Liz Talks Podcast, Episode 25: Breastfeeding & body changes; prometabolic eating

Liz talks body composition changes and breastfeeding: 

-why programs and protocols don’t work; 
-why restricting carbs or calories is a BAD idea; 
-why the idea that “the weight melts off” is stupid; 
-why it’s OK to wish something was different about your body…and how to handle it. 

She also answers a question about “prometabolic eating” and talks Dr. Ray Peat’s ideas and choosing stressors wisely.


Liz Talks Episode 25

  • Breastfeeding, weaning, and body changes [2:37]
  • Body image, body neutrality [14:16]
  • Listener question: pro-metabolic eating [22:34]
  • Weekly Overshare [35:30]

Welcome to Liz Talks. I’m Liz, and I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner and best-selling author; but here, I’m 0% professional and 100% mom, spouse, friend, and over-analyzer. We’re going to talk food, beauty, family, fitness, mental health, friendship, marriage, and everything in between in this season of Liz Talks, and I’m so glad you’re along for the ride.

Remember; this is a podcast about thoughts, feelings, and opinions. And I definitely do not give individual, personal, or medical advice. 

This is episode 25, topic: Breastfeeding, weaning, and body changes, and pro-metabolic eating. 

In case you missed it, last weeks’ episode 24 was an interview with Dr. Naomi Whittaker, a NaPro fertility surgeon. And we talked about how NaPro is different; progesterone, failed IVF, recurrent pregnancy loss, and Dr. Whittaker’s personal journey; as well as a little more about mine. 

Before I begin, I want to quickly thank Arrowhead Mills for their generous ongoing support of this podcast. Next time you go to the store, I’d love to have you support a company that supports my work and look for Arrowhead Mills products. You can also find them on Arrowhead Mills pancake mixes are all we use for our Saturday morning pancake tradition. They have regular and gluten free. Because I’ve tried all the options, including homemade pancake mix, and none of them were as consistently good or as easy as Arrowhead Mills. And they’ve been laying the path for sustainability and organic foods for 60 years. Let me know if you try it by tagging me @RealFoodLiz on Instagram.

Onto the show. I want to open the show today by apologizing a little bit about my nasal voice. It’s just sort of that time of year. There’s a lot of stuff floating around in the air, and there’s a little bit of sneezing going on. And I actually just came through a bout of laryngitis. I think I was just talking too much. I recorded like four podcasts, and then I went to visit friends, and talked nonstop for three days. And I think it was just a little too much for my vocal cords. 

So coming off of that, I’m a little hoarse; and also, of course, all of the things that are causing snot to flow at my house right now, now that it’s springtime! But hopefully we’ll get a little bit of a spring. I was a little worried we were going straight to summer. But it looks like over the next couple of weeks, we’ve got some of that weather that’s in the 70s and 80s; which is always just so nice. But apologies for that. Hopefully you don’t mind listening when I don’t have my perfect podcast voice. 

  • Breastfeeding, weaning, and body changes [2:37]

Alright. So the first thing I want to just jump right into and talk about today; I have had conversations lately with several people who know the stuff. All the stuff that I talk about. Who know I do not think we should waste a single thought on “protocols or programs for weight loss” because protocols and programs for weight loss or body composition just don’t create desired results long-term. They just don’t. For anyone, except those who have very particular personalities, who can sustain programs and protocols outside of just nourishing their bodies and taking care of their physical vessel with movement and their mental state with enjoyment activities. 

Programs and protocols outside of that are pointless, to my view, because they never last. And if you’re sitting there thinking; they do work for me. Then you’re in that prior group of people who have very particular personalities who can sustain that over the long-term. They just don’t last. This is actually scientifically studied. the odds are against every single one of us being better off after doing a weight loss or body composition program or protocol long-term. 

OK. So with that; let’s home in on the postpartum time. Specifically for those who are breastfeeding. There’s this idea that still persists, despite zero quality evidence, that “weight melts off” when you’re nursing. There are many reasons this idea is nonsense; not the least of which is, who freaking cares if weight melts off? 

Listen, I have compassion for those who do care. I get it. But let me just make a general punchy statement; who freaking cares if it melts off? If it does melt off effortlessness, and when I say effortlessly; Robin Williams in Hook, you guys. “Effortle-esserfort-effortlessly.” When I say that, I mean without special effort; i.e. program or protocol. If that’s how it is for you, then alright! That’s what was appropriate for your body. If not, then it is not what is appropriate for your body. Everything the body does is an adaptation. There is a reason for everything. 

Ok, so other than that; there’s this suggestion inherent to that idea. That if it doesn’t happen that way; that if weight doesn’t just sort of melt off when you’re nursing, then there’s something wrong with you. Or your body doesn’t work in some kind of textbook manner. And just; no. There’s no textbook manner. There’s only context. Our bodies are similar in structure, right? From person to person. And construction. But absolutely everything else is different from person to person. Early childhood experiences. Stress. Nutrition. Happiness. The early childhood experiences, stress, nutrition, and happiness of your mother, and your grandmother. 

And I used to hate saying that, because it felt so doomsday. But I’m more comfortable with it now. I’m more comfortable with saying that that’s the reality. And that’s not even to say that if you were happy, or you had no early childhood adversity, that your body would let weight melt off while breastfeeding. There’s no formula for something like that. We just don’t know. 

So just to say; I am in no way saying that if weight doesn’t melt off it’s probably the responsibility of adverse early childhood experiences, high stress, poor nutrition, and unhappiness. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying there are many, many things that work and we don’t even know which lever moves which lever. Ok? So again, no formula for something like that. 

Now; restricting calories. And not just calories, but carbs will cause stress. And suppress the thyroid and other hormones. We’ve discussed that years back; all the way back to the Balanced Bites podcast four or five, probably many more than that, years ago. So postpartum is a moment in life when you have to choose your stressors very wisely, to the degree that you can choose your stressors. If you’re within five years postpartum, your body likely cannot tolerate restriction of any kind. Not that you should do it at any point in life. But especially not carb or calorie restriction. And that includes fasting; don’t even mess with it. The long-term results will not align with your hopes. 

And I say 5 years just because I want to extend the window people typically think of when you “get to take a break” from giving a crap about dumb stuff that doesn’t serve you anyway. But really that could be extended 10 years, if you want to. 

Anyway. There are those, of course, who simply; I’m going to say this. I hate this term. But you’re going to know what I mean. There are people who simply bounce back. And if that’s you; you would know it. If it’s not you; stop thinking it can be or it should be. My advice to most people is to completely ignore anything that even has the hint of quantification or tracking as far as body composition. Focus during this time on your wellbeing. 

Metabolic; and I say metabolic. We’re going to talk about something metabolic related later. But I say metabolic instead of nutritional because I’ve noted that, unfortunately, that concept. The nutritional concept has taken on the stink of diet. People obsess over nutrients; but they don’t get enough carbs or calories. And by the way; carbs are nutrients too! They’re macronutrients, but they still matter. People obsess over eating windows and fasting to try and game their own bodily systems.

And look; biohacking is a cool word, and it’s a cool concept. But it’s also gaming the bodily system. And that’s not always a good thing. And in general, it doesn’t work long-term. So when I say metabolic wellbeing, I mean supporting the thyroid. Which is sort of the central governor of the metabolism. Keeping stress low using the food you eat. And also monitoring the stress you allow in to the degree you can. 

Food, in particular, needs to contain carbs. Sweet carbs, like fruit and honey, send signals. Physiological signals to the body that there is abundance. And that the metabolic processes that are required for having energy and sustaining yourself, and your children, can run unabated. It’s important stuff. For some reason, at some point along the line, I think because of this resonance of; oh carbs are not good. I think we decided fruit is dessert, and that’s just nonsense. It’s just not true. Fruit is good anytime. 

And finally; my god. The things our bodies do to grow and birth and/or feed and care for growing humans. Can we not acknowledge that everything about that is absolutely extraordinary? There is nothing more incredible and miraculous than that. And the way the world distracts us from it is just infuriating. And all this goes to my current thoughts on my own body. 

So over the years, I’ve developed a true curiosity about my body at different stages. I no longer abuse my body or obsess over it like I used to. No programs and protocols. No programs and protocols geared or centered towards weight loss. Some of the things that many of us who are “influencing” or on the internet produce are called programs, but in general. I hate to say it’s a marketing term. It’s a packaging term, right? I would like to say my Athletic Mom package. I’ve got a package. But that kind of is problematic for several reasons, so we call them programs. But when I refer to programs and protocols, I think you can kind of keep an idea in your mind of what I’m talking about. 

So this is just common sense stuff. Right? What we wrapped up in Athletic Mom, for example, and in Baby Making and Beyond, for that matter, were truly just the kind of common sense basic things that we can all embrace, for better overall long-term health and wellbeing. There’s no tracking of body fat as a proxy for success. No. So that’s reflected in my personal approach. I truly am an interested observer.

Now; there is probably some body privilege in here, as I discussed in a previous podcast. But I can’t address everything in every podcast. So we’ll put that to the side for this one. 

And I still have my moments. But, who doesn’t? It is irrational to expect otherwise. But I observe and move on from these moments, just like anything else. I don’t analyze them to death. Or determine they mean something that they don’t. And I was an English major in college. Everything I did nutrition-wise was after my bachelor’s degree. So as an English major, I can find meaning where there is none. I can tease out a lot of significance where there may not have been anything previously. And that’s a cultural thing there, too. We do that culturally. We don’t have to, however, ascribe meaning to everything.

So in that spirit, I’ll talk about the changes I am noting in my body as I come into this, I think, sort of swan song of my nursing journey. My almost 2-year-old will nurse a bit. She’ll be really into; be totally disinterested for a few days, then she’ll want to again. So we’re on a bit of a rollercoaster. And I am feeling that. But it seems to be, in general, especially as the nursing declines. It seems to be impacting my body and my body chemistry in interesting ways. 

And I say interesting because I know that this has nothing to do with what I’m eating. Because I’m eating what I want to eat when I want to eat it. Generally aligned with the nutrition ideals in the Athletic Mom program. But I don’t not have anything if I want it. 

Obviously, there are hormonal changes involved. The sheer drop in prolactin; which right now is probably a little yoyo-y, but also more gradual on the whole. In contrast, actually to those first really major drops in nursing, like when baby starts sleeping through the night. Or starts eating solids. That’s when you see that major, more sudden drop where prolactin lowers quickly, and somewhat unforgivingly. And this is one of the reasons our periods return. But sometimes it does stay a little bit elevated. Which can actually cause an inhibition of the progesterone release we’d want to see as these shifts take place. Which in turn can impact mood and cycle length, etc. 

I think of progesterone as this absolute good guy. Always in the black; you can never have enough of good old progesterone. Although most of us don’t have enough; which is another podcast for another time. I’ve talked a little bit about it, I think in the previous podcast, in number 24, and also on Instagram. So we’re going to have lots of talk about progesterone and hormones here over time. 

  • Body image, body neutrality [14:16]

But back to the topic at hand. Again; I’m at a point in life where I am fully accepting of my body. And overall, I’m done with the dieting, and the tracking, and the protocols. Again; I don’t think that means I never have a negative thought about my body. But the key is, I don’t preoccupy myself with it incessantly. I do take time to appreciate my body. And I also don’t do all of the; “I love my body, despite blah, blah, blah.” Because when you’re always lining up against something, it’s sometimes actually still the boss of you.

But again, I also don’t feel like I only have positive thoughts about my body. Do you ever think about the fact that we tell our kids; we tell ourselves sometimes, too. But many of us tell our kids that it’s ok to have big, ugly, unhappy feelings about themselves, about the world, about the horrible dinner you served them that was exactly what they asked for but still horrible. But when we have big, ugly, unhappy feelings, or even small, transient, unsatisfied feelings about anything. What we’re about to eat; the job we’re going to everyday; or even our bodies, we try to jump out of those feelings so fast. Like something bit us on the butt. We tell ourselves; “No, no! I can’t think this! I’m body positive. Or, I’m body neutral! I’m supposed to love my body just as it is. I’m a victim of toxic culture. Stop it, stop it! Don’t think that! Don’t think that! This is bad that you think that!”

Or on the flip side; right? The same coin but the other side of it. “I need to stop eating carbs. I need to do another Whole30. I need to get a Peloton and ride every single day!” All of it is just madness. I feel like the key, as with many things, is just balance. Feeling things, but not letting feelings fester. Knowing when it’s time to move on from a negative moment, or a preoccupation. It’s ok to wish something was different about your body, by the way. It’s also ok to think something is beautiful that is right now considered conventional, or a representation of the patriarchy, or diet culture, or whatever it is.  It’s much less ok to let that feeling steer you into darkness, or unhealthy behavior, or self-judgement. 

But note that sometimes the fear of descending into darkness, or unhealthy behavior or self-judgement; that knee jerk fear that tells you, “My feelings about this feeling are going to take me to a bad place.” Sometimes that’s more stress than ever would have crossed your plate had you just observed a feeling and sort of taken away any of that extra baggage that was attached to it. 

So, I imagine much of what I’m talking about here might actually dip into body neutrality territory; and I apologize for not being more familiar with that philosophy. But maybe I’m hitting on it by accident, and that’s probably ok too. 

Back to my body. My physical vessel. I do feel like I’m taking care of myself, whatever that means. Whatever it means to you; it might mean something different. But I feel like I’m rocking aspects of life that I haven’t rocked before. Especially given my expectations around my rocking capacity, having two kids.

But it’s funny, because exactly what makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself now would have made me feel like I was completely falling off the wagon 15 years ago. I eat to satiety. I eat carbs. I eat ice cream. I don’t workout every day. And the way that leaves me feeling is just so good. So balanced. So satisfied. And I’ve maintained that through the nursing journey, and now to the end of the journey.

And my point is I’ve been consistent about just nurturing myself and my wellbeing, physically and mentally, to the degree that I can while trying not to stress about the rest. And included in that consistency is the; whatever you want to call them. Treats. Indulgences. Enjoymentses. I’ve done those things. I’ve patiently observed. I’ve addressed needs as they’ve come up. I’ve kept movement and rest and recovery a priority throughout. Again, to the degree that I can. I’ve celebrated the small wins. And all of those things being consistent over the last two years, I am noticing things. I’m noticing that my body fat is redistributing some, and that’s very interesting to me.

And the only reason I see for that is the shift in the nursing journey. I see it shifting away from my midsection; which is sort of that stress area, and back into hips and thighs. I feel like there’s a small uptick, maybe, in leanness. And I’m not assigning a qualifier to that. I’m not assigning that good or bad. I’m assigning that interesting. 

And also; which is probably more important, the ability to put on muscle mass. Which is more metabolically active tissue, anyway. And I do not say this to be triggering. Think of this like an alien who has zero knowledge of our cultural baggage just observing the physical form of someone over the course of time. That’s how I approach this. 

And here’s where I get very controversial {laughs}. I actually did something very nerdy and silly and goofy last week, and I put on a swimsuit and I took some bikini pictures. I was actually just sort of smiling and dancing around and just feeling myself. Because I realized that my self esteem is much more centered around my own self-concept. Not informed by what others or what Liz from the past would think. And I was feeling that. It felt really free. 

So I put on a tiny bikini, and I pranced around in it, and I took some pictures. And I’m actually curious. I’m curious what that’s going to look like three months down the road, in comparison to what it looks like now. Without changing what I’m doing in my life. Without changing my workouts or my nutrition. I’m curious, and I’m wondering, maybe, if I should take, I don’t want to call them after pictures, but maybe later pictures. Not to show; look how much better I look. But rather to line some of these pictures up from immediately postpartum to now, almost 2 years later, as a way of visualizing. Look at how the body can change, just based on hormonal shifts, and time postpartum. Without doing any dieting, or exercising for the purpose of changing how I look. Or without doing any dieting, of course, at all. 

And I’ve also been taking video of my workouts since right after I started back up postpartum. So I’ve got plenty of images of that, all the way up till now. And again, I think it’s interesting. 

So aside from that; I’m curious. I’m curious as an observer. As someone gathering information and data and experiences. And I think this is a huge threshold for me. The idea that I can observe or track something as data; not as a measure of success or failure. Or perhaps that I can hold this kind of tracking up as proof that you can get to a good place by doing nothing but actually enjoying life. Not obsessing. Playing the long game.

But I wonder whether I can actually share something like this in the spirit it is intended, and have it be actually helpful for people and not regressive. So would it just be too close for comfort to the standard fitness industry or garbage? Or people not there yet? Can they look at something like that with curiosity rather than judgement? 

If you have thoughts on this, reach out to me or just pop over to the Instagram post @RealFoodLiz for this podcast. And you can pop your thoughts in the comments, or send them to me via DM. 

And that, I guess, is sort of an abrupt end to that discussion. But I think it’s time to move on, and get to a few questions before I close it out. Maybe just one; we’ll see how much time we’ve got. I will tackle more about postpartum hormones and hormones in general in future shows. Those take a lot of prep. But I’m putting the pieces together. And I’m looking forward to more. 

  • Listener question: pro-metabolic eating [22:34]

Ok, so let’s jump into at least one question that came in for today’s podcast. I’ll try to get two questions, but we’ll see how we do on time. I think we’re bumping up against it right now. Remember you can ask me anything through Instagram, but the best way to ask is to go to Your question is much less likely to get lost in the shuffle there. I have a whole system around that, which is much more trackable than direct messages. 

Ok, this first question is interesting because it touches on some of the nutrition and food-type stuff that I’ve contemplated over the years. And if you’ve been with me since the Balanced Bites podcast, you probably remember us discussing some of this. And this certainly shows up in some of the choices I make for myself. 

So this question is from Miller. I don’t know if that’s a last name or a first name. “What are your thoughts on pro-metabolic eating? I’m a 36-year-old woman, not looking to lose weight necessarily, but to feel better, as I’m frequently fatigued, sleep poorly, and struggle with skin problems. I see some bloggers talking about it, but I’m not sure where to look first, as there seems to be just a few people talking about it, and I want the best information possible.”

Ok. So I thin I’m going to have to just tackle this in part for now, not so much the sleep and the fatigue and the skin problems. I think maybe we’ll see some of that unfold as I talk about this more in the future. But I think this is a big question. Especially this idea on pro-metabolic eating. And I’ll talk about this later, but I think I’m going to do sort of a series on this type of stuff. So we’ll just start at the beginning. 

So, I have been hearing about the pro-metabolic thing from a few friends lately. And I was just floored; because while I had never heard that term before as applied to a philosophy of eating, my friend Diane; not Sanfilippo. Another Diane. Diane Teale, who does the get your s-h-i-t together podcast. I don’t know how many swear words I can do without getting an explicit rating. And I actually wouldn’t be opposed to an explicit rating; maybe other people would. 

Anyway; GYST podcast. Get your s-h-i-t together podcast, which is really fun. Had to sort of explain to me that this was basically the work of a researcher I follow named Ray Peat a few others. All of that is really an expression of the pro-metabolic stuff. At least it seems a lot of it is based on the work of Ray Peat. It’s really; I mean, you can’t miss it, right? Talking about orange juice and raw carrot salad and stuff like that. That’s 100% Ray Peat.

And the other thinkers and scientists he references, and that are in his orbit, like Katharina Dalton, and there are many others. Hans Selye; I’m drawing a blank. Georgi; something shent-Georgi. Man, I can’t remember. Mae-Wan Ho. Gilbert Ling. A couple others. 

So; yes. I love Ray Peat’s work. And it expands far past just eating and how food and metabolism are linked. And how to literally protect your energy, or your energy generation system. Down to the level of ATP and mitochondria. 

So Ray Peat’s work, as I see it, is also about buffering stress. How a well-functioning metabolism is a broad spectrum defense against diseases of civilization, and aging, and even a lot of talk about independent thought and personal agency. It’s not just milk and orange juice and carrot salad and oysters. You can plug in from so many different perspectives. Even if you’re just talking about bodily systems. You can plug in from the perspective of hormones and glands. Progesterone, estrogen, thyroid. Which is where I really ended up plugging in. 

You can plug in from the perspective of serotonin and depression. From the perspective of sugar not being bad. From the perspective of redox balance. From oxygen, carbon dioxide, and ATP. I think there are so many pathways that people might come to the study of this set of ideas. But certain, the unifying factors are these thinkers. These true scientists who are not beholden to institutional strictures. And that would be Ray Peat. And of course, also, thinkers like Danny Roddy, who I will come back to in a moment. Who have been talking about his work for like a decade or more. 

So, just to do a little timeline of my exposure to these ideas. These Ray Peat; I guess we can call it pro-metabolic ideas. I remember it was sort of dismissed by some well-known people in the paleo community around a decade ago. I remember that very distinctly. I actually remember where I was. I was walking our sweet dog Cal outside our neighborhood in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, listening to a podcast where Ray Peat’s ideas were briefly mentioned by Danny, actually, and then really brushed off. And that’s exactly why I decided to look into him, and ended up ordering a bunch of his books and signing up for his paper newsletter. Because I got so curious. 

And at the time, some of what I was hearing felt so out there, that I couldn’t help but imagine that there had to be something to it. And truly, some of what I learned was so humbling. I’m sure I rejected some of it at first, but then I came back around. But some of what I learned was so humbling that I actually began to feel really uncomfortable speaking definitively about many nutrition concepts. From keto to even just paleo. Because I realized how little I knew, and how much was left for me to understand. 

And I think that really coincided with when I went from sort of helping people be paleo, to being more of a moderator. Not as in like moderating conversations, but rather being moderate in my approach rather than black or white. And I started talking more about stress, and even sugar being a buffer to stress. Eat the ice cream; right? 

So I hope that was apparent in my approach in the Balanced Bites podcast. I hope as the podcast matured, I was never dogmatic about anything other than; one, you’ve got to find what is right for you, even if that doesn’t look like what everyone else is doing. And two; oftentimes well meaning concepts that flood the nutrition world, like fasting and keto, end up being crash diets in disguise. And maybe also three, sometimes the answer to not getting better isn’t to paleo harder. Or keto harder. Or restrict more. But to loosen the strictures, and look elsewhere for wisdom.

So some of this also made it’s way into the Baby Making and Beyond program; both the nutritional recommendations and also the overall recommendation to lower stress and how to buffer it nutritionally. And how to not mess up your thyroid.

So, some of what I’ve learned from looking into these concepts, as I’ve talked about in the previous podcast about my journey with progesterone, really made their way into my life in a powerful, permanent way. That doesn’t mean I implement 100% of everything. Or believe that this lens is the only way to achieve certain ends. For example; I’m miles away from totally grasping some of the gut bacteria stuff that the Ray Peat and surrounding community talk about. Especially since I do follow some other very interesting thinkers, who take a very different approach. But just because it cracks my paradigm, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

So the concepts certainly were life changing for me. Even not having turned them into some kind of diet or a plan. And that would bring us back to my concern, if I had one, that after 10-plus years in this holistic nutrition space, I know that people in general have just treated all manner of fairly reasonable ideas, like paleo or ancestral eating, with a very diet-centered mindset. So paleo eating becomes super low carb intermittent fasted time restricted eating. Or reducing processed foods becomes no sugar, no carbs, no grains, no flavor. And pro-metabolic eating becomes some warped derivative of the ideas it’s based upon. 

It’s just hard for many people to separate from that mindset of being on the wagon or off the wagon. And of course there’s some judgment, and even sometimes some smugness that comes with that; you should be doing this, or this is or isn’t paleo, or whatever. Or pro-metabolic, or what have you.

At the same time, as long as this can be treated in the way it is intended, I think these ideas can really be what people need to just live. I think a lot of people who have been in this never-ending attempt to just figure it all out and have eventually; maybe not immediately, but eventually gotten worse on low carb, AIP, etc. So to the degree that we can all just relax into this idea of not interfering with a healthy metabolic system. Or at least being aware of and choosing your stressors wisely. I think it’s a good thing to start this broader conversation. Or continue this broader conversation. And maybe these pro-metabolic folks are doing that. I don’t know. 

I actually have a lot of notes around these concepts of energy and metabolism, which I pulled from Peat’s and Dalton’s book, and from Danny Roddy’s ideas that would sort of form the skeleton of a more focused resource as it relates to women, and fertility, and anti-aging. Which, again, is how I have applied the concepts personally. But I don’t know that’s appropriate without the blessing of the people who have been talking about this for a decade or more. 

So I’m not exactly sure what the pro-metabolic crowd right now espouses. But knowing enough about Peat, I can assume. So yeah, it’s good stuff. As long as it’s applied in the spirit it’s intended. For example, I don’t think spending a lot of time in the forums will yield much other than just overwhelm. But getting outside. Keeping mental and physiological stress low. And by the way, that could also apply to intentional stressors. So-called hermetic or adaptive stressors like fasting or low-carbing or sauna. So yes, some of these ideas turn much of what’s circulating in the nutrition and health community on it’s head. These ideas that things we do to ourselves intentionally that are known stressors but that we feel are adaptive in some way, they can very easily become counterproductive and not so good.

So knowing how to buffer inevitable stress. I don’t know; it’s just a cool idea. It’s a cool lens to look at this. How to buffer the stressors that you’re inevitably going to come up against. And also, choosing or choosing not to embark upon some of these more intentional stressors that we put ourselves through.

Stress in general; keeping it low. 

High value stress is appropriate; which, by the way, high value stress is my term. I’m coining it right now. I’m coining it. You can’t have. High value stress, as appropriate. And of course just learning and thinking. Which I’ve talked about in a whole podcast about thinking. Which I thought was probably so dumb, but I’m actually seeing this concept all over the place now. So I’m excited that I actually talked about. {laughs} Not that I invented it, but I’m happy that I actually started talking about it. Because I actually think it is valuable. I thought it was kind of dumb to do a whole podcast on it at the time. But I think it is valuable. 

So in light of all of this, since I follow Danny Roddy’s work as well, I actually asked Danny Roddy to be on the show. And I think that interview will air next week. I’ve actually already recorded with him. The timing just worked out that way. I’m trying to keep this portion of the podcast like a sort of intro to the concept since Danny and I just sort of launched into a broader conversation.

So Danny is really a thinker. And really the guy to go to and understand and translate and ponder so much of this stuff. He’s sort of the guy that brought Ray Peat, in a lot of ways, to the broader consciousness. So I’m excited to share that conversation next week. He was super gracious with his time. And so patient with my questions. And admittedly, I’m such a dorky fan. Which is fine. I’m large. I contain multitudes. But I’m really excited for that, and I do hope that you’ll tune in next week for that. 

Ok. We’re rounding 35 minutes, so I’m going to just stop there with the questions and move right into my overshare. 

  • Weekly Overshare [35:30]

OK. This one is very, very sad. And I’m sorry that it is sad. If you want to turn it off, it has to do with ducks no longer being alive. {laughs} Several ducks. 

Ok, here’s the story. Our school; it’s a wonderful little Reggio school that I absolutely adore. The school my oldest goes to. It’s wonderful. And, they got ducks. Which I was so excited about. They got six little ducks. And part of the reason I was so excited is because I love ducks. But also because we still had our beautiful duck house from; I can’t remember the company has a new name now. It used to be Urban Coop company or something like that. Roundtop Coop company. I can’t remember. But it’s basically the only duck coop that I ever saw anywhere. I came across it through fresh eggs daily, which is a really fun website. 

And I was like; ok, we need something really cute for our ducks. Because when we lived on the farm, our chickens were just in this ramshackle situation for quite a long time. And I was like; I don’t want something ugly again. I want something cute. I want something cute for my cute ducks. So we bought this duck coop. And when we moved away from the farm, four years ago or more, I could not. I couldn’t leave it. We left our chicken coop there, but I could not leave the duck coop. So we took it with us. And it’s just been sitting underneath our deck on the back patio for years. 

I even thought about getting rid of it fairly recently, just thinking we would never be able to use it again. Because it’s just; ducks are a lot. We don’t currently live in a situation where we could keep them safe. And I thought about it. And didn’t do it. Because anytime I ever give something away, I always need it like a week later. 

So, walked into school and saw that there were six adorable little ducklings! And a little trough underneath a light; well cared for and all of that. So of course, I volunteered our duck coop. But also, of course, we don’t have a truck anymore. So it was going to be a whole thing to not only bring the duck coop out and set it up, but also to make it predator proof. So those ducks stayed in that little trough for a long time. 

And ducks grow really, really fast. So unfortunately, I’m laying the groundwork for what is to happen later. So we finally get the truck borrowed. We construct a concrete patio type of situation for the duck house to sit on, so predators can’t dig up and under. And we also get out some temporary fencing that we had for our chickens. And we put together a whole situation for these ducks. Its’ starting to get warm enough for them to be outside. They’re not quite feathered out, but we’re getting close. And this beautiful duck coop that I have also has a little swimming pool in it. It’s just darling.

So basically, you put the ducks in there, they can walk up a little ramp and jump into the pool. Do some swimming, hop back out, sun themselves a little bit. All of that. It’s just adorable. So we set that up. I filled up the pool bin with some water and just tossed the ducks in there to see how they would fare in the water. 

Now, the teacher that’s kind of heading up this project had asked me. Can’t the ducks drown if you put them in water for too long? And I was like; no, they’re ducks. They instinctively know how to swim. It’s all good. But I did notice as they were swimming that they were swimming a little bit wonky. And I thought; huh. I wonder if this is because they just really need to get used to stretching their legs after having so little space for so long. So I took them out, thought nothing of it. They really weren’t able to climb up the ramp. They weren’t steady enough. So I thought; ok, we’ll worry about this another day.

Didn’t say anything to the teacher. And that was my first mistake. Because unfortunately, she had the same idea. To see how the ducks might swim. Put them back in the water. Because of course, they looked happy. They were swimming a little wonky, but I don’t think anybody would know that unless they had experience with ducks. And they also looked happy. So she put them back in there. I think went inside. And two ducks did drown. It was so sad. And it was entirely my fault. I got the phone call and was just like; oh my gosh! I’m devastated. I felt so responsible for the fact that I did not set this school up for success.

So anyone that followed me during my farm years probably knows how devastating that moment was for me. I was just absolutely devastated. So of course, we’ve still got four ducks left, and we want to do everything we possibly can to keep them safe and happy. So we go, we reconfigure things. We close the pool. All of that. And we start working on something else. The permanent fence. 

So we’re going to make a permanent outdoor area for them that’s really beautiful. That’s really safe. That’s really predator proof. And all of that. Because the thing about ducks; there’s a reason there’s a phrase; sitting ducks. They’re absolutely sitting ducks almost at all times. So not only are we planning this permanent fencing area with this little pool area with this beautiful duck coop that we have, we also have some aviary netting set up above so that nothing can come down from up high and try and snatch these ducks. I mean, we are really; ducks are like 2 bucks a piece at the Tractor Supply store; and we are going – I’m thinking of a slot machine where the things just turn and it’s just money, money, money. {laughs} 

So we are putting in all of this effort and investment in keeping these $2 ducks safe. And I’m totally fine with it, because their lives are important. 

So here’s where it gets just so ridiculous. Already we’ve had these dead ducks, and it’s the saddest thing in the world. But now my husband is working on a permanent fence. Which involves T-posts. Which are basically these tall metal posts that you see on most fences in the country that you basically bash into the ground. So we also have some posts; some wooden posts that are going in for the gate. 

So my husband is digging the hole for the post; the post hole. I should back up. First of all, the unit they are working on to close out the school year is water conservation. Which is so lovely. I love it so much. Now, my husband is digging the hole for the post, and hits a sprinkler line that we didn’t know {laughs} was there. And all water; all hell breaks loose. The entire area of the playground starts gushing, flooding. The ducks are thrilled, but my husband is like; are you kidding me. I literally just hit a sprinkler line. Cannot find the shutoff valve. And it’s water conservation week. 

Guys; it took us hours to find the shutoff valve. We couldn’t find it. The sprinkler company couldn’t find it. Nobody at the school could find it. Finally, somebody came in from another commercial property and started looking around and found it buried under something. And we finally were able to turn the sprinklers off. But it was flooding for hours. Hours. And again, the ducks were very happy. But my gosh; water conservation week.

And here’s actually a cute thing; the kids all came outside and they were bailing the water into the duck pools. Trying their best to capture some of this water run off and conserve it. They made a dam to reroute the water to a different place. And it actually ended up being kind of a cool; it jived fairly well. Or at least you could argue that it jived fairly well with the actual lesson they were doing, or the actual unit they were working on. It was actually really adorable, because they showed up and my husband was like; just, you know, that implosion. There was no outward expression of frustration and anger, but I could just see it internally. 

He was like; Liz. I hit a sprinkler line during water conservation week. And I was like; oh god. That is ironic, isn’t it? 

But again, the ducks were happy. The kids made it work. It was actually really cute. And we finally shut off the valve. But I’m just praying. Please pray for me that we actually finish this permanent fence. We gate these ducks in and give them a beautiful home. And we don’t hit anymore sprinkler lines during water conservation week. And we can move on from the dead duck and water conservation sage of 2022.

OK. That’s it for episode 25. A big thank you to Arrowhead Mills for making this episode possible. Remember, you can ask me anything by sending me a DM @RealFoodLiz on Instagram. But the best way to ask is to go to That way they don’t get lost in my inbox. 

I appreciate you! I’ll see you next week. 

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