Bulk Up on Grains


After reading a recent article about the effects quinoa exporting has had on the price Bolivian people have to pay for their staple table grain, I was encouraged to diversify my pantry with alternative whole grains.

I've always adored the bulk sections at grocery stores - albeit as a child it was the bulk candy aisles - today, my local San Francisco co-op, Rainbow Grocery, has the best bulk selections around.

Buying bulk has wonderful benefits:

  • Purchase precise quantities for recipes, large quantities for storage, or small quantities for sampling
  • Offers variety
  • Fresh. Less time on the shelves and no added preservatives
  • Cost effective
  • Less packaging

I stocked up on the following gluten-free grains:

  • Rice: Brown, Basmati and Arborio
  • Millet
  • Amaranth 
  • Buckwheat
  • Kasha

Hearty, comforting and honestly just as easy to cook as pasta, these grains lend themselves to sweet or savory breakfast, lunch or dinner sides or mains. Welcoming to your body's digestive system and extra satisfying when the table's mundane bread and white rice are starving for a little diversity.

For reference, the following whole grains are not gluten free:

  • Wheat
  • Oats (gluten free are available)
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Kamut

Poop Talk

Unless we're talking about changing dirty diapers or recovering from Montezuma's revenge, we don't talk about one of our bodies most important detoxification processes - Pooping!

There, I said it and you too should get comfortable with talking about poop. We all do it, but what do you know about your poop cycles (or lack of), the size of, shape, smell? Don't squirm, it's quite frankly a vital part of our overall health and worth talking about.

I opt for the fancier terminology - elimination - when talking about pooping, but generally end up saying the p-word, "you know, when was the last time you pooped?"

Don't poop everyday? Think sitting on the toilet for 10 minutes is a short visit to the bathroom? Plunkers? Floaters? Stinkers? Whatever the stools, they have their own story to tell about our bodies digestion of food.

The story begins and ends the same; we eat, therefore we must poop.

The time in which is takes for the body's digestion process to cross the finish line is called transit time. A healthy process takes approximately 18 hours. In that time, you've ingested more food, which means more waste must eventually come out. Pooping 3 times per day sounds like a lot, but it's the 3 times per week routine that should come as a shock.


Poop everyday. 2-3 times per day is optimal. Poop should come out with ease. Soft, but formed.

Size and Shape

Some say "S" shaped others say B for "banana" shaped. The general rule is that it has a distinct shape - roughly 10-12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Think about the shape of the large intestine. No loose piles, skinny ribbons, or round pebbles. These formations suggest poor digestion, inflammation, or constipation.


If it smells stinky, think about your diet in the past 24 hours. If you keep a clean diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables than your poop should have minimal odor. Crap food = crap smell.


Poop should be varying shades of brunette (medium brown). Green suggests food may be moving too quickly through the large intestine and absorption is not happening properly. Pale or white may suggest lack of bile, a trouble linked to liver function. Black or bright red (not from eating beets) should seek medical attention as there may be blood in your stools. 

Need to Poop More?



Increase Fiber

Add more whole fruits and vegetables to your diet. Think apples and dark leafy greens!

Add Water

Hydrate the body. Drink lots of water. Lots meaning 64oz per day, plus an extra glass when you wake-up and one before bed.


Get everything moving! Regular exercise aids in the body's digestion and elimination processes. Walk, run, bike, hike, swim, climb stairs.