Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


Optimyz edits


I recently participated in my first Mud Run. It was more fun, and more challenging than I expected. But, this is beside the point. In our swag bags there was a copy of the magazine Optimyz. Why these magazines seem to pander to pseudo-healthcare professionals is beyond me. Actually, no, it’s not. It’s because good solid advice isn’t “sexy”. It’s the same reason that people would rather buy green coffee bean extract and visit a holistic healer than to listen to a dietitian. So… In this magazine were a couple of sentences that bothered me. One was in an article about “Wicked wheat” and good old Dr William Davis’s Wheat Belly agenda. While the author actually reached the same conclusion as most sensible people “I see no magical elixir within the pages and practices of the “Wheat Belly Diet”” she also made a couple of  statements that made her seem completely clueless about the topic.

…I found it far-fetched that the Cheerios that got me out of bed in the morning back then were the cause of my current belly bulge battle.

The idea of giving up my treat of a bowl of oatmeal post workout seemed like the Everest of cold turkey quits. But I guess that dramatic reaction may indicate that I may have a problem with wheat.

Um… Neither of these statements indicate that you have a problem with wheat as Cheerios are made from oats and oatmeal is made from, you guessed it, oats! Sigh.

My other issue was with an article by a “certified nutrition coach” who said: “Post-workout carbs should come from… low sugar fruits such as blueberries and papaya.” I wondered to myself “are these low-sugar fruits?” To answer the question, let’s look at the sugar content of these and some other commonly consumed fruits (all quantities are based on a one-cup serving of fruit):

apple = 13 g sugar

orange = 17 g

strawberries = 7 g

banana = 18 g

blueberries = 15 g

papaya = 8 g

Yes, papaya is relatively low in sugar compared to some of these other fruits. However, blueberries are not. My point is that all fruits have nutritional benefits, no need to limit yourself to blueberries and papaya.

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I often have people asking me about the difference between steel-cut oats and regular oatmeal. I tend to think of oatmeal as existing along a spectrum. Steel-cut oats are at the optimal end as they are the least processed. They’re made by taking the steamed groat and chopping it into pieces using a steel blade. Rolled oats are flattened groats and quick cooking oats are those rolled oats chopped into little tiny pieces.


In terms of nutrient content, all of these oats are pretty much the same. However, the way your body reacts to them differs. The more processed the oat, the more easily it will be digested and the less satiety it will be likely to provide.

Sure, steel-cut oats take longer to cook but if you make a batch on Sunday evening you’ll be set for breakfasts for nearly every day of the week. You can store the cooked oats in the fridge and just scoop out and warm as needed or you can divide them into individual portions and freeze in resealable bags or small containers for reheating as desired.

To improve the flavour, and bump up the nutrition of steel-cut oats I like to serve with fruit and nuts or nut butter added. My personal favourite combo is mashed banana and peanut butter with a little cinnamon. You can add berries or chopped peaches, lightly cooked chopped apple, or dried fruit to switch it up.