This is Joy & Claire Episode 121: The Real Food Dietitians
Episode Date: April 7, 2022
Transcription Completed: April 30, 2022
Audio Length: 42:00 minutes
Joy: Hey guys, this is Joy.
Claire: And this is Claire.
Joy: Welcome back. Happy April. We’re here. It’s beautiful. I hope you’re having a beautiful day, a beautiful week. We have an awesome episode with The Real Food Dieticians. Welcome Jess and Stacie [00:00:43.24].
Claire: We are so excited to have you guys here. Jess is a registered dietician nutritionist living in Boulder, Colorado. Jess and I go way back to our CrossFit Roots buddy days. Also a lot of other hilarious moments in our lives like picking up a CSA from Jess’ porch during the height of the pandemic. I also remember running my sourdough starter out to your husband in the middle of a snowstorm. She lives with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing which we will have to talk about, mountain biking, camping out under the stars. She has an awesome adventure band as well. Stacie is a licensed registered dietician from rural southern Minnesota where she, her husband, and daughter reside with their two dogs. They are the co-founders of The Real Food Dieticians [00:01:29.09]. Stacie also loves all kinds of fitness and has a passion to inspire as many as she can to live a healthier and happier life, both in and out of the kitchen. We are so excited to have you guys here. We are so excited to chat about food, which is pretty much our favorite topic, and also to hear about your latest cookbook. Which I have cooked five recipes out of so far, and I really want to tell you about it. Actually we were originally supposed to have you guys on a couple weeks ago, right before your cookbook came out. I’m actually kind of glad that we got to have a little extra time because I got to dive into the cookbook and do a little homework. Welcome, Stacie and Jess.
Jess: Thanks, Claire. I still have your jar with the cute little lid from the sourdough starter.
Claire: Also, we want to mention that you guys have a third member of your Real Food Dietician team now who is not on the podcast, who is due with a baby minus one day ago, right?
Jess: Yeah, so Jessie Shaver [00:02:25.12] joined us in 2021 while we were in the height of writing the book. It’s been such a whirlwind that Stacie actually has two kids, she has a little boy, that we didn’t even update our bios after Jamison was born. That’s how crazy it’s been. But yes, Jessie joined us, and she is hopefully having a baby or will have had a baby by the time you listen to this.
Claire: I used to work with Jessie at my previous job [00:02:48.11].
Stacie: No way. That’s awesome.
Claire: There’s a lot of nepotism going on in this conversation.
Jess: We feel like Jessie knows everyone. She’s like, “Oh yeah, I know that person.”
Claire: You’re like, wow, I’m not surprised. So for those in our audience that are not familiar with you guys, tell us about how the Real Food Dietician team came to be.
Jess: Well Stacie and I met at a conference in New York City in 2014. We are both working in private practice. Stacie was also at the hospital. We met, and we did that whole, “Yeah, let’s keep in touch” accountability partners. Didn’t talk for about six months, and then one of us reached out to the other. I don’t remember who. And we were in this place where we were going to write a free eBook to put on our website to get people to sign up for our email list, and we decided to share the work. That turned into some really big projects like three 96-page real food reset books that we self-published over the course of eight months. We were going to do one for every season, and then we got to fall and were so burned out. Then we went to the conference that we had met at the next year. Stacie had an idea for a business where it was like an online meal plan delivery service, kind of like real plans or emails. She had that in the works, and then she asked me to be her partner. So I wrote her a check for like $400.
Stacie: It wasn’t a lot.
Jess: For half of the business. And I’ll let Stacie finish.
Stacie: Yeah, and the reason that I came up with this idea for a meal plan membership program was the clients we were both seeing, I felt like the most thing they were interested in was the meal plan. So we’re like, great, let’s just put a meal plan membership program together. We can split the work. So I had already started this when Jess came in and she wrote that $400, half of the money I had already spent for this business. Not a lot. We launched that program I think in summer 2015. Again, every month we would put out new meal plans, new recipes. There were different kinds of meal plans. Gluten free, paleo, whatever. I think we had four different options. We realized that for the number of members that we had, which wasn’t very many, the amount of work that we were putting into that program really wasn’t paying off. So we decided this wasn’t for us after three months. Jess, how did we say that?
Joy: Yeah, we just reversed everyone’s PayPal. “Sorry, it’s just not working for us. It’s not you, it’s us.”
Stacie: And the thing was, we just didn’t have the amount of recipes at the time. Now we have like 600 recipes on our blog. If that was something we tried to pursue again, it might be a different experience because we have a much larger community and platform to promote that, but nothing that we plan to add to in our future.
Jess: There are companies that are absolutely crushing it, so we don’t need to.
Stacie: So once we decided the meal plan membership program wasn’t for us, didn’t work out, we literally the next day started the blog. Jess was in Minnesota. She was planning a trip to Minnesota to work on the meal plan membership program. Instead we spent the entire two or three days creating a website, and that’s the blog. Obviously, it’s been updated and we’ve had someone come in and create our website. But in the beginning, we created it ourselves. Kind of just happened as a result of our first business “failing.”
Claire: That’s so funny. Like, “Um, here’s your money back. This isn’t actually going to work.”
Stacie: Yeah, exactly.
Claire: I kind of love that though.
Joy: I do too.
Claire: In the moment, you’re not married to this.
Joy: And also just knowing when it’s not working and it’s not working for the two of you as a business. You just have to pivot and move on. I think people probably appreciated the honesty.
Jess: And I think we were creating a business that we wanted to love. If we are creating our business, we are going to love it. That’s when we were like, this is not for us. We just don’t love it.
Claire: You guys really set out to say, this is going to be our full-time job, this is going to be our business.
Jess: With the blog? No. The blog was really just a place to house the recipes that we can then refer our clients to. It just took off. And 11 months later, we wrote ourselves our first paycheck, which is kind of unheard of in blogging. It was $126. But we were pretty proud of ourselves to have a paycheck at 11 months. We really did hustle though. We were blogging on our site, and we were guest blogging any opportunity that we had. We kind of fell in step with the Whole30, and that propelled us really quickly. They picked us up and were like, “You guys have great recipes.” We took over their Instagram feed. Yeah, we just grew from there. We never realized it would be our full-time jobs. I think by June 2015, I closed my private practice and worked on the blog full time. And then Stacie, I think it was October of 2015 or 2016.
Stacie: It took me a little bit to leave my job where I was working at a hospital. I really liked my job at the hospital. I really enjoyed it, so that was hard for me to choose to – I just didn’t know what to do. But obviously, when you grow something, you have a much stronger connection to it. I think it was 2017, Jess.
Jess: Was it? Okay.
Stacie: Because I went to contract, so very part time there.
Jess: Oh, that’s right.
Stacie: And then worked the blog.
Joy: I want to know a little about your personal philosophies of food because there is so much information out there. How are you similar and how do you differ? What do you both bring to the table?
Jess: We’re very similar. We both came to this having done a couple of Whole30’s ourself for health reasons. I have an autoimmune disease, and Stacie was doing it for some digestive issues. So we kind of fell into that Whole30, paleo, everything was gluten free, and those were the recipes we were writing. Of course, those were also the patients and clients that we were seeing. We’ve maintained that allergy-friendly bent since then. So all of our recipes are written to be gluten free. You can modify them to contain gluten, or you can modify them to be dairy-free or egg-free or nut-free. You have a lot of options. Our philosophy really is that we’re creating meals that anyone can enjoy, so we give lots of modifications, we test them with all different modifications. I mean, personally I don’t eat gluten free all of the time, but most of my meals don’t contain gluten. And when I have gluten, it’s sourdough or it’s a worthy splurgy or something I feel good eating and I’m really excited about. I’m not going to eat saltines because they’re not exciting. So our philosophy is that everyone has a place at our table because we create recipes that are very easy, simple, approachable, and can be modified for anyone. Anything to add Stacie?
Stacie: No, I think you got it.
Claire: What do you feel like has been the biggest difference between you guys? Does one of you really gravitate towards… I don’t know, taco recipes? Or when you sit down to start brainstorming, do you have any real preferences that show up? For example, Joy and I always joke – or not even joke – that Joy loves cereal and pancakes and carby snack foods. I’m over here like, give me a tin of sardines. Are there food preferences or food opinions that are really unique to each of you, or do you feel like you are similar in a lot of the things that you like?
Stacie: Definitely, we do have the recipes that we each gravitate towards. For me, of course, I take most of the egg recipes, because Jess has an egg allergy. And I really enjoy egg bakes and all the different egg dish. I really enjoy making different salads like chicken salads and veggie salads. I would also say baking the oatmeal bakes and all the different gluten-free baked goods. We also have Anna, our social media coordinator, who loves to bake, so she takes a lot of the baked goods as well. And then Jess, she likes – I’ll let you go, Jess.
Jess: Yeah, most of mine are like tacos, soups, grilling. I love vegetables too, but those are the things I gravitate towards. So Claire, I would be the one opting for canned fish.
Claire: Don’t knock it until you try it, guys.
Jess: So good. I had some yesterday on my salad and thought of you.
Claire: I love it. Jess, I didn’t realize you were allergic to eggs. Don’t you have like 40 chickens?
Jess: I have 32 chickens. But yes, I’m definitely allergic to eggs and it’s so unfair. Next time I come around in life, I’m going to eat all the eggs.
Claire: I’m putting that request in now for the next round. I would like to be able to eat eggs.
Jess: So unfair.
Claire: I want to dive into your cookbook. I know we want to focus a little bit more on your overall story. But when it came time to start the cookbook, I remember chatting with Jess in the parking lot of CrossFit Roots within a couple of weeks of you finding out that you were going to do this. You were like, “Well, we have this really great project.” You were being very sort of vague about it. You were like, “I have to go home and write all these recipes.” I always am so curious where you start when it comes to coming up with brand new recipes. Having read through the cookbook, I know a lot of them are based in things you ate growing up or in family recipes. But where do you start when it’s time to come up with something brand new. And sorry if people can hear Evie chatting in the background. I don’t know what she’s doing. If you can hear small voices, that’s what’s happening.
Jess: You know, a lot of it is we got to include 20 recipes from the blog that we know people love. So we put those in the book, and that was kind of the ode to the greatest hits. Get our book, you’re going to get 20 of your favorites right there. And then for the others, we took recipes that do really, really well, both on social media and the blog and we – if it was a sheet pan with a protein, a couple of vegetables, a certain kind of sauce or a marinade or a rub, we just iterated on that. We would change up the flavors, change up the protein, change up the vegetables, keep the preparation the same. Same thing with soups, stews, that kind of stuff. And then like you said, we brought in things that we ate growing up and modified them to have a slightly healthier bent to them, maybe being more allergy friendly. Sometimes I think there were some stretch meals, maybe things we don’t normally make but we were like, “Let’s take a swing at it” because people love this. One of them might have been the Thai coconut soup. We don’t have it on the blog. I don’t serve it every day at the house. But it’s something that I really enjoy when we dine out, so we went ahead and modified it and that’s how it ended up in the book. Would you agree, Stacie, that was the method to our madness?
Stacie: Yeah. I think with having blogging for five years, we know what our community loves. When we put out a recipe, we kind of know how it’s going to do. We really stuck to those recipes that we knew people were going to love and they will cook. Knowing our community so well helped us determine the recipes that we put in the book. Jess, I don’t feel like it was that hard to come up with 100+ recipes. Yeah, I think we just spit them out. We had a couple of phone calls to brainstorm. It was pretty easy to come up with that list.
Jess: I think it was harder testing 7-8 recipes a day than it was coming up with the recipes. We could come up with recipes all day long, but actually executing them was the tough part.
Stacie: And I was just getting through my first trimester of pregnancy, so I was just coming off feeling nauseous. It took a while for me to start testing recipes.
Claire: Were there any recipes that didn’t make it that you wish had made it into the book?
Jess: Probably. It all happened so fast. We signed the contract just before Christmas of 2020. Christmas Day 2020, we were on the phone coming up with recipes and testing recipes by the very next day. I honestly can’t remember. I’m sure there was many and some that just failed too that we were just like, no.
Claire: Right. There’s nothing that ended up on the cutting room floor that you are like, “If only we had gotten that muffin recipe in there.”
Jess: No. Did you have any, Stacie?
Stacie: No, I don’t think so. I do remember I had a bunch that I had tested but that didn’t make the book, so it was almost the opposite. But then we used them for the blog, so they were eventually shared somehow.
Claire: That’s right. It’s not like this is your only content opportunity. I want to talk to you guys about the sloppy Joe casserole [00:14:54.14] recipe. Because this is the most genius thing I’ve ever thought of. I’m going to give a little spoiler alert here, but it’s basically a sloppy Joe shepherds pie [00:15:05.01]. I can’t tell you how often my family eats shepherds pie [00:15:06.04]. We get a half cow every year. We have all this beef. And we’re always like, what the heck are we going to do with literally hundreds of pounds of ground beef. So I saw that recipe. We love sloppy Joe, we love shepherds pie. [00:15:18.03] It was one of those moments where you’re like, why didn’t I think of this? I’ve made it three or four times since then. I’ve only had the book for three weeks. So thank you. I just mostly want to say thank you for creating that recipe because it’s so genius. Who came up with that?
Jess: That was all Stacie.
Stacie: It was, but it was a combination of a couple of recipes on our blog. So we have this shepherd’s pie on our [00:15:39.23] blog that’s sweet potato topping, a meat base. So this recipe, and then we have the sloppy Joe recipe that is the recipe [00:15:46.18] Jess created on the blog. So it was really just combining the two, and then we went with traditional mashed potatoes on the top for the book. I’m in Minnesota. I would have named it sloppy Joe hot dish because I’m in Minnesota, but sloppy Joe casserole. It is really good. I tested that one several times, so thank you, thank you for enjoying that recipe.
Jess: It will forever be a hot dish in my mind too. I’m from Minnesota as well. Casserole just doesn’t roll off your lips like hot dish does.
Claire: I also caught that when you were like, “I love egg bakes.” No one else calls it an egg bake.
Jess: Just like a casserole, or what do you?
Claire: That food group just doesn’t really exist places outside of Minnesota. No one else is like, “Oh, you got leftovers? Just crack a bunch of eggs in there in a casserole dish and put it in the oven.” Maybe a quiche would come to mind.
Stacie: That sounds a little fancy.
Claire: You’ve got to make a crust. It’s very French. I went to a bachelorette party in Minnesota a couple weeks ago, and we had these leftovers from a crudité, and one of the [00:16:53.21] girls was like, “I’ll take that home and put it in an egg bake.” I was like, “What’s an egg bake?” [laughing]
Stacie: That is too funny.
Claire: I think it was a French onion dip, and she was like, “That would be good in an egg bake.” I’m like, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Jess: You just nailed my childhood. My mom was always like, “Oh, there’s leftovers? Add eggs.”
Claire: Is this now an egg bake?
Jess: And everybody asked for the recipe.
Claire: Just literally whatever you can find around the house. Just add eggs, put it in a casserole dish, problem solved. Except Jess who can’t eat eggs. Joy, I feel like I’m asking all the questions. Do you have anything you want to jump in with?
Joy: I want to know quickly what your influences were? I’m always really impressed by people who are really good at cooking and creating in the kitchen because I am not. So what was the basis for you to become what you became in the field that you went into.
Jess: I started to cook really young. My dad taught me to cook really, really young. It was never gourmet, but it was get it done. It was delicious, it was good, it was healthy, nourishing. I just kind of kept on with that. As I went to college, I got a little more adventurous with my cooking as I moved away from the Midwest and I worked in restaurants. Just always cooking. I suppose one time I did train for an ultramarathon, and I had to do it indoors because I lived in Alaska, and I watched The Food Network [00:18:15.26] for hours on end.
Joy: You trained for an ultra indoors on a treadmill?
Jess: It was terrible. It was so cold and so icy, so I had to run on a treadmill for four hours.
Joy: No, absolutely not. No, no, no.
Jess: I would watch The Food Network. [00:18:30.26] I probably looked really disordered. Like here I’m watching Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee [00:18:32.28], and I’m running. Nobody knew what I was doing. So yeah.
Joy: How did you do in the ultra?
Jess: I finished.
Joy: That’s just amazing. Is that, what? 50? 100?
Jess: It was 50 miles.
Joy: I mean, whatever. Anything over a marathon, even a marathon to me is a lot.
Claire: More than. 400 meter warm up, I’m like, eh, I’ve got to train for that.
Jess: Now I hate running.
Claire: You have earned the right to hate running if you trained for a 50 mile run on a treadmill.
Jess: I can’t really think of any one thing.
Joy: Sometimes I just feel like it’s in your bones. It’s what you do. It’s the hobby that you really love, and I think I’m just jealous for anyone who has that bone in their body. When you were training and evolving through that piece of exercise and food, were you really focused on the diets? Or were you always like, no, food should be nourishing? I feel like that’s also something that people get really tangly in. We can just eat to eat good food. Lately I’m just seeing so much on social about making sure you eat this food because it has a vitamin or whatever. You need protein, and you need this different type of vitamin. Make sure you eat this liver. Can we have a cookie? Every single meal doesn’t have to have a purpose.
Jess: No, I was definitely several times since I became a dietician, which is over 20 years now, been very diet-focused. Even to the point of getting to where diet was super restrictive and somewhat disordered, usually centered around physical performance or physical appearance. Now I’m not anywhere near there. So yeah, food is delicious, it’s wholesome, it’s nourishing, it’s meant to be shared. Which before it was like calorie counting, avoiding entire groups of food. Yeah, I feel like I’ve kind of run the gamut with dieting and now I’m in a place where food is food, and here we are. I’m still eating well, healthy, focusing on lots of fruits and veggies and stuff. But I’m not crazy, like I have to eat my liver today. How about you, Stacie?
Stacie: Yeah, similar journey as Jess. Definitely went through periods of more restrictive eating, calorie counting, all of that through the years. I think I’m at a good place right now. I think also I had my first baby three years ago. She’s a girl. And that has definitely made me like, I’m raising this girl and I want her to be healthy. I want her to have a relationship with food. It just made it much more important to me for me to be that good example for her.
Claire: You talked about this a little bit when you were talking about how you got started. But Jess, I know you have a background with managing [00:21:20.07] wick program. Stacie you talked about working in a hospital. One thing I love about nutrition influencers or recipe influencers, for lack of a better word, who are also dieticians and who have that clinical background is having that perspective of knowing the barriers that can come between people and eating healthy that have nothing to do with motivation or meal planning or meal prep. That there are really these systemic barriers that can keep people from having access to that type of choice or having the ability to make that type of food. Even just having the time and resources to cook your own food at home. How does that come into how you approach the blog? Or does it have a place in the process that you go through now that you’re on this side of it?
Jess: We take that into consideration a lot. I’ll let Stacie talk more about this, but especially knowing that not everyone can get the ingredients. We’re always really selective about which ingredients that we’re using. If you can’t get it fairly reasonably, easily, and locally, then it probably doesn’t need to be in one of our recipes. And we can find ways to create the same flavor or texture or mouth feel or whatever using something that is readily available. But then also speaking to barriers, sometimes we know as dieticians that people don’t always have access to abundant, healthy, safe, and nutritious foods. It’s teaching people how to do the best with what they do have. I feel like our recipes do a good job of that. They’re easy. They’re approachable. People can look at our recipes and say, “I can make that” and I have pretty much everything I need or can everything I need pretty easily to make that. And that we don’t preach only organic or only grass-fed. Of course we’re here to educate people that these are great options if you can afford them. But if you can’t, non-organic dairy, non-grass-fed meat is going to be healthy and nourishing, and it’s also an excellent choice. So we try to make everything very accessible.
Stacie: Like Jess said, it’s quite a drive for me to get to a big grocery store. So when we’re coming up with recipes and there’s an ingredient that I can’t get at my local grocery store that is still about 20 miles away, we try not to include it. I’m sure we have a few recipes that are a little more of a stretch, but for the most part I would say 95% of our recipes are recipes that I could go to my local grocery store, get the ingredients, and make. And also we always encourage using what you have on hand. Again, that comes down to when I am at home and I am cooking a recipe. Oh, I’m out of sweet potatoes or whatever. I’m not going to make a 40 mile roundtrip to the grocery store just to get sweet potatoes. I’m going to use something different. Maybe another starchy vegetable like a potato or a squash or something.
Jess: As we’re talking about this, I’m just thinking, we don’t preach. We don’t preach, like I said, organic or has to be grass-fed or anything like that. But being aware of how we develop recipes and what we use, we’re addressing that issue for so many people without calling it out.
Claire: Yeah, I thought of that as you guys were answering around, like, “I don’t feel like I have to take my liver today” or “I’m taking my X, Y, or Z” because I think that those types of rules can make it feel very inaccessible. And you know, it’s one thing to say, here is a meatloaf recipe where you could hide some organ meats if you wanted to. It’s very different from saying, every time you make this, make sure it has grass-fed liver in it. Well, where the heck am I going to get grass-fed liver? Let’s take a quick break and mention and talk about and let you guys know about our amazing sponsor who we love, Ned, our favorite CBD products, based out of Boulder. You know them. You love them.
Joy: If you don’t know them, you better get to know them so that you will love them as much as we do. This month, they are doing a new bundle. It’s called the Dream Set. You know that Claire and I talk all the time about the great sleep we get from the Ned products. Now, they have just bundled it all together for you. The new Dream Set includes their best-selling Sleep Blend and Mellow Magnesium, two products specifically developed to optimize your body for sleep and relaxation. It’s the ultimate combo to revolutionize your sleep. Claire, I think you have this combo down. Because you do Mellow at night right before you go to bed, and you do the CBD, right?
Claire: I do.
Joy: It’s a little routine. It’s really cute.
Claire: I have my little routine. I have my Sleepytime tea, and I have my Mellow, and I have my CBD. I’m starting to experiment with the timing and how far in advance I take it. I also again just want to make this plug. If you are ordering Mellow, maybe start with half a packet because magnesium is a natural laxative and the last thing you want is you’re almost falling asleep and all of the sudden you’ve got to poop. Just bringing that up now so that you’re not surprised if it happens. Doesn’t mean something is wrong. Just maybe ease yourself into the magnesium.
Joy: Ned’s new and improved Sleep Blend contains CBN, a powerful –
Claire: [singing] Cannabinoid.
Joy: I love when we say that word. It’s the best word. Cannabinoid that promotes sleep. 750 mg of USDA certified organic CBD. Yes, organic. The purest single source hemp flower extract and 20% more organic and wild crafted botanicals than the previous formulation. Our listeners, if you would like to conquer sleep, conquer it with Ned’s Dream Set. Joy and Claire [00:26:45.11] listeners get 15% off with code JOY. Go to helloned.com/JOY or enter code JOY at checkout. That’s helloned.com/JOY to get 15% off. Thank you, Ned, for sponsoring the show and offering our listens a natural remedy for some of life’s most common health issues.
Claire: [singing] Cannabinoid. I’m just going to do that now every time we do those ads.
Jess: You guys, I’m sitting here with all of my Ned products showing the camera.
Joy: I mean, way to show off.
Jess: This isn’t even half of them.
Claire: They’re so good, right? Have you met the guys?
Jess: Which one?
Claire: Have you met them in Boulder?
Jess: No, I haven’t.
Claire: Have you been to their spot?
Claire: It’s off of Arapahoe, just north of that Oso [00:27:37.27], Arapahoe and 55th. Right there where the goal light used to [00:27:42.28] be. It’s there.
Jess: Cool. Now we need a field trip.
Joy: The Ned quarters.
Claire: They’re so cute. The Ned quarters. So I want to talk about a few other recipes that are in the book. First, I want to talk about the broccoli salad, which we also have made so many times. If you’re at home listening thinking, I don’t love raw broccoli. Why should I eat this? Let me tell you that I don’t love raw broccoli either, but I do really love this salad. So tell us a little bit about the inspiration for this. Jess, I messaged you about it a little bit. I know this is a favorite of your grandma’s?
Jess: Yeah, I think broccoli salad is kind of like the state salad for Minnesota. Stacie and I both have our own variation of it. Mine has sunflower seeds, which my cousins and I affectionately named wood ticks. So it became known as wood tick salad, which is so gross but kind of funny. And I think Stacie’s might have cheese in it. Yeah, it’s raw broccoli, which I don’t even like broccoli. And we mix it with mayonnaise or yogurt. It has bacon and red onions, so it’s sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy. It hits all the spots. Grapes, it has grapes. My grandma used raisins.
Claire: I like the grapes, the little burst of juiciness. Yeah, I don’t love raisins.
Jess: I just cannot get on board with raisins. The taste of sadness.
Claire: Tase of sadness. It’s the taste of disappointment.
Joy: Aw. I’m team raisin, it’s okay.
Claire: I like raisins in trail mix.
Claire: Not into it. Stacie, did you have any dueling options about how this broccoli salad should go. I really am trying to create a conflict with you guys that I feel like is not there.
Jess: It was the salad that almost broke the business.
Stacie: No, I was totally on board with that salad. Definitely something that you would see at a Midwestern grill out or potluck. Jess hit is on a nail with that one. It’s great.
Claire: It was. I just instinctively added cheese to it. This feels like it needs cheese.
Stacie: Yeah, definitely. And it’s funny you mention the conflict, just trying to find something that we – we really don’t. We work so well together.
Claire: That’s so great. I am always just curious. I know some people, particularly if you’re from similar areas in the United States, you have really strongly-held beliefs about these traditional dishes, and sometimes those can clash. If you have an apple pie, do you pre-cook your apples or not pre-cook your applies? There’s these very strongly-held beliefs. I just didn’t know if any of those were brought into your recipes about broccoli salad.
Stacie: No, I think we both grew up in Minnesota. We were both indoctrinated in the cult of broccoli salad and potluck salads.
Claire: I was really good, really good. Highly recommend. The two other recipes that we have made are the meatloaf sheet pan recipe, which was really good. And I had an inspiration. Which you guys say to use ketchup or barbecue sauce. I’m going to make it again with Korean barbecue sauce and add a little bok choy on the sheet pan. Mix it up a little bit.
Jess: You are hired. We want to hire you. That’s how we develop recipes.
Claire: If that shows up on the blog in two months –
Stacie: We were talking about that recipe. So we have a barbecue version of that mini meatloaf, the sheet pan recipe, so that’s how that inspiration came for the book. But we were also just talking about, we could do exactly what you said. All different flavors for sheet pan mini meatloaf. So thank you for that idea.
Claire: It’s like mini meatloaf slash giant meatball is how I was thinking about it. And the other one that we have tried is the beef and broccoli, which I feel like that is such a standard. Because we eat so much ground beef – you guys are noticing a trend. All these are ground beef because in my life all I am doing is looking for new ways to eat ground beef. I just love having a fresh take on that because there is a million ways to do it. It is always fun to see how different people approach those basic dishes. I think that’s what’s so cool about your cookbook and what you guys are talking about of wanting to keep it approachable. There’s really nothing in there that you’re like – I mean, not nothing. The sloppy Joe recipe obviously [00:31:51.25] blew my mind. There’s nothing where you’re like, “I’ve never even heard of this before. What the heck is this?” It is just sort of a new way of thinking about a lot of classic home recipes.
Jess: Yeah, that’s exactly how we would describe what we do. We take comfort food recipes that everybody knows and loves and just make it slightly healthier. We add our own little twist and [00:32:09.14] spin to them.
Joy: And the photos are beautiful, by the way. Your Instagram page is really beautiful. Any time I see a photo pop up on the feed with you guys, it looks really good.
Jess: Thank you.
Joy: Which isn’t what I’m finding with a lot of food bloggers. It’s not always easy to make some foods look good. It could taste delicious, but some foods don’t look that great. You guys make it look really enticing. So I also want to know from your expertise, what are the common questions you get from people about nutrition? Just basic nutrition. What are the things you find yourself repeating a lot to people when it came to their health and feeding themselves?
Jess: You know, we don’t get a lot of these anymore. The people that have been with us for so long know that we’re not here to talk about any one diet. We don’t think that any one diet is the right diet. We are definitely not preachy. We’re just here to give you recipes that no matter how you eat you can make it work for you. So we don’t get a lot of questions. We get a lot of questions about protein powder. What’s your favorite protein powder? So we recently – actually Jessie did this article. There were two of them, and they were so great. We reviewed whey protein and plant-based proteins. Jessie wrote two blog posts that were all about the best whey proteins and the best plant-based proteins. Other than that, can you think of anything else, Stacie?
Stacie: That’s exactly what I was going to add. We do get that question a lot. Any time we are making a smoothie and add a scoop of protein, that’s a popular question. What protein powder do you recommend? Which is what sparked the idea of creating those review posts.
Claire: That’s so fun. We’ll have to link to that in the notes because we get that question all the time too. It’s like, it kind of depends on what you like and what you’re looking for and what your priorities are. I love that Jessie did that. And having known Jessie from her previous life as the food editor at the last place that I worked, that’s so her jam. I once had to spend three whole day sampling plant-based burgers for something that she was doing about plant-based burgers. Let me tell you, eating one bite at a time of 30 different types of plant-based burgers and being like, “This is my breakfast.” Everyone in the office was just… would not recommend it.
Stacie: We ended up with so much protein powder. Every day, we’re getting more protein samples in the mail. Like, Jessie, this is a lot of protein.
Jess: Stop having it sent to the house please.
Claire: I trust your methods, but I’m starting to feel a little worried.
Joy: Can you share what the consensus was? What was one of the best ones? Or whey versus plant protein, is there a best, better, worst?
Jess: I think for each person. There are people who love whey and do really well with whey. And then there’s people who really need or want a plant-based protein. So that’s why we split them up into two. And then we had different categories. There was the best for pregnancy and breast-feeding. The best for men, for women, for athletes. I’d have to look at the post honestly.
Stacie: We even had a category that was looking for a protein without any type of artificial sweetener, even stevia, monk fruit, anything like that. So we had a category for that. We had an overall. And what was great is Anna, who I mentioned earlier, social media coordinator, she can’t have dairy. So she tested all the plant-based protein powders. We obviously trusted her opinion there because that’s all she can have. Of course, we also tested those as well, but she definitely had a big say in the plant-based protein powders. For me, I personally prefer whey. That is just my go-to when it comes to protein powder.
Claire: I’m with Anna. I can’t do whey. It just will be all I’m doing the rest of the day is dealing with the consequences of that decision. I would rather just not build muscle. Sorry.
Jess: We probably have a plant-based protein that is perfect for you on the blog.
Claire: I’m going to have to go check it out.
Joy: We’ll link to that for sure.
Stacie: So there’s two separate posts. One is for plant-based, and the other is for whey protein. There’s seven in each category.
Jess: That’s kind of the only question. This isn’t a question, but when we do share what we eat, we call them A Dietician’s Day of Eats. [00:36:20.14] It’s not meant to be, if you eat this, you’re going to look like us or perform like us. It’s really like, this is an example of how we take an easy weekend meal prep and we put it together during the week or we grab three or four recipes that we make at dinner time, how we fill in the holes. So we’re always very careful to say this is not to say how you should eat. We don’t think it’s right or wrong. We just think that this is how we do it. People always want to know – it’s kind of like when they go to your house and they want to look in your medicine cabinet – people always want to know what we’re eating. I think that’s the second question.
Claire: Do people come in your house and look in your medicine cabinet?
Jess: I don’t have one, but – [laughing]
Jess: I think that’s a thing, right?
Joy: It’s totally a thing. Because when you’re a dietician, I think about that all the time. You must have this optimized knowledge of food. If you’re feeling bad, it’s almost like you can create a witch’s brew. You know what I mean? It feels like you have this insight into what we all have to do and we all have to “eat better” or take care of ourselves. I mean, it is tied to health. So whatever that looks like for you. But I think that intrigue of what your knowledge is around something that we all have to do every day and how we can feel better. Because we all want to feel better, and how do we do that? How do we do that as we age? How do we do it as an athlete?
Jess: There are so many great dietician out there who are speaking to all of those things, so we never felt that we needed to be the ones speaking to certain diets or performance or pre- and post-workout and all that stuff. We see our job as putting out recipes that other professionals can use. We have a lot of dietician that follow us and they say, “Yeah, I share your recipes with my clients all of the time.” So I feel like that’s kind of our sweet spot. We don’t have to do the day-to-day, the talking about the diets. We are just creating tools for others to use.
Stacie: And when we get those questions, we happily refer them to the dietician we feel is an expert in whatever they are asking.
Claire: Who are some of the people you find yourselves referring out to most often?
Stacie: For any pregnancy-related question, Lilly Nichols. [00:38:29.19] She is amazing.
Jess: If people are coming about macros or performance, I always refer them to more holistic functional bend and then we send them off to dietician we know there. Or people who are just looking to eat healthy and not have a lot of food issues, we’ll often refer to Laura Ligos. She does a good job of looking at food as food and not necessarily food as a number or a function.
Claire: You guys know we love Laura.
Claire: Now that your book is out in the world and now that you have a third person on your team and you guys are just continuing to grow and, I imagine, get more ideas and get more questions and more opportunities, what’s coming up next for you guys? Or what are you excited about?
Jess: I think we have a long list of things we don’t want to do.
Stacie: Yeah, the last year and a half has been a lot. We wrote a book. We had a new website created, just an update of a website. We had an SEO audit. It was just a lot that we had going on in the last year. I had a baby. Jess had some family personal things in her family that she was going through. We’re just ready to slow down and take a step back and chill out for a little bit.
Jess: Yeah, last week we were in Salt Lake City for the Traeger Summit [00:39:57.23], the Traeger Girls Summit. We left there just wanting to go home and be creative again and cook and grill all the things and just play with food and not take ourselves so darn seriously.
Claire: That’s fair. I mean, you know, it’s been just a light two years for everyone as we all know. So I feel like that’s on par with what we’re hearing from a lot of people. “You know what? I’m just ready to have a regular year.”
Stacie: For sure.
Claire: Well, where can our audience find you if they are not already following you?
Stacie: We are a blog, therealfooddieticians.com. And then all social medias @therealfooddieticians.
Jess: Except for Pinterest. I think we’re still The Real Food RD’s, like registered dietitians. But you can find all of those on our website. So if you go to the top, you can click the social button and get to where you need to be.
Claire: I really would love to know who else out there is still using Pinterest because I am still an avid, avid Pinterest user, and I feel like I am the only one. People are always like, “You’re still on – “ Of course I am, it’s the best.
Jess: My stepdad loves Pinterest.
Claire: Well, me and your stepdad should hang out because I love Pinterest. I’m on there all the time. Well thank you guys so much for being on the podcast. It’s been such a long time coming. I’m glad we were finally able to have you guys on here. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again. And everybody, you can find us on Instagram @joyandclaire_. You can go to joyandclaire.com. Although, our website is currently under construction. Just bookmark it for future. It’s going to be exciting. We have some website updates coming. You can email us email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you. We love your comments, your questions, your recommendations. Please send us a note. We will talk to you next Thursday, just like every Thursday since 2013. We are here for you. We will continue to be here. Thank you so much for being here. See you guys later.
Joy: See you later. Bye, guys.
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