How To Embrace A Gluten-Free, Paleo Lifestyle

How can people at home adapt what you’ve learned—what are your tips?

I think there’s lots of easy recipes on my website that can be made in half an hour. If you look at the Goji powerbars, they’re just great for athletes—they have a lot of protein and fiber and good fats and not a lot of sugar that’s going to leave you hungover. You can throw those together in 15 minutes, bake them in the oven and put them in the refrigerator to eat all week. And the chocolate chip cookies on my website—I think they have six ingredients. After I put the kids to bed, I make those and it takes 10 minutes. Then I just wash the bowls while the cookies are in the oven and I’m done. That’s a half-hour project—tops.

If you’re going to eat good food, you’re going to have to spend some time choosing your food and touching it and making it. It’s a discipline and time commitment just like working out is. And, instead of spending that hour or two on the couch at night watching television, you can make good food. It’s just a matter of making choices of how you use your time. But, I love cooking and I love working out so it’s easy for me.

What do you do to stay fit?

If I could, I’d work out two hours a day. Unfortunately, I only work out for one hour a day. I lift weights three times a week—I do functional fitness, and I walk a lot. I’ll walk five miles in one day if I’m not lifting weights at the gym. I hike a lot, too.

I noticed that some of your recipes use agave. Some are opposed to agave, but some think it’s a great alternative sweetener. Where do you stand?

I think sugar is sugar. It doesn’t matter what form it’s in. I’m not using white sugar. I just do better on a low-sugar diet. I try to fruit sweeten things but I find that my friends and family don’t really want to eat that. Think about sweetening things with apple sauce: It’s not really that sweet to begin with and then you’re going to dilute it with almond flour, coconut oil and all of that. You’re going to have something that’s not much sweeter than a carrot, and you’re going to call that dessert? It’s funny—I get people complaining about agave and sugar but I can’t really get people to eat super duper healthy things that are totally sugar-free. So I just try to strike a balance. And whatever sweetener I use, I’ll use a lot less of it. If there’s a cup of sugar in the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, I’ll put ¼ cup in mine. So I used less processed sugar and I use a lot less sweetener in general because I don’t need things to be as sweet.

What’s your favorite thing to make at home for your family?

Cookies. The chocolate chip cookies; I love making them and I love eating them.

I used to make the Toll House cookies every day after school in junior high and high school and I just started playing with almond flour and going for a particular taste that I wanted that wasn’t as sweet. I don’t have any tricks or substitutions or conversions; I just keep making a recipe until it tastes like I want. And sometimes it’ll take 50 times. If I’m going to make bread and I’m going to change baking soda from a ½ teaspoon to a ¼ teaspoon, I’m going to make a whole other loaf of bread.

Do you use any soy products?

I don’t use soy ever. I can’t digest soy; it’s not Paleo.

But chocolate’s not a Paleo-approved ingredient either, right?

Chocolate’s not Paleo, but a lot of people use that as their cheat on Paleo. I can digest chocolate; I can’t digest soy. I’d rather have an almond than a piece of tofu.

What other nuts do you use?

I’ll eat a little bit of peanut. I do a little bit of pistachio.

Do you have any other techniques or DIY domestic projects?

I make my own household cleaners. It’s expensive to buy all that other stuff and it has chemicals, so I don’t want that. I use some peroxide and throw in some essential oils; I just concoct little thing like that.

Any other quirks you’d like to reveal?

I’ve been doing this since 1993, so almost 20 years. It’s funny, friends come over and ask what all the glass jars are for on my counter. I say I don’t want to store things in plastic, so I store them in glass. And I explain to them it’s cheaper, it’s prettier, and it’s healthier—not letting endocrine-disrupting plastic touching your food.

Also, when I use herbs, I use the entire herb. I don’t pick the cilantro and parsley off the stem. Herbs are super foods, and they have so many nutrients so I don’t want to throw any of that away.

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