Podcast Episode #34: Fish Oil, Cod Liver Oil, FSVs & Cravings
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1: Natural Cold Remedies [8:48]
2: Fish Oil vs Cod Liver Oil [18:42]
3: Fat Soluble Vitamins (FSVs): A, K2, D [42:10]
4: Cravings [47:30]
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LIZ WOLFE: Hey everyone, Liz Wolfe here with Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites. We are here for episode 34 of the Balanced Bites podcast. Hard to believe we’ve done 34 episodes. It’s just crazy.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It is crazy.
LIZ WOLFE: That’s crazy talk! Crazy! Well, I’m here at home today where I think Diane and I are both a little under the weather. I’m wondering if we maybe both picked something up on the plane, but I’m broadcasting from the Day Cave People, with my little, well my giant Cave Dog next to me, so if we have like a frenzied barking sound, it is not me. It is my dog.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: So I’ve had this request to go back to the way I used to read our disclaimer, and so I won’t be doing it today, but I will be taking requests for different voices and accents with which to execute our important point here, which is: That the materials and content contained in this podcast are for general information only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. So you know…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Indeed.
LIZ WOLFE: hop on over to the Cave Girl Eats webpage and tell me, you know, how you want me to read that. You can’t keep everybody happy, but, you know, if there’s something you really want to hear, I’ll do it.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: You’re so nice.
LIZ WOLFE: I know. What news do we have here? Upcoming workshops-do you want to do those?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. Yeah, so we were in Frisco, Texas, not to be confused with San Francisco, which a bunch of people on the Facebook page thought that I kept saying we were going to be in San Francisco. I’m like, no, no. I would not call it Frisco anyway. And we were in Frisco, Texas last week which was really fun and our first workshop together, which I mean, I really enjoyed myself. I think everyone in attendance really liked having kind of the balance between the two of us kind of offering up our point of view, and obviously we share similar views on a lot of subjects, but also have some different experiences, so I thought that was really fun, and I definitely think the workshop is, you know, going in a totally different direction now, you know. Obviously, 80% of the information we’re teaching is pretty much the same, but totally new spin on things, and I’m just really excited about it. I wanted to have someone else to teach with for awhile, so I like joking around that I dragged you into it, and literally like dragged you like all over the country on airplanes everywhere, between the two of us…
LIZ WOLFE: Which people don’t know this, specifically, but…[laughs] Sad.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: It’s like, and I’m terrified of flying, too, for absolutely no good reason, but, Diane, you’ll be talking to me, like just a normal human being halfway through takeoff, and I’ll be all of a sudden like hold on. Just give me a second. I just need to like, say a little prayer here. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: And Liz’s husband is a pilot, so that’s the ironic part of all of this.
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: We’re in the middle of takeoff and it’s like all I can do to stay awake on an airplane, but we’ve managed to A. keep me awake on a plane, doing work, and B. keep Liz pretty much sane. I just basically like stuff her mouth with Paleo Stix, and you know, jerky. I’m like, here, just don’t pay attention. Anyway. So yeah, we actually have a pretty funny travel situation between the two of us like unloading a million electronic pieces, you know, projector and two laptops, two iPads, a bunch of phones, and like oh, [xxx] is fun. Yeah, anyway.
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So the whole point, upcoming workshops. How lovely that this weekend will be in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, so Liz’s current home town, so she doesn’t have to fly anywhere, and I’ll just be driving, so that’s nice. We’re real excited to be at CrossFit Aspire, so if you’re in the New Jersey, Southern Jersey/Philly area, even like Willington area, if you’re down there, that’s probably the closest we’re going to be for awhile. We have a fall event coming up also in Jersey, but, you know, if you don’t want to wait that long, it’s this weekend, Saturday. So it’s going to be all day down at Cherry Hill, and then in a couple of weeks, we’ll be in Houston, Texas, so I’ve been in Texas about 4 times already this year, but we’ll be at CrossFit West Houston, so that’s going to be an awesome event, so definitely come check that out. And I think this weekend is sort of a last chance through this weekend is the last chance of the Early Bird Pricing, and then the price jumps up, so if you are interested in coming out to Texas to see us, definitely grab a ticket sooner than later, and then, we’ll have a special event that we added recently, up in the Portland area at CrossFit Oregon City, which we’re really excited about. I met one of the owners of CrossFit Oregon City at my Ft. Worth/Dallas area event last year, Jen Cereghino; she and her husband own CrossFit Oregon City, and that’s already shaping up to be an awesome event, so I’m really excited about that. She’s got a website: Jen’s Gone Paleo. Really awesome blog. Awesome, amazing recipes. And she’s, you know, an awesome energy force up in the Northwest, so definitely check out that gym if you’re over there.
LIZ WOLFE: She’s awesome.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, so I’m like, I just can’t imagine how much fun it probably it is to just work out there. She’s just a nice little ball of energy and I’m really excited to teach at her gym. So yeah. I think that’s pretty much it. And then we’ve got some June events in North Carolina, but we’ll touch on those as they get a little bit closer, so people can just poke around the website for different events that are coming up. So yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: Sounds good to me. The schedule’s filling up…I mean, the schedule is filled, like at this point, I know we’ll do…a lot of…if you can make the drive, make the drive. I promise that we will make it worthwhile. It will be a fun little road trip. Come on down. There are times that we can do kind of semi-regional events that will be on Saturday and Sunday, but it’s so much easier and you’ll get a lot more energy. I think it will probably be a lot better if you’re able to make the drive rather than contacting us for a second event in the same weekend, within the same region, if that makes sense. So we would so appreciate it. We would love to see you if you can make the drive to see us and you know, especially the Philly area this week. Come from Pennsylvania, Delaware, let’s pull them in from all corners if we can because I’m super excited. It’s in my hometown and I may be semi-normal considering there’s no flight involved, so [laughs] yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] I always think it’s funny because I guess you know, people are like, come to this city, come to this city. I’m like, well, we only get to go to like maybe at most 20 places in a year. I mean, that’s if we went some place like nearly every other weekend, and we can’t, you know, we can’t possibly travel that often. We’re going to be exhausted, but, you know, out of 52 weekends in the year, it’s tough. You know, it’s tough to get everywhere, and, so, you know, we want to be in as many different places as possible, but it’s definitely tricky and I mean, I’ve had people drive ten hours like…I think, obviously that’s a very long drive, but I think it’s totally worth it to do something like grab a friend, stay somewhere on the Friday night, and then come to the event on Saturday. Either drive back then or drive back the next day. You know, make a little overnight thing out of it and, you know, bring a friend with you and it’s a fun event and at this point, the events are half the price that they used to be, which is amazing. Like, we’re so excited to jus make that more accessible to everyone, so hopefully, you know, that element will make it even easier and, you know, again as much as we’d love to get everywhere, it’s like, we’re on flights all over the place, so take a drive, come see us. I think everyone who comes to the event pretty much is, you know, really glad that they did, even if you know a lot about this stuff, you’ll get something from it. You know, just the interaction and be able to get your questions answered is always worthwhile, so…yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: Sure.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So wait, you mentioned that we think we’re both maybe like fighting something that we picked up. Like literally, Liz and I get back from this trip this weekend and we got back, what did we fly back on Monday? And Tuesday morning, we’re, you know, we’re texting each other like did you wake up with something nasty? I feel horrible. And we both woke up, you know, two hours apart, feeling like, kind of something tried to hit us. So my typical plan of attack for this stuff, and this is something that people ask me about a lot, and they, you know, post questions a lot about like, what I do if I’m going to get a…if I think I’m getting a cold or if I’m getting sick, and my sort of go-to on this stuff is oil of oregano, and typically what I do is take like a really high quality oil, I mean, what’s it called? They’re just like a tiny little, I want to say it might even be a one ounce little bottle of a really nice quality, organic oil, and what I typically would do is a few shots of…a few shots of that, not a few shots of that. A few drops of the oil in…
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I know. A few shots of oregano oil. Nobody do that. You will…
LIZ WOLFE: Do not do that. No sir.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: call us up and be like, I’m dying now. What’s happens? No. A few drops of the oregano oil in some…in about a shot of water and like gargle that and then swallow it. But I must have given away my oil of oregano. I mean, I tend to do that with things that I believe in, when people are sick. I’m like, here! Take this. Use this. So my really good friend John came over yesterday and brought me-he actually had gotten a shipment. He got a bunch of stuff from the super oregano people: North American Herb and Spice is the brand, I guess, and he left me with OregaSpray, which is like a throat spray. So I used that yesterday and then this one called SinuOrega. Yeah, This whole nose spray, which totally reminds me of my grandma, like constantly was using Afrin or whatever, like…I mean, watching your grandparents as a kid constantly with nose spray is kind of creepy, but I just sort of squirted the stuff up my nose. And he also brought me, I guess they’ve got capsules or soft gels now, too, of the oregano oil. And all of that kind of natural antibiotics, so not something that you really want to play around with for a very long period of time. I’m going to be using it for the next probably three days and see how I’m doing. Already from, you know, waking up yesterday to waking up today, I feel better. I think I’m a little more, like nasally, like I woke up with a really bad sore throat yesterday and who knows how much of that is just a lot more related to pollen, and Liz, I’m sure, down in Cherry Hill, the pollen’s pretty similar to what it is up here in Caldwell.
LIZ WOLFE: Achoo! That was not even a joke. I really just did sneeze just now.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Bless you!
LIZ WOLFE: when you said pollen. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] That’s awesome. Well, we…so Tuesday, I guess it was Tuesday, we ran a 5K at my gym, and I haven’t run a 5K in gosh knows how long. So it could have been a little bit, you know, exacerbated from that, just like…who…I don’t even know. I mean, the pollen could have gotten the best of me, plus just travelling, being tired, and catching things on an airplane, so anyway, I’m really a big fan of the whole oil of oregano thing. Natural antibiotic, and it’s definitely not as harsh, you know, as getting some kind of prescription going. These are blended oils, so they kind of taste like you ate an entire pizza after you use them. [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It’s interesting. You can also put the oil drops in a humidifier and use that overnight, like it’s getting really bad. And then the flip side of that, as I mentioned this is an antibiotic, I also took…I have some random probiotic supplements in the fridge that I had from probably like two winters ago, and I checked the expiration on them, it looks like they’re not expired yet, so I popped a couple of those last night, just not at the same time I was taking the, excuse me, oregano, and yeah, that’s kind of my plan of attack to make sure that what’s happening in my system with my bacteria and you know, by taking the supplement as well, just to make sure that what’s happening in my gut is like top-notch because we’re going to talk about this in a little bit, but the whole idea of inflammation and immunity and gut health, you know, all that stuff is related, so I also put on a pot of bone broth last night, which I’ll be sipping after this podcast. So when you’re sick, like people ask me a lot, you know, what should I eat? And it’s like, well, you need to eat things that support immunity. That’s number one, and that’s, you know, by keeping your gut health in check. 60/70% if not more of your immune system is in your gut, so if you’re doing things that are irritating your digestive system and not supporting it, then your ability to fight off other infections is decreased, so…I don’t ever eat grains as it stands, but you know, this wouldn’t be the time to go off the rails. It definitely wouldn’t be the time to be drinking alcohol. I know a lot of people like, they’ll get kind of sick, and then go out and party. That is not what you need to be doing. [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: Not smart.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I mean, come on, but yeah, so I’ve got that lined up, and hopefully, we’ll be feeling ready and robust for this weekend for the workshop. I just rambled on for like 6 minutes about oregano, which…
LIZ WOLFE: That’s all right. We got to fill time somehow. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So yeah, so just like the other things that I’ll be doing. I mentioned the broth. I have some probably echinacea tea, I’ll probably sip on some of that, just to make sure I’m getting fluids in and you know, just the immune support. Eating vitamin C rich foods so I had steamed broccoli with my breakfast. I had some frozen peaches last night, which, you know, I usually tell people to avoid sugar, but I mean, refined, not whole food forms, and peaches are super high in vitamin C. So I got them from Whole Foods, like organic, frozen peaches. What else? That’s pretty much it and I made sure I got the probiotics in, so this morning I also had, you know, made sure I had my kraut and yeah. That’s my story. What are you going to do to keep yourself healthy over there?
LIZ WOLFE: Oh, I’ll probably watch some vampire fiction and take a nap. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I narrowly escaped that. Liz was going to watch some kind of like vampire show, movie, who knows what, and I was like, okay, yup, I’ll watch that, yup.
LIZ WOLFE: Never happened. No, I do…one of my favorites is the neti pot. I had somebody, I can’t remember when it was, but he was saying, Oh my gosh, I heard the neti pots were like implants, flesh-eating, brain-eating bacteria in your brain, and you’ll die. And I was like, what are you talking about? But I guess there was this story recently about somebody not boiling, like not sterilizing their neti pot water. I have no idea. Maybe they got it from a puddle outside of their house. I don’t know, but apparently some type of bacteria was, you know, ’cause you do, you go through kind of like a nasal canal, and apparently it caused some very serious problems. So everyone, use your medicine as directed. I mean, it’s not funny, but actually like, for the same reason like you want to sterilize anything you’re putting up your nose. We’re just really getting into weird territory here, but for that same reason, like, it’s the same reason you don’t want to like jump into a pond or a lake, like, you want to hold your nose when you jump into a lake or a pond. Because there are weird things in our environment that can be forced into odd places and cause problems. So if you are using a neti pot, please, you know, follow the instructions and sterilize that water before you use it. I absolutely love my neti pot, but definitely use as directed. And you should
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I don’t think I’ve ever sterilized my neti pot. Maybe like more recently I did, after I heard that story, and I sterilized it. I was just like, I’m usually not that person. I’m like I’m not the one with the Purell and all the, you know…
LIZ WOLFE: Right.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Like I’m so not into that stuff. I’m like I’m going to just eat whatever bacteria is here, but yeah, the idea of some kind of crazy bug crawling up into your brain, definitely a little bit creepy. Oh boy.
LIZ WOLFE: A little bit. A little. Anyway, so I think today..
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Anyway…
LIZ WOLFE: We will…let’s focus on those kind of the more basic kind of lifestyle detailed questions that we were kind of doing a little bit at the Frisco workshop and stuff that kind of keeps coming up over and over again, but maybe sometimes we forget to address. I think that will be our topic of the day. Scroll down here on our handy Google document. All right, let’s first start with your take, and this is something. You know, there are a couple different, you know, Paleo-related seminars, both on the Internet and, you know, traveling around the country, nutrition-related seminars, and we do take a little bit of a different slant on a few things that sometimes I think kind of surprise people, but it really where us, you know, education-wise where we’ve landed and this is some stuff that we really kind of believe in, if not are really passionate about, and one of the first things is the difference between fish oil and cod liver oil. You want to chime in on that, Diane? I guess that’s our first question, technically.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Well, I mean, if you want to talk a little bit more about the difference between them, but I can talk a little bit more about like the recommendations that I have…
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: and kind of why I’ve come to that. Do you want to touch on that first, and then I’ll get around to…because I’ve basically had my recommendation on the fish oil situation since almost the very first, probably the first seminar I was teaching, that surprised people right from the beginning and at that point, people kind of didn’t even know who I was, so they were like, I don’t know if we should believe this, but the cod liver oil’s definitely been…
LIZ WOLFE: You go, you crazy girl!
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, the cod liver oil has definitely been a…I wouldn’t say a recent change, but within the last year or so, even the last two, so do you want to actually just touch on that first for people to give them that background..
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: and then I’ll get into recommendations. Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah. I will do that. So fish oil generally, and you know what’s funny is I used to take fish oil like a crazy person. Like probably 3 or 4 years ago. I’m opening my freezer right now. I still have [laughs] like 18 bottles of fish oil that are just sitting in there that I’ve never taken. I just stopped taking it at some point. But fish oil…fish oil is basically a source of EPA and DHA. Those are polyunsaturates that are essential, meaning the body cannot manufacture them itself. Well, okay. You can get more into that actually because I kind of misspoke a little bit. But basically there’s those polyunsaturated fatty acids that are found in oily fish like salmon and sardines, to a lesser degree in like grass-fed beef. Now cod liver oil, while it is a source of some essential fatty acids, it is primarily a source of vitamins A and D in proper, natural proportion. Now we’ve said this before, the only cod liver oil we recommend is the one from Green Pasture. org because it is a fermented cod liver oil. It’s processed appropriately. Vitamins are sensitive and certain nutrients are sensitive to heat and they can be destroyed by heat. A lot of fish oils, such as cod liver oil and like specifically I think even Carlson’s, they are heat processed, which destroys the natural vitamin D content. So it will not necessarily appear, even if it’s added back in, in the right proportion to vitamin A. So that’s why we like the fermented cod liver oil. We do not get any money for promoting this product. I really wish we did because we love it and I feel like we’ve gotten a lot of people onto it, but just the fact is they’re the only people making it the way it needs to be made. So and if anybody knows of another brand that’s doing that, you know, let us know, we’ll give it a try. But the cod liver oil is a source of those fat soluble vitamins, the FSVs that are so super important, and even though a fairly well planned Paleo diet, we can be getting really too few of these fat soluble vitamins. I think it’s pretty important to make sure they’re coming from somewhere, whether that be liver, which is really rich in vitamin A or plenty of egg yolks, which is also rich in vitamin A, but I think cod liver oil is just a really great way to get that in. It’s a traditional food. It is not a fragmented food. It’s something that people have been eating for a very, very long time. And yeah, I think that’s pretty much all I wanted to say about it. Is there anything I missed on that?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: No, I think that’s it. So, you know, this kind of brings us back around to the idea of like fish oil supplementation and you know, do we recommend it? If so, what do we recommend? And how does that kind of all come together, and pretty much from the beginning of, you know, when I was…had been out giving a recommendation. I mean, I used to recommend really low doses, like the whole maybe 2 or 3 grams a day. Honestly, just because I kind of felt like, it’s not a very high dose, you can’t really overdo it at that point. And there are a few reasons why I just shy away from even point blank recommending any fish oil supplementation. Well, first and foremost, I don’t take fish oil. So I have trouble recommending anything to people that I don’t do myself. Like that’s my number one, you know.
LIZ WOLFE: Right.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It really is, and I think you and I have that same perspective of, you know, we learn…we try and do better for ourselves, and then educate other people on what we’re doing, and I don’t…of course, if somebody’s dealing with a specific condition that we’re not dealing with or a set of circumstances, etc. that you know, need a different type of attention, nutritionally like that, of course, we’re not going to say, live how we live, but I think that is kind of the mark of most practitioners is just what do you do for yourself, and you know, we have to do that based on our, you know, best education and yeah, just advice that we follow ourselves, so I really do have trouble recommending things to people that I don’t do myself. But yeah I also have a bunch of fish oil somewhere in my fridge or freezer that I’ve probably had it for years. I don’t know why I just don’t throw it away. I probably will after this podcast because I don’t take it. I haven’t taken it, and I mean, fish oil used to give me burps, so that was kind of my very first like, eh, I don’t think I want to take this as a supplement.
So what’s the point here? We can get…
LIZ WOLFE: laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, what’s the point? We can get polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3s, from food. We can get it from food. We don’t need to be taking it in a supplement. It’s out there. It’s available. There are some very affordable forms. We’ve got sardines. Canned wild salmon which you can get without BPA in the cans. I tend to get it from Trader Joe’s. I’ve heard that their single ingredient foods, like salmon, coconut milk, etc., don’t have BPA in the cans. I don’t know that I could say that with 100% confidence, but I’m not stressing over it. If I try to eat that a few times a week, that’s a good goal. Sometimes I get in, you know, wild salmon. You know, we had some last weekend. I’ll splurge on that because it’s worth it. I love it. Salmon’s probably one of my favorite things to eat, but I, you know, I don’t buy it that often just for affordability’s sake. But so the stuff is available in food.
That said, for the same reason we want to avoid seed oils, right? We pretty much know or assume that once something like canola, corn, soybean oils hits the bottle after the refining process, it’s already been damaged to some degree. You know, there’s a video of how canola oil’s made, and it’s talking about how it’s rich in omega-3. Great, but I try and call out people, would you ever cook with fish oil? No, which is high in omega-3, and you know you’re not supposed to eat that, and beyond not heating it, you need to keep it cold. So how is it even processed? Where was it between whoever you’re buying it from and when you get ahold of it? And you know, you don’t know that what you’re getting in that capsule or that liquid, you don’t know whether or not it’s been oxidized at all. And really the issue that I see, and this is kind of again with even further education in the last year or so, I don’t know that anyone achieving any sort of ancestral or quote unquote ideal omega-3 to 6 ratio. I don’t know how possible that is. I think there are way too many omega-6s out there. It’s a really big sort of catch up game to try and play to really keep that balance. That’s not to say it’s not possible. People are eating, you know, tons of fish. They’re not eating nuts or they’re not eating avocado. Like if you have any avocado in your day, forget it. It’s super high in omega-6. But I don’t really thing that eating avocado, you know, more so than you’re eating some fish every single day. I don’t really think that that’s going to be the problem, you know. That’s a whole food source and it’s not refined without…it’s also without the possibly for damage.
So I don’t think it’s so much that people are not just getting enough omega-3. I think it’s a matter of the damaged omega-3 and/or damaged omega-6 that’s getting into the diet. So you know, one of the things we talk about in the workshop is avoiding seed oils and also the fact that damaged seed oils are probably, I mean, I might even venture to say that that’s something worse to be eating than grains and gluten. And I don’t know…I mean, for me, the digestive upset from gluten is enough to keep me away from it 100% of the time. Does that mean I never eat at a restaurant where they’re probably cooking with vegetable oil? No, of course I do. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but it happens and I know it happens. But that’s really where, you know, this whole idea of what is a good fat or a bad fat…it’s which are being damaged and when we consume damaged fats, you know we’re consuming something that causes more oxidative stress in our body, and that’s the whole point of what we’re trying to eliminate, you know, with a Paleo approach, is to just reduce inflammation. So if we’re eating these damaged oils, that’s an inflammatory thing, so I just personally don’t trust that most fish oil is getting to my hands without it possibly being damaged, whether it’s from the processing or the handling. And I just don’t think it’s worth it. I think it’s an approach that people have been taking to supplement their way out of either not wanting to eat fish or thinking that they need to counterbalance something that they’re doing with their diet and lifestyle, and I just don’t…I don’t like perpetuating that mindset.
LIZ WOLFE: I agree, and interestingly, it’s not like the fish are lining up to give blood the way we do and the fish oil goes down from the fish into the capsules. There’s a whole process of putting that together that makes it I think a less than ideal product. And you know, sometimes now at this point when I go out and have a grain-fed steak, or when I know it’s from a grain-fed animal, like I’ll go home and probably within the next day or two to make sure to have a couple of sardines, a tin of sardines. I don’t know if it helps or anything like that, but just to balance out any kind of major unintentional hit that I may get. I’ll do that, but I’ll get that from sardines and I don’t know. It’s further, like you were saying, as far as the omega-6 goes, I’m not-I’m pretty unconcerned about getting any kind of a omega-6, like you said, avocado, a whole food source. Even arachidonic acid that people are so afraid of after reading the Zone Diet. I mean, arachidonic acid, for example, in egg yolks…there are some cool kind of immune critical effects that arachidonic acid has that I believe Chris Masterjohn discussed at the Weston A. Price Foundation conference last year. I’ll be really excited to hear more from him, but it’s not, like you were saying, these things are inherently bad, but depending on source and the processing, they can be really not so good.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I mean, I guess it sounds…It might sound a little bit, you know, strange that here we are saying, we like the cod liver oil and you know, what we’re getting from that. And specifically I know that both you and I like the cod liver oil/butter oil blend because it also has a good amount of vitamin K2, which I’ll let you tell people a little bit more about next, but I just feel a little bit differently about the cod liver oil because I kind of think that…I think that those fat soluble vitamins are even harder to get in our diet. Like I think the fish is pretty easily accessible and I’m not as concerned about…I like the idea that getting my vitamin A, a dietary source of vitamin D, which is like pretty much impossible other than dairy. You know, good grass-fed dairy, and people see A and D milk on the shelf. That’s not the same as what was naturally occurring there. There’s a reason it’s been added back to the milk because we need it. But adding back the synthetic form of vitamin A or D does not equal what that whole food was. So, you know, the cod liver oil being a much more, you know, sort of whole food supplement than a fish oil, that’s much more distilled from it’s original, you know, entire packaging of other constituents. So the vitamin A and D like if you’re not eating liver very regularly, I don’t know, you know, really where you’re getting much vitamin A. Egg yolks definitely have some. People are thinking that carotenoids, like in carrots, are going to be getting the vitamin A. Even palm oil, rich, rich source of beta-carotene and I definitely noticed when I was taking some of that in dietarily, I was getting some of the similar effects that I get from the cod liver oil for my skin, but it’s just really different, being able to convert beta-carotene into, you know, end form vitamin A is not efficient for every person. Similarly to the way taking flax oil is not going to convert into usable EPA/DHA for people. So I don’t know. I feel differently about the cod liver oil/butter oil than I do about just the straight up fish oil, and I think most of that is because what we’re getting in the cod liver oil is not primarily highly sensitive polyunsaturated fatty acids, which could be very damaged.
And the last thing I want to do is take a supplement that’s potentially doing harm. you know. Like, to take any possibly oxidized fish oil, like why would I ever want to do that? I mean, I just don’t, you know, I’m not eating canola oil in my house, why would I eat ish oil. I’d just eat fish. It comes in a whole food and I think whenever we question the whole food source, that’s when we get a little bit crazy. Like we’re questioning avocado as a whole food source just because it’s high in omega-6? Seriously, you know, and that doesn’t mean, like we’re questioning nut consumption a lot, but I think that’s because nuts, you know, sit around. You know, they’re not a fresh sort of fruit source the way an avocado is. It doesn’t sit around very long before you’re going to eat that, or it’ll be rotten, right? But not sit around. I’ve had Brazil nuts that sit somewhere too long. They smell bad when they’re off. If the nuts that you have around your house are not in the refrigerator, if they smell at all, like not super fresh and delicious, don’t eat them. You know, that’s rancid oil. You don’t want to be eating.
Sorry, I’m just on a rancid oil tear.
LIZ WOLFE: Those pesky old rancid oil tears, I don’t know. Well, we can just jump on over to K2 now, since you’ve brought it up, and you’ve talked a little about it…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: K2? Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE: Well, this is where cod liver oil kind of…transitioning into like where we can and cannot get vitamin A, which I think you hit on a little bit. It’s different from beta-carotene. It is poorly converted. You know, I believe beta-carotene to do the actual active form of vitamin A, which is also what we call pre-formed vitamin A or fat soluble vitamin A, and out like that is…you can get that from cod liver oil as well which we were just talking about organ meats, but it’s fairly deficient I think in most people’s diets, and when we often-we often talk about the cod liver oil/butter oil blend from Green Pasture, and that we can kind of segue into vitamin K2 from there.
Vitamin K2 is actually found most richly, I think, as a modern source in the butterfat of cows grazing on green gas. This is not just any kind of butter. Basically, you’ve got to look for butter from cows that have been grazing during the growing season on green gas. That’s where we get the vitamin K2 conversion and that’s where we get it from. So part of the reason we love the fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend from GreenPasture.org is because it does have that kind of appropriately sourced and processed source of vitamin K2. The reason, and this is something we discussed in the workshop a little bit…backing up, everybody comes to this kind of Paleo way of life, this ancestral way of life for a different reason. Not everybody is coming to it because they want to perform well at CrossFit or because they want to get leaner. A lot of people are just trying to make themselves healthier. Some people are just trying to regain their fertility and for me, personally, I wanted to heal my skin. That was a huge reason why I continued to do it as my skin improved. Why I stuck with this lifestyle is because for the first time I felt like I had balanced skin that did not have to be medicated 3 times a day. So that’s really for me where the worth of vitamins A, D, and K2 specifically from the cod liver oil, but just in general, are so so valuable. Most people that begin taking these supplements will see an improvement in their skin. Not necessarily all people, some people, and especially a lot of those people I’m working with at this point need some pretty intensive gut healing to be able to move forward in healing their skin, especially when it comes to acne. But vitamin K2, A, and D are all extremely, extremely important in the health of the skin. Specifically a lot of people that have keratosis pilaris, these little chicken skin bumps on the back of their arms. A lot of times that will resolve upon upping that vitamin A status.
But the other things that vitamin K2 are very important for is also bone health. One of the most shared posts that I’ve ever written are on kind of the different factors that are actually involved in calcium status and metabolism. It’s not about how much dairy you eat or even how many calcium rich greens you eat. It’s about your body having the tools to actually utilize calcium and lay it down in the appropriate places. And what it looks like, and a lot of this research has come out of the Weston A. Price Foundation. What it looks like is that vitamin K2 is very actively involved in the distribution of calcium in the body, preventing it from laying down in the soft tissues, preventing it from laying down in the arteries, which is a major factor in CVD. It basically just keeps us laying it down where it needs to be laid down and not where it doesn’t. And the biggest distinction I can make here is that vitamin K2 is different from vitamin K that we normally hear about. Vitamin K as it’s involved in blood clotting, for example. Vitamin K2 is so different that they’re almost considered two different vitamins. Vitamin K2, you also need to separate that into two other categories, which would be the MK-7 form and the MK-4 form. What I believe is the most effective is the MK-4 form, and you can find that mostly in animal products. There’s a little bit in egg yolk, the butter oil of grass-fed animals, liver, stuff like that. MK-4, you’ll find in fermented soy, natto, you’ll also find..
DIANE SANFILIPPO: 7, you mean?
LIZ WOLFE: Oh, I’m sorry, MK-7. I’m sorry, MK-7. you’ll find that in a lot of supplements. If you are seeking some kind of vitamin K2 supplement outside of the fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend, you’ll want to go for MK-4, and not MK-7. So make sure you’re looking out for that. I think that’s pretty much all I have to say. Is there anything else you wanted to add to that?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Just that if people want to read more about that, they can check out the book, what’s that called, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, is that what’s it’s called?
LIZ WOLFE: Yup. Mm-hmm.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think Laura at Ancestralize Me wrote a review on it. Did you review the book or no? You didn’t review that one yet.
LIZ WOLFE: Nope. I did not.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So we can link to that if people are just curious about more on that. And I think, you know, I think that this stuff is interesting because it’s a lot of we’re playing catch up a bunch with some nutrients that we probably haven’t been getting in our diets in dense forms over the last, you know, 30 years for some people. If we were scared of egg yolks, we, you know, we’re avoiding dairy or we weren’t taking in quality dairy where the nutrients were intact in their whole food forms; you know, fortified, enriched foods are not the same as whole foods, like point blank, and this is something I’ve been writing a little bit about for the book, too, because I just want people to understand the difference in what Mother Nature provides in whole food forms vs. what we’ve been trying to do with enriching and fortifying foods. You know, recognizing that these micronutrients are critical to our health, but trying to outsmart what’s happening naturally and I think also the balance, like you mentioned a few times of what happens naturally and we pointed to this in the workshop last weekend, but we will put a link to it to for people who want more in vitamin A. There’s a really great podcast interview on Super Human Radio with Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation talking about, I think the topic was called Forgotten Vitamin A or something like that, and people get really wrapped up in vitamin D, and you know, the idea about calcium, and all of that, but they forget that all these nutrient co-factors are extremely critical to allowing, you know, vitamin D to work properly, vitamin K2 to work properly, we can’t just have one thing and I’ll quote one of my instructors from years ago, Laura Knopff, she used to say your body needs everything all the time.
So you know, we can’t just be taking in certain nutrients and not get others and expect all of that stuff to work perfectly. You know, that doesn’t mean we want people freaking out that like they have to be doing all this perfectly. A lot of what we’re talking about is the idea of like optimization vs. just maintenance on this…it doesn’t even need to be on a Paleo diet. I don’t even really care what you’re eating, I still want you to be getting all of this stuff in, so what usually happens is, you know, we start crowding out some of the lower quality foods when you’re trying to get in the higher quality foods. But you know this is really optimization point, and we don’t want people to get tripped up on this before they’ve really taken the first steps of, you know, assessing what’s coming in and what’s in their house, etc, so anyway.
We had a question from Facebook, just because it was super relevant to this. Karen asked us, you know, she just started taking the Green Pastures fermented blend that we recommend, if she needs to be taking a vitamin D supplement. I really wouldn’t necessarily keep taking the vitamin D supplement. I think it depends on what your vitamin D levels are. I would test that. You can get a test at home from VitaminDCouncil.org; it’s just a finger prick test, it comes back really quickly. See what your levels are, you can test them again after you know, a month or so of supplementation with just the cod liver oil. See where you’re at. I don’t know that, you know, I don’t know how much exactly is in the cod liver oil. Do you know, Liz, how many-like roughly how many i.u.s we’re getting from like half or a full dose?
LIZ WOLFE: Nope. Roughly, I’m not sure. You can go to GreenPasture.org and they have some FAQs there. It is a complete form, so the whole vitamin D complex. It’s not just vitamin D3. It’s a whole kind of cascade of eco-steroids. I’m about to sneeze, so you’ll have to excuse me. So I definitely think if you really wanted to, you could take a little vitamin D3, but I’m also not super pro on like habitual constant supplementation with vitamin D3. I do think responsible sun exposure during the appropriate times of the year is really the best strategy, but I understand that’s just not possible for everybody. I think if you are doing that, don’t just hammer your system with a bunch of vitamin D. Do a little research. See what’s the best way, you know, for you to get that in. What that might be. But they are different, so I don’t think it’s all that bad. It’s kind of two different sides of the D type complex. The D you get from food is different from the D you get from sunlight action on the skin, so…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, and I think going into like spring and summer right now, I don’t know where she is, but this is something that I kind of talked about a bunch. I don’t know, a couple years ago, just having conversations with people around the idea of seasonality and vitamin D and the fact that we, potentially, can store some up if we get a decent amount of sun exposure over the summer time, which of course not everybody is working inside. But if you can get a bunch of sun exposure when it’s seasonally available, your vitamin D level may not need to be as high all year round. Like, you know, going with the seasons, going with what’s available naturally. You know, my first order of business with the vitamin D would be getting in the sun. You know, maybe it’s just 10-20 minutes in the middle of the day, and I don’t remember; I used to do this when I did work in offices. It was just like go outside when it’s sunny, have a sleeveless shirt or something where you can peel some layers and get some sun on your skin and then I think the next step of doing that cod liver oil because it’s in balance with the vitamin A. I like that even better. I mean, I’ve taken vitamin D in the past, too, and I’ve definitely also seen improvements, just in the quality of my skin, just taking the vitamin D. But then when you get it in combination, I think you’re just…you’re at a better…you’re at less of a risk for any sort of imbalance when you’re getting it from that whole food form, you know, vs. just like you said, Liz, just doing the D3. So I just think anytime we’re not sure how much we really need doing that single, you know, isolated supplement. I just wouldn’t really hammer that too hard, but I don’t know. It really depends on the person.
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: You know, if you’ve got an autoimmune condition, maybe a little bit different, you know. If you see vast improvements when you’re supplementing with more vitamin D, like by all means. I wouldn’t tell you to take it away if you feel better taking it. If you don’t feel anything, and you get some blood work done and see what’s happening in there, I don’t know. [laughs] I like taking supplements that I can see and feel the effects of, honestly, because I feel like I don’t really know why else I would be taking them, just for prophylactic measures. It’s not really my approach, so…
LIZ WOLFE: I have a link to an article on vitamin D from Chris Masterjohn’s website, Cholesterol-and-health.com. We’ll link that because it really says everything we could possibly need to say about vitamin D.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay. Maybe we can rope him into talking to us one day about all of this stuff.
LIZ WOLFE: Oh my gosh, that would be amazing.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I bet we could do that.
LIZ WOLFE: I don’t have dirt on him. We can’t hold anything over his head to like threaten him to come…to come talk to us on our show. I don’t have any dirt on the guy. Whereas with Tony, we probably could have, you know…just kidding, not really. Tony’s awesome, but…Tony the olive oil guy, but yeah, let’s try and do that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I’m going to see if I can ping Chris and see if he wants to come talk about, you know, maybe the whole fat soluble vitamin topic because I think it’s a really interesting one and yeah. So, I don’t know, what else do you we have? We have a bunch of other stuff we wanted to touch on, but how much time do we have? I think we only have like ten minutes left, so maybe we’ll just get down to one of these questions sort of toward the end. I had a couple of people asking about cravings and some people asked about this, you know, at the seminar and it kind of the point of this podcast is just to touch on some topics that we’ve seen people are a little bit confused about, and you know, we’ve maybe got some stuff in the works for people who aren’t able to come to seminars or workshops, but just kind of keep your eyes and ears open for some of that.
In general, yeah, we’ve been getting some other questions on cravings. I guess there’s a lot over on the Sugar Detox page, too, on Facebook. But there are a lot of different reasons for cravings. [laughs] And it’s like, come on. There’s so many things. I think first and foremost, it’s usually habitual more than anything else, you know. You’re just used to eating something sweet after your meal, or you’re used to, you know, having something crunchy with every meal, that kind of thing. So I think some of it’s just habitual. That’s one of the things we really try and touch on with the Sugar Detox is just changing people’s habits. It’s not just about never eating carbs. You know, that’s not what the Sugar Detox is. Some people think it’s like a zero carb program. It’s really not. And it does allow for certain fruits, but it’s not every fruit and people are like, well, why not this? If this is, you know, lower in sugar than that fruit, and I’m like, well, I’m challenging your habits here. you know? Then they start to get it because they say well, I don’t really love this one as much. Or I’m not, you know, I haven’t been thinking about, you know, a green apple all day long. And I’m like, well, there you go. You know? And it’s just getting you to do something different for 3 weeks, just change your normal routine.
But from there, and I do think that the fat soluble vitamin discussion is a good one around cravings. I think fats in general, a lot of people have been scared of fat for a long time, and I think cravings for sugar can often come from a lack of essential fats or, you know, just being scared to eat fat and not getting enough of it. We end up eating more carbohydrates, which, you know, put that message into our bloodstream that we’re getting sugar all the time, and when we stop giving it to our body in the high quantities we had been, we actually start to crave it more for a little while because we’re changing our fuel. So, you know, kind of that discussion, I think, you’ve mentioned a few times, Liz, in the workshop, the idea that I think Nora Gegaudas talks about this, that carbohydrates are like kindling and fat is like a log on the fire.
LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: And when you’ve been fueling your body with kindling for so long, when you decide, you know what? I’m not going to put any more kindling on the fire, I’m going to put a huge log on the fire and that’s got to take. If anyone’s ever built a campfire, it takes awhile for that log to catch fire. And once it catches, it’ll burn for a long time. And when you’re in that period between when your body’s used to burning the carbohydrates as kindling vs. when it’s going to take for that log of the fat, it can be anywhere from 2 or 3 days to 2 or 3 weeks, possibly even longer, depending on your status. You know, how long you’ve been eating that way. What you’re used to doing. For some people, in a few days, they get over it, passed it. They’re not in discomfort anymore. But for a lot of people, even on the 21 Day Sugar Detox, it’s like the first two weeks, they’re still struggling and then their body makes the switch. They’re able to, you know, recognize that they need to be eating more fat and they do it and they feel better and they get to that point where that switch happens. So the cravings start to subside because they’re actually feeding their body what it really needs.
LIZ WOLFE: One point that I want to make on this, too, is that- and this is where it kind of weak spin, like if people who may be on the 21 Day Sugar Detox and they’re struggling a little bit, you know, reaching out to us individually. For some people, it’s been such a long time since they really nourished their body with good fat that they do need a couple of extra tools…a little bit of extra support for insuring they’re able to emulsify, digest, and assimilate those fatty acids. So for some people that’s where the difficulty lies and why it takes a little bit longer. Some people need a little biliary support, a little bit of help just making sure they’re pulling in those essential fatty acids. Because like with many things, if you don’t use that faculty of your digestion for a long period of time, it becomes very stagnant. And it can really become dormant and you need a little bit of that kick start. There’s a few supplements that I’ve used in the very short term, just to help people with that. But that can be a concern as well.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. A lot of people who were switching from a high carb diet to like a higher fat/moderate protein approach and a lot of people on the sugar detox, you know, they are not people who were eating a Paleo diet. They just came into this thing and it’s totally new to them, right? So a lot of them experience indigestion and heartburn because they’re eating more protein than they had maybe been eating before and it demands more hydrochloric acid. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing. It just means that perhaps they weren’t requiring that their body process as much before, so it takes a little bit of time to build back up that hydrochloric acid production and that’s the same thing you’re talking about here. It’s just like, let’s make sure that your bile salts are working properly, that your gallbladder is working properly. That everything’s going to be responding to the food you’re eating.
And I think some of the other really common things we’ve seen with cravings are just micronutrient deficiencies. I think, you know, we’ve seen this kind of all over the place, just the idea that people who are craving chocolate might have a magnesium deficiency. I think most people are suffering from some sort of magnesium deficiency. It’s just really hard to get enough of it. I recommend Epsom salts baths for that, just a little bit of transdermal magnesium. It’s a really nice way to sort of relax at the end of the day, if you can take a bath in warm water. And, you know, just in general, I think that, you know, sugar and carb cravings. We’ve also got issues with stuff like gluteomorphins in gluten-containing grains and wheat products. They’re highly, highly addictive because they do actually, you know, have an action on our brain that’s like an endorphin response. Same thing with dairy. Casomorphins can have the same kind of effect, so how to deal with that really depends.
And I think for the most part, there are some dietary support that you can give yourself. You know, if it’s sugar. If it’s chocolate. You know, maybe getting in some extra magnesium, etc. For the most part, getting through cravings, you know, it’s a lifestyle thing, It’s making sure that you’re set up with good food, that you have, you know, the right things on hand, that you’re not faced with temptation every single day. You know, if you work in an office where’ there’s constantly like baked goods in the kitchen, avoid the kitchen. You know, bring a little lunch cooler to keep near your desk and just don’t go in there. You know? Just keep yourself away from it just to get you through those times, and you know, there is no one answer to how to beat them for every single person, but I think that making sure that you are eating enough of the right foods, and then you’re not getting hungry, that you’re not letting your blood sugar drop is really kind of a first step to make sure that you’re not in a moment of weakness. You know, and keeping yourself prepared with good healthy food. And when you’re still transitioning away from sugar as a very regular source of, you know, calories to fat, making sure that you do have snacks on hand because as we get further into this thing where we don’t need to eat as often, right? And I think most people will tell us, yeah, I used to eat 6 times a day. Now I eat 3 and I’m fine. But in the beginning, your body isn’t ready to adjust. You need to keep those snacks on hand because you may have sugar cravings. Eat something else in the meantime. Eating the sugar is not actually going to help. It’s just going to perpetuate the craving.
I don’t know, do you have more on feeding that?
LIZ WOLFE: Swap out chocolate because a lot of people will crave chocolate because a lot of people, they’ll crave chocolate because they do need magnesium, but then they go for some, you know, 5%, you know, milk chocolate and basically give themselves a sugar hit that’s going to deplete magnesium in the first place. So not that I have a problem with chocolate cravings because dark chocolate is actually a decent little source of magnesium, but the sugar is what totally negates the entire point, so I do not begrudge anybody some 90% dark chocolate when they’re really feeling that craving, but, you know, the last thing you want to do is indulge it with some kind of really, you know, cruddy Easter egg type of chocolate, so that’s all I have.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Are you knocking? Are you knocking on my Cadbury egg? [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs] Ah, yes.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I’m kidding. Don’t worry, I don’t think it’s a source of magnesium.
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay, I think we’re ready to wrap up. I just have to say. This is really funny. I don’t know. I think I’ve mentioned before, my mom started doing CrossFit. And…
LIZ WOLFE: Awesome.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Totally…yeah. So adorable. Totally like, you know, very scaled down. You know, she’s working with…she’s definitely working with weight on things like deadlifts and squats, a little bit of weight. We’re lucky to have, you know, 15 pound barbells to be able to load up, not just the 45, like when I first started CrossFit. It was either a PVC pipe or a 45 pound barbell. [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: She went this morning without me because I was going to record the podcast, and was doing overhead squats with the 15 pound barbell, which I just think is the cutest thing ever.
LIZ WOLFE: Yay Mom!
DIANE SANFILIPPO: And one of my friends at the gym…yeah, she sent a picture of my mom doing her little overhead squats and I’m like, that is just so adorable. I’m just really…I’m excited. I’m proud of her for going. She and one of my other friends, like my friend, my oldest friend I’ve had since I’m 5 years old, lives down the street from me. She’s been having the…we train at Brazen Athletics over in Fairfield and she’s been coming to the gym, too, and it’s just really, I don’t know. It’s just really fun to have like an old friend and my mom at the gym. Like, hey, are you going today? Yeah, and it’s just really cool to have that crossover of my worlds and I don’t know. It’s awesome. I’m excited.
LIZ WOLFE: Good job, Mom!
DIANE SANFILIPPO: That’s really it. Go Mom!
LIZ WOLFE: My Mom does CrossFit, too. Go Mom!
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh, she does? Where is your mom training?
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah…my Mom trains with the same place I used to train with Coach Rut at CrossFit Kansas City. My sister does as well. And they are both like…they have eclipsed me in both healthy eating and CrossFit-related stuff. Every time I see my Mom, she’s that much more fit and capable and just super proud of her. And my sister, too, so they’re just awesome.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: That’s so cute. I wish my Dad would do it. That would be cool because he like, he’s the golf guy.
LIZ WOLFE: Dads are different. Yeah, yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I know, they’re just like, yeah. He’s got his ways, but yeah. Cool. All right, well, until next time?
LIZ WOLFE: Until next time everybody. Check us out at BalancedBites.com. Definitely have a look at the workshop page. Find a workshop near you. We want to see you in person, say hi. My website is CaveGirlEats.com. We’ll see you guys next week!
Diane & Liz