Sharing Our CE Experience

So a few weeks, Coaches Nicole, Paul, Phil and Sam all went to a continuing education course together. We all need between 40 and 50 continuing education hours every year for our training certifications and we like to broaden our horizons outside just the CrossFit world at times.  Plus, CEU’s are often expensive so it’s nice to find a lower cost 8-hour course every once in a while.

Our course was entitled “The Pharmacy in Your Kitchen” and was put on by a board certified Psychiatric Pharmacist named Angelo Pezzote. You know we loved this course concept because we’re all in the “Let Food Be Thy Medicine” camp whenever possible.

Some of the course objectives were to be able to identify the effectiveness of selected medical foods and medicinal foods for treating chronic or recurrent disorders of:

  • attention and cognition
  • osteoarthritis, backache, headache or neuropathic pain,
  • low grade, chronic inflammation
  • cardio-metabolic factors underlying type 2 diabetes., coronary artery disease and stroke,
  • initiating or maintaining sleep

We were excited because you’d be surprised how many of our athletes arrive with many of these conditions. We know exercise will help them* but maybe we’ll learn some cool new food-stuff that will assist as well!

*Did you know that exercise beats drugs in depression therapy?  But you know where I’m going….try to get a depressed person to exercise! Right?!


After (post) exercise in a setting like CrossFit, not only do endorphins rise, but that unconditional community feeling settles in. We hug each other all swollen and sweaty. We sit and chat about things that make us happy. We are not just healthy…but have lower stress and a greater social support system.

Some sobering stats from the course:


On weight loss

From the National Weight Control Registry, of 10,000 people who lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it  off for 5+ years:

  • 98% modified foot intake (lowering calories overall)
  • 78% ate breakfast every day
  • 94% increased physical activity
  • 62% watched less than 10 hours of TV per week
  • 75% weighted themselves every day

There are some things you can’t “fancy away”…and by that I mean to think that there’s a magic bullet that will last.  Sure, sometimes we all need a kickstart, but it can be a healthy one. While macronutrients do play a role in health (and weight loss, of course), if you truly understand diet, multiply out your macros and see how many calories you are eating. Increasing or decreasing this is the cause of your weight loss, not “just lowering starch”, cutting carbs altogether, going vegan or trying to exercise off additional calories.

Eating breakfast every day is a good idea. The quality and quantity of the food we eat fuels our cells and our bodies to be able to perform all the functions we don’t think about every day: heart beating, digestion in progress, liver detoxifying, kidneys filtering, lungs exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide…who thinks about these things during the day, right?   But eating for high nutrient density allows these functions to occur at a higher level, more effectively than fueling your body with processed crap.

More time outside, “moving”, exercising, playing and less time sitting in front of the tube or the computer should be a no-brainer.

And finally, I know people who “won’t get on the scale”. It’s not a matter of obsessing, but be an adult and face the facts. If you’re looking to put on weight or lose weight…as Ed always says: “if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”.

Just some good tips from the NWCR.


Post workout euphoria causes grown men to hijack the box-camera and stage selfies. Adult men carrying on like kids lowers stress and creates some fun aftermath!



Hippocrates said:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, also created the Hippocratic from which physicians guide their practice.


On Sleep

We learned some interesting stuff here.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this…and my GP (when I had one) said it was OK.  How many of you have taken Benedryl to sleep? Or some type of diphenhydramine?  Just 50 mg, the average dose, disrupts sleep architecture and prevents stage 3 and 4 sleep. Sure, it knocks you out, but it doesn’t allow restorative sleep. Oopsie!

There are many natural and lifestyle hacks to assist with sleep – unfortunately, they’re so easy and simple that people often dismiss them and go straight for meds.  General sleep hygiene and some supplements that we know that help are:

  • Limiting screen time before bed. If you must be on a device, consider an app like f.lux or blue blocking glasses.
    • Better yet, move back to books. They don’t mess your brain the way a device screen does.
  • Consider reading before bed. Reading, as opposed to video gaming or watching television not only makes you smarter but will help induce sleep versus prevent it.
  • Have a little starch with dinner. Starchy carbohydrates help the body produce serotonin which can help calm you down and set you up for a good slumber
  • Create a very dark room with white, pink or brown noise. Get rid of your tech devices – store then in another room.
  • Take a hot/warm bath or shower. It will raise your body temperature so that as you cool down it triggers your body to fall asleep (remember – your body temp drops when you sleep).
  • Foods/Supplements that can help induce sleep are Green Tea (containing L-Theanine), Valerian, GABA, and Melatonin.
  • And there was also mention of CBD oil but we’ll not go there right now 🙂



On How Drugs Function in the Brain

And here’s where a bunch of CF Coaches and Trainers might have spaced off, and spent too much time poking fun things that were happening in the room versus listening to the speaker! (It happens!)  We enjoyed a cursory review of the brain and it’s communication system, specifically focused on the synapse and how mood altering drigs work within the synapse. It was refreshing to hear a pharmacists perspective on how the overall health of a person, their diet and lifestly quality which affect the gut biome (because gut bacteria manufacture some neurotransmitters such as serotonin), can and should be the focus when initially dealing with depression and anxiety. For those who don’t believe there’s a connection between diet and brain health – you should look this guy up. Someone in the medical community vying for lifestyle changes over drugs…especially someone in the pharmaceutical industry…it was compelling.

Without trying to purport I really comprehend the extent of the amino acids as precursors to the neurotransmitters and how that whole process can be messed up with “too many” drugs, I’ll just say this:  Start with diet. Clean it up to the max! Fix your lifestyle if it’s broken: stress, sleep, “enjoyment”, family, etc.  And if all of those efforts truly fail, THEN seek medicinal help.

….and speaking of medicinal help, we were introduced to a new industry (one we’d not been aware of) called “Medical Foods”. Where this gets interesting is as we learn that for  the more common medications for inflammation (NSAIDs), sleep, and even cognitive impairment, there is a bridge between supplements and drugs called Medical Foods.  They’re prescribed by a physican and and are showing good outcomes consistent with drugs.

Of note are Limbrel (Flavocoxid), which has shown equal or better results when compared to Celebrex and other NSAIDs for osteoarthritis. (Note: There is a medscape alert that Flavocoxid has produced severe reactions and physicians are being asked to stop prescribing it. Flavocoxid’s primary ingredients are Polyphenols, Acacia Catechu (catechin – found in green tea) and Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap) which has been used for years for inflammation).

Axona, for Alzheimer’s disease, and whose primary ingredient is carpylic triclycrides (MCT’s) – many of us will connect that with Bulletproof coffee and the brain buzz we get after ingesting it.

And finally Theramine for pain.  Its primary ingredients are amino acids that are precursors for the neurotransmitters GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which are involved in the regulation of pain signals.


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So we trudge on, in hopes that those around us are influenced by our passion for nutrition is the foundation of our training, and our health, for that matter.  You are what you eat…and you are what your food eats!  Quality, quantity, and macronutrient composition all matter. Diversity matters.  I’m not saying be a food Nazi because friends and “outings” matter too.  That beer or cocktail with your friend or that greasy spoon your family always congregates at…don’t be a jerk and avoid it because it’s not in your plan. The stress of being a social outcast can have deleterious effects on your health the same way living on PopTarts, McDonald’s, CheezeIts and Dairy Queen can!

All in all, for most of us, it was a refresher and reminder of how important a quality diet is for a healthy life.

~Coach Sam, out!



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