Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe

Podcast Episode #283: Sugar, Carbs, & Food Swaps

Diane Sanfilippo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), Carbohydrates, Featured, Podcast Episodes, Practical Paleo, Sugar & Sweeteners 2 Comments

Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo & Liz WolfeTopics 

  1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:01]
  2. Something new that I'm into and new podcast sponsor: Primally Pure [9:50]
  3. Substitution for sugars [12:01]
  4. Homemade Larabars [17:19]
  5. Bread [20:42]
  6. Almond flour substitute [30:06]
  7. Autoimmune swaps [31:39]
  8. Reading labels hacks [37:58]
  9. Liz's parenthood tip: Squeeze packs [43:23]

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Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 283.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and The 21-Day Sugar Detox. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids, and I’m currently and forever obsessed with Midnight Moon goat Gouda.

Liz Wolfe: I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a farm in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City, and I’m wearing my studio pants today.

We’re the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we’ve been bringing you this award winning podcast for 5 years and counting. We’re here to share our take on modern paleo living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

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

Liz Wolfe: Hey everyone, it’s me Liz, here with Diane.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh hey.

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:01]

Liz Wolfe: Hi buddy. What are you doing; what are your updates?

Diane Sanfilippo: How’s it going? {laughs} Oh, updates. Well, I’ll be at the NTA conference, which is at the beginning of March. So the first weekend of March, I’ll be there up in the Portland area. And I’m pretty sure our friend Cassy Joy is going to be there, as well. I may just be announcing that for her {laughs} right here on our podcast, but I’m pretty sure I convinced her to come to the NTA conference as well, so that should be fun. And make sure you guys stop by and say hi if you’re there. I’m going to have a booth over there, talking about the Master Class as practitioners; also talking about 21-Day Sugar Detox coaches program; all kinds of fun stuff. You can meet some of the members of team Balanced Bites, as well.

And, the following weekend, I’ll be down in Anaheim at Expo West, so if you’re milling around, or if you’re working for a brand that’s going to be represented there, I guess hit me up over on Instagram or something, let me know where you are. Hopefully I’ll try and find you. But if you’ve been to Expo West before, you know it’s basically like; I don’t even know. It’s like a giant tide pool of amazing natural products, and it’s very hard to find what you're looking for; you basically have to stumble across it. So there’s that.

Other updates; our podcast has been nominated, once again, for the best paleo podcast. And we would absolutely love you guys to vote for us. So, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to put a link in the show notes. We might also have a link at some point over on Instagram from the Instagram profile link thingamajiggy. But you can definitely go over as your voting; it’s Paleo Magazine that puts this out every year. We’ve won it several times in the past; most recently we won it this past year, and I don’t know how many times, actually. But we totally appreciate you guys going over and voting. So there’s that. And we may also be up separately for some other stuff. I’m not really sure. I think Practical Paleo second edition is actually up for an award for best paleo book of the year, something like that.

Liz Wolfe: Is Eat the Yolks in for best really old book?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Best 4-year-old book? {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes. That specific category I did notice, and yes. {laughs} No, no it’s not. And then the only other thing I wanted to let everyone know about this week is that we’ve got a 21-Day Sugar Detox community group kicking off on Monday, March 6, and we’re running detoxes as a community as sort of supported by my team and just kind of our whole crew just four times a year now. Well, at this point, four times this year. So March, May, and October are when the official kick-offs are. But if you’ve been wanting to join us, this will be a really good time. And if you’re somebody who would love to have a little extra support along the way, don’t forget you can always look for a 21-Day Sugar Detox certified coach, either in your area or someone who just works online, but maybe specializes in your needs, whether you’re an athlete, pregnant, or breastfeeding mom; you have an autoimmune condition; anything along those lines 21DSD or and you can find someone who will be awesome in helping in supporting you. Our coaches are amazing. They’re just all awesome people. So check them out. What’s up with you, my friend?

Liz Wolfe: I wrote a blog post.

Diane Sanfilippo: Listen, that is no small feat.

Liz Wolfe: No, it’s not!

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I’ve been writing blog posts again, and that’s epic so congratulations.

Liz Wolfe: Thank you. I actually wrote one that was so long, that I split it into two.

Diane Sanfilippo: I hear ya. What’s the post? Can you tell me?

Liz Wolfe: I can tell you. So this is how it happened. Let me tell you exactly how this happened. I was doing a bunch of research on baby biomechanics, and I was also having some discussions with some folks from my parenthood group about cloth diapers. And I decided to write a little post for the parenthood group about what I was researching on cloth diapers, and then I thought; jeeze, Louise, I just wrote a lot, why don’t I turn this into a blog post because at the same time, I was also writing a little bit to shout out a company that happens to be our new sponsor, Primally Pure, some of the stuff in their baby line. So all these things kind of converged at once to this perfect storm of; oh my gosh, I’m actually writing this right now, this is happening. It has to also be a blog post.

So it did end up being a blog post. I wrote a little bit of a blog post about some of the challenges that folks need to look out for when they’re cloth diapering, because it has actually been studied in a particularly interesting way, I’ll leave that for the blog post if folks are interested, how cloth diapers can impact locomotion in children or in babies as they learn to move and walk more than disposable diapers, and both cloth diapers and disposable diapers impact locomotion more than naked time. So naked time is kind of the take-home here; it’s incredibly important. And there are some things to think about if you’re cloth diapering just as much as there are if you’re using disposable diapers.

Sadly, we got one big thumbs down, leaving the group in a huff person who seemed to be really upset about challenging cloth diapers. But this is in no way about me giving my opinion on what somebody should or shouldn’t do. I’m just presenting the evidence that exists and trying to think critically about these things and sharing interesting stuff with my parenthood group and the blog world. So this is not personal. This is not me saying, “Cloth diapers are dangerous,” because I’m not about that click bait. But it is really interesting, so I wrote this post about cloth diapers.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} Not about that click bait life.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Not about that click bait life. And I also wrote a little bit about diaper creams; some you can use with cloth, some you can’t, so I wrote about a couple of options that I like. And this is probably going to cause even more controversy. One of my recommendations for diaper creams is that folks do not use diaper treatments with essential oils on a regular, every day basis. And it has nothing to do with me feeling like essential oils are dangerous or blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It more has to do with, I think it’s probably best for most babies with healthy, perfect, beautiful baby skin, to just stick to the basics, as Bud Kilmer would say. Stick to the basics, stick to the basics. So I really just like the basic, nourishing beeswax or some kind of butter, tallow, emu oil, that kind of thing with maybe some herbs or extracts. Zinc if appropriate, and that’s it. And wouldn’t you know it; Primally Pure has an amazing balm with no essential oils in it, but some really lovely herbs, and it can also be used as a nipple balm. It’s super safe, so all of those things kind of converged in this writing tear that I finally got the chance to do that actually was part of my research, and not working against my research time. So there you go.

2. Something new that I’m into and new podcast sponsor: Primally Pure [9:50]

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome, well that was really good timing for you to write this post, and also for us to be able to introduce and welcome a brand new sponsor for the podcast that we are super excited about.

Liz Wolfe: So very exciting.

Diane Sanfilippo: You want to talk about that?

Liz Wolfe: Yes, I would love to. So, our new podcast sponsor is Primally Pure Skincare. We love Primally Pure Skin Care. They make 100% natural and nontoxic skincare products. We love their deodorant; it’s one of their best sellers, and it’s also one that folks with sensitive armpits can tolerate, so highly recommend that. Like I talked about as well, their baby line is amazing. You’ll hear a little bit more about them in their sponsor spot on the show, but it really was just perfect and serendipitous that they would be able to come on as sponsors just as I am completely falling in love with their baby line and wanting to recommend that to anybody and everybody. So it’s going to work out great and we’re really excited that they’re with us.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I will throw out there that one of my favorites from them right now is their dry shampoo. Probably pretty well known for using some not so safe stuff in my hair, but I do love their dry shampoo, and their dark hair formula has a little bit of cocoa in it, and it kind of smells good. So, yeah. I’m loving that.

Should we let our listeners know about our little special bonus we have from Primally Pure?

Liz Wolfe: Yes, we should. So as a special bonus for you folks, Primally Pure is offering a free lip balm with your first purchase of one item or more. Just add a lip balm to your cart along with any one item, and use code “balancedbites” all lowercase, one word, during checkout to receive one of their lip balms for free with your order. Do that at and check out their range of safe and effective all natural skin care products. I highly recommend the creamsicle lip balm; that is my absolutely favorite.

3. Substitution for sugars [12:01]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ooh. I like the cocoa. Alright, so should we talk about today’s topic, which is going to be sugar, and food swaps, and label reading hacks, and all kinds of fun super practical stuff. Ready to get into it?

Liz Wolfe: That sounds good to me friend.

Diane Sanfilippo: OK, why don’t you go ahead and grab the first question.

Liz Wolfe: Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Alright, so we’re talking sugar, food swaps, and label reading hacks. And this first question is from Miracle in the Mess. I love that; that’s really cute. We’re talking about swaps for maple sugar or honey. “What is a healthy swap for recipes that call for maple sugar or honey? I’m trying to stay away from sugars; even healthy ones, as they often make things far too sweet for my palate.”

Diane Sanfilippo: Ooh. Ok, so this one was also I think someone else said, “I second that question.” Here’s the thing; there are two ways of approaching this. Number one, if you’re looking for a “natural sweetener” something that’s better to use in recipes, honestly maple sugar and honey are some of the best you can use. I prefer maple syrup; I just, maple syrup is my jam. And honey is really the best most natural sweetener. But in this case, if you’re trying to stay away from sugars, even healthy ones, and it is because it’s too sweet; or if you’re doing 21-Day Sugar Detox, here’s the thing. If you’re trying to swap it out of the recipe; major caveat that your recipe may not and probably will not really work. So if the recipe writer, developer has given you options, then you can follow those options. But if they haven’t, then this is a swap and omit and replace at your own risk, you know what I mean

One of the big things we do in the 21-Day Sugar Detox is we cook down green apples, for example. And because green apples are allowed on the program and up to one per day is included, if you cook them down they do get a bit sweeter. And I personally think if you’re someone who is trying to adjust your palate and things taste too sweet for you, then simply using cooked fruit is a really good idea. But it does change things in the recipe. So if a recipe calls for a liquid sweetener, you may be ok. But often, you guys, we’ve probably all heard about and all have done in a past life somewhere, replacing the fat in a recipe with applesauce, for example. You can also sort of replace sweetener with applesauce or with the cooked down apples. But this isn’t a direct replacement; you’re adding a lot more bulk and you’re adding a lot more liquid.

So depending on the recipe, honestly, it’s not that easy to make that swap. You may be ok omitting it, depending on how much it is. But if a recipe calls for a cup of maple sugar, and you think you’re just going to swap it or omit it, then the recipe is probably going to flop. Because a lot of things; and I’m not a baker, but I’ve asked my friend, Brittany Angell, about this many times. It’s not just the sweetness that the sweetener imparts on the recipe. Sometimes things won’t brown properly; sometimes they won’t form properly. It’s just kind of a big caveat.

And also, honestly a note; instead of looking for ways to swap it out, look for recipes that naturally don’t use those ingredients. And I would definitely point you towards our friend, Cassy Joy, who has sort of guest co-hosted; which makes me feel a little bit like this is; one of us is Kelly Ripa or something and somebody just keeps popping on as a guest co-host or I don’t even know what. Anyway, Cassy Joy’s book, Fed and Fit, uses no sweeteners whatsoever. And the 21-Day Sugar Detox book and cookbook use no sweeteners whatsoever, aside from fruit. So if that’s what you’re looking for, I would actually point you to recipes that just start out that way, and I think you’re going to be a lot more successful.

Liz Wolfe: I was going to say the same thing. Honey and maple sugar are; I love honey. It has well studied health properties, so I feel like it’s great when people want to get rid of the sugar and the dependency on sugar; that’s freaking awesome. But I also think if you’re emotions can tolerate some of these things and it doesn’t send you into a tailspin just by the taste of sweetness, I think honey is great. Especially local honey.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, agreed.

Liz Wolfe: Save the bees. Oh; so here’s something I’ve been reading that’s not fun. I’ve been reading about how the bee population is sensitive to electromagnetic fields in the environment.

Diane Sanfilippo: Uh-oh.

Liz Wolfe: And of course, we are multiplying that influence a million fold seemingly every day. So we really, really, really need to be thinking about these things, and supporting local bee keepers, and trying to keep the local bee populations thriving at least to some degree, because it’s not so good.

4. Homemade Larabars [17:19]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, here’s a question about Larabars. “We always fall back on Larabars, Naked bars here in the UK, as a quick snack/energy boost. These are pretty pricy; do you have any simple recipes to make something similar at home?”

Why, I actually have a recipe to make something similar at home.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Which is shocking, because I don’t do very many recipes. But I do have a recipe for no-bake grain free energy bars; we’ll put the link in the show notes. They’re quite good. The thing is, dried fruit and nuts are not cheap anyway, so you’ll want to run the numbers, I think. You could always; if you can do oats, you could probably bulk them up with oats, like how Roseanne used a whole box of cornflakes in her meatloaf to stretch it out.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: You can do that. But I’m an 80-year-old woman at heart, I think.

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel like I need to watch that entire series again, because I’m sure it all went over my head at the time.

Liz Wolfe: Oh totally, me too.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I think it would be really funny now.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, it’s so good. When Jackie’s nipples leak; it’s so funny.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} Yeah. So try that, you might want to stretch it out; run the numbers, let us know what you come up with. But that could be quite helpful.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I’ve made these before. So, back when I had a meal business; for anybody who doesn’t know my life story {laughs}. Back in late 2007 early 2008 I was running a meal business, and I used to make a version of sort of a Larabar type thing. Primarily it was cashews and dates, and I would use lemon juice and lemon zest, because I just really loved that flavor. You can totally do that; I would definitely recommend getting dates in bulk; which that’s the primary sticky part and sweetener in a Larabar; and they also use cashews as the primary nut. I believe, because they’re pretty neutral in terms of taste, and perhaps less expensive than some of the others. They’re also softer than a lot of other notes. Peanuts are pretty soft, but obviously almonds and hazelnuts would be a lot crunchier. So you can totally just blend those up in a food processor. You might need to use a little bit of warm water, or something like that.

There are lots of recipes out there, honestly. I know Bill and Hayley from Primal Palate have probably a ball; maybe it’s a carrot cake ball or something like that. Different recipes like that. But maybe we’ll try and link to a couple in the show notes. But you’ve got at least Liz’s recipe there, and yeah, they are pretty easy to make at home.

One other thing you could do; and I don’t know if you’re energy balls called for this at the time, I’m not sure when the post was from, but you could also add some collagen peptides or hydrolyzed gelatin depending on which kind of brand you use. You could use that in the bars. Actually, you could probably even throw gelatin in there; I don’t know that that would make much of a difference in terms of the texture, since you’re not putting it in water, you don’t need to worry about it gelling or not .but that might be a cool way to just kind of bulk up some protein in them, especially if they’re little snacks for the kiddos and things like that.

5. Bread [20:42]

Liz Wolfe: Alright. This one is about breads. There was a lot of interest in this question, shockingly.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: A couple of questions here. This is from Bethany. “Breads? I love a piece of bread with an over-easy egg. Homemade bread, almond flour bread, Ezekiel bread.”

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: And we had like a plus one on that one from Raquel. “I hope this one gets answered; it’s hard to find a decent, healthy bread.”

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t even know what the question is here, it’s just like, “tell me about all the bread options.” {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Bread, bread, bread. I want bread. So my thoughts on bread; and I feel like we could find evidence on this on either side. So this is 72% opinion; but my thought on this is, if you cannot tolerate wheat in any form, then we have some really great suggestions for you. However; if you can and you’re just avoiding it on principle but you really want some bread, my personal preference is to go for some traditionally made sourdough bread; fermented with an old school culture, and just eating that. Because that’s like two ingredients; it’s like the culture and the grain and water.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: And for me, a lot of times since I can tolerate these things on occasion, I’ll go for the product with the fewest ingredients versus just an off the shelf gluten free bread that has guar gum, and all that other kind of stuff in it. So that’s my preference, but there are people out there that just can’t do that. So we have a couple of favorites that we love; but before we go into that, what are your thoughts on this one.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m totally with you on if you can tolerate that stuff that that’s the way to do it. Really interesting either read or watch, depending on how you want to consume it. I actually think, even if you’ve read the book, I believe it’s Cooked by Michael Pollan, there’s a series; I think it played out on Netflix, and I want to say it went in three parts and it’s the air section, where he talks about fermentation and the traditional sourdough process. And I’m totally in agreement/belief/support of this whole notion that for a lot of people, the inability to digest and tolerate the gluten protein comes from the fact that it’s no longer been fermented and the fermentation process begins to break down those proteins ,and it begins to actually sort of predigest it. So a lot of us may be intolerant to this form of gluten that we’re encountering in whole wheat breads; even white bread. Any type of nonfermented, anything other than a traditionally prepared bread, as Liz has been describing here.

So I think it is important to understand that for some people who aren’t celiac, for example, or don’t have a specific type of gluten intolerance, you might only be intolerant to it when it hasn’t been fermented. And you know, we see that a lot with dairy, and for some reason people don’t get up in arms about the fact that maybe you don’t tolerate milk, but maybe you tolerate yogurt, because it’s been fermented and that lactose is mostly gone; the milk sugar is mostly gone. So the body just seems to tolerate it a lot better.

So we just have to recognize that that is something that happens with the traditionally processed bread, and a lot of us may not be tolerating bread well because it hasn’t been through that process.

So, all that being said, in terms of alternates for those of you who may be newer to the show; I can’t eat almonds, I can’t actually eat most nuts aside from the more legume type nuts; so peanuts and cashews I seem to be doing ok with pistachios, maybe macadamias. But as far as I can tell, almonds and hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans, and all of the “paleo friendly nuts” that most folks are using in recipes, especially in baked goods, almond flour obviously being the primary one there, I can’t eat them. So I don’t eat them. I have only ever baked a “paleo bread” out of coconut flour, like back in the day; I’m talking, I don’t even know what year it was, 2009 maybe, and someone who told me about paleo at the time was like, “I’m not really sure that that’s what they meant by paleo.” Like, you’re using paleo ingredients, but I’m not really sure. And it was terrible anyway. It was totally flat and weird and didn’t work; so I don’t recommend that. But there are lots of recipes out there for nut flour based ones.

This stuff is not going to be cheap. You’re using a whole bunch of almond flour or like a jar of almond butter when you’re making it; so I’m kind of meh on the idea. I also don’t know that we should be eating that much almond butter at one sitting. But I’m not going to say never do it. I definitely think that you have to figure out what type of recipe you and your family like, and what type of recipe you’re going to be able to eat without sort of losing your mind around it, also. I think that’s pretty easy.

I remember, I think it was Robb Wolf, when he and his wife had their first kid, and were kind of on the other side of it. They’d had the baby, and were just trying to deal with life; totally understandable. I feel like he said they were baking some almond flour bread, and literally could not stop eating it. Like a slab of butter on the bread and maybe that’s fine for a little while, but he made some joke about how at some point they realized just how many calories they were consuming of this bread that wasn’t really what they wanted to be eating all the time. So just kind of a note on that.

So, I guess you and I would vote for homemade bread for sure, but if you’ve got a local bakery. I mean, here in San Francisco we have; I don’t even know the name of the bakery. {laughs} But we have a bunch of local bakeries that do some sourdough stuff and really traditional stuff that you can get. We eat some gluten free bread in the house now and then. We tend to buy the Canyon Brand; as you were saying Liz, stuff with a million ingredients. It kind of has a million ingredients, and that’s sort of what has to happen when you take out this grain that’s sort of; it’s a superhero in terms of baking. It’s a protein, and it’s gluey gluten, and it’s got a little bit of fat. Everything that’s in the wheat grain makes bread what it is; you know, when it’s just flour and water. And we’re trying to recreate that, we end up having to use a lot more ingredients. To some point, that’s not a big deal, and to some point, there’s some, meh, not so great ingredients in there.

I have eaten Ezekiel bread in the past, but I haven’t recently. What’s your take on Ezekiel bread? It’s basically all sprouted grains.

Liz Wolfe: I feel; it’s sprouted? I’m trying to remember because I think we talked about this at some point where something that they do to it, I don’t know if it’s sprouting or fermenting. One of the things that they do might actually make the antinutrients more available. I can’t remember; I’m talking out of my rear end. But the other issue with Ezekiel bread is they do seem to use a lot of soy in their breads, so I would avoid.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hmm. For some people who are sensitive to wheat germ agglutinin, I think that’s the portion of the wheat, sprouted breads can actually be worse because it exposes or makes more available that portion of the gluten. So for some people, they’re eating this bread and having brain fog, and they’re like, “But it’s supposed to be healthier.” And it just doesn’t work for them.

But you know; this question, I feel like this question, more than anything, is not so much a healthy swap question as it is a permission question. Like, can you give me permission to eat some kind of bread?

Liz Wolfe: Huh. Yes. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I don’t really know; if you want to know which is the best, there is no one answer there. You know what I mean? “Which is the best” depends on who you are, and what you tolerate, you know what I mean?

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Somebody could say, “Almond flour bread is the best” and I’m like, well not for me because I’m allergic to almonds. You know, so there is no one answer there. So we’ve got; we have a friend who is making a new bread, Legit Bread Company, that one is nut free and paleo friendly but I don’t know all of the ingredients in it off the top of my head, and it’s going to be higher in starch and that’s not going to work for some people, you know? So I think you have to just kind of make your decision about it and base that on what works best for you.

6. Almond flour substitute [30:06]

Liz Wolfe: Alright. This is a simple question. “What can you substitute for almond flour in paleo recipes? I have a nut sensitivity, so I can’t use almond flour.” Got me.

Diane Sanfilippo: Actually, if you can’t do nuts at all, I wouldn’t even follow recipes that use almond flour unless it’s for a breading type of thing, on chicken or something like that, in which case you can kind of just shift to a different one. But honestly, at this point in the sort of whole paleo scene, a lot of folks are doing nut-free recipes. I think the most direct one to one non-nut ingredient that you can use is sunflower seed. But if you’re sensitive to nuts, I don’t know if you’re sensitive to seeds, too. Sunflower seeds, I think work pretty much one to one. Again, a lot of these are kind of baking questions, which I guess; I don’t know if people who are following the Instagram {laughs} don’t realize that you and I really don’t bake almost ever, and when we do we’re like; “Great. This is a great look mix I found, it looks pretty healthy; I’m going to put an egg in it, and it’s going to come out great.” {laughs}

But that’s kind of the most direct one. Other than that; find a different recipe, honestly. Because if someone develops a recipe using almond flour, and you go to make it with something else and it doesn’t work; you know, buyer beware at that point. But I would also just look for recipes that are nut-free, honestly.

7. Autoimmune swaps [31:39]

Liz Wolfe: Agreed. Alright; autoimmune paleo swaps. These came from a couple of listeners. The general question, “What about swaps for foods that aren’t allowed on autoimmune paleo.” Maybe we’re talking a swap for eggs, a substitute for tomatoes; ideas for that. A swap for cassava flour; and a homemade mayo idea, that type of thing.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hmm.

Liz Wolfe: I don’t know this either. I don’t do any of these things.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: I literally have 5 things I eat, and that’s it.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, in Practical Paleo I have; I know. And all of them are nachos.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Not all of them are nachos.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s funny because it’s true.

Liz Wolfe: Sometimes they’re enchiladas.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} So in Practical Paleo, in the first and second edition, and I would say probably more thoroughly in the second edition because everything about the second edition is just better than the first, so there’s that. I do detail; if a recipe has something like nightshades in it for example, or nuts and seeds, or eggs, I give you notes on how you can either omit them, or swap them, or just do something different. So Kay Skinner was saying pumpkin is her go-to for tomatoes; that is the go-to that I use, whether it’s tomato paste, tomato sauce, in a recipe like; let me think. I want to say my balsamic braised short ribs might call for some tomato paste; I can’t’ remember. I think they do. You can use a little bit of pumpkin in that. My Bolognese recipe would call for some tomato paste, and you can definitely use pumpkin puree in that, as well. So you have to really just think about texture and application when you’re looking to swap something.

The question about the cassava flour; I don’t know what she’s sensitive to there, but you can use some other kind of starchy flour there. But again, this question when it comes to baking, you have to just find recipes that use the ingredients you can use, and from there you have to experiment with what you can do. Because with baking, you can’t just change one thing and expect everything else to be ok. That’s why I don’t bake, everybody. Because it’s just too complicated and stressful to waste expensive ingredients on it. So just continue to look for a blogger or an author who has recipes that align with what you can eat. And you know, maybe that’s not helpful in terms of a swap, but that’s really a better solution than just continuing to swap things.

And then, when it comes to tomatoes; if you’re looking for something fresh. One example of this would be a fresh salsa or a pico de gallo or something like that. Again, in Practical Paleo second edition; well actually it’s in both of them. I have a page where I have 5 kinds of salsa. You can totally make salsa, and it will be awesome, with no nightshades whatsoever. So you can do mango, or pineapple, or even a cucumber salsa, and all you need to do is mix it with some lime juice, some salt and pepper, some cilantro, and you’re pretty much good to go. So if you can’t do tomatoes, but you can do peppers, then you can put a little jalapeño in there. But if you can’t do the tomato, you don’t have to have tomato as a base for salsa. So that’s kind of a good option there as well. I think that’s it on that.

For eggs, there are some pretty standard egg replacers; it’s really going to be helpful if you can’t eat eggs, honestly, to look at vegan websites for how they bake things. Because they’re obviously not going to be using eggs. Most of the time, people do a “flax egg”; I say that with finger quotes. I don’t know the exact ratio, I want to say it’s like a tablespoon of ground flax and a certain amount of water. Google it; you’ll find it.

Honestly, if you guys Google egg swaps in recipes, or egg replacement in recipes, you’ll probably find a bazillion vegan websites ready to tell you how to replace eggs, and I think that’s a good way to go in terms of figuring out how to do it. Again, with the caveat that if you’re trying to replace more than 2 eggs in a recipe or like a baked recipe; don’t expect it to turn out the same. Just find an egg-free recipe.

And I know that’s not easy, but this is the hand we’re dealt. If we’re allergic to them, we find another way, and just continue to support those authors and bloggers who do create recipes that you love that you can eat. And when I say that; share what they have on their site, share it with their friends, and also buy their book. Buy their cookbook or whatever it is, and that’s how you show your support. So there’s that.

I’m trying to see what else; so this question about the egg-free mayo. Again, this is where you can look to sort of the vegan mayos; but the caveat there, what I’ve seen of them, not the best quality oils all the time. And I have seen the aquafaba, whatever you call it, you basically take the water from garbanzo beans in a can and you can whip it, and it seems to be able to form in a lot of different ways {laughs} it seems like a little bit of a miracle of starchy water. But I don’t know what all the ingredients in all of those other options would be. So a way to Google that one up might be vegan mayonnaise recipe and you will find something that will be egg-free, I promise.

Brittany Angell might have a recipe on her website or in one of her books, because for a while she wasn’t able to eat eggs and she seems to be able to eat eggs again. So you can definitely check that stuff out as well.

Autoimmune modifications on 21-Day Sugar Detox; notes are all on the recipes in there, and there’s also a whole section in the book for modification on AIP, so that’s all written out right in the book for you.

Liz Wolfe: It’s all way over my head.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think we’ve got one more. {laughs} I know you’re like, what? Ingredient swaps? I’m just trying to get it to make it with the ingredients it’s called for part. {laughs}

8. Reading labels hacks [37:58]

Liz Wolfe: Exactly. I’m just trying not to burn something. Alright, this one is about label reading hacks. “Not sure if this question is exactly in line with the topic, but here it goes anyway. I’m such a sucker for good packaging, and the typical tricks food companies use to make consumers think something is better for you, or just less bad for you, than it actually is. When purchasing a “healthier” packaged snack option, like jerky or even toddler-friendly to-go snacks, what key words or phrases should I be most mindful of when label reading. Thanks for being such a great resource for this aspiring real food mama.”

Well, I have a little; you know what, I have a parenting tip and we’ll move that to after this question; but listen for my parenting tip here in a minute. This is hard, and it’s really probably just going to be our lot in life because fake; well not fake, but meaningless phrases and certifications are going to continue to pop up to make us feel really good, but really you just have to use your wits, and look at the ingredients labels, and say; “Huh, that sounds like a byproduct. That sounds like a derivative. That sounds like a science-y word.”

However, that said, one of the certifications that I do really trust is Paleo Approved. I’m friends with the gal who spearheads the whole operation, and it’s really a trustworthy, good seal of approval that I like to look for, for example, on eggs. Just because something doesn’t have that seal doesn’t mean it’s not good, but I’m hoping to see a lot more of that seal going forward.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think, I’m trying to make some notes here, because I just had an idea for a blog post myself; look at us, blogging again like the good old days. So, agreed on the Certified Paleo stamp of approval; but I think a good caveat or thing to look out for is something that’s just called paleo something. We’ve seen a lot of products that are like “paleo bars” or whatever they’re called; I’m just making that up. We’ve definitely seen some paleo breads that are total junk. And if you turn around and read the ingredients, which as you’ve said, above and beyond all of this, that’s the way to go, is just read the ingredients. But I think that one, it does get a little bit tricky because people are trying to pull one over, you know, and use that word. But that’s different from what you’re saying with this Certified Paleo. So it has this circle, and it has the straight up P in it. So that one is good to go.

I would say, also, the organic label; which not misleading in the sense that if it says it’s certified organic, it is certified organic, there may be certain food products where not 100% of the product needs to be certified organic in order for it to be called organic, so you can do some Googling on that and read up on the organic certification process. But just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy. I mean, that seems really obvious, but I’m sure that a lot of us have picked up a product and were like, “Oh, ok this is the organic version,” but read the ingredients anyway, you know what I mean? And that’s kind of always where we’re going to fall back.

And if you’re not sure what an ingredient is; the cool thing is, we’ve got a smart phone pretty much on us at all times. So Google it; find out what it is. Maybe it sounds scarier than what it is. Maybe it seems really intimidating and you’re just not sure, so maybe you don’t buy it one day and then maybe one day you realize it’s not the most natural thing but it’s probably not so bad. There are some food additives; they're there for reasons, and you get to decide whether or not that works for you and your family. Not every product that you buy is going to be 100% squeaky clean. So, you have to kind of just make the call on where you’re willing to trade the convenience for a few ingredients that may or may not be perfect in terms of; are they paleo or whatnot.

So, I think when it comes to label reading; and I talked about this a little bit with Cassy Joy a couple of weeks ago. Liz, you and I probably both have a list of a few ingredients that when we see them, we’re like, “No, not buying it.” You know; doesn’t matter what the rest of the ingredients are. If I see canola oil in there, if I see vegetable oil, if I see; I’m trying to think what else. If I see that it’s got wheat or some kind of wheat derivative I typically don’t buy it either. And it’s not just about avoiding gluten, but knowing how highly processed that stuff is. If I wasn’t buying wheat bread, and there’s some kind of wheat derivative in the product; it’s just kind of a red flag to me. Any kind of corn derivative; high potential for obviously GMO and all that stuff, especially if it’s not organic, and there’s just no real need for me to be consuming that, so those are kind of a couple of red flags.

I know she’s talking more about health washing that’s happening on the front of the package and honestly; you just have to mostly not even be mindful of it. You mostly have to ignore the front and read the back, you know.

Liz Wolfe: Yep.

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, 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.

9. Liz’s parenthood tip: Squeeze packs [43:23]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, you want to give us a parenthood tip this week? You teased us about it.

Liz Wolfe: I sure do. The last question made me think about something that I told a couple of folks. Depending on where you are, you may or may not have good options for on the go toddler snacks, and I am not against squeeze packs, really, at all. They’re incredibly convenient, and actually I end up eating them probably more frequently than my kid does because I’ll be so worried about getting her fed and running around and doing all the kid stuff that sometimes it’s whatever o'clock that I realize I haven’t eaten anything and I’m about to pass out. That is not cool; it’s something I’m working on. It’s the stage of life that I’m in right now that kind of hit me like a ton of bricks going from this kid who has a pretty predictable, tight schedule, to this kid who is all over the place all the time and just turning into a little girl instead of a toddler. Anyway, I’m working on it; trying to do better.

But, I’m not against these little toddler squeeze packs. Sometimes you can find them in the refrigerated section with no preservatives whatsoever. Those aren’t available in all places. Diane, I’ll have you search out different baby food options when you’re at the Expo. You can send me pictures.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, there was one that I found last year that was definitely squeaky clean, but I can’t remember the name of the brand. But we’ll see if we can find it again.

Liz Wolfe: It was like From the Farm, or Upon a Farm or something like that. I can’t remember.

Diane Sanfilippo: Something like that.

Liz Wolfe: Something like that. But the shelf stable ones, like the Ella’s Kitchen and the Happy Baby, I’m not against them but definitely check the ingredients because I always try to avoid the ones that use citric acid. I tend to go for the ones that use lemon oil. I can’t tell you that that’s necessarily the most scientific choice, but I prefer to avoid citric acid as much as possible, and I prefer the ones that use lemon oil concentrate instead. Folks can take that or leave it, but I think it’s probably a good idea.

Diane Sanfilippo: The brand that we found last year is called Once Upon a Farm. They have a really cute website, So that might be one to check out. I don’t know exactly the ingredients and there’s Plum Organics; I’m not sure the ingredients in these, but I just found a blog post, Smart Mommy, Healthy Baby. It looks like there are a lot of brands people can check out and compare.

Liz Wolfe: Alrighty then, that will do it for this week. You can find me, Liz, at and you can find Diane at This week, we would really love it if you would share something from our podcast Instagram account with your friends and let them know what you love about the show. Thank you very much, and we’ll see you next week.

Comments 2

  1. Thank you for addressing my Larabar question! I tried looking on Liz’s site for her recipe but I can’t seem to connect to it today – I will persevere. I tried an energy ball recipe from a UK blogger called Deliciously Ella’s site last night. The ingredients worked out at costing a little bit less than I’d pay for ready made bars, but not a huge amount. I think you’re right about economies of scale and I would need to buy dates and nuts in bulk to feel any real cost benefit. The major downside was the mess and effort of trying to roll the balls! I think I’ll try a bar recipe next for sure. As they say though (in England at least!), the real proof of the pudding will be in the eating – I packed them in my fiancé’s lunch today so we’ll see what he thinks! Thanks again – I was so excited to hear my question read out. I’ve been following you guys from the start and your podcast is a real weekly treat for me. Jodea

    1. Aw yay! I agree, often we think making this stuff ourselves will be cheaper, but then it isn’t once you also factor in the time and effort it takes to source the ingredients and spend that time in the kitchen!

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