Local Chicago Company – Sustainable Jerky

While at a holiday party this month, I ran into the owner, Ricky Hirsch, of Think Jerky and was a bit blown away when tasting a sample of his turkey jerky, among other sustainable flavors. Our conversation flowed and I asked if Ricky could share a little of his story on my blog. Enjoy!

Per Ricky: “Jerky has always been my favorite food until I was old enough to realize that it just wasn’t healthy. Gas station jerky has always been pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives. I gave up eating it because I thought that’s how jerky had to be.

Two years ago I came to the realization that jerky is just baked protein and has the potential, if made properly, to be one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Since I’m not a cook, I partnered with three of the best Chefs in the country to make the recipes. Our Chefs include:

  1. Laurent Gras | Three-Star Michelin Chef
  2. Gale Gand | Food Network Host
  3. Matt Troost | Farm-to-Table expert

We are the first company ever with a collection of Chefs like this and the first company ever with a three-star Michelin Chef. Think Jerky only uses sustainable-raised proteins, with restaurant quality ingredients in recipes by famous Chefs. All of our ingredients are gluten free, Non-GMO, all natural, no nitrites, and have no added hormones or antibiotics.

Our jerky is perfectly portioned in single-serve 100 calorie bags that have 16g protein and only 6g carbs, and is the perfect snack for traveling and the 2pm snack.

We are just launching this week and completed our Kickstarter where we ended up a top 5 most backed food ever. We have already been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Eater, Crain’s, Paleo Magazine, WGN TV, Splash, Chicago Tribune, Michigan Avenue Magazine, and many more, pretty crazy for a product that’s not fully launched yet.

You can find our jerky online at www.ThinkJerky.com and locally in Chicago

Thank you for letting me share a little of our story and hope your readers can easily find our product and enjoy the benefits, including flavor!”


In 30 years, I Have Learned These 30 Things

1. Friends and family are the best gifts in life.

2. Life is too good, to eat bad. When I choose foul foods for my body, my quality of life is deterred. Not worth it.

3. Working hard doesn’t mean I’m working smart. Keeping the end in mind is vital.

4. To take 3 deep breaths at least one time a day, if not more.

5. To turn off my computer and avoid my phone when watching a funny show. It’s harder to laugh when multi-tasking; or for me, understanding the joke!

6. To treat myself monthly, from anything including a walk in the park. a trip, or a massage. This helps prevent burning my fuse at both ends.

7. To be skeptical of any advice I get; even if it’s from a profound doctor. My Grams just turned 87 and she is still hesitant to fully endorse any opinions she is given.

8. To not be hesitant to say “I love you” to those I care about.

9. I will never know enough, but will always have the drive to learn.

10. To always go with my gut feeling. I sure nourish it! #Probiotics #Diet

11. To be my own health advocate, get second opinions and also research for myself what is best for me.

12. Gratitude is the key to happiness.

13. Walks are the best dose of medicine.

14. I don’t ever want to win the lottery. If I do, well my friends, we have a vacation to go on.

15. Let food by thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food. The end.

16. Mind over body is powerful.

17. We should take hot baths weekly in the winter months. Epsom salts are an extra perk!

18. Relationships come and go, but the memories mold us to who we are.

19. I am able to achieve anything and everything I put my mind to. This serves as a reminder to dream big.

20. It’s worth the expense to spend extra on good wine.

21. If I had genie in a bottle, I’d wish that we all were gluten free (eating foods that are naturally gluten free, not foods that have a label gluten free on it).

22. I love love love to travel. October Fest is now on my 5 year bucket list.

23. I consider New Zealand to be what heaven looks like.

24. It’s okay to cry.

25. Having a baby/family is the best feeling in the WORLD.

26. You can’t put a dollar on time.

27. We all have stress, and we should not stress about things we cannot change.

28. Once I found my calling, I became my best person.

29. If money were no object I’d continue what I do, become a natropath and be a bike taxi in my spare time.

30. That I am blessed.

‘Hands Down’ the Paleo Diet is the Best Solution for this Case of Diabetes

Thanks to social media I was able to connect with yet another fellow health advocate, using the paleo diet to control his type one diabetes. The below interview was held with the writer of Intrepid Pioneer, a site about modern homesteading principals.

Perhaps, you as the reader, can connect with this interview and maybe find yourself inspired to optimize your diet. Feedback is welcomed.

Cheers to you and good health,


How long have you had diabetes?

I was diagnosed May 2011 during my routine annual physical. At that time my blood sugars were up around 360 and my AC1’s ran around 12.3. At first I was treated as if I was a Type 2 with Metformin. The medicine only helped to control my blood sugars down to around 250 or so. At that time my endocrinologist informed me that I probably have LADA or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes, which basically has been coined type 1.5 Meaning I developed adult on-set Type 1. My father has had Type 1 all his life and was diagnosed as a child.

What eating regime have you found to be most helpful in managing stable blood sugars and how did you come to find this diet?

Paleo, hands down, without a question. It took me some time to get there. I had tried Weight Watchers, and measure portions, etc. but I still just felt that each time I checked my glucose it was a crap shoot. I eventually did the Advocare 10 day cleanse and my blood sugars stabilized. Next I started researching Paleo and ultimately I ended up taking on the Whole 30 challenge. That was it and I’ve been keeping a food/exercise journal since Jan. 2013 and am now able to completely understand how my body metabolism it’s sugars. Sometimes my glucose is a surprise to me and when that happens I can look back through my food journal to see just what I ate or did for that number (good or bad).

What main improvements in your health have you observed, diabetic-related or not? 

I’ve lost about 15bls and I am exercising on a more regular basis and enjoying it. Whereas I used to say the only time I ran was when I was being chased and now I’ve let a buddy talk me into running a Rock and Roll half-marathon in 2014. Plus, I’ve started doing Crossfit and I love strength training, lifting weights and the intensity that Crossfit brings as well as the community of likeminded no-bullshit real people.

Do you find the diet realistic and something to maintain long term? Would you recommend it to others managing their diabetes? 

Yes, not only do I feel better, and have tighter control over my diabetes, I absolutely recommend it to anyone. Here’s the deal too that I like about Paleo – it can be as strict as they want or modify it to fit their lifestyle. For example, I am a home brewer and I love beer AND I love cheese. Those two delicious pieces of goodness I will never give up, so instead I gave up hot, fresh, warm bread and pasta. It’s all about choices.

What does a typical day of food look like to you? 

Easy. Take today for example:

6:30a – BG 82mg/dl
20oz black coffee and 1 banana (it was a rough morning, sometimes I eat eggs or I’ll make a protein shake)

8:30a – 103 mg/dl
another 20oz Black coffee

1 apple and 1/3c raw almonds

11:15 – BG post snack 125 mg/dl

1 salad (bib lettuce from my garden), with radishes, scallions, cucumbers and 1/3c raw sunflower seeds, a little goat cheese and rice vinegar dressing. 1 large avocado and a 12oz can of seltzer water.

1:15 BG post lunch – 97 mg/dl

1 string cheese and an organic raspberry yogurt.

7:50p 237 Pre dinner (went out to a pub for Guinness and ate happy hour bar food)

9:45p 155 post dinner (took 8u fast acting w/dinner since I was so high from the bar food)

Here’s another example:

6:05a 138 fasting

6:30a 2 eggs over medium + 1 banana

8:45a 160 post breakfast

9a 20 oz black coffee

10 a 1/3c raw almonds and an Asian pear/apple

11:15a Turkey burger with mustard 2 slices whole wheat and cheddar) not paleo I know 🙂 Wanted the carbs for my workout.

11:30 2 servings of my C4 pre-workout drink

12 Crossfit during lunch

1p 2 servings whey protein shake post w/o

3p 127 post shake

7:15p Paleo Chicken in Mushroom coconut sauce over quinoe and garnished w/scallions + 1 glass red wine

9:05p 106 post dinner

Pick any day of the week and or specific day (this year) and I can tell you what I ate and when. I realize today might be the best example of a day.

What is the best thing about the diet? 

If I fall of the wagon for some reason and eat some chips or red vines (my kryptonite) I don’t feel guilty, like I did in the past when I tried Weight Watchers. I still mark it down in my journal, take it as head nod and move forward. You can make what you want of eating Paleo, be strict, or give yourself a cheat day. I love eating real food, that’s not prepackaged crap, I feel healthier and have more energy each day.

Any tips for someone getting started on this type of diet? 

Plan. For me that is the most essential thing. I found that when I didn’t plan, I fell off the wagon and I only had me to blame. It’s easy to do, but to stay focused you just have to plan. When you know what your meals are for the week, you can get home from work and then get at it in the kitchen. No excuses.

Anything in addition you’d like to say? 

Since eating the Paleo lifestyle, and I hate it when one calls it a diet because then it feels temporary, I’ve pretty much stop taking my fast acting mealtime insulin. Meaning I only inject fast acting when I know I’m having Pizza for dinner as a treat, or for a thanksgiving meal, etc. My long acting insulin has reduced by over 10 units since starting this diet. All of that said, Paleo is great and it all tastes so good because it’s real food, but I have found that I also need to exercise, eating Paleo combined with exercise has yielded dynamic results. My endocrinologist was blown away by all that I had done, reduced my insulin injections and basically had my A1C’s in check — my last appointment I was 7.3. Still a bit more to go but the last time I was pushing 9 just six months before.

Lastly, some may say that eating Paleo is expensive, I would then ask, which is more expensive paying for real, quality food, or paying a doctor/insurance company for advice and then paying for an prescription? It’s all just choices.


Another T1 DM Using the Paleo Lifestyle to Manage Blood Sugars

photoI had the pleasure to connect with Shelby Hughes, a fellow type 1 diabetic, to talk about the great use of a paleo lifestyle to gain health, and more so find more ease in controlling blood sugars. Have a look at our conversation and please share if you have found similar things in your diet transition.

How long have you had diabetes? I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008 at age 39 years old. Originally I was diagnosed with Type 2, but after changing my diet, taking oral medication and performing daily exercise wasn’t helping my blood sugars, I had additional lab work that confirmed I had the antibodies for Type 1.

What eating regime have you found to be most helpful in managing stable blood sugars and how did you come to find this diet? When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I researched online and found that many diabetics (both Type 1 and 2) had been successful following a low carb diet. When I switched to this type of diet, I did see improvement in my blood sugars. However, I was not able to maintain a low-carb lifestyle for a long period of time. Eventually I “fell off the low-carb wagon” and started eating a Standard American Diet again. My blood sugars were always on a rollercoaster!  In January 2013, after hearing about the Paleo and Primal lifestyle from an online friend with diabetes, I decided I would try a Paleo framework for eating. Initially I was going to do it for just two weeks. After two weeks, I noticed that my blood sugars were AMAZINGLY stable. I didn’t have lows, I didn’t have highs. I never looked back!

What main improvements in your health have you observed, diabetic-related or not? Besides having very stable blood sugars (I can literally count on one hand the number BOTH lows and highs I’ve had since starting eating within the Primal/Paleo framework. My sleep has improved (I was having terrible issues with insomnia last fall, before changing my diet). I have lost weight, but I think that’s mainly because I’m staying within or just below my caloric requirements and I’ve increased my exercise. But I do have tons of energy. I was never a runner, EVER, but I completed my first 5K in March and I’m training now for a 10K. In fact, I never liked exercising at all, but now it’s like I HAVE to move my body or I feel like I’m going to crawl out of my skin! Other changes I’ve noticed are that my skin breaks out less and I don’t get mouth ulcers (I was getting them weekly before I made the changes).

Do you find the diet realistic and something to maintain long term? Would you recommend it to others managing their diabetes? I honestly believe this is a lifestyle I can manage long term. There are so many good Paleo substitutes for my favorite “comfort foods” that I just don’t feel like I’m missing out. I make cauliflower crust for my pizza, I make muffins with almond and coconut flour, I make “pasta” with spaghetti squash or zucchini “noodles”. Many people think that Paleo or Primal means “low carb” but it doesn’t have to! I eat tons of fruit and starchy vegetables like butternut squash and sweet potatoes. I am definitely eating carbs! And it’s funny…I’ve noticed that fruit and starchy veggies don’t spike my blood sugar like grains do. I won’t say that I’ll never eat another grain in my life…there may be a special occasion that warrants it! But since I love how I feel and love how stable my blood sugar is, it’s just not worth it to me to change back to eating a Standard American Diet.

What does a typical day of food look like to you? I’m a creature of habit, so I like to eat the same thing a lot of times.

Breakfast:  Green smoothie with fruits and veggies, a hardboiled egg, and bacon.

Lunch: a big (I mean big!) salad with grilled chicken, avocado, artichoke hearts, eggs, bacon, tomatoes, raisins, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, cucumbers, balsamic and olive oil dressing, and a nut flour muffin and fresh fruit.

Dinner: some kind of meat (pork, chicken, shellfish, beef), some kind of green vegetable (leafy greens or Brussels sprouts – usually whatever is fresh from the farmer’s market or available from our CSA bag) and some kind of starchy veggie or “grain-like” food – roasted butternut squash, acorn squash “fritters”, sweet potatoes, or maybe cauliflower “breadsticks.” I’m not really a “dessert” person, but I do drink a glass or two of red wine before dinner each night.

What is the best thing about the diet? One of the best things is that you can pretty much eat anywhere and get something that falls within the framework. When I first started, I had to go out of town for work and stay at a hotel. Of course that means eating out every meal. But you can get a big salad pretty much anywhere, and you can always ask that your “burger” or whatever be served without a bun. Of course now when I travel I plan ahead and pack snacks that can be meals: hardboiled eggs, homemade beef jerky, kale chips, homemade “larabars”, fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.

Any tips for someone getting started on this type of diet? Before I started, I bought the cookbook “Practical Paleo” by Diane Sanfilippo.  It has the most beautiful full page pictures of food and some great recipes. I bought the book and decided I would make something from it each week. Next thing I knew I had tried several new foods that my husband and I both loved, and it was easy to transition to the next step of eliminating grains. I also used many blogs on the internet – you can google any food and add the keywords “paleo” or “primal” and get tons of great recipes. Mark’s Daily Apple is another great resource for people wanting more information.

Anything in addition you’d like to say? I think some people get the wrong idea about the Paleo or Primal framework because like with all things, there are extremists out in the land of the internet. Also, depending on the source, different people have different ideas about what is “paleo” and what is not. I think that there is no black and white answer…it’s not about “what the cavemen ate,” it’s about nourishing your body with foods that you love and that help your body perform at its very best.

Thanks for sharing your insight Shelby! Perhaps your story will inspire others to seek change and gain health.

Cheers to you and good health,


Type 1 Diabetes Paired With a Paleo Diet

I have three main purposes for my website and one is to help educate consumers on the connection between nutrition and health, secondly to describe the philosophy of my counseling services to potential patients to distinguish it from other dietitians/nutritionists and thirdly, to act as a portal for people with type 1 diabetes and those interested in the care for type 1 diabetes to connect, communicate and learn.

That said, I am honored to share the experiences from Keith R. Runyan, MD, a physician in Florida, about his journey with type 1 diabetes.

So often I can write how the paleo diet has changed my life (diabetes), yet, when I see another fellow T1 experiencing similar things, I am inspired to share the story with my audience. Thank you Dr Runyan for allowing me to post this information and keep up the great work with your diabetes and helping your patients.

Dr. Runyan’s story goes something like this…

In medical school, I learned a tremendous amount of information about anatomy, histology, embryology, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics, as well as most of the pathologic conditions that affect mankind.  Interestingly, the topic of how nutrition influences or causes disease was lacking.  Of course, we learned about vitamin, mineral, fatty acid, and protein deficiencies and their clinical presentations, but the idea that a diet which deviates from that on which humans evolved to thrive can cause numerous major chronic diseases was not covered or adequately emphasized.  So, over most of the past 20 years, I have been treating these diseases with medications and advice to see a dietitian, thinking that the dietician would be dispensing correct information about what my patients should be eating.

In 1996, I gradually became ill with weight loss initially, then later fatigue, polyuria (excessive urination), polydipsia (excessive thirst), and diarrhea.  Through the powers of denial, of which mine were strong, I was able to ignore these symptoms and continue working.  Even though my wife, other physicians, and nurses noticed the weight loss, I continued to believe the problem would go away on its own.  Eventually, in 1998, having lost 40 lbs. from my originally normal body weight, I could no longer deny I had a problem.  I saw a physician and had some tests run.  My blood sugar was 489 mg/dL, and obviously I had diabetes mellitus, type 1 in my case.  I started on insulin that same day with resolution over the next 2 weeks of the fatigue, polyuria, and polydipsia, but the diarrhea which turned out to be caused by diabetic autonomic neuropathy involving the intestinal tract would take another two and a half years to resolve.  With treatment of the diabetes with insulin and improved blood sugar control came the onset of severe and diffuse peripheral neuropathy with pain and numbness over most of my body.  I could not decide which was worse, the whole body pain or the diarrhea up to 20 times per day.  Fortunately, I did not have eye, vascular, or kidney involvement and that remains the case today.  The neuropathic pain gradually resolved over the next year, and the neuropathic numbness gradually went away after 2-3 years.  But, I did want to discuss the difficulty I had with controlling blood sugars while following the recommendations of the ADA (American Diabetes Association).  Ever since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus in 1998, the ADA has recommended a low fat diet in line with the dietary fat-heart disease hypothesis since heart and vascular disease is the most common cause of death of the diabetic patient.  Specifically, a dietary intake of 50 – 60% of calories from carbohydrates (carbs) has been recommended, some of which may be simple sugars.  In theory, I thought this seemed plausible, since the ADA recommended counting carbohydrate grams in the diet to be balanced with insulin, in my case, or other diabetes medications (for those with type 2 diabetes).  However, after 2 years of weighing my food or otherwise calculating the grams of carbohydrates eaten with each meal, there was no significant improvement in blood sugar control and no improvement in the number or severity of hypoglycemic episodes (low blood sugars).  So, I abandoned the carb counting and just tried to keep the intake of carbs constant with each meal.  At some point along this journey, I heard about the book “Dr Richard Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution”.  I did not read the book at the time, but found out about the “drastic” reduction in carbohydrates in the diet as the main feature of his approach.  The thought of giving up so many foods that I liked did not appeal to me.  I thought the fluctuations in blood sugar, hypoglycemic episodes, and my HgbA1c values of 5.6 to 6.9% were an inevitable part of having diabetes.  In addition, I assumed that if his approach was scientifically based and clinically effective, that the medical authorities (including the ADA – American Diabetes Association) would have also embraced this approach.  But the fact that they did not, added to my reluctance.  Well, I should have looked into that more at the time and actually read his book.  In 2008, the ADA for the first time acknowledged the use of a low carbohydrate approach for the purpose of weight loss in diabetics for up to one year, based on a recent study published in the medical literature.  They did not, and have not, embraced the low carbohydrate diet for all diabetics long term.

In 2007, my wife trained for and did her first triathlon.  I watched her first triathlon race and saw how she and so many others appeared to enjoy it.  I had not exercised on any regular basis since high school and since I had a chronic disease that might be helped with exercise, I decided to give triathlon a try.  I enjoyed the exercise and having a goal to work toward gave me the motivation I needed.  After a few years of increasing the distance of the triathlon events, I contemplated doing the full ironman distance triathlon.  I started looking into how to keep my body fueled and blood sugars near normal for the 12+ hours it might take me to do such a race particularly since sugar is the primary, if not sole, fuel used by athletes during a long distance triathlon.  This is what motivated me to discover the dietary change that I am currently enjoying.

In 2011, I reexamined my diet and studied the Paleo Diet (Loren Cordain, PhD), the low carbohydrate ketogenic diet for diabetes (Richard Bernstein, MD), and the low carbohydrate ketogenic diet for athletes (Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD, Jeff Volek, PhD, RD and Eric Westman, MD).  I have combined portions of both of these diets for myself.  The essence of the low carbohydrate ketogenic approach for diabetes is as follows.  Diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance.  Carbohydrates in the diet are not essential to the diet, only protein and fat are essential.  Near elimination of carbohydrates from the diet will maximally improve diabetes control, reduce insulin doses needed to control blood sugars in type 1 or insulin dependent type 2 diabetes, and in the case of pre-diabetes or early type 2 diabetes can normalize blood sugars without medications.  See Athletes page for more details.

I transitioned to this low carbohydrate ketogenic diet to address both of my issues, namely diabetes control and fueling endurance exercise with excellent results.  My blood sugars are better controlled and hypoglycemia is quite unusual.  I have had several blood sugar readings in the range of 46 to 60 mg/dl without any symptoms of hypoglycemia.  Readings this low prior to the ketogenic diet would have caused symptoms of hypoglycemia.  On the ketogenic diet, however, these symptoms are absent presumably due to the use of ketones by the body and brain.  I am able to exercise with no apparent loss of energy or power while consuming relatively little sugar during exercise to prevent hypoglycemia.  I measure my blood sugar while exercising usually every 60 – 90 mins or if I feel my blood sugar might be low.  My blood tests have improved in the typical pattern seen on a ketogenic diet. Triglycerides decreased from an average of 76 to 65 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol increased from an average of 61 to 90 mg/dL, the triglyceride/HDL ratio decreased from 1.31 to 0.72, the calculated LDL cholesterol increased from an average of 103 to 162 mg/dL.  The hsCRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation) decreased from 3.2 to 0.7 mg/L.  Of note, in my case, exercise did not result in a significant change in any of these lipid values, nor did niaspan or pravastatin (taken during different time frames).  The niaspan was discontinued 16 months prior to and the pravastatin was discontinued 4.5 months prior to these latest results.  Seeing that this diet actually worked for me and the scientifically proven health benefits of a well formulated low carbohydrate diet for treatment of obesity and numerous chronic diseases, I decided to add nutritional therapy to my medical practice.  In addition to review of books and literature, I am using the resources of the ASBP (American Society of Bariatric Physicians) in preparation for the board certification examination in obesity medicine (by the American Board of Obesity Medicine) in Nov. 2012.

What Does Dr Runyan Eat?
1.  Macronutrient Composition
Protein – about 0.7 grams protein per pound of body weight per day, currently 163 lbs X 0.7 = 114 grams per day.  This is close to what I ate prior to starting a ketogenic low carb diet.  This is in the range recommended for athletes (0.6 to 1.0 grams per pound of body weight per day).  I chose the lower end of this recommended range for two reasons.  First, I am doing endurance exercise rather than body building exercise and therefore need less protein.  Second, too much protein in the diet can interfere with maintaining nutritional ketosis since protein in excess of the body’s needs for production of enzymes, hormones, structural components, etc. can be converted to glucose which in turn would require more injected insulin and suppress fat burning and ketone production.  The protein in my diet comes from grass-fed beef, lamb, and pork (which is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed), range-fed chicken, omega-3 enriched eggs (currently not range-fed), cheese (extra sharp cheddar, feta, and cream cheese primarily), fish (primarily wild caught Alaska salmon, but other varieties as well) and shrimp, plain Greek yogurt (10% milk fat), and nuts (primarily macadamia and pistachio).

Carbohydrates – about 40 – 50 grams carbohydrate per day.  I aim for about 30 – 40 grams from my diet, and during long exercise sessions (> 2 hrs) which generally occurs 2 days/week, I may take up to 24 grams of carbohydrate per hour while exercising to prevent hypoglycemia.  Carbohydrates in my diet come from vegetables (kale, collard greens, yellow squash, zucchini squash, brussels sprouts, lettuce, etc), and the small amount of carbohydrates contained in cheese, yogurt, nuts, cream, and 2 tbls lemon juice for salads.  I avoid all grains and foods made from grains, fruits (except tomato and avocado), potatoes, and legumes.  I take sugar (glucose) only to treat hypoglycemia or prevent it during exercise.

Fats – about 230 grams fat per day (about 100 grams saturated fat, 100 grams monounsaturated fat, 30 grams polyunsaturated fat, 6600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 3.6 to 1, and 600 mg of cholesterol).  Fat in my diet primarily comes from meat, tallow, eggs, fish, cheese, nuts, butter, heavy whipping cream, coconut oil, olives and olive oil.

Totals Calories = (114 grams protein x 4) + (45 grams carbohydrate x 4) + (230 grams fat x 9) = 2700 calories.  From a caloric perspective, 17% of calories come from protein, 7% from carbohydrates, and 76% from fat.

2.  Micronutrient Composition
I used the USDA nutrition data tables primarily to calculate the micronutrient content of my diet.  Using the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) values for my sex and age, I compared them to my daily intake.  My diet met or exceeded the RDI values.

3.  Fiber
My daily dietary fiber intake is about 18 grams/day, which is less than the recommended 30 grams/day.  This recommended figure is based on the belief that dietary fiber will prevent colon cancer.  I believe that colon cancer is not causally related to dietary fiber, but more related to a carbohydrate predominate diet since colon cancer is one of the many diseases of Western civilization.

In summary, I have combined most of the tenets from the Paleo Diet as outlined by Loren Cordain, PhD (except for the use of some dairy products, inclusion of more fat, exclusion of fruit) with a ketogenic low carbohydrate approach as detailed by Richard Bernstein, MD which I believe is optimal for those with diabetes.  This lifestyle has resulted in the best control of my diabetes to date and has the potential to minimize the many complications of diabetes.

Keith R. Runyan, MD
6499 38th Ave N., Suite C-1
St. Petersburg, FL   33706
Phone (727)345-3908


Corn Syrup in Soy Sauce?!

Getting comfortable upon our return to the US, post living in Australia for two years, I cannot help but find myself feeling “culture shock.” Maybe, “food shock” is a better term.

No doubt, I love America and the lifestyle it offers, yet, since being accustomed to daily food markets, butchers with fresh, free range meat and eggs, it is overwhelming walking into a Giant Eagle, let alone Costco these last few days.

Goodness, I bet my bank account I found a kiwi in Costco the size of a mango. How is this natural? And wow, I could literally get any cuisine I wanted in one store, regardless of the season. They had seaweed salad in Ohio! I mean this is great, but is it that great? The salad was delish but after reading the food ingredients, it lost it’s appeal seeing there were at least 3 food coloring’s in it. Why would my seaweed need to be more green? I wish we had an option.

And whereas it’s lovely to get any ingredient you want, it makes it tough to know what is truly in season. In Australia I literally bought produce by the season and made recipes accordingly. I remember one day I wanted red grapes (out of season) and the supermarket clerk looked at me like I had two heads.

Also, whilst visiting with family, my mom asked I help point out some healthier choices for her to eat/prepare for meals and I was/am more than keen to do so. This morning I began helping her by proofing her cabinet and found science experiments of ingredients. What do I mean? Some of the items in the pantry would never pass as food if it weren’t for the label or food container. I nearly fell over when I saw corn syrup in soy sauce! Why? I mean really, why? I know corn is cheap and before you know it, it is going to be found in our chewing gum. Oh wait…

I am probably coming off in this post as harsh, but the point I want to make is it’s not anyone’s fault for not knowing what is best for them to eat or feed their family with. There are so so so many mixed messages in the media and heaps of information to sort through. Most recently I had forgotten how hard marketing makes it on the regular consumer in knowing what foods to choose for health.  If you need some clarifying, I am happy to help. Send me an email and I will do my best to reply within 48 hours.

A pointer to start you off with is a line by Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Most plants.” And sure as heck eat real butter!

Cheers to you and good health,


More Books to Recommend

The Paleo Answer

Dr. Loren Cordain’s bestselling The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook have helped hundreds of thousands of people eat for better health and weight loss by following the diet humans were genetically designed to eat: meats, fish, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and other foods that mimic the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. In The Paleo Answer, he shows you how to supercharge the Paleo Diet for optimal lifelong health and weight loss. Featuring a new prescriptive 7-day plan and surprising revelations from the author’s original research, this is the most powerful Paleo guide yet.

Good Calories, Bad Calories

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn’t end well— with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn’t far behind.

With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long- term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body’s ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle.

Sweet Potato Power

Low carbs need to be smart carbs. Lucky for us, nature has given us the nutritious, delicious sweet potato. This super food gives all the benefits of other high energy foods with more nutrition and without spiking blood sugar. Plus, this humble tuber tastes great and is easily incorporated into your diet in seriously good ways.

Sweet Potato Power gives you the tools to run your own tests to determine the diet rules that work specifically for you and your unique biology. Through self experimentation you can cut through diet mumbo jumbo, and let science and your numbers speak for themselves to answer questions.

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet

Do you want to lose fat and stay young, all while avoiding cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and a host of other illnesses? The Paleo Solution incorporates the latest, cutting edge research from genetics, biochemistry and anthropology to help you look, feel and perform your best.

No Excuses

Whether or not you are on the Dukan Diet, the Paleo Diet, Weight Watchers or Fast Food only, you are in the power of your own well-being  No one can defend your health better than yourself. Not your doctor, not your partner, husband or wife and not your mother. You know your body better than anyone and you cannot neglect the opportunity to feel your best, perform your best, sleep your best and be your overall best person. Clearly it is not easy, yet, the overall effort is well worth it.

If you think you could tweak your state of health in any way (diet, fitness, sleep, stress), I empower you to make change now. If time is the problem, start small by adding a little more fitness in your day, staying hydrated, putting aside time for enough sleep, surrounding yourself in a positive environment and more.

Everyone’s needs are different including fitness patterns and eating regimes. Yet, it is not as clear to know what exactly works for our individual DNA. This takes a conscious effort to understand and time.

If I could offer one piece of advice on diet, it is to do a personal experiment to figure out what food ingredients make you feel your best. How? There are various ways of doing this but the quickest results can be revealed with a modified elimination diet. This includes the removal of dairy, legumes and/or grains (including all sugar) from your diet for 3-6 weeks. If this is too much, try removing just one of the 3 food groups listed above.

Am I crazy? Yes. But I care about your health just as much as mine. I certainly get push-back with this modified diet idea but, more often than not, by the end there is always some sort of success through the transition.

Are you on-board to give this a shot?

Maybe some background information can serve as inspiration. Once upon a time I attended a convention, Food As Medicine, put on by many credible health and medical experts. During the seminar, at some level, the practitioners preached a gluten and dairy free diet. As a registered dietitian I sat in my chair taking notes thinking 1) “These doctors have to be nuts, who would avoid whole grains and cheese? And, 2) “Thank goodness I am not intolerant to these foods, I can never imagine living without them.”

Fast-forward to today – if I had as much of a crumb of bread I am put out for at least 2 days. I may bloat, I get skin blemishes, I become depressed (and I am happy person), I get endless food cravings, sleep disturbances and my blood sugars become unbearable to control. On the flip-side  my diabetes is much more stable on a gluten free, dairy free and legume free diet AND I require less than half of the insulin I needed on a ‘balanced diet’. This is amazing, especially since many endocrinologists find type 1 diabetics require more insulin with age. Most days I average 9 units of basal insulin (Novolog) and thinking back to my high school days, I used to require 20-24 basal units of insulin per day. I am also 10 years older since I graduated from high school.

Regardless of present symptoms or lack of, these foods (dairy, gluten, legumes (lectins)) can cause inflammation in our bodies, which simply leads to bad things and poor health outcomes. Three to six weeks of an elimination diet can help put the proof in the pudding and help you understand what really makes you feel your best.

This personal inclusion is to help demonstrate how food can affect us. Proponents of a ‘balanced diet’ of whole grains, low fat dairy and legumes, argue that consumption of novel Neolithic and Industrial era foods is responsible for the current epidemic levels of obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer in the US and other contemporary Western populations.[1]

Have a think about it. This is just an idea for anyone looking to feel better and better manage blood sugar levels.

If you think it is something you want to give a shot, it is important to be strict for the whole 3 weeks (at least), allowing for no variables. Once the 21  or 42 days expire, slowly add in any of the restricted foods you have missed and ask yourself how you feel. If you notice any intolerance, reach for many other nutrient dense foods like seasonal vegetables, grass fed meat, seafood, coconut milk, nuts, seeds, berries, dark chocolate, fruit and more.

Food is one of the best pleasures in life; just make sure the choices you make are worth it.

Cheers to you and good health! If you need any help. that is what I am here for. There are no excuses in neglecting your own well-being.



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic-style_diet


I was flipping through TV channels Friday night, while doing my writing class homework and a great chick flick was on, Serendipity. Unfortunately, I was only able to catch the last 20 minutes of this poetic film, but one conversation has kept with me for the last few days.

The dialogue, between John Cusak and his best friend Jeremy Piven, who writes obituaries, ended when Jeremy declared to John that the Greeks don’t have obituaries. Instead, when someone dies they only ask one question and that is, “Did he have passion?”

Besides the fact that I am a hopeless romantic, above all, this statement has such a strong meaning.

So in the last few days this thought has been running through my head, solidifying my view that we should all have a true passion. And with my building ideas, I know that mine is nutrition.

What is your passion?