We have been blessed the last few years to have the opportunity to chat with Santa and catch up on all that he and Mrs. Claus - and the elves and reindeer of course - have been up to. In case you missed any of our previous interviews, you can find them here:
(And, you are not missing it, Santa was under strict protections in 2020 to keep him safe and healthy for Christmas Eve.)
This year, we were fortunate enough to catch up with Santa once again. It just so happened that we were both going to be in the Upper Peninsula (the "UP") of Michigan at the same time. So, we met at Roy's in Houghton, MI and enjoyed a traditional pasty and a cup of coffee sitting along the ship canal. Thanks to all of our Michigan friends for the pasty recommendations!
Santa, it is so great to see you! You look amazing! How have you been?
Just jolly! Remember last year when I told you I felt like a 40-year-old living in the body of a 1,752-year-old? Well, this year has been a little rough, so I have to admit I feel that extra year. But I still don't feel a day over 41! We feel kind of like those people in the Blue Zones. We figure if we keep eating, moving and socializing like they do, we will have MANY more healthy and vibrant years ahead of us.
Maybe the North Pole should become one of the Blue Zones! Something that has always struck us about those communities is their sense of purpose. You have everyone beat when it comes to that!
Ho! Ho! Ho! We sure do. And it's not just about delivering toys once a year. We have a much bigger responsibility to bring joy to the hearts of children all over the world, to bring a sense of wonder, and to bring families together during the holidays. If people can see us joyfully giving, maybe this will light a spark and inspire them to want to give their own gifts. Generosity is contagious you know!
Yes, we agree. You said this year has been a little rough. Why is that?
This year especially, it has been so hard to hire and keep all the help we need. Everyone wants to work from home, and it is so challenging to get helpers to move to the North Pole. Once they are there, and they see the amazing life we are able to give them (who doesn't love daily snowball fights?), they absolutely love it. With all the retirements this year, we have had to ramp up our recruiting efforts. That's why I am in Michigan this week - to find more help to get all the toys and clothes and all the other gifts ready for Christmas.
With all the new hires, we had to bring on a new training director to get everyone integrated into our culture and make sure they feel productive as soon as possible. Her name is Crystal and we absolutely adore her. She was updating me and the Mrs. recently and she said she was surprised how confused people are about healthy eating. You know how important it is for our elves to have the energy to crank out thousands of toys every day. Crystal said when she tells the new elves about our Eat REAL North Pole programs during orientation, many of them express how thankful they are because they feel like they have failed with their prior attempts to eat healthy.
She told us about an elf named Belle who said, "I am so glad you are providing this because I am DONE with Keto. It is too restrictive, I can't stick to it, and life is just too short to not enjoy my food." Would you believe within the first month of starting the Eat REAL classes, she had already dropped 10 pounds? Plus, she said she is craving all kinds of vegetables and Dr. Crinkle said she should be able to discontinue her blood pressure and cholesterol medications at her next check-in. She said she couldn't believe how quickly she experienced these changes. Crystal shared your coaching tip on muscle memory with her and she said her new way of eating already feels like it is becoming second nature, and she loves it!
Wow, Santa, we love hearing that story! Crystal is definitely onto something - it's no surprise people are confused with all the conflicting information and advice out there.
Even the reindeer have fallen victim to this. Blitzen has recently been refusing to eat oats. He overheard a podcast that Stormy (our Director of Reindeer Operations) was listening to and evidently the guest said you should avoid oats because they have too many carbs. I saw him enjoying the Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal before I left, so I think we finally convinced him that oats actually help stabilize blood sugars since they are packed full of fiber and slow-digesting carbs.
I think others must have heard that podcast too because we have had elves refusing to eat Brussels sprouts and potatoes because they have too many carbs. I was so glad to see your coaching tip on diabetes. And many of our elves watched Zonya's Dodging Diabetes Deliciously video program. We have to work really hard to help everyone understand that not all carbs are created equal, and that carbs from REAL food should be embraced and enjoyed. I love that quote from Dr. Katz that "Carbohydrates can be anything from lentils to lollipops, pinto beans to jellybeans." You know I had my fair share of lollipops and jellybeans before we started our REAL food journey!
We're so glad you enjoyed that! We have more coaching tips planned this year to dispel the myth that "carbs are bad" or "fats are bad." Just like there are good carbs and bad carbs, there are good fats and not-so-good fats. We want to help clear up the confusion. After all, we don't eat carbs and fats, we eat foods! No one should be avoiding a cruciferous veggie like Brussels sprouts because they think they have too many carbs!
By the way, did you finally receive that new sleigh this year?
Oh my, yes! It is amazing, although I have to say the technology is both a blessing and a curse. We had a heck of a time getting the facial recognition to work, you know, with my beard and hat! And we're still fine tuning the navigation system - our test runs keep zooming right past the igloos in Canada and Greenland. While I really liked the simplicity of our last sleigh, this one will be so much more efficient if we can get the technology working right.
We hear you on the technology thing. By the way, is there any way you could bring us a new website server for Christmas this year? Ideally one that plays nice with Chrome and all the web browsers!
We will see what we can do! If we do, will you promise to share more videos with everyone? We all enjoyed those 47 days of videos you did during Lent. It was so helpful to see the rhythm of how you and Scott prepare and enjoy your meals. We loved seeing how you come up with new ideas like burgers in a bowl and the Black Forest Overnight Oats. And let's just say, you started a breakfast trend in the North Pole by putting an egg on top of your leftovers. Rumor has it some of the elves even put together a parody of Beyonce's song "Put a Ring on It" - they changed the lyrics to "Put an Egg on It!" Only in the North Pole!
How funny and thank you Santa! And yes, we have been talking about doing some new videos next year. Ironically, one day while talking about this idea, we literally received an e-mail from an Eat REAL America member in the middle of our conversation saying how much she would enjoy more videos. What a coincidence!
That was no coincidence, Krista...just saying! By the way, Mrs. Claus is planning to make a huge batch of Snickers Inspired Stuffed Dates to keep us energized during our trip this year. I have to be honest; I didn't think I liked dates for the first 1,750 years of my life. I always cringed when I slid down the chimney and found those date swirl cookies on the plate -- I always saved those for the reindeer. When I saw those Snickers-stuffed dates on the website, I skipped right past them. Then, our supply chain director brought some to a planning meeting and I saw how much everyone was enjoying them. I gave it a try - and now it is one of my favorite sweet treats!
You are not alone Santa! We have had a lot of fun in our cooking demos this year changing perceptions about dates - a little peanut butter, chocolate and sea salt always does the trick!
Santa, it was great to see you and I'm so glad you and Mrs. Claus and the entire team are doing so well! Maybe we will have to come visit you in the North Pole again next year.
We would love that - we could even include a cookbook signing event! I am headed off to my Airbnb to make dinner with the ingredients we picked up at the farmers' market this morning. We picked up some amazing looking apples, pears and spinach that were just harvested yesterday -- I can't wait to find delicious inspiration on the website!
Safe travels Santa!
Merry Christmas to the entire Eat REAL America Community!