The Meal Matters Most

What Makes Healthy Food Healthy: From a Stress Perspective

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Is drinking a Coca-Cola equivalent to drinking Apple Juice?

So I was out to lunch with a friend when he expressed to me that drinking a coke was no different than drinking an apple juice. That side-by-side the sugar content is similar (sugar, is sugar, is sugar) and therefore the potential negative impacts were equivalent. (*Note: My friend stated “no matter how fresh squeezed, cloudy or full of nutrients it was”).

apple juice

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Sugar vs fat: Twin Brothers

I find that I love this article about the Twins and the Sugar vs Diet experiment. However for me, what they miss is that a) sugar/fat are fuels that need to be cleaned up (and therefore eaten with nutritional powerhouses and clean-up antioxidant power spices, sauces, condiments etc), when sugar and fat are put together they are like super fuel and b) that process foods imitate healthy combinations of real foods (not choice between health food or “tasty” junk food), because the flavors imitate synergistic qualities of foods that would originally “buffer” the impact of the sugar and fat (ie acids “balance” fat, baking spices “buffer” sugar, tang from fermented foods all attenuate food-induced obesity or metabolic disturbance). Junk food is like an over-extreme source of energy, or jet fuel, a more intense version of energy, but because it’s all “flavoring” and not real foods, processed food is so incredibly damaging.


Why I’m crazy about Sauces!! Korean Fried Chicken Wings and the awesome benefits of Meju and traditional Gochujang (fermented red chili paste)

Korean Fried Chicken from

Korean Fried Chicken from

Do you or do you not love chicken wings? Are you scared of them because you may think they are horribly bad for us or do you throw caution to the wind because they are just so wonderfully delicious with messy addictive sauces?!?

Well, here at The Meal Matters it’s all about the synergy of ingredients balancing the potential stress of a meal.  Continue reading


Yoni Freedhoff and the Flawed Calorie Perspective: Would a Stress Perspective be better?


Yoni Freedhoff, MD, founder and medical director of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute has written an article entitled “Counting Calories Is Flawed but Here’s Why I Still Do It”.  His article takes the complex math of unique burn rates of foods and people and assumes these differences are irrelevant to calorie counting validity.  And hence why counting calories continues to be Yoni’s go-to obesity management tool.  Yoni says because it’s simple, it’s scientific and there’s nothing better yet, even if it’s technically not correct that a calorie is a calorie or that the human system complicates the math. Yoni feels he can still keep it simple by counting calories, just whole foods are less, some people can eat all they want and some can’t.

Yoni describes the differences in people:

Some of us are walking around driving Humvees while others drive hybrids. The Humvee drivers are the folks who get virtually no fuel economy for their energy stores and consumption. Humvee drivers are like that study subject who barely gained weight despite eight weeks of over feeding, eating whatever they want without having to worry about their waists. The hybrid drivers are the folks who can look at an indulgence and gain weight.

I see a lot of scientists reducing these concept to linear assumptions: that you can count them more or less in straight lines.  It certainly makes them easier to conceptualize and work with. Yoni reduces this down to burning rates with his car analogy; how many calories one burns. However this is a over-simplified version that leaves out the why.  Continue reading

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Food Stamp Challenge #1: Replace $1.59 Wendy’s Bacon cheeseburger.

Replacing the quintessential cheap fast food: The CheeseBurger


image   $1.59 or

$1.54?  image

You could probably make a straight up better cheeseburger, but I’m looking for instant satisfaction, quick and portable. I’ll  be packing or eating at home, so I wanted a similar convenience.  I thought a quick charcuterie-type food would be my perfect quick ‘snack food”. Traditional. Healthy. Satisfyingly deep, rich, bright and light.

Both of these items contain about the same amount of fat and calories (310) and the cost is almost the same. Continue reading


Chicken Wings the deep-fried healthy way?

Chicken Wings from Brick House Tavern

Chicken Wings from Brick House Tavern (Photo credit: powerplantop)

I had a challenge on Twitter yesterday about whether I’d be eating (and I think buying a round of) chicken wings in the name of health. Ok, I’ll take that challenge.

Can chicken wings be healthy? Or at least let’s say less unhealthy?

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Skipping breakfast leading to heart attacks? Well yes, if it causes stress.

In July of this year (2013) there was a barrage of articles and reblogs about a study done on breakfast and exasperation of health conditions. Here is the study: “Prospective study of breakfast and incident coronary heart…”

The interpretation is sort of our classic oversimplification and very linear (which is a single thing creates a single outcome) view of the evidence. “Skipping Meals Leads to Heart Attacks”.

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