Dairy & Bone Health

For frequent viewers and those new to my site, you will know or become familiar with the notion I do not advocate a diet rich in dairy, especially not pasteurized, grain-fed, non-organic dairy. Yet, with this, common questions arise regarding the avoidance of dairy and bone health.

Firstly, bone health is more than getting enough calcium. As far as nutrition, and not even addressing the importance of anaerobic exercise, bone health encompasses proper amounts of magnesium, calcium and fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, and K2.

Some nutrient-dense food sources abundant in calcium includes dark leafy greens (kale, broccoli), bone broth, sesame seeds, dried figs, sea vegetables, to name a few. Furthermore, eating a whole food (not whole grain) diet increases your absorption rate of these important minerals. To clarify, this also mean limiting or avoiding grains. Grains contains phytates and phytates bind to the minerals we consume, reducing the overall absorption rate. So what does this mean? The nutrients listed on a bread (grain) food label will not all be absorbed. The phytates will leach to the minerals and therefore, you will have some nutrient-dense urine. Too far? Sorry.

However, the bottom-line is a diet including whole, natural food, including quality protein will make us thrive. Some people can continue eating dairy, but I do not recommend for it to be the center of our plates.

Know this, not all dairy is one in the same. Raw and grass-fed dairy products are far superior to pasteurized, homogenized,  processed, low-fat dairy. It is important to get dairy from cows raised naturally, healthily and to eat full fat dairy – that is where the naturally occurring (not fortified) vitamins A, D and K2 are found along with healthy fatty acids (CLA).

If ranked, raw dairy is the winner as far as nutrition content and overall health benefits. Second, grassfed dairy and third would be organic dairy. If you can get raw, grassfed and organic dairy, rock on! But it’s not all that easy. A few brands I recommend for patients who can handle dairy (who do not have an auto-immune condition, who do not have type 1 diabetes in their family medical history age pending and who do not have a weak digestive track) include:

  1. Noosa Yoghurt
  2. Join a CSA and get raw dairy through a farmer
  3. Natural by Nature Grassfed, Dairy Products
  4. Eat Wild Grassfed Products
  5. Trader Joes has a Raw Cheddar cheese
  6. Whole Foods has raw cheese
  7. Kerrygold butter (can be found at more supermarkets, including Trader Joes)
  8. US Wellness Meats 

Indeed, we can live and thrive without milk, cheese, cream, okay maybe not butter (or ghee from grassfed cows), but health and healthy bones include consumption of a combination of natural nutrients. The best way to help your frame is to eat foods in its natural state. Furthermore, it is not supported to supplement with calcium for recent data indicates detrimental affects on our health when doing so. (1,2,3)

Ironic enough, our country (USA) has the highest occurrence of calcium supplementation and the highest occurrence of osteoporosis. The Nurses’ Health Study followed 72,337 women for over 18 years and found that dairy intake did not reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related hip fractures.(2)

This is some food for thought, don’t you agree?

Fueling our bodies and our health with whole, unmodified food is and will always be the answer.

1. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Willett WC. Comment on the IOM Vitamin D and Calcium Recommendations. Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source, 2010.
2. Zoler ML. High Vitamin D Intake Linked to Reduced Fractures. Family Practice News, 2010(November 16, 2010).
3. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Orav EJ, Willett, WC, et al., A Higher Dose of Vitamin D is Required for Hip and Non-vertebral Fracture Prevention: A Pooled Participant-based Meta-analysis of 11 Double-blind RCTs, in The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2010 Annual Meeting2010: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
4. Tsukahara N, Ezawa I. [Calcium intake and osteoporosis in many countries]. Clin Calcium. 2001 Feb;11(2):173-7.
5. Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77(2): 504-11.

Similar articles on this topic:

Raw Milk Reality: Is Raw Milk Worth the Risk?

Raw Milk – Interview with Mary McGonigle-Martin

Drinking Raw Milk Is Worth The Risk, Advocates Say

Milk 101: Whole, Raw, Organic, Low-Fat, etc

Top 10 Reasons to See a Paleo Registered Dietitian

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics posted an article, “Top 10 Reasons to Visit an RD,” and it inspired me to repost similar content but outline why a Paleo Registered Dietitian can suit your needs.

A trusted health care professional can serve as an integral liaison in helping you make change for a healthy lifestyle. See how consulting with a Paleo RD can benefit you.

  1. Diabetes: You have prediabetes or any other form of diabetes – T1, T2, Gestational and you want to gain control. A Paleo RD can change your life and your relationship with food by teaching you holistic, real-food approaches in eating a nutrient-dense diet, low to moderate carbohydrates and avoiding pro-inflammatory foods to help you best control your blood sugars.
  2. Community: Your community has high levels of obesity. A Paleo RD can work with local leaders, including doing presentations to schools, teachers and parents, to create wellness programs that promote healthy eating, sourcing high quality food locally and physical, natural movement for everyone.
  3. Media: You are a marketing manager for a food company/restaurant and know consumers’ preference for good-tasting food that is healthy. A Paleo RD can make the connection and work with your media campaign to develop new messages that will be successful in the marketplace.
  4. Performance: You want to improve your performance in sports. A Paleo RD can transition you to be fat-adapted, enhancing your ability to perform longer and better. Whether you’re running a marathon, skiing or jogging with your dog, you deserve to properly fuel your body with the right foods at the right amounts.
  5. Special Diets: More than 15 million people in the US have a food allergy and this does not even address food sensitivities  A Paleo RD dietitian will work with you to develop an eating plan for your new needs and even help uncover food sensitivities.
  6. Family Nutrition: A Paleo RD an help you take care of your family, from parents growing older and at risk for Alzheimer’s  dementia,  etc, to newborns and eventually starting on solids. A Paleo RD who has special culinary skills can teach you how to cook in a simple, convenient way as well as educate you on what foods to choose.
  7. Food Relationships: Perhaps you or your teenager has issues with food and eating healthfully. A Paleo RD can address the impact certain anti-nutrients have on our mental health. Please note if a condition such as anorexia, etc, can be addressed by a Paleo RD, yet, a RD who specializes in eating disorders should be your first attempt. I will plug the book Primal Body, Primal Mind as a go-to resource as well.
  8. Locavore: Your community wants more local foods to be available. A Paleo RD can inform you of some great options in how to connect with a nearby farmer, as well as, provide advice on how to grow your own produce or herbs.
  9. Time: You and your husband/wife have just started a family, perhaps you have moved, started a new job or hobby and time is just not there. A Paleo RD can help you get through and not put your health in the back burner
  10. Supplements: While all health professionals can agree, food first is the best approach in getting your needed nutrient intake, however, a Paleo RD can help you source the best needed supplements or food substitutes. Perhaps liver and onions are a thing of the past, but the nutritional bang for your buck you can get with this ancestral meal or a homemade bone broth may need to be revisited.
Regardless of the niche a health professional has, everyone needs some sort of coaching. From a personal trainer, to a running coach, a business mentor, to a Registered Dietitian. Treat yourself and see what a coach can offer you.
Cheers to you and good health,


Sildorf SM, er al. Remission without insulin therapy on gluten-free diet in a 6-year old boy with type 1 diabetes mellitus. BMJ Case Rep. June 21, 2012.

Jonsson, T, et al. Beneficial effects os a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc. Diabetol. 2009; 8: 35.

Cordain L. The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based Upon Paleolithic Food GroupsJANA. 2002; 5(3): 15-24.

Wolf, R. The Paleo Solution – The Original Human Diet. 2010.

Rosebud O. Robertsa, Lewis A. Roberts, Yonas E. Geda, Ruth H. Cha, V. Shane Pankratz, Helen M. O’Connor, David S. Knopman and Ronald C. Petersen, Relative Intake of Macronutrients Impacts Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012 

Wangen W. Healthier Without Wheat – A New Understanding of Wheat Allergies, Celiac Disease, and Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance. 2009.

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


What Does Paleo Infused Nutrition Mean?

Paleo: Paleo comes from the word paleolithic, which in brief means ancestral and prehistoric.

Infused: Infused means to cause to be permeated with something (as a principle or quality) that alters usually for the better.

NutritionNutrition is the bounty of our health and describes the entity of Paleo Infused Nutrition. 

Paleo Infused Nutrition:

Put it all together and therein lies the foundation of my company – educating clients on how to achieve optimal health based on eating in accordance with historical human nutrition (reprogramming our epigenetics) and overcoming today’s social pressures and the food industry (conventional wisdom) and reaching personal health goals. We have a rich cuisine, as this is great within itself, but we are out of touch of our roots. With conflicting health and nutrition advice in the media and in varying health professionals, I ensure to simplify my counseling so it makes complete sense and it hard to forget.

Paleo Infused Nutrition is focused on helping others, including the average person looking for improved health and those who have been diagnosed with a medical condition, to change their lifestyle, leading to a long and positive quality of life, season after season.

There are two main guidelines to my Paleo Infused Nutrition lifestyle:

  1. eat whole, nutrient-dense food
  2. reduce/avoid processed, refined foods – grains (including “whole grains”), legumes, pasteurized dairy and sugar.

Usually the biggest red flag in the above guidelines are the avoidance of grains. While I do not intend to strip all grains from one’s diet, I will help my clients understand a new perspective on these industrialized foods. And with grain’s modest nutrition profile, their propensity to trigger food intolerances (gluten and grains), carbohydrate cravings, addictions, binges and their limited serving of fiber, it is hard for me to suggest grains to be part of someone’s every meal or snack.

While the above guidelines are simple in script, they take adjustments to apply. That is what I am here for – to help coach you, educate you, empower you to be your best, eat your best and feel your best.

Cheers to you and good health. – Kel

FAQ – Breastfeeding & (Paleo) Diet Change

If you are a new mother, breastfeeding and wanting to shed some weight, you may enjoy this common FAQ. If you have any experiences to add, please comment; we would love to hear from you.

My sweet nephew Beau

Client FAQ:

“I’m looking to jump start losing the rest of my baby weight and was thinking of going paleo, as I have before with significant other. However, I do have some concerns about changing my diet THAT much since I am breastfeeding. My question is: do you have any info on the affects of paleo while breastfeeding? Is there a way to ease into it so that it won’t affect my milk supply? Any info you can find would be so helpful.”


While my response is not black and white everyone, hence I do not know exactly what foods are currently being consumed, I believe it is advisable and surely should not negatively impact milk supply switching to a whole food diet, such as a paleo diet. Yet, it is crucial to keep calories adequate. With breastfeeding calorie needs can increase by 200-500 calories. Keeping hydration up is almost, if not more important too. Drink that H2O.

While I am not yet a mother, there are testimonials of moms who have breastfeed their children on both a paleo diet and a Standard American Diets and have found these observations:

  • Paleo breastfeed babies (meaning mother ate a paleo diet) had better sleep, fewer spit ups, less gas and few to no rashes on the bum or face.

Of course this is not scientific data, and all babies are different, but do a Google search and see what you find. I think there is some truth in the consistency of the above noted trends.

Overall, making the change to paleo or to a cleaner diet, you need support. Whether it’s your significant other helping you, family or frineds, I too am happy to coach you along. Please don’t hesistate to ask.

Hands down, you are a wonder woman. Having a baby is not a piece of cake and these breastfeeding months are not a bed of roses either. Changing a diet, and setting standards for yourself can be stressful. Go at a pace of making change that works for you and if you slip-up, no stress. There is tomorrow and the next, wide open for you to be successful with this goal.

Overall some suggestions of transitioning to a paleo diet is to be sure to get good fats (coconut oil, avocado, grass fed butter, etc) in along with some solid protein sources, such as wild fish, grass fed meat, free range, organic eggs. Fill up on vegetables and some fruit. The amount of fat recommended is likely more than you have been eating. Do not be afraid of fat  it is good for you, good for weight loss and good for your baby.

Cheers to you and good health,



A Day (Diet) In the Life of Kelly

It has been awhile since I have posted my daily food intake and since moving my food options have varied be remain to be primal choices. Enjoy this observation and let me know if you have any questions.


  • Paleo pancakes – 2 free range eggs, lots of cinnamon, Himalayan sea salt, tablespoon or so of coconut flour, 1/8 cup of almond unsweetened milk, cocoa nibs (for texture, flavor and health benefits) and coconut oil (to grease the pan).
  • Black coffee
  • Water
  • 2 probiotics, 2 fish oils, 4,000 IU vitamin D

Side note on why I choose the above – I prefer coconut flour over almond meal/flour. Almond meal/flour is tasty but it is a huge intake of nuts, which have antinutrients. Nuts are a great fuel source but should be consumed in moderation.

I do not put any honey or sugar in my paleo pancakes simply because they are so good and do not need it.

The noted supplements are usually consistent day to day but my vitamin D dose with vary with my activities and recent time spent outside. I prefer cod liver oil but while traveling it is not as conducive.


  • Mixture of 2 soups I had in the refrigerator – one was freshly made, which is very similar to the known Weight Watchers cabbage soup and the second is a similar tomato-based soup made with sausage.
  • Handful of pecans, as a side.
  • Water

Snack – dill pickle half


  • Bowl of cabbage soup
  • Grilled chicken – shredded it and heated it in my soup
  • Water

(All leftovers I had around)

Snack – Homemade gluten free cookie with a teaspoon of almond butter on top, Water

If I were to be a self-critic I would view this day and suggest I did a pretty good idea. Is it perfect? No. But if I were to striving for perfection with what I ate, I do not think I would have enjoyed it as much and there would present an extra layer of stress; which we do not need in our busy day. I would however, suggest more raw food. I could have easily thrown in some of the garden peppers into my salad and to be honest, I didn’t because I was lazy. On to a new day with the new opportunity to succeed.

Cheers to you and good health,


5 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin

If you have been following my tweets you may well know my recent love for pumpkin. It. Is.Amazing. Certainly satisfies any taste and easy on the blood sugars. A few ideas for pumpkin include:

1.Pumpkin Soup  – First peel an pumpkin, cube and then roast in the oven. Once tender blend together ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, onion, pepper, sea salt and a touch of honey.

2. Pumpkin Porridge – On a Sunday I will roast a whole pumpkin or throw a diced pumpkin in the slow cooker to have on hand during the week. This comes in handy, especially early mornings when I am pinched for time. My pumpkin porridge includes 2 eggs, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of pumpkin, cinnamon, sea salt pecans/macadamia nuts all mixed together and microwaved in a coffee mug. Viola.

3. Roasted Pumpkin – As simple as it sounds, I reheat pumpkin and add some spice to my liking. Paprika and pumpkin marry well and go nicely with 2 poached eggs or grilled fish.

4. Pumpkin Dessert – I reheat pumpkin again with a concoction of coconut milk or flakes, cocoa nibs and cinnamon. If I have a really bog sweet tooth, I will drizzle some honey on-top.

5. Pumpkin Salad – Pumpkin over some fresh greens, pine nuts and homemade balsamic dressing is an easy and go-to dinner for me this season. The fiber keeps me full and the pine nuts have the perfect taste. If I want a little sweetness to my salad, I will also throw in some raisins.

As you can see pumpkin is so versatile. Do you have a favorite way to eat it? One thing is for sure – while it’s easy to buy pumpkin in a can (especially in the US), it is much better to buy and roast one, eliminating the preservatives and package contamination. Good health, often takes an extra step but is always worth it.

Cheers to you and good health,

See You Later Hypertension

Last fortnight I was asked to participate in an online interview (article originally published on: http://www.bloodpressurecharts.net/kelly-o-connell-interview.html) about natural ways to manage high blood pressure. Not only was this request interesting but it is a topic that needs more coverage. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent killer. I hate to be so blunt but there is no way around it – one in four adults (US data) have hypertension. Untreated hypertension can get ugly causing kidney damage, stroke, heart disease, dementia and more. However, with most things related to health, you can turn it around for the better. If hypertension is something you deal with personally, consider the below to incorporate with your daily routine. As always, if you need some help, feel free to contact me.

  • What supplements/foods do you recommend people with high blood pressure try, to help lower their blood pressure?

Before advising someone on what to eat and what to supplement with, I first need to understand if there is anything else going on with their health, such as diabetes, kidney disease, etc. I also want to know what medication they are taking.

Generally speaking though, I advise eating a moderately high protein and fat diet, with moderately low (less than 150 grams per day) carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should be mainly sourced from vegetables, legumes/lentils, tubers and fruit.

Important foods to consider are those rich in potassium (bananas, avocado, herbs, cocoa, nuts, and tomatoes), magnesium (pumpkin, squash, cocoa, nuts, fish), vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, celery) and vitamin E (almonds, herbs, olives), omega 3 fatty acids (fatty fish like salmon or sardines) and flavonols (red wine, grapes, cocoa). Do you see a trend? I am a believer in dark chocolate/cocoa nibs and consume cocoa in one shape or another daily.

However, more important than knowing what to eat is knowing foods to cut back on, including foods high in fructose and processed foods (chips, deli meat, bread, pastries, cookies, desserts, etc).

Fructose, simply put, is a type of sugar. It is under a lot of scrutiny causing detrimental things to our health including hypertension. While the jury is still out, there is a true consensus that fructose does more harm than good. The important take away is to know what foods are high in fructose i.e. candies/lollies, cold breakfast cereals, desserts such as ice cream, cake, muffins, salad dressing, breads, pizza,crackers, canned fruit and juices with added sweeteners and more.

My recommended supplements include high-quality fish oil, a strong probiotic, magnesium twice a day, Himalayan sea salt and CoQ10. Food always comes first.

  • What are your thoughts on salt and high blood pressure? Should we be limiting salt intake or is the salt thing all blown out of proportion?

You may be surprised to hear that I do not stress salt restrictions. Processed foods should certainly get more vigilance in this space. I think overall sodium claims are blown out of proportion and certainly, I strongly advise the use of Himalayan sea salt. Overall, individuals need to self-assess how salt makes them feel. If the consumption of salt makes someone retain fluid or make their heart palpitate/speed up, then a reduced salt intake should be implemented. However, I think there are far more important actions to take than demonizing salt. Focus should zero in on stress levels, adequate sleep, exercise, eating whole foods (this does not include whole grains) and maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Not necessarily specific to high blood pressure, but what are your top 5 healthiest foods we should all be trying to eat more of, and why?

Grassfed/free range meat – protein is essential and free range meat, ideally, beef, has an optimal fatty acid ratio, up to 6 times more omega 3’s compared to the grocery store variety. Certainly, omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in every cell and system in our bodies. Beyond the nutrient profile grassfed/free range beef offers, it is a great tool for optimal health. It is satiating, protective against cancer and cardiovascular disease, has low insulinogenic properties and more.

Coconut – whether it is coconut oil, flour, cream or milk, I welcome it all. I consume this functional food daily, reaping one of the thousands of benefits it offers. In traditional medicine, coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems and it is so versatile to use. I make pancakes from coconut flour and milk, I cook with coconut oil, especially with eggs and coconut cream is delicious with berries.

Pumpkin – is loaded with healthy starches and it is absolutely delicious. Pumpkin is nutrient-rich, easy to make and can satisfy a sweet or savory craving. I have learned to cook pumpkin in a variety of fashions from pumpkin soup (with coconut milk and cinnamon), roasted pumpkin salad (with pine nuts, spinach, feta and homemade balsamic dressing) to pumpkin porridge (mixing puree pumpkin with eggs, nuts, and raisins).  Pumpkin can also serve as a dessert by garnishing it with spices and honey.

Free range eggs – they are one of few foods that naturally contain vitamin D and are far superior to caged eggs when it comes to nutrient content. They are rich in vitamin A and E and omega 3 fatty acids, among many other important vitamins and minerals.

Fermented foods – I am all about gut health and a happy gut, makes a good immune system. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, etc provide probiotics to our intestines. There are plenty of benefits to adding probiotics to our bodies, including protection from colon cancerrelief from lactose intolerance and diarrheareduction in cavities, and more. Improved digestion means more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed, making you an overall healthier being.

Cheers to you and good health,





Time to Log My Food Intake

Guess what I did this morning? I hopped on the scale, and, as suspected was not pleased with the number I saw. Most definately though, weight does not define who we are and the number onthe scale does not tell a full story. There are other measures to take into consideration when assessing your weight/composition. However, I know I have been much more stressed in the last 8 months, than I think ever in my life and I have been getting a little too comfortable with winter laziness and meals. Perfection is not the goal, but I want to weigh in a little lighter and feel more energetic as the season turns.  

So what is my plan? I will note my daily food intake and assess if it is enough nutrition for my needs. I also want to step up my movement, while keeping a nice variety of strength training, high intense cardio and low intense excercise (i.e. walking!). I will intend to take one day at a time and reassess in 4 weeks. Until then, have a look at what I ate yesterday.

Breakfast: 2 eggs, sliced button mushrooms and 1 large piece of free-range pork bacon. English breakfast tea and then a coffee at the office, which I regretted come bedtime.

Lunch: headed to a local cafe with my co-worker and had pan-fried white fish and Caesar salad.

Snack: 1 fresh date. I LOVE dates.

Dinner: lemon butter, baked fish with sweet potato.

Snack: coconut yogurt with seed mix (chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds) and cocoa nibs.

An Image of Health

I will never forget when my good friend’s mom approached me (two plus years ago) at her wedding shower and said, “Kelly you are just the image of health.”

Me, in my mind thinking, “really, do you know what my A1C looks like?!” But instead, replied to such a compliment with pleasure. It was really nice and has clearly stuck with me over the years.

So what do I think? Am I an image of health?? First begs the question, what is health?

  • I am an ideal body weight, even though I wrestle with 5 or so pounds year-round.
  • I work out a fair bit, but not too much. Maybe a pilates, spinning or yoga class a week. A session on the stair-climber with weight lighting, more weight lifting and walking (of course). I LOVE walking when time allows.
  • I do not drink my calories. My liquids usually include tea, water, more tea, long blacks (but trying to cut back because I want better sleep) and occasional diet cola. Oh, a fair share of red wine too. Can you blame me?
  • I avoid grains like the plague.
  • I try to not take life too seriously.
  • I skip legumes in my diet, well except a bluemoon craving for peanut butter.
  • I motivate others to be an advocate for their health.
  • I believe in taking risks.
  • I seek adventure (I am wearing the blue helmet).

And as far as diabetes goes:

  • I visit my Endo 3-4 times a year, as well as my dentist, ophthalmologist, optometrist and Women’s Health doc,
  • I use an insulin pump, but I do not change the infusion set every 3 days as I should. I likely change it when I get an alarm telling me the volume of insulin is low.
  • I have no idea when the last time was I changed my lancet.
  • Yet, I do test my blood sugar 6-10 times a day. Have you seen my fingers?
  • But that A1C, which is supposed to be 6 or below, is an ongoing battle, or can I say, experiment.

Thankfully for a paleo-like diet, I know what I need to do to keep a stable blood sugar. Instead of consuming grains, legumes, corn, soy, vegetable oils and dairy, I resort to high quality meats, eggs, nuts, fish, vegetables, olive oil, butter, coconut, fruit, potatoes (sweet) and white rice. The latter gives me such amazing energy and when I am diligent with my food choices, I feel great.

So going back to question, “Am I an image of health?”

Yes. Yes I am and you can be too. I am nutrient seeker, I am happy, I work hard on my diet and well-being, I count my blessings and I am passionate about helping others optimize their food choices.

Put your best foot forward today by taking care of yourself. If you need any help, that is what I am here for.

Cheers to you and good health,