Calories & Keto, & Recommended Animal Products for Vegans

Podcast Episode #368: Calories & Keto, & Recommended Animal Products for Vegans

Diane Sanfilippo Featured, Paleo and Primal, Podcast Episodes Leave a Comment


  1. News and updates from Diane [1:58]
    1. Day of the owls
  2. Beautycounter meeting recap [7:56]
  3. Keto and calories [15:32]
  4. Animal product recommendations for vegans [27:49]
  5. Something I'm digging lately [36:17]

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Calories & Keto, & Recommended Animal Products for Vegans Calories & Keto, & Recommended Animal Products for Vegans Calories & Keto, & Recommended Animal Products for Vegans

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 368.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and the 21-Day Sugar Detox. My newest book, Keto Quick Start, will release on January 1, 2019. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids.

Liz Wolfe: I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a lake in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City.

We’re the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we’ve been bringing you this award-winning podcast for more than 7 years. We’re here to share our take on modern healthy living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at or watch the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram account for our weekly calls for questions. You can ask us anything in the comments.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’re excited to announce that Perfect Keto is back as a sponsor of the podcast. Dr. Anthony Gustin and his teams have created a line of supplements that are super clean and effective, no matter what your dietary needs. I’ve been blending their MCT oil powder into my matcha latte lately. Not only are MCTs; medium chain triglycerides; a premium source of your body’s preferred type of energy, and help to fuel your brain and body, but there’s also no added taste. It makes your coffee or matcha wonderfully creamy. Check them out at and use the code BALANCED for 20% off at Perfect Keto; and their sister site, Equip Foods.

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [1:58]

Liz Wolfe: Alright. So, Diane, what’s happening over there by the Bay?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Well, I’ll tell you the first thing that happened just last night. Scott and I dodged what we have now figured out is a great horned owl.

Liz Wolfe: Today?!

Diane Sanfilippo: Last night.

Liz Wolfe: I have an owl story from today, too!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh! Ok, keep going.

Diane Sanfilippo: OK. So last night, we’re walking the dog at sunset, as we often do. Very lovely sunset, enjoying our time. And there’s this one little area of Fort Mason near where we live that we have seen other wild animals before. Wild, meaning we’ve seen coyotes; we’ve seen. Well, not so wild. But we saw a skunk or a racoon; I don’t know what it was. Once it looked like it had eaten…

Liz Wolfe: A trash panda.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. It looked like it had eaten three of its own kind, it was so big. {laughs} I was like; what is that? I think it was a skunk because we took the dog and kind of went the other way. Well last night, we’re walking, and Scott was like; holy cow! And he ducked. And he’s like, what the heck was that? I’m like, I don’t know. Was it a bat? He’s like; no, holy cow! It’s an owl! And it was perched up on a tree branch. And I couldn’t see it at first. Then I turned my camera on, and I put the video, and I was like. Yup, I see it. It looks like a batman over there with the little; I don’t know. I thought it was ears. I guess it’s just feathers coming up.

So we’re looking at it. And I was kind of gawking a little. I was like; oh my gosh, that thing’s crazy looking. Had my camera on it. And then all of a sudden, it swooped back over us the other direction. And then it was looking at us. And Scott’s like; oh my gosh. I really think it’s sharpening its talons in the process here. {laughs} Like, it’s beak and its talons. And he scooped up Harper, and we kind of ran the other way. And just got ourselves out of that little pass.

But I don’t know if the thing has a nest right now, with some new, I don’t know. New babies or whatever. But apparently they’re very, very protective. And then one of the women on my Beautycounter team, and sugar detox as well, Kim. She said this is super common near where she lives in Salem, Oregon. So, they have a sign. I should have it posted to our podcast Instagram. But they have a sign that literally is an owl swooping down over a person running. And it’s like, beware of owls. Can you see it? I’m showing Liz through a video.

Liz Wolfe: That cannot be real! That is hilarious!

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s real. It’s amazing. It’s a sign that’s in their park. I was like; we need this sign!

Liz Wolfe: It’s like a street sign. Like a yellow sign with the black whatever. People on it. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: With an owl. We’ll post it to the Instagram. But it’s amazing. Anyway, that was super scary. And I was kind of joking to Scott. Like, we moved to a city, but I’m pretty sure we’ve seen more wild animals in the small park area near our house than we’ve seen, ever. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: So tell me your owl story. This is crazy!

Liz Wolfe: OK, look. I’m holding up; see my phone here? That’s the owl from this morning.

Diane Sanfilippo: Stop it!

Liz Wolfe: It was huge!

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s the same; this is the same owl that terrorized us.

Liz Wolfe: This is the exact same owl. It dived bombed you, and then flew across the United States to be at my house by morning.

Diane Sanfilippo: Obviously!

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh. I’ll just tell you my owl story. I had a weird morning. I accidentally cross dressed. Then Daryl made fun of me for not making any money. Just kidding. That’s from the office. Ok. So, this morning was just a weird morning. I had really weird sleep, weird dreams last night. Woke up this morning and my kid was a little off. And I look outside during breakfast and I see something flying by; literally, like that picture the owl is on a powerline like 2 feet from my house.

And I was like; wow, what is that? And we went outside, because I thought it was a hawk. And it was this gigantic owl. Its eyes were black holes, because it has black feathers all around its eyes. And it was like literally staring into the face of death. It was very, very eerie. It was just staring at us. And it stayed there watching us for like 10 minutes, not even fazed that we were there. And this is at like 8 o’clock in the morning. I was like; you are supposed to be in your hole somewhere sleeping.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: And it was just strange. I was like; was it a full moon last night? And it was.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think it was.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah! It’s a full moon. So I don’t know man. That’s just crazy that we both have owl stories.

Diane Sanfilippo: Freaky. And watch out. I was, of course, Googling like crazy about it. And apparently, there was a runner in the Salem, Oregon area who was talking about how the owl swooped by. I don’t know if it pecked him, or if it hit him with it’s talons. Which, of course, I can’t think of anything except Napoleon Dynamite.

Liz Wolfe: Did the chickens have large talons?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} Totally. But he said that it felt almost like; I don’t know if he said a rock or something hitting him, but also as if he got hit by a 2×4 and got electrocuted at the same time.

Liz Wolfe: Wow.

Diane Sanfilippo: Was how it felt. And I was like; O. M. G. I’m so glad that we just ran out. But that was crazy. So be careful if you see yours again.

Liz Wolfe: Be careful of what?

Diane Sanfilippo: Be careful if you see yours again. Because if you're anywhere near its nest, it’s going to swoop at you. And that’s no joke.

Liz Wolfe: Well, I’m just happy that somebody else had an owl experience within the last 12 hours. Because I really thought; I was Googling. So silly!

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s ominous? Something bad is going to happen?

Liz Wolfe: I’m a rationale person. But I was Googling owl omens. It was like; either wisdom, or something terrible is going to happen.

Diane Sanfilippo: Did something bad happen?

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Did something bad happen? Ok. So, anyway. Back to your updates.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s all I’m going to do for now. That’s the biggest update. So. We’ll do a work update next time.

Liz Wolfe: Fair enough.

Diane Sanfilippo: Do you have another update?

Liz Wolfe: No.

Diane Sanfilippo: Or do you want to stick with the owl?

Liz Wolfe: I’m just going to stick with the owl.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s all about the owls today.

2. Beautycounter meeting recap [7:56]

Liz Wolfe: We’re just going to let that be. Alright, so both of us, however, went to a Beautycounter leader meeting in Nantucket recently. And I think it might be worth a little recap; what do you think?

Diane Sanfilippo: Sure. I feel like we have a ton of listeners who are either customers, have shopped with Beautycounter, whether with us or someone else. Or consultants. I feel like there are a ton of Beautycounter consultants who are listeners. Do you want to jump in? This was not the first time you had been to such a meeting.

Liz Wolfe: No. I have been to several such meetings. It’s funny now, because way back in the day, I was one of very few people talking about safer, more natural skincare. And now, we have; there’s a whole movement around it. Which is awesome. And it’s very interesting. But it just happened to be that I kind of got into this a little bit early. So I’ve been able to be at a couple of meetings. This was our first one that we got to go together. We got to be with Cassy Joy, as well. And of course, Arsy, and Madison, and Michelle, and Kate, and Stacy, and all our faves.

So that was really cool. And it’s really cool to be; none of us recommend or talk about anything that we don’t really have some involvement with. We’re not apt to talk about companies that we don’t really understand inside and out. And that’s part of the reason we’re so deeply involved with Beautycounter. And one of the cool things about Beautycounter, as many people know, is that it is a direct sales company. But it is also a direct retail company, doing partnerships with places like Target, J. Crew, Goop, Rachel Zoe, all kinds of different partnerships. As well as independent popup shops in Nantucket and whatnot.

What’s really cool about this is I’ve always really felt that direct sales had something really special about it. But it wasn’t really being done right. I’m all about supporting my friends and their businesses. I would much rather my money goes to a friend who sells me a purse than to Dillard’s that sells me a purse. So I really, really like that idea. And I find it really empowering, especially for women like me who stay at home with their kids. Or women who just need a little side hustle. Whatever it is.

So I really like that about direct sales. But what this last meeting really re-solidified for me was that Beautycounter has kind of taken the best of that, and taken away all the garbage. It’s taken away a lot of the oppressive requirements on reps or consultants that a lot of other companies have that really have no real positive impact on consultants. So what I think they’ve done is really created more empowering new era in the direct retail business model, and I’m really excited about it. I just think they’re doing it right. And every time I go to one of these meetings, I come away really, really just proud and happy to be involved in the company. Especially at this stage and it’s growth.

Diane Sanfilippo: When I was thinking about how I would recap that weekend, {laughs} I was thinking more how; yes, all of those things.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But also, it’s just been super fun to be working with my friends in a different way. Because we’ve worked together; you and I only ever know each other, first as working together, and then obviously also as friends. And same with Cassy Joy. Cassy and I; we were barely friends before we went on book tour together. It was like; let me just see if she wants to do this crazy thing with me. And then we totally became friends. But it’s been really fun to be able to work alongside one another, towards something that we all believe in. And it’s super fun, and also financially rewarding. And I think that’s something that a lot of people are looking for. A way to do something with their friends.

I think a lot of folks; and I just posted something about this recently. A lot of folks work a job Monday to Friday. They’re going to an office. They may or may not love their coworkers. And if you could do something where you might end up on a trip with two of your legit best friends, and sharing a room, and just kind of… for me, it’s the ultimate because I love working, and I love shop talk.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: This is a joke I have with Liz. Liz is like; I don’t know how to talk shop. I’m like, you're doing it right now. We’re talking shop.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: You do know how to talk shop. But I just think that’s super fun. Because we get to combine work and play. And there’s this kind of seamless line where we go from ordering room service and having this smorgasbord; does that end with a G or a D?

Liz Wolfe: I think a D.

Diane Sanfilippo: Smorgasbord?

Liz Wolfe: It’s a D.

Diane Sanfilippo: Listen.

Liz Wolfe: You're thinking cyborg.

Diane Sanfilippo: No. I don’t know. Anyway. This buffet of food. Just having a great time, hanging out. But then also getting down to business. And it is really fun to do that with people who you love as other people and respect and care about, etc. Instead of working a business where; I don’t know. You're contributing to a whole bunch of people who you don’t know. Or love, or care about. So I just think it’s really fun to have that element there. And for me, it was just fun to have that weekend. Where we could; not even a weekend. But a handful of days where we could kind of be together and do that work. So it was really fun for me.

And also to your point about just the industry and where we’re going as a company. I definitely felt very reinvigorated about what we’re doing as a company. Being among some of the top leaders, it really feels; I don’t know. The word isn’t really empowering. But I just felt like; this is awesome. This company knows what’s up. They are trying innovative things. Have really creative ideas.

Because the company is still; it’s new. It’s only a little over 5 years old. And they’re not getting stuck in this corporate, we’re too big to try those things, mindset. Which, for me, is really fun. Because you know; being an entrepreneur, it would be really stuffy to be in a big corporation where they can’t be agile and make decisions a little bit on the fly and try things that they’re unsure about. But I think that’s kind of what today’s marketplace is all about. So yeah, that’s been super fun.

The least of which is, how excited we are about what’s coming for the holidays. Not the least of which, perhaps. But I can’t wait to see what happens. Because this episode is going to drop just a bit before the new holiday product comes out. And this is just going to be such a fun and exciting time. So anyway.

Liz Wolfe: So good!

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s a quick little recap.

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3. Keto and calories [15:32]

Liz Wolfe: Alright. So we have two questions today that we’re going to tackle. One is on keto and calories, and another is on veganism. Which we keep getting questions about; it’s very interesting. And what would be the best animal foods to supplement with if you were going to add in a couple of animal products. So that one should be interesting. But let’s start with question number one.

“I’ve been dabbling in keto for a couple of months now, trying to figure this way of eating out. Let me tell you first why I’m giving it a try. I’ve struggled with my weight most of my life. I tend to either gain or hold onto weight very easily. And it has always been hard for me to lose. I was always a little on the chubby side. I had two older brothers and a dad who liked to poke fun at my weight and body, though I know they didn’t mean any harm, or knew any better. Our family was full of jokesters, and appearances were not off the table as part of the constant teasing. My mom was super sensitive, and got her feelings hurt easily, so I decided I needed to be tough and internalize my feelings.

I appeared to be tough on the outside, even though I was so embarrassed and ashamed of my appearance. Plus, I had bad acne. I lost 30 pounds by running and eating low-fat during high school. I took it to the extreme, and suffered from an eating disorder. Fast-forward to college, and I lost all eating inhibitions, and gained 40 pounds.

Now, I’ve been steady at 5’4”, 140 pounds, 28% body fat. I still suffer from poor body image. I’d like to take off the last 10-ish pounds, and reduce my body fat by 3-5%. I’m trying the keto diet to help with weight loss, and also to reduce the amount of food I tend to eat. However, so far I can’t seem to get my food intake or calories down. I hear so much about how great keto is that you're not hungry on keto, but I can’t seem to reduce my hunger. What gives? I’ve been tracking my macros and calories, and I’m consistently eating around 2000 calories a day with a macro ratio of approximate 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs.

All the macro calculators I look at say I should be eating around 1500 calories a day. I just can’t seem to get to that level without feeling hungry and miserable all the time. I love to eat, which has always been my downfall. It doesn’t seem to matter which diet I’m on; my calories always hover around 2000. I like how I feel on keto, and I love the foods I’m eating. But I feel that I’m doing something wrong. Why am I still hungry enough to eat 2000 calories?

As far as my activity level goes, I have a desk job most days. I work out three days a week, doing a combination of biking and weights. I haven’t worked out strenuously for several months, and instead try to focus on exercising for enjoyment, and keeping my stress levels down. I’m getting about 6-7 hours of sleep most nights; one to two 8-hour nights per week. I’m just hoping you can give me some insight on your success on keto so far, and maybe what I’m doing wrong, if anything.

PS; I do have a dark chocolate addiction, so maybe too much chocolate is the culprit. I eat a few squares after lunch and dinner every day.”

Diane Sanfilippo: There’s a lot going on in this question. And I’m going to tackle a few different parts of it. First and foremost, 5’4”, 140 pounds, 28% body fat, does not sound unhealthy to me at all. I understand the desire to reduce body fat percentage. I do personally think that being somewhere in the 20-28% range would also still be healthy. I do also think that below 20%, when we’re getting to that more athletic level range, unless you are an athlete who is competing, I think it’s really important to not push your body to a place that is unhealthy, and unnatural, and uncomfortable.

To strive for those super low body fat percentages. We’ve talked on this show countless times about how many women are losing their periods at those low body fat percentages. And I’m not talking low 12%. I’m talking low, 16-18%. So keep this in mind when you really look at what those numbers are.

And I do think her note about; “I still suffer from poor body image.” I think that’s probably the most important element here. But it’s a tough one, because I don’t want to discount someone’s goal for change or what they might see as a bit of self-improvement, or just having healthier habits, or finding different answers. I don’t want to discount that just because someone is struggling to love themselves in their body in the moment.

I do want to say, though; getting your self-perception to a place that feels more balanced and healthy and positive will go a long way. Because it sounds like your body wants 2000 calories. And I think that fighting that is probably not the best idea.

I will give you a couple of things to try that are potentially still going to land you at 2000 calories. I don’t know where you’re going to land. But I will give you a couple of things to try, because honestly, I’m the same height as you. I probably way far more than that right now; I have no idea, because I refuse to get on a scale. Because I do have a pretty good image of myself. I feel good. I feel healthy. I’m exercising again. I’m eating well. So I don’t want that scale to be what derails me in my mindset. So I would tell you to step away from the scale, and just focus on how your clothes fit, and how you feel about yourself day to day.

And I think your daily habits do more for how you feel about yourself than anything else. And for anyone listening who is like; yeah, but my pants don’t fit. Buy some new pants. I’m not kidding. This changed so much for me, to put on jeans that weren’t squeezing everywhere. Fine, so I’m wearing a size 8 instead of a size 6. Who really cares? I’m showing up in the world to do what I’m here to do. And if one day I’m in a size 6 again, then I’m in a size 6 again. Nobody is worse off with my contributions to the world because I’m wearing a different size pants. You know what I’m saying?

Ok, so there’s that. So you probably don’t “need” to lose any weight. Your body is probably really happy where it’s at, and it’s comfortable. I’m guessing that you have a period, and I’m hoping that it’s fairly regular. We haven’t heard anything about that. If you want to tweak what you're doing with keto in order to feel that satiety kick in a bit better, what I would strongly recommend is increasing your protein and reducing your fat a bit. And this is really where a lot of keto zealots kind of take it to this; no, your protein has to be lower. And your fat has to be higher.

At 25% protein, that’s still pretty high. But you could increase that to 30%, and take your fat down to 65. And you may find more satiety there. And I say that as somebody who; I’m the same way. I can definitely eat a lot of food. If I’m not actually counting what it is, it’s probably going to be a little more than I really needed. But I do think if you get more protein in, you may find more satiety from that.

The other factor is; what’s making up that 5% of carbohydrate for you? Is it really nutrient dense veggies? Because that’s going to help your satiety, as well. If you're getting your 5% of your calories in from carbs, and they’re not super high quality nutrient dense carbs, then your body is still perhaps looking for some nutrition, and it’s initiating that appetite response. So if you're not getting enough vitamin C; if you're not getting enough other nutrients from your food, then that’s something to look into.

Also; how much fiber are you getting? If you're not getting enough fiber from what you're eating, then your satiety may also be reduced. And you really want to be getting enough protein, enough fiber, and enough vitamins and minerals, nutrients from your veggies, to make sure that satiety is kicking in appropriately.

I don’t know how much sugar is in the chocolate that you're eating. I wouldn’t be that concerned with it. I personally do 100% dark chocolate on keto. There are a couple of brands I’ve talked about, many times, that I love. And I think that that’s; I would consider chocolate a food. I don’t consider to be candy at that point, when it’s 100% dark. There’s no sugar. It’s filled with antioxidants. We’ve talked about on the show many times. A lot of antioxidant studies are actually studying antioxidants from chocolate. So, I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

And the other part is; in terms of your exercise, I would definitely recommend getting some weight training in. Because if what you're trying to do is change your body composition, I think the body composition changing is more important to me than the number on the scale. I just don’t think worrying so much about what that number is is the critical element. But you probably want to feel more fit, and stronger, and just feel good in your clothes. And if you add weight training to your exercise routine, I think you’ll see the results that you want.

You may see the scale go up. You may gain a few pounds, because you're gaining muscle. But your clothes may actually fit better as a result. So I would strongly recommend not stepping on the scale. Because it seems that it’s only doing negative things for you. And I understand sometimes people want that accountability, but I don’t think that’s the right accountability to have. I think being accountable to showing up to get some exercise in, or doing other things for yourself is more important than the accountability to the scale.

And when it comes to what’s going on with the family; I’m hoping that she is now at a place where she’s not around them and all of that ridicule anymore. But if you are, then it might be time to have a conversation. And let people know what they’re really doing when they say things. Or when they’re making jokes. And if they choose to continue having that kind of conversation with you, or making fun of you at this stage of your life. It sounds like they were doing that longer ago. But if they do continue to make fun of you after you tell them exactly how it makes you feel, then you have a choice to make in how much time you spend around people who are going to be negative and upsetting. It’s just important that we air that to those around us who are kind of pushing us down over and over again.

So, this is a tough one. I totally get it. And it’s multifaceted. It’s not just about tweaking keto and calories. But the one other thing I’ll say here is that in my book that’s coming out in January, I do talk about two different approaches. One where you're not counting calories, because I think for a lot of people you absolutely don’t have. Especially when you do go keto, and your satiety tends to improve. You can go longer between meals, etc.

But then, for someone who does feel like; you know what? I’m actually not losing the weight. Because I can eat a lot. And a little extra fat goes a long way in terms of adding calories. I am showing people how to use tracking in what I consider to be a healthy way so that you're looking at everything you're eating for the day, and kind of crossing it off, rather than taking this approach of; tracking what you're eating, hitting a certain calorie number, and then feeling like; “I don’t want to eat anymore because I feel like if I eat less, that’s a better thing.”

I’m giving people an approach that really is the opposite of that. Where I’m showing you I want you to eat all of this food today. And if you haven’t eaten all of this, and you're still hungry, go back and see what’s left. And even still, if someone is hungry at the end of all of that, I’m still going to tell them to eat some protein and veggies. Because the point is not to be starving. If your body is legitimately hungry, then eat something. It’s really not about getting yourself to a place where you're just constantly cutting calories. Because we know that that will eventually backfire.

But getting yourself to a calorie range that might be 1800 a day, instead of the 2000 or 1500, but feeling good there. I want you to feel good there. That might actually be the thing that works in the longer term. But ultimately, I think the answer is probably more that your body is where it wants to be. And I just wouldn’t be as stressed about that. I would focus on some other goals. Like, getting some weight training in and kind of pushing your attention that way. Away from those scale numbers and body fat percentage.

4. Animal product recommendations for vegan [27:49]

Liz Wolfe: I don’t really want to add more because that was so well said. Alright. Let’s move on to question number two. “If a vegan was going to have one or two animal-based products to ensure proper nutrition, what are your recommendations? My best guess is some sardines each week, but I’m curious on your take. I’m not a vegan myself; this is sort of asking for a friend inquiry, so I can learn from your knowledge and perspectives and share the information with my girlfriend. Your podcast is great, and I appreciate what you do.”

So you and I both; we were kind of like {laughs}. Ok, write yours on a piece of paper and then slide it across the desk to me, and we’ll see what each other says.

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally.

Liz Wolfe: And it was, predictably, the same thing. I mean, I think this is tough. Because in my work, I’ve noted that there are two types of vegans. This is not real. But the two kind of types of plant-based eaters that I would deal with were the people who were really gung-ho about sustainability, and nose to tail, and kind of like Lierre Keith conversion type of stuff. Where it was like; I felt like this was the right thing for myself, and the environment, and for the animals. But I don’t feel right. I’m not just going to go eat mass produced chicken breast from Piggly-Wiggly. I want to eat nose to tail. I want to do the right thing. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this right.

And then there’s the other camp, which is like; ok, but maybe I’ll eat bacon and chicken breast. And can’t really wrap their heads around this idea of eating kind of the more odd bits, or anything with a face that you can see {laughs} as you're eating. As with sometimes with the smaller fish, like sardines.

So, honoring that. Both Diane and I were both pretty much like; sardines and liver. The end.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. Well, Liz said sardines and liver, the end. And of course, I was elaborating on that a little bit. But sardines and liver, yes. Because we’re looking for choline, B vitamins, cholesterol. We do want to eat some cholesterol. Iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. And we talk about omega-3 fatty acids; we’re not getting the same form of omega-3 fatty acids in things like chia seeds and flax seeds as we will in fish. So that’s a huge one.

Iron, same thing. We’re not getting the same form of iron in spinach that we will get in meat. And what else was I going to give you guys here? B vitamins are kind of tough to come by. You can get some from some grains, and some nuts and seeds. But if you're looking for the most easily digestible forms, without potential antinutrients and gut irritants, then animal foods are going to be way better for that. And I think choline is another really underestimated, undereaten nutrient. We can get tons of it from egg yolk, but liver. We were trying to pick just one, and liver is more of a powerhouse than eggs. So the liver and sardines.

And if I was being more lenient, and saying this person could eat a couple of “easier things” but then maybe supplement otherwise; this is kind of what you were saying, Liz. The person who is not necessarily up for the odd bits, which I do think if you're being a responsible vegan, that it is important to supplement. But if you're somebody who is like; ok, if I were to pick two foods that seem more approachable, or easier, it would be eggs and wild-caught salmon. And then I would probably say to supplement for things like iron, B vitamins, and calcium. But at least you’d be getting the omega-3s and the choline and just some other elements that are coming in through both of those foods. Like astaxanthin, zeaxanthin. Just some other antioxidants that you're going to get that I think are tough to come by in plant foods.

So those are kind of the kindergarten entry level foods; the eggs and salmon are just easier, I think. But I do think that liver and sardines; if you're just picking two, it’s that. And you can do liver in any form. It doesn’t need to be you're just literally eating liver and onions or liver. You can do pate. You could do liverwurst. Something like that, where you're getting some of that. I think that’s an okay approach.

Did you have some more notes on that?

Liz Wolfe: I’ll just add, just so we can enhance buy-in for people. I will also talk about looking for; I think what we get from a lot of folks is, “I can take a DHA supplement for my omega-3s, like from algae.” Or something like that. And just an interesting thing that Amanda Torres, one of our researchers for Baby Making and Beyond discovered in a lot of her research for the program, was that EPA and DHA do not work as well without arachidonic acid. Which is in omega-6. And omega-6 arachidonic acid is found in liver. It’s also found a little bit in fish.

And from what I can see in the literature, it is not found in vegan sources of omega-3. So if you were to take algal DHA, you would not get any arachidonic acid from that. And ARA is really important for quite a few things. It’s actually important for balancing out the effect of EPA and DHA in nursing children, who are getting most of their omegas through breastmilk. It’s also really important for immunity. For; gosh, what else did I want to say. Now I can’t find it. I had the study open here on the importance of arachidonic acid. But it’s really, really fascinating to me. And it’s not all that surprising that what we need and what we would generally get from the foods that people have eaten for thousands and thousands of years all occur together in real food.

There’s also vitamin A. Which is rich in liver. As well as folate, which is also rich in liver. And with several different types of nutrients, vitamin A, omega-3s in particular, we’re talking about the ability to convert those from their precursors in the body. The vegan precursors into their active forms. Varies from person to person. It has a lot of potential issues and things that can stymie the process.

So that’s kind of one those arguments we get a lot. Like, “Oh, I can eat carrots and my body will convert the beta carotene to vitamin A.” Or, “I can eat flaxseed and my body will convert the alpha-linolenic acid to end usable omega-3s.” And we just can’t necessarily trust that process. And if someone is in particular feeling not great on a vegan diet, that could certainly be part of it. It could also be that they’re just not eating the proper amount of whole foods, or whatever it is. It could be kind of a junk vegan diet.

But, this is really; liver and sardines would really be the way to cover all of those bases really, really easily. But at the same time, if you're just not ready for that, I feel like some bacon and chicken breast is probably better than nothing. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Or eggs.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal.

The NTA’s nutritional therapy practitioner program and fully online nutritional therapy consultant program empower graduates with the education and skills needed to launch a successful, fulfilling career in holistic nutrition. If you're interested in learning about holistic nutrition but don’t necessarily want to become a practitioner, check out their new Foundational Wellness course. To learn more about the NTA’s nutritional therapy programs, resources, and to enroll in their free course, Nutritional Therapy 101, visit

5. Something I’m digging lately [36:17]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Next up. Something new I’m digging. So, Diane. What’s something new you're digging?

Diane Sanfilippo: I have been digging; I called it cheersing. But some people were asking if it was supposed to be a toast. I’m like; we weren’t really saying anything. We were just saying cheers. Without alcohol, just with sparkling water. I just want everyone to feel comfortable doing that, and that they don’t need to participate in alcohol if they don’t want to or don’t feel like it that day. I kind of have posted about that a few times, celebrating a few things over the last several weeks. And just giving a little cheers with my glass of sparkling water.

What’s something new you are digging lately?

Liz Wolfe: Oh, golly. So many things.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} This is not; I don’t even know that I can make this fit the question. But I’m going to talk about it anyway. I’m totally digging the fact that my kid is becoming more independent, and how she’s growing, and just watching everything she’s learning in preschool. But why is it that my kid has to want to play with things; it’s never just; hey, let me sit down and color with these washable markers. It’s, “I want to cut the grass with scissors. For an hour.” And not just one patch of grass; I want to run around to different patches of grass with these scissors.

My kid is obsessed with scissors. And I literally don’t know what to do about it. Because it’s so; I want her to explore. I want her to learn how to do things. But standing over her, watching her use these scissors {laughs} is getting a little bit intense.

And I posted a funny story to my Instagram stories recently. A text message from her preschool teacher that was like; Well. Did you know your daughter loves scissors? She actually cut her hair with the scissors.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: She was sitting quietly, playing in the art center.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s always when they’re quiet, right?

Liz Wolfe: She was so quiet playing! And I’m like, yep. You cannot trust her when she’s being quiet. She’s doing something that you wouldn’t want her to do. She seems very sweet, and she’s very; I don’t know. You just wouldn’t look at my daughter and be like; oh, you’ve got to look out for that one. But she definitely comes up with great ideas. And by great, I mean terrible ideas that make me feel like I can never have another kid. Like cutting hair with scissors, or whatever it is. I don’t know. It’s just kind of funny. But she did snip her hair. And you were there when I got the text message too, and you were like; oh my god! Rite of passage. Your kid cut her own hair.

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally. I think it’s like; every kid has to either cut their own hair or someone else’s. You know? That’s kind of what happens. And then I forced you to watch that YouTube video of the little girl who cut her hair. Because it was too extra. This is my favorite video, you guys need to Google that. We’ll put it in our; we’ll link to it in the Instagram story maybe when this episode goes live.

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh. It’s just too funny. And I’m sure other, more experienced parents are like; nodding their heads right now. Because I bet every kid goes through a scissor phase. But I’ve only got the one {laughs} and I keep wondering; when is she going to go play sweetly in the corner by herself doing nothing that could potentially be dangerous or waste water or putting three rolls of toilet paper into the toilet because she’s playing Rapunzel, and they’re her Rapunzel hair.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: When is she just going to sit there and build something with blocks in the corner and not need me?

Alright, well that’s it for this week guys. You can find me, Liz, at and Diane at Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

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