Challenge

Top 3 Things to Consider When Purchasing Fish Oil Supplements

08/29/2016

Disclosure::  I recommend that everyone who participates in the Eat Clean, Live Clean Challenge take a quality fish oil supplement, but many ask me what factors to look for to ensure they’re buying a reputable product. All fish oil isn’t created equal, and supplementing with a low quality brand can actually do more harm than good. This post is written by Jonah Smith, co-owner of the local supplement line Pyur Labs, and it can be used as a reference the next time you’re wondering what to consider when purchasing fish oil. Pyur Labs is a company dedicated to providing clean, quality supplements to people who care about living a healthier lifestyle.


Forming a “top reasons” list for fish oil isn’t a difficult endeavor. There is an abundance of positive omega-3 research that has been conducted over the past few decades, so it’s no surprise that fish oil supplements are the third leading supplement purchased by consumers. I would argue it should be their number one. Being that fish oil supplements are such a top seller makes it a safe assumption that many people already know all the benefits that come from adding this to their daily regimen. They have heard about the cardiovascular benefits, the benefits relating to inflammation and mood, or perhaps they have been told about the benefits in their training and performance that can arise from omega-3 supplementation. Or maybe they’ve never heard of any of this but someone they trust told them they should take it and so they do. Regardless of the reason, they’re taking it. But how do we know which one to choose? Walk into a nutrition store or shop online and you are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to fish oil supplements, so lets take a look at the TOP 3 things to consider when buying a fish oil supplement.

Dosage

This one is not as straightforward as I wish it could be. I don’t think I can pinpoint an exact “perfect” dose, and I would be skeptical of anyone who claims they can. I personally have read research studies showing various benefits with dosages ranging from approximately 800mg upwards of almost 4 times this amount. The amount that any given individual “needs” is really dependent on a couple factors. For instance, what benefit are they targeting? What does their diet look like? Are they consuming a lot of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids? This is important because much of the benefits of omega-3 occur when the proper balance to the omega-3 and omega-6 ratio occurs. In other words, high intakes of omega-6 fatty acids, means you need high intakes of omega-3. I recommend that you evaluate your situation and make an informed decision for you. At Pyur Labs our recommended dosage range will provide adequate omega-3 fatty acids to individuals who live a relatively healthy dietary lifestyle.   

Potency

Potency is a major issue, so don’t fall victim to a marketing scam. Whatever fish oil you buy, read the label. Just like you do with your food, turn over the packaging and read the small print. You want to know how much EPA and DHA are in your fish oil supplement. EPA and DHA are the essential fatty acids that your body needs and provide numerous benefits. The dosages mentioned above were referring to the combined dose of these two. I see fish oil supplements that have “1000mg of fish oil” written in big letters on the front of the label and then you read that there is only 200-300mg of EPA/DHA. If you are seeing fish oil for a really cheap price compared to others, it is probably for this reason. Remember, 1000mg of fish oil does not equal 1000mg of omega fatty acids. Pyur Labs’ Omega Complex provides almost 800mg of EPA/DHA per capsule. For most individuals, this is enough to promote general health and combat inflammation.

Purity 

Regarding purity, we are talking freshness and fish oil free of contaminants. In terms of freshness, fish oil can undergo oxidation and spoil. This is counterproductive because oil that is oxidized can actually promote inflammation — the exact opposite of what we want it to do. You should purchase fish oil that is packaged in a manner that protects it from light. Store it in a cool, dry place like the refrigerator. Make sure that it does not have any rancid odor or after-taste. It should also contain some type of preservative or antioxidant, such as vitamin E (tocopherols) or rosemary extract. As far as contaminants, fish oil supplements should undergo a process called molecular distillation to remove contaminants to levels deemed acceptable by the EPA. Look for this on the label as well as if the oil is harvested from smaller fish, like sardines and anchovies. These fish typically have lower levels of contaminants when compared to larger fish. Pyur Labs’ Omega Complex utilizes all these measures to provide a fresh product free of harmful contaminants. To ensure ALL three of these things to our company and our customers, our product now has the IFOS stamp of approval. IFOS is the International Fish Oil Standards program, which is a third party certification for fish oil freshness, potency, purity and dosage. It gives us confidence that our fish oil has undergone strict testing to ensure these standards are met. In addition to this we have also added vitamin D to our Omega Complex. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that many Americans are deficient in due to lack of sun exposure and nutritional gaps. So there it is, the quick and dirty fish oil buyer’s guide.  I hope it helps next time you are making a decision to buy fish oil. A lot more can be said about omega-3 supplements but I would hate to put you to sleep.  Feel free to reach out with any questions or to discuss your own supplement regimen.            pic Jonah Smith is co-owner of the local supplement line, Pyur Labs.  He has his CrossFit L1 and Weightlifting certifications and recently became a certified Sports Nutritionist through the International Sports Sciences Association.  His formal education is a Masters in Science, providing a career in healthcare. His view on health and well-being is that the best results happen when healthy choices and fitness become a way of life, and this is achieved through balance, practicality and passion.  

Weight Loss Tips

The Dangers of Eating Gluten Free

07/18/2016

The Dangers of Going Gluten FreeHave you heard promises that going gluten free will help you lose weight, feel less bloated, and have more energy? Are you ditching bread, cereal, and pasta in an effort to slim down and flatten your stomach? While I agree that ridding your pantry of gluten is generally a good idea, I think a lot of people are taking the wrong approach.

A brief history in nutrition…

During the low fat diet craze of the 80s and 90s, Americans were taught that dietary fat is a contributing factor for obesity and heart disease. Instead of just lowering their fat intake, they replaced the fat with imitation fat “franken-foods.” I get it— butter tastes good, so why not engineer a “healthier” alternative? Margarine and non-dairy spreads were touted as healthy replacements, and people swapped their morning eggs with a toasted bagel smeared with fat free cream cheese. Guess what happened? You don’t have to guess… as you know, America just got fatter and sicker. 

In 2009 science did some backpedaling and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a Meta-analysis of epidemiological studies that basically boils down to the following:  “You know everything we told you about saturated fat causing heart disease?  Yeah, that’s wrong.  In fact, it’s more likely that all the nutrients we replaced the fat with are probably the cause.” That’s a bold statement, and it’s still confusing a lot of people because “unhealthy saturated fat” and “heart healthy grains” were indoctrinated into our brains for so long. How could science have gotten it so wrong?  Not only were they wrong, they actually had it backwards. Continue Reading

Challenge

Summer 2016 Eat Clean, Live Clean Challenge- Registration Now Open!

07/10/2016

A six week challenge designed to support and encourage you to get healthy!  Contestants will log points based on eating by the rules (no gluten, processed food, or refined sugars), sleeping at least 7 hours a night, exercising (walking counts!), and stretching.  Not only will the point leader at the end of the challenge win a cash prize, but you’ll also be eligible to win smaller prizes along the way!   I’ve found that having a little “skin in the game” helps people stay motivated throughout the challenge.   So, what do you get for the price of admission? Carpe  

  • Encouragement:  Access to a private Facebook group where you can receive tips from challenge veterans
  • Accountability:  All challengers will be paired together (don’t worry, anyone who doesn’t have a partner will be paired up)
  • Structure: A comprehensive list of the compliant food as well as weekly bonus challenges involving anything from meditiation to listening to a podcast.
  • Incentives: The cash prize for the winner is nice, but the REAL incentive is improvements to your waistline, better sleep, and killing it in the gym.  

::ADVANCED VERSION::

New to the challenge is the opportunity for any challenger who lives in New Orleans to take advantage of discounted pricing for personalized body composition scan and metobolic health test through DexaFit. You will receive biometric health data such as bone denisty, metabolism rate, and a macronutrient profile designed for your body. Once you have the data, you will use it to compete at the advanced level, and adhereing to your macros will be part of the game! This option is a savings of $100!   What are you waiting for?  Invest in your health now! Learn More or Sign me up!

CrossFit Fitness

Peeing During Workouts? How Six Physical Therapy Sessions Solved My Humiliating Problem

05/27/2016

Spoiler alert:  I’m about to get really personal with everyone, and if you’re a guy- might I suggest reading this post, or this post, or this post instead?  If you’re a woman, keep reading because this post might just be for you…

I’m getting ready to admit to the interwebs something that I’ve felt really embarrassed about for a while now—well, for the past 2 years and 8 months to be exact. Almost three years ago, I was lucky enough to give birth to my son, all 8 lbs. and 15 oz. of him. I had a vaginal water birth and I pushed for about two hours because my little guy didn’t want to come out! Motherhood has been the most incredible experience of my life, but with the good also comes some bad. There are all sorts of articles about what to expect after giving birth, but until you experience things like the extreme hair loss that happens about 4 months postpartum, there’s no way to really know. A couple of changes to my body seemed to be permanent…the stretch marks on my thighs, my cute innie belly button being replaced by an outie, and crossing my legs when I sneeze. “Crossing your legs when you sneeze” you might ask? Yes. And it’s not because becoming a mother made me more lady-like when I had a head cold. Crossing my legs was necessary so I didn’t pee my pants. It seems that by exerting so much force in an effort to bring my son into the world, I had done some serious damage to my nether regions. If crossing my legs when I sneezed ended up being the only burden I had to endure, I may have just lived with it, but because CrossFit and working out is such a big part of my life there was something else that this little problem prevented me from doing– double unders. If you’re not familiar with this movement, a double under is when someone jumps rope, but instead of the rope passing underneath their feet once, it passes underneath twice for every jump. As a result, you have to jump higher and exert more force.   IMG_2303 Double unders are one of those skills that you have to practice a lot. It’s not like riding a bike where one day you get it and the ability is there for the rest of your life. I could do double unders before I had my baby, but after I came back to CrossFit it took a really long time before I got them back because my practice was always interrupted by… you guessed it– me peeing my pants! So, I started to rely on a stock of maxi pads that I kept at the gym, and I would run to the bathroom before workouts programmed with double unders. With protection in place, I got increasingly better at the skill, but pads are bulky and uncomfortable.     Last year, I competed on a team at the Pensacola Beach Brawl CrossFit competition. My team chose tight, stretchy shorts to all wear for our uniform. When we found out double unders were in the first workout, I asked everyone if we could switch to different shorts so I didn’t look like I was wearing a diaper beneath the spandex. Did anyone notice the wardrobe change?

I finally decided that enough was enough when I had to leave the gym mid workout because my protection failed and I didn’t have a change of shorts with me. It was mortifying. I didn’t tell anyone that I was leaving; I just left as fast as I possibly could. I reached out to Dr. Whitney Braswell, a physical therapist at Therapydia Nola who specializes in women’s health, to see if my condition could be treated, and I was so happy when I was informed that my problem was common and fixable.   Was it just kegels?   Yes, kegel exercises were involved in my treatment, but the extent of the exercises didn’t end there. Whitney said that many women don’t do kegel exercises properly, so first she made sure that I was engaging the correct muscles. She also gave me breathing exercises because she explained that diaphragmatic breath work helps to increase strength and control of the pelvic floor. My favorite part of the therapy was when I was hooked up to a biofeedback monitor that responded to muscle contractions. Basically I stuck electrodes to my body that were attached to a handheld computer, and I would see a number on the screen every time I contracted or relaxed. The higher the number, the more effective I was during the contraction. I loved seeing a score applied to my exercises, and it was helpful that I was able to quantify my improvement after each appointment. Over the span of 6 appointments over 2 months, Whitney gave me the necessary education and exercises to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles. That’s all it took!  6 appointments and I was cured of my embarrassing problem. I almost cried when I did 300 double unders with no issues and no pad!   Why didn’t I do this sooner? Well, because I honestly didn’t know treatment like this existed. If I had known that it was relatively quick and entirely painless to correct such a humiliating problem, I wouldn’t have waited almost three years to get help! As I said before, issues like these are pretty common, even among women who don’t have children, so there is no need to feel shame or embarrassment about getting help.   If you’re in the New Orleans area and you’re having similar issues, I highly recommend contacting Whitney for treatment. She offers individualized care for women experiencing urinary incontinence, pelvic pain syndromes, and pre- and post-partum dysfunction.  

 

Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by Therapydia Nola.
Never in my life did I think I’d get therapy for my hoo-ha as a blog perk!
All opinions are my own.    
New Orleans

Full Stomach and Full Heart

04/25/2016

The more I learn about nutrition and the psychology behind helping people be successful with living a healthy life, the more I think that having a balanced approach is the best way to do it. Yes, I believe in real food and eating lots of vegetables, and I know that gluten and sugar are not the best choices to perform your best, but sometimes having an experience through food (even unhealthy food) is just healthy for your soul. This weekend was one of those times where I celebrated the culture of my city through the music, the art, and yes… FOOD!   I had Friday off, and we went to Jazz Fest as a family. Brennan has gone to Jazz Fest every year of his life, and I’m not sure if it has been his exposure to music from such a young age, or if it’s because he’s the child of two musicians, but my boy LOVES good music! We have a tradition of taking a picture of Brennan on Bradley’s shoulders every year, and they’re some of my favorite pictures!

I love Jazz Fest, and I have gone every year since I was in college. For me, it’s less about the music and more about the experience. I love people watching, looking at the art, and eating the food that I only get once a year. I think the most quintessential Jazz Fest food is probably the crawfish bread- think crawfish and cheese baked into doughy bread. That used to be my favorite too… that was until I was introduced to the crawfish strudel. It’s basically the same idea, but instead of the bread it’s layers and layers of flaky filo dough. Skip the long line for the crawfish bread and try the strudel instead.  Thank me later! DSC05389 My other must eat item is the fish tacos from the Taqueria Corona booth. Perfectly fried fish, spicy salsa, crunchy cabbage… perfection! We love buying one item and splitting it so we can try lots of things, but I always regret only buying one taco! DSC05366 This year we branched out and tried something new.  The grilled chicken livers with pepper jelly and zucchini… omg!  Without the sauce, I bet these are compliant, and oh so delicious!   IMG_3016 We cooled off with some spumoni from Angelo Brocato’s, and it was the perfect sweet treat! DSC05397 My dad goes to Jazz Fest every year with his friends from college, and we caught up with them long enough for Brennan to take a snooze on his papa in the Blues Tent. IMG_2930 This toddler is lucky he has a strong momma to carry him from stage to stage while he sleeps 🙂 IMG_2939 We found some shade underneath what seems like the only tree in the whole venue, and we took in all the sights and sounds.  IMG_2931 IMG_2986 One of my favorite parts of Jazz Fest is leaving the fest!  If you leave out of the Mystery Street exit, there are parties in the street. We had just as much fun watching the bands on people’s driveways and porches than at the actual fest.    IMG_2994 On Saturday, we had an adult fest day!  We decided to ride our bikes to make parking easier. The wild flowers in City Park were gorgeous!   IMG_3020 IMG_3008 We caught up with some friends, and rocked out to Pearl Jam and Van Morrison! IMG_3023 IMG_3018 On Sunday morning, I was on the news talking about a campaign with the American Heart Association to challenge the city of New Orleans to get up and move!  Next Saturday, April 30th, track your steps and enter via social media with #walkdat and help the American Heart Association reach their goal of 5 million steps! IMG_3044 After filming the segment, Bradley and I headed to a friend’s 30th birthday party brunch.  The theme was fancy, floral, festive, and the party was fabulous!  It was in a courtyard and catered by a food truck.  The food was delicious, and the company was even better! IMG_3071 IMG_3072 IMG_5987 We ate shrimp and grits, pulled pork, fried green tomatoes, french toast, soft-shell crab, and cupcakes! IMG_3077 IMG_3057 IMG_3084We are so grateful to have such incredible friends!  Happy birthday, Chris!   IMG_3075  My heart and my stomach are both so full after such an amazing weekend!    I think I have a week full of lots of veggies ahead!