09 Jul / 2014
If you played sports as a kid, you probably grew up on the delicious, refreshing beverage called Gatorade (or Powerade, although I think Gatorade is better). Originally invented at the University of Florida (Go Gators) to hydrate the football team during hot summer games, Gatorade now produces a regular and low calorie drink, “natural” versions of these beverages, as well as energy chews and nutrition bars. And their marketing has been stellar – watch any Gatorade ad and you’re pretty much convinced that you should drink this stuff because that’s what the badass athletes do (and who doesn’t want to be a badass athlete). They’re all about that inspiring stuff like hard work and determination. Well, at least most kids probably think that. As adults, we’re just trained to crave it. If I go running in sub 75 degree weather for longer than 30 minutes, I come back craving a blue Gatorade (because maybe the flavor is inspired by some fruit, but we just know it by the color. Yellow is a close second for me). Of course, Gatorade has also gotten some negative press surrounding their use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) – which they’ve since discontinued using - because it had been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union. But, is it OK to drink or should you avoid it?
Sports Drink Pros
Sports drinks are great – and have been successful over the past 40 years – because they provide the unique combination of dilute carbohydrate and electrolytes in an easily digestible format. Sports drinks have essentially been formulated by scientists to provide EXACTLY what athletes need during exercise to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. The average regular Gatorade has 80 calories, 21 grams of sugar, 160 mg of sodium, and 45 mg of potassium. The G2 series is usually 30 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrate with the same electrolyte content as the original.
Other Gatorade perks:
- Helps prevent hyponatremia (salt deficiency), which generally happens when athletes over hydrate.
- The taste generally makes you thirsty, so you drink more. When you’re working out for a long time (over an hour) in very hot conditions, that can be a plus.
- It tastes good. Sometimes water gets old.
Despite loving Gatorade as a kid/teen just kidding I still love it now, this is the part that always makes me sad: the ingredients list. The Blue G2 flavor (apparently called “Glacier Freeze) that I like so much contains the following: Water (fine), sugar (OK I was expecting that), citric acid (not a big deal), sodium citrate (OK that’s the sodium, just with a different companion than table salt), mono potassium phosphate (potassium source), sucralose (commonly known as Splenda, because I guess 7 grams of sugar wasn’t enough to make it appealing to the American palette), acesulfame potassium (anOTHER artificial sweetener) and Blue 1 (that would be an artificial color. Ugh). So, most of the ingredients are fine, not everything that isn’t 100% natural is going to kill you, although I really try to avoid artificial colors.
In addition, a few other sports drink drawbacks:
- It often gets misused or overused. Pretty sure Lebron James needed some Gatorade in San Antonio when the AC broke, and it’s very useful during a half marathon or other endurance activity. But a lot of kids, adolescents, and even adults nowadays are drinking it while playing video games or at school. Unless you’re sweating your butt off during a workout, you don’t really need an electrolyte drink.
- The taste generally makes you thirsty, so you drink more. Yes, I realize this was also a pro. But when I return from a 45 minute run, I could benefit from 8-12 ounces and end up drinking nearly the whole bottle before it occurs to me to put it away. That’s a lot of sugar I probably didn’t need.
So, should you drink Gatorade?
My answer is yes, when it is appropriate and if you prefer it over other options. When is it appropriate?
- When you’re working out for over 60-90 minutes or in extreme heat conditions
- When you complete a WOD like last week’s 1K test on the erg and need a little extra sugar before the second WOD. However, in this case you only need a small amount.
What are some other options? Coconut water, diluted juice (full concentrated juice can make you fee sick to your stomach by adding too much sugar - compare 21 grams of carbs in 12 ounces of Gatorade to over 40 grams in the same amount of Naked Juice or OJ).
What are your thoughts? Do you love Gatorade? Hate it?
08 Jul / 2014
I would like to introduce Jen Burtt to our coaching ranks. Jen is a new Apprentice Coach here at CrossFit Boston. She has a ton of experience in coaching as she has been in the field for some time now. She holds a CF-L1 certificate as well as specialty certificates in CrossFit Mobility and CrossFit Endurance/Running. In 2011 she graduated from the National Personal Training Institute.
Here is Jen’s Story.
Athletics has played a significant role throughout my life. As a 3-sport Varsity athlete, I was able to demonstrate leadership ability as Captain of my high school field hockey, basketball and softball teams. I received the “Contributed Most to Athletics Award” my senior year, 2004. I played ASA softball for 7 consecutive seasons and as Captain my team qualified and competed in National Championship tournaments in Atlanta, GA (1999) and Midland, TX (2002).
I thrive on pushing myself to achieve my personal best, which is what I encourage those around me to do every day. I’ve competed in two CrossFit competitions: the first was in June 2011 in the scaled division, placing 20th out of 59 women; the second was in September, 2012, where I placed 36th out of 100 in the RX women division in The Garage Games at CFNE. I plan to continue competing.
Prior to joining the CrossFit family, I worked in the cosmetology profession for 5 years as a Board Certified Hair Stylist and Nail Technician in the State of MA. In July of 2010, I experienced a life-changing event. I was a passenger in a multi-rollover auto accident in which I sustained life-threatening injuries. Through the grace of God, I survived. My faith and willingness to overcome the mental and physical obstacles that I suffered gave me the drive and determination I needed to recover. After months of rehabilitation and physical therapy, I joined CrossFit. It is through CrossFit that I was able to regain my core and full-body strength as well as my athleticism.
When asked about the accident I always have to pause so that those asking will understand my response. To make a long story short, I am blessed. I was saved by God and by all of the wonderful people who kept me alive in my most delicate hours. I was told so many times by my family, friends and doctor the details surrounding my accident and recovery; yet, I have no actual memory of any of it. All I have are the scars on my body and the ever-lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury. It’s strange because I don’t feel like it even happened to me but the evidence is there. That’s how I know I was blessed, because now I am physically, mentally and spiritually stronger than before. I took every opportunity I had to gain the strength I needed to become who I am today and what I am meant to be. My mother and father could tell stories of my recovery – how from the moment I was awake and aware of my situation that I was driven more than ever to recover, how I listened to my doctors’ advice but listened to my body more.
While in the midst of my recovery I decided I no longer wanted to be a hairstylist. I always had a passion for physical fitness so naturally it seemed to be the best path to follow. I became re-energized about my future and made the decision to become a personal trainer. I have more passion for this career because I feel like my personal experience inspires others to be better, to be healthier and to appreciate life.
After a whirlwind of battles, I’m on the journey to travel again, to pick my spirit back up, to work hard every day and to not worry about tomorrow. I’m seeking positive thoughts, positive people and a place to go that I can call home, the CrossFit community. I love what I do so for all the love that I have I give all that I can and then some.
I am where I am today because I knew that the only way I could take back my life was to focus on improving the quality of my life. After being in a wheelchair, not being able to walk, I made the decision to get up and put my feet on the floor. I made myself walk, run, sprint harder and further. Now I am stronger and wiser than I ever was before. This accident was life changing, because if not for it I would not have had the courage to follow my heart. I can tell you this: it was not easy and it was heart breaking at some points but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
I can honestly say now that not working or training consistently in a CrossFit gym recently has changed the quality of my life. With that being said, I am very happy with the steps I have taken to be where I am right now. I know that getting my feet back into the CrossFit community will help my overall happiness and sanity. It balances my inner strength mentally, soulfully and physically. I do live my life through my heart and soul. I live for the best for all, for everyone, not just myself. It makes me happy to give the joy that I have and feel everyday. I give my entire heart to what I really want. Whether it is a competitive time for Fran, or building strength for a Clean & Jerk or a Power Snatch; whatever it is my heart thrives for, I just give it all I have and I will achieve it. It might not happen tomorrow, next week or maybe next month but it will happen. What you give is what you get.
That is how I live and that is what I give. I believe within and know that this community will never leave us stranded. It is a strong, powerful, and passionate family.
I never want to be satisfied with my achievements. I never want my family, friends or the CrossFit community to be satisfied either.
05 Jul / 2014
Just a reminder to be at the gym today at 9am to kick off mobility and warm up for the WOD. We are going to kick off at 9:30AM SHARP!
We are performing Hero WOD “Roy” today. A little about the soldier behind the WOD:
Michael C. Roy enlisted in the Marines just two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, hoping he could stop al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden.
“He wanted to protect his country and wanted his children to grow up without war,” said Julie England, a longtime neighbor whose children befriended Roy.
Roy, 25, of North Fort Myers, Fla., was killed by a sniper in Nimroz province, Afghanistan. He graduated from Academy High School in 2001 and was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“You couldn’t ask for a better leader as your sergeant,” said Cpl. John Wood, 23, a Marine stationed in Parris Island, S.C., who served under Roy for his first two tours in Iraq. “You couldn’t ask for a better person. If there was anything you needed, he would take care of you.”
Roy’s father, Sgt. Michael Roy of Punta Gorda, Fla., said his son knew from an early age he wanted to serve in the military.
“It was a privilege to serve with him because of his dedication and the way he treated his Marines,” Wood said. “It didn’t matter that he was the same age as us, he was our leader.”
Roy is survived by his wife, Amy, and three young children: Olivia, Mikey and Landon.
source – AP (projects.militarytimes.com)
Five rounds for time of:
225 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
20 Box jumps, 24 inch box
WHAT’S ON TAP
1. Weighted Pull-ups – Work up to AHAP for a single
2. AMRAP 10
15 Front Squats, 155/105
50 Wall Ball Shots
rest 3 minutes
50 Wall Ball Shots
50 Wall Ball Shots
Compare times of circuit 2 to circuit 1. Which was faster?
1. Barbell Forward Lunge 3RM; taken from the rack in the front rack, perform 3 lunges each leg
2. 50 Hollow Rocks
3. 3 rounds for time
20 OH Walking lunges, 45#/25#
12 Toe 2 Bar
1. 2 rounds for quality
30 Strict Push-ups
10-15 Glute ham raises
2. 2 Rounds for time
15 Sumo deadlift high pull, 50% of BW
15 Barbell thruster, 50% of BW
Aim for 1:40/2:10 pace on the 500m
1) Reminder: The Tabata Interval is 20 secs on/ 10 secs off repeated 8 times.
2) Rest 2 minutes between each Tabata Interval.
3) On the first of the pull-up and first of the dip efforts don’t dismount the bar(s) for the duration of each 20 second interval.
4) On the second pull-up and second dip efforts it is OK to dismount the bar(s) before the interval concludes (ahead of the 10 second rest).
5) Add up total for each interval
Clean and Jerk 21-15-12-9-6-3 and 1 reps.
1) Add weight to each set. Rest two minutes between sets.
2) Total loads for all 7 sets.
3) No rest on ground during sets. Touch and go at ground.
04 Jul / 2014
It’s officially summer and the temperature and humidity is making sure that we all know it! Hey did you see that Shannon and Jo are crushing the women’s leaderboard this week with rowing. Jo tied for third and Shannon is the new Queen of the 1K with a 3:34 effort.
It’s great seeing the excitement of progress. It’s what we look for. Why we train so hard. Eat a clean diet (most of the time – wink,wink). Ever doubt its worth it? Get a big PR. Get your name on the leaderboard. You will shout out HELL YEAH!
4th of July
The 4th is my second favorite holiday, Thanksgiving is the BEST. It is the perfect time to get away with friends and family. Grill some great food, have cold adult beverage (lemonade of course!), and just relax a bit. Our schedules get hectic and life moves fast. Take a moment to enjoy it.
While you are doing so remember why this country is so damn great and what this day signifies. The 4th honors America’s separation from tyranny. It set the stage for what we were to become. Also, remember those that continue to serve today and uphold our traditions and beliefs.
03 Jul / 2014
I would like to introduce you to Courtney and Shannon. It is only appropriate that they are introduced together as they are ALWAYS together. Seriously, they are roomies and both have different CrossFit stories before joining our family here at CrossFit Boston. Be sure to say hello and introduce yourselves when you see them in class.
I started CrossFit in the summer that I moved up here to the Bedford/Burlington area three years ago and instantly fell in love with it. Being in the military, working out daily was a no brainer, but I definitely phoned it in at various gyms and never got anything out of it.
After some ridiculous workout combining just rowing and bodyweight exercises, I was hooked. I continued with my original gym until I got sent to South Carolina for six months. There, my gym became my family since I knew no one else, and it saved me from a long and painful work trip. While there, I received my Level 1 certification and got offered to teach at my duty station’s base gym when I returned.
Again, I fell right into a great community of people that became an extension of my family. I just recently moved again to the Boston proper area, and CFB caught my eye as being a gym with a great sense of community and a “no gimmicks” approach to functional fitness. I love that I’ve been doing this for three years and I can still leave a sweaty mess having learned something new. I’m excited to train with the supportive people at CFB!
September of 2012 I decided to be spontaneous and take a job in Washington state, where I knew close to no one. I had searched for fitness gyms and since it was such a small town there wasn’t much to choose from unless you were willing to travel.
Although Crossfit Yelm was the only gym in town, i fell in love second I was browsing the website. I had scheduled a time to check it out, and when I got there I was so eager to start right away. Everyone there were so forth coming that it became my second home. I was there more than I was anywhere… Because of some setbacks in past I have feared of getting back into any type of fitness, however, crossfit has allowed me to overcome my fears.
Since returning back to the east coast and accepting a position at Boston Children’s Hospital I have been seeking to find a gym that was family oriented and similar to Crossfit Yelm, which hasn’t been easy to find, until dropping into my first class at CFB. I am excited to get to know everyone and start accomplishing my CF goals!
Some of you may hear words like “energy systems pathways” and “glycogen stores” thrown around a lot. Or perhaps this is the first of them you’ve heard. Either way, the burn of today’s 1K followed by a mini version of DT inspired me to write about how the body converts stored energy into usable energy to rule your workouts.
A Quick Biochem Lesson
ATP. That sounds familiar right? Well, it should ring a bell from high school biology. ATP is a molecule found in all living cells that when broken down provides energy for a variety of cellular processes.
Pathway 1: The Phosphagen Pathway
This pathways is used for the first 10 seconds of exercise (so today on the rower, the first 5 or so strokes). This pathway draws on ATP stored in the muscle for about 2-3 seconds, then uses creatine phosphate to regenerate ATP until that runs out. This explains why creatine supplementation improves recovery and output for short duration, high power movements. For more on creatine you can read one of my previous blog posts. Movements that might utilize the phosphagen pathway are short duration at all out intensity (like a 100 meter sprint).
Pathway 2: The Glycolytic (Or Lactic Acid) Pathway
In this pathway, the body breaks down carbohydrates – both glucose readily available in the bloodstream or glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrate in the liver – to produce ATP as well as a molecule called pyruvate. Pyruvate can either convert to another molecule that is used to regenerate ATP or can convert to lactate, which forms lactic acid (and causes that burn in your legs when you’re sprinting or rowing). Conversion to lactate happens when your body needs more oxygen that it is getting. This pathway isn’t very efficient, producing little energy for the input, but the benefit is that it produces the energy quickly. Your body produces energy with this pathway from 10 seconds to around 2 minutes.
Pathway 3: The Oxidative (Or Aerobic) Pathway
This is the pathway often referred to as “fat burn”. During the oxidative pathway, the body uses oxygen along with carbohydrate and fat to produce energy. This pathway is used for long duration, low power and intensity exercise. Think of running 6 miles, rowing around the river for an hour (obviously slowly so you don’t tip the boat…) or chipper WODs like Eva.
An important thing to remember is that the pathways are not mutually exclusive. While it’s easiest to break them down into specific time slots, multiple pathways are used simultaneously. For example, in today’s 1K, the first few seconds were mostly the phosphagen pathway. After 10 seconds, glycolysis picks up as the predominant pathway, and the aerobic pathway takes over the lead at around 1-2 minutes. But if you look at the graph to the left, you can see how at 30 seconds for example, all three pathways are providing some energy.
Why You Felt So Bad After That 1K
Now that I’ve explained the pathways, it’s easier to understand. By the 4 minute mark (when the 1K finally ended for most of us), you’ve burned through pretty much all of your stored ATP and most of your glycogen, but your body has only been creating energy via oxygen and fat stores for a few minutes. You’ve spent most of your stored energy and not had the time for your body to replenish it on it’s own.
What Should You Do
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how, while a lot of sugar in the regular diet can cause problems, there are times your body needs a little, especially during training. During a WOD like today’s, where we red line for a specific test, and follow it up with another challenging workout, the body would benefit from taking some sugar. I would recommend about 15 grams of very easily absorbed carbohydrate, such as:
- Coconut water
- Sport beans
- Non-fat candy
You want to eat a little something to beef up your glycogen stores, but you don’t want ANY fat or fiber to slow digestion. Of course, I made it through the WOD fine without any carbohydrate in the middle (as did the 6 and 7 am classes), but if you plan on training longer afterward, or want to go harder on the 3 rounds of DT, the carbs can help.
30 Jun / 2014
“It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”– William J. Clinton
Ricky “501″ never quit this morning while attacking 80# DB snatches and 30″ box jumps
LAST CALL FOR SHORTS!
Tomorrow morning I am submitting the Pre-Order for CFB board shorts from Via Privé/VPX. If you want to try on a pair at the front desk you may do so, be sure to put your size on the sheet with the shorts.
27 Jun / 2014
Fire It Up! Fire It Up!
It’s the last Fire It Up Friday of June and it was a HOT week. Training was great! Effort was awesome! Keep that energy high. You probably don’t realize it but you all motivate and inspire me and the staff on a daily basis.
Death by pull-ups! Joe set himself up for second place by completing 18 rounds. Alon just missed equaling the effort. Daddy Lapidus nailed 16 after getting 40 consecutive pull-ups last week. #DADSTRONG
I love it! Alex represented the ladies very well with 16 rounds herself. All the years of pole vaulting has served her well in the pull-ups of CrossFit!
I am eager to see how you all do today for the max snatch. Get after it and nail it. FIRE IT UP!
4th of JULY SCHEDULE & July Class Schedule
Thursday, July 3 – Gym closes at 7:30pm
Friday, July 4 – Closed
Saturday, July 5 – 4th of July HERO WOD, 9:30AM
PLEASE ARRIVE NO LATER THAN 9AM TO MOBILIZE AND WARM UP.
Afterwards, plan to head over to Breakfast Club for a brunch.
We have added Tuesday and Thursday classes at 7:30pm beginning July 8 for those whose schedules do not permit them to train earlier in the day. We have been running the class as a test for the last few weeks and we are now ready to make it live.
There will not be a 7:30pm class on Thursday, July 3.
In House Throwdown – Friday, July 25
On Friday, July 25 we will be hosting the CFB in-house Throwdown. Details and registration page will be released soon. Be ready to hang out after and watch the CrossFit Games streaming live from Carson City, CA. Mark your calendars and be sure to be here!
MASTER’S FUNCTIONAL FITNESS LEAGUE
I have registered to compete in the first World Masters Team Championships. Age requirements are 35+ and the WOD’s will conducted here at CFB August 7-10.
Here is some more detail:
This is an online competition that will crown the Fittest Masters (35+) Region in the World. Competitors will sign up as individuals and compete at their home box with points accumulated by all age groups and divisions within their REGION. Workouts will be adjusted for age, gender and experience level so beginners through beasts can accumulate points for their region. Masters who are injured can participate in partial WODS as allowed by their physician, spouse or their own good sense.
All Regions in the World are urged to compete. Regions with fewer participants may be combined (ie. Asia with Australia, Latin America with US South Central, Africa with Europe). Scores must be validated by a local certified judge. We may request video from the top 10 places in each WOD- these need be only cell phone videos- no special equipment is required.
If you are interested in participating, you can register here.
WHAT’S ON TAP
Saturday – 6/28
1. Shoulder Press – 31×1, 3 x 5 reps @ 80%, rest 1:00 between sets
What does 31×1 mean? You can read up here!
2. Clean & Jerk (50,75, or 100% BW) 15 reps
Row 500 meters
Rest two minutes
Clean & Jerk, same load, 15 reps
Row 500 meters
Rest two minutes
Clean & Jerk, same load 15 reps
Row 500 meters
Time each interval and post to comments, along with load for the clean and jerk.
Sunday – 6/29
Each Partner must perform 3 reps within the minute before moving on the next weight. There will be 30 seconds of rest between each weight.
1 – 75/55
2 – 95/65
3 – 115/75
4 – 135/95
5 – 155/105
6 – 165/110
7 – 175/115
8 – 185/125
9 – 205/135
Rest 12 minutes
400m/200m MedBall Relay
Complete for time
Partner 1 runs 400m with a MedBall (20/15). Switch out and partner 2 goes. Then immediately run 200m with the MedBall.
Monday – 6/30
1. Run 800m x 3; rest 1:00 between efforts
2. Perform three rounds of this circuit:
Dumbbell one-armed snatches (AHAP), alternate three left, three right for total of twelve reps.
Box Jump 25 Jumps, 30/24″
Rest 1 minute
Tuesday – 7/1
Row 500 meters
Dumbbell “Thruster” 20 reps
Pull-ups 20 reps
Rest as needed
Row 500 meters
Dumbbell “Thruster” 10 reps
Pull-ups 20 reps
Rest as needed
Row 500 meters
Dumbbell “Thruster” 5 reps
1) Challenge – row 1:30, 1:35, then 1:40 500′s and “Thruster” with 45, 60, then 90 pounds, while getting 20 reps each pull-up set?
Wednesday – 7/2
After a good warm up on the rower, complete max effort for time:
3 rounds for time
12 Deadlift, 135/95
9 Hang Power Clean, 135/95
6 Shoulder to overhead, 135/95
Thursday – 7/3
Complete for time
30 Barbell Thruster, 95#/65#
rest 10 minutes then
Perform 30 Handstand push-ups (15 min cap)
Friday – 4th of July CLOSED
Saturday – July 5 (ONE CLASS 9AM)
Five rounds for time of:
225 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
20 Box jumps, 24 inch box
25 Jun / 2014
I’m reposting the link for tryouts just in case anyone missed last weeks announcement. The RRT is a 6 week term, rowing in 8′s on the water at CRI every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5:30am starting Tuesday, July 22nd. If you’d like to join the team tryouts will be Thursday, July 17th at 5:30am @CRI. Please sign up below.
Tryouts: Thursday, July 17th @5:30am @CRI
Tryouts Based on your Knowledge of the Following… RRT KSA’s
If you’d like to setup a free consultation with me to go over the KSA’s at CRI please shoot me an email at [email protected]
Have you met Dock?
Dock is a new member that just graduated with Fight Gone Bad! Keep an eye out for him and be sure to welcome him to the crew!
25 Jun / 2014
One of the most confusing “no-no’s” of the paleo diet is beans and legumes. Most of us have grown up learning hat beans are healthy for us because of their fiber and protein content, and many vegetarians and vegans rely on them as a protein source. But, according to the founding fathers of the paleo diet, legumes are no good. But what exactly is a legume, and why can’t you eat it? (Hint: if you read on, you’ll see that you can).
What Are Legumes?
According to Merriam Webster, legumes are “a type of plant (such as a pea or a bean plant) with seeds that grow in long cases (called pods)”. The fruits and seeds of these plants that we eat are also known as legumes. The legume family includes beans, peas, green beans, and peanuts.
Why Aren’t They Paleo?
There are a few reasons the paleo community excludes legumes. A few of the big ones include:
1. They contain phytic acid/phytates, which are “anti nutrients” that block the absorption of vitamins and minerals
2. They contain lectins, a class of proteins thought to cause “leaky gut” in the shorter term and problems like arthritis and poor vitamin/mineral absorption in the longer term
3. Cavemen didn’t eat them
Why They’re Not The Devil
Sadly, a lot of the paleo blogs that explained why legumes aren’t paleo were written with a lot of doom and gloom. I closed out my Safari tab thinking my body was going to self combust if I ate a black bean tomorrow. But then I dug a little deeper and found out it’s not so black and white.
1. Phytic acid is the stored form of phosphorous. Phytic acid is often called an “anti nutrient” because it binds minerals in the digestive tract, forming phytate (a mineral bound to phytic acid). This does happen, although phytic acid can be broken down by several processes including fermentation, cooking, soaking, and sprouting. However, despite this drawback, there are some other benefits to phytic acid. When it binds minerals in the digestive tract, it reduces the formation of free radicals, making it like an antioxidant. It can also bind heavy metals (like lead or mercury), reducing their accumulation in the body. You can read this article from a great group of nutritionists and scientists at Precision Nutrition to see more benefits of phytic acid.
2. Lectins are a class of protein that binds to sugars. In humans, lectins facilitate cell to cell contact, and in plants they often act as a protection or insecticide. Lectin poisoning is a thing, if you happen to enjoy raw beans. When food passes through our guts, it causes minor damage that is usually easily repaired by the body. However, lectins can cause damage when they slow this repair. When that happens, the digestive lining doesn’t function as well as it should, allowing some undesirable substances that would normally be contained in the gut to pass to the body, and inhibiting the absorption of certain good substances like vitamins and minerals. This is what is referred to as “leaky gut”. If you eat too many lectins, your body will respond by trying to evacuate the gut – i.e. fun symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, etc. Gut damage from lectin overdoes can also cause immune responses like joint pain and skin rash. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Like phytic acid, lectins can also be neutralized by processes like soaking and sprouting.
3. Actually, cavemen may have eaten legumes! A study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America looking at tooth decay in prehistoric skeletons found that neanderthals ate a diverse diet of available plants, including legumes. Although this study was in Neanderthals, it is widely thought that Homo Sapiens enjoyed am ore diverse diet than Neanderthals, meaning it’s likely they would have eaten legumes as well. I mean, it makes sense to me that if the could figure out tools and fire, they could figure out soaking, sprouting and cooking.
What Should You Do?
As I love to say in almost all of my blog posts, the impact of choosing to eat these particular foods will depend on a variety of factors, including your genetics, your current state of health, and how much of them you eat. I don’t think legumes should be entirely avoided, but I also don’t think you should eat beans and peanuts at every meal either. That would result in leaving out a lot of other foods with important nutrients – like grass-fed meats and eggs, or vegetables, fruits, organic dairy, etc – that you might otherwise enjoy. There are real concerns about lectins in very high doses (which is why they don’t offer to put Castor beans in your burrito at Chipotle), but a cup of green beans with dinner a couple of nights a month or the occasional hummus and carrots snack isn’t going to give you leaky gut unless you happen to be very sensitive to lectins (research shows individuals on the autism spectrum and those with Crohn’s disease tend to be more sensitive to lectin damage). If legumes are causing a problem for your body, more likely than not your body will inform you of this fact in the form of stomach discomfort, gas, joint pain, etc.
What are your thoughts? Do you eat legumes? Avoid them?