Endurance For Veterans

                It’s clear looking back through our history that we have asked a lot of our military and the men and women that serve.  We as a country love our service members both active and retired and we have great appreciation for their dedication and sacrifice.

                Is it possible for those that haven’t been on the front line to imagine the horrors of war?  Hollywood has done an increasingly better job over the years of portraying the sights, sounds and graphic detail that they face. With embedded journalist, recorded footage special effects and first hand accounts.  But after two hours the popcorn is gone , the lights come on and we can return home safely.  Unfortunately for many of our soldiers who experience war and traumatic events, they can carry those images with them forever.


                The 22 push up challenge has done a great job bringing awareness to a terrible fact that there is an average of 22 service members a day taking their own lives.  That’s 8030 a year…

                We all want to help, but what do we do?  I can think of four options that we have:

1.       Politically- we can put pressure on those in charge to take better care of our military.

2.       Seek out family and friends that serve or have served and make sure they have what they need.

3.       Raise awareness

4.       Donate to a charity

All need to be done, but number four is what we are here to talk about. 

 Not all charities are created equal.

         Endurance for Veterans was founded right here in CT by Robert Estrada in 2015.  Their vision is “ To Reduce the number of veterans that take their own lives by providing the opportunity to heal and rehabilitate through physical fitness.”

                There are over 40,000 American charities with military related missions.  Live Fit Connecticut has chosen to endorse and work with E4V because it’s easy to see their heart for the mission.  They are right here in CT (although their work doesn’t have state borders) and 100% of the money raised goes to the mission.  You are not paying for someone to drive a fancy car.

The Current Mission

                E4V’s 2017 project is so exciting.  They are leading a study to analyze the impact that community based physical fitness has on PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  The study has two goals:

1.       To find out if the mission of helping through physical fitness is effective

2.       To provide a benchwork for a sustainable solution

They are looking for active duty or veterans that have had some kind of traumatic experience within the military to participate in the study.  Those participants have to commit to workout at least 3 times a week for a total of 3 hours. Two researchers from Yale are collecting the date.  This is part of a 3 tier process:

1.       Gather data for the study

2.       Publish study for review

3.       Based on data, develop sustainable programs that can be implemented nationwide.

The Mission, Should You Accept The Challlenge

You can help E4V by becoming active within their community, participating in their events, donating to their mission, helping to raise money and shopping in the E4V Store

June 10, 2017 E4V is hosting their second E4V Face Off, a fitness competition supported by local CrossFit gyms.  You can register a team or go and support.  E4V also has a Car Show coming up on May 21st at Sonny’s Place in Somers.

E4V is also our charity partner for our Mud Run and will be there to meet runners and spectators.

If you have been wanting to find a way to further support our troops, please look further into the work they are doing.


2017 Live Fit Connecticut Mud Run

  We are excited to announce the Live Fit Connecticut Mud Run for this September 2, 2017.  A Mud Run or OCR (obstacle course race) is the perfect way to bring in so many elements of health and fitness into one event. Run, climb, crawl, and jump your way through our challenging 3 mile course with CT themed obstacles like  Tax Burden, Road Construction, and Mt Southington Jr.  check out videos from last year

  Once Again we are pleased to announce our charity partner for the event is Endurance For Veterans- a great CT based 501 (C) (3) that is doing great things for our veterans.  Their mission is “Providing Veterans The Opportunity To Heal And Rehabilitate Through Physical Fitness.”  That mission fits in so perfectly  with what we are trying to accomplish and we are honored to be able to work with them.
  The event will be held at Mt Southington 396 Mt Vernon Rd Plantsville CT 06479
You can register here

5 Foods Proven to Optimize Your Health


5 Foods Proven to Optimize Your Health


By: Amanda Montalvo, RD, CD-N



Nutrition is constantly changing. We’re continually discovering new vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that are important for our health. New diet crazes are popping up all the time. Nutrition as a topic is very buzzworthy, which makes it vulnerable to being misrepresented in the media. This in turn causes extreme confusion for the general population. It’s no wonder I constantly hear that people don’t know what to eat let alone how much or when to eat it.

No matter what diet you follow or set of food rules you adhere to, the five foods below will help optimize your health and are worth adding in. Let’s dive in.

1.  Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts.jpg

You may have had alfalfa or another type of sprout, but most people haven’t had broccoli sprouts since we tend to eat broccoli crowns. Well, these little sprouts (as well as other cruciferous veggies like brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, etc) are packed full of phytochemicals that have been shown to protect us from things like chronic disease and cancer.

Broccoli sprouts contain a nutrient called sulforaphane. This nutrient is called a phytochemical. Phytochemicals are like the super heroes of vitamins and minerals. They’re chemical compounds found in plants that protect us from disease.

Sulforaphane specifically, activates a genetic pathway that controls over 200 genes that have important roles in our bodies. This means that optimizing this nutrient should be a priority if you are looking to improve your health and longevity.

Important Facts To Consider

A couple important notes about sulforaphane. It’s precursor is glucoraphanin, which is then converted to Sulforaphane in the body by an enzyme called myrosinase. Myrosinase is heat sensitive. It’s also released when the plant is crushed. This means you want to eat broccoli sprouts raw and even eat cruciferous veggies like brussel sprouts and cabbage raw sometimes as well. You don’t always have to, but if you are trying to get these benefits I highly recommend it. You can also wait 5 minutes after chopping to let the enzyme activate the sulforaphane. Some studies show that this works as well, however, raw is your best bet.

So how much do you have to eat to benefit?

 100-140g of sprouts daily. Studies have shown that eating cruciferous vegetables 3-5 times per week has improved health outcomes and prevented disease.

Favorite Ways to Consume

 I prefer to eat broccoli sprouts raw because I think that’s how they taste best, and because of the nutritional benefits.

·   Add them to a salad

·   Eat with 2 over easy eggs on top and a little avocado oil mayo

·   Add to a sandwich or wrap—try some toasted Ezekiel bread topped with mashed avocado, broccoli sprouts, and egg—not only delicious but has an incredible amount of nutrition for your body

·   Add to a stir fry or warm kelp noodle dish after you are done cooking

·   Add to a smoothie—just like you would add spinach or kale you can add broccoli sprouts

Learn how to grow your own in 5 easy steps!



2.  Collagen peptides/bone broth

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our bodies. You may think of aging when you hear the word it since it’s most widely advertised in beauty products that defy aging.

As we get older we produce less collagen, which leads to wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pain. Collagen is like the glue that holds our bodies together. You can find it in muscles, bones, skin, our digestive systems, tendons, and even blood vessels.

There are 6 different types of collagen (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10). These all do different things. If you want to get into specifics I highly recommend checking out this post:


What I want to cover is why you should be including collagen in your diet and how. Collagen provides the following benefits:

·   Provides amino acids like glutamine, glycine, arginine, and proline that help build new collagen, produce healthy DNA, support bone and muscle repair and heart health

·   Improves gut health, which boost immune system and digestion

·   Improves skin quality

·   Provides arthritis relief

·   Can enhance athletic performance related to muscle and ligament repair

·   Improves sleep—glycine plays an important role for the neurotransmitters in the brain that affect sleep

Ways to Get Collagen

 ·   Supplement: You can purchase collagen peptides or collagen hydrolysate, which are both great forms. We absorb 90% of these forms of collagen rather than around 30% or less from food.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Grass-fed Collagen Hydrolysate from Great Lakes

·   Bone Broth: You can make your own by saving bones from pasture-raised animals and boiling or cooking in a crock pot/instant pot. You can also purchase from the companies below.

Bare Bones Broth

Kettle and Fire

Thrive Market

So how much do you have to eat to benefit?

12-24g (2-4 tbsp) per day

Important Facts to Consider

 Whenever you are purchasing collage peptides/bone broth you want to make sure it is coming from healthy animals. If we are eating unhealthy animals or products from them then we can increase our toxic load.

 Favorite Ways to Consume

·   Replace your protein powder with collagen hydrolysate or peptides and add to smoothies

·   Mix into your morning coffee with 1 tsp of coconut oil

·   Make soups with bone broth or warm up some broth in a mug to sip on


3.  Chia Seeds

 I had to include chia seeds when making this list because of the diverse benefits they have. In just one serving of chia seeds you will find:

·   More omega 3‘s than a serving of walnuts

·   As many antioxidants as berries

·   12g of fiber

·   As much calcium as a glass of milk and other minerals: phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, and manganese

·   Vitamins A, B, E, and D

Chia seeds don’t just provide one nutrient, but give our bodies essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins & minerals, antioxidants, AND prebiotics to feed beneficial bacteria. All of these can do the following:

·   Increase omega-3 intake—reduce inflammation and improve brain cognition

·   Improve gut health and digestion

·   Naturally suppress appetite

·   Give your body more stable energy

I especially like consuming them to increase omega-3’s in my diet and those of my clients. Omega-3’s help reduce inflammation and are essential. This means we have to get them from our diet and cannot make them in the body. Most people aren’t eating wild caught fish 2-3 times a week so including a food like chia seeds helps boost their intake of this essential fatty acid.

Chia seeds also feed the good bacteria in your gut and provide fiber, which is important for digestion and getting rid of toxins.

Important Facts To Consider

 You want to make sure you are getting organic chia seeds and that you trust the company you are getting them from. Sometimes when you buy chia seeds in bulk they aren't giving you 100% chia seeds. Organic brands do not do this.

So how much do you have to eat to benefit?

1-2 tbsp or 10-20g

Favorite Ways to Consume

berry bowl.jpg

 ·   One of my favorite ways to eat chia seeds is in this berry breakfast bowl recipe. You can also add in collagen peptides!


*  Berry Breakfast Bowl

·   Creamsicle Chia Pudding

·   Mix into a smoothie

·   You can grind them up and use as a powder to add as an egg substitute or to thicken

·   Grow sprouts and add to salad—you can follow the same instructions as I linked to for broccoli sprouts



4.  Avocado

 Avocados are another one of those foods that like chia seeds, gives you healthy fats, fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals. Avocados are technically a fruit, but they provide similar benefits as a leafy green.

Here are some nutritional benefits of avocados:

·   Healthy fats—provide monounsaturated fats, which are linked to protection against heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline

·   Vitamins A, E, and K—these are fat soluble vitamins, which means they are stored in our bodies. They work with minerals like magnesium and zinc for essential functions in the body

·   B vitamins and Vitamin C—these are water soluble vitamins, meaning they are not stored in the body so we need to replenish them daily.

·   Minerals like Magnesium, potassium, iron, copper—Did you know that one avocado gives you more potassium than two bananas?

·   Soluble fiber—this type of fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar, energy, and helps with health digestion

·   Phytonutrients/antioxidants/phytochemicals—help reduce inflammation, degenerative disorders, and support healthy aging


Avocados are a food you want to include in your diet. They are a great way to add variety in the types of fat you are eating and increase your fiber intake all at the same time.


Important Facts to Consider

·   Avocados are on the “clean 15” list, which means they are not as heavily sprayed as other plants so you don’t have to purchase organic, however , it won't hurt if you do.

So how much do you have to eat to benefit?

¼-1/2 an avocado 2-4 times a week


Favorite Ways to Consume

·   Guacamole: mash up avocado and add 2 tbsp of lime juice, sea salt, and garlic

·   Smoothies: add ½ an avocado to your favorite smoothie to make the texture super creamy (pairs great with chocolate)

·   Chop up and add to a salad or blend with your favorite dressing


Chocolate Avo-Chia Pudding


·   2 avocados,

·   4 tbsp cacao power

·   4 tbsp collagen peptides

·   2 cups almond milk

·   3 tbsp chia seeds




1. Blend all ingredients except for the chia seeds in a blender.

2. Mix in chia seeds and let set in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight.


5. Beets

 Beets were originally only eaten for their greens. The red root was thrown out until we realized it was naturally sweet and was later used to make sugar. Beets actually have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, however, they contain so many nutrients and fiber that most people can still tolerate eating them multiple times a week. Now we know the many health benefits of consuming the whole beet.


Benefits of Beets:

·         Contain betaine—a nutrient that helps protect cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress—this in turn, reduces inflammation

·         Phytonutrients that give beet their deep red color helps to fight off cancer

·         Betalin (the pigment in beets) supports your body’s natural detoxification pathways, specifically the second phase. This means they help excrete toxins from the body.

·         Beet greens contain two powerful phytonutrients (lutein and zeaxanthin) that are important for eye health.


Important Facts to Consider

·         Beets are often genetically modified so go for organic whenever possible

·         Nutrients in beets steadily decline with cooking time. Try to keep steaming to 15 minutes and roasting to under an hour


So how much do you have to eat to benefit?

¼-1/2 cup of beets will provide you with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that you can consume 2-4 times per week 


Favorite Ways to Consume

 ·         Red Berry Detox Smoothie

·         Roasted beet chips: use a mandolin to slice thinly then add 1-2 tbsp avocado oil and a little sea salt. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes then flip and bake for another 15 minutes. Broil for 2-3 minutes.

·         Shredded beet salad




·         3 beets, peeled and shredded

·         2 cloves garlic, minced

·         1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

·         1/3 cup white wine vinegar

·         2 tbsp olive oil

·         sea salt



Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 1 hour in fridge prior to eating.


You don’t have to start eating these foods right now. Making changes to your health and lifestyle habits can be overwhelming. If you aren’t eating any of these foods now, then I recommend choosing one or two to start with. You will notice some of the recipes include 2-3 of these foods all in one, so you could also start with one of those recipes. Regardless, including more of these nutrient dense, whole foods and limiting processed foods will greatly improve your health and overall energy. If you have any questions on anything discussed in this article please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at info@amandamontalvord.com.