This is the interview with Betsy Sheffield, about eating food that makes you happy, on Monday Night Radio. Monday Night Radio is an online (Internet-based) talk radio show where different experts are interviewed, and people around the world can listen via the Internet, and call in to talk with the expert, and ask them questions.
The Internet Patrol’s Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., is the host of Monday Night Radio.
This Monday Night Radio show with Betsy Sheffield was first aired on 8/23/10. In addition to reading the interview below, you can listen to the recorded show via iTunes – where you can also subscribe to the podcast of all of the recorded shows. Here is the iTunes link: http://www.MondayNightRadio.com/ref/MNR-iTunes.
Links to the guest’s website and book, if any, are at the end of the interview.
Male 1: You are listening to now you know; talk radio where you get to ask the questions. Call us now at 877-NYKRADIO.That’s 8776957234. And now here are your hosts, Anne Mitchell and Bryan McCullough.
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Bryan: Well Anne, you get top billing, but I always seem to talk first. So, I don’t know how that happens.
Anne: Yeah, but that’s true. I’m going to have to think for a minute.
Bryan: So how have you been? It’s been a week since we talked.
Anne: No, no, no. You have to let everyone think that we talk all the time.
Bryan: Well we communicate all the time. In this technologically advanced world we communicate about thirty-seven different ways during the week but I don’t want to mislead folks. We actually talk to each other mostly just on the show. I look forward to that because I get to hear your voice. I get tired of reading your messages all week. I want to hear you. I want to talk to you.
Anne: Did you just say you get tired of reading my messages, Bryan?
Bryan: Only because it’s not the same as actually hearing your melodic tones.
Anne: Oh, nice save. You are so clearly a married man.
Bryan: (laughs) That’s right.
Anne: I am really excited about our guest tonight. Did you know that the chat room is already filling up? I don’t know if everyone who is listening knows, but you can actually also go to our chat room at the blogtalkradio.com/nowyouknow site so that you can communicate with each other and talk and make fun of us and razz us and all kinds of things. You might even get a Now You Know hookup.
Bryan: Whatever it takes we’ll be happy to help out. If you do want to call though, we really want you to call in because we’ve got some exciting topics tonight. That’s 877-NYKRADIO. That’s 8776957234. Of course, like Anne said, you can post your questions in the chat room if you like. You can tweet us @nowyouknowradio. Is that right?
Anne: That is right. That is right.
Bryan: I really love that. That’s so exciting.
Anne: To be tweeted?
Bryan: To be tweeted. I used to have to pay for that. Ok, go ahead.
Anne: I just want to make sure that it is very clear to everybody that the NYK, that is for Now You Know so its 877 Now You Know Radio. Isn’t that cute? I’m really proud of that.
Bryan: It’s very cool.
Anne: You know not a lot of radio talk shows where you can call in and talk to the expert guest live also give you a toll free number to do it. So, we are in the big leagues. Let me just say.
Bryan: We are a full service Internet radio show. There’s no getting around it. What’s exciting, for those of you who haven’t heard our show before, what’s great about our show is that we find experts in different fields every week. We bring them in and then allow you to ask them questions directly. So, it’s not a technology show or a fitness show or a geology show, it could be any of those. So that is really exciting. Tonight I am really excited about our guest because this is something that I struggle with on an hourly basis. So, Anne, why don’t you let us know who the wonderful guest is tonight.
Anne: Well, Bryan, I really appreciate that you always let me introduce the guest. Sometime if you’d like you can do that too, but I’m going to take it because you are letting me. Plus let’s face it, this is a topic that while it is applicable to men and women, I have to say probably really close to many women’s hearts out there. Maybe men too, I was speaking for the women because hey I am one. But the topic, Eat Your Way to Happiness, I love that because we have been told, particularly as women in this society, that the last thing you should do is try to find solace and comfort in food. So I am very excited to announce and introduce our guest Betsy Sheffield. She has a background in nutrition and wellness and nutritional therapy. The thing I love most about her is that she bills herself as a down home southern girl who considers macaroni and cheese one of the four food groups. Do I have that right, Betsy?
Betsy: (laughs) That’s right. I love mac and cheese.
Anne: Betsy, tell us a little bit about your background and also about eating your way to happiness.
Betsy: Sure, sure. Well I have to say if you grew up in the south, you are raised knowing that mac and cheese is a vegetable. It’s when you leave the comforts of the south that you realize that’s not true. I am in Boulder, Colorado. I am a scientist actually. I have a science background for the last fifteen or so years, most recently doing climate research support. I kind of got into nutrition and health about five years ago when I had my own health crisis of sorts. You always have those things in your life that cause you to do research and say, “What the heck’s going on? What do I not know about a certain topic?” For me it was looking into ways for having more energy. I realized, I had been a vegetarian for twelve years up to that point, for me it was a really eye opening time when I realized that I wasn’t just the vibrant health that I used to have. It was because I wasn’t eating a good vegetarian diet. I was eating a lot of junk food, a lot of fast food, a lot of processed food. At that point I really started to look at my diet and say, “What should I be eating?” I started to listen to my body. That I think is a big piece of finding happiness through eating and eating your way to happiness. It’s tuning into your body and asking your body what does it want. It might tell you it wants a Big Mac and fries.
Betsy: So you know what it wants. It wants nutrients. It wants to build bones and build blood and be healthy and detox. It just wants to do its job efficiently and effectively. So, once you start listening to what your body has to say and tuning into it through experiments of sorts that I will talk about in a minute, you can really find happiness through eating and realize that you’ve got just the key to success right there in your hands.
Anne: So, related to that then, do you want to expand a little bit about your philosophy about food and wellness. I have to say I didn’t realize that you had a science background. That’s really interesting to me because I was very involved with raw food for a while. I maintain a raw food website. I knew intuitively that feeding my body less processed and less cooked food made sense. And, I felt great while doing it, but I really felt that there was a lack of information out there that came from the scientific background. I know you are not about raw food necessarily, but just the fact that you are coming at this with that background is really exciting for me. It means that you bring a whole new level of understanding to it.
Betsy: Right. I certainly look at things and decipher what does this really mean. There is a lot of intuition, and that is part of my philosophy, using your own intuition to guide you to what is right for you. There are so many dietary philosophies out there that I think it makes the field of nutrition so fascinating. It’s also challenging, because in nutrition there is no black and white. Taking your example of a raw foodist, raw foodists, some of them can be very dictatorial about raw food only. But, that doesn’t work for everybody. So, I think what is interesting about nutrition is that everyone is different. We are all bio-individuals. That is a huge component of finding what it is that is right for your body. It’s just knowing and accepting that what works for your neighbor or your sister or your mother may not work for you. There may be pieces that do, but they may not. Listening to your body again, and tuning into what it has to say. By that, I don’t mean like channeling somebody or anything. We are in Boulder, right? You are your greatest laboratory experiment. Your own body, you can feed and see how do I feel after I ate that milkshake. Or, how do I feel after eating this raw salad. Some people for example do really well on cooked spinach rather than raw. Some people have a hard time digesting raw spinach. It’s just a variety of…Today if you are at the airport, and you are eating airport food, you can chalk that down as part of your experiment. Now you know that you don’t want to be drinking diet cokes and eating processed food before your six hour flight to wherever you are going. You know?
(Bryan and Anne talking over each other.)
Bryan: I’m sorry, Anne. I wanted to talk to Betsy. You’ve been talking to her so long I was getting jealous. Let me give the number just in case anybody wants to call in it’s 8776957234. That’s 877-NYKRADIO; it stands for Now You Know Radio. 877-NYKRADIO. I’ve got a client, Betsy that I do media production, and she does healthy eating and weight loss. It’s funny because in fact I’ve got a few weight loss clients and I’ve kind of noticed that you will never go hungry teaching people how to lose weight. There is just an epidemic. Everybody in America needs to learn how to lose weight. So, if you’ve got an idea, it doesn’t matter how crazy it is, there is someone out there that is going to listen to you. My particular client, I’m going to tell you her name in a minute because I am going to use one of her lines and I don’t want to use her lines without giving proper credit but she says in her class that it is very much healthy eating exactly kind of what you are talking about. She has a great line, she says, “Your body knows how to be a body.” What we do in America particularly is we kind of fight the natural instincts that we have. We push all of this processed food into us, all this fatty, greasy food that your body does not want and it will tell you that it does not want that in a variety of ways. But, if we actually listen to our body and pay attention to what we need then everything kind of harmonizes. It works well. Her name is Marcia Upson. She has a program called Naturally Slim. She does a great job, particularly in the local area, here in Dallas. I just find that interesting to hear it from you now, someone else, the same kind of principle. Listen to your body, find out what it wants, which is going to be a little bit different necessarily than somebody else, and then you can get into kind of a healthy lifestyle.
Betsy: Right, exactly.
Anne: Now, can I ask my question?
Betsy: You’re up, Anne.
Anne: Because, it’s perfect. You just set me up so well, Bryan. Thank you. I know we already have at least one caller waiting to ask you a question too. So I am not going to hog you all to myself. This so perfectly follows up what Bryan said. Here’s my question, and you mentioned that someone eats a milkshake and then how do they feel after that. So here’s my question, why do people continue to eat things that they know make them feel bad? After that person has that milkshake and they feel so heavy and bloated and tired, why do they go out and have another milkshake?
Betsy: That’s a really, really great question.
Bryan: Because the second one is fifty percent, it’s half off, buy one get one half off.
Betsy: (laughs) There you go. You know I think there are a lot of levels to that. Some people may not be in tuned to their body. Some people may have been eating the same diet for so many years that they think that is how they are supposed to feel. I drink a milkshake, my stomach hurts a little bit, but that’s the way I feel after a milkshake. So, that‘s not abnormal. That’s their norm. What feels right to them is skewed because they’ve been eating processed foods for so long and maybe haven’t experienced the optimum health that they can experience. The other part of it is maybe denial. I don’t feel well after that but I don’t mind getting gas and bloating once a month or every couple of times when I have a milkshake. Or, they don’t realize the impact that it has on their health and that they could be feeling even better. When I was eating my junk food diet I just didn’t have a lot of energy but I was in my twenties so I had boundless stores of energy that you don’t have later in life once you leave your twenties and your college years. Right? (laughs) So the diet that I was eating, although it wasn’t really great for me, I didn’t notice it really. It took a while, until I started investigating how other people were eating. And like maybe I do need to eat organics for example, or maybe meat would be a good thing for me in particular. But, vegetarianism is fine for some people, just not for others.
Bryan: Well, let’s see what our audience has to say about this. We’ve got a caller. If you want to call in, remember it’s 877-NYKRADIO. 8776957234. We’d like to bring Rob on the line. Rob, you’ve got something you want to ask Betsy? Go ahead.
Caller #1: I sure do. So, I’ve experience something that I call eating without thinking while working.
Betsy: Have you thought of an acronym?
Caller #1: Well I just made up that term while I was thinking about my question, but something that I have noticed is that people at work who would otherwise be rational, normal human beings tend to get stressed at work. They are thinking about work. They start eating things at work, because there is food all over the work place. They’ve got the infinite coffee. There is the infinite chocolate. There are all kinds of things, pretzels. In my last job I know that I put on weight while I was at that job. When I left that job I lost the weight. I think a large part of gaining that weight was what I call doing the eating without thinking just because I’m busy. It seems to me that there is a large psychological stress factor here that just goes beyond…I’m familiar with proper nutrition. I’m a pretty smart guy. I’ve got a scientific background. I understand about thermodynamics and yet I fell prey to this. I was wondering what you would recommend to help avoid this type of trap in the future.
Caller #1: I look around where I’m working now and just to let you know, I’m in the process of making lasagna that I’m going to be bringing into the office tomorrow.
Bryan: Are you making healthy lasagna to help your coworkers, or are you sabotaging them so that you’ll look better by comparison?
Caller #1: This is full fat lasagna with sausage and ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese and kalamata olives. It’s…
Bryan: Can I make it there by tomorrow?
Anne: Lasagna and infinite chocolate? He’s working somewhere that has infinite chocolate! I want in.
Caller #1: In any case, I don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong with lasagna as long as one person doesn’t eat all ten pounds. But getting back to the main question, what are your thoughts on that?
Betsy: Sure. I think that is a really great question, Rob. I think that people that eat without thinking are you talking about typically mid to late afternoon or all throughout the day?
Caller #1: I see people at work; they are munching all day long. They’ve got the snack bowls, the drinks with the sugar, going all day.
Betsy: Right. Well, you know, I think that part of it is for some people it could be boredom. You are in the same job day in and day out. You just kind of get bored. You’re staring at your computer and you’re trying to do something else at the same time. So sometimes for some people eating is that. It is a boredom thing. It’s definitely also a psychological thing as you mentioned. Oftentimes when we eat things that we know we shouldn’t or even just mindless eating, it’s due to perhaps we’re missing something fulfilling in our lives. Something that I work with my clients on is looking at not only the food that they eat physically, that they put into their mouth. But, also the primary food, the food that nourishes the soul, things like are you happy in your career? Are you enjoying your relationships? Do you have a spiritual practice that keeps your soul full? Are you exercising? Those things, so I think sometimes when people do this mindless eating it’s because they are bored. They are just missing another piece of their life that would give them happiness. Also, it could be that they have a craving that they aren’t realizing that they are having. Instead of eating the junk food that’s around, maybe replacing the junk food that’s in the office, getting rid of the sodas and maybe getting water coolers at every corner. And getting rid of the vending machines and maybe having healthier snacks like nuts or cheese or fruits and veggies that kind of thing instead of the vending machine chips and soda and cookies, would also help.
Bryan: Well, what I find interesting, and I don’t know if this is just me, Betsy, you probably have a perspective on this, how much of our eating is just driven by habit. For example, I was noticing this over the weekend, by Sunday night, I just felt awful. My head was hurting. I felt really bad. My wife said, “You had an awful lot of caffeine this weekend.” I started thinking about that. During the week I don’t drink caffeine. I just drink water at work. That’s the habit I’m in. On the weekend I don’t have a habit and we’d go out and I’ll get a coke. I’ll grab a tea, that sort of thing. So, Rob is asking about people eating at work, and I don’t know if he mentioned this in his question, but Rob do you think that it is habitual? Maybe people just get used to that, maybe if they change their habits it will improve. Betsy, what do think about that? Rob is that what you are asking?
Caller #1: I think that is part of it. I’ve seen people. They have their morning coffee with sugar, every so many hours the coffee with sugar, by the end of the day they have consumed hundreds of calories of sugar. So that is certainly part of it. I think that is part of my question, yes.
Betsy: Sure. I think that a lot of eating is driven by habit, particularly in the workplace where maybe the only break you get is to go across the street and get that coffee. You get that break; you get that downtime, that socialization time. A lot of people really enjoy that break. I for one, I love taking that break, but I never get coffee. I love to go in the coffee shop and smell it. That’s all I need, because I know that for me if I start drinking coffee and have sugar and coffee it just doesn’t treat me well. I get jittery. I can’t focus. So I think, yeah, a lot of it is habit like you were saying, Bryan, that during the week you are in your workplace surrounded by water and so you drink that a lot. But, you are distracted on the weekend, so you are maybe not paying as much attention to your body and your body’s needs on the weekend, as you are during the week. Something like that and I think that plays a role in it as well.
Anne: Well, Betsy, you know I so can relate to the smell of coffee, walking in and smelling that smell. Because it is so awesome, but that is a different show, that is smelling your way to happiness. We are going to talk more about eating your way to happiness. So, I would really like to focus back on that if you don’t mind, and ask you what your top three recommendations or examples, or top three some things if you will that relate to eating your way to happiness. I want to know how to do that.
Betsy: Right, right. Sure. That is a great question. My top three would be eating sweet vegetables. I’ll just list them here for you real quick, drinking more water and practicing cooking. Those would be my top three. Why I chose those would be sweet vegetables is something that many people in our society really don’t have a lot of. Everyone has cravings for sweets, right? We are all having that sweet tooth, craving that sugary coffee or that little chocolate or many chocolates at two or three p.m. at the workplace, wanting that lift. Part of that is the sugar cravings are so common for us, are due to the fact that we as humans are programmed to want sweet flavors. For example, from birth we get breast milk, if you are breastfed. That is sweet milk. It tastes sweet. From that instance on we learn that sweet is associated with good, with filling, with nurturing. There are a lot of things in nature that have sweet flavors that aren’t loaded with sugar. The top things I like to tell my clients regarding dealing with their sugar cravings and therefore when you are dealing with that sugar craving you are going to eat your way to happiness, is incorporating sweet foods into the diet that are naturally sweet. So one of my clients, I told her this and she went out and bought peppers. She got yellow peppers and orange peppers and red peppers and she snacks on those during the day. That gives her that sweet taste in her mouth that she is really craving and she doesn’t need to go to the vending machine at three o’clock for a Snickers bar. Things like onions, like sweet potatoes and yams…
Anne: Did you say onions?
Betsy: Onions? Yeah. You know about caramelizing onions, right? When you cook onions down, they have a sweet flavor.
Anne: Oh, yeah!
Betsy: They have a sweet flavor. So there are so many things that we can eat that are sweet that if we incorporate them into our diet regularly, you know daily, than that is going to decrease your cravings for those sweet treats at the end of the day or whenever it is, and will prevent you from going into that sugar craving. Then you go on a sugar high and then you’ve got the sugar crash afterwards. That sucks. That’s not happiness.
Bryan: No, that’s a horrible feeling. I’ve been a sugar-holic at many points in my life and that drop after you just pound the cookies or the cake, it’s real. I remember reading, and I just checked to make sure my numbers are still correct; it’s interesting when you think back to history. It hasn’t been too long ago, just a couple hundred years where sugar was very, very rare. For families to get sugar that would buy that cone sugar and scrape a little bit off here and there. One person would basically eat about five pounds of sugar a year. Today they average person is getting that same amount in about a week and a half. That blows my mind, right? So the addiction to sugar that we have is real. When I read that I said well let’s see exactly where this is coming from and it’s not just downing cokes and eating Snickers bars and eating cakes. You go look at any processed food and there is a tremendous amount of sugar in these things. Things that it doesn’t even make sense for there to be sugar in like hamburger patties, they just load them up with sugar. Because, like you say we get that sweet tooth taste that we always wanted. It just blows my mind how prevalent sugar is and how that completely affects us.
Betsy: It’s a great marketing tool, right? If you buy a burger patty and it is sweet and you’re subconsciously, you’re not realizing that I like this because it’s sweet. You are just like oh I really like this patty. Well it’s probably because it’s sweet and you’re getting some sugar from it and you are going to go buy it again. Yeah, you’re right.
Anne: We have actually have a question that has come in from Twitter but first I want to tell you that I guess it won’t really count because it’s not really a vegetable, but one of my favorite sweet things when I’m really craving sugar, it’s a fruit. So, I’d really love to have you tell me why this is not as good as a sweet vegetable, but I love taking organic dates and pitting them and then drizzling a little bit of raw honey over them and sprinkling a little bit of cinnamon, and then warming them gently in my dehydrator and make it all warm and gooey. It tastes like baklava. It’s amazing. I just had to tell you that because that is my little special treat.
Betsy: That sounds so good.
Anne: But it’s not a vegetable. So am I right in thinking that because the sugar content of dates is so high that really that’s not as ideal a sweet treat as one of the sweet vegetables?
Betsy: You know, that is a good question too. I think that with sweet vegetables, it’s something that you can just incorporate into your munch. You’re not really thinking well I’m going to have my sweet treat now. You’re just like I’m going to have my bell pepper, or my squash, or my beets, or whatever it is. But, with dates that sounds so good. Now I’m hungry for dates with honey. Sure it has more sugar in it than say a bell pepper or a sweet potato. However, it’s a much, much better alternative to anything that is processed. So I wouldn’t tell you to stop doing that. Part of eating your way to happiness is also enjoying what you eat. So if I were to tell you, you need to stop eating your dates drizzled with honey, then you’re not going to like me very much. You may not want to stop eating your dates with honey. I wouldn’t tell you that, because if you are enjoying it, and the way you just described the food to me shows me that you are paying attention to what it is you eat. You put the honey on it. You put it in your dehydrator. It gets warm and gooey. So, you are really being mindful about what you are putting in your body, and you are making a connection to your food. It’s when we are out and about and we are running through a drive-thru because oh I need an ice cream cone because I have a taste for sugar in my mouth. You’re disconnecting yourself from the food and you’re not really paying attention to your body.
Anne: That makes sense.
Bryan: Yeah, it does make sense. It’s funny because even things that completely make sense on paper and are completely logical seem to be really difficult to do in real life sometimes. I find myself struggling with that all the time. We were brought up with the fast food and all this kind of stuff. We basically ate whatever we wanted. My wife’s upbringing was much more on the healthy side of things. She listens to her body. She eats good things. She would love to change me, but she doesn’t know how to that. Betsy has called in and she has a question similar to that. Betsy…
Anne: Betsy is our expert.
Bryan: I’m sorry. It’s Sandy. Sandy has called in. I got too many women here. I can’t keep them all straight. Sandy has called in and would like to talk to Betsy. Sandy, it’s yours.
Caller #2: Yes, so that’s sort of my question. If I’m making healthy decisions for myself, that’s one thing. But, how do I…Do you have any hints for convincing the rest of the family? For kind of doing an overhaul for changing the diet for the whole family especially if there are picky eaters in the house?
Betsy: How old are your picky eaters? Or is it your husband?
Caller #2: My pickiest eater is eight years old.
Betsy: Uh-huh. You know, that is a tough one. I am sure that you know that. With kids and picky eaters, think that it is a slow go. I think if you can take it one step at a time without making a big deal out of it. Just make healthier replacements into the diet. So I don’t know, what is a typical meal that your eight year old likes?
Caller #2: Well they like to snack when they get home from school on things that aren’t necessarily healthy like chips and muffins, chocolate muffins and things like that. We do have processed food in the house and I’d like to step away from that and start bringing in some healthier things. In trying to do that, those things, nobody wants to try them. Or they just look at them and say, “Oh I know I don’t like that even without taking a taste test.” So it would be great to be able to try and overhaul the whole family’s diet generally and maybe slowly introducing that type of thing in.
Betsy: I think what works really well is crowding out. The concept of not restricting yourself but crowding out the bad food, so starting to offer and having healthier options available. I know with infants if you think back to when your kids were babies and starting to eat food. There is a rule of having to introduce a food three to five times before an infant would actually start to accept it. I think with kids it is similar. If you bring out a new food and they’ve never seen it, their friends don’t eat it. It is a fresh food, fresh vegetable, whatever; they are going to have to be around it several times before maybe they are going to want to try it. It might be if they have a favorite…I think bringing things in slowly is a good thing. So, if they have a sweet tooth, having carrot sticks, boring right? But, having a sweet dip, like homemade caramel dip, OK, that’s going to have a lot of sugar in it, but maybe it’s going to be a step in the right direction to get your kids to eat carrots. Then you can cut back on the caramel dip and start adding more veggies along the way. Two, if you are the one buying the food for the household, just starting off slowly by buying less and less of the processed food that they gravitate to and having more and more things like nuts. Here’s another odd thing that I find that kids really like, instead of chips is baked seaweed, baked seaweed chips. You can get them at Whole Foods. There is a brand called Sea’s Gift. They make this roasted nori seaweed. It’s crunchy. It’s salty, but it’s not a potato chip. It’s full of all sorts of goodness from the sea. It’s full of great minerals from the sea, super healthy for kids, and crunchy and salty. It’s green. That could be weird, but then again kids are eating those blue go-gurt tube things. So, I don’t know.
Caller #2: You hit it on the head with the blue.
Bryan: That’s right. Depending on the kids, the seaweed chips maybe the selling point. That may be all that you have to say to them and they’ll just start downing those things.
Betsy: I think, too, if you start changing the way you’re cooking for your family, a neat thing you can do to allow your kids and your picky eaters to customize things is to give them condiments to choose from. Condiments such as the standard of ketchup and mustard, but also condiments like sesame seeds or tahini sauce, or powdered ginger, curry powder, seeds, parmesan cheese. So, if you are making a dish for everybody, you can make it without as many spices that are healthy and allow them to take these little flavorful things and conduct their own tests as to what they think tastes best with this chicken that you cooked. They can flavor it themselves and make it exciting and personalized and that might get them beyond the, “Oh this is healthy.” Into the, “Wow this is kind of fun.”
Caller #2: Those are great suggestions.
Anne: I’m wondering also, Sandy, you mentioned the chocolate muffins. Betsy I am wondering if one good strategy would be to take the things that they really like already and make homemade versions with them. Have them get involved with cooking them and then you are using organic ingredients or what have you. You can sort of make them more healthful just because there’s not going to be high fructose corn syrup and dyes with numbers in the name and things like that as a way of starting to get them involved. Also, because I know it’s fun just because kids like to cook. Even chips, because you know I have a son who’s twelve and he loves to experiment with making his own baked potato chips. You know what, they don’t always come out. Sometimes they do, but they are always a lot more healthful than a bag of chips.
Betsy: There you go.
Caller #2: That’s a great suggestion too. Thank you.
Betsy: You can take, on the note of making your own potato chips, you can take kale, the green, leafy vegetable kale, and rub that with…cut it up into strips or bite sized pieces, rub some olive oil on it and sprinkle some sea salt. Put it in the oven and bake that and you’ll have a nice crispy chip. I have a recipe for that on my website which is www.forkintheroadwellness.com. There is a recipe on there for that that you can check out. Another thing getting back to the top three things that you had asked about, Anne, drinking water is a really great thing and I would recommend that whenever you have a craving, back to Rob’s question about eating mindlessly at work, whenever you feel like you are reaching for something, you are not actually hungry but you just want something in your mouth, try drinking water. Because, oftentimes, we are dehydrated, Americans are typically chronically dehydrated. So, when your children get home from school, give them a glass of water. Drink this before you eat anything, because the hunger that they might be feeling may be that they are thirsty. Thirst actually shows itself as hunger pangs. That’s what it feels like when you are dehydrated. So, you think that you are hungry, but you are actually thirsty. So that is something else to do to get liquids into them and get them nourished through water.
Bryan: Alright, well thanks for calling, Sandy, we appreciate it. We will talk to you later.
Caller #2: Alright, bye.
Bryan: Well that was an interesting question, because like Sandy, my wife is really trying to get the entire family into eating healthy. It was interesting thinking about getting the kids involved, because all yesterday from like one o’clock until eight o’clock my wife and my six year old daughter were in the kitchen cooking. They were just trying recipes. Of course, my wife is doing everything really healthy, but my six year old loved it. She was just so into it. They were just looking for new ways to make things healthy and at the end of the day we had this incredible dinner of about eight different dishes, but they were all really healthy, really good for you things. She loved it. She loved every minute of it. You definitely can, I guess, get your kids involved, you just have to find a way that interests them and then kind of let them go.
Betsy: Yeah, and that leads into my third tip which was practicing cooking. I say that because it’s a kind of a lost art form in our households it seems. With the busy-ness of parents working two jobs, or one parent working full time and the other parent is home all day with the children, that cooking just kind of takes a back seat. Practicing cooking allows you to reconnect with your food, to see where it comes from, to experience community especially. As you said, Bryan, when you get your kids involved, it also allows you to be creative. I think oftentimes, kids are encouraged to do art when they are in elementary school and a little bit through middle school. But, at some point in middle school or high school kids stop doing artwork, typically because their peers said, “Your drawing looks horrible.” So they get discouraged and they don’t pursue it. Kids lose a lot of creative outlets as they get older and practicing cooking, and bringing that back into the home on a regular basis allows adults and kids to get creative and try things out. Like I said with the condiments, it could be something as simple as that or it could be like your family did, cooking eight different healthy things and seeing how it turned out. Or, the baked potato chips and seeing what that experiment leads to, I think that definitely leads to happiness.
Bryan: Well it certainly did yesterday. It was an enjoyable time for my wife and daughter. Let’s say hello to Evan, who is on the line and has a question for you, Betsy. Hi, Evan.
Caller #3: Hello. Hi, Betsy. I had a question about a suggestion that you made earlier, and it really just kind of ties into the basic theme of the show, which is eating your way to happiness…so if you are going to eat your way to happiness, presumably that means that it is idiosyncratic to the individual. Each person kind of has their own regiment that is going to make them happy, so that kind of conflicts with what I have always been told about your dietary needs. That there is a fact to the matter about what is healthy to eat, about what everybody should eat. So to what degree are people really that variable? Does one person need to eat that much different from another person to attain happiness? How much do people’s diets need to vary I guess is my basic question. Does that make sense?
Betsy: Yeah. I see what you are saying. The USDA certainly puts out minimum guidelines for vitamins and nutrients we should be eating, but those are certainly minimum. Those were developed so that you don’t develop scurvy or rickets or those diseases that are based on not getting enough vitamin C or not getting enough vitamin D. Beyond that from our government there is a lot of flexibility and a lot of room for growth. I think what is important in making your diet individual to your own body type and your own personal taste is that you are different. A lot of it can be related to your upbringing and your ancestral lineage. For example, people whose ancestors lived in Europe where they drank a lot of milk would be able to tolerate milk drinking today, if you are from a family of European descent, then milk may be something that you may be able to handle. But, if you are of African descent, where not many people have herds of cattle, it is not as prevalent as it is in Europe, then you may be lactose intolerant. So that speaks to some differences in people’s ability to handle various foods. Some people are just predispositioned to handle certain foods well and others not. In terms of minimum nutrients, there is a scientific basis for how many calories are appropriate for people to eat each day, 1500 to 2000 is what the USDA goes on. That’s a guideline, but to take it a step further and personalize it for you just gives you the ability to make it more fun and make it your own. You are going to be eating your whole life for eighty years, so enjoy it. That’s kind of my thought on that is find what you like and find what makes your body healthy and enjoy it. Know too that that can change over time. One way of eating might work for you for several years and then you might find that you might need to add a certain food group more heavily back into your diet, or just change it as time goes on. Because, we are dynamic people and our bodies are changing and going through cycles. Did that answer your question?
Caller #3: Yeah, that was great. I didn’t realize people were quite that different really.
Bryan: Well, thanks for calling, Evan, we appreciate it.
Caller #3: You bet.
Bryan: Unfortunately, I am not apparently blessed with the body type that requires pizza and chocolate chip cookies all the time. So I’ve got to figure out what my body type requires, but I know it’s not that. I’m doing the process of elimination. We are checking to see what doesn’t work and then whatever remains is good for me. Hey, give us a call we’ve got Betsy for fifteen more minutes.
Anne: I’m thinking that we should test to see if our body type is the type that needs some of that yummy sounding lasagna that our caller Rob was making.
Bryan: I don’t think it’s quite fair to tell somebody what you are making and not share it with the hosts. That’s just rude. We’ve got Betsy for about fifteen more minutes. So if you want to give us a call do that at 877-NYKRADIO, that’s Now You Know Radio. 8776957234. Anne, I get giddy when this happens, but I understand we have a tweet.
Anne: We’ve been tweeted. Again, you can tweet us your questions @nowyouknowradio on Twitter. The question we got from the Twitter sphere if you will is, Betsy, do you think that vegans and vegetarians can get all of the nutrition they need and what are your recommendations for them?
Betsy: That is a tough one. I think that I like to look at traditional people’s diets. What traditional people ate, before the westernization and the industrialization of the world, there are some studies that have been done back in the 1930’s where people have gone to indigenous cultures across the globe to find who the healthiest people are in the world. What was found is that the people who had the most robust health exhibited characteristics of really healthy teeth, no dental cavities, no crooked teeth, and enough room for their teeth…
Anne: You are talking about Winston Price!
Betsy: I am talking about Winston Price. You know him?
Anne: Well no personally, but I’ve read, yes. It’s amazing.
Betsy: Right, and so he’s a dentist who in the 30’s traveled around the world because he was curious why his patients here in America were having all this disease of their teeth, and he wondered what does good health look like? So these traditional populations that he found all had many things in common. They all ate some form of animal foods. They ate a diet that was really high in vitamins A and D, which are fat soluble vitamins that you get from animal products. Obviously, they didn’t consume refined ingredients. They didn’t have high fructose corn syrup, white flour, pasteurized milk, skim milk, vegetable oil, synthetic vitamins, or anything like that. They also cultured their food, which means that they fermented their foods to make them keep longer. When you do that, when you ferment with something called Lactose Bacillus bacteria, then that adds lactic acid to foods and it preserves it. It also gives you, when you eat it, such as sauerkraut, which is a traditional fermented food, not made with vinegar like it is today in industrialization of the product, you get all sorts of great probiotics and enzymes into your diet as well. So, those were the characteristics of traditional diets. He didn’t find any cultures that were vegan or vegetarian. They did eat some animal products, whether some people would maybe eat less meat but they would get seafood, that kind of thing. I definitely respect people that are vegan or vegetarian. I know being an attempted vegetarian; it is a lot of work to be mindful in that way of what you are eating. You really have to be careful when you are a vegan of getting all of your nutrients. I think it takes the right mind set to do it. You just have to be really careful. Vitamin B12 from what I’ve read you cannot get from plant sources…Or I’m sorry your body doesn’t use it as efficiently when it is from plant sources. B12 is a vitamin that is really easy to assimilate from animal sources. That’s kind of my caution for vegans and vegetarians is that you just have to be really careful about what you are eating and make sure you are getting all of the nutrients. Check in with your body are you feeling well on it. I was, speaking personally; I was a vegetarian for ethical reasons not for health reasons that was my reasoning. So what I was putting in my body was not good food. It was not animal products. I did eat fish and eggs, but it was just not healthy food. So if you are thinking about being a vegan or a vegetarian lifestyle, you need to check in periodically with yourself and say, “Am I feeling well? Am I feeling healthy? Do I have energy?” See how that goes. Oftentimes, when people do a raw foods diet or a vegan diet for cleansing they feel really, really great. But, then if their bodies aren’t really suited for that diet, they can’t sustain it. They just don’t really feel energized from it. I think that is a big part of it, just looking at do you feel healthy. I don’t mean to…I keep talking about raw foods. I love raw foods, Anne; I am not knocking it at all. I think it’s wonderful, but I think that those are the questions that you need to ask in addition to, “Can I get all of my nutrients? Am I able to get all of my nutrients from it?” making sure that you do feel healthy.
Anne: I actually wanted to say, I don’t know if you know about this product, being that you’re also in Boulder it is something available here, there is a company called Rejuvenate and they put out a raw, properly fermented sauerkraut that actually is fermented the old-fashioned way with the good bacteria. They also have a sea vegetable (?) that is done the same way and I’ve been eating that and it is wonderful. I just wanted to let you know about that in case you didn’t, because that is very exciting to find that kind of sauerkraut properly fermented. We have a question from the chat room. That question is from Karen and she wants to know sort of a clarification. So basically your philosophy for nutrition is stop and pay attention to your body and eat less junk.
Anne: Would you say that kind of sums it up? At least part of your philosophy.
Betsy: That sums it up, yeah. Pay attention, eat less junk, drink more water, and increase sweet vegetables and leafy green vegetables. Also pay attention to your lifestyle. Find relationships that nurture and support you. Find physical activity that you enjoy and love. Find work that you enjoy or at least figure out a way to enjoy the work that you are already doing, and developing some sort of spiritual practice that feeds your soul. So I would add those to it, but yeah, good summary.
Bryan: Hey, let me ask this, because in many things Anne and I are just diametrically opposed in our environments, and I grew up on Whataburger and McDonalds. This is what my parents gave me to eat. When you talk about the raw food diet, I am thinking about sitting down with steak tartar and eating that and I know that is not what you guys are talking about. So is that just not using processed foods and that kind of thing? You can still cook your carrots; you don’t have to eat them raw. Tell me exactly what the raw diet is.
Betsy: Anne, I’ll defer to you.
Anne: OK. Well see that’s actually why I started my raw food website which is adventuresinrawfood.com, because when I was looking into start investigating going raw or more raw, what I found on the Internet was actually pretty militant and, Bryan, it really was don’t cook anything. Your carrots are completely raw. All of your food is raw. Most raw food people are vegetarian or vegan. There are some people that do eat meat and they eat it raw. My philosophy was that however much more toward the path of less processed food I could go and I could bring my family the better. I felt that it wasn’t necessary to be 100 percent raw which is what many of these militant raw websites made you feel. So my definition of raw food is less or least processed food. Really raw food is a misnomer in itself because the vast majority of people that are even 100 percent raw, you actually do heat your food at times, but the philosophy is that as long as you don’t heat it above 115 degrees, some people say 110, you are not killing the really healthy nutrients that are in there. You gently warm it. That’s really the concept is that your food is not processed above 110 or 115 degrees and my philosophy is just eating more less processed food.
Bryan: OK. Well that’s I think what our family is trying to do is the less processed diet. Maybe over time you move more towards the raw diet. I don’t know. Right now day to day we are just looking for ways to try to cut out as much processed food as possible from our diet. I have to think that it at least a good step even if it’s not as quite a big step as the raw diet is.
Betsy: Right. You know, traditional peoples often consumed some of their food in the raw form: raw meat, raw fish, raw milk, and raw dairy products.
Bryan: My wife’s about to start doing that raw dairy stuff. I tasted… we went to a farm a couple of weeks ago with a home school field trip. I got to milk a goat for the first time and for the only time.
Bryan: Yeah it was very exciting. It was actually pretty embarrassing. I went up to the goat. I was one of the first ones. The guy told me where to hold and squeeze and I started doing it and the guy said, “Well wow you’re doing great.” I turned around to this group of home school moms, and I say with a smirk, “Yeah, I know what I’m doing.” I tell you their faces, you would have thought that it was the worst thing I could have said in my life in front of all these kids and it was just very embarrassing. But, I do know how to milk a goat. I tasted the goat’s milk. I didn’t like it. I think if it’s raw milk, it’s something I’ll have to get used to, because it does taste very different than the pasteurized skim milk that I grew up on.
Betsy: Definitely. It’s really good for you. It contains lactase, which is an enzyme that helps you digest lactose. When you pasteurize milk you lose that. You lose the enzymes. Those are killed off. You just have the lactose and maybe a little of the lactase in pasteurized milk. But, in raw milk you’ve got the lactase in there. It’s good for people that are somewhat lactose intolerant or don’t do so well with lactose. If they start drinking raw milk they can handle it and tolerate it.
Anne: Betsy, we only have a couple more minutes and I know that we have one more caller that wants to talk to you and so I am going to defer to Bryan to bring that caller on if he’s ready.
Betsy: Can I just mention one more thing?
Anne: I was just going to say do you have anything that you would like to get out there.
Betsy: Perfect. I do. I wanted to say that…we talk about so many things and so many great tips for you to improve your diet and lifestyle, but what I provide in my counseling practice is support, the ongoing support to help you reach those goals. You go to training classes. You learn a few things. You put your notes in a notebook on the shelf and you forget about it. So, that is something that I offer to folks, is support. I do offer a free initial consultation if you’d like to learn more about my practice. I’ve got openings for individual clients beginning in September. If you are local in the Boulder area, I have a local group program that is starting in September as well. So, if you visit my website forkintheroadwellness.com you can find information about that.
Anne: That sounds awesome. We will have a link up on our site to your site. Very, very quickly, can we bring in this last caller? We only have literally a minute and ten seconds.
Bryan: OK. Jessica, we don’t have much time but you wanted to ask her a question about urban agriculture.
Caller #4: Yes, here in California, it’s a spreading trend. Me, I’m a thirteen year vegetarian, mostly raw food as is my fiancé. It’s something that we seriously considered keeping our own chickens and having our own chickens and having happy eggs. It’s something that really growing here in California. I’m just wondering if you are seeing it as a trend in Colorado.
Betsy: Definitely. Definitely. I just met a woman who keeps chickens in her backyard down the street from me and we can’t do it here, but I want to do a co-op with her so we can do it together. But definitely, urban agriculture. (inaudible)
Bryan: Well we want to thank everybody for calling in. Thank you, Becky, so much for being with us today, really eye opening stuff and interesting things to learn about with listening to your body and being healthy. We’ll put up all your links on our show notes page. Join us next week for another Now You Know.
Betsy: Thank you. I enjoyed it. It was a pleasure being on.
Anne: Thank you, Betsy. It’s been wonderful.
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