Podcast Episode #44: Michelle of Nom Nom Paleo Talks About Feeding a Busy Paleo Family

Diane Sanfilippo Featured, Podcast Episodes 1 Comment

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Some of topics and questions we discussed:

Transitioning the family and kids to Paleo
What to give kids for breakfast, snacks, and school lunches
Getting kids to eat vegetables – sneak them in or not?
Paleo perfectionism – handling parties, school, family members who feed them off-plan foods
Planning meals and cooking methods
Budget concerns for a Paleo family
Risk versus benefits of different cooking techniques

Show Links:
Nom Nom Paleo website
Nom Nom Paleo iPad app (link takes you to the iTunes store)

Click here to download the episode as an MP3.
The episodes are currently available in iTunes, Stitcher & Blog Talk Radio.

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DIANE SANFILIPPO: Hey everyone, I'm Diane Sanfilippo. I'm a certified nutrition consultant and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach. I'm also the woman behind BalancedBites.com, and this is episode 44 of the Balanced Bites podcast. Today I am giving Liz Wolfe a little bit of a break. She's been going hard with all the podcasts with me for the last, gosh, we're getting close to a year, it seems like. But today we are not short of any female power. I have a really amazing guest for you guys to kind of tune in and check out, and I'm sure a lot of you already know who she is. Today we have Michelle of Nom Nom Paleo today to just chat for a little while. But I just want to remind everyone that the materials and contents that we're going to talk about today in this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, so we are probably not talking about many medical conditions today.
And then a couple of quick announcements. Just reminders that, I guess, basically next week, those of you who will be out at the CrossFit Games can see Liz representing Steve's Club and PaleoKits at that booth, and I think you'll be able to see Michelle and her whole clan as well. We'll talk about that in a minute. And then July 20th, if you know anybody who is interested in checking this out, if you know anyone with Juvenile Arthritis, July 20th I'll be speaking at the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation Conference. That's in St. Louis, Missouri. And then August 7th is the book release for Practical Paleo, and then we'll be kicking off a pretty hefty book tour with the workshops in September, so definitely check out the website, BalancedBites.com for any workshops we have coming up.
So Michelle, are you there?

MICHELLE TAM: I am here. Good morning.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Good morning. It's 8 o'clock in the San Francisco/Bay Area.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, for me, it's 8 o'clock. I guess for you guys it's close to lunch time. For me…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, and I'm like, just sitting down to my breakfast. My first bacon in about 2 months in my house, and I'm sitting here looking at it, thinking I'm going to make you talk a lot, so I can just eat my bacon.

MICHELLE TAM: You know what's funny is in your honor I made bacon for everybody this morning, and I heated up some bone broth. So that's what I have next to me. [laughs] And so…


MICHELLE TAM: if you hear crunching or slurping, that's why.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: And some nomming? [laughs]

MICHELLE TAM: Yes, I'm nomming. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So I'm sure a lot of our listeners know who you are. We got a really great response with questions, so we have tons of questions for you from your own blog obviously and from Facebook. But why don't you just tell people who you are, and just kind of how you got into the whole crazy little world.

MICHELLE TAM: Okay, well, my name is Michelle Tam. For awhile I was just going by M, but my name is Michelle. And I'm a mother of two active boys, but I'm also a full time night-shift working hospital pharmacist. So a lot of people always think I'm a nurse or a doctor, but I'm actually a drug dealer, so when I say, I'm a zombie drug dealer, I mean that is what I am, and I'm Paleo most of the time, and I also blog at NomNomPaleo.com where I basically post what I eat almost every single day. I don't always photograph every piece of chocolate I eat, but I probably do eat chocolate every day. But it's what I eat and cook, you know, whether I go out to eat and what I choose off the menu, or what I serve my family at home. And I try to show people, you know, how you can do it every day, even though you might be really busy and you want something tasty. And..

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think that's one of the things that's made your blog so, I mean, like amazingly, amazingly popular. And if people haven't heard of it already, it's kind of like, they're living under a Paleo rock or they haven't…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Or they're just maybe new. Like newer to this community. No, it seems like, you know, I know that I always get a really good response when I'm just showing people what I'm eating…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And so many people just kind of randomly out there, you know, our friends who aren't in this little world think that we're crazy for posting these pictures…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: but it's the biggest response because people just want to know like how do I make this work? How do I do it? And I think that's why people are really drawn to you because they know that you're busy and working and you have a family. Me? They're like, you're single. You can do this. No big deal. [laughs] But I think people love…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: that you're, you know, have this whole thing going on with the family, so we have a lot of questions.

MICHELLE TAM: And then I think for sure, you know, I haven't always loved cooking. I've always loved eating. And I think when I went Paleo, I had to actually cook everything, and so when I first went Paleo, I wanted to see what people were eating every day, so when I started my blog, I thought that would be kind of a handy thing. And so I just started kind of shooting what I was eating every day, and I actually don't recommend people look at my early, like my early posts because they're terrible and the pictures are terrible, but I kind of just went from there, and I was like, why don't I just do a Paleo eats every day and document what I eat because, you know, I thought it would be, you know, it would be helpful for me if I was, you know, entering, you know, the whole Paleo world and so that's what I decided to do.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Well, I think it's really helpful for a lot of people and obviously we have, you know, a huge, huge base of moms and families and dads as well, obviously, too. Just, you know, they're trying to figure this whole thing out, and it's not for a lack of desire, but they're just like, really? You know, they get a little confused about how do I just make this work for my family. You know, they're busy and I know there's a lot of different kind of blogs out there. Different families and how they do it, and I think it's always valid to see a different family because everyone's got their unique dynamic…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And you know, you're doing night shifts and that's a totally different thing for someone vs. someone else who works, you know, they work during the day. So we have a lot of questions from listeners and readers of your blog and Facebook. Do you want to just jump into some questions and…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Kind of go from there?


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay, so I know a lot of people, you know, they talk about like getting their husband to agree with what they're doing or their spouse, but I think what we want to look at mostly today are issues around like getting kids to eat Paleo, and I know that you said that you…your kids weren't originally, like you weren't Paleo when you were pregnant with them…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: and that was a totally different, like time in your life, right? So this has only been the last maybe couple of years, so the transition, like, first I'm just going to ask you, just before we get into some other specific questions, but what was that like when you kind of had that day when you're like, wait a minute, I'm going to change everything about how we're eating. How do I bring this to the kids? Like what was your thought process and what was your kind of starting point?

MICHELLE TAM: Well, so that's really hard. I mean, I can't say it was necessarily an easy process at all, especially with my younger son, so I have two boys. And I call them Big-O and Little-O, so Big-O is 7, and Little-O is 4. And Big-O is actually a pretty adventurous eater. You know, we used to take him out with us, and he would eat all sorts of crazy stuff and like it, like monkfish liver and you know, spicy stuff, just really adventurous stuff whereas Little-O is much more picky, and he loves sweets, which I think he gets from me. And he loves carby stuff, and so when I had to kind of transition everyone, it was not, I think, the easiest thing. And even now, it's something that we work on, and it's something that, you know, even every day we kind of work on it. [laughs] So it's not like, it's not necessarily easy, but it gets easier, and you know, I think that you just have to be persistent, and it's something that we…you know, I think when people say that being Paleo is a lifestyle and it's like a marathon, I mean, it really is. It's not something that, you know, I'm going to give up on just because one day, you know, my younger son doesn't want to eat what we're having for dinner. It's like, okay, well, you'll have eggs in the morning then. Or you'll have eggs for dinner. But tomorrow's another day, and we're just going to do it again. And I think, like my husband was the one that first went Paleo and I was super resistant at first. So I mean, I kind of understand how this whole thing is. It's not easy for people to jump into, and he didn't even try to convince me to go Paleo, and I think that's why I decided to go Paleo because I think I was like, well, do you think I'm not good enough to go Paleo? [laughs] Is that why you're not trying to convince me to do it? But I think he knows how I think and that's kind of how he knew that I would kind of get into it.
But I think my husband and I decided, you know, this is something that we know is healthy for us and you know, even though we didn't grow up eating like this, you know, we really do want this to be how our kids are brought up. But at the same time, we know that we weren't brought up eating like this. We were brought up eating homemade meals and you know, unprocessed foods because our families, you know, made dinner and lunch and breakfast for us every day, but we'd certainly had tons of grains and tons of soy, you know, because we're Chinese. So we know with our kids that you know, as long as we try hard and do our best, you know, they'll be fine because 80% of the time, they'll be eating what we eat, we serve them, and make them. And the other part of the time, it's kind of out of our control, but, you know, because our kids don't have any like health issues related to you know, eating grains or gluten, like, you know, they don't have celiac. You know, if they do get it, it's not the end of the world. And it's not something that we're going to break family relationships over [laughs] because there are struggles, you know, with how our parents feed them. And you know, so we…at first it used to bother us a lot, but now we've kind of come to the conclusion that since we control what they eat most of the time, what's out of our control is not going to really bother us that much.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Right, I think that's a good point, and it's-for a lot of parents, get kind of-some of them get like really stressed about it, like oh my gosh, you know, I can't control what they're doing all the time. And so they feel like it's not worth it at all to bother at home. Or some of them feel like they…

MICHELLE TAM: Yes, I love your Paleo Perfection..

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh. Yeah, go ahead.

MICHELLE TAM: No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt, but I love your Paleo Perfection post because it's totally true. Like, you know, you just do the best you can and you don't kill yourself that you're not Paleo Perfect. Because I certainly am not Paleo Perfect. And…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I don't know anybody who is.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Like literally not one person, and I hang out with a lot of Paleo like nerds, and nobody is perfect.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And that doesn't mean that we don't all have our thing. Like I will not ever eat gluten if I know about it. But that's like my pretty much my one thing. You know? It's like, a grain of rice touches my plate, not going to freak out, but anyway, I think we have like kind of two camps. We have the sort of people who are like “this is too hard to do all the time, so I'm not going to do it at all,” right? Or the ones who are like, you know, like they get so stressed, but they then feel guilt and shame or they feel badly that they can't make it work 100% of the time, and you know, while I do think there are different ways to make it work, meaning close to 100% of the time, if you have a child with a severe food allergy or you, you know, see a huge difference, and you know that it's really critical to you that the kid only eats a certain type of food, right? I mean, that's a different situation, like you said, you know, if the kid has celiac disease, you have to take things a little bit more seriously…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: and a little bit more to heart if they get exposed to something, but the reality is, yeah, you know, we grew up on Cheerios and Pop-Tarts, and I say that all the time.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: It doesn't mean that we're healthy for it or robust, but if you get this in front of them 80% of the time, not only is that what they're building a foundation on, but that's what they learn…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I think that's more important than what they're eating right now is what they learn about how to prepare food, what the rituals are, and getting them involved. I mean, I definitely credit my parents to cooking pretty much every single day of my life, but now like pretty much all I want to do is cook. Like, I'm so stressed out that I'm like, I just think I need to start cooking again because…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: that's what I grew up with, and how many people do you know, even, you know, you said yourself you didn't really like to cook.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And you figured out what you had to do. So I think that's another, just another good thing I want to kind of get into from here because how funny is it that you didn't really like to cook, and now you have an entire App teaching other people how to cook.

MICHELLE TAM: [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: The Nom Nom Paleo is an iPad app, right?

MICHELLE TAM: It is an iPad app.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Just for iPad? Okay. I know it's on iPad; I didn't know if it was just…okay.

MICHELLE TAM: Just for iPad. Yeah, for now it is just for iPad, but we are looking into other platforms.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So I have seen it. I got to preview it. I think we were at PaleoFX down in Austin, I got to preview it, and I got to play with it a little bit on my iPad here at home. It was like, probably 50% of the reason I even bought an iPad. I was like, I want to check out their app. And it's really amazing and really slick, and super interactive. Really like the way to do hands-on learning, which I think is amazing, so just kind of before we even answer more questions, do you want to tell people a little bit about why you decided to do an iPad app vs. a book because I know that's the big question that everyone was asking you.

MICHELLE TAM: Okay, well, I think probably about a year ago, I was seriously thinking about putting out a cookbook or something, you know, like that just to put my recipes out there, and I'd been approached by a couple of publishers, and I love cookbooks. If you actually come into my kitchen, and I hope you will because I think you're coming out this fall, right? Right, Diane?


MICHELLE TAM: Well, I'd love to have you over. But if you come into my kitchen, you'll see I actually have a whole wall of cookbooks, and I love cookbooks, and it's something that I read for pleasure, and I collect them, but what I realized is, I really do read cookbooks for pleasure. And I read them when I'm in bed, and you know, it's not something I really cook out of, but when I actually cook, I use my iPad or my laptop. And you know, I think with my blog and how I like to cook, I like to see things step-by-step, and so if I were to do a cookbook or some sort of, or something like a cookbook, I would want something that would show every step or the most important steps of, you know, the recipe and to see what it should look like at a certain point. And I knew I couldn't really do that with a cookbook because it would be prohibitively expensive and humungous, as I'm sure you know, Diane. Like most cookbooks have…


MICHELLE TAM: [laughs] And so our app actually has like 1500 high resolution photos and there's just no way that would fit in a book. And so, you know, that's…and I think I had been reading about how, you know, a lot of people were, you know, doing these, you know, iPad apps and I liked just the format of an iPad because they're big and the pictures really pop, and I like that you can do different things, like you can swipe through each step, and you can hyperlink to things and so we just started looking into that. And we had no-we had no plan at all. I mean, I think my husband is going to be writing a big post about how we developed our app because I think for people interested in it, they can kind of learn from our mistakes because we totally bumbled into it. And we didn't know-I mean, yeah, it's been kind of a crazy thing. We did hire a developer to help us develop it, but you know, the design and all the content and how it actually, like the user interface is…


MICHELLE TAM: what we wanted. And what we like about it is it's just so interactive, and you can, you know, swipe through things and click on things. You can make shopping lists and you can email yourself the recipe and email yourself the shopping list, and so it's just kind of a fun way, I think, to cook. And so that's why we did it.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think that's awesome. Yeah, I think that's awesome. It's funny, I think I pretty much hear this from most cookbook authors I've spoken to, that we don't cook from cookbooks. I'm like, it stresses me out…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: to no end to use a recipe. But what I love about what you've done is that you're really holding people's hands through the process, and that is, I mean, it's almost impossible to do that in a book. I mean, you can to a degree, but you'd have to write like 25 recipes and that would be it because if you were trying to actually teach somebody 100 recipes, it's impossible to get that, and you know, people talk about how big some of these books are, and it's like, we're trying to give you a lot, and a lot of information, but it does hit a point where you just can't…you literally can't just carry that thing around the kitchen anymore, so I think it's so powerful, and I think what you learned when you kind of changed the way you're eating is what a lot of people are learning, that they have to figure out how to cook because there is no way to really allow somebody else to control, you know, 80 to 90% of what you're eating, and still make sure it's the right kind of quality and it's the right food that you want. So learning how to cook and I just think it's invaluable that people can come to your website, see how things are done, you know, very practically day to day, and then actually learn your techniques through the app. I think it's awesome. I'm like totally thrilled that that's out there.
And I know we have some questions specifically about some of your cooking techniques, and I know we have questions about feeding your kids, so why don't we talk first about some of the stuff around how you're feeding your kids and just some ideas for snacks and things like that. We've gotten quite a few questions about getting vegetables into their diet. [laughs]

MICHELLE TAM: [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So one woman, Jenna, asked, and so I've got a couple here I'm just going to read them kind of together, so you can answer them together. Jenna's asking: “I'm wondering if she sneaks veggies into foods for the kids. I've got a husband who's also a very reluctant veggie eater, and I want to try and sneak some more in there. Also some favorite flavorings or seasonings for broth.” And then we've got another one where Amanda from Facebook saiDIANE SANFILIPPO: “Vegetables-they just don't have the desire for them. I'm sad, I don't want to get in the habit of giving them food that they think is disgusting. But I'd like them to know how to make choices.” So a lot of people are just really curious about getting kids to eat vegetables. So what's your advice for that?

MICHELLE TAM: I don't know. I actually need someone to tell me that, too.


MICHELLE TAM: [laughs] I think, you know, it's hard. I think what I try to do is I try to roast everything with bacon, and that actually helps make it more palatable and I think it's, you know, crunchy, and it's got the nice, you know, bacon grease and the saltiness, so that actually is a big, a big way. But what I do, I think for most dinners, I'll have like a main protein and I'll have at least 2 vegetable sides. So I basically tell them, you know, here's your dinner, and you have to pick one vegetable. And then they always pick something. I mean, they just don't have a choice. They just have to pick one. And I don't try to hide it. Like I know there's the Jessica Simpson “Deceptively Delicious” cookbook, where they…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Jessica Seinfeld.

MICHELLE TAM: Oh, Seinfeld, yeah. I guess Jessica Simpson doesn't actually cook because she can't do a canned tuna or whatever…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: She thinks it's chicken.

MICHELLE TAM: And then now she's on like Weight Watchers or something. So again, definitely…


MICHELLE TAM: Jessica Seinfeld has her little-she has all those different purees and I actually have that book because someone gave it to me shortly after I had my kids. And that it is a lot of work. Like you have to make all these different purees and then she sneaks them into everything, and I actually would prefer my kids to actually..I mean, I tell them, here, have some broccoli, and here, have some, you know, roasted mushrooms or whatever I'm making, and they know what they're having. And you know, they like it or they don't like because now, like my younger son is like, no, I like broccoli. And so I was like, look, this is broccoli, but in a different way and he'll try it. Whereas I think if I kind of made it into some puree that I mashed into everything, like he wouldn't even know, and maybe some people like that because they're getting their vitamins or whatever, but I actually kind of want them to know what they're eating and then they can make their own choices.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think that-I think that's good advice, and what I tend to tell people, too, because I get a lot of people who ask me, you know, as concerned parents about just the nutrition their kids are getting. There are a lot of vegetables out there, first of all. You know, so we get stuck in the, you know, 3 to 5 to 7 we're used to, but there are a lot of different things that we can be making and eating. I think roasting is awesome. It makes everything just a little bit sweeter, and you know, if your kids go through phases of just doing carrots for awhile or carrots and, you know, pureed cauliflower, then you change it up as time goes on and don't stress too much about whether it's perfect, you know, whether you're getting every green vegetable, every orange, red, every single different thing, but if there's one that they'll eat, go with it. Go with it for awhile, and don't worry about it, right? I mean…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think it's more important that you get them, get them used to it. Do you find that-do you give them any sort of involvement when it comes to grocery shopping or the farmers market, that kind of thing? How old are they both? You said, one's 7?

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, 4 and 7.


MICHELLE TAM: And they do..


MICHELLE TAM: Yeah. They're 4 and 7, and we do go to the farmers market a lot, and they like…I think they like to go to the farmers market for samples.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] Of course.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, and we used to always go to Costco for samples that now since all the samples are terrible at Costco, we go to the farmers market for samples. And so, you know, I'm like, hey, we're going to the farmers market. We're going to have samples. And so they like throw on their shoes and we run to the car. And you know, they come with me, and actually I think what I do most of the time when I'm not working is I go grocery shopping. And so they come with me all the time to pick, and they see what I choose, and they see what I buy, so they're actually pretty involved in the whole shopping thing. I don't know that they're really active about picking certain things; it's not like we're at the butcher counter and they're like, whoa, we want the short ribs or whatever, but they see me and they see the choices I make. And you know, they're with me all the time.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Is there ever a meltdown in the grocery store? Like Mom, I want this thing that I heard about or that so-and-so had at lunch, or, you know, in the aisle where maybe you're buying some coconut milk and like, they just see something? Like is there ever that kind of grocery store meltdown?


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I feel like this is a horror story I hear about, so [laughs] I don't know.

MICHELLE TAM: You know, they haven't, just because we're pretty good about not giving in to things, so they know that if they were to have a meltdown at the store, it would be bad times at home. I mean, and there are consequences for, you know, having a tantrum. So they're pretty good about, you know, we're pretty, you know, pretty [xxx] like a hard-line, you know, this is what we're going to do. And obviously, kids complain and it's normal for them to complain, but you know, to have them have like a full-out meltdown is unusual…


MICHELLE TAM: And I think that's also because they don't have, you know, they're eating real food. I mean, there have been times where we've…we'll be like, oh hey, it's okay, we'll go to breakfast and one time, our little guy, we're like okay, fine, if you really want waffles, it'll be fine. You had some eggs. You can also have some waffles, but that afternoon, he had like a total meltdown when we went out. And it was like, see, this is what happens! You know, you don't normally have these, you know, you know…this is how much liability in your emotions, but clearly, if you have a big bolus of sugar and gluten, it can like cause you get cranky. [laughs]


MICHELLE TAM: So I think that's also a part of it. And I make sure…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So it sounds like you…sorry, go ahead.

MICHELLE TAM: No, no, we also make sure to get tons of sleep. Like we have like a strict bedtime ritual for them, so I think that kind of helps with the whole thing. And they also know that we'll say no. Like if they ask for, you know, Pop-Tarts.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think this is what I've seen with a lot of families, and even with non-Paleo families, that like, to be honest, the whole thing, you know, the food choices, yeah, that can be really difficult to change the entire landscape of what's happening in your house, and you know, realizing how difficult it is for you to do, but then it's like that much harder for a little kid who maybe doesn't understand all the health implications. But I think it comes down to first and foremost, actually just a matter of discipline and the way that you run your family, and then from there, I mean, this is just what I've seen with all the families I know who are Paleo, they tend to just, like the ones who've had an easier time of it, or who have been just able to maintain it longer or just feel like, you know what? This is just what we do. They've had that kind of, not that I want to call it like strict, but you just have…you run a tight ship, like you have the way that you discipline the kids, and things are not…You know, it's not like you're cracking the whip all the time, but like you just said, they understand there will be implications because that's how you set up their lives, regardless of the food choices, so even before the food changed, they knew, you know, their actions would have implications if they were unfavorable actions, so it seems like it also becomes a little bit chicken and egg. Like they start behaving better when the food is better, but you need to change the food, so you can get the behavior to change, and it kind of starts to fall in line a little bit better, I guess.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, I mean, trust me, I'm not perfect at all. [laughs] But I think we do have like certain rules, and we have, you know, and I think that we get buy in from the kids as well. We're like, hey, hey, see what happens, like we're not just telling you, you know, that this is the way. I mean, there really is a reason behind it, and, you know, most of the time, they're like, okay. But you know, kids are kids, and you know…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yup. Yeah. Absolutely. So many good questions on here, and like a lot of them just kind of…a lot of them kind of mesh together, but we've got one from…actually, let me do a couple more on like, the kids and what they're eating and how they kind of do that before we get into some of the other stuff just around the family, but some people are asking about like breakfast. It seems that nobody ever has trouble figuring out dinner. Like I never see anybody say, how do I figure out dinner? But breakfast, lunch, and sort of on the go snacks, and we had one person who specifically had asked for a toddler who can't really do a lot of jerky or nuts. Just what ideas or recommendations you would have, I guess kind of…I guess to get us through ideas for breakfast and maybe some stuff of, you know, outside of eggs outside even for breakfast. I know you guys eat a lot of eggs, but then kind of thinking about what you might throw in a bag and also like what they're doing for lunch.

MICHELLE TAM: Okay, so let's see.


MICHELLE TAM: So in terms of lunch for camp today…Big-O, I packed him some roast beef. I like the Applegate Farms Organic roast beef, and I just roll that up into these little rolls for him, and I put in a bunch of fruit, and like some nuts, and sometimes I'll throw in popcorn *gasp* or, you know, I mean, for sure, I make it gluten free. But you know, sometimes I'll throw in like a rice cake or something, just so he can have something crunchy or some of the…I really like the-those seaweed snacks. My kids really like them. But for the life of me, I can't remember the brand of the seaweed snacks that we eat. But they like a lot of the seaweed snacks, but my kids aren't huge jerky fans, even though my husband and I are. And so, I'm trying to think what we eat besides, that we pack besides nuts because we pack them quite a bit of nuts, I think. But they seem pretty full from their meals, so I don't have to bring a ton of snacks normally because…I'm trying to think. I think when I was…when they were younger and we were eating more of like the healthy low-fat high-carb diet, I would have to pack snacks all the time. But now I've kind of found that we don't pack snacks. Like I'll probably cut up some fruit and then bring some nuts, and you know, pack it. And that's normally, I think, what we bring. But yeah, I think snacks..yeah?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: No, I think…it's so funny because I see these questions a lot. I get them a lot at the workshops that we do or some on the Facebook page, and I know I always send people to your site or sometimes to Everyday Paleo or to a bunch of different like kind of family oriented. And I think people just…they overcomplicate what they need to be feeding the kids, or they need so much…they think they need more variety, just because they stop feeding them like processed snacks because the processed snacks they would have chosen, there probably would have been one to three snacks that they would choose from, right? And then like, all of a sudden, you tell them not to use those, and they get worried that using [xxx] every day or every other day, you know, or whatever, you know, fruit or nuts or jerky or whatever it might be, some kind of few bites of chicken, they get worried that that's like not enough variation, but the reality is they were just doing the same one to three snacks before.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: So just because it's real food, and then I, you know, I do think that like, it's a little bit of a Catch-22 on the fruit, like fruit's a really easy one, and I don't want people to be scared to give their kids fruit, you know? If you only get a little, like a little worried about fruit because they learn, oh wait, fruit is a lot of sugar, too, and I shouldn't eat too much of it, and I think it's really different for kids. They're really active most of the time, we hope, and they can burn through a lot of that, and it's fine. It's a whole food; you know, if you're scared about a snack, like please, give your kid a banana. It's not a big deal…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: But at the same time, if you are doing that all day long, you do become more of a slave to putting more sugar in their body vs. getting the protein and fat in, so maybe like the coconut chips, things like that, that even making, like I saw that you had a recipe that you were working on that looked like it may have coconut in it, or even like starchy veggies, and like a little cookie that's more healthy and homemade…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: But you can kind of keep on hand, but it does feel like that snack, and you know, not to stress too much that they're eating similar things all the time because they would have done that before. It just would have been similar things from a package. But definitely getting more fat into them regularly will keep you from having to carry those snacks all the time.

MICHELLE TAM: I know. I think that's totally true. Like I think that their meals now are just so much more satiating, and so they really don't even ask for something because before I feel like they used to ask, like oh, I want a snack! And because I also felt the same way, and I was hungry all the time, I was like, oh yeah, let's eat snacks…


MICHELLE TAM: And we would kind of graze all the time. But now it's like we…it doesn't seem like, I mean, obviously if they're super active that day, they'll be hungry, but otherwise, you know, they don't snack that much or they'll have a little snack. But our meals, I feel, are pretty substantial, so they…


MICHELLE TAM: aren't super hungry.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I think that's a good point, and I was kind of laughing because people keep asking me, like oh, they say they're excited about my book because it's snack ideas, and I'm like, I'm sorry to tell you that there aren't snacks in my book. I don't make snacks. Like it's not..[laughs] I just don't think about it.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: It's just some leftovers, a few bites of this or that, and it's just not…it's not really a thought. Yes, I think that that's good that you've kind of seen that with the kids, and a lot of other people see that, too, and you know, feeding them as much food as possible at each meal will become a lot less stressful the rest of the day when you're not having to worry about, you know, what you're throwing in your bag to bring with them.
So I think a lot of the other questions…I think I've got like one more here that I want to get to around, mostly around like what the kids are eating, and then we'll get into some kind of like prepping and cooking questions, but…and I think you've kind of answered this one a little bit just in talking about the fact that you're not a quote unquote like Paleo Perfectionist, and I think that you do a really balanced…you have a really balanced mindset around like what to feel is important vs. what to kind of let go, but Tina on Facebook was asking how you keep the kids happy about, you know, the healthy food that they're eating, not feeling like they're missing out on some of the treats that other kids are eating, and dealing with other parents who might, you know, pass judgment on your ways of eating being restrictive, and just kind of, you know, getting through snacks and things that are at schools or parties or what have you.

MICHELLE TAM: So you know, if they're going to a party, like I don't pack them like a Paleo cupcake or anything. Just because, I don't know. I mean, I don't want to…I actually don't want like the parents to also feel bad, like you know, they're poisoning everybody by giving them cupcakes. So I think what I do for a party is the, you know, we normally eat before any party anyway because they aren't hungry when they're at the party and they just want to play. And because we don't have treats all the time, I'm okay with them eating a treat at a party. And you know, most of the time, they don't even eat the treat because like my older son doesn't even like sweets. He wants to get the treat, just because everyone else is getting the treat, but he won't actually eat it. And my younger son will just…


MICHELLE TAM: eat frosting. Yeah, my younger son will just like eat like the frosting on the cupcake. He won't even eat the cupcake. And so I know that's like a big sugar bolus, but I'm like well, you know. And I don't want them to feel super guilty about indulging in something because I feel like then when they go somewhere else, they're going to just, you know, cram their mouth full of like junk food or they'll cram their mouths full of junk food and then feel guilty about it, which I think is also a terrible thing. So I just kind of tell them, you know, how we eat at home is how we eat, and you know what the best food choices are, and you know, you can make your own choice and actually a lot of the times, they choose not to eat that way. Or if they have a choice between, you know, like let's say there's like a whole, the table is covered with a bunch of like snacky items, like they know to choose, I think the lesser of the evils on the table. And then, at snack time at pre-school, you know, they eat what, you know, they're served, and the pre-school that we go to, you know, isn't gluten free or grain free, but they do make sure the kids gets fruits and vegetables, and then some other treat. But you know, I control what he eats 80% of the time, and like a snack, you know, 3 times a week at pre-school is not going, you know, ruin his gut forever. Like, so I don't really stress out about that.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I think a lot of times, this stress and this question are almost more, you know, it's really the parent and their perspective and their understanding of, you know…it's not like I want people to be dismissive of how important, you know, doing the right thing that's 80% of the time is because it does matter that much of the time. But understanding that, if you're stressing about it, or you're stressing them out, or you're creating negative thought patterns around it, that that's worse than the one cupcake here or there. You know, like, unless again, unless your kid is celiac or has this severe allergy, it really…it really isn't the end of the world, and I think it's mostly the parents just kind of projecting a lot of that stress out onto the kids, which is why I love, just, I don't know, I like the kind of chill, laidback mindset that you guys have, just understanding that like, hey, you know, we're doing the best we can and that really does make kind of all the difference.
Somebody was asking too, this was kind of a related question from the same person about, you know, getting your kids to not feel like they're missing out, from Tina on Facebook I really liked. How do you…or how did you..or do you, just like teach the kids that sort of lesson, like of course one day you probably gutted the house or for the most part got rid of a lot of the crap that you maybe had in the house, but what's the conversation like? You know, or what was it like at first as to why we no longer have whatever the junk of choice may have been? How did that conversation go and how did you explain that? Because it wasn't just yesterday, so the kids were even younger. How do you even have that kind of conversation, or do you?

MICHELLE TAM: I don't think we actually had that conver-well, I think we took everything out, and my older son, 'cause this happened, you know, about 2 years ago, so he was like around 5. So I think he asked us why we didn't have certain things anymore, and we just said, you know, we just want to have healthier foods in our house, and we kind of left it at that. And I think now, like my older son is really curious and inquisitive, and so he'll ask us about why we do things, but I mean, he also reads my blog now, which is why it's nice and curse-free [laughs], and I did. I actually purged every curse word from the very beginning. And for all of you new readers, you probably didn't even know I used to curse on my blog. [laughs] But he…so like, he reads my blog. He kind of sees, and he reads, like you know, and you know, I mentioned different things in there about why we eat what we eat, and you know, so he, I think, understands. And the younger one also understands, and he'll kind of say stuff, like that's not Paleo, or that's not gluten-free. So I know that they know and they're learning from us from just what we're doing, and we don't lecture to them and we don't have like these, you know, we don't have these family meetings where we discuss why gluten punches holes in your guts or whatever. We just…I don't know, we just do what we do, and I think that they just are learning it from us. But at the same time, I mean, we just try to tell them, you know, there are better choices.


MICHELLE TAM: Like there is a family member that loves to give our kids peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat, and so we've told our kids, you know what, if this person wants to give this to you, you can tell them we have other choices. We can have almond butter, you know. We have some gluten free bread in the freezer that you can take out. And you know, so there are other choices and we try to have them, you know, make those. I don't know. It's…I don't want to say it's easy, but it is something you just have to be persistent about, and at the same time not go crazy over it because it is true. I think that if you stress out about it too much, it's paralyzing and it's food. It's just food. It's not…you know, it's not something that you should be so stressed out about.


MICHELLE TAM: I mean, it's something that should make you feel healthier and feel better, but for me, like I really want a lot of enjoyment out of eating my food as well. And like I love food, and I'm just trying to make a way for it to be healthy and like delicious, but I'm not going to…I don't know. But I think 80, when I say 80%, I'm not kind of doing the Mark Sisson 80/20 where I cheat 20% of the time. I think it's more like I, you know, I'm pretty strict about it 80% of the time, and then because I'm strict about it, if something comes along that isn't, I'm not going to stress about it.


MICHELLE TAM: But it's not a concerted effort to cheat 20% of the time.


MICHELLE TAM: But I think if you have, you know, you eat well most of the time. You have a healthy gut, and you can tolerate if things aren't perfect.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think that's exactly, you know, that's exactly the message that I like to share. I don't like when people plan, you know, a quote unquote cheat. I don't even like that word “cheat” because it's kind of like it doesn't sound right.

MICHELLE TAM: And I don't think Mark Sisson is…right. And I don't think Mark Sisson is promoting 20% cheats.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: No! No, I think it's just exactly what you said.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: What you do 80% of the time is really what matters the most.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I think this question is a little tougher to answer for the parents who do have the kids who really…they can't tolerate the stuff ever. You know, certain foods..


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I think for those parents, they have to know which are the non-negotiables.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Is it anything refined grain at all? You know, because for some parents, just avoiding gluten and giving their kid, you know, gluten free waffles, it still drives them, you know, into this like total insulin shock/brain crazed, you know.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: They can't sit still even if they eat that. I know, I don't tolerate that stuff. But for…I just feel like for each person and each family, you have to know what are the non-negotiables, and what are negotiable, you know, points, and so if it means that…that means for you, you bake up a grain free goodie to bring somewhere because you know that your kid absolutely can't tolerate something. You have to just be able to tell the place that you're going, “look, my kid has this allergy. Here's what they're going to eat.” No big deal. Don't make it anyone else's issue, and the same thing, you know, like I guess if you've got a caretaker coming into the house, a family member, what have you, you just don't have the other things in the house. You have to just make it a non-option, a non-issue. This is what we eat. Like that isn't part of the picture, and I guess if they're going somewhere else, again, if it doesn't seem to affect them in a certain kind of way, but I know we do have a lot of people who are, you know, have to take this stuff to that next level because their kids are really, really sensitive to certain foods. And it's not everyone.
And I think it's important for people to understand, too, that food isn't the only reason why you would have a leaky gut. So like I know a lot of parents are just like really worried about that, and worried about the foundation. But it's more than just food, so while food is critical, if you're doing this 80% of the time, and your kid doesn't have celiac disease, or another kind of like serious condition, it's not just the food. If you're stressing them out because of your mindset and attitude, that's going to give them more problems than that piece of bread like randomly.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah. Right.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: It really does. So it's really important for people to know that. So we have a little bit of time still, and I don't know if you have to like, if you've got just like a hard and fast hour or how much time you have, but we have a bunch of questions around like prepping and planning, and all this stuff around cooking that I think a lot of people get really confused about or just want to know. Mostly they want to know how do you do this. I think we had some questions around…like how far do you plan meals and you know, kind of think about what you're going to have on hand for the week? Do you plan that stuff or just kind of roll, or how does it work for you?

MICHELLE TAM: So I don't really plan my meals. I mean I really wish I did, and I really admire like Melissa Joulwan's method of doing her weekly cookups. So if you don't know, Melissa Joulwan has this great book called Well Fed, and a great blog, but she totally plans ahead, and she has a day where she cooks everything up and then she preps everything, so she can throw together meals throughout the week. But for me, I think what I…the extent of meal planning I do is I will…I have this big bowl in my fridge that I just take stuff out of my freezer and I stick in that bowl to defrost, and then whatever meat is defrosted that night, I will cook for dinner. And so I kind of plan in that as I'm grabbing stuff out of the freezer, I try to make sure I have enough for say, a meal, with that certain protein, but beyond that, I don't really plan too much ahead. I mean, I'll look and see what's defrosted that day, while I'm at work I'll be thinking, oh, I have like a pork shoulder in the, you know, my defrost bowl; what can I do with it, kind of deal. But I don't plan that much. I mean, I have, you know, I make sure that I have stuff in my freezer that I can defrost quickly, and I always have vegetables in my refrigerator because I'm part of a weekly vegetable CSA, and I'm always buying vegetables, so I always have something on hand to make, but I don't know exactly what I'm going to make.
But I do have things that are kind of my backups. So I always have ground beef and I'm always making sliders. And I mean, I try to change it up, so my pictures aren't always sliders every night for dinner. But that's always kind of my fallback 'cause I'll make sliders because I know everybody will eat them, and I can roast some vegetables, and so I'm using another cooking source. And so everything can be done in about an hour. So if I'm frying something on the stove, I can be baking something in the oven, and then I can also, say, make a salad. So I try to make sure I am utilizing different cooking methods, so everything is done by dinner time. But that's kind of the extent of it in terms of meal planning. I mean, I wish I was better about it because then I wouldn't be so like harried at dinner time [laughs], but I just don't.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think that that's..I think it's a pretty common method of people who are a little, and this isn't to be negative about people who aren't more creative in the kitchen, but I think if you're just a creative person, it's more like, it's fun to have that artistic endeavor of okay, I have this plus this, and how I am going to make it taste, what am I going to do with it, and that's kind of the…it's a little bit of the pleasure I think in cooking, especially if you're cooking quickly, and you don't have some kind of, you know, dish in mind that you're doing. It's just kind of like, let's see how this comes out, and at the end of the day, it's meat and vegetables and some spices and some fat. And it's like, you almost can't go wrong with that, you know.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: To whatever degree, I think a lot of people worry about making some kind of gourmet thing, and I think the bottom line is just learning a few basic cooking techniques, getting some knife skills, and the rest of it is just to your palate. You know, what do you like the taste of? What does your family think of like the taste of and just try and take a few steps to the side here or there now and then to try things, but I'm the same as you. I will cook ground beef and put it in lettuce boats like as often as I need to, to just kind of eat myself..

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah. I know, I…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think because I know I'll always like that.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, me too. I mean, I think that…I mean, I also do a lot of, you know, I'll just throw something in the slow cooker because I do have a lot of cuts in my freezer that are kind of like the slow braise type.


MICHELLE TAM: And you know, you can just throw it in the slow cooker and not worry about it. And then I also have like, a bunch of ground beef that I can quickly make into sliders or make what I call like, garbage stir fry or emergency protein.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Or emergency protein. [laughs] I love that.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, which is just ground beef with maybe some onions or garlic, if I'm up to it, but otherwise, it's just some spices and some fat, and some vegetables that are lying around to just throw it together, and then you have it. And a lot of times, I'll use that as a base to like make a frittata or like lettuce boats. And so I think just having stuff available in your fridge, and just…and then I think just making tons of stuff is like a big lifesaver. So even though there's like 4 of us or sometimes with grandparents, there's 6 of us, I make stuff for like 6 to 8 people no matter what. And then that way, I just have stuff that I can pack for lunches, or I can pack for, you know, everyone else's lunches, and I don't have to worry about it. Or it's like, when I'm busy, I can just grab something from the fridge and that will be my meal. But because I'm photographing it, like it has to be prettier, I guess.


MICHELLE TAM: But if I wasn't…if I didn't have a blog, I would probably be eating more of the same stuff every day. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: That's funny. I know, when I post pictures, and I'm like, really? Here I am, I'm eating the same breakfast, you know. Like eggs and liverwurst and sauerkraut. Like the same things. Really not exciting, but if you want to see it, here it is. And I think that makes things real for people, like I actually think it's…I think it's nice when your food is like just normal food, and yeah, it looks a little better because of course, I know you're going to take pictures of it, but I think that's great, and I think, you know, I think when people do spend the time to kind of follow a recipe that has a little bit more involvement to it, like you're stuffing something, or you know, making a bigger, you know, like you had a couple of the Julia Child roasted chickens. It's like yeah, make a few. Don't just make one. You know?


DIANE SANFILIPPO: The cool thing is you've got a lot of passive time there, so maybe you're prepping for 15 minutes, but you're baking it for however long; throw extra in there, you know? Like do things cook extra ahead of time.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Especially with protein. You know, I know people have asked about cutting and prepping vegetables ahead of time. Like they definitely lose a lot of their nutrient value when we do that, but with protein, you know, you're really fine to do that more ahead of time, I think. I think that's where people get a little freaked out, and I do exactly the same thing you do with just taking things from the freezer, and putting them in kind of a dish or a bowl for defrosting. I literally just like last night I pulled out maybe 3 or 4 different things from the freezer. I'm like, okay, throw this in here, and see what defrosts first, and then I'll eat that first. Same kind of approach.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, and again, right, and also it forces me to cook, because there are definitely days when I'm like, I don't want to cook dinner. But then I'll look and see that there's something that's defrosted and will go bad. I'm like, hunh. I have to make that now. [laughs] And so it does kind of force you to cook, which is good. But then, at the same time, I'm like arghhhh!

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. So what about…there's two other questions here I definitely want to get to, and I know I saw this on your sort of FAQs page, and it's a question I get a lot, too. Just around how people can kind of eat Paleo, grain free, feed a whole family, try and do as much organic as possible, potentially on a limited budget. And I've definitely got my kind of two cents around this, and I know your kind of approach, but you know, what advice would you have for someone who is trying to look to make sure that this is affordable, so that this doesn't become a limiting factor.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, I mean, I think for me, I totally prioritize my budget on food because if you…I mean, luckily at work all I wear is scrubs. But outside of that, I don't buy clothes anyway, and my husband is always complaining that I have like shirts that are probably like 20 years old and jeans that are way, way old, and so I don't spend my money on things that…I mean, I think the bulk of my money goes towards food and…because I love food. And so I think that's part of it is maybe kind of prioritizing food over say, other things like, you know, things that aren't, you know, necessary like, do you really need to have all 600 channels of cable every month, you know? But I do think also you can buy a bunch of, you know, like in terms of pastured meats and the cost of that, you can save money when you buy it in bulk. And you can go into with a bunch of your friends and you can get a freezer for say, you know, a hundred bucks, and you could have a bunch of meat in your freezer. Or you could go for cuts like ground beef, like chicken thighs, or a lot of the braising cuts that a lot of people don't like. And I know that a lot of…I think even talking to farmers, there are people who just want to have like the steaks and those cuts, and then there are lots of leftover parts that are really great that people don't want. And I'm sure you can negotiate a really good price for that. But in terms of like vegetables, just buying seasonally I think is really important, and you don't always have to go organic, you just kind of see which things. You know, there's a whole Dirty Dozen, and probably trying to avoid those things if they aren't organic. But at the same time, I think eating any vegetable is better than eating, you know, say, a big box of Pop-Tarts. So I think it is trying to, and I think sometimes people don't value food and so they, you know, they don't put as much money in their budget towards food when they have certain things in their lives that you know, they say they can't live without, but really when you look at what's important in your life, I don't know…does that make sense? Am I not like…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: It does. No, it does because I have exactly the same sort of two answers for that. Like, the first answer, yeah. I mean, there are people out there who say that it costs too much, but those people actually do have money. They're just spending it on other things.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I'm with you…You know, I'm…

MICHELLE TAM: I know many people like that.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. And that's fine, but I just don't buy it, that they don't have money for food because I'm like, I see the house you live in. And I'm not making a judgment about how you want to spend your money, but don't tell me that you don't have the money when you're wearing it, or you're driving it, or you're literally like blowing it out the window on who knows what else. And that's just kind of me being really frank about it, you know. I wear sweatpants every day [laughs] so I'm like, when I do go shopping, it's like woo hoo! I just bought a dress and you know, it's a big exciting thing, but you know, right now I'm living with my parents, so I don't spend a lot of money on rent and all of that. But when I did, yeah, I mean, I had the most basic cable I could have, only because I needed it for the Internet and they were like, well, it's 2 dollars more a month for this. I'm like, fine. But, you know, same thing, you know. You don't need 6000 channels and just kind of reprioritizing your life, but then, again, the same way we've got the people who, you know, their kid can eat this thing now and then, and then they're the ones who can't. We do have some people who we want to make sure that this way of living and eating is attainable for everyone in some way, and for those people, I kind of say, read the post on Paleo Perfectionism. Understand that you're getting the most bang for your buck just by avoiding kind of the processed, refined foods, and you don't have to do even anything pastured or organic, if it's not attainable to you right now.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I think what happens over time is that those people, after 6 months, after a year, they start to find that their entire lifestyle shifts and their priorities start to shift. So maybe they weren't that type of person before who cooked a lot or you know, cared as much about their food, and I really do see that this happens, that their entire mindset around food just completely shifts and they realize, okay, wait, I'm eating more protein. I want it to be a better source, and actually I'm spending more time cooking, which means I'm not dining out as much, which means I'm not spending as much on a meal. You know, $20 on dinner out, you could feed a whole family for that at home.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: You know what I mean? Vs. for one person. So I think that it's, you know, not stressing about it at first and then, if it is really an issue, I actually have a lot of guides to food quality in my book. I've got links to places where people can find, like I think seasonal eating is great. Buying at the farmers market is very regional, so there are a lot of different websites out there where you can find out what's seasonal for you. In California, it's like, there's only like a couple of times a year when certain things aren't available. The most amazing thing about living in California that I miss. But you know, you can find what's available elsewhere and it is less expensive when it's in season. But, you know, just kind of going up that priority list of quality, you know, and finding okay, we've got more budgeting, more money for this. Which thing is most important? Okay, it's really important that I have good quality fats and proteins first, and then like you said, the Dirty Dozen is great when it comes to produce. I always tell people that it's something that you eat the skin of, that's something you more likely want to buy organic. Like berries vs. something like an avocado or a banana where you're peeling that skin away, or a pineapple, that has a little bit more resistance to some of the maybe pesticides that are being sprayed, that kind of thing. So anyway, that's just kind of a rule of thumb, but yeah, I'm totally with you. I think there's just two schools of thought on that, and I think whatever it takes, whatever you can get within the dollars that you're allotting, it doesn't need to be glamorous. It just needs to be real food, right?

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, and I think like, eggs, I think are something. I mean, I love eggs, and that's something that you can get for a good price, and you know, you can do tons of stuff with eggs. And so that's another, I think, option for people, you know, if they do have. And I'm not trying to, you know, discount people because I know that the economy sucks, and it is something that people have to worry about, and in some ways it does seem really, you know, the whole kind of Paleo and Real Food is kind of elitist. But it doesn't have to be. You know, I really do think ground beef is amazing [laughs], and you can get a ton of ground beef. You can do a ton of stuff with it, and you can be full and healthy.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Absolutely, and I think also understanding that…I was explaining this to someone recently that, like getting your nutrition in, making sure that getting like nutrient density from things like protein and fat and obviously vegetables, you know, your body…you'll start to feel full on less volume of food. Like it's totally the opposite of what people used to do where it's like, how much food can I possibly eat for the lowest amount of calories, right?


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And it's totally opposite of that now, right? Like eating Paleo, you eat a much smaller portion, for the most part. Unless you're doing some kind of huge salad, but your body actually gets a ton of nutrition from that, and I think hewn people realize that the volume of food that they need to buy and feed their family, when it's very nutrient dense vs. when it's processed and refined, that shifts, too. So I would just, you know. People just need to give it some time to see how things settle in for them, but I think the shift in priorities is really big.
A lot of people, and this is, hopefully, this is the last one. Are you good to go for a couple more minutes here and then I'll let you…?

MICHELLE TAM: All good. The doors are locked and they aren't pounding on it yet, so I think I'm okay. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay. Is Little-O tied up to a rope in the garage? [laughs]

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, tied to the rope on a medicine ball. Like bean in a bucket. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: That picture on your blog, I was dying when I saw that, I was laughing so hard.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, he asked me, he did tie himself up, and I was like, I have to get a picture of this. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] They are so cute. So I know some people, which this is kind of a good question because you and I have very different cooking techniques, outside of like, I am a really big skillet cooker. I'm like, okay, I will cook something that takes me ten minutes, maybe 20, tops. So when you said an hour, I was like, pssht! I do not spend an hour cooking dinner.

MICHELLE TAM: [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I'm like, please. We're lucky if I roast something.

MICHELLE TAM: It's not always an hour of active time. Like It's [xxx] but…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I know what you mean.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: But it goes in the oven, you're doing other things.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I hear you. And I'll tell you for my book, I made a lot more stuff in the oven than I ever do in my daily life. Like I just don't cook that way for myself. I literally put things in one skillet. Like I think I could make a whole cookbook of like one skillet because that's how I…

MICHELLE TAM: That's your next book, Diane.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: When…great. [laughs] But what about…I know we've got some questions about the sous vide and just some of your cooking techniques and maybe talk about why you use some of those techniques and I know we had a question about like the plastic….


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I know, I think it's on the the Frequently Asked Questions on your blog, too, but we did get some kind of asking about that. So yeah, maybe talk about that a little bit.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, so for those of you who don't know what sous vide cooking is, it's a method of like low temperature cooking where the food that you are cooking…most of the time it's meat, but you can also do vegetables sous vide…you vacuum seal it, usually in a plastic pouch, and then you put in sub boiling water. So let's say you want a steak that's medium rare. You'll set like your water oven to say, like 130, and you drop your steaks in and it'll cook it, you know, perfectly to that temperature because the water temperature never goes above 130. So you will have perfectly cooked steaks, you know, that are pink from end to end. And you know, and I am not sponsored by Sous Vide Supreme, even though I use it. It's just the cooking technique that I like that works for my life because you can, you know, pre-cook a whole bunch of stuff, and then you can also keep them in the freezer, and then you can pull them out and just dunk them in to reheat them when you need to cook them. But I totally understand people's concerns with plastic and with the cost and you know, with waste. And so I addressed a lot of that. There is actually a blog post on it on my website, so if you want to, you know, read more about like plastic safety. But I'm not like a polymer expert. But I did talk to people who were, and so I think what I decided is that in the end, it's a risk benefit that you have to make, and for me, I think the benefit outweighs the risk, and like the bags I choose are polyethylene bags that are BPA free and phthalate free. But it's not to say that there might not be things in those bags that could be potentially harmful, but as I talked to one of my friends who has like a Stanford PhD in like mechanical engineering and actually worked for a failure analysis engineering firm who also sous vides, you know, he was saying, and I totally agree with this, like your risk of getting into a car accident by getting into your car every day is so much higher than the potential risk from something leeching from these bags into your food. And so you know, you kind of have to look at it from…I mean, for me, at least, I look at it from that perspective. I mean, you know, there is a potential risk with all the estrogen-like compounds in, you know, plastic potentially. But my risk of you know getting maimed in a car is much, much higher than that. And it's something that I thought about a lot because I serve the sous vide food to my family, but I like it. And you know, if you've ever gone to a restaurant where you've had like a perfectly cooked steak, where it's pink from end to end, I mean, chances are, you've had something that's cooked sous vide. And it's not just the high end restaurants that do it. Like anybody who goes to Chipotle, like their carnitas are sous vide-d. And so it's something that's used in a lot of places, and you know, I actually don't use it all the time. I mean, I think the cool thing about my site, and I'm not trying to say my site is cool, but the thing about my site is I show what I eat every day, and so you can see how often I use a certain technique. And so sous vide I'll probably use, you know, a few times a month. Like a few times a month, I might throw in a bunch of meats into my sous vide, and cook everything off, and then I can freeze it. And then I can pull stuff out and cook that, you know, for dinner one night.
But I don't do it all the time, but I think people notice it just because it's unusual. And so when they do see it, it sticks out in their mind. Like oh, she's using sous vide again, but if you actually look at my site, I do sous vide maybe, you know, a few times a month, and it's not the…I mean, I think for me, I do a lot of skillet stuff, and I do a lot of roasting. And in the winter I do a bunch of slow cooker stuff. But sous vide is definitely something that is in my repertoire because it really helps me out, and I can buy cheap cuts like braising cuts, and they get super tender and delicious in the sous vide. And steaks that are super expensive, you know, I don't ruin them because they're perfectly cooked in the sous vide. So that's kind of why I use the sous vide. But I totally understand people who have reservations about it. And in terms of price, and how expensive it is, I actually have a post on my blog about how you can hack a sous vide with an Igloo cooler. Another method where you can make your own sous vide. And so, you know, if you do want to try it, you can do it for cheap with your cheap-o Igloo cooler.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think-I think it's kind of a good point about, you know, the risk benefit, and I think with all of these things that we're talking about around like, you know, keeping the perfectionism thing in mind or not, like there are some people who, you know, getting too much plastic in their life is a big deal. Like the meal plans that I put into my book kind of outline some diet and lifestyle general like dos and don'ts. And there are like one or two of the meal plans for specific conditions, some neurological conditions and some other issues that people have where it's like environmental toxins are a really big deal for those people.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And for the rest of us, like we're getting them all the time everywhere, so yeah, it matters, and if you have a pre-existing condition or if you're prone to it, like sure, be concerned. Be mindful of it, but again, like if you're one of these people who's like stressing over the minutiae of everything, like you're just paralyzing yourself, whereas if you want to do something that makes your life easier and you use it a few times a month, it's like, you know, are you driving to work in traffic, and you're sitting in smog, and then you're worried about your cooking…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: technique or you know, grilling and never think about that and, you know, there are ups and downs to everything. I just think that people get a little too spun out about every little detail, so I'm definitely with you. And I think part of that too is like the foodie side, you know. If you're like a foodie, and you understand that cooking techniques used in restaurants can be used at home, and you can have amazing food at home, if you get some of these techniques under your belt, I think that makes a really big difference, but it's definitely not something that everyone needs to like get all worried about.

MICHELLE TAM: No, I think…yeah, I mean I do try to minimize the amount of plastic in our house. Like after I read that Chris Kresser article about, you know, the dangers of plastic, I literally went and I dumped all of my Tupperware. But then I was like, wow, I'm filling up like a landfill with all this Tupperware. So you know, there's only so much. I mean, I definitely have the switch to glassware and Lunchbots, stainless steel containers, but you know, I still love my sous vide, so I'm going to probably keep that on my shelf. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think that's cool. I think, yeah, we did have a question, too, about the Lunchbots, and I know…yeah, I think one of the other things that I don't know a ton about, but like the idea of microwaving, and I know some people ask about microwaving, and I think that it becomes like combinations of all these things. Like microwaving food in plastic containers, like I actually think using your plastic containers for storage if your food has cooled, and then you're not reheating it in the plastic, probably not as big of a deal as using it to hold, you know, room temperature food that then gets cold. If you put hot food in there, and then you're heating it up, especially if you hear it in the microwave, that's when some of that maybe that like particle interaction can happen again. I'm not an expert on that stuff. I don't really use a microwave except to melt things, maybe in glass, like melt butter or chocolate. Those are like the only two foods we really need to eat anyway, butter and chocolate, but [laughs] I'm kidding. I think you and I could probably have like a butter bacon chocolate party, or ghee.

MICHELLE TAM: That would be fun! Are you going to the CrossFit Games?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I'm not going to be going.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I was going to, but yeah, I'm sorry. I'm just…I'm slotten.

MICHELLE TAM: You have too much going….you have too much going on.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I wanted to go, yeah, for obviously, you know, for obvious reasons, I really wanted to go, and I have a ticket. I have a plane ticket. But I'm just like completely squashed from the book.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Like if I can't even train like a normal person right now, I can't go for a week. I'm actually teaching the very following weekend at that other conference, and to be honest, it's so much more important to me that my energy and strength is up to teach at an arthritis foundation conference than it is to go hang out at the CrossFit Games. Like I'm like so thrilled to just get into that community and be helpful that yeah, that's where I want to put my priorities. So yeah. I know.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I'm bummed, but at least I'll see you a couple of weeks later in Boston at AHS, right? Right?

MICHELLE TAM: Yes. Okay, yes.


MICHELLE TAM: I am, yes. I'm definitely going. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Big party, and my book release is the week of AHS, so huge celebration.



MICHELLE TAM: I'm so excited for you. And I'm excited, I mean, any time any Paleo book comes out, but I'm actually super excited about yours because I mean, I saw it when we were in Austin and I love your design aesthetic, and I mean, I remember one of the…as soon as I went Paleo, like your site was one of the first sites I went to, and I remember you had this post on like cheap and easy eats in San Francisco, and I remember the places you listed. I'm like, oh, she knows her food. It was just like, Il Cane Rosso, and Prather Ranch, and I remember you even had a post of how to eat Paleo at La Boulange, which is this bakery..


MICHELLE TAM: bakery chain in San Francisco. And I'm like, see, I want to meet this person. And I'm so glad I did.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: How funny. I remember when you told me that. I was like, really? Me? How funny. Yeah, well, I'm actually like really, really, fingers crossed, hoping, and I don't know what your schedule is like August 7th…is a Tuesday. Do you go to Boston like around there?

MICHELLE TAM: I think we're already in…we're going to go take a little trip to New York, so…oh, let's see. Tuesday. I think we're actually already be in New York. We're going to go to New York.


MICHELLE TAM: And drive to Boston.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think I'm going to have a party…oh, that's fun. We're going to be driving up, too. Bill and Hayley are going to pick me up and we're going to have a little Paleo bandwagon.

MICHELLE TAM: You mean your adopted brother and sister?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. Totally. I think I'm doing a party, like I don't want people to get too excited, but I'm hoping I can do a party August 7th actually the day the book comes out in San Francisco.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I'll be there for a wedding. Yeah, so that's when I'll be there. I'll be there for a wedding that weekend. You may already be here. But I'll be there for a wedding the weekend of the 4th, 5th, and then I may end up staying through the 7th because I'm trying to do a party somewhere the day it comes out because I think that will be fun.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I may end up taking a redeye back home.

MICHELLE TAM: And you deserve it.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So but Prather Ranch is the place that I'm talking to about maybe doing the party, so I'm totally bummed that you can't come have some tallow cooked French fries…



MICHELLE TAM: I know, me too. But we can do it another time.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

MICHELLE TAM: And you're going to the Weston A. Price in November?


MICHELLE TAM: Oh, so you…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I am, I'll be there in November. Okay, then we'll hang out then. We'll have a Paleo party. Now that everyone's heard our like after conversation. [laughs] I think we're all like the pretty much heavy hitting questions we had. I definitely want to encourage people, you know, if you have an iPad, definitely check out the app, especially if you want some more, you know, details around how to cook things, and you can go to Michelle's blog Nom Nom Paleo, and get a lot of recipes and idea every single day. And that's obviously there for free all the time, and the app-how much is the app?

MICHELLE TAM: It is 4.99 and it comes with 53 recipes and I have like a Paleo 101 in there that describes Paleo diet. It has a 30 day meal plan that links to the different recipes inside the blog. It also has like a shopping guide for kitchen tools and pantry items and what to look for in like in food quality. So I think also we've packed in a lot of like Easter eggs. I don't know people remember back when DVDs were new, they would have all these little Easter eggs in DVDs, but what we tried to do with the app is we've just put so much in there that any time you go into it, that you'll kind of discover something new. And then we also have recipe packs that you can add on later. So we have like 6 additional recipe packs that have 10 recipes each for like 99 cents, which you don't have to buy. And you don't even have to look at them if you don't want to because you know, you get the starter pack and if you want to look at the other packs, you actually have to press menu to, you know, scroll and look at those recipes, but it is, you know, I think for 5 bucks…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: That's awesome.

MICHELLE TAM: I think you can get a lot in there.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: That's an awesome value. I mean, if you cooked one meal from that app, you're paying for it right there because you didn't go out to eat and you made something and you learned. I mean, I think learning the skills and like watching the step-by-step, I just love it. I think it's amazing because you then, you learned how to cook something. You won't forget that. You know, you do it again and again and again, and like that's all it is. That's all cooking is, like learning those techniques.

MICHELLE TAM: Yeah, exactly.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I think it's well worth…it's worth so much more than that 5 bucks, that 4.99, but yeah, I think that's awesome, and I'm like jealous that you have a way of expanding your thing that you've mad because I'm like…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: the book I just made is 432 pages, and I did not even want it to be that big.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I wanted it to be under 400 pages, but…and I also was like, oh my god, there's so many more recipes I wanted to put in here, and I just couldn't. I literally had no more pages left. I was like, I can't make this any bigger, it's so heavy, and it's like you realize…

MICHELLE TAM: That means you have another book in you.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: It's ridiculous, though, where you're like, there's so many more things I wanted people to be able to cook, and I'm like, I can't believe that that was 120 recipes and I'm out of space. It's like, so crazy.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: It's really exciting.

MICHELLE TAM: And that [xxx] when you had, yeah, when you had asked me earlier why we decided to do like an iPad app, and that's also something we were thinking of, is that you can do updates. And fixing, because I think there were some typos and then people spotted them, and I'm like oh, we can change it in our next update…


MICHELLE TAM: And then we can add on, you know, recipes or add new features, and people who have already purchased it, all they have to do is just do update.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. I love that.

MICHELLE TAM: I think that was…yeah. Which, you know, hopefully, we will be doing soon.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I love that. That's what I do with the 21 Day Sugar Detox, like I'm constantly, obviously not while I was working on the book, but constantly updating it, and I just love being like, yeah, you get this update for free. Like…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: I got rid of some typos and I added a bunch of recipes, and I just changed it, and I'm adding new things and I think it's cool. I love the whole like technology thing. But I'm the same way as you, like I also love the handheld tactile like having a book in your hands, and…


DIANE SANFILIPPO: as much as I'm like the Internet person and love, you know, web design and all of that, I'm actually psyched to, you know, put this…put a book out and have it in people ‘s hands. So I think there's value to all of it, so I'm excited because [xxx]

MICHELLE TAM: No, definitely. I'm someone that actually has a like an actual book version and a Kindle version. So I'm the person that buys both versions. [laughs] Because I want one…


MICHELLE TAM: that I can read on my iPad and then I also like to flip through one, and people are like, why do you do this? I'm like, because I'm wasteful.


MICHELLE TAM: [laughs] I'm like…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Actually I think it's the opposite. I think you're using both, and so, if you…I think anything you use is worth what you spend. If you don't use something, it wasn't worth the penny, right? So…

MICHELLE TAM: Right. I'm going to use that answer from now on.


MICHELLE TAM: Like when people say that, hey why would you…You know what Diane told me? That I'm actually being super useful of everything. [laughs] Yeah.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: That's what I think. If you use it, it's worth whatever you want to spend on it. I feel that way about food. If I waste it, oh my goodness. I wish I hadn't spent a penny on that. But if I eat it, it's worth every penny I spent. Cool. Well, this was really fun. I love having other people to come on the show and kind of poke around and ask questions, and I think it's really cool hat our listeners get a different exposure, and hopefully everyone will come check out your site. Do we have any information on whether or not you might make some more really cool Nom Nom Paleo socks? Might those happen again one day? Or some other…

MICHELLE TAM: I think so. I mean, I…the only…I mean, I have a few left. But I'm just totally lazy to go to the post office because I literally packaged and send them like myself. And so I think when I sold like the bulk of them, I was like, wow, that's it. I don't want to, you know, actually go to the post office anymore.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh you need to just to do Priority Mail.

MICHELLE TAM: I know, I know. I know.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: And stick them in the box and then the post office picks them up.

MICHELLE TAM: I know, I know. It's like…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: They do it for you.

MICHELLE TAM: If I were smarter about all this stuff, like I would actually do that. So I do think, so yes. Because I did talk to, you know, the Gumball Poodle people, and I actually might change them a little bit to actually be the font of my logo. So probably, but not right away. laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay. Well, we'll be on the lookout for them, and people can keep their eyes peeled for when that may happen.

MICHELLE TAM: I know they'll appear for sure.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yay! I love them. I wear the socks all the time even when it's 90 degrees, and I'm dead lifting, and I'm in my socks. Cool, well, thank you so much for coming and chatting with me.

MICHELLE TAM: I had a great time.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: And teaching everybody.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Maybe we'll…maybe we'll rope you into doing this again some time when we get a lot more questions about families and kids and how to kind of make all this stuff work, but thanks so much. And if you're looking for Michelle's blog, it's NomNomPaleo.com, and we will put a link to that on the podcast notes, and the app is just called the Nom Nom Paleo app, right? In the iTunes app store.

MICHELLE TAM: Yup. And it is only for the iPad at the moment, so if you look for it on your phone, you won't find it. [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay. All right, well, thank you and that's it. Have a great day.

MICHELLE TAM: You too, thank you. It was a pleasure. Awesome.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: All mine. Bye bye.


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Diane & Liz

Comments 1

  1. Great podcast, finally got around to listening. I guess you did go to LA after all. I was delighted to see all the great pix on Fitbomb and NNP.

    Anyway, that whole defrosting bowl thing sort of grossed me out. I buy a lot of my meat from Full of Life Farm, and a few other places. All the packages start to make a very messy meat juice seepage during defrosting regardless if they are butcher paper wrapped or heat sealed. So here is my solution. Michelle are you listening? I get a veggie CSA Box weekly and a lot of stuff comes in nice clear plastic bags. So I save those, and pop my meats into them. It catches all those juices that otherwise go all over the fridge. When I go to cook whatever the protein is, I take it out of the wrapper and then put the drippy wrapper into the plastic bag and tie it up and put it out in the trash.

    I shudder to think what is going on in the bottom of your big bowl. I have a skinny side by side so a bowl is not practical. I can see what is in my packages at a glance. Right now there is a bunch of ribs for Bill and Haley’s recipe, and a chunk of pork for some Kalua pig. Plus ground beef for those amazing sliders.

    I am going to try the dill carrot and zuke roast tomorrow if it stays cool. Otherwise it’s the sweet potato BBQ recipe that US Wellness sent out lately.

    Cannot wait for the book, it’s ordered!

    Thanks for all you do.


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