industrial seed oils.

* Packaged store bought bars and cookies and shakes are considered processed for the purposes of this challenge.  That includes even bars that have a reasonably good ingredient list, such as Larabars (though they are very high in sugar, particularly fructose). The idea is to get away from that ‘candy bar’ feel you get from these convenience foods.  No points for any store bought bars or cookies because they are processed, but you might most likely need to deduct a point for industrial seed oils and and another for the sweeteners.

* Honey is a reasonable alternative sweetener, but ONLY when you are not doing a lean out challenge or when you are not looking to lean out.  So no points if you use honey!  Same with agave, syrups, date sugar, etc.  make sure you deduct a point if you have any of these.

* Unsweetened cocoa is ok as long as it doesn’t have any other ingredients but it will probably not be edible unless you sweeten it with something that is not allowed in the challenge, plus it probably feeds the addiction!  You’ll probably find that totally pure unsweetened chocolate will be quite inedible as well.

* Coconut water is ok if it not sweetened but if you are trying to lean out keep it for post workout.

* Careful not to completely eliminate salt from your diet.  Many of us don’t realize how much of it we were getting in our processed foods and then when we eliminated processed foods, we might forget to sprinkle our own food with a bit of salt.

* We had a question about grapeseed oil. Most of these oils are produced as a by product of wine making, and often processed with solvents like hexane, but  even if it is cold expeller pressed, it still has to go through the processing of the wine making production lines so it is very hard to find good quality grapeseed oil.  On top of that, the oil doesn’t really have much benefit because all of the anti oxidants are in the grapes not the seed oil, and it is very high in Omega 6 poly unsaturated fats, which tend to be inflammatory.

Gum generally does have sweeteners so we want to try to avoid that even though you aren’t actually ingesting it, you are still cueing your body to react to the sweetness, so I don’t recommend it.  For the purposes of the challenge, we’ll say that if you chew gum you loose your point for sweeteners for that day.

* I had a few people comment on how much better homemade dressings and condiments taste.  I totally agree, dressings are easy, just combine something acidic like citrus or vinegar, with a good fat like olive oil and put in some seasonings and herbs and you are good to go.
* If you are wondering about certain types of processed foods like almond milk, coconut milk, condiments, meats, etc – always look at the ingredients, if it contains stuff you don’t recognize or stuff that you know is off limits for the challenge, ditch it and if the ingredients list is short and clean, go for it.
* Please make sure that you talk to me if you have any special health issues or needs, for example if you are vegetarian, or if you have any hormonal issues, thyroid issues, diabetes, cancer, as well as any digestive issues (chronic constipation/diarrhea/bloating/gas/nausea), as well as if you have had your gall bladder taken out, as these can change our recommendations a bit and we may recommend different supplement in these cases.

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