Veganism vs. Paleo, & the Importance of Eating Meat - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

Podcast Episode #257: Veganism vs. Paleo, & the Importance of Eating Meat

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TopicsVeganism vs. Paleo, & the Importance of Eating Meat - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

1.  News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:12]
2.  Shout out: Nom-Nom Paleo’s Michelle Tam on Facebook live [11:01]
3.  The vegans are taking over! Paleo versus Veganism [12:37]
4. The influence of social proof [22:00]
5. Vitamin A and Omega-3 [26:35]
6. Plants need dead animals [32:25]
7. The emotional detachment from our food [41:03]
8. Final thoughts [44:13]
9. #Treatyoself: Peach summer salad [50:31]

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Veganism vs. Paleo, & the Importance of Eating Meat - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Veganism vs. Paleo, & the Importance of Eating Meat - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Veganism vs. Paleo, & the Importance of Eating Meat - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 257.

Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast with Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe. Diane is a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo, The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Liz is a nutritional therapy practitioner, and the best-selling author of Eat the Yolks and The Purely Primal Skincare Guide. Together, Diane and Liz answer your questions, interview leading health and wellness experts, and share their take on modern paleo living with their friendly and balanced approach. Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Liz Wolfe: Hey everyone, it’s me Liz with my buddy, Diane. Hey friend.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hey.

Liz Wolfe: {voice}”Hello, Ms. Loopner.” How are you?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I’m doing pretty well. Doing pretty well.

Liz Wolfe: Good. Good, good. Let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants, including me, I’m an NTP, emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, and apply for one of their new scholarships, go to There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, so chances are you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you. The scholarship application window closes August 15th, so don’t wait.

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:12]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, so Diane; what are your updates? I feel like you should have quite a few at this point.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} Ok, so my first copy of Practical Paleo, second edition arrived. Wo-hoo!

Liz Wolfe: Yay!

Diane Sanfilippo: It was really pretty exciting. I know I’ve been talking about it for weeks on the show; I have gotten tons of questions about what’s new, and is it really different, blah, blah, blah. I know a lot of people get; I don’t know if the word would be confused or just unsure, don’t know what’s going on. But it’s not a minor update; you know, a few words. There’s not a 10-page PDF I can send you that’s going to cover everything that’s new. The book has been completely overhauled; two new chapters, even the chapters that were there were before have all been reorganized. So honestly it feels like a brand new book. Holding the hardcover edition, it’s kind of ridiculous and surreal. It feels entirely different, and I’m really pumped for people to get it.

Amazon actually put a huge discount on both editions; both versions, the hard and soft cover, but the hard cover I think the price was like $1 or 2 more than the soft cover right now; I think it’s about $29 versus $27, so it’s kind of worth it.

But I will throw out this caveat; if you’re coming to a live event, do not preorder the book. I repeat; do not preorder the book. For a couple of reasons; number one, if you’re coming to an event the first week, you might not even have the book in time. For the primary reason not to preorder is that we need you guys to support the stores that we’re in. and I know that it’s a savings online on Amazon, but the difference in that price, honestly it’s well made up for in the fact that you get to come to a live even, have talk from myself an whoever else is going to be joining at that specific event. Obviously Cassy Joy will be at every event, and just; quite frankly, we have to support the stores that are hosting us. Because there are stores out there who don’t want to host events.

We can’t have people coming to an event with books in hand. Of course, there’s going to be a few people who didn’t get the memo ahead of time, and you know, I get it. You’re not going to be in trouble, but please just be respectful of our stores and support them. You know, it’s really not, the price tag is not super high for anything. So I just wanted to throw that out there and remind everyone; it’s just a way to be respectful and support our stores, which we love to do. And that’s pretty much it.

Book tour coming up. It’s going to be fun; I’m excited. I mean, it’s going to be a crazy 3 weeks, but make sure you check out if you want to see if we’re coming to a city near you. And if we’re not coming to a city near you, please don’t comment with a crying face emoji to me somewhere; trust me, I wish I could be literally everywhere. Liz knows this firsthand; I’m like, let’s go to every city every other day!

Liz Wolfe: Let’s go to Cheboygan!

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m like; I am the person who…

Liz Wolfe: Let’s go to Lenexa, Kansas!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I’m always trying to book as many events as possible, but; just physically, logistically, financially speaking, you know there’s a limit to this stuff. I know when you look at it and you don’t see your city, the first thing you want to say is; “Why not this city?” I’m going to ask you guys; I’m always, I don’t know, maybe it’s jerky of me to say. But when you look at that calendar, remember that there are real live people who have to do that physical travel to do these events every day or every other day, and it’s time and energy and effort for us to do this. So just kind of keep that in mind, because I know it’s just, everyone is sad if we’re not coming to a city near them.

Honestly, it’s really upsetting for me when people comment with complaints because I’m like; trust me, if I could get to every single city, I would. And inevitably, we can’t get everywhere. But anyway, long story short, super excited about it. And if you’re RSVPing, come represent because we want to see your smiling faces! And that’s pretty much it.

Facebook live pretty much every Thursday, so if you guys haven’t joined me, make sure you’re over there on Facebook to come in; I’m kind of calling it like an office hours Q&A thing, different things I’ll be doing each week. Sometimes cooking, sometimes Q&A but it’s sometimes your chance to come in and ask questions, and I don’t know.

I had a spot on Fox Good Day last week in Dallas, which was super exciting. I guess pretty much in Dallas watches that show, because everyone I spoke to that day in the city was like; oh, yeah, I watch Good Day! Liz, I know you did some Kansas City Morning Show stuff a couple of years back when Eat the Yolks was coming out.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Was it live when you did it?

Liz Wolfe: Oh yes, it was live.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I want to know what your experience was like.

Liz Wolfe: It was scary!

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I had to bring food; like, literally, they said, “there is nothing here.”

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: “All we have is a stovetop”, and literally we had to bring everything else.

Liz Wolfe: We had the set, basically.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, that was it.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Not even a frying pan or a spoon. It was like, we have a range, and that’s it. A stovetop. But you weren’t cooking, I don’t think. What was it like when you went?

Liz Wolfe: No, I cooked once.

Diane Sanfilippo: You did?!

Liz Wolfe: I’ve been on 3… 3 times I think.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh my goodness.

Liz Wolfe: So the first time I was just talking about Eat the Yolks, so we were sitting in the chairs, and I went and got my hair did, and I did all that stuff.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: And it was kind of funny because the guy was; he started talking to me, and I felt like he was asking me like a really official question, so I looked at him, kind of froze, and I was like, “are we on camera?”

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: Like, are we on, are we live? He was like, no. No we’re not. So that was weird. And the other one I did was like a paleo friendly apple crisp, which was a cooking demo. And that was, they keep putting me with the same guy because he’s like 6 foot 8, and all the women there are like 5 feet, 1, and that would just be really, really awkward for me. But Dave and I have established a bit of a rapport.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: And that was the one where I told him to kick back, turbo.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, that’s right!

Liz Wolfe: That was embarrassing.

Diane Sanfilippo: I remember that!

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Yeah. And then there was another one I did on egg quality, and yeah. They’ve been really good to me. Once I got pregnant, I kind of didn’t want to be on TV anymore {laughing}.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So we’ll see what happens.

Liz Wolfe: I didn’t want to get up at 5 a.m. or 4 a.m. to get there to drive an hour to get to the studio. But yeah, it was cool.

Diane Sanfilippo: Kind of brutal. I’m going to see what happens. We don’t know scheduling wise, and what happens with each show, but I know we’re working to see if I can do a couple of different stops with some morning shows, or who knows what while on the tour, which that’s going to be really interesting to be up at alike, you know, 4:30, 5 in the morning to be on a morning show, and then do an evening event. I’m going to be a little haggard if that happens. {laughs} Like, awesome if I can do a bunch of them, but haggard. So we’ll see.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. We’ll see. What’s going on over on the farmstead? {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Well, I’ve been doing a little bit of work on the farm myself. Hubby is gone for a little bit; not too long, but long enough that I have to do a lot of the farm stuff for myself. I put up a chicken fence the other day, so our poults could get some outside time. Did some stuff with the cows and with the guineas out in the barn, and that’s a tough one to do with a kid. I basically strapped her to my back, went out the barn and did that. And I keep thinking about doing Facebook live videos, just because I feel like I should try it; but I don’t really understand. Like, you’re supposed to let people know that you’re going to go live, so I’m going to have to remember to tell people.

Diane Sanfilippo: You don’t have to.

Liz Wolfe: No?

Diane Sanfilippo: You don’t have to. I mean, if you’re going to do it regularly, I think it’s kind of nice. Like, I know; which we have a shout out for this, but I know when Michelle Tam is going to be live every week, so not like I can always catch it live, but I kind of have it on the back of my mind that if I’m around and I can catch it, I’ll catch it live. So if you’re going to do it at the same time every week; but otherwise, I feel like it’s kind of just whatever can happen. If you’ve got something you want to put up there. If somebody is there, on Facebook, ready to go and watch it, then they don’t have to know ahead of time.

Liz Wolfe: Well, maybe I’ll give it a whirl.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

2. Shout out: Nom-Nom Paleo’s Michelle Tam on Facebook live [11:01]

Liz Wolfe: We’ll see. So that was the shout out, then. To Michelle, was it not? Do you want to go a little bit in depth there?

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, sure. Alright, well our shout out this week is Michelle Tam of Nom-Nom Paleo. Her Facebook live videos are awesome. Super fun. I always crack up seeing her sons half dancing half just hamming it up in the background; it’s kind of hilarious. But she does really great. Pretty much always cooking demos or some kind of kitchen demo, and yeah. I usually share them to my page as well, because I watch them. I tend to watch live, I tend to be home when they’re on.

I want to say she does Tuesdays at 5 p.m. Pacific; I think that’s her time, because, yeah, I’m usually around. Love it; definitely check them out. Check out Nom-Nom Paleo over on Facebook. And if you guys aren’t already watching them, I think you’ll love them.

Liz Wolfe: Our podcast sponsorship today comes from Vital Choice, an online purveyor of the world’s best wild seafood delivered right to your door; because juggling a busy life shouldn’t mean you have to forgo healthy meals. At, you’ll find wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, tuna, sable fish, and cod, as well as prawns, crab, and scallops. You’ll also find grass-fed organic Wagyu beef, free range heritage chicken, fresh frozen organic berries, and dark organic chocolates. Make a vital choice by eating the highest quality food you can. Vital Choice; come home to real food. Use code BALANCEDBITES to save on your first order at

3. The vegans are taking over! Paleo versus veganism [12:37]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, well let’s move on to today’s topic. It’s a hot one; this is a hot potato.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Indeed.

Liz Wolfe: So I guess we could call the topic “Veganism versus paleo”.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: And I feel like we need some kind of scary music there.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Or like a thunder clap; like grr, crash. And the importance of eating meat. So I guess we’ll just launch in. we’ll start out with a question, and then we’ll start talking.


Alright, this question is from Tracy. “Help, the vegans are taking over! Hi Diane and Liz. First, I just want to say what a huge fan I am. I’ve listened to every single episode, and cannot wait to see Diane in Chicago for the upcoming book tour. Congratulations on the new release.”

Diane Sanfilippo: Well thanks.

Liz Wolfe: “Anyway, I have a situation that I was hoping to get your thoughts on. One of my close friends went vegan in the past year, and after watching her lifestyle change, I have to say it’s hard to be unconvinced by her ways. I have been following a paleo lifestyle over the past two to three years, and although I do believe in this way of eating and living, I need some extra encouragement and reminders, because she’s really starting to get to me. She looks and feels amazing, and follows a high carb, low-fat diet, which apparently is all the rage in the vegan community these days. She even showed me a YouTube channel called…” we’re going to actually skip the name of this YouTube channel, just because we discussed this off the air. It’s not about this YouTube channel, and it’s also kind of one of those things where we just don’t want to make it about that. However, we will say that this YouTube channel has hundreds of thousands of followers. It’s a little kooky, a little crazy, but it is incredibly popular. She has tons of subscribers, and is influencing mostly young, impressionable girls all over the world to eat 80% of their calories from carbs, 10% from protein, and 10% from fat. I mean, what?!

This is not at all the way I eat, but it is hard not to be impressed by her results when she has an insane body, and is able to eat over 3000 calories a day, feasting on tons of delicious fruit, potatoes, and pasta while I’m over here eating a moderate portion of broccoli and salmon carrying 10-15 extra pounds. Sigh.

Besides the health argument I give about paleo, my friend then comes back at me with the environmental argument that the animal agriculture business is killing the planet; and the of course there is the ethical argument about animal rights she always ends with. Which, I really have no response to.

Anyway, what is a strong response to my friend and her vegan YouTube army? I’ve really enjoyed my paleo way of eating, but I feel like these vegans are taking over!”

Diane Sanfilippo: Woo!

Liz Wolfe: Um, can I say a couple of really basic things before I forget, because you know how quickly I forget stuff?

Diane Sanfilippo: Of course.

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Oh shoot, I already forgot a couple of them.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Ok, number one; you don’t need a strong response. You’re not trying to convince anybody or sway anybody and whatnot. If you’re feeling a little bit insecure, then we’ll talk about that. Number two; I make a really good argument about the animal rights, the ethics stuff in my book, Eat the Yolks, and you can feel free to take that out verbatim and use that if you want to. A lot of it has to do with becoming part of the web of life, which does include killing and dying and becoming part of the earth, and then plants grow, and plants nourish animals and animals nourish people and animals at the top of the food chain. It’s really kind of a broad worldview that’s taking into account how we got here and what we can do to bring the earth back to what it’s kind of meant to be. I would really, really encourage you to buy the book and look at what I have to say about that. Because I do cover that in detail.

Finally, the environmental argument that the animal agriculture business is killing the planet; she’s absolutely right, there’s no argument here. I think a lot of what we do is try to inspire people to buy into small, local community-based agriculture. But, what perhaps this person doesn’t understand are the intricacies of how agriculture on a small scale actually regenerates and heals the soil; in particular the top soil, which is one of the most critical elements to not just growing healthy food but maintaining a healthy planet. Once the topsoil is gone, it’s not going to be a good thing.

So, Diana Rogers of writes a ton about how critical animal agriculture is to the planet, to healing the world. The Savory Institute is doing a lot of work on this, as well globally. Sadly, big plant agriculture is also really, really damaging to the earth. Big corn, big soy, big canola. All of these giant industries that are built around a lot of these crops that are actually shipped off to support the factory farming industry; because all this surplus of corn and all this surplus of other grain-based monocrops is being shipped off to feed the animals that are in the concentrated animal feeding operations. So really, a lot of the vegan diet, for those who base their diets around some of these crops, that’s actually kind of contributing to the problem that she’s talking about.

So I talk about that in my book, a lot, as well. Factory farms were actually not even established until we had enough of that feed to support them. So there you go with that. Ok, good, I didn’t want to forget those things, so I’m done and now we can start exploring this a little bit more.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, we have a lot of little kind of in-roads on this topic to just go over.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: The first thing I want to say about this, too; which before we even get into everything else we want to talk about is, when it comes to friends who are into certain things that you’re not into, and I’ve had this experience; just for example, I’m not a hater, first of all, but I’ve had this example, let’s just say, with essentials oils. I’m not into essential oils, I have specific personal distaste for strong smells in general, other than food.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t like oils pretty much at all; I don’t like strong smelling things. It’s me, right?

Liz Wolfe: There’s an oil for that, Diane.

Diane Sanfilippo: Exactly! And there’s something wrong with me because I don’t like strong smells. Look, maybe I need to work on my liver detox. Whatever it is. Anyway, point being I have some friends who are really into it, and there was a period of time when, you know, this is not Liz, {laughs} but I’ve had some friends where, you know, it just was kind of often that they would bring it up as a solution for me for, like you were joking, pretty much everything. And again, I’m not hating. If you love oils, and they work for you; great. But here’s what I did; I said, ok, I need you to not mention this anymore. Because guess what? I know that if I’m interested in this, I can come to you.

Liz Wolfe: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: And this is a good conversation to have, because this is something I covered in the new edition of Practical Paleo; how not to be this way with your friends about paleo. And I think what Tracy is saying is not that her friend is like beating her over the head with it; she’s saying she’s kind of watching things and it’s very convincing. She’s like; my friend is eating all this food, and it is interesting and convincing. But I do think it’s important to understand that if this is you; first of all, what you are doing to try and convince other people to go paleo, for example, and just stop. You know what I mean? At some point, your friend knows that you’re the resource and the go-to. If they’re curious or interested, they’ll come find you. So first and foremost, if you’re uncomfortable about it if your friend is trying to convince you; if it’s just annoying and you want to save the friendship, then you need to say in a firm but loving way, “I need you to not bring this up anymore.” This is literally the conversation I had probably verbatim. “I need you to not bring this up anymore. I know you love and care about this, and I can respect that 100%. I’m not interested right now; if I’m ever interested, you’ll be the first to know. I’ll come to you with my questions, I’ll come to you for more information.” And then end it right there. And if your friend can’t respect that, remind her that this is something that you requested.

And again; if you guys can’t have a respectful friendship without that being an issue or point of contention, then there’s a deeper issue there. Because that’s just how it is with human interaction. And we always; we’re influenced by people around us and we want to influence people around us, it’s just natural. It’s human nature; it’s tribe mentality. That’s how we are. But I do think that if it’s upsetting you, or if it’s something you’re not interested in, you need to put your foot down and you need to be firm about it. And I think most of the time we’re scared to do that with our friends, and I think it’s the most loving, respectful thing you can do. Rather than ignore them or continue to be annoyed by them; you have to just tell them. People are not mind readers; you have to tell them. So there’s that. Let’s stop with that.

4. The influence of social proof [22:00]

Diane Sanfilippo: So, a couple of other points that Tracy brings up here, I think her biggest influence, the biggest way she’s being influenced by her friend is really the idea of social proof. You and I have taught about this in our workshops for years, and it’s in the Master Class. But we talk about the ways that we are influenced. And you guys who are listening; you’re influenced by myself and Liz as authority figures on a lot of these topics, right? But in this case, Tracy is being influenced by her friend through social proof. Which is probably the strongest influence most of us have. Probably a lot of you listening; maybe you have Eat the Yolks or Practical Paleo, you’ve gone into this way of eating because of a friend. So it is, I’m just going to go out on a limb and say 80-90% of the time it’s the reason why we change our ways when it comes to nutrition. It’s a friend or a family member, or we see a testimonial or something like that. Do you think that’s probably pretty true, Liz? Like it’s not usually because…

Liz Wolfe: You read a study?

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s not even usually because of just your health. I mean, for some people it is, but usually that push is a story, you know?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s not an article from Robb Wolf that really gets you to do it, necessarily. Or Chris Kresser, even, somebody who’s got this; you know?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Or you join a gym, or something like that, and you end up with kind of, I hate to say it, but a group think. And you try what the group is trying and you become part of this community and it self perpetuates. So yeah, I think it starts at the individual level, for sure.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, and I think, so I think that’s happening in this case. It’s social proof. She’s watching her friend, she feels amazing. First of all, I just want to throw this out there; if you want to try what she’s doing, try it.

Liz Wolfe: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: If you're making a huge deal of it; like, oh gosh, I couldn’t possibly do that because I’m paleo, now you’re being religious and dogmatic and you’re not being open minded and curious. Which I feel like those are two mutually exclusive ways to be, and I would rather we be in the open minded and curious camp and try things out. See how it feels for you.

Liz Wolfe: That’s parenting, too, by the way. If I can just apply that to a different idea; I try to be curious, as a parent, as well because people get stuck in their ideologies, you know, and to their own determinate. So just being open and curious; that’s, I think, the best way to go about life.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, I think as we move through the world and try to be students more; even if we are teachers, that we try to always be a student because we never know it all, right?

So I think first and foremost if you’re curious and you want to try it, Tracy; try it. Why make it religious? Why make it to where it’s you against her. Why not try it now; if you try it and don’t feel well, now you have your answer. We don’t even need to get into your friend trying to wax on about something that she really doesn’t know about. She really does not; I mean, I’m just going to go out there and say it. She doesn’t understand what she’s talking about when it comes to the environmental implications, she doesn’t understand what she’s talking about in terms of health, you know, optimal health for human animals in the large scale.

There can be people who may be ok without animal foods. There’s always supplementation that’s needed for optimal human health. There are nutrients that we cannot get from plant foods; we can talk about those in just a minute, even though people think that they can. We should definitely point people who are interested in more on this to That’s Denise Minger’s website. She was previously a raw vegan, learned about the real science behind that way of eating, and learned about what she needed to incorporate to actually be experiencing optimal human health incorporating a lot of those ideas, but also not ignoring what’s appropriate for human nutrition.

I get it that people are fed up with feed lot animals and a system; I mean, the same way politically we’re fed up with what’s in front of us. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other options and that we don’t have choices. So I think throwing our hands up and saying, because I don’t agree with feedlot animals, animal cruelty, perhaps, and I don’t agree with the way that things are done at large, to throw your hands up and say, “I’m opting out” doesn’t actually create a solution. You’re just now continuing to be part of a problem.

Liz Wolfe: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m on a soapbox. {laughs}

5. Vitamin A and Omega-3 [26:35]

Liz Wolfe: No, I think it’s really important. Can we circle back real quick and let’s talk about a couple of the nutrients.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes.

Liz Wolfe: Examples that we cannot get. You know what; I really, also. Please get my book and read it, Tracy if you haven’t already because I talk about this too; and again, you’re more than welcome to just take things out of it and have this conversation if that’s where it goes for you with your friend, if you want to actually sit down and do a compare and contrast, if it matters.

But two nutrients I think we really need to talk about, there are a ton of myths about, are vitamin A and omega-3.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ve got more, too. {laughs} So we can talk about those too.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, I’m sure Diane has more.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: But I talk about these in the book. Vitamin A as retinol is really our body’s critical and usable vitamin A that we need. It’s important in cell differentiation, it’s important in skin health. Accutane is based on vitamin A analogs, but the good thing about actual pre-formed vitamin A, which is retinol that you’d find in liver and egg yolks and animal products, has basically been converted from beta carotene, from the carotenoids that the animals eat, they digest plant food that contains the carotenoids in their rumen, which we don’t have, and within their rumen they convert it into the form that ends up in their tissues that we eat, and that’s pre-formed vitamin A.

So we can’t convert vitamin A with that level of reliability, like animals can. Some people can convert beta carotene, for example, to vitamin A in their bodies, but that conversion rate is really low. And I think in the book; I think the figure is like 1 in 6. So your conversion rate is really poor with beta carotene, and the same goes for omega-3s.

We talk about how we can get omega-3s from plants or from algae; when we’re talking about omega-3s, we’re actually talking about an end usable form that’s also converted by animals. So you start out with alpha linoleic acid; crap. Alpha linolenic acid. Man, I’m rusty. And basically animals convert that for us to the end usable form of omega-3 that we actually need. So not all omega-3s are the same. What the FDA allows to be labeled as vitamin A is not actual vitamin A, it’s carotenoids.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. Right. Yeah, when you see carrots or butternut squash.

Liz Wolfe: There are just so many nuances here.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, carrots and butternut squash listed with vitamin A, it’s not the whole story. I’m trying to; I’m going to pull up a chart for the omega-3 conversion. We can see if we can link to this, that people can recognize the conversion of omega-3 fats. This is all stuff that we do cover in the Master Class. So for people who are like, “this is what I need to understand more about this,” we cover this stuff.

But yeah, alpha linolenic acid converting down to either DHA and EPA. Those are the two end usable forms that if you’re looking at, let’s just say, a piece of fish you’re getting EPA and DHA from the fish. You’re not getting ALA. It’s just a different form of the fatty acids. Our bodies just do a poor job at converting those for various reasons. Our bodies are simply not as optimized as maybe we would have been years ago, and there may be people who are better at it. Their body may be more efficient at that, and those may be the people who are doing a little bit better without animal foods. And this is where the sort of bioindividuality comes in; where some people just may be doing better. I hesitate to use the word thrive, because I’m not convinced. Even the people who say they feel the best and others say look the best, I feel like there’s a look about it that I can see. There’s sort of a; I don’t know.

Liz Wolfe: Gaunt?

Diane Sanfilippo: A gaunt or unrobust look. And hey, you know, there are a few athletes out there; people are talking about some Olympians who are plant based who are not eating animal foods. And I’m going to throw this argument out that the 0.01% of us who are Olympians are in a completely different category hands down regardless of nutrition. Michael Phelps is not like everyone else, so to compare yourself; and I can’t remember, I want to say it’s a weight lifter who is eating plant based who is, you know, I would say does not look like he’s eating plant based. That’s a generalization, but I think it’s a fair generalization to make. I’ve met my fair share of folks who really avoid animal products, and there are certain things that you can say about the way that it affects your outward appearance, and it’s just a fact. This isn’t a judgment, it’s just a pure, visual fact.

So, you mentioned omega-3 and vitamin A; I’m going to also throw in a couple of others. B vitamin; B12. There are some non-red meat sources of B12. One thing I’ve been talking about a lot in random places is octopus {laughs} so for the folks who maybe they’re not 100% plant based, but maybe they avoid red meat and we tend to think that B12; I’m sorry, B12 and iron, both, tend to come only from red meat. You can actually get both of those from octopus. So if you eat seafood, octopus is one that people are probably not eating a lot of, but it’s actually rich in both of those nutrients. So B12 and iron; we also think about iron as something we can get from spinach, for example. But here, again where we’ve talked about the difference between beta-carotene, carotenoids, pre-formed vitamin A, and iron that comes from plants versus iron that comes from animals.

Iron that comes from animals is known as heme iron, and that’s based on the fact that it’s source from hemoglobin, which is red blood cells. It’s a different nutrient; it’s a different form of the nutrient, and the more bioactive form, the form that we need as human animals is really heme iron. That’s what’s optimal for our health.

6. Plants need dead animals [32:25]

Diane Sanfilippo: Again, as you said Liz; this is really getting back to not ignoring the fact that we are not special. We are animals; we are part of this natural food chain. Things need to die for us to live. Farmers; any farmer will know that animals need to die for soil and plants to live. Period. End of story. Talk to any farmer. Go talk to an organic farmer growing vegetables; I have a good friend of mine who, her husband has eaten, I don’t know if he still only eats plant based, but had eaten a plant based diet for many, many years and started an organic farm, and then he ended up writing an editorial piece for, I believe it was the New York Times; I believe they made a call for entries about this whole plant based versus eating animals way of life, and his. I’ve talked about this before on the show, I know. His piece was entitled, “this is the deal we’ve made.” Like, if we want to grow plants, we have to have dead animals. There are nutrients in the soil that need to be there from bones of dead animals.

Liz Wolfe: The plants need the dead animals.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s simply the plants need the dead animals. Nitrogen.

Liz Wolfe: And people. The dead people, too.

Diane Sanfilippo: Nitrogen, potassium, and I forget what else it is, you probably know better than I do growing things {laughs} with a garden. I don’t know if you’re growing; you’re growing some vegetables, I know you are. I’ve seen.

Liz Wolfe: Ha-ha-ha.

Diane Sanfilippo: So anyway.

Liz Wolfe: Vegetables are hard to grow, though. Can I point that out since you’re talking about it?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: If we’re really talking about getting to a local level, and eating only what we can produce, and really reducing our footprint overall, whether that’s plants or animals. Do we live in a part of the world where you can actually do that? If you live in California, maybe you can. But growing plants is so much more intricate and involves so much more time and cultivation and care than does having cows out having a beautiful life on pasture.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s phosphorus. Sorry, I was like why am I blanking on the P in the NPK. Not to be confused with NPH, Neil Patrick Harris. Everybody loves him. So anyways {laughs} I digress.

I think recognizing that that’s part of what has to happen for plants to grow; I honestly believe, if you want to eat a plant based diet, you can do so, see how you feel. Don’t ignore the fact that this is how nature works. Don’t cover your eyes and ears and shake your head and sing a song, and ignore the fact that this is what we are a part of. I just think that’s being ignorant and it’s being closed off to the fact that there is information that exists that is true, period. This is not about an opinion, this is not about ethics and morals. This is about facts of nature.

And I think that if you’re dealing with a person who can’t observe and read information about, here’s what you need to grow plants. And where do those nutrients come from? They come from animals, dead animals. If your friend can read and understand that intellectually, and say; “Ok, I still feel better.” This is what I talk about in the arguments I have for saying, ok, I’m going to eat paleo. And let’s not get into the stuff that creates a heated argument, let’s just focus on how I feel. Let’s focus on how my health has improved. You can’t argue with her health. So if she feels great, we know, this is what we know intellectually. It takes about 5 or more years; maybe 7 years for deep nutrient deficiencies to surface as health problems. For some people it happens sooner, for some people it takes longer. The average amount of time is about 7 years. So unfortunately you're not going to know you're struggling with a plant based diet until 7 years down the road. And you’re actually almost so far in the hole, that you have to dig your way out of it.

I think Alexandra Jamieson is a great person to catch up with on this; go follow her stuff. She has written books on plant based diets and several years ago realized she did not feel good. And that was after years and years of eating that way. That’s just one example, and I’m not using that as the end all, be all. But Denise Minger is another great example. I think Denise really wanted to be able to argue for a plant based diet, and the research just doesn’t support it. Information about optimal human health just really doesn’t support it.

So I think if you can observe the information and say, “yes, that information is here, and it’s true, and it’s real, and I have it, and I’m making my decision in this direction,” more power to you. Make that decision; we all get to make that decision. We don’t need to be here to convince each other otherwise. But we do need to know the information. And if your friend doesn’t want the information that’s real and true {laughs} then you’re just not on the same page in terms of, let’s understand what’s true and we can each make our decisions from there.

And this does get kind of political, right? You don’t come to the table as separate political thinking people and leave adopting someone else’s mindset. It just doesn’t happen that way, we can’t convince people in that way. It takes more time, and it takes for their mind to have that opening. That was a bit of a rant. {laughs} Anything else on that, because I’ve got a lot of other notes we can get through here.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. I have something. And I’m sitting here making notes while you're talking, because I don’t want to make clicking noises, so I’m making them on my phone. But I think we need to point out that this; ok, so first of all just like a vegan doesn’t eat soy all day every day necessarily.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: We’re not talking about eating bacon all day, every day. We’re not even talking about eating meat all day every day. This is about knowing how this web of life works. Really understanding the nuances of this and how sometimes those things are emotionally uncomfortable. I don’t know if we’re at a point in evolution where we can reconcile our emotional selves with our instinctive physical selves that are oriented towards survival. I think that’s something humans will be grappling with for a long time. But this is about knowing how that web of life works, and then choosing where you want to come in on it. And what you’re comfortable with, and whether your health can be balanced with that.

So maybe you eat mostly fruit, or you eat not very much fat, or you only eat coconut oil, or you only eat bananas. Which, hello, carbon footprint, bananas being one of the worst crops on the planet, I think, human labor wise; I think Diana from Sustainable Dish has talked about this. You know, maybe this just means eating mostly plants, and then having chicken liver every once in a while for B12 and iron and getting the most impactful source of those things as you possibly can. I don’t know where people are coming in with this. And I think a lot of people that profess to be vegan probably have little cheats here and there. So keep that in mind, as well.

And also I think we need to talk a little bit about the regular; obviously, we made that distinction between regular people and Olympians; but clearly Olympians can tell us. This is what at least us regular people can learn from Olympians; that a carefully planned vegan diet with supplementation can probably yield positive results for people.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: If you want to track those things, and you want to make sure you're getting what you can get. I talk about this in my book, as well. One of the most famous vegans out there I think is Gabriel Cousins, I think his name is. And even he advocates for vitamin B12 supplementation. So there is an understanding amongst reasonable vegans. {laughs} Just as there is amongst reasonable paleos that there are certain things that we need to be cognizant of; making sure that we’re covering in our diet.
I also think maybe you don’t want to quite get there yet, maybe we’ll get there in a minute, but talking about the difference between what her vegan friend is eating; just feasting on thousands of calories versus her salmon and broccoli; maybe we’re not so much talking about what the vegan diet is doing, maybe we’re talking about what an abundance of calories is doing to her metabolism, at least in the short term. I don’t know, she might just be running on adrenaline and her body is economizing and getting rid of anything and everything that’s not mission critical at that point and that’s why she looks great according to society’s picture of what women should look like today; I don’t know. I don’t know her friend.

But maybe we need to talk about giving your body what it needs, and maybe in some instances that is just more fuel.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, for sure.

Liz Wolfe: Do you want to talk about that now, or later?

7. The emotional detachment from our food [41:03]

Diane Sanfilippo: In a minute. I’m going to; I’m making some notes here too. {laughs} we’re like; we have so much to talk about! I just wanted to say this about the idea of; well a couple of things. We’ve become so comfortable in a modern society; so you mentioned the whole emotional element, thinking back to our ancestors that of course, killing another living thing has an emotional element. How much are we suppressing that every day in any part of our lives, that we’re numbing our emotions and we’re ignoring that things can be painful and that we actually can live through it and be ok.

Liz Wolfe: Oh that’s so good!

Diane Sanfilippo: Let’s really illuminate that; that even our great grandmother’s, for example, probably were killing chickens out back, and this is a part of life. This is not; we are just so far detached from it in a modern society that now we’ve become comfortable thinking that we have a choice. So if you watch any survival show, anyone who is not up for eating the bugs and grubs and whatever animal based foods there are usually is off the show really quickly. Because you just cannot survive out there in the wild without taking in the dense nutrition from animal based foods. Period.

But we’ve become so comfortable, both because of what we can get at the store very quickly, right? We have very little energy expenditure to get the energy that we need for the day. We literally drive to the store and pack our cart full of thousands and thousands of calories with very minimal effort. But we’ve also become so comfortable and so numbed to the emotional exchange that might happen when an animal gives its life for us to live that we’ve decided that that upset shouldn’t have to happen. And that, honestly it’s just naïve to think that that shouldn’t happen.

The other side is; here’s the upside of our modern world, is that we get these supplements that we can take to make this plant based way of eating; I’m not even going to say suffering free, because it’s not. That’s completely ignorant to what actually happens. And I’m not trying to use this word “ignorant” to be like, “Your friend is ignorant about the whole world and life.” This is just, you are ignoring real information and you’re creating this situation where you really {laughs} you’re just not aware of it. You’re not making it happen.

So the upside here is that we have supplements that we can take and make this work; but you better be taking those supplements. Because you should know better that we are not immune to what happens when we don’t follow what nature lays out for us. Nothing wrong with eating lots of plants, like you said. And maybe incorporating animal foods in a smaller way; that’s totally fine. But to ignore them 100%, I think that’s ignoring what really is out there.

8. Final thoughts [44:13]

Diane Sanfilippo: So anyway, you were talking about maybe this calorie surplus; maybe it’s carbohydrates. Maybe we’ve been starved for those carbohydrates and are feeling great eating them. I also think there’s something to be said; look. If you’re eating 3000 calories a day of carbohydrates, I’m going to guess that you’re pretty much eating all day long. And that’s kind of fun; maybe you feel good eating all day long.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, if I could just sit here and eat fruit all day long and feel like that was optimal for my health, maybe that would be fun. I have a lot of other things I’d like to do in my day and not be thinking about food all day long. But that could be basically you’re getting; sort of a sugar high over and over throughout the day. Of course, it’s real food based nutrition if she’s doing this with real food only, not processed, refined stuff. Not processed, refined, plant based foods.

But maybe it is the calories. Maybe it’s the carbs. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: I mean, there’s definitely abundant signals that are being sent.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: When a lot of carbohydrate is coming in. the more we talk about this, the less I feel like this is about veganism versus paleo, and it’s just more about releasing yourself from those parameters that we try and put on ourselves. Those dietary parameters and self identifying as vegan, or paleo, or whatever it is, and maybe this is just an issue of willingness to self experiment. Try something you're interested in and see where it gets you as you gather information about how the world works and what kind of supplements you might need to look out for and things like that. It’s not going to kill you in 2 weeks, so you can probably gather a pretty good amount of information within two weeks to figure out how you could plan a vegan diet fairly effectively.

But really, I think like you said earlier; maybe I said it, I don’t know .we’re not dogmatic; there’s no reason to not try something that you’re interested in trying. There’s no “this is allowed and that’s not allowed.” It’s really just about finding what works for you. And keeping in mind that a lot of people came to paleo after being vegan for a really long time and feeling like it destroyed them.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: So, there’s just, there are so many nuances to this discussion, and I’ve just generally found in conversing with vegans, that a lot of them they get the nuance, and a lot of them will say; I just can’t do it. I can’t eat something with a face. And others are just completely unwilling to see any nuance; just a lot of paleo people are completely unwilling to see any nuance.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So a couple of things here; one. I have some new information in Practical Paleo second edition because I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the years of, what if you want to go from plant based to paleo, and I’ve stepped it out in 4 weeks of what to do each week, week by week, to help reintroduce meat again. If that’s something that somebody wants to do; we’re not here to convince them, and have a little bit more information about that, just what if you’re vegetarian or vegan, and you’re reading this because obviously people who get the book, if they’re interested, they need that support and sort of that bridge.

The other thing I want to mention is on Raw Food SOS, Denise Minger’s website, she’s got a page explicitly labeled for vegans. So if you want to eat strictly plant based, or sometimes I like to call it animal foods free way of eating; she’s got a list of 13 things to consider, and that includes some supplementation, things to pay attention to based on her research. Which I would say is probably pretty darn in depth. She does also completely debunk the China study. That tends to be one of the books that a lot of vegans who are going after the sort of health aspect and perhaps the anticancer aspect of that way of eating, she really gets into, “here’s what the study’s actually say, and where the truths are and where the nontruths are in that.” But I would definitely recommend checking out her for vegans page.

And look, if you want to try it; try it. We’re not here to convince anyone one way or the other. We just want people to have the information that’s necessary to make an educated decision, and see how you feel. Knowing, also that, as I’ve said time and time again, and Liz I don’t know if you have a different reference point for this, but it generally does take years for some of these nutrient deficiencies to develop, and unfortunately you might feel really good in the meantime. And I’m not saying that to scare anyone; I’m just saying, this is the same thing that happens with things like burnout in general; stress and the idea of adrenal fatigue, etc. This idea that; “well, I was always able to XYZ.” I’ve always been a runner; I’ve always eaten, I’ve always avoided animal foods. Or whatever it is. It’s like; well, sometimes that “always” hits a breaking point in your body, and when you hit that point unfortunately as anybody who has gone through severe exhaustion knows; when you’ve hit that point, it’s way harder to dig out of it than it would have been to prevent it all along, as with many other issues that we face.

So that’s kind of the last thing I wanted to just throw out there before we get into wrapping up this episode.

Liz Wolfe: Yep. I’m good too; I think this is a great question. So, thanks for submitting it. I think it’s important we talk about it. We haven’t had a conversation about this in a long time.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. We’ve got a few more links that we’ll definitely share over on the show notes to some articles; actually from Diana Rodgers, and ones on, the one that’s on Robb Wolf’s site I believe is an article that Diana wrote.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: And a couple more articles on She’s just a really good resource for that; as a nutritionist, as a registered dietician, and also as someone who owns a farm and works on a farm.

Diane Sanfilippo: Pete’s Paleo has opened a new location on the East Coast. Since they’re still operating out of San Diego, as well; this means local produce and meat coming from both coasts. And drastically reduced shipping prices. Check out their new and improved website, to take advantage of low shipping rates; and be sure to use coupon code 1FREEBACON. That’s the number 1; free bacon, and receive a free half pound of bacon with the purchase of a meal plan. Go to

9. #Treatyoself: Peach summer salad [50:31]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, so how about a treat yoself this week? This is appropriate, because there are a lot of plants involved in this treat yoself.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} This is totally; you could make this 100% plant based if you wanted to. So it’s a quick summer salad I threw together this week. It uses cucumbers and peaches and I used goat cheese; you could use some avocado if you wanted to keep it totally plant based. It’s some cucumbers chopped up, a ripe peach, some chives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and some coarse sea salt toss that all up, top it with some goat cheese if you want. It’s delicious; I posted it over on Instagram just a little bit ago, so you can probably check that out. I think we’ll probably get this one on the blog, because it was super yummy. Scott loved it. It’s also a great option if you’re following an autoimmune protocol if you can’t eat tomatoes, can’t do nightshades. Really delicious; kind of like a Greek salad. You could definitely do it with lemon instead of balsamic if you want to, but I love the balsamic with the peaches, I think it’s super yummy.

Liz Wolfe: Mmm, planty.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

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

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