The Balanced Bites Podcast | Episode 116: Special Guest Melissa Joulwan, Author of Well Fed 2

Podcast Episode #116: Special Guest Melissa Joulwan, Author of Well Fed 2

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Balanced Bites Podcast Episode 116 | Special Guest Melissa Joulwan

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1.  Melissa Joulwan of Well Fed and Well Fed 2 [4:24] 2.  What are the top points that you want to impress upon people? [13:03] 3.  You Know How You Could Do That? [22:48] 4.  Deli Tuna Salad and J-Lo [28:05] 5.  Commiserating the stress of book writing [32:13] 6.  Taking care of yourself while in a big project [37:12] 7.  Non-profit organization support [39:55] 8.  Autoimmune protocol in Well Fed 2 [42:55] 9.  Burgers, Balls, and Bangers! [46:15] 10. What are your can’t live without kitchen tools? [48:39] 11. Spaghetti squash cutting tutorial [53:09] [smart_track_player url=”″ title=”#116: Special Guest Melissa Joulwan, Author of Well Fed 2″ artist=”Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe ” color=”00aeef” social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_gplus=”true” ]

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Liz Wolfe: Hello friends! Welcome to episode 116 of the Balanced Bites podcast. Another week, another episode, and I’m particularly excited about this one. We have a special guest. I will introduce her momentarily, but first, a little shout out to our sponsors. Pete’s Paleo, bringing fine dining to your cave. Paleo Treats; try the Mustang bar. Amazing. Try everything, really. And Chameleon Cold-Brew, which is actually based out of the same city where we find our guest for today. We’re very excited.

Diane Sanfilippo: Where we find everything awesome!

Liz Wolfe: Yes, where we find everything that is good and wonderful; Austin, Texas. Diane, do you have any announcements you’d like to make?

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, I should probably do that.

Liz Wolfe: Do it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, hang on one sec. Ok, so we need to talk about events.

Liz Wolfe: Uh-oh!

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So, I have next week is December 12th; I’m actually doing a quick talk at the Montclair public library here in New Jersey, so anyone who lives local to me has gotten a lot of fun events going on the last month or so. I should have a copy of the 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook in hand, so if anybody wants to preview that. And then, we’ve got January 4th a full day seminar, Balanced Bites seminar, here, also in New Jersey in Fairfield over at Brazen Athletics, my home gym, so I have an awesome deal for people. It’s actually less expensive than a normal seminar, just sort of home-court advantage. Make sure you register 2 weeks ahead of time to save $20 on the admission. And then, Liz, you and I will be {sing-song} reunited and it feels so good! {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Please don’t do that. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, gosh. January 25th will be in Philly at Crossfit Center City teaching all day.

Liz Wolfe: I will not be at the one in Montclair. That is a Liz-less seminar.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh that, well Montclair is just a book signing talk event.

Liz Wolfe: Or, the other one.

Diane Sanfilippo: Fairfield, yeah, Fairfield actually Scott and I are teaching that one. That’s going to be really fun. We’re incorporating some new content, and it’s going to be an awesome day. I’m really excited. So, yeah, those are to kind of check out, and also check out the sidebar on for a whole sort of California/West Coast tour. I’ve got maybe 3 or 4 days in California; I’ll be in Portland with Michelle of Nom-Nom Paleo, and I think I’m also going to be at Third Place Books; I don’t know technically if it’s Seattle, but it’s the Seattle area. It’s the same store where the lights went out on me last year, and they are kind of shocked that I’m willing to come back, but we had a really nice crowd there despite the fact that I was basically telling ghost stories by flashlight in the store last year. Yeah. So that’s all coming up. Ok, that’s it for me. Those are all the updates.

Liz Wolfe: Good job. I don’t have anything except for today I got head-butted by a goat.

Diane Sanfilippo: I saw that, and actually, I said to Melissa, “We don’t know where LIz is, but I think she could have been trampled by goats.”

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, I actually think that might have happened.

Liz Wolfe: It was pretty close. Just don’t ever wear your glasses around a goat. Because they will go for them, immediately.

Diane Sanfilippo: Huh.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ll keep that in mind. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. It’s kind of like when Ralphie loses his glasses because of the BB gun/icicle.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, well of course, like BB guns and icicles have homing devices for eyeglasses, so.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. And goats. So I ran inside and was crying, “oh there was this goat, and it fell off the garage, and it hit my glasses!”

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

1. Melissa Joulwan of Well Fed and Well Fed 2 [4:24]

Liz Wolfe: You should recognize that. Anyway. How about on to introducing our guest who we’ve kind of already hinted at. Today we have the amazing Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make the Girl, and the fabulous cookbooks Well Fed and Well Fed 2. We’re really excited to welcome you, Melissa!

Melissa Joulwan: Thank you! I’m excited to be talking to you guys today. And I’m glad you survived the goat attack.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. Thank you. It was harrowing.

Melissa Joulwan: You know, they look all cute and cuddly in the YouTube videos, but I don’t know.

Liz Wolfe: {Laughs} They’re not. They are the worst!

Diane Sanfilippo: They are definitely crazy!

Liz Wolfe: Yes. They are amazing from far away. And from up close, I mean, they’re great. But, they’re, they’re… it’s intense. It’s intense out here these days.

Melissa Joulwan: I’m impressed with the whole homesteading thing. I’m a little obsessed, actually.

Liz Wolfe: Well, come on over, I need help.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: I desperately need help.

Diane Sanfilippo: And she knows I won’t be over, so.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Diane said from the beginning, she wasn’t coming over.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, I’m not sure that you would actually want my help. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Oh lord. Well, at the very least maybe you could come over and cook for me, because I’m pretty obsessed with almost everything.

Melissa Joulwan: Ok, there you go.

Liz Wolfe: You know, some things I haven’t been brave enough to try yet, but, Well Fed and Well Fed 2 are two of my go-to cookbooks. Love them. And I love all of the different, you know, ethnic type flavors that you incorporate. That’s really one of my favorite parts about both of them. But, I guess we should back up a little bit.

Melissa Joulwan: Yes.

Liz Wolfe: And have you go ahead and tell your personal story, give us a little bit of an introduction to yourself and your work.

Melissa Joulwan: Sure. I guess the biggest headline, to kind of give people some context on my story, is that when I was younger, like a kid, pre-teen, and young adult, I was obese. And I love, love, love to eat! And I still love, love, love to eat! {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: I didn’t exercise at all until I graduated from college, and my family…we were not allowed to eat packaged food. My dad owned a restaurant and my mom was a really good cook, so… I mean, I can remember being in grade school and like wanting to have Stovetop stuffing, and we were not allowed to have that kind of stuff, ever. So, we didn’t really eat junky food, but I ate a lot, and we ate a lot of grains and dairy. And then when I graduated from college, I decided that I wanted to be healthier, and I sort of started following a kind of a Weight Watchers thing, and I started exercising, and I got in pretty good shape, and little by little the weight kind of crept back on, even though I hadn’t really changed my habits, but I was still eating pretty low-fat, high-carbohydrate kind of diet. And then I found roller derby, and the Zone, and I got pretty fit again, and little by little {laughs} the weight crept back on, and then I found paleo. And I started to get pretty lean, and was feeling pretty good, and throughout all of that I had been doing, like, there were times when I did triathlons, I played roller derby, I did Crossfit, and just really, really loved it, but never really got the results that I wanted. I went to the doctor because I was feeling kind of fatigued, and found a nodule on my thyroid. They didn’t know if it was cancerous or not, and because it was very large, the only way to biopsy it was to remove it. So I had to have my thyroid removed. So, it’s been kind of a rollercoaster ride for me of kind of learning how my body works, learning what I should eat to take care of it and to feel energetic, learning the right way to work out, learning how to manage my stress, because throughout my life, my weight has gone up and down, I’ve been pretty active for the last 25 years, but that can’t overcome, you know, super high stress, poor sleeping habits, and kind of going in waves of my nutrition and kind of learning my way. So, my blog is kind of a collection of my self-experiments and what I’ve learned along the way, and a bunch of really, really good recipes, because my favorite thing that I learned along the way is that even though paleo from outside looks really restrictive, it in fact offers lots of opportunities to eat amazing, delicious food. And, because I like to eat so much, it’s been wonderful to find a way to do that with food that is actually really, really good for me and provides a foundation so I can do these other experiments and figure out what’s going on with the other stuff in my body.

Liz Wolfe: Well, I love your blog, and out of the blog grew Well Fed and Well Fed 2. So, blog was first.

Melissa Joulwan: Yes.

Liz Wolfe: And then you started putting together… Well actually, you’re also an author of a book about the roller derby lifestyle.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} Yes!

Liz Wolfe: Which I think is amazing.

Diane Sanfilippo: Which fascinates me. I was totally going to start looking into roller derby. I remember a handful of years ago being in San Francisco and looking for something different to do.

Melissa Joulwan: Uh-huh.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think, um… I don’t know if it was after my couple of years training with the circus {laughs} or before.

Melissa Joulwan: {Laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: But I remember thinking that sounded like a lot of fun. It had to be after. Because once you’re in the circus, you’re like, alright, what else am I going to do? This looks like fun. But, that sounded like a really fun adventure. How long were you doing that for.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, it was a really, really fun adventure. I’d never played a competitive sport before. You know, I wasn’t active at all when I was a kid, and then when I started exercising, I did DVDs at home, and it took me like 3 years until I had the guts to go to the gym, and then I did triathlons, which, of course are solo. So roller derby was my first time playing a team sport. And it was really, really fun. And I really think if it hadn’t been for roller derby, I wouldn’t have ever tried Crossfit, and I’m not sure that I would have found paleo as quickly as I did, so it all kind of makes sense {laughs} even though those things don’t necessarily seem like they would go together. And it was great, because I’m not a naturally competitive or aggressive person, so it was really fun to put on a persona and pretend to be a badass, you know, a couple of times a week.

Liz Wolfe: You’re not pretending.

Melissa Joulwan: I’m pretending!

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} I played for, I think, four or five years. And it was really funny, I was writing the book about my experiences playing roller derby, and I was a member of the Texas roller girls, and we actually started flat track roller derby here in Austin, and then it spread all over the world so the book was about my experience but also about how we started the kind of roller derby revolution or whatever. Um, and in the book, I actually bragged a little bit about how I didn’t have any injuries because I always did strength training and other workouts besides the roller derby practices that we had. And I was maybe a little smug about that. “I’ve never had an injury.”

Liz Wolfe: {Laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: And, literally, like the week after I submitted my manuscript, I took a fall at a practice and tore my rotator cuff {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Oh no!

Melissa Joulwan: And had to have surgery on my shoulder. So, pride goeth before the fall, my friends. And by the time I recovered from my surgery, I was like, you know, maybe it’s time to do something else. And that’s when I started doing Crossfit. But, I do wish sometimes that I had found Crossfit while I was doing roller derby, because I think it would have made me impossible to knock down.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Are there a lot of roller derby/Crossfit gals?

Melissa Joulwan: I think there are now.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Melissa Joulwan: I mean, my book came out in 2007, and I retired that year, and since then, it’s grown a lot more and become so much more athletic. Like, when we started in 2003, it was just silly entertainment. I mean it was more about pushup bra and makeup and kind of being sex on wheels.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: And little by little, it morphed into a real sport. And it is really a sport now. I mean, we were athletic, when I was playing, but I was…it was more a playful show, and by the time I retired it was right on the brink of becoming a legit sport and it’s, you know, very much a competitive sport now, which is pretty cool.

Liz Wolfe: It’s very cool. I was in the closest big-ish town to where we live now, and I actually saw a flyer for the local roller derby team, and these gals…

Melissa Joulwan: That’s fun.

Liz Wolfe: It’s competitive, and it’s a big deal.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah.

2. What are the top points that you want to impress upon people? [13:03]

Liz Wolfe: So, that’s definitely on my list. I was excited about that, and it made me think of you. So, I’m going to ask a quick question, just to get a little summary from you. You spoke about what you dealt with your thyroid, with your health, and then discovering paleo and then writing these cookbooks. What are kind of the most important points that you’ve gained from your experience with paleo and with healing yourself and with talking to other people through your blog, what are the top points that you want to impress upon people, whether they have your book or not?

Melissa Joulwan: Um, the thing I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, and this is like, not the sexy side of paleo, so everybody bare with me because I’m not going to tell you a story about how I started eating paleo and instantly had the body I wanted. Um, the thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is, if I were not eating as clean as I am, it would be really difficult to get to the bottom of everything that is going on with me. I have some adrenal issues, we’re still trying to sort out my correct thyroid dose, and even though I’m still working to get to the body composition that I want, I know that if I was not eating this way {laughs} I would feel worse and it would be much harder to track down what’s going on with my body. So I think the biggest thing is, particularly for people with health issues, is we have to look past the aesthetic sometimes, at least for a little while, to get to health first. I read this really great quote in a blog a couple of weeks ago, and shame on me, I don’t remember where I read it. But it basically said, “you don’t get healthier by losing weight. You get healthy, and your body gets to its optimal weight.” I was like, wow, that’s really awesome.

Liz Wolfe: That’s awesome.

Melissa Joulwan: You know, it’s comforting when you’re heavier or carrying more body fat than you want to, and you’re dealing with other health issues. Like, you’ve got to get your body healthy first before it can have the metabolism it needs to get rid of extra body fat.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think…

Melissa Joulwan: Um…

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, sorry, go ahead.

Melissa Joulwan: No, go ahead!

Diane Sanfilippo: I was just going to just confirm that kind of thought process, and ask an additional question, even though you probably have more to say there. You know, as those of us who are kind of the leaders in this community, whether that’s through nutrition education in general on paleo, or writing cookbooks where then we’re in the spotlight, I think what you’ve just touched on, and Liz and I have talked about this in a handful of episodes leading up to this on, is that everyone who is looking at us, or looking at any person who they may, you know, sort of want to emulate some part of their life or think that they trust or believe, I think it’s so important that we understand that we all have a different journey, and people make snap judgments based on the way people look. And we can all understand that there is this element of, you know, I believe somebody in part because they look the part. Right? Like, there’s just that… you can’t get away from that in some ways. But I think, you know, what Liz and I have seen so much in our seminars, so many women come up to us who “look the part” or look perfect, and they are a total mess under the hood.

Melissa Joulwan: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, they are complaining to us about all these problems. And then there are some of us out there who feel like we may or may not be at our perfect, you know, ideal body composition just as you’ve mentioned, but you know, you’re on a journey. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not in a healthy place for you right now or that you shouldn’t be allowed that time, you know, to figure it out and that you’re any worse a role model for that. I think it’s actually so important to remind people that, you know, look, we’re not all going to look like a cookie cutter of some ideal picture, and that’s almost the best part about paleo, is that we’re looking for healing and health.

Melissa Joulwan: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: From this whole thing.

Melissa Joulwan: I agree, although {laughs} that’s not the fun message. The fun message is, Hey! Look at my six-pack! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Well I was just kind of laughing, because when you said, you know, you didn’t like lose a bunch of weight or have some perfect physique from going paleo; I didn’t lose a pound by going paleo, and I don’t know that I needed to or not at the time, but it was totally not about body composition or weight loss for me at the time.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, it’s been an interesting experience for me, because I’ll be honest, when I started eating paleo, it was purely for vanity. Like, I wanted to get leaner, and I was like, how am I going to do that? And paleo seemed like a really good idea. And once again, when I got a little prideful and smug, the universe kicked me in the butt {laughs} and was like, yeah, and now you’re going to follow the paleo diet because it’s healthier for you and you need to do that. But it’s all been a really valuable learning experience. The other thing is, I’m 45. Stuff changes at each decade of your life, and I think that when I was younger, and particularly as someone who was really overweight before, it seemed from the outside like, once you got thin, everything got fixed and as long as you kept your good habits, you would stay thin. And the reality is, everybody works on it all the time because your body is constantly changing, your environment is changing, your stress level is changing, the quality of your food is changing. So, it’s always a work in progress. And it’s really valuable to remember that if you are trying to reach a goal that feels a little bit out of reach. Just live the life of the person you want to be, and eventually, you will get there.

Liz Wolfe: I love that. Diane, did you have a follow-up to that one, or…

Diane Sanfilippo: Um, no. I think, you know, was there anything else, I’m sorry I just totally cut you off on that one.

Melissa Joulwan: No, not at all.

Diane Sanfilippo: Was there anything else in terms of stuff that you’ve learned, maybe you can kind of lead it a little bit more into some things that you’ve learned in terms of just cooking, because I think, you know, my family didn’t own a restaurant or anything, but just a really similar background of sort of growing up always loving food and cooking tons of food and, you know, not being a trained chef myself either, I’m guessing unless I missed that, I don’t think either of us have been to culinary school, yet here we are.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} Right?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it’s funny. It’s funny.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, I think one of the things that has been really great for me, having said all that serious stuff about my health and how paleo is helping with that. Switching to eating paleo actually made me fall in love with cooking all over again, because it’s so much fun to get in the kitchen and just be creative and you know having, for me having constraints has always made me more creative, it’s like, alright, fine. No dairy, no grains, no soy, how am I going to make this thing that I really love to eat taste as close as possible to the real thing. And for me, that’s really, really fun. Like, my husband, Dave, rolls his eyes. Like, that’s not fun for him at all.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: He’s happy to eat the food when it’s done {laughs} but he doesn’t want to, you know, think about how it came to be, at all.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh yeah. You know, you’re not the norm when grocery shopping is actually fun.

Melissa Joulwan: Exactly.

Diane Sanfilippo: And you might even window shop at the grocery shop.

Melissa Joulwan: Yes. Uh-huh.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m going to guess that you do that too? Yeah, my boyfriend is like, uh, can we get in and out of there as quickly as possible.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m like, no I’m going to go without you because this might take me a couple of hours {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, it takes a few hours. I’m like, let’s go to the spice store! {laughs} You know.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: So that’s been really great. And, one of the pieces of advice I would give to people who are switching to paleo and maybe don’t have a lot of experience cooking; I know that people sometimes feel intimidated. Number one; nobody is watching you. Julia Child had this; I forget this exact quote, but Julia Child had this saying, nobody sees what you are doing in the kitchen, so relax and have fun in the kitchen. And I say this in Well Fed 2, you really can’t mess it up. If you make something and you like the way it tastes, it’s a success. If you make something and you don’t like the way it tastes, don’t make it again.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: And it’s one meal that you didn’t like. There are plenty of opportunities to eat. Like, you really, really can’t make a catastrophic mistake. And I think that, you know, some people get overwhelmed thinking about it and feel a little intimidated. It’s just food; it can be so much fun. And seriously; if you make something that doesn’t taste that great; eat it. Toss it. Do better next time.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think one of the things I love that you’ve done in your books; I don’t have Well Fed in front of me, but I have Well Fed 2 in front of me, and I know that you did the same kind of thing in both books, which this is totally how, you know, I don’t know about you Melissa, but I don’t really follow recipes. Like, I might look at the recipes in the book and then kind of try and follow it so that if at least I’m successful ____ what you promised, or you know, what any cookbook author has promised. But I think most of us who write recipes are not often following them.

Melissa Joulwan: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: But, I will say the way that you approach sort of, just ways to change things up. In writing my books and my cookbooks, it’s always something that I’m thinking of, that I would love to just tell them, this basic mayonnaise can be turned into 10 other sauces!

Melissa Joulwan: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I just have never laid it out the way you have, and I’m like, this is exactly how we all think, though, right? Because when you go throw something together, you pull out random ingredients from your fridge, and you’re like, well, ok mayonnaise is the base for about 10 other things, so now I’m going to make 10 other things from it.

Melissa Joulwan: Right.

3. You Know How You Could Do That? [22:48]

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. So, why did you feel like it was really important to kind of expand on all of those and show people information in that way?

Melissa Joulwan: Well it actually grew out of a game that I actually play with my family that we’ve always played, which is, you know how you could do that. {laughs} And that’s actually what it’s called in the book.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Melissa Joulwan: For people who haven’t seen the book, on almost every recipe page, there’s a little section called, You Know How You Could Do That?, which tells you how you could swap out ingredients to change the recipe according to your taste or different ethnicities, and that’s because in my family, because we love food so much {laughs}, if we read a recipe, or more likely if we went out to a restaurant and we would get something. So say my mom orders some dish, she takes a bite out of it, she says oh my gosh this is delicious! You guys have to try it. I try it, my dad tries it, my brother tries it, and then, as we’re all agreeing it’s really, really good, we say, but you know how you could do that?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: And we start swapping stuff in and out of the recipe. Coming up with new ideas that the chef probably never, ever considered. {laughs} And that’s how I cook. When I eat something, I’m like, this is really good but you could also do this thing over here! So I wanted to put that in the cookbook, because to me, they are not different recipes. They are the same thing seen through a different prism almost. So, for example, in Well Fed 2 there is the Scheherazade omelet, which is a Persian omelet with walnuts and lamb and a bunch of herbs. And you take that, it’s basically a kind of frittata. We take that idea, you can take that around the world. You can make an Italian version, you can make a Mexican version. To me, they are all the same recipe, we are just swapping out the spices, and maybe the lamb becomes pork. So I wanted to show people how easy it is to do that and give them the confidence that maybe if I gave them a bunch of examples, they could start experimenting on their own, too. And it’s just fun! And sometimes you don’t want Middle Eastern food; sometimes you want Mexican, but what you’ve got in the fridge are eggs and cilantro. So, it shows you how to do that.

Liz Wolfe: That’s my favorite part of both books is, you know, how you can do that. I remember the first Well Fed, and trying out a couple of things for my very first review, and now I can’t remember what it was called, but it was some kind of cauliflower rice, maybe with pine nuts and…

Melissa Joulwan: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: Meatballs; gosh I can’t remember what I made. But I remember being just giddy

Melissa Joulwan: {Laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Over the ‘you know how you can do that?’ section. Because, Diane, you know what, {laughs} you’re a great cook. I’m terrible. I don’t understand measurements…

Diane Sanfilippo: Liz’s brain doesn’t think of the ‘you know how you could do that?’

Liz Wolfe: No.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I’m sitting here, like, yeah, I would totally do the same thing. Like, oh you could just swap these flavors.

Melissa Joulwan: Right.

Liz Wolfe: No. That doesn’t work for me. And so, once I’ve mastered one thing, we will make that every single day because it’s about all we got in the repertoire over here. But, with “you know how you can do that?” if I master one thing, I’ve actually mastered, like, 5 things.

Melissa Joulwan: Right.

Liz Wolfe: So it’s freaking phenomenal. It’s one of my favorite things that you did with the cookbook. And you do a ton of stuff with the cookbook.

Melissa Joulwan: Thank you.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Melissa Joulwan: I have to actually give a little nod of acknowledgement to my dad. Because when I was talking to my dad about the cookbook, and we were kind of throwing around ideas for what I wanted to do with it, he was like, teach people the kitchen. Show people how to cook. Give them more than just a collection of recipes. So, I think in some of my recipes, I actually go a little far with lots of explanation in the instructions, but I figure people who know how to cook will skip those, and people who are less confident will actually learn a little bit more about how stuff works so that they feel more confident kind of freelancing and stepping away from the cookbooks a little bit. Because ultimately, you know, Diane is right. Once you know how to cook, a recipe is more a guide than instructions.

Liz Wolfe: I’m with you. I mean, I hear the words, but it just…

Melissa Joulwan: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I think I’m just, you know, I’m just laughing because I’m like, I’m totally a product of like Julia Child and the Frugal Gourmet and Yan can Cook, and been watching cooking shows for so many years that, like, what you end up learning by watching those, if you watch them for a certain reason, you know, you’re not just trying to get that recipe, you’re learning techniques and you’re learning, like, eat core flavors that go together, and you just kind of pick up on those things. I guess, you know, if you’re not in a restaurant environment or, you know, if your parents cook, they probably only have a couple of flavor profiles. I mean, everything my parents ever cooked was basically garlic and onion and basil and tomato {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: And like, you know, that stuff kind of comes through. I just, I get really excited about looking at other people’s recipes, and kind of seeing, you know, I think your take on different flavors, you have a lot of, just a lot of different flavor profiles that seem really unique to the way that you like to approach food, and I think that that is really just kind of fun to look through and fun to see your take. And one thing that kind of made me giggle is your deli tuna salad.

4. Deli Tuna Salad and J-Lo [28:05]

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: And, the reason it’s making me laugh is like, when I’m in a total pinch right now, I will still stop at the bagel store down the street, walk in and smell the bagels, but literally get a tub of tuna salad that looks like that. And I know it’s got junky mayonnaise in it, but if I’m like, totally in a pinch.

Melissa Joulwan: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: And it tastes amazing! And I cannot get my tuna salad at home to taste like the deli tuna salad! So I’m going to check out your recipe.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: To see if maybe there is like, some magic element. It could be the parsley, although I claim to really not like parsley. Maybe, that’s doing it?

Melissa Joulwan: Uh-huh. You’re the second person I’ve met recently that said they didn’t like parsley, and this is astonishing to me!

Diane Sanfilippo: There is no parsley in any of my books! I think there’s a recommendation to use it if you want to, but that’s like a little fun fact.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, no parsley. Plenty of cilantro. No parsley.

Melissa Joulwan: That’s really funny.

Diane Sanfilippo: So what made you, inspired you to do that recipe? Of all things?

Melissa Joulwan: Well, I really love tuna salad. It’s like, same as you, when I’m running out of time, and I have got to eat, tuna salad is my go to. On my blog I’ve got a bunch of different variations of tuna salad, and there are a couple in the first Well Fed, so I wanted to do something a little bit different, and I think the two kind of secret but not so secret because I’m going to say them right now, ingredients in the deli tuna salad are the pickle juice and the parsley. And I think that’s what gives it that deli tang.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was thinking it could have been celery salt, but maybe not. Maybe that’s a New Jersey thing.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, I don’t know.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok.

Melissa Joulwan: But I’m excited for you to try it now, and see how I did. You might try dried parsley, because the flavor is a little bit more… even though, usually dried herbs have more intense flavor, I feel like the grassiness of dried parsley is muted.

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright.

Melissa Joulwan: That might work for you.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok.

Melissa Joulwan: But, a funny story about the photo. So people who have Well Fed 2, you need to look at the deli tuna photo. And if you don’t have Well Fed 2, you need to go buy it so you can look at the photo {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Yes. P. S. Go buy Well Fed 2, everyone.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} Just to look at this photo. We really wanted to… so, in all of our photos, I always make up a back story. Like, there are elaborate stories for what the pretend characters who would be eating the food that are in the photos would be doing. Because I like to amuse myself with stories.

Diane Sanfilippo: Wow.

Melissa Joulwan: So, the deli tuna story is that it’s somebody who is eating lunch at work, because I used to have a full time job, where I packed my lunch every day, and that’s why it’s in a little takeout container. And there is a magazine in the photo. And I am an embarrassingly huge Jennifer Lopez fan.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: Like, I feel like somebody is going to knock on my door in 2 seconds and take away my punk rock card because I just said that. But I love Jennifer Lopez {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: And the magazine in that photo is actually a People magazine, and if you look really closely, you can see J-Lo in the photo. She’s pretty blurry. But she’s wearing like a nude cat suit covered in sparkly stuff.

Diane Sanfilippo: I can totally see her.

Melissa Joulwan: And we actually have outtake photos where you can see her really clearly, and I wanted to use it so badly but we knew that we would get sued {laughs} so we had to use the one with her a little bit blurry, but I love to know that J-Lo is in our book.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s awesome.

Melissa Joulwan: I pretend that she’s secretly endorsing the deli tuna salad.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that picture. I like that you make up little stories for each of your shots.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, sometimes I wish I had more time while I’m doing this stuff to actually sit back and enjoy the process a little bit more, rather than just kind of being stressed about it. Which, you know, it is one of those things where like, cooking and taking pictures and plating the food; I feel like it’s one of the most fun things to do, it’s just that the pressure and the timing and all of that for the book.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah.

5. Commiserating the stress of book writing [32:13]

Diane Sanfilippo: You know, how did you feel? This is just kind of, I don’t know, I guess sort of on a personal level, and I know Liz has finally been able to commiserate with me, at least a little bit, on the whole book writing process.

Melissa Joulwan: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, how does that kind of feel for you in terms of the stress and the effect it might have on your health and…

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know. Yeah, you want to talk about that a little bit.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, undertaking big projects is… it’s hard {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: And I mean, you’re right, it is really fun. Like, I feel so fortunate that, you know, my life now is making food and writing about it and talking to people about it and photographing it, like that’s amazing. But, writing a book is really challenging, because you not only have the work in front of you that you have to do, which is pretty hard. Writing is hard. I love writing, I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life, I’ve been doing it since I, you know, could hold a pencil, but it’s still really, really hard, and even though I’ve been a professional writer now for, you know, the better part of my adult life, it’s still really, really challenging. And I still have to fight that demon that’s like “you suck!”

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: “Why do you think you can write? You’re terrible! That’s stupid. You’re not funny!” {laughs} you know?

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Melissa Joulwan: And I have to admit, I think I’m really, really funny {laughs} and then I write stuff that I think is funny, and other people are like, yeah, that’s actually not that funny. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: That happens to me every day Melissa. Sometimes, I‘ll put…

Diane Sanfilippo: I just don’t even try to be funny, so.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: Well, it’s extra pressure for me, then, Diane, when we’re together, because one of us is supposed to be funny, and…

Diane Sanfilippo: I have to remind people that I’m not the funny one.

Liz Wolfe: It’s always crickets though! I’ll post something on Facebook or on the blog that I’m like, “this is hilarious!” and it’s like, nothing. And then I’ll post something that I’m like, nobody cares about this, and it gets a great response! So, my sense of humor is perverse, I don’t know.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} The thing that was really interesting for us during this book was that the first book, I still had my full time job. So, I was like, sneaking time at work to write recipes, and we were doing all the photography on weekends, and it was pretty crazy. And this time, I was like, Oh, this is going to be so great! Because our full time job is doing the cookbook! It’s going to be so much easier!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Melissa Joulwan: No. Mm-mmm-mmm. Not easier. It took almost as long, which I don’t understand. And this time, I was really starting from scratch with a lot of the recipes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Melissa Joulwan: The first book was primarily drawn from recipes I had on my blog. This one, I started out with a list of like 300 things I thought would be fun to make, and kind of kept narrowing it down and making sure that there weren’t too many Middle Eastern things, and making sure there weren’t too many of the weird things that I like to eat.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: Oh, I should probably put some fish in there even though we hardly ever eat fish because my husband is allergic. And wow, there was nothing with mushrooms in the first one because he hates mushrooms! Maybe I should put in some mushrooms!

Diane Sanfilippo: I did the same thing!

Melissa Joulwan: So there’s that. And then there’s also, like, I don’t know if this is just me, but there were no expectations for Well Fed.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Melissa Joulwan: Like, we had no idea what was going to happen, we just really wanted to do it the way we wanted to do it, which is why we self-published, and, you know, we found the designer we wanted and we decided how we wanted to do the photos, and like if you look at it, we kind of did a bunch of stuff that they say not to do. There’s no photo on the cover, it’s an 8.5-inch square, I didn’t use traditional categories for my recipes, I just did it the way I wanted to do it {laughs}. Because we both had been working in agencies for 20 years, and we were like, we want to do a project that is just the way we like it. If no one else likes it, we’ll live with that, but we’re going to do something we feel proud of. So, we were delighted when it was successful, because we really didn’t know what was going to happen. With Well Fed 2, we tried really hard not to have expectations, but, you know, you don’t want to put out your follow-up and have it tank. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: So there were a lot more expectations, and I think that kind of made it hard, too, like that made it emotionally hard. But, it was also really fun. I mean, it is super fun to make food and take pictures of it. You know, there’s a crazy picture on my blog of the day I had like the tomato sauce explosion and ended up wearing like an entire pot of tomato sauce.

Diane Sanfilippo: I saw that {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: You guys, that was so gross.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: That was so disgusting {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: There was pretty much nobody ever around while I was working on the last couple of books. I was like, by myself until

Melissa Joulwan: Awwww

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, until like the end of the day my mom would come by to pick up food and maybe help with dishes.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So I’m like, nobody is seeing my personal hell right now.

Melissa Joulwan: {Laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: That was hilarious, that picture.

6. Taking care of yourself while in a big project [37:12]

Melissa Joulwan: The one thing that I learned that I think would be valuable for anybody who is working on anything that they care about, whether it’s, you know, getting ready for the holidays or some kind of creative project outside work, or if you have a big project in your day job, like whatever it is, we really, really made a commitment to sticking with our meditation and yoga practice while we were doing the book, and I feel like that made a huge difference just in terms of how healthy we were when the process ended. {laughs} It was kind of hard during to be like, ok, we’re like super charged up now and put everything away and go to kundalini yoga and chant for 45 minutes. Like, the contrast felt really odd. But I feel like that helped us so that when the book was done, we weren’t completely broken. Because for us, and I think a lot of people, you can get your diet really nailed, but if you don’t manage your stress, then your health is still going to suffer.

Liz Wolfe: I could not agree more. That’s such amazing advice. I {laughs} you’ll laugh, Melissa, I remember telling the publisher of my book that is coming up in February at the very beginning of the process, thinking to myself, I’m a writer. I have an English degree. That’s what I’ve always done, that’s what I’m good at. I remember telling him, oh, I’ll knock this out in 6 months. Two years later…

Melissa Joulwan: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: I’m, you know, crying over a plate of zucchini noodles

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} awwww

Liz Wolfe: And telling my husband I don’t think I’m going to make it. And, it really was…I thought it was going to be easy. And it wasn’t. And I didn’t set up any of those expectations for myself where I was, you know, this is how I’m going to work and this is how I’m going to decompress, and this is how I’m going to take care of myself and quite honestly when you’re in it, and you haven’t made those plans, it feels and it becomes almost impossible to pull yourself out of a funk and create something better.

Melissa Joulwan: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: So, I’m definitely learning my lesson from that. {laughs} And I appreciate…well you and I have E-mailed back and forth a little bit on some different wisdom for writers, and you are just so right. Any project, really, it’s so important to do that. Life.

Melissa Joulwan: It’s hard not to lose yourself in the things you love, but you have to continue to give yourself that infrastructure. Like, I kind of think of it as the support structure for the things I love. Like if food or the meditation or the ____ or the walking goes away, the whole structure starts to kind of tilt.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Melissa Joulwan: Wave in the wind, you know.

7. Non-profit organization support [39:55]

Liz Wolfe: Yes. Most definitely. So I wanted to ask a question, switching gears a little bit but still staying on a bit of a tangent. I wanted to ask you about the causes that you are supporting and have supported through Well Fed and Well Fed 2. That was one of the things I really admired about what you’ve done; you’ve attached both books to a cause that is important to you. So, I’d love to hear more about those.

Melissa Joulwan: One of the things that was really important to us with these cookbooks was that if they were successful, we wanted to somehow give back to the universe, I guess. So, for each of the books we’ve chosen a nonprofit organization, and we donate a dollar from the sale of every PDF of the book. And also when people buy a hard copy of the book, they can get the PDF version for $1, and we donate that dollar as well. So, with Well Fed, we were supporting an organization called Common Threads, which teaches children how to cook, and specifically focuses on international recipes to show them that the world is both a very large and very small place, and to introduce them to the ideas of different cuisines. There is a really great story that I heard from them about how a little boy and his mom were in the car driving home after school and she was going to go through the drive through, and he said no, let’s stop at the grocery store, and they stopped at the store and he bought the ingredients and went home and made his mom dinner. Which is amazing. I love that story so much.

Liz Wolfe: Mmmm. Yeah.

Melissa Joulwan: And then, with this book, with Well Fed 2, we decided to support the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. In developing countries a lot of the families are cooking with open fires inside their homes. And that creates smoke and a lot of other health hazards, and the incidence of death is just disproportionately high. And I was really struck by the idea that mothers, and usually they are caring for the children at the same time, so the most vulnerable parts of the family are in the house, and mothers who are fulfilling their nurturing instinct to make food and take care of the family, the instrument of that is the thing that is making them sick. And that just broke my heart. So, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is really great. It is supported by the United Nations Foundation, and they are working to get a marketplace in place that will get safe stoves into these homes so that cooking, which is meant to sustain your life, is not, you know, harming the families.

Liz Wolfe: I just love that you’re giving back to these causes. I think it’s amazing. And actually, you inspired me when I made my whole online skin care guide, to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

Melissa Joulwan: Oh I love that.

Liz Wolfe: So thank you for that. It’s been a really cool connection that I’ve made with FTCLDF, and it would never had happened if not for reading about what you were doing with Well Fed and now Well Fed 2, so I think that’s amazing.

Melissa Joulwan: I’m so glad. That’s really awesome. Thanks.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, well thank you for everything that you’re doing.

8. Autoimmune protocol in Well Fed 2 [42:55]

Liz Wolfe: Ok, so I know we’ve asked you some more targeted questions to stuff that we want to know and talk about, but is there anything in particular that you would like to talk about that you would like to share with people, with our audience, and maybe folks that aren’t yet familiar with your work and your blog and that will be after today?

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, there’s two things that I wanted to mention about Well Fed 2 in particular. Um, one is kind of serious, and one is a little more fun. So we’ll do the serious one first. About a year and a half ago, when I was digging through, I call it my ____ adventures, as I was trying to figure out what is going on with me and why I still wasn’t feeling really awesome, I decided to try the autoimmune protocol of paleo. So for people who are unfamiliar with that, that means that you take out foods that could potentially be inflammatory, like ____, nightshades, which include eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, and that also means things like paprika and chili powder. So, if you’ve been listening closely, you know that I really like spices {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: So the idea of taking out those spices was really painful. And if you’re doing it really strictly, which I was, you also have to remove all seed spices. Because seeds can be inflammatory for some people. So that means things like cumin, which is my favorite spice, coriander, fennel. You name it, all of the really, really good spices come from seeds.

Liz Wolfe: Mmm.

Melissa Joulwan: So, basically that leaves you with cinnamon, which is made from bark, ginger, which is the root, turmeric, which is also a root, and herbs, which are leafy things, oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram. Those are all ok. But, I was really not happy. And while I was doing the autoimmune protocol, I was trying to come up with some fun recipes. And, I did ok. I came up with some things that I really like. So, one of the things I kept in mind with Well Fed 2 was that really difficult time when I had to be even more restrictive than usual. So, in the back of Well Fed 2, there are adaptations for as many of the recipes as I could adapt to be compliant with the autoimmune protocol. So, if I’ve included a recipe in that section, it’s because I think it still tastes good enough that it’s worth eating {laughs} if you make the AIP adaptations. And things where if you, you know, remove all of the spices it’s just not going to taste good anymore, I didn’t include those. So, about two-thirds of the cookbook are compliant with the AIP. Which, if you follow it, it’s pretty good because I’m going to say it, my recipes are pretty good.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: And, even with the adaptations, they still taste amazing. So, if you feel like you need to follow that, or if you know you need to follow it, while Well Fed 2 is not a strictly autoimmune protocol cookbook, there is a lot in there for you. So, that’s the serious side. But I wanted to make sure and get that in there for people. I’m on another elimination diet right now, and it’s not all that fun {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Mm.

9. Burgers, Balls, and Bangers! [46:15]

Melissa Joulwan: So my heart goes out to people who have to eat with even more restrictions. And there’s some good stuff in there. The fun thing that we didn’t talk about yet is this little thing called Burgers, Balls, and Bangers!

Liz Wolfe: Oh, amazing!

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Burgers, balls, and bangers everybody.

Melissa Joulwan: Mostly because I could not get over the joke, balls and bangers.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Melissa Joulwan: And my husband… I can still see my husband, like, shaking his head with ____ this look when I told him that we were going to call that section Burgers, Balls, and Bangers! {laughs} It’s one of my favorite things about the cookbook because I took kind of traditional sausage recipes or flavor profiles from around the world and put them ____. I also included instructions for making them meatballs, burgers, or sausage shapes, aka, bangers. And there’s instructions for how to grill them, cook them on the stovetop, or bake them in the oven. So there’s this huge matrix; so if you’ve got some ground meat and some spices, you are hooked up! You can make something awesome. And the best part is that you can get them on the table in like, half an hour. Which is pretty fun.

Liz Wolfe: And you look like a genius!

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} I am, in fact, a genius. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: You are, in fact, a genius. That was actually something I was so excited about, because if we have anything here at my house, it’s ground meat and some spices.

Melissa Joulwan: ____ The food that is both Well Fed and Well Fed 2 is what we actually eat. Like, I don’t make recipes that I wouldn’t eat or recommend other people eat, which is also why there are very few treats in my books.

Liz Wolfe: Mmm.

Melissa Joulwan: Because this is food that I eat every day and I really want to help people eat great every day. Every meal should taste really, really good to you. You deserve it, and it will make it a lot easier to make good choices. So, anything you see in the books you can rest assured that Dave and I have eaten it at least 20 times. I will sneak preview, I have a coconut milk ice cream recipe coming up that I’m going to share that we made for Thanksgiving that was really, really, really good, and only has 2 tablespoons of honey in the whole thing, so I don’t feel so bad about that.

Liz Wolfe: Stop it!

Melissa Joulwan: Yes. Right! I’m really excited to share that. Coming up soon. You heard it here first.

Liz Wolfe: Oh my goodness. Do I need an ice cream maker?

Melissa Joulwan: We did make it in an ice cream maker.

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Just need to know what to put on the list.

Melissa Joulwan: Yes. {laughs}

What are your can’t live without kitchen tools? [48:39]

Liz Wolfe: Ok, speaking of that. What are, I just put up a post about basic kitchen tools, and the ones I use a lot are the chop wizard, just because I like smacking things with my hand.

Melissa Joulwan: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: The spiralizer, and the salad shooter. Those are kind of my go-tos. What are yours?

Melissa Joulwan: It’s funny that you ask me that, because I was just saying this morning I’m going to write kind of a confession post, because my homemade mayo recipe is like the most popular page on my website and in it I describe the technique that I use that has been really successful for people where you have to very slowly drizzle the oil into the blender. And that’s the way I’ve always made it. And lots and lots of people posted in the comments, and were like, this is great, but you know, if you use an immersion blender, it never gets messed up and it’s really, really easy. And for probably two years, I was like {sigh} I just don’t want another kitchen gadget. Like really? I bought myself a Cuisinart stick blender, they are like $35, and that thing is a work horse and it’s amazing. I have 3 pureed soups in Well Fed 2. Transferring hot soup into a regular blender can be really dangerous.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Melissa Joulwan: Pureeing it with the stick blender in the pan? Super easy! So there’s my confession. I’m like, madly in love with my stick blender that I poo-pooed for years and years.

Liz Wolfe: I just had to mute you to do a happy dance, because that’s the one tool I’ve had for-e-ver! And I’m in love with it.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: So I feel really validated right now. Although I called it in a text message to Diane, I called it, I asked her, ‘what’s an emulsion blender?’

Melissa Joulwan: {laughing} It does emulsify mayo! That’s perfect.

Liz Wolfe: Exactly! That’s why I thought that’s what it was called, because you are supposed to use it for mayo.

Melissa Joulwan: Um, word to the wise friends, be very, very, very careful with your emersion blender stick blender, because it’s pretty easy to accidentally turn it on {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Uh, done it! Done that.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, so my rule is, I put the blender into what I’m blending and plug it into the wall and turn it on, and when I’m done blending, I unplug it from the wall and take it out. Because I am so accident prone. We actually kept a list of how many times I cut myself and how many times I burned myself while we were doing the cookbook.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, you’re making me feel so much better.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: So how many times? How many times did you?

Melissa Joulwan: Um, it was, I don’t have it in front of me. It was something like 7 cuts and 8 burns, which was less than I kind of thought it was going to be, actually. Because, you know, I get distracted or I’m trying to do too many things at once and I get accident prone. The worst cut I got was from a garlic clove, believe it or not.

Liz Wolfe: Hmmm.

Melissa Joulwan: I had a whole clove on the cutting board, and I put the side of the knife over it to like smash it so I could peel it, and when I smashed it it slid, and the really dry thick part of the skin sliced across my wrist and, like cut me, like bleeding cut from a garlic clove. Not from the knife.

Liz Wolfe: Oooh. Oh my.

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, it was mad at me because I was trying to smash it. So then I smashed it doubly hard. That thing was obliterated.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Melissa Joulwan: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: See you later, garlic!

Melissa Joulwan: Yeah, jerk.

Liz Wolfe: Actually, I don’t feel much better now that you’ve told me in the process of the whole cookbook you had like 7 cuts, because that was basically my morning,

Melissa Joulwan: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: And I wasn’t even {laughs} using any knives, which is ok. It’s funny that you say how easy it is to turn on those stick blenders, because it sounds ridiculous. Why would you have your finger up an emersion blender for any reason.

Melissa Joulwan: Oooh.

Liz Wolfe: It’s so funny, because in my book, I actually have an analogy about inflammation that has to do with my experience turning on the emersion blender with my fingers stuck up inside of it.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} awwww!

Liz Wolfe: So, I’ve been there, and it was so horrifying, it actually made it into my book, so I’m glad I’m not the only one.

Melissa Joulwan: No. Got to be careful with those things.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. You really do.

Melissa Joulwan: And the other thing absolutely positively could not live without in my kitchen is I just got a huge wooden heavy cutting board, and Wusthof knife and it’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. I think one really good knife that you feel comfortable with is a really smart investment if you’re going to be cooking a lot.

11. Spaghetti squash cutting tutorial [53:09]

Liz Wolfe: What do you think about cutting up a spaghetti squash by pounding your chef’s knife down through the squash with a meat mallet?

Melissa Joulwan: I actually have a how-to video on how to cut a spaghetti squash! When we finish this conversation, I’m going to post it so people can come to my site and find it. It does not involve a mallet, but it does involve some pretty awesome banging of the knife.

Liz Wolfe: And we love…. I can’t. I can’t go there. It involves awesome banging! We’ll just leave it at that.

Melissa Joulwan: We love banging? I’ll say it. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} I love it. Well, I think we’re pretty much rounding out the end of the podcast. Is there anything else that you would like to tell folks about Well Fed 2 besides my opinion, which is everybody go out and grab this cookbook because it will change your life?

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs} Thank you. Um, I would like to end by saying cooking is really fun, and eating well can be really fun, and as much as possible, just try to relax and soften into it. You really can’t mess it up too much. If you’re eating clean food and getting good sleep, and making food that you like, that’s really all you need to worry about.

Liz Wolfe: I love it. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast with us today.

Melissa Joulwan: Thank you! It was really fun.

Liz Wolfe: Well Fed and Well Fed 2 are available through both your blog and through Amazon, and you have a preview as well of Well Fed 2 at The Clothes Make the Girl.

Melissa Joulwan: Yes.

Liz Wolfe: Lots of awesome tips about eating paleo, setting up your kitchen, essentials, all that good stuff. It’s not just a book of recipes, it’s a book of how to get from point A to point Z without going crazy.

Melissa Joulwan: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: So, I love it. I love every word. So you can find Melissa at Check out Well Fed 2. You can find me, Liz, at You can find Diane at Thanks everyone for listening! We’ll be back next week.

Diane & Liz

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