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Thanks for joining us for episode 68 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like s to answer it on the show!
Today we are excited to be interviewing Diane Sanfilippo whose guidance – through her programs, books, and social media presence – empowers people to navigate a personalized journey of developing awareness of their own path to health.
Diane Sanfilippo is the owner and founder of Balanced Bites, a certified Nutrition Consultant, and two-time New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo, The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Diane holds a B.S. from Syracuse University and is certified in holistic nutrition from Bauman College, holistic lifestyle coaching from the CHEK Institute, and Poliquin BioSignature Modulation. She writes for her popular health blog – balancedbites.com – and is co-host of the top-rated weekly health podcast, “The Balanced Bites Podcast,” available free from iTunes.
On September 6th, 2016, Diane will release an updated and expanded 2nd edition of her runaway hit Practical Paleo which has sold over half a million copies and spent a total of 97 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list.
Diane lives in San Francisco with her husband, Scott, and two fur kids.
Today Diane is sharing her experience in forging her own path through Paleo dogma to find what works best for her despite the noise of naysayers and critics. You’ll hear Diane’s refreshing perspective in an arena crowded with conflicting rules and advice as she discusses her own dietary experimentation and how her diet has evolved among the changes in life.
Also be sure to catch information about Diane’s exciting updates to the second edition of Practical Paleo and where to catch up with her at different tour locations!
Here are some of the questions we discussed with Diane:
- What did it take to get you to the point where you decided you’re going to do whatever works for you, and if that means people are going be upset or confused, it’s okay because honesty is more important than sticking to Paleo dogma?
- What kind of dietary experiments have you personally done lately?
- Have you had bad experiences with some of these dietary experiments?
- Is there anything that has stuck from a permanent perspective when you’re not on dietary plans? Are there changes that you just now follow even when you’re just eating on the fly?
- What kind of new things can your readers expect from the new edition of Practical Paleo?
- Balanced Bites Podcast
- Practical Paleo, 2nd Edition
- Mediterranean Paleo Cooking
- 21-Day Sugar Detox
- Follow Diane on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube
Kelsey: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode 68 of the Ancestral RDs. I’m Kelsey Marksteiner and with me as always is Laura Schoenfeld.
Laura: Hey, everybody.
Kelsey: Today we are really excited to have a very special guest. I’m sure a lot of you know her; Diane Sanfilippo. We’ll just jump right into talking with her today. But before we do, here’s a word from our sponsor.
Laura: Alright. I’m really excited to be introducing our interview guest today. Diane Sanfilippo is the owner and founder of Balanced Bites, a certified Nutrition Consultant, and two-time New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo, The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Diane holds a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University and is certified in holistic nutrition from Bauman College, holistic lifestyle coaching from the CHEK Institute, and Poliquin BioSignature Modulation. She writes for her popular health blog balancedbites.com and is co-host of the top-rated weekly health podcast, “The Balanced Bites Podcast,” available free on iTunes.
On September 6th of this year, Diane will release an updated and expanded 2nd edition of her runaway hit Practical Paleo which has sold over half a million copies and spent a total of 97 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list.
Diane lives in San Francisco with her husband, Scott, and two fur kids.
Diane: Thanks for having me.
Laura: Did I pronounce all your certifications right? I tried to.
Diane: Pretty much, yeah. Sounds good.
Laura: Good, well we’re really glad to have you here and what we’re going to talk primarily about today is some stuff we’ve seen lately on your social media. Primarily Instagram, that’s the one I typically tend to check out. I just happened be scrolling one day and I saw some really interesting stuff about your dietary experimentation that you’ve been doing recently.
The cool thing that I saw on one of your posts was talking about priding yourself on knowing yourself well to the point of completely not caring if what you know about yourself actually makes other people uncomfortable.
Being a Paleo celebrity and being under the microscope with what you do when it comes to your diet and lifestyle, what did it take to get you to the point where you decided okay, I’m just going to do whatever works for me and if that means people are going be upset or confused, it’s okay because honesty is more important than sticking to this Paleo dogma.
Diane: I think part of what people who have sort of known me for a long time might know, but folks who are new to me and everyday people are getting the book, and new to my Instagram, new to my book, etc., I always try and keep my eye on the fact that I’m not just speaking to tens of thousands of people who know me. Do you know what I mean?
Laura: Mm hmm.
Diane: Laura, you know this about me. I’m extremely unapologetic about the things that I do. I don’t move through the world, move through life to please others. It’s definitely not my approach. Just from a personal perspective, it never has been. This about my personality, and my way of living, and interacting with world around me is kind of independent of my dietary choices. I’ve never been somebody who’s totally hung up on what are other people going to think? Because I just don’t care that much about it.
Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t care what other people think, or I’m not sensitive to it, or aware of it, which is part of the reason for this post. Because it’s like hey, I know that you’re watching what I’m doing and for that reason, I continue to be as transparent and honest as possible. So when I post something that’s not considered strict Paleo, I understand that you’re coming to the table perhaps with this preconceived notion that since I wrote this book, my thought process is I should eat strict Paleo. I get that people think that, but because I don’t live in that world of dogma about anything, I just try and make that very obvious and transparent.
Because I think otherwise, everyone else who’s already in that place, because we know people learn about a way of eating and then it becomes religion to them. It becomes where that’s what they believe and there is no other truth. I think that’s dangerous. I’m not here to criticize how people approach their faith, that’s a totally separate thing. But I think it’s very dangerous to approach our health and wellness in that way because inevitably we close ourselves off to what may to be true for ourselves and for others. I think that’s a little bit like just out there in terms of the way that we think. But that’s kind of at the core of what I want to teach people and what I want to be here to do because I’m finding that beyond teaching people eat this, not that, because that’s kind of boring. You know what I mean?
Laura: Mm hmm.
Diane: It’s a little bit surface, and a little bit shallow, and a little bit I’m just over it. Not in a sense of I don’t want to embrace people who are new and help them out, that’s not what I’m saying. But I truly want to empower people and so I need to live, and act, and educate from a place where I’m 100% true to myself and I’m sharing what’s true.
I don’t not post things to hide it from people. If I don’t post it it’s because the light was bad or it’s just not an appropriate time in my stream to post it. But I never hide things for the purpose of either shielding people from the truth or not showing what I’m really doing.
I think that the way that we interact with the world around us, especially with social media, people get such a look at what we’re doing, and I think a lot of it tends to be filtered for what people expect of us, and I can’t do that. I can’t do that with social media because that doesn’t feel right to me.
Diane: I have to say the things that need to be said.
Laura: Right. You have such a big influence in the Paleo community that I feel like even if this wasn’t your way of operating even before you got this level of following on social media and all that, I feel like people in your position even in Kelsey and my position, we’re not as well-known as you, but we do have some level of following online. I feel like people in our position, it’s really a responsibility to be forthcoming about you’re doing and not be just showing what you think people want to see.
Like you said, realizing that you’re not going to be live streaming your entire life 24/7, but also understanding that there is benefit to showing things that aren’t perfect or aren’t following a specific like you said, eat this, not that approach because there is so much of that already online.
I feel like a lot of what Kelsey have experienced with our clients is almost more confusion about things because there’s so many people promoting these arbitrary rules about stuff that isn’t necessarily even relevant to that person in terms of their health, in terms of their needs, goals, all that.
Diane: I don’t think that that stems from the people writing books and teaching this stuff because I think if you look at everyone who does write a book, or teaches about this, or speaks about it, I think every single person in that position understands that there’s always context, and there’s always a case for eating some beans and not making a big deal of it, or putting some sugar in something and nobody’s going to die. I really believe that. I believe wholeheartedly that it’s never our intention to create this line of good and bad, black and white.
But there are of course some interventions. Rob Wolf will always say give it 30 days, give it a strict go. I have a sugar detox program. Those things help a lot of people and part of that is knowing yourself. If you know that taking things slowly just never turns into anything, if you never end up making changes because you didn’t rip the band aid off, then you know that you’re an all or nothing. You have to give it a full shot, feel the benefits, you have to see what that’s like. Some people are like that. Some people really succeed that way and I would never say that it’s not a good approach for a lot of people.
There’s a reason why programs do so well because people need that support. They can’t be left to just figure it out and make decisions for themselves from the start because that’s where they’ve been, they’ve been trying to sift through what’s out there and it’s not working for them. Giving that set of rules is honestly very helpful for a lot of people.
Especially as practitioners, I’m sure you guys even though that’s what you want to perpetuate long term, for a lot of your clients you might say I need you to not eat the following things for a month, or two months, or whatever it is.
Diane: Even if it’s not as many restrictions, there are still restrictions, there are still some rules, and it’s helpful for people. That’s just the fact of the matter.
But I do think that continuing this conversation, and part of it’s a natural evolution of where we’ve all been and where we’re all going. If you look at the community of us who have been teaching this for let’s just say between 5 and 10 years, we probably started out being a lot stricter, and so now we’re getting away from that. I think the strict message is more perpetuated in the community itself than it is in the leaders. Most of the leaders of the community are not trying to give that message. Mark Sisson a couple years ago of Paleo f(x) was expressing his what can I get away with attitude of what can I add and still feel good?
One of the things that I’m always kind of back and forth between with what I share on places like Instagram is do I not share this because it’s going to confuse people? Or do I just share it because it’s what’s real? I always end up sharing it because it’s what’s real, even if it’s going to confuse somebody who’s new. Like I said, every single day somebody says I’m curious, I’m new, I’m new to Paleo, I don’t understand the gluten free pasta, or I don’t understand whatever it is. I can totally appreciate that.
Diane: I appreciate that they’re new and they’re confused. I’m glad that they found me because they’re going to get this information, they’re going to hear here’s what’s Paleo, here’s what’s not, and here’s why I eat it, for example.
That is one of the things that with the new edition of Practical Paleo I’ve expanded on a lot more. What I’m proposing in the book doesn’t need to be strict for the rest of your life. It could be you follow this for a while, see how you feel, and then you’re reintroducing things, maybe you do some gut healing in the meantime. We all know about the 4R protocol, all of us on this call. It’s not always just about removing and reintroducing. Sometimes there’s some healing to be done in between there. Getting people realizing that we don’t have to just eliminate these foods forever.
Honestly, as a community that’s one of the things that we dislike about other dietary dogmas, right? We dislike that perhaps the vegan community is so staunchly against animal foods. They’re just closing their minds. You know what I mean? I think there’s something to be said for promoting real, whole, nutrient dense, unprocessed, non-junky foods. I think it at the core we have to all know that that’s probably what’s best for human animals. But there’s gray in there and I think that if we ignore that, then we’re closing our eyes to it, and plugging our ears, and kind of singing la-la-la like it doesn’t exist.
I just think that that’s naive and I think that it’s dangerous to do that because we all know what it was like to go Paleo initially and kind of waved the flag, and shouted from the rooftops, and think that proselytizing that message was going to save everybody from their health woes. The truth is, it’s not. The truth is, it does a ton. An elimination diet has always been known to be extremely beneficial for a lot people for healing and for discovering things about what works for you. But at the end of the day, including some white rice is not going to push everybody to this place of inflammation where now you’re going to get this disease and die. We just all need to calm down. You know what I mean?
Kelsey: Yeah, well I think it’s really useful for people to get that message over and over through places like social media. I know Laura and I, we joke a lot that we talk about carbs like every episode of our podcast practically, but it’s because people kind of need to hear that message over and over again that carbs can be okay depending on your situation for that to really sink in.
Laura: Or even desirable, not just okay right?
Kelsey: Right, yeah. Even for somebody who is new to Paleo or new to your program like the 21-Day Sugar Detox, it’s really important I think to see those things, often even, so they get the sense that okay, I don’t have to continue this necessarily for my entire life. There’s a world after these programs. It is a gray area, and it’s very personalized, and you kind of just have to experiment with it.
Diane: Yeah, I think the tough part is for a lot of people that that’s hard and it’s uncomfortable that they will have this hand holding at one point and then they’re going to have to figure it out for themselves. I look at it this way, I work out with a trainer, I also have a program from another coach other days of the week, and I really relay on that to help me to kind of guide me through. I could do it on my own, but I feel like I’m less focused and less like I’m moving in a certain direction of achieving my goals.
I get it that people want people to look to for advice, and for programs, and more information. I try and put myself in other people’s shoes and I think well where am I doing that in my life and how does that work for me? I’m not good at doing self-care at home, mobilizing, stretching, whatever it’s going to be. I do best when I show up and I’m working with someone one on one.
Diane: Maybe for a lot of people, signing up and saying I’m doing 21-Day Sugar Detox this month, that’s what they need. I don’t want to judge people who find that useful. I think it’s important to just continue to share the message that we don’t need to live in that place forever. And if you find yourself coming back to the same challenge multiple times of year, year after year, it’s time to figure this stuff out for yourself a little bit more.
Or if you just like doing 21-Day Sugar Detox once a year, it just feels comfortable and easy, and it helps you clean things up, and then you’re on your merry way, then so be it. I think sometimes we make a bigger deal out of it that you have to and sometimes we don’t make as big of a deal as we should. It just depends on the person, for sure.
Laura: The other option if you really feel like you can’t make those decisions for yourself, then investing in a one on one type of coach situation, like you were saying, you have a trainer, or a nutritionist, or whoever is going to help you make those decisions in a way that’s more targeted and more goal oriented. That is helpful for a lot of people.
Diane: Sometimes the group programs are written for a wide audience, and so if you’re not getting where you want to go or you’re finding that you can’t get out of the cycle of always having to do this program again and again, then there’s probably other work to be done. And that’s part of also what I was talking about with this know yourself post. I know myself, I know that I like having a program that I’m going to follow with my nutrition. I like tracking my food. I’ve found historically through every different thing that I’ve ever done since after college, because I gained a bunch of weight in college, I was eating like an athlete, but I was not an athlete because I was I was an athlete in high school. If there’s ever a case for understanding that we need to change the inputs when the context changes, like you guys talking about people needing to add more carbs when they start training a certain way perhaps, or have some stress issues, or adrenal issues, let’s not forget that maybe low carb worked for you in a different context and maybe now it’s not.
Diane: Same thing with just weight gain. Sometimes we don’t realize how much we’re eating point blank. We were eating a certain amount of food forever, and so we forget. People think it’s just getting older that changes things. Well actually no, you’re less physically active. You’re still eating as much as you were before.
Look at somebody who cooks delicious food. I’ll just like pat myself on the back. I’ve made delicious food. It’s really not easy to moderate my portions and so for me, tracking doesn’t make me crazy. Tracking makes me feel calmer. Tracking makes me feel like okay, I know what just went in. And if I’m hungry, I eat. I don’t let tracking be a distraction from listening to my body, but I do let it help me make sure I’m staying in line with trying to get in the right amount of veggies, the right amount of protein, fat, etc.
I think everyone’s just got a different way that they feel about that stuff and I don’t think we know until we try. But I think a lot of people are quick to poo-poo the idea of tracking what you’re eating because it’s a slippery slope for many people and it can lead to more restriction.
Honestly, I just like to eat way too much to ever just restrict myself to that point. I cannot stand the feeling of being hungry. Being a little bit hungry is alright, but if I get too hungry, it’s just I’m so unhappy that I don’t let myself stay there. It doesn’t become a slippery slope for me in that way. I don’t have a certain amount that I’m supposed to eat and then try and restrict it more. I don’t do that because I think that that’s foolish, so there’s that.
Laura: Yeah, I think sometimes those tracking experiences, even if they’re in the short term, can give you a little bit more of a visual I find for what your portions should look like.
Laura: Even if you do a month worth of that and then you’re like I’m over this. For me, I get so bored with tracking, I can’t stick to it very long. But even if you just do it for a short period of time getting to know what a normal meal size should look like, and that may actually be that you’re eating more than you were before because you weren’t getting enough protein, or you weren’t getting enough carbs. So tracking can help kind of reset your idea about what a plate should look like. Then you can kind of just cruise on your understanding of okay, about this much food is what works for me. If I’m still hungry, I can always eat more. If I get full, I don’t have to finish this plate. Just allowing it to kind of reset your expectations as opposed to saying I have to get 1800 calories a day every single day, and if I go over…because people do take it to that level.
Laura: I think some people are afraid that, oh well people that track are neurotic.
Laura: I just think, like you were saying, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Diane: I think most people honestly, if they’ve never tracked, they have no idea what’s going in. I think most people would be surprised to see that by and large I’m going to say most people are probably under eating protein for what they think they’re eating. They’re probably over eating carbs and fat for what they think they’re eating. Because if I’m left to my own devices where I’m not really tracking protein, I’m definitely eating less protein, more fat, and more carbs. And that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not going to help me reach the goals that I have.
That’s where we need to just look at what are you doing? Does it work for you? Do you need a coach? Is a program that’s kind of general going to help you get there? Maybe. It’s just everyone’s got to figure out, independently sit with yourself and think what has worked for me in past to help me make positive changes? Is it having a program that I follow so that I’m not constantly having to make these decisions? Because decision making fatigue is a real problem. If you have to consistently everyday make six decisions about what you’re going to eat, that can be really stressful. Whereas if you just say okay, I’m eating these things, I’m not eating these things, or even if you prep your meals ahead of time which is why a lot of people are successful when they do meal prep is that you’ve taken decision making away that day in a good way.
We all have a million other decisions to make all day long. It’s one of the reasons why when I’m finishing a book, it’s literally like can we get salads for takeout? Can Scott make my food? Anything I can do to not have to make more decisions, and my team knows this too. Literally I’m like don’t show me the thing until it’s a yes or no. I don’t want to have to pick colors with you, I don’t want to have to read whatever these three sentences are that you’ve already pulled as a quote for me. I already said it, I like it, it’s good.
But little things give us this fatigue and it’s hard to stick to our plans when we’re tiring ourselves out with small decisions all the time. This is kind of a whole other topic, but it’s one of the reasons why when you see a lot of leaders in any community, you notice people wear the same thing all the time.
Diane: They eat the same thing all the time, they’re not trying to make that decision. Why do you think Steve Jobs always wore a mock turtle neck and jeans? You know what I’m saying?
Laura: Mm hmm.
Diane: We’re trying to make these decisions over and over again. I literally put my sweats, my workout clothes out at night so I don’t have to think about it the next morning. I’m not trying to get dressed every day and look cute, and it’s not because I don’t want to look cute, it’s because I can’t handle wasting energy on those decisions. I need to just focus on big decisions.
But that’s a really big point and I think a lot of people listening will be like oh my goodness, I am making so many decisions every day. Of course this way of eating is harder for me because I didn’t prepare myself. I didn’t make my food ahead or I didn’t look at the menu ahead of time at that restaurant that my work meeting is going to be at. Right there, diffuse the bomb. Look at the menu ahead of time. Don’t wait until you get there and then you’re in a situation where there’s more stress, more peer pressure to decide what you’re going to eat. Know what you’re going to eat before you get there.
Laura: Yeah, sounds like you’ve been obviously experimenting with different dietary approaches. I know I saw some hashtags, like if it fits your macros, that kind of stuff. This has been a multi month maybe multiyear process for you. What kind of dietary experiments have you done personally in the last couple months or even the last year or so?
Diane: Several years ago I actually was doing a ketogenic approach and I would say that was about sometime around late 2010 into early 2011, maybe about 6 or 8 months of sort of a cyclic ketogenic diet. I wasn’t training with a lot of metabolic conditioning. I was basically lifting a lot. I was training on my own a lot so I was doing a few lifts and saying that to let people know that I was fueling appropriately for the type of exercise I was doing. I felt fine, actually really enjoyed it. I definitely saw some fat loss form it. I enjoyed how I felt in terms of energy, between meals not being as hungry, and I generally enjoyed eating that way.
But at a certain point, it just was too hard to maintain. Actually I think it became too hard to maintain while I was writing Practical Paleo because I started working on that the winter of 2011 into 2012 and finished working on it summer of 2012. By that time, I definitely was eating a much more sort of balanced approach. I don’t think I was eating gluten free grains on any regular basis at the point. Maybe just whenever I would have sushi or something like that I would eat the white rice, but it wasn’t part of my regular intake at home. I think I just kind of went to a more standard Paleo approach with sweet potatoes, and some squash, and probably white potatoes, and things like that. At a certain point because I was doing CrossFit, and I think at some point then I started adding white rice. I was just doing things on my own and seeing how that was going.
2015 was a really hard year for me. There was a lot going on. We were trying to figure out moving because early 2015 the winter had been so bad of 2014 into 2015. You guys are both sort of northeast, or I know, Kelsey are you in New York City?
Laura: I’m in North Carolina now. I don’t do winter anymore.
Diane: It was so bad. I was dealing with so much seasonal depression basically. I just don’t do well with winter. I don’t like it, I don’t want to be in it. I was just over it and it was just getting really stressful because I did not know what to do. I felt really stuck and I remember saying to Scott…and I have a point to the story…but it was probably about February I was like I can’t do this anymore. We have to move. We made a plan and we were trying to figure out moving.
For the next six months, that was going on, we had a new book out, Mediterranean Paleo came out that winter 2014, just so much going on in 2015. Then we moved, we got married, my grandma passed away. That was a major stressor for me probably the biggest stressor I could experience because she was the last of my grandparents to pass away and for me death is probably the most impactful stressor. It’s just for me it’s a very, very hard thing.
All that to say I put on a little bit of weight by the end of last year. Not a ton, I’m not a tall person and so for me 10 pounds is a lot. It’s like 20 to 30 for taller people. I just needed to do something. I needed to do something different, doing 21 Sugar Detox. Anything that doesn’t actually talk about portion control doesn’t help me because I know what to eat and I don’t have a problem avoiding sugar, or even fruit, or whatever it might be. I can so easily do that, but I can easily also take in more calories than anybody around me if left without portion control. I decided to look into a plan that would actually be more macronutrient oriented, of course always keeping my eye on high quality food. I don’t do the calorie free syrups and all that junky stuff. Just because it doesn’t have calories and it fits my macros doesn’t mean I’m going to eat it.
Diane: I always keep it obviously with that slant. But it really helped me. It helped me to find a new normal and a new balance. I did that for about 12 weeks and probably lost that weight. I think I lost about maybe 8 pounds let’s say. I don’t really know because I didn’t look at the scale before the program. I just felt like it wasn’t going to help me. It wasn’t going to be productive. I was kind of guessing at my starting weight, but I’m guessing that I lost probably about 8 pounds, then kind of went of it for a while. Just like Laura, what you said, you just get fatigued from counting and measuring, and doing all that stuff. It’s really not that practical to do while you’re traveling a lot. It wasn’t happening for the next let’s say 6 months.
Then again recently I was like, you know what? I’m ready to dig back in and really focus on this. Basically for the whole time I was working more intense edits for the second edition of Practical Paleo, that is so much of a stressor that I couldn’t deal with the potential stress of having to count food. It just naturally had a season to it. I finished the program and then I went into more intense, I mean I’ve been working on edits for a while, but the more focus intense edits for the last let’s say 6 months or so and not tracking macros, and then started that again once that other stress was gone.
I think that’s really important for people to pay attention to. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to start tracking macros, and then you’re going to move across the county, and you’re going to get married. You know what I mean? It’s just very unrealistic and you won’t be successful. You’re not setting yourself up for success.
I knew that right now I had about 6 weeks before I start my tour, which will be for 3 weeks in September, and I can’t maintain it this way on tour. I mean I can if I really tried, but I’m not interested in being that stressed out. I’m going to make the best choices I can. I’m going to enjoy the heck out of some of the restaurants we’re hitting on the tour because obviously meeting people is super fun, but…
Laura: Let’s just be real.
Diane: Let’s just be real here, eating is my favorite. Going to restaurants that I love, that’s super fun for me. I’m not going to not do that because wanted to be on this plan.
I’ll probably resume the plan when I get back home because I feel really good when I’m doing it, and I just think that everyone needs to figure that out. It’s really stressful for me when somebody just tries to jump on something I’m doing just because I’m doing it. Give me some time to suss it out, see what I think, see what my experience is, see if I think it’s beneficial.
I’m not following this plan as it was written because for the first 10 days or first week, I hit 4 days or so in there that were really ugly for me. It was too many small meals, and not only can I not handle that in terms of just sitting down to eat that many times, my body doesn’t feel good with that. It just does not feel good. I never feel full, I never feel like my blood sugar hits a point where it gets under control. I feel so much better, even with the same total macro breakdown, eating fewer times in a day. I need a bigger meal to feel like, okay, my hunger is gone for now and for a little while, and then it’ll come back. Whereas eating six small meals throughout the day, I literally never stop feeling hungry when I eat that way.
Kelsey: I’m the same way, Diane.
Diane: I can be hungry for an hour, or even whatever, a little bit longer.
Diane: I’m not trying to never suffer this little twinge. I mean I’m hungry right now, but I’ll take my adrenal test, and then I’ll eat, and it’ll be fine. I was literally laying down a lot for those three days and Scott was like are you okay? What is happening? Not just I wanted to lay down for a minute and watch Snapchat stories, but I can’t even deal and I had to just lay down because I couldn’t even fix my food. I was just so hungry.
Diane: I’m trying to be honest about my experience and not hide it until something is different. But at the same time, maybe it’s a lesson to me, don’t talk about it until I have something more to say. But it’s hard for me to be like that because if I’m posting what I’m doing, like I said it’s so transparent.
Diane: Anyway, I do think it’s important for people to look into things on their own, see what might work for them. Don’t do it just because just because I’m doing it, especially not if you’re going to come back and tell me you hate it, or it didn’t work for you, or whatever. I don’t even know if it’s going to work for me.
Laura: Like why did you tell me to do this? It’s like I literally just started this two days ago, I didn’t tell you to do anything.
Diane: I definitely get that people want to do as I do, not just as I say. But trust me, if I think it’s good, I’m going to tell you I think it was good, and it’s was beneficial, and I learned something. Anyway, but I’m going to tell people then my experience that I’m not following it the way that was written because that didn’t work for me. And now I feel like that’s just so much of a better exchange of information that people can have because if people are going to following something blindly, I can’t help you. I don’t know what’s on the other side of that ledge. Do you know what I mean?
Laura: Have you had any other bad experiences with some of these dietary experimentations?
Diane: I think this was the same thing that happened to me when I started the previous macros program because they tend to be a lot of meals throughout the day and I did the exact same thing with that one. I ended up condensing things down because it’s something that I learned just doesn’t work for me. But I don’t think so.
The other thing, we talked about this on a recent episode of the “Balanced Bites Podcast.” We had one episode, we talked about are you accidently dieting? And then we talked about another one with diet mentality and sort of the group think that happens. What I mentioned before about the sugar free syrups for example, I hate to kind to get into this because I don’t want people to take it personally because it’s not specific to this challenge that I’m doing right now or this program that I’m doing right now. It’s absolutely not specific. And if people are like which one is she doing? And are the people in there doing this? It’s irrelevant. This happens literally in every program, every dietary shift.
I basically said I’m feeling hungry even though I’m following what I’m supposed to be doing. I regretted making the post as soon as I made it. There’s a reason why I’m not into group projects. I don’t like everyone’s opinion. I really do not. I want opinion from a coach, one person who’s experienced, who’s going to know me and who’s not going to BS me, and who’s not going to be in a group think. Literally the feedback is like are you drinking this much water? Are you eating the high volume vegetables? Everything outside of maybe you need more food.
Diane: Or maybe condensing the meals into fewer meals. At the end the day, I probably knew what was right and so I shouldn’t have even thrown it out there. But it’s all of this diet mentality coming back like drink some diet soda, or chew some sugarless gum, and I want to flip my middle fingers at everyone that says that.
Laura: Brush your teeth.
Diane: Yeah, and I don’t blame any of those people. If someone is listening and they’re like oh my gosh, I did that, whatever, this is not personal because I couldn’t tell you who it was. I don’t know names, this is not to be an attack on any of those people. If you’ve done something like that, it’s just kind of a let me shining the light on the fact that that might disordered thinking. If you think that someone’s hungry and there’s something else they should do other than eat or shift around how they’re balancing their food, we just need to question that.
I literally cannot stand when someone says you can’t know if you’re hungry if you haven’t had let’s just say it’s a gallon of water today. There’s a difference between hunger and thirst, and I drink when I’m thirsty, and I get that being dehydrated can sometimes make people hungry.
Diane: I’m kind of on a rant here, but you know what I’m talking about, right? That let me give you every solution other than the obvious one because obvious one might be you need to eat a little bit more food.
Laura: Right. It kind of invalidates the strictness of the plan.
Laura: I think there’s something to be said for kind of checking in and saying okay, am I actually hungry or am I just bored?
Laura: It’s one thing to say okay, is this actually hunger? But then if it is, then like you said, the solution is eating. It’s not okay, well if it is hunger than go chew some gum.
Diane: I think what I was looking for was more have other people felt this on these days and does it kind of go away? Or what? And nobody else said well, I felt hungry the first few days. Like for example, on my Sugar Detox program we know by day 4 through 7 people who’ve been eating a ton of carbs are going to not feel that great because their body has burned through a lot of stored carbohydrates, they’re not replenishing tons of them because we are pushing them to be a little bit more towards the higher fat side on that program. But we assure them it’s going to be those few days and then and it going to come back around. You’re not going to feel this way. We also don’t limit food on that program. We don’t limit calories or any of that. So they’re free to eat more if they’re hungry. It’s not that. That’s their body just trying to get over the sugar.
But in this case, when people are just really quick to kind of jump to solutions that are sort of not addressing the real problem, that just makes me a little bit wary. But to the credit of the program, one of the creators did reach out to me and he ended up giving up a recommendation that was pretty much where I had already taken myself. It was just a sign to me that I probably should have done some one on one coaching with program from the beginning, but I really wanted to give it an honest shot on my own. I wanted to see what’s everyone else buying into? What if you don’t have the money for one on one coaching?
Diane: I didn’t have the time to commit to it, I didn’t have 12 weeks. It has been really interesting. One of the things I think a lot of people sort of get away from overtime when you maybe have a significant other, or you have roommates, what have you…and I had to kind of remind my mom of this recently too because I gave her some nutrition changes to make and I had to remind her you’re not dad.
Diane: You have different needs. Even between myself and Scott, he can eat just more of everything and never put on a pound unless he’s really, really conscious of trying to eat even more. I think just being aware that as we go through all of this stuff, changes that we might make might be relevant to those around us, and they might not.
Laura: After doing these dietary experiments, and working with coaches, working with group programs, is there anything that has stuck from a permanent perspective when you’re not on these plans? Any changes that you just now follow even when you’re just eating on the fly?
Diane: Yeah. I’m definitely more tuned into carbohydrate intake as related to exercise because I know that if I don’t eat carbohydrates after a high intensity workout, a lot of lifting, I really feel the effects of that and my energy is not good if I don’t get those carbs in.
It’s a little bit weird, but I’ve also come back around on some leaner meats. I mean I really used to hate lean meats because I think we all got to this place where like can I really not look at another chicken breast for the rest of my life and I’ll be fine. But I’ve come around to a place where now for about a least a year or so Scott and I have been doing a lot of grilled chicken breasts. And the way that we make it is not dry and disgusting, and we enjoy it. We don’t eat things that we don’t enjoy, bottom like. In this house, we don’t want any gross food. But that’s definitely been another one, just reopening to some leaner meats. That doesn’t mean ground turkey. I still don’t think I have an affinity toward ground turkey, or any affection for it I should say.
Diane: But, yeah that’s been kind of another one. And also cooking with a little bit less fat. You guys know I’m not fat phobic and I don’t think that fat is making people fat. But when you rebalance your plate, when you add back carbohydrates, I think that one of the things a lot of people don’t realize is that if you simply add carbohydrates, if you were under eating, that’s fine. But if you eating a decent amount of calories and all you do is add carbohydrates to your plate, you’re probably creating an equation for fat gain if you’re eating higher fat and then you add more carbohydrates to your plate.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Diane: What I have seen, and you guys can tell me what you’ve seen too, but what I’ve seen is that if you’re going to add more carbohydrates, you’re going to have to scale back somewhere else.
Diane: You can’t just add and expect the equation to stay the same, right? That’s definitely been really interesting. Finding which foods cook well with a little bit less fat is also interesting to me too. Like making a big try of these baked potato fries, which are pretty much my life right now, I’m obsessed with them, I can make an entire try with about a teaspoon of fat. I know it sounds a little crazy sometimes to be like I’m measuring half a teaspoon, but whatever. Two more teaspoons, a tablespoon worth of fat on that tray is a lot more calories that I just might not need. You know what I mean?
Diane: It’s not about starving, it’s just am I over fueling myself for activity that I’m not doing?
Diane: I’m only 5”4’. I think it’s relevant information for everyone.
Diane: That kind of goes back to the measuring thing. Like what are we putting in?
Laura: Right. I think with the fat question, one of problems is we have to push this fat is okay, fat is healthy message and then it ends up swinging in the other direction where people just will put tablespoons upon tablespoons of fats, and added oils, and that kind of stuff to their food.
Laura: And not that that’s going to give you heart disease or something like that, but from a calories in, calories out perspective, fat is very dense. So my question is always at what point are you taking in more than your body even needs from a nutritional perspective?
Laura: Because we know that there is an essential amount of fat that you need to be healthy, and then above and beyond that, the question is okay, is that necessary? Is that impacting your goals?
Laura: If you have a goal of fat loss, eating a ton of extra added fat that’s not necessary from a health perspective is not going to help you reach those goals. Now that might not apply to someone on a ketogenic diet, but if you’re doing a macros or a higher carb diet, then extra fat which can sometimes not be that much, like you were saying with measuring.
Diane: It’s really easy to pack it on. I think the other thing to pay attention to is also that fat and carbohydrates, they don’t tend to run together in the same crowd in nature.
Diane: We really don’t find high fat, high carb foods. The high carb foods generally don’t have much fat and so I just think it’s important to be aware of that. As it stands now, I’m not buying fat free things and eating fat free foods in order to keep the fat intake down. I’m just choosing different foods or using less of the foods that have more fat.
Diane: I think it’s almost come full circle, right? Years ago when I tried, I never really did weight watchers, but right after college I needed to lose some weight and people in my office were doing it. This was way before I learned anything about real nutrition. Avoiding fat was a really big thing, and so now it’s come full circle from low fat and kind of watching calories. I literally remember thinking I shouldn’t eat more than 25 grams of saturated fat in a day, or whatever it was. Whatever the USDA said, I was really paying attention to that and coming through not being fat phobic and eating tons of fat, pretty low carb. Then also honestly, I just get bored. I want to eat more vegetables, I want to eat seasonal summer fruit.
Diane: If you want to do that, you have to remember the context, you have to remember the season. Now it’s come back to I just say lower fat. It’s lower than I was eating.
Diane: Maybe it’s low for some people, but it’s not like I never have any fat on anything, or I’m scared of fat, or I’m eating fat free products. I think that’s the real difference in the approach from what maybe a lot of us let’s say 10 years ago.
Kelsey: Mm hmm.
Laura: I think when I work with clients on this kind of approach, it’s mostly looking at added fats. We’re not saying don’t eat chicken skin, and don’t eat avocados, and don’t eat nuts, that kind of stuff. It’s more just like, alright well if you’re using a tablespoon of oil to cook with, maybe try a teaspoon and see if you have the same flavor and enjoyment but just a little less added fat.
Diane: Yeah and just learning different cooking method too. Poaching eggs, since we figured out how to poach eggs, I’m so excited about it. Plus it’s a way to cook it. I’m getting great fat in the egg yolk, I don’t need to add more fat to the pan. It’s not to say I never fry an egg anymore, but I think that awareness is really different now. I think more information and more awareness is the key to empowerment once you‘re experimenting with yourself and it doesn’t mean this is what I do for forever, and now this is the end all be all. It’s just more information.
Laura: Yeah, and a lot of times it just comes down to being more aware of what you’re doing as opposed to needing to change anything. I’ve had some clients that when we do kind of a macro template, I don’t give them a meal plan, but it’s more like okay, here’s how much a protein portion at each meal should be, here’s how much oil to use. They’re like oh, I didn’t even realize how much oil I was adding. And now that they’re paying attention, it’s like the food tastes exactly the same, but they just are being more conservative with the oils that they’re adding. It’s not even that big of a change.
Laura: But I think these small changes over the course of months is really what causes the best long term changes opposed to being like I’m going to go on this 1200 a day diet for 12 weeks and lose all this weight and then gain it back as soon as I start eating the way I was eating before. I think having that experience with a plan and realizing that you can eat in a way that is satisfying and not super restrictive, but also paying attention and not just eating whatever and thinking why am I gaining weight because you’re not paying attention.
Diane: Yeah. Totally. I was going to say too the one other thing that I learned is that, and this is kind of something that’s going to apply to eventually changes we’ll be making in the 21-Day Sugar Detox program. But as much as I am all for everyone figuring out what’s their way forward going to be and knowing they’re going to do, I’ve actually seen and experienced that people are really successful when they’re told exactly what to eat. That doesn’t mean in the long term they can’t take what they learned and go with it, but to support people in a certain way.
For my program, it’s 3 weeks, obviously it’s a very short period of time. But if I do build the template where I’m like okay, lets everyone eat this, you’re going to have this meal, and they don’t have to do it if they don’t want to, there are alternates and they can always stray from it. But as I was saying before about the decision paralysis, what if I give you not only here are the foods, but now I also take this stress away because it’s stressful enough to make the nutrition change. So if I do tell you here’s what you’re going to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, you can do it or you don’t have to. But if you want to, it does make it easier. Maybe the change in the nutrition is easier because you just don’t have to make as many decisions about it, and along the way we teach you how it feels. You’re still going to have cook it.
Diane: You’re still going to have to make it, prepare it, put it together. But that is something that I learned too, is that a lot people they succeed when their given that information and their hand is held in that way. And I don’t think that disempowers people because I do think they still have to do the work.
Diane: They still have to put in the energy. We’re not sending them meals or any of that. They still have to do it.
Laura: Right. I think in the long run, it’s almost like when you work with a trainer, it’s not like if you didn’t have the trainer there you just don’t know how to function in the gym.
Laura: You kind of start to learn, oh this is what a normal plan looks like.
Laura: Like here’s’ a normal lifting routine. It might not be exactly what you’re trainer would have done, but you can kind of get pretty close. If you’re on a meal plan that’s provided to you, you start to learn, okay last time I made a meal it was a chicken breast, and a sweet potato, and a broccoli, and blah, blah, blah.
Laura: It’s like okay, I can do that again. It’s like you start to learn strategies maybe it’s not exactly what the plan would have done, but you’re still making decisions that are impacted by what you learned while you were on the plan.
Diane: Yeah, 100%. You might end up being a little bit more on autopilot too where yeah, you’re making decisions, but the minutia of them is much less because you’ve already put those habits in place over that amount of time. You’ve already dealt with going out to dinner on your plan and whatever, you made these decisions before. So once you’ve done it, it’s easier and easier.
Laura: Yeah, exactly. With the last few minutes, I know we mentioned your second edition of Practical Paleo is coming out on September 6th. What kind of new things can your readers expect from this new edition?
Diane: First and foremost, I just want to put it out there that it feels like almost a new book. So people who have the original and are kind of on the fence, if you love the original book, you’re really going to love the new version. It will feel like you have a whole new book. Physically speaking, it’s 50 more pages, but we did a lot to condense the content.
Diane: It’s actually probably 100 pages at least of new content because we condensed the font size, we removed a bunch of extraneous stuff, we even condensed the meal plans onto fewer pages so that I can fit more in. This book is just literally jammed so tightly with content. Quickly, there’s 40 new recipes, 3 new meal plans, the 3 new meal plans are, you guys will not be surprised, 1 for adrenal health and stress management.
Diane: One for healthy hormones and one for liver detox support. When I say meal plans, there’s food obviously, a calendar of food in those plans, but the diet and lifestyle recommendations are far and beyond the more the critical important elements of those plans. The food across all of the plans is only different a little bit depending on the plan. For example, the adrenal health plan does include more carbohydrates than perhaps the blood sugar regulation plan.
Diane: Because the blood sugar regulation plan is really for people with type 2 diabetes for example. Carbs are not causing the problem, but removing some of the junky stuff obviously this helps.
Diane: Okay, so there’s the overarching. The reason for those new meal plans too is that I’ve had so many people in the last 4 years have issues beyond a diagnosed health condition. They don’t have chron’s, or colitis, or type 2 diabetes, or MS, but dealing with other issues that are diet and lifestyle related. Everything we know about HPA axis dysregulation, everything we know about our hormone balance and what our liver is doing to not only our metabolism, but our hormones, all of that, it’s important and people need some guidance there.
And this isn’t the end all, be all. I really think that the book is best used sort of with a practitioner because I’m sure when folks come to you guys, if you’re recommending any supplements or your giving lifestyle recommendations, the book ends up being like an extra support. Somebody forgets why they’re taking something, or you recommend something and they’re like I don’t know if I need that. The book actually just kind of helps to corroborate what you’ve already said. That’s part of it. I think that that’s going to help a ton of people.
Beyond that, the front part of the book, I added new chapters. There’s a whole new chapter on Paleo lifestyle where I talk a lot about how to deal with unsupportive friends and family. That’s been such a huge question that people have. I’ve talked about a little bit more about dining out, things like that, which were in the first book, but a little bit more on that. I also added a whole chapter on whether you should go strictly Paleo right away, or take it step by step along with a 2 page guide to going Paleo where I detail if you’re going to go step by step, here’s what to do first, second, and so on. I feel like I have maybe 5 or 6 steps in there. I think that’s going to help a lot of people especially if let’s just say your parents are curious, they’re Paleo curious, you don’t need to tell them to kick all of the foods that they’ve been eating out of the house tomorrow.
Diane: They could start with getting rid of the junky oils. You could start with swapping out their “Benecol” and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” for real butter, and ghee, and healthy fats. You’re going to get people so far with those changes and I wanted to be a place to encourage people to be able to make those changes and not feel like if you don’t do all of it, then none of it’s worth anything because that’s not true.
Other than that, more information on the 4R protocol detailing what to do to reintroduce foods, which has always been in the book, but I just kind of went into more detail. Some minor updates of things like the new USDA recommendations. They’re not talking about cholesterol anymore because, hooray, they realized that eating it is not a problem. Things like that.
But I think for most people it’s stuff that people who’ve been using the book for a while either were missing or could use more help on. I honestly feel like the updates were intended to be more support for people who maybe have the first edition and there was more information they wanted. But I didn’t have as much as would have created a second volume, for example.
Diane: People have asked me about that. To be honest, if through the last 4 years the book has sold very, very consistently which tells me that it’s been a resource for people, they’re continuing to recommend it to others, and I wanted the book to still stand today as relevant and comprehensive as it was literally exactly 4 years ago almost to the day right now. When you picked it up 4 years ago, it was kind of everything, right? It talked about everything you needed to hear about. But now I’m getting into the rest of it, like the topics that have come up over the last 4 years of dealing with friends and family, and all of that stuff, even talking about white potatoes and white rice.
Diane: But FAQs on that stuff, there’s not chapters on it. I do have a whole new chapter on clearing up carb confusion. To the point of what we’ve been saying a lot about today, I used to have a blood sugar regulation comparison meal chart where it showed a Paleo meal versus a high carb, low fat meal. But what I did now is I added in a third meal where it’s still higher carb, lower fat, but it’s with real food not just with oatmeal, and just with orange juice, and kind of a standard breakfast, standard American breakfast. Which not poo-pooing any of that stuff in isolation, but usually we see people eating that all together, right? It’s like just sugar for breakfast.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Diane: I’m showing, look, you can eat more carbs and a little less fat, but here’s how to do it in a more healthy, balanced way. I mean I feel like I wrote a brand new book, as crazy as it sounds. I’m excited for everyone to get it. I think once people see it, they’ll know what I’m talking about. They’ll be like okay, this has the same feeling, but there’s so much here that’s new and different. Tons of new recipes that are meals, not just like I added some new sauces.
Diane: It’s 40 new recipes, so it’s a ton. This book is a monster.
Kelsey: That’s awesome.
Diane: There’s a hard cover option so for everyone who is a practitioner and wants to be able to keep it as a desk reference, for anybody who’s been using it a lot and is like I really wish this thing was sturdier and would open up right, you can grab a hard cover edition.
Laura: Cool. Is there any digital edition?
Diane: Yeah, there will be a Kindle edition and there may be some other special things in the works. But TBD and TBA on that stuff. But definitely there will be a Kindle edition. You guys have seen the book. If you want to get Kindle because it’s a nice reference to have while you’re out and about, you can. But it’s intended to be used in print. It’s really intended to be flipped through and be used as a reference in that way.
Diane: It’s not a reading book. Reading books are fine in Kindle.
Kelsey: Yeah, it’s a very visual book.
Diane: Yeah, for sure.
Laura: Now you have a tour coming up in the next couple months. I think by the time this podcast is live, it’ll be towards the end of August. Any dates coming up that you want to tell people about?
Diane: Yeah, I’ll just throw it out there as far as the tour itself is kicking off on September 6th through the end of the month. Just kind of a heads up. You can check out specific dates on my website at BalancedBites.com and there’s an events button. But I’m just going to run down the cities that we’ll be in very quickly and if you hear something that’s near you, definitely come join us.
San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, Sacramento, Phoenix, Kansas City, Denver, Boulder, Chicago, Paramus, New Jersey, and Austin, Texas. And I’m touring with Cassy Joy Garcia of Fed and Fit. Her brand new book is out I think this week or next week. And also Juli from Paleo OMG will be joining us for a few of these stops. Liz Wolfe my podcast partner in crime, who introduced us basically, Laura, she’ll be with us also in Kansas City. So super excited, it’s going to be really fun. Anybody, if we’re in your area, come hang out with us.
Laura: Yeah, wish I was somewhat close to any of those stops.
Diane: I know.
Laura: But sounds like you’ve completed neglected the southeast.
Diane: Yeah, we kind of have. It’s so hard to narrow down options.
Kelsey: I bet.
Diane: I mean this is 12 cities and it’ll break me in 3 weeks. I’m taking the adrenal test right now, so don’t beat me up for it. I’ve got to figure out a time to rest.
Laura: It’s okay.
Laura: Yeah, I noticed a lot there aren’t many people that come down here. I know you guys were down here a couple years ago for the seminar. But who knows? Maybe we’ll start getting some more people in the North Carolina area at some point. I feel like, Kelsey, being in New York, you can probably see anybody that’s going on tour.
Kelsey: I know, yeah.
Diane: Yeah, actually we don’t have a New York stop.
Kelsey: I was surprised by that, but Paramus is close enough.
Diane: I’ve actually only done one event in New York City. Yeah, I don’t know. There’s some other places that I wanted to get to because we haven’t done events in some of these other spots, Tacoma, and Phoenix, and Kansas City, I’ve never done an event there. So I’m really excited about it.
Laura: I’m sure the Midwest probably gets neglected the most, so I can’t complain too much.
Laura: Well anyway, thank you so much for coming on to talk today, Diane. I feel like we could of talked another hour, but I know you have a busy schedule getting ready for this book launch and the tour. We really appreciate you sharing your time. Hopefully our listeners got a lot out of hearing your experience since you are one of the trend setters of Paleo. If you’re able to make these changes, I think it gives a lot of people a little more confidence in their ability to experiment. That’s what I love most about the work that you do and I’m so glad that you’re so willing to share that with everybody and make it more acceptable to experiment. Really glad to hear how well you’re doing and I can’t wait to see your book. Sound like its’ going to be an awesome reference. I always love the recipes, so we’ll see if there’s anything that I start over eating on.
Alright, well thanks so much, Diane. We’ll look forward to keeping up with you for the next couple weeks and hopefully seeing you in one of our cities in the next year or so. Anyway, have a good rest of your week everyone and we’ll see you here next time.