I Snagged Registered Dietitian Amy Kubal For a Hot Minute…Her Interview

Posted on June 1, 2012


It started as an innocent tweet to Diane Sanfilippo, a holistic nutritionist, & Amy Kubal, an RD who is pro-paleo, asking how they explain to others why the ‘grains=good’ message is so flawed, because I’d been seemingly striking out in my ability to show people the light out of the grain-centered world we live in. I know, I blog about this stuff, coach it in my training sessions, but seriously, it seems like I hit a wall of peeps who just.didn’t.get.it.

Frankly, I’d been frustrated for some time up to that point because my own family & friends did not seem to see the value that removing grains could give them, and many I spoke to just brushed it off as “too hard” or “only necessary if you were as health-broke as I personally was for so long.” (Part of that frustration led to my decision to not blog very much lately….I was disillusioned with the ability to change the world…any other world-changers been there too??)

Anyway, if you’re not familiar with Twitter, sometimes you tweet at people, and they’re such big to-dos that they never even see your tweet to them, let alone reply to you. This is FAR from how paleo folks work in social media. I’ve had conversations on social media with many of the smartest people within this ancestral health/paleo/anti-inflammatory movement – these people are ACCESSIBLE. Sure enough, within an hour I had a reply from them both- Amy even telling me to email her to get a short article she wrote on why grains are bad in more of a laymen’s terms.

Surprisingly, or not really so once I connected with Amy a bit more and saw how crazy-nice she is, when I slipped a request to interview her for my blog in with my thank you for sending me the article, she agreed on the spot. And after a few more interactions, and one fantastic interview, Amy has restored my faith in the world-changers, myself included, and has reinvigorated me to charge ahead with the messages of health & wellness that I KNOW are true. So thanks Amy~! And thanks to her awesomeness, you all get to learn exactly what one of the best RDs out there thinks about a myriad of nutrition topics…

Without further ado, may I introduce Amy Kubal, a Registered & Licensed Dietitian specializing in the Paleo Diet and performance nutrition. She holds both Bachelors & Masters degrees in Food Science & Human Nutrition from Colorado State University. Amy is one of Robb Wolf’s “Angels”, writing content over on his site, and making her nutrition consulting services available there. She works with both serious and recreational athletes as well as with individuals looking to improve their overall health and performance through diet and lifestyle. She also is a consultant on the Whole 9 Team offering a wide-array of services for all things nutrition! She has won a marathon while eating paleo, is a committed athlete, & is currently the Consulting Dietitian for Joe Friel’s Training Bible Coaching and for Boot Camp Pasadena.

I did my research on Amy…she’s done lots of interviews & I wanted to make sure you readers got to learn some new things from her & get some good tips to help your own nutrition goals.
First up: the Amy Kubal back story! Who are you in 2 sentences or less? You only get 2 sentences so make ’em awesome!

Amy: I’m a former carb-o-holic, fat fearing endurance athlete that has re-emerged as a meat eating, fan of fat, paleo dietitian.  Helping others find health and reach their goals through nutrition and lifestyle is my current gig and I’m loving it!

In other interviews you mention this guy, Scott, who got you on the paleo bandwagon…that’s how most folks find their way to paleo, through a friend…but what made you decide to give it a go? Were things just not working for you? Did you feel that there had to be something else out there different from what you learned as an RD?  

Amy: As an endurance athlete I was very carb addicted, fat phobic, always tired and chronically injured.  Scott got me to think about things differently and challenged my diet and training beliefs. Couple all of that with research, an email response from Robb Wolf, a celiac diagnosis and an experiment that won me a marathon – and here I am! While paleo in and of itself isn’t taught in college I wouldn’t say that the USDA guidelines were ‘beat into us’ either. At the college and graduate school levels things are deeper. We were taught biochemistry, metabolic concepts, medical nutrition therapy, how to counsel clients, etc. We were instructed to use our ‘clinical judgement’ and do what was best for the patient/client situation rather than rely on a given set of guidelines. My instructors at Colorado State University were excellent in that way – I was very lucky!

Ok, those were softball questions – time to get a little tougher! I’ve had athlete clients roll their eyes as I yet again mention sweet potatoes as an awesome source of carbs for a post-workout meal. So what about fruit? Between sweet potatoes or fruit, who wins the blue ribbon for ‘best post-workout carb source’?

Amy: Hands down – sweet potatoes. Seriously, they are nutrition powerhouses!! SO many vitamins and minerals and the type of starches and sugars they contain are more readily used and quickly absorbed by the body and muscles than is fruit sugar or fructose. Fructose needs to take a detour to the liver for processing before it can be used by the body.

Since we’re talking post-workout carbs, what’s your take on the chocolate milk as a recovery drink thing?

Amy: Well, it’s got carbs and protein going for it – unfortunately, it’s a high sugar (often high fructose corn syrup) choice. Real food should always be the first choice for best results!!  

Rumor has it you have a recipe for a make-your-own sports drink…can you confirm this? Does it taste good? How much to get the recipe from you?  

Amy: It’s not a big secret and I really tailor it based on the athlete, the length of the event and the event type.  If you aren’t working out over 60-90 minutes just stick with plain water!  Coconut water is a good choice for longer events and in some situations we’ll add a bit of egg white protein and salt to the mix.  Again – it’s based on the individual’s needs! (Ya see gang, this is why what works for your buddy may not work for you. Work with the smarties in the field you need help in to figure out what’s right for YOU)

Here’s one I hear all the time: Isn’t it “enough” to be gluten-free? Grains really aren’t ‘that’ bad right?

Amy: Let’s just say – YOU CAN DO BETTER!!!

So since you’re an RD, you work with people on personalized plans to eat better, right? Why does someone come to you for help? Do you work with non-sports-performance athletes in your RD work?  

Amy: Yep, I’m here to help people get healthy!  I work with athletes, people with autoimmune and other diseases, those wanting to lose weight, gain weight, get strong, be healthy – you name it! Clients often come to me when they are trying to optimize their health, performance, and over all life. Also, when things stop working or if they need some accountability. Newly diagnosed health problems or symptoms, especially GI issues often signal a call for intervention. Others are just starting out on their Paleo adventure and need some guidance. Everyone’s reason is different – but ultimately no matter the call to action, I will help them reach their goals and get them healthier in the process!

This may sound silly, but what excites you most about the paleo way of eating? For instance, it totally excites me that I can eat more fat in my diet. I used to be so convinced that fat was bad for me & now that I know the right fat is so good for me, my food tastes SO much more awesome! I don’t *have* to eat dry, extra-lean turkey burgers anymore!  

Amy: That it’s so simple and it’s hard to argue the value of REAL FOOD!  I agree on the fat and meat piece and I will never again have to eat a veggie burger or tofu – BONUS!!!

Last question – which, for the record, Amy totally hijacked!! But because she’s so nice, I’m going to allow it 🙂 If you were going to a deserted island for a month, & you could bring an unlimited supply of any 2 paleo foods – but ONLY those foods, what 2 paleo foods would you bring? *Assume there’s clean, running water so you don’t have to bring that*   

Amy: I am going to assume that I can fish and have access to a coconut and pineapple tree (I know, I just made my own rules…)  I would bring an unlimited supply of veggies definitely including yams and sweet potatoes and some red meat – probably elk or grassfed beef. That would keep me happy for a long time!!  blog owner interjection: (and so it’s clear, Amy’s on MY island when we all decide to jump ship on the whole civilization thing & start an island coconut farm, get your own RD for your island)

Ok Amy, thanks for being a good sport! Is there anything else you want to share with the world about eating healthy or living well?

Amy: If you haven’t given Paleo a shot – try it.  Give it 30 days – it will change your life!  And if you have tried it or are currently Paleo and need some help or tweaking let me know and I’ll help you get on track! 

Gang, Amy’s super awesome and is to her field what I am to mine. We guide people to the best programs & results possible using our specialization in our respective fields. I personally have a coach for my own sports training and it absolutely shortens the time it takes for me to grasp a skill or concept. If you’ve been challenged by this whole nutrition thing, consider giving Amy a call. She’ll happily be the expert in your corner guiding you to great results!

I linked to her consulting services above, but here they are again:

Robb Wolf’s Nutrition Consulting
Whole 9’s Nutrition Consulting
Amy’s blog