Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! with Michelle Tam
In Episode 38 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast, Liren talks to New York Times best-selling author Michelle Tam about her path with husband and coauthor Henry Fong to paleo living, working together as a team, and what makes their newest book, Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! #VeryAsian.
On the podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Michelle Tam, the author of the award-winning blog Nom Nom Paleo, and a 3-time New York Times best-selling author. She was even dubbed “The Martha Stewart of Paleo” by the NYT. Michelle started her blog in 2010 to chronicle her culinary adventures following her switch to a paleo approach to nutrition. Her most recent cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go, was released in January this year.
In this episode, Michelle shares all about her journey to health with a paleo-based approach to eating and how she and her husband worked together to create her latest book during the pandemic.
Listen to the full episode here or keep reading for some of my favorite moments with Michelle.
Have you always loved to cook?
I think people have this misconception that I have always loved to cook, but even now, I don’t really love to cook. I just love to eat! It was only when I switched to eating paleo that I had to start cooking and baking my own meals.
My sister is actually a professional chef, and I don’t consider myself a chef! I am a home cook by accident!
Tell us more about your journey to a paleo-based diet
I grew up eating my way around the Bay Area and, on vacations, I always traveled to eat. I was a total foodie! In retrospect, I realized that I would mindlessly eat a lot of things because someone told me it was “the best” or that it was healthy.
For many years, I worked nights as a hospital pharmacist. This helped me schedule my all my meals. I could still make dinner reservations and all that. But working nights was slowly killing me.
My husband and I were out of shape and had two young kids. One day, we decided to try P90X, and my husband started blogging about his experience with it. He also researched the instructors and found Mark Sisson, who some people call the Godfather of Paleo or Primal Eating. So, my husband tried paleo and felt amazing and started getting in super great shape.
At the same time, I was doing the same P90X workouts and exercising really hard, but I wasn’t getting the same results because I was eating a low-calorie, mostly vegetarian diet. Finally, I got frustrated and tried eating paleo — and I felt so much better! My energy improved and my bloating, GI issues, canker sores, joint pain, and “mommy thumb” all went away.
I felt so amazing that I started telling everyone I knew about going paleo. One day, my sister told me that it was too much and I was getting annoying — so I started the food blog to channel all that energy for people who were actually looking to learn more about paleo.
I am more laid back about things now, but it was so exciting and life-changing when I first found paleo. After doing it for a while now, I’ve found that it isn’t sustainable to always be so strict and rigid, so I don’t eat completely paleo anymore, but I am 100% gluten-free. I think it is less about being strict with an exact diet, and all about being honest about how food makes you feel.
How does Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go differ from your previous books?
Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go is our third book. My husband and I do everything, so it takes a long time. I make the recipes and he takes the photographs and draws the cartoons. We’d agreed at the end of 2019 to write the book and we had a set of recipes in mind.
But due to the slew of events in 2020, including the pandemic, racial reckonings, and the increase in anti-Asian violence, we decided to pivot. I like to joke that volume 3 is #VeryAsian, because it is a collection of recipes that I love from growing up. It is all the stuff that I personally love to eat, including some greatest hits from the blog and many dishes my mom used to make me. Some highlights include a Hong Kong Egg Tart, Singapore Noodles, and Cantonese Roast Duck.
Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go, by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2022).