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Why no Cereal?

2 Oct

Does this look like the best way to start the day?

How was day 1?  Did any of you try a new recipe yesterday?  Myself, I made a great dish of fresh linguisa sausage with kale and red onions.  Simple and delicious.

In case you are mourning the loss of your cherished breakfast cereals, Civil Eats had a great post on the production and manufacture of breakfast cereals, specifically the flake varieties:

…no matter how healthy and natural the advertising on the packages makes those crunchy bits of wheat, oats, and corn seem, they are actually a highly processed food whose nutrient value is questionable.

The slurry of cooked grains may be moved to a cooker-extruder where it is mixed with water, sugar, additives like food coloring, vitamins, minerals, preservatives, and salt, and cooked and agitated over high heat with a giant screw. It is then extruded out, and cut into any number of shapes, before being dried and packaged. For a narrated visual, check out this video showing how flakes are made.

Leaving aside the long list of added sugars and additives that appear in the ingredient list of your daily Froot Loop or Frosted Flakes, the actual process of making the cereal robs the grains of their inherent nutrients. With most of the outer layers of the grain removed during processing and with cooking temperatures as high as 250 to 300 degrees F, it’s hard to imagine that much nutrition remains in this food so many of us eat as “our most important meal of the day.”

And this article doesn’t even go into the nutrition – or lack thereof – in the flakes themselves, nor the number of insulting ingredients that may be present: lectins, glutens, artificial sweeteners, artificial chemical fortification, etc.

Now how were those eggs and bacon this morning?

Welcome to the Whole 30!

1 Oct

Alright Folks, it’s begun!

Since we are almost a day into the Whole 30, how was that kitchen clean-out been going?  Have you gotten rid of all those breads? Or just hid them in the back for the future?  I would recommend getting rid of them completely – all the less tempting if they aren’t even in the house.  What did you have for breakfast this morning?  This seems to be a meal that many people have a problem with, as many of the quick staples have been removed.  What did we all do before the invention of the bagel and toaster?

Well I’m here with an alternative.  Never a big egg eater as a little kid, I have grown to delight in the simple pleasures of eating a well cooked hard boiled egg.  You know the one: when the whites have taken on a nice solid consistency that gives to your bite, with vibrantly yellow yolks just solid enough to stay whole when you bite into them.

Check out the link to Mark Sisson’s Bacon Egg Avocado Tomato salad.  While not technically a breakfast dish, I think it makes for a great start to the morning.  It can be made in bulk, and holds up really well in the fridge.  If you’re turned off by avocados that have turned a little brown though, I would recommend adding the avocado right before serving.  I have also experimented with some subtle changes to this dish:

Crumbled sausage or seasoned ground beef instead of bacon

Salsa instead of fresh tomatoes

Diced zucchini or broccoli added as well

Experiment with this simple riff on egg salad, and you will find a whole new delicious way to eat eggs.

Till tomorrow!

WHOLE 30 vers 2.0 (10/1 – 10/30)

24 Sep














Just in time for your Halloween prep, we are launching another Whole 30 challenge!  This updated version will have many more recipes for you all to try, as well helpful daily feedback through this blog.  Come back daily for new food and information to help you along during your challenge.


Challenge will run from October 1 – October 30, 2011

This challenge is designed to spur us on in our quest toward optimal health. Nutrition is the most significant component in attaining health and fitness goals. A nutrition strategy based on consuming whole foods with minimal processing – primarily vegetables, meat, fruit, nuts and seeds – will move you many steps forward in the direction of long term health and life long vitality.

Beginning October 1st, and continuing for the ensuing 29 days, we challenge you to eat only high quality, nutrient dense foods and to eliminate the following from your diet:


Post all questions, concerns, suggestions, or ideas directly to this blog.

Informal weekly meetings (Wednesdays at 7pm) at FIT will be held to discuss various food preparation question or other related concerns.  Food items will be provided to give you an idea of different meal options.  Each meeting will last roughly 45 minutes and any Whole 30 related question is on the table.

10/5: Breakfast

10/12: Snacks

10/19: Post-workout Snacks

10/26: Dinner

Most often when presented with the “what not to eat” list, we receive a resounding, “What can I eat?” Here is a brief list of some of the nutrient dense foods that will make up your diet.

green vegetables- are filling and loaded with nutrients
quality animal proteins – pastured eggs, chicken, pork; grassfed beef; sustainably caught seafood
fruit – no more than 2 servings/day, ideally berries
nuts and seeds – again, only a few servings/day. 1 serving is typically the amount that fit in the cupped palm of your hand
avocado and olives make excellent snacks
coconut milk
jerky made without sweeteners

If you have any questions about the challenge, or would like to join, please post a comment on this post, or contact Matt directly at

Thank you for all of your participation, and good luck!

Gall Stones = Celiac Disease?

9 May

A few weeks ago, around four o’clock I received a phone call from my lovely girl friend stating she had mid-back pain since 11 o’clock.  She said that the pain had not minimized at all throughout this time and was accompanied by shortness of breath and slight nausea

At first we thought it might have been from some sort of muscle pain caused by a workout or holding something heavy for a long amount of time, but muscle pain would have minimized in five hours and she had not exercised strenuous enough to cause such pain.

After a couple more questions concerning what she had eaten for breakfast, I regretfully suggested that she might have gallstones.  She had no idea what those were or what might have caused them. Long story short and an ultrasound later, she was positive for gallstones.

The occurrence of gallstones has bewildered scientists for some time, and many within the scientific community believe that it involves an inherited mis-management of cholesterol by the liver.  For example, according to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center’s informational brochure on gallstones, “when there is too much cholesterol in the bile, it forms crystals which gradually enlarge to form stones. The amount of cholesterol in bile has no relation to the blood level of cholesterol.”

However, this explanation does not get to the root of the matter of what actually causes the gallstones to appear in the first place.  We eat cholesterol in food, such as seafood.  We manufacture cholesterol naturally in our liver.  So, why would it suddenly create gallstones?

 There is a theory in the world of science that gallstones are created in individuals that have undiagnosed celiac disease.  Celiac disease is defined as an autoimmune disease caused by gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and millet.  Grains contain a variety of proteins, some called lectins.  According to this theory, over time these lectins damage the villi on the wall of the small intestine.  When the intestinal wall is damaged, the chemical messenger that tells the gall bladder to release bile into the small intestine, called cholecystokinin (CCK), is not released.  When this signal is blocked, we do not properly digest our foods, particularly fat and protein. The lack of bile released allows cholesterol crystals to form in the gall bladder, which leads to gall stones.

Usually individuals with gallstones have their gall bladder removed and they may return to their old way of eating, which in this country consists of a high-carbohydrate, grain-based diet.  However, if the gluten-allergy-gallstone hypothesis is true, the sensitivity to gluten does not end even when the gallbladder is removed. Celiac patients still have sensitivity to gluten.  Just because there is less bile available to create the gallstones, reminding an individual of this sensitivity during a painful gallstone attack, the autoimmune disorder still requires nutritional caution.  Additionally, these people are at greater risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren’s, multiple sclerosis, vitiligo, Huntington’s, etc., which would require a gluten-free and/or lectin free diet, i.e. removing all grains, legumes and dairy.

Therefore, if the gallstone-celiac disease theory is correct, gall bladder removal may be viewed as a partial remedy to the problem.  Individuals may want to consult with their physician concerning a celiac test to determine if he/she may be diagnosed with a gluten-allergy.

 Personal Note

On a final note, this will be my last newsletter article for a while, due to time constraints in pursuing new challenges in the Wellness coaching world.  I have appreciated all of the dialogue and feedback over the last 8.5 years.