Balanced Bites Podcast: Episode #11
Upcoming Practical Paleo Seminars in 2011/2012
Liz will be at the 12th Annual Weston A. Price Foundation Wise Traditions Conference.
Check out Liz’s new nutritional therapy website here.
#1: IBS after an intermittent fast. [5:22]
#2. Paleo & vegetarianism [19:18]
#3. Indulging in Paleo-fied treats [28:45]
#4. Salt, sea salt, table salt & iodine [37:45]
#5. Healthy weight gain, 58 year old female [43:42]
#6. Ketogenic diets [54:10]
Click here to download the episode as an MP3.
The episodes are currently available in iTunes, Stitcher & Blog Talk Radio
LIZ WOLFE: Hey everyone, I’m Liz Wolfe, sidekick to Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites, and welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. What’s up, D? What’s going on?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Well, getting myself ready to move back to the East Coast. I cannot believe I’m doing this. [laughs] Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs] At this time of year.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I know. I think I’m completely crazy. It’s just kind of…it’s just how the dice rolled out. Yeah. I was planning on waiting until after the winter. At least after some of the deeper winter, but it just turned that I’ve got so many things to be back there for, you know, November, December, even beginning of January that I was just like, well, I may as well just move. Not pay rent here anymore. Yeah, so I’m coming back and my…the town I’m from actually was out of power for like five days.
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: That was definitely-that definitely made me think my judgment was slightly impaired on the timing of this move, but meh, it is what it is. So yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: Well, I’m here, you know. So all of your….we’ll see.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh yeah, there’s that.
LIZ WOLFE: We’ll see if my dog can’t harass your cat at some point over the winter.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I’m looking forward to meeting him. I think-we’ll see what happens how the weather is. I’m going to be over in Pittsburgh for a couple of weeks, hanging out with Bill and Hayley of the Primal Palate. I’ve probably mentioned loosely a few times, but I am working on a book. I don’t want to tell people too much about it until I have more to share or a little bit more kind of tucked away, but basically at least sort of the recipe portions and some pictures are going to be helping me out with that since they’re obviously immensely talented and also just generally awesome people.
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: We hung out for about…yeah, I mean, we talked about this a couple weeks ago, but we hung out like 5 days recently and it was like just the most fun five days I’ve had in a long time, so that was cool. Yeah, so that’s kind of…
LIZ WOLFE: And kind of…yeah, cool.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: The only other thing I have kind of going on is I’ve been scheduling a bunch of seminars for early 2012, so if people are listening and just kind of curious where I’ll be. I’ll probably put a blog post up soon just with some announcements on, you know, winter and spring dates, so that people get that in their inbox, but I’ve had a lot of people just kind of saying, hey, can you come to my gym, but they may be a member of the gym and not the owner, and just, you know, shoot a note over the owner of your gym and let them know you’re interested. And usually we can kind of make that happen, and not too too many dates left within the first few months of the year, but probably looking into the summer a little bit, there might be some more dates opening, but there’s a handful and especially for some that are a little bit more local to where I’ll be in NJ. I’ll have a little more flexibility on being able to book those with a short-slightly shorter timeline than some of the more long distance trips, so anyway. Just want to give people that heads up. They can check it out on BalancedBites.com on the Events Schedule page. Yeah. What about you? Are you traveling anywhere? Do you have anything coming up?
LIZ WOLFE: I do. I’m going to be at the Weston A. Price Foundation conference in Dallas. I guess this podcast will go up on Wednesday, so it’ll be just that weekend, just a few days from there, so if any of the listeners are going to be at the conference in Dallas, definitely look for me. I’m trying o figure out what my, you know, my outfit’s going be so that people can spot me. I’m thinking like maybe a red rose in my hair or maybe like a tutu. Or like maybe like a Storm Trooper costume maybe, I’m not really sure.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] Okay, well, I think any of the above would be cool, and [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: I won’t be dressing up as like a stinky hippie because I think that would make it way too hard to pick me out of the crowd at that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh, yeah, you won’t stand out at all. [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Or even like walking around with a stick of butter as a snack also not effective amongst the Weston A. Price crowd. I think…
LIZ WOLFE: Only a Weston A. Price crowd or the Ancestral Health Symposium could you wear Vibrams and carry around a stick of butter and not stand out. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. Totally. Or like probably have a little bit of that natural stink and people don’t really notice or can’t actually pick out who it’s coming from. [laughs] Yeah. I was bummed that I can’t make it to the conference. You know…
LIZ WOLFE: Uh-hunh.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I don’t know why I just…I haven’t been really looking at what all the dates of those things are when I’m kind of doing my own thing and booking my events, so I happened to have already this seminar like way before I even had that on my radar, so maybe for next year I’ll kind of keep that open. Because I know there’s a ton of great speakers there. I know at the very least Chris Masterjohn’s going to be there speaking and I always like to see what’s he’s got going on.
LIZ WOLFE: Sure. Yeah. Definitely.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Well, that’s cool.
LIZ WOLFE: Let’s just jump in here. What do you say?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. Sounds good.
LIZ WOLFE: All right, question number one. Stacey from Virginia asks: “It’s Stacy from the Paleo Parents again!” Hi Stacey! “With a question I think Diane will enjoy figuring out the answer to… Why is it that at the end of intermittent fasting (16-20 hours usually) I am greeted by an incredibly irritable bowel? Doesn’t matter what I eat to break the fast (veggies, fat, carbs or protein) it seems to happen (although in varying degrees). Anything I can do to stop it? I like IF and do not like the idea of supplements, but if bile enzymes is all I’ve got I guess it’s worth a try… ” I think maybe she’s saying bile, like ox bile and/or pancreatic enzymes. “Disclosure: I have no gall bladder.”
All right, and maybe Diane, when you answer this question, you can kind of give a little overview of what we mean by intermittent fasting, just in case people aren’t familiar,
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, sure. And I actually…so you and I talked about this a couple of weeks ago. Stacey was actually at, you know, Hayley and Bill’s house with me for a couple of days there. She came to the book release party and so I did already answer this question for her in person, but I wanted to cover it again just because I think a bunch of people are having this issue or may have this issue. So just really quickly, like the idea of intermittent fasting is basically, you know, where you’ve got a period of time, usually I guess around 16 hours, and it can be more than that, when you’re just not eating. Not something that you necessarily need to plan, hence the intermittent side of things, where it just might happen. You know, maybe you’re traveling or maybe you just are busy that day and you know, you sort of skip a meal, or even potentially two, and you feel okay, and you just are waiting until you get to that next point where you’re going to focus on eating. And people do this sometimes just for ease of something good is unavailable, or I’m busy and don’t want to deal with it, and I don’t have low blood sugar problems, so I can just wait and eat later. Or if you’re traveling and there aren’t good food choices available, it could be useful to be able to just not eat for a little while and a lot of people also use it as a tool for a little bit better sort of metabolic function and it just allows your body to sort of rest. I know some people do some things like fasting, juice fasting or things like that, or cleanses and think that that’s really going to give your body the shakeup it needs, but I think this idea of just sort of resting from putting food in, can be a little bit more effective for people. I know also before starting something which if we get time at the end on like a ketogenic diet. For example, before starting a ketogenic diet for therapeutic uses, a lot of times an intermittent fast, so they’ll have the person who is going to start a ketogenic diet not eat for awhile, again to just give you that metabolic reset, just to sort of even that horizon out of what your body is doing and just wait for that new introduction of food to sort of signal what’s going to happen again.
I know also one of the things that Mat LaLonde has talked about is this process of autophagy, which essentially is your cells sort of cleaning up themselves and essentially eating themselves for a source of protein, so some people will look at an intermittent as essentially just a protein fast. So if you did want some sort of protein for some sort of calories in if you didn’t want to wait early in the morning, you just need something, maybe a spoonful of like coconut oil and you’re…you’d still get a lot of the benefits of that intermittent fast as mostly that benefit is coming from avoiding protein in that time. Anyway, that’s a bunch of stuff on intermittent fasting. I’m certainly not an expert on the topic, but that’s sort of everything I know about it, just sort of at a high level. It can be very useful for people, but it also can be troublesome to start trying to do an intermittent fast if your blood sugar regulation is not excellent. So I definitely don’t usually recommend it to people unless they can very easily go at least 8 hours without a meal and feel okay. Then sometimes you can push it a little longer and see how you feel. But if you’re feeling shaky, light headed, any symptoms of low blood sugar like that, it’s not for you. It’s a very natural thing to do, but for those of us who’ve been living in a modern world, and been very reliant on glucose or sugar or carbs as an energy source, it can be really really tricky, if you’re not adapted to burning fat for energy.
So Stacey’s question about, you know, getting the sort of irritable bowel after intermittent fast…so after she hasn’t eaten for 16 to 20 hours, and she doesn’t have a gall bladder, which is sort the linchpin in the situation. I don’t know…and people can comment if they have the same situation and they do have a gall bladder? But essentially without a gall bladder, what you’re experiencing in your digestive system is sort of a slow trickle of bile into your digestive system all the time. Bile is what helps emulsify fat so that we can digest it. So just like when you have grease and water, which would be like the fat in your…in the food, in the chyme that’s coming through in your food, you drop some soap in there, and it helps to emulsify that grease and break it up so that it’s smaller and easier to break down and wash away, or break down and digest. So that’s what bile is doing.
If you don’t have a gall bladder, and you don’t have the appropriate signaling that basically tells your brain as food comes in, there’s a certain amount of fat in it, your brain signals to your gall bladder where you’re storing bile if you have one, release X amount of bile to respond to this food. And specifically the fat in the food. You’re also getting signaling of other digestive enzymes as well from the pancreas. But if you don’t have a gall bladder, then that signaling isn’t happening, and you’re just essentially releasing small of amounts of bile all the time. So introducing a meal after sort of shutting off the need for that production, that could just irritate your system in a way that’s, you know, I don’t have the exact answer, but just knowing how the process work, it could just be, you know, your body’s kind of chilled out. It isn’t getting food for awhile, and then all of a sudden, it’s like hey, we need to work on this. So you may be motivating some of those other digestive enzymes to sort of spurt out a little bit more quickly after they’ve relaxed, and that could really just irritate the whole system.
What I would say to handle this is either, you know, one, maybe intermittent fasting isn’t for you. You know, if you’re experiencing good benefits from it other than the irritable bowel if you’re feeling some sort of body composition changes, and I think Stacey’s been on a pretty, you know, pretty consistent weight loss journey and she’s doing amazing with it. If she’s seeing good results from that, so she wants to continue the fasting, then that’s where I think possibly introducing some ox bile, maybe some other digestive enzymes that she might not need others. She might just need that ox bile or bile salts supplementation. And I know that, you know, with people who don’t like the idea of supplements, I don’t love it either , but sometimes your body just isn’t…isn’t at 100%, and if you don’t have a gall bladder, that’s your case. You know, you don’t have a body at 100%. Just like somebody who has, you know, hypothyroidism, taking thyroid hormone, you know, you can’t fix that at a certain point if you’ve already, you know, done the best you can with your diet and lifestyle. If you can’t fix what’s broken, if we can’t get back to the root of the problem, and there’s not something more you can do, like once you don’t have a gall bladder, you just don’t have it. So introducing that supplement, that’s basically just doing the best you can to get back to even. So that may be the best bet. I would recommend that she try doing the supplement with her first meal after an intermittent fast. See how that goes for a few times. If it works really well, great, then there’s kind of your answer. It’s just that you know, you were introducing something to your system that it maybe wasn’t completely amped up and ready for.
It doesn’t really-it doesn’t really make sense to have a lot of fat at that first meal because again when you’re thinking about what’s happening with your body, so this could be an opportunity where, you know. she just eats her normal, take some extra supplements with it, see how that goes. Or alternatively, that first meal of the day could be slightly lower in fat. I mean, you and I both know we don’t recommend a low fat diet, but it could mean that just that meal isn’t a very heavy fat meal, just to kind of her body used to having food again, and see how that works. I think she’s pretty-she’s pretty well versed in which fats she digests better than other. Typically without a gall bladder, shorter chain fats are easier to digest, so things like coconut oil, butter, the more saturated fats vs. unsaturated fats tend to be easier to digest. That’s kind of what I have on that situation. I think she can kind of let us know how that goes, and report back and we’ll see from there.
LIZ WOLFE: Sounds good. Yeah, you and I have been talking a lot lately kind of about the difference between supplementation just for supplementation’s sake and support, you know, so…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: I like what you said about the ox bile and about say, conditions like the thyroid like…for a long time, I really was like, you don’t need supplements if you’re eating real food. You don’t need that, but then you know, when you get really into the nitty gritty of it, a lot of us are dealing with things like Stacey, no gall bladder or you know, long term behaviors with relation to food that have stymied our production of stomach acid. Like there are a lot of things that you can really, as you make this transition, as you continue down this road, you may need to just accept some support, whether that just be a quick kick start or you know, in the case of someone without a gall bladder, you may to need to supplement with ox bile over the long term. And there’s nothing wrong with that, you know?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. This is also something like, yeah, I mean, you and I, we definitely see eye to eye on that whole scenario and I remember-I remember taking a nutrition class back as an undergrad. Seems like forever ago. But just in general nutrition, you know, the teacher-the professor was kind of saying how supplements like most of what people take as supplements doesn’t even get absorbed, and so you know, and so I think that’s where she was saying like basically showing like bottles and bottles, like hey you know, you’re going to eliminate this. And at the time, I was like, that makes sense, and even starting nutrition school felt the same way. And then when you get into the nitty gritty of working with people and finding out that you know, after 30 years of a SAD diet or a low fat, you know, Standard American, not very rich in nutrient dense foods and just tons of stress depleting the body of a lot of different vitamins and minerals, you know, we’re just not dealing with the same situation that we were. Obviously not as hunter-gatherers, but even just looking back to like the life that my grandparents led, you know, and what things were like for them growing up and what kind of nutrition they had and this is a big point that I try to make for people and we’re getting a little bit on a tangent, but whatever.
I think that like even our grandparents and to an extent our parents just were even better off than we are with the foundation of, you know, better food, breastfeeding, that kind of thing. Their constitution is so different that we’re experiencing ill health at much younger ages now. I think you and I both know a lot of people who are even in their 20s and 30s experiencing conditions that typically didn’t come up until people hit maybe their 30s, 40s, you know, 50s or 60s even. It’s happening much younger.
LIZ WOLFE: Yup.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I think a lot of it has to do with just foundational nutrition, environment, constitution that’s happening at a very young age, even from pregnancy forward. So, you know, this is the kind of thing where I just want people to have an open mind to the idea of, you know, when is supplementation useful and therapeutic vs. you know, just oh, somebody says take this supplement because everybody needs it vs. no, actually we do need it or you need it, specifically. You know? And don’t feel badly about it, and don’t feel like feel like it’s anything that you’re continuing to do wrong. It’s actually you’re recognizing that it’s not something that your body has enough of or that you are not eating enough of or whatever reason. It just-kind of move forward with it. I mean, I definitely have had a lot of issues you know, figuring out how to tackle that of idea of supplementation and feeling comfortable with it, but hey, I’m even doing it now for my adrenal protocol and I’m like feeling better and getting myself back on track is more important than any sort of dogma I may have held about what’s the right way to live beforehand, you know, so…
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Whoa, I can really talk, hunh? [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: No, no you know what, I can, too. Now you’ve got me thinking about even, you know, the condition of the soil and the nutrient richness of the soil that has really gone down. The nutrient content of foods than it lower than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago, so there are a lot of different scenarios where you might want to look at something like this, but, you know. Just listen to your body and like Stacey did and ask the right people the right questions and like you said, don’t get stuck in dogma.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, absolutely.
LIZ WOLFE: All right, question number 2. Rebecca asks us: “Is it possible to follow a Paleo diet while still being a semi-vegetarian? I honestly do not care for meat much anymore since making the change to no red meat or poultry in my diet and have seen great improvements in my overall health since making the switch too – i.e. sleeping better and better energy. I am wondering if it is still plausible to be healthy and just use fish and grain fed organic eggs as a source of protein.”
Rebecca’s diet. She says “I eat a lower in fat diet, about 2 to 3 meals a day, typically skip breakfast and drink coffee like it’s going out of style. I don’t drink pop or juice – only water, tea, and coffee. I do have a weakness for beer and chocolate like nothing else. I exercise (cardio) a minimum of 5 times a week for 30-40 minutes….recently got into running. I work a desk job that I hate (mostly because it is sedentary) – and have had issues sleeping in the past to where I take Ambien at night time.
Non-Paleo foods include yogurt, some cheese, beer, some pasta, chocolate, sugarless gum – 60 percent Paleo I would guess.” Lot of details.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, so you know, I think you think kind of have some words for her maybe, but the first thing I just want to say about this is that her question seems very basic and straightforward, but what I think is really important about the way that we’re asking people to give us questions at this point, is that we’re asking people to tell us you know what are you eating now and what are your sort of non-Paleo foods that you eat with what regularity. And I think that the story for Rebecca is really in her details, not in her question because I think her question seems really obvious and straightforward, but then when we look at she’s actually doing, I think we really have the story vs. what’s she asking, so what do you kind of want to throw over at Rebecca.
LIZ WOLFE: Oh, well, to your point about the details. This-the meat of this question really being in the details. Rebecca says that she made this switch to no red meat or poultry, and she gives us an idea of what she’s eating now. But you know, one thing I’m not 100% clear is what she was eating before. So you know I have to wonder, and this goes back to kind of the classic intervention diet point where, you know, something is better than just being off the rails. I have to wonder whether she made a switch that also entailed moving to a diet lower in like processed foods or grains, although she does still list pasta and beer as on her menu currently. But, you know, in addition to red meat and poultry, so it’s possible in this scenario that she not only eliminated red meat and poultry, but she also eliminated some other problematic item that, you know, she’s feeling better and it could be that that other component is actually what’s responsible for her feeling better now.
So anyway, that said, you know looking at this, a loss of desire or taste for meat can be a sign, first of all, for low stomach acid. That’s usually where I go first when people say, “yeah, I just don’t have a taste for it.” I would look at it kind of as your body not having the raw materials to sufficiently digest protein. And I think that’s one of those first things where the body just kind of doesn’t care for it because it can’t make use of it. And that could also be the reason that Rebecca feels better without meat. And you know, if she were my client, I would definitely tweak a few things about the meal timing, the macronutrients, and maybe see what we can do to put a lid on the stress level from a physiological standpoint and from an emotional standpoint. I’d want to look at upper GI indicators like, you know, chronic bad breath, does the sweat have a strong odor, are the fingernails peeling or chipping, stuff like that, so…you know, even though these details and really did I think help us get to the root of the question here, there’s a few other things I’d like to know, you know, for her in particular.
But beyond that, just kind of backing up to the question itself, you know, Dr. Weston Price did study many cultures across the globe who relied on a lot of different sources of quote unquote complete protein. You know, and by that I mean, animal and marine life. And these cultures, you know, enjoyed perfect health. But it’s worth noting that they also did not have exposure to any of the foods of commerce, you know: sugar, processed grains and such. And some of these healthy cultures concentrated fully on just marine life and fish eggs; some other cultures only ate dairy and red meat. And it really all depends. But I’d say if you’re making an effort to load up on quality marine life, fatty wild caught fish, bivalves like clams and scallops as well as eggs and tons of veggies and good fats. As she mentioned, she mentioned a low fat diet which I don’t really believe is good for almost anybody, but you know, you can make it without a lot of red meat and/or poultry. I think that you need to work a little into the rotation, and evaluate that potential stomach acid issue, but generally, I think you can be healthy, but no, you’re not going to be healthy if you’re keeping some, you know, pasta and some beer and stuff like that in the rotation. So that’s kind of all over the place, but that’s really where I come down on this question. So what do you think, Diane?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I’m with you on all that, and I think, again, what we both kind of look at it as if there were our clients, so of what would we tell them? And you know, I really don’t-I don’t take as much issue with the fact that she may not be eating certain forms of animal protein. It’s like, okay, maybe there’s some iron she’s missing out on potentially from avoiding red meat, but I think that most of her potentially ill health is not as much coming from missing those couple of forms of animal protein as it is what she’s still including. You know? So between the diet and the lifestyle, so between saying about 60% Paleo, which to me like if that’s what you’re saying you’re at, that’s probably, you know, you’re probably still at least getting a lot of sort of junky food in pretty often. Like that’s like saying, almost every day like you know, at a meal or every other day, you’re kind of eating foods that, you know, you know are less than ideal. But I think just the way that she sort of describes her lifestyle, like drinking coffee like it’s going out of style, exercise cardio minimum 5 times a week, 30 to 40 minutes, getting into running, hating her job, issues with sleep and taking Ambien. And these aren’t judgments at all, like this is totally typical scenario that I see. And this actually-this sounds like-it’s just really really common. But to me, like her ill health and then potentially cascading into some of her bad food choices that we’re seeing in this sort of non-Paleo foods, like the beer, pasta, you know, chocolate, I don’t know what kind or how much because I obviously pretty much love chocolate.
But you know, I think it’s just lifestyle more than anything else, and then exactly what you said, when it comes down to not having a taste for the meat, I just-it, you know, either figuring out better ways to cook it, different introduction and really getting your system ready to digest it properly. I think she’s probably experiencing more benefit from just having cut out more junk than not eating the meat, you know, which is what you kind of touched on, too. But I really do think that the lifestyle factors are important to look at here because if she is very stressed out, as we talked about with Chris for awhile on the podcast about digestion. If she’s very stressed, her stomach acid will be lower, like that’s just , you know, there’s a direct relationship between increased stress and decreased hydrochloric acid, so I think looking at those lifestyle points would be very important. But you know, at the end of the day, if she doesn’t ever want to eat chicken, I kind of don’t care. I think chicken’s really like…Chicken’s like a step up from, you know….
LIZ WOLFE: Nothing?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I mean, we’ve, you know, we’ve cultivated chicken to be a good animal protein source, but I’m definitely a bigger fan of larger grass-fed ruminants, so…chicken, whatever. But I do think that grass-fed beef, buffalo, bison, whatever you want to call it, elk, lamb are really great sources of iron and a lot of other minerals and good fat, so…Yeah, hopefully, she’s got some info to go with there. And again, I would really love to hear back from people what they’re working on and how things go.
LIZ WOLFE: Definitely. All right. Chad. This next question is from ChaDiane Sanfilippo: “How often do you indulge the sugar demons by eating a quote ‘Paleo approved’ dessert?” I’ll let you tackle that, Diane. And then I’ll decide what I’m going to say. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] So it’s a funny question by calling it “sugar demons.” I’m like, well, are you having cravings, Chad? Or is this just, you know, you want a treat. I’m going to guess that he’s not talking about cravings every day because you know, he does kind of frame it as indulging in a Paleo approved dessert, so it sounds a little less like, you know, what do I do every day for these cravings? And more just, how often is-does this seem okay?
I personally eat dark chocolate pretty regularly, and I don’t really feel guilty about it. I don’t feel like it’s a major cheat. I just-it’s just one of the things that I’ve decided. I’ll get a pretty dark chocolate. It’s pretty low in sugar, and I don’t really have a problem with that. Personally, I think everyone gets to sort of choose what they, you know, what they feel around that stuff. It doesn’t upset my digestion. Yeah, that’s kind of my take on how I indulge.
I say this over and over again that I really stink at baking, so I’m usually not here baking Paleo treats. Like I do it very randomly, mostly just so I can throw some recipes out to other people. Because not only can I not resist something if I bake a tray, I mean, I will eat the whole tray. So, you know, that doesn’t really work when you’re kind of baking and you’re living alone, but…But I would say, you know, I don’t more than like once a week. Like if I have a client who is like, all right, I’m happy with my body composition and I just, you know, how often does it seem legit to kinda have a treat? I wouldn’t say more than like once a week, but especially if you’re baking a batch, and you have like one or two pieces of whatever it is, and the rest is shared or given away. And really ideally I would say even less often. I think it really should be considered a treat and something as maybe you use it as a birthday cake or some sort of event. I really like the idea of sort of Paleo treats for taking to events where most people there aren’t Paleo and you just to A. bring something that you can have a bite of and B. Show people that not using refined flours and grain products can taste really good. So I like it for that. I don’t really love the idea of baking Paleo treats at home and keep them around the house regularly. So what regularly means to you may vary. It really also depends on what your goals are. So if you’re trying to improve your body composition, I just don’t think that’s the kind of stuff you want to have around all the time. So that’s-that’s what I think about that.
LIZ WOLFE: Well, okay, so now I know what I’m going to say.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs] All right, so I totally echo what you said, like I really…a couple weeks ago, I brought some cookies to a-some chocolate chip cookies to a party, and they were something like a little bit of coconut flour, some almond flour, dark chocolate chips, a little bit of either maple syrup or honey and that was about it. And they were a huge hit, and all of a sudden, you know, we’re all talking about how to live without refined flour, and you know, for me, that’s like, riveting party conversation. Like I will put together a drinking game to talking about, you know, eliminating gluten and you know, work it for the rest of the night. I mean, you can…truly.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: But…so you know, I think it’s a great kind of entry point, you know, if you do feel like, I’m sure you and I both probably get sick of talking about food all the time, but you know, I’ll do it. I’ll do it if it means one of my friends, you know, might think about it or you know, give it a little thought the next time or whatever. But I, you know, I kind of just go with whatever I want to do at the time, honestly.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Mm-hmm.
LIZ WOLFE: I don’t have a whole lot of irrational sugar cravings, you know, when I’m being compliant and eating well, and so, I don’t know…I’ll drive an hour and a half to this raw milk dairy in New Town, Pennsylvania. It’s called Birchwood Farm Dairy, and they have this phenomenal ice cream that they put out that’s like two ingredients. So delicious. Does not bother me digestively at all. I like supporting what they do. I mean, they know everything about their cows. It’s an A2 herd. They’re just good-damned good people and so we’ll go up there and that ice cream. But I will say, we make it count, you know, when we do that. So it’s not like running off to the store and splurging on some Ben and Jerry’s or a Snicker’s bar. It’s something you know is good. Good dark chocolate or it’s, you know, something from the Food Lovers Primal Palate-they have an amazing carrot cake that’s delicious. Like it’s something that requires some effort and some appreciation when I eat it, so..
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Mm-hmm.
LIZ WOLFE: That’s that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: You know, I’m married, I’m not really worried about body composition anymore, so…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] Well, and then there’s like, so you know, this is a guy asking the question, and so, you know, just by the population of clients that I have, and how typically I hear from males. You know, he’s asking this question and he’s not asking it from like a, you know, an emotional eating perspective of like, oh my God, if I eat this, am I going to be okay? He’s like, eh, is this going to mess me up? You know, like I think that’s really his question. It’s like if I eat this now and then, like how am I going to deal with it? You know, I sort of throw my hands up like whatever. Like eat it as it comes up. Don’t plan it in like every other day, and you know, just kind of enjoy it and use it and, you know, use it as the Paleo-sort of-fied treats like exactly as we’re saying like as a tool. And I think that for the rest of the people who are dealing with things like, you know, emotional issues around it, and you know, this is something I’ve talked about pretty candidly. Like I’ve had this problem, too, for myself. You know, just whatever the case may be, food being sort of a thing I’ve had to deal with as my like crutch or whatever, if I’m dealing with an issue that you know, finding a way to at least keep it-keep the ingredients healthier, so you’re not totally just messing up your system, even if you do sort of fall off the rails a little bit, I think that that’s where these things kind of come in, so….
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. But I don’t know.
LIZ WOLFE: Fear not, Paleo Police.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, we’re not, and I think we both have been like…Yeah, I think our listeners probably know by now, but we both kind of you know, enjoy life and you know, as things come up, you know, you enjoy them, and you don’t freak out about it, and you know, it’s as important to just be in the right mindset as we’ve said before as it is to be eating the right food. And you know, just kind of check in with yourself. Like okay, a little bit of rambling, but whatever. To like…I like telling stories…But when I was actually when I was in Pittsburgh, and Hayley made a bunch of the grain free-I think they’re almond flour-chocolate chip cookies, I probably ate my weight in chocolate chip-Paleo chocolate chip cookie dough that weekend. Like seriously, this is why I don’t make stuff like that at home because I just can’t not eat it. But I must have eaten like ten of those little cookies, over the course of a day or the weekend at least. And a bunch of the cookie dough. And it was like, okay, I obviously cannot NOT eat this stuff if it’s around. So you know, you just have to know, heh, like yeah, know yourself, know what’s going on, and know if you can resist. And if you can’t, you have to do it when you can take it somewhere, and if you can, you know, whatever then. I’m not one of those people who can just be indifferent to a batch of cookies sitting across the room. I’m not really sure how many people can.
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, you’d have to…I mean, we’ve had some school, but we haven’t had a lobotomy. Like a chocolate chip cookie, I mean, c’mon.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Exactly.
LIZ WOLFE: It’s truly..it’s about knowing yourself , and that’s what this whole journey is about, you know. It’s a nerdy thing to say, but if you’re…if you’ve been doing this for awhile, and you don’t feel like you know yourself and your tendencies and your body better, then you need to flip that switch, for sure.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: That’s it. Yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Cool. Cool.
LIZ WOLFE: All righty. Next one, Mindy. She says, “Hi, Love the podcast!” Thank you, Mindy! We love you. “I was wondering about salt. I see a lot of Paleo recipes that call for sea salt. Why sea salt? Should I avoid table salt? What should I be looking for when buying sea salt? What about iodine?”
And I just have a quick thing to say on this, Diane, and you can take it away, but it’s pretty simple. Sea salt contains like a full complement of minerals, the electrolytes, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, dot dot dot. I use Celtic Sea Salt. I really like it, I think it’s delicious, and I like the idea of having that naturally occurring balance among the minerals rather than something that’s just refined to be nothing but NaCl, so that’s how I feel. How about you?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I definitely…between my education and sort of what’s swirling around out there. I think the sort of Paleo purist back to like the Paleo Diet, definitely the angle from that book is not to salt our food because it wouldn’t have been something that Paleo man would do, and just not adding salt to things. But that the reality is again, you know, lack of mineral balance in our foods and our soils, so then, you know, in our food, and also just in looking at activity levels today, you know whether we’re sedentary and then just sort of running around and then being active, or if we’re very very active, I know a lot of people that don’t use any salt experience some electrolyte imbalances without salt.
So that said, you know, down to her question of this idea that sea salt and iodine and all of that, I’d rather we think about getting iodine from food sources than something which has been sort of stripped away, like iodized salt has been stripped of mineral content and then iodine added back. I would rather we get it from food sources, where it occurs naturally like seafood or seaweed. We can use like nori sheets just the sort of dried seaweed paper. Wrap up some, you know, wild smoked salmon or wild salmon and some avocado and make like a little hand roll, or you can even throw like turkey and stuff in there, just eat that. Or those Sea Sax, which I think are pretty tasty snack and I eat those kind of regularly. They’re expensive, but what you’ll get in foods as we kind of always say are just a better balance and a more even representation of different trace minerals that our body want in the balance that they occur in nature. So that’s really where I come from on the idea of you know we use the iodized salt. I don’t personally care for it as a taste. I’ll use it very very randomly if for some reason I don’t actually have my own salt with me. I do carry a really small travel-sized little bottle. No, I’m not kidding of Redmond’s Sea Salt.
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Please, I mean, between myself and my friend Caitlin who has the website Grassfed Girl, she and I are always like, Do you need salt? Like I think, you know, so I’m dealing with some adrenal insufficiencies lately. It’s actually kind of a sign that you have some adrenal insufficiencies if you’re always craving salt, but I just like using my salt. If I’m going to a restaurant, and I taste something that’s a little bit bland, I’ll use this Redmond Real Salt. It’s like pink and gray and white, and I just kind of use that. But I think, you know, there are also some issues with like the balance of iodine levels and thyroid health, and because we see so much in the way of thyroid insufficiencies, hypothyroidism or some hyperthyroidism, but not typically. Usually it’s underactive thyroid. I just would be careful because we know that iodine affects the thyroid and if you don’t know really how much you’re getting in, if it’s not in balance with other minerals, then it could be problematic. So if you’re getting it from food, you’re always getting it in balance the same way, rather than taking a calcium supplement, you’re eating foods that are naturally rich in calcium and not eating foods that would bind to calcium and help you to not absorb it, you know. The same kind of approach is always as your first step, so that’s really what I would say there. Maybe I’ll link up to kind of salt that we like to use. I always like to use Redmond’s Real Salt when I’m putting it in recipes because it tastes really good. I think it tastes different than just salt. I think it has a really-it almost has like a just an overall savory flavor to it, even though there’s nothing in there except real mineral salt. That’s what I think about salt.
LIZ WOLFE: Nice. There’s some kind of like, I call it hippie science that I’ve been reading lately that kind of talks about how you know we came from the ocean and how our body balance is remarkably similar to the balance of minerals in the ocean, but I really do think that salt is a very natural thing for us to seek, just as human beings.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Mm-hmmm.
LIZ WOLFE: So I don’t…I’m not…I like salt. That’s where I’m coming from.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think too if-if you look at it from a historical perspective, we, you know, generally farther back, we would have probably been trying to settle where it was more coastal because more, you know, trying to hunt large game vs. being where there’s you know fish in the water. You know, that would have been-that would have made sense. You know, I’m not an anthropological expert in this stuff, but I just kind of think about it like common sense. We probably would have tried to be close to water, and that stuff would have been naturally occurring in the diet, you know, so…yeah. Cool.
LIZ WOLFE: All right, next question is from Kathleen: “How do I gain healthy weight? Two months ago I eliminated sugar, nuts, processed foods, gluten, and most dairy. I am 58 yrs. and 5’4″. Weight was around 112 and since changing my diet, 103. I did have excess fat, which is mostly now gone, (hips and waist) and now wish to gain weight in a healthy way by adding muscle. I’d like to gain 10 pounds.” Interesting how much I love this question.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [Laughs] Totally.
LIZ WOLFE: I just love it..All right. “Cholesterol was a whopping 335 but came down to 299 in 5 weeks since changing habits. (work in progress) Triglycerides are low (around 50) and have also lowered fasting glucose (from 101 to 91) and Hemoglobin A1c (from 6 to 5.4). Unsure of what foods and when to eat to achieve raising lean body mass while avoiding adding body fat and keeping inflammation down. Do I need to eat more at one meal or more meals? Should I add more starchy carbs? What about eating prior vs. post workout? Any tips/information would be greatly appreciated.. thank you! Great job on the podcast Diane and Liz…. LOVE IT!”
All right, so we’ve got a little more background info…”`Morning: fish oil, pea protein shake with 1/2 banana. Lunch is a big green salad with avocado, some animal protein, low starch veggies, EVOO, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Snack: Granny smith apple, baby carrots. Dinner: Meat or Fish, green veggies (cooked in butter), sweet potato or rice. And maybe another apple at night. Drinks water throughout the day and one cup of coffee in the morning, takes digestive enzymes, vitamin D, fish oil, multivitamin, sleep is okay, not great, sleeping by 10, Wake around 4, and don’t sleep well after that. Up by 6:30. Gets a little exercise, gym 2 times a week spending 40 min. weight lifting.. Don’t push too hard but usually enough to feel my efforts the following day. I’ve never been truly consistent in this area.”
Go for it, D.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh, okay. She’s giving us tons of details, you know. We don’t…I like having the details so that kind of the listeners can hear the whole picture, and we throw it up so you guys can see what’s her story because obviously we make recommendations that are a little more specific to what she’s doing. So her general question is about how can she gain weight. And so what I’m going to focus on first are, you know, diet and lifestyle factors and just right off the bat looking at what she’s eating, I think there are some really good tweaks that she can make, and then run with that for a few weeks, see how it’s going.
But right away it just sounds like you know her breakfast is pretty minimal. She’s doing some fish oil supplementation, but then a pea protein shake and half a banana for breakfast. That’s like definitely, you know…some people don’t wake up super hungry, but if you’re trying to put weight on, I think, you know, we’ve said this before like, you really do need to be eating a substantial amount of food if you’re trying to gain weight. So my first thing would be for her to start with breakfast. Kind of this notion like eat like a queen for breakfast. And really just get in almost as much food as she feels like she can. So you know, if she wants to do eggs…a few eggs, maybe a little bit of leftover protein from dinner the night before and really just get in like as much food as she feels like she can. So you know, if she wants to do eggs, a few eggs, maybe a little bit of leftover protein from dinner the night before and some veggies. I don’t really have a problem with her doing some kind of shake with fruit in it, if she likes that and enjoys it and wants to get the extra calories. I don’t know really everything that’s in that shake. I wouldn’t really try and do pea protein. I think she’s going to do a lot better by chewing and eating some real food, so whether it’s eggs or some, you know, some other source of protein. And then she could do like a coconut milk-some coconut milk and half a banana, just as an extra little…extra little part of breakfast, so that’s kind of what I’m thinking there to just really get the day started.
And then lunch, I think her lunch looks really good. I would make sure she’s eating at least 4 ounces of protein, maybe even more, up to like 6. You know, this is where, you know, I had a client recently, too, where I said, hey, do you have the food scales? It’s not about being crazy or limiting yourself, it’s about understanding how much you need to be eating. So if you need to weigh things out for a few days to get a visual example of what does 4 or 6 ounces of protein will look like, so that you’re not underdoing it very consistently because it’s pretty easy to undereat if you don’t really know how much you should be getting in. And the same way to the opposite issue as it’s pretty easy to overeat for some of us if we don’t know, you know, how much is enough.
So for her snack, too…Granny Smith apples, maybe carrots. I would really look to get in some protein and fat there. I like the grass fed jerky chews from Sophia’s Survival Food-I think that’s a good, 100% grass fed, no weird ingredients, or like macadamia nuts, and just add that in. I think if she does a more hearty breakfast and is making sure her lunch is really substantial, she may not need the snack. I mean, if she’s not getting the weight gain that she wants little by little, then actually adding that snack is great. But I think it needs to be more than just a carbohydrate based snack. To that effect, also the lunch, you know, it doesn’t sound like there’s much starchy happening in her lunches. She could easily add something starchy in there, like maybe you’ve got, you know, butternut squash chopped up leftover from dinner the night before and just throw it on top of the salad. It doesn’t need to get heated up or anything. You know, just kind of mix it in there, sweet potato, whatever. Whatever you have.
Dinner looks good. Again, just make sure your portion sizes are substantial enough, and I’m cool with the sweet potato, like if you tolerate like white rice, okay, if that feels okay, then, you know, then roll with it. If you’re experiencing any bloating whatsoever, I definitely wouldn’t keep that in there. I think, you know, the starch…I don’t know what time these meals are all happening, so her waking up a little too early, you know, I’d make sure that her snack at night-she’s got another snack there, another apple and some herbal tea, I would make sure it’s again a little bit more of a substantial snack or have a more hearty dinner, and then her snack could include something that’s got more fat in it as well, just to keep some satiety happening.
That’s really what I have for her because at this point it sounds like she’s doing pretty well with her exercise. You know, I would challenge her to make sure that, you know, even though she’s not pushing too hard, she doesn’t need to push hard at the gym, you know. And at 58, like to get in there and be lifting weights and all that, I would just make sure that you are, you know, lifting heavy things. Lifting heavy things and not moving too, too quickly to do, you know, whatever your work out is, because anytime you’re just moving fast and burning calories , you’re not really working towards keeping weight on your body, so you know, lift heavy things , move pretty slowly. I like the walking, I think that’s good, but I wouldn’t make it super brisk, I would just make it easy going and just get some blood flow. Maybe even lifting weights 3 times a week if you enjoy it and want to get a different rotation. it doesn’t have to be a long session; it doesn’t have to be 40 minutes. Maybe you cut it down to 30, but you get in there 3 days a week and you’re lifting heavy things. But 2 to 3 days, either way is fine. That’s kind of what I’m thinking there.
LIZ WOLFE: Yep, like the good thing about being like your co-host is that I have to do very little work. Like [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: I think you just hit everything right on the head. The only thing that I was really thinking about beyond that looking at what times she’s actually eating in the evening vs. what time she’s falling asleep and how close those two events are happening. Just basically to look at sleep quality. The stress looks pretty, you know, low, so I wouldn’t immediately go to any kind of cortisol issue like for waking up or not sleeping well or whatever, I don’t know if you agree with that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It could be-she could just be getting as much sleep as she needs. Like I know, you know, sometimes as people get older they need more , sometimes less, and she’s going to bed by 10, you know. It’s not ideal to wake up at 4 am, certainly it’s uncomfortable and dark, but, you know, she could just be sleeping enough for her. You know, we say 8, 9 hours, but if she feels, you know, if she feels okay, if she’s not sleeping well after 4, and she’s awake, well, I don’t know, what happens if you just get up? And then do you feel crappy or do you feel okay? You know, so, it could just be your body clock.
LIZ WOLFE: She might try-I was talking to my buddy Meghan, we were talking about the timing of vitamin D supplementation, and Meghan sent over a link to one of my favorite Primal blogs. I think it’s PrimalGirl.com, or she just switched it over to a new URL; I believe it’s PrimalGirl.com. Tara runs that blog…she’s the one that was in those Eat Like a Caveman features on the news, which were really, really cool. I’ve got those up on my blog. Anyway, Tara just wrote about kind of shifting the time that she took her vitamin D to the morning, and that it totally kind of fixed whatever sleep issues she was dealing with, so yeah, Kathleen might want to check out blog just to see how she feels about that-when she’s taking her supplements, etc.,etc. But yeah…her attitude is very, you know, very great, very calm, very low stress and so I definitely not super concerned about those kind of intangibles. I think you just nailed it with all the meal recommendations and stuff, so…I like it.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Cool.
LIZ WOLFE: Did I lose ya?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Nope, I’m here. Can you hear me?
LIZ WOLFE: Okay. Sweet. Yeah, all right. I guess this will be the last question for the day from Renee.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Let me see…yeah. Sounds good.
LIZ WOLFE: Let’s do it. Okay. From Renee: ” Hi Liz and Diane” What’s that?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It’s a doozy. No, it’s a big one.
LIZ WOLFE: It’s a doozy. It’s a good one. I’m actually excited to hear your answer to this because I know you did toy around with a cyclic ketogenic diet so I’m excited to hear your answer. Paleo nerd party.
All right: “hey Liz and Diane, I really enjoyed the first episode of the podcast and look forward to future episodes.” I hope that we retained your interest.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: This question’s been in the queue for quite some time. Sorry Renee!
LIZ WOLFE: Sorry. All right: “Being in the Paleosphere, I obviously hear a lot about ketogenic diets, but I have some questions. One: what exactly is a ketogenic diet and what would a typical meal plan look like? I’m assuming just meat and veggies with healthy fats of course. Two: who should follow a ketogenic diet and what are the benefits? Is there anyone who shouldn’t? Three: is there any way to avoid the acetone breath and body odor, which is really my biggest concern because well, who wants to smell weird?” Amen. “I’d appreciate your input. Thanks so much.”
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay, so the overarching thing like I’m not claiming to be the subject matter expert on ketogenic diets, but I am an n=1. I’ve done this for myself and had some clients work on it, so I can give you my perspective on what I learned about it, what I’ve experienced and what I see kind of working generally.
So that being said, what exactly is it? What would a typical meal plan look like? You know, what it means to be on a ketogenic diet is that you are allowing your body to adapt to burning fat as a fuel source and specifically to metabolize the fat, which are called ketone bodies vs. burning glucose for fuel. So essentially, if you think about it, when people are eating a lot of carbohydrates very regularly, and you know, even more specifically, just a high carb diet that’s Standard American, lots of grains, all of that. It’s like you’re just pouring sugar into your system all day long. Your body will constantly look for sugar, or glucose, preferentially to burn for fuel. So in the absence of that glucose, you feel, you know, low blood sugar, you feel shaky. We talked about this in my seminar where it’s like well, how you feel after eating a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal with milk and maybe orange juice. You know, how do you feel a couple hours later? You feel like you’re going to rip someone’s arm off and eat it because you’re starving vs. if you eat a meal that’s you know, much more satisfying in terms of fat and protein, you don’t get that same dip.
Well, what happens when you’re eating a lot of carbohydrates all the time for your fuel source is that your body will always look for the glucose for fuel, so it’s not well adapted to burning the fat that’s sitting on your body as out of those body fat. It’s not well adapted to burning that for energy. So you know, one of the reasons that people look towards a low carb diet and again, it’s not the answer for every person, but a reason why people look towards it is that it allows your body to reset what it’s looking for, preferentially in your diet for fuel, so that when you get to that point that you are basically hungry, not starving, but maybe you’re one to two hours before your next meal, and you feel a little bit hungry, your body will look for something for fuel in your body. Now if you’re used to eating a lot of carbohydrates, your blood sugar drops so quickly that you have to eat again. You don’t…if you don’t have more stored, you can’t access that stored sugar for energy at that point, so you know, it’s going to start looking for something, and you have to get some food. Whereas if you’re adapted to burning fat for energy, you’ve got fat or food sitting on your body at all times, and that’s that window during which you will burn more of your body fat off, just to keep you satisfied…keep your blood sugar levels even. You know, low blood sugar as well as high blood sugar are both toxic, so your body will find a way to keep you even at all times.
So basically just removing the option for your body to constantly be looking for sugar for energy, and getting it adapted to burning fat for energy. That’s kind of the premise. People, you know, people generally think about ketogenic diet as a high protein diet, but that’s not really the point of it. The point of that is that you might end up eating more meat and animal foods because you’re not going to be eating much in the way of plant matter because you do need to keep carbohydrate loads down, so the real purpose of a ketogenic diet is that it’s a higher fat diet. I’ve had a bunch of logging I’ve done in FitDay, which, you know, maybe I’ll link to some of those of those days where you can look at exactly what I was eating. But essentially it does look like meat and leafy vegetables, you know, maybe a good portion of some like fermented foods, like the sauerkraut, you can definitely get that in. And herbs and spices to get a lot of micronutrient density. But essentially it is meat, healthy fats, and then veggies, but it’s not even typically including non-starchy veggies, it’s typically including just leafy veggies and maybe really small quantities of other non-starchy vegetables.
In terms of like, eating by some numbers, typically below around 30 grams of carbohydrates a day or right around 30 will induce ketosis over, you know, a pretty short period of time. So I know some people measure with keto sticks, measure what’s excreted in their urine, but that may work for the first little while, but if your body is excreting the ketones, it means it’s not actually using them yet, so you may see some excretion of ketones, and you may see that die off because your body may actually become more adapted to using them for fuel. So people use that as a testing method, but you know, I didn’t use that. I just basically stuck with it until I saw it working for myself. So…what else on meal plans? Yeah, so basically it’s 30 grams of pure carbohydrates. Some people say up to like 50 can still be effective for ketosis. I think you just have to play with that yourself and see what’s going on, see what works for you. I also approached it from a cyclic perspective, so for me, that meant basically 5 days a week, during the week, I kept it very very low carb. Meat, leafy vegetables, fat, eggs, and things like that, but then on the weekends, I would just go back to a sort of normal Paleo diet, where whatever vegetables I felt like eating, like maybe some starchy vegetables, etc. Those sort of came back in, and I did that mostly, you know, just in reading about ways to approach this that you can still experience the benefits of the ketogenic diet while cycling in some higher carb days and you know, standard sort of body building approaches to things like this would include things like, you know, oatmeal and pasta on those carb up days. While, you know, from a Paleo perspective, we’re just doing a little more just starchy vegetables and maybe some fruit. I think it’s just easier socially to hit your weekend and just you know, be able to eat sort of you know whatever whole foods are around and not be as limited.
So you know, who should follow it? What are benefits and are there anyone who shouldn’t follow a ketogenic diet? Well, you know from a clinical perspective, there are therapeutic effects for those who have brain chemistry issues, things like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy. A ketogenic diet can be very beneficial for someone with those types of issues. I don’t know that that’s really what her question is. I think she might be asking more in terms of just general health or body composition, but that’s the reality, that they can be very therapeutic. And I mentioned it before that typically with that kind of diet, you know, if there’s a medical intervention, they’ll have that person fast for 24, maybe 48 hours, and then begin this diet because it can be very sort of restful to the brain to be healed from ketones vs. glucose, so I would, you know, I definitely recommend if somebody is dealing with one of those issues: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, those kinds of things, that you know they have a ketogenic meal plan designed for them. It doesn’t mean that they have to sit around eating meat and fat, there can definitely be good amounts of plants, vegetables, etc., in the meal plan, even some fruit, just kind of monitoring how much and the timing of that.
But generally, you know, a lot of people can benefit from this kind of approach. It may be something that you benefit from more in the short term. It can be beneficial if you are dealing with issues with sugar, you know. Carbohydrate addiction, and you just really need some rules around. Here’s what you’re following. For me, personally, I was looking for some body composition shift, and I wanted to try something different because, you know, just generally free eating Paleo foods wasn’t really working for me because I probably do have more issues with carbohydrates and sugar than some other people. So, you know, I did it for maybe 3 to 5 months, and definitely saw some really, some very notable improvements in my body composition. I think some of what maybe comes back after you come off a ketogenic diet could be a little bit of water weight, something that I asked Robb about just kind of like my own curiosity, like why I might put back a couple of pounds after going off of it. You can put back some water weight. You can also, you know, it’s not what we would call pathological. It’s not an issue of, you know, you’re causing disease, but you can become insulin resistant by not eating carbohydrates regularly, It’s a natural state that your body goes into where you’re not constantly putting in lots of glucose and it stops figuring out…it stops dealing with it eventually, so when you do eat a bunch of it, it’s kind of, at that time, could be a little bit problematic to where your body doesn’t know how to actually burn that very efficiently. So you know, it could be a double edged sword for a lot of people.
And you know, if you are very active, so anyone who shouldn’t eat this way, you know, if you’re very active in like CrossFit type workouts where you’re doing pretty intense activity, something that lasts more than five or ten minutes, if you’re doing very regular endurance activities, or you’re like an instructor, and you just are very active all day long, you know, it may not be the best for you. Ketogenic doesn’t-you know, you can eat a pretty low carbohydrate diet, keeping to natural whole foods and eat 100 or 150 grams a day or fewer, just free eating whatever’s around, and not focusing on keeping it super low, you know, that’s still going to be healthy naturally for somebody, but if you have activity levels that are more demanding of like glycogen-of that sugar store, then this might not feel good for you, so as another example of this, when I did this plan for myself, again, this is just me and how it felt for me, but I know that this is pretty common. I was not doing much cardio activity at all. I might have done a 5 or a ten minute max type of workout and other than that, I lifted weights. I lifted heavy weights, maybe 3 times a week, and that was it. And I saw great results from it. But the other side of that is, that’s not really that much fun, you know. I can’t go to a class and just do whatever workout’s on the board with good energy. You know, my legs would feel kind of heavy. I just, you know, couldn’t sort of hold my own and compete with myself in a way that I maybe wanted to because I just didn’t have the fuel for it. And so you have to just weigh those options against each other. You know, at this point, I’ve come to a place where okay, that worked for me, and it might work for me again, but I don’t think that that’s an approach I want to take again to maybe achieve another, you know, achieve leanness again, because I definitely like fluctuate up and down depending on what I’m doing activity level wise and food wise. So I would say, you know, you really have to look at that because it’s not comfortable, and I think Mat LaLonde talks about this as his whole like very low carb approach and doing CrossFit main type programming, so whatever’s listed on CrossFit.com, and not modifying that at all, and that was really painful for him at a point where he really had no glycogen stores to fuel his activity. I didn’t really do the same thing. I just took it really easy and you know, lifted weights, and I felt fine with that. But I think at a point it may just get kind of boring.
So that’s the sort of, you know, benefits and who shouldn’t, and you know, really, if you want like in a few months, maybe you’re getting married or you have something that you want to have some body fat decrease pretty effectively for, this could be a good approach for you. It might take at least 4 weeks to begin seeing the effects. It could happen faster but for me it took like 4, maybe even 6 weeks to begin really seeing the effects, and effects, I mean, you know, visually and in scale weight, too, but you know it took awhile, so it’s definitely a commitment and I don’t really think it’s fun for most people so, you know, I like it but I think you have to really want to do it. That’s kind of what I’m thinking there. You know, I don’t know that long terms it’s definitely something that’s necessary. Again, if you’ve got some brain chemistry issues, that you’ve got another condition, it may be something that you are on, you know, much longer term, and possibly in a cyclic way where some days you just eat really low carb, some days it’s a little bit more, and just see how that feels for you.
And the breath issue, I think that really varies from person to person, so it’s her last question. I think Chris Kresser mentioned it in our podcast together that if you’re getting that metallic or funky breath, it could be like an imbalance either in gut flora or some kind of infection. I can’t remember exactly what he had said about that, but I didn’t personally experience that. I think you just have to try it and see how it goes. Maybe you’re just keeping a toothbrush and some natural fluoride free toothpaste around in the meantime. So you know, I don’t know what kind of picture I’ve just painted about a ketogenic diet. I personally really-
LIZ WOLFE: Terrified.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I was really happy with the results-hmm?
LIZ WOLFE: Terrified. You’ve painted a terrifying picture.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Terrifying? I was really happy with the results of it, but you know, now it’s about a year later from when I started it, and you know, I think at the end of the day for me, I can approach trying to get a body composition that’s, you know, in my head, more ideal to what I might want. I can either approach it that way or I can just eat a balance of you know, healthy Paleo food and keep my activity level more regular because for me, it was like, I didn’t have a gym I was going to very regularly. I was training by myself, and you know, I find that when I’m training regularly and just eating my carbs sort of in my–you know, getting a little bit in before the workout, but mostly in kind of after, I just feel really good and I’m happy, and I’d rather…I’d rather be able to work out with the kind of intensity and strength that I like to have, that I know I can have. And maybe carry around like a couple percentage more body fat and be able to do work better and enjoy it at the gym vs. being more sluggish and just looking better. That’s just me. But yeah. I don’t have more on that. That’s what I think. But I think it’s-I think it can be pretty effective and I think it’s also really cool because you know, I didn’t mention this before, but one of the really nice side effects is that your appetite really tends to decrease. At least I found, so you may end up eating fewer calories, which can be one of the reasons this diet is effective, but you know, it may be because you decrease calories, but in the meantime, your appetite also decreases because in the situation where you’re at that window of you know, hey, I’m getting hungry, and then your body knows how to look to body fat for fuel, I think that’s really a cool effect. Like, okay, I’m eating less, but it’s not because I’m trying to diet or keep my calories low, it’s just that I’m actually not as hungry as I was before because now my body is actually pulling from my fat stores for fuel. Like I think that’s the really cool effect of it. Especially for those of us who seem to just always be hungry or like you know, we used to have issues of low blood sugar all the time, to then find that you can go so many hours without eating. It’s kind of nice, so that was a nice effect of it.
Liz will not be doing a ketogenic diet any time soon from the sound of it. [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: I, you know, I think maybe one day I’ll play with it just because I do…I just like to kind of accumulate fat, use myself as an experiment in a way. Maybe over the…I don’t know. Maybe over the winter, we’ll see. If I get cranky, you’ll probably know that I’m transitioning. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: You know, I did it over the winter, and realistically, I still had, like I made like grain free magic cookies bars, they had tons of sugar in them. You know, I ate those over the holidays. I think I had them on New Year’s, and I’d been doing this over the holidays. I don’t personally find the holidays to be like a real issue for me to like fall over into a bowl of sugar, like it’s neither here nor there to me what time of year it is. I actually think with fruit being less abundant, it’s easier, so that’s why I thought the winter was good and you know, you just feel kind of good eating like meat and fat over the winter vs. you know, the summer. You might want more fruit and veggies. You know I love eating like huge salads in the summertime, so I think the winter’s a decent time to try it out, with you know, keeping your higher carb days to those days where maybe you are, you know, it’s the holiday meal, or whatever. So, that’s it. What I think about that.
LIZ WOLFE: Right. I think that wraps it up. I think we got a lot of stuff on the docket. It’s exciting. Exciting to us, anyway, so it’s around a month’s worth of stuff going on.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Cool, and that’s it. Cool. Til next time.
LIZ WOLFE: All right. Later.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Later.
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Diane & Liz