Monday, April 26, 2010

Food Labels Series Recap

I have learned a LOT about food during my research on food labeling, which could probably go on forever! It really reemphasized what I already knew, see Food Inc., and reminded me that although I take care of my body physically, what I put in my body is just as important. You may say, Yes, but where do you get all of this pastured, grass-fed, organic, good for you food?? It may be easier than you think!

This is our buddy Lance from the Triangle Farmers Market. His family owns Richardson Farms and they sell grass-fed beef, pastured chickens and eggs and all kinds of pastured pork products. You can buy one thing at a time or buy in bulk. You can even fill out an order form and he will have it ready for you at one of the Farmer's markets they go to!

Family fun at the Triangle!

Even if you can't make it to one of the farmer's markets, there are lots of places around town that you can get this kind of stuff like Natural Grocer on Guadalupe or order online and have it shipped strait to your home.

Posted by Picasa

Spring Gardening

Garden is Growing! Tomatoes and eggplant are blowing up, and peppers are about to start producing! We've even got a cantaloupe plant sprouting in the corner of the garden.

Rosemary, Basil, Thai Basil, Mint and Oregano.

Posted by Picasa
Summer is coming FAST and if you are looking for something new and different or if you want to gain strength SICFIT Austin gym is beginning olympic weightlifting classes in May!!

Monday/Wednesday 6:45am

Monday/Wednesday 5:15pm

Monday/Wednesday 6:15pm

*Each Class Time is Limited to only 10 People

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2nd Annual Hooverball Tournament & BBQ

Get your game face on! CrossFit Central is hosting the 2nd Annual Hooverball Tournament & BBQ on April 23rd. This year it will be at Jack & Adams and will be pot luck style! Bring your family and friends this is a kid friendly event. Central will take care of the grill & condiments - bring a side dish with you to share with the group. We look forward to seeing you there!

2nd Annual Hooverball & BBQ Friday, April 23rd
6-9pm @ Jack and Adam's on Barton Springs Rd.
Bring a Side Dish to Share & BYOB!

There will be tons of cool raffle prizes to win at the Hooverball tournament!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Food Labels Series

Part 3: Poultry and Egg Labeling

  • "Pastured" =
  1. I think that pastured is a new term used to try to get away from the other labels of "free-range" and "cage free" because these terms are used so loosely in large scale companies.
  2. Out in the pasture/field to scratch the ground and eat the grass and bugs.

  3. Laying hens are put in mobile egg laying coops that are rotated to different areas to get fresh grass.

  4. Eggs have more Vitamin A, E, Beta Carotene, Omega 3's and less cholesterol and saturated fat.
"Egg Mobile" from Richardson Farms near Austin

You may come to Richardson Farms to visit and select your meat or see us at the various Farmers Markets we attend weekly!

We currently attend the following Farmers Markets:

Wednesdays: Austin Farmer's Market - Triangle (4 - 8pm)

Saturdays: SFC's Farmers Market at Sunset Valley (9 - 1pm), and the Barton Creek Farmer's Market (9-1pm).

  • "Organic" =
  1. The hens or their feed cannot be treated with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides or herbicides.
  2. Cage free in a barn or a warehouse.
  3. Have to have access to the outdoors, but the USDA does not specify the quality or size of the outside range or the duration of time the are allowed to be outside.
*Hormones are not allowed in raising poultry or hogs, therefore when "hormone free" is put on the package it is just a way to make you think it is somehow a healthier choice.
  • "Free-Range" =
  1. Have to have access to the outdoors, but the USDA does not specify the quality or size of the outside range or the duration of time the are allowed to be outside.
  2. No regulations on environmental quality, the number of birds or how much space per bird.
  3. From what I have read most of these chickens are raised conventionally: cramped living spaces, fed industrial feed without live protein or grass and bred to grow bigger and faster which discourages them from moving around too much anyway.
  • "Cage-Free"=
  1. Conventionally raised except they are not put into cages, which is much better than a caged bird, but they still don't have access to the outdoors and are very crowded in most cases.
Cage Free Chickens
  • Conventional Chickens =
  1. Some of the most intensely confined animals in Ag.
  2. No access to the outdoors.
  3. Fed industrial feed.
  4. Bred to get bigger faster.
The next few paragraphs come from an article that I found. Sadly, I believe that most of what it claims is true. To read the rest of the article click here.

More than 90% of chickens and eggs are produced on factory farms in the USA. Chickens are either penned up in tiny cages, unable to move (this is common for egg-laying hens) or are placed in huge pens with thousands of other chickens. Regardless of their cage, factory-farmed chickens have little to no room to move, and dead and dying birds can be found throughout the pens or cages. The chickens also have to face intense heat.

Chickens are fed an unnatural diet that contains poultry and other animal products. Their feed contains bones, feathers, blood, offal, manure, grease, fishmeal, and diseased animal parts. Chicken feed contains things that have been banned for cows and humans, and include diseased rendered animals, roadkill and waste. Most producers of poultry feed, such as Perdue, refuse to reveal the composition of the feed.

Broiler chickens (common meat chickens) grow very quickly, thanks to advances in breeding. These chickens are no longer the natural birds we once chased after on family farms: they are hybrids made from various types of chickens genetically bread for fatter breasts and resistance to disease. While it used to take 90 days for a chicken to make its weight for slaughter, chickens of today are ready in a mere 35 days. Not only is the time to grow a chicken reduced by more than half, but the amount of food they require has also been lessened, thanks to genetic engineering. In the 1950Õs chickens were fed three pounds of grain, but now they need only 1.7 pounds of feed for every pound of meat! These changes produce overgrown, unhealthy chickens, as they are forced to put on too much body weight in too short of an amount of time for their skeleton to support the weight. Because the skeletal system grows at its natural pace, it becomes soft and malleable under the enormous pressure put on it by the chickens size.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

SICFIT Gym Is Here!

The new SICFIT Austin gym is here and just nearly ready to role. As many of you know I enjoy throwing around heavy weight and have a passion for Olympic weightlifting. It is going to be a pleasure and a new experience to be coaching an Olympic weightlifting and strength and conditioning class. The new classes begin May 3rd and a lot of excitement is already being generated by the new gym. So if you want to increase strength and power, and not to mention honing in on your Olympic lifts I wouldn't hesitate signing up. The classes are limited to ten and will fill fast. If you have any questions you can reach me at

(Platforms ready and waiting to be used)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Food Labels Series

Part 2: Beef Labeling

  • "Grass-Fed Beef" =
  1. Animals live their whole lives in the pasture grazing usually on a rotating schedule.
  2. Although the USDA does have "grass fed marketing claims standards" it does not state if the beef are or aren't allowed to be given growth hormones or antibiotics. I think that this is probably because that would be pretty much an oxymoron when it comes to how these cattle are raised. Also, because they are fed what they are supposed to eat they do not need antibiotics to keep them well.
  3. From US Wellness Meats, "Our meat is a rich source of this healthy fat because our animals spend their lives eating the green forage plants that are naturally rich in omega-3s themselves. Just by eating their natural diet, our cattle absorb these valuable fats and then pass the nutrition on to you. The result is beef that has nearly 60% more omega-3s than beef from cows that have been raised on a low-omega-3 grain diet."
  4. Rich in Vitamins A, E and conjugated linoleic acid or CLA.
  • "Organic Beef" =
  1. Access to pasture, clean living standards and generally good living conditions.
  2. No use of hormones, antibiotics or parasiticides.
  3. Organic beef are fed, "agricultural products, including pasture and forage, that are organically produced and, if applicable, organically handled", which can include grains such as corn, milo, wheat and soybean meal.
  4. High omega 6 to 3 ratio 20:1, not good!
  • "Natural Beef" =
  1. Products that contain no artificial ingredients, added color and are minimally processed after slaughter.
  2. The product can contain no preservatives.
  3. Fed a diet of grains = High omega 6 to 3 ratio 20:1, not good!
  4. The USDA has NO specific restriction on management practices during the life of the animal.Therefore, they may or may not use hormones or antibiotics, and live in high density feed lots. I would be willing to bet that most do employ these tactics because of their cost efficiency.
  • "Never-Ever Beef" =
  1. No Antibiotics allowed.
  2. No Hormones allowed.
  3. No Animal By-products allowed.
  4. Treated cattle must be uniquely identified.
  5. Grain fed = High omega 6 to 3 ratio 20:1, not good!
  6. Mostly finished on grain in high density feed lots.
  • "Beef" =
  1. Live in high density feed lots.
  2. Grain fed.
  3. Fed a steady drip of antibiotics to fight of disease because of their living conditions and their unnatural diet.
  4. Given growth hormones to speed the time to slaughter.
  5. Use of additives and preservatives while processing.
  6. 20:1 omega 6 to 3!
From Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today's Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Food Labels Series

Part 1: Organic Labeling of Raw, Fresh and Processed Products

I didn't realize until I started researching food labeling how far down a rabbit hole I would go, so I am going to do a series about it. This is the first part of the series and it is about the USDA regulates food labels as "organic".

From the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:
Any agricultural product that is sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” must be:

(a) Produced in accordance with the requirements specified in §205.101 or §§205.202 through 205.207 or §§205.236 through 205.239 and all other applicable requirements of part 205; and

(b) Handled in accordance with the requirements specified in §205.101 or §§205.270 through 205.272 and all other applicable requirements of this part 205.

Wow, that is intimidating...Here is a small portion of the huge amount of rules and regulations dealing with organic labeling.

What does "certified" organic mean?
Certified organic refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to uniform standards, verified by independent state or private organizations accredited by the USDA. All products sold as "organic" must be certified. Certification includes annual submission of an organic system plan and inspection of farm fields and processing facilities. Inspectors verify that organic practices such as long-term soil management, buffering between organic farms and neighboring conventional farms, and recordkeeping are being followed. Processing inspections include review of the facility's cleaning and pest control methods, ingredient transportation and storage, and recordkeeping and audit control. Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of food without artificial ingredients or preservatives. Certified organic requires the rejection of synthetic agrochemicals, irradiation and genetically engineered foods or ingredients.

All labels dealing with the term "organic" are based on percentage.

Agricultural Product Labels:
  • "100% organic" = all of the ingredients except salt and water, including the processing aids.
  • "organic" = 95% organic ingredients except salt and water. 5% of non organic ingredients have to be approved and on the "National List" of approved foods.
Processed Foods Product Labels:
  • "made with organic ingredients" = 70% of ingredients are organic and you can list up to 3 organic ingredients on the package. For instance, on a product it would say, "made with organic apples, strawberries and peaches".
  • products made with less than 70% organic ingredients cannot display the words organic on the front of the package, but can put which are organic on the back or the sides of the package.
Products labeled "natural" and "all-natural":

This is from here, and is talking about the labeling on a package of 100% natural granola.

The ingredients are listed in order of decreasing weight in the product. From this, we know that the weight of the raisins is more than the weight of the vegetable oil, and that the weight of the oil is more than the weight of the almonds. Looking carefully, we notice that the "vegetable oil" consists of "partially hydrogenated cottonseed and/or soybean oil". Partially hydrogenated oil is only produced artificially at high temperatures with metal catalysts in chemical plants, which means that it is not natural at all. Hydrogenation fundamentally degrades the nutritional properties of natural vegetable oils and creates trans fats that cause cardiovascular diseases. The claim in the front of the box of "100% Natural" is clearly a misrepresentation of the contents. This labeling problem has arisen because the Food and Drug Administration has not considered what can be labeled as "natural", and the law requiring manufacturers to list the ingredients of a food product does not require the rest of the information on the package to reflect the actual contents.

Clearly, labeling of what companies consider "all natural" products have a lot more loop holes than labeling organic products. Therefore, be knowledgeable of labels and look closely at the food you buy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

***Bring a Friend to Boot Camp in April***

5:00pm LCRA Boot Camp Warming Up

I know you have friends who are curious about what a Relentless Boot Camp is all about and how you have started looking and feeling so great. Well, April is bring a friend to boot camp month! Whoever brings or refers the most friends to a Relentless Boot Camp this month gets a FREE month of boot camp!!! Pretty sweet deal!