Just Say No to Seitan

Four months ago I started working with a new PT client.

  • The client is a 42 year old woman
  • Who has been a vegan / vegetarian for the past 18 years
  • Whose goals were to drop some stubborn baby weight and improve her overall health & fitness.

The first month involved setting up her program, training & teaching 3x per week, 3 cardio & joint mobility sessions per week….and a never-ending argument about her diet.

  • Because…as a modern vegetarian, 60-80 % of her calories were coming from grains and soy.
  • And as the local Paleo guru, my clients are all “encouraged” to ditch the grains and soy and embrace the Paleo Diet.

Fast forward to today….

I finally convinced her to ditch the grains & beans and go Paleo for the past three months. During that time, she has seen massive improvements in:

  • Fat loss
  • Stomach bloat
  • Face bloat
  • Back fat
  • Sinus allergy symptoms
  • Rosacea
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Afternoon sleepiness
  • Blue moods – no clinical diagnosis, she just “feels better”
  • And some lady issues that she didn’t elaborate on  🙂

And she credits most of that improvement to her elimination of grains….especially wheat.

In the last month, she has played with re-introducing various “forbidden” foods. And the one that provoked the most noticeable “side effect” was wheat products – seitan, bread and wheat noodles. Almost instantly, she experienced stomach upset prompting a trip to the bathroom.

This prompted her to do a bunch of research on gluten intolerance. Part of that research involved contacting  my online friend Jaqui Karr. Jaqui is my go to source for gluten info.

Jaqui is as obsessed with gluten as a tween is with Justin Bieber.

[box type=”important”]If you want more info on gluten and the horrible stuff it’s doing to your body, check out Jaqui’s blog… or better yet, learn everything she knows about gluten via her Gluten Demystified program. Jaqui blends scientific research & common sense really, really well.[/box]

[box type=”note”]My client is such a big fan of Jaqui’s work that she has started promoting the Gluten Demystified program on her Facebook page and on a new Tumblog devoted to gluten intolerance[/box]


Oatmeal is NOT a Super Food

Quaker Oats has teamed up with “celebrity personal trainer” Bob Harper to promote Quaker Oatmeal as a super-healthy breakfast option.

According to Quaker’s Director of Breakfast Shelley Haus, the priority of Quaker’s new “Amazing Mornings” campaign “is to teach people the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and motivate them to rethink what it means to start their days with an amazing morning that includes Quaker oatmeal”.

And to promote this gospel of oatmeal, Quaker unleashed Bob the trainer onto the celebrity interview circuit…

…as well as creating a contest and a series of webisodes where Bob teaches 3 typical American families how to incorporate Quaker oatmeal into a healthy lifestyle.

Sounds great…doesn’t it?

Heck ya!!!

It made me want to rush out and buy a pack of maple & brown sugar.

But then I remembered….I hate that crap.

And why do I hate that crap?

1 packet of Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar instant oatmeal has:

  • 157 calories
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 32 grams of carbohydrate ( incl 3 g fiber / 13 g added sugar)

Similar in macronutrient profile to:

And to be honest, who wouldn’t rather have 2 Fudgesicles for breakfast?

But wait, it gets worse.

The USDA recommends that the average (aka sedentary) American adult is supposed to eat between 1600-2600 calories per day. If we divide those totals over 3 square meals, we come up with a total of between 533 – 867 calories per meal.

So, if you allow me to play devil’s advocate and say that Bob Harper and his clients are going to eat nothing but super healthy Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal for breakfast….we can also say that they will be slurping down between 3.4 and 5.5 packages of Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar instant oatmeal per meal

For a total macronutrient intake of:

  • 7 – 11 grams of fat
  • 14-22 grams of protein, and
  • 109 – 176 grams of carbs (10 – 16.5 g fiber / 44 – 71.5 added sugar)

And that’s a whole lot of carbs (aka sugar)

And all that sugar is going to result in a bunch of insulin being produced.

Which may just lead to insulin resistance & type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Sigh….if only there was some way of linking excessive oatmeal consumption and diabetes.

Note – it’s pretty obvious that I am exaggerating the downside of oatmeal to make my point.

Eating the occasional bowl of steel-cut oats or even that yummy maple & brown sugar dessert oatmeal isn’t going to kill you or cause your pancreas to shut down.

I wouldn’t do it, but that’s me. I am a big believer in eating Paleo in order to stay healthy.

But, when a big company spends a ton of money trying to manipulate my emotions and convince me that a big bowl of sugar = a healthy breakfast, I get upset. And my objectivity kind of goes out the window.

And when that big company tries to convince America’s Moms that this stuff….

quaker instant oatmeal mix ups – fruit flavors


quaker instant oatmeal mix ups – pancake mix flavors

this stuff is good for their kids……I lose it……arrggggghhhhh.

Hulk no like Quaker Instant Oatmeal Mix-Ups for Kids!!!

and I write a snarky blog post…..And I’m not the only one

Diane at Balanced Bites beat me to the punch with this scathing editorial about Quaker Oats & their devotion to all things sugary.

News Flash! Caveman Diet Good…Your Diet Bad

Swedish scientists have just published a research paper that indicates that eating a diet rich in lean meat, vegetables, berries and nuts is effective in lowering YOUR chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Keeping in mind that it was only a three week study, and additional long term research will be required, scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that the volunteers reduced body-fat, lowered their blood pressure and slashed levels of a blood-thickening agent (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1) known to cause deadly clots.

The results, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, support earlier scientific and real world findings that praise the health benefits of the Paleolithic/Caveman Diet.

The theory behind this way of eating is that prior to the advent of agriculture (10,000 years ago) our ancestors lived only on foods that could be speared or picked from trees and plants.

Some scientists argue the human genome has been unable to keep pace with our advances in agriculture and food preparation. The theory is that the modern human body is not genetically programmed to thrive on our modern diet. Our technology may be modern, but our bodies haven’t fully caught up and chronic ailments like obesity and type 2 diabetes are the result.

To that end, following the Paleolithic/Caveman Diet means no cereals, bread, milk, butter, cheese or sugar but plenty of lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

To test its effect, the Swedish researchers recruited 20 healthy volunteers and put them on caveman rations for three weeks.

Each patient was assessed for weight, body mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol at the beginning of the experiment.

They were then given a list of stone-age foods they could eat, including fresh or frozen fruit, berries or vegetables, lean meat, unsalted fish, canned tomatoes, lemon or lime juice, spices and coffee or tea without milk or sugar.

Banned foods included beans, salt, peanuts, dairy products, pasta or rice, sausages, alcohol, sugar and fruit juice.

However, they were also allowed up to two potatoes a day and a weekly treat of dried fruit, cured meats and a portion of fatty meat.

After three weeks, the volunteers were tested again.

Among the 14 who successfully completed the diet, the average weight loss was around five pounds. BMI dropped by 0.8. Systolic blood pressure fell by an average of three mmHg. And the levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 dropped by 72 per cent. Other favorable effects were the increase in antioxidants and a healthier potassium-sodium balance. One potential negative was the reduction of calcium. This effect should be addressed in further studies.

Official Scientific Conclusion:

This short-term intervention showed some favourable effects by the diet, but further studies, including control group, are needed. blah,blah,blah

My Conclusion:

Fruit, vegetables, lean meat – GOOD. Typical North American diet – BAD.
If you are interested in changing your diet, I have a pretty easy how-to post here.