My guest today is Liz Wolf, author of Eat the Yolks, an excellent book that gives all the logic and science behind the Paleo diet. Liz is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP™) certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association who is passionate about dismantling widespread nutrition myths and discovering the truth about food. She works with individuals, businesses, and nonprofits to develop nutrition programming based around real, whole foods, and she documents her personal adventures in cooking, nutrition, and homesteading on her much-loved blog. When she’s not enjoying fresh eggs from her free-range chicken flock or hanging out with her goats, dog, or husband, she’s serving as ambassador for her favorite nonprofits: Steve’s Club National Program, which provides athletic training and mentorship to at-risk youth; and The First Twenty, an organization dedicated to improving the long-term health of America’s firefighters. www.realfoodliz.com
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
The Logic and Science Behind the Paleo Diet
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Liz Wolf
Date of Broadcast: April 20, 2014
DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world and live toxic-free.
Today is Thursday, April 10th, 2014. And I’m here in Clearwater, Florida, where the sun is shining, and there’s a nice little breeze, so it’s a beautiful spring day.
And today, we’re going to talk about food again. If you’ve been listening all week, we’ve had a preponderance of food shows this week. But that’s just the way it falls. I do try to do some programming, so that it makes sense and there’s a variety. But sometimes, people are available in certain days, and so a lot of food people were available this week.
But food is an extremely important subject. It’s so, so important because the whole issue of toxic chemicals is very present in foods. But there’s also the issue of food themselves having a harmful effect on your body. Even if you just go to the store, and buy a piece of meat, or buy eggs, or produce or something, if you buy certain ones that have certain—the way they were raised, or toxic chemicals in them and things, even just regular old food can be harmful to your health, and there are better choices to be made.
But today, we’re actually going to talk about the Paleo diet because I’ve been writing about that on my food blog at ToxicFreeKitchen.com. I recent went on a Paleo diet for 30 days, and lost some weight, and my blood sugar went down, and my thyroid got better. And so I was very pleased with that result, and have been continuing on that.
But also, if you were listening yesterday, I also have a lot of experience with the Weston Price diet and those principles. And so today, we’re going to talk about the Paleo diet. And my guest is—I had a page open where I was going to tell you all about my guest.
My guest is Liz Wolf, and she’ll actually tell you about herself.
She’s the author of a book called “Eat the Yolks—Discover Paleo, Fight Food Price, and Reclaim Your Health.”
When I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. Fortunately, I was at a point where I had a few days where I was waiting a lot somewhere, and needed something to do, and I was able to sit here and read the book, which I read from cover to cover because it has a lot of information in it about what are the problems with food and what are the good food choices.
So, we’ll find out all about that today.
LIZ WOLF: Thanks for having me on here for your food boot camp week.
DEBRA: You’re welcome. Well, I think you’re a good person to have on because—well, tell us your story because you, like me, like everybody else who has made a transition, started out eating just regular, standard American food. And we’ve made changes in our lives.
Let’s hear about that first. How did you go from eating standard American food to the wonderful diet you have today?
LIZ WOLF: Oh, my, I feel like I bounced around probably much like most people do when they’re trying to figure out what to eat.
DEBRA: I did that too.
LIZ WOLF: We’re told to eat one thing, and I guess, I probably considered the standard American diet, whatever the government was saying was supposed to be healthy. I’m sure that was always on the back of my mind as “Well, that’s what we’re supposed to eat.” And that’s the baseline, and that’s how you get as healthy you can get. It’s probably by eating the standard American diet.
However, I did a lot of diet with a capital D dieting—bouncing around from this diet food, which is certainly packaged, processed, boxed, bagged, encapsulated, all kinds of processed junk that had the word “natural” or “diet” or “low calorie” or “low carb” or whatever that’s plastered across it that wasn’t necessarily one of the recommendations of the US government.
But at that point, I don’t know if I was really seeking health or seeking weight loss at all cost or whatever I was looking for.
But I was certainly floundering and bouncing around quite a bit from diet to diet. And all the while, I think my body was showing the signs of toxicity.
I’ve dealt with acne. And from the time I was very young, I had eczema in my arms and my ears. And I was tired. I didn’t sleep well. I just wasn’t happy with my body. And I think that’s evident, not just the way I felt, but also in the fact that I never stuck with one thing because nothing ever enlightened me in any way.
DEBRA: I know. I know. I felt when I did this Paleo diet for 30 days—and I’m still doing it. And so it’s been maybe three months now, I think. When did I start it? The end of January, January or February, March. So it’s a little over two months.
But what I felt was that I had finally come home to the list of foods that worked for my body well. I knew that I could just eat off this list, and put it together in any way that I wanted to, and that my body would feel good day after day.
And then after the first 30 days, then I went, and I tried to eat some other things, that didn’t work so well. I just went back to my list. My body calming down.
I think that these are the foods that our bodies are designed to eat. And it’s a matter of recognizing that and figuring out all the things that you need to do to make that transition.
So, particularly, how did you find Paleo, and what was it like for you to start that?
LIZ WOLF: What happened was I was still on the same track of trying to change my body through whatever extreme diet and exercise I could find, and I had heard about this thing called CrossFit, which was apparently the toughest workout that I would ever do.
And so I reached out to a local gym. At the time, I was looking in Kansas City. So I went to this gym with the expectation that I would get some counseling as to how to cut more calories without—I think I said on the book “without passing out on my way to the break room” out of total exhaustion while getting a really, really tough workout. And what I ended up getting was an education in real food.
Sometimes, I call it Paleo, and sometimes I call it real food. Truly, it doesn’t so much matter to me because at this point I think it’s just real food. It’s just real, whole, single ingredient foods that people have eating for hundreds and thousands of years. So, thinking of it that way makes more sense to me.
But what ended up happening at this gym was yes, I got a great workout, a more functional workout than I ever had before.
But I also got a hold of this idea that if I wanted to feel better, if I wanted to look better, I need to just feel better. And if I wanted to feel better, I needed to eat real food.
And so, I started incorporating this principle, and wow, I see improvements in my energy levels and my skin. And I start to also not so much—I don’t want to say that, “all of a sudden, I lost all this weight, and I met all my goals.” My goals change. I didn’t care so much about […] as much as I cared about health, and feeling great, and being as capable as I could possibly be.
So, my whole life changed just from A to Z since my introduction to real food.
DEBRA: Yes. Well, you’re being nourished. That was one of the things that I found was that even though—
When I was six years old, my mother—and this was a long time ago—my mother was very interested in health foods. This was before natural food stores, health food stores.
So, there was a store where I lived in Oakland, California (it’s probably still there). It’s a big center where they ground their whole wheat flour fresh, and they had bulk nuts and dried fruits and all these health food store things.
So, she had the idea that we should drink something that she called green drink which is probably equivalent to what we would call a green smoothie now. And so she would take all these greens—lettuce and spinach and celery, and all these things—and just put them in a blender. It was not a very good blender, so it came out goopy.
LIZ WOLF: A little bit chunky.
DEBRA: It was yucky. No, she had another one. I was going to say she put a Maraschino cherry at the bottom. But she had this other one. We had a green drink and a pink drink. And this was our healthy diet. It was green drink and pink drink.
Pink drink was cottage cheese and milk and strawberry-flavored Quick. Do you know what that is? Nestle’s Quick?
LIZ WOLF: Yes, I do.
DEBRA: Yes. Okay, so strawberry-flavored Quick. And at the bottom was a Maraschino cherry because that was the only way she could get us to drink it. It tasted so horrible. And the texture was so horrible.
But then after that, she gave up on that. And so my diet was McDonald’s, Shakey’s Pizza and Jack in the Box, and TV dinners.
And then I became an adult, and I decided that I was going to make my own food choices.
But we’ll talk about that after we come back from the break.
You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Liz Wolf. She’s going to be talking about some food myths and the good things to eat.
We’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Liz Wolf, author of Eat the Yolks.
Liz, now, I have my piece of paper in front of me. So you are a nutritional therapy practitioner, certified nutritional therapy practitioner. What is that?
LIZ WOLF: A nutritional therapy practitioner is basically a holistic nutrition professional. I’m certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association.
And what I do with a client would be to just evaluate the nutrient content of what they’re eating, their challenges with regards to digestion or maybe potential mineral deficiencies, that type of that, and just help them carve out a diet that’s appropriate for them and what they’re dealing with.
I have to be very clear about my credentials. I am not a registered dietician. I’m not a clinical nutritionist. So there are limits to what I can do, but I certainly can help people get a little better nourished.
DEBRA: And you could help them transition to a real food diet like what we’re going to be talking about today, as opposed to—I don’t want to say anything bad about regular nutritionists. But aren’t usual nutritionists trained in other ways of thinking?
Like you would go to an ordinary nutritionist and say, “Can you help me be on a Paleo diet?”
LIZ WOLF: Generally, that’s not going to go over well.
DEBRA: Good! So, somebody needs some help making this kind of transition, they could go to you, or they could go to someone else who is a nutritional therapy practitioner.
LIZ WOLF: Absolutely! And NutritionalTherapy.com is the website for the governing organization if you want to find somebody near you. And a lot of us, a lot of the nutritional therapy practitioners in the United States, we’re writing books, we’re talking about these things online. So a lot of this information we’re putting out there for free, or for a lot less than the cost of a consultation because so many people truly have the same questions, the same concerns.
When I talk about in Eat the Yolks is the history of how we got here because one of the biggest questions I get is “If all this food is toxic, and we should be eating these other foods that we’ve been told to be afraid of, how is that even possible? How did we even get here?” And I think that’s important information.
DEBRA: Well, how did we get here?
LIZ WOLF: Oh, my goodness.
DEBRA: I know. It’s a whole book worth. We’re not going to get through the whole entire thing. But before we start talking about that, why don’t you just describe—you have in your book a basic food philosophy in a hundred words. Why don’t you just give your summary of what you think people should eat?
LIZ WOLF: Just real food, the food that has always been food in some form—animals that are raised in their natural environment and plants that are grown in nutrient-dense soil.
DEBRA: And so, what you’re really getting is very high nutrient-dense food, as opposed to, even if you were to go to the supermarket, and buy a fresh apple, it’s not going to have as much nutrition as if you were to get an organic apple, for example, and it’s also going to have lots of pesticides in it.
So, if you buy that organic apple, you’re getting good nutrition, and you’re also getting not toxic chemicals.
So, it’s important with real foods that you buy the pastured beef and all of those things because those are the products that have more nutrients in them, yes?
LIZ WOLF: Yes. And I know that’s actually one of the biggest challenges, I think, that folks face, is having to shop different.
Our industrial food system, number one, is set up so that we’re really dependent on it. Most people have forgotten how to grow and raise their own food, and that is a tragedy because many of us cannot, even if we wanted to, be responsible for our own nourishment. We have to rely on other people and on supermarkets and what-not.
But I think that paradigm is very rapidly fainting, I think, in part thanks to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the Paleo Movement, people that are really emphasizing and demanding better food. We’re starting to see more grass-fed beef even at the supermarket and you see a lot more local farms listed on EatWild.com.
Farmers markets are—five years ago, there were no farmers markets where I lived. And now, there are two huge farmers markets. So it’s becoming more affordable and more possible to shop that way, and get really nutrient-rich food more so than it was five years ago which is really encouraging.
DEBRA: I agree. I see that too. And I am very encouraged about it. I think it’s still more expensive to buy these foods. But if you do things—
Sally Fallon was on yesterday, and we were talking that I was raising chickens in my backyard (and I see you raise chickens too). It was very inexpensive to raise my chickens, and get those pastured eggs right in my own backyard. I can now buy pastured eggs at my local natural food store.
But I was talking to the stockperson, and he was saying that they got this special deal on these pastured eggs. And so they were selling them for the same prices just as organic eggs like $4 a dozen. He said, usually, the price would be $7 or $8 per a dozen eggs that I could get in my own backyard for less than $4 a dozen.
But I did have chickens and the police came and took them away. I’ve said that many times on this show because it annoys me that I can’t have chickens in my backyard.
LIZ WOLF: It absolutely blows my mind that we are literally prevented by law from raising our own nutrient-dense food appropriately in a low-waste environment in our own homes.
DEBRA: Yes, and I think that that’s one of the obstacles that needs to be overcome. It’s another thing that is getting better and better in different localities across the nation where some of these old laws against people having chickens in their backyards are being overturned by popular demand.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened in my community yet, but we’re working on it because I think that we should have the freedom to grow our own food, even in our front yards instead of a lawn.
LIZ WOLF: Agreed, agreed.
DEBRA: Yes, absolutely. So there are so many questions I want to ask you, but we’re already coming very close to the break, and I don’t want to ask you a question and have you start and not be able to finish. So tell us just a little about your chickens for a few seconds.
LIZ WOLF: My chickens are silver laced Wyandotte. We ended up with one rooster. We got pullets. They’re a breed that can be fixed. So when they hatch, you’re supposed to be able to tell the male from the females. So we did end up with one rooster.
We started out with 18. And unfortunately, this is our first year of homesteading adventures, and we’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard ways. So we’ve lost some to stray dogs and a couple to sky predators.
But they’re wonderful. They provide us with eggs every day, and we couldn’t be more grateful for that.
DEBRA: Yes, I just love chickens. I love chickens. I love chickens.
LIZ WOLF: They’re so funny.
DEBRA: They are. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest is Liz Wolf, author of Eat the Yolks. She has a website, RealFoodLiz.com, where she has a blog and all kinds of things. So you can check that out too.
We’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Liz Wolf, author of Eat the Yolks.
And her website is RealFoodLiz.com.
Liz, there’s so much in your book that we could talk about. We could talk for hours and hours and hours for everything. But you mentioned before, how did we get from there to here, or how did we get from healthy food to that industrial food?
LIZ WOLF: Our fake food culture.
DEBRA: Our fake food culture, yes. Why don’t you just talk about whatever aspect that you’d like to talk about first, and then I’ll ask you some questions?
LIZ WOLF: Well, I love this question, how did we get here, because it’s a little more complicated.
Back when Paleo man was roaming the world, everything was great. And then we started eating grains 10,000 years ago.
And the now, everybody is sick, which I think a lot of times is what people perceives the premises of Paleo diet to be.
And I do take a bit of license with the Paleo concept because I think it’s important that we look at, not just what healthy humans eat for hundreds of thousands of years (which would have been animals in the natural environment and plants grown in soil that could support them), but it’s more about, I think, how we got away from the foods of our ancestors.
And even the foods that our grandparents used to eat—homegrown plants, and free range chicken, and free range chicken eggs, and things like that—but how we got from there to this culture based around soy bean oil, how do we process food, and that’s about it, that’s basically what we’re told to eat.
We’re told to eat low fat, so whatever we’re eating, the fat and those naturally nutrient-rich fat soluble vitamins, we’re missing out on those.
So, it’s more for me, I focus on the last 50 years of food quality.
DEBRA: I think that’s where we really went wrong. So tell us about that.
LIZ WOLF: I agree. So, here’s what happened in a nutshell. Some people used some information for their own corporate gain, the government adopted those standards, and here we are.
DEBRA: Oh, that was in a nutshell. Thanks.
LIZ WOLF: Yes, absolutely. So really, what happened, I think, was we got really, really paranoid about skyrocketing, most importantly, heart disease. And in looking for the responsible party, we ended up—and I say “we,” really, the scientists that were working on this at the time—lumping together trans fats and saturated fat.
And that was one of the real sticking points where from that point on, I think, we were looking at saturated fats from natural sources like animals, egg yolks, red meat and things like that as the same as trans fats.
And so, we were lumping those together, but at the same point, we were eating all of these trans fats-laden margarine, and we’re starting to eat more and more processed foods that were full of trans fats, and our health risks just continued to get worse—stroke and cardiovascular disease, in the 1980s and beyond, obesity.
So, things just got worse. And obviously, I had to write a whole book about this because it’s really tough to encapsulate it in a nutshell, but it had a lot to do with bad science that was adopted by the government and turned into food policy.
DEBRA: Well, let’s just focus on one aspect because I think that there’s a lot of converging things that people started eating low fat, and too much high fructose corn syrup, and too many carbs, and wheat flour. All kinds of things went wrong during that 50-year period. But let’s just pick one of those.
I’d like you to talk mostly right now about fat because I think that one of the things about the Paleo diet or the Weston A.
Price diet that’s really important is that people need to eat more fat because there are nutrients in fat that we’re not getting if we’re on a low fat diet.
I think that people have been on a low fat diet long enough to see that that diet doesn’t work. And yet, it’s still in our consciousness that we should be eating low fat, low fat, low fat.
So, could you tell more about what is the myth behind this, so that people will have more scientific information about why they should be eating more fat?
LIZ WOLF: It’s so interesting to me when I was researching my book to come across this quote from Walter Willett, who is a public health professional—I think, chair of the Public Health Department at Harvard or something like that. He basically said flat out that the low fat diet has had unintended health consequences for millions of Americans. And the reason for that is because, as you said, real, natural fat, including fat from properly-raised animals is full of nutrition. It’s full of fat-soluble vitamins.
Fat-soluble vitamins A, B, K2, vitamin E as well, these are all critical to human health. And that’s becoming more obvious now with some research that’s going on thanks to the Weston A. Price Foundation. Chris Masterjohn is doing amazing work.
I cite him in my book quite a book.
But these fat-soluble vitamins determine the quality of almost every cell—how healthy we are at a cellular level. And this low fat diet, which really came about because of these misconceptions about what causes heart disease, and the role of saturated fats and cholesterol had to play, combining with this fear of calories, and thinking, “if we want to be healthy, and if we want to lose weight, we have to eat fewer calories” rather than more nutrient-dense food that packs a better nutrition punch maybe with a fewer bites than we would need in, say, a 100-calorie pack, or a diet granola bar, or something like that, like I said, it’s a lot of these rolled into one.
DEBRA: Well, I really have to say—and I’ve been saying this a lot, but I want to say it again right now—is that it’s been very revealing to me since I’ve been on this very focused Paleo diet that I am much less hungry, and so I eat less food. And I mentioned this to my doctor, and he said—my doctor who, by the way, an M.D. doctor who, by the way, says, “You just stay on this Paleo diet for the rest of your life and all your health problems will go away and never come back.”
He said that. He said to just stay on the diet that I was on and walk half-an-hour a day, and I will be very healthy for many, many years. But that makes sense to me because I already see the benefits.
Not that I was eating so bad before, but there were just certain things that I’ve changed. And one of them really is to pay attention to the nutrient-dense foods. When I’m eating more nutrient-dense foods, especially more fat, I am not hungry, and so I eat less food, and I lose weight.
So, calories aren’t calories aren’t calories.
I mean, I can eat a hundred of those 100-calorie packs, and I would not get the nutrition that I get from a few tablespoons of fat.
And I also wanted to say, if you’re listening to this, and you think, “Oh, I need to eat more fat,” that doesn’t go eat the fattening French fries. It means eat real fat from animals in its natural state like butter, like lard, like bacon.
I know some people are horrified listening to us. But no, what we’re talking about is really pasture-raised butter and things like that which you can get.
We’ll talk more about this when we come back from the break. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Liz Wolf. She’s the author of Eat the Yolks. We’ll be right back.
Liz, we only have 10 minutes left, and there’s so much more to talk about, so I want to make sure that I get some of these things in.
LIZ WOLF: I’ll try to keep my answers brief.
DEBRA: No, it’s okay. I want to make sure that everybody gets your website, which is RealFoodLiz.com. During the break, I’ve been looking at your website. Right now, I’m looking at a very creative recipe for butternut crusted roasted red pepper quiche.
One of the things I love about this is that you really have a limited list of foods, but everybody is so creative about how you use them in all these ways. So instead of having wheat crust, you have butternut. Tell us about this recipe.
LIZ WOLF: Oh, it’s so delicious! I can’t even tell you. Really, I actually ate that. It was meant for the whole week, but I ate the whole thing that day.
But if you think about—maybe we’re eliminating food, and it feels like we’re not free to enjoy some food, but think of the entire vegetable kingdom, the whole span of amazing things that we have to eat—
And this recipe, it’s just a crustless piece with this perfectly […] wheat butternut squash sliced really thinly, and used as the crust is so delicious. And it’s so easy.
I am not a good cook. I never have been. This is really simple. You just slice the butternut squash thin, lay it out around the dish, bake it for 10 minutes, and then pour in the egg mixture with the roasted red peppers, a few spices, and you bake it.
And then you have breakfast for the whole week done.
DEBRA: I am going to try that. It sounds fabulous.
LIZ WOLF: It is so good.
DEBRA: And another thing I wanted to get in here is reading your blog, you’re talking about skincare. You have a big sign that says, “Fix your skin naturally.” So tell us about how eating this way changes your skin.
LIZ WOLF: I love that you asked me that. That’s my other passion, and I thought you and I would definitely relate on that point, which is removing toxins not just from the diet, but from you skincare routine, and how you care for your body on the outside, and your home, and everything like that.
So, that’s one of my products, the Skintervention Guide, which is based on everything that I did over the course of three/four years to take my skin from really frustrating, in need of four or five different topical medications—I was prescribed oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics, topical sulfur. Anything that you can imagine, I was using to try and fix my skin.
And getting to whole, real food, and a natural non-toxic skin care routine was a complete turning point for me.
But it wasn’t just one thing that did it. It was healing my body from the outside, changing my food and getting those nutrients (especially fat-soluble vitamins) and also helping to heal my digestive system, which I think has really suffered for many years of everything from antibiotics to processed food.
DEBRA: Well, what you’ve just described as being a remedy for skin really is what I’ve come to see as being the remedy for health, that no matter what’s wrong with your body, it’s basically those steps of healing different parts of—you know, your intestinal system, healing your liver, so that your liver can process all these toxins, healing your kidneys, et cetera.
And the way that you do that is by removing toxic chemicals, eating good foods, getting all the nutrition that you need, and letting your body detox, and everything comes back. It’s about that simple.
LIZ WOLF: It really is.
DEBRA: Now, here’s the big, burning question I want to make sure we talk about. And that is:
I’ve done a lot of reading online and books about Paleo, just like with the Paleo diet now. I wanted to see what everybody was saying. You would think that it would be very straightforward, but there are a lot of opinions and different viewpoints about what the Paleo diet is.
And one of the reasons why I like your book is because it’s very real food-oriented (and I already had that real food orientation from the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions, which I’ve read many, many years ago). And so, we’re in agreement on that.
But not everybody has that viewpoint. So, could you speak to this big variety of Paleo diets?
LIZ WOLF: Definitely! Well, the Original Paleo Diet book by Loren Cordain, the granddaddy of the modern Paleo Movement, I think, that is the rulebook that a lot of people go by. And when we really get down to brass tacks, there is no rulebook when it comes to eating. We’re all bio-individuals. Different things work on different people. We all have ancestry from different parts of the world.
So, we all have a different story, a different math that turned on different genes, and turned off different propensities. So we are all so different—and too different to say one list of rule works for everybody.
I think the rule that processed food is not food, is not so much a rule than it is common sense.
DEBRA: Yes, I think so too.
LIZ WOLF: I just think that that’ the baseline. Get rid of industrial processed food, see what you have left. And from there, it’s really just animals, plants, maybe some dairy, things like butter (which I eat daily), quality foods that we can get from the earth, hunt, gather, grow if we wanted to.
And that’s what I love about the Weston A. Price Foundation, which really changed how I felt about real food. I was really steep in the Paleo Movement, but moving into the Weston A. Price, and learning about sustainable farming, and how we can produce foods that is most nourishing, that works for us best that has a long history in the human diet, that’s the big picture that I like to look at.
I think a lot of times we get so mired in the “rules,” we forget to think about where the nutrition is. And generally, those things line up with Paleo foods, the Weston A. Price friendly foods, and where the nutrition is. But we lose sight of the forest for the trees.
So I just think let’s get rid of the processed food, let’s get back to our roots, and eat things that we could produce ourselves if we needed to and just start from that baseline.
DEBRA: I think that’s just about my baseline too. Talk a little bit about not eating dairy and not eating grains.
LIZ WOLF: Sure! Well, I eat raw dairy from pastured cows. We get it from a farmer just right down the street from us. It’s a food that works for me.
And I talk in the book about how I think maybe the Paleo community has it wrong when it comes to dairy. There are just so many gray areas. I think we need to really understand why we started eating dairy in the first place. And that’s because it’s a very nourishing food when it’s done right. So I think there’s room for dairy.
As far as greens go, again—
DEBRA: I want to say something about dairy before you go into grains. Well, I just thought about the Maasai in Africa. They live on milk. Now, we’d call that a traditional culture or a Paleo—I mean, they’ve been living on milk since time immemorial.
They keep their cows, and they live on milk, and that’s dairy.
LIZ WOLF: And it’s an extremely nourishing food.
And the same goes for organ meat. Liver is really rich in vitamin A—so is raw dairy. Now, if you have an animal that you could use for dairy, rather than actually killing that animal, and eating its meat—and I’m thinking from a very ancestral perspective, someone who really, really needs to ensure their own food supply—it makes a lot more sense to make use of the dairy than it does to lose that animal in a one-off shot as the same nutrient. That’s a little harsh, I guess, but it’s true.
DEBRA: But that makes sense. It makes sense. So then cheese arose from needing to preserve the milk, having a certain supply of milk, and that they’re not just going to throw the milk away when the cow is producing more than the people need to drink. And they also need to have food in the future. And so they can take a certain portion, and cheese got developed.
All these things came from those ancient cultures. Cheese is not an industrial food. But processed, pasteurized cheese is an industrial food.
LIZ WOLF: And processed cheese products.
DEBRA: Yes. So what we need to be looking at is not eliminate all cheese, but to be looking at what’s the difference between the modern, processed, pasteurized cheese product, and actual, real cheese made from raw millk—which does exist and it’s pretty easy to get.
LIZ WOLF: It’s context. It’s all about context.
Lists of rules are very, very helpful to take some of the burden off of figuring everything out all at once. So if someone says, “These are Paleo foods. Just eat these for 30 days and see how you do,” for the most part, I think people are like, “Wow! I feel great after 30 days” and they’re convinced.
But then at that point, I think that’s when you need to start really speaking knowledge about what you’re eating and why, and that’s what has always been the most fascinating to me, the context.
DEBRA: I’ll give you one minute to talk about grains, and then we’re done. Didn’t that go fast?
LIZ WOLF: Oh, my gosh. That went so fast. Well, I think for the most part, the grains that people are eating are not the grains that our ancestors ate since they began developing 10,000 years ago. So, we’re talking about modern wheat, which is different than it was 20 years ago today.
So, we’re actually looking at modern bread and processed food. If you look at the ingredients label, you can hardly identify half of them.
There are people who do well with traditionally produced grains—soaked, sprouted, traditional fermented sourdough. And I have no problem with that. But I think, again, the most important thing is to look at what’s actually a food with a long history in our diet, what’s a processed food, and most importantly, how does our body tolerate it.
So, any food that bothers our bodies needs to be evaluated, whether that’s a strawberry or a grain, or highly-processed dairy. So it’s really that awareness of your body, and what you could tolerate.
DEBRA: I agree. And I would also just to add quickly that the more people remove toxic chemicals from their body, the more foods they tolerate. And I used to work in a doctor’s office where I saw that very clearly. So that’s something to consider too.
It’s not just the food itself, but is it organic or not organic, or raw or not raw, or your toxic levels and everything.
Anyway, we’re at the end. Thank you so much, Liz, for being with me.
LIZ WOLF: Thank you.