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Episode Info:

  • (0:41) Welcome
    • Welcome back to The Paleo View listeners! This week Stacy and Sarah are excited to welcome their guest, and good friend, and chef extraordinaire, most interesting man in Paleo, and that's not to mention all the work titles he has - Russ from
The Domestic Manis here with us today Sarah noted that she is way overdue for a visit with Russ and his family Stacy is looking forward to seeing both Russ and his wife while Stacy and the family is on the road for their summer travels The experience of preparing for a cross-country road trip has been quite interesting
  • Matt and Stacy will be starting a family podcast about it so they can travel vlog and capture the memories
This week Stacy and Sarah asked Russ to join the show to share on his latest project
  • He has been working for about four years on his self-published, latest book,
The Heritage Cookbook You can get an e-copy now, or you can preorder a hard copy and automatically receive the e-copy Stacy has seen the eBook and has tested recipes from it
  • She finds this book to be really interesting because it is not just a cookbook, it's an exploration of DNA and ancestry and how our heritage influences our culture, our health, and our food
Stacy thought it would be interesting this week to explore Stacy and Russ's experiences with DNA testing and to learn a bit on what they can glean from these tests Sarah geeks out over blood tests and is chomping at the bits to cover this topic (5:56) More on Russ
  • Russ is in the military and has been for almost twenty years now Five years into his service he had a stroke, which came out of nowhere
    • He was hospitalized for awhile He was only 24 at the time While he recovered really quickly, he lost all the function on the left side of his body and had to re-learn how to write and walk A year after his stroke things got way worse and he ended up going back to the hospital and telling them that something was off and not feeling right From that point, he lived in a military hospital for a really long time
      • They ended up diagnosing him with an autoimmune disease, where he has inflammation in his arteries
      He was put on a ton of medication to try to balance everything within his body
      • The medication was causing all sorts of issues so Russ ended up having open heart surgery It was a really drastic surgery, but he made it out of that ok After a 6 month recovery, it all got worse again because he hadn't fixed any of the issues within his body He went right back on all of the same medications
      A few years after all of this, Russ found a random blog article covering Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution, when it has first come out
      • This book inspired him to change his diet Sure enough, a lot of his issues began to disappear after a month Russ went back to the doctor to have his bloodwork checked, and the data showed improvements in his health
      Russ began blogging about his experience to hold himself accountable and to share his experience
      • It blossomed into a bigger following than he ever expected since it was just a hobby at the time He ended up getting a book deal working with Stacy and published The Ancestral Table and then Paleo Takeout Russ had planned on publishing more books in the future and he had all these big ideas, but something happened in him where it became really important to learn more about his own family
      Russ's birth father was in the navy, and he met Russ's mother in San Diego when his father was stationed there
      • They got married and had two children Russ's father was out of the picture when he was three and he was raised by his stepfather There was a level of curiosity that Russ had to explore his ancestry
        • Especially once Russ had kids he wanted to learn more about his DNA and ultimately the traits he passed on to his kids
          • He did DNA research to understand what the science says about his genes And then he worked to learn more about his Dad and where his genes are from
    Through Russ's ancestry research he learned a lot about his father and family
    • He was able to find extended family members on Facebook and connect with them Once he had a few names he was able to do the research and find his entire paternal ancestry This inspired him to start thinking about the types of food he craves and how genes impact cravings Digging into his heritage and what likely shaped his palate from a genetics standpoint, led him to ask the question - how does this work for others This inspired his latest book, which obviously took a lot of research since it was four years in the making He is very happy with what came out of it and is proud of the final product
(10:02) Q & A
  • Stacy asked Russ what his biggest takeaway was from the research he conducted
    • He thought there was going to be these secret foods that were fine-tuned to his genetic traits However, science is nowhere near there
      • There are a few things available in research that shows how our ancestry impacts our digestive abilities
      Russ realized that the best way to find out how people thrive is to look at historical eating patterns over history So when Russ wrote
The Heritage Cookbookit ended up being a food history book
  • He looked up each of the major food groups and looked at what the origin of the food is and this is how he developed and assembled the cookbook
    • You end up with a cookbook where you can look up your heritage and learn about the eating patterns relevant to your background and then you can go to the recipes relevant to those regions The book is nearly 800 pages long and has 300 recipes in it
Sarah asked about the research process for being able to teach himself how to cook with these different methodologies
  • Russ first figured out what our actual ancestor breakout is in the United States He then divided up the number of recipes he was going to dedicate to a specific region based on how many people are from that region He looked through history books and looked at the staple dishes for the various regions, and then had to figure out how to make these staple recipes work in a modern kitchen Russ wanted to connect people with their ancestors via these recipes, but to also keep them approachable so that people actually want to make the recipes in the book When creating this book, Russ had his wife in mind
    • She is not an expert chef, but she is great at following a recipe He wanted to keep the recipes approachable at her level She is very particular with the way that she approaches a recipe, and Russ wrote the book with this skill level in mind
If you loved Russ's first two books you are going to love how Russ has expanded culturally the same concept, especially from The Ancestral Table Stacy noted how special it is to connect with a culture, even if it is not a part of your ancestry, by reading about that culture's history in this book and then cooking those cuisines Russ shared more about his research process and the way he had to almost play detective with pieces of information that are available, and the way he had to go about testing recipes, piecing the details together
  • It was very important to Russ to bring recipes back to life that may have been fading from use, both within a specific culture and to others who wouldn't have had a chance to try them otherwise
(36:07) Experiences with Blood Testing
  • Sarah's personal approach has almost been the flip side of the coin
    • She has used her DNA to really understand her diet The approach that Sarah has taken has been at a micro level, and she loves the way Russ has taken a more macro approach to look at heritage data when deciding how best to eat for our health Sarah also noted how special it is to see the way this book brings back a level on interpersonal touchpoints within the family that have started to fade in the age of connectivity (i.e. learning how to prep a recipe from Grandma)
    Russ shared on his personal journey finding his ancestral history and visiting the places where his family was from
    • From his research and explorations, Russ found that his DNA test and his results don't define who he is today
    Russ dedicated this book to his parents and his children Stacy's mother was adopted and up until two years ago she didn't know anything about her birth family
    • When you are adopted you have no idea about your health history Stacy's mom used and 23andme
      • She found a lot of information about her family and was able to meet many family members who were living within a close distance
      These interactions also allowed Stacy and her mom to understand a lot more about their health history and the kinds of cancer that are prominent within their family
    Russ shared more about what it meant to find out about his family's history and learning about their lives, where they died, where they are buried Connecting with family members as an adult, when you didn't know they existed your entire life is a bizarre experience to navigate Stacy touched on why some people don't want to utilize DNA and genetic testing when they would rather not know certain details surrounding their family and extended family members Sarah noted that there are ways to utilize genetic testing without opting-in to learn about genetic relatives and to not have your information listed within the database so that others can contact you
    • It is possible to get the scientific, medically relevant details without learning about the family dynamic pieces
(1:03:02) Closing Thoughts
  • Stacy thanked Russ for joining Stacy and Sarah on this week's Paleo View episode and for sharing his story
    • A huge thank you for also putting together this amazing body of literature To find out more on Russ, visit here: To learn more about his new book and to grab a copy, visit here: Thank you, listeners, for being here!
  • If you have your own story about taking any of these ancestry tests, we would love to hear about them in the comments section on these blog posts or on social media
Thank you, everyone, for tuning in!
  • Stacy and Sarah will be back next week, and Stacy will be on the road!

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