Jenni Calihan is the founder of Eat the Butter, an organization dedicated to starting a mother-to-mother conversation about diet and health. Through her online and in-person outreach efforts, she advises mothers to get back-to-basics when feeding our families and advocates for real-food-more-fat eating, or ‘vintage eating.’ Eat the Butter is a non-profit with no commercial interests. Through it, Calihan writes, tweets, posts, and lectures. She hopes to ignite a grassroots movement away from the “low-fat, healthy whole grain” paradigm and toward real, full-fat food. Jenni has a book, Own Dinner, coming out in early 2018 with co-author Adele Hite.
2.5 minute animated short (to introduce the idea of real-food-more-fat to the uninitiated): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE_Ht576bN8Grocery
shopping video: https://youtu.be/tyHlO7jUqC0TEDx
“Take Back Your Plate”: https://youtu.be/nl3KjyZcgT8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/eatthebutterorgFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/eatthebutter
Welcome everyone to this episode of Keto Chat. I am your host Carole Freeman. I’m a certified nutritionist and creator of the Fast-Track to Keto Success Program. I am so excited today to be here with Jenni Calihan of eatthebutter.org, and she’s bringing us vintage heating for vibrant health and oh my gosh, we have so much to talk about and this is just going to be a fun discussion. Jenni will you just tell us who you are?
Jenni Calihan: Yeah. I mean first and foremost, I guess I’m a mom. I’ve got four kids. Two are still come with me, two are now in college or beyond. I spent a lot of time cooking dinner and feeding my family. Then on top of that, I am interested in spreading the word about what I call a real food, more fat eating. I have just seen too many times how the low fat diet and the low fat dietary paradigm has failed so many people and continues to cause so much struggle in actually probably most Americans lives right now. I do what I can as one person to spread the word through blogging and speaking. I do some civic outreach to trying to get the conversation going and get more people interested in changing the way they eat.
Carole Freeman: I love the simplicity of real food more fat. Everybody’s out there arguing about which way is the best and all that. I know from looking over your website, you’re promoting there’s not one perfect diet for everybody, depends on your goals and health issues and things like that, and just the simplicity of eat real food more fat. That’s what it all boils down to, right?
Jenni Calihan: Yeah I think and it’s interesting. I often think the science really we don’t know a lot. We don’t know exactly why people are getting diabetes. I think all of us in the low-carb community have strong opinions, but well it’s all getting resolved. What we do know is things used to work a lot like back in the 20s say before we started eating so many fake fat products and before we started really emphasizing carbohydrates as the key energy source and demonizing fat. Until we figure it out, why don’t we just go back and just see closer to that?
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well, so how did you get interested in all this? What’s your back story?
Jenni Calihan: Yeah. Well, I have a fancy education, human biology degree from Stanford and then I went on to get my MBA at an Ivy League School and was thinking I would love a pretty corporate big c-suite kind of life eventually. It just didn’t turn out that way for me. I ended up getting married and having kids and deciding to stay home with them. While I was home with my four children, my youngest started vomiting all the time. We call him yak and come back because he would throw up and then he would just like go back to eating as if nothing had happened.
Carole Freeman: Oh and how old was he when this started happening?
Jenni Calihan: He was about one.
Carole Freeman: Okay, okay.
Jenni Calihan: Yeah. In retrospect, it was soon after I had started giving him supplementing breast milk because I had nursed for so long. Anyway, so he’s throwing up all the time, and I am just like in deal with it mode. I’ve got three other small children too, and I’m just cleaning up the mess, and I’m thinking about installing a garbage disposal in my laundry sink, right? These are my problem-solving thoughts, so I’m totally about managing the problem. Then I was out at dinner with my mother and there was like this really clean stranger next to me. She watched Jack like just lose it all over the table, and so I start like asking for rags and cleaning up.
This woman, she’s like, “I think your kid is allergic to milk,” which was I did not want to hear this stranger giving me her quick thoughts on what was going on. When I thought about it later, I realized that I hadn’t really thought about that possibility and even though I talked to my pediatrician, even though I had this messy problem, I couldn’t step back and see the obvious well like let’s look at what you’re eating. Long story short, we pulled a bunch of allergens that are common out of Jack’s diet. He stopped throwing up the next day and this was almost a year into the daily about vomitus. I had had a long time to have this revelation, but it just hadn’t happened because I was so busy managing the problem.
I think that’s what’s happened to our healthcare system. Our doctors are so busy managing diabetes, heart disease. These chronic diseases are complicated and time-consuming and expensive. We can’t even step back and try to stop them. Whenever you hear the healthcare debate that’s been going on in the last several months, it’s all about there’s no like oh my gosh why are we all so sick. It’s just like well how are we going to keep paying for this crazy amount of illness that seems to be just part of life now. It just hasn’t been part of life in that way for a long time. Even if you just go back to 1970, people were much, much lower rates, even age adjusted rates of chronic disease.
I want to help everyone have that aha moment, like let’s try something different. We don’t have to live with all this illness.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, yeah, it’s so true. I mean I think back to my own childhood and it was the rare that I’ll just a blunt term like the one fat kid in the whole word. Whereas now, it’s like more than half of the school kids and you’ve got the deniers out there just say, “Well we’re not really fatter than we were. It’s just the way that they calculate it now.” Really it’s really a stark contrast and things have changed.
Jenni Calihan: Well and I have a mother who she had me when she was 40, so she’s a lot older than me. She grew up in the 40s. When I think about her and her friends when I was a kid, there was very little obesity. There was a lot of pudge, like a lot of people who were plump, but really someone who is 50 pounds overweight, not very common at all. No, these people like my mom with no more exercise than she would. She was completely sedentary except for the occasional round of golf where she would walk the course. That was her exercise. I think about in my social circles, people work out like crazy, right?
Carole Freeman: Right, right.
Jenni Calihan: It’s normal in my world for people to work out at least an hour a day, like that’s just not even extreme. I marveled at how these suburban housewives in the 60s managed to maintain their weight with very little exercise and also they were drinking too. They weren’t going to their kids soccer game, they were going to a cocktail party. How is this possible that they were able to do what my generation of women, there’s a whole world of struggle? I’m over 50. It’s amazing how many women over 50 have a huge struggle with their weight. It’s more common than not as you know.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well and you’re speaking to the whole advice we’ve been giving people for the last I don’t know like at least 30 years to say well you just need to exercise more and eat less and you’ve got plenty of proponents out there that just say like well the reason we’re so overweight is yeah, we’re eating more, but it’s also because we’re so sedentary now. You’re so right, like my grandparents weren’t like working out every day and I had gym memberships and yoga studios and Pilates and all these other things, they weren’t. I remember too so when I was a young kid, my mom worked at a restaurant and so this would have been the late 70s.
I remember on the menu seeing a diet plate and it boggled my mind as to what this was for, but it was a plain hamburger patty, cottage cheese, sliced tomatoes, and maybe something else I don’t remember now. I just thought that that was odd that like well why is that a diet plate, it looks like it’s plenty of calories or something and all concepts that I didn’t really even know much about at that time. Even then that far ago, you could go to a restaurant and order a diet plate, and it was this low-carb approach that like you said in your TEDx talk that this was just common knowledge back then, is you cut out the white carbs and starches and that’s how you lost weight.
Jenni Calihan: Right, and very little attention given to cutting out fat or cutting back on fat. It’s not like everyone was on a ketogenic diet by any means, but that wasn’t what you watched. Even though fat has a lot of calories, it wasn’t what you limited when you wanted to lose weight. You limited sugar and starch. Somehow because of the concerns about heart disease, we’ve managed to completely forget that as soon as saturated fat was linked to increase cholesterol and not link to increase levels of heart disease. There was almost like this brainwashing and forgetting of what many people know. Actually online I’ve seen quite a few articles about the Queen Elizabeth who is about the same age as my mom, and like that whole generation of women, she’s still a low-carber. She doesn’t eat very many.
I’m sure she has some, but that’s what she limits.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well and at that time because people were metabolically more healthy, they didn’t need to go to the extremes that we have to go to today, right? A ketogenic diet wasn’t even necessary back then because it was just some tuning up here and there that they did.
Jenni Calihan: Well right. Yeah, I think of ketogenic as like the therapeutic version real food more fat, right?
Carole Freeman: Right, right.
Jenni Calihan: There’s so many different reasons, whether it’s losing a lot of weight or managing diabetes or maybe it’s even cancer prevention, whatever, you might need to be super strict. I think almost everyone could benefit from making at least a bit of a switch to more fat, and that’s what we’re seeing in studies like pure. They’re not looking at really high fat diets in that study, but they’re showing that the closer you get to a balanced diet with ample fat, the healthier you are.
Carole Freeman: Well, so how did you go from okay you discovered your son was likely sensitive or allergic to milk and that fixed his chronic vomiting, how did you go from there to promoting real food more fat?
Jenni Calihan: Very slowly. I was really busy with four little kids. Over time, I went through this whole food stage, that’s what I call it, where I was buying quinoa, pasta, and all those crazy gluten-free products that were still like cookies because that was my instinct was okay if I need to give up all these foods, then I need to start buying all these specialty products. I did that for a long time and then I gradually started thinking well does that really make sense, like other than the people in Peru who eat quinoa, why do we suddenly need quinoa in America. That is weird. I gradually just realizing that well first of all my kids’ allergies subsided, and they were able to tolerate normal amounts of dairy, although I never went back to cereal and milk or anything like that for breakfast.
I just started transitioning to eating like basic real food, fit with the slow food movement or the farmers farm-to-table movement. I started trending more in that direction and eating more fat. I noticed that for myself I was so much less hungry. I had spent my life just to maintain my weight, I’ve never struggled with my weight, but to maintain a normal weight, I had to really often be hungry. I also was working out a lot, and I just decided I’m feeling like eating a little more fat is helping with that and so I started doing even a little more. Then I started reading like Gary Taubes and even I remember reading the vegetarian myths because many women in my community were becoming vegetarian today.
I read that book, and she talked in that book about the myth of saturated fat causing heart disease and that was probably the first place I read it was in her book. I started reading more and more and just got more and more interested in how we got to where we are. Nina Teicholz book was excellent too. I mean there have been so many people who’ve inspired me. I found the Omnivore’s Dilemma, even though I don’t agree with everything Michael Pollan says, he had such a fresh approach, and it was so interesting to start thinking about food the way he presented it in that book.
Piling that all together as my kids moved on to high school, and I had a little more time to become active, I decided that rather than volunteering for the United Way or something like that, that I wanted to really see what I could do to help share this real food more fat message.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, yeah. What did that look like in the beginning?
Jenni Calihan: Well, I guess I spoke a couple times locally just to some other moms, which was a bit of a stretch for me because I’m not like a big public speaker but I’ve gotten better at it.
Carole Freeman: Well, what is their initial reception when you were talking about something that was probably making their head spin like …
Jenni Calihan: Yeah. It makes intuitive sense to them, but I think there’s still that concern that you’re going to have a heart attack if you eat too much butter and so overcoming that I think especially with mothers, they might be willing to experiment on themselves but experiment on their children, probably not. Overcoming that fear of fat and the more science that comes out to help us do that, the better. I think, for example, that work that came out on … I don’t know if you’ll ever listen to podcasts but Malcolm Gladwell’s popular podcast Revolutionists History.
He just did a piece on the varied studies that were really well-done in the 60s and 70s that compared eating butter to corn oil, and showed that the people eating the butter actually lived longer and had fewer heart events. Like that kind of varied work that is being resurrected and now because of that podcast, more everyday people are going to hear about that. I mean I think that is what is going to make people more open to hearing what I have to say and I also think that hearing me speak might help them actually be more open to hearing what someone else has to say in three years. I think it’s just contrary enough. It might be something you have to hear ten times before you’re able to really hear it.
I think that’s part of the challenge to the low carb community and the paleo community, all the alternative to real food communities. We have to just keep talking because people at first aren’t going to be able to hear us, right? Even if it makes intuitive sense, they’re going to be afraid because of the science and then you have the American Heart Association just digging in their heels this summer and coming out with that new advisory saying oh no, we aren’t kidding, saturated fat really is bad for you and then backing it up with just nonsense if you take the time to read the details. Most people don’t read the details, they read the headline. It’s one step forward, one step back, and so it goes.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. It’s like the day and age of our current social media is like the worst game of telephone ever, right? Because it’s like you take the soundbite and then everybody goes yep, I agree with that and then they share it to their 300 or a 1000 friends and then everybody goes yeah, I saw that article. It’s like the headline that somebody posted about it, you didn’t actually read it or …
Jenni Calihan: Right, right. Science is so intimidating. I mean I had a science background, so like I can read a study and it’s not a big deal. For a lot of people, not only is it intimidating, it’s boring and the languages it’s like a legal document if you’re not used to that. It’s a jargonistic complicated thing. When I share articles, I tend to share on my blog or on Facebook and Twitter, I tend to share news articles more than the actual studies, just because that’s what people can read more easily that summary that the journalist creates. Even if it isn’t perfect, it’s going to be more accessible to the average person who isn’t making this part of their daily life.
I think we have a communication problem because it’s very technical. The amount of science you need to understand, to understand the question of whether even like cholesterol actually has any linked to heart disease, like that’s a complicated question in and of itself and so how do we communicate a pretty complicated matter in a soundbite that someone is going to share on Facebook. Really hard.
Carole Freeman: Yes, yeah, so true, so true. I wonder like what is your underlying, like what’s your underlying passion, why is this so important of a mission and passion, why are you so passionate about getting the word out and helping people learn the truth of how they can really be healthy.
Jenni Calihan: I think well part of it is just as a former businessperson, like the money question, how is the United States as a nation going to survive if they don’t have a dramatic decrease in chronic disease. I mean the rates have been increasing. It just gets more and more expensive and yes, we’re getting better at keeping people comfortable and extending life, but that costs a lot of money. The more sophisticated the treatment, the more money, the new diabetes drugs, ridiculous,. They might be a little bit better insulin in terms of outcomes, but who can afford that, can we as a nation afford to have half of our population pre-diabetic, which we do right now on the road to diabetes.
I’m really like concerned about our country in that regard, but also I think just as a mother and a woman like to see so many people struggling with their weight and then oh guess what blaming themselves because that’s the narrative, right? If you’re fat, it’s your fault, it’s because you eat too much or you don’t move enough, and you should have more willpower. Well, that is so convenient for the people who setup us up for this failure and it infuriates me. If you’re going to give people crappy advice and then blame them for their bad results, like that’s just beyond mean in my opinion. Although I don’t think it’s been intentional, like I’m not a conspiratorial thinker, it’s just so unfortunate.
What can we do to reach that 40-year-old mom who’s starting, her metabolism is slowing down, she’s put on 50 pounds and she’s pouring herself orange juice and Special K with skim milk for breakfast?
Carole Freeman: Yeah, or making a smoothie with lots of sugar and everything else. Yeah. Oh my gosh, I so agree with that, that that’s the population of people that I work with is these middle-aged women that they have more strength than tenacity and willpower than anyone who’s been thin their entire life, right?
Jenni Calihan: Right.
Carole Freeman: How much willpower does it take to start yup, one more diet, we’re going to feel hungry and tired and miserable the whole time, like that’s willpower.
Jenni Calihan: Yeah. I just think like the human suffering from being sick is huge, like the death and all the extra people suffering with type two diabetes, which has huge life affecting outcomes, right? Amputations, this is not a walk in the park. Not to mention their kids who have to then follow them around and take their wheelchair out of the trunk. There’s so much suffering from the illness, but also just being overweight in a culture obsessed with looking great on Instagram, it’s a bummer. The suffering and the self-blame that is going on not just with women but man and kids, it’s so sad.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, yeah. Well, so speaking of kids, I’ll transition a little bit, but I want to talk to you about as a mom I mean with four kids, let’s talk about this whole culture of sugar and treats and snacks, and how we show love and how we’re a good mom if we can provide all those things for our kids. I’m sure that was a transition for you to go from how you’re originally raising your kids as young. I don’t know I don’t even know the question I should ask about that, but what’s your thoughts on that? How about we’ll just start there?
Jenni Calihan: Well, I think like one thing that like it comes down to personality, and I’m pretty strong personality, but I decided I didn’t want to be like the freak mom who was sending in the gluten-free stuff if I didn’t have to be, right? Once I didn’t have an acute issue, I have tried to let my kids who are metabolically healthy make some of their own choices from the beginning. In our house where I’m in charge, the rules are a little different so one of the things we were strict about even before this was soda, like just no soda in the house, and the exception for that is if you’re having a birthday party, we’ll get some soda for you and your friends. No soda in the house.
Then when you’re out to dinner with me, if you want soda, then that’s your dessert. It’s your choice. I’m not going to say you can’t have one if we’re out of this nice meal, but then you won’t have dessert so choose. I think like for me teaching kids that soda is dessert is a life lesson that even if they drink a lot of soda when they’re 16 because they’re always away from me and they’re constantly at friends’ houses who have a pantry stocked with it, they’re just going to in their heads have learned that life lesson that soda is dessert. With carbs in general, I run I would say a moderate low carb kitchen in my house, not keto.
When I’m eating my bunless hamburger with a big salad and avocado and cheese or whatever delicious toppings that are real food that I’m putting on it, there’s a frozen bun in the freezer, white hamburger bun from Giant Eagle, the supermarket. Nothing, it’s not whole-grain. It’s cheap and it’s quick and if you want that to put on your hamburger to make it more fun for you, how about your bad self. That is attitude in our house. I find that the girls tend to be more worried about their weight and they’re also probably following my lead more. They don’t usually have fun with their hamburger. The boys, I have a couple of football playing trying to weigh 250-pound boys, so they will often have bun.
When they go back for the second burger, they’ll often not. They are making their own decisions and I keep the house full of healthy options and then there are things that I would never eat like that hamburger bun available to them if they make that choice. I think if I had a kid who was struggling with weight or prediabetes markers, I might handle things differently. I might not have that hamburger bun in the freezer. I don’t know. I don’t know, but that’s been how I navigate it. I also think that part of what is going on is we’re teaching our kids to eat in a way that actually works for most of them when they’re 15 or 17, right? The cereal for breakfast, lots of juice, have a Gatorade, honey, worked out for an hour, God forbid, you got dehydrated.
That actually works when you’re 16 and you’re playing soccer every day, but it sets you for failure when you’re 30 and your wife has a baby and suddenly you have no time to go to the gym and your metabolism is changing too. It doesn’t work anymore, and so we end up seeing just this March of young adults moving from lean to obese between 20 and 40, which is painful for mothers I think to realize that they’ve taught their kids inadvertently to eat in this way that it’s going to make them obese and diabetic as they get older. It’s what we’re being told to do, so it’s hard.
It’s a really tough problem and I think the more we can just get back to basics and real whole food and teach kids that, the more they’ll be equipped to deal with what happens when their metabolism starts slowing down or their activity levels drop as they become older.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well, and a lot of parents have the perspective of like well they’re young, and they can get away with it now, so let’s just give them whatever they want right now and then later, later we’ll fix that or later if they’ve got, we’ll fix it. The truth is it’s really setting the stage, like these things we’re talking about these chronic disease takes decades to develop.
What they are eating in their teenage years I think is even more important because if they eat well and like you’re modeling as well as like mostly health food whole foods and occasionally this or that other thing refined thing, that maintains that metabolic health and that flexibility that then your kids likely when they’re adults, they’re probably not going to have the problems that most of America is having because they’ve mostly eaten healthfully, is they’ve set the stage for lifelong good health that way.
Jenni Calihan: Right. When they start to struggle, they’re not going to think oh I should buy nonfat milk instead of 2%. You know what I mean? Because they’re going to look back and say, “Oh God, my crazy mother who was putting butter in her coffee, like maybe I should try that.” I agree with you, like the culture of sugar for children in America is depressing and it’s daunting. It’s hard to eat. I mean you can do it, we go out all the time. We eat at fast food restaurants. It’s possible, but you have to buck the trend to not be getting a ton of carbs and a ton of sugar every single day and it makes you a Grinch if you are grossed out by the cupcakes that the other mom brought to kindergarten.
I think some of that has gotten better I’ve noticed over my time. I think the kindergarten teachers are starting to say, “Please don’t bring in cupcakes, like it’s always somebody’s birthday, we just can’t have that all the time.” Still the culture of what is normal and healthy and you’ll see like the Children’s Hospital having pizza and soda night to raise money for some run. It’s like there’s no connection between the crappy food we’re eating and the illness that were seeing, which is unfortunate.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well, I got a really good question from somebody at Keto Con recently here in Austin Texas. Not here, I don’t live there, there Austin Texas. After I spoke, one of the moms came up to me and she says that, “I’ve made a big paradigm shift in my own health, like I’ve really realized how toxic and bad “sugar” is for me, and so I’ve completely changed the way that I’m eating. I don’t eat that stuff anymore.” She follows low carb ketogenic way of eating, but she says, “What I struggle with is that she’s got …” I think she had four kids too and she says, “I struggle with like how do I now tell them what they can and can’t have because up to this point, it was all legal and now that I’m making it off bounds for me.”
She said it was a struggle for her that she could actually have in the house and it made her really want to eat it. She struggled with okay so if I say like you’re not allowed to have this in the house, but then they take their allowance and go down to the convenience store and do I let them eat it in their room, do I say they can’t bring it in the house. She says I don’t know how to balance this, I feel like I’m making them closet secret binge eaters. She was like, “What do you what do you think about?” I thought what’s really complex topic, so I thought I’d pose that to you and see what your thoughts are.
Jenni Calihan: Yeah. I’m hearing a couple things going on and there. One is that she’s worried about being too restrictive and causing our kids to be closet eaters and then the other like how do I maintain my regimen when I have to have all these cheat foods in the house to keep my kids happy. Taking the first one first, I think one of the reasons like that I don’t tell my kids you can never have soda, it’s the same instinct that I don’t want them to be hiding it and binging at friends’ houses. Allowing some amount has made sense to me for that reason, but it doesn’t mean you have to have Sunny D in your fridge. I think you have to distinguish between like creating a healthy food environment and becoming like the food crazy lady, right?
Everyone knows their kids better than I would know someone’s kid and also kids change over time and at different ages, they’re going to respond differently and can be reasoned with differently. I think you have to use your judgment, but I think it’s like this give-and-take. Having them understand that sugar and refined carbohydrates should be minimized and maybe right now you can have a few more of them than you’ll be able to when you’re older and not as active. Having them understand that basic idea so that they understand the concept of why you’re not allowing them to have soda in the house. I also think that you have to remember they’re going to get the food pyramid at school, right?
My kids will come home usually in hysterics laughing about what they heard, about no butter, all the low saturated fat messages at school, which is just until the USDA changes the dietary guidelines, that is what the schools are going to teach. You need have a voice in this and teach them what you think fishing be eating, but I think balancing with your kid’s stage and personality how restrictive you actually are. Now the second question, is it okay if I just roll into that of …
Carole Freeman: Oh sure, yeah.
Jenni Calihan: How to manage that in the house. I’ve actually got a few strategies that I use for this because I’m human, I like chocolate. If I had to have something that I really love around all the time sitting on the counter, that is really hard and one of the things I do is like my kids like ice cream and I don’t. I can have ice cream in the freezer and not be tempted at all, yet they have a normal kid treat that they can have. I don’t let them have him at every night, but they can have a couple times a week for dessert ice cream, it’s there. I think that’s one strategy is picking things that you don’t really like but that your kids do, and having those as your kid’s treats.
The other thing is if you’re away from dinner, like if your kids are eating without you, for some reason if you’re leaving a meal for them and mashed potatoes is your favorite thing, maybe they can have mashed potatoes that night that you’re not home. Maybe the babysitter can make it or maybe you can buy some small portion of pre-made mashed potatoes from the grocery store and leave it for them, but then you don’t have this like pot of deliciousness sitting in your fridge that’s going to tempt you. I definitely do that. If there’s something that I find like biscuits I think are really delicious, and so I just don’t have them. I have some in the freezer and the kids can heat them up if I’m not around.
I think those sorts of tricks might help her a little bit and also having thing that obviously are really delicious but are also very low carb too. Super dark chocolate or a fat bomb or some of the keto desserts that there are lots of recipes for online to make are helpful too because kids love whipped cream. That can be a win-win. You can make some, you can have some, they can have some.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well and kids are born with the fact tooth more than they are a sweet tooth. I find if you put out those high fat things, they’re going to think they taste good, like oh. I don’t think it was your TED talk, but another one I was listening to this morning and then I heard this again. Actually I think oh it was the same mom actually at Keto Con that was telling me how … The TED talk was talking about how the mom made broccoli with butter and …
Jenni Calihan: That’s me. Yeah, that was mine.
Carole Freeman: Okay, okay, yeah. You want to tell that story?
Jenni Calihan: Oh sure. I had spoken to a group of moms recently in my neighborhood, so I knew some of them. I didn’t know all of them, but I knew some of them and I gave my poop butter, go back to basics, eat real food, don’t be shy about the fact. This mom was a really good cook and she went home and instead of using pam to cook broccoli for her family, which had been her habit because she was trying to limit saturated fat, she made it with butter and she served it up so her teenage daughter and I actually know the girl so it was just even more funny for me. Her daughter takes one bite and she’s like, “Oh my God mom, what did you do to this broccoli? It’s like the best broccoli you’ve ever made.”
She the mom is like okay because you’re right, like it’s really good, like broccoli made with butter. You don’t have to bribe your kids to eat it, right? Steamed broccoli or spray pam on it, yeah you might so. Then of course the ultimate irony is the butter on the broccoli is allowing your child to absorb all those fat soluble vitamins in the broccoli, so they’re getting more out of the broccoli because you put the butter on it. It’s just amazing. I do think kids love fat, but I will say the thing I hear often when I talk about adding fat is that moms will say my kids are so used to skim milk that even if I try to give them 2%, they think it like it makes them gage, they think it froze because it’s thicker, it’s different, right?
Carole Freeman: Yeah
Jenni Calihan: I do think that there’s some things that take time, like you need to introduce slowly. For example, if your child is balking at the whole milk, you come on with home milk, they’re used to skim. Maybe you need to go to 1% for a while and then 2% and you’re gradually, and eventually they’ll hit a point where they’ll be like, “Could I pour some heavy cream in my whole milk mom?” I don’t think it’s necessarily the kids who are really eating a little fat, it takes an adjustment a little bit.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, yeah. I mean very early in my well my young adulthood and my early parenthood, it was skim milk because that was the healthiest thing to do. My son, like any time we had any half-and-half in the house or most they probably would have just been half and a half, he would drink as much as he could it was and mayonnaise like straight out of a jar. He just always has loved fat. Finally I went keto and then he jumped on with me as well. He now like will pile mayonnaise on whatever he’s eating and he says, “Mom why have you kept this from me my whole life? This taste so good to me.” He was born like he never lost that, even though I try this …
Jenni Calihan: My kids like to remind me of what I used to say when they were little. This summer, we had corn on the cob a couple of times as a treat, and the rule with at my house now is when you have corn on the cob, you need to put a lot of butter on it. The idea is to dilute the carbs, so maybe you only have half a year if you’re me or one year if you’re my kids. Whereas when we used to have corn on the cob, no butter was allowed and they would have two years, right? They get all these carbs and no fat and now they got a little bit of carbs, but they got the fat with it to slow down the absorption. It is funny the things that they like to come back at you with the sins of the past that you …
Carole Freeman: Yeah, yeah.
Jenni Calihan: I’m evolving too. I didn’t know any better or I thought I was being a good mom telling you not to put butter on your corn.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, yeah. Well, I’m wondering … Gosh, was there one other thought about that? Oh yeah, so the lady’s comment along those lines then was how her teenage daughter was telling her how she just wasn’t a good cook and then once she started adding in fat into her food, her daughter says, “Oh my gosh mom you’re like such a good cook now.” She’s like, “I’m making the same things, I just add some butter to it now, like I didn’t like improved my culinary skills at all.” Her daughter is like, “No, no mom. You’re a great cook now.”
Jenni Calihan: Right. Yeah, went into add butter, it taste better. Yeah. No, that’s great. Yeah. I think that’s true. Also it’s an interestingly not just better, but I think it could make cooking easier. I think some of the low-fat dishes especially when you’re trying to use a lot of legumes and whole grains that have to be soaked, I just think what I call it the original fast food, like fry a pork chop, melt some butter on frozen peas. I know if you’re keto, you’re not going to be eating frozen peas, but pour some olive oil on greens. The fat makes it not only tastier, but I think sometimes it just makes it easier and faster to make dinner, which got like I really care about feeding my family but it is a slog.
I mean night after night, and then all they say when they get up from school is what’s for dinner. It never stops, right? To the extent you can make it a little bit easier and faster by using fat to cook with, that’s like great.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. You can make it fast and easy and tasty all at the same time.
Jenni Calihan: Right. It’s like an added bonus.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, yeah. Well, Jenny I’m wondering as we wrap this up, is there anything else you were hoping I would ask you about or anything else that you wanted to get out there?
Jenni Calihan: Sure. Well, I guess you mentioned my TEDx, which is one of the things I’m trying to share right now. I made an animated short that’s landing right on my website if you go to eatthebutter.org, you can see it. It’s two and a half minutes. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it’s amusing and it’s really the whole idea of vintage eating and real food more fat in I think a pretty digestible fun format. If any of your listeners would like to check that out and then maybe share it, I think it’s a great way to talk to someone who isn’t already on the bandwagon about these ideas.
I think one of my goals is not just to talk to other people who already discovered this, but it’s obviously to find people who are struggling with the low-fat paradigm and try to convince them that it’s actually reasonable and reasonably safe to try a low-carb as an option or paleo or whatever you want, whatever suits your tastes and stuff. I think sharing that video would be great and have a little grocery shopping video trying to show how yummy like your cart can look like when you do a mostly keto or low-carb grocery shop. I think that’s less than a minute. It’s such music, no words. It’s very shareable, so I’d really appreciate it if any of your … Might switch to those pieces.
Carole Freeman: We’ll link them in the show notes down below and so those will be easy for anybody watching now to grab that and share that. That’s great.
Jenni Calihan: Right, yeah.
Carole Freeman: Fun little tools. Yeah, that’s cool.
Jenni Calihan: Yeah. The other thing I do, which takes a reasonable amount of time is staying up to date with all the studies that are coming out in the news articles and important authors’ new books and stuff like that. I do kind of a little news roundup once a month and if you’re interested in getting it in your mailbox, you can subscribe or you can just see it on my site. It’s interesting how much news there really is about food and specifically alternative approaches to eating and why they might make sense.
Every day there are articles and there are studies coming out at certainly every month, important studies coming out, showing us that we should be perhaps a little more skeptical of our dietary guidelines than we are, yet I think as a realist, I look at what’s going on with the dietary guidelines in DC. I think it’s great to try to do some change making there, but it is such a quagmire. I mean Carole the chances that we’re going to get real movement from policy makers in Washington quickly, I just don’t have a ton of hope. This grassroots approach, which you’re doing with your site and, which I’m trying to do with my site is really how we need to get the word out.
If it’s helpful to any of your listeners to have a new summary to share with their friends or just to stay to date themselves, it’s there and I’m happy to share it with them for free.
Carole Freeman: Great, yeah. Oh thanks for doing that work. I’m going to get on that list too.
Jenni Calihan: Good, yeah.
Carole Freeman: Well, Jenni one final question for you, the meteors coming at the earth today, we’re all going to die, it’s the last day on earth, what is going to be your final meal?
Jenni Calihan: Oh my final meal. Wow, yeah, probably steak with a lot of butter mounted on it, and then I love vegetables too, so a salad with lots of olive oil and vinegar on it, and then maybe like some broccoli with lots of butter and cauliflower or something like that, but also I have to say chocolate. There would have to be chocolate. I’m a huge chocolate fan.
Carole Freeman: Maybe some mashed potatoes and biscuits too or …
Jenni Calihan: No. I really don’t. I’d really gotten past that. .I tend to cheat more with like it might be a cookie instead of dark … Instead of 90% dark, it’s 70% or something like that. It would be probably more the sugar than the mashed potatoes.
Carole Freeman: Okay, yeah. Well, thank you so much for being here. This has been great. I love talking to you. We could probably talk for all day long and really appreciate it. We’ll link all the information you’re talking about here in the show notes and if you’re watching this and you liked it, give us a thumbs up, subscribe if you want to see more of this. That’s all for now and we’ll see you on the next episode. Thanks for watching, bye.
Jenni Calihan: Great. Thank you. Take care.