Making Nutrition Simple: The Calorie Myth Review

Flickr Commons: Julia Frost

Flickr Commons: Julia Frost

In the book The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight, and Live Better , the author Jonathan Bailor recommends we eat what he calls “SANE foods.” SANE foods are those that trigger body fat burning hormones. Understanding this principle has been key for me in making nutrition simple. The acronym SANE stands for:

S – satiety
A – aggression
N – nutrition
E – efficiency

I will give a more detailed explanation of each category below. But to get you started, some good examples of SANE foods are non-starchy vegetables, lean meats, fish, whey protein, citrus, and berries. These types of foods are foods that we get from the earth, not manufactured in a factory. Bailor calls foods that are not recommended “inSANE” foods. Examples of the foods to avoid are processed food, dairy that has added sugar and fat, starches, sweets, and high-fat meats.

S stands for Satiety.

Satiety is a measure of how much a food fills you up. How much it satisfies you. In this respect a calorie is not a calorie. The fewer calories it takes to fill you up and the longer that food keeps you full the higher satiety value. We want to choose foods with a high satiety value. High satiety foods contain high amounts of protein, fiber and water.

Multiple studies show that if you eat more protein and high quality fat and less starches and sweets you will automatically eat fewer calories and yet feel fuller. This is good news! This means you can eat more nutrient dense, satisfying foods and still take in fewer calories. 

A stands for Aggression

This term refers to how likely the calories you eat are to be stored as fat. When your body is working optimally, the calories you eat are used to repair damage, to fuel you for your activities and then to storage as fat. When the body is overwhelmed by too many aggressive calories at once it gets overwhelmed and stores more as fat. The glycemic index is a good tool to tell how aggressive calories are. The higher a food is on the glycemic index, the more aggressive it is and therefore more likely to be stored as fat. Key point from The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor,

“Body-fat storage is not caused by eating a lot of food. Body-fat storage is triggered as a response to eating food that causes us to have more glucose in our bloodstream than we can use at one time.”

This does not mean that you need to run around checking the glycemic index all the time. If you stick to having most of your foods in the SANE category you will automatically eat more non-aggressive foods and you won’t have much room left for the aggressive starches and sweets.

N stands for Nutrition

Back to the concept that a calorie is not a calorie. For example 250 calories of cake is not equal to 250 calories of broccoli. Calories differ by how much nutrition is provided to our body. It’s important to focus on the quality of our calories.

We hear a great deal lately about how whole grains are more nutritious than other refined grains. That may be true in when comparing grains to grains, but there are better choices. For example if you eat 250 calories of non-starchy vegetables you get about 46 grams of fiber. On the other hand, you would have to eat 2,000 calories of whole-grain bread to get the same amount of fiber. So, if you eat your bread for the fiber, it’s not the best choice. Non-starchy vegetables also pack more protein per calorie than foods like nuts, bread, pasta, oats, milk and beans.

Quoting from The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor,

“Nutrition quality also affects whether we are burning body fat or slowing down and burning muscle. When we eat more water-, fiber-, and protein -packed food, we get more essential nutrients while avoiding overeating or overwhelming the body with glucose. Combine more nutrients with less overeating and fewer glucose spikes and we burn body fat without the negative side effects of starvation dieting.”

E stands for Efficiency

Some calories we eat are more efficient. What that means is that some calories are more likely to be stored as fat.  We want to choose inefficient calories. These are calories that takes work for the body to digest. The most inefficient foods are fiber and protein. Fiber is inefficient because it is not digested and the body burns additional calories trying to digest it. Protein is inefficient because it can’t directly be stored as body fat. It takes 5 steps to convert it to glucose to be stored as fat and each of those steps burn additional calories.  You can read the Calorie Myth to understand more about these steps.

Body fat cannot be stored without the hormone insulin and a substance called glycerol-3-phosphate. Both insulin and glycerol-3-phosphate are produced when we eat inSANE foods like starches and sweets. Eating less of these foods makes it tougher for our bodies to store fat.

So to summarize Jonathan Bailor’s SANE eating guidelines:

“We avoid overeating thanks to high-Satiety.

Calories are released into our bloodstream slowly and they trigger little insulin thanks to low Aggression.

Our bodies benefit from a number of essential nutrients thanks to high-Nutrition.

We burn a lot of calories during digestion thanks to low-Efficiency.”

(The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor)

To summarize we want to eat more of these foods: non-starchy vegetables, lean meats, fish, whey protein, citrus, and berries.

And eat less of these foods: processed food, dairy that has added sugar and fat, starches, sweets, and high-fat meats.

I hope these posts have not been too “science-y” for you. I just really enjoy understanding why I should choose certain foods over others. If you want to dig deeper I highly recommend that you get the book. Jonathan covers all the conventional wisdom and uses evidence-based information to uncover why there is a better way. Then he outlines the simple principles to help you make better choices and move towards optimal health.



July Clean Eating Challenge

   Do you struggle with clean eating or knowing WHAT to eat? Do you need help recovering from all the summertime BBQ’s and picnics? I am running a one-week clean eating challenge that starts on Thursday,July 18. I will provide the shopping list and the menu to take the guess work out of nutrition. We’ll finish up just in time for the next weekend!

For one week we will be sharing with you meal ideas and grocery lists for your to move towards CLEANER EATING. You will benefit by learning what foods may seem healthy but maybe aren’t that good for you. We’ll take a look at what your metabolism is doing to either work FOR you or AGAINST you in your health/fitness goals. Finally, we’ll make sure you have recipes that will not only work for YOU but for your entire family (especially dinner ideas). Sign up for the challenge using the form below. I’m glad you are joining us!

I last did this right before Memorial Day weekend, and that group was AMAZING! Everyone that put in the work saw results…they lost an average of 3 lbs and 2 inches off their waist and love handles….pretty great stuff!

Quick Fix for Weight Loss?


Quick fix for weight loss

Source: P. Kratochvil, Wikimedia Commons

Are you looking for a quick fix in your weight loss journey? I’m going to get a little real in this post today. I love coaching people, educating people and cheering them on along the way. But there are limitations. I am a great listener and I do a darned good  job encouraging people. However, I can’t drag you across the finish line. It’s something you have to do for yourself. You have to dig down deep and do the work. 

If you are the type of person that hops from fad diet to fad diet or is constantly finding the new hot thing that will help you lose weight, you might just find yourself in a lifetime of struggle. You may find temporary success and then find yourself back in the same situation you were in to begin with. Or sometimes You may end up in a worse situation. I know because I was that person. I want something better for you.
I want to help you end all that today. I want to help you learn to take one or two small goals at a time, build an action plan, and conquer it. Then we take the next steps. The compound effect of the small steps result in permanent change. I am encouraging changes that will last, not a quick fix. I hope you will join me in this journey.
Comment below or email me at if you want help planning a workout, tuning up your nutrition or if you just need some encouragement.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Join me for 30 days to focus on your nutrition and fitness to master the skills needed to:

  • improve your health
  • lose weight
  • and get fit

My next 3o day challenge starts July 1, 2014 but we will start with some preparation the week before so you can be successful. We will focus on exercise – you pick your own workout program or routine. If you don’t currently have a workout program I can help you select one. We will also focus on nutrition. Not a specific diet but concentrating on clean, healthy foods and weeding out the things that don’t serve us well.

During this 30 day challenge we will shift the focus away from the scale and onto daily accomplishments, daily wins. And as you build on your wins you will start to establish good habits and get better at doing what’s right for your body. I will add you to a private Facebook group the week before the challenge starts so we can get to know each other and prepare for a great July. Summer time brings it’s own challenges to trying to stay healthy. I do this in a Facebook group because of the power of group accountability. Studies show that people are more successful in achieving their goals when they are accountable to others. As a group we share tips, recipes, ideas and encouragement. I will post daily encouragement & tips and each day there will be an accountability post where you will share how you’re doing.

Join me in this 30 day challenge to improve your  nutrition, get more fit and lose weight. Quiet all the excuses in your head and fill out the form below or comment below  “I’m in” to join.

Date: July 1, 2014—July 30, 2014
Event: 30 Day Challenge: Improve Your Fitness and Nutrition
Topic: Fitness And Nutrition
Public: Public

One Week Clean Eating Challenge Starts June 12, 2014

clean eating challengeDo you struggle with clean eating or knowing WHAT to eat? I am putting together a one-week clean eating challenge that starts on Thursday, June 12. I will provide the shopping list and the menu to take the guess work out of nutrition. We’ll finish up just in time for the next weekend!

For one week we will be sharing with you meal ideas and grocery lists for your to move towards CLEANER EATING. You will benefit by learning what foods may seem healthy but maybe aren’t that good for you. We’ll take a look at what your metabolism is doing to either work FOR you or AGAINST you in your health/fitness goals. Finally, we’ll make sure you have recipes that will not only work for YOU but for your entire family (especially dinner ideas). Glad you are joining us!

I last did this right before Memorial Day weekend, and that group was AMAZING! Everyone that put in the work saw results…they lost an average of 3 lbs and 2 inches off their waist and love handles….pretty great stuff!

My Summers with the Fish at Rainbow Falls

Rainbow FallsI spent two glorious summers working at a private fishing resort called Rainbow Falls in Woodland Park, CO. I was a teenager who had grown up on the beach in California and I found myself at age 13 transplanted into the middle of the woods in Colorado. This is the third post in a series titled 5 Random Things About Me. I hope you enjoy this one. It’s bringing back lots of great memories.

We moved to Colorado after my freshman year of high school. It was like moving to another country. I grew up in Southern California near the beach. From a very large high school, traffic, tract houses, plenty of restaurants and stores to a log house in the middle of the woods 10 miles outside of the nearest small town (1 stop light in town). It was wonderful. I made several new friends right away. I’m not an extrovert but this happened because they came and found me and I’m thankful for that. I had spent the last year in a big high school and suddenly I was surrounded by new friends.

Within a short time, my new friends introduced me to a wonderful place several miles down the highway called Rainbow Falls. It was a private fishing resort with trout ponds and several lakes where you could pay to fish. The lakes were all stocked and when you bought a pass to fish there you were guaranteed to get your limit. I fell in love with this place and the people who owned it. I can’t even remember how it happened but one of my new found friends and I got summer jobs there and worked there for two summers. They were some of the best times of my life.

My friend Todd and I worked for almost nothing. We worked for the pure joy of what we were doing. It felt like being paid to have fun. We cleaned fish for the guests, we sorted and fed trout, we stocked the ponds and lakes and we helped run the store. Every day seemed like a new adventure. Some days I would come home. stinking like fish and my mom would have a bath already drawn up for me. I’d collapse into the tub, exhausted and happy. I don’t eat fish (ironic, I know) but I would bring fresh fish home for my parents and sometimes I would bring a bag of fish guts home to feed a raccoon family that would come up onto our porch. Every day we had lunch cooked for us by a German lady who fed us huge amounts and insisted that we ate every bite.

Having this opportunity as a kid was a great experience. I was also able to volunteer at a Lion’s camp for handicapped children one summer. These early work experiences set the tone for my future career. I learned that you could be fulfilled by working in a job that you love. I learned that working hard was a reward in itself. I learned that I loved working with people. Even though these jobs were very different from my eventual career as a nurse, they built a solid foundation.

When I was getting ready to write this post I looked to see if Rainbow Falls had a website. I found that they are now called Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout, Inc. and they are now a limited membership resort.  You can find them at

Did you have summer jobs as a kid?

Best Protein for Weight Loss and Healthy Living

Best protein for weight loss

Credit: jetalone/Flickr

Macronutrients are the major nutrients required by the human body. There are three types of macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. In this article we will answer the questions:

What is protein?

Why do we need protein?

What is the best protein for weight loss or for all around healthy living?

Protein is a necessary part of our diet. Protein is part of every cell in the body. It makes up the building blocks for our hormones and neurotransmitters. It is needed for muscle health, growth and recovery. A diet lacking in protein will result in illness and breakdown of the body.

Protein breaks down through the process of digestion into amino acids. There are a total of 20 amino acids. 12  of the amino acids can be made from carbohydrates, fats and other acids in your body. The other 8 amino acids are known as essential amino acids and you MUST get them from the food you eat – your body can’t make them.  Symptoms of a lack of protein and therefore a lack of essential amino acids can include:

  • muscle loss
  • hair loss
  • depressed immune system
  • low energy
  • decreased bone strength

There are two categories of proteins. Complete proteins provide all 20 amino acids. When you eat a complete protein the body can absorb 85-99% of the protein. Examples of complete proteins are beef, poultry, fish, milk cheese and yogurt. Sources for vegetarians include soy, hemp, tempeh and seitah. Incomplete proteins lack a variety of amino acids. These are plant-based proteins. Combining incompete proteins can give you all 20 amino acids. Unfortunately, not all of it is digestible so the body cannot absorb as much of this type of protein.

How much protein should I eat?

According to Jonathan Bailor of The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight, and Live Better, “It’s important to aim for a minimum serving of about 30 grams of protein at least 3 times a day.  When we eat 30 grams or more of protein it provides enough leucine to rebuild our muscle tissue. Without adequate levels of leucine we risk losing muscle tissue. 100 – 200 grams of protein a day is needed depending on your body’s needs. A smaller sedentary person needs less protein than the person who is actively bodybuilding.

Best Protein for Weight Loss and Healthy Living

The following are high quality sources of complete protein:

  • Grass-fed, organic beef – Grass-fed beef is cleaner, healthier and more flavorful than beef that is grain fed or grain finished.
  • Pastured chickens – this meat is rich in essential fatty acids and is a great source of protein. This can include any type of pastured poultry or wild game.
  • Pastured eggs – provides Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Omega-3, Vitamin E and Beta Carotene in higher levels than store-bought eggs.
  • Wild salmon is rich in Omega-3 and is a nutritious source of fat and protein.
  • Other seafood – protein in fish and shellfish is very easy to digest and the amino acids are more bioavailable (easier to absorb and use). Rich dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
  • For those that enjoy that sort of thing – reptiles and amphibians are good protein sources and provide vitamins and minerals.
  • Greek yogurt – avoid yogurts with added sugars.
  • Shellfish  – clams, oysters, mussels, snails – rich in iron, zinc, selenium, iodine omega 3, proteins.
  • Whey protein isolate – high protein concentration, good if you cannot get enough protein with whole foods. My favorite brand of whey protein is Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard Natural Whey because they don’t use any artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors. Vegetarians or people who are lactose intolerant can use concentrated protein from pea protein or brown rice protein such as Now Foods Pea Protein or Nutribiotic Rice Protein
  • Liver (from grass-fed or pastured animals) – a rich source of protein that also provides vitamin A, copper, choline, and B vitamins.

So eat your protein and enjoy eating real food! Stay tuned for future articles on fats and carbohydrates.


My Love Affair with Cheese: Dairy Crack


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Cheese. Mmmmm! I’m not sure when my affair of cheese began. But I love it. I love it more than I should. But it’s not all bad. Natural cheese is actually an excellent source of high quality nutrition. This is part 2 of my 5 Random Things About Me series. I love many different types of cheeses. My consumption of cheese has been reduced in recent years mostly because I stopped eating many of the foods that I put cheese on (nachos, grilled cheese, etc.) But I am still a sucker for a nice slice of sharp cheddar in the evening or some creamy goat cheese on my salad.

Dairy Crack?

I have often said that I’m addicted to cheese and there’s a good reason for that. Even though it may not be the same as addiction to stronger substances, cheese actually contains some compounds that make us crave more. Cow’s milk actually contains small amounts of morphine. This helps the calves bond with their mothers.  Now, it’s not enough to make you a “cheese junkie,” but it is in there in trace amounts. There are also protein fragments that are produced when you digest cheese called casomorphins. These protein fragments have an opioid effect. These compounds are what made Dr. Neal Barnard (founder and president of the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine) call it dairy crack. Mostly I think I love it because of the flavor – creamy, salty, sharp, YES!

Health Benefits of Cheese

Natural cheeses provide a great source of high quality nutrition especially if you eat cheese made from grass-fed, pastured animals.

  • good source of Vitamin K2 (benefits your heart, brain, and bones)
  • calcium
  • many other vitamins and minerals
  • protein
  • Omega-3 fats
  • high levels of CLA (fights cancer, boosts metabolism)

The Downside – Truth and Myth

  • Processed cheese food and processed cheese product vs. natural cheese – Natural cheese is a fermented dairy product. According to the FDA anything labeled as pasteurized cheese must be 100% cheese. Anything labeled as pasteurized cheese food must be at least 51% cheese.  For those “foods”that contain less than 51% cheese they must be labeled as pasteurized cheese product. Emulsifiers and preservatives and other chemicals make up the rest of these products. Stay away from them and eat natural cheese for the benefits listed above. Especially cheese made from grass-fed pastured animals.
  • Saturated fat – there are many studies that show that saturated fat is not the bad guy we’ve been lead to believe it was. I will write a future post on this but in the meantime you can check out this article by Dr. Weil.
  • Salt – some people worry about the salt content of cheese. Cheese does have a significant amount of salt but the salt content of fast foods and processed foods are so much higher. If your doctor has told you to limit your sodium (salt) intake you may need to consider how cheese fits into your diet, but you would be much better off eliminating the fast food and processed foods to reduce your sodium intake.

So eat your cheese and enjoy it. Just make sure you are getting the best nutrition by eating cheese from grass-fed animals. Try a new cheese this week!

What is your favorite cheese?

U.S. Marine Corps – My First Day

Eagle, Globe & Anchor

Eagle, Globe & Anchor

So, as I promised yesterday, here is the story of my first day in the Marine Corps. This is the first post in a series of 5 random things about me. I thought it would be fun for you to get to know me better. I’d love for you to tell me 5 random things about you in the comments so I can get to know you better as well.

It was Fall 1984 when I stepped off the bus with my eyes wide and my heart pounding. I was exhausted and bewildered and wondering how I had gotten myself here. What was I thinking? I was barely 20 years old and I had joined because I had been working two part time fast food jobs after quitting my first attempt at college and we just weren’t making it. I had been married about 10 months when I went to boot camp. Both my parents had been Marines and I was proud to be a part of that legacy. But on that first day I was seriously doubting the glory of my bright idea.

The drill instructors were yelling and the bus full of women were milling around like confused cattle. It was about 2 a.m. and we had been awake since the previous morning. I’m sure some had been able to sleep on the plane but not me. They made us grab our luggage and had us walk to a big concrete building where we had to open our suitcases. We could retrieve things like our toiletries but everything else got zipped up into the suitcase and put in storage. It felt like saying goodbye to my life. They gave us a pen and some paper and made us write a quick letter to our loved ones letting them know we arrived safely. We didn’t have a choice. It wasn’t a nicety. We were to do it. All the while they were yelling, yelling, yelling. We were walked to the barracks and received some instruction and then were allowed to get into bed, or “the rack” as it’s called in the military.

Once the lights went out you could hear sniffles and sobs all throughout the squad bay. I don’t remember if I cried or not that night but I knew I felt horribly out of place. What the heck was I doing here?

I’m not sure exactly what time it was when they woke us up but I know it wasn’t fully light yet. They woke us up with yelling and banging on lockers. The drill instructors gave us a few minutes to go to the bathroom. I vaulted out of bed, startled, and headed for the restroom. I heard girls being yelled at when they passed by a drill instructor. Apparently that was somehow rude. When I passed by I said, “excuse me,” as a lame attempt to escape notice. Bad choice. “WHAT DID YOU DO? FART?” Wow, I was completely at a loss for how to respond and I felt humiliated in front of this room full of strangers. Apparently the right answer is, “By your leave, Ma’am.” I never forgot that lesson again.

The day was filled with learning how to march, getting our uniforms, doing PT (physical training), and learning the routine at the chow hall (eat fast). There was much yelling and many punishments. We got in trouble for strings hanging off our uniforms, talking at the wrong times, standing with our feet at the wrong angle and many more minor infractions. It was constant confusion.

Over the next two months the drill instructors groomed us from a bunch of young individuals to a platoon of Marines who were proud to follow leadership. Joining the Marine Corps was one of the best decisions I ever made. On that first day I wasn’t so sure though. Actually I doubted it many of the days over the eight weeks that I was there. My four years in the Marine Corps helped me to grow up. That time reinforced many of the values that I had grown up with: integrity, initiative, and loyalty. It gave me a sense of pride in my work, introduced me to many amazing people, started building in me some leadership skills, a sense of belonging and much more.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me some random facts about you.

5 Random Things About Me

5 Random ThingsI decided to do a fun blog post series to let you get to know a little bit more about me and to inspire me to write more consistently. I will tell each of these 5 stories in a blog post. I hope to be consistent and post them over the next 5 days so I hope you will return to read them.

5 Random Things about Me

1. I was a U.S. Marine (a mechanic).

2. I love cheese a bit too much.

3. I spent two summers as a teenager cleaning fish.

4. I delivered my third child 2 weeks before nursing school graduation and I carried her across the stage to receive my diploma.

5. I enjoy playing World of Warcraft to chill out.

5 Random Things About You

I would love to get to know you better. Post in the comments 5 random things about you.