Monday, May 8, 2017

Poop 101: A Guide to Gut Health, Common Problems, and Simple Solutions

Guest post by: Ben Greenfield


Although it’s not the sexiest thing in the world, we’re going to talk about poop. If you don’t already look in the toilet after going number two, it’s time to start. The state of your poop can tell you a plethora of things about your health, with no extra money or effort required. Just get over the whole looking at your own poop thing.

In this article, I’m going to tell you about the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy poop, what it can tell you about your health, some of the common causes of unhealthy poop, and a few tips you can use to increase the health of your stool and your digestive system.

Scientists are continuing to learn that the gastrointestinal tract (and the bacterial colonies within) has a direct role in conditions ranging from emotional disorders like depression and schizophrenia, brain function, food sensitivities and allergies, inflammation, digestive function, and more. The thing is, sometimes there are no clear signs that something is amiss with your digestive system. Symptoms can be muted and mild, or you may have no noticeable symptoms whatsoever. Just as a canary in a coalmine can be a reliable litmus test for safety, a turd in a toilet bowl can give you some useful clues about the health of your digestive system.

Without further adieu, let’s talk about poo.

Poop Quality 101

When looking at your stool, it helps to know what you should be looking for. In case you didn’t know, a few researchers from Bristol University developed a stool chart that was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology in 1997. It was originally developed as a way to measure colon transmit time, but later earned its place as a reliable tool in evaluating different treatment strategies for various bowel diseases. The so-called Bristol stool chart has also been a valuable tool in public health as it classifies poop into seven different types:

-Type 4 is what you want to shoot for.

-Types 3 and 5 are reasonable.

-Types 1, 2, 6, and 7 are all clear signs that strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

The Bristol chart is a good place to start, and if your stool resembles one of the less healthy types, there are a few other signs to look for to help you better identify a problem.


Healthy stool should be brown in color, which comes from bile in the small intestine. However, it’s normal for it to have a tinge of green if you’ve consumed a massive kale smoothie, or red if you’ve eaten a lot of beets. If your stool is bloody, or is consistently a different color with no logical connection to the foods you’re eating, there might be something going on.


Your poop will never smell like the potpourri you keep by the toilet, that’s just the way it is. Poop smells for a number of reasons. The bacteria and fermentation that occur in the gut are one smell-producing reason, and depending on what you eat, that might affect the smell. If you eat a lot of fermentable starches, fructose, and animal protein, it’s probably going to be pretty potent and sulphuric. Another common cause of abnormally putrid stool is malabsorption. Celiac disease, pancreas issues, various inflammatory bowel disorders like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, food allergies and sensitivities are all possible causes of malabsorption, which we’ll get into later.


Your bathroom experience should be pretty quick if your stool is healthy. You shouldn’t be sitting on the porcelain throne drafting emails or finishing crossword puzzles. The process should be relatively quick and painless, and if you feel a significant amount of discomfort and strain, that may not be healthy.

Does it sink or float?

Healthy poop can sink or float, and either one can give you an idea of its composition. A stool that floats has more fat, which can be a sign of malabsorption, whereas a sinking stool signifies a high fiber-ratio, which is a good thing.

What Your Poop Can Tell You

The biggest clues your poop can tell you about your health involve the efficiency of your digestive system and the health of your gut. If you’re having unhealthy bowel movements it can be a clear sign of gut dysfunction, it could mean an imbalance of the bacteria in your gut, it might be an issue of food sensitivity or intolerance, or it might even be stress.

Culprit #1: Gut Dysfunction

Gut dysfunction is a pretty complex issue, and certainly tied to adverse stool, so I’ll try to break it down into a few separate, but intricately-linked points.

Increased Gut Permeability

The common element of many GI-related issues is increased gut permeability. The lining of your gut is the first line of defense for your entire immune system, and when this line is breached, your system is vulnerable to undigested food particles and proteins which can result in an immune response, food allergies, or inflammation. Chronically increased gut permeability can lead to a condition called “Leaky gut syndrome”, which is very uncomfortable and would have noticeable symptoms extending beyond abnormal poop. Leaky gut is like installing a water filter that has huge holes in it: anything you don’t want to be drinking ends up inside you because it can pass freely through the giant holes. You can learn more about Leaky Gut by reading this article published on

Permeability is one half of the equation, and actual damage to the lining of your intestine is the other half. It’s sort of a chicken and the egg situation. Your small intestine is lined with microscopic, finger-like structures called villi. Your villi increase the surface area for absorption by up to 1,000 times and their presence ensures you actually absorb the majority of the nutrients you ingest. Some compounds in food can irritate the lining of the small intestine and destroy these villi, significantly reducing how well you absorb nutrients. Substances like gluten, lactose, lectins (found in many beans, grains, and some nuts, seeds, and fruits and vegetables) and saponins are common culprits that can cause inflammation or directly damage the gut lining. Typically, substances that irritate the gut lining manifest in bloating, feelings of tiredness, a hyperactive bowel, and often very sizeable or uncomfortable visits to the bathroom.


Fatty stool can be a sign of inflammation, which can result from something like gluten or lactose intolerance, as two common examples. Gliadin is a protein molecule found in most, but not all gluten-containing foods — primarily in things like wheat, rye, barley, spelt, teff, and couscous. Gliadin can cause an inflammatory reaction in the small intestines, and oftentimes, people who don’t have Celiac disease or gluten-intolerance may still have a sensitivity with no obvious symptoms. As a result of damage to the GI tract or inflammation, digestive enzyme production can be impaired, which can lead to fat malabsorption. A dead giveaway of this is if you see fatty “oil slicks” in the toilet bowl. Not pretty.

Food Allergies and Sensitivities

If you find that you’re running to the bathroom with an unusual frequency, and have a significant amount of GI distress to match, you may have a food sensitivity. It’s possible that there is a compound or multiple compounds in that meal or in your diet that is causing the response. Food allergies, on the other hand, are a much bigger deal and are often accompanied by serious symptoms like throat swelling or respiratory distress, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe. Increased gut permeability is a major cause of adult-onset food allergies. As your gut lining becomes more permeable, undigested food particles and pathogens can be absorbed into the bloodstream, which can elicit a heightened immune response and in some cases, food allergies can develop.

Insufficient Digestive Enzymes or Improper Food Preparation

On a recent Q & A podcast episode called What Your Poop Can Tell You About Your Health, How To Heal Tendons & Ligaments Faster, Natural Ways To Decrease Cortisol & More!

I had a listener call in and ask what it meant if food was passing through her digestive tract and coming out the other end still intact. To state the obvious, this is a clear sign that the foods aren’t being properly digested. If you’re seeing undigested food in your stool, it is likely because of digestive enzyme insufficiency. This can happen when the amount of food exceeds the capacity of your digestive enzymes, a genetic inability to produce certain enzymes (lactase is a common one for people who are lactose-intolerant), or it could be something more problematic like gliadin exposure which can impair digestive enzyme production from damage to the GI tract (as mentioned in the previous point). If you struggle with tummy issues after eating too much, here are 5 Powerful Calorie Control Tricks To Help You Eat Less Food.

Another reason you may be seeing undigested food in your stool is inadequate food preparation. This could mean something as obvious as not chewing well enough (ideally, each bite should be chewed 20-25 times), but more commonly, lots of people have difficulty digesting foods like beans, nuts, seeds, and grains that aren’t prepared properly. These foods have an outer coating that acts as a natural defense mechanisms to protect the plants from microbes and predators, allowing them to withstand passage through the digestive tract of animals to be successfully pooped out and planted in the soil. In most cases, these foods can be rendered more digestible through soaking and sprouting.

To learn all about fixing your gut, check out this in-depth article I wrote on the topic called How To Fix Your Gut: 9 Bad Things That Happen When Your Digestion Goes Wrong, How To Hit The Reboot Button & The Best Way To Detox Your Body.

Culprit #2: Imbalanced Gut Bacteria

Just as damage to the intestinal lining can significantly impair digestion, the composition of your gut microbiome can also determine how well you digest and absorb what you eat. Your digestive tract contains 500 species and 3 pounds of bacteria that collectively form a giant ecosystem that helps you digest food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins, and produce vitamins and other healing compounds that keep your gut and your body healthy. If that ecosystem is out of balance, then a bacterial imbalance called gut “dysbiosis” is the result. I get my gut tested once per year and break it all down in this Step-By-Step Guide To Testing Your Gut For Nasty Invaders.

Things to look for in your stool that may signify insufficient gut bacteria are undigested fiber, constipation, or diarrhea. On the other hand, too much gut bacteria can make foods unavailable for absorption. If you’re feeling gassy, crampy, and bloated it’s possible that there is a bacterial overgrowth throwing off the balance of your microbiome. Signs to look for could be diarrhea, constipation, or fatty stools. Learn more about gut bacteria by listening to The Paleo Solution Podcast episode with Dr. Ruscio called The Real Deal With Gut Microbiota.

Culprit #3: Stress

Unhealthy and irregular stool can actually be a sign that you are over-stressed. Your GI tract is directly linked to you brain — the so called “gut-brain axis” — and when you’re overly stressed, your central nervous system “talks” to your digestive system and slows it down. During stress, blood flow and enzyme production are limited, which can cause your GI system to slow down while your body can focus on the stress response. So if you’re constipated, or conversely, find yourself making frequent and unpleasant trips to the bathroom throughout the day, that may be a sign that you need to focus on reducing the stress in your life. A little stress isn’t a bad thing, but if you’re chronically stressed and it’s affecting your bowels, you may want to unwind a little. Other signs related to stress and unhealthy stool are brain fog, headache, fatigue, poor sleep, or depression. Lastly, if you’re experiencing watery or loose stool, that could be a sign of too much physical stress from overtraining. Need some tips on reducing stress? Check out my article The 7 Best Stress-Fighting Weapons That Will Make Your Mind-Body Connection 100% Bulletproof.

Common Causes of Unhealthy Poop (Recap)

  • Gut dysfunction
  • Stress
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Imbalanced gut bacteria
  • Improper food prep


Tips For Healthier Poop

Balance Your Bacteria

You can bolster your microbiome by eating a moderate amount of fiber, a wide variety of vegetables, probiotic foods (kefir, kombucha, fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut, or high-quality dairy products) and consider taking a multi-strain probiotic supplement. You can experiment with eating foods that are rich in prebiotic starch like beans and legumes, fruits, or starchy vegetables. Bear in mind these fermentable carbohydrates can irritate the gut in some people (we’ll touch on this next).

Fix Your Diet

If you’re having bowel issues, one of the best things you can do is experiment with your food choices. There are common problem foods like dairy, sugar, gluten, grains, and nuts that you can try removing from your diet to see how you feel. It’s certainly not the case for everyone, but intolerance to these foods is common, and even if there are no obvious symptoms, your poop might be a clue that something in your diet isn’t agreeing with your gut.

Studies have found that people with self-reported “gluten sensitivity” actually had zero bad gut effects from eating gluten and experienced complete elimination of their gut issues after they underwent a dietary reduction of fermentable, poorly-absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs). These could be things like sugar alcohols, lectins, and fructose that you’d find in fruits, processed foods, and seeds and grains. In the same vein, you can experiment with an elimination diet or autoimmune diet to identify sensitivities and gradually incorporate foods back into your diet once you’ve found your trigger foods.

When all else fails, or you’re over playing smelly rounds of Twenty Questions with your toilet bowl (“does it rhyme with falutin?”) trying to identify problem foods, it’s best to get tested. If you want to rule out food allergies and sensitivities, you can get a simple allergy test from your doctor, or if you want the gold standard in food allergy testing, this is the best option. If you want to learn more about the health of your gut flora, there are testing kits for that too. Since your gut microbiome is a dynamic ecosystem, and changes throughout the day, I like to use a 3-day gut panel. This allows you to take multiple stool samples and gives you a more complete reading of digestive enzyme production and the health of your gut bacteria. If your gut bacteria is significantly imbalanced or you aren’t adequately producing digestive enzymes, your digestion will be impaired, and it’s more than likely your poop will reflect this.

Take Digestive Enzymes

If you’ve ever been to Italy, or maybe the Olive Garden, I don’t know, you may have experienced the post-dinner elixir known as the digestif. It’s an herbal-infused alcohol derivative that can aid in digestion. Ingredients like fennel, caraway, and savory aid in digestion, and alcohol also has a stimulatory effect on production of the enzyme pepsin, and on pancreas and gallbladder secretions. Additionally things like lemon juice, ox bile extract, HCL, various herbs, and digestive enzyme supplements can aid in digestion as well.

If you want to learn more about the various digestive enzymes you can take, and how to take them, check out this podcast I recorded on the subject entitled Probiotic Enemas, Digestive Enzyme Myths, Breathing 10 Kilograms of Oxygen, Low-Protein Diets & More!

Chew your food

This seems obvious, but chewing efficiently can help you better digest your food. Mechanical digestion in the mouth is where digestion actually begins, and if you eat too quickly, you’ll just be passing the buck onto the stomach and intestinal tract to pick up the extra work, so try to be more mindful about your mastication habits (that’s chewing). A useful trick I’ve found is that, much like starting off the day with deep-breathing exercises or gratitude journaling, focusing on chewing each bite of food at breakfast makes me more mindful of my chewing throughout the entire day. Chewing more not only makes foods more bioaccessible and readily absorbed by the body, longer chewing times has also been shown to result in fewer calories being consumed and increased levels of appetite-regulating hormones.


If your issue is constipation or rock hard stools, there’s a good chance you’re dehydrated. Water aids in the digestion process by easing the passage of food and helping your gut bacteria do their thing.

Manage Stress

While it’s not particularly compelling, it must be said: make sure you’re not over-stressed. Stress can impair the digestion process big-time, so find some time in your day to unwind, and see if that makes your bathroom experience a little more enjoyable.


If you’re having problematic poop, the biggest clue it can give you is that your digestive system needs attention. Since the gut is such a complex system, learning what your poop says about its health is almost like a game of charades or twenty questions. It can give you the clues to help you narrow down your search, but you may need to do some more digging. Your poop can be an early red flag that something is wrong, and experimenting with your diet and getting tested are two ways to ensure you get to the root of the problem.


from The Paleo Diet

Sunday In Sports & Meals

^^Typical morning happenings. Note the laundry bag transportation and Star Wars chest tattoo!

We started the day with oatmeal in a jar!! It was quite chilly out, and warm oatmeal sounded like the perfect start. I whipped in some bananas, added chia seeds and cinnamon, and served it with the rest of this Sunbutter jar. I also stirred in a little powdered vanilla peanut butter, which totally took this over the top good!

World’s most appetizing photo –>

Did you notice my blog’s new redesign!?! I made subtle changes to the header and sidebar, but I am SO into them! For the longest time I was digging grays, marble, muted colors, watercolor, and subtle sparkle, but lately I’ve been in the mood to brighten things up. You guys have felt that shift, I am sure! I also brought back food photos in the header, something I ditched a long time ago when I was going for a cleaner look. Now I’m really liking them! Refer to this post to see lots of my old headers! #fullcircle

So that’s how I spent a good portion of my Sunday. I didn’t have plans to make any design changes, but it has always been one of those things where I decide to tweak one thing and get sucked in until I’m done. I might be tweaking more things later this week.

#newusesforoldthings –>

Of all the household chores, I think making a bed is one of my favorites. Most of the time I rotate sheets and put one set on right after taking the other set to the washer, but for the past three weeks, I’ve been so into my new set that I just wash them and return them to the bed.

I had a late lunch before soccer  a ham, cheese and pickle combo with chips. I don’t worry too much about eating veggies on Sundays because I get a lot of them the rest of the week. I choose meals that will keep me full without weighing my stomach down.

Here were my stats from my games  one warmup, one full game, one partial game. I think it’s interesting that if you told me I had to go for an 8.5 mile run I would say there is absolutely no way I can run that far. Yet I often hit double digit miles on Sundays. I think the key is the stop-and-start nature of soccer, so it’s not a consistent run and I get breaks.

This was our last game of the season, so we celebrated at Pro Re Nata afterwards. This is one of my favorite breweries, and they just added this awesome open-air feature!

I believe these are shipping containers, and they have an outdoor bar for easy beer access, an air-conditioned section for the summer, and lots of picnic tables and chairs. Very cool!

Cheers to a great season! Not our best, but not our worst either…

For dinner, I had this massive bacon burger from the food truck. I shared most of the bacon, but I pretty much devoured the rest of the burger. Delish!

That evening, Thomas and I watched the movie Lion. What a great film and a heart-wrenching story. All I could think about was sweet little Mazen being on his own like Saroo, and the fact that this was a true story makes it even harder to swallow. I definitely recommend the movie.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

The post Sunday In Sports & Meals appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food

Just the 10 of Us

The wolf pack was reunited this past weekend, and it was glorious!!!

Dave and Marie, their two girls, and two dogs stayed with us on Saturday night, so we had quite the full house. Just the seven of us (remember when we lived with Dave and Marie?) is now just the TEN of us. It’s crazy how different life is nowadays when we all get together, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Dave and Marie and their girls (and dogs) arrived at our house with (early) birthday presents for Quinn since they can’t make it to his party next month. How sweet is that?! They’re such good friends. Qman was so excited when he realized the “prizes” were for him and immediately went to get his scissors.

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Inside was an awesome dump truck and trencher, which Qman was so pumped about– he loves all things construction nowadays! And the vehicles are Tonka brand and made of steel, so they’re perfect for upcoming outdoor play this spring/summer/fall. Thanks, Dave and Marie + family!

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Once everyone got settled, it was just about time for lunch, so I whipped up a batch of the best wings ever.


They were a huge hit with everyone! I also served a big spinach salad (from Trader Joe’s) and the kids had mac & cheese and smoothies (yogurt, fruit + spinach).

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Shortly after that, it was nap time for the kiddos, so the adults had some drinks and caught up.

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Once nap time was over, all ten of us headed outside for a walk around the block.

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I’m so glad the sun finally came out! 🙂

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It was so nice walking and talking and letting the little ones explore.

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Quinn and Carly were like two peas in a pod!

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They’re just 2 months apart, and I hope they’re good friends for a very long time!

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Side note: Qman lovvveess his Batman rain boots so much, and we will absolutely buy him another pair when he outgrows these ones. They actually light up, and he thinks they’re the coolest thing ever! We get comments and questions about them all the time, so I wanted to share the link to them!

After our walk, we enjoyed a happy hour on our back porch with all sorts of snacks and drinks. Oh my gosh, it was so nice. I have a feeling we are going to spend A LOT of time there in the coming months!

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When dinnertime rolled around, we fed the kids, got them ready for bed, and then had a movie night before putting them to bed. Poor Murphy…

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The next morning started bright and early with enthusiastic (!!) tiny humans wanting to play (with the loudest toy ever). We Mal whipped up dinosaur pancakes for breakfast, which were a big hit and fun to play with! 🙂

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We also had bacon, fruit, and juice for breakfast. Feeding four adults + three kids was quite the adventure, but we managed to all sit down for a meal together. #parentwin

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After breakfast, we played outside for awhile before saying goodbye.


We had such a nice time this weekend and it really made me miss Dave and Marie. I soooo wish they lived closer. I feel like our families would hang out all the time! But I guess it just gives us an excuse to visit Maine more often. Hopefully, we see them again soon!

Question of the Day

How was your weekend? When was the last time you had a sleepover at your house?

The post Just the 10 of Us appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Dear Mark: Testosterone and Marriage, Dangerous Gluten-Free Diets

TESTOSTERONE Portrait of a doctor writing a prescriptionFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions from readers. The first one concerns the reduction in testosterone men experience with marriage. Is it a feature? A flaw? Is it inevitable? After that, I get into a pair of new studies that question the safety of gluten-free diets in the absence of celiac disease. Is your gluten-free diet going to kill you?

Let’s go:


What are your thoughts on the “marriage tanks testosterone” study you linked to today? Is it something we just have to accept?

I question the premise of the ScienceNordic piece: that even though married men see declines in testosterone, it’s totally normal, unlikely to have negative consequences, and likely to improve their ability to be good husbands.

When you look at other demographics, for example, the relationship between marriage and testosterone levels changes. A 2003 study looked at testosterone levels among monogamously married, polygynously married, and unmarried Kenyan Swahili men. Drawing on past research in other populations, the authors predicted that unmarried men would have the highest testosterone, since they were still in “the game” and needed higher T levels to successfully compete for mates. They guessed the men with two wives would have the lowest T of all, since they had the most kids and fatherhood usually lowers T. They were completely wrong.

The guys with two wives had the highest T levels, while the men with one wife had the same T as the unmarried men.

But doesn’t testosterone promote aggression? Above all else, men with a healthy testosterone level enjoy increased self-confidence and drive. This can manifest as “aggression” in the sense that they stand up for themselves and pursue their goals. In other words, it’s workable and even productive. When most people hear “aggression,” they’re imagining “roid rage” and domestic violence and fist fights because someone bumped into you. That’s thankfully not how it works in most people.

In fact, low testosterone, especially coupled with high cortisol, makes men more irritable. Irritability, in its rampant commonality and relative acceptability, is arguably a more corrosive social ill than aggression. We catch onto aggression pretty quickly, and those who are truly overtaken by it usually don’t last long in any partnership.

Irritability, however, is why people flip each other off on the highway, lose their temper in line at the grocery store, or engage in passive aggressive behavior. Irritability can destroy civility, and it’s a slow burn destruction of any marriage. You can’t snap over every little thing and hope to survive as a couple. This isn’t a sitcom where married people snipe each other with witty, cruel comments to canned laughter. Are we justifying irritability because it doesn’t escalate to the level of aggression? What are we tolerating in our personal behavior and in our physical well-being? It’s worth considering—as well as connecting. Balance at home is served by balanced health, hormonal and otherwise.

Mark, looks like they’re attacking gluten-free diets again as unsafe. Any comments?

There was the Harvard study released last week that plotted gluten intake against cardiovascular disease, finding no relationship between the two. When they controlled for refined grain consumption, thus turning gluten into a proxy for whole grains, the relationship became slightly protective at the highest levels of gluten consumption. And I do mean slightly.

I can actually buy this. A 2010 study found that gluten-free diets as commonly practiced rob the gut of fermentable fiber and cause imbalanced gut biomes. Most people get their fermentable fiber through whole grains. They don’t get much, but that’s where they get it.

Don’t just eat junk food, yet gluten-free versions of your favorite foods. At least stoneground whole wheat bread incorporates the entire wheat berry. It’s not hard to beat the nutrient content found in the baked and sliced concoction of potato starch, rice flour, and xanthan gum you just paid $6 for.

Then there was another recent study showing that people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity harbor other evil thoughts about health, like the FDA being untrustworthy. While I know everyone reading this has nothing but the utmost love, respect, and admiration for the Food and Drug Administration, there apparently exist some Udi’s-munching FDA skeptics. How can this be?

Imagine you’ve suffered from unexplained gastric distress most of your remembered life. You’ve eaten all the “heart-healthy” whole grains the experts recommend. You’ve avoided the artery-clogging saturated fat. Still, the pain persists. You finally try giving up grains after stumbling across some nonsensical fad diet website—and you feel better for the first time in many, many years. On those rare occasions when you do eat wheat—your kid’s birthday party, the company potluck—the symptoms return. You’re not celiac, so you figure you’re gluten-sensitive.

You’ll start to wonder about all the other bits of conventional wisdom the experts foist on us. Maybe fat isn’t making us fat. Maybe butter isn’t lethal. Maybe elevated cholesterol isn’t the whole story. Maybe organic food actually is higher in many micronutrients and far lower in pesticide residue. And, yeah, you’ll get some misses. Vaccines can absolutely save lives. Genetically modified food as a concept probably isn’t a priori bad for you (although the pesticides involved almost certainly are). Skepticism is entirely rational.

That’s it for today, folks. I hope I helped you realize that gluten-free diets aren’t killing you, you’re not a monster for questioning the conventional wisdom, and we shouldn’t always expect lower testosterone just because we got hitched.


The post Dear Mark: Testosterone and Marriage, Dangerous Gluten-Free Diets appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Clean Eating Almonds And “Brown Sugar” Overnight Oatmeal Recipe

Clean Eating Almonds And "Brown Sugar" Oatmeal Recipe

Do you miss those easy, instant oatmeal packets you could buy in a box and make in minutes? You don’t have to! You can make them up in minutes and store them in the freezer for an easy grab-n-cook breakfast, or better yet, for overnight oats!

Clean Eating Almonds And "Brown Sugar" Oatmeal Recipe

Overnight oats are fabulous things simply because they are so darn easy and convenient. I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of breakfast already being ready for you first thing in the morning? These are great served cold out of the fridge on a hot summer morning, or warmed in a pot or the microwave on chillier mornings.

Clean Eating Almonds And "Brown Sugar" Oatmeal Recipe

You just combine the oats with the milk of your choosing in a jar, then let it sit, covered, in the fridge overnight. In the morning when you get up, your oats are all ready to go!

Clean Eating Almonds And "Brown Sugar" Oatmeal Recipe

In fact, just like I did with the sheet pan dinners (I’ve got more coming too!), I’m going to do an entire series on these. So stay tuned for more flavor combinations in the coming days ahead!





These pint-sized canning jars are perfect for these recipes! Great for single servings for many different foods!Clean Eating Almonds And "Brown Sugar" Overnight Oatmeal RecipeCopyright Information For The Gracious Pantry

Clean Eating Almonds And "Brown Sugar" Overnight Oatmeal Recipe



Yield: 1 serving


  • ½ cup old fashion oats
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tbsp. Sucanat or coconut sugar


  2. Combine all ingredients in a small, zipper-top baggie and toss in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  3. The night before you plan to eat your oats, place them in a jar or covered bowl with 1 cup milk (any kind) and let sit in the fridge overnight. Serve cold or warm up on the stove top or in the microwave.
  5. Combine all ingredients in a small, zipper-top baggie and toss in the freezer for a future busy morning! When you're ready to cook simply put the contents of the bag into a small pot with a 1 cup of milk (any kind) and cook according to package directions on the oats container.


from The Gracious Pantry

Weekend: Parties + Pearls

We are wrapping up one of those long weekends that feels like it went on forever! So rewinding back to Friday night…..we went to Tavola to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

They rented out the private room in the back for the occasion, and we had a special three-course menu with shared appetizers, a choice of entree, and dessert.

We technically paid for our dinner, but I loved how they organized everything for us  it felt extra special!

We had drinks in the bar before dinner began, and I had two glasses of vino throughout the night.

BURRATA!! This cheese is this beeest.

Plus there was a big plate of appetizers which we passed around. That gouda in the middle was my favorite.

I had the salmon for my entree, and Thomas had the pork both were excellent!

And I would expect nothing less than perfect tiramisu at Tavola, and that’s exactly what was served : )


Saturday morning we made waffles! T is quite the waffle expert, but I decided to throw some Great Harvest Pancake mix in the waffle maker and see what would happen.

Much to my surprise, they were great! Maybe a little tough compared to something from a restaurant, but since these were 100% whole grain, I loved them.

We went to the gym mid-morning and did a quick workout followed by a pool session with Mazen. For the first time, he really took to swimming and was letting go of us and swimming between us. Matt took him swimming again on Sunday and said he had started to swim underwater! #milestones : )

For Saturday lunch we made a bunch of quesadillas! Spinach + cheese + crème fraîche. (Blue Apron has turned me on to it over sour cream!)

Later that afternoon we got dressed up to go to a couple of parties. This crazy boy put on one of my dresses and helped me get ready. He was in a hilarious mood!

Mid flip!!

Who says you can’t play make-up with boys?!

(Also: his haircut is not an illusion. They really are that crooked. No, I didn’t cut them myself, and yes, I need to fix them somehow. I don’t think his stylist looked him straight on before we left the salon! I didn’t have the time or energy to turn around and do a second haircut. We will fix it soon!)

Our first party was at one of Thomas’s family friends waaaaay out in the country. They have a beautiful garden!!

One of Mazen’s favorite friends (who he doesn’t see very often) was there and they were just so thrilled to play together.

High five action!

After a few hours of chilly weather (brrrr!) we headed back to town to attend a Derby party with our friends Rosie and Kevin.

My two horses, Hence and Tapwhit, didn’t place, but it was still really fun to watch, especially after drinking this mint julep!

On the big screen  and the sun finally peeping out to watch too!

I didn’t capture any of my dinner that night, but I had a piece of fried chicken, Kentucky Hot Brown dip, lots of broccoli and waaaaay too many carrots covered in the best spicy pimento cheese!!

Recap of Soccer Sunday coming atcha this afternoon!

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