Podcast Episode #103: Special Guest Diana Rodgers

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1. Intro to Diana Rodgers & her journey to health [3:38] 2. A passion for sustainability [6:10] 3. Homesteading inspiration & the realities of farm life [8:37] 4. BaconPalooza and P3 at Polyface Farms [13:39] 5. Nutrition education/credentials (NTP, NTC, RD) [16:18] 6. Diana's new book, Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go [23:11] 7. Is an official celiac diagnosis really necessary? [32:03] 8. Empowering kids to make healthy food choices [36:02] 9. Sneak peek of Diana's next book! [40:48] 10. Homesteading miscellanea – predators, transgender chickens, etc.  [43:00] 11. The cost of good food [53:13] [smart_track_player url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/balancedbites/BB_Podcast_103.mp3″ title=”#103: Special Guest Diana Rodgers” artist=”Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe ” color=”00aeef” social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_gplus=”true” ]


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Liz Wolfe: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Episode 103 of the Balanced Bites Podcast! Liz here with a special guest whom I will introduce in a moment. I wanted to do a quick note, though. I am powered big time today by Chameleon Cold-Brew. Thank you so much to our friends over there for providing us with some amazing, smooth, easy-to-drink iced coffee that is really helping me power through all of these book edits.

I also have a quick clip from our other sponsor, Pete's Paleo, that I want to play really quickly. It's just a little convo between Diane and our friend Pete about their products. Give it a listen, and we'll be right back to the show.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, Pete, what do folks actually get when they order a week's worth of meals from Pete's Paleo?

Pete Servold: That's a great question. We get it a lot. Our goal is to help you with all of your goals, and we understand that we can't and shouldn't provide you with all your meals. You should still go out to your local markets and do some cooking and learn how to order properly when you're out. So what we do is when we make our meals, we package them fresh in a vacuum-sealed bag so that they are as fresh as they are when we cook them for you when they get to your house. You get 10 meals and 5 snacks, so basically lunch and dinner for 5 days a week. The portions are a cooked 5- to 6-ounce piece of protein and then two 3-ounce cooked vegetable sides, and that's ideal for, I'd say, 90% to 95% of people. If you are super athletic or trying to put on mass, we do have what's called a “Hero” option where we double the protein portion, and you can also do the same option with your veggies if you just love veggies and like to cook meat and don't want to make the vegetables, that kind of stuff, so we do offer those options, but our main goal is to give you 5 days' worth of lunch and dinner with the package.

Liz Wolfe: Good stuff from Diane and Pete of Pete's Paleo. All right, now on to our special guest.

I'm very excited about this for several reasons. First of all, because this person has been my touchstone in this whole homesteading journey. We'll talk a little bit about that. She's been a really good friend to me. She's also a colleague, and I'm really proud and excited to have her on the show to talk about her new book, so with me today is my friend Diana Rodgers, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She's the author of the new book Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go, which is one of my new favorites. Diana and I are going to talk about a lot of things today. We're going to talk about what she's working on now, we're going to talk about where she lives, we're going to talk about dealing with me and my obsessive text messages about ticks and homesteading, and it'll just be an all-around good time. So, Diana, welcome to the show!

Diana Rodgers: Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here!

1. Intro to Diana Rodgers and her journey to health [3:38]

Liz Wolfe: I am so happy to have you. Like I said, you've been my touchstone for all this homesteading stuff, and we'll get into that in a minute, but I would love it if you'd just do a quick intro about you, about Clark Farm, and about your new book, Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go.

Diana Rodgers: Fantastic. Yeah, so I went to the same program that you did, the Nutritional Therapy Association.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diana Rodgers: That was really after a lifetime of trying to figure out what was going on with my health. Basically I had undiagnosed celiac disease until my mid 20s and then went gluten-free after my endoscopy and official diagnosis and was completely addicted to gluten-free foods. I'd have gluten-free granola for breakfast, and then, of course, I'd have all my gluten-free power bars in my bag because I was crashing with my blood sugar at about 10 or 11 in the morning. And then for lunch I'd have a gluten-free sandwich, maybe a gluten-free candy bar or something for a snack, and then I'd have gluten-free pasta with a gluten-free beer and maybe gluten-free cookies for dessert!

Liz Wolfe: Sounds good to me!

Diana Rodgers: So I basically just was substituting this crappy standard American diet – I was low-fat, so I thought I had that going for me – with a gluten-free standard American crap diet. And it wasn't going so well, so basically I was living on a farm with my husband, and we were running a raw milk co-op there, and I started learning a little bit more about the Weston A. Price Society. I ended up going out to one of their conferences. I had to hear, “Eat butter,” like, 10 times before I would eat real butter, and then ended up deciding that I wanted to study nutrition formally, so I went back, studied some nutrition, and right towards the end I read Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution, and that changed my life. So instead of all this gluten-free, processed garbage, I went and just ate what we grew on the farm, and lo and behold, my health changed. I could go from breakfast to lunch without needing a snack. I could go from lunch to dinner without needing a snack. I would maybe even skip lunch and I'd be OK. It was really just earthshattering for me, so I've been paleo ever since then. It was right when his book came out, pretty much, so that's about three years or so, a little over three years. I've never looked back.

2. A passion for sustainability [6:10]

Liz Wolfe: So talk about – and we were talking about this off the air – how the paleo movement, the ancestral movement is really, really moving towards the sustainability thing, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, pastured meats, and things like that. How has your time on a farm, with farming, with what your husband does, how has that shaped this whole trajectory for you and what you're doing now?

Diana Rodgers: Well, so I just got back from the Ancestral Health Symposium, where I had the honor of speaking on sustainability with Robb Wolf. It was absolutely incredible. You know, when someone initially wants to go paleo, usually it's for health reasons and they're just meat and vegetables. They're not really thinking about where the meat's coming from, where the vegetables are coming from, and there are still a lot of people that that's working for them and that's great, but my goal was to really shed some light on some of the other issues about where their food is coming from and the importance to the environment, for social justice reasons, like farm workers and what's going on, on American farms, all the child labor issues, all that stuff. Plus animals on small farms like ours are treated so much better. We're growing more heritage-breed meats, so our animals can actually live in the outdoors instead of conditioned to only live under fluorescent lighting in cages on large factory farms. It's so much deeper than just six-pack abs.

Liz Wolfe: Amen.

Diana Rodgers: That's really where my passion is, and it's just so fantastic that it's circling around to where I live on this gorgeous farm. And I feel like I'm also pulling people who are into the farms and into environmental issues into paleo, so it's kind of a nice, big circle there that's happening.

Liz Wolfe: It totally is, and I love that because it's just enriching the movement so much, I think, to have so many different perspectives to something that really started out, at least in my memory, as an extension of Cross Fit and the six-pack abs, just like you said.

3. Homesteading inspiration & the realities of farm life [8:37]

Folks may not know, but I went out to your farm and got to spend a couple days out there with you. I met the animals, hung out with the chickens, sheep, goats, ducks, all that good stuff, and of course, your two awesome kids who are totally engaged in the whole process, too. And that was a blast, and this was right around the time when my husband and I were getting ready to move and thinking about getting some acreage somewhere and starting to try to grow/raise some of our own calories. It's been quite a slow process, but you are definitely part of the inspiration for that, so I definitely thank you for that, and also I thank you a million times over for helping me calm the heck down with all this tick insanity.

Diana Rodgers: [laughter]

Liz Wolfe: I don't know if you remember the text message you sent me: “My husband says to grow a pair,” [laughter] which I thought was amazing, so thank you for that. Do you have anything to say about the realities of homesteading, living on a farm, and raising food?

Diana Rodgers: Well, there's definitely the romantic idea, right? You know, oh, it'd be so great! And it is great. It's totally awesome. I cannot imagine what my life might be like if my husband didn't decide to change careers. He used to be, like, in high tech, and at age 28 he had his early midlife crisis and was like: I can't do this. I need to be outside. He's very athletic, he wanted to be working with his body, and he wanted to be doing something for the environment. At the time, we were living in Portland, Oregon, and we kept driving out every weekend, and we would look at different farms. I had worked on farms all through high school and college in my hometown, and so it was very comforting to me to just escape, go for a little road trip, and we discovered this concept of a CSA. Andrew really felt like it was the great marriage of saving environments, especially in suburban areas, and getting people involved in their food systems, plus he got to work outside, so it was really great. We had a couple uncomfortable meetings with his parents right about the time we were getting married, so that was interesting. And he went back to school for soil science for his master's degree, and I kept on working at my corporate job in Boston, and then we made it happen, so we took the big leap, and we've never really looked back.

But there's chicken shit everywhere, you know? I don't let my kids run around barefoot because there are crazy parasites sometimes in animal feces and rusty nails on farms and things like that. But the kids, right now they're 7 and 9, and so they're right at the perfect age where they're just super-proud. We have the school groups coming all the time, and we get our kids to lead the groups around, so education is really, really important to us as well. We don't get to leave very much because we have so many animals here, so vacations are a little rough, especially in the summer, but it's so beautiful here in New England in the summer that we just go to the beach in the evening or head over to Walden Pond, which is really close by, so it's an awesome life.

Liz Wolfe: So what do you do with all the animals when you go on vacation?

Diana Rodgers: We actually work with an international program called MESA. It's an acronym. I think it's, like, Multilingual Education for Sustainable Agriculture [Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture], and so we have two guys from Peru who live in an apartment upstairs from our farmhouse, so they're here. We have another young woman who also made a career change out of the corporate life to become a farmer, and she's really sharp and fantastic. So we can get away briefly. We're heading down, actually, to Joel Salatin's farm September 7 and 8 for this BaconPalooza event. So we can kind of sneak away for quick little weekends and stuff like that. And then we really try to pare it down in the wintertime. We do breed sheep, so we have the sheep here living in the barn, but the rest of the animals we have in the freezer.

Liz Wolfe: [laughter]

Diana Rodgers: And the vegetables aren't growing, so winter's a nice, kind of slower time for us and a nice break from the crazy long days of summer.

4. BaconPalooza and P3 at Polyface Farms [13:39]

Liz Wolfe: Well, you mentioned the BaconPalooza. Do you want to get a little rundown on that, what's going on at Polyface Farms?

Diana Rodgers: Yeah. I think there are tickets still available, although they may be closing it pretty soon because I think their numbers are getting pretty up there. Saturday there will be tours of Polyface Farm, which I know you've been to, right, Liz?

Liz Wolfe: I have. Maybe it was two years ago now, I applied for a harvest season internship with them and went out for a couple of days to work on the farm to basically try out for a slot at Polyface, and unfortunately due to this military lifestyle that I live, some different life things intervened and I had to pull my name out of the running, but it was definitely a few days that changed my life.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, I'm super-excited to go down and check it out, and my husband has read every single one of his books. We use a lot of Joel's techniques here. We've sort of modified a few of them, and other ones we just use flat out, so he's been a huge inspiration to my husband. And I've actually met Joel quite a few times now, so I'm excited to see him again.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diana Rodgers: So Saturday there will be tours of the farm. Saturday night there is a bacon cook-off, and quite a few of our friends are going to be down there. We have the Paleo Parents, we have the Domestic Man and a bunch of other paleo chefs, and then I am teaming up with Kristin Canty who is the producer/director of Farmageddon, which is a fantastic film. Have you seen that one?

Liz Wolfe: I have, yep. That's actually when I met the Paleo Parents, Matt and Stacy, for the first time. They invited me down to DC to go to one of the screenings of that movie, and the rest is history.

Diana Rodgers: Kristin actually lives in the next town over from me, and she came over to the farm recently, so I'm psyched. We're going to be traveling down with her, and she and I have an entry in the contest. And then they're showing a film that night. And then the next day, it's going to be Robb Wolf, Joel Salatin, just a bunch of cool speaker things going on, on Sunday for P3. So if people want to register, they can Google “BaconPalooza” or “P3,” and it'll come up.

Liz Wolfe: I also have a little widget for it on the sidebar of CaveGirlEats.com, so if anybody forgets what it's called, you'll see it right there on the sidebar. Definitely check that out.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, so I'm psyched for that.

5. Nutrition education/credentials (NTP, NTC, RD) [16:18]

Liz Wolfe: Very good. All right, well, I'm going to circle back to something that we talked about for just a second a minute ago. You are a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, as am I. You're always working on your RD.

Diana Rodgers: Yes.

Liz Wolfe: One thing that I wanted to talk about in the spirit of all this education that's going on, is the NTA, the Nutritional Therapy Association, which they govern our credentials as Nutritional Therapy Practitioners, they have – and I know you get a lot of questions, as do I, about nutrition education – The Nutritional Therapy Association has an option that was not available when we went through the program. We did a very broad program that encompassed nutritional stuff and some functional evaluation type stuff, but since then, they've added an option called NTC, which is actually a really cool idea. What they've done is basically put together a program that is nutrition centered without these functional evaluations that basically have to do with some old-school chiropractic techniques, evaluative techniques that you can do with people one on one. What the NTC does is enables you to work with your credentials on a distance basis with people. You'll get some tools for working as a nutritional therapist, but I think it's a little bit more applicable to how things have really worked in my practice, probably in yours as well.

Diana Rodgers: Definitely.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, we don't do a whole lot of the functional stuff, but really focus on the nutrition, the digestive, and things like that. So this NTC program, I'm really excited about it, and I'm excited to recommend it to folks. It's starting September 16, and I keep meaning to mention it on the podcast, but I thought today would be a really good time to do it since you and I are both NTPs. I believe registration closes September 9, so we're going to be cutting it pretty close. The course starts September 16. It's based out of Long Island. It's distance learning, but you do have to go to Long Island once. When we were going through, we had conferences, I believe, three times?

Diana Rodgers: Well, you did that. I did a slightly different version where I went to New York City eight times.

Liz Wolfe: Holy smokes! Well, this is definitely a much more viable option, especially for folks who are working and doing this on nights, weekends, or whatever. So check out the NTC. You can go to NutritionalTherapy.com and look at the NTC stuff. Registration closes September 9. They might let a few people sneak in a little bit after that. It starts officially on September 16, and you'll just have one in-person workshop date, I believe. Hopefully I got all of that right. Don't hold me to it entirely. If you're looking at doing something like that what Diana and I do, definitely check this out. Let them know that we sent you.

I wanted to ask you, Diana, how you feel your Nutritional Therapy credentials and now your education going through to get your RD, how that kind of helped you write this book that we're going to talk about eventually.

Diana Rodgers: Well, I think it's just really confusing out there, right? You have just so many different books that come out. To me, it was just really confusing. Who do I believe? How do I even start with all this information out there? And so, to me, the education that I got through the Nutritional Therapy Association really helped me discern what was garbage from what was right on, and it really gave me a lot of confidence that I was right and my instincts were right, and I've used that as a launching pad for all this other stuff. Do you feel the same, that that was just a launching pad, really?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, absolutely. When folks ask about the education thing, I ended up eventually writing this really long post for my professional webpage that basically talks about just that: You use this information, and it really gives you legs, you know? It gives legs to what you really want to do with your life. But from there, you have to continue to learn, continue to evolve. It gives you the tools to be a great practitioner, but there's so much information out there. It's loud, there's a lot of static to cut through, and so from there, you have to keep going.

Diana Rodgers: Right.

Liz Wolfe: And I think the NTA is really clear about that, too, and they've provided some continuing education to me recently, which was fabulous, some continuing education opportunities. But yes, you can't expect to get absolutely everything in one place, but this is definitely where I would recommend people start for that foundation, that preparation to become an actual official practitioner and then move forward from there as you did with starting to get your RD.

Diana Rodgers: Right. The decision to get my RD was really… I had consulted with a bunch of people that were already RDs. Amy Kubal helped me out a lot. There were a lot of emails back and forth with her. She's Robb Wolf's RD.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diana Rodgers: And some other professionals. I want to do this full time, and I'd like to be able to help people who can't afford my prices out of pocket. Having an RD will allow me to see people and take insurance. And also to have that medical credential so that I can work more closely with doctors, because there are a lot of nutritionists out there, and they're saying all kinds of things, and the people at the American Dietetic Association or now, what's it called? I don't know. I'm going to be a member of this soon. I guess I should know what it's called, right?!

Liz Wolfe: American Academy of Dietetics?

Diana Rodgers: Correct.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, got it.

Diana Rodgers: They're definitely trying to make it more difficult for people like us who have a lot better information than the information I got when I was first diagnosed with celiac, which was drink some Ensure, and here's a bunch of coupons for some frozen foods.

Liz Wolfe: Yikes.

6. Diana's new book, Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go [23:11]

Diana Rodgers: For example, the book kind of all came from that. I just started rolling, I opened my practice, and then a publisher ended up hearing about me actually after the sustainable dinner event that I did last summer. He had this book concept for paleo lunches on the go and asked me if I would be willing to write it. At first, I was like: Well, I actually have this other book in my head. But this was something that's really needed out there, and I'm sure you've found this as well, but you tell somebody: All right, eat some meat and eat some vegetables, and they're like: OK, but what do I eat?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah!

Diana Rodgers: And I feel like breakfast and lunch, especially breakfast, people are just on autopilot, and they're so used to their whole grain cereal with skim milk in the morning if they're eating healthy or maybe a bagel or something on the run, and then having a sandwich for lunch. Dinner… you know, when you're telling someone first about paleo, they can kind of understand dinner because it's sort of like whatever June Cleaver put on the table – sans the rolls – is good, like, a pork chop, a little potato or something, and some vegetables. But lunch and breakfast are just a little trickier for somebody who's new to paleo, so I felt like this would be really good for people who are brand new, they're still trying to figure it out, they're really busy, and they're not at the place where you and I are, where a can of sardines and half an avocado will do it.

Liz Wolfe: Yep.

Diana Rodgers: It was really a lot of fun. It went by really quick. I was in two really hard biochem classes when I wrote this, so I wanted to, like, tear my hair out. It was a little stressful, but I'm really psyched about how it came out and really also very happy with the sales success that it's having right now. Yeah, that's pretty much my spiel on the book.

Liz Wolfe: So can I read the review that I put on Amazon for it?

Diana Rodgers: Sure!

Liz Wolfe: Because I really… this is… let's be honest, and I can say this because I'm one of the people that is putting out a paleo book right now, but there are a lot of paleo books out right now.

Diana Rodgers: Yes.

Liz Wolfe: It's kind of a buzz word. And like I was saying before, you have that sustainability hook, that farming hook, where you are really engaged with your food. And I love that, and that's something that I'm striving for. So I can't wait for your next book. We'll talk about that later. But… and I'm not saying this to be controversial in any way, but this is what I said about your book: First of all, the cherry tarragon sausages are ridiculous.

Diana Rodgers: Thank you. Those are some of my favorite things in the book, yeah.

Liz Wolfe: I love them. Also I'm a big egg muffin person. I make egg muffins, like, all the time because it's just a fun, interesting way to do things, and I love the egg muffins you have in there, too, with a little lemon in them. So good. But here's what I said about your book. I said: “I love this book because it's REAL. It's real because the recipes don't subscribe to the current ‘what all the Paleo Cool Kids are doing' dogma where almond flour is OK but potatoes aren't. Where bacon and coffee is a constant obsession but sustainability isn't. Diana didn't play it safe here. And, honestly, she's the last person who should be expected to do so, because she's educated in both the Paleo-proving science, digestive health and healing,” – those are the NTP credentials, of course – “and all the biochemical intricacies” – that's your RD education – “too many of us bloggers are clueless about. She's an NTP studying for her RD, so she KNOWS nourishing food. She also knows about digestive health and what nourishes and what doesn't. She's blazing her OWN trail, and it's what I believe Paleo should be about: nourishing and healing ourselves, connecting with our food, striving for sustainability, and ditching dogma.”

I really like what I wrote there, but what I love about your book is that you really didn't play it safe. There are some ingredients in there that we haven't seen before in a lot of paleo books, but what I love about you and your education is that you know your shit, and I know that you created a book that is about nourishment and not just about, oh, this follows the paleo rules.

Diana Rodgers: My focus is on nutrient-dense, really good, wholesome food. White potatoes are totally fine.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diana Rodgers: They have tons of vitamins in them. We eat because it gives us nourishment and because a potato will help my son run faster when he's trying to slide into home base. And especially if they're skinned and cooked well, they're a fantastic source of carbs to fuel their little bodies to run fast.

Liz Wolfe: I love that. That'll make him fast and he can slide into home, and totally true. That's part of the reason that I love your book so much. I actually gave it to someone that was struggling a little bit, and it was almost like pushing her over that line that she needed to cross. She knew something wasn't exactly working for her, and to read your book was kind of the nudge that she needed, so this stuff is really powerful.

The other thing that I wanted to point out about your book is that you talk about Clark Farm, you talk about where food comes from and why you make the choices that you make, and I was curious to get your take about where you feel like sourcing falls in order of importance when it comes to paleo.

Diana Rodgers: Oh, that's a good question. I guess when I have a new client and they're coming in and they're drinking a case of Diet Coke a week and eating crap, my first goal is to heal them, so I don't harp on anybody initially. In fact, I even don't tell them to go paleo initially. If they're in a situation where they're already eating just a standard American diet, I'll basically tell them to just cut out the wheat and cut out the sugar, so gluten-free and sugar-free, and that's a huge step in the right direction. I'll do that for the first month, and then after a month, they've kind of played around with all their gluten-free substitutes. I give them a little time with that business, and then we start with breakfast. So for breakfast, just have some eggs and sausage. You don't need the toast, gluten-free or not. And then a little time with that, and then we do breakfast and lunch paleo and dinner is whatever, because dinner is the easiest one. Once they have breakfast and lunch down, they're set. But I always do recommend someone go on a 30-day paleo challenge relatively soon, so whether that's initially if they're already pretty close and I think they can handle it, then go for it, especially if it's a guy who likes bacon. If I see their face light up when I tell them that bacon's OK, then I sometimes suggest that they go paleo initially. But I think you just have to work with people and not just assume that everyone's coming from where you came from and just help them, support them, and get them better. So the sustainability stuff doesn't really come in until they've been doing it for a little while and they're like: Wow, this is expensive. And I'm like: Yeah, well, just go get a freezer and buy a whole cow. And by the way, it won't even just be saving you money, but it's healthier and you're supporting a small farmer. So if they're already paleo for a little bit, then you can start kind of nudging people, I think, into the sustainability realm.

Liz Wolfe: The awesome thing about writing a book is that you can put in there what you want to put in there and what you think is important. Sometimes it's tough to talk to people. Sometimes it's more powerful to give them something more passive, like a book, and they can read it and kind of let things marinate and whatnot. Otherwise, you're looking for that point of entry – which for most people is bacon! – and that can be a little bit stressful.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah.

7. Is an official celiac diagnosis really necessary? [32:03]

Liz Wolfe: I wanted to ask you, speaking of your journey and how you got into the paleo thing and the changes that you help people make in their own lives, you spoke earlier about your official diagnosis of celiac, do you think than an official diagnosis is necessary? Do people need that? Or do you find in your practice that people won't give up the wheat without an official diagnosis?

Diana Rodgers: That's a really good question, too. I don't think at age 26 eating the standard American diet at the time, if some person told me to go gluten-free, I wouldn't have listened to them.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diana Rodgers: But all these resources that we have today weren't out then… because I'm so old now! But people do ask me all the time, should I get the official diagnosis or what? And it really, I think, depends on them. If they're already paleo or pretty close to paleo, gluten-free, and it's working for them, then why mess up your guts and challenge yourself with the wheat in order to just have it written down? But on the other hand, there are some people out there that unless it's written down for them, like: You have this disease, which can lead to intestinal cancer and all these other awful things, they're still going to sneak a bagel on vacation. I actually hear of people doing that.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diana Rodgers: And so I think for some people, yeah, they should get the diagnosis, but I don't always recommend just the straight-up medical diagnosis. Cyrex Labs has a much stronger test, a much more sensitive test, where they test for many other proteins in wheat other than just the straight-up standard celiac test that most GI doctors would run. So finding a practitioner that can do the Array 3 through Cyrex is a better option just because it may pick up other sensitivities that aren't just the one strain that they look for, for celiac disease.

Liz Wolfe: I think it's so funny that I see that or when I was taking clients, I've taken a little break here recently, but folks were so fixated on getting a celiac diagnosis, and they were so concerned with that, yet if I told them to cut out vegetable oils and they felt better, they didn't need to test for vegetable oil intolerance.

Diana Rodgers: Right!

Liz Wolfe: If you feel better, then keep doing something. I think we're so obsessed with a medical label that we just kind of lose the whole point. Yeah, so I was curious what you thought about that and if you recommend celiac testing for people that you know may not be technically sensitive. Sometimes I feel like it's just better not to know and to assume that you're intolerant to it, I guess, is what I'm saying.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, especially if someone's a little younger or a little more skeptical and they're presenting with the distress that's so common with celiac disease, getting that written on paper can save them from a lifetime of on and off again with being gluten-free. For those people, if that's what's going to help them, then maybe it's worth of week of eating some wheat and then going for it. I don't know.

Liz Wolfe: That's a tough one.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah.

8. Empowering kids to make healthy food choices [36:02]

Liz Wolfe: Speaking of all of this, your kids, are they diagnosed celiac or do you guys just live wheat-free, don't need to know, don't care?

Diana Rodgers: I've had them both tested just because it can be a genetic thing and can run in families, so they have a much higher chance of having celiac disease, but they've tested negative with the blood screen through their pediatrician. So how we do it here… well, first of all, I breastfed them, and I was not breastfed, so that's a huge bonus for them in preventing the development of celiac disease. And for my daughter, I ended up having to pump for an entire year because once she found the bottle, she just decided that that was easier.

Liz Wolfe: Because it is easier, or it can be, because they're totally different.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah. So we are gluten-free paleo here at the house, but when they're not with me and they're at a friend's house or whatever, I let them make their own choices. Again, this could be controversial or touchy with some people, but I want them to feel empowered to make their own choices when they're not with me. And if they come home with a bellyache, I'm like: See? It's what you ate. And they are very aware. I mean, most people walking around don't realize that what they eat directly affects how they feel, you know?

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diana Rodgers: When I was first paleo, I was very, very rigid about it and tried to control everything about my kids and everything, and I think it's easy when they're little to do that. You can just pack them along with snacks and everything, but now they're 7 and 9, and they don't show signs. I know this because they don't flush and so I'm very aware of their digestive system because I can just look in the toilet and I know!

Liz Wolfe: [laughter]

Diana Rodgers: Gotta train them on that!

Liz Wolfe: I have a husband who's 30 years old, and…

Diana Rodgers: [laughter]

Liz Wolfe: I hope some people are laughing with us right now, otherwise… it's unfortunate!

Diana Rodgers: Anyway, so obviously if they were showing any signs at all of any sort of digestive issue with gluten, I would be all over it. And they are 95%… We don't really go out to eat very much just because it just kills me to spend, like, a $100 for a family of four to eat garbage food at the café in town, so I'd just rather cook. And when we go out, if there's a gluten-free option, I'll point it out to them, but every once in a while, they'll have something that's not. It's their decision. The best I can do is just point out how their decisions are affecting them and hope that they'll make better choices next time, and it seems to be working.

Liz Wolfe: So that conversation aspect of it, actually explaining how things work and why and why you're eating the way you're eating, do you find that to be more important, necessarily, than just cracking the whip and not necessarily having that conversation?

Diana Rodgers: I do, only because my kids are really smart.

Liz Wolfe: [laughter]

Diana Rodgers: And you know, my son, for example, is obsessed with baseball. His goal is to be a professional baseball player, and then when he's 30 he'll retire and become a farmer.

Liz Wolfe: Aww.

Diana Rodgers: That's his whole goal in life. And so, he really does want to be the healthiest, strongest kid out there on the field, and for a 9-year-old to be playing up with 12-year-olds in these pretty competitive leagues and everything, I feel like he's doing a pretty good job. And he's very adventurous as an eater, so the more tentacles, the more heads on things, the better!

Liz Wolfe: [laughter]

Diana Rodgers: You know? A can of sardines with the heads on and he's in heaven. So it's not really that hard. And then my daughter has more of a sweet tooth, but the options in our house are strawberries or blueberries, not candy and junk food, so I think just setting the example and having the best stuff available here, and then for the other 5% of the time when they're eating outside of the house, it's negligible, I think.

9. Sneak peek of Diana's next book! [40:48]

Liz Wolfe: Everybody can start with Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go. They can get to know you. They can get to know Clark Farm in Carlisle. They can get to know the types of foods that you recommend people eat. They can get to know how to make them, how to keep things tight on the go. And then they can read your next book…

Diana Rodgers: Mm-hmm!

Liz Wolfe: Of course, the first book is required reading before you can get to the second book, but let's talk quickly about what you have going on next.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, so the second one, I'm working on it now. It has more of a farm/sustainability focus.

Liz Wolfe: Yay! I need it so bad!

Diana Rodgers: It's going to be a cookbook plus, and the ‘plus' part is connecting with your food. It's going to take me a little longer to write it. I'm even going to Africa as part of this book.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, my goodness.

Diana Rodgers: Next May, my husband and I are heading to Zimbabwe to go study the work of Allan Savory at the Savory Institute. Robb Wolf is footing the bill, actually, for me to do this, and it's just so important, what this guy is up to. He's teaching farmers in third-world countries how to be more sustainable with their livestock production, and it's actually reversing the desertification that's happening in these places.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, it's amazing! I've read a little bit about reversing desertification, and it's so encouraging, what we can actually do.

Diana Rodgers: I know. It's just a positive thing, and it's happening now on a global scale, so I'm just beyond excited about that. Anyway, the book will probably be sometime late next year, 2014, just because I have to get Africa under my belt, I have lots of ideas I need to research, and it's going to be epic.

Liz Wolfe: I'm so excited.

10. Homesteading miscellanea – predators, transgender chickens, etc. [43:00]

I'm not trying to be selfish, but can you talk a little bit about losing chickens to hawks and other predators because we just lost our first chicken yesterday? I sent you a text about it, and you said it does happen.

Diana Rodgers: Yes. Meh.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diana Rodgers: That's what I said! Actually, I have to tell you, in one night, we had something come and take 12 ducks and 3 chickens in one night.

Liz Wolfe: Was it a person?

Diana Rodgers: Actually, at first we were kind of wondering if it might have been a person.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diana Rodgers: But different little varmints so different things with the animals. Some of them will come and just eat the brains and leave the rest of the animal. Isn't that sad? Some will just beat it up and leave it. Fisher cats, it turns out, like to take everything at once, kill it, and then stash it. So like, all my 12 ducks are in the vee of a tree somewhere cached for the future enjoyment of this fisher cat.

Liz Wolfe: Fermenting.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, right! Exactly, like predigested and everything. Isn't that disgusting?

Liz Wolfe: That's pretty…

Diana Rodgers: And I'm so sad because these Indian Runner Ducks, they're those tall, Daffy Duck – I think you met them when you came out.

Liz Wolfe: Were they the black ones?

Diana Rodgers: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, so funny.

Diana Rodgers: They run around, and they look like bowling pins, except they're black.

Liz Wolfe: Yes!

Diana Rodgers: They're amazing. They're hysterical to watch. But anyway, so we actually at the moment don't have any ducks, which is so sad.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, no. That is sad. So OK, I've heard from a ton of people, and I know you have to as well, being so much farther along in your journey than I probably will ever be as far as homesteading and farming and all that, but I know there are a lot of people out there that want to just have their piece of that, whether it's just having some chickens or having a garden or whatever it is. So can you just give us a little bit of an idea of where you would start and what to look out for, such as crazy cats stealing and caching chickens and ducks?

Diana Rodgers: Fisher cats.

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Diana Rodgers: They're like a fox kind of thing.

Liz Wolfe: It's tough because even now I feel like I know a lot more than I knew a few months ago, and you forget so quickly what confused you at the beginning. Now I'll actually go outside with galoshes that only go halfway up my calves, whereas before, I was in my tick pants, my tick socks pulled up over the tick pants, and then knee-high galoshes, so I'm making progress.

Diana Rodgers: [laughter]

Liz Wolfe: But there are so many things to think about. For us, we got our chickens, and now they're old enough to be outside, and we're thinking about how to free range them and what to look out for. Just little things, things like that.

Diana Rodgers: Well, you have a dog, and dogs are very helpful in keeping the pests away, like raccoons and stuff.

Liz Wolfe: Just their presence?

Diana Rodgers: Just their presence.

Liz Wolfe: OK.

Diana Rodgers: Another thing is closing in the chickens into a chicken-run area that's covered on the top, too, and something that's mobile so that they can get to fresh grass and fresh bugs if possible. And then if people have a smaller backyard and maybe they let them out of the house, but it needs to be a static, fixed area, definitely have a cover over the top so hawks can't just jump in from the top. But then also give those chickens some compost and some other greens to eat so they're not just scraping at the dirt and eating grain all day. That's something. And then also, if your town lets you have roosters, that's also incredibly fantastic. Do you have any roosters?

Liz Wolfe: I think that we do. See, I was going to ask you about that, too. I've heard you can't tell until they crow, but I think we have one. He looks just a little different from the other ones. He's developing a little bit differently, and his feathers look different.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, so that's probably a rooster.

Liz Wolfe: So we have one.

Diana Rodgers: Although, I have to tell you this crazy thing that can happen with chickens is if there is no rooster, one of the hens will start to look like a rooster.

Liz Wolfe: No way.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, like transgender.

Liz Wolfe: That could be what's happening.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah. I mean, they can't fully transgender. They can't do it all the way!

Liz Wolfe: Well, we'll see if he starts laying or not.

Diana Rodgers: They could start crowing, and they could still lay eggs. But anyway, all the hens are scratching at the ground and eating all day long, and that rooster's not really eating very much. It doesn't have to produce eggs, so it doesn't need to eat that much.

Liz Wolfe: OK.

Diana Rodgers: And his job is to just look around and be on the lookout and let the girls know when something's out there. So it'll be interesting as you watch your chickens… I mean, I can just sit there and watch chickens for hours.

Liz Wolfe: Me too. They're so fun.

Diana Rodgers: You can just watch them, and then a plane flies over, and they all run under the chicken house to hide, like, as if it's a hawk.

Liz Wolfe: Is that why all the chicken houses are elevated?

Diana Rodgers: Well, it's one of the reasons that they are. Yeah, so they can have some cover. The chickens need to be able to duck out of the way of something, so if you can provide them with a little area to run into if they're feeling threatened, that's really helpful.

Liz Wolfe: I gotcha. See, we're just using a converted shed, which is on some, not cinder blocks, but some cement blocks, so it's a little bit elevated off the ground but not so much they can get underneath it. I don't think any predators are going to be able to dig up and underneath and get through all that wood, but I've been curious about that.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, that's happened to us.

Liz Wolfe: OK.

Diana Rodgers: They can get in. I mean, it depends on how thick the floorboards are. Oh, and the one other thing is that great blog post. Maybe you could link to it or I'll send you a link, but the one about why you should absolutely not have chickens in your backyard.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, I loved that.

Diana Rodgers: Loved it.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diana Rodgers: I was mad at myself that I didn't write that before she wrote that.

Liz Wolfe: Well, you can still write it. It's the Internet. It's the Wild West.

Diana Rodgers: [laughter] And then for vegetables, I had this really sweet guy come up to me when I was at a book signing in New York City not too long ago, and he said: I just moved to Brooklyn! I just moved into my apartment! – I was there August 7. He just moved in, and he goes: I really want to grow some potatoes on my fire escape! Can I plan them now?

Liz Wolfe: [laughter]

Diana Rodgers: And I was like: Oh, honey… I wouldn't start with potatoes as your very first crop on your fire escape in Brooklyn. So you know, maybe starting with some herbs and some tomato plants, some cherry tomato plants, just things that are guaranteed to be prolific and produce good results.

Liz Wolfe: And you know, where I ordered my seeds from, which I didn't plant. Womp, womp. Because like you told me, I just have to be patient because everything's going to take a lot longer than I thought it was going to take.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Just because I don't have a garden this year doesn't mean I won't eventually, but you can order heirloom seeds from RareSeeds.com. They're not expensive.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah, High Mowing Seeds and Fedco are the two places that we buy ours from. And Fedco's catalogs are unreal. They're so gorgeous. So I highly recommend them as well.

Liz Wolfe: Awesome.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Well, I won't make you talk about that too much more, but maybe we'll have you on again and we'll talk about all of that good stuff for those of us like me who have sustainability/homesteading dreams, because there's a limit to how many message boards you can sit on and read everybody talking back and forth about… Backyard Chickens is a wonderful resource, but it gets overwhelming, so sometimes it helps to just be able to ask somebody and have them tell you what they think for you.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah. And there's another great chicken resource, this woman that lives actually in my town, and she has a website called HenCam.com. She has these little video cams all over her yard, and she also is an excellent resource. She speaks all over the country and up in Canada about backyard chickens, and she has lots of FAQs and answers questions about chickens. She's really fantastic, too.

Liz Wolfe: Awesome. We'll link to that for sure.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah!

Liz Wolfe: Very good. Well, maybe we'll have to do a whole separate homesteading interview when you have time and when book #2 gets up and running and you want to talk about it.

Diana Rodgers: Sounds great.

Liz Wolfe: So the book is Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go. As folks probably know if they follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I'm a huge fan of this book. I highly recommend it. There are a lot of paleo books out there, a lot of great things going on in the community, and this one is not to be missed. So pick that up. Diana, was there anything else we were going to talk about that we missed?

Diana Rodgers: The only other thing I can think of is up on Robb Wolf's blog, if people are even still listening at this point, if they go to RobbWolf.com/Sustainable, there's a recap of the talk that we did together at AHS. And at the end, there's a contest where people can win a grass-fed cow share, and it's open to any gym that wants to enter and show us their best way of connecting with their food.

Liz Wolfe: Love it.

11. The cost of good food [53:13]

Last question: This is something I had written down and circled, so I have to ask you before I let you go.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: And this is something that I've been thinking about a lot with the chickens, is how expensive it really is to get these things up and running. With the chicken coop and all the different things that you have to do to keep the chickens alive, it's not easy! So I wanted to talk about the cost of good food quickly with you. As somebody with a farming background, with your organic farm and everything like that, just talk quickly about why good food feels like it costs more.

Diana Rodgers: Well…

Liz Wolfe: Because it does.

Diana Rodgers: It does! I mean, to be honest, the contents of my freezer is worth more than the car I drive.

Liz Wolfe: [laughter]

Diana Rodgers: I drive a little crappy car. But I'd rather eat really amazing food and cook amazing, nutrient-dense food for my family than drive a nice car, so I think it's just a matter of priorities. Do I want to live my life feeling radiant and fantastic and sharp? Or do I want to just kind of get by and drive around in a really nice car? I think it's just materialism versus wholesome, nutrient-dense living, basically.

Liz Wolfe: That's a hard truth because I have to tell you, the one thing that we were really hanging on to was the NFL Sunday Ticket, and it just doesn't fit in the budget anymore. It really doesn't. And you know what? Part of that is because we're trying to keep 18 chickens alive.

Diana Rodgers: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: It's just expense after expense. And it doesn't have to be, but it's the little things. Even if you build these pens and the covered pens and keeping this fence and that fence, even if you do all these things yourself and even if you patch it together from what you have lying around in the scrap pile, it's expensive from a time investment standpoint and monetarily so. I will never again complain about paying $3.50 for pastured eggs.

Diana Rodgers: Exactly. And we do it on a much bigger scale, so it's totally different. We have hundreds of chickens.

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Diana Rodgers: But even when you're trying to run a farm, financial sustainability is an equal contender here with everything else, and so finances come into play when we're trying to make decisions about everything that goes into the farm. If a farm is not financially sustainable, it can't be a sustainable farm.

Liz Wolfe: Definitely. All right, well, thank you for answering that final question. Can you just give everybody a quick overview on where to find you, your practice website, the farm, and the book?

Diana Rodgers: Sure! The book is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon and hopefully at your local independent bookstore, and if it's not, ask them to carry it. And my farm, if people are interested in seeing, we have some nice photographs up. It's ClarkFarmCarlisle.com. And then my website is RadianceNutrition.com, and they can get to my blog, which is Sustainable Dish, from Radiance Nutrition.

Liz Wolfe: Wonderful. Yes, the book is not to be missed. Definitely pick that up. And Diana, you are one to watch. I'm really, really happy that I have your direct line. You cannot get rid of me now.

Diana Rodgers: [laughter]

Liz Wolfe: I'll continue texting you about things like ticks and missing chickens and things like that, so I really appreciate all of your help, and I'm so excited to be connected with you and to hear more about everything that you have coming up in the next year.

Diana Rodgers: It's just so fabulous. Thank you so much for having me on the show, and your texts make me laugh so hard, so keep them coming.

Liz Wolfe: Please don't change your phone number!

Diana Rodgers: [laughter]

Liz Wolfe: All right, well, thanks for coming on, and I know we'll talk to you again.

Diana Rodgers: OK, thank you.

Liz Wolfe: All right, that's that, everybody. You can find me, Liz, at CaveGirlEats.com. You can find Diana at RadianceNutrition.com. Check out her book, Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go. My missing co-host, Diane Sanfilippo, can be found at BalancedBites.com. Thanks for listening, everybody. We'll talk to you again next week.


Diane & Liz

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