Balanced Bites Podcast

Balanced Bites Podcast: Episode #22 Liz Talks About Her Visit to Polyface Farm

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Balanced Bites Podcast

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LIZ WOLFE: Hey everyone, welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Liz of here with Diane Sanfilippo, and just a reminder. I’m going to bring in our British disclaimer person to just let everybody know that [British accent] the materials and content contained in this podcast are for general health information only, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. How’s that? Was that good?

DIANE SANFILIPPO:[laughs] Oh my God.

LIZ WOLFE: All right, I know.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:I never know what to expect. That’s awesome. Woo.

LIZ WOLFE: Just depends on the time of day. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Well, welcome back.

LIZ WOLFE: Why thank you. Thank you for…you know, I’m kind of mad because Karen Pendergrass is totally my girl crush.


LIZ WOLFE: and Duke’s like, no, you know, I understand. She’s just a total bad ass, so she’s…she’ll take people to the mat on Facebook, you know, over this stuff that she just knows so well. It’s kind of fun to watch her work.


LIZ WOLFE: But it was very cool to hear what she had to say. We’ll talk-I’ll talk more about that later kind of in the context of our discussion, but until then, what’s going on with you

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Hmm, just came back from a workout, so I quickly changed into my little WOD for PaleoKits t-shirt…


DIANE SANFILIPPO:And a clean, dry warm sweatshirt until I can go cook some breakfast and, you know, get myself ready for the rest of the day. But Yeah, had a nice workout to kick off the weekend. I’m not going to be able to train tomorrow because I’m teaching a little one hour class up at Garden State Plaza here in New Jersey at Paramus at the mall. Lululemon Athletica is hosting me, so a couple of weeks ago, I think I was talking about this sugar talk, and so then this week is to talk about fats, which is totally my other favorite subject. So that should be fun. That’ll be tomorrow morning really early, but actually by the time this airs, people will have missed that, so hopefully people got that note.

LIZ WOLFE: Just for you.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, exactly. So if you missed it, whatever. I’ll be around.

LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO:And I just got back from Austin. I’m teaching again in March here in New Jersey, so you know. If they miss the free class, they can always come to the one that actually costs them money, but either way.

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, I hear that.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Well, I just got back from Austin. Today-we’re recording this on Friday. I got back on Monday. And that was a really, really fun trip. I got to teach at CrossFit and Fearless. Had a really nice group. Had a lot of people who like were not even from that gym, just kind of came in, a bunch of people from Dallas, and a bunch of people who were actually who were asking for you…a bunch of podcast listeners.


DIANE SANFILIPPO:It was really cool. Yeah. It’s really fun to kind of see how, you know, things spread through different channels, and you knw, what people are listening to and where they’re learning, so that was really cool. Really good time, and I have a little bit of a new format to the seminar, which I do pretty much every three months or so, sort of change up the formats that I’m using. And I’m sure that that’ll change again in not too long. But so just some notes on some upcoming seminars. February 4th, I’m doing-I’m calling it a mini-seminar, so one that’s like half as long, in Pittsburgh at CrossFit Pittsburgh, so that’s February 4th, 12 to 3 PM. Anyone can come to any of these seminars. None of them are exclusive to those gyms only, so you can check those out on the website under Events. And then February 11th, I’ll be in Naples, Florida. Looks like it’s about 2 hours from Ft. Lauderdale, 2 hours from Miami, not sure far from Tampa, but, you know, if people are looking for something pretty close by, two hours is really not that bad. I’ve had people drive like 10 to come to the seminar, and I’m just one person, so getting to every city in every state is tough. So if it’s a couple of hours, you know, grab a few friends. Make a little road trip out of it. Come see me. Where else? Wilmington, Delaware, February 18th. I’ll be in Santa Rosa, California February 25th. I’m psyched about that. Get back to my…see my friends in San Francisco for a couple of days. And then I’ll be actually teaching at my home gym, Brazen Athletics on March 3rd. That’ll be again, sort of a mini-seminar mostly because I’m available to them all the time. So we’ll probably be doing a bunch of other little events here and there at my home gym. So that’s March 3rd, 10:30 am to 2:30 pm, so people can do more and workout at Brazen or wherever else and then come over. We’ll have lunch there and seminar. So those are all my updates for now. So do you want to tell people where you were last time we were recording a podcast?

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah. Oh, real quick. Okay, let me…’

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Or something else.

LIZ WOLFE: Or something else. Real quick, I wanted to…what did I want to say? Oh, people have been asking me a little bit about the “No B.S. Nutrition Guide.” and that is…it’s active, it’s out there. I’ve distributed it to a couple gyms…couple different people to kind of get some feedback and refine it a little bit before I just, you know, opened it. But if you are one of the lucky ones who’s already gotten it, you know. I’m just looking forward to everyone’s feedback and I’m kind of learning from, you know, what other people have to say about some ideas off of each other.

Now the other thing I wanted to say was, in listening to the podcast from last week with Karen Pendergrass of Paleo Approved…you guys were talking a lot about kind of the B.S. labels of the supermarket, just what they really mean and kind of how consumers are unfortunately, you know, almost kind of lied to, in a lot of ways, you know, and encouraged via some kind of sheisty labeling to kind of believe things that maybe aren’t true. You guys talked a lot about, you know, chicken, and the term “vegetarian fed” and how chickens are not vegetarians, but for whatever reason that kind of calls up this image of how, you know, it must be healthy. Vegetarianism, and how that’s a little bit of a BS term, but I have-and I should probably try and bounce this off Karen-have a little chart in my No BS Nutrition Guide that basically kind of breaks down the different labels that you might see on foods and what they actually mean. Different buzzwords and things like that. Some of those buzzwords, such as the word “pastured” is not something that’s actually regulated by the USDA, which in my opinion is not necessarily a bad thing. But in the same way, when something is not regulated and doesn’t have like a specific legal standard, you have to really be sure you understand the source of, you know, that food that is being as labeled as pasture-based. And I know Karen said, you know, there are a couple certifications, independent certifications like Certified Humane, I can’t remember what the other one was, but were legitimately, you know, doing what they’re saying they were doing. But it’s really convoluted. I mean, it’s really confusing.

I was just talking to a client last night, and I always feel bad. I always want to apologize when I say, you know, I’m really sorry. I’m going to make your life this much more difficult because I don’t think organic eggs is anything to write home about. If you really want to go do something good, look for this, this, and this. Go down the street to this farm. I know this person and you know, try and get eggs from them because really, like, it’s difficult. People really do think that they’re doing a good thing for themselves and it sucks when they find out that they might not be. And it’s not…it has everything to do with the corporations and advertising, and stuff like that. It’s just a bummer. It just is a huge bummer, so that was cool to hear you guys talk about that.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, it’s a tough subject to [xxx 8:30-32] priority and getting the best quality possible. Like I’ve had a bunch of pushback on the blog post I wrote about food quality from people who are saying, you know, it’s not affordable for everyone to get…

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: pastured eggs, grass-fed meat, all of that, and I really see both sides of the story here. I see…I see that maybe there’s even sort of three sides to it…that I see. I see the one that okay, people with disposable income and the ability to afford whatever need to commit to doing it, so that it possibly becomes more affordable for those who can’t afford it right now. You know? Because the more we actually buy it, the more, you know, the more it’s produced and maybe the less it’ll be niche and it becomes more available. At the same time, I know plenty of people who are buying, as you’re saying, from a very very local farm, it doesn’t mean you’re going necessarily online to buy eggs. You’re not going to the fanciest farmers market there is, but I know people who get eggs from a neighbor down the street from some kind of really small local place. And they’re actually not that expensive. They’re maybe a dollar more a dozen than whatever you get as organic eggs in the store. So I think there’s, you know, two parts to it when people are talking about the affordability side, and it’s like number one, okay, hopefully those of us who are doing it can help it become more affordable, but at the same time, it might not be as out of reach as people think. It just requires a tiny bit more legwork or, you know, or check Ask around if anybody knows if somebody’s got a chicken farm or has even a handful of backyard chickens because it’s becoming more popular, and I think just like throwing our hands up and claiming “that’s way too expensive! You guys are being elitist. I can’t afford pastured eggs” isn’t really taking responsibility for their own food in the way that I think you and I want to help promote that people do. Because I don’t want it to be something that’s out of reach for people, but at the same time, I don’t want people to act like they have no power to seek out their sources of food than ones that are too tough to get their hands on. Because there are a lot of ways to get food other than mainstream, you know, even grocery stores or farmers markets. There’s a lot of kind of little-little farms here and there, like I said. Or even neighbors. I mean, I know people who are giving eggs away, not around me, but I’ve heard of people getting eggs from neighbors who are like, I just can’t use all these eggs.

Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have?

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, Yeah. I definitely agree with you on that. It’s a…you guys talked a little bit about kind of voting with your dollar and I…I love the way you’re looking at that. I think it’s so true. And I mean, there are some people who legitimately are doing the best they can with what they have, and are completely stuck right now. And I get that. I really really do. I get that so so much. But keep looking toward the future. Some point when you can scrap together an extra couple bucks to buy something a little bit different. Even if it’s just once a month. Or once every two months. Like you just do what you can, when you can, to vote with your dollar and kind of make that statement for yourself, you know, rather than kind of live in that. There’s just a lot of complacency, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, and I’m not placing the blame on people who maybe aren’t doing what you or I or whomever thinks that they should do. But the culture of complacency is a really really difficult thing to combat on an individual basis because we all feel stuck in some way or another, whether that’s in our eating habits or where we live or the job that we’re in or whatever. But there are ways to overcome that, in one way or another. We just have to figure it out, just…you know? Take five minutes to really sit down and think about it. That’s what I’ve been working on lately, and it’s actually kind of something that led me to do what I did in the last couple of days when I was MIA from the podcast. So do you want me to go ahead and launch into that?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, go right ahead.

LIZ WOLFE: Okay, so basically…


LIZ WOLFE: What’s that?

DIANE SANFILIPPO:And I’m like, I don’t know how much I can tell people, let me see. She’s away [laughs] Oh God. I was worried.

LIZ WOLFE: Well, I honestly didn’t tell anybody. I really didn’t tell anybody what I was doing, and it wasn’t because it was this big secret, but it’s weird. It’s a tough line to walk, like when you’re blogging and podcasting and talking to people about these things, like I-we have kind of these lives that I feel like, how much am I sharing, and how much is for me, and how much is, you know, going to the blog and it’s weird. But awhile ago when I kind of started getting interested in this more kind of sustainable agriculture type of idea, kind of pulling away from the conventional model and looking towards kind of what I feel like the future of food needs to be, some of the things I was thinking is how scary it would be. As into this as I am, you know, and as much time as I spend worrying about this stuff, is the supermarket, is Whole Foods, even if my farmers went out of business, if they just went away one day, I would not know how to produce the next food to sustain myself and my husband and my dog. And that’s a really scary thought. I really don’t-I mean, we had a garden over the summer, and it was just the most sad pithy little excuse for a garden. I mean, we tried and it was great, but even though I was going down to the farmers market and stuff like that, and supplementing a little bit from Whole Foods if I absolutely had to, it wasn’t enough.

So I decided I would apply for an internship at Polyface Farms, and some people may have heard of Polyface Farms. The name you may know is probably Joel Salatin. He is a writer, a prolific writer. He is an extraordinary wordsmith. He can turn a phrase, that’s for sure, if you’ve ever seen him speak. But he also is kind of the face-the front man of Polyface Farms, which is basically kind of a closed system. They have, you know, guiding principles that, you know, are available on their website: Basically transparency, it’s a grass-based farm. One of the things that they’re really passionate about is the idea of giving their animals and their plants actually like a place to grow and thrive that allows them to be a pig. Respecting the pig-ness of a pig, you know, and the chicken-ness of a chicken. Allowing them to root, eat their natural food, mimic the natural patterns of nature. Stuff like that. So it’s really-it’s a constantly, you know, evolving system where they’re raising this food, you know, humanely and in a manner that does not create waste. I mean, we all know when we think about factory farms, these cesspools of just toxic wastes that are generated from these animals that are penned up, you know, pooping and expectorating and just being sick all over the place, and it’s completely toxic. And it requires, you know, HAZMAT suits and just all kinds of crazy stuff even to get near it. And you know, as somebody from Kansas, I’ve driven through Emporia and I’ve driven around these areas where the first feedlots were built, and they stink! My God, they stink. And it’s not supposed to be like that. It’s supposed to be pleasant. It’s supposed to smell good. You know, it’s supposed to smell like nature.

And so I got some ants in my pants about it, and I thought “I need to know how to take care of myself and my family,” you know? Beyond the level that I already know how to take care of it. You know, I want to understand this better because in the end, if I really want to be self-sufficient, this is something I have to know how to do for myself. So for that reason, I, you know, put it out into the universe and applied for an internship at Polyface Farm. And I was actually put through to the next round, which was beyond the paper application, it was an actual visit to the farm, a 2 day kind of check out where you basically just work the farm for a couple of days. And so that’s what I did. I drove down there, no cell service. Internet was down for a time while I was there. And, you know, from sunup to sundown, you are working your tail off. Like I cannot even tell you, Diane. [laughs]


LIZ WOLFE: Like I hurt so bad right now, and it’s a good hurt, but man. I left feeling there like I would pay. I would pay ten times as much for good food, knowing the work that goes into it.


LIZ WOLFE: And knowing how high it is on the integrity scale. Like, you know, I love the word integrity, and I love the idea of integrity, and just the principle and the honesty, and just the soulfulness that goes in to this kind of thing. And I guess I’ll just tell you a kind of a little bit of what I did because [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Well, you know one thing like the just the note about integrity and all of, you know, all of sort of the impression that you got from being there and how much more you’re willing to pay, you know, after seeing that. I think it’s-it’s a really interesting perspective to have because so many people just don’t respect where their food comes from, and I think the biggest disconnect is that none of us have ever tried to grow and raise our own food. And besides the whole Paleo hunter-gatherer approach, just, I mean it’s something I talk about a lot where it’s like, because before technology, before things became complicated, that was the only job we had. You know.

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Feed and water ourselves. Have some community play-time and be with family. And that’s it. Like literally every person’s job was to grow or procure food and just live, right? I mean, there wasn’t really anything else. That was it, like I think even the authors of this new book we’re actually going to have on the podcast, I think, maybe for next week. It’s a book called Naked Calories by the Caltons, I don’t know if that’s the right way to pronounce their last name, but they did a similar like to what Weston A. Price had done. You know, obviously, a longer time ago, but they did a similar trip to where they were looking at what indigenous cultures are eating and doing, and it literally sounds like, you know, their whole day is spent procuring food. And then just kind of spending time eating and being together, and that’s really it. And I think we’re so disconnected from it that we also don’t respect it as much. And I think there are a lot of professions out there that we sort of don’t have as much respect for as we should. Like unfortunately I think a lot of people, you know, just end up seeing certain jobs as well, you have to be really smart to do that job. We used to really smart to be, you know, a farmer that does things the right way. And you have to work really hard and you have to have a lot of integrity, like what you were just saying and I value those qualities so much more than literally just somebody-and this isn’t to say that studying from books isn’t important, doesn’t make people smart and valuable because obviously we all do that, you know. We’re trying to teach people about the science and nutrition, but I think kind of stepping back and realizing that there’s a certain amount of respect that we should have for all different people who have different…who contribute differently to our lives and like recognize the worth in that and not just like, oh this person is a, you know, what-I don’t even know. A brain surgeon, you know. Just something at the top of my head. I feel like people have all this respect for someone who does that and then they think, oh well, you know, farmer, whatever. And it’s like how do you not have respect for someone who does something that you don’t know how to do, that you couldn’t even do for yourself, and that’s so required for living. Like what you just said about, you know, you didn’t know if you could feed and water your family if something were to happen. You know, being able to work a computer and research something on Wikipedia is not going to feed the family.

So I like that idea. I like the idea that people just kind of step back and get off their high horses, you know. All of us do that now and then and kind of just recognize what value these people add, and also, you know, if there’s a cost associated with it, well, here we are typing away on our computers, not lifting heavy things to feed animals that are going to feed us. So…


DIANE SANFILIPPO:Maybe…you know, I don’t know. I’m like, it’s a little bit[xxx 22:05], but I just feel like, do you get that sometimes? Where people..

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah. I see what you’re saying.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:You know, just how for certain kinds of people and certain kinds of jobs or certain kinds of contributions to society, and then for others, they just don’t think of it as very valuable, or they don’t recognize the value, and I just think, you know, have some respect for all these different kinds of contributions.

LIZ WOLFE: Well, that was me. Like you’re describing me, basically. And I don’t think that I understood, you know. And I was a little humbled, trying to build my first garden when I did that. And I realized, wow, you know, I feel like I’m an intelligent person, and I felt like I needed to outsource the job of making my garden. The thing is, like, this is…I mean, the Salatins are really humble about this. They, you know, you don’t hear Joel Salatin-he was the farmer featured in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. He was in Food, Inc. People might recognize him from there, and he basically talks about you’re just harnessing the power of the sun to grow the grass, and do everything else for you. But I mean, that is extraordinarily humble for what those people are actually doing and the power of the brain that actually goes into it. I mean, farming is in a lot of ways to me, it appears to be like an act of rocket science. I mean, beyond just being responsible stewards of the environment and expressing gratitude for all of these amazing provisions that we can use to feed ourselves. It’s difficult. And like you were saying, like this is not easy, and people that are doing are both physically and intellectually, people that are doing it right, they’re physically and intellectually committed to that task 24 hours a day.


LIZ WOLFE: And it is really…it was honestly, it was beyond what I thought I would do.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So what were your-what were your days like? What-like tell us what happened? I mean, it was just a couple of days, but, you know, what did you do, day in and day out?

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, it was only a couple of days.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, it sounds like you got beat up for two weeks, but it was a couple of days.

LIZ WOLFE: It feels like I was there for a very long time, and in no way am I saying I did not enjoy it. I absolutely relished every minute of it. From talking to the people that worked there who are extraordinarily intelligent, and even…I learned so much from them, and even going back and kind of talking about the idea of how we’re now talking about how to integrate these principles of good food into more of our urban lives. There was a guy there, Noah, who is there basically kind of trying to understand and trying to research through his own experience how different resources of this kind of traditional farming model can be incorporated into a more kind of urban setting. So he in particular is looking at pigs. And what’s interesting is…I just finished the book, Meat: A Benign Extravagance, and I really encourage people to pick that up if they haven’t read it before. I’m sure I’m the last one out of everybody to read, but it’s by Simon Fairlie-F-A-I-R-L-I-E, and it’s pretty heavy book but the cool thing about it is that the different chapters are basically like essays, so you could pull one out and just read it on the plane and set it aside for awhile, and pick it up again later. But what Simon talks about is before all of this hysteria, you know, about animals and animal production being dirty, and you know, something we needed to remove from where we actually lived, there was a pig in every household, and that symbolized wealth and the ability to recycle almost anything from scraps to, you know, anything else that a pig would eat, and basically turn it into good food. I mean, where do you think we got the concept of like a piggy bank? Because a pig symbolized something beyond just, you know, bacon. Which for me, 90% of what it symbolizes is bacon. [laughs]


LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, delicious, delicious bacon. But so the idea is, you know, people are talking about urban chickens, talking about kind of getting pigs back in different households, and Yeah, that’s illegal, but it’s never going to become legal again, while, I don’t know that it’s illegal everywhere, but I assume it is. But the idea is like we need to start talking about it and figuring out how that’s going to work. Because there’s so much waste in our daily habitats. I mean, it makes me sick when I, you know, throw, and I don’t always do this, but I have thrown citrus rinds and vegetable, you know, shavings in a plastic bag in a trashcan to be sent to a landfill. How idiotic is that? Like could I be more of an idiot? Those things are entirely biodegradable. Like compost them. Compost them!


LIZ WOLFE: If I had a pig outside, I could feed them to the pig, and one day that pig would give me bacon. I could be making bacon out of my vegetable shavings and citrus rinds. And why not?

DIANE SANFILIPPO:That would be so much of a better use for vegetable scraps, and turn it into bacon?

LIZ WOLFE: If we could just figure this out, it would be amazing. But there are people that are thinking about this, that are trying to find a way to do it. And I think that’s amazing. So anyway, back to what I was doing while I was there. And you know, if any of them end up listening to this, you know, I’m sorry for being such a wuss. But you know, I think I toughed it out. I think I did pretty well. Basically what we did was, and you know, the reason that I didn’t talk about this before I did it was because I did this for me. And I did it for my family and I did it because I felt like it’s what I wanted to do. It wasn’t for the blog. I didn’t take any pictures while I was there. It wasn’t for anything besides like going and having that experience and just trying to find out if I could do it. You know? If asked if I could handle it. So you know, and I asked them, you know, if it was cool with them if I wrote about it on my blog, if I talked about it, and they said, absolutely. We’re totally fine with that. No problem. So that’s why I’m talking about it now.

But anyway, so what I did was we woke up and, you know, sunup to sundown, you go down before breakfast, you do chores. So feed pigs, move hay around, basically whatever needs to be done in the morning. Clearing out the dirty hay from the laying boxes and putting in fresh hay, and all kinds of stuff. And then, you know, after, depending on what kind of manpower you have, after an hour or so of doing that, you’ll get to go grab some breakfast. Which of course is from the Polyface coffer, which is amazing. Polyface eggs, and Polyface sausage and all that good stuff. So I ate extremely well while I was there. But right after breakfast, we basically headed out up a hill, up a mountain, and started clearing out trees that had been taken down. Old trees that were rotting on the inside, and so basically I had an extended two day CrossFit workout, where I couldn’t stop. I wasn’t allowed to collapse on the floor, you know, screaming for coconut water. And I’m telling you what was crazy about it and what was really interesting about it, and what I told Joel Salatin was that I was going to lobby for a CrossFit…a Polyface benchmark workout, you know, for the main page, because really like it was the most difficult workout I’ve ever done. [laughs] Which is, you know, hopefully not taking away from the experience, I…you know, but so I’m basically cleaning and jerking hundred pound and more, gigantic, I mean as much as I could handle, tree stumps, you know from the ground, up the hill into the trailer, and just doing that over and over and over again. And I had to use good form, or it would have hurt. I’ve got-I’ve definitely got some bruises from ones that I thought I could lift, but ended up having to drop again. But we did that for hours. Just doing what needed to be done. Hauling all that stuff back down, unloading it, and then going right back up again, and doing it again. Coming back down, unloading it, the wood is being used to kind of fuel, I guess, the heat for the houses and everything like that. So everything in this kind of microcosm is used. There’s no waste at all.

And so that was the bulk of the daily work for two days was basically an extended, you know, CrossFit workout of epic proportions. And then after that, on the second day towards the end, after another, you know, long morning of clearing brush and lifting stumps and doing all that type of stuff, we would create…it was a man toy, what was it even called? Oh my gosh. It was such a man toy. Some kind of thing where you make a things out of another thing with a saw. [laughs]


LIZ WOLFE: What the heck is it called? Like a giant band saw, so we were basically making these, you know, twelve…we were taking trees and making them into squares, whatever. Laugh at me if you want, but that’s what we did. And I mean, these things weighed, I swear they weighed 300 pounds. And I had to basically deadlift one end, move those, you know, to a pile over to the side. And do another one. And you just do what needs to be done, all day long, every day until the sun goes down. It was the hardest-I don’t even think I’m doing it justice how hard it was. I can’t even…

DIANE SANFILIPPO:I went to a week of MovNat where there was plenty of rest in between, but it was literally like moving almost all day long and you know, only eating when basically meal times were, and you didn’t choose it. It was like, okay now we’re going to eat. I can’t even imagine what that life is like. I mean…

LIZ WOLFE: It’s work! It’s a big commitment.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:It’s funny…I think you and I both have the same perspective on pre- and post-workout nutrition, or at least, the whole post-workout thing or really any of it. And how people just want to think that they deserve all this extra food, and I’m like, you didn’t even really do much. You worked out for twenty minutes after sitting for an entire day, and then here you are working all day long and you know, meals come at meal times and then that’s it.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And you survived, and you’re getting strong and that’s fine, right? I mean, probably not the biggest deal.

LIZ WOLFE: I mean, truly it’s true. I-everybody worked their butts off all day long and you know, not to say that I was dead weight because I think I did definitely pull my weight as best I could. I-you know, I didn’t complain. I did-did my very utmost best, but you know, it can’t be easy to have like a couple potential interns tagging along who just got the notion, you know, got some ants in their pants about, you know, raising their own cows and came along to see what it was like. I mean, that can’t be easy. So and you know, I fed cows and I know you and Karen were talking about feeding the cows hay, which I actually asked that question as well. For whatever reason I had confused the word “silage” with “hay.”


LIZ WOLFE: And silage and hay are not the same thing. Hay as Karen said is just basically this dried grass, so we went in and the cows had kind of gathered in a warm, kind of you know, I don’t know. They all gathered together, and we basically threw out big old bales and I don’t even know what they’re called, gosh. I should have written it down. But apparently when you’re doing farm chores, you know, it’s not really the best time to carry around a notebook and start taking notes. But…


LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, so I fed the cows. We fed the pigs. Ripped my pants on various things, and you know, what’s funny is the whole time I’m sitting there thinking, you know, I may not care about this particular pair of J. Crew jeans, but I’m also learning that they did not make stretch denim for farm work.


LIZ WOLFE: I just felt like such an idiot with that. The other thing that I did, and I will never forget that I did this. This was just classic me. And I just don’t know why I do things sometimes, but I do them. I was so like torqued up after moving all of these`, you know, poles that we made out of trees and thinking, man, you know, I’ve never worked out so hard in my life. I feel so good! So I go up to Joel Salatin, the farmer himself, and basically stuck my hand in his face for a high five. I was like, Yeah, way to go, Joel! High five. I mean, I swear, it was so out of context. I don’t know if he high fives very much…

DIANE SANFILIPPO:He’s like way to go? And he’s like, uh, what?

LIZ WOLFE: He was like what? I think he probably thought I was going to smack him in the face or something because I don’t know if they say “high five” all that much on farms. It might not be a regular occurrence, but I just felt like…I really just wanted to high five, and so you know, we high fived, and then I thought to myself, I want to die.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:[laughs] Oh, I wish I had a picture of that. That was awesome.

LIZ WOLFE: It was ridiculous. But really..

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Why? What were you guys…

LIZ WOLFE: Go ahead.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:No, I’m curious what the what everything was eating, what all the different animals were eating? I’m curious what the pigs were eating, and you know, I mean, I guess cows were eating grass and hay. But…

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah. It’s winter. It’s January, so…


LIZ WOLFE: They’ve got…the pigs are down off the mountain, and in kind of a little enclave of the, you know, where everything is going on. So, and I know they move them around. I didn’t do a whole lot of that. We moved some cows, but so basically right now the pigs are getting hay and scraps, I believe, and gosh. You know, this is going to sound insensitive, but the idea of this system where there’s no waste, pigs will eat anything. And there was a chick that just didn’t survive, just a baby chicken, basically, that did not survive. And that went to the pigs. And at first I was kind of like, oh, that sucks, but it doesn’t suck. That’s one of the things that Simon Fairlie talks about in his book, Meat: A Benign Extravagance, and there is no waste in nature. Something comes along and eats the thing that didn’t make it, and then that thing dies, and becomes part of the soil.


LIZ WOLFE: So that’s just kind of how things work, in my opinion, ideally. The cows, the what they call Salad Bar Beef, the cows that are grazing on fresh forage in the better part of the year. We fed them hay as well, which was actually…they don’t bring in hay or anything like that. They make it there. So they’re fed just on that forage. I mean, there’s no grain or anything kooky. What else? Oh, they’ve got rabbits there as well. And what’s kind of interesting is that the chickens are in as well in these big giant like hoop houses, and they share some-they don’t share space with the pigs. The pigs are kind of towards the back there, and they’re separated. They’ve got rabbits in these hoop houses that basically, I think Michael Pollan talked about this in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The rabbits basically kind of I guess enrich the floor area. I have no idea what the technical terms for all of this are, but basically the rabbits are crapping in and enriching whatever it is the chickens are doing below them, so that’s kind of that. [laughs]


LIZ WOLFE: Sorry I have no grasp of the terminology here. If you can tell, I’m struggling here.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Two days wasn’t enough to really…

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, apparently two days wasn’t enough to learn how to run a sustainable farming operation [xxx 39:01].


LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, imagine that. But let me tell you some terms that I do know that are non-farming terms, but I was so excite because like I said, this was like…I really was grateful for the fact that I have some foundations in CrossFit and that I have my level 1 cert because I really was able to execute these movements with great efficiency, and had I been just a, you know, the goofy girl on the elliptical that I was, you know, ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue how to lift something without completely ruining my back. And there were, you know, a couple of other girls there, some younger girls that bless their hearts, I had to teach them how to effectively deadlift something because they honestly they were going to hurt themselves. Truly they were sweet sweet girls, but you have to-you really have to be careful, you know.

You have to really practice good form and one thing that I never understood, right, in CrossFit was the sumo deadlift high pull. I did not understand what that was for or what purpose it served. You know, I get the farmer carry, like Yeah, I carried giant buckets of, you know, whatever it was up and down during morning chores. But and you know, you get the clean and jerk, like Yeah, that’s fun. You kind of do the strongman thing and clean and jerk, you know, a section of a tree, and that type of stuff. But sumo deadlift high pull, the purpose of that had kind of eluded me. But I figured it out. And I was so excited, and I wanted to call you, Diane, so bad. [laughs] But that’s not what you do when you’re sustainably farming. You don’t call people to tell them these things. But basically I had a giant bale of hay, and I needed to get it up a pretty steep incline, and there was no other way to lift this bale and get it effectively from point A to point B besides doing a little sumo deadlift high pull, holding it, and walking it up this incline. So it was just like the happiest moment of my life. I was like I figured out the mystery!


LIZ WOLFE: But basically I had to hoist it up by the twine, lift it as close to my chin as I could, and take it up that incline and set it down. there was really no other way to do it effectively or without, you know, just completely falling back down the hill, so that was a good moment, if I do say so myself.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:I’m proud of you.

LIZ WOLFE: Thank you. Yeah, you know. It was amazing, like the whole family is phenomenal. Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin, who is Joel’s son. They have three like gorgeous, hilarious, polite, smart children. They live on the property as well and, you know, I got to talk to them a little bit about politics and about, you know, preconceived notions of journalists who come on to the farm and want to talk about x, y, and z, but kind of are uneducated in a lot of ways about what farming actually is and what responsible food production is really all about. It was just a really phenomenal experience, and again, these people are doing what they do, they’re a hell of a lot smarter than I will ever be, and they do things with integrity. And I just…it was pretty inspiring. I came back just really wanting to live my life in a more conscientious way, and also to be a lot smarter, so I think that at least half of that equation I can probably manage. [laughs] The other half might have been determined long ago, but that was my experience and I’ll probably write about it today or tomorrow, talk about it a little bit. I’m better at getting my thoughts down by typing them or writing them than just talking off the cuff, so hopefully everyone…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Well, it’s kind of a…it’s kind of good timing after we…after I had, you know, Karen on last week to talk about, you know, food quality and sustainability and all of that, just to kind of hear your take from the experience on the farm, so…

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Yeah, that’s awesome. I don’t…

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, it was really…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I don’t…I’m sad to say, I don’t think I could have handled it. And I’m very proud that you’re kind of on the BBT and you went and did that, and I don’t know. I’m just like, wow. I’m kind of in awe because even two days, I just don’t think-I just don’t think I could handle it. [laughs]

LIZ WOLFE: Well, everybody should have to do it. Honestly, like…

DIANE SANFILIPPO:I know! I think I should. I mean.

LIZ WOLFE: You should.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Obviously I wouldn’t be able to, you know, apply for that kind of position or program, but you know, I don’t know. I think…I definitely am one of the people who has a lot of respect for where my food comes from, and I’m always, you know, chatting with farmers, like so grateful when they, you know, are at farmers markets and just love to talk to them about what they do. But there really is that disconnect, so you know, getting a trip to a farm is probably something that everyone should do at some point.

LIZ WOLFE: Oh my gosh, I just remembered what the man toy was called.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Oh my God. What was it?

LIZ WOLFE: It was called the band saw mill.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:[laughs] I’m sure the guys will be like, duh, Liz.

LIZ WOLFE: They’re obviously screaming at their iPhones, like BANDSAW MILL. But that’s what it was. Okay. Thank you. Sorry about that. Continue, please.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:Okay. No, well, we’re kind of around 45 minutes, and you know, we kind of just chatted about whatever today, so I don’t know. We have a couple of questions we could get to. But I think maybe we’ll just hang on to them. I don’t know how you feel about that. We’ve gotten feedback both ways around the podcast being too long, too short. I could hear more. I could hear less.

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm. No, I think it’s..I think it’s good. I…I’m spent.

DIANE SANFILIPPO:And I’m tired. Well, we definitely have a bunch of questions, thanks to people who posted a bunch on Facebook. We’ll grab those and keep them for a future episode. And I think we’re going to have…we’re recording and today’s episode will air, let’s see. This episode will air on February 20..sorry, January 25th, and then I think February 1st, we’re going to have the authors of the book Naked Calories. That episode will be on, so if people have questions about micronutrients, and micronutrient deficiencies, and just different types of diseases or chronic illnesses that people are suffering with, or even just something more minor that you think might be related to micronutrient status. Definitely check out that book. I’m sure you can check it out on I’ll post a link to it in the notes for this show, so that you can see who these authors are who are coming on. But feel free to submit questions. I’ll definitely post about it again on Facebook before it comes up, so that people can submit other questions. We have a few, but I think it’ll be cool to talk to them about micronutrient status and kind of what’s missing in the diet, and I think it really just goes hand in hand with a lot of the things that we talk about with nutrient dense foods and lots of kind of the bigger names in the community in terms of nutrition and whole food nutrition have already reviewed this book, and I mean, the whole first like 3 or 4 pages are just quotes and quotes of praise for the book. I mean, I think it’s really interesting, so if people want to check that out again, it’s called Naked Calories, and they’ll be on next week.

That’s it.

LIZ WOLFE: Very cool.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So we’ll talk next week, and until then, have a good one.

LIZ WOLFE: All right, see ya.


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