Podcast Episode #87: Paleo Pitfalls – Part 1
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Last week’s episode post now has a written transcript available. We will be playing a lot of catch-up, but bear with us as they’re on their way! We’ll also be trying to get current episode transcripts up-to-date and loaded with each podcast but it’ll take another couple of weeks before we catch up there as well. We hope you’re enjoying them!
1. Bringing the wrong mind-set (diet vs. lifestyle) [11:08]
2. Going low-carb…by accident [20:12]
3. Carb-loading for your desk job [29:02]
4. Hidden gluten (and vegetable oil) exposure [33:31]
5. Calcium sources [40:12]
6. Dairy decisions [43:18]
7. Alcohol [52:54]
Diane’s Paleo carbs post
Liz’s calcium post
Click here to download this episode as an MP3.
Liz Wolfe: Hey everyone, Liz and Diane here. Welcome to Balanced Bites Podcast #87, Version 10,000,000.0, because I swear this country Internet is going to be the end of me. It’s terrible. Episode 87 is going to be all about paleo pitfalls. It’ll be very exciting. But before we begin, I have a really important question for Diane…
Diane Sanfilippo: I can’t even act like I don’t know what it is anymore because we’ve done this four times!
Liz Wolfe: We’ve done it six times, but I think it’s important that we talk about this because I think it’s relevant to everyone. I really do. And the question is, and has been for the last 20 minutes, did you watch New Girl this week?
Diane Sanfilippo: I did not.
Liz Wolfe: I can’t believe we’ve had no audio problems yet. I also can’t believe that you have not watched it yet.
Diane Sanfilippo: I made an agreement to not watch it until this weekend so I could not watch it alone, so I’ll be watching it this weekend. We can talk about it next week.
Liz Wolfe: OK, but just tell me real quick, are you excited about Nick and Jess?
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m not excited about it for the purpose of the show’s plot lines, so I don’t know. I mean, it’s cool and funny, but unless they make it work really well, like, for a while, I don’t know, I feel like it’s just going to ruin the show. So, we’ll see.
Liz Wolfe: I have faith that it’ll work because that guy is hilarious. He has really good comedic timing, number one.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, he does.
Liz Wolfe: But also, I like that they’re not dragging the whole thing out like the Rachel and Ross, Jim and Pam thing. They’re just going for it.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I do still want Schmidt and CeCe to get back together, so we’ll see. I didn’t obviously watch this episode, and I know that he’s supposed to sabotage the wedding, which that whole wedding is obviously not something that’s going to really happen. So, we’ll see.
Liz Wolfe: You don’t even know what you’re in for, girlfriend.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. OK, I’ll watch it this weekend. We’ll talk next week. I’m off of a boat, at least.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, so how was your vacay?
Diane Sanfilippo: It was good. It was relaxing. It was warm. Carnival Cruise Line is definitely not what I would recommend for people who are having trouble with eating real food and don’t know what to pick because I know how to pick things, but by the end of the week, I could not look at another hard-cooked egg. And I say ‘hard-cooked’ because they weren’t actually boiled. I think they were baked in an oven, which is fine, but we were all eating hard-cooked eggs with pats of butter on them. And you know, by the end of a week, you’re like: OK, I would like something else now.
Liz Wolfe: So it was the Low-Carb Cruise in that it was a bunch of low-carbers on a cruise?
Diane Sanfilippo: Correct. And there were a bunch of talks and a bunch of doctors and experts, and I was one of them. I gave a talk about who low-carb may not been good for, and I’ll be releasing some of the information that I shared in that talk probably on the blog or somewhere in the coming couple of months. I just am obviously a little bit buried in book work right now. But yeah, basically we go on the cruise as a group. And it’s not definitely not a time where everybody is super strict, so people are drinking, some are having dessert, things like that, but everybody kind of has that common thread, that thing in common with each other, and it makes it a little bit more fun, and obviously we’re picking foods from the restaurants and whatnot that are a little more tailored.
What else? As I did last year, I was basically third-wheeling it with Mira and Jayson Calton for the week, and it’s just funny because they said that they’d done a lot of interviews for Rich Food, Poor Food. Obviously their book came out a couple of months ago, and we’d had them on the podcast – I think you were gone that week – and it was really fun time. And they said it was definitely up there, one of the best, if not the best, most fun interview they did about the book. And they could have just been saying that because we’re friends, but I think part of what makes an interview fun is when you really do know the person and you can kind of make it a little bit more personal. So we were just kind of chatting about that, and it’s just always fun to be on vacation with people who are very like-minded and talking about business and just our lives, and just kind of getting to do all of that in a fun, relaxing environment is a good time. So we have some other ideas brewing, and if we have anything exciting to share on that, we will do so here.
Liz Wolfe: Here… on the Balanced Bites Podcast!
Diane Sanfilippo: Yes.
Liz Wolfe: So, do you want to hear what’s going on in my life, or do you just not care?
Diane Sanfilippo: Ugh… ticks? Is that what I’m going to hear about?
Liz Wolfe: So many ticks!
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, you have 2-1/2 minutes. Go. Just kidding.
Liz Wolfe: So I spread some beneficial nematodes yesterday evening.
Diane Sanfilippo: I just threw up a little.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah. It’s awesome. I’ll let everybody know how that goes. I’m writing a post on this. It’s going to be hilarious and epic, and it probably won’t be actually hilarious and epic since I just said that. But number one, ticks are completely evil and the more I learn about them, the more I believe that, and the more horror stories keep coming out. Diane, you talk about the law of attraction sometimes, and I think that I am bringing ticks into my life in proportion to their occupancy of my thoughts, so I’m really going to try and turn my thoughts to something a little bit different whilst still working towards general control of this insidious vampire insect population. So I’m working on it, some exciting developments for those who are keeping up with this experience. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that.
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m not sure if I’ll be visiting the land of ticks at any point!
Liz Wolfe: Yeah. I was crying the other day. I can’t remember if I said this on the podcast or not, but I had just taken this tick off of my dog, and I went into the bathroom and just started crying and telling my dog that I was sorry that I ruined his life and that he could never go outside again, and I was just having this complete breakdown. And then I started thinking about how nobody would want to come over and play with me.
Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t!
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, I know you don’t. Nobody does! And I have some friends that have little kids that were excited about coming over and seeing the goats and seeing the chickens and everything, and the second I said the word ‘tick,’ it was like eyes glaze over. I see that their brain has completely detached from any intention of hanging out with me. So I’m like: Dang it!
Diane Sanfilippo: Well, that’s not really fair because if they wanted to come hang out with farm animals and be around a lot of grass and nature… I mean, you just brought it to their attention, but you didn’t actually launch a whole bunch of ticks out there into nature. I mean, their reaction is almost like as if you created them, and they just maybe didn’t realize, they were blissfully unaware that ticks actually exist.
Liz Wolfe: I was too. Nature is a bitch. This is Discovery Channel stuff. We cannot control every aspect of our environment when our environment is a little bit closer to earth.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: And that’s just the fact. But I think I’ve found some cool ways to deal with it. There’s this fly spray. It’s called Equiderma, and I think I talked about it before, but I highly recommend it to anybody who’s looking for any kind of insect repellant that’s natural. It has neem oil, citronella extract, lemongrass extract, eucalyptus, tea tree, all of those oil extracts that bugs really, really hate. And to this point, while I have been freaking out about ticks, I probably have only actually seen, like, four, but to me, I’m thinking four…
Diane Sanfilippo: More than I’ve ever seen!
Liz Wolfe: Well, exactly. But to this point, and I’ve been very vigilant, I’ve had some near me, but I haven’t had any on me, and I do think that this type of spray is actually really, really helping. And there’s nothing gnarly. So it’s called Equiderma fly spray.
Diane Sanfilippo: OK, so instead of smelling like a patchouli, paleo, dirty hippie, now you’re like the farmer-hippie girl with this new scent.
Liz Wolfe: Yes, actually I smell like a mosquito candle, a citronella candle, which isn’t so bad. It’s better than smelling like neem oil all day, but anywho.
Diane Sanfilippo: Mmm, citronella.
Liz Wolfe: I know I think everybody cares about this, but in the end, we’re just eating up time. OK, so paleo pitfalls. That’s what we’re doing today.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, in no particular order.
Liz Wolfe: No particular order. We’ve kind of put together some of the questions and concerns that fly across our Facebook pages and across our blogs relatively consistently as more and more people are becoming introduced to this paleo lifestyle and are getting started. We kind of get these same questions over and over, and while I think a lot of the more seasoned paleo folk have answered these many, many times on their blogs and through their pages, as more people become introduced to this lifestyle, these things are going to keep coming up. So if you’re an old hat this, maybe we’ll provide you some answers to give to people, as they will inevitably start asking you more and more as paleo becomes more mainstream, covered on Dr. Oz and picked up in USA Today and all that good stuff. This can be a tool for people who have been doing it for a while, and this can be helpful for people who are just starting out. Anything you want to preface this with, Diane, before we jump in?
Diane Sanfilippo: No, I think that’s good.
1. Bringing the wrong mindset (diet vs. lifestyle) [11:08]
Liz Wolfe: OK, so Paleo Pitfall #1 that we wanted to discuss is bringing a diet mindset to a new lifestyle, and I brought this up specifically because I still see this skinny-at-all-costs mentality. I still see people who are really obsessed with weight loss, which isn’t always a bad thing. Some people really do need to lose a little of weight to be healthier. But more than that, people need to change their food, get their digestive function optimized in order to become healthier and shed weight if that’s what their body wants to do. So what people do is they come in just wanting to lose weight, bringing that diet mentality of yes-foods, no-foods, four walls and a lid to their approach to how they eat, rather than understanding that this is a lifestyle, this is a decision-by-decision way of eating. There is no wagon to fall off of or climb back onto. You just can’t bring, I don’t think, that mindset to this type of a lifestyle and be successful in any way beyond that yo-yo-dieting type of lifestyle. What are your thoughts on that, Diane?
Diane Sanfilippo: I think it kind of comes back to the question about how people like you and I and some of our other sort of paleo educator or blogger friends move through life every day with this stuff. I actually never came into this as a challenge or anything like that where I would do a paleo challenge for a month and then kind of go back to whatever. I think you kind of came into it the same way. We just kind of learned about it and started adopting different things and then eased into it and made continual changes until now we’re at a place where we know what we do 80%, 90%, 95% of the time, and then we have that small percentage of time where we have leeway, whatever that means for us. It’s not the same for every person. And it’s not about: I do this or I don’t. It’s a lifestyle. Obviously, the word ‘diet’ is pretty much just kind of describing a way of eating, but obviously we know that that’s the mindset that most people have. And yeah, a lot of people come to a paleo type of diet or way of eating because they have a specific goal in mind, right? Whether it’s to try and lose weight or have better performance or put an autoimmune condition into remission, sometimes people forget that you can’t just do it for a month or two or three or six and then stop. It’s really more about, just what you said, finding what works for you and then if you need to dabble in something that doesn’t fall under the ‘approved foods,’ then you do that, and it’s not for any of us to say you’re right or you’re wrong.
I think we probably all have certain things that we feel more strongly about than others. I think people probably know that I’m pretty anti-gluten. I have these weird daydreams about eating pizza. I haven’t had pizza in probably three years, like regular gluten pizza. And I think about it, and then I’m like: Well, I don’t know… I think I’ll feel pretty sick after I eat it. I just haven’t done it. But you know what? Maybe there are people who are out there who are doing that once in a while and they feel OK, and we’re not here to police them, but I think when people put these barriers on themselves like, this is OK, this is not OK, it does kind of feed into that diet mindset a little bit too much.
And then kind of to touch more on the skinny-at-all-costs or just that super leaning-out focus, which you and I talk about this pretty much incessantly at seminars or even on previous podcast episodes, but I’m sure there are people who are going to tune into this one who haven’t listened to some others. If you have those last 5, 10, maybe even 15 pounds to lose, it does require a ‘diet’ sometimes to get there because what’s usually happening with that last 5 or 10 pounds, especially with women, is that you don’t need to lose it.
Liz Wolfe: Um-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: You and I, Liz, we might go through times where we’re like: Oh, I’m not feeling super lean right now. But we look at each other, and we’re like: Uhh, you look fine to me. I don’t know what you’re talking about. And if it’s 5 pounds, we’re still healthy people. We’re not overweight, our bodies are working just fine, but we have this weird perception about what’s out there. And we’ve talked about this a lot, too, where in the CrossFit community, which obviously I love, I’m a huge part of it, I love my gym, and I love the strength the women of CrossFit motivate other women to have, to kind of keep lifting heavier and get stronger and all that, but there are some women in the community who are naturally very thin, and so when they put on muscle, they are very lean and sort of shredded and ripped, and for the women that’s natural for, great. More power to you. But if it’s not a natural way for your body to be and then it becomes a goal for somebody else, it’s a really hard thing, and women are struggling with that a lot, and I think that they’re coming to us to ask us, how do I lean out? It’s probably the number one thing we get asked, right?
Liz Wolfe: Um-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: We have questions on the podcast that are three miles long of what’s going on in the person’s life, and we’re like: Umm, you need to rest and distress. And people are just always trying to move those buttons around of, like: Which foods should I eat or not eat to get leaner or be skinny? And it just doesn’t work that way. There are so many different things to this, but I definitely think that you and I both promote that people take this as a journey and as a lifestyle, and of course, we’re fans of a challenge here or there. You know, if you’re feeling like you need to clean things up, you want to do a sugar detox, you want to do a strict paleo challenge, whatever you want to do because you feel like you need a reset, that’s cool. But the way we move through this whole thing is it is a lifestyle, it’s not about a diet, and the main goal of eating this way, eating real food, is not to just lose weight. It’s to, what you said, get your body healthy and let it lose weight if it needs to. That’s really the goal.
Liz Wolfe: I think that reminded me a little bit of the way I used to look at the term ‘lifestyle.’ I used to think about that in a way… I guess I was referring to my ‘lifestyle’ meant being on a diet all the time, and I think there’s a huge distinction between really understanding what it means to live a lifestyle versus coaching yourself into living a diet all the time, you know, extrapolating: My diet is my lifestyle, meaning I’m going to be doing this forever and ever. I’m going to be on a diet for the next 30 years. That’s my lifestyle. No. A lifestyle is not the same as being on a ‘diet’ all the time. Lifestyle also means finding enjoyment, talking about something besides food all the time, thinking about something besides food all the time, thinking about something besides how you ‘look’ versus how you ‘want to look’ all the time, forgiving yourself or just getting over any kind of indulgence that you may have and knowing that nothing is unforgivable. And here’s the thing… I said this on Twitter yesterday, and it was kind of interesting the feedback that I got, but I said: Eyes on your own plate. I was talking about when folks try and convert other people that are not interested quite aggressively, and the same goes for… Eyes on your own body! Don’t look at other people, don’t look at this CrossFit athlete or that model or that celebrity and think: I want to look like that. Why don’t I look like that? I’m eating paleo trying to look like X, Y, and Z. Eyes on your own body. Think about how you feel. Are you resting well? Is your blood sugar under control? Is your skin clear? Are you happy? Those types of things are what’s really kind of that measure of health and success on any kind of plan that’s supposed to make you healthier. Get to know your own body and how it manifests health, you know?
Diane Sanfilippo: Yes.
Liz Wolfe: Yesss. That was so good. I’m flexing my muscles right now. Flexing my muscles.
Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. Mine are all sore from a week of not exercising and then exercising for two days.
Liz Wolfe: Mine are atrophying from not leaving the house for fear of ticks.
Diane Sanfilippo: Go shovel some piles of ticks!
2. Going low-carb… by accident [20:12]
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, exactly. Ugh. Horrifying. All right, so Paleo Pitfall #2. This is really common: Going low-carb by accident.
Diane Sanfilippo: Um-hmm.
Liz Wolfe: Forgetting about good, nutritious, paleo-friendly carbohydrate sources. And this is totally your bag, Diane, because you have an awesome chart that people can go grab. So, what to talk about this one?
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, so this is one of the things, and I’ve mentioned this before when we were talking about how to sort of run a paleo challenge at your gym if you are doing that. It’s the thing I talked about the first week after I just introduced the whole thing to folks in the gym, and this does apply outside the gym as well, but primarily for the active athletic crowd. If all of a sudden you switch to a paleo diet and people tell you meat, vegetables, seafood, eggs, that kind of thing, and you end up putting your plate together and you eat some chicken, broccoli, coconut oil, Liz’s favorite trifecta! And by favorite, and I mean not favorite. Or you do some salad and some steak, some good dressing, you’re making sure you’re getting enough fat, because that’s kind of the first thing that people realize they were avoiding fat, but the biggest thing that I see happening is that people forget about all of the sources of carbs that we can be eating and that we should be eating if we are active. What I mean by ‘active’ is primarily people who are doing exercise that has an intensity level for any duration of time more than a minute or two. And I know it doesn’t sound like very much time, but this doesn’t mean just kind of walking around. It doesn’t mean light housework or even gardening. Things of that nature, activities like that, tend to really just burn fat. And that’s great, right? We want to be burning fat, but the minute you go into glycogen-demanding activities, so those things that are high intensity, again, even if it’s for a very short duration, just getting up to that really high heart rate, for example, or when basically you put your body into fight-or-flight mode for those brief stints. For example, when I was talking last year about working on the book and the type of exercise that was OK for me to be doing, it was mostly not glycolytic activity, so not anything that demands glycogen, not anything that pushes my cortisol levels really high. When we’re very stressed, when cortisol levels are high, our body wants to burn more sugar. And that’s OK, that’s a natural response, but if it doesn’t have any sugar to burn, if you’re not eating enough carbohydrate, it’s going to be very painful. You’ll be getting headaches. You’ll be weak in the gym. You may just be very fatigued. It’ll feel like: This isn’t working. Why isn’t this working? I’m supposed to feel great, and I feel like junk.
That being said, a lot of people get that feeling just from getting off of grains and dairy, for example. They were really addicted to these foods, and even if they are eating some ‘paleo carb sources,’ they can feel some detox effects from not eating grains anymore. But chances are if you look at how many carbs you were eating before, if you think you felt OK with that amount, look at how you can get that from paleo sources. And when I say that, I just mean real food sources, so things like plantains, yams, sweet potato, parsnips. Parsnips start to get into the slightly less dense carb family there. Cassava and taro are really, really dense in carbs. You can probably find them at most grocery stores. Just ask. Ask for the produce department to point them out to you. I know my Whole Foods doesn’t have plantains or some of these more interesting root veggies, but the Shop Rite in my town, which I think it has a better sort of multicultural mix of people shopping there who might be looking for some of these vegetables, I can get that there. So plantains, I know, are a really great one. You don’t just have to eat sweet potato. And on the chart that I have on my website, we can link to it in the show notes, the paleo carb sources, dense carbs. It goes down in order. We have things like carrots on the list. Carrots are not super dense in carbs. Butternut squash. Spaghetti squash is not really that dense in carbs. Per 100 grams, it’s only 6 grams of carbs. So if you’re doing spaghetti squash post-workout, you’re really not doing it. It’s really not enough carbohydrate. So that’s the thing that can become tough, and you may need to do something like bake some sweet potato bars or some way of getting more of that stuff into your system.
I also don’t think that for people who are active and in the gym that a little bit of honey added to something like a sweet potato with butter or something like that, I don’t think it’s the worst thing. If you need more carbohydrate, you do what you need to do to get it. I’m not saying a quarter of a cup of honey on your sweet potato, but you put a little teaspoon of it, you know, a few more grams if you’re replenishing carbohydrate, then that’s fine.
Who else? Some other folks that are going low carb by accident and really do need more carbohydrates, not every pregnant woman, but a lot of pregnant or even breastfeeding women. They’re saying their milk supply might be down or their energy is down. Again, we don’t need you to be on a low-carb paleo diet. Anyone who’s very, very mentally stressed, what I said before about cortisol. I’ve been sort of geeking out and there are some cool biochemistry courses that I’m finding online that I can take via podcast, so I’m listening to some biochemistry courses and kind of learning a little bit more in depth about some of the things that we’ve been teaching, and just kind of backing up a little bit more of it. What I said about cortisol, when we are in that stress mode, we really are burning more sugar. So again, anybody who’s very stressed, and this kind of comes back to, I think we’ve seen some information swirling around about people who may have thyroid issues, wondering if low-carb may not be the best way for them to go. And really the issue with your thyroid is that if your body is stressed, the thyroid is really under a lot of pressure. And so again, it all really does come back to that whole stress thing. And we do tell people if you’re looking to lean out, maybe don’t eat too many carbs, but it really depends. It just really means if you’re eating more carbs because that feels good for you, look at the balance of what else you’re doing because, again, a lot of times people are adding a ton of fat, right? All of a sudden they’re not scared of fat, so they’re eating a whole avocado. And then they’re eating, like, two sweet potatoes and 6 ounces of protein. Sometimes you need to just rebalance what’s happening on your plate.
Liz Wolfe: And that kind of goes back to what your goals are in the first place, because I can eat a sweet potato, a whole avocado, and 12 ounces of protein, and I’m fine. I’m happy with that, but if that was getting in the way of whatever was most important to me – For some people and for many people, kind of the loudest people, I think, the goal is leaning out. But for others, for me, it’s maintaining my skin health and maintaining my fertility, because I’m almost *ahem* years old, and I want to keep that door open for myself even though we won’t be ready, I don’t think, for at least a couple more years to even talk about if we want to have any kind of progeny. So different people have different goals, and those goals, at times, require different approaches.
Diane Sanfilippo: Right. One of the things, I think, we’re going to bring Jonathan Bailor on the show at some point soon to talk about his project, The Smarter Science of Slim. One of the things he talks about a lot is not limiting food, really getting enough food in. It’s really not just about calories and all of that, and I don’t like what happens when people kind of accidentally go low carb or when they’re really super critical of what they’re eating. If I’m paying attention to the calories I’m eating, I will eat fewer calories. That doesn’t mean it’s always a good thing, right? Because if we’re paying attention to what our bodies tell us we want, we’re probably getting more nutrients in through this food that we’re eating and maybe even craving. But if we don’t listen to it, if we’re only looking at numbers, if we’re only focused on body composition and keeping something strictly in line, then we may be depriving our body of something that it really needs, and I don’t think that that’s really the best approach.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
3. Carb-loading for your desk job [29:02]
Diane Sanfilippo: Let’s do the flipside of this coin now for people who are carb-loading for their desk job.
Liz Wolfe: Paleo Pitfall #3.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, so kind of the flipside of that is you make the switch to this paleo diet, and it usually happens that people reduce their carb intake overall because they get off of the grains and the sugars and all of that, but what if you’re doing this, you’re months in or a year in, and maybe you started out and you were exercising while you were doing it, and then all of a sudden you kind of fell off the exercise wagon, which is fine. It happens for periods of time. But you continue to pile your plate up with the carbs that you were eating before. Now again, like Liz said, for some people it may not be an issue at all. Your body may feel good with it. You may process that just fine, but all of a sudden you may start to gain some weight because you are essentially taking in more sugar than you really need. What else do you have to say about that, Liz?
Liz Wolfe: I’ve done a lot of carb-loading for my desk jobs. You know, and I do well with that. I honestly think that, like you were saying before, a lot of times when people go low-carb, whether intentionally or unintentionally, they’re cutting calories, and they’re cutting out nutrition, and that’s not a good thing. But I also think that over-nutrition, especially when it comes to sugar, can be a little bit of a pitfall. Now, you hit it on the head: If you feel good with that and your goals are OK and your goals are reasonable, if your goals are not “I’m going to get skinny and look like that person,” you know, if your goal is “I want to be as healthy as I personally can be,” keeping an eye on blood sugar control and how well you’re sleeping and how good you feel good overall, if you’re paying attention to yourself, keeping your eyes on your own body, you should be able to identify those signals about how you’re doing.
Diane Sanfilippo: This is a good place to also remind people that eyes on your own plate or that kind of… Somebody came up to me at the end of the Low-Carb Cruise, and he said to me: Well, I have a friend who’s vegetarian and he says he feels great, and every time we get together he’s trying to convince me of his way of eating, and I’m trying to convince him of my way of eating. And I just said to him: Don’t worry about what he’s doing. Why even have the conversation if you’re both coming into it closed off to the other approach? If somebody’s asking about it, fine. Talk about it. But if they’re not interested, take the topic off the table. So when it comes to this, if you see somebody else eating a whole bunch of fruit and sweet potatoes and they’re telling you they feel good with it and they’re successful, there’s no reason for you to tell them not to do that. And likewise, figure out what works for you, and don’t think that what works for someone else is right for you. I think that happens a lot, and it’s kind of why there are some of us in this field that are the professionals. We’re here to really advise people. We look at what they’re doing and see how it’s working for them and then give them advice, but unless you know somebody’s whole story, telling them what to eat today is almost irrelevant. You don’t know how stressed they are. You don’t know what they were eating before. You don’t know if this is a one-off… You know, if you see me on the cruise and I have ice cream in a cup and I’m eating ice cream, and you’re like: Oh, you shouldn’t eat all that sugar. Well, do you realize that I do that once a year, maybe twice? That’s not something I’m eating every day. If you’re going to judge somebody and tell them what to eat, you really don’t know what they’re doing all the time, and you have to trust that other people are on their path until they ask you: Hey, I’ve been doing paleo for a while. This is what I’m eating. What do you think? If, for whatever reason, they trust you as a resource, then give them your take on it, but it’s good to know all of this and kind of have a really balanced approach to what you’re recommending if somebody asks you.
Liz Wolfe: Like you said, we don’t know. Two people could eat identical diets, and one could be a mess and the other not. Maybe the person that’s a mess is just a complete stress case. We talk about that stuff all the time. Sometimes it’s more important to get your stress under control before you even start worrying about your food. It’s so individual. Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yes.
4. Hidden gluten (and vegetable oil) exposure [33:31]
Liz Wolfe: Very good. All right, so Paleo Pitfall #4: You know, at the very beginning when I was first getting started, it was like: Check the labels of everything. Is there something weird in here? What about this? What about that? Is this OK? Is that OK? Now at this point, eating just basically meat and vegetables, you don’t really come across this type of stuff as much, but this can be a huge stumbling block for people, and that’s hidden gluten exposure.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yes. Well, this is a really big one if people are very sensitive to gluten and they don’t really know it. And this is why I have another PDF of mine where I have kind of the basics on what contains gluten, what doesn’t, most of the sort of upfront, like which grains are ‘gluten-free,’ a lot of them can be cross-contaminated, but at least kind of on the surface how to know if you’re choosing something that has rice noodles in it, for example. You’re out to eat and you’re having kind of a splurge, and you go to a Thai restaurant that uses rice noodles, and you’re like: OK, cool. But then, do you realize that if they’re using any soy sauce or any fish sauce – Fish sauce is really common in Thai food, soy sauce not quite as much, a little bit – and either of those or both of them can be fermented with wheat. Now, just as an example, there’s one brand of fish sauce called Red Boat Fish Sauce. I know it’s traditionally made. It’s not fermented with wheat. But if you were eating this Thai food, thinking: I’m keeping the gluten out. I’m just doing stuff that’s rice based, because maybe you feel good with rice, but you didn’t realize that these sauces are actually made and fermented with wheat, if you’re sensitive to it, you’re going to go home and you’re going to have some backlash from it. And that backlash can happen up to at least three days. It can happen even longer for some people. You might not feel it today. It might be tomorrow or the next day that you feel something from it. And that can be anything from a mood change, headaches, digestive distress, bloating, flare-ups on your skin, eczema, psoriasis, acne. Any of that stuff can really happen.
So if you’re getting to the point where you’re like: OK, I think my food’s pretty dialed in, but you’re still dining out and don’t really know what’s happening in the food and you’re doing something very regularly, or if you have some sauces, things in your cupboard that you haven’t critically analyzed, really read those labels and see what’s in there. It might be a time to really just do kind of a once-over. See what’s going. Toss some things. Replace them. And if there’s a restaurant especially that you go to very often and you’ve never asked about what’s in the food, ask the questions. The worst that happens is you find out that there’s something there that’s really been keeping you from reaching your goals because you’ve been getting that exposure very regularly.
Liz Wolfe: Someone dropped by my Facebook page a while back and let me know that some wines are actually fermented in barrels that use some kind of gluten-based paste to seal the barrels, which just blew my mind. We’ll talk about alcohol in a minute, but yeah, there are definitely…
Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, yeah! Envelopes, like the seal on an envelope. When I seal an envelope, I lick my finger and then swipe it. I don’t lick the envelope because there can be gluten on there, I’ve heard. I think that’s why George’s wife died on Seinfeld. I think she had a gluten exposure licking all the envelopes for their wedding.
Liz Wolfe: I knew it was an envelope thing. I didn’t realize that’s what it was. That’s funny.
Diane Sanfilippo: I just decided that it was a gluten problem.
Liz Wolfe: You just decided that’s what it was.
Diane Sanfilippo: Because gluten is the Devil, as we know.
Liz Wolfe: Absolutely. Well, you know I have this margarine obsession, and I just wrote the newsletter that went out to my email list called Don’t get margarined!
Diane Sanfilippo: Yes, I saw it. I’m on the list! Woo!
Liz Wolfe: You’re on the list. Everybody go sign up for Email Mondays. They’re super fun.
Diane Sanfilippo: They’re good! I like them.
Liz Wolfe: Thank you!
Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t know how you have the time to do that.
Liz Wolfe: I don’t.
Diane Sanfilippo: While you’re picking ticks off of…
Liz Wolfe: I don’t sleep anymore. Yeah, so people get vegetable oiled by accident, and I honestly think that some people are really, really sensitive to this stuff. I certainly am. I can tell when I’ve had some vegetable oil sneak in there. But a lot of places, even nicer restaurants, the servers don’t know the difference between butter and margarine. Back when I used to go to Panera a lot, I know they had two buckets, one of margarine and one of actual butter. And I didn’t know the difference. I didn’t think there was a difference between butter and margarine. They were both yellow, and I knew margarine was a little bit easier to spread. So that’s another one that you have to really make sure you are checking and double checking that what you’re getting is actually butter and not margarine or olive oil and not soybean oil.
Diane Sanfilippo: Correct.
Liz Wolfe: It’s tough.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: Where my whole paleo-style body care stuff originated was way back in the day when I noticed that there was hydrolyzed wheat protein in my shampoo. And I thought to myself: Is there such a thing as gluten-free shampoo? And of course, it’s all snowballed from there, and now I’m really into all the hippie, crunchy stuff, but that was where it all started is I started looking for gluten-free shampoo, allergen-free shampoo. And the stuff does sneak into lotions, shampoos, serums, and all that stuff, conventional body care. There are a couple different buzzwords, a couple different names for it.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, and some people may not notice any issues at all, and some people may be putting their immune system on alert. They’re doing everything else right, and they just don’t know what’s going on. And those are the kinds of things where we get those long, long questions and we’re like: I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but what if it’s part of your…
Liz Wolfe: What’s in your perfume?
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, what if it’s something you’re putting on your body? That stuff really does get into your system. It’s not just if you eat it. Anything that kind of comes in contact with your skin or you’re breathing in the air of it, that stuff hits your immune system, and people don’t often realize that.
5. Calcium sources [40:12]
Liz Wolfe: Correct. All right, Paleo Pitfall #5: Worrying about where you’re going to get your calcium. Or your magnesium or your other minerals, but usually people that are giving up a daily milk-drinking habit are worried about where they’re going to get their calcium. And we know where you’re getting calcium.
Diane Sanfilippo: Why don’t you tell us where you’re getting calcium?
Liz Wolfe: I’m getting calcium from my sardines with the bones in. When you get them in the tins, the bones are still there usually, but they are super-duper soft. You don’t even notice they’re there. That’s a good source of calcium. If you’re doing raw, grass-fed dairy, there’s obviously calcium in there. Leafy greens, bone broth, but the most important thing to understand is that it’s not about how much calcium you take in. It’s what your body can even do with it. Folks that are on a standard American diet are not getting enough of what we call calcium retention and utilization cofactors, like vitamin K2, which we talk about a lot, magnesium, vitamin D. There are a ton of other cofactors, essential fatty acids. I have a post about this on my blog, which we will try to remember to add to the show notes.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, let’s link to it.
Liz Wolfe: It’s so important to understand that it’s not about how much calcium you take in. It’s about what your body can do with it. So things like sardines, leafy greens, cod liver oil, and bone broth provide all the cofactors that we need for calcium utilization and retention. So long story short, we’re getting plenty of calcium. Any thoughts on that, Diane?
Diane Sanfilippo: Short story longer…
Liz Wolfe: Yes. Do it.
Diane Sanfilippo: I think the real issue is about people think that we’re not eating dairy so we’re not getting enough calcium, and I don’t have the stuff at my fingertips, but maybe there’s some of it in your post or in Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, that book, about the fact that there are people who are eating plenty of dairy and are still developing osteoporosis. That’s kind of the case in point of what we’re saying. It’s not about just calcium intake, almost the same way it’s not just about anything you’re eating, right? It’s about what you’re digesting and absorbing. But with calcium, those cofactors are really critical. You’ve mentioned this a lot, where K2 is kind of the director of calcium, so whether we’re actually putting calcium where we want it to help build strong bones or whether it’s depositing in soft tissue, which we don’t want. Magnesium is also really important for that balance. Getting enough magnesium with your calcium is critical, and it’s possible to do that when you get it from whole food sources. It’s balanced. And I definitely don’t recommend calcium supplementation unless it’s something that you’re doing under a very wise healthcare practitioner who knows what’s happening with all of the cofactors as well.
6. Dairy decisions [43:18]
I think the dairy thing is important to mention again because we have a lot of people who eat dairy who are kind of on this paleo/primal type of diet, and I personally feel really strongly about trying to find a way to find dairy that you tolerate if it’s possible. I’ve been struggling with this for years. I got off of dairy and felt better. I don’t miss bread because there are ways of sort of having something that’s like a cookie or whatever that’s made from almond flour or something like that. But yogurt has been something that I’m like: Wow, I would really love to have some yogurt. I love it, but I hadn’t been able to tolerate it for a long time. And I tried some local yogurt. That didn’t really work. I tried some grass-fed yogurt. I can’t remember the brand. It comes in kind of a more pourable form. But I tried the grass-fed yogurt. That wasn’t working. Then recently, probably about a month or so ago, I found a grass-fed yogurt that’s not homogenized, and it’s also not ultra-pasteurized. They have to pasteurize it because raw milk’s illegal in New Jersey, but it’s not homogenized. Homogenization is when you take the fats and the proteins and the carbs and you’re really trying to get them incorporated so that the dairy product is more stable so that those fat molecules are really stabilized within the product. So cream-on-top milk would be not homogenized typically, so that’s kind of the visual on that, where you have that fat layer that’s sitting at the top. And when we homogenize it, it incorporates those fats in, but we don’t know what’s really happening to the biochemistry or the way that we’re metabolizing these fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that are in dairy once we do that, because it’s not naturally how it would have been occurring. So I think that the non-homogenized yogurt or whatever other dairy products are worth a try. I have my food quality guide that’s on the website, it’s in my book, and I think it’s worth it for people to kind of continue to dabble and see what happens, see how their body reacts to different things. There are some great nutrients we can get from grass-fed dairy, the vitamins A, D, K2.
Liz Wolfe: All there.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, the calcium, magnesium – it is all there in dairy. It’s just that we’ve demonized this food that was fantastic in its natural form because we’ve basically bastardized it in Yoplait Yogurt and Dannon Yogurt and all this stuff. Even Greek yogurt, which I keep talking about wanting to write a blog post about how much I can’t stand how popular Greek yogurt has become, as much as I love Greek people and their food! What’s being sold is not quality food. If it’s coming from a grass-fed cow and it’s called Greek yogurt, fine. But if it’s coming from grain-fed cows, which all of that stuff is. You know, it’s all still just grain-fed milk making the yogurt, whether it’s organic or not or whether it’s strained out to kind of have that higher protein content where they call it Greek yogurt, or if it has skim milk powder added, which is a lot of the Greek yogurts out there, the Greek-style yogurt. They just add some skim milk powder to give it more protein content. People think it’s a super healthy food, and it’s really not. It’s really just been marketed extremely, extremely well. And with my background in marketing, it really bugs me when food becomes popular and seems healthy just because of healthy, like Kashi cereal and grain-fed Greek yogurt.
Liz Wolfe: I talk about that in my book. It’s all about marketing.
Diane Sanfilippo: I needed to rant.
Liz Wolfe: No! It’s a great rant. People think that Greek yogurt is high protein, low fat, but like you said, it’s reconstituted with different things. And also low fat is actually not what Greek yogurt is. Greek yogurt is yogurt.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: There should be no low-fat yogurt. Yogurt should be what it is. It’s a cultured milk product.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it just drives me nuts because somehow this extra word has escalated this type of yogurt to being healthier than others when that’s not the word we want as the descriptor. If it was 100% grass-fed yogurt, that’s when it’s like: Oh! I’m eating grass-fed… Well, I mean, obviously the cow is what eats the grass, not the yogurt itself…
Liz Wolfe: Thank you.
Diane Sanfilippo: That’s a descriptor that’s healthy. You know what I mean? All of a sudden, this word ‘Greek’… Just because Greek people tend to be pretty healthy and sturdy doesn’t mean the yogurt is! So, I can just shout out a couple of brands that I know. A lot of them are going to be local. They’re going to be available regionally. We don’t know every brand that you can find. Traders Point Creamery, I think, is the grass-fed one that I didn’t tolerate well because I’m pretty sure it’s homogenized, and I think the homogenization is really what’s doing it for me. Maple Hill Creamery. Their website’s just MapleHillCreamery.com. I kind of shouted them out a couple weeks ago, and they were like: Awesome! All these people came to our website asking for the yogurt. So if you get the demand out there, you’ll get it in your stores. But stores are going to carry what you’re going to buy. Do you have any other brands you know of?
Liz Wolfe: No. There’s only one full-fat Greek yogurt out there. I think it’s Greek Gods. I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with it. I actually have enjoyed it on a few occasions. But the one thing they add to it is pectin, which my understanding is that’s basically something that makes it feel thicker than it’s actually going to be without it. And you’ll notice that in a ton of dairy products. Like I said in an earlier recording that we’re not using, I live in a town of 2000 people now. We went to the local grocery store the other day, and it’s just like shelves upon shelves of off-brand Twinkies, which is just pretty horrifying, but we were looking for some ice cream because we were going to have a treat, and I’m looking for Haagen-Dazs, because at this point, Haagen-Dazs is the only one that’s using regular sugar, cream, and, like, one other thing.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, just five ingredients.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Even Breyers isn’t doing that anymore. But all I could find was artificial colors, red lake, yellow 5, xanthan gum, guar gum, all kinds of thickeners, so that’s huge in looking for dairy these days. You have to make sure you’re checking that label if you’re going to use it because you need to know whether it’s homogenized, you need to know whether there’s a bunch of thickeners, emulsifiers, and stuff like that added to replicate a texture of something natural that might take more time or is more labor intensive.
Diane Sanfilippo: Right. And you can always just get some cheesecloth and your good quality yogurt that you’re finding in the store and strain it, and then it’ll be thicker, and that’ll be like your Greek-style yogurt. You know, what I love about the website from these Maple Hill Creamery people, they have a page of frequently asked questions, and their questions are like: Hey, why no low-fat yogurt? They don’t make a low-fat yogurt. I’m like: Yes!
Liz Wolfe: Because there’s no such thing as low-fat yogurt!
Diane Sanfilippo: And why 100% grass-fed? And they have answers to all of these frequently asked questions. You know, people who are doing it right, I really want to support them because I don’t have my own cow, I’m not making my own yogurt over here, so I try and really support the companies that are doing what I think is good work for us, so a nice little shout-out for them.
Liz Wolfe: Very good. I don’t think I’ll find them in my local town grocery store, unfortunately.
Diane Sanfilippo: No. It is really sad. When we travel, we tend to go to bigger cities… legit cities.
Liz Wolfe: Metropoli.
Diane Sanfilippo: Metropoli.
Liz Wolfe: Not cities. They’re metropolises.
Diane Sanfilippo: Where there’s almost always a Whole Foods, right? We’ve pretty much toured a million Whole Food stores, and it does become one of those things where I absolutely recognize that I had it really great in San Francisco. People who live there have no idea how spoiled they are, but I came back to where I’m from in New Jersey, and I have two Whole Foods markets within 10 minutes of me, and I realize that that’s still a level of spoiling to a degree. I mean, I moved here knowing those stores are here and I can __________ local farmer, but the idea of moving somewhere where I can’t access food that I really want, that’s probably in my top five factors of how I would choose where to live. So growing your own food is obviously going to be the answer to a lot of that, and Amazon and US Wellness Meats and all these great online suppliers, but I think it is a really important factor. And I just got totally, like, off.
Liz Wolfe: No. It’s good, though, because I moved out to this homestead so I could be more self-sufficient and grow my own food, and now I can’t leave the house because there are ticks everywhere. Noooo!
Diane Sanfilippo: OK.
Liz Wolfe: What’s next?
Diane Sanfilippo: This is a long episode.
Liz Wolfe: It is. I’m not even sure when we started.
Diane Sanfilippo: We started, like, three hours ago, to be exact.
Liz Wolfe: Oh, Lord.
Diane Sanfilippo: Just kidding.
Liz Wolfe: All right, how about…
Diane Sanfilippo: I’ll try and do this one quickly, #6.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: We talked about this a bunch a couple of weeks ago with all the back and forth.
7. Alcohol [52:54]
Liz Wolfe: Paleo Pitfall, well, this is kind of #7 since we just talked about dairy as well. #7. Alcohol, liver function, how it affects your metabolism, etc. Let’s talk about booze.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, just really quickly because we’ve definitely talked about booze on a couple of recent shows. I seem to remember rambling on… as I do. But on the Low-Carb Cruise I asked a couple of doctors who were on the boat. At the end of our panel discussions, we had some Q&A, and I kind of stood up and was actually asking of the other panelists: Hey, this is something that I teach. I just want to make sure I’m kind of explaining it right. And obviously, I explain things in a pretty high-level, basic approach because I don’t have every biochemical mechanism to explain to people, and I don’t think that’s what most people even need or want to hear, but the alcohol question, we get this a lot where it’s like: Well, I’m just having one glass of wine every night. Is that really such a big deal? Or I just drink a few times a week. Is that really such a big deal? Here’s the bottom line: If you are an otherwise healthy person, if you are at where your goal is for your body composition, if you are not dealing with autoimmune conditions, with flare-ups, and other health challenges, do whatever you’re going to do. We’re not here to tell you, you can’t be a healthy person who drinks alcohol now and then. I just can’t have that answer for you. But if you tell me that you have goals that you’ve not yet reached or you are dealing with health challenges, you have body fat to lose, understand that your liver is responsible for the bulk of your metabolism. It’s what’s processing carbohydrates and fat and protein. It’s what’s really directing everything that’s going on. If you drink alcohol, you’re essentially putting positive processes on hold so that your alcohol can be detoxified by your liver. The reason why generally we have challenges and they don’t include alcohol is that if you are trying to optimize health and longevity with your nutrition, we don’t want alcohol getting in the way of what your liver’s doing, and understanding that we’re consistently detoxifying whatever’s in our environment, whether it’s your insults from your body care products or you just live in a city where there’s a lot of smog and toxins from outside, everything that’s hitting our bodies is being detoxified by our liver so that we’re not storing it anywhere. So if you are taking in alcohol, your liver decides: OK, we’re shifting to figure out how to detoxify this out. That’s the first and primary goal. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not also somehow in tandem or congruently metabolizing other things, but the priority goes to the alcohol detoxification. There’s no other way to say it more simply. Alcohol may just not be __________. And I still don’t recommend that people drink alcohol every single day. Even if it’s their red wine and they think they’re getting their antioxidants, I still think most people in a modern world are dealing with some other insults from toxins, and we need to give our livers a chance to handle it.
Liz Wolfe: Very good. Well, on my end, you cut out a little bit during that.
Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, great.
Liz Wolfe: So what I heard was: Drink a lot of wine all the time.
Diane Sanfilippo: Great.
Liz Wolfe: Which is great, because we all know I podcast with a box of Franzia under my computer.
Diane Sanfilippo: You have one of those CamelBak packs with the straw, and you’re just walking around with a backpack, and people are like: Oh, Liz is so sporty with her backpack!
Liz Wolfe: She’s so hydrated!
Diane Sanfilippo: They don’t know that it’s a sack of wine in the backpack.
Liz Wolfe: Yep, I have a CamelBak full of wine and a fanny pack full of cigarettes. No, I don’t. Not at all.
Diane Sanfilippo: Sarcasm on a podcast transcript is going to be awesome.
Liz Wolfe: Love it. Brackets – sarcasm.
Diane Sanfilippo: Are we at way too much time right now? Do we need to do a Part 2 of this?
Liz Wolfe: I think we probably will have to do a Part 2 because we have a few more, and I’ve had a ton of requests on my page – maybe you have as well – for a Part 2 with Arsy Vartanian. We talked about breastfeeding and her cookbook and paleo motherhood and all that, so we will eventually have Arsy back on as well. Thanks for all the good feedback on that one. We’ll have to have Kendall Kendrick back on as well. We’ve had a lot of good words on that podcast, too. So it sounds like people are definitely open to Part 2’s.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think they’re sick of us.
Liz Wolfe: I would be too. I’m sick of me, man.
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m sick of you.
Liz Wolfe: Aww, love ya.
Diane Sanfilippo: Kidding! I miss you.
Liz Wolfe: I miss you, too. Let’s get off the phone now. All right, so that’s it, everybody. We will be back next week with more questions. Until then, you can find Diane, as always, at BalancedBites.com, and you can find me, Liz, at CaveGirlEats.com. Thanks for listening! We’ll be back next week.
Diane & Liz