Thanks for joining us for episode 102 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show.
Today we are thrilled to be interviewing Russ Crandall!
Russ Crandall is the talented home chef behind The Domestic Man, a leading food blog in the Paleo, gluten free, and whole foods community. He’s The New York Times bestselling author of The Ancestral Table and Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites Without The Junk.
Many that follow Paleo diet strictly stick to the list of approved and forbidden foods, but there are controversial gray area foods that people find they can tolerate and even thrive on. While the debate on these foods such as white rice and potatoes continues, deciding what foods meet your own needs is key to maintaining a healthy ancestral type diet long term.
Today Russ Crandall talks with us about incorporating gray area foods into your Paleo diet plan. As Russ discusses his philosophy on gray area foods, he shares his personal health story and journey finding what foods work best for him.
Russ also shares how he decides what recipes he creates for his blog and gives practical, simple tips on how to take your cooking to the next level with basic whole food ingredients and techniques.
Here are some of the questions we discussed with Russ:
- How did you end up becoming a Paleo and ancestral nutrition blogger and recipe developer?
- What is the significance behind the name of your blog, The Domestic Man?
- What is your personal philosophy on gray area foods?
- How did you figure out what was okay for you to reintroduce? Were there any foods you tried reintroducing that didn’t work at all for you?
- How does your philosophy on gray area foods affect your decisions about what kind of food you create for your blog?
- Do you ever get any push-back from people for using gray area ingredients?
- Why don’t you include dessert recipes on your blog?
- What do you think about a ketogenic or very low carb, high fat diet from an ancestral health context?
- How do you decide what kind of foods you want to make for your blog?
- What motivated you to create The Safe Starch Cookbook? What do you consider a safe starch?
- Do you have any tips for listeners who are struggling with creativity in the kitchen when they’re on a Paleo diet?
- Are there any simple things that you can do with basic ingredients to make it taste a little bit more gourmet?
- Are there any sauces like that that you like to use regularly?
- How do you decide what you’re going to get at the grocery store?
- What’s your philosophy on spice blends?
Laura: Hi everyone! Welcome to episode 102 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. I’m Laura Schoenfeld and with me as always is my cohost Kelsey Kinney.
Kelsey: Hey guys!
Laura: If you don’t know us, we’re Registered Dietitians with a passion for ancestral health, real food nutrition, and sharing evidence-based guidance that combines science with common sense. You can find me, Laura, at LauraSchoenfeldRD.com, and Kelsey at www.KelseyKinney.com.
We’ve have a great guest on our show today who is going to be talking all about how to successfully and deliciously incorporate gray areas foods into an otherwise Paleo diet. We’re really glad he’s joining us and we hope you’ll enjoy this episode.
Kelsey: If you’re enjoying our show, subscribe on iTunes so that you never miss an episode. While you’re there, leave us a positive review so that others can discover the show as well! And remember, we want to answer your question, so head over to TheAncestralRDs.com to submit a health-related question that we can answer or suggest a guest you’d love for us to interview on an upcoming show.
Laura: Before we get into our interview, let’s hear a quick word from our sponsor:
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Laura: We’re back and we have an awesome guest with us today! This is Russ Crandall. He’s the talented home chef behind The Domestic Man, a leading food blog in the Paleo, gluten free, and whole foods community. He’s The New York Times bestselling author of The Ancestral Table and Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites Without The Junk. Thanks for coming on the show Russ!
Russ: Thanks for having me. I’m really looking forward to this interview.
Laura: I remember I had known about your stuff for a while because I felt like you were one of the few paleo blogs, or I guess recipe blogs that really focused on actual meals and kind of more macronutriently complete meals. I was sending a lot of clients to look for recipes there. Then I ended up meeting you at the Perfect Health Retreat back in, did you say it was 2014?
Russ: Yeah, I think it was Fall of 2014.
Laura: Wow, that was a while ago. What have you been up to since then?
Russ: We moved down to Florida right after that Perfect Health Retreat. We’ve been living there ever since. We’re in Pensacola. Since then I published the second cookbook, Paleo Takeout, which was a lot of fun to write and went on a book tour for that. It’s been about it, just trying to keeping the blog up to date, and making healthy food, and having fun doing it.
Laura: I still have the chopsticks that came with that.
Russ: That’s funny. I’ve got like 1,000 of them here at the house. If you ever need any extras, just let me know.
Laura: I might have to since I tend to use the ones that just come with the takeout.
You have a really interesting backstory as to how you got into the paleo and ancestral health movement. If you don’t mind just sharing a little bit about your story with our listeners that don’t know about your history, mostly about how did you get into this work? How did you end up becoming a paleo and ancestral nutrition blogger and recipe developer? What’s been the progression that you’ve gone through?
Russ: Sure. I’ve always been interested in cooking. My first couple jobs after I turned of age was cooking in restaurants. After that I ended up joining the Navy, this was about 17 years ago now. But then about 10 years ago, 11 years ago now actually, I ended up having a stroke. I was just sitting at home, a very healthy guy, working out all the time and doing everything else. But then all of a sudden the left side of my body just didn’t work. I went into the hospital and said yeah, sure enough you’re having a stroke on the right side of my pons so that was affecting my left side of my fine motor function.
Being left handed, that really was not very fun because I had to learn how to write again and how to hold a fork, and learn how to walk again even. I’m 25 at this point. The nice thing about having a stroke when you’re really young is that you end up bouncing back from it pretty quickly. After a few months of physical therapy, I basically was back to normal. But we had no understanding of why I had had a stroke. I was a healthy guy all of a sudden just couldn’t walk anymore. Honestly I just kind of moved on from there and thought that was just a weird thing that happened to me.
Then about a year later, so I’m 26 at this point, I was getting out of breath all the time to the point where even just standing up and walking I was getting winded. It didn’t feel normal for me. I was a former long distance runner and it wasn’t matching up. I thought I was out of shape, but it was getting worse and worse. I’m back to the doctor and they didn’t know what to do and so I ended up living in a hospital for about a month just kind of getting poked and prodded, tested.
Eventually they figured out that I was having some sort of an inflammation that was focused only in my pulmonary arteries and my arteries were getting so inflamed that I wasn’t getting enough blood to and from my lungs so I was getting out of breath all the time. They immediately just put me on a course of steroids, and then a couple other immunosuppressant drugs, and then blood thinners to just try to help with the blood flow.
I did that and it helped, I was able to walk around without getting out of breath. I couldn’t run or anything. I couldn’t exercise but at least I was walking around. It was really kind of a big deal being 26 years old and kind of feeling like I was elderly.
About a year after that I went back to the doctor and said hey, I really hate taking all these medications all the time. Is there any way I can do something else to fix this? They said, yeah, we can try to do surgery and to try to fix that inflamed tissue and just kind of scrape all that tissue out and make it a normal size again.
I agreed to do that so at age 27 I went through what they call a pulmonary re-sectioning surgery. They went in, had to reroute my organs through a machine and kind of drain a lot of the blood out of my chest and my body and then make me hypothermic, so about 50 degrees or so, then basically just operated on me and scraped all that inflamed tissue and then put it all back together and added a couple cow parts in there just to kind of make it the right size again.
It was very complicated surgery, about a 10 percent chance of dying right there on the table. But I made it out okay and then I ended up waking up and going through all the therapy to kind of get over that again only to find out that I was just as out of breath as I had been before and I had to go right back on all those medications again. Because at the end of the day, I hadn’t fixed any of that inflammation.
As you can image I was not happy about my situation at that point, but I didn’t know what else to do. The doctor said you can just kind of keep at it and kind of gave me a prognosis of about 20-25 years living life. Here I was late 20’s and basically feeling elderly.
Then when I was around age 30, so about 6 or 7 years ago now, I just happened to come across a random blog article and it was right when Robb Wolf’s book came out, The Paleo Solution. It was a promotional kind of blog post on it and it was from a food blog and it mentioned, have you thought about the history behind the way we eat, and how that affects how we’re eating today, and how we’re kind of out of sync with a lot of our heritage?
It all just kind of resonated with me. My Bachelor Degree is in history and I never really put two and two together like that. But it was kind of an epiphany. I went out and bought all this new food and got rid of all the junk that was in our house. It really wasn’t junk but it was just all those bad things, a lot of flours and breads, and pastas, and processed oils, and all of that. I got rid of all that and kind of went back to making everything from scratch and really focusing on what I was eating. I felt great within a week so I kept at it. Then about a few weeks later, I was feeling normal again, not just not sick, but to the point where I was feeling healthy again.
Russ: It was incredible and it was just in a span in about a month or less. I went back to the doctor and said, hey, I think I’m doing really well from a symptomatic standpoint. Can you guys take my blood and just see how my labs look whether or not I have a lot of inflammation? They took the labs and they came back and said, yeah, you look normal for some reason. We’re not sure. The drugs are finally worked. You’re in a drug induced remission. I said I don’t think it’s the drugs. I think that there’s something to the way I’ve changed my diet. You always get the same complaints, well you’re not going to get any vitamins if you’re not eating whole grain bread and all that other stuff. I said well I’m going to keep on this diet and see how it works.
Overtime it’s just gotten better, and better, and better to the point now where I’m able to exercise. In the Navy we have a semiannual PT test, physical test, which includes a cardio portion. For yeas I’ve not been able to do that. But just in this past year alone, I’ve now been able to take that test and pass it pretty well too. It’s just continuing to kind of improve as I go along.
Laura: That’s awesome!
Russ: It was really great. I’d say after a month or so of really annoying all my friends and coworkers about this new diet, I decided to start a blog so that way I could annoy the internet instead. That’s when I started TheDomesticMan.com and really started focusing on one, keeping myself accountable by making food that was in line with kind of the research I was doing about health and everything as well as to share those with the public. I’ve always kind of had a flair for cooking and photography, so I kind of just married all those skills together and that’s how everything was born.
Laura: You do have pretty awesome photos as well. I’m always a little jealous of people that can take picture s like that.
Kelsey: I know, right.
Russ: It’s a lot of trial and error.
Laura: Yeah, I know, you just get better over time by doing it. It’s kind of crazy how the doctors were worried about your diet causing problems. I just think it’s crazy how they basically were like you’re going to live like an old person. It sounded like you were saying that they didn’t expect you to live much past the age of 50 or 60. Is that right?
Russ: Correct, yeah. Because of the side effects, I was on a real high dose of prednisone, I was osteoporotic already, I was having memory issues. It was getting pretty bad.
Laura: Wow. It just amazes me that you tell them that you’re feeling back to normal and all of your health problems are gone and they’re like, well, you might get nutritionally deficient on this new approach. It just kind of crazy.
Laura: I’ve actually never asked you this. What is the meaning or the significance behind the name of your blog, The Domestic Man?
Russ: It’s a great question. It’s something I forget about overtime too. The funny trivia is that I actually started the blog before I changed my diet. Initially it was supposed to be I wanted to start a food and gardening blog because I liked the idea of us recapturing kind of the land that we occupy. For me we had just moved into a new home that we owned. It was the first home owner experience and I thought I’m going to tame my backyard by gardening and I’m going to start owning my kitchen by cooking.
It’s kind of a play on words in the idea that mankind has become somewhat domesticated and that we don’t really know some of these basic skills anymore. But at the same time I want to kind of recapture that spirit by relearning those skills myself.
Russ: That’s the idea behind it.
Laura: I always wondered if it had something to do with the domestic arts as they are called, like cooking and that kind of thing. Cool to know what the actual reason was.
We have noticed that a lot of your recipes include many of the commonly excluded paleo foods like rice, white potatoes, dairy. It’s interesting because with the health issues that you overcame with your diet, a lot of times people think you have to be really, really strict and never touch anything that’s not perfectly strict paleo to be able to maintain those results. But it sounds like you’re actually doing a lot better even now than you were before eating those foods. What is your personal philosophy on those gray area foods? How did you figure out what was okay for you to reintroduce?
Russ: For me when I first changed my diet, there was not a lot of resources available at the time, so I really didn’t know where to start. I started with Robb Wolf’s book and then kind of broke off from there. I found The Whole 30 and kind of tried that a little bit. Really what it came down to was I was eating a very strict paleo diet, something based on a eat list and a do not eat list.
I tried that in that first month, but after that first month I really started crashing. I wasn’t feeling great. I was losing energy and I just kind of happened to fall into the idea of balancing my own needs by adding in new ingredients. That came from a moment of weakness honestly where I was running out of energy and my wife who is of Japanese heritage was kind of lamenting the fact that we weren’t really eating rice anymore in the house. I said alright, well I’m going to make a pot of rice and maybe I’ll try a little bit. I ate some and I felt great, I felt so much better and it was incredible.
I thought that after reading a bunch of low carb kind of paleo blogs at the time, I thought that I was going to keel over and die because my glycemic load would be so high. And I didn’t. At that point, I had to make a decision and the decision was that well, regardless of what I’ve read, I’m going to follow the way I feel. If I’ve already gone this far basically kind of listening to my body, I’m going to continue to do that.
Rice and white potatoes were kind of a first introduction to that. Finding out that the way I prepare them really changed things. I stopped eating French fries and potato chips, but more like boiled and mashed potatoes. Those made me feel great. I kind of kept along those lines and then dairy was just something I kept experimenting with and starting with butter, then yogurt, and heavy cream, and things like that.
I basically just found what kind of worked for me. To this day I can’t eat yogurt more than twice a week. It just makes me breakout. Anything less than that and I’m fine. It’s just a matter to kind of figuring out that as I went. It wasn’t an overnight thing. It wasn’t a single decision I had made, but more around the lines of just kind of really feeling things out as I went along.
Laura: Were there any foods you tried reintroducing that didn’t work at all for you?
Russ: Yeah, in the past year specifically I went and traveled in Europe. I thought this is going to be a time where I really have avoided wheat this entire time, but I’ve always heard kind of anecdotally that people have been able to eat some wheat products in Europe and been fine. Whether or not that comes from the freshness of the ingredients or how they grind the flour, there’s all sorts of kind of factors involved in that. I was in Italy of all places and I’m like well I’m going to go to this place that has homemade pasta and everything else. Sure enough, that didn’t work out for me. I had a pretty bad stomachache and headache afterwards. Definitely not perfect in the fact that some foods don’t work very well for me.
For the most part I’ve found that reintroducing everything except for some of those really bad characters, those really high omega 6 oils have really kind of affected me over time, and then any wheat product has really kind of hurt as well. Overall, we’ve just kind of gotten out of the idea of frying food. That’s something we do like once every six months, if that. We’ve really gotten back to the basics of kind of cooking in a much more kind of tender and nuanced way as opposed to frying everything.
Laura: How does that philosophy on gray area foods affect your decisions about what kind of food you create for your blog?
Russ: That’s a good question. I kind of made my own rules of the blog because I knew I wanted to send a very clear message when it came to the blog. For example, if I am out at Mexican restaurant and they serve beans and rice together, I’m usually going to eat the beans with the rice. One, because I love the taste. And two, because I might get a little bit of gas afterwards, but that’s something I’m willing to kind of take. It’s a decision that I make. At home sometimes we’ll soak beans overnight and cook them as well just every once and a while.
But that’s not something I’m comfortable putting on the blog because I’m not willing to kind of have that discussion and debate from a guy who’s not an RD at all in terms of whether or not someone should be eating those other things. I made a kind of hard and fast rule that I’ll include white rice, I’ll include potatoes, and I’ll include diary, as well as fermented soy, usually just miso and tamari. I include those ingredients which are kind of gray area foods.
I think there’s enough research out there to let people kind of make their own decisions. I never kind of push it on them. I always try to give alternatives to anything. Somebody who has a severe allergy to any of those items, I usually will include a substitution like coconut milk for dairy and things like that.
Laura: It was always interesting to me because I feel like when you look at paleo recipe blogs there’s an expectation of what it’s going to include as far as the ingredients go. Do you ever get any pushback from people that are angry that you’re using those ingredients?
Russ: Yeah, all the time. It’s funny, every once and a while I’ll monitor, for example, my reviews on Amazon. And I’ll tell you, 95% of the negative reviews I get are from people who say this has the word paleo in it but then he used tamari. Even though he gave a substitution for coconut aminos or whatever, that’s not paleo, therefore this book isn’t paleo, therefore one star. I don’t typically agree with that, but I think that everybody kind of has their own decisions to make.
Yeah, I definitely have been aware over the years that if I just maybe stuck with a very strict paleo, like maybe a Whole 30 style paleo, or an autoimmune style paleo, or for example posted paleo cupcakes, all of those things probably would have gotten me lots of followers. But at some point I kind of had to draw the line and say well this is the image that I want to make and I’m willing to kind of take some of that flack along the way.
Laura: I actually think it’s really important to have a blog like yours because for Kelsey and I, a lot of our clients don’t need to be eating strict paleo. It’s a little tough especially when we’re trying to get people to be eating higher carb diets when they’re going to these recipe sites that their version of carbs is cauliflower rice for example.
Laura: It’s nice that there’s your blog that actually offers those gray area foods because things like rice and potatoes are a big source of carbs for a lot of our clients and your recipes are one of the only ones that can both offer that and then also avoid those things like the vegetable oils, and gluten, that kind of stuff that might be really causing people problems.
Russ: Absolutely. I think that it’s important too to kind of look at historically how we’ve already been eating these foods. I think a lot of them kind of work in compatibility with each other and I think they complement one another. Because my blog is so based on different historical recipes, I think that it just comes naturally. It would be a little bit disingenuous if I used cauliflower rice instead of regular rice.
Laura: Yeah. You mentioned about paleo cupcakes as being a way to get more traffic and more five star ratings on Amazon. But this is another thing I’ve noticed on your site that most of your recipes seem to center around more of those hearty main meals and veggie sides. Have you ever done a dessert on your blog?
Russ: Zero. There are zero deserts on it.
Laura: Oh, I was going to say I rarely see them. But I was like maybe I actually never see them, I should probably double check. Is that more because you don’t enjoy creating desserts or is there another reason that you don’t include dessert recipes on your blog?
Russ: There’s kind of two schools of thought with that. Number one is that I think that desserts should be spontaneous so I think that a bowl of fruit, and a little bit of cream, and maybe some honey on top doesn’t need a recipe. I think that’s something that you would eat seasonally when it’s available. That’s one big part of it is that I don’t want to kind of develop those recipes and encourage people to do that when I think it just should be something that’s a little bit part of your life, but only once and a while.
And the second is I’m real big on effort barriers so I like the idea that you have to sometimes work for things. Only in one of my cookbooks, in Ancestral Table, is there any desserts and every single dessert is not a two minute dessert. Everything takes hours upon hours because I like idea that if you really want something, then maybe you would put in the time and effort to really be conscious about what you’re putting into you as opposed to thinking about what’s convenient.
Those are kind of the two things. I want to make it difficult for people to eat desserts and then at the same time I want it to be this kind of natural spontaneous thing that happens.
Laura: That’s funny, it’s such a dichotomy. It’s like it’s either got to be so hard that you don’t want to do it, or so easy that you don’t need a recipe.
Kelsey: Your one star reviews are like, why is this guy trying to make me take five hours to make this dessert?
Russ: Yeah, I mean that’s always kind of in my philosophy is that you’ve got to be really conscious about what you’re making. I think we take things for granted when you take a bottle of olive oil and start cooking with it. You’ve got to think about all the work that went to that bottle of olive oil. I think that with desserts in particular, it’s so easy to just go to the store and buy some cupcakes when you have to really think about all the processes that went into growing and processing that wheat and everything else in order to make that. That’s why I like that idea.
Laura: I think that’s interesting if you think about the amount of work that goes into providing some of those foods and how that actually impacts the ingredients that you use. I hate to rag on low carb or ketogenic diets because I know that they have therapeutic uses, but a lot of times when I see what people can eat on a ketogenic or very low carb high fat diet, my question would be in what culture would that much fat be available that they wouldn’t have starches, or fruit, or other things that were not 80% percent of the diet coming from fat? Getting that isolated oil or things like MCT oils, those didn’t even exist. The thought that that could be a typical “paleo diet” from an ancestral health context seems a little odd. What do you think about that?
Russ: I would completely agree. One of the ideas behind that too, and again for me being very mindful kind of recipe developer is there’s kind of two spectrums. It’s great that we have this opportunity to use it in a therapeutic way, but at the same time we have to acknowledge the fact that for the first time in history are we able to these kind of choices.
Think about a vegetarian. There’s no vegetarian societies in history and that’s because they didn’t really have the choice. They were just trying to survive and they were eating the foods available to them. But now we’re in a point where people are allowed to make that choice of being a vegetarian. Whether or not that’s optimal is a whole other debate. But the fact is that we’re at a new kind of decision point in history where we’re able to make decisions of whether they want to live on a ketogenic diet, or a vegetarian diet, or things like that. It’s all a very new kind of thing that we’re dealing with. Being a guy who’s very grounded in history and historical recipes, I like to kind of stick with what we’ve been doing for a long time.
Laura: Yeah, I love that. A lot of your recipes seem to be I would say multicultural where you’re kind of trying different types of ethnic recipes and maybe tweaking them so that they fit into that gluten free and more paleo kind of context. How do you decide what kind of foods you want to make for your blog?
Russ: That’s an ongoing question. I’ll tell you the first thing I do usually is I solicit for suggestions from readers. About once a month every couple months I’ll go on my Facebook page or one of the other pages and say, hey if there’s anything you’re specifically missing from your childhood or something like that, some traditional recipes that you’d love to see me tackle, then I’d be happy to try it. Most of the time I get people wanting me to tackle bread recipes and that’s not really my forte. I usually skip those. But for the most part I solicit from just my general readers.
The other side is that it just kind of happens. Being a guy who’s into history and into food, I just kind of stumble upon all of these kind of new dishes that I hadn’t thought of. I kind of go on these deep Wikipedia dives and end up in a place I never thought I’d be. I have this running list of recipes and that’s basically what I’ll pull from when I’m looking for inspiration.
Then the second part of that is I love watching cooking videos. YouTube is great especially if you watch it in another language. What I’ll do is I’ll find the original name of a recipe and then I’ll search for that usually playing around with Google translate and kind of find what I’m looking for. And then I will paste that into YouTube and just kind of start watching. I don’t really need to hear what they’re saying or understand what they’re saying, just kind of watch what they’re doing between the ingredients and the methods and just try to emulate that as well. I think it’s something that we’re losing overtime is kind of original way of cooking.
Laura: Yeah, that’s sounds like a lot of work. I’m like I can barely put a recipe together in English, let alone another language.
Russ: My job in the Navy is a translator. I’m a Russian and Indonesian translator so I’m very comfortable in kind of playing around in the gray area of unknown languages. For me it’s part hobby, part work. It just kind of all is pushing together in one way.
Laura: That’s cool. One of your cookbooks that you have is an e-book actually and it’s called The Safe Starch Cookbook. What motivated you to create a recipe book that was so focused on carbs?
Russ: A lot that came from my own experience in just trying to figure out how to incorporate starches into my diet after a period of not eating them and kind of developing a bit of fear of, oh no, I’m going to keel over and die if I eat any of these. Initially I was as using Paul Jaminet’s work on the Perfect Health Diet and kind of looking at his blog. He had some recipes, but at the end of the day I thought well I’m going to have to tackle this myself.
I started throwing all of these recipes on the blog and I got to the point where I was like you know what, I have enough of these recipes to create a small e-book to kind of use as a resource for everybody else. That kind of was the target audience I was looking for was people who are maybe coming off of a low carb diet or have just found that they need a little more carbs in their diet and where to kind of make them as delicious as possible. That’s when I started The Safe Starch Cookbook which came out about two years ago. Then I just recently updated it a couple months ago with a new 2017 edition and adding in new recipes from the blog and whatnot.
Laura: What do you consider a safe starch?
Russ: I kind of break it up. In the book I break it into four categories. I start with potatoes, and that includes sweet and white potatoes, and different cooking methods. There’s a couple of roasted potatoes and things like that, but the most part it’s going to be your typical boiled, and mashed, and all the different types of incorporation you can make with that. That’s the first side. And then I’m a fan of white rice so that’s also one.
I have the third category which is going to be noodles. That’s all different types of noodles between spiralized sweet potatoes, or using sweet potato noodles which are made of sweet potato starch, or rice noodles which are made with rice flour and water.
The fourth category was basically any really starchy vegetable. That was like roasted parsnips and beets as well as any foods that incorporate a large amount of starches themselves in terms of tapioca starch, or arrowroot starch, or potato starch. For example I have a pizza crust that’s made out of mostly tapioca starch, and some parmesan cheese, and a little bit of cream. Those kind of recipes also went into the book.
Laura: Does the “safe” word have anything to do with the way that they’re cooked?
Russ: A little bit. It’s not something I really am explicit about. In my coking I just kind of do it through practice. 90% of what I make is usually through very gentle cooking methods as opposed to frying. A lot of that has to do with just the way that I react to fried foods. But at the same time, there’s some pretty good compelling articles about how a gentle cooking method helps to preserve nutrients a little bit better and then oxidizing oils and saturated fats can sometimes lead to issues as well. Rather than try to tackle that myself and not being a guy who’s in the nutritional realm, I decided to kind of just do that through practice.
That’s part of it. For the most part when I take about safe starches, I’m really talking about the amount of or the lack of anti-nutrients or toxins that are found in that starch.
Laura: Okay. I think that’s something again it’s unusual for a lot of the paleo blogs to have such carb heavy recipes. It definitely comes from that belief that carbs are going to hurt you or that you’re going to die from diabetes if you’re eating carbs at all.
Laura: It’s really great that there’s that resource to actually give people ideas on not only how to cook things, but then what other type of options that they might not have even thought of, things like the sweet potato noodles or some of those root vegetables that they would have never tried before. It’s cool that you have that resource to guide people’s decisions there.
I know when I’m working with clients, and Kelsey, I assume you have this issue too when you’re trying to get people to increase their carb intake and they’re just like I don’t know what else to do besides sweet potatoes and rice.
Laura: It’s kind of like it almost seems like sweet potatoes are the only thing that people really feel comfortable with and rice is just easy.
Laura: The other stuff tends to be a little bit scary for a lot of people.
Russ: Yeah, I agree and I think that it is a bit of an unknown world especially when you’ve been told to remove it from your diet. People are very hesitant to kind of try it again. I found that people really appreciate just having somebody say, hey it’s okay, you’re going to come out fine, try some of these recipes. It usually works out pretty well for everyone.
Laura: Yeah, generally. We like to be somewhat practical and help people make changes to what they’re currently doing on this podcast. You’re obviously a recipe and kitchen expert. It sounds like you are really good at knowing how to throw things together that don’t necessarily require a recipe, but there are some basic cooking techniques that can make food taste more interesting or just get a little variety. Do you have any tips for your listeners who are struggling with creativity in the kitchen when they’re on a paleo diet, and any ideas on how to work around certain restrictions when creating meals?
Russ: Sure. I’ll tell you the way that we kind of build our meals here at the house. I’m not developing 24/7. It is really something I do on the weekends. During the week what we typically will do, and I think a lot of people in the paleo world do this already is they kind of base everything based on the meat. I’ll go into he freezer and look at what I have available, I’ll put it into a bowl, and I’ll thaw it out in the fridge. I usually try to balance immediately just based on the meats that I have available. Some sort of seafood, some beef, pork, and chicken and just kind of make it a little bit diverse that way I’m not going to get bored. From there I just kind of build everything out from there. Usually what I’ll do is depending on the cut, I’ll look at some of the best cooking methods, if this is going to be low and slow, or do I want to try and grill this, and things like that.
Typically I’ll honestly I’d say 90% of what we do usually has a recipe already for it. A lot of that actually just comes from the fact that having developed recipes for six, seven years now, I have such a library of recipes, it’s hard for me to try to invent something new when I feel like I’ve at many times done it all already.
But I’ll say the number one thing that I usually try to tell people when they’re trying to find some sort of way of balancing flavors, making it unique and interesting to themselves, is that the seasoning at the end of a dish will make it or break it. Number one I always check for salt level, so I usually don’t salt with table salt until the very end and try to figure out specifically what’s going to be the right balance because the worst thing you can do is over salt something. I usually try to get the salt right. And then pepper, if it’s already included in the recipe and it tastes okay, I usually leave that as is.
Then the third component that I always add in at the end is going to be some sort of acid. Usually that’ll be vinegar, or fish sauce, or something like that that I’ll usually add right at the end. Not to the point where it tastes acidic or where you can taste that ingredient, but I found that really will elevate the flavor and it’s kind of an under represented seasoning at the end and not really using as much as we should.
Kelsey: Yeah, I recently started doing that. I had kind of never really heard that before about the acid piece and I started including more acids in my cooking because I was getting for a while Sun Basket delivered to my house and they have a lot of acid in the recipes that they use. I was like, hmm, there must be something to this. I started to do that in my own cooking now and it makes such a big difference.
Russ: Yeah, absolutely. I think that we in general just as much as we have garlic, and onions, and potatoes in the house for any random recipe we’re going to do, we have lemon and lime as well. Those are just kind of typical things that we’ll add along with like I mentioned vinegar and fish sauce, things like that just to kind of brighten that dish right at the end. Sometimes that’ll turn a dish from being just everyday same kind of thing to being a brand new kind of experience. I really like that idea.
Laura: I think, Kelsey, what you just mentioned about doing Sun Basket, because I was doing it for a while too and I may again once I’m married just because doing it for one person is a little boring, but doing it with somebody is a little more fun. But one thing I noticed, and I had maybe a different experience but similar where all of the meat recipes were recommending to pat the meat dry with a paper towel. I was like maybe I should do this all the time when I’m cooking. I found that it makes the meat a lot less soggy or just kind of allows it to sear better.
Laura: I think people don’t obviously have to do Sun Basket to have that experience. Russ, I don’t know if you agree with this, but if they’re doing recipes from a cookbook like one of your cookbooks or something, maybe they won’t do that recipe to a tee next time but they’ll learn a new skill or they’ll learn a way that an ingredient can be used and then experiment with it later. Is that kind of how you approach your non recipe meals?
Russ: Absolutely. The easiest examples for those are going to be any time that as we’re preparing rice, a lot of times we make like a risotto or a paella. We’re throwing it all together at some point, but really the basis of it at the end of the day is really going to be cooking an onion or a shallot, then adding the rice, toasting it a little bit, then adding the broth, and then all the other ingredients. It’s amazing how much diversity you can have in those meals just by kind of following that construct, which is also the same historical way that people have been preparing that dish for hundreds of years.
Kelsey: You’re saying we should toast our rice before we cook it.
Russ: When it comes to those two rices in particular, paella and risotto, yeah toasting them ahead of time will help to evenly cook them because they’re not going to be cooked in the water covered like the way you would typically cook a rice.
Russ: Those in particular in order to get them to cook evenly, it’s better to toast them.
Kelsey: Got it. I was terrified that I’d been cooking rice wrong all this time.
Laura: I feel like family dinners at your house must be really fun, Russ.
Russ: They are and my kids are little foodies. They just eat everything. It’s pretty fun. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. If it’s too complex of a flavor profile, if there’s some bitter flavors involved in it if I’m using a green or whatever, kids aren’t hardwired to enjoy bitter foods at all. In that sense, yeah, sometimes they hate my meals. But for the most part they like what I make.
Laura: For our listeners who don’t have a ton of time to cook or maybe they’re single and they don’t feel like doing any sort of really complicated recipe every time they’re cooking, are there any really simple things that you can do with really basic ingredients to make it taste a little bit more gourmet as opposed to just grilling something or steaming vegetables? Are there any really easy kind of go-to, can go on a variety of different food options?
Russ: Yeah. I think, Laura, you already kind of touched on it a little bit with the idea of drying out your meats before you cook them. The little things like that I think really can kind of elevate the cooking. Sometimes I will pat my meat dry and then put it back in the fridge uncovered just out there in cold air for a half hour before I do anything else with it. That’s seems to really help as well.
For the most part we actually eat very simply throughout the week. One of the big things we do is we like to roast a chicken every week. That’s actually what we’re having for dinner tonight. All we do with that, the only difference we do with most roasted chicken recipes is that we tie it with kitchen twine around the legs and around the front of it with that same piece of twine. You basically turn that chicken into one ball of meat. And then you can crank up the heat to about 425, throw it in a skillet or whatever you have and throw it into the oven. It takes about an hour and it comes our perfect every single time. You can throw salt and pepper on it. You don’t need to, you can do whatever you want with it really. Just don’t stuff it full of stuff in the middle because that’s going make it take longer to cook. For most part that’s the most simple recipe we have.
We take that chicken, we break it down, we’ll eat some of it that night, and then we eat it with leftovers with salads or with anything else throughout the rest of the week. That’s a really easy way that we really enjoy doing that. All that came from the fact that we were looking at a lot of people are buying these rotisserie chickens at grocery stores, but you can make it at home and have it just as good and for a little bit cheaper sometimes too and with better ingredients.
Laura: I will say when I’m at Whole Foods the rotisserie chickens that are precooked are probably a third of the cost of a whole raw chicken.
Russ: Oh, really?
Laura: My theory is that those are the chickens that were about to expire so they cooked them and they want to get them moving.
Russ: Good point.
Laura: But it was funny because the first meal that I made for my fiancé when he was visiting was a roasted chicken. I was like I want to make this from scratch, it’s going to be awesome! I went to buy the chicken and it was like $20 for the whole chicken.
Russ: Oh my goodness!
Laura: The rotisserie chickens were like $8 each. I don’t know what the story is there, but that’s why I end up using a lot of the precooked rotisserie chickens because I‘m like I don’t know why I’m getting a cheaper item that’s already been cooked and it’s the same thing as if I just bought it raw.
Russ: Yeah, that’s interesting.
Laura: I know. It’s just amazing. You would maybe see them be the same price, but it’s so much cheaper at the Whole Foods where I shop.
Russ: Wow. That’s interesting.
Laura: I know, it’s crazy. Do you guys use a lot of leftovers at your house?
Russ: We do. What we end up doing is we only cook once a day so that’s dinner. Lunch is going to be leftovers everyday. Breakfast for us is usually kind of spontaneous and just depending on how we feel. Sometimes I skip breakfast and try to kind of have a 16 hour fast in between. I’ll do that from time and time and then just have two meals during the day. It really depends on how I’m feeling. For us most of the time we are going to do cooking one dinner, lunch is going to be leftovers, then breakfast is going to be some fruit, maybe a little bit of oatmeal, l or whatever we feel like eating right then.
Laura: I feel like the cooking more at dinner and then having it for leftovers for lunch the next day is the easiest way to not have to cook every meal because it’s like all you have to do is add a little extra ingredients to that dinner and then you’ll have lunch for the next day.
Russ: Right. Because I’m cooking on the weekends and kind of developing recipes, I always freeze everything. We have a vacuum sealer so we seal it up, we freeze it. Probably two nights a week we’re pulling out those premade meals and eating those as opposed to having to cook from scratch every single night.
Laura: I can imagine especially with the way that you cook being a little bit more complicated than maybe the average person, it could get a little time consuming to be doing that every single night.
Russ: Absolutely, yeah. We usually just do like I had mentioned, we base our meals on the meat first. Say we have a bunch of chicken thighs or something, then we’ll go and we’ll cook those on the grill, at the same time I’ll make a pot of rice, and then we’ll cook up some vegetables like Brussels sprouts or something. And then that’s our meal right there. That’s typically our everyday weeknight meals or something like that.
Kelsey: When you’re vacuum sealing the things that you make on the weekend, is that just meat or are you vacuum sealing other types like side vegetables or anything else?
Russ: It’s usually just the meat dish so the meat course itself. Unless it’s like a stew or something we’ll put that in a mason jar and freeze that. For the most part, if it’s just a roast that we’re making we’ll throw in if there were potatoes with it we’ll put it all together. But really what I’m talking about is any sort of meat. And then the vegetable because they’re so quick to throw together, we usually just kind of keep a full vegetable bin and then we will cook that right then and there right before the meal.
Kelsey: Got it, okay. I was curious because I was like that’s actually a genius idea if you could do a whole freezer meal all in one little vacuum pack.
Russ: Yeah, the nice thing about those too is they’re food grade plastic so you can actually heat them in that. And I’m not saying crank it up in the microwave, but if you take some simmering water and you drop that in the simmering water and just kind of let it sit there in the basically hot water for about 20 minutes, it cooks the meal without having to degrade it further by microwaving it when the texture gets all weird, or trying to roast it when it’s going to stick to the bottom of the pan. All of those things, as opposed to doing any of that, we just kind of avoid that by heating it up in that food grade bag.
Kelsey: Yeah, that’s smart especially coming from me with my New York City size freezer. I’m like anything I can do to not have these giant Tupperware containers that make no sense in a small freezer. I’m going to look into buying one of those now. Thanks for that tip.
Russ: Yeah, no worries.
Laura: I was just curious, is that what sous vide is, or is that something totally different?
Russ: Sous vide is a little different. That’s a method of cooking. What you do with that is you do vacuum seal it or you can actually just use a zip lock bag if you get all the air out of it, you put it in water that’s at a specific temperature. So say for example you want to have a medium rare steak, you would put the steak in the bag with maybe a little bit of seasonings, you put it in the sous vide machine which is a water bath at 125 degrees, and then you let it sit there for hours so that way the whole meat gets thoroughly at that temperature. And you pull it out, pat it dry, and sear it so you get some nice crust on it. Then you have a perfectly medium rare steak without having to deal with that kind of the gray area that you get sometimes when you’re blasting something at a high heat sometimes it’ll cook more of the inside than you’d like. This sous vide method allows you to really have it perfect.
Laura: Yeah, I think I always err on the side of things being undercooked, which may or may not be gross to some people but I’m like as long as it’s not..I think beef for example I’d rather eat my meat where the middle isn’t even cooked at all then if it was over cooked.
Russ: Right. Yeah, I’m a big fan of using a thermometer. They have these Bluetooth thermometers for 50 bucks on Amazon which you stick it in and it’s like a little probe and then that connects to your phone. Say I’m cooking a steak, or a pork chop, or something, I’ll put it to about 10 degrees less than I’d want and I just put it in an oven for at like a lower temperate like 250, like something that’s kind of low and slow, let it slowly kind of reach that optimal temperature and then I’ll sear it right there at the end. That usually comes out perfect every single time without having to kind of worry about undercooked or overcooked or things like that. That’s usually my kind of rule of thumb with that.
Kelsey: Cool. I would love to jump back for a second to those quick little tips that we were talking about because, Laura, I agree, I had the same experience with Sun Basket stuff about patting my meat dry. It’s made such a big difference along with the acids. Any other tips like that that you can think of off the top of your head, Russ, that can really up level somebody’s cooking just from a very, very easy standpoint?
Russ: Sure. A lot times when it comes to a meal when I’m putting something together, I’ll usually do it in stages. The first thing I’ll do is I’ll take a little bit of bacon and I’ll cook that.
Laura: I love how that’s just starting with bacon.
Russ: That’s not a lot, it’s maybe two or three slices out of the fridge. It’s not a lot but, it’s enough to generate some cooking fat as well as to have something that I can use as a garnish. I will pre-chop that bacon ahead of time, I’ll just cut it up raw and just throw it in the pan. As that’s heating up I will then cut up an onion. Then I will pull out the bacon out of the pan, then I’ll throw an onion in. Then I’ll let that cook in that bacon fat. And then usually at that point I figured out what I’m going to do with the rest of the meal.
Typically if it’s something like say I have some chicken breasts for example, then I will take those chicken breasts and I will give them a little bit of seasoning, whatever I have on hand. If it’s just salt or pepper, I want to add a couple little other, things it’s fine. I’ll pat it dry ahead of time and then I’ll put on those seasonings, let it sit for a little bit just to kind of warm up a little bit. By the time the onion is ready, then I’m going to throw the meat in there and I’m going to brown the meat a little bit. Then from there it’s just a matter of adding some sort of sauce, or maybe a little bit of broth, a little bit of vegetables and then just serving that with rice.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what meat you’re using or what kind of vegetables you’re adding in, but when you start with that bacon, when you start with that onion, you’re already 50% of the way there in terms of getting good flavor in there. That’s coming from a guy who really doesn’t like onions.
Laura: I was going to say I thought you hated onions. That’s for me the way that I cook liver. It has to have bacon and onions because it’s the only way it tastes good to me. I feel like if it can make liver taste good, it can make anything taste good.
Russ: Absolutely. It’s just kind of one of the basic things that we end up starting with. Sometimes I won’t use onions, I’ll use mushrooms. It really just depends on what I kind of got in my refrigerator at the moment. For the most part when it comes down to it, a really good meal is just about cooking at the right temperature and for the right period of time. As long as you kind of add a little bit of crispiness to things, maybe crank it up right at the end, it’s just a matter of kind of watching that and kind of figuring it out as you go.
Laura: I actually have two questions. One, this is kind of related to this topic of easy options, are there any sauces that you use? I’ve heard people recommend picking a sauce and just making that from scratch, and then adding that to your meat, and vegetables, and starches and kind of just blending it all together, and that actually can take the meal from being boring to interesting. Are there any sauces like that that you like to use regularly?
Russ: We’re big on curries. Immediately you think of a curry as something as exotic and very hard to put together, but if you take for example an Indian curry, it’s really not very different from what you’re expecting. If you just take a basic korma or a masala sauce, that’s really going to be like I had mentioned before, you’re going to cook up some onions, and then usually they add a little bit of ginger and some hot peppers either jalapeño peppers or whatever you have available. Even bell peppers work okay.
You cook that up a little bit and then you add tomatoes as just a matter of a can of tomatoes or whatever. You cook that down and then add a little bit of seasonings depending on what you’re specifically going for between all of the different Indian spices that are available, kind of putting it all together, and then you just blend it. That’s all they’re really doing. They throw it in a blender, they blend it. Putting that together though it takes just a second. I could put together one of those curry sauces in 20 minutes and then add the meat to that and just kind of simmer that in its own liquid for another 20 minutes and you’ve got an incredible meal that really didn’t take that much time.
But it’s just a matter of kind of just looking at the ingredients that are there and kind of not being turned off by the idea of they’ve this one seasoning that I’ve never heard of before. You can just grab it at the grocery store and you’ll have it for the next year, you’ll have it in a jar. That’s one of the big things that I like to do is looking at curry sauces and kind of putting those together. Between Thai curries and Indian curries, there’s a lot to work with there.
Laura: My second question kind of goes along with that buying the spices at the grocery store. How do you decide what you’re going to get at the grocery store? Do you plan out what you’re going to cook that week and then get the ingredients? Or do you have a different method of picking what you’re buying at the store?
Russ: We will typically, it’s gotten to the point where we don’t really build menus so much as we really just kind of just play it by ear. A lot of that is because we have a pretty full spice cabinet. Over the years we’ve just collected all of these things. When you want some dried chilies, I’ve got 15 different kinds at the house here. That’s probably not your typical set up for people.
My recommendation would be mostly just to kind of until you can really figure out what works best for you and what you really like, then sticking to some sort of recipe initially and saying well maybe once a week I’m going to tackle a Domestic Man recipe or somebody else’s recipe, and then seeing how that works for you, what you did and didn’t like from it. Along the way you’re probably going to pick up new ingredients that you may not have in your pantry. Then just kind of playing around from there I think is probably the best advice.
Laura: When it comes to spices, what’s your philosophy on those spice blends that they create that are kind of a bunch of things mixed together?
Russ: We don’t really use them. I will typically use a barbeque blend if I’m smoking meats or something like that. I will usually either make my own, or if I’m lazy I’ll use a premade one. But when it comes to some of the premade ones, I personally don’t use it just because I love the versatility of saying, okay, well this really is just four different spices I already have in my cabinet so I’m just going to use those instead. I don’t think there’s any harm in it.
When it comes to grilling foods, for example I mentioned earlier about grilling some chicken thighs, we actually will use a lot of those premade spices because a lot of times when we’re at the point where we’re grilling something, it’s usually going to be a weeknight thing where we’re going to go hang out outside anyway and I don’t want to turn it into a coking adventure. I’d rather just kind of get some food on the plate. I think they have their use, but at the same time I love the feeling that comes with developing my own kind of spice palate.
Laura: It’s not necessarily going to make the food taste awful, it’s just not your preference.
Russ: Right. I don’t think that those spice blends in particular are bad or anything like that. It’s just for me in being really kind of obsessed with the effort that goes into making food, I like the idea of really understanding and getting a feel for how those spice blends work too.
Laura: It’s funny because I’ll just grab a blend out of my pantry and be like, alright, well I have chicken and I’m just going to use that spice mix.
Laura: I mean it’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking, but like I said when you’re cooking for yourself and you’re really busy, it’s like I’d rather use this time to read or something.
Laura: It can be hard to make those choices.
Russ: My wife is from Hawaii originally and she’ll go back home every couple of years for about a month or so. I’m a bachelor for a month or so and those are actually the times that I usually will pull out the spice blends and just try something new. Like you mentioned, if I don’t have anybody to impress, then it really makes it I end up using those spice blends or kind of taking the easy way out. Not the easy way in the sense that it’s worse, but just in the fact that I kind of enjoy just doing things very simply sometimes too.
Laura: Kelsey, did you have any other question for your next mealtime?
Kelsey: I know, I’m like sitting here salivating over this entire conversation. For those of you listening, we’re recording this on a weeknight at 7 pm. I think we’re all sitting here like hmmm, when’s it dinner time? I’m ready.
Laura: I think I got to try some of your stuff right, Russ? At The Perfect Health Retreat you actually cooked some things, didn’t you?
Russ: I did. I’m trying to think what I cooked. I definitely did a curry night. I don’t know if you were there for that night. But I basically said, basically the whole philosophy I went over. I’m like, look, we’re going to make two different curries, a Thai curry and an Indian curry. We’re going to make them at the same time. We’re going to add the same meats to them and you’re going to see how easy it is to make two completely different flavors using an exact same method. We did that one night. I’m trying to think. That’s the one that really sticks out for me. I think I had coked three or four dinners when I was there.
Laura: Yeah, and then a lot of our lunches are leftovers or something kind of easy.
Laura: They do fasting there. We don’t have breakfast, which I kind of like figured out that I need to bring some food because I don’t know why I can never eat enough at those two meals. Part of it I think is because I wait until all the guests have had their food and then a lot of times I’ll go up there and be like all the meat is gone so I’m going to be starving tomorrow. I’ve learned to bring some snacks just in case.
But the food ends up being really good. It’s kind of very similar to the way that you make recipes. Maybe not quite so complex because I think part of it is that they’re trying to teach people how to do it and if it’s too complex, it’s like people get discouraged. But I think experimenting and trying things that are hard, if nothing else you might learn a little technique that you can use for something else more simple even if you don’t feel like going to that level of effort every time.
Russ: Absolutely. I look at cooking as, I definitely don’t make these world class meals every night. For me cooking is a hobby and something that’s a little bit therapeutic for me too. At the end of the day, it may only be once or twice a week that I really am going to sit down and try to really play around with cooking.
That’s the way I kind of encourage people to approach it too. As opposed to thinking that you have to make something elaborate at every meal, maybe just set aside one a week or two a week where you’re like you know what, I’m going to spend two hours in the kitchen. I‘m going to really kind of play around with it. I’m going to be mentally prepared for the fact that this isn’t going to be a quick and fast thing, but it’s going to be a learning experience. Maybe put on some good music and just kind of enjoy the time in the kitchen because I think that throughout history has kind of been the way we’ve operated. We’ve spent time in the kitchen, it’s been a place that we’ve associated with warm feelings, and family, and things like that. I like recapturing that spirit sometimes.
Laura: I think it’s nice to get your kids involved, your significant other, maybe have a glass of wine with your spouse while you’re doing it.
Laura: It doesn’t just have to be this completely utilitarian approach.
Russ: Right. If you ever look at some of my recipes that call for wine, I never call for a full bottle of wine. It’ll always be half a bottle of wine that way you can enjoy the other half while you’re cooking.
Kelsey: You’re looking out for your readers.
Russ: Right, right.
Laura: Do you have anything on the horizon that you want to share with our listeners?
Russ: I am in the middle of developing my third cookbook. It’s going to be a ways away. It’s probably going to be a year from now that it actually publishes. But at the same time, I’m going to continue working on blog posts. I post a new recipe every Tuesday. I’m actually going to switch up some of the things that I do that I do with that soon in that I’m going to start actually sharing recipes from the new cookbook on the blog over the next year so that way people can try it out ahead of time, kind of give me feedback and things like that. I’ll be kind of a community project as we’re going through the recipe testing stage. I’m hoping people will tune in for that.
Laura: Very cool! We will have to try some of those out and give you feedback. I feel like I’m definitely not that kind of person who’s going to get mad at you if something doesn’t come out perfectly.
Russ: I appreciate that. Thank you.
Laura: I’ll usually try to be like what did I do wrong because this was probably supposed to be better.
Laura: Anyway, we really appreciated having you on, Russ. I know you’re a busy guy with a full time job and a very active food blog. I know that it was a little bit tough for us to find a time that would work. I think our original plan was sometime around Christmas. I’m glad it finally happened. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you. Thanks again!
We’ll share your information on the page for this podcast. Is it just TheDomesticMan.com that people should go to?
Russ: Yes, that would be perfect. That has links to everything else. If you find that one spot, it will get you everywhere else you need to go.
Laura: Okay, cool. Thanks again. We will have everyone here next time!
Russ: Thank you for having me on.
Laura: Our pleasure.
Kelsey: Bye, Russ.