What Is Gluten?

Nutrition No Comments »

With all of the hullabaloo about gluten lately, it’s time to answer the question “What is gluten, anyway?”

hullabaloo jane tarzan

Quite simply, gluten is a gluey protein that is found in wheat and a few other grains (including barley and rye).

Gluten is the composite of a gliadin and a glutenin, which is conjoined with starch in the endosperm of various grass-related grains.  Altogether, gluten is 80% of the protein found in wheat.

Modern wheat (and related grains) have been bred and genetically engineered to have more gluten.


The “glueyness” of gluten holds together bread, crackers, pastries, pizza dough, and other heavily processed carbohydrate food.  It gives these bready treats a chewy softness instead of a hard graininess.

Gluten is the second most common food additive in US foods, following sugar.

Normal human digestion can’t break down the gluten proteins though.  The surviving pieces of gluten come into contact with the lining of your digestive system and your immune system.  When gluten encounters your immune system, there’s an immune reaction where your body recognizes the gluten protein (or protein pieces) as a foreign invader and attacks (kind of like what happens with lectins).

As a result of this immune system attack, your digestive track becomes inflamed and your villi (tiny fingerlike projections used for absorbing nutrients in your intestines) are damaged.

villi damage

This villi damage from gluten affects all nutrient absorption and regular digestive processes.  Once this occurs, it is harder and harder to have a normally functioning body.

Also, gluten grains cause an acidic reaction in the body, which leads to inflammation, headaches, acne, weight gain, and mental disturbances like depression and anxiety.

Some of the signs of gluten intolerance are:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Queasiness
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Irritability
  • Sudden mood shifts
  • Aching joints
  • Clogged nasal passages
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Peripheral neuropathy (affects nerves outside the central nervous system and results in pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the extremities)
  • Nutritional deficiencies due to poor absorption
  • Fat in the stool (due to poor digestion)
  • Eczema
  • Exhaustion
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Dental health problems

Even if you don’t have full-on celiac disease, gluten isn’t doing your body any good.  And if you have any of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity listed above, removing gluten from your diet can make a world of difference.

Some Tips For Getting Off Of Gluten

Get rid of everything in your kitchen that contains gluten.  This includes: wheat, barley, triticale, rye, kamut, spelt, couscous, oats, textured vegetable protein (TVP), hydrolyzed vegetable protein, most soy sauces, and anything with modified food starch, malt, and malt flavoring.

Gluten stays in your system causing problems for 14 days.  So if you have a cheat/reward/celebration meal and want bready or baked treats, go with gluten-free alternatives.  You can find gluten-free options for almost anything, from pizza crust to cake.  Say you have a cheat meal that actually has gluten every 2 weeks – you’re never giving your digestive system a chance to try to recover.

gluten free baking vintage

Switch to a diet based on meat, leaves, and berries.  Focus on natural foods and the gluten problem takes cares of itself.  Note:  The meat from animals fed gluten-containing grains can still cause a reaction in people with severe gluten intolerance, so choose wild or grass-fed, not just organic.

Check out these two blog posts:

Yummy Paleo Butter Chicken Recipe

Nutrition No Comments »

Too often we think that eating healthy has to mean eating bland.

Not with this savory meal!

This Indian-food-inspired paleo butter chicken dish is extra-yummy.

I slightly adapted the recipe from Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso (my most-used paleo cookbook)

It’s go time…

Ingredients For Paleo Butter Chicken:

  • 2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 can coconut milk (full fat!)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons grassfed butter

Directions For Cooking Paleo Butter Chicken:

Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and set aside.  (I’ve made it with breast meat instead and it was great!  Now I usually make a double batch with 2.5# breasts and 2.5# thighs)

Dice the red onion.

Use a stainless steel pot or a porcelain-covered cast iron pot.  Don’t use a bare cast iron pot because the tomato paste will lead to faster rusting.

Heat the coconut oil over medium heat and add the diced red onion.  Saute until the onion starts to become a little see-through.

Turn the heat down to low and add the minced garlic, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder.  Stir everything together.  This is going to make your kitchen smell delicious!

(Why do I use pre-minced garlic?  I’m lazy, that’s why)

Add the tomato paste and stir well.  It is very thick at this point, but keep stirring it up.

Turn the heat up to medium and add the coconut milk (this is where you add the sea salt if you would like, I don’t).  Stir everything really well to make a sauce.

Turn the heat to low (simmer) and add the chicken pieces.  Stir well, cover, and simmer at medium-low heat for 15 minutes – until the chicken is cooked all the way through.  Lift the lid and stir every few minutes to the chicken cooks evenly and nothing sticks to the pot.

When the chicken is cooked all the way through, add the grassfed butter and stir it around until the butter melts.

And then you’re all set!

(My camera doesn’t do this dish justice, it is actually BRIGHT red-orange)

When I serve this to guests, I usually speed blanch either chard or baby kale by putting the greens in a strainer in the sink, then pouring boiling water over them until they start to wilt.  I use the blanched greens as a bed for the butter chicken.

My taste-testing crew all cleared their plates and went back for more!  Let’s call this the end of bland diet foods :)

Carol, Hannah, and Margo all voted thumbs up!

If you want more delicious recipes, click the “Recipes” category on the right side of this page.  And if you want a LOT of recipes, pick up Sarah’s book for yourself (It’s much cheaper on Amazon than at the book store): Everyday Paleo


Chemical Warfare: Lectins Attack!

Health, Nutrition 1 Comment »

Before modern chemical pesticides, nature developed its own powerful defense system: lectins.

To keep themselves from being eaten to extinction, plants evolved dangerous anti-nutrients to attack the digestive systems of the animals that fed on them.  These anti-nutrients are essentially low-grade toxins – not powerful enough to kill instantly, they are more of a passive-aggressive defense.  “Go ahead and eat me, I’ll mess you up.”

Lectins are a mixture of proteins and carbohydrates that can bind to almost any tissue in our bodies and start causing trouble.  This “stickyness” really takes place in your small intestine, where they bind with your intestinal villi.

The result of lectins binding to your small intestine is cellular damage with a reduced ability to repair themselves, cellular death, and compromised villi.  All of this leads to you developing “leaky gut” syndrome, as well as reducing your ability to absorb healthy nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This lectin binding also leads to problems with your gut flora, the beneficial bacteria that support digestion and keeps your immune system healthy.  When your good gut flora is suppressed, bad bacteria like e coli is allowed to run rampant.

(And it doesn’t take a medical degree to figure out that a leaky gut plus bad bacteria equals health problems)

When lectins are causing problems with your digestive system, your immune systems and bodily resources are all redirected to fixing these problems and won’t be able to focus on basic growth and repair processes (such as building lean muscle, metabolizing fat, repairing organs, and keeping your energy levels high).

Back to leaky gut and lectins.  Once the lectins open holes in your digestive system, rogue particles are free to move around in your body and bind to anything they come across – thyroid, pancreas, kidneys, etc.

Your body then reacts to these particles (and whatever they have bonded to) as a foreign invader and attacks them.  This leads to autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s, colitis, thyroiditis, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and arthritis.

Some lectins are definitely linked to certain autoimmune disorders – such as wheat to rheumatoid arthritis – but it remains a new area of study.  Your best bet is to avoid lectins as much as possible.

All right, so how do lectins do this? When you normally eat food, all of the proteins are broken down into their basic amino acid building blocks and are then absorbed in your small intestine.  Lectins are different.  Instead of being broken down during digestion, they attach to the cells where nutrient absorption should be taking place.  “Barring the door,” so to speak.

Usually, specific immune cells immediately take care of foreign bacteria and un-broken proteins.  But lectins are like sneaky little Trojan Horses, they slip past your defenses and then make your intestines easier to penetrate PLUS they impair your immune system’s ability to close holes in your digestive track.

High amounts of lectins are found in all grains, soy, legumes, nuts, dairy, and nightshade plants.  (Nightshade plants include eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers)

And there are even more lectins in genetically modified foods, because additional lectins are added to increase “pest” resistance.  (Yes, they genetically added things that cause your body to attack itself.  Thank you, Monsanto!)

So, what can you do to minimize damage to your body from lectins?

First, stop eating the worst foods!  This includes grains and soy for sure, but I would take out legumes and grain-fed dairy as well.  Here is some more info on grains and soy:

Reasons Besides Weight Loss To Cut Out Wheat And Grains

Grains Suck!

Soy, My Nipples, And Your Health

Soy Tried To Kill Me! (Profanity Warning)

Ok, once you’ve cut out grains, soy, and legumes, the next step is to eliminate all Genetically Modified Food (GMO).  This can be tough to do at the supermarket, your best bet is to get friendly with your local farmer’s market and get local, natural food.

Next, diversify your diet.  When you take away grains, soy, and legumes, most people get into a standard rotation of foods.  3 types of protein, 3 types of fruit, 4 kinds of vegetables, 1-2 kinds of nuts.  The problem is that consuming only a small number of foods will maximize your sensitivity to any lectins (or allergens) in the food.

Studies have shown that mixing up your primary food sources will limit lectin damage, so a healthy diet based on low-lectin foods will minimize any damage caused by occasional higher-lectin sources.

And finally – this is very important – take care of your digestive system!  Minimize use of antibiotics, take probiotics, eat prebiotics (garlic, onions, dandelion greens), get rid of ibuprofen, and de-stress.

Minimizing lectin damage is a big step towards improving your health and changing your body, so get started on the steps above right away!

[EDIT: Check out this post for more cool info on lectins!  Your Blood Type And What NOT To Eat]

One Powerful Breakfast Tip

Nutrition, Strategies No Comments »

Here’s a great tip for when you’re just starting out on your diet: Choose just two breakfasts.

In the first few weeks of a new eating plan, we get all excited and enthusiastic about how great things are going to be. We study all of our options and make a beautiful, varied, delicious menu for the week.

Stop it right there!!

Enthusiasm is great, but don’t sprint start only to run out of energy from all of the planning, shopping, and thinking of it all.

See, sometimes tons of choices just make things more difficult.

You can find a way to make it simple, delicious, and interesting all at the same time… Without losing your mind keeping track of everything.

Just choose two breakfasts from your new plan and practice them.

Alternate them or have them a few days in a row, either way is good.

What DOES matter is that these two breakfasts will become a part of your new eating mindset. Something that happens almost automatically so that you don’t have to expend any energy thinking about it, you just eat a healthy breakfast.

You can vary your choices once you’ve become a pro at breakfast – changing with seasonal foods or as your tastes change.

Eventually, you’ll have a few good breakfast choices that work for YOU and your eating plan. This makes planning and shopping easy and stress-free.

Since people always want to know what I eat, I have essentially the same thing for breakfast every day:

6-8 eggs scrambled (local, free-range, organic)
3-4 cups of sauteed greens (usually kale or chard, with dandelion greens mixed in)

Now, obviously I’m a big guy, and very active, so this breakfast would be too much for most people, what’s important here is that I don’t have to plan a complicated menu, and don’t have to expend any mental energy on preparation.

On weekends – when I have more time – I go ahead and experiment with new recipes. Pork loin and apples, exotic sausages (ostrich, anyone?), paleo muffins with local honey. These experiments are fun, but during the hectic week I stick with the basics.

The take-home message for today is to: Find a breakfast or two that you like, and hang with it – don’t make things complicated early in the day :)

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another: Scoping Out Nutrient Deficiencies

Health, Nutrition 1 Comment »

Why take supplements like a multi-vitamin if you’re eating a great and varied diet?

Even with a perfect nutrition plan, it’s likely that you’re going to be lacking in some vital nutrients.

For example, soil depletion means that even locally raised organic veggies have one-tenth the amount of nutrients that they used to.  (For a scary look at what soil depletion has done to the value of our food, read Empty Harvest by Dr. Bernard Jensen)

Eating a less-than-perfect diet for a long time can lead to deficiencies that need to be built back up.  A fast-food junkie with a severe shortage of omega-3s who starts eating wild salmon in her 30s will still need big doses of omega-3s to make up for 35 years of suboptimal eating.

Medications can cause nutrient absorption problems, so supplementation is necessary to keep a balance.

And finally, certain types of exercise can lead to nutrient deficiencies due to overtaxing your biochemical systems.

Here are some medications/drugs that can cause deficiencies, if you take (or have taken) any of them, supplementation may be the final key you need to start getting your health and body right where you want them.

Drugs And Nutrient Deficiencies

Drug: Clenbuterol

Used For: Asthma, Weight Loss

Deficiencies Caused: Taurine, Magnesium

Drug: Anabolic/Androgenic Steroids

Used For: Muscular Growth, Immune Disease, Athletic Performance, Wasting Disease

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamins B-6, B-9, B-12, C, & D

Drug: Metformin

Used For: Type 2 Diabetes

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid

Drug: Anti-inflammatories

Used For: Pain, Adrenal Insufficiency, Rashes, Asthma, Hepatitis, Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, Eye Inflammation, Arthritis

Deficiencies Caused: Calcium, DHEA, Magnesium, Melatonin, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamins: B-6, B-9, B-12, C, D

Drug: Anticoagulants (Coumadin)

Used For: Preventing Blood Clots, Atrial Fibrillation

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamins E & K

Drug: Anti-psychotics

Used For: Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamins D & B-2

Drug: Chemotherapy

Used For: Cancer Treatment

Deficiencies Caused: Folic Acid

Drug: Nitrous Oxide

Used For: Recreational, Anesthesia

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamin B-12

Drug: Cholestyramine

Used For: High Cholesterol

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamins A, D, E, & K (all fat soluble vitamins)

Drug: Anticonvulsants

Used For: Epilepsy, Bipolar Disorder

Deficiencies Caused: Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamins: B-6, D, & K

Drug: Heartburn And Anti-Ulcer Medications

Used For: Heartburn, Ulcers

Deficiencies Caused: Folic Acid, Vitamins: B-12 & D, Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Zinc

Drug: Alcohol

Used For: Recreation, Heart Health

Deficiencies Caused: Folic Acid, Thiamine, Vitamin B-6

Drug: Antidepressants

Used For: Depression

Deficiencies Caused: Vitamin B-2

Drug: Antibiotics

Used For: Bacterial Infections

Deficiencies Caused: Folic Acid, B Vitamins, Vitamins D & K

Drug: Stimulants (including caffeine)

Used For: Alertness, Recreation

Deficiencies Caused: Molybdenum, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamins B-5 & C

Drug: Oral Contraceptives

Used For: Birth Control

Deficiencies Caused: Zinc, Magnesium, Folic Acid, Vitamins: B-2, B-6, B-12, & C

If you are taking or have taken any of these drugs, a simple supplement to address any deficiencies will allow your system to start working the way it is supposed to, making health and a healthy weight MUCH easier to maintain!

Must See Video: Minding Your Mitochondria

Health, Nutrition, Strategies 2 Comments »

Imagine going from being a tae kwon do champion to having stage two multiple sclerosis and being confined to a wheel chair.

Now add in chemotherapy and extensive drug treatments only to keep getting worse…

What if you could fix yourself and reverse your disease with… food?

That is exactly what Dr. Terry Wahls did.

This video is definitely a must-see if you want to take care of your health, your energy, and your vitality.

Please check it out:

I watched it twice, the second time to take some notes for you:

2000 diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

Took the latest drugs.

By 2003 it had progressed to stage 2. She took the chemotherapy and got a motorized wheelchair.

Tried more drugs, became more diasbled.

Afraid of becoming disabled.

Found out that brains with MS shrank.

Started finding more research about shrinking brains, found that the mitochondria don’t work well, which leads to shrinking brains.

Found studies that showed mouse brains and mitochondria had been protected by using fish oil, creatine, and co-enzyme Q 10.

Slowed her decline by translating the mouse-sized doses into human sized ones.

Was happy, but was still declining.

There are a billion cells in our brains, with trillions of connections. All of those connections must be insulated by myelin.

In order to make myelin, your body needs B vitamins, especially B1, B9, and B12. It also needs omega 3 fatty acids and iodine.

For your body to make neurotransmitters, it needs vitamin B6 and sulfur.

The energy for each cell in your body comes from mitochondria. Without the energy from your mitochondria, you would be no larger than bacteria.

In medical school, Dr. Wahls learned all about mitochondria, but she wasn’t taught what her body could make compared to what she needed to consume to make those mitochondrial systems run properly.

She found that out mitochondria need lots of B vitamins, sulfur, and antioxidants in order to thrive.

First, she added in the nutrients with supplements, then came to the realization that getting her nutrients from foods would provide her with hundreds, maybe thousands of trace compounds also needed for health.

Medical and nutrition textbooks didn’t tell her food sources, but internet research led her to design an eating plan that would support her brain and mitochondria.

She then quizzes the audience on how many fruits and vegetables they ate.

Then she shows how Americans are eating too few nutrients and too many starches.

“We are all starving ourselves. We are alive because of complicated chemical reactions. If you’re not providing the building blocks – that is the vitamins, minerals, essential fats – those reactions cannot happen properly. Leading to the wrong stuctures being made… or structures simply not being made at all, which sets the stage for chronic disease.”

Due to lack of nutrients children are born with smaller brains and smaller jaws that lead to crooked teeth.

This is why blood vessels become stiff as you age.

This is why children will become obese or diabetic as children or young adults.

This is why the number of children with learning problems and behavior problems are becoming more common each year.

For 2.5 million years humans ate what they could hunt and gather – leaves, berries, meat, and fish.

Hunter-gatherer foods were locally obtained, fresh, in season, and of course, organic.

People in the arctic ate differently than people on the savannah, but both groups exceeded the RDA of nutrients by 2 to 10 fold.

“These ancient peoples know more about eating for optimal health and vitality than we physicians and we scientists.”

The hunter-gather diet has more nutrition than any modern health diet.

Dr. Wahls started on a paleo diet, but she structured it to make sure she was supporting her mitochondria and brain health.

Here is her diet: 3 cups of green leaves, 3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables, 3 cups of bright color, grass-fed meat, organ meat, and seaweed.

3 cups is a dinner plate piled high.

Greens are high in vitamins B, A, C, K, and minerals. Kale has the most nutrition per calorie of any plant.

Plus, a plate full of greens will dramatically lower your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

3 cups (plateful) of sulfur-rich vegetables every day to support your brain, mitochondria, and to remove toxins.

The cabbage family is rich in sulfur – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussells sprouts, turnips, rutabegas, radishes, and collards.

Onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, asparagus, and chives are also all rich in sulfur.

3 cups (plateful) of colors, preferably different colors.

Colors are flavonoids and polyphenols. These support your eyes, mitochondria, brain cells, and toxin removal.

Get colors from vegetables like beets, carrots, peppers, and red cabbage.

Or get your colors from berries and brightly colored fruits.

Eat high quality protein that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. This will help build the myelin to insulate your nervous system and is essential for proper jaw formation (straight teeth).

Good sources are wild fish – salmon and herring in particular – and grass fed meat.

Ancient societies all valued organ meats. Organ meats are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and coenzyme Q.

Organ meets are very potent for supporting your mitochondria.

Seaweed is a valuable source of iodine and selenium.

Your brain needs iodine to make myelin.

Iodine also removes toxins – particularly mercury, lead, and heavy metals.

Plus, iodine lowers risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.

80% of Americans have low iodine, so eat seaweed at least once a week.

Eat the fruits and veggies BEFORE you eat any grains or starches.

Eating fruits and veggies will dramatically lower your risk of food allergies.

Grain and dairy allergies are associated with a wide variety of health problems including excema, asthma, allergies, infertility, irritable bowl, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, chronic headache, neurological problems, and behavior problems.

It will cost more to eat veggies and berries. But you’re going to pay the price either way. Wither you’ll pay the price now for food that restores your health and vitality or you will pay the price for doctor visits, prescription drugs, surgeries, time off work, early retirement, and nursing home care. The choice is yours.

With 3 months on the hunter-gatherer diet Dr. Wahls could walk with only one cane.

A month after that, she could walk without a cane.

After 5 months on the paleo diet, she got on a bike for the first time in a decade and rode around the block.

Nine months into paleo and she rode her bike 18 miles.

The Story Of Omega-3s

Health, Nutrition 4 Comments »

You should be taking Omega-3 supplements!

Most people don’t know that omega-3s are the most deficient nutrient in the American diet.  This lack of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to almost every major disease, weight problem, affective disorder, and learning disability.

When I say omega-3s, you might think “fish oil.”  Or if you’ve been studying healthy eating, you might say “salmon” or “grass-fed beef.”

But the omega-3 story doesn’t start with the fish, cow, or bison… it actually starts in a part of leafy green plants called the chloroplast.

Inside these chloroplasts is something called alpha-linoleic acid, the source of the essential fatty acids we call omega-3s.

And they truly are essential, we can’t make omega-3 fatty acids in our bodies, so they must come from the foods we eat (or supplements we take).

When plankton is eaten by a fish or grass is eaten by a cow, metabolic conversions take place to turn alpha-linoleic acid into EPA and DHA. (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexanoic acid respectively)

So here’s the story:

plankton -> krill -> salmon ->you


grass -> cow -> you

Why Do You Need Omega-3s?

Well, they are essential to your hormonal functioning, which you need to get in balance if you want to be healthy and lose weight.  (Check out this post for more on hormones and fat storage: Hormones Are Tricky Devils)

And the news has labelled fish oil capsules as “smart pills” because omega-3s make up the highest percentage of fatty acids in the brain, and if you’re not getting enough, your brain isn’t going to work right.  Omega-3s are needed for visual and cognitive functions in your brain.

Plus, omega-3s form the receptors for neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, both of which make you feel good.  No omega-3s to form receptor sites, no happiness.  This is why fish oil is routinely prescribed to people with depression.  (Depression is not a prozac deficiency!  See this article: Natural Nutrition To Fight Depression And Anxiety)

There’s no way for your body to work right if you are low in omega-3s.

Some Problems Linked To Low Omega-3s:

  • Cracked Skin
  • Irritability
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Scleroderma
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Non-cancerous breast disease
  • Carbohydrate/sugar cravings
  • Hypoglycemia
  • PMS
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Depression
  • Dandruff
  • Dry skin
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Eczema
  • Cancer
  • Memory problems
  • Violent tendencies
  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Weight Gain
  • Dyslexia
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Cracked skin
  • Learning disabilities
  • Slow wound healing
  • Dry eyes
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry hair
  • Fatigue
  • Lowered immunity
  • Brittle nails

Taking fish oil helps with ALL of these!

Balancing 6s and 3s

So, making sure you get enough omega-3s is very important.  Raise your metabolism, reduce anxiety and depression, healthier skin and hair, and stay healthy.

But, the magic isn’t just in taking omega-3 supplements or eating more fish/grass-fed beef.  To really cause amazing changes in your body and health you need to try and bring omega-3s into the right ratio with omega-6s.

Back in human history, we consumed a ration of 1:1 to 1:3 of omega-3 to omega-6.  Today, even the healthiest people are at least 1:20, most are at 1:50, and the worst offenders are at 1:100.  The ratios have totally skewed toward omega-6s and it is causing weight gain and health problems left and right.

Where omega-3s come from leafy green plants, omega-6s come from seeds (grains, nuts).

Not only have we moved from eating lots of leafy greens to eating staggering amounts of grains, we have moved our livestock down the same path.  Remember, you are what your food eats!

Eating grains changes the fats in cattle and fish from omega-3s to omega-6s, further throwing us out of balance (and one of the reasons we are now so deficient in omega-3s)

Now, you might not get all the way down to a 1:1 ratio like our paleo ancestors, but you will transform your body as you bring the ratio closer and closer.

What Do You Do Now?

The first, and easiest step is to start taking fish oil.  Keep it in the fridge (capsules will turn cloudy… don’t worry, it’s normal) if you have a problem with fish burps.  Spread it out during the day.  Maybe start with one capsule with breakfast and one capsule with dinner.

If you start taking a lot of fish oil from day one, your poop will turn squishy and gray – not fun.  Ramp up your dosage slowly.

Eventually, you should aim for one gram of fish oil for every 15 pounds of your body weight.  Weigh 150 pounds?  10 capsules a day.

I know this sounds like a lot, and it is.  But you are fighting poor farming practices, depleted soil, and years of being out of balance.

Step two, start reducing your intake of grains.  This includes whole wheat, rice, corn, etc.  Your goal is to completely get rid of all the grains from your diet.

Step three, start eating wild caught fish and grass-fed meats.

Step four, YOU start eating more leafy green vegetables!  You won’t get much omega-3s from the plants, but they will greatly help you absorb more of the omega-3s from your main sources.

These four steps will improve your health, help you lose weight, make you happier and more energetic, and improve the appearance of your skin, hair, and nails.

A bonus step is to start taking other sources of omega-3s.  I personally take fish oil, salmon oil, and krill oil to make sure I am not relying too much on any one source.

If you’re ready to start experiencing real health and fast weight loss, start taking omega-3s today!

For more info, check out these other posts:

Fish Oil Reduces Body Fat (Study)

Drop Triglycerides 93%

Fish And Fat Loss (Study)



Carson City Bootcamp: 7 Foods For Lean Muscle

Health, Nutrition No Comments »

Lean muscles are what give your body its shape.

So when somebody says, “I want to get in shape,” what they mean is “I want to build some lean muscle and lose the fat covering it.”

If you really want to get in shape, exercise is important, but nutrition is your key to unlocking an awesome body.

(For more benefits of lean muscle, check out this post: Get Some Firmness On Your Frame)

Since you have to focus on nutrition in order to lean out and shape up, I put together a list of 7 foods that should be in your food plan if you want a fit body as fast as possible…

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #1: Almonds

Almonds not only raise your metabolism, they are a great source of antioxidants as well.

See, almonds are a perfect source alpha-tocopherol vitamin E, the form that your body absorbs best.

When you exercise hard, you want the muscle-saving power of almonds to prevent free radical damage after your workouts.

The less damage you get from free radicals, the faster your muscles will recover and be prepared for your next adventure at boot camp :)

As an added bonus, your body stores “bad stuff” in fat… things like pesticides, plastics, and food additives.  When you lose fat, this bad stuff is released into your body.  This is why it’s especially important to include antioxidant foods such as almonds in your fat loss food plan.

If that wasn’t enough, eating good natural sources of vitamin E (not just supplements), can lower your Alzheimer’s risk by up to 67%.

And don’t worry about the nuts making you fat – just keep it in moderation.  A study from Toronto University found that adding an ounce of almonds a day (about 24 nuts) won’t lead to any weight gain.

I’m watching you though, no double handfuls of almonds mixed with chocolate chips and dried fruit :)

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #2: Salmon

Salmon is a great source of quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  I’ve written about the benefits of fish and fish oil for fat loss before:

But the omega-3s and protein are essential for lean muscle as well.  Protein, sure.  But why do omega-3s help?

Omega-3s decrease muscle protein breakdown after your workouts, so you will recover faster.  This means you will store muscle protein faster than you break it down.

When choosing salmon, always ALWAYS get wild, not farm raised.  Farm raised fish is fed corn and other grains that change the fats and proteins in the meat so that you lose the benefits you were going for.

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #3: Water

All right, water isn’t really a food, but it’s essential for fat loss and lean muscle building.

80% of your muscle IS water.  If your muscle cells are fully hydrated, they will make muscle proteins faster.  The converse:  If you’re dehydrated, you’ll build muscle more slowly.

Being dehydrated as little as 1% can negatively affect your exercise performance, so if you want to maximize the results you get from your gym time, make sure to drink plenty of water BEFORE your workout – not just during when you get thirsty.

If you’re not sure how much to drink, start with the old-school recommendation of 8 glasses of water a day.

For bonus points, aim for drinking your weight in pounds in ounces of water.  Weigh 150 pounds?  Drink 150 oz of water.

Besides helping you build muscle and lose fat, drinking water will also help lower your risk for a fatal heart attack – just five glasses of water a day will reduce your risk by 54% compared to drinking 2 or fewer.

So drink up!

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #4: Olive Oil

Yeah, my bodybuilding friends rub olive oil on their bods to show off their muscles, but that’s not why they’re lean and toned.  For best results, eat the olive oil, don’t rub it on your skin :)

The monounsaturated fats in olive oil are “anti catabolic”, which means they help prevent muscle breakdown.

Plus, these fats also help prevent muscle weakness, so you’ll get more out of your workouts on low energy days.

Now, while all olive oil is high in monos, extra-virgin is your best bet.  It has more of the antioxidant vitamin E than other varieties.  But beware, not all brands labeled “extra virgin” really are.  Out of the big chain stores here in Carson City, Costco’s Kirland Organic gets the best grades, according to a report from UC Davis.  (You can see the whole report here: Olive Oil Standards)

Olive oil is best used as a dressing/topping over salads or meats, if you use it for cooking the heat of the skillet changes the structure of the oil and takes away almost all of your benefits.

If the muscle protecting benefits of olive oil aren’t enough to convince you, olive oil has been shown to lower risks of heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #5: Coffee

Powering up your workouts with a jolt of caffeine can help you build more muscle and lose more fat.

A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that men who drank 2 1/2 cups of coffee a few hours before an exercise test were able to sprint 9 percent longer than when they didn’t drink any. (It’s believed the caffeine in coffee directly stimulates your muscles)

Since sprinting and weight-lifting are the best muscle building, fat burning exercises, doing better means more muscle and less fat.

You should always choose organic coffee, and stay away from decaf (decaf coffee has been linked to higher cancer rates).  As an added bonus, coffee drinkers have a 30% less risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease than non-coffee drinkers.

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #6: Eggs

The protein in eggs has an incredibly high biological value… which means you need less protein from eggs to build muscle than you would need from other sources.

And don’t be scared of the yolks!  The yolk is a great source of vitamin B12 which you need for muscle contraction and fat breakdown.

Besides B12, yolks contain riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

When it comes to choosing eggs, terms like all-natural, cage-free, and free-range are basically meaningless, as there is no hard line defined by the government.  Anyone can print these on their egg cartons.

Organic and omega-3-fortified eggs are a little better, but still not the best.

The front-runner for healthy eggs is local farm-raised from chickens allowed to run free and eat bugs and weeds and stuff.

Below is a picture of an organic egg in the same bowl as a pasture raised egg:

You can easily see that the pasture raised egg on the right has a much darker yolk.  The color comes from all the nutrients that the chicken has eaten and then passed along to its egg.  Always remember, you are what your food eats.

Carson City Bootcamp Lean Muscle Food #7: Beef

I might be prejudiced about beef because I come from a cattle-raising family, but there really are tons of benefits from eating beef.

Yes, that delicious steak has tons of protein that will help you build muscle and lose fat, but it is also a great source of iron, zinc, and selenium – crucial muscle building nutrients.

(Selenium also helps protect the prostate.  A study found that men with low levels of selenium are 5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer)

This might scare some people here, but it shouldn’t: beef is also a good source of creatine.

Don’t worry, every though creatine supplements are advertised in muscle magazines and most people think it is some sort of steroid, creatine is nothing more than a cellular energy source.  In fact, it’s the main fuel your body uses for explosive exercises.

So if you want to really get some work done on your next trip to the gym, start fueling yourself with beef!

When it comes to purchasing beef, you want to go with grass-fed/grass-finished as much as possible.  When the cows have lived on grass, their protein and fats are top-notch for your health.

If going with normal organic beef that has been fed grains, you want to get the leanest cuts possible (feeding cows grain changes the structure of their fats – not good for your body).

Ask your butcher or look for “rounds” and “loins”.  These are the leanest cuts.

Or you can try the “flat iron” cut.  It’s the second most tender cut of beef and very lean.  Win-win for your taste buds and your bod.


There you have it!  If you want to add some lean muscle to change the shape of your body and ramp up your metabolism, add these 7 foods to your Carson City Bootcamp eating plan!

Health Study: Soda Makes You Fat

Health, Nutrition, Study, Weight Loss No Comments »

A six-month Danish study compared the effects of drinking soda to the effects of milk, diet soda, or water.

After the six months, the soda group was significantly higher in:

The study’s conclusion says: Daily intake of sugar-sweetened beverages for 6 months increases ectopic fat accumulation and lipids compared with milk, diet cola, and water. Thus, daily intake of soda is likely to enhance the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

If you’re interested in the study, here is the citation:

Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Feb;95(2):283-9. Epub 2011 Dec 28.
Sucrose-sweetened beverages increase fat storage in the liver, muscle, and visceral fat depot: a 6-mo randomized intervention study.
Maersk M, Belza A, Stødkilde-Jørgensen H, Ringgaard S, Chabanova E, Thomsen H, Pedersen SB, Astrup A, Richelsen B.
Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine MEA, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.

Another interesting soda study: Kids And Soft Drinks

Paleo Recipe: Viking Chili

Nutrition, Recipe No Comments »

This paleo chili recipe is one of my absolute FAVORITE meals.  You can tell from the amounts that I make plenty to have the day after :)

If you love bacon, meat, and spices, I’m sure you’ll be a fan of Viking Chili too

(With the Super Bowl coming up, this is a great main course for your football party…)

Here’s the ingredient list:

  • 1.5 pounds uncured bacon
  • 2 onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 5 pounds ground beef (grass-fed is best)
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1.5 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans chopped tomatoes with liquid
  • 1.5 tablespoons pure cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


  • Dashes of tabasco sauce
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • Turmeric

Now, step-by-step instructions:

Set a large pot (I use an 8 quart stainless steel or le creuset) on the stove and start at medium-low heat.  Use scissors to snip the bacon right into the pot.

Uncured bacon is by far the best choice (reasons why here: Sodium Nitrites Are Bad).  Trader Joes has uncured bacon “ends and pieces” for $2.99 a pound.

Why you’re waiting for some fat to render out of the bacon, chop your onions.  Pictured are one white and one purple onion, but the choice is up to you

When the chopped bacon has started to brown, and there is some delicious bacon fat in the pot, add onions and stir

While that is going, coarsely chop some garlic (Or, if you’re lazy, get minced garlic at the grocery store)

When the onions have turned translucent cooking in the bacon grease, add the chopped garlic

Cook a few minutes longer.  Now, add the ground meat to the pot and stir until no pink remains

Your best choice for beef is to use grass-fed.  Other options include beefalo, bison, elk, venison, and ground turkey.  (I wasn’t a fan of the ground turkey, but some of my friends are)

With lower fat meats (venison, bison) you might need to add a little beef or chicken broth.  But with higher fat meats (beef, turkey) you might want to drain some of the fat out with a ladle:

Once all the meat is cooked through, add the spices (EXCEPT for the cocoa and vinegar) and tomatoes and stir well to combine

Cover the pan and simmer on low heat for an hour, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes.  Adjust the temperature up or down if necessary.

An hour later, add the vinegar and cocoa powder and stir well.  Then let it simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes.

Now try a little taste and add some sea salt, to taste.

I garnished this chili with some European grass-fed sour cream and sharp goat cheddar with some chopped green onions and cilantro.  To go more fully paleo, forgo the dairy and use some diced avocado instead.

Serve and enjoy!

Servings: Twelve