Podcast Episode #53: Shift Work, Coffee, Skin Care Secrets & More!

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A few quick thoughts on our BioSignature certification experience.
1. Shift work [10:29] 2. Honey mask? [17:40] 3. Dry and cracked corners of the mouth. [24:21] 4. Coffee & paleo? [31:36] 5. Paleo on a budget? [41:09]

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LIZ WOLFE: Hey everyone, I'm Liz Wolfe. I'm a nutritional therapy practitioner and I'm here, as usual, with Diane Sanfilippo, who is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and the woman behind Balanced Bites and the new book, Practical Paleo. Remember our disclaimer: the materials and content contained in this podcast are intended as general information only and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Welcome everyone to episode 53 of the Balanced Bites podcast.


LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, woo hoo. Diane, every time I say the disclaimer, I just…I picture, you know, all 16 people that accidentally downloaded this podcast on iTunes; they're all saying it together in their cars as they're driving, you know?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I appreciate routine and things that I've come to expect. When I listen to other podcasts, I like the little intros where I'm like, okay, good, I know I'm in the place where I want to be.

LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I'm very comforted by those regular introductions, so I think it's…I think it's good. I like it.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: And it's a “cover our bums” statement, so…

LIZ WOLFE: Always keep the bums covered. Bum cover. I'm not going to do the whole impression from Saturday Night Live, but “an album cover.” Does anybody remember that? Sean Connery-Will Farrell as Sean Connery?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I don't, but Will Farrell as Sean Connery is enough to make me laugh.

LIZ WOLFE: Google “An Album Cover.” [laughs] Celebrity Jeopardy.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Celebrity Jeopardy on its own on SNL is priceless.

LIZ WOLFE: Priceless. So anyway, we are again in separate cities. I am in Kansas City, my home, visiting family and just had dinner with some friends at a local, kind of farm to table type place that was really excellent. Let's see, what was it called? The Bluebird Bistro. Kansas City's really on top of the farm to table stuff. I don't know that it was when I left, but it's pretty enjoyable. And we are done with the Poliquin Biosignature training, and I think people might be a little curious about our impressions of that. What was your takeaway, Diane?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: First of all, my takeaway were some bruises and eyeliner marks all over. No, I'm kidding, so for people who aren't too familiar with the Biosignature whole curriculum and what it's all about. What we did do is measure skin folds or body fat measures on 12 different sites from the body. So it's pretty interesting because it's not like a standard, like let me just grab your tricep and see what's happening there, or triceps, sorry.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: So I don't get the smack down from Charles on that one. But it's not really a standard “let's just see how much body fat you have.” It's really a lot more about like why are you holding more body fat in certain places than others, and as I was describing it today to one of my colleagues and friends, it's less about, in my eyes, my kind of takeaway…it's less about this “how do we get this person to lose body fat overall.” And I think it would be most useful in cases where you have that like, anywhere from5 to 20 pounds to maybe lose or just shift…change your figure more so than just losing body fat overall. I personally don't think it would be like the most useful thing with somebody who has a lot more weight to lose because I definitely think diet and lifestyle factors overall will help that person continue to lose weight, but it can definitely tell a story, which is, I think, the really interesting part is that it tells us something about either our diet and lifestyle history. So you know, maybe whether we're taking in too many toxins or we're not detoxing estrogen properly or men are perhaps converting, you know, testosterone to estrogen too much. All different types of little feedback or signs just related to where you're holding body fat. So that part, I think, is really interesting. I think it's a great tool. The majority of who was there were what? Trainers, there were maybe a handful of other practitioners like ourselves, nutritionists, a chiropractor. So for the most part, it was personal trainers who end up working with this stuff, and you know what? I think it's interesting. I'm not sure everybody else's background coming into a certification like that. For myself and I think this is true for you as well, Liz, to a large degree if not entirely, a lot of the nutritional biochemistry, hormonal mapping, and at least, you know, learning about things that affect certain hormones, we already knew a lot of that, and that's not to discount the information that they're teaching because what they're teaching, it was funny. I think you and I probably looked at each other a bunch of times, like yeah, we say the exact same thing. We say the exact same thing because it's true.

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Right? Like most people are low in stomach acid and you know, it's like all these different kinds of things…”things we know about human physiology, stress, nutrition, lifestyle, all that stuff.” So I thought that was actually…it was cool that we were sort of relearning it and rehashing a lot of it because it was reinforcing the fact that A. we know what we're talking about. B. what we've learned is, you know, has come to a sort of universal picture of these are sort of tenets of wellness that are true across different curriculums that are out there. Curricula, I should say, that are out there, right? So, you know, I learned from one school, you learned from another school, and then we're learning it here. I think that's..it's kind of a good thing that we sort of relearned it, in a way.

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Because it was like, yeah, okay, cool. Like these are things that we do all know about, like the basics of physiology. So I kind of thought it was really cool. Definitely I did not love getting pinched as much as we did, but I could see absolutely that we needed to practice a ton. It's a very, very specific way of measuring, but I absolutely know that we had to be thoroughly tested on all of that, and I appreciate that they kind of kept hammering that home. So how about you? What do you think?

LIZ WOLFE: Well, you know, I agree with everything that you said. Here's what I thought. Charles is incredibly smart and the hormonal regulatory type stuff was fascinating, really valuable, and totally unique. As far as I know, he's really the only person doing this, and has been doing it for a very long time. So he has a really great background, a ton of information and knowledge to pull from. Now my impression is that Charles does advocate a kind of Paleo-ish diet. And there's a little bit of a difference with the way, I think, you and I interpret this Paleo concept than the way he seems to think it's functioning in the world at large. It appears to me that he doesn't believe or buy that there's a contingency of people that is seeking the nutrients that he has put into supplements in their food. So we're advocating, you know, eating sardines for fish oil and CoQ10, and eating organ meats for all of these nutrients that really are kind of deficient in our modern diets. We're really advocating getting those things from food. Collagen and gelatin from bone broth. Now Charles's biggest argument with the Paleo diet and his insistence that we call it a “metro-Paleo diet” is valid. Just as we have said in the past. People don't eat these nutrients that are coming from kind of these odd foods, so you know, truly, if you're just doing chicken, broccoli and coconut oil, you are going to be missing out on a lot of nutrients. That's a damn fact. But the way Charles has chosen to deal with this is to create a really high quality, you know, well-rounded line of supplements because he doesn't seem to believe that folks will eat kind of the odd bits. I've had a lot of success getting people to eat the odd bits. I guess he has not. So that was just kind of where I thought, “You know, should I speak up and kind of offer this alternate perspective or not.” And I elected to not.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I just find it very strange when what the person actually asks what we eat is a Paleo diet, but they get irritated calling it that. It just has come to be that this is sort of the name or the label we put on it, and I don't really care what people call it. You know?

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm. And don't we all kind of know…isn't it just kind of like, well, duh, it's not exactly the same. No, we're not going out and digging up grubs and all that kind of stuff. Like, you know?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: It's always valuable to consider the perspective that each practitioner is coming to certification from or with, so, you know, you and I have a different perspective than we presume many of the people coming to this cert had, and that's not that it's better or worse, but one of the things I was talking about with one of my colleagues today was that yeah, you know, this stuff kind of boiled down to supplement protocols at the end of the day, right? Like we're taught a bunch of supplement protocols and we believe in targeted supplement protocols that are used for an isolated period of time, that the person understands what it's for…

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: But we also know that is there's a way to help that person make changes to their diet and lifestyle, that that's absolutely got to be the driving force and the most important part, and supplements can be useful to sort of initiate or motivate change in the beginning. We really can affect change if we expect a little bit more of people and give them the benefit of the doubt that they're willing to try things, once they have the buy-in with us. Note, this is totally on-topic, but not exactly on my review topic…the calipers we mentioned, they can have two different names. Somebody asked us, sent us a message about it. I think somebody may have also asked on Facebook, I'm not sure, but they were Harpenden is like the overarching brand. I don't know if John Bull is sometimes an alternate brand made by Harpenden, but that's the main brand. So they're somewhere between 3 and 400 dollars. They are not cheap calipers, and we talked about it last week, but they feel not cheap, and they feel like one pair of calipers you'll buy for your entire life, so…

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah. I got mine on Amazon. Wicked.


LIZ WOLFE: Questions. Okay, this first one about shift work is from Amy. Amy says: “First off, LOVE the podcasts. I am sure that I look like a total fool laughing in the car on my daily commute to work, but honestly, I don’t care.” Amy, I hope you're laughing with us, and not at us. [laughs] “I just recently starting listening to your podcasts, so I apologize if this has been brought up in the past, but I browsed the archives and didn’t find it there. Anyway, I work 12 hr night shifts, 3 nights a week. I know that sleep is very important to overall health, and I keep seeing/reading where working the night shift is detrimental to my health, but I am not able to switch to day shift due to my current circumstances (single income home with a disabled husband). Just how bad is working the night shift and does is really make any difference that I sleep in a totally dark room/night mask and get a minimum of 8 hrs of sleep a night… er day? I have found that I actually sleep better/more during the day than when I’m off and keeping a “normal” schedule.
additional info: Having found that I was gluten/lactose intolerant in the last couple of years, I have steered myself towards the paleo lifestyle, and in doing so, have helped my health a lot by losing almost 90 lbs.” Awesome. “I have also stopped taking my blood pressure medication as well as lost my environmental allergies and my ‘metabolic syndrome’ diagnosis. Yeah!
I do my best to source my meat from grass-fed sources…. have a total love affair with U.S. Wellness Meats! I take Green Pasture FCLO daily as well as ubiquinol, krill oil, and astaxanthin. I also belong to an organic fruit/veggie CSA. I eat only 1 portion of fruit a day, mostly as ‘dessert’, don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I have had issues with the salty carb cravings… namely popcorn.
For exercise, I lift weights 3 days a week, do short (less than 20 min) tabata on 2 days a week and a 30-45 min yoga 1 day/week. I am being a lot more mindful of my exercise lately, I realize that I threw myself into adrenal fatigue about 6 years ago doing a popular diet plan (Weight Watchers) and becoming a total Amazon in the workout arena (lifting 4 days/week; running 4-5 miles 2-3 days/week).” She also drinks red wine 1-2 drinks per week.
“Of note, I can’t give all the credit to eating Paleo for my weight loss, after being a war with my body, mentally and physically, I underwent surgery to have a Lap Band placed 2 years ago. As a result I found that I was gluten intolerant. While my husband is totally supportive of my eating practices, I have been unable to convince him to even try Paleo for a week, despite the improvements in my health and appearance.”
So I, Liz, this is Liz. I'm just going to jump in on this quickly because I wrote a post on this awhile back after a friend contacted me just frantic after reading some post on Facebook about how shift workers were metabolically screwed. And my take is that at times, we kind of get mired in the physical, physiological, biological aspects, the body only aspects of our existence, and rightly so, because it's completely fascinating, but we forget that emotional, not necessarily fully quantifiable inputs of our own thought environment can be incredibly powerful. Biology is affected by many inputs, both physical and environmental and mental, and hearing over and over that you're virtually guaranteed problems due to things that you can't necessarily control can only exacerbate whatever so-called problem you're being tagged with because of it. My dad has done shift work for decades, and he's the most wonderful person in the world. He's healthy, he sleeps well during the day. He keeps his emotional and his thought environment in check. And I'll just…I won't accept that there's no way to overcome the negatives of shift work with a great diet, a positive attitude, and just being a loving person and keeping your mind right. So that's kind of my take on that. And I love how much we, as a community, know about the importance of sleep cycles, the importance of ancestral foods, and the ancestral lifestyle, but sometimes it can cause a hell of a lot more stress than was already there beforehand, just to think about those things and how difficult it is to get them all in line. It's almost like we've gotten the food under control, but we've traded that concern for a grab bag of other perceived stressors that are so seemingly insurmountable that we just toil over them emotionally and cause ourselves more physical damage. So maybe I'm being a little Pollyanna about this, and I'm sure I'll be accused of being totally unscientific or just missing the boat, but that's just what I believe. So Diane, what are your thoughts on this one?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay, so I love everything that you said about this, and that's not, you know, here we are stroking each other's egos, but there's a reason where we work together because we share a lot of these common views that I kind of wonder how mentally stressed where we…when we didn't think about our food as much. And that doesn't mean, I think that being mindful about food is a bad thing, but exactly what you said, that sometimes the way that we approach these things just exacerbates the problem. So you know, first and foremost, it's kind of like, do all of the things that you know that you should be doing, and if this is one of those things that for right now, and for an indefinite period of time, you cannot change it, don't worry more about it. Because worrying about the problem and not just maybe working on a plan to change it or fix it is just completely useless. Worry is something that sets you up for just ill health. So not something I recommend. You know, getting stressed out about…I do think, you know, I challenge every person who does shift work and who asks questions about it because obviously you kind of have this nagging thing, nagging feeling that it might not be the right thing…keep your eyes open for what may be out there. You know, is there word of a day shift opening up? Just keep that stuff in mind and I would try and make a plan for it if that's possible. If it's not possible, I think what Liz said, you know, your mental attitude, the way that you handle getting as much good sleep as possible, even during daylight, and also, you know, keeping your food in check, and really keeping the sugar intake low to keep the stress in your system down. That's really the best to do, so I'm really with you on that. I don't, you know, I don't want people to be freaking out. I think it would be very useful to get sun exposure still, if you can, whenever you sort of come home, and that's going to be in the daytime. So if you can take ten or twenty minutes, get some sun exposure, because otherwise, you're really sleeping all day, and then not really getting any sun exposure until potentially, you know, later hours. So that's something that I would just say is something that you're also just missing out on with those hours that you're asleep. I would maybe try and get that. It might also help to regulate things a little bit.

LIZ WOLFE: All right, next one. “Honey mask?”
“Hey guys, love the show, so I walked into the local health food store a couple of months ago (the only one around for miles) and a guy working there noticed I was looking in the beauty aisle and started up a conversation about honey. He told me that a honey mask weekly would help my dark spot left from old acne. I didn’t buy any honey that day, but that conversation has been stuck in my head ever since. You guys haven’t talked about honey too much on the podcast, and I’d love to hear your take on honey for the skin (and hey, nutritionally too). I would love to get rid of those scars!”
So, you know, Diane, you and I have been talking about skin care and all that good stuff for awhile now, and after rewatching one of our old favorite movies, Silence of the Lambs, we actually decided there might be something to this kind of flesh facial. And so what Diane and I are kind of advocating now is what we call a charcuterie facial. Basically, so what we want you to do is pretty much just put like, either pepperoni or coppa over the eyes, some prosciutto up along the cheek bones, and you know, really trace those cheek bones up toward the temple. You can do something like, I don't know, Diane, what would you say for kind of the lower cheek/chin area.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: A standard salami.

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, definitely. I like that. [laughs] I can't. I can't do it. Oh my gosh.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: This really actually came from…we talk a lot about skin care to each other, and we were obviously spending together, and I was really punchy, and we were eating prosciutto in the hotel, and I think I put it on my face or something, right?

LIZ WOLFE: [laughs] I have no idea where this came from.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Do you think this is going to help my skin? [laughs] I'm always trying to ask Liz like what do you think will be great for me? We're already putting fish liver oil on our skin, why not prosciutto?

LIZ WOLFE: Oh my god, and I totally…and I remember now. And I was like, actually, you know, I really do like using prosciutto topically. [laughs] And you totally bought it for like 30 seconds. [laughs] DIANE SANFILIPPO: Hey, I did not.

LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Anyway, with this question, we were like, okay, we have to, after we read this question…this question came in right after we were talking about that, I think.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: It was really that that came up.

LIZ WOLFE: Oh my gosh. I'm dying. We're kidding everyone. We do not at this time advocate a charcuterie facial. So this is my take on the honey. I've recommended manuka honey, which is pretty unique to other honeys from what I've heard and just kind of a cursory search on the internet. I have recommended it for combating cold sores that are just starting to pop up. I've gotten really good results and really good feedback from that, although I also recommend it with like along with a few other interventions, so perhaps it's a combination of a few things when it comes to that. I don't know. Maybe it's just a sneaky way just to put something sweet on and around the mouth to get that sweet taste for the dessert deprived. Who knows? But, like I said, I have recommended manuka honey, and I have some on hand, actually both at my parents' house where I'm visiting right now and at home, although I really haven't done too much real digging on it except for to just kind of hear about the perceived unique benefits to manuka over other types. And I just tried it. It seemed helpful, so I rolled with it. Hopefully it's as unique as I've heard because it's stinking expensive.


LIZ WOLFE: But I say, why not? Give it a whirl. Do a spot test to make sure it won't irritate your skin and then go for it. There are some other things I like for kind of to help with the scarring, specifically topical cod liver oil, which is probably the worst thing I could possibly say to somebody, but we…Diane, you and I, and Jen from Jen's Gone Paleo and Hayley from the Food Lovers' Primal Palate, we're all into this Beauty Balm from GreenPasture.org. It's a combination of shea butter, cod liver oil, butter oil, coconut oil, a couple of other things, and it's pretty amazing. It stinks. I think the original batches that I got I just worked through after like 6 months, and I've been thinking, why does everybody think this smells so bad? And I just opened a new one and it does.
The other thing I would recommend is checking out Primal Life Organics. I believe you can get there through CaveGirlSkinCare.com or PrimalLifeOrganics.com. Trina is really well versed in different skin oils and their benefits, so I'm sure Trina would have some insight on that as well. She's got some really amazing stuff.
From a sweetener perspective, I like raw, unfiltered honey and, you know, blackstrap molasses better than any other sweeteners from a nutritional perspective. At least they're rich in other interesting nutrients or compounds, but then again, how nutritional is something you have to sweeten, I don't know. Diane, do you have any thoughts on that?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I just know…you know, I'm not the skin care expert. I'm like, just grateful that I've roped you into this whole thing so that I can solve the skin care because my skin has never been better than it has in the last maybe 6 months.


DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yay, and so that…you're supposed to be able to use raw honey, and I think the manuka honey, the same honey, and I don't know what kind of magical properties it has, but I think you're supposed to be able to use it on cat wounds, just like some basic, like if your cat has like an abrasion and something wrong with their skin. So I think it's got healing properties. I don't know if maybe it's got some antimicrobials similar to like coconut oil, probably. I don't really know.

LIZ WOLFE: Enzymes, miracle, who knows…

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So just another thing that that's what I heard, so it maybe got some of those. Something useful in there.

LIZ WOLFE: Something. Why not? If you've got an extra 30 bucks lying around. Hardy har.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I can't remember what the girl's name was who asked this question, but hopefully she's not upset about our meat facial joke that was really…

LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: It was cracking us for too long. We had to share that.

LIZ WOLFE: Oh my God. So stupid. All right, next question. I think this was from Hayley. “Dry and Cracked Corners of the Mouth.” And just a quick note…we may have tackled this in the past, at least it was definitely our intention to tackle it, so rather than dig through the archives, I thought we'd just go ahead and cover it again. Or for the first time.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I feel bad that you're reading all these because you actually have a lot of notes on these, and it's like a Liz talk fest.

LIZ WOLFE: It's okay. I'm really a good reader. I always got S+'s in reading…reading and writing. All right.
“Hello, ladies. I am deeply grateful for your podcast; it has been a huge help to me this year, as I venture into the paleo lifestyle.
I was recently listening to The Paleo Solution podcast and was astonished to hear in episode 131 that someone else had the exact same question as I did, but the guys on that podcast only had a few guesses about the possible solution, none of which struck a chord with me.
So I thought I would ask you ladies: I started an anti-fungal diet in January, but wasn’t seeing any results (i.e., weight loss) until I went dairy-free/paleo in early March. I usually have one or two non-paleo cheat meals on the weekends, but I am very faithful during the week. Earlier this month, I noticed I was developing little cracks at the corner of my mouth.
My skin had been looking so great (maybe only one zit since I went paleo in March!), so I was hoping you could make a few suggestions about these scabby cracks that form at the edges of my mouth. They aren’t terribly noticeable when I am wearing foundation, but if my mouth gets dry and I grab a snack, I can feel them crack when I open up for a bite.
Thanks again for sharing all of your wisdom; it really helps me to stay motivated and informed!”
So I don't know that we can really add anything to what Robb may have been contributing to this discussion. I generally don't think I have any knowledge much beyond what he does, but…so anyway. So since this is months ago, it's possible that she's gotten all this under control, and maybe it was just going through a bit of an adjustment period to all the changes she had made. But since this is a question I've actually gotten a few times now in my practice, I wanted to jump in and discuss it a bit.
Diane, you and I both agree at this point that whether or not an indicator of any kind seems directly related to digestion, it's still important to combine any change in food or lifestyle, or to tackle any issue that presents itself really with digestive support, it's really a foundational thing. And I can't even say it's second only to the foods we choose because if the digestive landscape isn't functioning well, as is the case for 95% of us, myself included. It's something I really have to stay on top of. That food may not do what it's supposed to do in your body. So, in my opinion, support for stomach acid and fat digestion are key, and can sometimes make a huge difference in allowing the gut to heal because you're not passing along partially digested or problematic food fragments that will just exacerbate difficulties down the pipeline. So I mean, if a client is willing to jump right in with the whole kit and caboodle, you can also work with intestinal healing right away. I'm sure there's benefit to that. But I tend to like to work north to south, if we're going to work kind of in segments.
Now once you have that straight and that's being implemented appropriately, you're really making sure that your body is digesting and assimilating all nutrients that could…anything that could have something to do with whatever burden it is you're working to correct. You want to just be digesting those properly. So what she's referring to here is called cheilosis, which is a pretty hallmark sign from what I've learned of riboflavin deficiency. Riboflavin is vitamin B2. You'll also hear sometimes it's a sign of flavonoid deficiency, but that's…that's what riboflavin is. Ribo-flavin. So riboflavin, like all the B vitamins in my opinion is synergistic, well, not my opinion, in science, is synergistic with the others. So this can also mean thiamine need. And thiamine is B1. It's involved with electrolyte movement in and out of cells, and I've heard before that cheilosis can be a sign of some calcium need, but my impression is that any calcium need is preceded by that B vitamin need or by some kind of digestive insufficiency. Because B vitamins do help orchestrate so many things in the body. So you're just kind of backing up to look, you know, at the foundations, at the causes of all of these other kind of auxiliary things.
Thiamine is also involved in the production of stomach acid, which takes us right back around to digestive support. B vitamins are involved in the structural integrity of the skin. Organ meats are particularly rich in B vitamins and other really important nutrients, so whenever this type of thing is present, I really like for folks to give some liver a try. And of course, like, in my opinion, liver pretty much fixes everything, so anyway. Short answer, heal digestion, eat organ meats, maybe grab some Beauty Balm from GreenPasture.org which stinks to high heaven, as we said, but it's pretty much a miracle worker. Any thoughts?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think it's funny we're like the liver, like liver and squats and duct tape will fix anything.

LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Fish oil, squats, and duct tape will fix anything. I'm definitely with you. I think…I think the digestive support is probably sort of at the crux of this for her because if she's not eating the B vitamins, that's one thing. But if she's eating them and not absorbing anything from them, and this is…this goes back to stress management to help stomach acid production, and also possibly some HCL and you know…and HCL and also combination…a hydrochloric acid combination with other digestive enzymes supplement might be useful, and you know, that's…if she listens to The Paleo Solution podcast, she's heard a lot about this and this is one thing that did kind of…I think you and I kind of reparked up about stomach acid. Even though we're totally on it and we have our own digestive enzymes and stomach acid supplements that we keep in tow, sometimes we forget that we need them more than others.

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: It's one thing that I would really say is critical and when we call out different nutrients and when it's like a list of nutrients that somebody's deficient in, it doesn't always mean that you're not eating it, so I just think that's a good call out. Like hey, eat more liver, but if you're already eating it, especially, and you're still having this problem, that's a huge red flag that you're just not digesting it and absorbing it.

LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: So that's where I really think…I really think she could benefit from some digestive support, stress management, and then eating more liver and seeing what happens, and I would guess within a few weeks, you should easily see some change. But I do think the Beauty Balm would be great. I just don't know how close you want that to your mouth.

LIZ WOLFE: [laughs] So true. All right, next question. “Coffee and Paleo.”

DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh good, I have a lot to say about this one. [laughs]

LIZ WOLFE: Okay, so here's Megan's question. “Can I get your input on drinking coffee and staying Paleo? I drink my coffee black, but not organic. I love Wawa coffee, but don’t use cream/milk/sugar. Recently I have upped my coffee intake to about 60 oz a day maybe due to stress and working 7 days a week. I have noticed increased gas, but I don’t think I have a leaky gut. What is your take on coffee, even if it is decaf?”

DIANE SANFILIPPO: It's so timely that people ask me about coffee while I'm in this like totally different phase, and if you listen to this podcast, you know, a year, 6 months ago, my take might have been a little bit different. Just a little bit. I think a lot of it was pretty similar. But I'm now exactly 7 weeks into having quit coffee, so that's your context.
All right, so the coffee thing to me is less about whether it's Paleo or not, just how we frame this or even whether what you put in the coffee is Paleo, so like barring artificial sweeteners, which really nobody should be consuming. The coffee issue is just a really complex one. It's also simple. So I hope to be able to blog about my own experience, flesh out a few more ideas and recommendations, but for now, here's my two cents on the subjects. How do you feel? And that's a really loaded question because I mean that physically, emotionally, and even spiritually? Are you feeling good with your energy levels throughout the day? Is your performance at the gym good? Are you making progress? If all signs are pointing to like, you're doing great, then I'm not sure whether or not we really need to examine this whole issue of your coffee intake. But more likely the answer is no, something isn't going great. Or you're not feeling good about something, and then there are a lot more questions we need to ask. How's your sleep? Is it solid sleep? Do you get to bed at a decent, early hour? Wake up at an early hour? Are you sleeping in line with daylight as much as possible? Do you wake up feeling rested? That's a series of questions that you can tell are really like…if you're answering no to any of that? Then it's time to be honest with yourself about your coffee and caffeine intake.
So for me, I was only drinking for a very long time one cup, and I will say that that's anywhere from 8 to 16 ounces, which that's not really a cup. A cup would be the 8, but one 16 ounce coffee a day, I would drink. It would take me hours to drink it, and I could easily rationalize that with “well, one cup. I'm drinking it before lunchtime, and I'm getting to sleep.” But the reality was, I was getting up more than once a night. I don't think my sleep was that solid. I was waking up feeling not that well rested and feeling like I needed that coffee again. Just basically awake and waiting until I could drink my coffee, wherever either I was making it or I was going out to get it, it was like, that was on my mind until it happened. And I don't think that that's a healthy relationship with coffee.
How's your digestion? She mentioned some gas. You know, do you need coffee to go to the bathroom each day? Is your stool loose? After you're drinking coffee, so gas is a sign of malfunctioning digestion. She doesn't think she has a leaky gut, but actually caffeine raising your cortisol can promote leaky gut, so that could be an issue. There's so many questions. This is really more about more questions than answers here because every single person has to just take a good hard look at how they're doing, how they're feeling, you know, what kind of energy they have. You know, what's happening with your hormones, even. Meaning, do you have painful periods? Cramps, mood swings, all that? And is your testosterone high enough? Or are you converting a lot of that to estrogen? So the effects that we're getting from the cortisol, the highs and lows that come from drinking coffee, which, you know, you can kind of picture this as your cortisol should be high in the morning, tapering off to the evening, so that you can sleep. Melatonin can kick in, as the counter-regulatory hormone to cortisol. If your cortisol is too low throughout the day and your energy doesn't feel high, what do you do? You drink some caffeine. You drink some coffee and what does it do? It jacks up your cortisol, and that feels good. And then what happens is it drops backs down, and it drops back down potentially lower than it would have been had you not even had the coffee. So this is really similar to what happens with like a blood sugar dysregulation cycle, where some people are feeling tired and reach for sugar, and we're doing this where we reach for coffee because it's “more Paleo,” and that doesn't mean I'm trying to pass judgment on that choice because I absolutely will enjoy sweets now and then, but I think that understanding why we're using that stimulant. You know, what is your relationship with it? Is it healthy or is it not? And is it healthy in that moment and is it also healthy moving forward?
So I think everyone needs to ask themselves a lot of those questions. I think if you're asking the question, and you're not sure, I think more people than not really do need to back off of the coffee, potentially even quit it for awhile, and I think when you ask these questions, you almost already know that, and you know, while I was working on the book, it was like, there was no way I could fathom quitting coffee. I tried it for maybe a week, and I was like, I cannot do this right now. And I told myself to just do it and maybe I really could have, but I didn't feel like that was possible. So maybe you need to keep drinking it for like x amount of time. Okay, if that's the case, give yourself a deadline, and either take it slowly or go cold turkey, whichever feels better for you. You know, if you're drinking 60 ounces a day, pull that back. You already know that sounds like a lot. Examine why are you tired all the time. You know, are you not sleeping? Can you work on some things that are maybe some 30 day interventions of supplements as we mentioned. Maybe for a short period of time to help you sleep, so that then when you wake up; if you're waking up with this like dragging I need coffee feeling. So I think it's really a complex issue, and I liken it quite often to quitting bread because I had a conversation to one of the coaches at my gym, talking about how much coffee she was drinking, and you know, it was like, well, I love it. And I'm like, well, you loved bread, too. But you didn't love how it made you feel, right? And if nobody ever told you that bread could make you feel this way, and nobody ever tells you that coffee can make you feel this way, then you wouldn't have put two and two together and stopped eating bread and then reaped the benefits of that, and so now I'm here telling you that coffee is a huge driving force behind the way a lot of people are feeling in a negative way. And a lot of that has to do with energy, poor sleep, and just brain fog in general. Not being able to focus and feeling a little bit like not present, and I think that the reality is quitting for a time and then just analyzing your relationship with the coffee, the same way we do this with bread. And I ask in our seminars all the time, how many of you have been Paleo for a year? People raise their hands. And I say, how many of you no longer care about eating bread, and inevitably, every single one of those people keep their hand up. And so, if I were counseling people, and have them quit drinking coffee, and then asked the same question, I guarantee the vast majority of them would keep their hand up because once you see how you feel without it, you recognize what your relationship with that food or any other substance really is, and I'm not saying that I'll never touch coffee again. But I understand my relationship with it. I understand how it makes me feel. I understand and know and have it not be an everyday thing, and I honestly think that that's what needs to happen with coffee intake, and I think part of the issue is that as a stimulant, it's a very widely accepted stimulant. I love it, too. I don't love that people are not feeling well. It's up to every person to discover their relationship and to make a mindful choice, like if somebody comes to me and is like, I'm not feeling well, I'm going to address that because I know as a practitioner that it needs to be addressed.
You know, Paleo Shmaleo, I don't care if it's Paleo or not. You know, I do think if you're going to drink it, it should be something of high quality. It should be organic, something that maybe isn't growing as many toxins, what have you, because these are ways that we are getting in a lot of things we don't realize are everyday habits. I'm less concerned with that and more concerned with how it's affecting our overall physiology, your cortisol levels, and your, just, well-being. All right, are you taking your coffee to the grave? Is that's what's happening?

LIZ WOLFE: Pretty much. No, I mean, it's just a nice ritual. I think that's what I like about it. But, you know, I'm kind of like you…sometimes I actually do have to kind of like self-moderate because I will get to that point where I'm like, all I want is coffee, and I want a ton of cream in it, and that's okay because heavy cream is okay sometimes. And I'll go through, you know, times where I have to pull myself back and tell myself to be reasonable, but that's all of us. We all need to be able to do that, self-regulate, and you know…yeah.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: I really am feeling so much better, and I will commit to getting this blog post done very soon, so that people can kind of get more information and more help on it, but yeah. That's it.

LIZ WOLFE: Cool. All right, I think this might have to be the last question for this podcast.


LIZ WOLFE: All right, Question:”Paleo on a budget.” Stephanie says: “I’m new to Paleo but have a great support system. One question I’d like to ask is one I’m sure comes up fairly regularly, but I’d love to know your response. How do you stick to quality protein without breaking the bank? At the moment, I’m spending nearly $70/week on protein alone for just my husband and I (grass-fed ground beef, tuna, shrimp, chicken breast, farmer’s smoked shoulder ham, eggs, jerky). I recently realized I may have an issue with eggs and the jerky I was using was natural but uses sugar as ingredient #2 so I’ve had to drop that. I’m also dairy-free. It’s beginning to pose a daunting issue as we’re in budget crack-down mode and we’re spending about $120-150 a week for two people on groceries. Help!`”
What are your thoughts on that, Diane?

DIANE SANFILIPPO: My quick take because I think it's really hard to assess how people are posing this issue of budget without knowing honestly what their monthly budget is, it's a really tough one, but it's timely because I did just put up a post yesterday about just tips for budgeting. Because there's really no like one set of rules of how to do this, you know, less expensive way. Every person has to kind of pick and choose for themselves where they're going to do: best quality or a little bit “worse” with quality of their food choices. I tend to tell people buy the best quality fats you can, then proteins, then carbohydrates. So that means, good quality grass-fed butter, then where it comes down to, you know, coconut oil, those kinds of things. And then protein choices, do the best you can. Maybe buying cheaper cuts. But then, the grass-fed ground is definitely a great idea. Things like roasts and stew meats, and then looking at organics only from the perspective of what are the “Dirty Dozen”? Meaning which produce items have the most pesticides, residue, and avoiding those as conventional, and getting those organic, or eating in season and locally, so you can kind of have a little bit less of that as an issue. But, what's your take, Liz? Because you actually are feeding two people over there.

LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, it's kind of hard to say. I feel like half of our food budget actually goes to feeding the dog. He does, you know, raw food, and he weighs 7,000 pounds. So Should probably do these calculations because I do get this question quite a bit. We do a cow share every few months, so we kind of bank and save a little bit of money whenever we can, and then spend it all kind of in one whack on a cow share. And any time, honestly I have any disposable income at all, which is, you know, not frequently. We try to save and live modestly, but I haven't gotten shoes, makeup, or a DVD box set of vampire cinema for a very long time. And it makes me very sad. But I do take any extra income straight to the farm, and I get a bunch of meat for the deep freeze. So, like I said, we do live modestly, and I'm not suggesting that Stephanie doesn't live modestly or that anybody else doesn't live modestly that has the same concern, but it definitely changed kind of the way we look at things and the way we spend. Our choice in home, car, clothing, etc., cable is a direct reflection of the fact that we are, or I, as the family whip cracker want to buy damn good meat, so, you know, canceled some cable here. We did some trade type things there where I exchanged some nutritional counseling for some car repair assistance. I still wear slap bracelets, scrunches, and acid washed jeans because like my clothing budget has been re-routed to food, but you know, fashion's cyclical, so it's cool.


LIZ WOLFE: Yeah, I would say though, it might be possible to get, I don't know, I'm going to really tick off some gym owners here with having everybody asking them if they could do anything for trade, but like the yoga studio I go to does free yoga for people that will commit to running the front desk a couple hours a week. So you'll find that small companies will sometimes do that. Even like a local cow share might do a discount in exchange for writing or referrals of some kind. My blog, you know, I've set up some affiliate programs, which has been really, really helpful. I've been able to recommend brands that I really love and trust, and some of them fortunately have affiliate programs where they will give me a small percentage of any sales that come through my writing, and it's a total win-win situation, and it adds up. So you just never know until you ask or you do some of these random things, but that's my take.

DIANE SANFILIPPO: You and I both agree, too, that this whole Paleo Perfectionism thing, like if you're not buying grass-fed meat, you're failing. Like you can absolutely find health in unrefined foods, whether they're grass-fed or not. But I do think that that, and it's unfortunate that in this country what's subsidized in terms of grains and soy and that stuff becomes way cheaper, and it's not the same in a lot of other countries, but at the same time, the percentage that we appropriate to food and groceries in this country is far lower across the board than other countries. So say we spend 10 or 20% of our disposable income on food, and other countries are spending 30 to 40%, even maybe more. But…

LIZ WOLFE: All right, that's that folks. We'll be back next week, as always, with more of your questions. Until then, you can find Diane at BalancedBites.com and you can find me, Liz, at CaveGirlEats.com or LizWolfeNTP.com. Thanks for listening. We'll be back next week.

Diane & Liz

Comments 10

    1. Hey David- I think it’s a decent crutch if it helps you ween off of regular coffee, but most decafs are pretty heavily doused in chemicals for the processing and I personally think they don’t even taste “right.” There are some swiss water processed beans that are less toxic in this way, so those may be a better option for the taste without some of the other issues.


  1. Great discussion on my coffee question. I have lowered my intake for now and stopped working 7 days and am taking time off of crossfit becuase of an injury. I’m hoping a less demanding lifestyle will help me cut out coffee moving forward.
    What about organic decaf? Is the caffein causing the leaky gut gas issues or is it the coffee bean itself?

  2. Short note regarding mouth sores. Find a toothpaste that is sodium laurel sulfate free. My not even close to holistic dentist told me this. (not even close = gives you Gatorade after treatments like getting a crown to get your blood sugar up. And hands out cereal bars and candy and tootsie rolls at Halloween season.)

    I have eliminated all sulfites in my skin care and body care. As well as parabens. Makes a huge difference. I use a propolis fennel flouride free paste from Trader Joe’s. Tom’s of Maine has SLS. It also gave my mouth sores in the corner of my mouth.

    One final note, for the ladies only – my esthetician told me cheap lip liner and cheap gloppy lip gloss causes clogged pores around the mouth and these can become painfully inflamed. I only had one, and it was enough to make me toss all my crap drugstore and department store cosmetics. Shea butter is amazing. So is coconut. I mixed the two and put into a little tub. No color, but no sores. Only use color for special events now.

  3. Oops my spelling bad… Not sulfites, sulfates. Sodium laurel as well a sodium laureth. Icky stuff. Sulfites is that stuff in wine and salad bar lettuce. I avoid that too but I never see it in cosmetics. SLS is the soap part of toothpaste, shampoo etc.

  4. Hi, do you have any thoughts on antidepressants and antianxiety? I’m 31 and a mature professional, so I’m only gathering insight and not taking what you say as “medical advice” ..so don’t worry about that 🙂
    But i’ve been for last 3 years
    – depressed, low mood, low motivation
    – anxious, on edge
    – VERY easily irritated at evertyhing
    – castastrophizing the littlest htings (dramatic)
    – slightly ocd
    – distracted, not able to concentrate
    – aches, pains, entire body achy and tired and so so foggy and tired, ibs bad (constipation),, low weight (about 85 lbs, 5 feet 2), unable to feel “fun and bouncy” and laugh

    My doctor is adamanat about taking mirtazapine (antidepressant = for sleep which is bad for me, for easy weight gain, and for lifting mood), + low dose zoloft…
    i have resisted…am i crazy? should i ? am i being too stubborn and missnig out cause i feel like work and life is just so drab and impossible 🙁
    Life is hectic and i have NO money so yoga classes and naturopaths are OUT of the question…but there must be something i can do for me…
    what do you think? take the meds?
    or do things like L-theanine or GABA REALLY seriously help with depression, anxiety, etc? Please any PERSPECTIVE is appreciated. Seriously.
    Also, I’m not paleo, but do eat very high (healthy) fats, but tummy sill off…but still i do not want to lose weight and paleo would lead to that (i have nO access to grass fed or organic and TOO much fat sends me flying gross)…

  5. For the question on the cracks at the mouth corners, mine cleared within days, when I tested if it was due to a salicylate sensitivity by totally eliminating corresponding foods and topicals. In hindsight, I first encountered the problem, but ever so mildly,when taking a daily baby aspirin. The mouth cracks increased hugely once I was put on NSAIDs (OTC motrin) per doctors orders. That’s when the salicylate connection became apparent.

    My dentist had mentioned B deficiency but usually he sees that in older people. I actually think I have salicylate allergy since I think the NSAIDs triggered crohn’s. I let no one in my family use salicylate meds now.

  6. I love the podcasts! They make my commute bearable – just load them onto my iPod and listen to them in the car. I hope you guys continue for a while!

    Also, can’t wait to read your book – just ordered it!

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