To wrap up this week, your daily bonus challenge is to go over the notes for this week and to post a favourite meal photo, recipe, or tip to the blog, the Facebook Group, or to Instagram (#cfw #cfwspringleaning @crossfitwinnipeg)

Here are some of the questions that came up:

– Are dates ok? Yes they are a fruit, but as with any other sweet and dried fruit, watch for the sugar content and eat in moderation if trying to lean out.

– Where do you buy Almond Milk?  Is it processed?  Real almond milk is actually just one part blanched almonds and one part water, so if you can find a brand that has just this, you are golden.  Most brands add gums and “natural flavours”, even the ones marked unsweetened, so check the label and count it as processed unless  you get get one that’s just water and almonds.

– Where do I get my calcium? Grains and legumes actually impede your ability to absorb minerals so if you aren’t eating those things you will likely have more “usable” calcium for your body. You can get enough calcium from greens and nuts and fish, and the reality is that most people don’t need to supplement, but if you suspect that you are low, you can have your doctor test you.  If you feel you need more, increase your greens, nuts and seeds and eat some fish with the bones like canned bone-in salmon.

– Are fruit juices OK?  Though 100% juice is pretty much “paleo” in the strictest terms, this is a leaning out challenge, so drinking a glass of sugar (albeit natural sugar) will be counterproductive.  Avoid it if you can.

– Is natural peanut butter OK? Sorry, peanuts are legumes, which can create problems, try almond butter, cashew butter, or hazelnut butter instead.

– Are potatoes OK?  Some “Paleo Experts” say yes, some no, for our challenge, we say yes, as long as they are peeled.  Just treat them as a higher source of carbs and treat them accordingly i.e. not too much if trying to lean out, and preferably post WOD.

– Are green beans and peas OK? Strictly speaking, they are legumes, however, you have the draw the line somewhere and most research shows that they are fairly low in the anti-nutrients we find in other legumes, so we’ll allow them, if they are fresh and green (not canned and processed).

– Where can I get a good coconut milk?  Just look for a full fat canned coconut milk with a good ingredients list, you can find this at any grocery store.

– What about sugar in deli meats?  Most processed meats will have sugar or soy or some other bad ingredients, so it might be worth it to consider conventional grocery store deli meats as processed for the challenge.  You can still find some good options out there from farmers and natural butchers, but it’s often a better option to buy a chunk of meat, and cook it and slice it yourself.  However, for convenience post challenge, I suggest weighing the pros and cons of a bit of sugar in the big picture, depending on your food options for that day.

– What can I do for electrolytes instead of Gatorade?  If your diet is well rounded and includes enough minerals and some salt you probably won’t need any additional electrolytes. But if you do, a nice replacement is coconut water (check the ingredients) or make your own by adding in some lemon or lime or any citrus fruit or berries along with a bit of sea salt, to your water bottle. We also carry non sweetened electrolytes packets at the gym if you prefer the convenience of that.

– What about bouillon or broth? Where can I get a good one to add in for recipes and sauces?  You will need to check the ingredients, but this is a tough one, I have yet to find a brand that has no sugar and has no “natural flavours” (which can be pretty much anything including soy or wheat), or “yeast extract” (essentially MSG). On the other hand if you can take the time to make your own bone broth or stock from bones, it is one of the healthiest and most healing foods on the face of the earth, and it freezes very well.  You can even make broth ice cubes to add to sauces.

The food looked fantastic this week, everyone, keep it up!  Here are few more comments:

* If you are having some “detox” symptoms or some other mood or energy symptoms, keep in mind that this is normal if you are dramatically changing your diet, particularly if you are eating significantly less sugar and overall carbohydrates.  Your body might need some time to adjust to burning fat for energy instead of sugar.

Gum generally does have sweeteners but because you are not actually ingesting it, we’ll say it’s allowed.  However, if you want good results, I say stay away from it, the sweetness is still cueing your body to react in the same way you would to sugar.

* That being said, many of you probably dramatically reduced your overall caloric intake, and may need to replace those calories with nutrient dense sources. A good way to make sure you are getting enough calories and to ensure that your body learns to use fat as fuel is to simply eat more fat, from animals (if wild/grass fed/pastured), from dry roasted nuts and seeds, butter, and oils.

* As you continue the challenge, make sure that most of you are focusing on vegetables as much or more so that fruit.  Fruit can get high in sugar and you might be missing out on some key nutrients if you aren’t eating your veggies.

* Keep in mind that though fruit and starchy veggies will give you a boost of energy, you will get better results if you have it after your workout rather than before your workout.

* Try to include some kind of  high quality protein with breakfast.  Paleo cereals are great but if you’re just having nuts and seeds and fruit for breakfast, you might find yourself short on protein and hungry again by mid morning.

* 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.