Nutrition Blog

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

Posted by on Jun 28, 2013 in Nutrition | 0 comments

Nuts. Oh boy. Two weeks into summer and I bet a few of you parents already feel a little nutty.

You know you giggled.

But we are talking nuts, not crazy, so lets move right along here.
I got a question, via email, from an amazing friend of mine.
“I think I’ve been consuming almond flour and nuts overall way too much. What would you say is a good rule of thumb for the amount of nuts per day one should be eating?”
This friend has her bachelor’s degree in nursing, has practiced as a PICU nurse and then in urgent care, introduced me to crossfit, is an ARMY wife,  and was raised by parents and a giant extended family who fed her the most amazing, REAL food you could imagine. She also has celiacs. Eliminating gluten from her diet around age 19 made a world of difference. In the past several years, she has had great success eating paleo (during pregnancy included!).
It’s Friday, you are busy surfing the internet and pretending you are too busy to mop the kitchen floor, (I can’t be the only one doing this, right?!). So, why did I just give such a back-story? To drive home the point that wherever you are on your nutritional journey, whether you just began or you feel like an old pro, you will continue to have questions. This is a GOOD thing. Keep asking them!
(Don’t get cranky, we are getting back to nuts now.)
It was a while ago, so here is a refresher, with today’s most important part in red:
“I think I’ve been consuming almond flour and nuts overall way too much. What would you say is a good rule of thumb for the amount of nuts per day one should be eating?
If this is not a question that has crossed your mind before, I would be shocked. (Again, I can’t be the only one who has looked into the bag of almonds and gone, “holy crap….they are gone already?!?”) But then, maybe you all have it figured out and never again have to suffer through another nutrition blog.

Rule of thumb:


Which is a small handful. Which, for some of you, may feel like castration. (Get it?….no nuts! I am so inappropriate.)
No, I am not saying that nuts are BAD for you. They are  like little nutritional planets, chocked full of a lot of punch for their small size. This may seem like a good thing: which it can be in small, handful-sized doses. Nuts could also be standing in the way of your body composition goals and causing negative digestive issues when the intake looks more like a bowl full (Or like a cupcake, larabar, or three…just sayin’.)
Here are the main “why’s”:
1. Phytic Acid.
Hold onto your sunglasses for this one…nuts are often as high or even higher in phytic acid than grains. In fact, nuts decrease iron absorption even more than wheat bread. This is NOT awesome-sauce because phytic acid binds to minerals (especially iron and zinc) in food and prevents us from absorbing them. Phytic acid consumption should be limited to less than 400mg per day. One handful of almonds has over 1,100mg.  (Click here for Chris Kresser’s article)
2.Fatty Acid Ratio
Most nuts typically contain a large amount of  the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. As we eat paleo, we are working hard to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids we eat, decrease our omega-6, and get our omega-6:omega-3 ratio as close as possible to 1:1(Check this post for a fatty acid refresher.) Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to  chow down on nuts, stock up on omega-6, and work against ourselves!
3. They hit hard
Look back over your goals. If one of them is to continue to work toward changing your body composition, then it may be time to forgo the nuts. Nuts are amazingly calorie dense, and if you are snacking on them with abandon, you may be sabotaging your waistline, even if you are eating paleo.
4. Chew on this: when following a strict ‘autoimmune protocol’, nuts are typically eliminated from the diet.
Tree nuts are one of the top allergens and most common food sensitivities.  People with autoimmune disease are very likely to have a leaky gut, which increases their susceptibility to developing food allergies and food sensitivities.  This means that people with autoimmune disease are more likely to have a sensitivity or allergy to nuts than other people.  Cutting nuts out of the diet using an elimination diet approach such as the autoimmune protocol is a good way to isolate whether nuts are a problem for you.
Too many nuts really could stand between you,  a healthy gut, and better body composition.
I  tend to save nuts for a go-to option at a party when I can’t snack on anything else, the occasional  post-workout larabar, and special treats like almond-flour pizza or the rare Sunday morning pancake. (Almond flour, while delicious, is becoming more and more suspect to me, because  if you are to break it down, it is A LOT of nuts in a tiny ‘looking’ package. But that is a question for another day!)
Am I totally against nuts? No. I don’t think you need to NOT eat them, but I DO think you should take a close look at your consumption, and that consumption should be limited.
Whether you decide to go nuts or not…the information is now yours!
And remember, keep asking questions!
Until Next Time…

SUGAR Part Dos

Posted by on Jun 7, 2013 in Nutrition | 0 comments


Well, well. Here we are.

Call me the bearer of unsweet news, the headless honeyman, edward sugarhands…whatever you choose. A few weeks has changed nothing.


If you have ANY body composition concerns, and ask Beau, Angie, myself, or anyone else at the gym what you’re doing ‘wrong’ because you are eating ‘strict’ paleo and not getting the instant results you are searching for.  I can guarantee you will be faced with a question related to the makeup of this ‘paleo’ you speak of.

Part uno provided you with a pretty good base to start thinking on your own, but lets break your (possible)  relationship with this result-blocking horror story down by looking at a few of the sugar villians that may be standing in your way:


Hold onto your movie collections, I am not saying that all carbohydrates are all bad. Quite the opposite. Many carbohydrates have place in healthy, well rounded eating, regardless of the particular goal. (That in itself is a different topic.) The point here, in Sugar Part Dos, is to hit home the fact that your food intake is made up of three parts: Protein, Fat, and Carbs. There is no part called: Sugar. In a rudimentary attempt to get you to realize the effects consuming the sweet stuff can have, I want you to recognize that CARBOHYDRATE=SUGAR. No chance you will touch a white potato, but don’t give a second thought about chowing down a banana while deciding about what to make for breakfast? Chew on this:


Am I saying don’t eat potatoes or bananas? Nope. Eat what you want. All I ask is that you start PAYING ATTENTION.



Yes, fruit is real food. Yes, it contains ‘healthier’ sugar than in processed-food options. NO, you do not NEED an apple a day; or to round out each meal, with fruit. It’s not a great snack. ESPECIALLY if your goal is body composition. If you are looking for something sweet to end your night on, grab a few berries and then go brush your teeth.  Done-zo.

Here is Robb Wolf’s take on fruit in his Quick Start guide for paleo:

Limit fruit to 1 serving per day if fat loss is your goal. A serving is not a whole watermelon. If you want to screw things up and not make progress, eat all the fruit you want, it’s your nickel, ride the ride as you like. In order of preference: Berries, melons, citrus, apples, pears. Bananas, papayas and mangoes are great for athletes post workout but dodgy for folks who want to lose fat.”

Pretty understandable…right?

Juice. Step away from the juice. There is nothing healthy or natural about consuming juice. If you want fruit, eat it in it’s natural form. Aaannnd…don’t give juice to your kids. The end.

Take a look @ the Carbs, Sugars, Fiber, and Calories. (PLUS,who ever drinks ONE 8oz. CUP of juice?!)


Speaking of fruit and juice, I am currently looking at a smoothie recipe in a ‘health and fitness’ magazine that has: 1/2 cup mango, 1/2 cup pineapple, AND 1 whole banana. That is SIXTY GRAMS CARBOHYDRATES that you can consume in, oh, depending on your susceptibility of ‘cold headaches’…approximately 2 minutes. Excuse my language, but…HOLY SHUGAR. See above for what we just said about fruit…Grab a pork chop and a handful of blueberries and you get to omit the cold headache AND the fabulous ‘spare tire’ look.


Do not fall into the trap of feeling that keeping the sweet by skipping the sugar is a good idea. Well…sucralose has been shown to decrease ‘good’ gut bacteria by 50%. What is it we are always talking about? Your gut and inflammation.  Aspartame has been reported to cause dizziness, seizures, depression, and weight gain…to name a few. Saccharrin, the oldest Frankenstein of not sugar-sugars, has shown that the body has to expend essentially no energy once the sccharrin is consumed. Hence, unlike when you are burning calories after eating natural sugars…nothing happens.

“The sweetness tells your brain that calories and micronutrients are coming in; however, when they don’t arrive, your body shouts out for nutrients and sends you on a quest to find more food.” (Source: Rich Food, Poor Food by Jayson Calton, PhD and Mira Calton, CD. p.21)


For my paleo people reading, I hope you have been rid of the myth of this last example. Sugar is the only food on the planet that is fat and carbs at the same time. It is made of glucose…and fructose.  This has been, and continues to be, a reality. If you continue to reach for turkey bacon,  fat-free yogurt, or extra-firm tofu in an effort to improve your health, I beg you to reconsider. Start looking at ingredient labels. Choose words you know.  Don’t overload your liver with fructose…this paves the way to mitochondrial meltdown, which is as bad as it sounds.

“I am suspicious of anything that says low-fat or diet, because you know that means that they have had to compensate with a lot of these added sugars. If there is more than 5 ingredients…it is probably  processed food, and there is probably not much real foods in there. It is almost impossible to buy those packaged foods without getting all of those extra sugars which are going to be just toxic for your metabolism”. (Sickeningly Sweet part 2)


Meats, seafood, eggs, veggies, nuts, seeds, and berries.

Keep sugar where it belongs…from natural sources in minimal quantities. Your outer-parts (a.k.a your a$$), your inside parts(a.k.a everything from your liver to your attention span), your children, and your GOALS will thank you.

Hasta La Vista, Sugar.

Until Next Time…



Unlikely Duos

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Nutrition | 1 comment

Unlikely Duos

The sweater may be the weirdest part of the pic.

Just like Mutt & Jeff (or Martha & Snoop), sometimes delicious food comes in very interesting duos. Combinations that on first look, may sound intimidating.For example:

Kale & Brussels sprouts.
IKR?!? (that’s I know right, for our older crowd. And by older I mean the above 15 crowd. Which is the crowd who finally clued me in to what both IKR and SMH means.) (How many of you are googling right now? Old people, SMH, young people, Mutt & Jeff) (Triple parentheses. You poor readers.)
While it may sound, um…interesting, this combo makes for a mean green salad with a ton of personality.
Not only that, but it is a truly nutritious and versatile way to enjoy two vegetables which, I have heard, can be a little scary. (Heck, my Dad calls brussels sprouts bitter little death-balls. Nice, Dad, real nice.) Chew on this: brussels sprouts are being touted for their ability to help burn fat, thanks to the presence of Indole-3-Carbinol, which increases the production of adiponectin, a hormone which helps your body access and burn fat.
BAM. Eat your brussels sprouts.
When you choose bright green foods (NOT the fruit -by-the-foot or key lime pie ‘varietal’), you are also in for an amazing dose of chlorophyll. Despite how it may sound, this is a good thing. Chlorophyll has been shown to stimulate the growth and maintenance of lean muscle tissue-what lifter wouldn’t want that?!
 Both kale and brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous veggies like: arugula, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, and turnip; are packed full of vitamins and minerals  your body craves, and can not naturally access in processed foods. These include, and are not limited to, Vitamins A, C, E, and K; Folate, Calcium, Manganese, Zeaxanthin, and Lutein. (I’ll stop now before they sound too healthy to eat!).
Many leafy, cruciferous greens are in season in our area, and are sure to be abundant at the Farmers’ Market near you. If you will recall, one of the ways we know to drastically improve our eating is to choose local, seasonal produce.
 Stop at the Downtown Westminster Farmers’ Market (click here for more info!) this Saturday on your way to play Hooverball at King’s Park! (I know you will already have a cooler with you, so stock up on fresh, local produce for the coming week!)
Really, his unlikely duo should be called a dynamic, delicious duo. Make a giant batch of this salad and take it to your memorial day bash this weekend. It is easy to make, super refreshing, and won’t taste near as healthy as it really is. 

Mean Green Salad

(Big shout out to Jocelyn G and Andrew PdM  for introducing me to this idea!)
Ingredients below will serve approx 8
**For best flavor, salad needs to sit for at least 30 minutes prior to eating**
For Salad:
2 cups Shredded Kale
2 cups Shredded Brussels Sprouts
2/3 cup Fruit of choice; chopped (Fruit is optional. Pineapple, pear, or strawberries are all great choices)
*Use food processor with the shred attachment (aka the easy way!), or chop finely with a knife*
For Dressing:
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2/3 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Adobo Seasoning
1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • In a LARGE bowl, toss shredded kale and b.sprouts.
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together until combined.
  • Pour dressing over veggies.
  • Work dressing into veggies, either by ‘massaging’ it in using clean hands, or any other creative way you can think of. (You want the dressing to ‘soak into’ or ‘marinade’ the greens.)
  • If adding fruit, stir into massaged greens.
Let salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
Flavor and texture get better the longer they are together, so don’t be afraid to make a day or so before your Memorial Day picnic!
Enjoy and Happy Memorial Day!
(And any more takers on Part Uno of our sugar discussion, you have until next week to comment/question/etc!)
Until Next Time…

Ah, Sugar…Oh, Honey Honey. Part Uno

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Nutrition | 5 comments

Ah, Sugar…Oh, Honey Honey. Part Uno

Poison? Am I Being Excessive? You Be The Judge!

I wish I were smart enough to figure out how to make that song play over and over while you were reading this post.

But then, perhaps that would defeat the purpose of you actually reading  this post…



Luckily for both of us, it appears I am not smart enough(today…bets are off for later posts!).

Now let’s move onto the not so lucky part for you.

We are about to try something new in the land of the CFR nutrition blog. In an attempt to get my creative nutrition

If you find this humorous, I like you.

juices(ew) to instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano, I am going to shake things up and try something new. Every now and again, you will be presented with a two-part blog series. The idea behind this is that we here at CFR do not just want you to read and believe. That’s the washed-up, antiquated way of doing things that got so many people into a high cholesterol, bordeline diabetes, spare tire state in the first place.

In Part Uno (that means one, for you French & German students), I am going to ask you to watch(or read) something.

Something fascinating. Something that will change the way that you think about nutrition. Something by a very smart person (not me!) who knows what he (or she!) is talking about (not Beau, either! That one is not a joke. “Beau Knows” but these will be by someone else. Holy crap…does anyone else now want a “Beau Knows” tshirt?!? Seriously.)

Something to make you think.

For those of you who balk at the idea of furthering your health and longevity by becoming a student in addition to a blog

Part Dos

reader (only judging you a little)…or if you are just having a crazy week and don’t have time to investigate part uno of the post, part dos (that’s two…) will be the cliff note (spark note if  you have no idea who cliff is) version which  outlines why the information in part uno is important to us at CFR, and/or how it can be of use.

In the time between parts uno and dos, your job is to watch (or read), and then post thoughts, questions, ideas, comments, additional links, revelations, etc to the comment section of part uno.


Part Uno=Think

watch or read & post to comments

Part Dos=Review and Apply

Now…back to the “sugar sugar” of post uno, part uno.

In an attempt to really give you all the bigger picture of why eating meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries is THE best choice you could make when you wake up tomorrow (in addition to lifting heavy sh!t, of course!), I am always on the lookout for clear, readily accessible information. I know that while most people at CFR strive to be healthy, they also do not have the time to read every new book, article, or blog that comes around.

SO…in the next 25 minutes, you will get a two-part rundown of  why the Standard American Diet is making us fat and sick…or, as Dr. Lustig, who you meet in today’s videos puts it (so eloquently) “How did the entire world get this fat, this fast?”

All you need to do is skip one facebook stalk-session, a half-episode of Duck Dynasty, or do some multitasking and load it on your phone while you eat lunch or cook dinner. Part Uno this week is for you to watch the following:

AND this:

Initial take home thoughts to wet your whistle:

  • A calorie is not a calorie (3:35 video one)
  • 40% of thin people have chronic metabolic diseases and will DIE of them (10:08 video one)
  • Sugar is FIFTY times more potent then total calories in explaining diabetes rates worldwide ( 1:46 video two)
  • If there are more than five ingredients, it is probably a processed food, and there’s probably not much real foods in there (7:06 video two)

Are you thinking yet?…Fired up about something?…Totally confused?!?

…POST, before Part Dos, DARN IT!!!

Until Next Time…


The 2013 Paleo Challenge WINNERS

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Nutrition | 0 comments

Guys, we must tell you how how totally blown away we are by this most recent Paleo Challenge’s participants and results. This was by far one of the toughest to judge because of the amazing hard work and dedication shown by all of you. I know it’s quite an honor to hold the title, and not to sound cheesy, but our hope is that all of you consider yourselves champions this go round. In 5 short weeks, we saw an astounding amount of body transformation. This goes not only for the newest challengers, but for those who have been with us for years! A few of you went into this challenge seriously looking like you had nothing to lose. Somehow, even the most badass of you managed to improve your WOD times, up your game in attendance, eat perfectly and chisel down what looked like an already amazing body in our eyes. You should all be so proud of yourselves. And not simply for the aesthetics…the dedication it takes to eat clean with careers, families, all of life’s demands AND manage to get your tail to the gym 6 days a week is beyond what most people could begin to undertake. And you all did it ALL the way. We seriously couldn’t be more honored to be part of this journey with you. We hope you all learned more about yourselves, your bodies and how proper food as fuel can make a difference in every aspect of your life. Congratulations to all of you on a job well done. We applaud your efforts, your blood, sweat and tears and can’t tell you how much we enjoyed your killer success! Now without further adieu…the 2013 winners!

1st Place and a $600 cash prize goes to…drumroll please…JOHN KNEISLY

2nd Place and $200…BETH BAKER

3rd Place and $125…RODNEY MCCLINTON

4th Place (not per our usual to have a 4th place but this little lady earned it!!)…$75 to BRITTNEY CASSIDY

Again, CONGRATULATIONS on an amazing challenge to all of you. We hope you feel as much pride in yourselves and your efforts as we do for all of you!!