Saturday, 5-26-2012


Saturday, 5-26-2012

There is only ONE class today at 8:00am for Alpine members only please.  We will also be having Foundations at 9:00am.
Last Hero WOD this week in celebration of Memorial Day…
5 Front squat 185/125
26 Ring push-ups

U.S. Army Specialist Christopher “Gator” Gathercole, 21, of Santa Rosa, California, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based in Fort Lewis, Washington, was killed by enemy fire on May 26, 2008, in Ghazni, Afghanistan. He is survived by his brother Edward, sisters Jennifer Daly and Sarah Ferrell, father Edward Gathercole, and mother Catherine Haines.

Below is a blog entry from Anna to share with our community  Anna is a Registered Dietician and straight up BAD ASS at Alpine.  Not only can she crush you in a Fran-off (she will never admit that) but she can also provide you with credible and professional nutritional advice.  She will be sharing weekly entries on our site to educate your dome on various nutritional topics and foods.  So please PLEASE post to comments if you have any questions or comments for her!  THANKS ANNA!!

Hello Alpine!

Welcome to my blog where I plan on chatting about food and nutrition related stuff that you may or may not find interesting.  It will be my goal to keep you all engaged.  I’m not always going to focus on Paleo, I hope that doesn’t offend anyone.  I won’t be pushing grains or anything but there are so many great Paleo blogs out there already.  Really I am hoping to talk about what you all want to hear about so please come up to me with questions and topic ideas.  I love doing the research!

I am a Registered Dietitian and am passionate about nutrition and what I put into my body.  I won’t say that I’m perfect though….far from it.  I have my ups and downs and struggles too.  It’s all about recognizing when you are off track, getting your butt back in gear, and not beating yourself up about it.  Because of my background I tend to want to know why things are the way they are.  I don’t like taking or eating foods just because somebody said to.  I want to know what exactly it is doing in my body.  So, as much as I HATED HATED HATED chemistry….did I stress that I hated chemistry???  I will delve into it a bit now and then.  Our bodies are one giant chemistry set, and food is a major factor.  If this bores the living youknowwhat out of you, please tell me.  I want to know what you guys want and need!


 More and more products containing coconut are appearing on store shelves.  Is it all just a fad or is there scientific evidence to back up these products?

Coconut water

Coconut water is growing in popularity as a sports drink. Similar to popular sports drinks, coconut water is a good source of electrolytes (contributing at least 10% of the daily value for a nutrient) and provides some carbohydrates.  The electrolyte content is more than double that of traditional sports drinks with about ½ the carbs.  These are exactly some of the nutrients and minerals that are beneficial to optimal recovery and replenishment of muscle energy stores (glycogen) after strenuous physical activity.  In addition to electrolytes and carbohydrates, coconut water contains other elements that prove beneficial to health including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids.  The nutrient content is highest in young coconuts and becomes less as the coconut ripens.  Most commercial coconut water is extracted from young coconuts for that reason.

The amount of scientific research and studies supporting coconut water is limited.  The studies that have been conducted so far have shown that coconut water has the same rehydrating properties as a traditional sports beverage.  So it is looking good for coconut water.  Keep in mind that those “traditional sports beverages” often contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, artificial colors, and a slew of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce.  If the rehydrating outcome is similar, wouldn’t you rather put real ingredients into your body?  Nature usually gets it right the first time, and we just screw it up through processing.  It’s time to go back to the basics and READ YOUR NUTRITION LABELS.

Coconut oil

Here is where many people get confused.  Coconut oil contains saturated fat, which people tend to think is always bad.  The difference is that coconut oil is comprised mostly of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA).  The majority of fat in our diet consists of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA).  The body responds differently to these fatty acids depending on their size.  MCFA’s do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and actually help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease.  MCFA are easily digested and absorbed directly from the intestines into the portal vein and sent straight to the liver where they are, for the most part, burned as fuel much like a carbohydrate and put to use nourishing the body. Unlike other fats, they put little strain on the digestive system and provide a quick source of energy necessary to promote healing.  Other fats require pancreatic enzymes to break them into smaller units and then they are bundled and transported throughout the body. Cholesterol, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat are all packaged together into lipoproteins and carried throughout the body in this way. In contrast, medium-chain fatty acids are not packaged into lipoproteins but go to the liver where they are converted into energy and not stored to a significant degree as body fat.  Of course keep in mind, everything in moderation.  If there is a large excess of anything then your body will store it as fat, even sugar.

Eating foods containing MCFA will help your body perform better because it has more energy and greater endurance. Because MCFA are easily absorbed by the energy-producing organelles of the cells, metabolism increases.  An added benefit of coconut oil is that MCFA can improve endurance exercise performance. Increasing consumption of MCFA’s lowers the amount of carbohydrates that are burned during exercise. This has two important advantages: first, glycogen stored in the muscles and liver is spared, which allows the athlete to perform longer before fatigue sets in; second, because carbohydrates are spared, fat becomes a primary source of fuel, which helps athletes to maintain a lean, healthy body weight.

Coconut oil also has antiviral and antibacterial properties which strengthen the immune system.  This is very important for athletes who are putting stress on their bodies and needing repair daily.

Make sure you USE ONLY: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1. HYDROGENATED COCONUT OIL – It does NOT possess health benefits
2. RBD COCONUT OIL – This is a refined, bleached, deodorized Coconut Oil. RBD Coconut Oil is subjected to high heat, filtered through clays to remove impurities, and processed with sodium hydroxide to prolong shelf life.

One of the ways that I have been getting my MCFA is through coconut milk.  Now you can buy it by the half gallon and use it where you would normally use regular milk.  It tastes great.  I love the brand “So Delicious.”  It’s in most grocery stores now and definitely at Whole Foods.  If you go to this website: you can print off a coupon for their products.  They have everything from milk to yogurt, creamer, and ice cream.

I put coconut milk in my coffee and tea, grind up dried coconut in my coffee grinder to make coconut butter, add dried coconut to my trail mixes, make my protein shakes with coconut milk, and drink coconut water.  I love coconut curries and pretty much all that is coconut.

I tried to keep this blog simplified and not sound like an organic chemistry class.  There is so much chemistry that is involved and if you understand a little it all makes a bit more sense.  I would encourage you to do your own research also, but be careful what you read.  I came across a website that covered the info in more detail if you are interested.  Normally I stay away from .com information and look for reputable sources, but the reason I like his information is that he cites all his sources so that if you wish to go to the origin of the research he has the original source right there.  That is key!  And, he has some great RECIPES on there, though not all are paleo.



18 Responses

  1. THANK YOU ANNA!!! I just found and became obsessed with coconut water in Vegas since I’ve begun strict paleo and needed something to rehydrate myself laying by the pool…so glad to hear that it’s so great! I am a huge fan of Gatorade, but I hate the sugar and everything else in it so I am now a converted coconut water drinker when plain water just isn’t cutting it! Can’t wait to read all the other awesome stuff you’ll blog!!!!

  2. Weezy

    Great stuff Anna, I really would like to know the real truth about cholesterol, seems like a lot of info out there. Maybe one of your future blogs can shed some light on this. Is there a right number? What is high? A lot of contradicting info and would really like to here from a dietician, and not a Dr, following old school nutrition.


    1. Anonymous

      That is a great idea. I will definitely write up on that in the future. I appreciate the ideas and please keep them coming.

  3. Rob

    Great information Anna and thank you for helping people understand about this great natural resource above and beyond water. I have seen over the past few years that people are turning to cononut water for rehydration and getting away from the “Aides” that are full of sugar and sodium. Even though cononut water is a good option, I know that professional athletes such as football players and other professional athletes that are losing massive amounts of water and nutrients, that even coconut water doesn’t have the correct balance of sodium to potasium levels needed for cramping and thus explains why we don’t see it on the sidelines of professional sports and probably never will. As a matter of fact, NONE of the popular “Aides” are the correct balance of sodium and potasium and that’s why you rarely see them on the sidelines at the professional levels unless donated by the brand company. I know we see brand names on the sidelines and commercials of athletes drinking these products but I also know that what is on the outside of the coolers and bottles is NOT what is inside of the coolers and bottles. It’s paid advertisement and trust me, they pay MILLIONS to have their name on the side of that container. I used to get paid a lot of money to be a football actor in those commercials and rarely did I or any of the other athletes ever even try or hear of the product I was paid to make the public think we drank. I do know what’s in those containers but that is not what this article is about and I’m gonna leave it at that.

    Again, great article and I look forward to reading future articles from you.


    1. Anonymous

      That is very interesting. I guess I never thought about that. Marketing is sneaky that is for sure.

  4. tracy w

    NIce Anna, enjoyed reading the info. Couple questions. How does Almond milk compare to coconut milk. I switch them up just to get different flavors. Also, a dietician told my mother-in-law that dairy milk is still better than coconut milk because of all the other nutrients in it. I found this hard to believe and reading your blog makes it even harder.

    Great job, i look forward to reading your blog weekly!

    1. Anonymous

      Almond milk is higher in Omega 6 fatty acids. One of the problems today is the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3’s in our diet…..we eat more 6’s than we should in the average diet. This is why so many benefit so much from Omega 3 fish oil supplementation. So for that reason I think overall coconut milk is healthier. But I am a big believer in variety. Nuts are healthy to a point so I think if you mix it up occasionally but mostly stick to coconut milk that is the best plan.
      As far as dairy is concerned, I think everybody’s body is different. Personally I don’t think we are meant to consume dairy past infancy but I also think people need to experiment with and without it to see how their body reacts and figure it out for yourself. There is a lot of money in the dairy industry and the organizations that make dietary recommendations are influenced by the dairy industry. Dairy is designed for rapid growth, it is also pro-inflammatory and increases mucus. Also pasteurized dairy is an entirely other issue. I have had raw milk on a regular basis before, and my body responded so much better to that than pasteurized milk. Just make sure it is from a farm with organic, grass fed, free range cows. This is a fascinating website and organization that educates on raw milk. It is always interesting to see other sides of an issue and the evidence.

  5. Thanks for the information, Anna. I really like the fact that your giving us a reputable guide for what really works and what doesn’t.

    Like Luis, I’m concerned about different types of food and how it helps/hurts your cholesterol levels. I eat cage free eggs a lot. Like 3 per day on average. what is your opinion on too many eggs in a paleo diet?

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I really appreciate it.

    1. Anonymous

      One thing I know for sure beyond a shadow of a doubt is the fact that everybody’s body is different. We process foods differently and need a different mesh of nutrients. The only way to figure out what your body works best on is to experiment by eliminating foods and slowly adding them back after two weeks. That is the best way to see if a food is positively or negatively affecting your body… or just neutral as some foods are. I don’t think three eggs is too much personally, but some people do have food allergies to eggs and may benefit from removing them from their diet. If you do, write down how you feel immediately, 1 hour, and 2 hours after eating the food. This study about eggs is interesting

  6. DrDave

    Excellent job Anna! Liked the discussion of MCFA’s. Didn’t understand that before. Still can’t quite swallow the coconut oil taste but you’ve motivated me to give it another try.


  7. Anonymous

    Go for it Dave! Did you know that your taste buds will adjust? If you try a food 13-16 times, your taste buds will eventually become used to the flavor and you may even enjoy it. Keep trying.

  8. Heather

    Just got around to reading this post- thanks for putting the time/work/effort into sharing your knowledge with us, Anna! Last year for my Ironman training, I tended to use G2 mixed with protein powder on long bike rides (didn’t know about coconut water yet!)- do you think something like this might work subbing coconut water for the G2? I guess my basic question is- what is the best way to use coconut water to help rehydrate with endurance training? Is there anything that needs to be added to coconut water, or is it optimal just how it is?
    Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Anna Fisher

      Good question, I’ll have to get back to you on that. I forwarded it to my friend who is a huge nutrition nut and ironman athlete.

  9. Monica

    So great to have your nutrition blog! A possible future topic could be a discussion on Protiens. What are the benefits and recommended ratios for proteins? Whey vs Soy Drinks vs just eating foods high in protein. I feel there are so many options out there but I don’t really know what a balance mix looks like.

    1. Anna Fisher

      That is a great suggestion, thanks Monica I will definitely write about that in the near future.

  10. Jared

    This article reminded me of a tip I once heard.
    So a friend of mine (who is a bartender) told me that there are two things stop a hangover cold:
    2 aspirin and a tall glass of water after a night of drinking and judt before bed OR if you are too late, you run to a health food store ( or walk very slowly avoiding direct sunlight and loud noises ) and get yourself two coconut waters.
    I’m not surprised to read of all the replenishing benefits after following this tip once or twice before.

    Great post! I hope to read more!

  11. Anna Fisher

    Ha so true. My hangover cure is the vietnamese soup Pho and then Kombucha(a fermented drink that helps balance your body’s acidity and makes it more alkaline, also full of enzymes).