Tara Garrison breaks out of the tribalism of keto forever with her motto, Do Keto. Not Forever. On this episode, we discuss her book, Short-Term Keto.
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Let's Say Hello
[00:04:14.130] – Allan
Hey, Ras, how are things?
[00:04:15.970] – Rachel
Good. How are you today, Allan?
[00:04:17.870] – Allan
I'm doing all right. Really interesting weekend.
[00:04:21.530] – Rachel
[00:04:24.330] – Allan
We had our Christmas parade here. So you're listening to this? It's just now past Christmas, but we're recording this a couple of weeks in advance, and we had the Christmas parade. And one of the things that kind of came about, and I was sort of side-swiped by this is my wife decided that I was going to wear a Santa suit and sit in the back of her golf cart and pass out candy and toys to the kids. And it was insane. Thousands of kids out there screaming “Santa! It's Santa!”
[00:04:59.130] – Allan
And then they're sitting on my lap and I'm taking pictures.
[00:05:02.910] – Rachel
How sweet. That's so cool.
[00:05:05.680] – Allan
It was just bizarre. I'll post a picture on the Facebook group. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, and you'll see a picture of me sitting in the back of a golf cart as Santa.
[00:05:20.250] – Allan
And then the parade. We were told to get there at a certain time, and they weren't even ready to near ready to start that thing until about 2 hours later. And then we're on the parade for over an hour, and I was like, okay, I've got to go to the bathroom, so I hopped out and I'm running.
[00:05:34.500] – Allan
So you got to stand on running through the streets to get to the bathroom. And then I got to go run back and find where we are in this parade to get back on the golf cart. So some funny moments. And you walk into a place that everybody knows me. Except now I'm dressed like Santa. And as soon as I get close and they start to recognize me, I say, “Don't say a word. Don't.”
[00:05:55.170] – Rachel
That's so sweet. That's Wonderful.
[00:05:58.050] – Allan
So not something I expected, but I did the best Santa I could.
[00:06:03.190] – Rachel
That's awesome. What a fun weekend.
[00:06:05.610] – Allan
So how are things with you?
[00:06:07.320] – Rachel
Good. Really good. I'm pretty excited today. I just hired a trainer to help me get through a marathon. I've got a spring marathon already scheduled, and I've been thinking about it for a while, and I thought, you know, I do want to set a goal time for this full marathon, and I think a trainer is going to help me see my training in a whole new light. So I'm pretty excited to get started with her real soon.
[00:06:32.120] – Allan
Yeah. Is this one you've run before?
[00:06:34.350] – Rachel
No, it'll be a new marathon. It's actually one of the two runcations I've already scheduled for next year, and it's the St. Louis Marathon, and that will be in early April.
[00:06:45.270] – Allan
Ok. So based on what you know, of that course, is it similar to one you've run before?
[00:06:49.840] – Rachel
Actually, I don't have a profile yet. There's not a profile on their website that I found yet, but I'm asking around, so I'm hoping to get some insight. I hear it's hilly in that area, but I don't anticipate it being crazy hilly.
[00:07:06.400] – Allan
Yeah, but that's going to help set your expectations if you go into it. And this thing's, like Big Sur. You're like that was not what I was expecting. And then you get there. So you're not really that satisfied with your training and your time. But yeah, because if you're going to run hills, you need to do a little bit of training on hills, just know that you're getting the best you can out of your training. So I'll be interested to hear how this all goes about, because having a coach, that's what a lot of people don't recognize is how beneficial having someone there that knows the ropes, that knows what's going on to just kind of push you a little harder.
[00:07:44.250] – Allan
And yes, as a coach, at times, I hire coaches and you hire coaches, and that's what we do because we want to win. We want to do better, even if winning is just winning being better at ourselves.
[00:07:56.640] – Rachel
Sure. Sometimes it's nice to have another set of eyes on what I'm doing and how I'm progressing. It'll be interesting to see I'm sure she will push me harder than what I might push myself. And I'll have some solid accountability, too. So it should be really interesting to see how this plays out.
[00:08:15.890] – Allan
Good. And I'm pretty excited. I'm launching my new program in January, Win at Weight Loss, and you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/win and get on the waitlist for that. There are going to be limited slots because I can only handle so many clients. I don't pass my clients off to anybody else. I handle each and every one of them. This is a program, a six week program that basically teaches you everything you need to know for yourself, for your body.
[00:08:49.220] – Allan
This is not a cookie cutter, here's the four things I want you to do. I've done those before, but for most people, yeah, it works. But a lot of people, they need more. They need that next step because they plateau and they stop and it doesn't work. And so when things stop working, you need tools to get through that as well. So that's what this 6-week program win. It weight loss is. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/win. And you can get on the list. And then we'll have a conversation to see if this program is right for you.
[00:09:21.370] – Rachel
That sounds awesome. It'll be great. Good luck to everybody who signs up. Do it quick.
[00:09:26.730] – Allan
Please. Yeah. Because once I get to a number, I'm like that's all I can handle. I will have to turn that off. And then the waitlist won't be for January. It'll likely be for April. So just realize now I'm going to do these in classes or cohorts if you will. So we'll go through with a group of people, and then I'll be done. And then I'll maybe start another one. But they're going to be points of the year where I just take time off.
[00:09:49.020] – Allan
So if you miss this one, it's going to be probably two, three, four months before I do another one. And so you want to get into this one while the iron strike while the iron is hot, if you will.
[00:09:59.060] – Rachel
That's right. Do it.
[00:10:00.250] – Rachel
All right. Tara is a coach, and she was a Keto coach until she decided that maybe keto wasn't the right way for her to manage her health long-term? Are you ready to talk about Short-Term Keto with Tara Garrison?
[00:10:16.890] – Rachel
[00:11:12.750] – Allan
Tara, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:11:15.190] – Tara
Yeah. Thanks for having me excited to be here.
[00:11:17.470] – Allan
So we're going to talk about your book, Short-Term Keto: A Four Week Plan to Find Your Unique Carb Threshold. And what I like about this. And it's what I tell a lot of people because, like, oh, you do Keto, but you don't do it all the time. Why don't you do it all the time? All the other Keto guys, they want to do it all the time, and you say I'm going to do it.
[00:11:37.590] – Allan
I told you, who's going to bark?
[00:11:40.230] – Tara
He's like, on camera. It's my time to shine.
[00:11:44.310] – Allan
Yes, it's my time to shine. So sorry about that. But I'm going to leave that in.
[00:11:51.570] – Allan
But the principle of this is that I look at and similar to you, I think look at keto as a tool.
[00:11:58.830] – Tara
Yeah, absolutely. And a powerful one. Short-term keto. I don't know if I'm jumping ahead.
[00:12:06.580] – Allan
No. Yeah. Go ahead.
[00:12:08.610] – Tara
Short-term keto. I've had a program for many years now called Keto In and Out, right? That was a precursor to this book. And really what it was born out of was seeing what a powerful tool Keto is in our day and age pretty much. I'm not going to say everybody should do keto, because I definitely have times, I just told a woman yesterday I'm like, I don't really don't think you need to do keto. I already think you're metabolically flexible, you're thin, you're healthy, you're thriving. I don't see any for it.
[00:12:39.040] – Tara
But most of us, we literally get into our car. We, like, sit down in a seat while we're still in our house. Like our garage is still our house. We sit in a seat, we drive to the grocery store and we sit in a seat, come back and we have endless access to food. And guess what happens over time at that lifestyle very sedentary and overeating. We are not forced to be in a situation in which our bodies need to run off their own body fat for fuel.
[00:13:05.340] – Tara
But if we lived in the wild and this is where it kind of gets to what you're saying here about not always being if we lived in the wild, if we lived in nature, which unless things go real bad in the next few years here, which hopefully they don't. But most likely we're not ever going to be in that situation again. We're just living out in the woods and trying to hunt for food. But that is our natural state. That is what our bodies. That's what they evolved upon over many thousands of years was not always having endless access to food and having to move even when you don't really feel like it so that you can have food. And guess what happens as a result of that, our bodies would go into ketosis naturally.
[00:13:46.740] – Tara
So what does this mean? It means when you run out of enough incoming carbohydrate to support your bodily functions, your body will turn your own body fat. Or now it's dietary fat often because we have so much food available to us. But your body will turn fat into these things called ketones. And you will run off of those as your energy source. And so many cool things happen in our bodies. As a result of that, we drop inflammation. It's more easy for us to focus. Without food, we can go longer without food without feeling hangry and angry and shaky and hypoglycemic. And all of these things.
[00:14:21.450] – Tara
Gut healing benefits. It's really powerful for the body. Our brain gets a boost. They go through our blood brain barrier. We have more mental energy, and some people hypothesize that maybe that was to help us go hunt and find more food. You know, we want to be mentally clear. So we don't do this. Why would you do this? Why would you do this? Why would you, like sit there and be uncomfortably hungry and you have everything you could ever imagine sitting in your pantry just waiting for you to eat it.
[00:14:45.710] – Tara
We're just not going to because we don't have to. Here comes keto. This intervention in which all we do is intentionally remove most of the carbohydrates from our diet, and we get this adaptation in our body. To me, the point is the adaptation and going back to this living in nature analogy, like, if you're freaking starving and you're living out in nature and you come across whatever food, whether that's potatoes or berries or whatever or animal, you're just going to eat whatever you can. Right.
[00:15:18.040] – Tara
And so a lot of people get in the mentality of carbs are bad for you. And carbs make you fat. And it's like, no, it's just an abundance and over consumption of carbohydrates all the time in which your body never, ever gets to explore this other half of its capacity, which is ketosis that can become, quote, unquote bad for you over time, because now you are kind of dependent on glucose for energy and you get hangry and shaky and all of these things if you don't have it. So keto is a powerful tool that allows us to come in and get our metabolism to be doing what it was always meant to do in the first place.
[00:15:55.770] – Allan
I do something I call Seasonal Ketosis. And so it's basically I know there's seasons of the years when I'm going to want to eat certain things or drink certain things and do certain things, usually around the holidays and football season and that kind of thing. And so I was just like, okay, I can be in ketosis. And I feel great in ketosis. But I was like, I don't want to live my life this way 24/7. So I would cycle out, and then I would cycle back in.
[00:16:24.170] – Allan
And what I found was for me, it works very well. And then I've had other people that I've worked with, and they can't necessarily bring back the carbs because the way they process carbs and the way they eat carbs just doesn't work. Can we talk a little bit about this bio-individuality I've heard used. Why are some of us wired to be fine with keto most of the time? And then others were wired more with the threshold of being able to take in more carbs?
[00:16:57.030] – Tara
Yeah, that's a great question. Any good nutrition coach, I think they're first going to want to know, where are we starting? What's going on? What's the starting point? And so if you have let's say, for example, you have type II diabetes. I'm not recommending that you bring carbs back in. Actually, the research is kind of starting to shift over the years. We used to say this is not we're not healing type II diabetes with this, we're just managing it depending on how far progressive is. We're seeing that it might be possible, at least to be able to increase the carb threshold a little bit. But we're talking years of doing keto, right.
[00:17:36.500] – Tara
So if you have prediabetes type II diabetes, you're using keto to manage something like epilepsy or some sort of therapeutic approach. It might be a long-term thing for you. For women who are perimenopausal or post menopausal, they may have higher estrogens, and that doesn't mean that they have to just live with that and be like that forever. A lot of things can be changed and shifted. But I'm saying if that's where you're starting, you might need to be keto for a long time.
[00:18:06.730] – Tara
If you're very obese, I'm just blunt with it, the more obese you are, more likely, the better keto is going to work for you, because that means you likely are not metabolically flexible. Your body has a hard time going into its own fat source and using that for fuel without you becoming extremely uncomfortable and hungry and cravings and all those things. So you do something like keto, you might do it for years. There's so many different things that could be happening in the body to cause this.
[00:18:33.920] – Tara
There's even DNA. I do DNA work with my clients. There's even predispositions that certain people have to have less normal, like impaired glucose metabolism. Right. We look at people with Alzheimer's. If you have Alzheimer's in your family, you may be possibly have some genetic predispositions to not manage glucose as well. A lot of these things can be completely changed by lifestyle, right. But it takes time.
[00:19:01.830] – Tara
And then I've had clients where they're extremely fit. They're extremely active. Their blood sugar regulation is great. They have good muscle mass. They're already quote unquote fat adapted, meaning their body can run off fat just as well as carbs. They might not even need to do keto. Everyone doesn't need to do it. And then there are some people that actually really it's probably going to be a life changing intervention for them.
[00:19:26.060] – Tara
And so I would say that the biggest hitters are if you have high blood sugar, this is going to be a winner-winner chicken dinner for you. It's just for me, people who they feel like finally, because when you have blood sugar cravings for food and your body is saying you're going to die if you don't eat like something sugary right now because it doesn't know how to go into ketosis.
[00:19:50.190] – Tara
It's pretty much it that's going to be a life changing experience for you left in your satiation hormone goes up. That's life changing for people. I've had clients that are 400 pounds plus and just lost hundreds of pounds, it's life changing for them, so it really depends on where your starting point is and for the sake of time, I won't go too far into that, but we go into detail on that of reasons you might want to try to do keto and possibly do it longer term in my book.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.
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[00:22:02.790] – Allan
And then the other side of it because I work with clients too, and we'll go low carb with their eating and they feel really good. They're losing the weight 40 lbs, 50 lbs gone and they feel great. And they're like, this is incredible. And then they're like, but I want to introduce carbs, but I'm afraid.
[00:22:20.020] – Tara
[00:22:20.830] – Allan
So what are some signs? They're like, this works so well, but they're like, I know a holiday, I know a vacation is coming. We're going to Disney. We're doing this and it's like, can I? And I'm like, Well, you need permission first, right? I know you have some signs, okay. It's probably okay for you to start reintroducing carbs.
[00:22:41.410] – Tara
Yeah. I love this question. This is one of the main reasons I even started talking about this at the time in 2018, when I started sharing this message, kind of developed this little tagline of ‘Do Keto. Not Forever.'
[00:22:52.170] – Tara
That was very rebellious of me. Very. Because I was very involved in the leaders of the keto movement, where all my friends and colleagues and this was just like an abomination at that time. In 2018, keto was like, the end. All be all. If you are a smart person, you understand that ketones are better than glucose and like that was just the mentality.
[00:23:12.780] – Tara
And I had recently gotten off of keto, so I came into it very lean, very athletic. I just qualified for the Boston Marathon, was lifting weights. Did keto. I appreciated some of the benefits that I got in terms of mental clarity. I think I needed a little more fat, so just hormonally felt better. I could go longer between meals, which was super cool without feeling hungry. I really got tapped into physiological hunger versus blood sugar hunger. And that was cool. But for me personally, I lost muscle and gained body fat.
[00:23:43.980] – Tara
And at the time I was dating one of the leaders of the keto movement, so I know I was optimizing it. I'm a trainer and nutritionist myself, but my body just wasn't loving it from a body composition or athletic performance perspective. And I had just brought carbs back in and everything was going back up for me. And I still maintained those benefits that I had received during keto. I've been able to go between meals for a long time. And so here I was like talking to all these women at conferences and they're terrified of carbohydrates, right?
[00:24:11.000] – Tara
They're terrified. They've been taught these will make you fat. These will inflame you. Even people saying they're going to kill you. There's like a lot of fear. And the clients that I've worked with. Sometimes my clients come to me and they've lost over 100 lbs on keto already. And I'm like the carb savior or something because I teach the message. They're like, Girl, are you serious? Are you telling me I can really have carbohydrates again? Because I'm terrified. And what I like to tell people is like if you've experienced a big weight loss on keto, remember that you are not in the same body right now that you started with.
[00:24:41.510] – Tara
It's hard emotionally for us to get there sometimes, right? We still see ourselves as a 200, 300, 400 pound person, but you're not. You lost 200 lbs. You lost 100 lbs. Your body is different now. The physiological processes are different. So what I say is, look, check your blood sugar management when you wake up in the morning. If you're under 90 in the morning, even if you ate some carbs the day before, that's a really good sign that you've achieved better blood sugar management. If you're starting to just gain weight back, maybe you've turned into lazy keto and you're not actually in ketosis anymore and you're gaining weight back.
[00:25:15.820] – Tara
You're just not feeling as good. You're not getting the same results because once your blood sugar management is good, you're not going to get the same drastic result from keto that you did when your blood sugar was poor. If your sleep isn't good, if you feel like you're crying a lot like that could be low serotonin. If your gut health isn't good, you just chronically have watery stools or constipation. Those are all signs that maybe it's time to just explore bringing cars back in.
[00:25:39.580] – Tara
And I just want to say one thing real quick. And that is please remember that when you first bring carbs back in, your insulin response will not be as high. And we've seen that is a rat study. But for about two weeks after getting off keto and bringing carbs back in, you may have higher blood sugar spikes than you would after those two weeks are over. Once your body gets regulated on how much insulin to produce, I say that because so many people, they're like, I try to eat one carb and my blood sugar shot through the roof.
[00:26:07.280] – Tara
I'm like, I know that's because you've been keto for so long. I've had times when I was keto and I ate carbs, and I literally fell asleep like I was in a coma. And so it's that please remember that. And the types of carbohydrates you eat are super important as well, and make a tremendous difference.
[00:26:25.080] – Allan
Yeah. Because just like, we often have that problem, they call it keto flu. I call it carb withdrawals. When you go into ketosis about a two week period of time that your body is trying to figure out. Whoa, what is this way of eating? What's going on here? Why don't I have this? It works the other way when you're trying to go back in. It's like, okay, Whoa. I've got a sugar rush just having a little bit of ice cream or a cookie,
[00:26:50.980] – Tara
[00:26:51.490] – Allan
Whoa. Where did that come from? And then your body will adapt, and we get this metabolic flexibility, where our body is able to easier go back and forth. If you said, okay, I'm going to take the weekend off or take a month off, and I'm going to go and start reintroducing carbs, and then it's not really what you want. It's not really working out. You're not feeling it. Then you just do that transition back. And it's actually not hard. It's not as hard as it was the first time.
[00:27:18.520] – Tara
[00:27:19.070] – Speaker 1
If you get yourself into a really good state with how your insulin responses, how your pancreas is working. And like you said the other things, like Ghellin and Leptin, and just kind of making sure that you actually know what hunger is and just eating sugar for the sake of sugar.
[00:27:35.330] – Tara
I appreciate you saying that because I think you're the first person I've heard say that. I'm like, I feel like the lone wolf over here. Everyone's teaching, hey, when you go to keto, it sucks. And your gut is going to get all messed up because your enzyme regulation is off because you're not used to making that much lipase to break down fats and all these things. And it's okay. Just hang in there. But nobody's breaching that. I felt like. I've been like, I'm like, hey, also, when you bring carbs back in, some things have to get up regulated in the body to the amount of amylase you produce to break down carbohydrates in your gut, your ability to manage and process that much fiber.
[00:28:09.090] – Tara
And that's why I slowly reintroduce carbs in the book, because sometimes people are like, oh, I ate carbs, and I got really bloated. My body just hates them. I'm like, no, you're just not used to producing enough enzymes to break it down. It takes time. So I appreciate you sharing that message. It's also a transition out.
[00:28:26.760] – Allan
I actually put it in my book that I published in 2018. So in December of 2018, I had the same message that you don't have to be in keto forever. But you want to have a reason. You want to have a strategy as you go into these types of things. And so one of the most important strategies, I think, is people are looking at carbohydrates and trying to get past that fear or that phobia, which I guess carb phobia is now going to be a word if it's not, I just made it up.
[00:28:55.680] – Tara
I say it all the time.
[00:28:59.350] – Allan
Okay. Not all carbs are the same. Yeah, but we have this in our mindset. It's like I look on the label and that's mistake probably number one. But I'm looking on the label and the label says it's got this many carbs. And can you kind of go through and talk about how we can look at carbohydrates and how we can prioritize them as we begin to reintroduce?
[00:29:22.820] – Tara
Yeah. I love this question. And the reason this is one of the main reasons I wrote this book is because I noticed because I'm a keto specialist in my regular everyday life. Everyone feels the need to talk to me about keto, right? I'm sure you noticed the same. Right. And I get these people they're eating pizza and chips and whatever and fast food, and they'll say, oh, man, I know. I just got to go back to keto, and I'm like, wait a minute. That's not the only way to be healthy.
[00:29:49.390] – Tara
There's another place that's not junk food or keto that's, like, all in or all out thinking. I almost forget sometimes that when I'm telling people that it's okay to eat carbs, I don't like calling anything good or bad. It's just you're not going to get as optimal results when you're eating processed carbohydrates full of canola oil and processed white flour and sugars. And that's not going to be the same experience of what I'm talking about. And the way I like to prioritize it is non starchy vegetables.
[00:30:21.470] – Tara
So the things that we actually kind of consider vegetables, right? Broccoli asparagus cauliflower have at it, because sometimes even keto, you have to actually limit that. For some people who are really sensitive, it's like, oh, you can have carrots again. You can have any vegetable you want, and that brings us into starchy vegetables. Right. So that's kind of the next step is like potatoes, sweet potatoes. If your gut can tolerate it, it depends on the person. But some people manage beans really well. Some people have sensitivities and can't have those things.
[00:30:50.600] – Tara
But if your body processes the well, go for it. Start eating more things from nature. And then my next on my list is fruits, you know, and you could alternate that you could put fruit up there with starchy vegetables to start eating fruits again. See how your body does see how you tolerate them. There's so much fear around these foods, especially in the keto world. It's like, don't eat bananas. I just saw a share the other day and it was like, oatmeal is unhealthy. And I'm like, no for some people, maybe, but not for everyone.
[00:31:20.100] – Tara
So question some of these dogmatic beliefs that you've gotten and look at the actual research if you want to, it's not there. We're taking something that might be true for some people and trying to make it true for everyone. And so that's like, it's something to be mindful of in the nutrition world right now in our information age. And also, I am not opposed to whole grains like quinoa. And so granted, if you have leaky gut, you don't want to be eating these things, they're probably going to exacerbate it, right.
[00:31:48.180] – Tara
If you don't cook your foods like this might affect it. Right. But if you look at the actual research, there's so much in support of some of these whole grains, even oatmeal, helping with cholesterol, helping with LDL levels, helping be heart protective. And I have to go so against my programming and the keto world to say stuff like this because we've been taught for so long. Like grains are bad, like beans are horrible. Definitely don't eat those. Don't eat bananas. Those are fake foods. And I'm like, I've come to a place in my journey where I'm like, if nature is allowing it to be grown and you ask your body, how does my body actually feel when I eat these things?
[00:32:29.060] – Tara
When I eat quinoa, I feel like, amazing. My body loves quinoa as you bring these things back in, start to experiment. How do I feel? Especially after kind of that two week mark is gone. And I bet for most of you, at least it's been most of my clients experience after a phase of keto when everything's regulated in the body and they start bringing these things back in and let go of their beliefs that it's hurting them, they start to feel really good.
[00:32:51.280] – Allan
Yeah. And that's what I like with your plan is that basically it's not this. Okay, turn the switch. And now I go carb crazy. It's okay. We're going to go in and we're going to have some spinach and we're going to have some broccoli and we're going to have some cauliflower and we're going to slowly introduce these vegetables and see how our body responds.
[00:33:11.970] – Allan
It might be a little hard. At first, you might not be digesting. It the way your body needs to, and you might be gassy feel a little bloated, but give it a shot, give it a legitimate shot. And then once you kind of adapt and your body is performing well with that, you can go to the next step saying, okay, I want some sweet potato, and it's not like you eat one whole sweet potato. You have a little bit of sweet potato with dinner and see how you feel.
[00:33:34.890] – Tara
I like how your plan is kind of putting that together in a structure. So there's not a whole lot of questions of okay, do I go out for Thanksgiving dinner and that be my break, my keto thing. No, you're not going to feel well if you do that.
[00:33:49.940] – Tara
Right. And the intention is if you slam on your gut and to your blood sugar, because keto is a restrictive diet, it is. And so sometimes there's an emotional component of, oh, my gosh. I think why people get stuck in it, possibly because they're like, I like this restriction because I don't trust myself to be not, like, off the rails. Once I do eat carbs and I'm trying to show a different way of, like, honoring…
[00:34:17.640] – Tara
The way I like to put it is this imagine that you're still keto with healthy carbs as part of keto. If you kind of look at it like that instead of just like, I'm going to eat whatever the freak I want. Pizza time, soda time. That's not it. It's still eating whole foods from nature. And I'm really just trying to help people get the experience of what it can feel like when you eat carbs to support healthy functions of your body. But not so many carbs that you go into a diabetic coma being theoretical. But you know what I mean, because that deters people from understanding what it can feel like to live a balanced life again after a phase of keto.
[00:34:54.750] – Allan
Right. And once again going back to the metabolic flexibility, you might find that your carb threshold has gone up substantially. And so whereas before, when you were insulin resistant, when you were obese and when you were really struggling, 25 grams was all you could handle. And when you start looking at what, 25 grams of carbs equates to it's almost no carbs that you're eating. And then you say, okay, now I'm going to push this up. And maybe now you're eating 50, you might find yourself still in ketosis most of the day if you're doing any measurements at all.
[00:35:28.080] – Allan
Some people I've seen particularly very fit, very athletic, moving people when they're doing a lot of movement, they're doing a lot of work cleaning out their glycogen stores and doing those types of things. They can eat 100-150 and still maintain ketosis most of the day.
[00:35:45.410] – Tara
Yeah. Even Dominic Agastino shared this. I think on I believe it was on Dave Asprey's podcast or maybe Joe Rogan or something. But he was saying that he eats about 150 grams of carbs a day, and he called it more ketogenic than ketosis. And I think what he means by that is he's helping to support some probably most of you. If you're keto nerds, you've heard there's parts of your brain that really want glucose. There are certain parts of your body that do want glucose. So you're supporting those organs, you're supporting those things.
[00:36:13.160] – Tara
But you're still active enough. I mean, Dom, like, he deadlifts, like 500 lbs. It's dude strong. Right. So just like you're saying, he's using that glycogen and then intermittent fasting so that he's able to go back into ketosis easily. And I think that's become my lifestyle. I probably eat, I would say, between 100 and 200 grams of carbs. I crush it in the gym every morning. I am like, scary, almost beast mode. And that's why I can do stuff. And then I pair that with intermittent fasting.
[00:36:39.960] – Tara
It's such an easy lifestyle, and you don't have to not have any carbs, which for me, especially someone like me who's athletic. It really limits for me that kind of intensity in the gym. Right. And so it can become an easier flow of life if you're willing to add some activity into your routine as well. But the less active you are, probably the less carbs you need, I'd say across the board for human beings.
[00:37:08.430] – Allan
Yeah. And that kind of goes to the next thing. I really haven't seen anybody else that's spent a lot of time talking about this. But part of the reason that you do want to make sure you're eating those non starchy vegetables and sometimes some starchy vegetables and definitely fruits is your neurotransmitters. They're basic components. And if you're just going strict keto for a long period of time, you're probably going to have some issues with your GABA and your dopamine and serotonin and those types of things which are going to affect your sleep.
[00:37:42.900] – Allan
They're going to affect how you feel. And when your body gets stressed. Now we're talking about adrenaline and things like that. So can you talk a little bit about those neurotransmitters? Because this is a conversation that a lot of people aren't having about why carbs are actually an important component of what we eat. We got to do it right with regards to how we process. But you'll know, it because your brain will turn on when you get the formula right.
[00:38:12.410] – Tara
Right. And I love talking about this. And thank you for asking, because there's such a lack of awareness of how much nutrition impacts our mental health. And so often I see people go into these blame and shame cycles of what's wrong with me. I don't know what's wrong with me. And I'm like, actually, okay. So you had something traumatic happen and you're sleepdeprived and you're sad and you've been keto. And maybe you don't even know you have a genetic predisposition for low serotonin. And so your serotonin is in the crapper.
[00:38:40.610] – Tara
And you're feeling so just down. And guess what? Actually eating carbs is smart. Your body is probably telling you to go eat some carbs because it's like, we need to get serotonin up. So you're not so sad, friend. And then people are like, I don't know what's wrong with me. I just don't have any willpower. And I'm like, hold on on. Let's look into this. So let me give some basic information. I'd say the biggest impact that keto has on certain air transmitters would be dopamine, serotonin and GABA.
[00:39:08.020] – Tara
So when your keto, your dopamine will be higher. So when you eat a diet that's mostly fat and protein, you're going to favor dopamine production. That's because tyrosine the building block of dopamine and tryptophan the building block of serotonin, they compete to get across the blood brain barrier. So if you're eating more fats and proteins, the tyrosine is going to win. You're going to be more dopamine or making more dopamine. And then if you are eating more carbs and protein as the majority of your diet, you'll favor serotonin production.
[00:39:40.390] – Tara
So what does this mean? If you are somebody who has really low dopamine and you go, keto, you may all of a sudden start. You may have a life changing experience on your mood. You're like, all of a sudden I'm driven and I'm making my dreams come true, and I'm nice to everybody and confident and like, wow! That's where I think a lot of the zealots of keto come from these deeper biological processes they're having. They don't understand. They're like, all I know is, I got better. Things got better. Like, I felt a lot better.
[00:40:13.430] – Tara
But let's say somebody has they already have good dopamine levels, but they have low serotonin, and then they go keto, and they get higher dopamine. But they might like that a little bit, but didn't really need it that much. But they needed a little bit of serotonin that they were getting. And now all of a sudden, it's dropped. And they're in a place where they are sad and crying a lot and just feeling really emotional. And then they're likely to put more pressure on themselves.
[00:40:37.940] – Tara
Come on. Why can't you just do this thing? And it's like, you need to know that there could be a biochemistry aspect to this process for you. And so I always honor people. I'm like, Listen, if you don't feel better on keto, and you've been doing it for, like, a month and you just don't feel better. It's okay to honor that it's not the only way to be healthy. You can also eat a balanced diet and exercise and get many of similar benefits.
[00:41:02.850] – Tara
And then GABA, I really like to share about. So ketone bodies have been found to be GABAergic. So what's GABA? GABA is like, the breaks on our brain. So a lot of people who are overthinkers, they just can't stop, can't stop, can't stop, can't stop. They may like being in a ketogenic state because that overthinking is usually indicative of, well, it can also be maybe you need to meditate and work on some things like that. But glutamate is a neurotransmitter that causes it's excitatory. It's like go go in our minds. And if that conversion, it turns into GABA.
[00:41:39.470] – Tara
So if it doesn't turn into the breaks in the brain, we're just like chronically obsessing over these little things. And it makes people feel crazy. And so ketone bodies can help increase your GABA levels and help that to stop. So that can be really enjoyable experience for some people. But if you already have good GABA levels, you're not going to feel that you're not going to really need that. I like to go into this in the book of some different things you might be feeling and experiencing on keto and why.
[00:42:10.500] – Tara
And then the last one will be adrenaline. This is something that honestly concerns me. Dr Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney did a study on this because a lot of people were concerned that keto might just be this high on ketones, might actually just be high on adrenaline, which feels great and helps you lose weight in the beginning. But over time it increases cortisol and can actually cause you to gain weight and have health problems. And so they showed that as long as you have adequate salt intake on keto, that you can offset the overproduction of adrenaline on keto.
[00:42:41.910] – Tara
But if you don't, which I say is pretty like you don't know exactly what your sodium levels are and what your needs are that day. So I get concerned about people who may not have adequate salt levels on keto, and they're going into this high adrenaline state for years on end, and that can cause problems in the long run. So just something to be aware of. I share all the details of that in the book, but the impact of our how are you feeling?
[00:43:07.020] – Tara
Are you really feeling better? Are you feeling kind of crazy? Are you feeling kind of like manic and overly busy or uber-confident? Too confident, like you don't care about anybody anymore. Maybe your dopamine is through the roof. I just like to create awareness of these things so people don't have this shame and stigma of what's wrong with me, and they actually have some understanding behind it.
[00:43:26.560] – Allan
And I think this speaks to when we say food is information. Movement is information. This is how it happens. It's the neurotransmitters. It's the hormones. All those things have to balance out. All those things have to work for you. And if you're out of balance because the food you're taking in isn't serving you or your movement patterns aren't serving you, then you're giving yourself bad information and your body is responding the only way it can.
[00:43:55.880] – Tara
[00:43:56.810] – Allan
Doing these experiments getting out there and experiment of one. You know, you're the most important sample size there is. And just saying, I'm going to try this four-week plan and I'm going to find my carb-lite, keto and I'm going to get into keto. And then when I'm ready to come out, I'll follow this four week plan to reintroduce and really Journal and pay attention to your mood, pay attention to how your skin looks, how you feel, how your workouts. Like you said, if you start going beast mode in the gym, something good is happening.
[00:44:26.470] – Tara
Yeah. And sleep and digestion and all those things. I love that those are the questions I have as you go through that process. And ideally, it's a four-week plan. I'd love for you to make it like twelve weeks and do one week for a whole month. But be aware. And one of the cool things. And I'm sure you're aware of this with you all the time is you might not need as many carbohydrates after doing a phase of keto to give you that get up and go, which is kind of cool.
[00:44:54.440] – Tara
So you're exactly right. Please honor your body and what your body is asking for and give things time, though. One day you ate cupcakes yesterday. My body hates carbs. No. All right. Give yourself a little bit more time to experiment than that.
[00:45:09.900] – Allan
Tara, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be what are three strategies or tactics to get well?
[00:45:18.190] – Tara
Yes. Number one, sleep so big. I don't know how to say it, but you guys know you're worthy of sleep, right? Remember that. Nothing is more important than that. Everything in the body goes up when you have adequate sleep. And I think so many people are depressed and anxious because they literally just need sleep. And all those neurotransmitters I talked about the production all goes down if you don't have enough sleep, so biochemically, you're in a bad mood and that's hard to get out of. So sleep is, I'd say the core the key stone of wellness. It's the healer.
[00:45:50.950] – Tara
Next is having a consistent routine for success. Have a consistent routine. So it's not so hard all the time. Like, I got to get to the gym some time today. I got to figure out something healthy to eat at some point like that's very stressful. So you can eliminate this decision fatigue by having I have a morning routine. I have a consistent gym time with actual times on it. I have my clutch, go to meals and I have an evening routine. I have boundaries for myself. Right. And that is like it makes it so easy. Your body knows what to expect and you know what to expect, and then you just get in flow that gets you results.
[00:46:22.090] – Tara
And I'd say the last thing is showing up for yourself and having boundaries, saying no to things that you don't want to do, doing things that bring you joy, saying no to relationships that drag you down, spending time in relationships that nourish you. Like that. It's having happiness, like prioritizing kind of that inner child saying, I'm here for you and continuing to show up for yourself in a way that you need. I'd say between that having a flow of a fit, healthy lifestyle that you can stick with with ease, sleeping and nourishing your soul, it's good stuff.
[00:46:57.250] – Allan
Thank you for that. Tara, if someone wanted to learn more about the book, Short-Term Keto or the things you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:47:06.310] – Tara
You know what I would say? Go to my website, Taragarrison.com and you can click on the book link there because I am giving away my Top 100 Keto recipes for free with anybody who orders the books. So all the info for that is just right there. It's quick, easy, instant download because I want to make sure if you read the first chapter and you're like, wow, keto sounds really cool, and I actually want to try it and use Tara's recipes. I wanted to make sure people were supported on that. So my favorite Top 100 Keto recipes that I've used with clients and boot camps and all these things over the years are all condensed into that.
[00:47:35.460] – Tara
And then you can find links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and all these websites where you can purchase the book.
[00:47:40.260] – Allan
Okay, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/518 and I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Tara, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:47:50.190] – Tara
Thanks so much for having me.
[00:47:56.270] – Allan
Hey, Ras, welcome back.
[00:47:57.990] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, what a great interview. There's a lot I'd like to talk about, but why don't we start with the idea of using keto as a short term fix?
[00:48:06.410] – Allan
Yeah, most of the people in the keto space love keto and then therefore, it's the only way to eat. And the short of it is. And anyone that's listening to this podcast more than a week knows that I don't buy into that. I'm not into the dogma of there's only one way for you to eat. There's an optimal way for you to eat where you are right now, and there are certain things you probably want to accomplish that eating the right way for that is going to serve you better.
[00:48:40.910] – Allan
I can tell you from my experience, keto is the best way for me to drop body fat. If I try to do it any other way, I tend to overeat. I don't feel satiated, and I don't enjoy myself enough to stick with it. And then there's just shortcuts. I can't say, okay, I'm going to lose weight and continue to consume beer or bread or those types of things because my body just puffs up. Now. I love beer. Don't get me wrong. And I really am kind of fond of bread, but they don't serve my body, particularly if I'm trying to lose weight.
[00:49:16.550] – Allan
And so if I'm looking to try to lose body fat, I have to go rather strict with keto, but I also have in the back of my mind. Yes, it's not permanent, but it could be if it needed to be. And so the flipping back and forth, which I do as a part of what I call seasonal ketosis is really just that thing to say. Okay, if it's a good time for me to start cutting body fat, which I'll tell you right now, it is. I'm looking for that Tough Mudder in August, so I would love to be 25 lbs less when I do that run because it's that much less weight I have to carry.
[00:49:52.940] – Allan
Now, the weight service me well right now. And if I want to lift heavy and do the things I'm doing, walk and lift heavy, I'm fine. It doesn't cause me any issues at all. But if I want to do something intense and long like the Tough Mudder, I'm going to need to do make some changes to me physically, which includes losing some body fat to perform the way I want to perform for that. So keto is a great way to improve your health. It's an elimination diet, so strictly you're eliminating whole food groups. Yeah, you are.
[00:50:26.990] – Allan
But same thing. If you're a vegan, same thing, you're vegetarian, same thing. If you're a carnivore, all those ways of eating, you're eliminating something. Even if you do the FODMAP diet, even if you do the Mediterranean diet, you're eliminating certain foods. And so elimination is what diets are. Almost none of them are just eat what you're normally eating and just eat less of it, because everybody knows that doesn't work, right? I'm starving all the time and I'm craving foods. So the eating less and moving more by itself doesn't work.
[00:51:00.990] – Allan
You've got to find a structure to how you're eating that helps you feel satiated. That lets you eat less and have the energy to move more. But you can't start with the eat less move more model. You have to think about the foods that are serving you and then go from there.
[00:51:20.030] – Rachel
Absolutely. I thought that was the greatest part about this being a short-term fix is that it's just one test, really. It's one experiment to see how your body responds when you take certain foods out of your diet and add other foods back into it and see how you feel in response. And it's pretty quick that you'll see some changes. But just like she said, you don't have to live on it forever. Once you reach maybe your body composition goal that you're trying to get through, or once you get through your Tough Mudder, maybe you can reassess your relationship with carbs.
[00:51:56.690] – Rachel
which brought me to the next point was that let's talk about carbs because carbs are not all created equal. And like I've mentioned in the past, if anybody says carbs, I instantly think of a giant baguette of bread or the pastries we eat at breakfast. I always default to bread, but that's not all the carbs. That's not it.
[00:52:17.280] – Allan
No, because carbs are going to range everywhere from the leafy greens that have almost no real usable carb. It's fiber and water. Mostly you look at celery, and everybody will say, Well, that's almost a negative in the calories, because there's so much fiber to digest that and get it to chew it, you're almost burning more calories than you are eating. That's not entirely true, but it is full of water. And so from that perspective, to say that celery is the equivalent of potatoes is the equivalent of bread is the equivalent of Twinkies. It's just not true.
[00:53:00.040] – Allan
There's a whole range of them and how your body utilizes them. That's so different. And we talked to Dr. Yeo a week or so ago, and the basic principle is that fiber is not going to be digested by you. It's going to get all the way down deep into your small intestine before bacteria are going to start hitting at it. And then it gets into your large intestine. And that's where they're going to start doing their breakdowns and stuff. So the fiber is going to go all the way through you, and you're not technically going to get any calorie load from it.
[00:53:33.060] – Allan
You're going to feel full or longer because it's not being taken up. Whereas bread and sugar and the Coca Cola and stuff that you want to drink, those things are hitting your bloodstream almost immediately. They've been almost completely digested in some cases again, if they're processed, they've been digested before you even put them in your mouth because of the processing. And so when it hits your digestive tract, they become sugar in your system. And then there's an insulin response. And there's all the other things that go along with that.
[00:54:06.390] – Allan
Different carbs are going to work differently for you. And there was an Israeli study a few years back, and they put the long-term monitors and continuous monitoring of blood glucose that you see people with typically with type II diabetes and type I diabetes. They wear this so they can constantly be monitoring their blood sugar. And they had this thing set up to basically just continually just check their glucose, check their glucose, check their glucose. And then they said, when you get ready to eat something, whatever you want to eat, a banana, a baguette, as you said or anything like that, a donut.
[00:54:46.410] – Allan
Then you go ahead and just log what you ate when you ate it, and they would say, okay, well, one person's blood sugar would just shoot up when they ate a banana, and someone else's wouldn't. And then there's the other aspects of this. If you eat a green banana, like, really green, like, hard to open. It doesn't peel, you basically cut it. That's almost entirely non-digestible starch. It's almost all fiber, and it's basically a prebiotic that's going to feed your intestinal flora, your microbes in your intestine, because you're not going to digest that as sugar.
[00:55:26.920] – Allan
Now, if you let it get ripe, and now it's a yellow or slightly browning, it's a high dose of sugar. It's changed. Same thing with a potato. If you eat a raw potato, it's almost all nondigestible-fiber. If you thecook it and eat it, it's now something that's going to boost up your blood sugar relatively quickly. If you then refrigerate it and eat it later, you've now turned it into a resistant starch. So that's all with the potato.
[00:56:01.780] – Allan
So there's a lot of variation there in the foods that we eat. And there's a lot of variation in individuals. And really, the only way, you'll know, if the food is serving you or not is trial and error. And that's what's great about keto is keto is that elimination diet that takes you off of all of that. And the other thing that at least it was great with keto was that it was all whole foods, because before the keto was really a big thing, they didn't have all the keto snacks and the keto fake recipe stuff. I still want my pizza. So make a keto pizza, which is fine. Except now you're introducing some processed foods, even with the almond flour and the coconut flour and eating a lot of cheese. So if you have a dairy problem, that's just another thing where it might not serve you to be doing this.
[00:56:57.830] – Allan
That stuff didn't exist early on in this whole drive to keto. And I approached it from a paleo perspective. And I'm like well, my ancestors would not have eaten keto pizza. And so it's just those kind of things of saying, think about food as nourishment for your body. And if the food isn't serving you towards the goals that you have for your health and fitness, then it's not the right food for you.
[00:57:27.050] – Allan
And that's kind of the message that Tara came into this was she was a fit young person trying to be competitive and athletic and get stronger and have a certain body fat percentage. And those things were really important to her. And keto was a tool that got her to a point. And then she's like, well, I'm not getting there. And I know I'm doing it right because I have the right resources there's just something about keto that's not working for me right now. And she transitioned off of keto.
[00:57:57.010] – Allan
And then she got to her body composition level. She got stronger. And that's Tara, that's perfect for her. And if you're struggling with something, consider trying keto and see how it goes. You don't have to think of it as, oh, well, once I go on it, then I'm locked in for the rest of my life but you might get there like you have Rachel and say, this does actually serve me very well. This way of eating serves me very well.
[00:58:24.920] – Allan
And if I want a beer after a race, I'll have a beer. That works perfect for you. And for Mike.
[00:58:33.830] – Rachel
Yes, it does. That's our Mo. Mike has an iron gut, so he's able to eat more non keto foods, and I'm able to eat. But that's just it is that we do enjoy certain foods when we feel like we can do that. So a beer every now and then. That's fine. I'm actually going to be experimenting with the sweet potatoes. You had mentioned this to me before about baking them and refrigerating them and baking them again to make them more insulin resistant. That's something I'll be experimenting with as I get ready for my marathon coming up.
[00:59:10.300] – Allan
And I've heard it done mostly with white potatoes. So you might want to do a little bit of reading on that. I'm not sure if it's the sweet potatoes that do that same way because they are slightly different. They're a little less starchy than the white potatoes. So I haven't looked into the sweet potatoes. But if you do that, then report back what you learn about it, because that would be very interesting.
[00:59:31.250] – Rachel
Well, you know, I'd like to choose foods that have a little bit more punch, nutrient wise. And I feel like a sweet potato might have a few extra nutrients that I could probably use in my diet, whereas a plain white potato may not. But I'll definitely try both experiments.
[00:59:46.120] – Allan
You might be surprised if you start really looking into what's in the potato. Besides the insulin response for standard potato, there's still some good nutrients in the potato, so give it a shot.
[00:59:57.940] – Rachel
Yeah, I'll check into that and let you know.
[00:59:59.990] – Allan
All right, Ras, I guess I'll talk to you again next week, then.
[01:00:03.060] – Rachel
Sure. Take care.
[01:00:04.350] – Allan
[01:00:05.220] – Rachel
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