Over the last few months our CEO, Eric, has gotten to know Kristin Kaschak, or as she's known on her podcast, the Girl with the Butter. He sat down with her to discuss how coffee fits into a healthy lifestyle, and so we wanted to return the favor.
For those unfamiliar, Kristin is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, coach at Long Branch CrossFit, Instagrammer/Blogger and by day she project manages at NJ's largest craft beer/spirit distributor. She hopes through coaching, blogging, and her small group Primal Precision coaching program that she can help show folks that their body is not the enemy, and when you work with it (instead of against it), health and fitness doesn't have to be a struggle.
Eric: Why is health important to you?
Kristin: It's an odd question, isn't it? I feel like the question we should be asking is why isn't it important to everyone? It's cliche to say, but it's important to me because we've only got one body and that's what we've got to work with while we're here. The better you feel in your body, in my opinion, the more full life you can live. I see folks walking across the street, hunched over, struggling to just walk about and I think, 'that will never be me'. I get frustrated when I see commercials for Diet companies talking about how you 'can eat chips and pizza every day and not sacrifice living well to be healthy'. I don't believe that the quality of my life is determined by whether or nor I eat chips and pizza (as delicious as they may be). I believe that feeling physically capable, fit, and just generally GOOD every day is how I live well AND healthy.
What is 'Paleo'? Is coffee paleo?
My least favorite question of all time! It's actually why we named the podcast, 'Is This Podcast Paleo?'. I was so sick of getting asked 'is this paleo?'. I think we need to stop asking if a food fits a 'Diet' or not - if it's 'Paleo' or not - and ask instead, "Does this food work for me?". I do think that a strict Paleo approach of no grains, dairy, soy, legumes, processed foods, and minimal sugar, is a great place for anyone to start coming out of the Standard American Diet. It's a very VERY healing nutritional framework. Long-term, though, we build what our personal Paleo looks like based on the foods that make us feel good and avoiding the ones that make us feel crappy. In order to figure that out, though, you need a clean slate - which is where a more diligent 'Paleo' rulebook comes in handy. In terms of coffee...It's been around for a long time! There's a decent amount of evidence to suggest that moderate regular coffee consumption has pretty real health benefits. Like anything, though, my answer is always this: "It depends!". It depends on the individual. It depends on how you metabolize caffeine. It depends on how hydrated you are. It depends on your stress level. it depends on your adrenal health. It depends on a lot of things. For me, I can have coffee at 9 pm and go to bed an hour later with no problem. If I don't have coffee for a few days, I don't get with drawl headaches. I enjoy the routine of making it. I find it relaxing! Coffee is a perfectly Paleo choice for me!
What do you look for in a product or brand that you support?
While the quality of the product always matters, the intentions of the folks who own it matter more. I don't like to see folks get taken advantage of because something is a hot trend, or the marketing is preying on fear tactics. Take this pill or else this might happen! Buy our bars because all of the other ones will kill you! I support products where I trust the people creating it and believe that their intentions are to solve a problem that exists. When someone really stands behind their product, I respect that. It's also really important to me that I actually like it and personally used it before I 'officially' supported it. Every company who sponsors our show, I was using and recommending their products, like Javazen, long before they were tied to the show. If I'm going to recommend anything to anyone or put my name next to something, it's going to be something that I like, use, and would recommend anyway.
How do you stay motivated to work out and eat healthy during the cold winter months?
Staying motivated to work out isn't a problem for me anymore. It's just my lifestyle. I look forward to the end of the workday when I can walk into our gym, Long Branch CrossFit, and throw some weight around. It's just a part of who I am, so it's not something that I have to work at being motivated to do. I don't structure getting to the gym around my life. I see it like a daily standing appointment. I'm going to the 6 pm class tonight. That's it. There's no 'I'll try'. I'm going. I think that people who struggle with motivation haven't done two things: 1) They haven't identified their WHY. Why are you working out? REALLY why? Ask why 5 times. It's usually way deeper than "to be in shape". If you don't identify your WHY, you'll always struggle with motivation. 2) They haven't found the training that they like. The best kind of exercise is the kind that you enjoy doing. If I was trying to force myself to run every day as my form of exercise, I would never do it because I friggin hate running. Whatever it is that you enjoy. Be that CrossFit, weightlifting, Zumba, running, Boxing, Dancing, Swimming...whatever it is. If you enjoy it, you'll view it more like playtime and it won't be that hard to get your butt to it.
What do you find are the biggest stumbling blocks for someone who wants to improve their fitness? What are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
The first three weeks are the hardest. You have to create a habit and that requires consistency. I think that's what CrossFit has done that's been great. It created a community that people feel accountable to. You're not just going to the gym by yourself, you're going to hang out with friends. Finding a support system is critical for consistency. Also, realizing that improving fitness takes time. my favorite way to explain this is to say if you take 10 minutes to run a mile, would you really expect it to take 4 minutes to get back? Of course not! Yet with fitness, we start something and if after 2 weeks we haven't achieved every goal we had we give up and say it didn't work. It's especially true with Olympic Lifting. Folks forget that people spend their entire lives perfecting these two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. Who do we think we are to get mad that we're not experts after 6 months? I think having fun with your fitness, setting small goals, and having a support system are three major things that will get folks past any stumbling blocks.
Do you have fitness goals for yourself? If so, what are they?
Always! I just finally got a bar muscle up last year, so now it's all about the rings! I've been flirting with a 180# power clean for a while so I'm going to be working on that, too. I recently let go of the competitive need to lift the most and win every workout, so now I'm really just enjoying being able to do all of the stuff that I can do and have fun with it again.
What gives you the most energy? How do you maintain peak energy levels?
SLEEP! I will never let someone make me feel lazy for getting lots of sleep. It's so important. You can't out supplement lack of sleep. I find then when I'm sleeping well, training regularly, and eating the right foods in the right amounts (I generally focus on hitting certain macronutrient levels daily, stay gluten free and eat 99% real food), I feel pretty tip-top.
What does balance mean to you? How do you stay balanced?
I think too many of us fall into the live to work trap as opposed to work to live. I love my job (all of them), but it's not everything that I am and my life doesn't revolve around it. I don't answer work emails at 9pm, I don't hesitate to take a long weekend or a vacation, I don't feel guilty about turning my phone off to go to the gym. I used to be all work all the time, then I realized that at the end of my life, I'm definitely not going to be saying 'I wish I worked more'. It will more likely be 'I wish I enjoyed my time and spent it with friends and family more'.
People assume when you're in the health/fitness world, that everything you do revolves around it. That you never have a cocktail. That you certainly would never eat a cookie. That you're restricted all the time. Sure, I'm in the gym most days and eating 'paleo' foods, avoiding junk. There are still days where I binge watch on Netflix and stay in y PJS all day. There are still times when I put my feet up with some ice cream. We put too much pressure on each other and ourselves to fit into some box. You don't have to be one or the other. We're all a mix of a lot of things and that's OK! I'm trying to just do what's going to make me a happier person and hopefully help some others along the way.
Where can people find you online if they want to stay in touch?
I'm most active on Instagram @thegirlwiththebutter, weekly folks can listen in to Is This Podcast Paleo where we talk nutrition, lifestyle, CrossFit, and general wellness, and I'm working on more stuff for the blog thegirlwiththebutter.com like my favorite food and coffee finds on my trip to San Fransisco!