Michelle Tam, from the blog Nom Nom Paleo, is famous in the Paleo world for being a sassy, speak-her-mind blogger, with absolutely drool worthy photos. She maintains a Paleo lifestyle, which focuses on eating real foods, avoiding anything processed (all grains, sugars, and some dairy) and places an emphasis on trying to eat grass-fed meats, local veggies and fruit, fats, and raw dairy (milk and cheese). Michelle somehow manages to balance a blog, a job, a family, and is even coming out with a new cooking app for the iPad. I was extremely excited to chat with her about how she maintains her lifestyle and balances everything in her life.
Kelsey Krasnigor: What initially made you decide to start eating paleo?
Michelle Tam: My husband went Paleo a few years ago, but I initially resisted for a good six months. I played dirty and tried to sabotage him by baking delicious homemade pizzas ALL THE TIME. Despite my nefarious ways, he stuck to his guns and I noticed that he looked and felt better despite doing things that seemed “wrong” and “unhealthy” according to what I’d been taught. Obviously, what I was doing wasn’t giving me those same results so I decided to try Paleo 18 months ago and I haven’t looked back.
KK: How difficult was it to convince your family to eat paleo as well?
MT: My husband was already on board and my older son is an adventurous eater so they were easy. My younger son, who’s four years old, was and continues to be resistant but we’re making tremendous strides with his diet. Surprisingly, many of our cousins and extended family are now eating gluten-free or Paleo after seeing our results.
KK: What’s the biggest challenge about eating/cooking Paleo?
MT: The biggest challenge is definitely learning to plan ahead. It takes some practice but once you have a well-stocked pantry and fridge, you’re good to go. I wish I was Oprah-rich so I could pay someone to cook me healthy Paleo meals.
KK: What’s the best part about maintaining a Paleo lifestyle?
MT: Not being hungry all the time! Also, I have a lot more energy, a whittled mid-section, and I love eating fat again. In a nutshell, I just feel better.
KK: What to people say when you describe the Paleo lifestyle to them?
MT: Almost everyone tells me that they can’t live without pasta or bread and then they follow it up with a remark about how I’m going to die of a heart attack.
KK: Most Paleo people absolutely adore bacon (I happen to personally be a baconaholic), how much do you love bacon on a scale of 1-10?
MT: Surprisingly, it’s only a 7. I like it, but I love dark chocolate and macadamia nuts even more.
KK: Any tips or tricks for trying to eat paleo as a college student? Or someone who simply has a limited amount of cooking appliances?
MT: Work hard and get good grades so you can afford all of the kitchen gadgets you want! Sorry! I think I was temporarily possessed by my mother. Honestly, all you need for great meals is a sturdy kitchen knife, sharpener, and a cast iron skillet.
KK: Speaking of mothers, do you have any cooking idols?
MT: My cooking idols are definitely my mom and chef sister. Both women have incredible palates and can create delicious meals out of anything. They would kick ass in any Quick fire challenge on Top Chef.
KK: You balance cooking for a family, having a job and keeping a blog. What’s your best go to meal?
MT: I make frittatas a lot. They’re quick and easy and I can fill them with whatever leftovers I have lying around. I totally save scraps of leftovers to make frittatas.
KK: I’m all about the leftovers, fo reals, which means my favorite things happen to be tupperware. What’s your favorite cooking utensil/appliance?
MT: If I’m just cooking for myself, I love my 8-inch seasoned cast iron skillet. It’s the perfect size to make quick stir-fries and frittatas. Plus, it can go from the stove to the toaster oven to finish cooking.
KK: Just because I’m curious, what’s your favorite burger topping?
MT: Definitely guacamole/avocado, bacon, and sautéed mushrooms (if fried in the proper fat).
KK: I think guacamole and bacon could solve world peace. I sometimes get boring with my spices when I cook, what’s your favorite spice to use that instantly makes everything taste better?
MT: I have my own homemade spice blend that I call Magic Mushroom Powder that’s a mixture of dried porcini mushroom powder, salt, and herbs. It truly is a fantastic, umami-packed, flavor booster and I sprinkle it everything. I also like Sunny Paris from Penzeys which is a blend of dried shallots and herbs.
KK: Yum! So, if you were a vegetable, which one would you be?
MT: Some vegetable that nobody wants to eat so I could live forever. I definitely would NOT be kale because I’d be a cannibal.
KK: With all those vegetables, a gal still needs a treat every now and then. What’s your guilty pleasure treat?
MT: Without a doubt, my two guilty pleasures are dark chocolate (>85% cacao) and Mauna Loa dry-roasted and salted macadamia nuts.
KK: Oh dark chocolate, one of my personal soul sistas. So I have to ask, how do you balance a family, cooking and maintaining a blog?
MT: I was flipping through the Sky Mall catalog a few months ago and came across Hermione Granger’s time turner. It’s been amazing. In all seriousness, I get a lot of help from my wonderful husband and family. Plus, I never clean and I’ve flat out stopped watching T.V.
KK: I wish I had a husband and family to blame me for not cleaning my apartment (kidding). You are constantly keeping up to date with your blog, loading photos of your meals each day, you must love having a blog. For you, what is the best part about having a blog?
MT: I love hearing from my readers and getting feedback from them. It’s very gratifying to hear that they like a recipe or are living healthier. Plus, I like to get constructive criticism because nobody’s perfect and all recipes can be tweaked and improved.
KK: Well we love checking out your blog each and every day. Lastly, I’ve heard so much about your upcoming release of your cooking app, can you tell me a bit about it?
MT: If all goes as planned, the official Nom Nom Paleo app will launch this spring with 110+ recipes and 1,500+ high-resolution photos that show every step of the cooking process. It’ll feature tons of new recipes with my own special brand of commentary, as well as updated versions of classic Nom Nom Paleo dishes. With a swipe of the finger, users will be able to follow each recipe from the cutting board to the dining room table. In addition, the app will offer a “Paleo 101″ primer, a 30-day meal planning guide, a customizable shopping list, a collection of culinary tips, tricks, and trivia, links to exclusive online content, and much, much more.
My husband and I are pouring our heart and soul into this project and hope everyone enjoys it!
KK: Well I know I can’t wait to see it and get my nom on.
Kelsey Krasnigor has realized through the course of this interview that she has a serious bacon addiction.