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The Lifestyle Intervention Program to Prevent Diabetes is finally here!

It has been a busy year! For long-time readers of my site, that would normally mean races and travel and adventures. Well, the adventure this year has been a new one: the building of Nutrinic. In my last post, I announced the establishment of our nutrition clinic in Pasadena. But the goal here has always been the creation of a nutrition program for disease prevention. And we finally have it! It’s called the Lifestyle Intervention Program to Prevent Diabetes, or LIPPD for short (my fellow nutrition nerds will appreciate the acronym).




It’s a 6-week program that guides people through the science of nutrition, the ins-and-outs of shopping and preparing food, and successful strategies for long-term change. So often I see people ask about making diet changes and are told to either 1) read a book 2) attend an expensive retreat or training. Our goal with LIPPD is to have an accessible, simple program addressing every challenge in dietary behavior change. In many ways it’s everything I have learned in my 15 years in the field of nutrition condensed into 6 weeks. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done and I implore you to check it out in detail on the website!



While we focuse on type 2 diabetes prevention and are working primarily with pre-diabetics (an incredible 1 in 3 US adults have pre-diabetes), I believe the program is useful for everyone who wants to learn about nutrition, the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases, or simply how to make the changes they’ve always wanted to make! If you know me, or have heard me speak in-person or on podcasts, I’m all about simplicity. And this shows, I think, in this program through our video lessons, handouts, recipes, and structure. Plus it’s available world-wide as it’s fully online and tele-health compatible.



Since it’s new, we have it for an incredibly low price right now, so please do check it out and share it with anyone you think would be interested or who could benefit from such a program!  All the info is at

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more regular updates with the new site.


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Guilt-Producing Food Choices That Aren’t as Bad as You Think

Guilt is a strong emotion that plays a role in our everyday lives. It’s an emotional function that shows us the difference between our life and the life we want to live. It can lead to action, but too often I see guilt as a negative.

For example my clients tend to be ahead of the curve. They are thinking about their own diet and its effect on their health. They are eating a plant-based diet of predominantly whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables. And they are motivated to make any needed dietary changes, but yet some are plagued by guilt.


Guilt-Producing Food Choices That Aren’t As Bad as You Think

Snacking. Eating snacks throughout the day increases your metabolism and keeps you from overeating at meal time. Don’t hesitate to snack on healthy foods.

Eating any form of sweetener. Yes, on average Americans eat too many added sugars and this has deleterious health affects. But are you adding a small amount of agave or maple syrup to an otherwise plant-based whole-food meal? If so, don’t sweat it.

Eating late at night. For many people, eating at night means eating additional, unneeded calories, mindlessly snacking and just making poor nutrition choices in general. But those are different than if you have to eat late because you worked late or took extra time in preparing a great meal. Evaluate what you are eating at night and if you need it, eat and don’t feel guilty!

Eating fat. General nutrition recommendations are to eat low-fat or at least less fat. But the general population is not eating a predominantly plant-based diet. If you are, then the rules are different. Plant fats behave very differently from animal fats; they can be beneficial where animal fats are problematic. Read this fantastic interview with Dr. Walter Willett for an overview of this idea. [Note that trans-fats are technically plant-based, but I’m talking about naturally occurring plant fats. Trans-fat replicate animal fats in foods and in humans]

Eating any refined grain. Yes, we should all eat predominantly whole grains. But that pizza topped with veggies and tomato sauce? Dig in. And there’s some evidence [here’s a random abstract] that compounds in whole grains interfere with nutrient absorption. This isn’t a go-ahead to get most of your calories from Chicosticks and Peanut Chews, but, as I’m saying over and over in this post, what are you eating most often? If it’s whole grains then don’t stress the occasional refined grain.

Eating processed foods. ‘Processed’ is one of those terms like ‘toxins’ or ‘cleanse’ that are so broad they have lost any real meaning- yet I hear them all of the time. So much of the food today has little resemblance to its origination and the negative health effects are well-documented. But at what point is something too processed? Fruitarians say that eating anything that kills the plant is detrimental. And I think that some textured vegetable protein products are so far from soybeans that they have lost most beneficial properties. But recently at a dinner someone tried telling me that tofu is too processed. Too processed? Check out these step-by-step instructions (with photos!) on how to make tofu at home and see that tofu maintains much of the integrity of the original bean.

Eating soy. Soy is nutritious, cheap, versatile and safe! See this exhaustive paper by superstar RD Jack Norris that cites over 130 studies.

Eating fake meats. Most of us grew up eating meat and we enjoyed the taste. Some vegetarians now abhor even the idea of meat and that’s fine; I’m not about to talk someone into eating fake meats. But for the rest of us: the occasional meat analog is quite satisfying. Should you rely on them for most meals? No, definitely not. Should you focus on whole foods like beans? Yes. Just don’t feel guilty about the times you want to dig into a nice vegan pizza topped with veggie sausage.

Some of you will read this and think about how you never do any of these and why would anyone? Congrats to you because you are definitely an exceptional person. I wouldn’t advise you to do otherwise. But for most of us the above are real-life examples of how we balance good nutrition and our desire for certain foods. My point is that the evidence in the nutrition field isn’t precise enough to say there are benefits to never doing the above. What you eat most often is what really matters. With the assumption that you are already eating a plant-based diet of predominantly whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables. The guilt that we feel and the stress of trying to be perfect are worse for us than doing any of the above!

Can you work on feeling less guilt? I hope so! Thanks for reading and I hope this is helpful. Have a great weekend and maybe I’ll see you Sunday night at our Day in the Life screening?


Filed under eat, Uncategorized, vegan

Day in the Life Kickstarter Rewards

I spent all day yesterday packing up the rewards from our Kickstarter and mailing them all over the world. It felt great to return the cheer to those who helped us out. Very excited for them to get their envelope!


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Uncertain Paths

Riding up the PCH coast at 4am. Nothing is ever clear!

I guess it’s obvious, based on my last post and this one, that I’m doing some reminiscing.  It’s too easy to forget about what we’ve done and have experienced in the past, even though this is what has made us who we are. Not only to remember the good times and get re-stoked, but to remember the hard times we have struggled through. Isn’t there some quote about hard people coming out of hard times?

My Great Uncle died last week. And as someone who never knew my grandfathers, he was a grandfather to me. And since he lived here in California I’ve seen him more over the previous 6 years than I have my own father. I stayed with him when I raced my first serious triathlon in 2006 and he came to the finish.  As a stubbornly independent person I never asked him to come- or even considered that he might. But he did. Even though we are blood he didn’t know much about me outside of being a traveler who shunned work and authority. But finishing that race seemed to prove to him that I could work hard at something and do well. I earned his respect. That quality- forcing people to earn your respect- is something I hold very dear. Maybe it’s the New York in me, but I don’t think there is enough of that in the world and it made me proud to earn the respect of someone I look up to.

Even in his last days he was super coherent and intellectually above most people I communicate with. He forced me to think about every word I said as I knew it could be challenged or need to be justified. Another solid trait- not letting people get away with bullshit. He also had a giant TV, the first HD one I had ever seen, and we’d watch nature shows. One time surfing came on and we talked about my cousin’s husband and their surf shop.  He told me that he had never understood ‘extreme’ sports until he saw this (and again, showed admiration and pride in his family members not only surfing but having the know-how to open a successful shop). He articulated in a way I never could how he ‘got it’ and riding a wave through an ocean appeared to be the most beautiful experience in the world.

When someone close to you dies the lesson is obvious: life is short and there’s no guarantee how long it will last. It’s all very cliche, but what would you do knowing you would die soon?  I’m a committed procrastinator so the ‘get out and do it!’ lesson is for me as much as it is for you.

My Uncle Bob’s admiration of surfing touched me.  I’d tell myself, ‘I need to try and surf some more’ but there were always things in the way. Well, those things are what is between me and living life. I’m going surfing Tuesday morning, two days after his memorial. I can’t think of anything that would be more important, or more fun.  Thank you, Uncle Bob.

Uncle Bob and I in 2007


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Take it with you

Usually when I have periods of infrequent updates it’s because I’m doing so much. For once, for good or bad, that is not the case.
My AZTR DNF (Did Not Finish) has hit me really hard. Intellectually I know that sometimes you have to quit, but two weeks later and my stokedtivity levels are still unusually low. Trying not to read into it too much or draw any strong conclusions just yet. No doubt there are many lessons here to be learned- I’m just trying to get past the self-deprecating ones. It’ll come.

Also, I owe y’all a write-up from Feel My Legs. Biggest turnout AND lowest attrition rate ever! Lots of stokedness and positive feedback. Over 90% were first-time racers. What’s that say??

Hopefully this weekend I’ll get some constructive thoughts to paper and into the internets. For now, here’s a sign in Arizona about handling your business.


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Beach cruiser at LAX

Just chillin, waiting for me to hop on and ride right out of the airport. #bikeLA indeed.

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SF food mural

Only a slice (haha) of this gigantic mural in the mission.

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