Podcast Episode #82: Carb confusion, gout, thyroid & plateaus, baby food
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Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of the amazing new book Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining by Hayley Mason & Bill Staley (The Food Lovers) – releasing everywhere on April 30th!
Podcast transcripts are coming! Check out last week’s episode post now to see the transcript for that episode live. We will be playing a lot of catch-up, but bear with us as they’re on their way!
The latest “red meat will kill you” headlines – debunked by Chris Kresser here and Chris Masterjohn here.
1. Carb intake confusion
2. Pre/post workout meals for athletic performance
3. Vegetarian diet & gout
4. Are there paleo foods that babies should avoid?
5. Paleo friendly herbal teas?
6. Hypothyroid & how to get over a plateau?
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Liz Wolfe: Hey everyone, Liz and Diane here. Welcome to Episode 82 of the Balanced Bites Podcast! We have some very exciting news to start out with. Our blather is now going to come to you in two different forms. No, we did not buy Rosetta Stone and learn a new language, so we will not be sprechen sie deutsch. Did I do that right? You don’t know.
Diane Sanfilippo: I have no idea.
Liz Wolfe: OK. Unfortunately, we will not be sprechen sie deutsch or hablando un diferente language. Anyway, Diane, do you want to tell everyone our big news?
Diane Sanfilippo: Yes! It will be a long process, but we will have transcripts of all the podcasts, and we will have, I think with this week’s episode that’s going live, that’ll be April 11, actually the last week’s episode will have a transcript. And so we’re going to try and have them ready each week, but we may have them ready kind of a week behind. And that’ll definitely be working with all of the current new podcast episodes. It’ll take a bunch of time for the old transcripts to come through and to be ready, for we have 81 back episodes, so that’s going to take a lot of time because this is something that’s done by actual human beings, so it’ll take some time. But we’re really excited. We know that we have a lot of folks who either have some disabilities where they can’t actually hear the podcast or just want to read what’s going on or want to be able to kind of search back through the content, which I know I do that for some other podcasts that I listen to. I’ll listen to the episode and then later just want to recall what they were talking about and just kind of poke back through the information in the transcript. And now I feel like everything I say needs to be less strange because it will be transcribed into actual written words!
Liz Wolfe: Whatever. Now I want to just mess with whomever’s transcribing and just say things like sprechen sie deutsch and make it that much more difficult.
Diane Sanfilippo: That’s going to be really interesting to see.
Liz Wolfe: Maybe not if they’re charging by the hour.
Diane Sanfilippo: [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Well, we’re very excited about that, that we’re having a transcript baby together. It should be really something. So do you want to talk about… We always get emails from people who send us links from, like, Shine.yahoo.com, and it’s like: What do you think about this? What do you think about this article saying X, Y, Z? What do you think about The China Study? That’s part of the reason I’m writing, and yes, I am still in the process of writing my book, Modern Cave Girl, just so you can kind of hand this book to people and say: Here. Read this book.
Diane Sanfilippo: It doesn’t work, Liz.
Liz Wolfe: It doesn’t work?!
Diane Sanfilippo: No. I’ve done it.
Liz Wolfe: Ugh.
Diane Sanfilippo: It doesn’t work.
Liz Wolfe: I give up.
Diane Sanfilippo: [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: I give up. I’m literally moving to a farm and starting my own homestead.
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m sorry to burst that bubble. [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: Well, that’s why I’m moving to a farm and just closing myself off from society as a whole.
Diane Sanfilippo: [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: Because nothing’s working! Awww, you’re not even pitying me a little bit.
Diane Sanfilippo: Not really. No.
Liz Wolfe: Not really. OK, well, talk about red meat.
Diane Sanfilippo: OK, so I posted this status update on Facebook a few days ago. It was Monday. And I had probably at least two friends text me about the latest “red meat will kill you” headline, and this article was talking about l-carnitine, and it was talking about just different mechanisms for possibly a new way of causing heart disease. I am not going to explain all of the mechanisms. I think most people who listen to this podcast know I’m not a scientist. Neither of us are scientists here. We are not researchers. I mean, we can access full-text studies if we want to pay for each one, but I think the folks that do that who will pay for it or who have access are the people who really want to spend the time dissecting this stuff, and I have nothing but respect for them. Chris Kresser actually did a fantastic job doing just that, and I’m pointing people to his article; today it went live. But my take on all of this research kind of always comes back to this same notion where if research or media hype or news is consistently scaring you away from a way of eating and living that you’ve chosen, perhaps you need to ask yourself some very meaningful questions about where you choose to gather your information, who stands to gain from the information shared, and what your instincts truly tell you about what’s healthy to eat, because if the media is going to tell you red meat is killing you or red meat will give you a heart attack and that sends you scared, then your conviction and your rationale for being able to eat this red meat as a healthy food to enjoy was just not very well founded in the first place, and that’s kind of my, I don’t know, instinctual… traditional foods. I don’t watch the news. I don’t read the news unless somebody forces me to, like in this case. I don’t listen to it for the most part except I listen to NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! It’s just me, you know? You moved yourself to a farm to kind of escape.
Liz Wolfe: [Laughs]
Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t think that news adds much to my life. I know it sounds crazy. I know there are people out there, and I spent many years feeling badly about this, feeling like I should want to read the news, I should want to watch the news, I should want to know what’s going on in the world, and I’ll tell you, you know, it’s not that I don’t want to know what’s happening out there, but most of what’s happening on the 5 o’clock news or front page of The New York Times, which the back sections are where they talk about the best-selling books, so those are the good sections! [Laughs] I’m just kidding. But the front page of newspapers and magazines and all this, it always comes down to advertisers. It always comes down to what’s going to sell something, what’s going to get people talking, watching the channel, reading the paper, whatever it is, and I just choose not to engage in that. And maybe for some people that seems like something they don’t have a lot of respect for as an opinion or a way of approaching things, but I like to self-preserve. I like to make sure that I’m not adding stress to my life. I’m not just kind of running off on tangents. People see whenever I’m mistakenly or accidentally watching Dr. Oz or a commercial comes on when I’m watching the Food Network because I like to watching cooking shows, and I seriously think that my cortisol raises because the stuff that they talk about is just absurd. And if we never had the television, we didn’t have the newspaper, we didn’t have whatever else, you’d be farming and raising cows and goats and lamb, and you would eat them, and nobody would be there to tell you it’s killing you because…
Liz Wolfe: [Laughs] I love that.
Diane Sanfilippo: It’s just the most… Like, I can’t even… I’m so glad that Chris Kresser and Chris Masterjohn and all the science people will take this stuff on because I just don’t care. When people get stressed about this stuff, I’m like: Seriously?! And I know that for the most part, the people who are asking us, it’s not that they’re worried. It’s that they know that their friends and their mother and their grandmother or whoever is like: See? I told that crazy paleo diet was killing you! And I know that most of us who do this, we don’t really question it, we don’t stress about this stuff, but we’re just worried about what the media’s telling our friends and family who are skeptical. So that’s probably 99% of people out there. There might be 1% of people who were following this way of eating and then kind of got freaked out. But anyway, I’m really glad I’m pointing people to Chris Kresser’s website, so this article will link to it. And for me, I don’t really have more to say about it than that.
Liz Wolfe: Well, I always go back to, what did healthy people do for thousands of years? And like you said, up until a very short time ago, we weren’t watching the news. We were on our farms raising lambs and goats and cows and eating them. So, I don’t know. I care what the science says, of course, but I don’t care what the media says. We do have to understand that a lot of these articles that are just coming from Yahoo.com or MSNBC or whatever, which isn’t necessarily what we’re talking about right now, but these articles from the interwebs are based on what search terms are popping up most frequently in Google. So what they do is they employ freelance journalists to do a little Googling on their own, a little source-free Googling, and write articles that freak out people that have only doing this for a few weeks and are ready to dip their toes in the pool but are still a little bit scared about what conventional wisdom has told them their entire lives, so it freaks people out. But I’m promising everybody that once you’ve done this for long enough , you feel good, you’re confident, you find those resources like Chris Kresser and Chris Masterjohn, who, when the science says something that kind of scares us a little bit, can distill it and very quickly turn it around and let us know what’s really going on in there. You just kind of get to that point where you just don’t care what other people say. And that’s a good thing. I don’t care. I don’t care what my doctor says, I don’t care what my Cousin Eddie says, because I know that what I’m doing is well supported.
Diane Sanfilippo: Dear Clark Griswold’s Cousin Eddie.
Liz Wolfe: [Laughs] Who is from where? Kansas! Right? That’s an RV.
Diane Sanfilippo: [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: My husband will like that one.
Diane Sanfilippo: By the way, our transcripts say, “Laughs,” in brackets a lot.
Liz Wolfe: Can we have a bracket that says, “Obscure movie quote?”
Diane Sanfilippo: [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: Because that might help people, too. “Aside,” we can have an “aside” bracket.
Diane Sanfilippo: [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: Actually I think those are called parentheses. Ugh. All right. Good enough?
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Any other updates? Updates from the farm if that’s what that segment will be called?
Liz Wolfe: We should have an “Updates from the Farm.” Well, I’m learning all about guinea hens and chickens, and we’re looking at getting an Anatolian shepherd or a Great Pyrenees of some kind, some kind of farm livestock guarding dog. We’re just jumping in. Jump in now, think later, I guess.
Diane Sanfilippo: You crazy kids!
Liz Wolfe: I’m crazy. But you know what? I feel so… Finally I feel at peace with what my path ahead looks like. I have an amazing partner, and I think that we’re going to have just the time of our lives doing this and moving toward kind of, like, the homestead. I mean, we’re not doing a working farm, we don’t have grain silos and stuff like that, but we have our plot of land that we’re purchasing. In a couple weeks we’ll be there. We’re going to have chickens. We’re looking at how we can bring some synergy to the land as far as what we’re doing with it, and I’m super, super happy. You know, I always feel guilty because I feel like I don’t do enough on the weekends. I’m kind of a homebody and I like it that way, but it always just feels like: Well, let’s find something to do, which is going somewhere and spending money on something that I feel like I should be interested in, but maybe I’m not. And now it’s like I can’t wait to get up at 5 a.m. and go whatever, check on my freaking goat. It’s just crazy. Like, this is something that I want to get up and do, and it’s something that I want to do on the weekends and that I’m really into learning about, so I figure if I feel that way about it, I really like I’ve found my path, something that I’m going to really enjoy doing. So yay for me!
Diane Sanfilippo: Yay for you.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah. And if I fail and fall on my face, then like I said, I have a great partner who will make fun of my mercilessly. And it’s all good. It’ll be fun.
Diane Sanfilippo: Inevitably you’ll fail at some things.
Liz Wolfe: Of course.
Diane Sanfilippo: And that’s kind of the fun part. Can you guys take video, though, so we can all watch? This’ll be really funny.
Liz Wolfe: Yes. Actually I will be taking video of this stuff. I don’t really do any video now because basically all I have are failed kitchen experiments that are just pathetic and I just don’t want to take video of that, but I’ll definitely be taking some video, and I’m excited about it. I’m learning all about vermiculture and black soldier flies and the types of goats that give the most flavorful milk, and it’s just… it’s great. And there are a lot of people that are doing this, kind of… not hobby homesteaders, but people that have kind of felt that calling to go be a little bit more self-sufficient. And maybe we’ll be providing some eggs and some meat for other people. Who knows? Who knows how these things start? But I’m really excited and excited to talk about it.
Diane Sanfilippo: It sounds slightly more maternal than I’m equipped for, but it sounds good.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, it’ll be fun. I’ll send you our pasture-raised eggs, because I’m homesteading, but I’m not reducing my carbon footprint. I’m still shipping and ordering from Amazon like a crazy person. Whatever.
Diane Sanfilippo: You gotta do what you gotta do.
Liz Wolfe: We do what we can. Oh, and right now we have some thunderstorms going on. It kind of sounds like that Autobots are ripping the roof off of my house, so hopefully that’s not going to ruin people. So, let’s do some questions, oh, shall we?
1. Carb intake confusion and 21DSD
Liz Wolfe: First question from Adriana: “I’ve been doing paleo since January 2013 and absolutely love it, but I’m still new to it. In February 2013 I started doing Crossfit. I’m trying to get to a healthy weight, so I’ve been following the guideline to keep carb intake at max 75 g. My question is, should I be calculating my carb intake from my vegetables (greens, etc.) along with my dense carb sources? I have your 21-Day Sugar Detox ebook program, and reading the modification it seems like the carb intake from dense carbs should be at max 50 g, but vegetables are unlimited. I’m a bit confused. Any help would be greatly appreciated!”
Diane Sanfilippo: First of all, the 50 g is for dense carbs, so the rest of the veggies are unlimited. This is something that I want people to be adding to whatever else they’re eating. So if she’s doing salads or any other kind of veggies, her total carb intake is probably going to need to be higher, and it really depends on how she feels. Some people are “doing Crossfit,” and if you’re newer to it, you may not be putting out as much energy as somebody who’s been doing it for a while who can maybe lift heavier weight or just has a little bit of a different intensity. I can’t give a number that’s a prescription of here’s exactly how many carbs you need to feel good for you. I don’t know. I don’t know what you weigh currently. I don’t know how much extra body fat you have or not. If you have a little bit more body fat sometimes you can get away with eating less carbohydrate. I know it sounds a little bit crazy, but people who are super lean often feel more tired more quickly because they have no reserves in terms of that extra body fat to burn. So it’s really an experiment, and that 50 g is for you to add in your post-workout meal. That’s my guideline. But if you need a little bit more, you can add more. I don’t know where the 75 g came from. Again, these are all guidelines. So when I put guidelines in Practical Paleo, when I put guidelines in the Sugar Detox book, it’s an estimate, and it’s really only because people ask me for a number that I do it, and it’s not because that’s the end-all, be-all or some prescription that’s going to be a perfect fit for everyone.
I think that’s pretty much it. I’ll try and clarify that a little bit more in the published version or the printed book when it comes out. And by “clarify” I mean kind of more explanation on just how highly variable this can be. But if your goal is to really stick to the 21-Day Sugar Detox, then it’s OK to go ahead with more of those dense carbs. It’s just a matter of not pounding a bunch of fruit down. That’s really kind of the difference, and just really doing it based on how you feel at the next workout. So in your post-workout meal, you’re basically replenishing and refueling so that your next workout the next day will feel OK, and that’s really the purpose of it. So keep a record. Write down what you ate, maybe write down the portions, and then see how you feel for the next workout, what kind of workout was it, how long was it. Keep the notes so that you can see, OK, for next time I’m working out, if the workout is a 15-minute high-intensity type of workout, I might need a little bit more carb versus maybe it’s a 5-minute workout and I might not need as much in my meal the night before. And that’s just kind of it. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t personally calculate things for myself. I just kind of know when I’m in a place where I’m eating more carbs and I’m working out harder, then my strength feels like it’s there, and my energy feels like it’s there. And if I forget to eat more carbs and I go to do these workouts, my energy’s just not there or it’s not at the same level. So that’s really it.
2. Pre/post workout meals
Liz Wolfe: Very good. OK, another quick one about meal planning. Taylor asks: “I have a question regarding the athletic performance diet. I currently get up at 5 a.m., eat a snack, and head straight to the gym for 60 minutes to 2 hours.” Emphasis is mine. “What I’ve been eating in the morning is peanut butter on toast with a protein shake. I’m looking to switch to your athletic performance meal plan, but I’m concerned about what I should eat before the gym now. Can you offer some suggestions? Do you recommend I not eat at all before the gym? I typically do cardio and weightlifting five days per week.” And you know, Diane, that we put this in here because there’s a lot more to talk about besides just which plan do I do.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, or we actually did cover this briefly last week when we talked about pre-workout nutrition and we talked about it for early mornings. So for a second, I thought we were actually doing the same question. But I think this is a little bit different because her question is about athletic performance versus fat loss specifically, which I think our previous question was about. And I know for athletic performance, my general recommendations are to eat a lot more food in general, because a lot of folks I know who are sort of those more hard-charging athletes, some of the trainers and coaches that I know just have been undereating and they’re underperforming because they’re undereating. We really, really need to fuel activity if we’re doing a lot of it. So here’s my kind of easy statement before we get into the emphasis you placed on this question here with the 60 minutes to 2 hours. We don’t know what she’s doing within that time, but if you get up at 5 a.m. and head straight to the gym for 60 minutes, I don’t know how much time you have between when you eat and when you’re working out, but something that is a little bit more carb heavy, maybe carb and protein, or it really just depends on what you feel like you can get down. If you were doing peanut butter on toast with a protein shake and you’re just looking to switch over, it’s fine to make lateral shifts, so you could easily do something like almond butter in a shake that you make from scratch that’s really just more coconut milk… I wouldn’t do too much coconut milk. I would kind of water it down. Maybe you’re doing some berries or even some mango or banana, depending on what you digest easily. I don’t do well with banana personally, but some higher-sugar fruit might be OK for you if you’re working out that long. And then that protein from some almond butter, it’s a little bit of protein. You could even do an egg yolk, or you could even just keep some hard-boiled eggs on hand. That’s a good grab-and-go to eat along with your shake. I know that that’s something I used to do kind of back in the day if I really was in a pinch. That’s really it. I would just make some lateral shifts, and you can look at some of the meals in there or some of the snack recommendations, some ideas that I’ve given for some lighter food and just kind of go from there. I think even sweet potato pancakes, you might be able to eat a couple of those. Have those made the night before and kind of take them with you. That’s really what she’s asking.
Now, if you were working out for under an hour, which first of all is what I recommend; I think this is too much exercise. I think most people listening kind of know I would be heading in this direction. But 60 minutes to 2 hours, I used to do that. I used to feel like Superwoman. I remember the time when I was doing this was when Summer Olympics were on, so it was maybe… I don’t know how many years ago, a couple of Summer Olympics ago, and I thought: Well, these Olympic athletes must train 4 or 5, 6 hours a day. What’s the big deal if I train 2? Well, they have an off-season, and they’re professional athletes, and who’s to say that they’re not exhausted [laughs] the rest of the year or that this is even really a healthy way to go? And 2 hours of training a day, depending on what type of intensity you’re at, it’s just more than you really need. I don’t know if she’s at the gym, if she’s doing intense workouts for maybe 20 minutes and maybe doing a bunch of walking or just some movement, stretching, who knows what? So I don’t want to completely pass judgment just because of the duration of time that she’s spending there. I could easily spend 4 hours at the gym and do very little work! [Laughs] I think just going to the gym does not equal hard, intense workouts. But “cardio and weightlifting five days per week,” I would just say really look at how much of that you’re doing. If you’re doing a lot of cardio because you want to eat certain foods, you might need to burn more calories because you’re eating this extra peanut butter and toast and a protein shake. If you didn’t eat the peanut butter, toast, and protein shake before the workout, you might be able to just go in, lift weights, and go home and eat a meal after. A lot of times we’re eating a lot more food because we want to do more activity. More activity is not always better. Now, I don’t think we need to be sedentary. I don’t think getting a bunch of walking in or whatever kind of cardio she might be doing. I don’t know how intense that is or for how long she’s doing it, so I’m getting on a bit of a rambling kick here, but it kind of depends on what’s going on, whether or not this is something where I recommend she not eat at all. I don’t know how much work she’s doing in those 2 hours.
Liz Wolfe: This sounds like me 6 years ago.
Diane Sanfilippo: Sure.
Liz Wolfe: Soynut butter on toast and whatever protein shake had a green label because I was always really attracted to green labels. They always made me feel very natural. And then going to the gym and doing a spin class at 5 a.m. and then another one at 6:30 p.m.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I was there, too.
Liz Wolfe: Yes. I think making some assumptions here is probably appropriate, and I like your answer.
Diane Sanfilippo: And just as kind of the side note about the reason why we rant about these things, about too much cardio and all of that, is that we’ve been there. We tried the low-fat, high-carb, high-cardio… just tons of exercise, and we’ve talked about it so many times, but my body got to a place where in some ways I was, like, psyched about it, and in a lot of ways it was just not right. So anyway, we’ll move on.
3. Vegetarian needs help with gout flare-ups
Liz Wolfe: We’ll move on. OK, next one. “What do you recommend for gout control? My husband is a fit 31-year-old male. He exercises, maintains a good weight, and does drink beer/booze on occasion. How can he better control gout attacks? He currently started a vegetarian diet (I know, gasp!) because he was beside himself with the gout flare-ups. He typically has a nutrition bar for breakfast (something like a Zone or Luna Bar) and tons of water with that. For lunch, he’ll make tuna salad over lettuce, maybe leftovers for dinner. For dinner, he typically has either fish or tofu, vegetables, and some kind of starch like rice, pasta, or potato. We use olive oil, coconut oil, and butter as our fats. He will also eat eggs on the weekend. He loves his bread, any and all, white, potato bread, etc. Loves his beer, too. Drinks on weekends mostly. Only good beer, but he will have 4 to 6 on Friday and Saturday night.”
So, this one, I was really, really excited to talk about because there are so many things going on here. Number one, I want to make the point that just because somebody exercises and maintains a good weight obviously does not mean that they are internally healthy. What used to be obesity-exclusive problems have now turned into people that look fit, who have a “healthy weight,” are experiencing the exact same metabolic dysfunction as someone that is obese. It’s just two sides of the same coin. So I want to kind of talk about gout a little bit more and what really is happening, because I think it’s really important that we put this into context, because we always blame gout on one thing and we make these drastic changes, like switching to a vegetarian diet and continuing to eat bread, higher carb, lower protein. This might be a vegetarian bodybuilder’s dream diet, but it is in no way… OK, first I have to preclude this. This is not medical advice. This is not direct advice. I’m just talking. But this in no way is something that’s going to address the root cause of what’s going on. So let’s talk about what’s really going on.
Gout is a form of arthritis, which is a form of inflammation. This inflammation is in the form of crystals within the joint. That’s how it’s manifesting. And now, to really understand this, we can’t just look at what the gout crystals are made of, which is what people tend to do. Conventional wisdom sees purine formation as the problem because these crystals are made of monosodium urate, which is a kind of a raw material from uric acid. But what this is, this is actually a metabolic disorder. This is not just a joint problem. And incidentally, some people with gout do not have high levels of uric acid in their blood. Just FYI, some people with gout have a genetic defect, just some fun outliers for you. But what we usually do in conventional wisdom is we blame a high-purine diet. Purines are found naturally in very high concentration in meat and fish, organ meats, and booze. So I just have to point out this kind of disconnect where this gentleman has given up meat out of purine concerns, where booze is actually just as concerning. So I would just as soon he kept the meat and fish and got rid of the booze, but anyway. So we often blame meat, fish, and booze because of the purine content, but what’s actually going on is mostly endogenous. Most of our purine load is generated internally. It’s not necessarily from food. A purine-rich diet, as in a meat-containing diet, the way we usually think of a purine-rich diet, really only induces a very small and very transient rise in serum urate. So then what’s up? What’s going on?
Gout is actually, and for a very, very long time, gout was known as a rich man’s disease. If you could afford enough sugar and booze for a long enough period of time, you could get the gout. You could get the metabolic syndrome that led to gout. And we know I love looking at things in their historical context, so what we’re actually seeing is not “I ate meat, I had gout.” This isn’t an input/output thing. Gout is characterized by chronic upper uricemia. That’s an identifying characteristic. This is something that develops over time. So let’s look at what we’ve done over time. What are the most common metabolic consequences that we see with which type of chronic consumption? Really what we’re talking about is carbohydrates. We’re looking at a manifestation of chronic carbohydrate consumption, most likely fructose consumption, over time, and alcohol as well over time, which I’ll talk about in a second. So you don’t have to be eating a lot of “garbage” and carb and fructose right now. If you did it for any period of time previously, we’re looking at a manifestation of insulin resistance. So this is again something that we look at our behaviors over time, and don’t just look at the beef that you’re eating, but look at what your diet was composed for a longer period of time and what type of metabolic conditions could have manifested during that time. Folks that love their carbs, as this gentleman seems to have an affinity for carbs, people that love their carbs typically have loved their carbs for a very long time. So again, this whole metabolic syndrome is what we actually need to be looking at. And that’s what the literature is reflecting now, but it’s just not what’s ingrained in the conventional wisdom, and we really haven’t caught up to that yet, unfortunately. So what happens with chronic fructose consumption is we actually see a breakdown in ATP production, adenosine triphosphate, which triggers the degradation of adenine and the production of uric acid. So ta-da, maybe you have gout. Chronic alcohol ingestion also stimulates purine production by the same kind of degradation of adenosine triphosphate. So there you go, another thing we need to look at with alcohol.
And this is just another thing where we’re seeing two things in the same paradigm. We see uric acid and gout kind of in the same place, and we’ve ingrained this causal link in the collective consciousness. It’s like how we saw cholesterol and arterial plaques and we decided that cholesterol caused the plaques. That’s just not the case. We’re looking at inflammation = insulin = insulin resistance = inflammation = metabolic disturbance = suboptimal liver and kidney function = gout. There’s a ton of different things playing into this, and what’s funny is the medical literature right now is kind of just starting to accept and talk about this “new” treatment of a low-carbohydrate, higher-protein diet, which is hilarious to me. So all we’re doing is we’re seeing results from what we talk about all the time, which is an anti-inflammatory, lower-sugar, paleo diet!
So, I don’t know. There are some treatments that can help right away with the inflammation, of course, some natural treatments. I like turmeric and dandelion leaf, which is liver supportive; ginger, which is a really potent anti-inflammatory; and this is just food. This is something that you can get in the diet. So that’s pretty much what I wanted to say about it. We’re just so misinformed on how gout works and what’s actually happening in the body, and really looking at somebody who’s… I don’t know what kind of exercise he’s doing, but there are certainly types of exercise, particularly chronic cardio, that can influence insulin resistance. Someone that drinks and likes carbs, I’m much more inclined to look at inflammation via chronically high insulin levels, insulin resistance, that type of thing, than I would ever blame meat for.
Diane Sanfilippo: Hear, hear.
Liz Wolfe: Hear, hear.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, that Zone or Luna Bar for breakfast?
Liz Wolfe: Uh-uh.
Diane Sanfilippo: And Luna Bars were designed for women. I don’t really know what that means, but I’m pretty sure there’s a good amount of soy protein in there. Yeah. His day just needs to really shift. I mean, if he wants to keep some semblance of vegetarian and focusing on the fish versus the tofu. If he’s eating the eggs, the eggs and the fish and vegetables and those kinds of things. And challenge him for a month to not eat sugar and not drink beer. This “only good beer,” that makes me laugh because it’s kind of an oxymoron. I mean… OK, fine, I know there are good beers and not-good beers. I went to college.
Liz Wolfe: Chocolate bock. So good!
Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, I get that. But it’s kind of like… When you’re dealing with an issue that’s really irritated by any of that stuff, alcohol, carbs, it’s really like a diabetic saying: I only eat the good sugar. It doesn’t matter, the quality at this point. As much as we love food quality as kind of an argument for ways to eat, it really doesn’t matter at that point. Booze is booze, and it’s not right for this person.
Liz Wolfe: I mean, it just sounds like what he’s done is stop eating meat because of the purines, and that’s just flat out not how it works.
Diane Sanfilippo: Right.
Liz Wolfe: So, there you go.
Diane Sanfilippo: Hopefully he’ll tune in. I mean, the best you can hope for, too, is that people do what they’re doing, experience problems, and then maybe they’re interested in having those problems go away, and you offer an alternative. And if he’ll do it, see what happens. It only works if you do it.
4. Are there paleo foods that babies should avoid?
Liz Wolfe: Agreed. All right, next question. Kara says: “Hey Gals. I’m super addicted to your podcast.” Well, there are worse things to be addicted to… maybe. “I have already listened to every episode, and now I wait every week for a new one just as eagerly as I wait for a New Girl episode or a Downton Abbey episode!” Girlfriend, let’s be friends. “I have always been super passionate about nutrition, and I’m going to start distance learning class from the National Therapy Association in the fall.” Awesome. “Every time I think about it, my heart starts to beat so hard from excitement that I almost go into a happiness comma!” [Laughs] I think she means ‘coma.’ Kara, I love this question so far. This has been so much fun to read. All right. No more editorializing. “I want to ask about a zillion questions, but for now, I’ll just settle with a few. (I would love to go to a seminar, but we are moving to Hawaii in a week… Please go to Hawaii! You know you want to! Crossfit Big Island.) My first question is about baby nutrition. When my 5-year-old was a baby, I always heard not to feed babies honey, peanut butter and egg whites, berries and other stuff to them until they were 2. What kinds of food do I need to avoid for my 14-month-old as far as paleo foods go? Right now, I’m the only one in my family that eats paleo. I’m transitioning everyone over as we speak. The transition will be complete when we move because we won’t have any CW food in the house when we get there! YAY!! I’ve been easing off on the milk and giving her diluted juice. I would stop altogether except she needs the bottle to fall asleep and I don’t want to take it from her during all this moving mumbo jumbo. She mostly eats veggies and fruit (bananas and apples) and whatever meat I cook. Can I give her almond milk or coconut milk in her bottle?” Kara, give her bone broth in her bottle. And that’s her question for now. “Kara kara bo bara. (Or just Kara.)” Thanks for the question, Kara. All right, Diane, do you have an answer for Kara?
Diane Sanfilippo: Did she sign it that way?
Liz Wolfe: She did. I didn’t just say that because I’m hopped up on…
Diane Sanfilippo: Farm air?
Liz Wolfe: Fair air and green tea. [Laughs]
Diane Sanfilippo: Methane air from… I’m just kidding!
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, all that pollution from the cows.
Diane Sanfilippo: Off-gassing from your cow.
Liz Wolfe: [Laughs]
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m just kidding. I’m going to work a little bit backwards here. She asks: “Can I give her almond milk or coconut milk in her bottle?” If you really want to, but I wouldn’t feed a kid almond milk from a carton. I wouldn’t feed them coconut milk, really, unless you are trying to get a ton of extra calories in. There’s really not any great nutritional reason to do that. I think your really diluted juice… so I don’t know how diluted that is, but literally just a tiny splash maybe to trick her with the color, I have no idea, or getting it down eventually to just water or something that’s fresh, like a fresh squeeze of orange in her water so that it’s not something from a bottle. I don’t really know exactly what she’s putting in there. [Laughs] If you can sneak bone broth in her, definitely do that! Put that in a bottle. I think this whole “bottle of milk” thing is great if you can get raw, grass-fed milk and your kid tolerates it well. Then it’s a very nutrient-dense food, and much like Liz has a lot to say about the way that we tried to substitute something for butter and failed miserably when that something was margarine, anything we try and substitute for raw, grass-fed milk from an animal like a cow or a goat or even a sheep, I suppose, anything we try and substitute for it is going to fail miserably in terms of nutritional content. And so what you’re left with is just this societal food, you know, this sort of “my kid has a bottle of milk, but it’s not actually doing what it was doing years ago.” So that’s kind of the milk topic. I wouldn’t even bother at that point.
Otherwise, what to avoid for the 14-month-old? If you can, if the child is eating what you’re feeding, then I would avoid very sweet fruits for as long as possible. I think kids who tend to gravitate towards those really early on will start to push away other less sweet foods if they’re in the mix. I think a lot of paleo folks so with liver, feeding their kids liver really early on, and as much as we think it sounds crazy, a lot of them have success with it until the kid has some sort of, again, societal pressure or the family saying anything about anticipating that the food won’t be accepted. Kids tend to eat food that you’re giving them, and even if… I’m trying to see if she said if it was a boy or a girl. I don’t know. It doesn’t say here. So even if the baby doesn’t eat the liver at first, try, try again. And I know that it sounds crazy, and we’re always pushing liver and bone broth and all that, but you have the best chance possible when you’re working with an infant. [Laughs] It’s kind of like the kid’s not swayed yet by much. So that’s really all I would say is just to kind of keep away those super-sweet fruits if you can, and if you want to do the bottle thing or you want to put berries or something in with some milk and make a smoothie, make sure it’s really high quality. If you want to make your own almond milk, that might be an OK approach, where you get raw almonds, soak them, and kind of blend them, and then strain them out. There are tons of tutorials for that all over the Internet, YouTube and whatnot. Other than that, I don’t think there’s any specific “paleo” foods I’d have her avoid other than ones you’d not hand her instinctively, like a hot pepper or the honey.
Liz Wolfe: [Laughs]
Diane Sanfilippo: Although I did meet a family where the kid was maybe a couple of years old and was grabbing onions sliced off the counter and would eat, like, one or two pieces and would just be enjoying it, and then all of a sudden the third piece and the kid would start wailing because it would kind of hit him that it was this really kind of bitter, spicy food. It was really kind of funny because onions can be sweet at first, right?
Liz Wolfe: [Laughs]
Diane Sanfilippo: I know a bunch of people also will just literally hand their kid pieces of meat not even ground up, not even sort of pre-chewed, just let them gum at it for a while until they can figure out what to do with it. So that’s all up to you and your kind of parenting style and what you want to go for there, but yeah, that’s it. I don’t know. Fermented cod liver oil!
Liz Wolfe: For sure!
Diane Sanfilippo: We know a bunch of traditional, Weston A. Price, paleo babies that are really into the cod liver oil, and I would try the tiny doses of the plain. I wouldn’t even try the flavored at first. If you can get the kid eating the plain, I mean, how cool is that?
Liz Wolfe: I would actually love to see some video of kids taking their cod liver oil if people have those.
Diane Sanfilippo: I know Chris Kresser says that Sylvie, his daughter, fermented cod liver oil, she eats the plain and she asks for more. Like, it’s her favorite thing ever.
Liz Wolfe: I love that. That’s so funny.
Diane Sanfilippo: It’s pretty great.
Liz Wolfe: I actually thought that you weren’t supposed to… And I tell people this. I was on Sean Croxton’s podcast a couple weeks ago on Underground Wellness, and someone called in and a couple people were asking questions about their kids for skincare-related stuff and things like that, and honestly I don’t work with kids. I work with people. [Laughs] I work with grown-ups, just because I honestly don’t know. Like, there is a lot to know about early childhood and babies all that stuff. I just know that broth, fermented cod liver oil, and liver are amazingly nutrient dense and fabulous to add, but yeah, I know there are some foods that I think technically you’re not supposed to feed babies. Maybe banana, honey, and something else… I really don’t know. I’m not totally sure. But get that bone broth in there.
5. Paleo-friendly herbal teas
All right, next question: “Hi Diane and Liz, I have a question about herbal teas. I know herbal teas are paleo (and 21-Day Sugar Detox – on day 6 and going strong) approved, but I noticed that in Yogi brand teas, specifically the “Relax” blend, barley malt is one of the ingredients. How disappointing. What brand of herbal teas do you recommend that are 100% paleo friendly, preferably 100% organic, and contain herbs that relax the mind and body? Thank you for all of your hard work!”
Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t have a specific brand that I can say will always been clean/paleo friendly, but I do like Traditional Medicinals. I haven’t seen any weird ingredients from them, but that being said, you really do always have to read the ingredients every time because sometimes what happens is ingredients change. And so, I definitely wouldn’t recommend any of those ones with the barley malt or any other kind of weird ingredients. But yeah, Traditional Medicinals is one that I like a lot.
Liz Wolfe: I wanted to answer this question or I wanted to have this question in here because I’m running into this a lot with the Skintervention Guide that people want to know what lines are OK, what lines of skincare products are all right, and they want me to look at this, that, and the other. And it’s just impossible for anybody to look at every single product in every single line and make that determination. You really do just have to go out there and look at the ingredients yourselves. There are a ton of really good teas, the Yogi teas in the Yogi brand, and I like Traditional Medicinals as well. There’s another one… I can’t remember… I just wrote a post on that I use it actually to make a skincare toner as well as a tea. But nobody can tell anybody what’s OK all of the time, especially when it comes to certain lines or certain brands, unless… I don’t know, maybe we’ll just have to make one ourselves. I’ve been toying around with doing a line of skincare teas because people tend to like those, and they can be really, really helpful for the skin, but the point is, like, every single time you have to check the ingredients, because there’s no way anybody can go through every single product in a line and let you know if it’s all right or not OK. So, unfortunately there’s no way to really tell. Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. One more? We have time for one more?
6. How to get over a plateau
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, one more. This is from Craig: “I’ve listened to all of your podcasts. You two crack me up, and it’s obvious you love what you do. I’ve purchased three copies of Practical Paleo for family members and got Liz’s Modern Cave Girl for my wife on Valentine’s Day. (Yeah, romantic, right?!)” [Laughs] So basically he was like: Here. You’re getting this book when it ever comes out!
Diane Sanfilippo: [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: When she’s ever finished with it. So thanks for the pressure, Craig, man. Now this Valentine’s Day gift is totally contingent on my ability to follow through.
Diane Sanfilippo: She’ll get it next Valentine’s Day.
Liz Wolfe: You’ll get it when you get it. [Laughs] All right. She got flowers and more, too, so that’s good. “I’m a 51-year-old male, athletic (or so I tell myself), I have Hashimoto’s and possibly adrenal fatigue, maybe even low testosterone (I know I need to have it tested however the $$$).” It’s expensive. “I’ve been paleo for about 16 months now and noticed a difference in my health within the first month of the switch, which is why I am staying on it for life. After listening to your podcasts and hearing about the relation to thyroid conditions, I’ve used the Lenten excuse to promise myself to stop drinking alcohol primarily to heal my liver and the related issues I have with my obvious autoimmune condition (eczema is another one). Because I hear from all paleo-related podcasts that the liver converts T3 to T4 or whatever… I know I’ve hurt mee-self (no didn’t have that tested, I just think I have)…”
“My question is, after drinking potato vodka (to avoid gluten) approximately three glasses per night for three years, how long should I expect it to take to heal any damage it may have done? I ask this because with all else I do paleo, I’m not improving past my plateau of 6 months ago where I lost 35 pounds of body fat, increased lean muscle mass, but can’t lose these hypothyroid symptoms. I’ve been scoped & core sampled. I don’t have cancer, just a low-performing thyroid. “
“Never a heavy drinker, but started this three-glasses-per-night thing about three years ago. I avoid gluten at all costs, even switched out toothpaste to avoid gluten and fluoride as recommended by Nora Gedgaudas. I am a moderately low carb paleo eater, avoid even 24-hour soaked rice, potatoes, quinoa, legumes, etc. Quit coffee two months ago, and that was my only dairy with the exception of the occasional gluten-free pizza I make. Grass-fed beef when I can get it, range chicken, very little pork or lamb. Organic eggs, which I should probably stop eating. I avoid nightshades per your recommendation. See? I’ve been listening. And I even asked you in person at your book signing about which part is worse: the seeds or the meat of the nightshades?”
“Daily supplement with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, Ester-C, Carlson’s cod liver oil and high DHA/EPA fish oil, desiccated liver, thyroid and adrenal tabs or caps, liver support cap with milk thistle, Carlson’s vitamin D drops, vitamin A, sunflower conjugated linoleic acid. I double up on the fish oils because I eat a lot of beef.”
“I’m 5’8″, 185 pounds with a goal weight of 175 because I’m muscular (not “big boned” LOL). Sleep 7-8 hours per night. Exercise consists of three nights per week, 20-minute circuit of kettlebells with a finish of 15-minute Ab Ripper X (from P90X). Two nights per week 1-1/2 hour mountain bike rides (average heart rate 145 beats per minute, max 172-175 beats per minute).”
All right, let’s just answer the question. [Laughs] Very detailed, my friend. Very detailed.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, really detailed.
Liz Wolfe: Yes. I don’t even remember what the question is actually. I’m going to have to go back… How to get over a plateau. OK, got it.
Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, that’s what the question was, but then he really has so many questions about his liver and thyroid function.
Liz Wolfe: Yes.
Diane Sanfilippo: I mean… I don’t even know. The one thing he didn’t tell us is whether or not he’s on thyroid hormone. Did he say that? Did I miss it?
Liz Wolfe: Um… no.
Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t think he’s taking thyroid hormone, and if he’s not and he has hit a plateau and he’s kind of “doing everything right,” I would really just check that out. I mean, I’m not going to tell you to go get on these hormones, but you should really be getting your thyroid hormone tested. I would say if it were me or my client who had Hashimoto’s, every six months, because we’ve talked about this before, too, your demand for thyroid hormone fluctuates, so if he’s not getting enough right now, even just doing the desiccated thyroid, that’s probably not enough if you have legit Hashimoto’s, not like a subclinical, then he may need that. I don’t know how much of his weight loss resistance is really just… How long has this plateau been? I mean, I’ve had clients who after three months of just kind of sticking with it, they start to lose weight again. We’ve talked about this before, too. And maybe if he’s eating too low carb and it’s not going to support his thyroid, it’s too stressful for his body to do the exercise that he’s doing, he needs to eat more carbohydrates. Low carb is not the panacea of weight loss, especially if your thyroid function is low.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah. If this was my client who had signed a disclaimer with me and knew that I was not giving medical advice, I just think that’s too much fish oil. I think fish oil is too much fish oil, period. I think people spend a lot of money on that stuff. I think that people should eat sardines three times per week and take fermented cod liver oil. To me, once you start getting into, like, I’m taking fish oil and cod liver oil and vitamin A and conjugated linoleic acid and all these different things, I just think go to those two foundational things. Get your fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend because there you’re going to be getting A and D in the right proportions, you’re going to get some CLA as well. There’s not a whole lot of difference in the literature between sunflower-derived CLA and actual CLA from grass-fed cows, but in my opinion, it’s always better to get it from where we know it should come from and not kind of a lab substitute. So yeah, I don’t know. The fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend will have the A, the vitamin D, and CLA, trace amounts, appropriate amounts of DHA, and then sardines will also have DHA, taurine, and some CoQ10, which is really important. I would shuffle the supplements around a little bit like that and maybe even look at some really conscientious seeking of probiotic, whether that’s from food or from supplement. I think a lot of times that can be helpful with plateaus, is shuffling around that gut flora a little bit. And that’s really what I have to say. Thanks for buying my book! Send it to me when you get it, and I’ll sign it for you.
Diane Sanfilippo: [Laughs]
Liz Wolfe: For your wife.
Diane Sanfilippo: So that’s it.
Liz Wolfe: That’s it. Very good. So, we’ll be back next week as usual with more questions. We have some really good interviews lined up as well in the near future, so until then, you can find Diane at BalancedBites.com. You can find me, Liz, at CaveGirlEats.com. Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next week!
Diane & Liz
Diane & Liz