Search This Site
Follow Stuff I Like on Twitter

Stop With the Cleanses


Where Is Your Fiber Coming From?

The topic of fiber in one's diet is always on the burner. It's interesting, important and often frustrating for those of us attempting to lead by example and teach. For those just discovering the fiber content of Quest Protein Bars, for example, and chomping three or four daily thinking they're getting sufficient good fiber, please read and learn from my good friend and colleague Krystin Deneen.

In one of her regular emails to her personal clients, Krystin hit all the hot topics. She clearly explains the crucial differences between fiber on a nutrition label and fiber in real food. I was so taken with the clarity of her message I asked if I could reprint her email on the site. Krystin is happy to share. Read and learn:

In checking client food logs and my daily conversations about food I have had countless accounts of hearing concerns of getting enough fiber. Most of these conversations end with a client telling me their method of doing so is cereal, bars of some sort, and bread. While the grams of fiber may be high on the label it may not be doing what you think it's doing, and it comes at a heavy price. 

Let me explain. The fiber in highly processed foods like muffins, fiber-bars, and whole grain toast or cereal has been through a refining procedure that basically removes the natural fiber found in plants making them poor sources. The price you pay is the insulin spike from the sugar that is in almost all of these processed foods or the glucose that it's form of carbohydrate is converted into. (The fat causing spike from a piece of white bread is almost the same as from a piece of "high-fiber-whole-grain"bread.) These products are made up of mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein and fat. Carbohydrates are either starch, sugar, fiber, or all three. The problem is that the fiber percentage in these products is actually low. Fancy labels and marketing cause us to think they are higher than plants, but they aren't. Check it out:

Percentage fiber (as % of their carbs*) 
Brown Rice 4% 
Corn 7%
Oats 11%
Whole Wheat 12%
Barley 17%
Kamut 19%


Percentage fiber (as % of their carbs*) 

Apple 15% 

Pear 23% 

Apricot 25% 

Red Pepper 25% 

Carrot 29%

 Kale 33% 

White Mushrooms 33% 

Celery 50% 

Spinach 50%

What do these percentages mean? Well, here's an example to make this easier to understand: 1 Cup of raw Spinach is a total of 7 Calories and 1.1 Carbohydrates with 3.5 grams of Fiber while 1 Cup of Whole Grain Cereal Flakes is 170 Calories and 41 Carbohydrates (41!!!) with 5 grams of Fiber.

I think you know where I'm going with this email.

So let's go over some facts.

-Health experts say the recommended daily intake of fiber is between 25-35 grams per day.

-The benefits of fiber include its ability to stabilize blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, decrease risk of colon cancer, prevent constipation, and support a healthy body weight.

-There are soluble and insoluble fibers:

                                   Soluble Fibers: 

attracts water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full,which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes. Soluble fibers can also help lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.

                                             Insoluble Fiber:  

considered gut-healthy fiber because they have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation. These fibers do not dissolve in water, so they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. Insoluble fibers are mainly found in whole grains and vegetables.

-Good sources of Soluble and Insoluble Fibers


oatmeal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.


seeds, nuts, brown rice, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, and root vegetable skins.

Still need proof and ideas? Keep reading.


Plant        Measurement         Fiber(g)


Spinach raw                     1 Cup                                 3.5 g

Spinach cooked               1/2 Cup                              7 g

Kale, Swiss Chard

and Collard Greens          1 Cup                                 8 g

Raspberries                      1 Cup                                 8 g

Pears (skin on)                  1 Med                                5.5 g

Apple (skin on)                 1 Med                               4.4

Blackberries                      1/2 Cup                            3.8 g     

Mango                              1 Med                              3.3 g

Sweet Potato                    5 oz                                  4 g


Split peas, cooked

1 cup


Lentils, cooked

1 cup


Black beans, cooked

1 cup


Lima beans, cooked

1 cup


Artichoke, cooked

1 medium


Green peas, cooked

1 cup


Broccoli, boiled

1 cup



Where are you getting your fiber?

Krystin Deneen

Xperience Fitness, Appleton 



(Bacon is the Secret) when Cutting and Chopping Vegetables 

A big part of my Sunday is preparing a big mix of stir-fried vegetables. This batch will last me three to four days, supplying two or three servings daily. I love eating vegetables made this way; I tell you that as a guy who doesn't enjoy raw veggies at all. Know what the secret to enjoying vegetables is? Bacon (if you're in the Appleton, Wisconsin area you'd better be getting your bacon from Jacob's Meat Market!)

People constantly tell me they don't enjoy vegetables, or they don't have time to "make" them, or they don't know how. I'm befuddled by this, but know it's the real deal, as I hear it daily. In this season of amazing farmer's markets, you have no excuse not to enjoy wonderful, nutritious, in-season vegetables. 

Follow these steps, and you will find yourself treating your body to plenty of vegetables. Your health, fitness, and taste buds will thank you.

In a big frying pan or wok or skillet, use scissors to cut four pieces of thick-cut bacon into tiny pieces. Using medium heat, get them cooking. Cut up a half dozen brussels sprouts, core 'em if they're huge, and add to the bacon right away. The brussels sprouts will cook down and carmalize a bit with the bacon. Without bacon, I find brussels sprouts difficult to enjoyable eat. With bacon - watch out. 

Cut vegetables and add to the pan in this order: an entire bunch of asparagus. Don't throw away too much of the big end - use everything green! Get those into the pan. Mushrooms are next. Wash your mushrooms, please. I know, back in the '70s we didn't rinse or scrub 'em, we used those specialized mushroom brushes and kept 'em dry, but now I don't even remember why that was. Ok get all this going. Add a couple tablespoons coconut oil to the pan. Maybe three - depends upon how much you love coconut oil. I go for three.

Now I cut a red pepper into slices, then slices into pieces. Other than cutting out the core, I use the whole thing, including the weird white stuff inside. If it's huge I'll trim it off, but after watching my wife eat red peppers whole, like they're apples, clearly everything should be eaten. Next is kale. Plenty of kale. Several branches - simply trim all the kale leaves off with scissors, in small pieces, and get it into the pan. Keep mixing things up so the bacon fat and coconut oil covers everything. You'll find the kale cooking down pretty quickly, turning dark green in the process.

Drop in a head of broccoli, snipped into small pieces. I don't use much of the stem; some people enjoy the stem, but I don't. I find it tough and difficult to chew, with zero flavor. But get the broccoli in there. Next get cauliflower in there. I won't pretend I enjoy the taste of cauliflower, I don't, really, but I know it's damn good for me, and with all the flavors in this mix, it's hidden. But I want to eat it 'cause I know how good it is for me. So buck up and add it. I probably used two cups tonight, perhaps a bit more.

Now the pan is crowded, getting full. But we're not done, oh no. Three cloves of garlic come next; I dice those babies. Don't add them too early in the process or they'll burn, but this is the time. Tonight I used a partial jar of kalmata olives, cut into little pieces (a half dozen of them). I added about three tablespoons of capers, and a solid cup of sun-dried tomatoes, cut into little pieces with the scissors. 

Keep stirring, make sure everything is coated. Once the greens turn bright, I take the pan off the heat. Break down into individual serving containers, or keep in a large covered container - your choice.

This batch will last up to a week in the fridge - a few times weekly I dump some of the vegetables into a pan with more coconut oil, add a half dozen scrambled eggs, and cook it all together. Amazing. Any serving of this vegetable mix with red meat, chicken, eggs is wonderful. Quick, easy, damn healthy and nutritious meals. 

So what's your excuse?




Smoothie Adventures...

Still the question most-asked me, is "what's in the smoothie I see you drinking?"

Tonight I made a big, three-Blender-Bottle brew, nearly exploding the Blend Tec. I was holding the top on for dear life during the final cycle! Here's what went into tonight's blender-full:

Half can coconut milk, water, about a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes, a good 18 or so raw almonds, four scoops Progenex More Muscle whey protein powder, eight or so strawberries, a very ripe banana, a Granny Smith apple, a carrot, a mango...... and a whole hell of a lot of kale. I'd say three big stalks, cut off with scissors. Blend hard, then do it again.

Keep in mind, these shakes aren't snacks. They're entire meals. Each has a good 30-40 grams of protein, a decent but not too big slug of carbs, and good fat from the coconut milk and almonds. I consume them slowly, sipping when I am able. Some cold coffee blended in is good, too, if you have it on hand.

Produces three thick, wonderful tasting, ugly-appearing meals in a Blender Bottle. I froze two of 'em, one's in the fridge to carry to the gym tomorrow in my FitMark meal tote.



@BlendTec, @fitmarkbags, @BlenderBottle, @Progenex


CaveMan Coffee Makes Good

Last year, as a Christmas gift for Anne, I ordered a kettlebell coffee mug from Caveman Coffee. Costing $25, I thought the mug looked good on their site, and would provide an interesting and hopefully useful stocking stuffer. Imagine my surprise when an unfinished-appearing, irregular, not-so-shiny mug appeared in the mail.

Sure, it looked like a kettlebell, could be set on it's side in a cupboard, and was a novelty, but was crude in appearance. I wrapped and gave it to Anne almost apolgetically, we laughed about it, and went on with life. I assumed I'd contributed to CaveMan Coffee and didn't give it a lot of thought, though we were both disappointed in the product.

A few weeks later, by coincidence, a finished CaveMan Kettlebell Coffee Mug showed up at CrossFit Green Bay; someone else had ordered one, and we just happened to see it. Damn, this one was superbly finished, regular in shape, shiny in appearance, looking very different than the one I'd purchased. Now I was motivated to contact CaveMan Coffee and tell them of our unhappiness with the mug.

Happily, Maynard at Caveman Coffee immediately got in touch with me, and promptly sent me a replacement Kettlebell coffee mug. He didn't ask for the old one back, wasn't looking for photos - just told me he'd make it right, and within a few days I had a new Kettlebell Coffee Mug. It's beautiful, looks like the examples on their website.

I'm impressed and happy with Maynard at Caveman Coffee, and with our new Kettlebell Coffee Mug. This mug owns the coffee cup shelves!