This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Diane Sanfilippo. Diane wrote the wonderful books Practical Paleo and The 21-Day Sugar Detox, hosts the delightful podcast Balanced Bites, and is here to tell us all about keeping things practical while keeping ourselves healthy and fit.
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Modern Nutrition Education Effort
Jonathan: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor here. So excited to be bringing you another bonus episode of the Smarter Science of Slim podcast and this week we truly have a treat. We have a woman with us who, through her 21 Day Sugar Detox Program has helped over 15,000 people break their inSANE sweetener addiction. She has been a New York Times bestselling author for many weeks. She is the proprietor of balancedbites.com. She is a certified nutrition consultant. She is Diane Sanfilippo is with us in the building. Diane, how are you doing?
Diane: I’m great. How are you? That was an amazing intro. I love it.
Jonathan: I got to start our self high so we stay there. That’s the plan, so I’m just so happy to have you on the show because let’s not delay anymore. The thing I just wanted to get to right from the start is, I want to learn a little bit about you and your background but as soon as we get through that, you have practical in the title of your book, Practical Paleo.
I want to dig into that because Diane I cannot tell you how often I get asked… I talk about eating a SANE diet or a SANE lifestyle, which is really a very similar to a Paleo lifestyle and I keep hearing “Oh, it’s hard, it’s not practical” and you have busted that myth so well, I want to dig into that but first tell us your story.
Diane: Sure. Well, I started out probably, getting into this whole nutrition thing because I was interested in some weight loss and what’s funny is that, in order to lose weight, I kind of went through some different diet methods and went to a nutritionist, a standard nutritionist and I did lose the weight but I never really got healthier. I was an athlete in high school and I had some health problems but they were nothing that anyone would ever think, was a problem at that time. Digestive distress, chronic sinus infection, every time I went to the eye doctor, my vision was deteriorating little by little.
Every time I went to the dentist, there was something new cropping up and this was all very normal. It’s not something that you know, when I go through this list now it sounds like “Wow. She was really sick.” but the reality is I was just like everyone else popping different types of, antacids, and all that stuff that was just totally common but as we know now, not normal. I was an athlete then and I went through college and gained weight and so I needed to do something about it. Finally made some changes, lost the weight, did not get any healthier, all of those chronic health conditions remained and so it was until I met this one trainer that I worked with in San Francisco, his name is Dave Engen. He is an amazing trainer and he came to me one day after I had already been to a nutritionist.
He would always talk to me about food and he said “I want you to eat coconut oil” and I said “You’re crazy. I’m going to get fat, I can’t eat that, that’s saturated fat.” I just thought it was insane and it took me some time, like a lot of people who don’t sort of believe the things that we may teach them, that eating certain things won’t make them fat and that it’s healthy for them and it took me time and research and reading to actually do it and to try it. There was this one day where instead of cooking chicken breast and broccoli and spray olive oil in a pan, I cooked chicken thighs which are fattier in some coconut oil and I had that with kale.
I ate half of what I made and it was just light bulb moment for me that satiety does not come from a huge, full plate. It comes from the right nutrients and so, I was eating pretty healthfully before but I made a lot of changes and so I started a meal delivery business, which is where the name Balanced Bites came from. I was actually balancing meals for people very specifically and I just got to the point where I realized that I was not teaching anyone to fish, so to speak and so I needed to go back to school and relearn more of this sort of background about nutrition.
I went to two year nutrition program. It was pretty intense and really enjoyed it. Just kind of took it from there and what’s really cool is that I learned a lot about how food works in the body, a lot about the biochemistry, how to coach people, which is, I think where a lot of the sort of practical application of what I do today comes in, and how I can help people on this sort of, more broad scale than just a one-to-one or even just in like a 50 to 100 person seminar, working with people on Facebook, even who just ask questions or through the podcast.
I can do so much work with that sort of practical application and I think what’s also really interesting is that I learned about holistic nutrition so what I teach in a Paleo approach in this grain-free is not what I learned in school per se, years ago but it’s what I’ve, no pun intended, but it’s what I’ve evolved to in my own continued education, learning from guys like Rob Wolf, Mark Sisson and Chris Kresser and all these people who are out there. That’s kind of what took me to where I am now and I started teaching seminars and got to a point where I was answering the same questions over and over again. I think it’s most notable in listening to a lot of other podcasts out there.
I remember listening to an interview with Paul Chek. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Paul Chek, but he’s an amazing, amazing guy and I just remembered hearing him be interviewed and he would answer these questions very often with “Have you read my book yet?” I realized that when you get the same questions over and over, and you have a lot to say about it and people want to know your opinion, your take, your point of view, you need to put it in one place and so that’s what I did with my book, Practical Paleo.
I think that’s why people are finding it so useful and practical. I’m putting the background, biochemistry, science and the nutrition consultant in me to use as well as sort of the chef in me, I have the meal business, I’ve grown up cooking, put that all in one place so that people can get the background, an application part and the meal plans and then the recipes like “Here’s how to do it and here’s why” all in one place.
Jonathan: I love it. I love the approach of the teaching to fish rather than giving fish and in the spirit of teaching about fish, what would you say if you could give, and certainly you can never summarize an entire book in just a few minutes, but if you could give three practical tips, like three practical take home tips, I want to start eating a more nutritious, Paleothic SANE diet today, how can I make that practical top three tips?
Diane: Okay, to get started today, the first thing that I would tell people in this, all this information is in my book but I don’t present it in this same exact way of, here are the three things you should do right now, but, the first thing I like for people to do is to make an oil change. This sort of touches on just getting the right fats and oils into our body and it doesn’t matter what else you’re eating. It doesn’t matter if you’re, not interested in certain types of meat or fish or whatever it is but everyone’s eating some type of fat. I think that there are a lot of misconceptions around which ones are healthy. I’m definitely a proponent for eating a lot more naturally occurring saturated fat than any other type of fat at all with some moderate consumption of mono-unsaturated fat like olive oil. The saturated fats that I like the best are things like lard from a pasture pig, tallow from grass-fed cows, I like grass-fed butter where, if you need to clarify it, that would be ghee. Coconut oil is great and those are pretty much kind of the top of what I would consider for saturated fats.
There’s others of course, and the mono-unsaturated being things like olive oil, some other types of oil like macadamia nut oil is okay, those are best for cold applications and then really, really minimizing things like any vegetable oils should all be thrown away from your house. We shouldn’t be stocking any kind of corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil or anything just called vegetable oil. None of that should be in anybody’s home. So, regardless of what else they’re eating or not eating, that’s really the very first step I’d like for people to take.
I just think it’s the easiest and has the most positive effect on our health and that’s really because the kind of quick reason is that fats start to incorporating into that lipid bi-layer that make up our cells and they actually take longer to change out than other types of nutrients that we’re eating. Once those fats are incorporated into our cell walls, so if we’ve got a lot of bad fats coming in like the trans fats or damaged omega-6 fats for example or even damaged omega 3s, that stuff is incorporating into our cell and we really don’t want that to happen. We really want the best most stable fats to do that.
The second thing I would recommend is that people enlist a buddy, whether that’s a family member, hopefully it’s somebody in your own house, so that you are sort of cooking together, making better choices together, but I would say, doing this alone, unless you live alone or work alone, where there’s no one else there to derail you. Even if you are living or working alone, I think getting someone else to kind of do it with you, to be accountable to, to ask questions or just to help each other out, I think is really helpful.
The third thing I would say is, to make a plan and get started with one step at a time because I think a lot of times this happens I know with New Year’s resolutions, for example. People make a list of like three to five or even 10 things that they’re going to change and start doing and then it’s just too overwhelming and that might last for a week and what I don’t want people to do is to think this is a diet. It’s about changing your lifestyle and in order to do that, you really need to create new habits and so, attacking sort of one, maybe two things at a time and then mastering those changes and then moving forward.
That’s one of the things I do with the 21 Day Sugar Detox is present changes in different levels for people so that they can approach it from level one. It’s a pretty big change for a lot of people but you know what, level two and three are even harder so don’t jump there if you haven’t already made these first set of changes and it’s okay, it’s actually even better to start with fewer changes so, that’s where I would have people start.
Jonathan: I love that. I love that. So step one, it sounds like just to capture and correct me if I misrepresent this, is almost redefining what you consider healthy fats because I think a lot of people thought that those vegetable oils and those corn oils are the healthy fats so they’re supposed to be used when in fact they’re not. That’s the bill of goods that we’ve been sold for the past 40 years, so redefine what you consider healthy fats.
Number two is don’t do it alone. Get yourself some support and that certainly backed up in my experience, not only practically but also in the literature, just in terms of social commitment means success and then, finally is, this is not a diet. This is a lifestyle change and when you’re going to make a lifestyle change gradual and calm and consistent, is the way to go. Is that fair?
Diane: Absolutely. Yeah.
Jonathan: To that point of lifestyle change, one thing Diane, I want to get your take on is I often get questions along the lines of “Do you ever cheat? Or what you think about cheat days?” What I tell people and this is kind of funny analogy is when you ask me that question, it’s kind of like you’re asking a vegetarian, “Do you ever cheat and eat meat?” and the vegetarian’s response is “Well, no, and I don’t want to, not, it’s just, it’s not even like I’m not actively fighting against a desire to eat meat, I just don’t eat meat.” I would imagine with a SANE or Paleolithic type of lifestyle, that’s what I see and I’m curious if that’s what you see and what you have your client seeing is once they start living this way, it’s not a burden. It’s not something you want to cheat from, it’s just what you do. What do you think?
Diane: Yeah. I definitely agree. I think – I answer that question a lot when I teach seminars. I ask people because I generally get a group who, for the most part have been eating a Paleo grain-free type of diet for at least a year. I tell people that I don’t actually ever eat grains. Definitely not gluten containing grains and exactly what you said, it’s not that I’m resisting this urge or temptation to, I literally have no desire. I’m just not interested in it. It sort of becomes – so I ask people how many of you have been eating this way for a year and so many people raise their hand.
How many of you no longer care about bread, and they’re also raising their hands and it’s because you just get to this point where it becomes sort of like, make this joke about a Twinkie because, are they even still made? I don’t know but I know that a lot of us who kind of make these healthy changes, we get to a point where that no longer looks like food to us. It’s like – it’s just not part of the dietary binocular where it’s just not even on our radar anymore and I think that’s what happens to a lot of these other “foods” that we sort of no longer even look at it as food.
I walked in the Starbucks and this entire case of pastries, it’s just not an option, it’s just not something I’m interested in. I’m not resisting it. I will say that I think the one thing that, I don’t consider it to be cheating because I just don’t consider this to be something that I feel needs to be sort of never eat but it’s something like sweeteners and sugar which is actually why the 21 Day Sugar Detox is so important as a part of what I teach people. We all get – I think most people sort of get little treats that sneak here and there and I don’t really consider them to be a cheat.
I consider that to be just part of us going on. It’s not part of what I do every day. It’s not part of what I recommend people do every day, but it’s something that’s used to celebrate and whatnot and we just don’t use the refined nutrient poor forms of these ingredients that we might have used before. For example a cookie made from some hazelnut flour. That’s just ground up hazelnuts and some really clean chocolate chips and sweetened with maple syrup and it’s made with duck fat, with some eggs and those are the ingredients and that’s it. I don’t really consider that to be cheating. I just don’t think that it’s that big of a deal and I think that it’s something that you do randomly here and there but that’s kind of my take on it. I know that people can get off the rails with that type of thing so that’s what help reign them back in with something that resets them for a few weeks and just changes some habits but that’s my take.
Jonathan: I love that. I love that. One, another distinction that I’ve heard about this not really craving and not really feeling deprived because again, once you eat this way, it just feels good. It’s the way you do things. It’s a bit like, I think most people have either gone from skim milk to whole milk or whole milk to skim milk or from diet soda to regular soda or regular soda to the diet soda and when you make those transitions it’s not – let’s say you went from whole milk to skim milk and we’re not here to talk about whether or not milk is good or bad, this is from an analogy perspective from regular soda to diet soda you don’t crave the previous thing anymore. You’re just like “Oh I drink skimmed milk” and if you try to drink whole milk you might think it tastes bad, whereas in the past you thought it tasted good, the same thing with diet soda and regular soda. If you go from regular soda to diet soda and you do that for long enough and you try a regular soda, it’s not like your actively fighting against that urge. Now whether or not you should be drinking any of those substances is a different subject but…
Diane: That’s a really good analogy though. Yeah, that is how it feels. It is not like you’re walking around thinking about that thing that you no longer eat. It’s just doesn’t even cross your mind.
Jonathan: I love also that you said that this idea of the concept of needing to cheat or this treats – we’re very similar in the sense that I have my podcast co-host by the name of Carrie Brown. She’s an ex-pastry chef out of Europe and she has come up with all these wonderful, she uses xylitol a lot, which is derived from birch bark so it’s all natural sweetener and she makes these incredible treats and they’re wonderful for you, they’re fantastic for you. In fact, I probably shouldn’t do this as much as I do but sometimes my whole dinner is something which traditionally would be more of a dessert but it’s so healthy that it’s something that you could enjoy. I’m cheating but in some ways I am actually being very good at the same time, so it’s a bit of a paradox of sorts.
Diane, the other thing I wanted to talk to you a bit about is, one thing that I love about you and I love about what you are doing is, you’re bringing I think, an awesome, awesome female vibe to this lifestyle because even the – earlier when you were mentioning the people who you’ve learned from, you listed this list of guys.
Diane: Yes. Thanks guys.
Jonathan: They’re great, great brilliant guys but I want to hear from a female’s perspective. Tell me a bit about some of the maybe, unique challenges or unique opportunities or things where if I said it, people would be like Jonathan doesn’t know what he is talking about, he’s guy but we’ve got Diane here bringing it down. Tell me a little bit about that.
Diane: I think there’s a few different things that are really the main points that come to mind when I think about the female perspective and what’s happening and the healthier eating momentum and I think part of it is eating fat isn’t going to make us fat. We’ve already talked about that a little bit but I think that’s a huge one and it’s obviously amongst the community of people who are already know about this stuff. It’s a done deal. They get it.
It’s cool but the people who I talked to who, when I start to describe this to somebody who is completely unaware of this whole paradigm and that it’s not a paradox actually, like the French paradox that they’re eating rich foods and not gaining weight, that it’s the reality of our hormones and so I think that hearing it from a woman is actually really helpful. I think that even happened with me with the trainer who I mentioned. He is a male and never really had an issue with his weight and it’s not something that I struggled with for a long time but it was that period of years where I just consistently gained weight.
I was less active, eating the same, if not more and it wasn’t because I just got older, it was because I was less active and I was eating a lot and that’s not to say that eating less and moving more is always the answer, because I don’t think that that’s true, but I was eating totally the wrong foods and really not moving at all. I think part of it’s that just getting that fear away from women. I think it’s also the fear of just eating in general. I think a lot of women and this is broad generalization but of course women who are interested in health are often times very fearful of eating the wrong foods or they think that they have too much body fat or they think they just need to be leaner. This is a really, really big thing that we see. We get a lot of questions in our podcast about body composition and we’re consistently I say we, myself and my co-host Liz Wolfe, who she has a blog over at cavegirleats.com.
She and I are consistently answering questions about this and we’re both normal weight females who are strong. We exercise, we lift heavy things, we’re happy individuals. We’re just living life and I think we’re trying to help other women see that we don’t need to be like stick figures or Barbie dolls or whatever it is to be healthy, vibrant women. Talking about this whole level of health and leanness and teaching women about the fact that healthy bodies mean healthy hormones, which means regular menstruation because we have a lot of women who are dealing with PCOS who aren’t menstruating regularly.
We have women who, other women look at as sort of their idols but those women are not menstruating. I know that sounds crazy but it’s something that we experience so much even in workshops. Women will come up to us who look amazing to me. They look great and they tell me they haven’t had a period for two years and I’m like “This is the kind of women that other women look at and want to be like but when the reality comes down, when they see what’s underneath that, and they realize that woman’s not actually healthy on the inside.”
It’s become our job as female voices in this community to tell all of the other women, “Hey you know what great if you can look like that and be healthy, I’m happy for you but if you’re not healthy there, you have to know that there’s another way and that we all have to be advocates for each other and not be hard on each other but really just be more supportive and nurturing in a way, offering each other that support. There’s just been a lot around that stuff body image and all that and also just the emotional things around eating.
We’ve talked a lot about this on our show because I’ll tell you, working with both male and female, one-on-one clients over the years, male clients are so much easier. It’s hysterical to me because you know what, I’m just like my clients so much of the time that if I go to a practitioner and get a list of things to do, there’s a million reasons why I didn’t or I couldn’t do them. This is just my experience that I am expressing. I know this is a generalization again but with men, if I give them a list of like these three changes to make for the next two weeks, they come back and they’ve made those changes.
It’s just – we’re different animals in that way. We have different emotional attachments to things, so I think that that all actually really plays into every element of diet and lifestyle change. We can’t expect men and women to react the same way, I don’t think emotionally or physically, to be honest, even something like intermittent fasting. Most women don’t really feel great doing that.
Jonathan: Absolutely. One thing that you hit on which I just love and I get, I was raised by a brilliant college professor, female mother who’s best characterized as a feminist and she taught me such wonderful lessons and one of the things that I love about what you’re doing and hopefully this doesn’t come off as too gushy but I think you represent what I would love to see as a new generation of strong women because you’re strong not only physically but also mentally because you’re bringing that strength.
I do mean strength from a physical perspective but also you don’t shy away from the science, so you come with the strength of mind as well and that strong, powerful, empowered woman. I can just, from a guy’s perspective I have yet to meet another guy and maybe they just roll around in different circles who say, “Oh man, look at that woman’s ribs. Wow, that’s attractive.” It’s not about that. I hope we’ll all evolve to use that term to appreciate the beauty that is strength both of mind and body and I think you represent that and I think this movement represents that, so thank you very much.
Diane: Well, thank you. That’s a great compliment. I appreciate it.
Jonathan: Well, I want to dig into that, really quickly a little bit more, and that’s, what are your thoughts because you do – one of the things you do which is very unique, is you’ve got practical right there in your book title, but you backed that up with quite a bit of science and sometimes I fear… This is another thing I sometimes see in the nutrition internet community for lack of better terms, and I’m certainly guilty of it as well. It ends up being a bunch of guys, excuse my language, having a pissing contest about whose science could beat up who else’s science. It was like my dad can beat up your dad, my peer reviewed academic research can beat up your peer reviewed academic research.
I think the more we can bring in vibes like you have, which is very complimentary and kind and brings it back down to earth a little bit because again, all this – there’s no shortage of science out there. It’s been known for a long, long time that saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease for example. The fact that is proven science hasn’t actually helped the mainstream. How can we help the mainstream? How can we get the mainstream to understand and make practical, this proven science?
Diane: I think what you’re actually talking about in terms of my approach is that sometimes I actually say that I hate the science and that doesn’t mean I actually hate science but what it means is that I’m not, I don’t get super geeked out, for lack of a better term, on the latest research. I know that sounds really strange but I just try and take things back to physiology and biochemistry, at least to the degree that I’ve learned about them when it comes to nutrition and what’s going on in our body in relation to food and how body systems should work.
The way that I relate this in the book is, here’s how your body should work, specifically your digestive system because that’s where I really focus a lot of the attention, and as well as like the hormonal response to food when it comes to things like insulin and glucagon and how we respond to different types of refined foods for example. I look at, this is how your body’s supposed to work. If it’s not working, these are the foods that I recommend might help you get back to having your body work properly.
These are the foods that I think are optimal foods, and here’s a few reasons why I think some of these foods are not optimal. Now, you just can go ahead and make that choice for yourself, what you’re going to do about it, because you know what? It’s your body. If it’s not working right, and you think there could be something improved, well, here’s a meal plan, and go for it. I don’t want to kind of make this, statement about like these foods are killing you. These foods are bad, these foods are good. I have this thing where I think it’s either real food or it’s not real food, it’s either man-made and refined, or it’s from nature and it’s just not that complicated. I just really, I think that we get too far away from what we’re trying to do when we absorb ourselves with too much research because you know who’s doing research are people and people make mistakes, and people have agendas.
I think if we look at, go back to, if doctors had stopped learning about the body with basic biology, physiology, biochemistry, and just looked at, well, what are people doing? Is it supporting those things to work in their normal fashion, or not? And if it’s not working, let’s look at the inputs. It’s like, it’s just a totally different approach and I get e-mails everyday from different, I don’t know, Science Daily or whatever it is and it’s like, more research is out. None of it’s ever interesting or earth shattering or anything. Either we didn’t know or it’s all just like hooey.
I just think it’s like a bunch of nonsense, because it is. It almost is like a pissing match of scientists who are out there. I think Matt Holland would hate me for saying this but, I respect people who are doing the work in the right way. Guys like Matt Holland, Chris Masterjohn, who are like, I’m just like thrilled that we have them as part of this community because I think they’re doing the right research. They are looking at what happens in the body with different food and it’s based on physiology and biochemistry and it’s not based on an agenda or selling a food or selling a drug.
I think that’s what most people don’t realize is what’s happening out there. I just can’t keep sending out research and being like, look, this says this. That’s what I’ve been saying all along because, I just don’t need to prove myself right that badly. You know what I mean? I’m not, I’m indifferent to that. I just really want people who are not healthy to find a way to get healthier and I also don’t tell people who tell me they feel great eating their grains and beans. If they say I feel great I’m healthy, [inaudible 28:22], I feel I’m performing how I want to, I’ve got nothing to say to that person.
I’m not going to tell them this food is killing them, it’s clearly it’s not. I think that people get too kind of spun out on that angle. I work with the people who are telling me they don’t feel great, and how can I fix that? Here’s what I think will work.
Jonathan: Well, I just think that’s, and that’s beautiful. I love the sentiment of, our goal here is health and happiness and frankly, if you can be healthy and happy eating donuts and drinking soda all day, that’s amazing.
Jonathan: You must have some genetic mutation which, frankly, I might wish I had, and congratulations, but that’s. Diane, I love your take on this because I want to keep going, because this is the thing, I get passionate about it too where, that’s, the goal is happiness and health. The goal isn’t, “Let me prove myself right,” or “Let me bring you into my team or into my camp or convince you of things.”
Jonathan: It’s just let’s – I worry sometimes that individuals get confused and I hope this doesn’t offend any listeners. If you look at religion, most religions, their goal is to make the world a happier and healthier place, and just to propagate goodness but sometimes, people get wrapped up in the dogma, which is totally separate from the goal of helping people.
If we just took all the energy we spent arguing about the things that don’t actually matter from a practical perspective, and focus that just on getting back to what I think we’re all here to do, which is to help the 99 percent of the population which still thinks saturated fat is going to kill you, and that you just need to eat less of a traditional American diet and you’ll be fine, wow, could we make difference.
Diane: Yes. Amen.
Jonathan: I love it. Well, I just appreciate what you’re doing because that’s, I think that’s an ongoing thing where I look forward to the day when I just have this dream of a, because again, who are we up against? We’re up against some pretty big, corporate interests and no matter how many blog posts we write or seminars we conduct, when one celebrity paid for by one major food corporation writes one misguided article in a major magazine, that’s touched and changed more lives than each of our individual efforts could ever do. What do you think we can do as a community to try to rally and affect the mainstream because I feel there’s almost, in some cases, there’s almost even a pride of, well, forget the mainstream, they’re a lost cause, that kind of a thing. What do you think?
Diane: I don’t think that. I think, well, I have to remember what conversation I was having with somebody where we were talking about – I don’t know if it was like a – couldn’t have been a fast food restaurant, or some kind of restaurant or some kind of big box chain that we were talking about, if they were to get organic produce. I can’t remember who it was. I have too many conversations like this with my friends. Somebody else was like, “Why would that matter?” And I said, “Well, it matters because it’s so huge, it’s just us buying produce from our local farmer is fantastic. It’s what we should be doing. We should be getting out of the grocery store.” Oh this is what it was. Somebody was, I posted something about Whole Foods and they said, “Well, why are you even shopping there?” And I said, “Well, I shop there, because sometimes I can’t get to the farmer or I’ve got my lamb but I can’t get chicken sometimes,” or whatever it is, and I said, it does matter to me to voice my opinion against what they’re doing because they use canola oil in all of their prepared foods, for example.
I was kind of balking at that and wrote back and I said, well, you’d have a lot more business if you would use even olive oil, which I don’t cook with, but I don’t think it’s poison the way I think canola oil is. I would eat their prepared foods if they used olive oil instead of canola. This person was like, “Well, why even bother, don’t even shop there, and don’t, you know, why bother even making a stir?” I said, “Well, that’s a really big deal. If you got every Whole Foods in the chain to stop using canola oil in their prepared foods, that’s a big difference.”
It’s a big difference in supply and demand, it’s a big difference in what’s presented to people, as what they should do, because I think people look to companies like Whole Foods to be an example of what’s sort of ideal, in a way, unfortunately, because they have a lot of vegan agenda with the store but they’re making great strides in what they sell in their meat department so I like to support that. I like to support what I see that’s good and, bring up conversation about the things I don’t support. I don’t have any issue with that and I think, the same way we’re not trying to recreate what Paleo man ate thousands of years ago, if you can source all of your food from a local farmer, great. If you can’t, I think there is value to your voice, at that level.
Jonathan: Brilliant, brilliant. Well, I look forward to, hopefully, in the future, finding a way that we can come together, I love some of the things that the community does to, for the one percent who get it, to help them be even healthier but I would love finding a way for us to say that’s cool, but it’s a bit like, you know, the top one percent of this country may not need any more money. I’m not sure the top one percent of the nutrition community need further refinement of – and they might, and that’s cool and I don’t want to poo-poo that, that’s great.
Diane: No, I’m with you. I’m with you.
Jonathan: But, what else can we do? What else can we do and how do we lead that movement? I don’t know.
Diane: Yeah, and the funny thing is, too, I’m with you on that and I think what’s funny is a lot of people who do listen to our podcast, we get a lot of new listeners all the time and so we track [Inaudible 34:21 – 34:26]. It’s really getting to that last level of refinement on everything because we know that we’re reaching a really broad audience there, but what’s cool is, Facebook pages. I’ve got now over 30,000 people on my page, following what I’m doing, new people all the time who don’t know what we’re doing there, what is Paleo.
Paleo is now the name of my page but this is not what I started out really doing. We have an opportunity every time somebody asks a question to have compassion and to teach them in a way that is not presuming they should already know, I think it’s really important to understand the level of awareness that somebody has around what you’re doing and to have that compassion so that you don’t just say, like, what do you mean you still eat bread?
We get a lot people who are snarky about things, and I think it’s really off-putting, and I think it makes other people not feel like they are welcome or that their questions are good or valid. I’d like to be really as welcoming as possible to those people. The other thing is, my book Practical Paleo really does fill the niche for people who are already eating this way but maybe needed to know why, or needed to just have a little help or maybe they just bought it because they like what I do and whatever. I think people who didn’t think they would learn anything new learned a lot of new things, and I think the better effect that the book is having is that’s it’s really easy to pass to somebody else to understand what it is they were doing, “Here Mom, this is what I’ve been doing.”
I wrote it so that somebody’s Mom or Grandma could understand it and it would make sense in the context of their lives. Now, that being said, the book is called Practical Paleo, so, there’s a lot of people who may never want to pick it up because it’s got this word Paleo in the title. They’re, “I don’t know if I want to do that.” What I do with the 21 Day Sugar Detox is really a similar approach to eating that sort of starts out a little bit less strict and includes some foods that I don’t think are optimal but I do think are better, than refined foods, even eating some lentils or some black beans or some rice, I think, is going to be better than eating bread and pasta and bagels and pop-tarts.
I can say that with confidence and I’m not – just because I don’t eat those things doesn’t mean that I think somebody can’t at least make a step to be healthier by making that change and it’s a huge change. I think that where we can effect more change is by dropping some of the dogma around the fact that eating grains is like killing people, which I think that that’s like too big of a blanket statement. I think there’s a lot of reasons why people aren’t as healthy as they could be with those foods in their diet.
I think that if you realize that it’s not a black or white thing, that there’s a spectrum and a continuum that people can sort of get on this path anywhere along the way, and also that they’re not a bad person because they started at a different place than you did. They’re just in a different place and it’s not a ‘this is better than this’, it’s just it’s different and we have to really just drop some of those judgments that we have or this idea of perfectionism that we have and allow people to make those small changes and see the success and remember what it was like for us when we started.
When you first learned that whole wheat bread might not be the healthiest thing to eat, that was like, your mind was probably blown but everybody was there, at some point in time, and we all have to kind of use a little bit of psychology and understanding how this stuff works and these levels of awareness that people have and just know where they’re at so that you can help them where they’re at and not try and help them where you’re at because it’s not effective to do that.
Jonathan: I love that “Help them where they’re at, not help them where you’re at.” I might have to put that on a T-shirt. That’s brilliant and I love that you incorporated that we got to use a little psychology here because you’re exactly right. There’s even a meta level that you touched on there, which is when some people may not pass on my book because it has the word Paleo in the title.
That’s – I don’t want to get too metaphysical for a second here but even, anything like vegetarianism, like anytime you can label something, it’s going to turn people off. In fact, in many ways, I believe we will be successful the day this isn’t called Paleo or isn’t even called SANE anymore. It’s just the standard American diet. I don’t know how, we, I think you saw the video, the slimissimple.org video we put out.
Jonathan: Some of the most positive feedback we got about that video is just that you don’t call this anything. You just say, eat natural foods that are good for you, and people can get that and they don’t, no one’s just going to be viscerally, that sounds like a gimmick, eat nutritious foods, get out of here, you’re crazy but of course, the nuance is, how do we define what a nutritious food is?
Jonathan: However, I think that’s a – even that, is an interesting distinction because what you call something can in and of itself make you lose some people’s attention even before you get started.
Diane: Yeah, that’s definitely true. When I tell other people, they say, “Well, how do I talk to this person or that person about Paleo” and I say, “Well don’t say the word Paleo first of all”, because you don’t know what it’s going to do. You don’t know what that word is going to do to somebody but I think, usually I tell people to just talk about sugar, that’s it. That’s a really PC approach.
Diane: Sugar and refined foods. You can just say I’m not eating sugar and refined foods or I’m not even eating refined foods, I’m just eating whole, natural foods, exactly what you said. I think, when I talk about the psychology, there’s a friend of mine, a colleague, Anthony Desaro, he’s a coach down in Florida and he came and taught a seminar with me up in Tacoma, Washington several months ago. He brought this part to the workshop that is from a book.
I think it’s called The Science Influence, The Science And Practice Of and it’s talking a little about the psychology of just like what I said about knowing where people are at and I think that that is the great separator, the great leveler between people who will be effective in passing on a message and people who will not be effective. The first person who taught me about, or tried to tell me anything about a Paleo diet was telling me about saponins and quinoa and how they were punching holes in my gut and I was eating quinoa in front of this person at the time.
That was like just not the right information to share with me at that time. It wasn’t getting through to me at all. It did not make me stop eating it. It did not make me really listen. It just wasn’t the right information at the right time and, he was just completely not aware of my level of awareness, what I was even all about. So, just really interesting stuff and I think we can all be a lot more effective if we wait for someone to ask us a question, about what it is that we’re doing or that we’re promoting or whatnot and then, really listen before we answer the question, really try and get where they are and what they believe already.
Jonathan: And build off that, and build off that. That way, you have, I believe it’s, I forget it was Chip and Dan Heath and their brilliant book Made to Stick, where they talk about mental hooks and if you try to describe a Camelo, which is a form of citrus fruit as like a round, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, no one gets it but if you say, it’s a bit like if you took a honeydew melon and orange and put it together, people would be like, “Oh, okay, I know what a honeydew melon.” This is not exactly what they say in the book, but you go based on what they understand and you say, okay, you know how whole grains are better for you than refined grains.
You know how you understand that and you accept that already, well, for the same reasons that whole grains are better for you than refined grains, spinach is better for you than whole grains. They’re like, “Oh, okay.” Yeah, I get that, it’s like you’re coming from some place I understand versus just being like, whole grains will kill you, kind of a thing.
Diane: Yeah, yeah, totally.
Jonathan: Oh, I love it, Diane. Well, tell us here, what’s next for you? What’s next on the horizon? You’re always doing all kinds of cool stuff.
Diane: So, when will this air?
Jonathan: This will probably air about in two to four weeks.
Diane: Okay, great. I have to see what kind of cats I can let out of the bag.
Jonathan: Oh, okay.
Diane: What’s next for me? I have a handful of events actually coming up that are pretty cool. We’ve got an event March 9th in Washington DC, so just teaching a workshop there. That’s the last workshop that Liz Wolfe and I will be teaching for the foreseeable future for this year, not for any negative reasons, just because she’s moving, her husband’s in the military, and we’ve just got a lot of projects going on, so if anyone’s in the Washington DC area, that will be March 9th. Then Paleo FX is coming up, I’ll be speaking there, March 29th to the 30th. Let’s see, I’ll be on the Low Carb Cruise, and that is May 5th.
Jonathan: Oh, well, I will see you there.
Diane: Oh, great. We’ll meet. Oh actually, so you were talking about affecting things at a higher level or a bigger level. I’ll be on this panel talk, speaking to some people in the flavoring industry about the Paleo diet and it will be really interesting. I think a lot of them are completely unaware of what we are all about and be kind of letting them know that we are not interested in their flavors and then if they want to flavor something they should just put real ingredients in it and present us with some real food and that should be really cool.
Maybe there will be some cool new “food products” but maybe, more real foods made into something that we can buy in a store that we think is legitimate. So that might be cool and the other kind of big cat I’ll let out of the bag is that my 21 Day Sugar Detox which is currently an e-book program only will be published as a book. It will be totally different than the e-book. It’s a completely separate animal. It’s going to have a format that’s similar to Practical Paleo where there’s kind of the information in the front. It’s not going to be, good calories, bad calories in any way, shape or form.
It’s not going to be a dissertation on sugar and all of that. It’s just going to be, here’s why we have this program. There are meal plans, there are recipes. Go forth and kick your cravings. So that will be releasing, I believe it’s the first week of October this year. So, let me see if I can get a date on it for you. October 1st, actually, it releases October 1st. Yeah, and I think the reason we’re doing that is we’ve got the first Monday in October. So the first Monday of every month is when we kick off a new sugar detox group and the first Monday of October is technically October 7th, and so people will have their chance to pre-order the book and get their book the week before that next group starts.
If you are interested in the Sugar Detox Program, 21daysugardetox.com is the website. The book will be out in October, and yeah, I mean, you can get the e-book though and kind of run through the program. There’s over 15,000 people on the Facebook page right now and that group is growing rapidly, extremely rapidly. I think 5,000 people in the last two months. It was just barely 10,000 around Christmas time, so, it’s just been a huge, huge boom and tons of people are doing it, lots of bloggers and vloggers [sic] posting videos about their experience, which has been really fun to watch. Some really fun videos coming up. Yeah, lots going on for me and it will be a busy next several months.
Jonathan: I love it. I love it. Well, people who want to learn more, we already mentioned a few things but let’s summarize them here. So we’ve got your website balancedbites.com, correct?
Diane: Yeah, balancedbites.
Jonathan: I’m sorry, go ahead. The 21 Day Sugar Detox website is again?
Diane: Just 21daysugardetox.com and that’s the number 21 daysugardetox.com.
Jonathan: Beautiful, and your book is Practical Paleo?
Diane: Yeah, Practical Paleo. You can get it on Amazon. Most Costco stores have it unless they’ve sold out. Barnes and Noble, I definitely recommend if you’re going to a store, call them ahead, ask them to grab it and pull it aside for you so you make sure it’s there or Amazon will always have it for you.
Jonathan: Beautiful, and anything else? Any place else to go? Anything else to check out?
Diane: Oh, so many places you can find me on Facebook, Balanced Bites. You can find me on Twitter at balancedbites, Instagram, balancedbites, Pinterest, balancedbites1. Somebody else had balancedbites. Yeah, all over the place but my website balancedbites.com, has links to all this fun stuff so.
Jonathan: Beautiful, well, Diane, thank you so much for sharing your awesome perspectives and insights with us today. Hopefully, you had a good time. I know I did and I’m sure our listeners have and hope to talk with you again, soon.
Diane: Sounds good. Thanks so much.
Jonathan: Alright, thanks Diane. Hey, everyone, remember; have a great week, and eat more, exercise less, but do it smarter. See you next week.
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