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Episode #52: Microwaves, personal lubricant, weight gain help, sun protection and more.
September 12: “Practical Paleo” Book Signing with Q&A in West Caldwell, NJ – RSVP here
Balanced Bites Workshops:
FALL WORKSHOPS KICK-OFF ON SEPTEMBER 15TH IN NAPLES, FL – CHECK THE SIDEBAR FOR DATES!
#1. Microwave use [6:18]
#2. Personal lubricant [12:53]
#3. Help to gain weight [14:44]
#4. Practical Paleo Meal Plan selection help [22:42]
#5. Hemp & Chia Seeds [31:38]
#6. Apple Cider Vinegar, Kombucha [37:35]
#7. Sun Protection [42:13]
Seinfeld video link we discussed at the end.
Click here to download this episode as an MP3.
LIZ WOLFE:Hey everyone, I’m Liz Wolfe. I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner and I’m here as usual with Diane Sanfilippo, who’s a certified holistic nutrition consultant and the woman behind Balanced Bites, and the new book, Practical Paleo, which is taking the world by storm. Remember that the materials and content contained in this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
So welcome everybody to episode 52 of the Balanced Bites podcast. It’s actually been over a year since we began. We skipped one week in there somewhere, so we’ve technically been schlemieling and schlemazeling for over a year now, not just with reference to this podcast, but also the Balanced Bites workshops, so it’s very nice that we’re actually in the same place to record today, unlike most other days, where we’re hours away and miles away. Do you want to do a quick high five, Diane, or like a kombucha toast to watching our podcast baby turn into a podcast toddler?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:[laughs] I don’t have my kombucha.
LIZ WOLFE:We could actually literally high five.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:High-five. Boom.
LIZ WOLFE:That was a good one, yeah. Really good.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:All right, well, it’s early.
LIZ WOLFE:It’s very early.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:We are here in Arizona at the Poliquin Biosignature Cert, so for those who aren’t familiar, we’ve spent the past few days learning about and discussing the hormonal regulation of body fat, how to optimize fat, hormones, nutrient sufficiency, and digestive health. So a lot of stuff we talk about all the time. Just getting a few more nuggets. It’s definitely been interesting and fascinating. Liz, what do you think so far?
LIZ WOLFE:I’m really just struck by the extent of the knowledge these instructors have. They each kind of seem to specialize in certain areas, so I look forward to the next thing that we’re going to hear from the next instructor. And many of them are French-Canadian, which [laughs] is fun. One thing I will say is that while I’m not too concerned with helping overall healthy people tweak body fat for vanity reasons, that’s just not really what I do in my practice, I do absolutely see these indicators of health as reflected in body fat deposition. So being able to measure that reliably is going to be a really valuable tool, I think. And I’ve never seen…I’ve never understood how inaccurate conventional calipers actually are until I used these completely expensive John Bull calipers that we had to get for this class. I will never trust a different caliper again, and these other ones are wildly inaccurate.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, I think even if somebody wasn’t testing all 12 sites that we learned, even if they were just doing a standard like tricep, umbilical measurement, even at that, I think I would go the same route, so Liz and I will adequately be testing our skills on each other [laughs] as we hang out to get together for the upcoming workshops. So yeah, I’m definitely…I’m kind of feeling the same way. I think where people are storing body fat…I think it’s a great tool for those who have a lot of fat to lose, but I think it’s an even more interesting tool for those who don’t have a lot of fat to lose. Just really look at which hormones are driving that fat, and I think we knew a lot of what we’ve learned in the past few days. We knew a lot of it already about insulin, but just getting a few more bits about things like thyroid hormone and which are more female hormone related, etc. to see, you know, how could that really help us direct the person’s nutrition when they’re at that point where it’s really not about much weight. It’s really more about optimizing health, and then your body follows suit. Like your body fat will just change and this is something I’ve even been working on for myself. I know after the stress of the book, I started putting on more weight in like the love handle area and in my belly. Not to the degree that most people would probably notice, but it’s just not a place where I normally put on fat when I gain weight. So I definitely noticed that was a result of stress, and it’s definitely a result of more long term, you know, several months of stress and just this week was stressful. Boom, you gain 3 pounds. It doesn’t kind of work like that, but it’s just a longer term indication. So it’s really interesting stuff.
So with regards to upcoming events, let’s just give everyone a rundown maybe of what’s going on this fall because we’ve been hinting at things but we haven’t given a full rundown on the podcast of where we’re going to be. Let’s do…I’ll just list off what’s happening this month, and if you’re interested in signing up, we also have a whole list on the sidebar of BalancedBites.com of all the upcoming events, which that includes for me any book signings, which are free as well as seminars. So tonight actually is Thursday. Today is September 6th, and I’ll be signing books tonight in Mesa, Arizona, and you can check that out again on the website. Then I’ve got Wednesday, September 12th, my hometown of West Caldwell, I’m signing books at the West Caldwell Public Library from 6 to 8 pm. Then we’ve got a whole bunch of workshops coming up. September 15th and 16th, we’ll be in Florida in Naples and in St. Petersburg. Those are full day seminars, 9 to 5, and September 22nd at Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. 9 to 5. Then Thursday, September 27th, Warwick, New York, so that’s kind of like towards the north end of New Jersey, up into New York. A book signing at the Warwick Book Shop from 6 to 8 pm. And then our last for September is the 29th in Easton, Mass, so near Boston. 9 to 5 pm is our seminar. So you can check all that stuff out on the website, get registered, or RSVP, if it’s a free signing.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Anything else? Ready to roll into some questions?
LIZ WOLFE:Ready to roll. My birthday is in September, everybody, so I want everyone to send me many gifts for my birthday. Bring gifts for me to the workshops. Make them dark chocolate. [laughs] All right, question number one. “Hi Diane & Liz, I was interested in your thoughts on using the microwave to reheat or heat food in general…. I love steamed veggies but sometimes don’t have the patience or time to use stovetop…. I have bought Ziploc Steam Bags and used them to make omelettes and veggies because it’s easy to add spices and veggies and mix it all up… the bags are supposedly BPA free and don’t “leach” on the food… even Dr. Weil approved them and they have numerous studies proving they are safe…” I would say these studies suggest they are safe, just because there are certain things we don’t know, but that’s…I digress.
“So… what are your thoughts on using these steam bags, and reheating things in a microwave in general… (I also occasionally make the “egg” bakes in muffin tins and I want to reheat them in the morning…easiest way is the microwave). Thanks! Meghan” What are your thoughts, Diane?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:So I actually…the first note that I have here, well, that I didn’t actually make, is about the whole plastic cooking situation. That’s really the one thing I would say about a microwave. Like if you’re going to use a microwave, I just wouldn’t. I wouldn’t use plastic with it. I just think we don’t really know, and I think if you leave it to the people who create this packages who are selling it to you to tell you that the research is there, I just think that’s really the wrong approach because I, you know, we know that pharmaceutical companies will tell you that their drugs are safe, but it’s based on research that they do. So I just don’t…I don’t think that that’s the best way to rely on that information and if you are going to use the microwave at all, I would not do so in plastic. I would say glass or a non-reactive surface like a ceramic container or something to that effect.
So that being said, I really don’t know that there’s much research on the nutrient damage in foods other than possibly like fresh produce, and what we did kind of cover on this years ago when I was studying it was just a change in sort of an energetic or enzymatic quality in the vegetables and produce, and I don’t really know how hippie-dippy that is, how reliable it is, you know. Really, I’m just not sure that the research is there. I think from a culinary perspective, microwaves do a pretty awful job of heating food evenly and well. Things come out really rubbery and I personally have used a toaster oven or pot on the stove for at least 5 years to reheat food, and I haven’t found it to take very long at all. I think a good toaster oven with a timer can just reheat food for you while you do something else. It won’t overcook it. You know, it’ll ping and turn off, and I say that because I have burned many things before without a timer on the toaster oven. But I would say that’s a really, you know, worthwhile investment. It takes up less space than a microwave oven on a counter.
And I know that, you know, right now I’m not usually in a position where I’m rushing off to work. You know, I work for myself, make my schedule, but I did this for several years when I was either on my way to classes or on my way to a job, and I would, you know, even cook eggs in a cast iron skillet maybe for 5 minutes, then pop a cast iron skillet, just, you know, a small one right into the toaster oven, and it would make a frittata. I would throw it in a glass container and just be on my way. And I think, you know, of course I can tell you, okay, here’s what’s ideal vs. less ideal, but I really want people to reconsider just all of their cooking methods and understand that not everything takes as long as you think, so we assume that cooking something fresh takes longer than 2 or 3 minutes, and it doesn’t really to, you know, to cook a couple of eggs, to scramble them. It might be 5 minutes or maybe you spend 2 or 3 minutes cracking them into the pan and then you have that passive cooking time as I just mentioned, whether it’s in a toaster oven or even if this is a family, to just throw it in the oven while you’re getting ready. You don’t actually have to do anything. You just put it in there and then go get showered, get the kids ready, whatever. And it’ll be done. So I think that that’s just something worth considering that you know, it doesn’t always take as long as you think, and a toaster oven again, you can reheat. Like I have people reheat crust less quiche. I used to do it myself. It’s probably 2 or 3 minutes in a toaster oven. It’s just not a big deal, so I don’t know. I mean, outside of really like the culinary perspective and thinking that microwaved food just tastes awful, like the texture is really bad, to me, I only only really would use a microwave if absolutely necessary. Like to reheat or heat up one of our grass-fed hotdogs that we have here in the fridge. I really needed to.
LIZ WOLFE:I did do that, just this weekend, but we are in a hotel with a mini-fridge and a microwave, and that’s it. Somehow I don’t know. I tried to bring my toaster oven through carryon, and it just didn’t…[laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Really, Liz? In all those bags, it didn’t fit? I’m kidding. [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE:I may have overpacked for 4 days. So I agree with Diane. While there are two pretty vehement sides to this issue, you know, I’m pretty entrenched in the Weston A. Price camp, and I know that they’re really not fans of microwaves. My take is just that microwaves take up too much space in the kitchen. Like right now, our microwave is wedged like between the refrigerator and the wall underneath my Norwex mop and above where we keep the dog food, so it just doesn’t look good. But, and you know what? And when some people’s perfect wonderful sweet wonderful husbands put everything in the microwave for ten minutes, no matter what it is, without a paper towel, there is always that obnoxious splatter situation, which doesn’t seem to bother said husband, but drives me absolutely bonkers. So from a personal perspective, my take is make that transition to the stove or the toaster oven. It may be a slight learning curve, but you can handle it.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I forgot how to use a microwave, actually. Like I came back to my parents’ house, and just wanted to, I don’t know, melt butter or something. They don’t have small pots on the stove, or they didn’t, and I was like, I don’t know how long to do this for. Like I had…I was like, I don’t know, ten minutes or 3 minutes? One minute? 30 seconds?
LIZ WOLFE:What are these buttons?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, I had lost my ability to understand microwave ovens.
LIZ WOLFE:Do not know microwave. All right, so here’s the next question. “Personal lubricant.” Hubba hubba. “I’ve been reading about the amazing versatility of coconut oil. One of the things that I keep seeing on forums and blogs is that coconut oil is a fantastic sexual lubricant, due to its anti-viral/anti-bacterial properties. (Realizing that oil based compounds will degrade latex condoms, of course.) I’m curious to hear an opinion from a non-lay person.” That’s nice that you think I’m a non-lay person. “Diane and Liz, is this a safe use for coconut oil?”
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Liz, I’m going to let you take this one.
LIZ WOLFE:I’m sorry, Mom. I’m sorry, Grandma. I’m sorry, church community. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO:You’re married.
LIZ WOLFE:I’m married. All right, so I actually have done no outside research on this, but yeah, first of all, oil based lubricants will dissolve latex. So as long as that’s not your situation, my answer is, ayup! And so just to compare, I did look up the ingredients to KY Jelly, and I know that’s water based, but still. The ingredients are purified water, glycerin, hydroxyethyl cellulose, chlorhexadine glucanate, glucono delta-lactone, methylparaben, and sodium hydroxide. So I’m just not into that. I think coconut oil is amazing. Go for it. If anybody listening has any wisdom on this, pop over to BalancedBites.com and leave it in the comments section on the blog post, but yeah, I’m into it. Diane?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Sounds good to me. I mean, yeah, go for it. Coconut oil. I mean, it’s pretty much as natural as you can get, so it seems pretty legit.
LIZ WOLFE:Yup. All right, next question. “Help to gain weight.” Barry says: “I have the opposite question than most here. I’ve been on the Paleo diet for 8 months and despite eating a lot of protein, veggies and a lot of good fats, I have lost over 10 pounds and am too thin. I am 6’1” male, 156 pounds. Before paleo I was 168 pounds or so and very healthy, except for occasional colitis episodes. Dropping wheat and grains has eliminated symptoms and all meds… Despite all I eat and work out, I can’t gain weight back and I dearly desire to gain back at least 6 pounds.”
“Additional info, breakfast is 3 to 4 eggs, lots of butter and coconut oil, and maybe some chicken or beef, maybe some steamed greens, but not often. Lunch, a big salad with a can of salmon or tuna, half an avocado, olive oil vinaigrette and a big variety of veggies. Dinner, fatty meat like lamb or beef, sweet potato, and more veggies. I’ll sometimes throw in a fruit in between meals. Sleep, about 7 hours a night. Minimal supplements, astaxanthin and CoQ10, sunflower lecithin, biotin, and metatropin at night. Pizza once in a while. 12 light beers a week. Maybe a non-Paleo snack once a week. I’m pretty close to 90% Paleo.” That says 12 light beers, right?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I’d say 12.
LIZ WOLFE:Not 1.2. Okay. “I just need advice on how to eat 2000 calories. I’m not close, and don’t care to eat 2 pounds of veggies a day. Thank you.” Diane?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Well, first and foremost, 2000 calories a day is like…
LIZ WOLFE:Not even breakfast.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, that’s not even going to be enough, so you might be eating 2000 with what you’re eating now. But I don’t care for you to eat 2 pounds of veggies a day either. That definitely won’t get you to 2000 or more calories. Veggies are really, you know, pretty nutrient dense for how few calories they have, but they’re definitely not as nutrient dense as you know, animal foods and fats. Well, fats aren’t super nutrient dense in terms of a broad spectrum of nutrients, but what they do carry is good. So first things first. You’re definitely not eating enough food. Like you know that, and you know, you’re saying it, which, you know, right off the bat is kind of like, we need to get more food in you. We don’t know how well Barry’s digesting his food, so this is something that’s kind of been hammered home this week with us, that we obviously know about. We’ve talked about a lot. It might be a good idea for Barry to start like an HCL combination with digestive enzymes challenge where he just sees if he’s feeling anything from getting some HCL supplementation in. I think people have heard of what this test might look like before, and just taking, you know, 1 capsule with a meal, in between any meal that has protein, like full size meal, not just a piece of fruit or a snack, and see if he’s feeling anything from that. And it really could be an issue of not digesting and absorbing food, so you know, if you’re looking for more on what that challenge looks like, you can definitely check out-I have a whole page on digestion and how to do that in Practical Paleo.
But from there, you know we don’t know what type of activity he’s doing. He said exercise, but…what I really would want to see, and this is looking at what he said about his average day are a few things. One, just more food in general. You know, 3 to 4 eggs, maybe chicken or beef with that?
LIZ WOLFE:And a salad at lunch?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, like this is how, you know, a female who’s looking to lose weight might eat, so, and that’s not to be critical of him. It’s just to say, you really, you know, jeez, if somebody told me I could eat twice as much food as I was eating, I would have a field day. Like I would be super excited about that. So he’s got to be eating at least 6 eggs a day, and some other source of protein, because even eggs only have about 6 grams of protein per egg. So…
LIZ WOLFE:Steak and eggs.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, steak and eggs for breakfast. If you want to do some steamed greens with it, that’s totally fine. If you’re doing that, they need to have fat on top of them. You know, you do say lots of butter and coconut oil with breakfast. So that’s fine. I would always vote for grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee, even over the coconut oil if you feel good eating it because you’ll get more nutrients from the grass-fed butter and ghee. For lunch, that’s definitely like sort of a diet portion-one can of salmon or tuna and half an avocado. You’ve got to get in at least the whole avocado. I would throw another can of protein on there. I don’t really care how many veggies you’re eating because again, that’s not going to drive the boat in terms of calorie density and putting some weight on you, but I would add starch to both breakfast and lunch in this case because it looks like you’re doing it for dinner, but I would throw in, you know, about a cup of sweet potato or maybe, you know, one average sized sweet potato to each of those meals with about 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter or coconut oil. But just…even if you just added that to what you’re doing now, you’re going to add about 840 calories a day. So, you know, what’s going to happen is if you add in the starch, you know, this is again in addition to what you’re doing. It’s not replacing something else, so I might tell that to somebody who doesn’t feel super energetic and needs some extra carbs, but who also wants to lose weight, they’d have to replace either some fat or some protein, but you know, you can get those in. They may even help drive your appetite up a little bit. Like a little bit more starch or even a little bit more fruit, so even if you did some fruit with breakfast, that might help drive your appetite, which might help things.
What else did I want to say? So for Barry, I think it would also be interesting to enter your food into FitDay and just see what you’re doing, and again, you know, I say this a lot, but it’s not about micromanaging, but you need to see what does that breakfast come out to, in terms of, you know, calorie density that’s not at least around 800 calories. It’s just not enough, you know? 800 calories times 3 meals would be 2400 calories. Hopefully, you’re getting even more calories in as the day goes on. I think some people just tend to not eat as much for breakfast, but it’s pretty easy to add them up if you go with some starch covered with a couple tablespoons of fat. That will really be a quick way to add it. If you’re working out, you know, that’s going to really help also with some of your workouts, too. Again, we don’t know what kind of workout he’s doing. And I think, you know, I’d be shocked if he didn’t gain at least a little bit of weight in maybe 2 weeks of doing this.
The only other sort of note I have here is that in some of the other foods that he said he was eating, I’d really say to ditch the pizza and the beer at least for this test. We don’t know if you have any kind of gluten intolerance. If you do, the calories you’re eating in pizza and drinking in beer don’t actually add necessarily as many as they carry. So if they’re promoting leaky gut, if what’s happening as a result, you know, eating and drinking these gluten containing foods is creating a situation where you’re not absorbing as much, it doesn’t really matter that you just got extra calories in. And I hear this commonly from mostly men who are looking to gain weight and get in extra calories, they’ll do it by eating “cheat foods” and of course, they enjoy them and whatnot, but this is actually maybe creating more problems for your absorption than all the other good foods that you’re eating. Like, you kind of just ruin things by creating a situation where you’re not going to absorb that amazing grass-fed meat and fish and all of that. So that’s kind of what I think. Do you have any other thoughts for Barry?
LIZ WOLFE:Nope, good job. Barry, eat more. Listen to Diane. All right.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:More food.
LIZ WOLFE:More food. Next question. “Practical Paleo meal plans selection help.” Liza says: “After being diagnosed with Celiac 2 years ago, I started on a gluten free diet right away. I felt better within days. Gone were the severe cramping, gas and diarrhea. I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t on the BEST gluten free diet I could be on, just making substitutions for your typical gluten filled foods. GF oatmeal, cereals, pastas & breads were a staple of my diet. I was always the biggest carb whore! Then, I started gaining weight. And I’m STILL gaining!! At 49, I’m at the highest weight I’ve ever been. I’m 5’6″ and 170 lbs. Two years ago, I was hovering around 150 lbs. I’ve also started going through menopause, so hormones may be a factor. Also, I saw a naturopathic Dr. who diagnosed me with low cortisol, low adrenal function, and not enough T4 converting to T3. He also ordered me a cross reactive gluten test and my numbers for (cow) dairy were off the charts! I did NOT have a leaky gut or any parasites. Yay!
Anyway, I’m a little confused as to which paleo diet I should follow: the autoimmune, digestive health, thyroid, athletic performance, or FAT LOSS. Or some sort of blend of them all. I try not to focus on my weight on the scale, but I’m growing a big menopot and my clothes are getting TIGHT!! HELP!!” And what’s she’s asking about “which Paleo diet she should follow” she’s actually asking about which therapeutic type meal plan out of Diane’s book, Practical Paleo, would be right for her, I believe.
Yeah, so here’s what I, Liz, think. First of all, hormones, like she said, are absolutely a factor, as is the stress of 1. gaining weight, as I can tell she’s not happy about it, and 2. dealing with all of these changes at once, along with the confusion that she’s feeling about what to eat and why. So she’s doing the right thing by consulting that naturopath, and it sounds like here she’s pretty clued in. It’s absolutely not unusual to see this low adrenal function when you’re kind of handing off a lot of hormonal responsibility from the female hormones to the adrenals during menopause. And to be kind of brutal about it, Liza is going to have to first give herself some time, some forgiveness, and focus on supporting her body through this transition with good food and the right supportive supplements, and a little love and forgiveness for what her body is working through. That’s just a fact. And in my practice for menopausal women who are wanting to lose fat, I say this exact same thing. We work on calmness and gratitude exercises to sort of, you know, mitigate that stress. Many of them get started with yoga to work on just being present and appreciative of the body. Your body’s learning a new hormonal dance right now, and you need to address health first, because that’s the only way to lay a foundation for when it’s ready to deal with fat loss again. So I know Diane will have plenty on which supportive plan that’s going to work, so take it away, Diane.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, so I think, like the way I’ve been telling people to wade through these is tackle the meal plans by figuring out which is your number one concern. And if there’s stuff going on that’s beyond one of the meal plans, like, you know, I’ve got something for thyroid, for MS, for example. If you’ve got more than one sort of autoimmune condition happening, then you start with an autoimmune condition protocol. That’s really what I’d advise. Like people have asked this question several times, even through Facebook or emailing, and that’s why I really wanted to address this question. Like if you have multiple things that you just are overwhelmed and you’re flipping through, and you’re like, well, this is me and this is me and this is me, then really just starting with that autoimmune protocol is step 1. Because it is the most strict, it’s the most limited, and it will give you the most information on how do you tolerate certain things that are considered “Paleo” that may just not be great for you. Things like eggs, nuts and seeds, nightshades, those kinds of foods. So that’s what I say for people for are dealing with a bunch of autoimmune issues. You know, if her main concern is managing thyroid health and weight, I would just start with the thyroid health plan. You know, after one to three months, I’d consider looking at the fat loss plan, but not really after you fully addressed your thyroid health. Because if you haven’t gotten your thyroid and your cortisol under control, what you eat really isn’t going to matter as much. You’re basically not working with what I call an even playing field or a level horizon. It’s not even close, so your body will not respond to food the way we generally would expect, if your thyroid isn’t working properly. It’s kind of that command central for your metabolism. So your attitude on not watching the scale is a really good one. You know, the more you worry about it and the less time and energy you have to simply focus on the changes you need to make, you know, that’s definitely better than just stressing and sitting there being worried and freaking out. You know, channel that energy into your action plan, and as Liz said, it does take time. It can take several months. I’d say even to start feeling better or differently, at least a month, if not 2 to 3. You just need to continue to reset what’s happening.
So hopefully, you can still work with your ND on the thyroid issue because you really do need to get the T3 numbers improved, so that your metabolism is working properly. And so people who are listening and don’t really know a ton about thyroid hormones, what ends up getting measured is-they’ll measure generally a T4 and a T3, just total number. And T4 is an inactive form of thyroid hormone. T3 is the active form, so I’m going to give you a list of thyroid numbers that I recommend that you get checked, so that you can then do some cross-referencing, perhaps check out like ChrisKresser.com. Chris has a lot of stuff on different thyroid markers and what the different values really mean, and how to kind of move forward from there, and hopefully you can work with your ND on that. So what I’d recommend getting for a thyroid panel, some of these are standard, some of them are not. And if it’s not standard, and your doctor is questioning why you want to get them, just be insistent and just make sure that you let them know that you will pay for things out of pocket if you need to, and understand that you may need to do that. Or find a doctor who will work with you and is open to things. So I would say TSH, which is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and that is generally measured on a basic panel. T4 and T3, which are both generally measured. Then Reverse T3. That’s not one that’s always measured, but that will tell you essentially how much of your T3 is being converted to something that’s inactive. Reverse T3 is not an active form, and just having T3 in your bloodstream doesn’t mean that it’s all active. TPO, which is a thyroid antibody and thyroid globulin, both different types of thyroid antibodies, and that will help you know if you have Hashimoto’s. Really the one difference meaning that, and we generally people are eating gluten and grain free to begin with, but those will tell you if it’s even more important for you to be absolutely strictly gluten free because we do know that there are some protein interactions with gluten proteins and thyroid cells. So that’s really it. I would focus on the thyroid and just chill out and work on that, and let your body reset, and go from there because you need to get your body healthy before it will drop the weight that you don’t want to carry around.
LIZ WOLFE:There’s no getting around it.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:There isn’t, and you know, I’m dealing with that just for myself. Even right now I’m, you know, it was a good couple of months of after the book was done, just not…I didn’t really change too much about my diet in that two months, but I knew that my cortisol levels needed to just chill out. I needed to relax, and I didn’t stress much about what I was eating. I just focused on the things I needed to do, like cutting coffee out, and trying to get better sleep, and not overtraining, and now after a couple of months, I’m able to kind of tweak my food and do some things, and I’m seeing my body respond to that. Whereas if I had done that before, I think it just would have been more stress, so I don’t like for people to be too limiting with their food while they’re just resetting hormonal status.
LIZ WOLFE:Agreed. All right, next question. “Hemp and Chia Seeds.” Rachel says: “I was curious what you thought of hemp seeds and chia seeds. I will often use hemp seeds with nut butter and bananas for a quick breakfast or snack, and chia seeds I will mix with coconut milk, cocoa powder and cinnamon to make a “chia pudding’. I enjoy them both and think they are tasty and healthy but didn’t know if there was too much omega-6 in comparison to omega-3 in each product.”
DIANE SANFILIPPO:You have notes on this, Liz?
LIZ WOLFE:I do.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I don’t mean, I’ve got a couple of things to say about them, but not…not tons, so…
LIZ WOLFE:Well, just overall, the word to me is meh. I don’t even know if that’s an official word, but…
LIZ WOLFE:I think it’s at the very least it’s in the Urban Dictionary. So there’s always these questions about flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds, and Loren Cordain has answered this question a bit. Just Google “chia seeds Cordain” and you’ll come up with a special report that will help you understand why it’s just nothing special. To me, personally, it’s not whether they’re “allowed” or “not allowed” on any kind of diet. I hate that “allowed/not allowed” mentality because I want everyone to understand why certain things aren’t the best for you. But that’s probably for another day. So I don’t think you’re going to suddenly fall ill with some kind of volatile fatty acid imbalance from eating chia seeds, but seeking them for their health benefits is really not a goal. It’s not necessary if you’re following a good or especially if you’re following a good nutrient-dense ancestral diet, which is what we advocate. So if you’re following a vegan diet or a Standard American diet, who knows? But I don’t live in that world. I think a good proportion of our listeners are kind of in the same boat.
Maybe it would benefit somebody who’s coming off eating cheese steaks every day, I don’t know. But much of the hype over these flax and chia and hemp seeds is that they’re a source of a fatty acid called Alphalinolenic Acid, ALA, that is technically the precursor to the end usable form of omega 3, which is DHA. So folks that don’t eat animal products believe that they can convert the plant source ALA to DHA in their bodies, while folks that do eat meat and fish let said animals make this conversion for them and then they just eat the tasty, tasty animals. The problem in any scenario is that it takes a pretty intensive bodily process involving enzymes like elongase and delta 60 desaturase that in turn require certain nutrients to work effectively in the body. So this is just a whole cascade where you need to make sure digestion is optimized. Quality of food is optimized. Lifestyle’s optimized. Because we know that stress can interfere with these things, so that conversion from top of chain to end-usable form is absolutely not guaranteed, especially if the body is stressed or if other unpredictable, yet unguaranteed modern realities, whether that’s a nutritional reality or an environmental reality. They’re interfering with that process of elongation. So again, I don’t know. Go for it if you like it. Just don’t be too geeked out on some supposed health benefits, especially against the backdrop of an ancestral eating plan rich in grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, healthy fats and some veggies. Where digestion is optimized…we’ve really…it’s been reconfirmed with me this week at the Biosig training that you really, absolutely have to tackle digestion and quality of digestion to ensure that even the nutrients in an ideal diet are being absorbed and utilized. And we talk about that a ton at our workshops.
Now I will say that the GT’s Kombucha with the chia seeds that kind of makes it the consistency of cough syrup is kind of fun, and I’ve had that now and then, so maybe this pudding Rachel talks about is also fun, and that’s cool. I don’t know how chia seeds work to get that gelatinous consistency, but I am kind of wondering if you could order some responsibly processed gelatin from Great Lakes and make a jello-like pudding situation with that. Gelatin, I’m totally geeked out on. I definitely believe in the health benefits of gelatin, specifically from bone broth, but I do trust Great Lakes as a decent source of gelatin. I’m not a huge fan of Knox, but that’s neither here nor there. You can find Great Lakes gelatin brand on Amazon. Do you have anything else on this, Diane?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:No, I mean, I think I’ve made that chia seed pudding probably a couple years ago. You grind up the chia seeds, so that they become the way that ground flax is, and you know, how ground flax is used as egg replacer a lot.
LIZ WOLFE:I did not know that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, it’s…
LIZ WOLFE:That’s horrible.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:It’s weird, and I actually ate, you know, it may have been a couple of tablespoons, like one or two tablespoons of chia seeds ground up and made this pudding, and I felt pretty sick after I ate it. I just…it did not feel good in my stomach. I think…I like avocado pudding better. I don’t feel ill when I eat that, like a whole avocado’s worth of, you know, sort of non-dairy pudding. But I mean, if she likes it, yeah. I just…same kind of thought. I wouldn’t eat it thinking of giving you anything amazing because it’s really not, but if you like it, and you want to have it now and then, it’s probably a heck of a lot better than like Jello pudding. [laughs] Jello-insert Bill Cosby impression here.
LIZ WOLFE:No, insert Adam Sandler joke here.
LIZ WOLFE:Oh my God.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Jello pudding…oh my God, that’s Bill Cosby.
LIZ WOLFE:We’ve just lost all credibility. All right, next question. “Apple cider vinegar and kombucha.” Kristin says: “I’ve read about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and wanted to give it a try, putting 1-2 teaspoons in 8oz. water 3 times per day. But, I already drink about 16oz. of home-brewed, well-fermented kombucha daily. Can I do both or should I only do one or the other?”
Diane, what is your take?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:So I think that she’s got some good ideas here. But as far as I know, the two are pretty different in terms of their health benefits. So the biggest health benefit that I know of from apple cider vinegar is actually for naturally and gently stimulating hydrochloric acid or stomach acid, more so than anything else I know about, which is pretty huge because again as we’re hearing more and more this week, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this throughout my education, but kind of maybe haven’t been on top of it as much with people is that, you know, most of us really aren’t making enough stomach acid. It can be one of the biggest reasons for problems even downstream in our digestion, so it’s pretty critical that our stomach is a very acidic environment. You know, and we explain this in the seminars. We talk about the whole digestive process. I explain it pretty much in detail in the whole digestion chapter in my book, what needs to happen to the bolus of food once it becomes acidic and how that triggers all of your digestive enzymes sort of downstream. So it’s really important that that happens. And I think if you feel good doing that, don’t stop. Just roll with it, if that works for you.
So that being said, the kombucha is more of a digestive aid coming from the other end. So meaning what we’re hoping to get from the kombucha is some good bacteria and that really helps more with sort of the lower GI situation and getting your gut bacteria more balanced.
LIZ WOLFE:Getting detoxed.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, to help detoxify and just to really help your eliminations move well. The cool thing we actually learned this week that I hadn’t really studied much before, but I’m going to be geeking out a lot more in terms of different strains of bacteria and what they do and what they’re well researched for is that at least in this, in my Synergy kombucha that I have here while traveling, and I’m not sure the same strains are always developed. I think they may be. I think if you’re making kombucha, I think you’re probably getting the same kinds of strains, the same way when you’re making yogurt. So we use like lactobacillus acidophilus is what you get when you make yogurt. So at least in this one, it’s showing that there’s some Saccharomyces Boulardii in there, and some cool things we learned about that were that it’s kind of more responsible for like an acute sweeping out of some bad stuff like candida and some other things that may populate your gut that you don’t want there. And that doesn’t mean that it’s, you know, super strong in the kombucha. It’s probably fine to drink some of it every day, but you know, it’s a totally different purpose than the apple cider vinegar. So that’s really kind of the main answer here is that I think there are probably fine. I think if you feel good with that 3 times a day. It sounds like that’s a lot, but if you’re good with it 3 times a day, then go with it. I might say that 8 ounces of water is kind of a lot to put that in, but again, I just wouldn’t challenge you if you’re feeling good. Do you have some more thoughts on that?
LIZ WOLFE:16 ounces of kombucha is no joke. I know when you start with that home brew stuff, all the talk is to start with like 4 ounces at a time. So Kristin is a real bad-ass mutha.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, I mean, like what we’re buying in the store is generally not as strong, I guess depending on how long you ferment it.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:How sour it is vs. you know, how much more vinegar-y it tastes vs. how sweet it is. SO if you’re getting a store-bought, you know, you don’t really need 16 ounces, but it’s probably not as potent as your homebrew.
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, I definitely agree with that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I’m going to taste my homebrew when we get home from Arizona here.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I’m psyched. I started it about a week ago.
LIZ WOLFE:You’re so cool.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I’m excited.
LIZ WOLFE:I don’t even know how to talk to you, you’re so cool.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I’m sure my parents are going to be like, what is this? Like [xxx]
LIZ WOLFE:I hope they don’t throw it out.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:What is this slimy thing in the cabinet? No, my mom would never throw it out. She would be like, I’m sure Diane has a reason for growing something that looks like mold and disgusting.
LIZ WOLFE:The weirder it is, the more likely that Diane is doing it intentionally. All right, next question. “Sun protection.” Nick says: “Hi Diane and Liz, I was wondering if you had any recommendations for sun protection other than big silly hats. I know that most of the Paleo world is chanting the benefits of vitamin D from the sun but is there ever a time when it’s too much of a good thing. I live in southern California where its sunny 90% of the time. On weekdays I’m spending about 2 hours a day in the sun. (morning walk, afternoon hike or workout and general walking around the neighborhood). On weekends I can easily spend 4-8 hours per day in the sun. While I’m not overly concerned about my body (it’s easy to cover up) should I worry about my face, as its exposed all the time? Sorry if I sound overly cautious but skin cancer runs in my family and my dad has a Van Gogh style ear because of it. Thanks for your help.”
You know, real quick, I don’t see the problem with big, silly hats. I think they’re awesome. To me, it’s the Kentucky Derby every single day. Right now my hat is basically like, I’m inside, I’m wearing a giant…it’s basically an umbrella. Just because they’re fun. I’m kidding.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I can barely sit next to her, the hat’s so big.
LIZ WOLFE:[laughs] Diane, what are your thoughts on this one?
DIANE SANFILIPPO:So this is another thing that we’ve been kind of throwing around more ideas about this week. There’s been some talk about like vitamin D status really helping to reduce your propensity to burn, which makes a lot of sense. It’s kind of like the more you’re out there, the more you can tolerate, and that doesn’t necessarily just mean you build up resistance on your skin, but it’s an internal thing with that vitamin D status. So just…I think it’s just cool to kind of know that and maybe, you know, your vitamin D status is probably good unless you’re covering up a lot, and not letting that sun kind of hit your skin. And I know after 7 years of living in California, I definitely don’t burn as fast as I used to.
But I think the overall lowering of systemic inflammation goes a long way to lowering the propensity for us to burn as well. So that said, when you’re out hiking or working out, I would just have you choose places that are not as much in direct sun, and it seems pretty simple, but it may require some scouting of some new locations. You know, getting as much direct sun as it takes before you’ll burn is optimal. But, and getting that pretty much all over your skin, so, you know, if your forearms are normally exposed, getting the top part of your arm exposed, getting some parts of your skin that are not normally exposed will really help that vitamin D status. Beyond that, I would really say just not to stay in the direct sun too long. Like there’s just not another great way around it, but I think as your sort of tolerance for the sun builds up, that-that helps. And I think hats are really the best way. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a big, huge floppy one.
LIZ WOLFE:Yes, it does.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:You know, something that’s covering, you know, just getting some shade on you. And if you are worried about it, you know, doing the opposite of what we generally tell people for sun exposure. You know, for sun exposure, vitamin D, it’s to be in the sun for, you know, 10 to 20 or 30 minutes, depending on how much time it takes for you, just before you’re going to burn. So you just get that little hint of pink and then you get out of the sun. For most people, the middle of the day when your shadow is not taller than you is the best time to get that sun. So I would say the opposite for you if you’re concerned about it. Try to be outside more often when your shadow is longer than you are, earlier in the day and later in the day. Pretty obviously.
What else? Liz, you actually told me about that Badger sunscreen as one option. I didn’t find that it was like super potent, and I think, you know, it’s just the nature of something that’s a little bit more natural is that it’s just not as like brutal.
LIZ WOLFE:Well it’s broad, I don’t want to say broad spectrum, but it is a physical sunscreen.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Right, exactly.
LIZ WOLFE:It stops both UVB and UVA rays, and a big thing that people don’t understand is there is a huge difference between UVA and UVB. Chemical sunscreens, in my opinion, they are not proven to block both UVA and UVB, so even seeing a broad spectrum sunscreen that is anything but like, what is it? Zinc oxide or…
LIZ WOLFE:just basically non-nanoparticles. The sunscreens that are like white when you put them on and they stay white, and they’re not cute, but those are the ones that are going to block both types of rays. Now the rays that are actually causing vitamin D to be synthesized in the body, those are UVB rays, and those are the ones that most sunscreens block, yet they’re the ones that you actually want. UVA rays are actually the rays more, in my research, more associated with like malignant cancers. So people are running around blocking the rays that they actually want, they’re compromising their vitamin D status, and they are developing cancer, I believe, based on exposure to UVA rays. So just Google around for that a little bit, just to kind of understand the difference between UVA and UVB. I think it’s a really important distinction that we just don’t make often enough.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:It’s like what else is new that everything we’ve been told is literally the opposite of what it should be.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:You know, don’t eat fat. Stay out of the sun. You know, eat whole grains. And it’s like everything we’ve been told, you know…whatever you thought for the last 30 years, just consider what the opposite might be, and then that’s probably true.
LIZ WOLFE:Oh my gosh, we have to put a link up to this Seinfeld video about when George does the opposite of everything he thinks he’s supposed to do.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:That’s awesome.
LIZ WOLFE:We’ll put that up. That’s funny.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:I was trying to think, and you know what? And I may have sort of like rubbed in that Badger sunscreen a little too well just because basically I think I used it on the Low Carb Cruise, and I was like, this doesn’t look cute, and I was just rubbing it in. And it did stay kind of white, but it definitely wasn’t that thick, like lifeguard white nose situation. It was definitely like, you look like you maybe didn’t wash the soap off of you.
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, yeah.
DIANE SANFILIPPO:Cool. Well, I think that’s pretty much it for today.
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, I think we need to wrap it up. We got to go learn some more…some more cool stuff from French-Canadians. So we’ll be back next week with more of your questions. Until then you can find Diane at BalancedBites.com. You can find me, Liz, at CaveGirlEats.com or LizWolfeNTP.com. Thanks for listening. Until next week.
Diane & Liz