The Big MAC Diet, Why it will Change YOUR Life and a Thai Recipe!

Oh those golden arches, breakfast all day every day, dollar menu and a scary clown!

What is not to love about all things Mickey D? 

A Big MAC diet - let's learn more! ….drooling, oh yeah baby…duh duh duh da duh I’m lovin’ it!

From the last blog post you learned about the biggest mistake of my life and how it could help you. My reading comprehension error with an antibiotic prescription lead to a serious c diff colitis infection in our 15 year old. Three months later she is still fighting this demon.

Every time we eat we either do something to build our bodies or tear them down. Bite by bite, every day, every meal. We are focusing on doing everything possible to help our daughter heal from the horrible demon inside her.

I haven’t been to a McDonald’s in years so the idea of eating a Big Mac is quite goofy to me. HA! Wrong Big MAC.

This Big MAC diet is actually one that will help your gut heal (a major focus at our house), improve your weight, mood and long-term health. Did you know your gut is linked to so many things?

Big MAC is a term from the book, The Good Gut, by Justin and Erica Sonnenburg. It has been one of my favorite books as I have researched different ideas to help our daughter heal from her intestinal infection.

A MAC is a microbiota accessible carbohydrate. Huh? A carbohydrate that the critters in your gut use for fuel. Giving your gut critters the nutrients they need to thrive will improve your body on so many levels. Duh, duh, duh, duh da….your gut microbiome is lovin’ it!

Think complex carbohydrates: fruit, veggies, legumes and unrefined whole grains. The more diverse your intake, the better it helps the good bacteria in your gut thrive.

These Big MAC’s LOVE fiber and act like a recycling facility, pulling out the good stuff from the goop headed out the back end and it actually improves your health when these critters eat well.

Fiber is not just for binding cholesterol or keeping you for getting plugged up. Fiber fuels those critical microbes in your gut. When they have what they need, they give you what you need.  A happy gut microbiome leads to protection from crud leaking across the gut membrane and into your body. Crud that makes you sick.

Fiber comes from carbohydrates and carbohydrates are not the most popular nutrients of the day. Most foods that come in a package, food handed to you in a paper bag out of a drive through window and almost everything but the outer perimeter of a grocery store is what earned carbohydrates a bad rap.

Heavily processed crap food that tastes delicious, is super cheap and comes in a crinkly wrapper. Those are the carbohydrates that need avoidance.

Fruit, veggies, unrefined whole grains and legumes. EAT these carbohydrates.  Every day, all day to give your gut microbes what they need to thrive and keep you healthy.

This is our favorite new recipe for our big MAC combo meal…it’s SOOOO good!  It’s mild yet flavorful and our pickest picky of all LOVES it! 


  • 1 pound chicken (turkey, tofu, etc), sliced in thin bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 ½ Tbsp grated ginger (I use a microplaner)
  • 3 Tbsp red curry paste (it’s very mild, you don’t need to be afraid and the Thai Kitchen brand is yummy and easy to find at Walmart, Kroger, Target, etc)
  • 3 – 13.5 ounce cans full fat, unsweetened coconut milk (coconut fat is healthy fat)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Optional veggies: diced carrots, diced sweet potato, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, chard, kale…if you love it…add it!

In a medium sauce pan heat oil on medium, cook chicken until cooked completely through. Add diced pepper and onion. Sauté until soft. Add garlic and ginger and cook until its fragrant (a minute or so). Add curry paste and unsweetened coconut milk; stir until curry paste is fully dissolved. Let simmer for 20 minutes or so for the flavors to merry. Add juice of one lime and top with more deliciousness!

Top with chopped dry roasted peanuts, cilantro, mung bean sprouts and a wedge of lime.

Recipe scales easily depending on how big your crew is. This feeds our family of 5 with delicious leftovers.

Eat Big MAC’s all day, every day. Just get them in the produce section of the grocery store!!

Your gut will thank you, I promise!

Brooke, RDN

Confessions of a Coconut Oil Rookie

Peek into my clothes closet, it would be tough to accuse me of being trendy. 

A few years ago I became like that with food too. Sick of the expensive trends, ingredients promising to rule the world, the diet of the day, etc. I rolled my eyes over the hype of coconut oil and didn't bother digging any deeper because I was so tired of the "latest" super power food.

I drew the line until this weekend and in a weak moment I cracked. Hard. At Costco.

Coconut Oil is what broke me. I have been holding out for what feels like years with this trend. Really truly, it was because of the cost as much as it was the trend.

Skylander Giants figure Double Trouble, a magic power. Cleary I was lured in with powers as strong as magic to buy this!

Skylander Giants figure Double Trouble, a magic power. Cleary I was lured in with powers as strong as magic to buy this!

$25 for twins wrapped snugly together with a band of shrink wrap piled with their buddies prominently on an end cap pallet.  It’s organic and kosher. Big Deal. Blinders on and keep on walking...for years.

One 48 oz bottle of canola oil adds about $2.50 to the grocery tab. I prefer canola oil math to coconut oil math. BUT canola oil is made mostly with round-up ready GMO rapeseed. AND it's heavily processed with harsh chemicals. Maybe I need to re-think my math.

Possessed by demons? Maybe. I started to dig deeper into this fascination with coconut oil. I did what anyone else would do, I asked my family what they thought.

Consulting my mother in law and sister in law this weekend each one exclaimed wide eyed and with conviction how much they loved it. Ok, my sister in law has gorgeous huge eyes anyway, I was just adding drama.


It all comes down to processing and Medium Chain Triglycerides.

PROCESSING - the label states it's cold pressed and not chemically treated during production. Very cool. Very much an unadulterated whole food which is my language.

MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES. DON'T FALL ASLEEP, this is not Chemistry Class anymore. These babies are super cool because they aren't stored immediately as fat as other fats are. They are metabolized in the liver the first time through which means they are used as ENERGY fueling our cells immediately. SUPER COOL! Fat not stored as fat as long as you are moving enough to burn the calories you are consuming.



Asking my family how they use coconut oil, this is what they shared.

  • Melt a tiny bit on air popped popcorn and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt
  • Sauté vegetables in the coconut oil
  • Grease the griddle before pouring on pancake batter
  • Smear on dry scaly skin
  • Antibacterial properties can be used to help treat skin infections

My resolve was that for $25 bucks per twin pack, I was going to use it in places where it matteredSmall amounts in food we eat regularly.

  • Melt in pan before scrambling eggs - will they taste like coconut eggs? ummm, not so sure that would be awesome
  • Definitely in the pan as we sauté summer squash (we eat squash about 5 times a week)
  • Use in place of canola in the homemade granola that I eat daily
  • Gussy up fancy popcorn for the kiddos parties with friends – air popped popcorn, COCONUT oil, salt, pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Tried it in a pie crust for a pumpkin pie this weekend...still on the fence as to how much I liked the coconut flavor with pumpkin

The more I learn about this trend, the more excited I am becoming over this ingredient.

As I chew on deciding if this is something I will buy again, I wondered something. One could argue that the premise of Think Inside the Blender may be a trend too. Naaaw, on second thought I disagree. Trends are things that come and go.

We have focused on this way of eating - specifically with fruit and vegetable smoothies for over 4 years. Our trend of eating whole foods, whole grains, fruit and veggie smoothies, while eating as much as we can that has been home grown is now a lifestyle which elevates it from trend status.

Eating this way comes with no fancy package or marketing dollars from corporate giants. It is propelled instead by readers like you who have seen how eating this way makes a difference.

You feel better, your kids are healthier, you visit the doctor less, well-checks or annuals are met with good news most of the time.

Adding coconut oil will not change the foundation of how we eat, but adding and tweaking small things will strengthen our foundation. Maybe I will keep using it.

How do you use coconut oil? Please share your insight with me!

Happy Home Cooking!