Category Archives for "keto"
Allan: 02:08 David, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
David: 02:11 Thanks for having me.
Allan: 02:12 You know,I've known about your service Heads Up Health for wow. Probably at least four years, four or five years when I started hearing you on different podcasts particularly in the, in the community. Yes, there was a lot of interest there because your approach was centered on them. And I liked it when I first got on. I was like, okay, this is really cool because I can store all my data here instead of spreadsheets. Cause I, you know, all my health markers were on spreadsheets and same as just, you know, yeah. That just, that gets, that gets cumbersome and then it just gets to a point where it's not even useful anymore. Can you tell us a little bit about why you created heads up health and what it, what it would do for us?
David: 02:57 Sure. Well, I was always someone who was generally healthy, but I grew up in central Canada and I grew up on a, a pretty typical, I guess you'd call it the standard American diet or the standard Canadian diet in my case. But I was in the corn belt of Canada and was raised and didn't really have a tremendous amount of knowledge about what I was putting in my body. And I noticed that as I got older and I was in the United States and working in big tech, I became really interested in the idea of how I can optimize my own personal performance. I noticed that even though I exercise a lot more than everybody, I knew I was still heavier than everybody I knew and that that was, that didn't sit well with me. I knew that there was something more there. So I always had been really interested in the idea of self hacking, of using data.
David: 03:54 And so to go back to your point, one of the most insightful moments was when I built that hideous spreadsheet and I called all four of my doctors. I had one in Boston, I had a couple in Canada, I had some in California. I put all my blood tests in a spreadsheet and that was a lot of work. You gotta be a pretty serious health nerd to go through an exercise like that. And Allan it sounds like you did the same. So we're kindred spirits there. But the first thing that happened was I could see the patterns and I'm like, wow, my doctor can't even see these patterns. You know, he's got one of these PDFs there's another six that have my medical history. And there were trends happening in the data that would be impossible to see otherwise, trends that actually needed attention.
David: 04:40 And I discovered those trends as a patient. And that was the moment where I realized how powerful the data can be when it was centralized. And that was right around the time that we were starting to get access to tools as individuals that were very, very sophisticated. And these were consumer grade devices that could do things like measuring heart rate variability, which 10 years ago you needed to go to a hospital to get and get hooked up to a massive machine. And now all you need is a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and a good HRV app. So I started seeing all of this information that we as individuals could monitor on ourselves, which was awesome. And then I saw how I could overlay it with my medical records. That's ultimately what helps us determine if we're really doing things properly or not. And I just became obsessed with building this system and making it available to everybody. And it's just kind of taken over my life since then.
Allan: 05:39 Yes, I can imagine.
David: 05:41 I guess that's the typical getting bit by the bug. It just becomes all consuming and you want to build this and create this and bring it to life. You know, you talked about people who've written books, and for me it's, I've written a piece of software.
Allan: 05:58 Yeah, and I think there's a, there's a ton of value there that is, it would be, it would be otherwise missed. I mean, you know, everybody likes simple, simple rules, you know, complete the circles on my Apple watch and I've done a good thing today. So you're getting a little bit of gamification, a little bit of information there. But that's just one little PISA data in just this huge sea of data that's coming at us. And there's more and more every year, you know, the watch that can look at your sleep patterns and the, you know the watch that can look at and do an EKG on you and obviously your lab results and, and you know, you go into your doctor and your prescriptions and you know, see you change your prescriptions and you see a change in your, in your trends. You know, what those prescriptions are doing to not just the symptoms that you're feeling, but your actual health markers. So I really liked that it's tying all of that stuff together in a way that is interpretable. I think that's the key. And that's where you've probably been spent spending a lot of your time, not just with, cause there's a ton of integrations, but then also just making sure that the data is interpretable.
David: 07:05 Yeah, we spent a lot of time on our user interface so that we could in essence, demystify a lot of these numbers. You know, how do you make it really simple for anybody to set up a dashboard and just look at some basic health stats even if you're not technically savvy. And you know, one of the interesting things Allan, is that our most active users on the system are actually the least technically savvy people out there. But they have a health issue. And we've made the dashboard intuitive enough that people can make some basic connections. They can test their blood sugar in the morning after they had a pizza the night before. And see how that's different from when they test their blood sugar in the morning after they stopped eating at 5:00 PM and just had a steak with veggies.
David: 07:49 And then these aha moments start happening for people. And these are aha moments that they may not actually get guidance on from the regular doctor. And that becomes exciting and that becomes fun. And then you get more into it and it starts to become very fun and rewarding. And you're basically just nerding out on your own health. And that's a win because I think the reason so many people are in a predicament right now with their health is because they haven't had the information and the insights and the tools, and they haven't had the knowledge about some of the risks of the foods we're putting in our bodies. And so we were kind of blindsided up to this point and now it's like, Oh wow, I have, I've got this microscope into all my health data and I can start figuring some stuff out myself. So making it simple and fun and easy and intuitive with big numbers, big buttons, easy charts, we just wanted to democratize it as much as possible. And as you know, we started this four or five years ago and I still read every single email that comes in our support queues. Most of our product direction is directly from our users. And we have our own private Facebook group where our loyal users are in there and they're testing the software and they're giving us the good, the bad, and the ugly, and, and we build in accordance with our users.
Allan: 09:09 Yeah, it's Drucker that said what what gets measured gets managed. And you're, you're providing a pretty valuable tool for folks that really want to get in there and manage their, their health. I was interviewing Dr. Will Cole last week. Yeah. We had him on and he, in his book he talks about the kind of the bio-individuality of us and how each of us is going to operate differently. Know even when we're doing things exactly the same. You know, I sleep eight hours, you sleep eight hours, you know, I have a glass of orange juice for breakfast. You have a glass of orange juice for breakfast. My blood sugar shoots up over a hundred. And your stay stable as a rock. You know, this is going to give us some of that data if we're checking our blood sugar and putting it in there for taking the time to, and some of this is automated. So if I go to a certain lab to get my blood tests, I can actually have that auto connected. So it's going to integrate right on in. So there's not the data entry to build those massive spreadsheets. And then there's the ability to interpret it on the backend. As far as the business, one of the reasons that I, I think this is kind of top of mind for me today is my wife and I moved down to Panama and we were going to go to a doctor here instead of going back to the United States to see her normal doctors, she's going to try to get a doctorate here. Um and she's like, well, I just saw my doctor, you know, three and four months ago and I have the labs for men. I'll just, I'll just call my, email my doctor and say, Hey, send those to this doctor. And they're like, no, we need a signed form and we need to either do that, do it in our office or fax it to us.
David: 10:44 And yeah, I mean, let me plug in the old fax machine there.
Allan: 10:48 Go find grandpa or somebody on this Island that has a fax machine for us to fax that document. And then fortunately there are some, but it was just such a pain in the butt. So just get the data and I told my wife, I'm like, let's just pay for another blood test because you know, I don't want to fly somewhere just to get to a fax machine, just to sign a piece of paper to ask your doctor to do something that you know you're asking them to do. They know what you and you know. So when you're, when you're doing these interactions, obviously, you know, we're, we're connecting a lot of things and we're pulling a lot of data in and that's a convenience. So you know, in a ways your service is a convenience. How is that data protected then? Cause I think that's what the concerns are. The doctor's like, well, I've got HIPAA and I've got these other regulations. That's why the fax machine, we need that security. How do you manage some of those security issues?
David: 11:44 Well, we don't use fax machines, unfortunately. Allan. Our system is, is considered a personal health record. And so the FDA treats that as being data that is owned and operated by the individual and the individual themselves. So if I am inviting my doctor to access my profile, that's a patient initiated action and that's different than the doctor initiating the request to the patient for data. So those are treated a little differently under HIPAA. That being said, one of the benefits of being a startup nowadays is we can build everything from the ground up on state of the art, HIPAA compliant technology. So all of the services inside Amazon AWS are HIPAA compliant and they use absolute state of the art technology. We have a very, very small footprint inside of Amazon. So we use all their HIPAA compliance services. We have to play by the same rules as everybody else does.
David: 12:54 One of the things we're working on starting in Q one is going to the next level of certification beyond HIPAA, which is called high trust. And that's an even more robust layer of security and compliance than HIPAA is. So we, we do everything we can on the security and the compliance side. We don't ever use the data for external use marketing purposes or anything like that. And that's all really, really clear inside of our terms of service. It's yours, you share it with whoever you want. And that's how we run the business. We're not in the business of making money on people's data. We make money on your monthly subscription.
Allan: 13:38 Cool. So you know, we've talked a little bit about tracking health data. Can you talk about some of the sources of health data that would reside in a tool in your tool? Uh,I know, you know, like we're talking, you know, certain integrations with things, certain things with upharmacies, but you know exactly what data would I be collecting and putting into your tool?
David: 14:00 So that's a really, really great question. And we look at the world and we categorize the data into three buckets. And the first bucket of data would be things that Allan is tracking at home. And so that's also called patient generated data. And that could be the heart rate data from your Apple watch. It could be the measurements when you step on the scale in the morning. It could be your blood pressure, maybe you're measuring that periodically. It could be your blood sugar, it could be more sophisticated health tech, like some of the new wearables like woop and bio strap and or ring.
David: 14:38 All of those do really, really sophisticated analysis on how well we sleep. How much cardiovascular load we're putting on our bodies during the day. So there's heart rate variability, which is becoming very popular because it helps us measure our stress. So everything you measure at home that helps you essentially gain biofeedback about yourself, the devices, the apps, the watches, everything like that. And so that's kind of what we call lifestyle data. That tells Allan, okay, how much am I sleeping? What's my calorie intake? You know, what's my blood sugar been over the last week? So that's the lifestyle data or what we call a patient generated. The second part is what you talked about earlier. Your wife's data, the clinical data. When you go to the regular old doctor and they run the blood work cholesterol, HDL, hemoglobin A1C white blood cell count inflammation markers.
David: 15:34 That is, that is the second bucket of data. And that's also really, really important because as you change your lifestyle habits, what you can measure in bucket number one, you're going to see the numbers in bucket number two, change. You know, prime example of that is hemoglobin A1C. And if you go on a really low carb ketogenic diet, you, you could easily just through dietary change alone have a significant impact. Maybe you bring it down from 6.5 to five or below just through a dietary change. So that's where one, you're looking at your, my fitness pal logs and your blood sugar from bucket one and your hemoglobin A1C from pro bucket two. So that's how that feedback loop goes. And then there's a third category of data that we focus on inside Heads Up that is a little nuanced and that's what I would call functional health data.
David: 16:26 And Dr. Cole probably may have mentioned this, but that would include things like heavy metal testing for some people is an issue. Mold exposure testing. It would include things like your microbiome and a lot of people who have digestive issues and they're testing the microbiome. It may include your genetic data. So that's like the third category, functional health organic acid testing. There's, there's a ton of information in urine and stool, which can be really helpful for people who have tougher cases with their health. So we're working with a lot of individuals and health coaches who do functional testing as well. It's not something you can get from your regular GP that's going to bill insurance, although insurance might cover some of the testing. So it's lifestyle, clinical, functional. Those are the three categories that we, that we integrate.
Allan: 17:23 Cool. And this is the tool that you've built out, not just for the end user to have access to share and use and see their data and analyze it. Practitioners can also use this with their patients, right?
David: 17:37 Yeah. Health coaches. We're, we're really focused Allan on the the cash pay wellness market. So these are doctors that you pay cash, functional health doctor, nutritionist an integrative specialist personal trainers. So we have a coaching portal where, and these are the people who want to see your Fitbit data and they want to look at your functional health data. They're going to spend an hour with you during your console and they're going to go over all of this stuff. And in a traditional medicine world, that system's not really built in a way where that data is, I would say, as valued or as part of the care plan.
David: 18:16 So we have a portal where health coaches can log in and they can log in and very quickly look at who of their clients need some extra help in terms of blood sugar. And they can look at dietary intake and personalize a protocol and they'll have access to Allan's labs going back 15 years. So your wife could show up to a functional doctor and, and provide access to the Heads Up profile and all the data. Is there all the labs, not just the most recent ones. Yeah. So we, we have a portal for health coaches as well and we want to be able to use the information as part of the treatment plan and there's awesome data out there. My doctor to look at it. I want to ask him like, why was my HRV higher this day versus that day and why, how, how do I personalize this?
David: 19:05 You've got my genetic data, you've got my lifestyle data, you've got my medical tests. Like they can dial it in for you.
Allan: 19:13 Yeah, that's, that's awesome. Now I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
David: 19:26 Oh, that's a great question. Three strategies and stack and tactics to get and stay well, I would have to say that understanding how to regulate your metabolism would be number one in terms of getting and staying well. And I say that because so many of the illnesses we have are metabolic in nature, sugar and foods that destroy our blood sugar and then cause a host of downstream effects. So getting a staying well means healthy blood sugar regulation. That will be my number one number two would be a high quality sleep and that's high quality sleep that you're measuring with something that can tell you the, there's a subjective component to sleep where you may think you're getting a great night's sleep, but you might have severe sleep apnea and you don't even know it and your sleep is actually incredibly disrupted.
David: 20:26 So getting really high quality rest would be the other one. And then the third one I would have to say would be probably related to community and spirituality. And I think that's essential. Having people around that love you and being able to give and receive love to people. It doesn't have to be a partner, it doesn't have to be a family member. There's lots of ways to give and receive love. It could just be through volunteering. But having community and ways to express and offer and receive love. I would say that's more of a spiritual than it is anything quantifiable and I think that's really important. So that will be my number three.
Allan: 21:09 Okay. Thank you David. Thank you for sharing that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about Heads Up Health, where would you like for me to send them?
David: 21:18 Well, first of all, I offer everyone to just contact me directly. I'm an open book. My, my inbox is a little backed up, but I'll do my best. I'm David Heads Up Health and if you're interested in the software we provide, it's at Headsuphealth.com we have our own podcast, Data Driven Health Radio where we break down a lot of these numbers and demystify them and teach people how to use them. So much like yourself, Allan we're providing educational content and then you'll find us on all the regular social media channels. We share all the good information we find out there on the interwebs as well. So there's lots of ways to track us down. And if you want to give the softwarea try, it's 30 days. You can try it free. There's no credit card required, just no pressure. If you like it, hopefully it can make a difference in your health. The data was hugely transformational in my own health and so that's my life's work at this point.
Allan: 22:11 Good. So you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/414 and I'll be sure to have links there in the show notes. So David, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.
David: 22:23 Thanks for a great discussion.
David: 22:31 Did you know that we have a 40+ Fitness Podcast Group on Facebook?
Yep, we sure do. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. That's a great place to interact with me and other listeners of the show. I'm on there all the time. Trying to put out great content, trying to make it fun. It's a really cool place. We have weekly challenges. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and request to join the 40+ Fitness Podcast Group
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Tim Alexander||– Judy Murphy||– Melissa Ball|
|– Randy Goode||– Debbie Ralston||– Leigh Tanner|
|– John Somsky||– Ann Lynch||– Bill Gioftsidis|
|– Wendy Selman||– Jeff Baiocco||– Jay Collins|
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
In Real Food Keto, Jimmy and Christine Moore provide an in-depth look at nutrition and how you can get the most out of the ketogenic diet.
Allan (1:47): Christine, Jimmy, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Christine Moore (1:55): Thank you.
Jimmy Moore (1:55): Hey, hey, man. What’s up?
Allan (1:58): Jimmy, you are the guest that I’ve had on the most. For pretty much every book that you’ve written, I’ve had this opportunity to have wonderful conversations with you. I truly appreciate and honor what you’ve done to educate people. And I’m really glad that you’ve now brought on Christine with her education and what she’s doing. This was an excellent book, it’s called Real Food Keto. And I love the title, which we’ll get into in a minute.
Jimmy Moore (2:26): Thank you. When we’re 90, I’m going to be, “This is my 67th book, Allan. We’re going to talk about it today.”
Allan (2:36): I am working on my own book, so I’m doing a lot of reading into how to market a book and all the different things you’re supposed to do. And I’m reading out there, some authors are putting out a book a month, and I’m thinking, “Oh my God.”
Jimmy Moore (2:47): That’s crazy.
Allan (2:49): But they’re managing to make money, because they constantly have this flow. Someone reads their first book and they’re hooked, so now they’re buying every book. Insatiable appetite’s for fiction – it works really, really well. Non-fiction – I think you’ve got to do a little bit more research and work to put out something really, really good.
Jimmy Moore (3:07): Yeah, I think it would be overwhelming as non-fiction. I don’t think the product would be very good if you put out a book a month. I know a lot of stuff. I don’t think I could do a book a month. I thought I was doing well with a book a year, Christine.
Allan (3:22): Having gone through the process now myself, it’s quite… I never really got it when people said when they were done they were just exhausted. But I get it, because it is such a draining experience.
Jimmy Moore (3:33): Allan gets it too.
Christine Moore (3:35): Yeah, I’m sure.
Allan (3:36): I think that’s the cool thing though. This is not a flimsy little pamphlet or manual. You did some really deep research for this book and it goes deep, deep, deep into nutrition, I think further than any other keto book I’ve read has done. It’s very deep, but you explain things in a really cool way. So, it’s deep but good. You know what I mean?
Jimmy Moore (4:01): Yeah, thanks for that. And that was one of the things when Christine was going through the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program – I was like, “Wow, why don’t I know this stuff? This is really relevant information for a keto dieter that’s not out there in the mainstream.” So when I approached my publisher about collaborating on this book with Christine, they were like, “Absolutely.” And now it is our publisher’s favorite keto book, which is saying a lot because they do all the big keto books.
Allan (4:30): They do. I’ve talked to them. I’ve been talking to Victory Belt for quite some time. The books that are coming out in keto are really center and front of the market. So, really enjoy working with them to get wonderful guests like you.
Jimmy Moore (4:47): Thank you.
Christine Moore (4:48): And they do such a good job with the books; they’re beautiful. When we received our author copy of Real Food Keto, we were flipping through it, and just the time that the design team put into the charts and the graphs and everything – it’s so easy to understand and it flows so well. So, great job, Victory Belt design team, for putting together such a good book.
Allan (5:11): It is, all the way across. The content and the quality of the book are, bar none, great. I want to turn the conversation about the book a little bit, because this is something I’ve really been struggling with over the course of the last couple of years as I’ve done these different interviews. I’m approaching 200 interviews, so I think I’m picking up a few things here. It’s the fact that we have to use the term “real food”, because if our grandmothers, our great grandmothers walked into a grocery store today, they wouldn’t even know what it was, they wouldn’t call most of what’s in their food. What is real food and why is it so hard for people to understand what real food is?
Jimmy Moore (5:50): Allan, you and I are blood brothers, because this is the exact reason I wanted this book to get out there, because I was noticing the trend in the keto world was that people weren’t putting an emphasis on real food. It’s disgusting that we have to put a qualifier in front of the word food. They used to just call it food, but we have to qualify it these days because there’s a whole lot of food like disease agents out there, that’s not real food, that we have to call it real food. That was the heart of what we wanted to do. What would you say would be the definition of real food, Chris?
Christine Moore (6:24): Really anything that doesn’t have a label on it that has ingredients on it that you can’t pronounce. I mean things that you grow in your garden. We have 26 backyard chickens that lay us wonderful free-range eggs every day. So, things that aren’t chemically processed, that are natural.
Jimmy Moore (6:47): It doesn’t get realer than that, Allan.
Allan (6:50): But it’s getting harder and harder I think to find real food, because I walk in the grocery store and probably 100 years ago, someone on keto could eat an apple and the amount of sweetness from an apple wouldn’t take them out of ketosis. Today they’re so sweet. They’ve been bred to be something else, so the nutrition’s not there. I think you even said something about an orange – that everybody equates an orange to vitamin C.
Jimmy Moore (7:20): Yeah. And bananas to potassium.
Christine Moore (7:24): Here’s the thing. Back 100 years ago, what was the prevalence of obesity? People weren’t as metabolically damaged as they are today. For a lot of people today, eating an apple will kick them out of ketosis, not only because of its extra sweetness, but just because a lot of us are metabolically damaged through poor diet choices early in life. That’s why when I look at a client, if they can handle a sweet potato here and there, then I will recommend that. Most of those people tend to be athletes or more active, but for the majority of my clients, they can’t have even what would be considered real food. A sweet potato is real food, but not all of us can handle that.
Jimmy Moore (8:11): To your point, you’re right, the food has changed. And because the food has changed, so have our metabolisms. My last book we talked about the prevalence of insulin resistance, and it’s higher than people think it is. Upwards of 70% of the population are walking around with some level of insulin resistance, where their bodies aren’t responding to carbohydrates anymore in the same way, which is why restricting them is the answer.
Allan (8:41): I completely agree. I always encourage folks to just go down to their farmers market. There you’re going to meet the guy who’s raising the chickens when you get the eggs, you’re going to meet the lady who runs the farm where they picked that produce that morning. This is not industrial, fertilizers and all this stuff, and that’s why the tomatoes aren’t as pretty or as firm or able to take things, because they’re just the way tomatoes are supposed to be.
Jimmy Moore (9:10): I love ugly produce.
Christine Moore (9:12): I do too.
Jimmy Moore (9:13): It’s got character. We grew a bunch of different kinds of vegetables in our garden this year. The heirloom tomatoes grow off the charts. They’re amazing.
Allan (9:24): That’s why I think, get to know your food and what real food is, and then start putting more and more of that into your diet, and you’re going to feel better.
Christine Moore (9:34): I agree.
Allan (9:36): I was really interested when we started talking about gallbladder as I got into this stuff. My mother was not feeling well and her health was starting to fail her and I was like, “Mom, I think you should check out this low-carb, high-fat diet.” And she’s like, “They took out my gallbladder so I can’t eat that way.” But you’ve done something, because you’re keto, you’re low-carb, and you don’t have a gallbladder. Let’s talk about the process for how you managed that transition. I know what keto flu is for me, but for you it must have been an entirely different experience.
Christine Moore (10:17): Yeah. I had my gallbladder taken out in 2006. Usually gallbladder problems happen because you do a low-fat diet, you’re not consuming enough fat, so the bile becomes thick, sludgy and there’s no movement of the bile. That’s what causes the stones and the sludge to form in the gallbladder, and that’s what happened with me. So after I had my gallbladder taken out, what I had to do was at first stick with butter, coconut oil, things like that, because they don’t require the bile to break them down. When I see my clients, I tell them that I want to have them have a healthy mix of fats. We need that to have a healthy immune system, and for other reasons. What I tell my clients is 60% monounsaturated fats, 30% saturated fats and 10% polyunsaturated fats. When I had my gallbladder taken out, I had to stick with mostly the butter and coconut oil, which are your saturated fats. But I did include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated in small amounts. Over time my liver learned how much bile to produce, so I could add more and more of those things. Once I graduated from the NTP program, while going through it, I learned the importance of digestive enzymes and even HCl supplementation. So that’s what I do now as well – I take digestive enzymes and bile salts to aid in the digestion of those fats, because it can be difficult. It took me about a year before I was able to get my fat to where I like to have it in my diet.
Jimmy Moore (12:03): And now she eats more than I do.
Allan (12:06): And you had all that detailed in the book, at least as far as saying you knew you needed the stomach acid problem. But you had ulcers, so you had to heal the whole ulcers first. I think a lot of times people get ahead of themselves and they want to solve the problem, but they’ve got to look at the whole underlying structure of what got us here and maybe even the order with which we find those little healthy steps. I really liked that you shared that part of your story. It wasn’t just an “A to B” step. You had to go through a lot of incremental steps to get to a point where you could fix your health.
Jimmy Moore (12:42): And Allan, what happens too often is people start keto and then they experience some of these digestive health problems and they go, “Man, that keto thing sucks”, not realizing they had an underlying issue that needed to be resolved for keto to work well. So, hopefully this book helps clear up some of those misconceptions about keto not working. Maybe keto worked fine; it was just that they didn’t fix their digestion first.
Christine Moore (13:09): One thing that I like to tell my clients too is, when we’re making changes, specifically in the keto diet, often times they will experience these things, but these are reactions that your body’s going to have. It’s perfectly normal for some of these things to happen. You just have to get past those things. Like Jimmy said, a lot of times there are underlying conditions, and most of the time it’s a digestive disorder that needs to be addressed before they can properly absorb and digest these fats that they’re eating.
Allan (13:42): Okay. And like I said, you had all this in the book. It’s really cool I think to use this book as the start of your research, to understand your digestion, understand how you can go about getting into keto if you have issues like this. So, really, really cool. I loved all of that.
Christine Moore (14:00): Thank you.
Allan (14:01): Now, one of the things you had in the book, and as I went through it, I was like, “I want to print this out and post this on my wall” – it was the 17 ways to optimize your diet and lifestyle right now. Would you mind going through those?
Christine Moore (14:15): I’ll go through some, because I think there’s quite a few here. One of them is to eat seasonally. We don’t think about eating our food in season. I’m a big strawberry lover, and those strawberries are not usually available in the wintertime; they naturally grow in warmer time. So, eat your food seasonally. Our bodies were not meant to have certain foods year round. So, that’s a big one. And then we like to tell people to purchase their food from local sources. So, support your local farmers. That will help get the word out about real food and it supports these people that are growing real food. So many micronutrients are in these real whole foods, and we need to be eating more of this to get our bodies to be more healthy, get the nutrients that it needs. Include some raw veggies in your diet. Now, if you have digestive issues, this may be a problem because raw vegetables can be a little bit harder on the digestive system. If you do have digestive issues, then what I suggest you do is cook your vegetables in a slow cooker, so that way it’s not as hard on the digestive system. But once you heal your digestive system, try to incorporate some raw vegetables in your diet.
Jimmy Moore (15:45): By the way, we made this list of 17 things, Allan, because we know some people’s personality is, “I don’t want to get through the whole book before I figure out what I have to do, so give me some things I can start working on now, and then maybe I’ll learn about why I’m doing those things later.”
Christine Moore (16:01): Yep. So, another one, if you have it available in your state like we do – we live in South Carolina, so we’re very fortunate to have access to raw dairy. Raw dairy is much easier on the system. There’s a lot of misinformation about raw dairy out there, saying that you might get sick from it, but in actuality raw dairy is the best for you. I have heard from other people that their blood sugars don’t respond the same way to raw dairy as it does to the dairy that’s been pasteurized.
Jimmy Moore (16:35): Mine was flatline. It’s thicker than heavy whipping cream, raw dairy. It’s pretty amazing. Have you ever had raw dairy?
Allan (16:42): I have, yeah. We’ve gone to the farmers market. Of course they half market it for dogs. I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to give this to the dog. No.”
Christine Moore (16:58): Oh, goodness. You want to hear a few more?
Allan (17:01): Yeah, please.
Christine Moore (17:03): Okay. So, another thing that we like to recommend is, switch from manmade salt to sea salt. This salt that you get with the little girl with the umbrella on the packaging – that isn’t salt. Sorry. Because there’s an iodine deficiency running rampant, that’s why a lot of people get this salt. But what I tell people to do is get the kelp drops that you can put in your water and supplement with iodine that way, or to eat more sea vegetables. We like to use the sea salt instead, especially if you can find the different color ones because each one of those salts has a different preponderance of a certain mineral in it that gives it its color. These sea salts are really rich in micronutrients. Fermented foods is another big thing. For most people probably fermented food seems very intimidating, and that’s why when we teamed up with Maria Emmerich, we wanted her to include a couple of recipes on how to make fermented foods in this book, because it can be really easy and you only need a small amount with each meal to help improve your gut health. If you have gut health issues, I would recommend starting out very slowly, because this can increase some of the symptoms that you have, like bloating and extra gas, things like that. If you know you have digestive issues, then start out slow with these things. These things are not just involving food, so we like to implement exercise into our routine. We have a very good friend, Darryl Edwards, who does the Primal Play movement and he basically teaches you to get outside and play like you did when you were a kid.
Jimmy Moore (18:56): Have you ever interviewed him, Allan?
Allan (18:58): I have not, but he’s now on my list.
Jimmy Moore (19:01): Okay. Let me know how I can help connect you, because he is an amazing guy. Amazing interview.
Christine Moore (19:06): Yes. He doesn’t like the word “exercise”.
Jimmy Moore (19:09): He’s British, so he sounds cool.
Allan (19:14): I actually don’t like the word “exercise” either. I’m a personal trainer. I tell people exercise sounds like when we were kids and we had to get underneath our desks because there was a nuclear attack. “Get under your desks! Nuclear attack!” I’m like, “This is pointless. I’ve seen videos of what this does to buildings, and we’re not going to be safe under our desks.”
Christine Moore (19:34): Right, exactly.
Jimmy Moore (19:36): I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that felt that way.
Allan (19:41): That’s what exercise sounds like to me. Whereas if I say “training”, then at least at that point it has some purpose. You want to keep your strength, your agility, your speed, your endurance, all those different things. That’s the purpose. I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I’m 105. I’m going to have to do some training if I want that to happen. To me it’s more purpose-driven training, rather than calling it “exercise” or a “workout”.
Christine Moore (20:10): Right. And the moment that it becomes not fun, then you need to switch things up.
Allan (20:15): Yes, absolutely.
Christine Moore (20:20): I guess one other one would be sleep; making sure you get adequate sleep. We kind of give tips in there – wearing blue blockers and taking melatonin or magnesium to help you sleep. Keep the temperature of your room colder, because that tends to be better for you. As I said, these tips deal more than just with diet. It’s lifestyle things as well.
Allan (20:44): That’s what I really liked about it. This is a book about food, real food, but you went a little bit further and giving someone an overall basis of how to live a more healthy life and deal with your health issues. Before I let you go though, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Christine Moore (21:11): I can let Jimmy give you a couple too, but one of them I think is to take your health back into your own hands. We rely too much on doctors to tell us how to be healthy. Jimmy and I have experienced this in our own lives, where I was having symptoms of thyroid issues, so I went to my doctor and I asked him to run a full panel. He didn’t see the need with a full panel, so Jimmy and I did that on our own and we found out that my reverse T4 was off and my antibodies were elevated. These things wouldn’t have been found out had they just run the typical panel that they do – TSH, T3 and T4. So, one big one for me is taking your health back into your own hands. Do you have one that you think?
Jimmy Moore (22:01): That’s my favorite one, the one you took. I call that being an empowered patient. I think one thing that’s been impressed on me more and more, Allan, in the last few years, watching the way our culture has shifted over to this ugliness, the contentiousness that’s out there, be it in the nutrition world, even politics, wherever you are in your facets of life – people are unkind to each other, and that bleeds over into being unkind to themselves. I’m becoming more and more convinced that this stress that’s coming on from all of that contentiousness is having a negative effect on people’s lives. So, my tip would be to start loving yourself and to start being overly kind to your fellow neighbors. I find that when I do this and I make a conscious effort – and trust me, it is so hard, especially online where people are being really, really ugly towards each other – it’s really hard to take the higher road, but in the end your stress level will come down and you’ll be healthier as a result.
Christine Moore (23:05): And I guess one final one would kind of go along with what you said, Jimmy, is be kind to yourself. Because of this ugliness that is on social media nowadays, people are so quick to say if you’re not eating grass-fed, grass-finished beef, or free-range eggs, or organic this, organic that, then you’re doing keto wrong and you’re a failure. No. We understand, and this is one thing that we stress big time in Real Food Keto – do the best you can in the situation that you’re in. If you cannot afford grass-fed, grass-finished beef – no sweat. Just do best you can and try not to listen to these people online that are being ugly, because they just don’t have a sense of reality. They’re not in the real world. We understand that life happens. Jimmy and I use keto products out there, but we read the label and make sure that they are up to standard, like these DropAnFBomb nut butter packets. It’s great for traveling. And Paleovalley beef sticks; Pili Nuts. They come in a package, but it’s still real food at its core. So, just do your research and be kind to yourself.
Allan (24:21): Excellent. I declared myself a diet agnostic, and what I mean by that is that I’m going to let everybody eat the way they feel like they need to eat, and I’ll tell you my experiences and we’ll have conversations like this, which is wonderful. But the one thing that I’ve noticed from all sides of this battle, that people are throwing all this stuff around, like, “That’s wrong. This is wrong.” Every single one of them comes down to one core fact – just eat real food. It doesn’t matter if you go keto or you decide to go the entire different direction and go completely vegetarian or vegan, or actually combine both of them, which is something that’s happening. Dr. Will Cole wrote his book Ketotarian, and I’ve had him on. And it’s that same thing – just eat real food. What you’ve done here with Real Food Keto is give us this great resource to learn about the food, learn what it’s doing in our bodies, and make better choices and decisions for ourselves. So, thank you so much for that, Christine and Jimmy.
Christine Moore (25:27): Thank you.
Jimmy Moore (25:28): Dude, you are in my head, because I have hammered this message over the past few years, that we have more in common – Paleo, Primal, locavore, vegan, vegetarian, and keto – we all have more in common than we have disagreement. And yet, who argues the most about which diet is better. Meanwhile, all of these sad diet eaters just sit back and go, “Yeah, I’m going to eat my popcorn watching the show, you guys. This is not interesting to me at all.” I think if we coalesced around the real food message and brought people in, it would be so much more attractive. Then we could make people more healthy in the end.
Allan (26:06): Absolutely. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, they wanted to learn more about what you’re doing over there, where would you guys want me to send them?
Christine Moore (26:15): I have a website – RebootingYourNutrition.com. You can send me a message there and I’ll write back to you. And Jimmy has lots of places.
Jimmy Moore (26:26): We have a website for the book – RealFoodKeto.com, where we’re going to update various interviews we’re doing, like this one. And a book tour that we hope to do in early 2019. And of course I’m at LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com, or you could Google Jimmy Moore. The first three pages is all my stuff.
Allan (26:44): They can also go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/351, and I’ll be sure to have all of those links there. Christine, Jimmy, again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Christine Moore (26:56): Thank you for having us.
Jimmy Moore (26:58): Thanks, Allan. I’ll see you at the next book.
Allan (27:00): Absolutely.
Now, wasn’t that great? I really enjoy having conversations with Jimmy. He’s extremely knowledgeable, and his wife, Christine, is just off the charts with this stuff, her education with the Nutritional Therapy Association. Really, she knows her stuff. And this is a really, really deep book; really cool book. It is a keto book, but you’ll learn so much about nutrition in this book. It’s like a college class in and of itself. So, really well done book, and I hope you’ll check it out.
If you enjoyed today’s show, would you do me a big favor? Would you become a patron of the show through our Patreon page? Basically works like this: you pledge whatever – $1, $2, $4, whatever. I’ve got other tiers up there where I’m offering little perks. So you get something for being a part of this thing; it’s not just a, “Thank you for your money, see you later” thing. There are some perks to this thing that I really want you to check out. If you’ll go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and just pledge what you can – a dollar, a couple of dollars. I put $4 as a base level because that works out to a dollar or less per show. And I hope you do think that the value of this show is there. The money I’m getting off this is not going to make me rich. Obviously, you can see it’s not a huge amount of money anyway. It’s enough money to help me pay the people that help me do this show. I do pay an audio processor a monthly fee, I pay for the transcripts to be done, and that’s on a per hour basis. I pay for hosting of both the media files and the website. I pay for email services and a lot of other things. A lot of what’s built around this is all a part of the funding of this show, and it adds up. It really isn’t as cheap as I thought it was when I was going to get into this. But I love doing it, I’m going to keep doing it, but I really would like to have you as a part of the team to support the show and help it keep getting better and better. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. Thank you.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
Can a vegan go keto? In her book, Vegan Keto, Liz MacDowell explains exactly how to do it and she provides some wonderful recipes to help you on your journey. On this episode, we discuss her book.
Allan (1:25): Liz, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Liz MacDowell (1:30): Hi Allan. Thank you. It’s so nice to be here.
Allan (1:34): When I saw your book I was like, “I’ve got to get her on my show”, because it’s Vegan Keto, and I’ve had this conversation with various people over the years. I’m one of those folks right now that’s kind of the backlash against bacon. I’m like, “Please, let’s stop talking about bacon. This is not the bacon diet.” Unfortunately, most people that are vegetarian and vegan, that’s all they hear.
Liz MacDowell (2:02): Exactly.
Allan (2:04): I know they’re saying I can eat bacon, but they’re hearing you eat bacon. It’s a really hard message to explain to folks that we need to get away from the bacon.
Liz MacDowell (2:17): It’s so true. It’s almost like keto has a bit of a PR problem. It was so enticing at first to everyone to hear, “You can eat bacon”, because bacon is that food that’s always kind of tossed back and forth by doctors as either going to kill you now or going to kill you in two years. So people were excited to hear they could have a healthy diet with bacon, but I think it became the overarching message that it’s burgers and bacon and cheese and eggs.
Allan (2:43): We could’ve said the same thing about mayonnaise. You can have all the mayonnaise you want. It’s the perfect fat, if you get the right kind of fat in your mayonnaise. So if it’s an avocado-based mayonnaise, you can just eat as much mayonnaise as you want. That’s not the message of the keto diet, but unfortunately I think that’s where a lot of folks have kind of taken it.
Liz MacDowell (3:05): Exactly. It definitely seems incompatible at first when you think vegan diet and then you think ketogenic diet.
Allan (3:12): Right, but the other side of it is, I’ll be the first to admit that when you’re doing ketosis and the ketogenic diet, you are being restrictive in your food choices. When you’re being vegan, you’re being restrictive in your food choices. Putting the two together is now a compound of, you have to be very, very selective about every bit of morsel of food that goes into your body to meet both of those requirements.
Liz MacDowell (3:47): That is very true. It’s funny, I’ve been doing this for so long and I just kind of eat what I want now, but you’re practiced at it, you know what you can eat. So I don’t feel as though I’m being restricted at all. But then you think about it. When you go to a restaurant and the waitress asks if you have any dietary concerns, it’s almost embarrassing. I just don’t say anything at this point; I just order a salad.
Allan (4:11): Yeah. It’s like, “Don’t even give me the menu.”
Liz MacDowell (4:18): “I will just be ordering vegetables sides, thank you.”
Allan (4:23): And then just say, “Bring me some olive oil to spice it up a little.” And that was one of the interesting things – I’m starting to see this trend in the conversation. I had Dr. Will Cole on not long ago. His book is Ketotarian. He does show you in the book how you can be vegan and do this, how you can be vegetarian or pescatarian. He kind of blends it out there to say you can find an eating style and you can still make it work for keto. But I’m just now starting to hear this message come out, despite my telling people you can. It’s restrictive and it’ll take a lot of work, especially at the front, as you said. But you’ve been doing this for a while. That kind of surprised me, because I really have never heard of anyone sustainably doing this. And so, I’d like to share your story if you don’t mind.
Liz MacDowell (5:23): Yeah, absolutely. I first stumbled upon keto I think through reddit, where I stumble upon most things, in 2012 over the summer. And it was a period of my life where I hadn’t really been eating that well, I’d put on some weight, I was feeling lethargic, tired and sick all the time, and was really looking for a way to feel better both physically and emotionally, really. Because when you’re not feeling your best physically, you get really depressed. I don’t really know how I stumbled upon keto, but at some point in time someone directed me to this keto page where I started learning about all these blood sugar regulation issues, which hit home for me, because I had been hypoglycemic my entire life. And then you just read more and more. And the more I read about it, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try a high fat diet. I’d tried a super high carb diet, as I think most vegans go through the high carb phase, and that was disastrous for me. I know that works for some people. I’m not at all maligning that way of eating. I think that if it works for you, awesome. I just am not a person who can pound 300 grams of carbs a day and feel okay.
Allan (6:44): That was one of the struggles I had. I kind of stumbled into ketosis myself. I was eating Paleo, effectively, but I was keeping my protein at more of a moderate level, which by nature means I was eating more fat. So, with that I started noticing some physical changes – my breath, my energy level, that I just couldn’t explain. I know I’m eating high quality food, but I’ve eaten high quality food before and I didn’t feel like this, and my breath didn’t smell like this. Then I started doing some research and that’s where I came upon ketosis and I’m like, “Okay, let’s figure this out.” I went and got some stuff, and sure enough I’m in ketosis. And then I started reading up on it and understanding some of the other health benefits of it. There are so many studies out there that show that the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle, way of eating are also excellent ways to protect your health. I tried the pescatarian. I knew I couldn’t just play the figuring out the proteins thing. I know there are vegetarian bodybuilders and vegan bodybuilders out there. I know it can be done; it’s just I don’t have the mental energy to do it week in, week out. I know once I got past the dip, it would’ve been fine, but it was that first thing. So I said I’m going to do pescatarian and allow myself to eat fish, and I’m going to eat vegetables and grains and the whole bit.
And what I found was that I was hungry all the time, which caused me to binge on fruit and nuts. And I had to have food with me everywhere I went. I had food in my truck, food at my desk. I was pretty much eating all day, every day, just to keep my energy level. And I would do steel-cut oats in the morning for breakfast, but still by 10:00 I was starving. So I brought myself three servings of walnuts, and I had other food in my office. I just would sit there and binge for the rest of the day. So, there are ways that are going to help us be more healthful and we have to know ourselves, which is what I really appreciated about your story. You’ve now found that balance. You said, “Okay, I know what I can eat. I know how to eat this way.” Now, to do this, I think where most of us think that the vegan aspects of this would make it extremely difficult to hit your micronutrients. I had trouble thinking I could do it with the protein. But we also now have this consideration on, how do I get enough fat into my diet without just drinking olive oil? Can you talk a little bit about the macronutrients? But then I think the bigger story in the end is going to be the micronutrients, because we’re excluding so many foods. There are two layers of complexity here – the macros, which already seem challenging, and the micros, which add a whole another level of depth. Can you go through those a bit?
Liz MacDowell (9:46): Yeah, absolutely. I think part of what makes keto a little bit less intimidating than I would say a Paleo diet for vegans is the moderate protein aspect of it, because you don’t have to worry about hitting 100 grams of protein or 120 grams of protein, which honestly on a keto diet would be totally impossible to do without supplementing. Obviously depending on factors, but for most people I think you would really need to consume a lot of protein powder in order to achieve that 100 grams, 120 grams.
Allan (10:23): And the reality is, most of us don’t need that. When you look at what our output is and our muscle-building capacities, particularly those of us over the age of 40, we just need that maintenance level of protein, which is really a moderate protein. It’s not as high as Atkins or some Paleo paths would have you believe.
Liz MacDowell (10:42): Absolutely. I think that’s another thing where keto is actually less intimidating, because you really don’t need as much protein as people tell you you need. I think we’re all very afraid of not getting enough protein in our culture, which is crazy because we don’t have protein deficiencies all that often. But to hit those macros, I rely on things like hemp seeds, which provide omega three fatty acids, just fats in general; and a good dose of protein for very few carbohydrates. Olives are a great source of fat. I like coconut. I prefer to eat whole food sources as opposed to pouring oil on things. This is so silly, but I feel like I’m getting more food if it’s a whole food source, which volume-wise is true. And also because the olive obviously has a more rounded profile of nutrients than pure olive oil. But I think it’s mostly that I just like eating.
Allan (11:43): There are things that we’re getting from plants that we don’t necessarily get if we’re eating what would effectively be a fortified or processed food. And even if it’s cold pressed, olive oil did go through a process.
Liz MacDowell (11:59): Exactly. And heating it to cook your food, you lose a few more nutrients. Less so with the minerals, but still there is some nutrient loss. Again, I really enjoy eating food. I think you get a whole slew of other benefits. There are so many phytochemicals in plants that we don’t even understand their purpose, but you see studies over and over that show supplementing with the vitamin is okay, although sometimes deleterious to your health, but consuming the whole foods provides added benefits that are greater than the sum of its parts.
Allan (12:36): You hit on a couple of things as you were going through there. There is a higher likelihood with the restrictiveness of trying to be vegan and keto. There are some supplements that you’re going to have to figure out. The big one I know of is the B12. You’re only going to get that from meat and eggs, but if you’re not eating meat and eggs, which you wouldn’t be in vegan, you have to find out your B12. You can measure B12 when you go in and get a blood test, so you can see if you’re deficient, which most vegans probably are. But you supplement. And there are other micronutrients you talked about in the book that I’d really like to spend a little bit of time on.
Liz MacDowell (13:29): Absolutely. So you definitely hit on the big one, B12. What’s sneaky about B12 is your liver can store up to seven years of it. You might not know that you’re slowly becoming deficient year after year because your blood work is showing that you still have enough B12, but eventually it runs out. I read a lot of studies while writing this book, and one of them I was reading showed that a surprising number of meat eaters are also deficient in B12. I think part of that can be attributed to the fact that B12 isn’t really in the food, but rather it’s synthesized by gut bacteria. And so, if we have unhealthy gut flora, it could potentially lead to… I’m kind of spitballing here, but it could potentially lead to a B12 deficiency. I recommend B12 for vegans across the board, keto or not, because as you said, if you’re not eating these animal foods, and even if you are eating these animals foods, sometimes people are deficient. So, testing is important and just keep in mind that if your test shows you’re fine, you should still be aware of your B12 intake.
Vitamin D is another one. I take a vitamin D supplement as well. I’m very pale, so the sun just scorches me, so I don’t like to rely on endogenous production. I think vitamin D is another really important one for vegans because most of the food products that contain it are eggs or dairy milk. Those are things we’re just not consuming. B vitamins are obviously very important for energy production. They’re most commonly found in meat, really. You can find them in grains as well, but the ketogenic diet would not have grains typically.
Allan (15:24): Or at least very little of them, because you would hit your threshold pretty quickly.
Liz MacDowell (15:29): Right, exactly. Not a substantial amount or a significant amount. I actually don’t supplement B vitamins because I put nutritional yeast on of all my food. Not all of it, but you know what I mean. I try to get nutritional yeast in every day, which is a fantastic source of protein. It’s low in carbs and it contains a spectrum of B vitamins. You can even buy nutritional yeast that’s fortified with B12, which would eliminate the need to purchase a separate supplement for that.
Allan (16:01): Okay, cool. I didn’t realize until I read your book how fundamentally good yeast can be. It has a cheesy taste, so I’ve got to figure that out. You had a recipe in the book about these flax seeds that were sort of like fake Doritos. I’m going to try those. We’re recording this ahead of time, but I’m planning Ketofest, a Minifest here. I don’t know if you know Carl Franklin of 2 Keto Dudes, but he wants people to do these keto Minifests, and I agreed to host one. So Carl’s coming down here to Pensacola for us to do this thing. When you’re listening to this, it’s already passed. But I’m planning on making those for that event. I’ve got the recipe, I’ve got the ingredients on my phone, ready to walk to the grocery store later and pick up those things. So, I will be introducing the world to your recipe tomorrow.
Liz MacDowell (17:09): Amazing, thank you! I’m so excited! You’ll have to let me know how they turn out.
Allan (17:13): Absolutely. Now, you had some other items in there that I guess vegans don’t have to so much worry about, and that was the zinc and iodine.
Liz MacDowell (17:29): And magnesium and calcium, I think I list in there too. Exactly, these are minerals which are obtainable by eating whole foods. And in the book, as you know, I list out all the sources. Hemp seeds actually appear on a lot of those lists. I really love them. I’m going to keep telling people to eat them because I think they’re fantastic. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of zinc, magnesium as well. A lot of these foods also overlap. It can be overwhelming at first to look at a list and say, “Oh no, I have to eat an ounce of that, an ounce of that, and an ounce of that.” But really, a lot of the times you can get double duty out of some of these foods.
Allan (18:10): That takes me to the next topic. When we go on what’s perceived as a restrictive diet… It’s funny, I’ll read a study about keto or about at least the high fat, low carb. And a lot of times the researchers will go through and I don’t think they like the conclusion. And so, they’re going to make a statement in their conclusion that, “This is unsustainable, therefore we should throw it out.”
Liz MacDowell (18:41): We have read similar studies, I see.
Allan (18:45): They basically poopoo their whole study. They still need to get it published because they’re looking for a university and they have to get published, and they’ve done all this work. They just don’t like the answer, so they say, “It’s unsustainable, so just do it the way we’ve been telling you to do it.” I can say for a lot of people that really are wanting to get into keto, but there’s this fear factor of, “I’m eliminating all the foods” – I can tell you when I first went Paleo, I had dreams about bread. I mean literal dreams, like I used to dream about women. But this was bread. Kind of an interesting dream to wake up from and say, “Do I smell bread cooking?” You put some guidance in your book about stress-free ways to get into keto, and I really appreciated the tips that you had in there. Would you mind sharing those?
Liz MacDowell (19:46): Thank you. Absolutely. I think my biggest thing is – and I mention this in the book too – my favorite adage is the best diet, or the best exercise routine, or the best supplement routine, or insert a thing here, is the one you can stick to. If you start right out of the gate with this tiny list of acceptable foods and this super strict schedule for eating and all of your apps and all this madness, it’s kind of like a second job to try and achieve this diet. It’s probably not going to work unless you’re already doing that with a different diet. I always think that you should ease into it and do what’s best for your body. And if that’s going cold turkey and diving in and hitting that 20 grams a day and giving up everything you’ve ever loved food-wise – if that works for you, that’s awesome. But it doesn’t really work for everyone. So, I often advocate just easing your way into it and picking a reasonable number of carbs to stick with, or even ignoring tracking altogether for their first little bit. Just focusing on eating low carb foods and seeing how you feel.
Allan (21:01): I completely agree and I think that’s one of the cool things. When I first saw your book listed, I thought it was a cookbook, just a cookbook. I was pleased to see that it wasn’t, that it had this other stuff in it to help someone. To me that is one way if you want to ease into this – to buy a book that has some recipes in it, and try the recipes, using them as a substitute for the meal you would have had otherwise. So if normally you would have had a dinner with an animal product, and potentially you would have had some starches and probably even some high glycemic vegetables, like carrots or whatnot – now you’re going in and saying, “Here’s an entree and here’s a side from this book. I’m going to have a ketogenic meal.”
Liz MacDowell (21:54): Exactly. And that’s one of my favorite ways, is just one meal at a time, or even one food group at a time. If you rely heavily on rice, maybe try switching out for cauliflower rice and see how that feels. I guess the most that you can do for yourself is be kind and listen to your body and understand that you are not like everyone else. You might not function all that well if you go from eating 250 grams of carbs a day down to 20 grams a day. I think most of us struggle with that at the beginning.
Allan (22:27): Absolutely.
Liz MacDowell (22:29): I think that when people take this “all or nothing” approach, some are great at it. Some people need that, but for others it can be really intimidating and kind of scare them off.
Allan (22:39): Okay. Other tips that you had?
Liz MacDowell (22:47): Don’t necessarily listen to people on the Internet – that’s a big one.
Allan (22:51): But they’re so sure of themselves.
Liz MacDowell (22:54): I know. They’re so angry about it too. I didn’t realize my breakfast impacted your day that much. I see this all the time. Someone posts a picture of their meal and then the comments on Facebook in the group, or on Instagram are like, “That’s not keto” or, “I can’t believe you’re eating this” or, “Who told you you could eat that?” Calm down, don’t listen to that. If that’s what makes your body feel good, then eat that food. Sometimes it’s genuinely people wanting to help someone else and saying, “I don’t know if you realize, but this has this much sugar in it”, or whatever. But you do see a little bit of unnecessary food policing, and I think that a big factor is to tune that out for a little while.
Allan (23:37): I’ll admit, there’ve been times when I saw something on a forum or something that was out there, and it was really more I didn’t want other people doing this.
Liz MacDowell (23:49): For sure.
Allan (23:53): She probably listens to the show; I’m calling her out again. But she would go to McDonald’s and tell them she wanted the McDouble, and give her two McDoubles but only give her the meat and the cheese. Basically she’s got four beef patties and the cheese that’s on each one. So, four slices of cheese and four beef patties, and she would eat that as a meal. I said I think that’s far too much protein. That would probably knock me out of ketosis because of the amount of protein. And she came back and says, “No, I tested. I’m staying in ketosis. It’s great. And I’m lifting heavy.” It works for her and it’s great. At that point I said, “Okay, I’m glad it works for you.” We’re all very, very different in the way that food affects us. I wish it was that simple – one size fits all, and then life would be beautiful. But unfortunately, there are foods I can’t eat because they adversely affect my health. And so, I do agree. Taking what you’re saying, someone is probably coming from a good place, but they’re not recognizing that what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, the motivations of what you have and the limitations of what you have are all there. So, I completely agree with you on that one.
Liz MacDowell (25:24): You also raise a good point though, in that I see a lot of things tagged on social media, I think to get more views, saying, “This is a keto recipe”, when in no universe it’s keto. Like the main ingredient is banana or something. So I think that’s another one.
Allan (25:38): And they’re not always that bad. But there are some of them where it’s like, “Okay, fine, but we don’t need keto cookies. We just don’t.”
Liz MacDowell (25:53): I think there are a lot of products out there that we don’t really need, that we’re kind of being told we do need.
Allan (25:59): Yeah. And I knew it was coming when keto started building up and everything. Now they’re selling fat bombs, now there are all these exogenous ketones.
Liz MacDowell (26:11): They’re everywhere. There’s an MLM for them.
Allan (26:14): Right. It’s cool to occasionally have some kind of treat from the past. It’s cool to say, “I would love to have a keto pizza.” And it’s cool – have a keto pizza. But everything you’re eating shouldn’t be the same kind of foods you were eating before. We’re in this to be healthy, so you start transitioning over to whole foods.
Liz MacDowell (26:46): I have a rule with myself where if I want that kind of junk food thing, I have to make it myself. If you really want it, then yes, you’ll go through the effort to spend an hour, an hour and a half in the kitchen, making the cookie or the donut. I guess it’s not really that long, but you know what I mean. You’ll go through the effort, and then it’s kind of worth it.
Allan (27:08): And as a special treat, because you’re saying, “I really do want this.” So when we were talking about your mock Doritos, they’re made with flax seeds. Everything that’s going to go in there is ground flax seeds and yeast. I’m going to lay them out and I’m going to put them in the pan and cook them. I think the total cooking time, all in, is 30 minutes.
Liz MacDowell (27:32): Yeah, it’s pretty simple.
Allan (27:34): So, I’m going to get two cookie sheets and make enough that everybody can try some. I’m going to have your book open to that page, printed out sitting right there and say, “If you guys want to take this home, there you go. Go get the book, because there’s a lot more in there.” There are 60 recipes in the book.
Liz MacDowell (27:52): That’s awesome, thank you.
Allan (27:55): This is a treat. I’m having people over to my house and we’re all keto. So I’m like, “Let’s try this treat.” But that shouldn’t be the staples of your everyday eating.
Liz MacDowell (28:04): Right, exactly. And I think it’s so easy to forget that. Although I’ll admit while I was writing that book, they became the staples of my everyday eating, because I was so hesitant to waste anything.
Allan (28:17): It’s both. I’ve tried to develop different types of recipes and tried to experiment with the food to try to get different effects and see what things are doing. And as you’re doing that experimentation, you eat what you made, and sometimes it’s not good, but you’re not going to throw that food out.
Liz MacDowell (28:37): That’s so true.
Allan (28:39): But I stumbled across something – I call it “Allan’s fluff”. It’s the weirdest thing. Again, it’s not vegan, so anyone that’s looking at vegan, this does not fit your profile at all. It fits mine.
Liz MacDowell (28:51): I’ll just ignore the parts that don’t apply to me.
Allan (28:53): All of it doesn’t apply, but I guess you could make it part of it. But it’s sour cream, and it’s vanilla-flavored, but unsweetened – basically it’s sweetened with Stevia – protein powder. Now, I’m using a whey protein, but you can use a pea protein. Again, it’s vanilla-flavored. When you mix those two things together – basically about a cup of the sour cream, so eight ounces of sour cream, and a scoop of the protein powder, so about 27 grams of protein – it fluffs up like whipped cream. Vanilla-flavored whipped cream. Yes, it’s delicious. So yesterday – again, we’re planning something coming up, and I was thinking, what if I put pumpkin spice in that? What would that be like? I was testing that, and of course I had to eat my creation. It was good. I stirred it too much, so now I know I need to put the pumpkin spice in while I’m stirring it together, so I don’t break it down, because it will break down if you keep stirring it. So, you’re experimenting; you’re learning new ways to make food or make things interesting. For me it’s a great dessert or just a little afternoon snack if I want something like that, but it’s not something that I’m eating on a daily basis.
Liz MacDowell (30:15): Right. Something I do in the summer actually is really similar to that. In the summer I say because my kitchen’s like 96 degrees and I just can’t be bothered sometimes. But I’ll take full fat coconut milk, and mix it with some protein powder and toss in a couple of frozen berries, like a quarter cup, and mix all that up and it becomes very fluffy and delicious.
Allan (30:35): Cool, awesome. And that’s all I’m saying – experiment and have fun with your food, because too many times when we stress out about food are the things that we can’t eat. And instead, start exploring the things that you can and the flavors and the textures and the different things that you want out of your food to make it that much more enjoyable, and quite frankly, delicious.
Liz MacDowell (31:00): Absolutely. And nutritious. The more variety you eat, the more nutrients your body is taking in. That’s always good. It’s funny too – I think since going keto, the foods that I eat on a regular basis have actually expanded. I feel like I get more variety in now because you’re paying so close attention at the very beginning to the foods you can eat, that you realize there’s a whole section of the supermarket or there are whole types of foods or vegetables that you never really thought about before that are great for keto, like so many different types of greens that I’d never tried before. Now I try to regularly eat mustard greens and dandelion greens – all the stuff that I never thought about before.
Allan (31:49): I snuck some dandelion greens in with some kale and spinach. My wife doesn’t know the difference. She just knows, “It tastes good. He made it.” But I knew it had a different nutrition profile than what we would normally eat, because I took the time to experiment with something else.
Liz MacDowell (32:07): I do that to my husband too – I sneak little bits of all the vegetables into food. You have to sometimes.
Allan (32:15): If I’m doing the cooking, you’re subject to what you get.
Liz MacDowell (32:18): Exactly. Cook’s rules.
Allan (32:21): Yeah. Now, you also told a personal story about some struggles you had when you first got started in exercise. Of course as a personal trainer I want to delve into that a little bit, because people will come to me and they’re like, “I’m keto, but I was told I shouldn’t exercise.” And I’m like, “No, that’s the exact opposite. You have to exercise.” As you put in the book, in the very beginning of this, while you’re going through adaptation, it can be a struggle. You’re going to feel much more fatigued and not have the performance. So I would say, don’t start keto one week before you’re going to do a 5K which you’ve been training for for months, because your performance is going to be off the charts bad. So, can you tell a little bit about your story and then how you would encourage folks to work towards exercising appropriately?
Liz MacDowell (33:21): Absolutely. And I’m laughing at that situation, but really with it, because I’ve been there. Not with a 5K, but as you mentioned, I talk in the book about when I first started keto, I thought I could just do exercise as normal and continue on my merry way, running on the treadmill or outside or whatever. And it turned out to not at all be the case for me. I hit a wall so hard. At the very beginning your body feels like lead, your muscles have nothing to give you. I was holding on to the sides of the treadmill; it was amateur hour. I listened to what was right for my body, which was I slowed the pace down and I realized that something had to give, and for me that was the speed at which I was doing things, or I guess the intensity. I know this isn’t right for everyone, because everyone’s body is different, but for me what I had to do was kind of dial it back, slow down, lay off the intense exercising and be a little more gentle with myself, and then ease back into it. But for some people they can eventually push through the first few terrible workout.
Allan (34:32): Yeah, and a lot of it’s going to depend on the type of work that we’re doing. In my example, I was lifting heavy, but that’s very anaerobic-type work. I just do a quick set and I’m done. The energy that I need is all coming from APT, so it’s there. For that set, I don’t need to go to muscle and liver glycogen. I have all the energy I need to get that done. I take my two-minute break and everything is reset and I go in again. When you’re running, or any kind of aerobic exercise, that’s where I see most people will have the most difficulty. If they haven’t set their mindset to understand that there’s going to be that decline in performance, it really can be disheartening.
Liz MacDowell (35:23): For sure. There are ways to improve your performance though. I’ve seen really great results with a lot of people that I’ve worked with them and I just know. Simply adding in a few extra carbs before their workout – just make a smoothie, put some berries in it, and then give yourself that sort of bridge, like the bridge energy to get yourself through that workout.
Allan (35:46): You’re timing your carbs in such a way that they’re optimal at the time you’re going to most need them. And the other side of it is because of the aerobic work that you’re doing and burning off the muscle glycogen, when that hits your system, your body’s not going to initially need to have a huge insulin spike to protect you from it, protect your brain from it. It’s going to say, “The muscles are working and they’re going to need this.” Insulin not only shuttles the blood sugar to fat cells, it also shuttles it to the muscle. Even that little spike of insulin is not a bad thing, if you have the energy expenditure to make up for it. So I agree – meal-timing is really key. And then the other side of it is, just sticking with it.
Liz MacDowell (36:37): And insulin is anabolic too, so it can help you to help those gains.
Allan (36:43): It does. So you can time the meals if you need to. My trainer at the time, we would have conversations about this, because he really didn’t understand what I was doing when I first started talking to him about it. He knew what ketosis was, but he was like, “No, no, no. I don’t want you coming into the gym in the morning having not eaten. You need to eat before you come here.” I said, “No, I’m coming in. I’m completely fasted. That’s how I’m going to train. I don’t really want to lift weights in the morning, but that’s when you can train me, so that’s when I’m going to do it.” And I would go in completely fasted and have the energy to do it. That said, it was expenditure and then rest, expenditure and rest. So that was very different. I have a friend that runs distance and she puts on well over 100 miles a month. Her husband’s gone keto and he said he did 11 miles. So, a lot of people see performance improvement after they get through to that adaptation, which can take several months. But once you get to full adaptation, your body learns how to manage the glycogen stores to allow you to do. Now, anything over, say, 90 minutes, you might need to refeed a little bit of carbs, but for anything less than 90 minutes, unless you’re really, really busting your butt, your body will adapt.
Liz MacDowell (38:16): Yeah. And along those lines, I think you just learn how much you need to refeed and when you need to refeed. I love hiking. I love hiking mountains. The White Mountains in New Hampshire are so much fun, and some of them are fairly sizable. You’ll have 5K, 6K feet of elevation gain, which is super fun. But it also is very intense and takes a little more than an hour. I tend to find that on those days I need to bring along carrots with me as a snack, or even an apple, which feels like such a weird treat, but there you go. At the end of the day I’m still in ketosis, because over the course of that day, you’ve used up all of that sugar.
Allan (38:55): Yeah. It never really had an opportunity to impact your metabolism, because it was immediately being shuttled into the work that you were doing.
Liz MacDowell (39:05): Right.
Allan (39:06): Cool. Liz, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about this book… I’m interested to try some of the other recipes as well, but it’s not just a cookbook. There are 60 plus recipes in here and a lot of great information to help someone get into ketosis, but beyond that to understand how you can be vegan and keto. Where would you like for me to send them?
Liz MacDowell (39:34): MeatFreeKeto.com is my blog, where everything is, and that will have links to Vegan Keto, which is my cookbook – vegan keto book, and all that information.
Allan (39:46): So you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/348, and I’ll be sure to have links to the book and to Liz’s website MeatFreeKeto. Liz, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Liz MacDowell (40:00): Thank you so much for having me. This was such a fun chat.
Allan (40:09): If you enjoyed today’s episode, would you please take just one moment and leave us a rating and review on the application that you’re listening to this podcast right now? I’d really appreciate it, and it does help other people find the podcast, because it tells the people that are hosting these podcast episodes out there on their apps that you’re interested and they know that other people like you might be interested. So please do that. If you can’t figure out how to do that on your app, you can email me directly and I’ll try to figure it out for you. Or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, and that’ll take you to the iTunes where you can launch that and leave a review there. I really appreciate the ratings and reviews. It does help the podcast, it helps me, so thank you very much for that.
Also, I’d really like to continue this conversation a little bit further, so if you haven’t already, why don’t you go ahead and join our Facebook group? You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to our Facebook group where you can request entry. It’s a really cool group of people, likeminded, all in our 40s, all trying to get healthy and fit. I’d really love to have you out there and have you a part of that conversation. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group.
Dr Jonny Bowden is the co-author of The Great Cholesterol Myth and in this book he and Dr Stephen Sintra get to the truth about cholesterol levels.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
Allan (1:15): Dr. Bowden, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Bowden (1:21): My pleasure, Allan. This is round two. I enjoy it the first time.
Allan (1:26): Yes, it is. The first time was great, and I’m very, very happy and feel privileged and honored to have you back on.
Dr. Bowden (1:33): Thank you.
Allan (1:34): We really had a good discussion about cholesterol in that one. And the name of this book is The Great Cholesterol Myth. We’re going to talk about cholesterol some more today, but I think what I took out of this book that was a little different than other, I guess, anti-cholesterol books or those kinds of books in general…
Dr. Bowden (1:55): Cholesterol skeptic books, let’s call them that way.
Allan (1:56): Skeptic books. Okay, let’s call it that. You and Dr. Sinatra didn’t just say cholesterol doesn’t matter. You took us to that next step to say, “Here’s how you can use those numbers in some way.” But then there are these other four things that are actually what we ought to be paying attention to, and we’re being distracted by this number.
Dr. Bowden (2:21): And those four things I call “The Four Horsemen of Aging”. And here’s an interesting factoid. When we did The Great Cholesterol Myth, we looked at the factors that actually promote heart disease – the real ones, not cholesterol; that’s a minor player – but the real factors, and we isolated four of them. But what I want to tell you that I think is interesting is a previous book of mine, which was originally written in 2008, called The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer, is now being revised in a revised and updated edition for 2019. And guess what? The same four factors are what contribute to early death. So not only are these four factors that I’m about to tell you major promoters of heart disease, they’re major promoters of every disease. In fact, every degenerative disease you don’t want to get, whether it be Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease – they all have these four factors playing in some proportion or another. So these are not just about heart disease. Now I guess you want to know what the factors are, right?
Number one is inflammation. Inflammation is a silent killer. We’ve known that since that famous Time magazine cover about 20 years ago that said, “Inflammation: The Silent Killer”. Nobody knew what it was back then. Now people are talking about it, but I don’t think people really understand the enormity of the contribution of inflammatory processes to just about every disease they get. We get stuffed noses and colds – we know we’ve got inflammation. We get a splinter caught in our shins, and we know we see inflammation. We see it will get all red, but we don’t really comprehend the damage and destruction of chronic inflammation that flies under the radar. Not the stuff you see – not the abscess on your tooth, or the growth of a pimple or any of the inflammation signs that we’re all very familiar with, but the stuff that goes on under the hood – in our arteries, in our veins that we don’t see – that’s the inflammation that kills us, and that is the number one of the four things that we identified as The Four Horsemen of Aging. Inflammation.
Now we can stop right there. I’ll give you the overview. And I’m sure these are many things that you’ve covered on your shows, because these are core subjects that everybody who’s interested in health looks at at one time or another. So inflammation was number one. Number two is oxidative damage. So everything you ever heard about antioxidants – they’re all about fighting this Horseman of Aging – oxidation, oxidative damage, the kind of thing that happens inside your body that parallels what happens when you leave metal out on your front yard and in the rain – it rusts. And when you rust from the inside, you’ve got oxidative damage. So, fighting that is one of the big goals I think of any kind of “anti-aging” program, or any heart disease program for that matter. The number three is something you and I were talking about offline, which is stress. And I know we have a lot to say about stress, so let me put it in context. It’s one of the four biggest promoters of disease, magnifiers of disease, amplifiers of disease, causes of disease. It’s just an enormous factor in all diseases, especially in heart disease, and I can give you some examples of that a little bit later on. And the last one is something that people may not be as familiar with. It’s called glycation. And actually they’re not in any order, because all of these are equally destructive. The fourth Horseman of Aging is sugar, because there’s no glycation without sugar, so we might as well forget about the biochemical process known as “glycation” that ages you from the inside and outside, but let’s talk about the cause of the glycation, which is sugar. So there they are, The Four Horsemen of Aging – inflammation, oxidative stress or oxidative damage, stress, and sugar.
Allan (6:16): Okay. Now, one of the things I harp on my clients, and I probably shouldn’t harp on them because it probably stresses them out a little bit, but I explain to them that we get ourselves kind of locked into one metric. And that metric for most of my clients is going to be their weight. They want to lose some weight, so they’re focused on that one metric. And I keep saying, “If you’re eating whole foods and the scale is not moving, what are the things that are happening inside your body that are good because of what you’re doing, that you just don’t see?” I think inflammation and oxidation and glycation are all those internal things that we could go decades without recognizing that it’s killing us, but we also can go decades when we’re improving our health to just not see the needle move. What are some things that I can look for under the hood? I can go in for blood tests, other things. What are the things I can look for to know that I’m kind of on the right track with regards to those three?
Dr. Bowden (7:26): First, Allan, I want to emphasize and underline what you just said because it was profoundly true, and it’s something we forget about because we’re in such an instant gratification kind of environment. We all are programmed to want results and want to see results overnight. And the drug culture amplifies that, because we all know if you take a Tylenol, your headache is gone, so it’s an instantaneous kind of result. What you were just talking about so wisely and so correctly was the fact that there are many things that don’t show up for a decade or more. For many men – I don’t have the figures in front of me, but they are available, they’re in the National Institute of Health, you can look them up on Google – I’d say it’s for a double-digit percentage of men, a heart attack is their first symptom of heart disease. The heart disease didn’t start with the heart attack. Diabetes has no symptoms. I’m not sure what the number is. I’m not as much of a data nerd as I guess I thought I was, but a very high percentage of diabetes cases are undiagnosed because people have no symptoms, so they don’t go to the doctor. High blood sugar doesn’t have a symptom, neither does high blood pressure. And these things are destructive forces in the body. I often use the smoking example, because people get that right away. If I started smoking tomorrow, I wouldn’t get cancer on Wednesday. I might not even get it in a month or two or six, but I’m going to get it, or I’m going to have my odds of getting it increase by 80%. So, understand that there’s a latency period on a lot of these measures, and that doesn’t mean they’re not important. They’re damn important. You just might not see them as readily as you would see a change in your weight. I just wanted to underline that because you said that.
Now, what are some of the things we can look for since we’re not seeing it on the scale, for example? I always start with energy. There is not a person who has a ton of energy in the world who’s feeling bad, so energy is a good marker for how you’re doing. You can’t fake it. If you’re not getting it from some external source like a drug or a lot of caffeine or something, your energy is going to be generated naturally, and that’s a very good metric for how you’re doing. How you are sleeping is a pretty good metric. How you are feeling about life and about people is a good metric, because your brain and your emotions and different centers of fear and pleasure in your brain are all effected by your environment and your nutrition. So I’d look at those basic ones. How do I feel? How am I feeling about life? Do I wake up with any kind of energy and spring in my step, or do I wish I could sleep 10 more hours? Those are the metrics I’d look at while you’re waiting for the scale to change.
Allan (10:05): I think that’s really hard to do – the energy part of it – when you’re constantly in this state of eating sugar or simple carbs. It’s one of the beautiful things when you start understanding what healthy fats are, because they’re fats that are not going to cause the inflammation or oxidative damage. Can we recap what some of the good fats versus the bad fats are, so we don’t fool ourselves?
Dr. Bowden (10:35): I would love to do that, and I would urge everyone listening to understand the division between good fat and bad fat that I think more and more people are accepting. Even people I know that really know nothing about nutrition and you talk about fat in the diet, they say, “There’s good fat and bad fat.” It’s like everybody knows that, right? Here’s the next level of knowledge. You’ve got to understand that what we think is good fat and what we think is bad fat, is not good fat and bad fat. We have been taught that bad fat is fat from animals. Bad fat is saturated fat. Good fat is anything that doesn’t come from an animal or isn’t saturated, like vegetable oil and corn oil. Big, fat lie. Big, fat deception here.
Bad fats are damaged fats. It has nothing to do with whether they’re saturated or not. There’s been a wealth of evidence since 2010 that has absolved saturated fat from a causative role in heart disease. It’s damaged fat. It’s overused vegetable oils that get rancid and form carcinogens and trans fats and things like that that are really, really bad. And vegetable oils do not get a free pass. Just because it came from a vegetable like corn or soy or cottonseed or safflower does not necessarily make it healthy. Those fats are actually pro-inflammatory, and the Omega-3s are actually anti-inflammatory. So we need to be in a balance. We’ve got to forget everything we learned about saturated versus unsaturated. Here are two great examples. Coconut oil is a saturated fat that is really good for you. People are beginning to get that. But one of the ones they’re not yet really getting on board with enough, as far as I’m concerned, is Malaysian palm oil. That still suffers from all kinds of bad ideas from 20 years ago, and a different source of palm oil and a time when it was tainted. Modern Malaysian palm oil is a health food. First of all, it’s got all these tocotrienols, which are healthy for the brain. It’s a sustainable fat. It’s made without a lot of high heat or chemicals. It’s non-GMO. And people worry because it’s a saturated fat. It’s a great fat. I use Malaysian palm oil all the time. I use coconut oil all the time. And I use saturated fat from healthy animals all the time, like grass-fed beef and pastured pork and free-range chickens. Those are not the fats you need to be afraid of. What you need to be afraid of is too much of those fats that look all healthy and they come in those plastic things, and they’re corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil. Too many of those lends towards inflammation, not towards anti-inflammation. And we want anti-inflammation. So that’s the first thing about fats. What else did you want to talk about?
Allan (13:26): I guess the other side of was… And this is always the funny thing. One day I’m probably going to just say this to my doctor if he tells me to eat egg white omelets again. I’m just going to say, “It sounds like I shouldn’t try to lose weight, because I’m pretty sure that the body fat that I would be trying to lose would be saturated fat, and I don’t really want that as a fuel.” That’s one of those things that always strikes me, is why would we store fat as a saturated fat if we weren’t supposed to be eating saturated fat?
Dr. Bowden (14:04): I’d ask your doctor even more pointed questions. This is what amazes me about these guys that tell you to eat, whether they’re doctors or not doctors, anyone who continues to advise egg white omelets – my question to them is, even by their standards, and their standards are that anything that raises cholesterol is going to be bad because cholesterol causes heart disease – even by that outdated, wrong theory, we already know that eating cholesterol doesn’t change your blood cholesterol. So, why are they still telling us to throw away the best part of the egg? Even the National Institute of Health and USDA no longer consider cholesterol a nutrient of concern, because the data is in – dietary cholesterol doesn’t affect your blood cholesterol. Even the people who still believe in this cockamamie theory, why are they still advising egg whites?
Allan (14:55): I guess it’s just really hard to walk away from a paradigm you’ve been telling patients forever. Our prior generations, when they went to the doctor, the doctor told them, “Here, put this leech on you.” They would take the leeches.
Dr. Bowden (15:15): My parents’ generation would let them. My parents’ generation believed anything. Then the doctor was in the community, we knew him, they were in big, impersonal places. We had a relationship with them, and there was kind of, “Doctor knows best.” With my parents, you could not question anything that Dr. Leo said; you just couldn’t. I hope we’ve come a little further than that. They are not the keepers of the faith and the guardians of our health. They are members of our healthcare team and we need to be more proactive and stop buying into every paradigm that they give us that was given to them by the pharmaceutical industry and it’s kind of out of date right now.
Allan (15:52): Yeah. Talking in terms of pharmaceuticals, a question I’ll often get from my clients is, “Should I supplement, and what are some things I should supplement with?” I always direct them and say, “You can go get some blood tests for the basic vitamin D, vitamin B, some of these other things to kind of just see.” But in the book you do go through what I would call some of the core supplements. There are things, like you said in the book, that are going to help you have a healthier heart. The first one is Coenzyme Q10.
Dr. Bowden (16:28): If I may, let me back up one step before we go there, and just put supplements in an overall context. I’m going to guess you’re more like me than the average person, but I probably take 38 to 40 something pills a day, or potions or drinks or some combination of nutrients in different delivery systems. I’m probably taking 40 or 50 things a day, and have for most of my adult life. They’ve changed, depending on what I’m particularly trying to do and what I’m experimenting with. I’m a very committed biohacker that way. I don’t recommend to people that they start out with 40 or 50 things. They don’t need 40 or 50 things. Most of the people who I interact with on Facebook, Facebook Live, my website – JonnyBowden.com, “Ask Dr. Jonny”, our Clean Eating Magazine – they are generally well-informed consumers who really don’t want to take a lot of pills and they want to know what’s the best overall program they can be on with the least number of things they have to take. So I would like to at some point address that, and then we can go onto what you mentioned, which is I’m sure going to be Coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine and things like that, because those are specifically chosen for people who have issues around their heart. And those were things that Dr. Sinatra has also found to be incredibly helpful over the years, but he also, I’m sure, would agree with me that you’ve got to start with your basic stuff.
Not everybody needs all the nutrients for the heart, not everybody needs all the extra support for the liver, like some people who might have hepatitis. Not everybody needs additional support for the brain. It would be lovely to take all these things, but you’d be taking about 100 things a day. You’ve got to do a little picking and choosing when you decide how to target things. All medicines might be great, but you don’t take them for every single disease. It’s the same thing with this. You want to cover your basics, which I can talk about in a minute. I can do that with four items and it’s pretty easy for most people to wrap their minds around. And then we can talk about how these additional nutrients like Coenzyme Q10 or L-carnitine might help someone in a particular situation, such as strengthening their heart.
Allan (18:38): Yes, please do.
Dr. Bowden (18:42): Here are my four basic supplements – a multivitamin, magnesium, vitamin D and fish oil. I just gave you the headline, and if you want to stop listening, that’s all you’ve got to know – a high-quality multiple, an absorbable magnesium, a good vitamin D, and a high-quality fish oil. Now, let’s get into why one brand over another or why you would make one choice over another. Multiples usually range from… I’m not going to disparage a brand, but we all know the kind – you take one every day and the big-box store has it. This is minimum wage nutrition; it’s generally the cheapest form of the nutrients – for example, magnesium oxide instead of magnesium citrate, that kind of thing. And it’s usually the minimal dosages that are really RDA. There isn’t a nutritionist alive who believes the RDAs make any sense or that they are in any way optimal levels for people to take. So, a high-quality one means one that is really well-formulated by people who know what they’re doing, and use the right dosages and the right amounts. I have brands for all of these and I’m going to tell people, because these are the ones that I use. For multiples, I’m 100% for Rainbow Light’s Vibrance line. That’s like your Lexus line. They were the first company to do vitamins from foods only, the cold food vitamins. They’re very advanced in the advisory boards that they use. And I’ve looked at their formulas. Those are the ones I recommend to friends – the Rainbow Light Vibrance line for any multiple. They make a teenage boy, a teenage girl, a young woman, young man; they make it for every stage and age in life, and they’re very well-formulated.
Magnesium. We’re going to talk later about stress, and magnesium is one of mine and Steve Sinatra’s number one remedies for stress. But what we’re talking about here is a basic. I like at least 400, if not 800 milligrams of magnesium a day. I personally prefer to drink mine. I use Natural Vitality’s Calm. It’s a drink that fizzes up, and I kind of like the whole ritual of it because actually it’s interesting where it dissolves and that’s the oxygen combining with the carbonate and making your magnesium citrate available to you. It’s kind of cool, but it’s one less pill I have to take. It’s easy to remember, and I take them in the little travel packets that go with you. So I take the Natural Vitality magnesium.
Then vitamin D – I’m not partial to brands because it’s a very easy nutrient to make, as long as you get the D3 form. And the actual dosage is going to vary. The Vitamin D council has some good recommendations for how to bring your vitamin D up, but I would recommend to everybody that they get the OH-25 vitamin D blood test when they get their blood test, because we should all know our levels. The people who I think are the most accurate and are thinking about this in the most clear way are recommending that your ideal level will be around 50. It’s not 20 or 30 the way the government says it should be. So, you want to bring that level up, and it’s very easy to do it with supplements, assuming you receptors work well.
And then the fourth supplement that I think is a must for everybody is fish oil. I am an enormous believer. My great nutrition teacher, the great late Robert Crayhon used to say, “If I could do one thing to increase the health of the American population, I’d put every pregnant mother on fish oil.” And I know, knowing him many years, that he really meant that for the entire population. But you could certainly start with pregnant women. And I’m a big fan. I just think they’re the most anti-inflammatory molecule, they undo so much damage of inflammation on so many different levels. They help with circulation, they help with the brain, with the heart. There’s a form of them that I recommend, because so many people tell me they burp them up or, “My kids won’t take them. It’s brutal hard to get them to take them, and they need it very badly.” There is a formula called Seriously Delicious Omegas. It’s an emulsified Omega-3. It’s made by Barlean’s. In fact, the children’s version just won the next year award at Expo East for the most innovative product in children’s products. It’s an emulsified Omega-3 that actually tastes a little bit like a fruit compote and it’s delicious, and you can get kids to eat it and it’s actually even better absorbed than the oil form. So, those are the four things I recommend – the Rainbow Light Vibrance brand for multiples; whatever your particular demographic is – if you’re young, old, middle-age, there’s a formula for you. The Natural Vitality Calm magnesium drink. Vitamin D by any reputable company that makes a vitamin D3. And Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Omegas for the Omega-3. That’s my four cornerstone products that I can pretty much recommend across the board, and they’re going to benefit about 99% of people. Now we can talk about some of the specifics for things like heart or liver or brain, as we’ve been talking about the heart.
Allan (23:47): Yeah. I don’t take quite as many supplements as you do. I really do base it on my blood test, on the time of the year. If I’m eating a lot of fish, then I’ll probably take less fish oil. If I’m getting outside like I am now, and it’s still 90 degrees and hot, humid here… I get out and get some good sun from my walks that are half an hour to an hour, so my vitamin D levels are smack on. When it starts getting cooler, then by all means, yes, I’ll start doing that. So, those are also the four that I would say I take the most often. I don’t take them every day, or it’s just a standard stack regularly. I do base it on what my current nutrition profile is and lifestyle and everything else. I probably need to kick up my magnesium, and we’ll get into that in a minute. But let’s jump into these others, because I hear about these, but we really haven’t spent a lot of time talking about them. Coenzyme Q10.
Dr. Bowden (24:49): Great. So, Coenzyme Q10 is called a ubiquinone, because it’s ubiquitous. It’s in every single cell in the body and it’s manufactured in every single cell in the body. The best and simplest way to think of it is a spark plug that creates energy for organs that need it and cells that need it. And there’s nowhere where it’s more needed more consistently than the heart, because the heart doesn’t get a vacation; it beats 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, constantly. It’s a huge consumer of energy. It’s like the American fossil fuel – we just consume the oil. And like many things, nature plays a trick on us and we make less of it as we get older. It’s one of the many things we make less of – collagen being another one, hydrochloric acid in our stomach being another one, testosterone being a third. And sure enough, Coenzyme Q10 is one of the things that we don’t make as much of as we get older. And of course the heart doesn’t stop needing it. So, for cardiologists like Steve Sinatra, Coenzyme Q10 is like a spark plug of energy and very, very important for our heart.
A second more insidious reason that it’s important is that statin drugs, which is what all the conservative, all the mainstream, the conservative wing of the American medical establishment is still very much in the throes of the cholesterol hypothesis. They still very much believe blood cholesterol is a causative factor in heart disease and must be controlled by statin drugs, which they think are the seventh wonder of the world. So, you are very likely to be prescribed a statin drug if you are an American going to a conventional doctor for elevated cholesterol. This is not the approach I would take or that any of my colleagues would take, but it is the approach that much of mainstream medicine takes. So if you are very likely on a statin drug, your Coenzyme Q10 is being depleted, because one of the things statin drugs do, they’re called HMG reductase, coenzyme reductase inhibitors. They inhibit an enzyme that makes cholesterol, but it also makes Coenzyme Q10. Too bad for you. So now when you need it the most, you have the least amount of Coenzyme Q10. So Steve recommends that people who are on statin drugs take at least 200 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 a day, and that’s a lot. I recommend about 100 for everybody who’s not, just as a preventative or as a general antioxidant, 60-100. But if you’ve got issues with the heart, and God knows if you’re on a statin drug, you need more.
Allan (27:27): Right now I don’t want to go down that argument of the statins, because I had such a horrible experience with them. I’m not a cardiologist, I’m not a doctor. I had my experiences with them and it was horrible.
Dr. Bowden (27:39): I’m not telling anyone to throw their statins away. That’s got to be done under medical supervision. But I can certainly point you to the research on side effects, that they are quite considerable, they’re under-reported. This is all in the research. It’s all documented in our book, The Great Cholesterol Myth, complete with the studies that show this. They do have a lot of side effects. And in my opinion and Steve’s opinion, their benefit is way less than we’ve been told it is, and it certainly doesn’t extend to a lot of the population who are getting prescriptions for statin drugs and they really never show any benefit from them. So, I’m all for trying to see if we can decrease the number of prescription drugs we’re on. I think as a general rule that’s a good idea.
Allan (28:19): But if you’re on a statin and you can tolerate it and you’re working with your doctor, Coenzyme Q10 is going to be something you want to make sure you’re taking.
Dr. Bowden (28:27): Yeah. And by the way, that’s not controversial. Merck got a patent for a combination of statin and Coenzyme Q10, or for Coenzyme Q10 – I’m not sure which it was, but they didn’t pursue it because they didn’t think anybody really knew about it or cared about it. But it is very well-known and noncontroversial. Even your conservative doctor, if you bring it up, will admit that in fact statin drugs do deplete Coenzyme Q10. That’s not a controversial piece of information.
Allan (28:58): Okay. Now, I’ve had Dr. Know on the show and he and I got into D-ribose. I know that D-ribose is one of those helper cells for mitochondria. It helps mitochondria. How does it help my heart?
Dr. Bowden (29:18): D-ribose is a sugar, and it appears to have some energy-producing. I’m using that in the most general sense, because that’s not how science talks about it. But what people report is that it seems to help them with energy. It works with Coenzyme Q10. I guess the best way to say it is, there is a currency called ATP – that’s the cellular currency of energy. We run our economy on money, on cash, on checks; the cells run the body on something called ATP. This substance, ATP – it stands for adenosine triphosphate – is actually the cellular currency of energy. So you need ATP to blink your eyes, you need it to run the marathon, you need it to sleep. We need it right now to be talking on microphones. ATP is needed for any movement, any thought, anything that the body does. So how does it make it? D-ribose is one of the ways that it actually helps your little cellular energy factories, which we call the mitochondria, to produce more ATP. It’s like we said in the book – metaphorically D-ribose acts like a little elf shuttling the material needed to make ATP to the factories where it’s made. So, they’re a great adjunct in the creation of cellular energy, and that’s why they’re in the book. D-ribose.
Allan (30:47): Okay. And then L-carnitine?
Dr. Bowden (30:50): L-carnitine is like a shuttle bus. So, I live in LA; I’ll use the Hollywood Bowl analogy. You can’t ever really get too close. The bus drops you at the bus stop and then you take a shuttle over to the Hollywood Bowl, so that you don’t have to park there. Carnitine is like a shuttle bus. What it does is it shuttles fatty acids into the mitochondria, of which we have been speaking, which is basically the energy-production organelle in the cell. It shuttles the fatty acids into the mitochondria so that they can be used for energy. I will say there’s a good argument that most people have enough carnitine from their diet. This is not true for vegetarians, by the way, or vegans, because carnitine is not in anything but meat products. Sorry. So if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, this doesn’t apply to you, but many people do have adequate carnitine stored. However, it has long been thought that since it plays such a central role in the transport of fatty acids into energy-burning factories in the cell, that people who are either overweight or maybe whose heart is not working at top performance levels could possibly use a little bit of extra help with that shuttle bus.
Allan (32:08): Alright. So now, the topic that’s really kind of near and dear to my heart. I guess of all the things that you can focus on for health and wellness – be it food, exercise, sleep – my current focus now is really much more on stress and stress reduction. Why is stress such a bad player when it comes to heart health? It’s one of The Four Horsemen. How did it get that title of being part of The Four Horsemen? Because there are other things – obviously the inflammation, the oxidation, and the sugar – we see that time and time again. But stress now, in your book you’re indicating, it’s just as big a player.
Dr. Bowden (32:57): You have to think of what happens in the body when you’re under stress. There’s a number of ways to demonstrate this. Here’s a fun one. Have your listeners Google the term “voodoo death”. There are documented cases of voodoo doctors putting hexes on people and them dying. Why do you think that happens? It doesn’t happen because something magically goes in the airways and poisons their food. They die from the stress of knowing, because they buy into that system. They very much believe in that whole, whatever the religious order is that allows that to happen – they believe in it and now they believe that somebody with authority has just put a hex on them, and the stress level kills them. It’s called “voodoo death”, and it’s been documented.
Everyone should understand that what we think about has a profound effect on our physiology. This has been demonstrated a zillion times. You can demonstrate it for yourself by sitting calmly and picturing something peaceful, wonderful, loving, feeling safe and protected, and watch what happens to your heart rate and your blood pressure. And then if suddenly you were to think about a horrible car accident with someone that you loved possibly in it, what would happen? You would not have moved from your chair, but your blood pressure will have gone up, your heart rate will start to elevate. If we were measuring your hormones, your cortisol would be above the roof. Your adrenaline would be pumping. So, what we think about, these stress reactions, which involve very powerful adrenal hormones – they have a profound effect on our health. They’re inflammatory, for one thing. Cortisol has an effect on belly fat, it has an effect on energy, it has an effect on insulin sensitivity – all things which we all know to be major factors and players in heart disease. We have to think, Allan, what did nature, or the genome organizing device, or God, or however you conceptualize it – why were we given these stress hormones? What were they supposed to do? When you think about it, they were supposed to get us out of an emergency. So, if we’re a caveman and we hear some rustling in the leaves and it’s a wildebeest coming to eat us for lunch – immediately our heart rate goes up, our blood pressure starts to rise, the blood starts to pump into the legs instead of the digestive system, because we’ve got our start to run like hell. They are the “fight or flight” hormones. They are meant to either let us fight and prepare our bodies for that, or let us run and prepare our bodies for that. That’s what the “fight or flight” hormones work for. They’re short-term solutions to a danger. They’re like first gear on a car; they get you out of a ditch. Here’s the problem. We’re running on the 405 North at 70 miles an hour in first gear, because those stress hormones are only supposed to be elevated for a minute here and there to get you out of an emergency. Then it’s good and adaptive stress. We live under 24-hour stress. It’s chronic stress. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t even stop when we go to bed. And that kind of chronic elevation of these stress hormones wrecks metabolic disaster. So that’s how stress kills. It starts a cascade of events that we’re fine if we’re on short-term, like first gear, but if you drive in first gear for a long time, you’re going to strip your transmission. And that’s what happens in the body.
Allan (36:21): I like that metaphor, because I think so many of us can relate to the fact that we’re in this stress perspective and there’s nowhere to really run. I was writing a story, putting it together for the book, and I was thinking in terms of, I’ve had moments of chronic stress and I’ve had moments of the acute stress, just that moment where my boss calls me on the phone and says, “Come up to my office, I need to talk to you.” Suddenly your heart rate’s going and everything and you’re like, “I can’t go and burn this off. I can walk up the stairs or I can get on the elevator and I can go up there and see him.” Then afterwards I know I need to go to the gym and burn that off. But I was in a situation where the CEO was not really happy with me; we were constantly at odds. And every day I knew I’ve got to sit in front of this guy and I’ve got to do my job and I’ve got to just not react to what my body is screaming at me to do, which was fight or run away. Neither one of those would have been a good solution.
Dr. Bowden (37:31): Right, but that energy stays in you; it’s not like it just dissipated into the ether. It’s now running its hormonal game on you and all kinds of things are happening physiologically that are probably not the best for you.
Allan (37:45): So, if we know we’re in a situation and we can’t, in the short run, do something about it – get out of that job, get out of that relationship – what are some things you would advise people to do to manage their stress?
Dr. Bowden (38:03): I would start with deep breathing. I think I told you offline – Michelle and I started meditating last July, so we have just completed a year and a month or so of meditation. It’s taken me my entire life to be able to find a context, a way to do that. I was one of those people who found it incredibly difficult, and I could not keep my mind still and I couldn’t concentrate and do all the other stuff they tell you to do. And I found a method that works for me and I do it every day, twice a day and really, really rarely ever miss. I think even if you’re like me up to a year ago and you couldn’t do the full round of meditating twice a day or even once a day for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes – try deep breathing. Try this little thing I used to do myself for years, where it’s just like a four-minute timeout. You sit at your desk and you literally close your eyes and you lower your heart rate, and you just breathe in deeply on a count of four – 1, 2, 3, 4, and you hold just a bit, maybe another count of four, and then you exhale on a count of seven. Just long exhale. And the number doesn’t even matter; you could reverse it, but the point is to keep some number in mind, say seven, inhale on four, hold for six or seven counts, exhale. You set the timer on your iPhone for four minutes and do that a couple of times a day. It’s so little time out of your day, but it will act as a partial reset of your brainwaves, your blood pressure, your cortisol levels. It will be like a mini vacation. I think that it would be great if you could work up to an actual meditative practice, but any kind of deep breathing.
Walks in greenery seem to have remarkable restorative powers. There’s an entire discipline of psychology and it’s called ecotherapy that has to do with seeing greenery, walking around in your neighborhood. If you’re lucky enough to have trees, look at them, because there are studies even showing that in hospitals, those who have views of lawns have better metrics. There’s something about seeing greenery that really is stress-reducing.
I am a big fan of, going back to supplements – Natural Vitality’s Calm. It’s called Calm for a reason, because actually magnesium’s very, very calming. Anybody who’s ever had intravenous vitamin drips knows this, because if you have an intravenous vitamin drip with magnesium in it, you will sleep like you’ve never slept in your life. And I speak from personal experience. I used to have these drips all the time. So, I’m a big fan of taking that Natural Vitality Calm. And I like it also because for me there’s something calming in the ritual. It’s not just popping a pill; it’s pouring a spoonful of this into some mortar, watching the fizz, wait until the bubbles come up. There’s a 60-second ritual to doing it. And I’m a big believer that rituals are calming as well. I try to do my same four or five things every morning like clockwork, and it tends to be very calming and grounding. So, I think all these things can be helpful to reduce stress. Exercise certainly can help; walks can help; meditation can help; better sleep can help; and certain supplements can help, like Natural Vitality’s Calm as one example.
Allan (41:29): Alright. This is episode 343. Are there any links or anything where you’d like for me to send people to learn more about you and what you’re up to?
Dr. Bowden (41:41): I’d love them to come to the website, especially in a couple of weeks when it’s being all redesigned. There’ll be all kinds of good, cool free stuff and e-books and things like that. So just check in with my website, JonnyBowden.com. And you can follow me on Twitter @jonnybowden. Just remember, no H in Jonny.
Allan (41:57): Cool. As I said, this is episode 343, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/343, and I’ll have those links there. Dr. Bowden, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Bowden (42:11): Allan, it’s my pleasure, anytime. You were just a wonderful interviewer, so passionate. You actually know so much, so your questions are so pointed. Your listeners are very lucky to have you, and I’ve been just honored to be on your show. Thank you.
Allan (42:23): Thank you.
I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t quite sure that I would get this episode out on time. As you may know, I live in Pensacola Beach and we just had a Category 4 storm – Hurricane Michael – come through and did a lot of damage. Fortunately, we were on the safe side of that hurricane and sustained almost no damage or problems around here, other than the scare of it. But my heart and prayers go out to the people who were affected in the panhandle of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. I know this is a devastating storm and has done a lot of damage, and I’m sure there’s going to be some loss of life involved. So again, my heart goes out to you if you’ve been affected by this. It is a time of year. We don’t typically get storms of that magnitude, so this was kind of a freak one. I hope that it’s not something that we have to deal with. I hope the season’s over for 2018 and we can move into a better time of the year.
Before I go though, I did want to reach out and ask you if you didn’t mind helping the show out a little bit with a little bit of support. There are two ways that you can support the show. The first one is that you can leave a rating and review, and if you haven’t done that already, please do take the time. On your app right there, there’s going to be a way for you to review the show. Please do that. That definitely helps us get out there, get noticed and let people know that we’re still active. And the apps see us and they want to show us a little bit more when they see that you’re engaging with us.
And then, I’ve come up with a new way that you can support the show, and it’s really cool. It’s a service called Patreon. And what Patreon lets me do is provide additional perks, if you will, for people that do want to financially support the show. I’ve set up four levels that allow you to be even more engaged and involved with the creation of the show, mentioned on the show notes among a lot of other things too, even being live with the recording when I’m doing the interviews. So, you’ll actually be there when I’m asking the questions as we go and be a part of the creation of the podcast. So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and that’ll take you to our Patreon page. They make it really easy for me to give these extra perks out and for you to support the show. So go check it out. I put a little video up there to explain it a little bit better. So, please do go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon and help support the 40+ Fitness podcast, and let me help even more people the way I’m trying and working to try to help you.
In his book, Ketotarian, Dr. Will Cole gives us a guide on keto for vegetarians and vegans. Many people believe that keto and vegetarians and vegans are two different paradigms, but Dr. Cole shows us that we can have the best of both worlds.
Allan (1:05): Dr. Cole, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Cole (1:10): Thanks so much for having me.
Allan (1:11): The book is called Ketotarian: The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation. And just to start out with, I have to thank you profusely for writing this book. If I see another “bacon, bacon, bacon” conversation about keto, if I had hair I would pull it out. It’s one of those things. Yes, we want high fat, but that doesn’t mean that you just do away with the fact that our body needs the nutrition from the food, and not just the fat. So, I really did appreciate your approach to, one, how you explain the process of this working, and two, you actually put it together for folks with recipes and everything else.
Dr. Cole (2:01): Thank you so much, I really appreciate that. And that’s honestly one of the main reasons why I wrote Ketotarian, was to bring something new to the conversation. Like you said, the “bacon” conversation has been done. We don’t need another conventional ketogenic cookbook or health book out there. So I think something fresh, a plant-based, ketogenic conversation has been started.
Allan (2:26): Yes, and that’s why more and more of my clients are asking about this, like, “I really don’t want to eat a lot of meat and I’m trying to stay more vegetarian or more vegan.” There’s been this conversation that’s swelled up from behind me on this. I eat a lot of plants, but it’s within the realms of knowing my macros and knowing what my body can tolerate. Could you take a few moments to explain what ketotarian actually means and how someone would consider doing something like this?
Dr. Cole (3:00): Sure. Ketotarian is a book that we’re talking about. It’s my plant-based ketogenic book. Half of the book is science and health tips and functional medicine sort of perspective, which is where I come from, and ethos of why we’re doing this. And the heart of wellness that I think has to be at the foundation for sustainable wellness is really having self-respect. Self-care is a form of self-respect, and eating healthy foods and taking care of yourself is a form of self-respect. It’s a different conversation that’s being started for a ketogenic book, but I think seeing patients I realized for someone to sustainably be successful for any way that they’re eating, it has to be coming from a place of self- respect, presence, and loving your body enough to nourish it with good foods. So that’s really the cornerstone of Ketotarian in the first half of the book, plus all the health benefits of ketosis and the health benefits of being plant-based, and all the science and research. It’s heavily referenced, as far as the scientific literature is concerned.
And then the second half of the book is recipes, meal plans, all this practical stuff and pretty pictures. There’s over 81 different vegan, keto, vegetarian-keto and pescatarian-keto, or what I call in the book Ketotarian – another play on words – plant-based, but with wild caught fish and shellfish. So people can eat one way, they can just be vegan-keto, or they can eat a mixture of vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian options. And it’s this 8-week, plant-based keto experience for people to shift their body from being a sugar burner to a fat burner, get the anti-inflammatory benefits of ketosis. That’s what they’re doing in ketotarian. So it’s a play on words. I had somebody point out to me, I kind of created a celebrity couple name out of the title of my book. So, like Brangelina, this is ketotarian. It’s this amalgamation of the best of both worlds of being plant-based and keto.
Allan (5:15): The interesting thing is, I have a lot of keto authors on here, and I have a lot of vegetarian and vegan authors on here. It’s because I don’t want to be prescriptive about what someone’s going to eat. I need them to be comfortable that this fits their lifestyle, this fits them as a person. I’ve even said that to people, that when I talk to someone who’s on the keto side, who’s really successful at it – has gotten rid of their inflammation, is healthy, or I talked to someone on the vegan side who’s healthy, they’re always talking about whole food. They’re not talking about packaged things. Some of them do go a little under the bacon side on the keto, but that all said, I think it created this “us versus them” that really didn’t have to exist.
Dr. Cole (6:02): Absolutely. It’s a very strange thing, but I think tribalism is really deep in America right now on many different levels. And I think that this is just one sort of weird aspect of tribalism where it’s completely unnecessary. The dogmatic sides of both camps is just unnecessary, because we actually have way more in common than we don’t. I think Ketotarian illuminated the fact that there are so many commonalities there. And ketogenic, that way of eating, really can be any modality of eating. It could be pescatarian, it could be vegetarian, it could be vegan, it could be more Mediterranean with the fish too. There are so many ways to do it. And then obviously we have the carnivore diet that’s coming up, which is a form of ketosis, a higher protein ketogenic approach. So you have really all these different forms of ketosis, therefore it doesn’t have to be this “us versus them”. It’s just a way of using food to our advantage, to put our body into this anti-inflammatory, fat-burning state.
Allan (7:12): One of the cool things that you brought up in the book is, this is really about being aware and mindful of the food that you are eating. So this is not just happenstance. Obviously, yes, if you eat a predominantly meat-based diet that’s not lean meats, you’re probably going to go into ketosis at some level. If you’re eating a high fat diet with bacon and all the other stuff that’s coming out of boxes that are marked “keto-friendly”, you’re going to go into ketosis. It takes a little bit more, I think, mindfulness and a more sound approach to food when you’re trying to do it from the vegan or vegetarian aspects. And you had this term you used in here called “ketotarianisms”. Could you take a minute to go through those? I think this really highlights what I’m after here, about how you start getting a lot more mindful about your food, you start focusing more on the quality, and you end up a lot healthier for it.
Dr. Cole (8:10): Yeah. So ketotarianisms are the basic tenants of this way of living and eating. It is basically when you are having a healthy fat, add a green, not-starchy vegetable, and then conversely, when you have a non-starchy vegetable, eat a healthy fat. And then eat when you’re hungry, eat until you’re satiated. These are some of the ketotarianisms that people can live. These are basic principles that really are common sense when you read them, if someone wants to keep it simple. In Ketotarian, I wanted to show all the biohacker, science stuff where people can lean into, or they want to take their wellness to the next level, but I realized there are going to be a lot of people that are reading Ketotarian that are new to this, that feel overwhelmed or, “Where do I start?” I think things like the ketotarianisms or the “keeping it simple” options in the book are really a good segue for people to lean into it and still get the benefits of these healthy, real foods without feeling like they have to go zero to 60 and understand all the science to get started. It’s really not necessary at all.
Allan (9:29): I had a client and he was telling me it’s blueberry season and he can’t help himself every time he goes to the farmer’s market. He wants to eat low carb. And our ancestors, when berries were abundant, they ate the berries. There’s nutrients in the berries that your body needs. Enjoy the berries while they’re in season, because you’re only going to get them for a few more weeks, and you’re not going to have the berries. I think a lot of us get tied up in the “We have to eat this way” or “We have to eat that way.” And there’s so much what I would call “biodiversity” of how each of us handles carbs, our insulin resistance, those types of things. One of the things that you had in the book that is a little different than the guidance I see from a lot of the keto space is that instead of focusing on total carbs, which the 20 grams of total carbs is the earmark out there – you’re going to go into ketosis if that’s what you’re eating. But you focus more on net carbs, which allows us effectively to eat a lot more high fiber vegetables. Could you talk about the net carbs? Having net carbs someone could probably get away with and still get into ketosis or get the benefits of the low carb eating. And then compare and contrast that with total carbs.
Dr. Cole (10:45): Sure. So, total carbs are the sum of all fiber, sugar and sugar alcohols and everything. Net carbs is subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols, if there are sugar alcohols in wherever you’re eating. But basically the fiber, the soluble fiber and the insoluble fiber, we’re subtracting in ketotarian, and many other ketogenic resources you’ll find in books and online too. But Ketotarian definitely does talk about how when we’re working on and focusing on real non-starchy vegetables and real plant foods, that’s when you use net carbs. You do not use net carbs whenever you’re eating junk food and boxed foods and you’re just trying to make yourself feel better by having carbs. At that point it’s not in its whole food form, it’s not in alignment fully with nature, and you can manipulate numbers, I think, for the sake of dieting that isn’t going to produce the same results as if you ate an avocado with tons of fiber, or any other vegetable with lots of fiber when it’s in this whole food form. That’s what we’re talking about when we’re considering net carbs.
So, in the book for all the recipes, I give the net carbs because it is basically subtracting all the fiber. What I allow for, or what I recommend I should say, in Ketotarian, is the first week or so – and sometimes people should do longer than a week – they should do about 25 grams of net carbs throughout the day. So every day their max should be 25 grams of net carbs or less. From there they can find their carbs sweet spot during these eight weeks of being in ketosis from this plant-based approach. Now, the max allowance in ketotarian is 55 grams of net carbs a day. I just wanted something basically average to allow people to have lots of vegetables in, but I know as a functional medicine practitioner that there’s biological variability. I realize that there are some people that will do better with a little bit less, there are some people that can get away with a little bit more. I have some people in ketosis up to 100 grams of net carbs from non-starchy vegetables, because they’re insulin sensitive, they don’t have a lot of inflammation, and they’re fine there. They’re fasting and they can get away with this. But most, I think 55 grams. Why I put it in the book is because it’s the middle of the road for most people to get the benefits here. They can implement it into intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding, and we talk about that in the book. They can still get all these cool benefits while not restricting their plant foods.
Allan (13:33): The great thing about this is, so many of us, when we first start getting into ketosis or thinking about ketosis think we can’t have fruit. A lot of your recipes do actually have fruit in them. So this is an area where we are, because we’re going to go for the high fiber type of fruits. We are going to be able to eat more fruit with this. When I think about the number of how much food you can eat of non-starchy vegetables with that many grams of carbs – that’s pretty substantial. This is going to be the bulk of your food. This is going to be your entree, and not a meat entree. This is going to be your main source of energy and food, less so the proteins that we would normally have in a steak or something like that.
Dr. Cole (14:26): Exactly. It’s plant-centric. I think that people can pick their level of where they want to go with this. I’m not saying everyone has to be a vegan-ketogenic eater, but definitely when we bring the vegetarian options like the eggs or the ghee, or the pescatarian options with the fish or the shellfish – it’s still plant-centric. These are just different food medicines to bring into this clean, keto way of eating.
Allan (14:54): And that’s what I really liked about it – it said, “Here are the nutritional aspects of how you’re going to eat. These are the net carbs you can get.” And then beyond that, it went through and said, “If you want to make it a little easier to do this, then here’s the option for you to do the vegetarian versus the vegan, and here’s an add-on if you want to include some fish or shellfish. It’s going to have these particular benefits.” So, it’s something that somebody can really look at their way of eating and be thinking about, “How do I make this work for me?” It’s not just this fixed go. And your recipes also break that down, where there are some recipes that will have fish, some that will have eggs, and others that are completely vegan.
Dr. Cole (15:36): Yeah. And I think to your point, with your client with the berries, that’s something that I really wanted to have, this grace and lightness to food. We shouldn’t be stressing about and obsessing about our food and making food this arduous, negative thing. I wanted to recalibrate the conversation, especially in the keto world, which I think can be a little bit too obsessive with foods, and shaming, and orthorexic in a way. What I wanted to say is, “Let’s do this for eight weeks. Let’s shift the body into ketosis. Let’s get the benefits of ketosis.” But from there, like you said, seasonal ketotarian is mentioned in the book, because during the summer if you want to have more fruits and more natural carbs into your life, you normally buy seasonal fruits – then do that. Some people love that and enjoy that, but during the colder months they’re more in ketosis naturally and eating more of this primal way of cycling ketosis approach throughout the year. And some people do that cyclic approach throughout the week, where they’re doing two to three days higher carbs, the other days in ketosis. Again, this is all in the context of real foods. This, I think, needs to be talked about more in the ketogenic world, because so many of them are very dogmatic in the sense of, if you leave ketosis, you’re somehow doing your body an injustice, and that’s not the point of the ketogenic diet and it’s basically all or nothing. I don’t think it’s all or nothing. If you really say “all or nothing”, you obviously haven’t talked to patients or clients and seen biological variability, because you’ll be proven wrong all day long, hanging your hat on one way of doing anything when it comes to food.
Allan (17:28): They would have to kick me out of the Keto Club, because I do the seasonal ketosis. And that’s because there are certain times of the year where I know it’s going to be easier for me to maintain the low carb and just get a little bit tighter on things. And then there are going to be times when we’re in football season and we’re going to come up on New Year and things like that, and I’m going to want to have a beer. My brother owns a brewery, so I’m going to want to have a beer here and there. But I pick my times, I pick my battles, and I’ll go out of ketosis for a period of time. It’s something that’s natural to me, it’s something that feels good. And I don’t have any kind of metabolic problems, so it’s very easy for me to shift fuel sources, depending on how I approach food.
Dr. Cole (18:11): That’s great. That’s the goal of this eight weeks – to build that metabolic flexibility. And you’re right, not everybody has that. Some people with insulin resistance or diabetes or inflammatory problems can’t get away with that. But the goal is to build as much metabolic flexibility as your body allows you to.
Allan (18:31): Yeah. That’s the other aspect of it – some of us are going to go right into ketosis, not have a big problem with it. Others are going to suffer a little bit more, or some really are going to struggle to get into ketosis because their metabolism is a little bit racked and needs some repair. In the book, you share some tips for individuals that are struggling to get into ketosis. Would you mind sharing some of those tips?
Dr. Cole (19:00): I’m just thinking off the top of my head what’s in the book, but one is, if you’re eating a certain level of real food, net carbs or eating plant foods – I would try lowering the amount of carbs as your body adjusts. The state of ketosis – this metabolic, fat-burning, anti-inflammatory, brain-fueled state that we’re talking about here – is through carb restriction. So it’s not necessarily eating tons and tons of healthy fats, even though healthy fats can increase ketones too. But it’s really the carb restriction primarily that will do it. And then secondarily, it’s what do you fill in from that carb restriction? So, lowering your carbs more. If you’re higher net carbs, maybe lower it below 25 for a time as your body gets more fat-adapted that way.
Another tip to get in ketosis if you’re not in ketosis, is to help your body out with getting the benefits of ketosis and raising blood ketone levels with exogenous ketones. You can use MCT oil or different exogenous ketones in drinks or supplements, or you can increase the amount of circulating ketones in the body to get the benefits of it – basically get your boost of energy, help with brain function, etcetera. So if someone’s making that, they’re in this sort of metabolic purgatory where they’re not becoming a fat burner overnight. It may be they’re going through insulin resistance or other health problems, whether they’re slow to make that transition. You can kind of help your body along with some exogenous ketones as you’re making that metabolic transition.
And then some maybe lesser known ideas to help your body get into ketosis is to deal with stress levels and look at sleep, because cortisol fluctuations when someone’s in stress – that can impact the blood sugar, blood pressure, and ketone production. And looking at sleep levels, sleep optimization, which is another thing to consider. Those are some things that are maybe less commonly thought of when you’re talking about, “I’m going to go keto and get the benefits of going keto. I’m going to lose weight”, or whatever it is. You have to look at stress levels; these are important.
Another thing to consider is intermittent fasting. If someone’s not intermittent fasting, which will produce increased ketone levels as somebody is intermittent fasting, they should consider that. That’s another way to produce more ketones, get the benefits of ketosis, but it’s also the effect of ketosis. As someone becomes more and more fat-adapted, it’s a natural result of that. You’re just less hungry, your blood sugar’s more stable, you’re less irritable and hangry. So you just randomly will intermittent-fast, not because you’re trying to or you’re thinking about it, but because, “I’m eating when I’m hungry, and if I’m not hungry, I’m not going to eat.” If that involves not eating breakfast or having a lighter meal at a certain part of the day, these variations of intermittent fasting can happen too. So these are some ideas if someone’s having a difficulty, but we have other ones mentioned in the book too.
Allan (22:21): One of my favorites – obviously I’m a personal trainer, so I’m going to like the “movement” one. It’s interesting though – a lot of people will advise people starting into ketosis to actually avoid exercising. And I’ve always had the opposite opinion. While you might not want to exercise at the same intensity, the stress and the cortisol, there is some value to movement and exercise when you’re trying to get into ketosis.
Dr. Cole (22:47): Absolutely. That’s a great one. I think that movement and staying active should be a part of it. It shouldn’t just be food. I think movement is an important part of wellness. Like you said, you may adjust what you’re doing physical activity-wise, but you shouldn’t stop it.
Allan (23:06): Outstanding. Now, if someone wanted to get in touch with you to learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Cole (23:15): Everything’s at DrWillCole.com. There are links to the books, but it’s on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and in independent bookstores too. But everything’s there. I’m seeing patients throughout the week, and we have primarily a virtual clinic where we do webcam consultations for people. So they can get a free health evaluation on DrWillCole.com too.
Allan (23:41): Cool. This is episode 340, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/340, and I’ll have the links there to Dr. Cole’s site and to the book on Amazon. Dr. Cole, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.
Dr. Cole (23:59): Thanks so much for having me.
Allan (24:06): If you enjoyed today’s episode, would you please take just one moment and leave us a rating and review on the application that you’re listening to this podcast right now? I’d really appreciate it, and it does help other people find the podcast because it tells the people that are hosting these podcast episodes out there on their apps that you’re interested and they know that other people like you might be interested. So please do that. If you can’t figure out how to do that on your app, you can email me directly and I’ll try to figure it out for you. Or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, and that’ll take you to the iTunes where you can launch that and leave a review there. I really appreciate the ratings and reviews. It does help the podcast, it helps me, so thank you very much for that.
Also, I’d really like to continue this conversation a little bit further, so if you haven’t already, why don’t you go ahead and join our Facebook group? You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to our Facebook group where you can request entry. It’s a really cool group of people, like-minded, all in our 40s, all trying to get healthy and fit. I’d really love to have you out there and have you a part of that conversation. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group.
October 5th, here in Pensacola Beach. If you’re anywhere close, you should come down for this. I’m going to be teaching a cooking class on how to cook for Thanksgiving and remain keto. Also, we’re going to have talks from Carl Franklin of 2 Keto Dudes, and myself. It’s going to be a great time to meet other people in the area that are passionate about keto or want to learn more about keto. So, wherever you stand on that spectrum of either being keto and loving it or wanting to know more about keto, this is going to be a great opportunity for you to connect with people and learn a lot more about it. So I’d encourage you to go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest, and that’ll take you to the Eventbrite page. There’s a low fee, $15, to attend. That’s really just to offset some of the cost of food. I really want to help you learn about keto, I really want to make sure I get a good event out there, so I didn’t charge a lot for this. I want to make sure it’s accessible to most folks. If you’re anywhere in the area near Pensacola Beach, I’d encourage you to come down for it. It’s October 5th and it’s going to run from 4:00 until 9:00, and of course, maybe a little later than that. You don’t have to be here for the whole thing. It’s really just about learning about keto, learning how to cook keto, and tasting some of the delicious food, because dinner is included. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest, and that will take you to the signup page for our little Keto Minifest. And again, Carl Franklin will be here, so it’s a great opportunity to meet him in person.
And then finally, I am still working on the book, and I do need your help. I need your help to be a part of the launch team. If you can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com, you’ll see a little form there where you can sign up to be on the launch team. The launch team is going to get a lot of extra goodies that are not going out with the book. They’re going to get some previews, they’re going to get some bonus materials that you’re not going to get if you wait for the book to come out. I know you want to learn about the book, I know you want to be a part of it, so please go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. Thank you.
Dr. Jonny Bowden is the author of Smart Fat: Eat More Fat. Lose More Weight. Get Healthy Now. He is a board certified nutritionist. He’s known as the nutrition myth buster. He’s a bestselling author of 13 different books.
I get a book a week doing this podcast. Every time I do an interview, I’m reading their book. But this is one of the few books – Smart Fat, we’re going to talk about today – that I actually purchased on my own just to read. I don’t do that very often because I do get a lot of guests on and I do a lot of reading. So for me to actually go out and purchase a book, you know it’s got to be good. So, This is going to be a great conversation.
Allan (1:21): Dr. Bowden, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Bowden (1:25): Thanks. It’s great to be here. Thank you.
Allan (1:27): Today we’re going to talk about your book, Smart Fat, and I’ll tell you, I don’t do this very often because I have a lot of reading to do, reading the books for the podcast. But your book was one of the few books that I actually went out and bought myself, well before I had you on the show. So I was really excited when Krista reached out to me and said, “Let’s get on the show.” And I’m like, “Yes, I definitely want this man on my show.”
Smart Fat was kind of my precursor to really understanding what was going on in my body. I had started eating Paleo as a way of managing my weight, and what ended up happening was I ended up in ketosis. And I was trying to figure out, “I’m in Ketosis, but my doctor is yelling at me about saturated fat and cholesterol in my food. I’m doing this for the right reasons, I think.” And then reading your book set me on a really good, smart course for making sure that I was getting smart fats in my diet. It really made me happy that I had that knowledge coming away from your book.
Dr. Bowden (2:28): Thank you. I’m glad that book accomplished something for some people. It wasn’t one of our bestsellers, but it really warms my heart when someone says, “I got something out of your book that made a difference in my life”, because that really is the reason we write.
Allan (2:41): I think that’s the point – initially you start out and you’re saying, “They are telling you to eat healthy fats, and exactly what does that mean?” And it’s all over the place. We’re going to talk about fats in a minute, the way you break them down, but one of the reasons that a lot of people will come to a personal trainer or they’ll see a book like yours and say, “I need to understand that” is all the conflicting information about metabolic syndrome.
They know that they’re insulin resistant, they know that they’re prediabetic, their doctor is telling them to eat a certain way and they’re reading all this stuff and it just gets confusing. Can you talk about metabolic syndrome? I was really shocked at some of the numbers. I think you said 50% of individuals over the age of 65 suffer from metabolic syndrome.
Dr. Bowden (3:26): Yeah, and it’s even worse than that. One third of everybody suffers from that, and most of them don’t know it. And that’s across adult age groups. Metabolic syndrome used to be called in the ‘80s and ‘90s… It was discovered by a guy at Stanford named Gerald Reaven, and he called it “Syndrome X”. They didn’t even have a name for it. They knew that there were a cluster of symptoms that tended to hang out together, and when you had three or four or five of these symptoms, you were known to have metabolic syndrome.
Your listeners will probably recognize this more than they do metabolic syndrome – it’s also known as prediabetes. So when your doctor says you have prediabetes, they’re talking about metabolic syndrome. And what that is is a cluster of five conditions – low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and some degree of insulin resistance; and we can talk about what that is as well. So your blood sugar is a little elevated, your insulin is elevated, you’ve got a little bit of high blood pressure, you’ve got some fat going on in the abdominal region, and your HDL cholesterol is low. That’s metabolic syndrome. Even if you had four of those five, it’s considered metabolic syndrome.
Why it is dangerous and important and serious – multitude of reasons. The first is, you’re not even going to feel symptoms. High blood pressure doesn’t have a symptom. Diabetes doesn’t have a physical symptom that you feel. In many cases this damage is being done and going on under the hood and you’re not aware of it. So, that’s one reason it’s dangerous, that you live blindly thinking, “I feel fine, nothing wrong.” The second reason it’s dangerous is it almost always progresses to diabetes, and then can progress to heart disease. Diabetics have – I don’t remember the exact number, but it’s a double digit increase in likelihood of getting heart disease. They’re very, very related. In fact, as we talk about all these things – obesity, diabetes, heart disease – we’re going to find time and time again that they all share certain characteristics in common, certain basic causal characteristics. One of them being a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism, which is almost always called insulin resistance, and we’ll certainly get into that.
So, metabolic syndrome needs to be taken seriously. I have said for a decade, I don’t give a you-know-what about somebody’s cholesterol reading, but I do care about their high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a real risk; high triglycerides are a risk in different and interesting ways; low HDL can be a risk; and abdominal fat is a big indicator of insulin resistance. We can talk more about what the definition of insulin resistance is, but for now I’ll just tell you this: If you want to do an insulin resistance test at home for free, it’s real easy. This is how you do it. This is the Jonny Bowden low tech version of an insulin resistance test. Stand in front of a wall, walk towards the wall. If your belly hits the wall before your nose, very likely you’ve got insulin resistance.
Allan (6:42): One of the funny things is when I’m working with a client, they’ll tell me, “I want to lose weight.” And I’m like, “I’d rather not measure weight on the scale. I’d rather we wrap a tape measure around your belly.” In my mind that is a better measurement of health and wellness than what the scale is going to tell you, particularly if we’re trying to also gain some muscle mass and do some other things.
Dr. Bowden (7:07): You’re absolutely right.
Allan (7:10): I know they hate that. They say it’s easier to step on the scale. And I’m like, “Easy doesn’t always win the game. Sometimes we’ve got to go a little bit further.”
Dr. Bowden (7:18): I totally agree with that. I use the scale as well, because it’s an added motivator, it’s very easy, and it’s still a piece of data that you want to know. I know what you’re thinking and what maybe some of the listeners are thinking. It doesn’t reflect body fat and you could be gaining body fat and losing muscle and your weight would be the same. All of that’s true. Nonetheless, someone like me who’s been monitoring my own body functions and weight and whatever else for 30 years – I’m pretty good at figuring out the correlation between weight and if I’m losing muscle or gaining body fat. So I use both. I check the waist measurements of course, but I also do a daily checking on the weight just to see if it’s moving in the right direction or if it’s staying still or what it’s doing.
Allan (8:01): You talked a little bit about insulin resistance, and now most doctors will track that and that point where they’re going to call you “prediabetic” is typically through looking at your A1C, which is a measure of blood sugar over a period of time. That number I believe is still 5.5 as the guideline?
Dr. Bowden (8:19): No, it’s a little higher. I think it’s 6.0 or 5.9, but we’re in the ballpark.
Allan (8:23): Okay. So, for someone that’s actually trying to look after their wellness, what are the health markers? You’ve mentioned a few of them, but what would you say if I was going into the doctor and I was going to get a blood test and talk to my doctor about things? What are the things that I should look for and say, “This is a clear signal that I have to change?”
Dr. Bowden (8:40): I’ll tell you what I would want to be tested, but I’ll also tell you that you may have an argument with your doctor about this, because if the doctor doesn’t know to do these tests and you’re telling them, the likelihood is they’re going to say, “You don’t need that. That’s just Internet stuff.” So if they’re not already giving you these tests, if they don’t already see the value of these tests, they are probably going to take that position that it doesn’t matter and it’s nothing and it’s all just nonsense. I have seen that happen with CRP tests – high sensitive, C-reactive protein, which is a general measure of inflammation that I think everybody should know what their CRP level is. And you’ll get doctors who say you don’t need that, and they’re just plain wrong. They just don’t stay up with the literature, they’re very stuck in their belief system and views. “Cholesterol causes heart disease, fat is bad, stop the saturated fat.” And it’s not going to change. So, it’s not as simple as going into my doctor and saying, “I think I’d like a Fasting Insulin test.” They’re going to say, “What do you need that for? Where did you read that?”
It’s not as simple as that, but let’s take the doctor out of the equation. Let’s assume you have someone who’s trained in functional medicine, which is a certification that MDs, NDs, PhDs and other people in the field will go and get after their graduate work, because it is an orientation to medicine that is not taught in medical school, and that is to look at the whole body as a whole.
So they look at all of it integrated. Most doctors do not do that. They’re all specialists. A thumb specialist looks at the thumb, a heart specialist looks at the heart, and nobody talks to each other. So, if you have one of those doctors, you’re going to have trouble. If you have a functional medicine certified doctor, they’re not going to argue with you about these tests; they probably will have given them to you anyway.
So I would look at the CRP test, I’d look at homocysteine. I would forget and burn forever and ever the stupid HDL, LDL cholesterol test, and I’d get the much more modern and much more informative Particle Test. Another one that your doctor will probably argue with you on, but the Particle Test – and we can get into that later – is the only one that really gives you valuable information about cholesterol that you can use.
I would also look at a marker called Lp(a), which is notoriously difficult to modify with lifestyle. It can be done, but it’s very hard, and that’s one of the reasons that’s not something we bother with, because they think you’re kind of stuck with your Lp(a) levels. But the fact is, Lp(a) is a better predictor of heart disease than anything else; certainly better than cholesterol. It’s a particular kind of lipoprotein; it’s not good to have that elevated.
Other than that, I would do some low tech tests that you can do yourself. And this is for everybody. This is really one of the best secrets in health. If you have a basic blood test, I don’t care how rudimentary it is, it’s going to have triglycerides on it and it’s going to have HDL and LDL. If you take your triglyceride reading and you make a ratio to your HDL reading – that number will predict your heart disease probably better than 90% of the markers out there.
Let me explain how to do it. So let’s say your triglycerides are 160. That’s elevated, that’s high. And let’s say your HDL cholesterol is 40. So the ratio is 160:40, or 4:1. It’s a very high ratio. If, on the other hand, your triglycerides were 100 and your HDL was 50, you’d have 100:50, which is 2:1, which is very good. That’s a little math test that’s very easy. You just divide the smaller number into the bigger number, you get a number, and that’s the ratio. You want that to be as low as possible. When it reaches up into the 4 and 5, it’s high risk. When it’s down into the 2 and 1, you’re in the smooth sailing. And that’s a test everybody can do at home.
Allan (12:56): I’m due for another test here soon, but the last time I had it tested, my triglycerides were 94 and my HDL was 89.
Dr. Bowden (13:06): One out of 300 times somebody will actually have a negative ratio. Not a negative ratio, but under one, like you do.
Allan (13:16): Really close to 1.
Dr. Bowden (13:17): Your triglycerides are so low. It’s a wonderful number – under 100. Fantastic. And your HDL is off the charts high. 89, holy moly, I’ve never…
Allan (13:27): Now, my LDL is really high; it’s typically running around 250.
Dr. Bowden (13:33): So your total is in the 3s.
Allan (13:35): Yes. So my doctor loses his mind and he’s like, “You’ve got to quit eating egg yolks and…”
Dr. Bowden (13:42): This is the point where I would change doctors, and let me tell you why. It’s a legitimate point of view. I have integrative doctors who I love and respect, who do still worry about very high LDL. That’s a legitimate point of view. Here’s where your doctor hasn’t read a research article in 10 years. Dietary cholesterol, such as the cholesterol in eggs, has zero effect on blood cholesterol. Everybody knows this. The USDA and their advisory committee actually put out the comment, “Cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern”, meaning dietary cholesterol does not matter. Let’s get that really clear to the audience, in case you’re confused. The cholesterol you eat in your diet – eggs, shrimp, all of it, means zero to your blood cholesterol. So, the fact that he said that… I don’t hate him based on the fact that he’s concerned about LDL – I think it’s a wrong position, but it’s a legitimate position.
Allan (14:44): I’m going to step in and defend him just a little bit. We really diverge and we have that conversation on a regular basis. I get your point, but he’s really, really good at understanding the homocysteine and CRP.
Dr. Bowden (15:04): I understand and I don’t mean to knock on your doctor, but let me explain something. This is not a controversial area, this is not something where there are multiple opinions. Dietary cholesterol doesn’t affect… Let me make this a very clear statement so that the people who said, “But what about this? What about this?” I can handle it. There is a condition that’s called “familial hypercholesterolemia” and it runs in families. It’s a genetic anomaly and it causes you to have extremely high cholesterol no matter what you do. You look at an egg, you get cholesterol. For people who have that – that’s maybe less than 1% of the population – let’s put them in a separate category. They need special medical attention; I don’t want to give them advice. But for the other 99% of people, cholesterol in the diet doesn’t matter, and the fact that your doctor thinks it does puzzles me and makes me think that he has not read an article in the last 10 years.
Allan (15:58): And like I said, we have some really good discussions, and I actually did an experiment.
Dr. Bowden (16:02): How about pointing that out to him?
Allan (16:03): I have. I did pescatarian for an entire four months with no eggs whatsoever. My HDL plummeted, my triglycerides went up, and my LDL moved a smidge, like from 250 to 230. I would have to drop this number down nearly 100 points to get anywhere close to what the numbers would be. Actually when you look at my ratios, like you said, my triglycerides to HDL, I was worse health-wise than I was before. So I went back to a different way of eating. That’s where I think a big part of what’s lost in this research – I’m hopeful that books like yours are going to get more people talking about this – is that people will sit there and tell you they know there are different types of carbs, they know there’s the trash carbs that come in a box. They’re going to tell you they know those are processed carbs. And then of course if you’re getting plant materials they’re going to say obviously that’s a better quality of carb. People will do that with me and they’ll be like, “This is not a grass-fed cow.” So people are starting to have those conversations. They’re having the same conversations about the different fats and which ones are good, particularly when they found out that one that was manufactured for us is actually killing us. I want more conversations about the quality of our food. When you start talking about fat with the smart fat, the neutral fat and the dumb fat, to me it’s like, we need that conversation all the way across the food spectrum. Could you take a little bit of time to talk about smart fat, neutral fat and dumb fat?
Dr. Bowden (17:37): I’d love to, and thank you for bringing that up because it is a very central notion. And it’s a notion that I actually came to after probably 20 years, and I’ve noticed that some of the people I most admire have come to the same conclusion, which is, we have spent decades worrying about the percentage of protein versus the percentage of carbs in the diet, versus the percentage of fat in the diet. We worry about all these things and in fact, the position I’ve come to and many other people are coming to is that the quality of your food probably matters more than whether it’s the right percentage of protein and fat and carbs, or whether it’s Paleo or whether it’s South Beach. The quality of food matters probably the most. I always say that if people would just eat from what I call the “Jonny Bowden four food groups”, which is food you could hunt, fish, gather or pluck, then many of our health problems would disappear. I don’t care if you’re on Paleo or vegan or raw foods or high carb. If it was all these foods that you could hunt, fish, gather or pluck, you’re probably going to be alright. That’s the general way that I look at it in terms of quality of the food. It is probably the most important variable in the diet, the quality of the food that you eat.
Allan (18:53): I agree. I even said that in my book that I’m currently working on. I said it’s sad that we have to use the term “whole food” at all. It’s sad that term actually exists.
Dr. Bowden (19:04): Let me give a shoutout for a friend of mine’s new book, which I have no financial interest in, but she sent it to me and it’s excellent. It’s called Formerly Known As Food. If you want to really read what’s happening to the food supply and the stuff you’re eating that you think is healthy, check that book out, Formally Known As Food. It’s pretty scary. But you’re 100% right, Allan, it is the quality. I know you want to talk at some point about the quality of meat, which is a subject near and dear to my heart, but let’s talk about the quality of fats, since that’s what Smart Fat, the book is about, and that’s what you brought up.
So, the problem with the notion of eating healthy fats is that not everybody agrees on what’s a healthy fat. I guarantee you your doctor has probably been dragged into the 21st century enough to know that there is such a thing as “healthy fat”, but he has no idea what it is. And I’m willing to make a bet on that one. When you talk to these conservatives about healthy fat, they grudgingly admit the fat in salmon is good. They have no concept that there could be a saturated fat that’s good for you – that’s completely off their radar. So, it’s not enough to just say, “Let’s eat healthy fats.” We’ve got to get into the weeds and define what that is, and that’s what we try to do in the book.
There are plenty of saturated fats that are fantastically healthy for you. Whether a fat is healthy or not has zero to do with whether it’s animal or vegetable. I want to make that very, very clear. That is not the marker for good and bad fat. In my opinion, the marker for good and bad fat has one and only one characteristic. Is it a toxic fat or is it not a toxic fat? Here’s what I mean by “toxic fats” – fats that have been heated and damaged, like the foods that have been fried in restaurant fat that is used over and over again for seven days. Cooled and heated, cooled and needed. It’s a carcinogen factory, so that’s bad fat. Trans fats – really bad fat. They contribute to heart disease, they contribute to stroke, they have no particular value. Very bad fat.
Vegetable oils, one of the things we have been hammered to eat more of, are highly pro-inflammatory and probably one of the main reasons that everyone is experiencing inflammation in unprecedented amounts. We eat 16 times more of that stuff than we do Omega-3s, which are anti-inflammatory. So, all of the soybean oils, canola oils, safflower oils, cottonseed oil – all of these things that we’ve been told are healthy and good for us are literally creating tons of inflammation. As you know, and probably your listeners know, inflammation promotes or causes or contributes to just about every degenerative disease we know of. So, the notion of bad fats and good fats being classified parallel to whether they come from animals or vegetables is just antiquated and it’s wrong.
Here are some examples of very, very healthy saturated fats. Coconut oil – loaded with antimicrobials, loaded with lauric acid, which is great for the immune system, loaded with medium chain triglycerides, which help produce ketones in the brain that are used for energy. Coconut oil is a fabulous fat. One that people don’t know about as much, which is equally, if not better, is Malaysian palm oil. And let me tell you why. First of all, it’s red. Why is it red? Because it’s got tons of carotenoids, which is the same thing as Beta-carotene. It’s carotenoid, there are 600 of them, they’re red so they come in red foods like peppers and watermelon. Well, it’s got tons of that. It has something called tocotrienols, which are a fraction of vitamin E. There are four of the vitamin E components, and those tocotrienols in Malaysian palm oil have been found to protect the brain after a stroke. And why do I say Malaysian?
I’ve just got to give a shoutout to the environment, because I do care about animal rights. A lot of places that make palm oil actually deforest, and the orangutan’s habitat is harmed. In Malaysia it doesn’t happen. Fifty percent of the country’s rainforest is protected forever, compared to, say, 3% of ours. It takes 10 times more land to produce canola oil or soybean oil than it does to produce Malaysian palm oil, and the trees grow for 30 years. So this is a country that really protects its rainforest, cares about the environment, cares about the health and wellbeing of the animals that live there. And that’s why I really give a shoutout to Malaysia. Palm oil in general is a healthy oil, but let’s get it from companies that are being responsible and sustainable. So that’s another wonderful path.
The other thing about saturated fats in general is they stand up to heat. What people don’t understand is you can’t buy your extra virgin olive oil and then come home and fry stuff in it. It’s insane. The reason we spend so much extra money for extra virgin olive oil is it’s never been touched by chemicals or high heat. That’s what extra virgin means. If you can imagine the old wineries, where they would have these big barrels of grapes and the old big men would stamp. They would use the pressure of their feet to stamp them and turn them into liquid. But it’s like that – there’s no chemical processing, there’s no high heat. So you come home, you put that oil in the frying pan – you’re now destroying the very polyphenols that you just paid all that money for. You have to understand standing up to heat is a very important characteristic for food, especially if you cook. Saturated fat stands up to heat; you can cook it at higher temperatures without harming it. So there are a lot of wonderful fats in the saturated fat community and there are a lot of really harming fats in the vegetable fat community, such as, for example, canola oil. We’ve got to get past this notion that good and bad fat divides along the lines of animal versus vegetable, because that just isn’t true.
Allan (25:16): That’s one of the things I really appreciate you had in the book, was a table that talks about the smoke point of these various oils, which tells you when you’re going to sit down to cook, which oil would be the most appropriate. So sometimes it can be avocado oil, or the palm oil, or coconut oil, and then you can use olive oil to drizzle, as a dressing, those types of things. I think that’s a really good guideline to help someone understand how to use oils properly. And if the oil can sit on your shelf for years and not change, probably not the best thing to put in your food.
Dr. Bowden (25:49): I couldn’t agree more. My co-author on Smart Fat, Dr. Steven Masley, took a year off of medical school to study at the Four Seasons. So he’s actually quite an accomplished chef and it was his contribution in there to put in these smoke points, because the oil changes quality, literally becomes a bad fat if you cook it at the wrong temperature. It literally creates damaging compounds. So, this is a very important consideration also when it comes to saturated fats – they stand up to heat, they don’t damage.
Allan (26:19): His recipes are excellent, by the way. I did the lemon butter sauce for the salmon, but my wife doesn’t like salmon, so we put it over asparagus last night. Awesome.
Dr. Bowden (26:29): Nice. I’ve done a lot of books that have recipes in them. We usually hire a cook or a chef or a recipe developer, and then we comment on it and all that. But we’re not cooks, we’re not chefs. Steve did his own recipes for that book.
Allan (26:43): Very, very good. You have to tell him that. Now, another area where I think people can get a little confused – it confused me a little bit in the early days – was, if we’re trying to cut back on our sugars, because sugar is a problem, then we’re going to look for foods with a lower glycemic index. Then there’s this term, “glycemic load”.
Dr. Bowden (27:05): I can clear that up for you in a second.
Allan (27:06): Okay, cool. Please do.
Dr. Bowden (27:09): Glycemic index is a measure that tells you how high your blood sugar goes for a given amount of carbohydrate, which is 50 grams. Here’s the problem. If I go to the supermarket and I see a spice, like imported saffron, and it’s $300 a pound – it tells me what it is for a pound, but if I’m making a recipe that needs a pinch of saffron, I’m not going to pay $300; I’m going to pay whatever that pinch is. Very different pieces of information. So with the glycemic index, it’s great that we know how much your blood sugar goes up and how long it stays up based on 50 grams of carbohydrate, but we don’t always eat 50 grams of carbohydrate. For example, we have pasta, even a relatively small portion of pasta, a reasonable portion – what they put on the Ronzoni box, which nobody eats; everybody eats the whole thing. But even if you ate a small portion, you’re at 200 grams of carbohydrate. On the other hand, if you eat a big bunch of carrots, only about 3 grams of that big bunch of carrots are actually usable carbs; the rest is fiber.
What the glycemic load does is it tells you what you’re going to pay at the register. Not how much it is per pound, but what you’re going to pay for the amount that you use. So glycemic load is glycemic index plus taking into account the portion size. That’s critical because again, if I’m going to eat pasta, I’m going to eat four times what the glycemic index shows me, but if I look at the glycemic load, that’s going to take into account that portion and it’s going to give me an idea of how high my blood sugar is going to go up with that amount of food. That’s why I think the glycemic load is far more accurate and far more predictive than the glycemic index, which is kind of a theoretical number. If you ate 50 grams, that’s what it would do. But what you’re actually going to eat – this is what it’s going to do, and that’s glycemic load.
Allan (29:16): I think that’s valuable, because we started the conversation talking about metabolic syndrome. If you are constantly spiking up your blood sugar, maybe you don’t think you are because this has a relatively moderate glycemic index, but the volume that you’re eating is much more than the 50 grams. I shudder to think, when I was training as a bodybuilder in my 20s, I would sit there and get a can of tuna and I would put it on this big, big heaping thing of pasta – pretty much the whole bag.
Dr. Bowden (29:49): That was the bodybuilder lunch. The guys, the trainers with tuna and white rice, or brown rice, at the time. That’s what everybody thought was the perfect bodybuilder diet.
Allan (30:03): And now looking back at it, if I’d known that information and what it was going to do to my future health, I would not have gone that route. I would’ve found a cleaner protein, cleaner way to do that. It would not have been exactly that way. I like having a better understanding of what food is going to do to our body, and glycemic load is going to do a much better presentation of how our body would respond.
Dr. Bowden (30:25): The only problem, Allan, is It’s a little harder to find. You can find glycemic index numbers all over the place, but not everybody knows about glycemic load, so sometimes glycemic index is all we have. But remember, glycemic index is a measure of how much 50 grams of carbohydrate will raise your blood sugar, eaten by itself. The minute you put olive oil in your cornflakes, the cornflakes no longer have the glycemic index that they had when they’re eaten by themselves. So, foods in combination have very different effects on blood sugar than foods eaten separately. For example, the brown rice might have a very high impact on your blood sugar if you ate it alone, but if you put some oil on it and eat it with tuna, the impact is considerably less.
Allan (31:08): Yes. You’re looking at in the book a much different way of eating, and you call it the 5-5-10. I like this because I’m a victim of this as well. We all like something simple. Simple helps us stay on track – calories in, calories out, step on the scale every morning, keep your fat low and this many grams, or however they want to go about this. But your plan basically says we need smart fats, we need clean proteins, and we need fiber, and here’s how you do it. Can you talk us through the 5-5-10 plan? I think we know now what smart fats look like. Talk about the clean proteins versus the mean proteins, and then fiber and why fiber is so important.
Dr. Bowden (31:57): Can I just point out that when you listed those three things that are essential in the diet, carbohydrate was not among them?
Allan (32:03): It’s not essential, yeah.
Dr. Bowden (32:04): Not essential. I always like to point that out to people.
Allan (32:07): Although I would say fiber technically classifies as a carb. It’s coming from carbs, but in a general sense, you’re right. Our bodies need the fiber to feel full and satiated, so that way where we’re not overeating and our body’s functioning the way it needs to, we’re giving her gut flora everything it needs. I agree – we don’t have an essential, but I think you still need to eat some plant matter. That’s why it’s 10 versus 5.
Dr. Bowden (32:36): I couldn’t agree more, but I think it’s important to remember because we’re constantly assaulted by that God awful American Dietetic Association, which changed its name to try to get away from its ridiculous roots. But they are still the American Dietetic Association as far as I’m concerned. They’re still apologists to the mainstream, they’ve never had an original thought, and they’re the ones that will keep going on and saying, “You’re going to lose essential nutrients if you don’t eat your cabs.” That is completely untrue. There is no physiological need for carbohydrates in the diet, in the human body, and that’s been shown time and time again. Now, that does not mean you shouldn’t eat them. As you said, we need the fiber, the polyphenols, the nutrients, the flavonoids, the vitamins, the minerals, all the things that are found in an apple. We need them; we want them. But what it does point out is that we’ve been given crazy dietary advice. We’ve been told to eat 60% of our calories from the one macronutrient we don’t even need. No wonder we’ve got an epidemic of diabesity. I wanted to point that out about the carbs.
Let’s go to the three essential things in the human diet – fat, protein and fiber. So the notion of five smart fats, I think we’re pretty clear on. We want to get things like Malaysian palm oil and coconut oil. By the way, the fat from grass-fed beef is wonderful. Nothing wrong with it. We’re going to get into the difference between grass-fed and not grass-fed in a minute, but there are lots of really healthy fats. I think we have some idea for sure, we talked about them. Five of those a day; 10 servings of fiber a day. That’s the 5-5-10. Ten is the fiber, which, as you point out, is essential for a number of things. One is to feel full, sure, but two is to moderate your blood sugar because when you add fiber to sugar, it has a very different effect on your blood sugar than when you just drink the sugar. Apple juice by itself has one particular effect on blood sugar, but if you were to add some kind of butter to it… I’m not suggesting this; doesn’t sound like it tastes good, but just theoretically if you were to add a thing of butter to your apple juice, it would have a different impact because the fat would slow it down, just like the fiber would. So, we need 5 things of fat, we need 10 of fiber, and we need 5 of what we call “clean protein”. And I would love to explain the difference between clean and mean protein, or what we call “clean and mean”.
Allan (35:03): Please do.
Dr. Bowden (35:05): So, when you buy meat, 95% of it – I don’t know what the figure is; it’s high 90s – comes from places that are known as CAFOs – confined animal feedlot operations, also known as factory farms. When I was a kid, we used to go to farms, different places for vacation as a child, and I know what real farms look like. Cows are grazing on their natural diet of grass. They walk around contentedly chewing their cuds or whatever it is that they chew there. And they’re getting a diet full of some insects and some worms, which contain Omega-3s, and they’re not given hormones or steroids or antibiotics. That’s what a cow’s life is supposed to be like. If you’re going to eat it, that would be the happy cow to eat. In a factory farm, the animals are caged in tiny containers, stressed out of their minds. They’re fed wheat, grain and corn, which does two things. One, it fattens them up and two, it makes him sick as hell, because they’re ruminants, they have four stomachs, they do not do well with grains. They need grass – that’s their natural diet. The grains and the corns and the wheats and all of that just makes them sick and requires more antibiotics. These cows are then shot full of steroids to make them bigger, hormones to make them grow and to make them have more fat, and antibiotics to just generally keep them from getting even sicker under these horrible conditions that they live under, and also because antibiotics fatten them. So the cows that you eat that come from factory farm operations are absolutely toxic waste dose. The fat contains all of the pesticides, fungicides and all the other stuff on the wheat that they shouldn’t be eating in the first place. You’re getting a nice helping of antibiotics, steroids and hormones, and you get none of the good Omega-3 fats, and lots of the inflammatory Omega-6 fats. That’s factory farmed meat. If that were the only protein available to me, I’d become a vegan, and I’m very far from the temperament of the vegan.
Let’s look at the other kind of meat – grass-fed, 100% grass-fed, pastured meat. These are cows or pigs that live in their natural habitat. They run around, they’re not confined, they eat the grass, the insects or whatever it is they run around and eat there in their natural ways. They’re not fed antibiotics or steroids or hormones. They’re not treated cruelly. Those animals are health foods. And yes, I understand the conflict people have about animals. We are huge animal rights people here. We love animals. Our animals sleep in our bed. We love them. We feel about them the way we do about our children. I understand the horrible conflict a lot of people have about eating these things that we love so much. The problem is that human physiology does better with some animal products in our diet. We just do. When I argue with vegans about this, I want to tear my hair out of my head because they just make up their own facts. The fact is you cannot get DHA and EPA, or you can get a tiny bit of it from some algae, but you can’t get significant amounts of DHA and EPA in the human diet unless you’re eating fish. Unlike the vegan propaganda, if you eat plant-based Omega-3s, they do not convert to the kind that your body needs. They convert at such a tiny rate than it doesn’t really even matter. I don’t believe we can have a healthy diet that contains all of the nutrients that we need from a vegan diet, so we’ve got this kind of conflict, especially if we’re animal lovers. Everyone I guess has to find their own level that they can live with themselves on. Ours is, we don’t eat anything that wasn’t 100% grass-fed and raised. There’s enough there for us to be able to eat meat from time to time. It’s not like we can never eat it. That’s our particular line, and everybody has to find their own. The fact is – I’ve never seen any evidence to the contrary of this – the human body does better with some animal food products in it. Sorry, vegans.
Allan (39:13): But at the same time you even acknowledged in the book a little bit, I think Dr. Masley is on the other side. Not on the other side entirely, but at least there’s a conversation there to say all of your protein doesn’t have to come from animals either. You can get those from beans, there’s some really good pea and rice protein powders, whey protein. Again, if the animals are ethically raised, I think that’s also a good opportunity.
Dr. Bowden (39:40): Yeah, I agree with all of that, except for the fact that when you really look at the ratings on protein… And there are five different kinds; they keep improving them. So it’s gone from biological availability to PDA. There are all kinds of different ways of evaluating protein, but if you look at the evaluations, particularly the current ones – pea protein, rice – they suck. You’re way down in the 60s and 70s, as opposed to beef, which is like 92. So it’s important to know that yes, there are other sources of protein, but sorry, vegans, pea protein is not the same as beef protein. It just isn’t. It doesn’t have the same amino acid profile. Soy protein has a whole bunch of different things. And I’m not saying you can’t get protein other than meat. There’s fish, there’s a million different sources – whey protein, powder. Sure, some of the vegan protein powders or the vegetarian protein powders could be used from time to time, but let’s keep in mind, let’s not kid ourselves that pea protein is in any way as valuable, as rich in amino acids, with the same profile, or as usable as, for example, whey protein which does come from cows and which can come from grass-fed cows, by the way.
Allan (40:53): Yes. And one of the other things you mention in the book that I thought was really valuable, and it plays into some of the recipes that are in there, is that some foods actually do double duty, so it might not mean that you’re having as much food as this might sound like – 5, 5 and 10 servings.
Dr. Bowden (41:12): Sure, exactly.
Allan (41:15): So we might have eggs. If they’re well cared for animals, we’re going to get a good, healthy, saturated fat from the egg and we’re going to get the protein from the egg, along with a good dose of choline, which is hard to get from many other sources. I think you also mention in the book avocados are good source of fat and fiber.
Dr. Bowden (41:35): Avocado – we put that on the cover of the book. The avocado is such a star. I eat them as many meals… You can’t get enough avocado. They are great.
Allan (41:47): It also helps with the recipes and the meal plans that are in there for the first 10 days and the final 20 days. And then of course day 31 and beyond, now that they’ve learned this pattern. It becomes very, very simple for you to just blend through and say, “Here are my meals during the day.” You break it into typically three meals and a snack in the afternoon. Just makes it really easy for someone to go through and say, “Here’s my standard days of eating, and I know I’m getting good nutrition because I’m focused more on quality.” But we’re still keeping it pretty simple with the 5-5-10.
Dr. Bowden (42:17): Yeah, and let me just put a foot note to the 5-5-10. At this point in my career, 28 years into it, I’m not really that much of a fan these days of formulas, including the ones I’ve written, like 5-5-10. Here’s why. I think eventually people have to be their own GPS when it comes to food. These are guidelines. I don’t want people sitting there obsessively with a notebook. No, that’s not the point. It’s kind of like the Fitbits with the steppers. We have that kind of general goal that 10,000 steps a day would be great. I don’t know too many people who go crazy like, “It’s only 8,000. Let me go walk a couple of thousand.” We don’t want obsessiveness to replace good sense when it comes to nutrition. So, 5-5-10 is like an aspirational goal. Let’s strive for that. That’s ideal, like 10,000 steps. But please, people, don’t go nuts trying to fit into a formula. These are guidelines meant to help you find your particular pathway that works.
Allan (43:15): I have to raise my hand and admit walking around my hotel room when I was just 300 steps short.
Dr. Bowden (43:21): I would do the same.
Allan (43:24): The number was there and I was 300 steps away. I just started walking around.
Dr. Bowden (43:28): Of course. But you get my point, right?
Allan (43:31): Yes. I do, absolutely. Dr. Bowden, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to get in touch with you to learn more about your books, including Smart Fat, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Bowden (43:43): JonnyBowden.com. And starting in September there will be a brand new website with free stuff and all kinds of stuff. You’re welcome to visit me there and sign up for my newsletter, and when the new site comes out in September, you’ll be very happy.
Allan (43:58): Cool. This is episode 338, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/338 and I’ll make sure to have a link to Dr. Bowden’s site there. I can’t thank you enough, Dr. Bowden, for being a part of this podcast.
Dr. Bowden (44:13): It’s a pleasure, Allan. I loved it. Thank you so much. I hope you have me on again, it was a lot of fun. Went very fast.
Allan (44:23): I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Dr. Bowden as much as I did. I’m actually going to have him on again in a couple of more weeks. I’m really interested in getting into another book that he’s written. Very interesting topics, really interesting guy. If you enjoyed this episode though, please do leave us a rating and review. You can do that through the app that you’re listening to this podcast on, or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review and leave a rating and review, subscribe to the podcast there. It really is important for these reviews to be out there. It helps people find the podcast and it does show people what you think of the podcast, which is just social proof that gets them listening. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, or leave a review on the app you’re listening to right now.
I do have a couple of extra bonuses to talk to you about in October. I am going to release some extra episodes in October and probably November. I want to give two a week. I’m not sure if I can keep up with that pace, but it is a goal of mine to start adding a few extra episodes in as we get into October, November, because that’s an important time of the year for us to start focusing on our health. A lot of us will tend to overeat as we get into this last quarter of the year, so I want to have a little bit more out there for you to keep you a little bit more engaged, a little bit more accountable. So I’m going to be trying to release some extra episodes during the month of October. You’ll need to subscribe to make sure that you’re getting all of the episodes. If you just log in on Monday to look for this stuff, you might find that there’s extra episodes out there that you’ve got to catch up on. So, I encourage you to go ahead and subscribe so those things come straight to your app. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, and that will lead you to the iTunes page. Again, you can leave a review and you can subscribe there. Or just subscribe on the app that you’re listening to right now.
Also, I want to announce October 1st, we’re going launch the Sugar Challenge again. I know some of you have already done this challenge. If you have, you know that it’s a really cool thing. It’s a 28-day challenge, it’s going to launch on October 1st. I’m going to be cutting off signups for that on the 30th of September, so you’re going to want to go out to sign up for it. It’s at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Sugar. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Sugar, and that will help you sign up for the Sugar Challenge that we’re going to have in October.
And then finally, again, I do need you on the launch team, so if you would please go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. I’m updating the website pretty much every week, so there’s new stuff out there, new changes as I build that out to support the launch of the book. And then of course when you’re there, please do join the launch team. Those are the folks that are in the know, those are the folks that are going to get some bonus material, bonus content that nobody else is going to get. It’s related to the book, but it really is a cool process and I want to have you on this team. So, go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join The Wellness Roadmap book launch team. Thank you.
Our guest today has authored many books, including the one we’re going to talk about today, Ketogenic Catastrophe. He found a passion helping others after he cured his own IBS, gum disease and insomnia using the Paleo Diet and ketogenic eating. Really cool guy; I know you’re going to enjoy this interview.
Allan (1:08): Eric, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Eric (1:12): Thanks for having me on. Great to be here.
Allan (1:14): The title, Ketogenic Catastrophe, I really could take that one of two different ways. One is disaster pants kind of style. What you were going after was, what are some of the mistakes that we make when we’re trying to get into ketosis and why do most people fail doing this? Then the other would be, are people having bad experiences with keto? The truth of the matter is keto is not for everybody, but it is a tremendous tool for weight loss, and what I’ve found, for dietary freedom.
I got into ketosis on accident. For those that aren’t fully familiar with what ketosis is, it’s basically where your body starts learning how to burn fat rather than sugar for energy. And because you’re eating predominantly a higher fat diet and not many carbs, your body just gets more comfortable with that and using ketones as a fueling system. I stumbled on it because I was doing Paleo. My version of Paleo was eating more of the healthy fats, so I was eating a lot of avocado, fish and beef. As a result of filling up on the fat, wasn’t eating a lot of anything else. Most of the vegetables I was eating were wholefood, fibrous vegetables like asparagus, broccoli and spinach. So I wasn’t getting a lot of carbs. And then I noticed that my breath was a little sour, more so than not. And I noticed that my body was burning a lot of body fat all of a sudden. I had plateaued – in Paleo dropped about 15 pounds, and then keto took off about, I’d say 45 pounds in just a few weeks. So I fell into it. I figured out what it was. I’m like, “What’s going on with my body? Why am I suddenly losing all of this fat and why am I smelling this way?” Then I got into it and I was like, “Okay, that’s what that is and that’s why that’s happening.”
It’s become more of a seasonal lifestyle for me now, because I’ve lost most of the weight that I wanted to ever lose. I got my body where I wanted to for what I wanted, and then I’m good. But in the book you’re actually talking about the mistakes that keep people from doing this, and I think that’s really important. I was reading a study, and it was a Harvard doctor that had done this study, and they found that the high fat, low carb diet helped people lose more weight than the people who ate the low fat, high carb diet. But in the end his conclusion was, it’s so hard to eat this high fat diet that we’re just going to keep prescribing the low fat diet. My hands hit my head and I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” But it’s not simple; there are some mistakes people make. And that’s what your book is getting into is, what are those mistakes that most people make that would keep them from being successful with this? And what are the tips and tricks and things that we can do to get past them?
Eric (4:12): Yeah, that’s basically what I’ve covered. I had a lot of stumbling when I first started with this whole keto diet thing. This was basically my attempt to share with whoever wants to read it, all of the mistakes that I went through. I think it was Warren Buffett who said, “You can learn from your own mistakes, but you don’t have to. You can learn from other people’s mistakes.” So, my goal with this whole thing was to just share everything that I personally went through in hopes that it will help others become more enlightened about the whole keto thing and just get through it, because it can be difficult. Like you said, it’s not the easiest thing to start. But what people should definitely take from this whole thing is that after you do it for a while, after you get comfortable with it, it becomes much easier too. You can do it seasonally, like you do as well, where you don’t have to do it all the time. So this was my attempt to really help people feel better in the long run.
Allan (5:14): I think that’s the thing. I don’t have any kind of resistance, insulin resistance, any metabolic problems. So for me, keto is just a way to have clarity, to feel better, to have freedom from food, because I can go a day without eating and I don’t panic because my blood sugar’s going to crash or something. So, keto is very comfortable for me, but I don’t do it all year round because there are periods of time when I want to drink beer and go tailgating and enjoy my life and the things that I’m going to do. I’m going to go to Thanksgiving with my mother, I’m going to go do New Year’s Eve with my wife. So, since I know I’m going to have that period of time, I just plan around it and say, “That’s my time to go off keto. I’m not going to feel as good. I’m going to have as much fun as I can and I’m going to make good selections.” So, I do drink the higher quality beers. But beyond all that, when it’s time to go back into my season of famine, so to speak, I get into it. I think a lot folks think it’s a lifestyle, yes. Once you get into it, then you have to stay in it, and that’s not entirely true for everybody. That’s why I think this book is particularly poignant because if you go in and out of ketosis on a regular basis, you’re going to deal with these things. The first one is what you call the “biggest mistake”, and I agree with you. Do you mind talking about what you think the biggest mistake is that most people will make when they’re trying to get into ketosis?
Eric (6:38): Sure. The biggest mistake by far – it’s very simple – it’s just giving up. If you can imagine training for a marathon, let’s say. You do all this prep work, and you get up to the race day, you’re feeling great. You start the marathon, you get through the first mile, 7th mile, 12th mile. You’re getting through it and all of a sudden you get to mile 25, right before the finish line, and you just give up. That’s what a lot of people do, is they get so close to the finish line, building this metabolic flexibility, this ability to burn fat instead of sugar, and right before they get there they just say, “You know what? I’m done.” To put it back to the marathon runner – it’s not like the marathon runner couldn’t finish. No, he just decided, “Well, I’m just not going to finish the race today.” So many people run into that because it’s difficult to get going in the beginning. It’s difficult because your body needs to produce the enzymes and all the wiring that’s required to burn fat for fuel. There’s an adjustment period, but once you get good at it, it becomes much, much easier, and over the long run obviously works out a lot better.
The biggest mistake that people make is they just can’t sack up and get through the first little part. And to give most people more credit here – a lot of keto diet books and a lot of keto diet advice is not the greatest advice out there. They tell people, “Cut your carbs down to 20 grams of carbs, even if you’re eating buckets of sugar each day, and then just do keto.” And you’re going to run into huge problems if you just make an abrupt switch like that. So, to give credit to everybody that’s tried and failed before – maybe you got some bad advice too. But absolutely the biggest mistake is just not pushing through and getting to the other side, because once you get to the other side, then it becomes much easier, even if you have those cheat days, like you say, go have a couple of beers. Once you get back on the train, it’s not nearly as hard to get going again, if that makes sense.
Allan (8:53): It does. I think the difference and the way I look at it is, when you’re talking about the marathon – the runner knows that there’s only 1.2 miles left to go in this race. They’re at mile 25 and there’s only a 1.2 to complete the race. Unfortunately with ketosis you don’t have that mile marker to tell you that it’s that close. I think that’s where that “quit” comes in. I remember I was in the army and I was going through air assault school. And at the end of air assault school you do this 25-mile run. And you’re carrying your M16 and you’re in boots and you do this 25-mile run. Each of the units has people in there, so my unit was there and they were cheering us all on. I was a front runner. I knew there was one guy in front of me, I just didn’t know how far he was in front of me. So I asked one of the guys, “How far is he ahead of me? Just tell me.” And they said, “Oh, he’s too far. You’re never going to catch him.” And I come around the corner and realize that I’ve got maybe half a mile to go and he’s only a hundred yards ahead of me. But by that time I had shut my mind down to the possibility that I could do this, and therefore I ended up coming in second.
I only say that because it’s probably closer than you think it is. Once you get into this and you’re starting to really have that struggle, look for the things that are going to motivate you to keep going. You talk in the book about measurement, and I do think that’s important. The urine strips are really good when you first get started, because they’re going to allow you to see the ketones are starting to build up in there. And they’re color coded so you can see it happening. Since your body doesn’t know how to use the ketones effectively, you’re peeing them out. Eventually the urine sticks won’t be any good for you because your body’s using those ketones and now you’re going to have to be looking to your blood and your breath to understand if you’re in ketosis. But for the most part you are, and you can feel it and you know it. I agree with you – as people are going, just push to the next step. Just take that next step. Keep at it just a little bit longer and you’ll get there. It’s a dip, and once you get past that dip, you’re going to enjoy what you’ve done.
Eric (11:04): Sure. And you can always test and tweak things all along the way too. You don’t have to stick yourself into a rigid structure. Now, if something’s not working for you, you can always pivot and try something new – maybe increase your exercise a little or decrease your exercise a little if you’re working too hard. You can always play with the different approaches and find out what works for you. But keep pushing forward, absolutely.
Allan (11:31): I think that’s another important thing. You’ve got this as mistake number 8 in the book, and it’s bio individuality. You talked about how the basic advice is 20 grams of carbs, and then they kind of stop there. I know from experience working with clients that if you get down to 20 and you stay at 20, you will get into ketosis, but there are some people that can go as high as maybe even 100 grams of carbs, because they’re athletic and they’re doing things. And there are other people that can get to 50. You’re going to have a carb threshold in there and it’s going to be individual to you. You’re going to have nutritional needs that are based on your environment and everything else. Can you talk a little bit about bio individuality and how you’ve seen it work for or against people who are trying to get into ketosis?
Eric (12:23): Sure. That phrase actually was originally coined by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. They’re the folks that came up with that. Basically at a high level, it just means we’re all different. Some people can eat a vegan diet, and they feel great and it seems to work really well for them. Some people, like myself, feel awful. I’ve tried to do the vegan thing and it doesn’t work for me at all. I had no energy. It just was not something that really worked for me. And we’ve always got to think about where we came from. What has our family’s bloodline been eating for the past 10 generations? That’s going to play a role in how we metabolize things, what we’re used to eating, what our genetics are used to. So, everybody is so different, and this is especially true for the carbohydrate threshold. I’ve talked to people who could not get into ketosis until they got down to that 20 grams of carbohydrate. Now me personally, I was more along the lines of, I could get back into ketosis after eating 80 to 100 grams of carbs for dinner one night, and then the next day around lunchtime be back into a ketogenic state. All the books that I was reading about this, they said, “That’s impossible. It’s going to take you days. You have to do this, you have to do that.” And really, it’s just about finding where you fit, where you feel best and what works for you. And the mistake that people make is having this mindset that everybody’s the same. It’s like this cookie cutter thing, and it’s definitely not true.
Actually there’s a great story. One of my roommates from many years ago, he and I lived together, and this is right around the time when I was trying to clean up my diet and try to lose the weight that I had been gaining. And living with him, I watched him every day just eat fast food. And it was constant drinking sodas, drinking beers all the time and doing whatever he wanted, and he stayed lean. I had no idea. Here I was, even trying to eat healthier at the time, but I was still gaining and gaining and gaining, and I just watched him not gaining a pound. It was very frustrating and really killed a lot of my motivation because it’s like, “Why me? Why can’t I be like him?” At the end of the day, bio individuality means that none of us are going to be the same. Individual results may vary. That phrase is so perfect for many different things in life, but especially people who are trying the ketogenetic diet. You’ve got to really look at yourself and what you’re going through, because everybody’s going to be different. Somebody might lose 30 pounds in a month doing the keto diet and you may sit there and lose a pound and a half. But it could be just because your body is working on fixing other things first, or whatever reason genetically that you’re going to be slower to lose the weight. We have a lot of similarities, but at the base level we have a lot of differences as well.
Allan (15:48): Part of it is genetics, part of it is your hormone mix. I know a lot of people are coming at this metabolically damaged. I was reading another book that actually said the Baby Boomers, which I’m just short of – I’m an X Gen – but 50% of Baby Boomers have some form of metabolic syndrome. I’m just trying to wrap my mind around that.
Eric (16:12): That’s a big number.
Allan (16:13): It’s a huge number. So, we’re approaching this because we want to get healthy. Like you said, your roommate may have had no problem whatsoever. You might run into him today and it may have caught up with him.
Eric (16:29): It did.
Allan (16:32): Okay. It’s not a happy story, but it’s a story. I think the core of this is, there’s that individual that smoked cigarettes from the time they were 14 years old and they’re 104 and they still smoke. And then there’s the individual who got lung cancer in their 40s after smoking only 20 years. So we’re all going to have our own individual path. I think the good thing about knowing that is if you can stop comparing yourself to others and just recognize that what you’re doing is positive for yourself, you’re going to have a lot better mindset going into this whole thing.
Eric (17:08): Yeah, you nailed it right there. The comparison to others is a very difficult thing. It’s something I struggled with tremendously when I first started out on this journey. You definitely want to be sure to remember that what you’re doing is for yourself, and you’re going to be different than everybody else. There are probably people that are going to react the same, but just keep in mind what you’re doing it for.
Allan (17:36): Another big area where mindset comes to play is what you call mistake number 5, “The Social Trap”. I know when I first started this and realized I was eating this way and wanted to keep eating this way, my wife thought I was out of my mind. She was like, “There’s no way.” She’d seen me try other things, and when she saw me try this she said, “I understood the Paleo thing. I do not understand this. I can’t do that.” But she has since turned around. I took her to Ketofest and she met some people and she listened to a few talks. She now knows about keto and for the most part will eat keto most of the time. But that’s not always the case; some people are going to look at you like you’re insane. How do I deal with that going into this? Like you said in the book, I go to order my burger and I say, “Just wrap mine in lettuce. I don’t want the bread.” And you see that look in their eyes.
Eric (18:37): The looks come to you. It can depend on the group of people you’re with as well. Me personally, I had some ruthless friends. We would kind of joke with each other and make fun of each other, but then it can be difficult when you continue to do this thing, you pass up on the beer. I remember sitting at a table at a restaurant and doing the lettuce-wrapped burger and just getting that, “What are you doing? Why are you doing that?” What that elicits in a lot of people, and I know this because it happened to me, is almost a fear to do it. The next time you hang out with everybody, you want to just be like everybody else. You don’t want to be out of the crowd. As humans, we want to be a part of the group. It feels safe. We want to be like everybody else.
So, to have that situation where you’re walking into a wedding or something or you’re going out with your friends and maybe you go to an Italian restaurant and the bread bowl comes around somewhere, and you’re put in that precarious situation where you have to make your decision now. The bread’s coming to you, and you have to make the choice and the people are looking at you. The mistake that people make is falling victim to that social pressure, because it’s, again, going back to being worried about what other people are thinking of you. It’s a very real mistake that most books that are written about the keto diet just kind of glaze over. But it’s such an important piece of this, because we are social creatures, we thrive on being social. I personally love being social. But it was a difficult transition to get over that fear of what other people are thinking of you. It can be one of the most difficult things. It can be actually the one thing that will stop you.
Maybe you have a group of friends, there’s like six of you and everybody’s overweight, let’s just say. All of a sudden you guys are going out to dinner and you start passing on the bread bowl. People are going to look at you funny and they might not even want you to do that, because it’s like, “Hey, where do you think you’re going? We’re all in this together”, that kind of thing. The social aspect of it is such a huge piece. I recommend that people, before they go somewhere like dinner or a party, and you know the temptation is going to be there but you’re not ready to start doing the cheat days yet – visualize it. Walk yourself through the scenario. Imagine yourself passing as the bread bowl comes to you. And then you’re going to have a lot higher chance of success, because you’ve already got the mental rep. You’ve already done it once in your head: “No, thank you”, so it’s going to be easier when game time comes around. The social aspect of it is such a huge piece, especially if you’re an extrovert, you like to go out, you have a lot of friends. People can be judgy. It’s very powerful to know going into this why you’re doing it, the reasons you’re doing it for yourself, and to understand that it’s okay for other people to have opinions. It’s okay for other people to think what you’re doing is crazy. Some people even say it’s dangerous, if you can believe that. So just remember why you’re doing it, and when the time comes and you have that social pressure, to be prepared for it is going to make you more successful.
Allan (22:18): You just hit on something I want to emphasize here – this is your “why”, this is why you’re doing this, and you need to keep that top of mind as you go into this. Yes, the bread bowl comes around and you just pass the bread without taking a piece and someone comments on it. Fairly simple – you can say, “I just got my A1C in and it’s high. I’m prediabetic, and I need to change how I eat.” And when they recognize this is not about you being thinner and more attractive than them, this is actually something you’re doing for your health, it does change the conversation. You can tell them, “I can’t have the simple carbs anymore. I can’t have the beer anymore, because my A1C is too high and I need to get it down. I don’t want to use medication to do that.”
Eric (23:07): Just to touch on one thing that came to my mind – a lot of people, once they’ve done keto and lost weight, want to continue to do it. You can still run into situations where you’re not prediabetic, you don’t need to lose any weight. It becomes easier to say, “I just feel better. I feel better not doing this. I feel better passing on the bread bowl.” Down the road when you don’t have those things to lean on, like, “I need to weight” or “I’m not feeling well. I’m sick for some reason”… There are other aspects of the social trap that can come up, but like you said, keep in the front of your mind why you’re doing it.
Allan (23:56): I call that the “crabs in the bucket”. If you’ve ever seen crabs, none of the crabs can get out of the bucket because the other crabs are pulling the crab down to get on top of it. So the crabs can’t get out of the bucket. Just realize that’s what’s going on. If people keep harassing you about what your choices are, you know what’s working for you. You know why you’re doing this. At that point just stop participating in the food conversation with them, because they’re not looking out for your best interests. I know that’s easier to say than to do, but you have to have this mindset, as I said, going into this to say, “This is what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.”
Now, the other thing that I wanted to get into – you mentioned this earlier and this was one you called mistake number 17. So much advice out there tells people, particularly during the adaptation period, to not exercise. And I don’t entirely agree with this. We talk about bio individuality. I think some people can continue to do their workouts. I know I did and didn’t have a problem in the world. Maybe I’m unique, and that’s great. But I believe people can still get the benefits of exercise during that period of time. They don’t have to forgo it. Your thoughts?
Eric (25:08): I think it probably goes back to that bio individuality thing. I was reading Mark Sisson’s book, The Keto Reset Diet, and I was listening to one of his podcasts. He was talking about how he recommends people not exercise during the adaptation period, because for some it can be difficult. If you’ve been consuming a lot of sugar and you’re metabolically damaged, the process of adaptation can be difficult. He recommends that you just rest through it, which there’s validity there. I think everybody needs to take a look and see how they’re feeling. I personally think it’s a huge mistake to not exercise while you’re doing the keto thing, because having personally gone through it, exercise is so much more enjoyable when you’re doing keto. I have more strength and more energy than I know what to do with when I’m in that keto state. That being said, if you’re just looking at this for, “I just need to lose some weight”, you don’t have to exercise. But I think it’s a huge mistake to not add on this component of it to get your blood flowing. Even if it’s the most basic exercise, like power walking or going up and down some stairs, doing some body weight stuff, push-ups, sit-ups, cleaning your house vigorously. We think of exercise as it has to be in a gym, but there are so many different ways to get your heart pumping, get your body moving. It’s just going to only compound the results that you get.
So, you can do the keto thing and not exercise, but again, I think it’s a big mistake to not do that. And when you realize it too, when you actually get into that keto state – you’re burning ketones for energy – you’ll have this incredible outpouring of motivation too. You will want to go exercise, and you’ll have more energy. I know it sounds funny. People think that if they exercise, they’re going to be tired and have less energy, and it’s actually the opposite. You exercise and you will have more energy – kind of that, “You don’t use it, you lose it” thing. Along with that I’ve noticed that the more you exercise, the greater the mental clarity that you’ll get as well. I’m not sure exactly the mechanics behind why, but I’ve noticed that I’ve become much more mentally clear. It’s almost like you’ve been wearing a pair of prescription glasses your whole life that weren’t even supposed to be yours, like they were the wrong prescription. You suddenly take them off and the world just looks clear. Or you get in your car in the morning and the window’s fogged up, and you turn the defroster on. That’s what happens as you keep going through this. And exercise I think is just a tool to accelerate these benefits and really compound them for everybody.
Allan (28:20): I agree with you. I don’t think there’s a reason to forgo exercise, unless you’re metabolically damaged and you know that this could be a problem for you. Then take it easy and don’t stress yourself. But the reality of life is our muscles and our liver hold roughly about 90 minutes to two hours of moderate intensity work. So when folks are running marathons, they bonk it at mile 18 because that’s about the time that the glycogen that’s in their muscles and their liver starts to run out. You have that in your muscles and your liver all the time. That glycogen’s there all the time to fire off for energy. So, doing moderate intensity work, lifting weights, doing bodyweight work, walking, maybe even some jogging – that’s going to use that glycogen. Now, you are still taking in some carbs. We’re not complete carnivores, zero carb here. You are taking in some carbs and your body has the capacity to take some of the protein you eat and some of the fat and actually turn it into glycogen that you can then use to restore what you need for your muscles and your liver. Your body’s going to still do that. I just think what you force your body to do if you do keep your activity at a good steady pace is you actually force the adaptation a little bit faster. That’s my opinion. Again, I don’t have any scientific proof that that’s the case, but I do know when I have clients cut their sugar back and I have them walk in a fasted state, they lose weight faster. That’s happening in their bodies because it’s forcing them to use more of the glucose that they are eating. It’s forcing them to use the glycogen in their muscles, they’ve got to restore that, so that process just starts working for them.
On the mental clarity note, I don’t know if you’ve read the book Spark, but this was an excellent book that talked about exercise and cognitive health. They found that just having the kids do a PE class in the morning before school helps their grades immensely. Their test scores went up, they had more clarity in class, they were more focused in class. So, there is an exercise–neurological connection that you’re going to get clarity from exercising and yes, you’re going to get mental clarity from powering your brain on ketones. So I think there can be a multiplicative effect there if you’re doing both.
Eric (30:47): Yeah, absolutely. That makes perfect sense. That’s very interesting to hear about the kids. I’m just seeing my path and how my mental state has changed over the years now. I think that would be brilliant to make sure that kids did PE before school and didn’t get rice crispy cereal before school.
Allan (31:14): That’d be a lot better.
Eric (31:17): I look back on my upbringing. That’s what I had.
Allan (31:21): It was the standard American diet, what our government was telling us to eat. That goes to this whole thing, that ketogenic diet is not new. It’s been around for a long time, but it’s just starting to get to a point where people are recognizing they can get great health benefits from it, they can get weight loss from it. And the people that are on it become evangelists for it. It’s a growing trend as a way of eating. It’s not that it’s better than being a vegan or a vegetarian or anything else; it’s just a way of eating. It can benefit you, but it’s not for everybody, as I said earlier. I think if you’re wanting to lose some weight or you’re concerned about your metabolic numbers – your A1C is high, you’re prediabetic – there have been some great results using this. And again, most people that get onto it just feel great.
Eric (32:14): Absolutely.
Allan (32:16): The book is called Ketogenic Catastrophe. Eric, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, learn what you’re doing, because you and your wife are doing a lot of great stuff over there – where would you like for me to send them?
Eric (32:29): My wife and I run a blog called AncestralJunkie.com, and that’s where we’ll be posting some articles. We’ve been a bit inactive lately. We have our son now and things have been a bit hectic, but we’re back on AncestralJunkie.com. And then you can find my other books – I’ve written a few others – on Amazon. If you search for Ketogenic Catastrophe, my name will pop up and there’s a couple of other things. If you go to the blog, you can get a free meal plan, a free grocery guide and some other goodies for just visiting. And we have a nice little newsletter that goes out. Today’s Friday, so Friday we send out a weekly newsletter where we’ll give you our top five articles and neat products that helped us or quotes that were motivating us, that kind of stuff. So you can get us at AncestralJunkie.com or on Amazon, is where my other books are located.
Allan (33:27): Okay. This is going to be episode 337, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/337 and I’ll be sure to have links to all of those available there. So again, Eric, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Eric (33:43): Thank you, Allan. I really appreciate you having me on, and thank you so much for what you’re doing for the health community and just the world at large here. You’re really making a difference, so thank you for that.
Allan (33:52) Thank you.
Thank you for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. I’m really glad you’re here. I hope you enjoyed the conversation we had with Eric. Anyone that’s trying to use the ketogenic lifestyle as a way of eating often finds that they make mistakes, and Eric’s put together a really good book to talk you through how to manage those mistakes. So do check that out – Ketogenic Catastrophe. I have a link to that in the show notes, if you’re interested. And if you enjoyed today’s show, I really would appreciate if you would go to the “Review” section on your app, or go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, which will take you to the iTunes page. Leave a review for the podcast. I really read each and every one of these reviews. The ratings and reviews help us get noticed out there. So really, really important – please do take the time to give us a review; takes you a few minutes, and it can mean the world to someone finding the podcast and finding health. So, 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review. Thank you for that.
A little bit on a personal note, I’ve kind of indicated over the course of the last few episodes that my wife and I are traveling around looking for potential retirement / downscaled life. It looks like we’re going to settle on Panama. That’s not set in stone at this point and it might not be a permanent move, but we are looking to potentially within the next six months sell our house and move out of the country, which will be a very different lifestyle. It’s a change that I’m doing because it will reduce risk from stress and will keep me kind of a in a lower keel, slow things down. I’m really looking forward to something like that. In looking at my health and fitness, that’s the one area where I can get the most bang for the buck. That’s my big rock. If you get into The Wellness Roadmap book once I get that issued, you’re going to learn a lot about how to identify those big rocks. For me, stress is the next big rock that I need to deal with.
I wanted to mention that I am setting up a mini Ketofest. I know I talked about going to Ketofest in July and doing a talk there. I’m going to do that talk again here at my home in Pensacola Beach, and that’s going to be on October 5th. Right now we’re looking at probably having it between 4:00 and 8:00 PM on October 5th. There will be food provided, there’s a small charge to cover off some of the costs of that food. Carl Franklin from 2 Keto Dudes is coming down here and he’ll also be giving a talk, and you’ll be able to meet him here at the mini Ketofest in Pensacola Beach. So do check that out – you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest. There you’ll find a link to the Eventbrite page. We can only handle a certain number of people. I do have a nice size house, but we still are going to have to limit the number of people that come so everybody can enjoy the food and the talks. So, you do want to go ahead and make sure you get yourself on that list. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest.
Now on the book, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it, but it’s gone very, very well so far. I’m getting some blurbs back from folks which basically are just reviews. They’ve seen the book and they felt compelled to help me market the book by writing some really cool, really nice things. And I’m humbled by that. It’s really coming together. The next week I should get the proofs back from the editor and at that point I’ll be able to sit down and batten down and spend some quality time on the book to get that final finish in there. But we’re getting really close to having everything locked down and ready to go, so I’m pretty excited about that. If you want to be a little bit more in the know, get a little bit more detail on how the book is going, you can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. You can join the list and become a part of our launch team. That launch team is my go-to group, they’re the folks that I’m going to share the most information about the book. I’ll tell you a little bit about it on the podcast, occasionally I’ll mention it in the groups, but really if you want to be in the know about the book, when it’s coming live, discounts, bonuses, all kinds of stuff that I’m going to be putting out there – you need to join the launch team. So go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join the launch team today. Thank you.