About Paleo: Am I Really Allergic To Wheat?


One of the things that I love the most about blogging, and the blogging community, is that I am often in a position where you will challenge my position in one way or another. I really enjoy this, mostly because it helps me to remember to evaluate my position from time to time. It’s an amazing part of being surrounded (digitally surrounded) by smart, articulate people with their own strident opinions on the subjects that I choose to write about. Without the opportunity that you readers afford me, by challenging my ideas and asking me (as is your right, since I’ve gone and made my opinions public) to carefully consider and elaborate on my position, is perhaps one of the things that I am the most excited about when I share an idea in my posts. I need your thoughts, comments, and challenges, so that I can test my stance against other intelligent people.

Here is one such challenge, and one of the best that I’ve received to date:

As a newbie to paleo and a person who loves eating at restaurants I was excited to read your posts. I’m however very disappointed. As a person with an actual life threatening allergy (eggs) I can’t believe you would encourage people to lie about such things. Most restaurants will take your request for no soy etc with the seriousness that a preference deserves. Kitchens know that people with “allergies” often lie about it and as such take requests for “allergy” exclusions less serious. They might not sanitize a surface, or coortiz the same grill when they shouldn’t be. Your preference is not an allergy, and you make it hazardous for people like me to eat.

– Suzanne

So, the operative question here is this: Am I allergic to soy and wheat? Clearly anyone who has been Paleo for anything longer than a few months will state something along the lines of “Well, my body sure thinks so!” And my body is no exception to that. The few times that I’ve had the misfortune of eating something which is contaminated with soy or wheat (or any grain for that matter) I’ve had rather severe digestive distress. Anaphalaxes? Not so much, thankfully…
Suzanne’s comment comes from a position of fear, and she (and others like her) have a right to a thoughtful and rational response. I’m intending for this post to give Suzanne, and all of us Paleo people a complete response to when people question their statement that they’re allergic to wheat and soy.
See, here’s the thing. With 67% of America overweight, and half of them are obese, most of us Ancestral Health people have come to the general belief that there’s something seriously wrong with the general dietary proscriptions. The rate of leisure activity has not changed significantly over the past 30+ years, so while moving more will help us to control our weight, the answer to the severe overweight crisis is clearly not jogging. Us Ancestral Health people (yes, Paleo is Ancestral Health) have concluded, and most of us have significant personal “Success Stories” to support this conclusion, that the problem is dietary. So, let’s take a shot at figuring out whether I am personally allergic to wheat and soy.

First, let’s take a look at the definition of an allergy. The Wiki page on Allergy starts out with several lines of description. The first of which is this:

An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system.

Ok, got it. But what kinds of symptoms might I expect to see from that?

Symptoms of food allergy include abdominal painbloating, vomiting, diarrheaitchy skin, and swelling of the skin during hives.

And the wiki doesn’t stop there. The actual definition of an allergy, it would seem, is quite indicative of exactly the sort of digestive distress that I experience (and all of the Paleo people I know) every time I am unfortunate enough to ingest wheat or soy. Fortunately for me, and all of you Paleo people, the wiki actually directs specific attention to this in particular.

A wide variety of foods can cause allergic reactions, but 90% of allergic responses to foods are caused by cow’s milksoyeggswheatpeanuttree nutsfish and shellfish.

Hmm. Alright. A lot of Paleo people don’t necessarily know that they’re allergic. Is there a definitive way to test that, just to be sure it’s actually an allergy?

Elimination/Challenge tests: This testing method is used most often with foods or medicines. A patient with a suspected allergen is instructed to modify his/her diet to totally avoid that allergen for determined time. If the patient experiences significant improvement, he/she may then be “challenged” by reintroducing the allergen to see if symptoms can be reproduced.

So this makes it quite clear. When you’re going on a strict Paleo diet, you’re beginning the “Elimination” phase of the above diagnostic test. Then, when someone contaminates your food (or you just decide to eat some cake at some point…) and you have an adverse reaction, that confirms the diagnosis. To paraphrase the Wiki on Allergies, you have an allergy when: You have an issue, it gets better with elimination, and you can then reproduce those adverse symptomatic affects with reintroduction.
There’s little doubt in my mind at this point that the sorts of symptoms that I experience as a result of ingesting contaminated food definitely do qualify as an allergy. So in response to Suzanne’s statement, I’m clearly really allergic to soy and wheat. This isn’t one of those “little white lies” that people often tell in order to keep their life easier. This isn’t just a dietary preference. This is a full-blown allergy.

But I think I want to take this one step further. The follow up question, now, could be this: Isn’t it reasonable to assume that EVERYONE who follows an Ancestral Health diet is ALSO allergic to wheat and soy? I’d like to go one step further, even, than that. I’d like to be the one who toes the line, and states that EVERY single human is allergic to wheat and soy. But I can’t. Not today. There are some very smart people with very impressive labs who are working on that very question. And they’ll come out with an answer in the next several years. Of that I am confident. So, while I’m not going to be the guy who toes the line and states, definitively, that we’re all allergic to soy, I am perfectly comfortable to redirect us to some of the experts on the matter.

What do the experts think?

http://paleodietlifestyle.com/11-ways-gluten-and-wheat-can-damage-your-health/
T
he Paleo Diet Lifestyle is an impressively well-kept repository for many of the Ancestral Health seeds of wisdom over the years. In the above article, they state that wheat causes gut inflammation in at least 80% of the population. Goodness… That’s a LOT more than just the people who are in the Ancestral Health community! But to circle back a bit: it’s fair to say that if you’ve come to Paleo, you’re very likely one of those above 80%.

http://www.eat-real-food-paleodietitian.com/Paleo-diet-reasons-to-avoid-grains.html
What a Paleo Dietitian has to say on the subject: Gluten is very hard to digest, can cause damage to your intestines, and can lead to GI issues, autoimmune diseases, skin problems, mental health issues, among other symptoms of a food allergy. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if these were potential side effects of a drug that a doctor prescribed me, I would simply not take it. Autoimmune disease and mental health issues? No thank you!!

In Summary:

I want to first re-state that I really appreciate Suzanne’s comment. She has done me, and all of you who read this a favor. She’s challenged me in a way that helped me to consider my position, take a look at the research out there, and reaffirm my stance on the matter. Dietary science is not a “set thing” yet – it’s constantly changing! Loren Cordain, the godfather of Ancestral Health himself, has changed his position on fats over the past several years, and subsequently updated and reprinted his book. I will be the first one to admit that, while I keep current on the information out there, it’s never a bad thing to take a step back and reconsider everything.

Also, as a result of my research to respond to Suzanne, I have discovered that it’s perfectly appropriate for you all to state that you’re allergic to wheat and soy. In fact, if you’re coming to Paleo with health issues that you hope cleaning up your diet of wheat (and all grains) and soy will cure, you’re most likely in that 80% group who is allergic to them. Please, do us all a favor and start to help the restaurants around you recognize that they need to be prepared for that. Tell your waiters: “I’m allergic to wheat and soy.” But even more important than that, if they ignore you and contaminate your food, GIVE THEM HELL!!
Suzanne’s point was a valid one, albeit misdirected. We’re too willing to simply not go back to a restaurant who served us bad food. But that’s just not going to help the rest of the Ancestral Health community anymore. You’re all going to need to stand up for your rights. The restaurant who contaminated your food, against your wishes, has effectively assaulted you. They’ve caused you damage, and they’ve done it directly, and possibly intentionally. If this were to cause you to go into anaphylactic shock, it would be considered poisoning. You owe it to me, Suzanne, and all of the other Paleo people out there to tell them so. Tell them angrily, and loudly. Make sure that they know that they’ve caused you harm, and that it’s simply not OK. Put it on the internet so that I can see it in their reviews. Write a post about it on your blog. And then don’t go back.

It’s Award Day! Liebster Award


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There are a couple of different blogger awards out there, and I’ve enjoyed seeing a few of them pop up on my favorite blog sites. It’s somehow validating, in a strange way, when I look at someone else’s content, and see that they’ve been nominated by another person as “excellent” in some way. Invariably, I always click on each of the blogs that they are passing their award on to, just to see if their taste matches mine. Usually one or two of those blogs make it onto my own “Watch” list, and I have become active participants on some of them. As much as I like to write my own content, I have really come to appreciate the “award” extension of the blogger culture. It is, in fact, a highly collaborative culture, and the giving and receiving of awards is an important part of that! Today, I accept the Liebster award, and pass it along to my other 11 favorite <300 followers blogs. So, without further adieu, here are the Liebster Blogger Award rules:

  1. List eleven random facts about me.
  2. Nominate eleven bloggers for the Liebster Blog Award.
  3. Notify the bloggers.
  4. Ask eleven questions the bloggers must answer upon receiving the nomination.
  5. Answer the eleven questions you were asked when you were nominated.
  6. Link back to the person who nominated you.

The person who nominated me is Hari Qhuang, of Hari’s Got Tales! I can honestly say that Hari and I are frequent readers and commenter often on each other’s blogs. Hari, like me, is a food blogger; and I really enjoy seeing other perspectives on food. Hari’s authentic Asian recipes are often entirely new concepts to me. I really love to try to incorporate little bits and pieces of what he does with his food in to my own meals. I definitely recommend that you all take a moment and stop by Hari’s site to see what he has to share today!

11 Facts About Me:

  1. I wear a suit to work every day. Today I am wearing a 3-piece suit. Interestingly, the office that I work in at the moment is considered “Business Casual”; most of the people wear slacks and a shirt, most of the time. But often enough it’s a short-sleeve golf shirt, with sneakers. And I wear a suit, with a tie, every day.
  2. I’ve been running all my life; but I only started to actually enjoy running about 4 years ago. That was when I switched to bare foot running, and the world immediately changed for me! Before that, I ran regularly, but considered it to be a chore, and a barely tolerable one at that. Now, I love it!
  3.  I was born and raised in Vermont, and still think of myself as a Vermonter. Unfortunately, I cannot eat a normal apple pie any longer. However, my mother has become quite adept at baking Paleo Apple Pies for special occasions, and there are few things in the world that make me feel better than Mom’s Paleo Apple Pie!
    For amusement, check out some of these “Vermonter” articles:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermont_English
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankee Vermonter Extract Below:

  4. I absolutely love Maple Syrup. Probably because of this, I almost never use it. Any time I am actually in need of a sweetener, I either caramelize something (onions, mushrooms, fennel), use fruits, or use honey. They’re far less addictive to me. Maple Syrup, for me, is reserved for very special occasions. Like as a sweetener in my 20+ mile run drinks!
  5. I have had the bottoms of my shoes customized to be as minimalist as possible (1 cm thick). I’ve actually been meaning to write a blog post about it. I took before/after pictures of my work shoes and everything, but I’ve been enjoying my food posts so much that I just haven’t gotten around to it yet…
  6. My eyes are very light-sensitive; I cannot go outside without sunglasses unless it’s actively raining. Despite this, I spend as much time outside as possible. Since going Paleo I rarely burn, so I know it’s just an eye thing for me.
  7. Barbecue, and smoked meats, are without a doubt my favorite food to eat!! I could eat smoked meats all day, every day. I might even forget to eat my vegetables if that was an option! And it would be heavenly!!
  8. While my wife and I were evaluating dietary options, those many years ago, we took a considerable amount of time to consider Vegan. We are both deeply analytical, very well educated, and careful about our choices. It was important that we make the most informed decision possible, and the Vegan diet is the media’s darling for health. We spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the data on Veganism, in order to ensure that we were making the best decision for our health possible.
  9. I take nutritional supplements. No, I don’t take any of the name-brand off-the-shelf supplements, and I honestly don’t think those are worth your time to consider. I have a functional nutritionist who works with me to specifically ensure that my nutritional needs are met. My program is highly individualized, and incorporates pieces of the available food spectrum which I don’t have a lot of exposure to. I think EVERYONE should find a good functional nutritionist, and make sure that they’re getting all of the nutrition in their diets that their body needs!
  10. I love dogs! I don’t have any pets, but if I did, I would have two large dogs. Think Burmese Mountain Dogs, or Alaskan Malamutes. I might even go so big as an Irish Wolfhound. I like big dogs!!
  11. I

11 Questions To Me:

  1. I was once tricked to eat a fried bat. Name some of the most extreme foods you have ever eaten.
    – That’s a funny question. The idea of an “extreme” food is classified by your food culture, more than anything else. I’ve eaten bugs; cooked and raw. I’ve eaten raw, uncooked Jalapeno peppers. I’ve eaten an onion, like it was an apple. But relative to my paradigm at the moment, the most extreme foods I have eaten: Spaghetti, Lasagna, Fried Rice, Mac&Cheese, and worst of all: Toast!
  2. Name a thing you would not eat (not because of religious reasons), even if someone pay you lots of money to eat it.
    – Ok, the obvious answer aside… I think I would have to draw the line at inorganics. I have no interest, whatsoever, in eating Petroleum products.
  3. I once took a three hour ride just to try a famous roasted duck, which did not taste as good as advertised. How far have you ever traveled for food?
    – For food specifically? Not that far… I doubt I would be willing to take even a 1-hour drive for a specific restaurant or meal. But I always prioritize food whenever I travel!
  4. What is your personal policy about food in the bedroom?
    – Avoid it like the plague. There is a time and a place for everything, and food in the bedroom is completely anti-functional. Also, I think there are some sort of Feng Shui laws about it or something.
  5. When I was in Bali, I had a lunch in the middle of a paddy field. Where is the most unusual place you have ever dined in?
    – I ate a meal-replacement bar and an apple while I was hang-gliding. I can’t really call that “dining” but it’s certainly the most unusual place I’ve ever had a meal!
  6. Name three kitchen tools you are allowed to bring If you – in some crazy scenario – have to live in a deserted island for a month, where you have to eat whatever you can find there.
    – Chef’s Knife, Skillet, Chopsticks.
  7. If you are given the chance to launch your own perfume, with a condition that it is going to smell like food, what flavor is the main chord going to be?
    – Macadamia. I was going to go with Coconut, but I’ll bet that’s been done.
  8. If you are a contestant in a cooking pageant – is there one? – and you have to cook something that represents yourself, what would it be?
    – Paleo Bacon Apple Pie.
  9. What do you think about “junk” food?
    – As above: “Junk” is determined by your food culture. I consider anything with grains in it to be “junk” food; and I avoid them like I avoid having food in the bedroom! My body is, as far as I know, the only one I’ll ever get. So I treat it with the utmost care and concern, in the hopes that it will perform at it’s highest capacity for as long as possible.
  10. What is the worst thing you have ever eaten to impress someone or to “save face”?
    – Honestly, nothing. I’m unconcerned with “saving face”, and while I would eat something to impress someone, I’m not really disturbed by most foods. Except grains. I won’t be crossing that line any time soon.
  11. What is the best advice about food have you ever gotten?
    – My father said to me, as I was heading off to college: “Start with caramelized onions while you figure out what you want to eat.” The echoes of that advice still show up in my food choices today.

My 11 Blogger Nominations:
(listed in alphabetical order)

  1. Health Without Sacrifice
  2. Mummy Flying Solo
  3. My Little Jar Of Spices
  4. My Paleo Journey
  5. Noah Matthews
  6. Oh Snap Let’s Eat!
  7. Peaches And Cake
  8. Scientifically Delicious
  9. The Dentist Chef
  10. The Wine Getter
  11. Two Chicks And A Blog

My 11 Questions for the above Bloggers:

  1. Of the astonish number of technologies that we use every day, which one has the most impact on your life?
  2. What is your least favorite part of blogging? And how do you cope with it?
  3. If you were transformed into an animal (a non-human animal…), right this instant, which animal is most representative of who you are now?
  4. If there was one activity that you could spend a day doing, regardless of cost, location, etc. what activity would you do first?
  5. If money was no object, is there a restaurant, anywhere in the world, which you would travel to and eat at? And what would you eat?
  6. What is the most fun you have ever had with food in your life? And school-yard food fights DEFINITELY count!
  7. Have you ever gone running outside with socks but no shoes on? Why? What season was it?
  8. Is there an article of clothing which you have purchased in the past but you will never purchase again in the future? What is it, and why will you never buy another? And Halloween costumes don’t count. Unless you were buying clothing to assemble the costume yourself; not using a pre-assembled costume package.
  9. What was your favorite childhood game? Do you still play it? Why, or why not?
  10. What did you want to be when you grew up? Have you become that? Why, or why not?
  11. If you had no limitations, is there a food that you would like to cook with, but cannot currently? What food is it, and why can’t you cook with it? Yes, cost can be the reason.

It’s Award Day! WordPress Family Award


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This is a fantastic new award, and I’m very impressed by the premise! I couldn’t be more pleased with the idea behind the WordPress Family Award, since I feel much the same feelings about the WordPress community as the creator of this award felt when he created it. Of course, my excitement with the award also carries with it another level of excitement that I was honored with it!

For the following 10 names, if you accept you’re planning on accepting your nomination: click here and follow the directions.

I was nominated by Adventures Of A Cavemom. I enjoy these blogger awards for a variety of reasons. It’s great to let the bloggers know that we enjoy their content. There are a variety of ways to do that: the “Like” button on the WordPress reader, as well as on the blog posts works well. Commenting works even better; particularly for smaller blogs. But the best reason is that it really tells the blogger that their content is valuable to someone. And in so doing, that blogger’s nominations gives me a chance to check out which blogs that blogger is most interested in. So any time I see an award on any of the Blogs that I frequent, I always go check out every one of the people that blogger has nominated, and the nominating blog. There are always exciting and interesting new blogs in the list, and I love finding those!
So, everyone reading this: go check out Adventures Of A Cavemom and each of the other blogs on this list, and make sure you add a few of them to your daily repertoire!

The following are the 10 blogs, in alphabetical order, which I nominate for the WordPress Family Award. A few of these are bigger blogs, and not eligible for some of the other blogger awards any longer. Further, since they’ve grown larger, they may not be willing/able to spare some content time to accepting an award. And that’s OK.

My 10 Nominations:

  1. 365 Days Of Bacon
  2. A Lot On Your Plate
  3. Hari’s Got Tales
  4. Health Without Sacrifice
  5. Jen Nova Food Blog
  6. Kate Stull
  7. Lara’s Mess
  8. Miles For Thought
  9. Morning Story And Dilbert
  10. Oh Snap Let’s Eat!

Updates. And Shopping!


Shopping

I hope you don’t mind that today’s post will have no recipe, and will only be peripherally related to food…The purpose of today’s post is to give you all an idea of what’s been going on in my life and head, an update on my training for the sub-5 mile, and a sneak peek in to what is coming up with me and for you.

And since I simply cannot have a blog post without a picture, I just thought I would share a picture I took while shopping at Whole Foods Market recently. I was SO excited to see some Vermont Smoke and Cure ham-steaks for sale! I’ve been really enjoying the Niman Ranch ham-steaks that I’ve been picking up; but there’s just no comparison with Vermont Smoke and Cure product – they’re SO GOOD!! Of course, it’s not a shopping trip without snagging some bacon; which is also Vermont Smoke and Cure, of course!
You can also see the frozen Organic Mixed Mushrooms that I buy and have been ranting and raving about recently. They’re delicious! And I highly recommend everyone get something like those to enjoy!
Finally, there’s the organic baby kale (we like the taste of the baby kale better than the “adult” kale), under that is a “Wild Arugula” which we enjoy a lot, as well as organic pluots (cross between apricot and plum), organic green grapes, and organic raspberries. And in the bag are some ripe plantains.

Recipe Book:

  • I have just begun work on pulling together all of the recipes and recipe-like content that I have developed here to put together a Recipe Book of my very own!
  • This is no small challenge! The upside, of course, is that I will discover which recipe areas I have concentrated on more these past 10 months, and you will start to see a lot more recipes which are a little more creative to fill in those gaps!

Weekly Workout Routine:

  • I’ve decided to move forward with a weekly workout routine, which I will make available as PDF for purchase. I haven’t settled on pricing yet, but this will be a relatively cheap product.
  • It is possible that this will expand in the future to individualized workouts; but to start with, I will only be providing a few different options for beginners, intermediate athletes, and well-trained athletes. My goal will be to provide “Outdoor Play” style weekly workout plans, where people can take advantage of the terrain around their homes, and do their workouts using natural movements and body-weight workouts.

Weekly Meal Plan and Shopping List:

  • After quite a bit of thought on the matter, and some extensive discussions with my friends, family, and other people who have websites with products for sale, I have decided that I do have enough expertise to put together a meal plan on a weekly and monthly basis, as well as a shopping list.
  • Hopefully, organizing my thoughts in terms of a discrete shopping list for the week will be valuable in building some of the additional content that I’ll need to flesh out a recipe book, as mentioned above. But no matter the outcome, I’ll be putting something together; and like the Weekly Workout Routine, this will be available as a PDF for purchase.
  • As above, it is possible that I will eventually branch out and add in individualized plans, based on the food availability in certain regions (for example: I have a reader who has no access to Sweet Potatoes or Zucchini). For now, however, I will be putting these together as a one-size-fits-all product, with the assumption that most of you readers will have reasonable access to all of the same foods (or maybe better!!) that I have access to.

These are some huge undertakings for me. I will have to do some serious modifications on my site to support them, as well as spending all of my free time (like I had any to give up!) pulling together the materials needed to make these work. I will be addressing these in reverse order; that is, I will likely complete the meal plan and shopping list first, then the workout plan, and some time in the distant future, I will be ready with my recipe book.

I’m still working on that sub-5 minute mile, though that goal is looking more and more like one which I will have to carry forward to next year. I’m OK with that. I would have loved to make that sub-5 mile this year; but it’s OK to shoot for a goal and miss it – I’m still certain that I’ll be able to put together the performance of my life! As a reminder, last year’s mile was a 5:30. My best ever mile, in high school, was a 5:26. So my adult PR (personal record) is only 4 seconds slower than my life-time PR. And I am certain that I can blast through that number this year!
That being said: I am being realistic here in admitting that the sub-5 mile is most likely out of my reach this year. It’s important to be realistic with ourselves. And while I am going to continue to train hard (though nothing like the Olympic level athletes do!) and to shoot for that goal with everything that I can pull out of my hat, I am perfectly comfortable accepting the fact that I may not make it.

Leibster Award:
I know I’ve already got plenty of a long list above, but there’s just that one last item… I’ve recently been nominated for another Leibster Award. Since this is a “New Blogger” award, and I am definitely a relatively new blogger, I’ll be finishing that post up soon enough and posting it for you all to see. It may come as a somewhat of a surprise, but writing about food is actually quite a bit easier for me than answering personal questions… But I’ll get it done!

And that’s what’s going on with me!

Questions:

  • Are you working on any big projects?
  • Don’t leave out important projects, like a dissertation, a huge work project, or a home improvement project. And kids, don’t forget the most ultimate of Do-It-Yourself projects of of them all! Kids definitely count as a project, and a BIG one!
  • Are there any projects that you’ve had in mind for a while, and you’re just getting ready to take it out and see if it’s finally the right time to get to it?
  • Are there any projects that you want to get to but you just don’t know how to get started? Let us know, maybe someone on here will catch your comment and pitch in!

Fat-Burning Chef E-Book


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If you’re wondering if this is a review, don’t worry. It’s definitely not. Why? Because it is completely inappropriate for a contributing author to review their own book. That’s right, I am a contributing author for the new Fat Burning Chef book!! When you check out the Authors section, you’ll find me under Lucas Root, Urban Paleo Chef, with the familiar red-shirt picture which my wife has grown to hate.
What?? You ask. When did this happen? Well, I put up a post about how excited I was that this was happening back in May some time. If you all can remember that far back, though, then you really need a new hobby! And fortunately, I have just the thing: get the Fat Burning Chef E-Book, and cook every single recipe in there!

Purchase Here

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This is an amazing book, which I have had my hands on for just about a week, and I am unbelievably excited about it! There are over 100 different recipes in the book, with a wide range of meals, foods covered, and contributing authors. There are recipes from some of the most famous Paleo authors, as well as some of the newer kids on the scene like me. And every single recipe in there is drool-worthy!

Here are the content sections that you can expect to find in the book:

  • Decadent Desserts
  • Beef Entrees
  • Pork Entrees
  • Poultry Entrees
  • Seafood Entrees
  • Breakfast
  • Sides & Snacks
  • Appetizers
  • Soups
  • and Stocking The Kitchen bonus section!

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And just to give you all a sneak peek at the contributors:

Wait, did I just see my name in that list? Yeah, yeah, you all already know that I’m there… But it’s still great to see it! Trust me, the fun has not worn off for me yet!


And finally: an offer! 
This week only:

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  • The E-Book is on sale for $27
  • If you make the purchase this week, you could even win an iPad in the Fat Burning Chef giveaway drawing!
Don’t miss out on this great line-up and wonderful resource, BUY FAT-BURNING CHEF today!

Tasty or Terrifying? You be the judge…


Vote with your dollars every day for health and healthy food choices.

There is little in this world on which I would apply the label “Terrifying”. I moan and gripe about some serious food issues, to my wife’s amusement and often discontent. Some of these issues I have identified and discussed here on the UPC site: Eggs, and what’s wrong with the entire commercial stock; why in the world people think “all vegetarian feed” is a good thing for chickens; and several others. For the most part, you readers have borne my complaints with good humor, most likely just waiting for the next recipe to come along. And truth be told, I really like talking about food. I love tastes, textures. I love sharing my techniques, and learning from others in this blogging community. It’s been a great relationship for me: I share, and I have been enjoying other people’s sharing.

So, let’s get on with what’s actually terrifying. The list of gripes I’ve mentioned above are important to me, and I really would like to see the Paleo community grow, so that food quality will start to become a huge discussion, and maybe get a bit better (I would LOVE to be able to buy pastured, healthy eggs as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s rather than the soy-fed crap they have there now). But when I say something is terrifying to me, that should raise some eyebrows. So, here it is: a doughnut bacon and egg sandwich from Dunkin Doughnuts.

If this doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will. This is the most absurd combination of franken-foods that I have ever seen. This rivals doing Spaghetti And Tofu-balls with processed wheat noodles cooked in vegetable oil and tap water, GMO-Soy tofu meat substitutes for the “meatballs”, and the high fructose corn syrup laden Ragu, which only bears a passing resemblance to the Pasta Sauce that my Italian Grandmother made. Rivals it, and surpasses it. Doughnuts are the absolute polar opposite of good health, and combining them with the super-GMO-fed CAFO chicken eggs, microwaved to white and dull yellow perfection, and the commercial-nitrate, over-sugared CAFO bacon that Dunkin Doughnuts will be serving it with is what fills me with dread.

And what’s worse: they didn’t roll this out nation wide without first running focus groups to test the market feasibility. So someone, somewhere told them that this was a good idea. Which means that there are people who will eat this. And then, like any good profit-minded corporation, they certainly rolled it out to only a few select stores, to see whether it would sell. And somehow there were people who decided it was a good idea to put this garbage in their mouths!

What terrifies me the most, the thing that really makes this post about my abject horror, is that there are enough people in this country who would eat this that their food-votes will decide what kinds of foods are available for me. These are the people who are filling the grocery stores with beige food-like products in plastic packages. These are the people who are making the supposed “health care” industry spend so much money on entirely preventable diseases.

I need you: Primal, Paleo, Vegan, and any other food-conscious people to start to band together. We need to work together to keep healthy foods in our grocery stores. We need to work together to make certain that the whole world knows that there is an alternative to this:

Because we can make ourselves heard. And that… thing in the picture above, that doesn’t have to be the “accepted diet” in this world. Let it be relegated to where it should be: the fringe. And let’s put healthy back in the mainstream.

Vote every day. Vote with your dollars for healthy foods and healthy food choices.

The Fruits Of Colombia


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I promised to write a post on the fruits of Colombia, so here it is! The downside is, of course: No recipe today. But when you see what I’ve got to say about the fruits in Colombia, you’ll forget the missing recipe, and hop a flight down to Colombia to taste some new and exciting fruit!

ColombiaPapayaVariety of common fruit:

First off, there was such a variety of fruit available in Colombia, it was truly unbelievable! Walking down the isle of the grocery store was walking down the isle of my imagination – the colors, textures, sizes and shapes of the various fruit available was truly astonishing! Of course, there were the expected varieties: oranges, limes, mangoes. But there were even varieties of these that I didn’t know existed. And the ones in my pictures are just the ones available while I was taking note! I imagine that there were different mangoes in another grocer, and probably would be new varieties the next day too. There were even three different varieties of Lime on the shelves and two kinds of Papaya on the shelves.

ColombiaFruits5ColombiaFruits3Mango: Tommy Mango, Sugar Mango, Apple Mango, Kent Mango
Lime: Tahitian Lime, Key Lime, and “Common Lime”Papaya: Golden “Hawaiian” Papaya, Red Papaya
Pineapple: Red Spanish and Cayenne

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You see the varieties of Pineapple? There’s a tall display in the center of the above photograph with Golden Pineapple. On the bottom right is a red Pineapple, and a purple Pineapple. And yes, they had different labels and different prices too!

New Fruit that I tried:

Guanabana: This is the green spiney fruit at the bottom of the picture above, with a cut open one next to it. It’s tall, and the flesh looks almost like little silk sacs with the seeds suspended inside them. It is very sweet, though the texture takes some getting used to. I am really looking forward to trying this again, and will be buying some if I see it around here!
Zapote: This looks almost like a brown coconut. It has a brown, flakey skin. But when you cut it open, you’re greeted with a smell almost like a fruity brown sugar, and the color of the fruit flesh is bright pink. I ate it right out of the shell of the fruit with a spoon, leaving the shell at the end. It was very sweet, not very juicy, and certainly a delight! I think I would like to try taking the fruit out, chilling it, and eating it like ice-cream. I think the flavor and texture are just right!Tomate De Arbol: Literally translated, this is a “Tree Tomato”, and looks like one. Just as surprising as it looks on the outside, when you cut it open, it still resembles a tomato! But the similarities stop with the appearance. You eat a Tomate De Arbol by cutting it open and removing the skin, then eating the entire inside of the fruit. It is sweet, with just a hint of sour tang giving it a very exotic and exciting flavor. I saw juices made from Tomate De Arbol all over the place in Colombia, though I was too busy eating it fresh to try a juice.
Guava: I am well familiar with Guava. I’ve had it here as the occasional grocery store treat, as well as in my travels to the Caribbean. But it was fantastic to become reacquainted with it! The flavor of Guava is completely unique, and simply cannot be described – if you haven’t had it, you must!

Fruits that I will try next time:

There were just so many fruits there, I couldn’t try them all! Believe me, I wanted to, but with activities, alcohol and restaurants, and beach time, my Fruit Tasting time was slightly limited. As you can see from the list above, I did make some time for Fruit Tasting, and will continue on my next trip. And I don’t mind saving a bit of anticipation for my future travels to Colombia, and to share with you!
These are fruits that I saw and didn’t have a chance to try. They looked delicious! And I am definitely looking forward to my next trip to give these the time that they deserve!

Granadilla: This is a gourd-looking fruit with a hard green exterior. As I understand it, the inside is quite liquid, and quite delicious! You cut it open and almost drink the flesh out of the gourd-like skin of the fruit.
Cherimoya: This is an amazing looking fruit, similar in size and shape to a Guava, but with a ridged exterior. I understand that the flesh is soft, also like a ripe guava, and quite sweet.
Lulo: This fruit was everywhere, and the only reason I didn’t get around to trying it was because the street vendors, for some reason, never seemed to have it. I guess they didn’t have it because other people got to it first! It is shaped, sized, and colored like an orange. And side by side, they would be difficult to tell apart at a glance. Lulo is smoother on the outside than an orange. As I understand it, this is rarely eaten directly, and is most often made in to a drink or smoothie.
Mamoncillo: This looks like a small lime with a slightly browner tint to the skin. Unlike a lime, however, the skin on this is cracked open, more like a Lychee. I did see this at a few street vendors in passing, but didn’t see it often enough to have a chance to try some. It is definitely on my list for next time!

I expect that there are others that I simply must try! The list above is just the list of fruits that I noticed myself, while I had the time and presence of mind to take notes on. The next time I go, I will take some serious Fruit Tasting time, set aside for the sole purpose of finding and trying new and exciting fruits!

Questions:

  • What are your favorite foreign fruits?
  • Have you fallen in love with a fruit that you cannot buy locally?
  • Have you ever tasted a foreign fruit that just knocked your socks off in every way possible?

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