Interview w/ Diane Sanfilippo – Episode 65: PaleOMG Uncensored Podcast

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Today on the podcast, I’m talking to New York Times Best Selling Author Diane Sanfilippo. Diane was one of the first people I started following when I first started eating paleo and she really helped change my life when I tried her 21 Day Sugar Detox almost 6 years ago. And her newest book 21 Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide releases on January 2nd 2018! This book is beautiful and it’s prepped and ready to help change life for the better! Hope you enjoy this interview!!

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Episode 64 Transcription!

This is Juli Bauer from PaleOMG and you are listening to PaleOMG Uncensored.

Juli Bauer: Hey guys! It’s Juli from PaleOMG Uncensored. This is the podcast. Welcome to another episode. Today I will not be talking by myself and yawning 400 times, because I’m not getting any oxygen in. Because today, I will be talking to the lovely Diane Sanfilippo. The author extraordinaire. Blogger, podcaster. She really does it all. So welcome, Diane. Thank you so much for coming on today.

Diane Sanfilippo: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to chat with you. I feel like you’ve been on our podcast a few times, but for whatever reason, Liz always gets to chat with you. And I’m like; wait, what about me? {laughs}

Juli Bauer: I know. I know. Actually I was just talking to Liz. Because; I forget, last time I was on there. But I was talking to Liz just a couple of weeks ago, and she’s like; we need to have you back on the podcast.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Juli Bauer: So we need to make it a threesome.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know. We just; our technology has not been amazing lately. We’ll figure it out and we’ll make sure that we all get on that show. That will be fun.

Juli Bauer: Yes. Well, today I’m having you on to talk about your new book, the 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. But before we get into that, I just want, for people who maybe have never heard of you or don’t really know your backstory. Will you kind of tell people how you came into paleo, how you got it started? Because you were one of the first people I found when I started paleo about 7 years ago. And I found www.BalancedBites.com, and I remember trying a couple of your recipes. And you had really great photos compared to everyone on the internet.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Who was taking photos with their phone. Which, you may have been doing that too, but you were doing it well.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Juli Bauer: So it was so nice to find such an easy, beautiful blog to search back in the day. So can you just tell a little bit about your story. When you started paleo; the whole gist of it. In a shortened version, obviously.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. {laughs} I’ll try and be as brief as I can. For those who heard us just chatting about my podcast, Balanced Bites podcast is the show. So if you’re like; I want to hear more about this, whatever I’m talking about, go over there. Because I’m going to try and keep it brief.

So I started learning about holistic nutrition from my own personal trainer, probably back in 2007, 2006. A really, really long time ago. That was the whole gluten free, dairy free, soy free, what is gluten back then. And eventually got into studying nutrition. Because I was super interested in it. I remember learning that we could prevent disease and just be healthier overall. It was basically like, before that all I knew was that you could not smoke, and kind of exercise and “eat well”. But I didn’t really know what that meant. So I went back to school for holistic nutrition. And kind of in that process I started crossfitting.

So that was probably back in 2009, 2008. I can’t even really remember the exact timing. But about the same time. So I was studying holistic nutrition at Bauman College, which is here in the Bay area. And Berkley, there are a couple of others. I think there’s one in the Boulder area, too. So somewhat near you. Anyway, I started studying holistic nutrition. And I went to a seminar that Robb Wolf was teaching. And literally, it was like; my worlds were colliding. It was somebody who came from a fitness background teaching about nutrition, and everything he was saying made sense. It went along with what I was learning from my holistic nutrition studies. And it just kind of jived with this feeling that I had that we should eat like our ancestors. But I wasn’t really thinking all of our ancestors. {laughs} I was just kind of thinking; my Italian ancestors, or my German ancestors.

So that’s where the whole paleo thing kind of gelled for me. And I always credit Robb Wolf, because he was the one who kind of took it from what Loren Cordain had been teaching. And that was the classroom I sat in. So that sparked me. As I was in school, I was like; this was really fun learning in a classroom setting. And I’m a total classroom learner; I love to learn through pictures and sound. So I like to hear people talk, and I like to see pictures on the board or the white board or whatever it’s going to be. So that inspired me to start teaching seminars.

I started teaching, literally around the country, within about 6 months of when I decided to do it. Somebody invited me to Arizona, and was like; “Hey, can you come teach a seminar?” I was like, ok. I guess I can. And I did that for many, many years. So some people may be listening who met me at a seminar. But that was kind of the very background with how I got started with all of this. There’s more to the story, but nobody has time for all of that. {laughs} But that’s kind of the quick background.

And that’s really where Practical Paleo came from. Between working with clients one on one, and then teaching seminars, I just kind of figured out what kinds of questions and answers would really help people the most. So I put it together in that book. So there might be people listening who have the book, and never put it together that I’m the one that wrote it. I feel like there’s so many more people who have the book than I’ve ever been in contact with. But that’s really cool to me. So that was kind of the beginning.

Juli Bauer: And Practical Paleo. So you have done a revamp of the book; that’s what people get when they purchase it online now, correct?

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. Yeah, if you go to Amazon or anywhere, you’re getting the updated second edition.

Juli Bauer: And that book is huge. It is; I mean, it is filled with so much information. How long did it take you to not only create all the recipes in that book, but then create all the science and content? And so many crazy facts in there. How long did it take you to do that? And then do it a second time when you revamped it?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Well, to initially write it was probably about a year. But if you think about the fact that I was studying nutrition, then working with clients, and teaching seminars, all of that time really feeds into the writing of the book in a sense. And Liz and I actually taught seminars together for part of that time. But it’s the curriculum I was teaching in a full day seminar in the front of the book. But expanded in the book. Because at some point, you have to stop talking {laughs} when you’re in front of people all day. But you can keep putting it in a book.

So, it took a long time. I had definitely never done anything; I’d never worked on a project. I’d never done anything in school; all of college. I’m sure you can remember back to papers and exams, whatever. I literally never worked so hard in my life as I did to write that book the very first time. I mean, I felt like I was going to die, I was just so stressed out. And I just care about it so much. I cared about it so much then, and I care about it so much now.

And the second time, when I rewrote it, it was about a 6 to 8-month process to rewrite it. I mean, I did really rewrite the entire book. So now it’s kind of like; I don’t know. It was four years later, and you know how things have changed over four years in the questions that people have and things about white rice and potatoes and all that. Am I eating too many carbs? Should I eat more carbs?

All of those questions I wanted to kind of get it to a place where, if people are buying the book. Because they still are. People call it the paleo bible. If you’re new to paleo or just curious about it, whatever. Or even just holistic nutrition in general. Like you said; I talk about blood sugar regulation, and digestion, and all these things that really anyone can learn about how their body works with food in that book. But I wanted it to be sort of like; I don’t know. I wanted it to be updated and the best of the best of what I had to offer. So that’s why I updated it. And I’m super proud of that second edition. Now I feel closure with the book.

Juli Bauer: Oh, that’s awesome.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know what it’s like when you finish a cookbook, and you’re kind of like; oh, I could have put this in there, or I should have done that differently. I don’t feel that way anymore. Now I’m like; ok. It’s good now.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. So after you did Practical Paleo, you came out with other smaller books, right?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So the 21-Day Sugar Detox actually, which is the book that I’m mostly talking about today is a third in that series. I actually wrote the 21-Day Sugar Detox program before I wrote Practical Paleo. So back in 2010. A lot of people have that eBook from back in the day. Early blogging days.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. I did.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah! And I’m like; oh my gosh, you found my blog and there was something impressive about it back then? {laughs} I’m just laughing because we all know what our photos looked like about 10 years ago.

Juli Bauer: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s crazy.

Juli Bauer: So how did you come up with the 21-Day Sugar Detox? What inspired that? What made you decide what was on this list? Can you kind of explain to people who haven’t heard about the 21-Day Sugar Detox what that is and how you came up with it?

Diane Sanfilippo: So, back in 2010, I had gone through a similar program that a nutritionist; someone on the internet was just like; let’s do this for 21 days. And just kind of threw it out there. Just like we’ve all seen a million paleo challenges, or whatever its going to be for X number of days or weeks. And I realized that for me, I had tried to go paleo before that. And I personally didn’t find that that was the end-all be-all for me. Just eating; as crazy as it sounds, just eating meats, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, fruit, whatever, was not quite the answer for me.

Because the thing that I struggled with the most was sugar. I could not figure out how to get my blood sugar regulated. How to feel like every 2 hours I wasn’t just shaky and starving and reaching for a granola bar or whatever it was going to be. For me, that was something that kind of plagued me forever. I mean, I was that girl. I don’t know if this ever happened to you; but you’re in the middle of Target and you’re like; oh my gosh, if I don’t eat something right now, I am going to pass out. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s how I used to be. And I say Target, because who’s is in there for less than 20-30 minutes? We’re all in there for at least an hour {laughs}. Or waiting for a reservation at a restaurant; my friends would be like, “Oh my gosh, she’s not going to make it.” I think I had reactive hypoglycemia really badly. Just because I was eating such a high-carb diet in the past.

I’m not anti-carb at all. It’s just; it’s kind of a long story but I talk about it in the book. Certain carbs are not going to do that to you, and certain carbs are. So for me it was this experience of figuring out that I needed to eat more protein and more fat and get this junk processed food out of my diet so that I wouldn’t have those spikes and crashes. So I wouldn’t get shaky.

I went through kind of figuring out; this is a combination of going through a super loose program that someone had put out. But also I had been studying nutrition for a while. And I was like; here’s what I think will work the best for people in terms of meeting them where they are. So there are three levels to the 21-Day Sugar Detox. And level 3 is sort of; it’s the paleo way to do it. But it’s definitely not something that I say everyone has to do level 3 of the program. Through my holistic nutrition studies. Sorry, I just had some coffee so I’m like, brbrbrb. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I definitely know that there are a lot of people who don’t need to eat strictly paleo. We know that now. That not everybody needs to eat that way to be healthy. I also knew that if I introduced everyone to the most strict form of eating that I could, that they might just say no. And rather than saying no, I’d like to meet people where they are. And that’s part of having worked with people over the years to see that people don’t need to eat strict paleo to get healthier. And I’m just trying to get people healthier. And also, break some of their norms of what they had been eating.

So, when we get people to just switch to something gluten free; that’s a win. Because we just shake them out of their old pattern. So for me it’s important to shake people out of old patterns, whether that’s about food or anything else. I think you probably know that about my personality. I just want people to start thinking differently than they have in the past.

So if I can get people on board, then level one of the program is great for them. So that includes stuff like full-fat dairy and some limited gluten free grains or legumes. Same thing with level 2 of the program. It doesn’t have any grains or legumes, but it does have full-fat dairy. And then level 3, like I said, is grain free, dairy free, and it’s sort of a mostly paleo way of eating.

But everyone is limited on the types of fruit they can eat. Because I did want people to get away from a lot of sweet fruits, just for a few weeks. I have no problem with people eating things like strawberries, and mango, and pineapple in your regular life. I don’t think those are unhealthy foods whatsoever. However, I do think when we get rid of them for a period of time, we notice how sweet a lot of foods can be. And there’s an upside to that. To training your palate. And even not eating things like dates; which are a healthy way to sweeten food. They are very, very, very sweet.

I know you’ve had a lot of ups and downs with getting rid of sugar, and finding that you do so much better when you just avoid it most of the time. And people sweetening things too much with dates, or even protein type bars that have tons of dates in them. I just think it’s worth getting rid of that stuff for a few weeks.

Juli Bauer: My experience with the 21-Day Sugar Detox; this was probably 5 years ago. Maybe 6 years ago even. I was kind of newer into my paleo life, and finding what worked for me and what didn’t work for me. And I was very much in the limiting stage of my life. Where I was like; I’m just gaining weight. I’m going to make sure I don’t eat as much. Limit my calories, workout more. I was in the kind of psycho stage, and not really understanding what foods I needed.

But what I loved about the 21-Day Sugar Detox was I was so addicted to sugar. And I think so many of us have gone through this stage where we don’t understand the sugar we’re putting into our body. And we won’t come to terms with it. Like maybe you’re eating chocolate every single night. And then when somebody is asking you; what are you eating? We don’t even really understand that that’s what we’re putting in our body regularly. And I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think we just go into this denial stage.

Diane Sanfilippo: Or you’re just not paying attention to it.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know? There’s an awareness that happens when you do make that rule of; ok, this is what I’m not eating for 3 weeks. You know?

Juli Bauer: Yeah. And you start paying attention to things. Because maybe if you ate packaged, processed foods on a regular basis, then you start looking at the ingredients and you see how much sugar is in that. Or you pay attention to how much sugar is in the coffee you just got at Starbucks.

And so I think we’re not always aware of the sugar. And then once I did this 21-Day Sugar Detox, and cut out the sugar, I was having; by day 5 I was having a really hard time.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Where I had no energy, I was feeling completely drained. And I was like; oh my god! I am f*cking straight up addicted to sugar. And then I was able to add in some more starches into my diet, because I was working out. You know, I was crossfitting competitively at that point. But it was really such an eye opening experience that first 5 days I was like a f*cking addict coming down off these drugs. And then, by day 21, I’m just not even thinking about it anymore. It is truly life changing how much we’re addicted to something and we don’t even understand it until we can push past that point.

So, I wish more people understood that and could try it out. Because sugar is bad! It is crazy how much it takes a hold of you, just like drugs.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, your experience is literally textbook. {laughs} Where you say by day 5. I tell people; basically days 3 through 7 are super hard. And some people don’t have that experience. If you were to do it now, you wouldn’t have that experience. Because your nutrition is totally different than it was before. But a lot of people; that’s their really hard time.

And I go over that in the book, in a lot more detail in this one than I ever have before. Because I want people to know this is the hard part, and it will get easier. You know? If you know that’s going to be hard, then I feel like knowing what to expect is sort of half the battle of getting through it in a sense. Because you know that there is something better on the other side.

But your point, too, about getting rid of the sugar and sweeteners and processed foods. Or maybe you were just doing tons of paleo treats at the time.

Juli Bauer: 100%.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because if you were eating paleo; yeah. When you realize that adding healthy forms of starchy carbs will improve your athletic performance, but it actually does not make you crave sweets. Like, that was your exact experience. And I talk about that even more in this book, again, than I have before. Because it’s been 4 years since I wrote the first.

So, 7 years since I wrote the original program, but 4 since I released the other 2 books. And there are tons of recipes that are amazing in those books. I think anyone who has them; keep them. Don’t give them to your friends. Because if you want to do the program again, there’s tons of recipes in there.

But that’s one of the things I experienced, as well. Where I was like; wait a minute, if I eat the sweet potato with some butter and cinnamon, or ghee and cinnamon, or whatever. I hit that part where my body was craving the carbs, because I was training. But it doesn’t have this frantic, sugar, hangry monster feeling. Right? It’s like; oh, my cells actually wanted that. But I’m not crazy. My mind’s not kind of messed up about it. But it feels totally different, and it feels, once you eat those good healthy carbs, your body sort of relaxes a little and realizes; ok I got what I needed and now I don’t need to keep bugging her to eat sugar. {laughs} You know? It’s like this whole thing that happens internally, and it’s real. It’s a really effect.

And I don’t want people to think that carbs are the devil. I’m fine if people want to eat low carb or keto. I’m indifferent to it. Do it if it works for you. But if it doesn’t work for you, don’t. And we’ve had tons of podcast episodes over on the Balanced Bites podcast about that. But we always; in the name of balance, always talk about it from both sides. And I don’t think that that’s the answer for everyone. And one of the things I really tried to address in this new book is that carbs are fine. And there are ways to eat them that are totally healthy. And I want people not to be scared of them, because as you found, there’s a way to have a good balance with them that optimizes how you’re feeling all around.

Juli Bauer: And I want to come back to kind of talking about sugars and different kind of sugars. But can you talk about your own experience? Because you’ve talked about this, I’m sure on your podcast. And then on your Instagram and on your blog, about changing the way you eat. So I know you’ve tried macros, you’ve done keto. You’re constantly trying new things. And I’m sure you’re trying that so you can talk about it and share your own experience with the people who are following you and wanting to know your experience with it.

So can you talk about the different variations of paleo, and gluten free. Just different diets that you’ve tried over the years, and what you’ve found works best for you. Because I talk about that on my podcast a lot; finding a diet that works for you, and how I’ve done that, and how that continually changes. What have you done, and what has worked best for your body?

Diane Sanfilippo: So, over the years. I probably; I actually was like, I’m trying to think. I’ve been doing this whole blogging/teaching nutrition thing now for, probably almost 10 years. {laughs} I’m 39, and I think it’s also interesting because how all of this affects us definitely changes over time. I think my body was more resilient to different inputs 10 years ago than it is now. It’s a little more sensitive. Or; it doesn’t respond as quickly, but I also feel negative effects more easily now, if that makes sense.

So, back in the day, I basically went gluten free as the first step. I didn’t really notice much of a change, but I did notice that when I went paleo, a lot of things changed for the better. And at this point, I attribute that mostly to just eating more real whole foods and ditching the processed stuff. Because now I don’t fully eat paleo.

But some of the things that kind of got better for me were just my vision and my dental health were two things that year after year I would go back to the doctor and get a slightly stronger prescription for my eyes, or have another cavity or almost one. And some of that is genetic. Some of that we can’t tell what’s going to happen. But we know that we impact that. And sugar absolutely, obviously impacts your dental health. But your sugar intake impacts your vision. Almost directly. We know that people who are diabetic lose their vision or it gets impaired. So just something to keep in mind if you’re like; oh my gosh, that’s me. I keep getting these stronger prescriptions. Maybe I should cut the sugar.

So those were a couple of things for me. And then obviously, like I said, my blood sugar regulation got so much better when I realized that just the processed foods and how many sweeteners and sugars I was eating all the time. So that was first step.

After that, at one point I went keto, low carb. And this was probably a couple of years later into the whole thing. I think when I was writing Practical Paleo, the first time, was sort of when I stopped eating keto at a certain point. Because I remember doing a CrossFit workout at a gym that had a grand opening party, during writing Practical Paleo. So this must have been the winter of 2011. And I was trying to do this high intensity workout; and my head started pounding, and I was so tired and kind of out of breath. And after I finished it, I was so nauseous and light headed, and had a massive headache.

And I was like; that didn’t really feel good. {laughs} Maybe I shouldn’t have been eating so low carb, right? That’s not a normal feeling. Like yeah, CrossFit workouts can make a lot of people feel that way, but I was in really good shape. So I had just pushed too hard, and I literally did not have glycogen stores. Which is the stored form of carbohydrates that you need to get through that high intensity exercise.

So, I kind of stopped doing that. But I will say, I think if I were to say what feel the best for me, blood sugar wise and all of that, I would say relatively lower carb does feel good for me in general. And my body physically seems to respond well to that in terms of my shape, and how my body stores body fat, and all of that.

But I did also do, a couple of years ago now, a macros meal plan for about 12 weeks. And like everyone else, I go through periods of high stress, and where I have an injury or something happens. I feel like; I don’t know, I go through maybe 3 to 6 months or even up to a year where I just wasn’t training as much. And whatever; my body responds to that too, and I might put on a few pounds. So, I was like; what can I try this time, and just see.

Like you said; I like to just see how does my body respond to it. I don’t like to assume that something that may have worked for me in the past will always work for me again. So I tried it. And it did work. And I think anything can work for anymore, it just is a matter of how you approach it and what the mindset you have is. And also what the real goal is. At this stage in my life; like I said, I’m almost 40. I have been going through a lot of stress. And I have not been able to train that I would like to train. I consider myself an athlete. But stress has just been so high and the last several months I’ve been like; you know what, I need to focus on my sleep. {laughs}

So for me, nutrition; I don’t also then pile onto that. Like, oh let me do some diet, or be super strict about my eating. I’m more about getting in lots of real, whole foods. And if that means there are treats here and there. And I’m happy to talk about that mindset as well. I don’t see that as a problem. I think it’s a matter of finding; just finding how you will feel best. And I think that means physically and mentally emotionally. And I know some people start to feel really anxious if they feel overly restricted, and some people feel anxious if they don’t have some kind of hard line to draw on things.

For me, I’m at a stage where not focusing on the food. Although it remains, at least 80% clean, healthy, normal food. Not focusing on that as my priority to nitpick my food has actually been really helpful for my sleep and energy levels. And I’m at a place where I really want to encourage people to focus on those things as well. I think a lot of times; I don’t know. I don’t think it’s just when we’re younger. I don’t mean to collect people up that way.

I know that for me, when I was younger, I was so concerned with how what I ate affected how I looked. Which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just in a place now where I want to pay more attention to how I feel, and how I can show up in the world. And that is something that; you know, that’s what I pay attention to with what I’m eating. That makes sense? I don’t know.

Juli Bauer: And that’s, I think, the stage that I feel at. I would love to be able to do macros and really dial it in and see what my body can do, and the changes it can make. But I feel the same way. It’s like; do I want to add that stress of having to measure and figure out all the portions ahead of time and whatever else when there are so many other stressors in life. Whether it’s life, it’s work, it’s your relationship, it’s your friendship. It’s getting enough sleep in, taking care of your child. Do I want to add that type of stress to my daily routine? And in term, maybe hurt myself. F*ck up my cortisol.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Juli Bauer: So I think a lot of people go through this feeling like they need to create this template for themselves. But they may hurt themselves long term because of this strict template they’ve put themselves on.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. It makes it so that you then think that that’s the only way to be healthy. Or that that’s the only thing that works for you. And I really; I just don’t believe that even something that worked for you in the past. And what does that even mean; working for you? It made you lose weight or body fat? That might be fine.

But I think most people who are looking to control food, to control their body shape or body fat level, get a place. I say this all the time on the Balanced Bites podcast. And I even tell it to myself. When you have 5 or 10 pounds that you want to lose, that’s when you’re in diet-land. It’s just about dieting, and to me, that’s not; I don’t know. It’s fine. It’s a worthy pursuit if you feel like doing it. It’s just not the most important thing to me. If someone comes up to me and that’s where they’re at; that’s fine. I’m just not going to be a diet coach.

I really have been struggling with the idea that, here I am, putting out a book that is basically a diet book, so to speak. I’ve come to a place where not only do I realize that there are people out there who are struggling with type 2 diabetes, or issues with their health on a much greater scale. I have people writing to me, and they’re like, “I finally got my dad to change what he was eating, and his liver enzymes got better.”

Things that we don’t really think about on a daily basis when we’re exposed to people just talking about eating healthy. We forget about how many people who are out there who are not listening to podcasts like this all the time. And I am going somewhere with this. {laughs}

I’m happy to keep teaching this stuff, because I want people to know that this does matter. That eating real, whole food does matter. And, that it’s also not the only thing in the world that’s worthy of doing for ourselves, if that makes sense at all. This is important, and if somebody finds me and my work, I’m psyched because then they’re going to hear about so many other things that I think they need to hear about. {laughs} Like living a life that they really want to live.

Which is, I know, something that you’re passionate about, too. Obviously, as entrepreneurs, we don’t clock in and take a paycheck. We work really hard for what we do. And those are all things that if changing the way someone eats is a path to help them find me, and whatever else I’m going to teach about, I’m actually really happy about that. And I’m happy to be a person who’s on the other side of a “diet book.”

Because I am forcing people to pay attention and to think and to do what’s best for them, rather than being someone who’s standing in front of you saying, “This is the end-all, be-all, right thing to do. It’s the healthiest and the best way to live for forever.” I want people to actually just wake up and realize that we are all responsible for finding what works for us. And I think this is an amazing springboard into learning more.

That’s one of the things I did in this new book. I have a whole week of what to do after the detox, and I talk about finding your own new normal, and finding what that looks like for you. Which is exactly what we were just talking about. What is our new normal? And when does that even change? You know. It’s not like; ok, here’s how I eat forever and ever, you know?

Juli Bauer: And going off that; I’m sure when people look to you and what you do and the work you put out there, they think that you probably have your sh*t together all the time.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Juli Bauer: When it comes to your eating habits. And for me, I feel like I have my sh*t together, and but then maybe something is kind of off in my life and I’ll find myself just turning to some chocolate, when I’m not even craving it. And it’s just, maybe I’m lacking something emotionally and so I’m turning to that. Or I’m stressed, and so I’m turning to that. And I have to reset myself and say; you don’t actually want that. You need to stop eating chocolate every night. We’ll detox yourself from it, and then we can get back to when you’re craving it, you have it.

So people see you as having your sh*t together. Because you create such amazing content. Do you go through these times of; oh my god, I’ve been having a treat every day. Or I’m just craving something I shouldn’t. Do you go through that on a regular basis and kind of have to reset, or detox, or whatever you want to call it?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} So I guess, yes and no. I definitely eat treats. And I try and share about that when I feel like it’s appropriate. I don’t post 100% of the food I’m eating on social media, so I also don’t then post 100% of the treats I might be eating. I think it’s a mindset thing. I am not in a place where I feel the need to punish myself for making a conscious decision to eat the lemon bars that my husband made. And continue to eat them, each day, because I actually don’t feel a craving for them. And I don’t know if everybody kind of understands the difference between just choosing to eat it and moving on with your life, or feeling like it’s pulling you and you can’t say no to it.

I definitely am in a place where those are two very different things. And I really don’t feel like I physically crave sugar. And a lot of that has to do with lifestyle changes, and getting more sleep, and not feeling shameful at all around the decision to eat those treats. You know what I mean? I think a lot of people beat themselves up. And it’s like; just eat the damn cookie. It’s just a cookie! People put so much. They attach so many things to the cookie.

And I get it. If you’re in a place where you haven’t gone through all of those emotions, and I don’t know. Whatever else. You haven’t figured out that if you’re eating the cookie all the time. I’m just using that as an example. There is other stuff going on, that it’s not about the cookie. I’m not a psychotherapist, or a therapist. I just know that for all of us, like you said exactly. If you’re really stressed or something is going on in your life, we all have different ways of coping. And maybe we haven’t figured out the alternative means by which we can cope with something, or deal with it. Most of the time, when we turn to food, it’s not about the food.

So I think it just depends. If someone has a physical addiction, and sugar is like; you cannot not eat it, or you really are craving it and craving carbs and all of that, of course not eating it is going to be such a useful tool to just relearning what to eat instead. And having that awareness in those moments of exactly what you said; actually, the chocolate is not what I want. The cookie is not what I want. Most of the time, people are lonely, or they’re bored, or they’re stressed. Those are the three things that come up the most.

I think over time we learn what’s going on, and we learn if we’re going to handle it and deal with it in the moment or not. And {laughs} for me it’s almost always stress. Anxiety and stress. I’m just like; I don’t know. There’s just stuff. We all have stuff going on in our lives. But I definitely am not in a place where I want to beat myself up for it. It’s like; I’m an adult. I made that decision. Deal with the consequences and move on.

I want people to get away from guilt and shame around eating things. Because also then, when do you get to enjoy it? I know you make plenty of treats for PaleOMG. And I’m like; great. Have the treat everyone. But let’s not then feel bad about it after. Enjoy the treat. I wrote the 21-Day Sugar Detox and I’m telling you to enjoy the treats. {laughs} That’s part of what I put in the new book. It’s a lot of mindset stuff and a lot of ways to just look at this stuff differently without the guilt and the shame that everyone wants to attach to their food choices.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. The shame part is a huge piece that I think so many people need to come to terms with. But I want to jump into questions. And before I do, I just want to do a quick kind of; what are sugars. There are so many different kinds of sugars out there. From sugars that are in dates, or fruit, or whatever else. To the super sketchy sugars that we shouldn’t be consuming. So can you just do a kind of a quick rundown of what are “healthy sugars” versus sugars that people should be keeping an eye out for when they’re eating processed foods and they should understand that; other than not eating processed foods, those sugars should not be in their body. Can you kind of tell the difference between good versus bad sugars?

Diane Sanfilippo: Sure. So as a first step, I’ll just kind of clarify. For the 21-Day Sugar Detox, no added sweeteners of any kind are allowed, with the exception of something that comes from the three types of fruit that they’re allowed to have on the program. Which are green apples, very specifically because they’re tart. Green-tipped bananas, because they’re not sweet, they’re just more starchy. Or grapefruit, because it’s obviously very sour and tart. So those things, unlike other types of fruit, are just not that sweet. So people on the 21-Day Sugar Detox, those are the only ways that you can kind of get a little bit of sweetness. Or something like coconut butter.

But in general, there are, I would kind of categorize all sweeteners or hidden sugars in sort of three different categories. We have first and foremost artificial sweeteners. Which are things like aspartame, and saccharine, and sucralose. So this is like Sweet n’ Low, and Splenda, and Equal and all of those. Even stevia, if it’s white; I’m just not a huge fan. You can have stevia as an extract or a green leaf form, which I’ll talk about in a second. But anything that’s artificial or non-caloric sweeteners, I’m just not a huge fan.

People ask me about monk fruit; it’s not the same as something like aspartame. But it’s just not my favorite, and I think the jury is still out on some of those. But super toxic, things like aspartame and sucralose, Splenda and all those. So that’s artificial sweeteners.

Then there’s naturally derived sweeteners. And I made this category up. Because these are not purely lab created; but, I think there are some problems with them. So that’s where stuff like agave falls. Things like corn syrup. It does come from corn, it’s not purely man made. But it’s so processed, and I would absolutely tell people to stay away from it. This is where I categorize things like erythritol, maltitol, all of the sugar alcohols. Again, naturally derived, but mostly non-caloric in that category. I’m not really a fan of non-caloric sweeteners. What else is in that category? Maltodextrin. All those types of things. I have these all in my guide to hidden sugars, it’s in the 21-Day Sugar Detox.

And then there’s natural sweeteners. So things like cane sugar, brown sugar, molasses, date sugar or dates. Any fruit, whole fruit, can be considered a natural sweetener. Maple syrup. All of that. I do have monk fruit in that category, but there are types of monk fruit; it just varies. But all of that stuff is natural. Not much is done to it to make it into what it is sweetening your food.

So the way that I like for people to approach it is; when you have something sweet, there should be calories with it. That’s what nature dictates. Again, one exception is stevia. If you’re getting it in a leave format, it looks like ground sage, basically. Can be an exception, but not many people are using a lot of that, because it can be kind of off-putting. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with natural sweeteners in small amounts.

I don’t really like the term moderation, because I think that’s a hard one for people to hear or understand. Like, what is moderation? That’s different for everyone. But somebody who has well-regulated blood sugar and is eating mostly whole foods and gets plenty of protein and fat who puts a teaspoon of maple syrup or even sugar in their coffee in the morning with a well-balanced meal, I don’t think that’s the end of the world. But I do think that there are times when we need to not do that, if that makes sense.

The stuff that I want people to never really have are those super artificial; aspartame, sucralose, Splenda, Sweet n’ Low, Equal. All of that. And then those naturally derived are kind of a gray area. I mean, I always stay away from corn syrup, agave, all of that. But if you’re exposed to a little bit here and there, just sort of accidentally, I don’t think that people need to freak out. {laughs} Does that answer that one?

Juli Bauer: OK. That’s good to know. It totally does. I love hearing all that. Because I feel like when I first started paleo, agave was the big thing. And then people started talking about how processed it was, and I was like; oh, ok. So I shouldn’t be haven’t this? And then I’m a person who will have agave once in a while, like in a margarita, if I don’t have honey around. And I’ve talked about that on my blog, doing honey or agave. And people sh*t their brick sometimes about the agave. And I’m like; dude. I’m not drinking f*cking margaritas all day every day, either.

Diane Sanfilippo: Exactly.

Juli Bauer: So, this is a very few and far between. But I’m the same way. I stay far away from the zero sugar aspartame, bright pink, green, blue packets. {laughs} I stay away from those.

Diane Sanfilippo: And the question people ask a lot is; all they all the same to your body. And it’s like; yes and no. Different things happen in the body in response to different elements of a sweetener. So for example, the fact that it’s sweet at all, there’s been research sort of on both sides of this. I don’t think there’s a conclusive answer.

But there has been research that shows just eating something sweet triggers something in our body to have reactions that expect calories. That can have a negative effect, and I think people have probably experienced this who have used a lot of artificial sweeteners, where then they find that they’re more hungry. There are lots of other downsides to having sweeteners that don’t have calories. But it’s just; there are not sweet foods in nature without calories. So I just don’t like that approach.

But, in terms of; are you eating a sweetener for nutrition? No. You’re not. So if you have the agave now and then, I don’t think anybody needs to freak out about it. But are there some that are maybe better than others? Yeah, of course. Honey, or dates are probably two of the most healthy sweeteners that you can find in terms of additional nutritional properties, or the fiber that comes in dates. Fiber and other nutrients that are in dates. But, eh, it’s sort of negligible. You know what I mean?

So use the one that you like the best that works the best for you. But use it in small amounts. That’s what I say. Because I just don’t think; and of course, this is not when you’re on the 21-Day Sugar Detox. {laughs} I just don’t think anybody needs to get their panties in a bunch over where you use honey or maple syrup or even organic cane sugar, for example, a little bit here and there.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Ok, I want to get into questions because I want to ask you more questions, but I know some of these questions are mixed into these listener questions. So I asked people on Instagram if they had any questions, and there was a ton of questions out there. So I’m hoping to get to most of them.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ll try and be brief. {laughing}

Juli Bauer: Yes. And if you guys ever have questions, Diane is so helpful on Instagram. I’m a person who writes back maybe once a day and not always. Diane will write you back so quickly. She’s on top of her f*cking sh*t. So, feel free to reach out to Diane.

But I love this as a first start to the questions, because it’s about your book. So this one is by Chirpy Bird, and she asks, “What did you do differently this time writing and editing your book than what you did in the past? Essentially, what have you learned and implemented with your own personal writing/publishing process?”

Diane Sanfilippo: I like this question. I do feel like when I rewrote Practical Paleo last year; or I guess it was early 2016. In terms of diet and lifestyle, I feel like I did a better job of managing my lifestyle and my stress when I rewrote that book. I was in a really good habit of early morning workouts. And I felt pretty good. Although, in hindsight, my energy in the afternoons was really not the best.

But during that process, I feel like I kept that in a good balance. During this process, what was really different was that I realized {laughs} which, this sounds kind of silly. But I finally realized that not every book I write can say everything I ever want to say about the topic. Or, that it has to be everything to everyone. This book doesn’t have to be for everyone, and that’s ok. So that was a really different thing for me.

I had to focus on what is the purpose of this book? And the purpose of this book is to guide you one week before, through the 21 days, and one week after. And give you a totally done for you meal plan with all the recipes you need and have everything you need in one place if that’s how you want to do it.

And to also get people paying attention to their process more than ever before. Because there’s journal space in this book, and the journal prompts change each day. And that was something that I didn’t know I was going to do until I finished writing all the content. I was like; wait a minute, I want to ask them different questions each day. I want them to tune in to what just happened today. Or if I talked about dining out, I want you to write down where are you going to eat, and what will you order there? And really make it practical for you.

So that was a really different thing I did with this book. And I just kind of let it be just what it is, you know. I don’t know how else to explain that. But I think most people who work on a project, you’re like; I need it to be everything. Right?

Juli Bauer: I know. And then you kind of freeze up.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Juli Bauer: I feel like when I am starting to come up with a new idea, I sometimes freeze up because you want it to be perfect. And you have to understand that it won’t be perfect because you’ll want something more in the future. So, I love that.

Ok, Jilly Beans. Which I love that name. “My question would be, how was it to transition from,” And we kind of talked about this a little bit. “from definition of the typical paleo diet from your original blog/cookbooks to eating what suits your body best with social media, and constantly having to, what seems at times, defend your diet decisions.” Which I think we go through regularly. “What was the most challenging aspect?”

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s a good question.

Juli Bauer: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. Because I think that’s something I deal with on a regular basis of just having to defend myself; no matter what it is. No matter what it is. If it’s just vegetables and meat, I still have to defend myself at some point.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} So crazy.

Juli Bauer: So how has that transition happened, and how have you dealt with that with social media? How do you feel about it in general?

Diane Sanfilippo: So, first and foremost, I understand that I’ve written a book called Practical Paleo, that more than half a million people have. So let’s just lay the foundation; people know me for that. And I get that. So, I understand that if people have a question, that they’re curious most of the time. Or they don’t understand because that’s where they came from with me. And I think it’s really important to understand that foundation.

I can usually also tell; I can infer what’s going on with the question by the way someone asks it or by the way they pose. There’s just sort of a tone; I don’t know, you can kind of tell if someone is being sort of rude or accusatory versus asking out of curiosity. So I try and tune into that.

But I think most of the time, people are asking to seek understanding. And it’s confusing. If I’ve written a book called Practical Paleo, and it says not to eat rice, and then I’m eating rice. So I don’t really take person offense to it. There’s a book called The Four Agreements; maybe there’s five now. One of the things is not to take anything personally. And I don’t take it personally if someone has that question. I often will just take the moment to explain it.

Although I am at a place where, for whatever reason, people don’t question what I’m doing. And I think it’s because I do talk about it a lot. I think a lot of people who follow me on social media also listen to my podcast, and have heard me talk over the last 6 years about all of those transitions, and all of the evolution of thinking in the way that I’m doing things. And I think that for some reason, I feel like in the last year of two. I don’t know if you’ve seen this too, Juli. But in the last year or two there’s less of it. I don’t know. There used to be a lot of people who were the paleo police, basically. About everything. And I just don’t think that that happens as much now.

But part of it is also personality. I just don’t give a sh*t what anybody thinks of me. So if they’re going to think less of me because I’m doing something that doesn’t make sense to them, or they don’t approve of, then that’s not really my problem. But I do understand that a lot of people just need to hear the rationale. And fortunately for everyone, I always have a rationale for everything. I’m constantly thinking and analyzing everything. My brain is constantly like that. So if someone wants to know why, then I will give them my best answer as to why.

And sometimes the why is, because I want to. {laughs} Like, why do you eat that? Because I want to. And also I don’t feel negative effects of it. You know what I mean? I think there might be some people who are really sensitive, or are afraid to kind of be out there publicly living their lives. And for those people, it could be a lot harder. But I’m kind of like; take me or leave me. And I’ll do my best to explain and teach, but at the same time, I’m not going to defend my choices, because they’re mine. You know?

Juli Bauer: Yeah. And I think a lot of people on social media, if they’re being attacking in any sort of way, they either don’t understand or they’re feeling insecurity.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Juli Bauer: And it’s just coming off; that’s making them feel better in the moment is making someone else feel bad about what they’re eating, when it’s just their own insecurity about what their consuming. That’s what I’ve found on social media more than anything.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I don’t think it happens as much lately. I do feel like; there was a period of time. Don’t you remember when people would be like, “Potatoes aren’t paleo.” Like, every day, someone would come and tell you that? And you’re like, yeah. Ok. Whatever. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: But it doesn’t happen really anymore.

Juli Bauer: For sure. It’s getting a little bit better, for sure. Ok, this next question. I think this is; we kind of touched on this a little bit. But this is from A Whole Lot Of Chasley, maybe? “Can you ask Diane how to get over the fear of not counting macros for someone who really wants to complete a challenge? I have a fear of gaining weight, and counting macros gives me a sense of security that I’m eating enough but not too much. I love both your podcasts, and can’t wait to hear from you both.”

Diane Sanfilippo: Mmm. {Laughs} That’s a good one. There’s a lot going on.

Juli Bauer: It’s hard. It’s hard.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. There’s a lot going on there. I get it, because in my life and my experience, counting or measuring or to some level being specific about my nutrition is actually, to this day, has been the only way for me to actually see fat loss. I think most of the time if that’s what’s going on. If you have to be that detailed; then, like I said before, you’re in diet-land. And your body is probably perfectly healthy with those extra couple of pounds. But there’s something in your own mind that’s just; you have a certain aesthetic that you’re aiming for. Which is fine.

I just; I think over time, at some point in your life, you will realize that that’s just not where you want to spend your energy. I don’t really know another way to say it. And I think it just comes with time. And hopefully some perspective. But I think at some point, maybe this is what happens. At some point, you just don’t have time to pay attention to that stuff. Because there is something else that becomes more important.

And I’m not at all judging that desire to count, or pay attention to that stuff. But I think for me, the times when I’ve been able to do that I honestly did not have something else that was big and important that I was trying to achieve or accomplish. And the moment that I have something big and important that I’m trying to achieve or accomplish, I don’t have time to f*ck around with counting sh*t that I’m eating. That’s basically where I’m at.

And I really think that that may not make sense to her in this moment. But at some point in time, she’ll look back on this and be like; oh. I’m at that place now. I just want to give every 20 and 30-something who feels like they need to be leaner a hug. Because I met someone recently who was at a talk I was at, and she was telling me about that as her goal. And I looked at her, and I’m like; oh my god, that was me 10-15 years ago. She was perfectly lean. She looked amazing, and she just had this in her mind that she was not “there yet.” And I’m like; holy f*ck. That was me. I was there.

I’m not saying any of this to belittle that. It’s this; like they’ll look back in 10 years and be like; oh, ok. I was just a little off. Like; don’t you look back at yourself and you’re like; why did I think that about myself? You know what I mean?

Juli Bauer: 100%. And I think that doing these she’s saying, whatever, 12-week course. Or trying to complete this whatever she was trying to do. This 12-week. I think that teaches you so much, if you’re doing macros, and it really can teach you how much portion you really need and what makes you feel satisfied and makes you feel good. And for me, I don’t ever weigh myself. And I know my weight goes up 5 pounds every week. It goes up and down, and it changes. And that’s fine. I’m never saying I need to lose 5 pounds. Because I don’t know what my weight even is.

And that’s what was a huge thing for me, was not weighing myself. Not saying; oh, I’ll be happy once I lose a certain amount of weight. I stopped thinking about a number. And I just started thinking about different goals of just feeling better. Sleeping better. Having more energy. Being able to surf behind a boat. Instead of putting all my energy into thinking about all my food, just like you said. You’re thinking about different things; you don’t have time for it. That’s when you can really find that balance.

But I think doing these challenges or whatever else, and seeing that you can do it, and you can find how much food makes you feel your best if you’re trying to figure that out, then you can dial it in without having to count those. Because you kind of have an eye of how much protein you need. And you’re like; oh, I just ate a bunch of vegetables and I’m still hungry. I’m going to have more vegetables. And you just find that balance over time. But I’m so glad I did whatever it was, 21-Day Sugar Detox, Whole30, Zone. I’m so glad I did those in the past, because they taught me so much. And they taught me what I don’t need to do now, if that makes sense.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And the other thing I want to say about it is that maybe people look at your and physically think; well of course you don’t care about it. Because you’re lean and fit and strong and healthy. And they might look at that and be like; easy for you to say. For people who don’t know your whole journey of where you’ve been. They might not understand the ups and downs of what you’ve been through.

I also want to say; I have been in a place where I was much leaner, and had visible abs, and also had adrenal fatigue {laughs} and lost my period. I’ve been through a lot, both in the realm of being super lean and currently where I’m at now, not super lean. Or even doing a lot of regular training because it’s not what feels best for my body in this moment. But I want people to know; young women who are listening. Young being anywhere in your; under 40 I would say is young. Because I’m still there. I’ll be 40 soon.

But you actually can get to that place that Juli is talking about. You’re like; I’m doing what feels best for me, whatever that means. And it’s not just about when you lose X amount of pounds, or when you hit X number of body fat percentage. I feel the exact same way as Juli is explaining. And I don’t physically look the same way. You know what I mean? We can all get to this place where our mind can just chill out and be like; ok, I’m doing what feels best for me right now for a variety of goals. If that makes sense.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: We can all get there. And that doesn’t mean you get there when you hit a certain weight. Because I will look back on the last 10 years of my life, and whatever it was. Whatever level of leanness or not I was at, that did not dictate or determine how happy or proud I felt of anything I was doing. You know?

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Yeah. And you touched upon adrenal fatigue. You kind of talked about that. And I think that’s a great little leeway into this next question. Because this one is from Elizabeth Duthas. And she said; and I’ve talked about adrenal fatigue as well on my podcast and on my blog. And she asks, “How do you know when your body is in adrenal fatigue? I know you and Diane have both mentioned being in it before and changing your workouts or skipping them until your body normalizes? Just wondering how you knew?”

Diane Sanfilippo: So, in the past I knew because; I was training for a half marathon and I was going to cardio kickboxing like 4-5 days a week at the same time. But I was like 28 maybe. And I remember thinking; because there were Olympics going on. “Well, these Olympic athletes train this much. This isn’t that much.” {laughs} I literally was comparing myself to an Olympic athlete, whose job it is to train, and probably didn’t train the way that I was, for some reason. I was crazy.

I went to; so this is when I had visible abs and no boobs at all, basically, and was super lean. I lost my period for a couple of months, and I was like, “Sweet!” I mean, at the time I did not have any clue that that was so unhealthy.

But how I actually knew that something was wrong was I went to my cardio kickboxing class, TurboKick, and I couldn’t smile in the class. That was my most fun thing I ever was doing at the time. It was super dancey. It was not, like, boxing. It was more like dancing. And I remember I felt like I could not get my energy up.

It’s so poignant to me, that moment where I walked out of the class, because for whatever reason I was like, I just can’t laugh and smile right now. It’s just not coming to me. And the teacher, after, was like, is something wrong? Did I do something, whatever? I was like, no. Because I went to the same classes all the time, and she knew me. And I was like; no, I just can’t do it. I don’t know what’s going on. So that was; I hit that rock bottom in that moment. And I just had burned myself out. I was too; it was too much.

I don’t remember specifically dieting in a certain way at that point. I just know that I was overtraining and just pushing myself. And overtraining looks different for everyone. So you can’t compare. Everyone’s body is different.

And then recently; honestly I think recently it’s hit me that for a couple of years I’ve just really struggled with my energy levels. You wouldn’t know it, because if I’m at an event or whatever, I give 100% to everyone who’s there. But often after the event, I’m like; I can’t talk to anyone. {laughs} I need to go lie down and recover from that. Recover from touring for a month for the next couple of weeks. And part of that is normal. It is normal to need a lot of recovery when you give people your energy.

But something that I realized recently is that sometimes training does not make me feel better. And training should make you feel good. You should feel energized. You’re tired for a few minutes after the workout, but the rest of the day you shouldn’t feel flattened. And I was definitely feeling that way. I was exhausted, and what I would call painfully tired. And I just said to my husband recently. I was like; I haven’t said that in a long time. I’ve been feeling so much better lately, focusing on my sleep and actually not training much at all. And I want that to come back, I just need to figure out what that’s going to look like. Because it needs to be different so that my body gets the positive response from it instead of just feeling totally crushed. If that makes sense.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Mine; I didn’t know I was going through adrenal fatigue until really after I cut myself off from competing in CrossFit. And mine was my workouts were suffering. I wasn’t getting any stronger. My hair was thinning. My sleep was sh*t. I was having bouts of depression on and off. And I just kept gaining weight, as well. So my body was telling me; calm the f*ck down. And I just wasn’t listening to it.

So I think if you just see your body; if you think you’re t

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