Deep diving in the world of Keto Dieting
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of The Mindful Space. Today we have Ben Asadi. I said it right. You said it right. Michelle? Yes. How are you today? Wonderful. I’m so excited to be here with you. Thanks for the invitation. Of course. Thank you for coming. I’m excited about today’s conversation. Me too. And we’re neighbors. We just found out. Oh, my God. We have one more thing in common. Yeah, that’s right. So let’s start from the beginning. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you fall into this industry of keto diets and all of just I think you can explain it better than me. For sure. Yeah. So growing up here in Miami, Florida, or down south an hour from here, I was left to my own devices, meaning my parents were divorced. They actually had an arranged marriage in Iran, which is where my parents are from. Came to America in the marriage wasn’t really real because it was ranged, so they got divorced. I was born in 84, and my mom worked three jobs, so I was left home all the time. And that was a problem for me because I hung around the wrong crowd. My friends were really bad influences in my life, and my mom worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken, so she would bring me home Kentucky Fried Chicken pretty much every night, so I ate it, and I was a happy kid eating it. Right. But I was very unhealthy, and I followed a standard American diet, really processed diet, and I really had an unhealthy lifestyle growing up. I was obese as a kid, physically, but also mentally. I was depressed. I had really self limiting beliefs. I was bullied and picked on, and I got through school, but I graduated high school late, went to college, and all of my bad behaviors as a kid transferred to my adulthood. So in 2008, I found myself a 24 year old guy, 250 pounds, depressed, went through a bad breakup with my ex girlfriend, and I actually wanted to give up on life. I was tired of crying every day. I had no goals in my life. I had addictions to alcohol, video games, and food addiction, and I didn’t see a future for myself. So I did explore suicide several times. And every time I went down that route, the first thought that went through my mind was, what would your mom have to deal with if her son took his life? Okay. And my mom sacrificed so much for me. She was my superhero. I didn’t want to do that to her, so it stopped me from doing it. And that was the only thing that stopped me at that time. And I knew I had to figure things out because I wasn’t going to take my life and I wasn’t going to stay miserable like I was. And a friend of mine handed me a book, and he said, I think this book is going to help you out with what you’re dealing with. He was actually my best friend. He is my best friend. And it’s not that that book is the greatest book in the world. It’s just that that book called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson taught me about my daily behaviors and how that compounds over time to get you your results. So I started to understand I have these results not because it happened overnight, but it was a period of time where I had these bad behaviors, bad thoughts, bad habits that compounded into me being this obese man physically and mentally. So that one book led to other authors like Dr. Wayne Dyer started to fall in love with his work. And I heard him say, if other people are the cause of your problem, you would have to hire a psychiatrist for the rest of the world in order for you to get better. And I was like, oh, my gosh, that is so true. Right? And he was saying things like, hey, when you squeeze an orange, what comes out? Orange juice. Why? Because that’s what’s inside. When life squeezes you, what comes out, what’s inside. And that’s your thoughts, your feelings and your actions. So I started to really understand how important it is to become aware of your thoughts. So that took me down a whole rabbit hole. Tony Robbins and Bob Proctor. So all these amazing authors. Michelle but the most important thing that it did for me was it helped me take responsibility. For the first time ever, I started to take responsibility. So I started to move my body, eat real food. I started to think better thoughts. And I went through this incredible transformation where I lost 80 pounds in about nine months. I went from 34% body fat down to 6% body fat. Completely transformed my physical body. But I always tell people, six pack is great, but mental six pack is so much better. And that’s what I achieved, I believe. And I still work on it to this day. So that was about 15 years ago. It’s what got me in the health space. And ever since then, I wrote four books. I brought you one. I’ll share with you later. And I’ve just been on a mission to just educate people and help them understand that the body is amazing. It was built to be self healing. We just have to remove the interference. So that’s my story. No, it’s a great, amazing story. I’m sure you summed it up. You have more details on that, for sure. Let me go back. So now you work in the keto industry. You’ve written books, and when you look back, right when you started and where you are, you said 15 years. Yeah. I’m sure you’re very proud of yourself and you see all of your achievements as. Did you ever think you would get to that point? No, I didn’t. Just going one day at a time. Yeah, exactly. I was just trying to get some momentum. Let me just get a small win. Let me make a small tweak here and there. I was saying my motto was one tweak a week. One tweak a week. And then I built Momentum. And then I look back to your point. It’s like, oh, my gosh, I achieved XYZ. And it’s crazy to look back, because one of my favorite things to do right now is speak on stage. And I deliver keynote lectures. I travel to speak. And I was so afraid of it back then. I was afraid to even speak in a group of, like, five people and ask a question if I didn’t know the answer. I was just so like a shell of myself back then. And it’s crazy to just look back and see what I’m able to accomplish nowadays. And I feel like I’m still getting started, though. Of course. Well, you can always learn, right? Yeah. For those that might not know or be familiarized with the term keto, what is a keto diet? So the keto diet is very popular. I was recently asked a few months ago from my mentor. His name is Dr. Daniel Pompei. He said, do you think more people are being helped by keto or being hurt by keto? And it was a really interesting question, because it’s so popular, I had to think about it. It’s so popular that I think I believe it’s actually hurting more people than helping them. Only because so many people have the wrong definition of keto. They do it the wrong way. So I’m going to explain the way I teach it, the way I believe. It could be such a powerful healing tool. So keto is a metabolic process. It’s called ketogenesis. It’s the creation of ketone. So there’s nothing new about keto. It’s just nuanced or maybe new to some people. But ketosis, this metabolic process, meaning burning fat, it’s been around for as long as humans have existed. Every single one of our ancestors, they did keto. That surprises a lot of people, but it is a fact. Our ancestors had to go through this period of ketosis because they didn’t have food available to them all the time. So their body, they had to have the ability to burn body fat and use ketone. So that’s what it is when you bring your carbohydrates low enough that you tap into your body fat. Once you start burning your body fat, those fatty acids are sent to your liver, and your liver uses it for energy, and it produces ketones, and that fuels the brain. That is the process of keto. So that’s simply what it is. I don’t even look at it as a diet. I look at it as a metabolic process. And when we look at America, for example, there was a study that came out of University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2018 this was a ten year study with over 8000 people, and they wanted to determine how healthy or how unhealthy was the American population. Exactly. They looked at blood pressure, they looked at different metrics, BMI, are they on medication, off of medication? And they came to the conclusion that 88% of American adults are metabolically unhealthy. 88% can’t say I’m in shock, right? But yes, it’s just me too. I wasn’t shocked. But it’s unfortunate, right? And that was before COVID You know, it probably got worse after COVID. So I think they’re essentially in a keto deficiency. There’s so much research showing getting into this fat burning metabolic process of ketosis could reverse type two diabetes, insulin resistance. There’s also research showing what it does for mental illness, like bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, because of what it does at the mitochondrial level. What ketones do to help the mitochondrial function. Now, is that process the same thing that when you talk about fasting? Because that’s another big term. What’s the difference between keto or fasting? Is it the same purpose? Just to better understand? Yeah. No, it’s a great question. They go hand in hand because you could get into ketosis by fasting. A lot of people think in order to do keto, they have to eat a whole bunch of fat. Most people say, oh, you have to eat bacon and burgers. That is one way. But you could actually practice intermittent fasting or different variations of fasting to get into ketosis. Fasting and keto both lower insulin, the hormone insulin. And that allows you to get into ketosis because it allows you to tap into your body fat. So they do work well. They’re different, but they work well together. I know you just recently talked about it or tapped on it, how it can help the mental health. But how does the keto diet, how could it improve your mental health or what effects does it have? Yeah, when we think about mental health, right. When we think about, first of all, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, even bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, a lot of these conditions, you’re very well burst in and have interviewed so many people. There’s a lot of new research coming out showing that it has to do with the mitochondria and the health of the mitochondria. So I had a gentleman named Dr. Chris Palmer, who’s a Harvard psychiatrist, on my podcast recently. He wrote a great book called Brain Energy, and he has a lot of research showing that these mental illnesses are directly related to metabolic syndrome and the results of mitochondrial dysfunction. And we think about the mitochondria, most people understand that it’s in your cells, it creates energy, and that it’s true. But there’s also an intelligence to the mitochondria, and the brain actually have the most concentration of the mitochondria. So a lot of these individuals who have mental illness have poor mitochondria, and they have found that when you help them upgrade their mitochondria and create healthier mitochondria. It helps tremendously with these conditions. So where does keto come into play? Well, ketones are signaling molecules. There’s a lot of research showing when somebody’s in a state of ketosis, those ketones are communicating with the mitochondria, and it’s creating more mitochondria. It’s creating mitochondrial biogenesis. So it actually creates 400% more energy with ketones versus somebody burning sugar. And that’s where the research is showing how ketones could be that powerful and fasting plays into that role as well. Yeah. Do you work with both the fasting and the keto diet? I do. First. I do Keto. I like to get the person fat adapted, and then I pair that with intermittent fasting. It works really well. One, two punch. Interesting. When you say did you say fat adapted? Yes. Fat adapted. What is that? Yes. I was like, that’s a catchy term. Yes. So that’s the goal. So when we think about those 88% of people that I mentioned that were metabolically unhealthy, they’re what I call sugar burners. So when the the body has about 70 trillion cells, and out of those 70 trillion cells, we could only burn sugar, glucose, or fat. And ketones. Those are the only two options. Most people are stuck burning glucose, and when you’re stuck burning glucose, it’s very inflammatory. And I always tell people, if you want to age fast, like, burn sugar all day long. An example of somebody who’s a sugar burner is the average American who eats 300 to 400 grams of carbs per day. They’re eating throughout the entire day. They’re constantly raising glucose and insulin up and down, up and down, and they’re not allowing insulin to drop low enough to tap into their fat stores, which is ketosis. So when you do that, then you’re fat adapted. When you’re producing ketones, that’s what I would call fat adapted. So it’s a much cleaner energy source, like a gas stove burning fat versus sugar. That would be more of like a truck with all this smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. Yeah, I got it. I got the mental picture. How is keto different than other diets? And I know you just said you don’t like to call it a diet, but how does it differ to a regular meal plan or other types of diets that people are trying to push out there? Yeah, the difference is that it’s a metabolic process. So when we think about a vegan diet or a carnivore diet or a paleo diet or a fruitarian diet, those are not necessarily metabolic processes. Those are ways to eat food in order to achieve a diet. Now, ketosis is a metabolic process, and that’s what makes it different. So it’s never going to go away. It might not be as popular as it is now in a few years, possibly, but it’s never going away because it’s a metabolic process. So that’s what makes it different. But here’s the thing. There are several ways to do keto. There are ways to get into ketosis and actually create more inflammation in your body. A perfect example of that would be somebody who does keto but eats a lot of vegetable oils, these inflammatory seed oils that are highly inflammatory. And I would argue they’re actually more inflammatory than sugar and possibly even smoking. Yet they’re all keto friendly. Right. So that’s the thing there. But when you’re doing keto, got to understand there are certain fats we want to avoid and certain fats we do want to consume that are actually healthy for us. Yeah. I feel like it can get very complicated. It can. I’m not an expert. I’m not keto. I’m one of those that have heard about it and the pros and the cons, but I’ve never really digged into it. So that’s why I have a lot of questions. Yeah. I’m happy to answer them. That’s why I called you in. Expert. Or do you think the American health industry has failed us in general? I do. Yeah. So when we look at for example, if we look at hospitals as an example, hospitals should be a healing environment. Right. It should be a place where people go to heal. And when we look at hospitals, the food given to patients in the hospital is inflammatory food. Right. It’s food that actually creates inflammation, which led them there in the first place. A cancer patient who’s going through chemotherapy, the food they give them in the hospital is food that’s inflammatory, that can actually lead to cancer. And then they allow fast food restaurants in hospitals. So I don’t think their number one goal is to keep us healthy. It’s a business. Unfortunately, it is a business, and it’s not conspiracy. There’s a tufts University last year came out with this Food Compass, and the gentleman who’s running the Tufts University nutrition programs, his name is Dr. Mosefarian. He’s working with the FDA, or he’s trying to work with the FDA and President Biden to implement this Food Compass as the new food guide away from my food plate. And on this list, it shows items that are in green, which they recommend that you should be eating to be encouraged, items in yellow that should be eaten in moderation, and then items in red that should be minimized. Avoided, right? Yeah, avoided or minimized. Right. But on the green items, they have Lucky Charms, frosted Mini Wheats, chocolate covered almonds, skim milk. I know. And then in the red, they have Lucky Charms. Were in green. That’s correct. And in red, they have red meat and eggs. So they’re essentially saying that Lucky Charms and Frosted Mini Wheat is healthier than red meat and eggs. So what I tell people, I always say, look, if you want to real because you’re right, it’s confusing. Not just keto, but, like, somebody really wants to get well, and there’s so much information out there. I say, look, this is the best thing you can do. Follow what the government is telling you to eat, follow their guide perfectly, do the complete opposite and you’re going to be healthy. That’s exactly what I down. And then do the opposite. That’s right. That’s not it. Well, that brings me back. Old school days, it was like the food pyramid, right? And like you said, the food plate, and before it was like, drink milk, and now it’s like, no, milk is bad. And everything just changes all the time. It’s so confusing. So confusing. Yeah, it’s constantly changing. People don’t know what to believe. I like to just look at what has been around for a long time that we have survived on and thrived on, and those are just real whole foods. Meat is a real whole food. Eggs are a real whole food. Lucky Charms is not. Right. That hasn’t been around as long as meat and eggs. My son loves it. He’ll buy it sometimes, but I wouldn’t substitute it for, like, a piece of steak. No at all. Have a piece of steak with a side of Lucky Charms. There you go. It’s a win win when it comes to you. Keep talking about ketosis. Can you dig in a little bit deeper in the sense of explaining it so people really understand in simple language? Yeah, for sure. So the average I mentioned, the average person is eating about 300 grams of carbs per day. In order to get into ketosis, they need to drop their total carbs to under 50 grams per day. So if they track their carbohydrates, they could see how many carbs they’re eating. Bring that under 50 grams per day. And then the rest of your macros should come from fat and protein. If you do that for seven days, you should be in ketosis. It’s not that complicated. And there are ways to test. You could test your blood, finger prick and look at your ketones and see if you’re in ketosis, but simply drop your total carbs below 50 grams per day. Eat more fat and protein because that’s going to help you’re. Right? Because I know it’s tough to do that. But if you make that transition slow, like a gradual decrease as you’re increasing protein and fat, after seven days, you should be the majority of people will be in ketosis, meaning you’re burning fat instead of sugar. So when you say lower the carbohydrates, give me an example, like, I don’t know, somebody who eats five pieces of bread and now goes down to one pieces of bread. Is there a comparison that you might have to make it easier? Yeah. So, for example, most people think an acai bowl is healthy and there’s about 100 grams of sugar in an acai bowl. Right. So just that alone will not allow you to get into ketosis. Right. So you just want to look at what you’re eating and maybe use, like, a food app. There’s different free ones out there. Like MyFitness pal and different ones input your food, it’ll tell you how many total carbs you’re having. But yeah, orange juice, acai bowl, cereal, bread, potatoes, these are all carbohydrates that will add up. And if you think about, most people don’t even know how many carbs they’re having, but they’re having, right? Yeah, you’re not alone. Yeah, you’re not alone. But most better example, do you have pictures? Eat this. How do you measure the food? I mean, I know some people do. I was just like for the average American who doesn’t measure the food yeah, you just put it into an app. You don’t have to do it forever, maybe for seven days, just to get an idea. But the goal is to eat more protein and fat, less carbohydrates, and just by doing that, you should feel better, you should be burning fat and have more energy as well. Okay, now, when it does enter into ketosis, what role does it play in weight loss? Many, many roles. A few roles. So insulin, as I mentioned earlier, the body has many, many hormones. But insulin is the primary hormone for storing energy and storing fat. As a matter of fact, it’s the only hormone that stores fat. So when we think about those three macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat, carbohydrates will spike glucose and insulin more than the other two. And of course it depends on the type of carbs, but every carb will have a glucose and insulin response. Protein has a very moderate glucose and insulin response. Fat, zero response, 0% response. So you keep insulin low. That prevents your body from storing fat and allows it to tap into body fat. So that’s one mechanism of how keto helps with weight loss. Another mechanism is when you pair it with intermittent fasting. And naturally, when people do keto, they tend to just naturally do it with fasting because they just feel so full and satiated, so they end up maybe skipping breakfast or skipping a meal. That’s another way because you’re actually allowing insulin to drop even more. And then the third way is that the mitochondrial level, because I mentioned earlier that when you’re in ketosis, you produce 400% more energy, more ATP. As you’re producing more energy, it raises your basal metabolic rate. Meaning just sitting here, we’re burning more calories because we’re in ketosis because of that energy production. So it’s threefold, we drop insulin as the main mechanism for weight loss with keto. Pairing it with intermittent fasting allows you to tap into visceral fat even more, and then the energy production helps increasing your basal metabolic rate. Yeah, I do the fasting sometimes. You do? What schedule do you do? I’ll do just the 16 hours. That’s great. Past that I go a little hangry, so I don’t do that. But I’ll have dinner, what, at like 07:00 p.m., and then I don’t eat till eleven noon, or whatever the 16 hours is. And great. I started it because when I was eating right away, as soon as I got up, I was just tired. I was just tired. And somebody came and talked to me and said, well, have you tried this? Because energy I was eating more because again, I eat every 3 hours. And I was like, okay, I’m going to do in the beginning it was hard. I felt it more. But then now I’m just used to it. Now I don’t get hungry. And you have more energy as a result. Yeah, that’s right. I’m not crashing at like 09:00 A.m.. Yeah, that’s a great tip for your audience. It’s such a great fasting is one of my favorite tools. I love it. Just like keto. You’re right. Because it takes a lot of energy to digest food. And when you’re eating in the morning, you have to take energy to digest food. But then that glucose. Yeah, I totally get it. Eating at 07:00 a.m at nine? I’m just like exactly right. Yeah. Because it takes energy from you. But then you get a glucose spike and then that glucose drops and then your energy drops with it. And most people need to eat something else just to get it back up. But with fasting, your glucose and insulin levels are stable. And you’re not using energy for digestion. You’re using it for the brain and to focus. Like at this point, I’ll get up and do a yoga class without even eating the coffee. I do cheat with the coffee. No, coffee is great, but coffee is fine. Unless you’re putting sugar in it. I put long fruit sweetener. Okay, that’s fine. Because I heard that that wasn’t and I want to ask you, am I breaking the fasting sweetener? It depends. I always tell people to look up their blood glucose. It is a little complicated. I’ll keep it simple for you. I don’t think you’re breaking the fast. But if you want to get very technical and really find out, you would track your blood glucose right before and 45 minutes after to see if there’s a rise. The only yeah, but coffee is safe. I always tell people in general, coffee is safe. Monk fruit is fine. It’s much better. I put a little bit I can’t do coffee without any sweetener. Yeah, I get that. It’s very bitter. I’m not mad. Do you drink your coffee black with just monk fruit? I just do like an espresso. Oh, an espresso. Got it. With a little bit of monk fruit. Yeah, perfect. It’s not even a lot, but it cuts my hunger a little bit. I love it. It helps with the last 2 hours. Yeah, totally. Yeah. I need to eat. So you’re not yelling at your coworkers. Exactly. Yeah. So I don’t get hangry. I understand. Now, what kind of mindset must you have to consider doing keto? Does it matter? Does your mindset matter? Do you have to be strong willed or anybody can do it. I mean, I know you said your own story that you had to get into the mindset or at least acknowledge that it was your responsibility in order to change it. Mindset is everything. It’s probably 95% of the equation, not just with keto, but with anything we do. I really believe if we’re not inner sizing, it doesn’t matter what we do externally. So it has to be a part of it. Whether it’s keto or fasting or whatever we’re doing in life, mindset needs to be at the forefront. For many know Dr. Bruce Lipton, who’s a world renowned cell biologist. He’s a brilliant guy. He wrote a great book called The Biology of Belief, and I’ve had him on my podcast. He’s such an incredible resource. He has shown with his research that our thoughts actually communicate with our cells and our DNA, and it actually penetrates the cell membrane of our cells and tells our DNA to produce certain proteins. And the proteins that it will produce is dependent on the thoughts that we’re thinking. So, for example, if it’s a negative thought, a hateful thought, what I call like, a stinking thinking thought, that protein that the DNA produces is inflammatory. Even though you might be eating clean, the thoughts could be self sabotaging you. But if you’re having more abundant thoughts, grateful thoughts, loving thoughts, that signal sent to the DNA tells the DNA to produce anti inflammatory proteins. So we know that’s true because he has that in his research. And the average person has about 60,000 thoughts per day. That means we have 60,000 opportunities each day to put the body in a healing state or an inflamed state. Right. So it has to be a part of the conversation. Everything you talk about in your show, that’s everything that I teach. It’s funny, too, because people discover me and they want to learn keto, and they come into my academy to learn keto. But we start with this. This is the fundamental. Like, if we don’t get this right, if we don’t work on the thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, it doesn’t matter how much keto you do or how many supplements you take, you’re going to find a way to give up and to quit or to self sabotage yourself. Exactly. So it is everything. It is part of what I teach and every lesson that I teach. No, I mean mindset, like you said, career, diet, anything. But ultimately, anybody’s capable of getting into shape, keto, diet, anybody, anything. Anybody has to be willing to look at my story. Right. 80 pounds overweight, obese, ready to give up on life. Exactly. All right. If I could do it, anybody could do it. We would like to think, yeah, you definitely have to have the willpower, though. But it’s not impossible. Yeah. If your why is strong, that how becomes easier. The willpower will come. Just keep a lot of people ask them, what is your why? Like. Why do you want to do keto? Why do you want to get healthy? And it’s not as superficial as I want to lose 50 pounds. And that’s a good goal, that’s fine. But it’s layers and layers behind that. I always ask them, okay, where is that showing up in your life? Well, I don’t have confidence at work. I feel like I’m overweight, and I don’t ask questions in meetings or whatever it is, or I don’t have energy from my husband or from my wife, or I go on a trip and I’m complaining because I’m tired all the time. So it’s about where it’s showing up in your life. Identify that and how that would be improved with you improving your health and your lifestyle and keep that in front of you. The reason why you’re starting this. Then the willpower becomes not easy, but easier. Exactly. No, that’s a very important reason, I feel like, even in therapy. What is it? Why are you here? What is it that you’re trying to fix? What is it that you’re trying to work on? And people have to be very clear on their why. And if not, then that’s when we step in, we help, right? Yeah, we’re going to help, you know your whys so important. And then the house. Exactly. Getting a little bit more technical. What are the metabolic changes during ketosis and their effects on fat burning? So there’s several things that happen there. The number one thing is inflammation, cellular inflammation. That is the number one cause of weight loss, resistance, why people can’t lose weight, and why we see diabetes, autoimmune conditions, these symptoms from COVID that are last, they’re called long COVID symptoms. It’s a result of cellular inflammation. So with ketosis, it allows your body to reduce cellular inflammation at the same time increase energy. So you have this metabolic switch taking place where you’re switching from burning sugar to burning fat, lowering inflammation, which is important because now your hormones could get into the cells better, but also increasing more energy. So that’s one metabolic shift. Another one is it produces different hormones that help you feel full and satiated. So people who have a habit of emotionally eating, like I did, or even food addiction, carb addiction, it helps tremendously with that because it resets your receptor sites in your brain, especially when you combine it with fasting like dopamine. But also, eating more protein and fat is way more satiating than eating carbohydrates. So it helps you make better decisions with your food, prevents you from emotionally eating and snacking all the time. So there’s a whole host of these metabolic properties taking place. I need a little bit of that training. Yeah. Well, I got you a book. Oh, my God. Yes. But then I have to follow it. It’s so easy sometimes to get the information, and then it’s another step to actually do it. So true. And that’s the most important thing, right? To actually do it, but I will read it. I’ll start with that. Okay, that’s awesome. What are some myths and misconceptions about this whole Keto diet or modality or Ketosis? Because like you said, people keep talking about it. It’s been around forever, but not everybody has the right information. So what are the most common myths that you’ve heard from people that you need to do it forever? I don’t think you should. I actually don’t teach that. I’m very non dogmatic about Keto. I think it’s a great metabolic tool and process. But you shouldn’t do it forever. You go back and forth into Ketosis, and that’s the premise of my book, Keto Flex, meaning flexing in and out of Ketosis. So that’s a myth that you have to do it forever. I think that it’s actually bad for you. Another myth is that everybody does it the same way, and that is not true. There are so many different ways to do Keto, but not every way is going to get you the result you want, which is health. So there’s a healthy way to do it and a very unhealthy way to do it. And then another myth would be men and women should do it the same way. That is also not true. It needs to be done differently. And I talk about that in my book. Women need to go for example, menstruating. Women need to do it with their cycle. And then postmenopausal women need to do it a little bit differently than how men do it. So we got to put that in consideration. And then another myth is that not with Keto per se, but like in the health space, is a popular myth, is just that if you want to lose weight, you just have to cut your calories and eat less and move more. And in the beginning, I actually used to subscribe to that and teach that and do seminars about that, and I do not subscribe to that anymore. I do think calories matter. I don’t think they’re important. I think they’re just a big distraction, and the human body is way more complex than just being a calculator. We’re not a calculator. We’re a chemistry lab. So I think it does people a big disservice when we just teach their community to cut calories in order to get healthy. Do you remember that TV show The Biggest Loser? Yeah. So they did that right. These contestants that were obese, they had them on these calorie deficit exercise their butts off, and they all lost a whole bunch of weight. And then the show ended, and then they gained all the weight back, and then they destroyed their metabolism so bad they couldn’t lose the weight no matter what they did. And that’s why there’s never a reunion show for The Biggest Loser. Crazy. So it doesn’t work long term, only short term. Yes. And with the Keto modality, you can get out of it. And then come back. Does it have that same impact where if you stop doing it, you just gain all the weight or no, no, not if you do it the right way. So the way that I teach it is we get you into ketosis, we leave you there for about 45 days, and then we start flexing in and out, and we have strategic days where I call them Keto Flex days, where you’ll feast on healthy carbs, healthy food, and get yourself out. Yeah, exactly. I like that. You like that? So there you go. You have that in your plan, you get to feast. Is that like the cheating Sunday where you yeah, you could call it a cheating cheat meal. But yeah, if you’re going to do a cheat day, it’s going to be on a Keto Flex day. Yeah. Nice. I’m down for that one. There you go. How do you know if this diet is right for you? Is it right for everyone? Do you think everybody should try it? I think everybody should do it. I think because we’re designed to burn fat. To give you an example, all babies that are born into this world and are breastfed are actually in ketosis. Breast milk has saturated fat, cholesterol, and it gets that baby into ketosis. And the argument is, oh, but Ben, there’s also sugar in breast milk. And that is true, but the baby is so efficient at using that sugar, it naturally goes in and out of ketosis. So I wanted to ask the question, why are babies in ketosis? And the reason is because of that neurological development. It helps tremendously. Yeah. So we’re designed to burn fat. I’m not saying we should do keto forever. Some people who have seizures might need to do it more strategic and longer because it’s more of a therapeutic reason for doing it. But it’s a metabolic process, and we’re all designed to use it, so I think we should all use it. But different people need to use it for different durations. So there’s different ways to do it. But I think we could all benefit from it. Yeah. And I guess depends on your goal. Like you said, there’s therapeutic correct diet, and there’s people who have diabetes who need to be on it a little bit longer as well. But I believe it’s just a natural fat burning process that we have forgotten about, essentially. Yeah. What about fasting? Is that something that people should do all the time? What about doing it a couple of days instead of the whole week? What is your take on that? Yeah, fasting is a little different. So there are some caveats with that. If you have an eating disorder or a history of an eating disorder, you want to work with a coach on that. Right. You don’t want to just go into Fasting if you’re very underweight. You don’t want to go into Fasting if you’re pregnant, you don’t want to go into fasting. If you’re a child, you probably don’t want to do much fasting because you’re growing outside of that pretty much could benefit anybody. But you have to find your sweet spot, because fasting is what’s called a or it’s called a hormetic stressor, meaning you apply a stress, and then your body adapts to the stress, and then you get stronger. For example, exercise. Somebody was a couch potato for ten years, and then they go and they start doing a workout. Everything will hurt. Everything will hurt, right. But if they do a workout for, like, just, let’s say ten minutes, they might get a little sore, they recover, and then next time they do 15 minutes, they recover. They’re finding the right pace. But if they go and do CrossFit oh, my gosh. Not good. Right? It’s the same thing with people who are snacking all the time or eating a high carbohydrate diet. If you go into a 24 hours fast without building up the fasting muscle, you’re going to do more damage than it is going to hurt you. So you got to find your rhythm. I think a 16 eight, what you’re doing is great for most people. As long as you’re getting enough protein average, right? Yeah, 16 eight is great. As long as you’re getting enough protein in your eating window, that’s great. And then there’s some advanced strategies as well. Like, I’ve done a five day water fast in the past five days. Yeah. Not there. No, I wouldn’t recommend it. I did it, but I don’t recommend it. No, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re coached on how to do it. You want to build up, like, advanced it’s very advanced. You want to build it up. But here’s the reason why I did it. There’s a doctor from Boston College. His name is he’s not a doctor, sorry. He’s a cancer researcher. He is a doctor, but he’s not a cancer doctor. He’s a cancer researcher, Dr. Thomas Seafried, and he has a book called Cancer as a Metabolic Disease. He’s probably one of the leading researchers on cancer, and he has been quoted as saying that if you did a seven day water fast, meaning just water for seven days, once a year, you would reduce your risk of cancer by about 95% with other lifestyle changes. He likes keto as well, so he looks at something called max autophagy, and I’ll explain that in a second. And you could measure that with glucose and ketones. And I did the fast to hit the max autophagy, and I got there on day four. So let me just explain what max autophagy is. When your body’s in a fasted state, the body has this inner physician, the innate intelligence. It’s the world’s greatest doctor. It really is. There’s no pill surgery, shot supplement or chiropractor or health coach that could replace the doctor that we have within our cells. So the innate intelligence knows everything. So when you’re in a fasted state, we activate the innate intelligence. It starts to think, whoa, we’re 16 hours into a fast. Or like a five day or four days into a fast, we’re going through a famine. You see, the cells are hardwired for the old school, so it thinks you’re going through a famine, so it automatically turns on a process called autophagy. Autophagy is a process. The Greeks call it eat thyself. It sounds pretty weird, but it’s a process where the innate intelligence looks for cells in your body that are not functioning well, that are inflamed, and it starts to eat them, clean them up. So the analogy that I give people is a refrigerator, right? If we went to the kitchen here in the building and we opened up the refrigerator, we would see all these groceries that have an expiration date. What would happen, Michelle, if we let all the groceries expire and instead of throwing them away, we go to publix, the supermarket here, and we buy new groceries, put them in front of these expiring groceries and close the door. Nasty, right? Yeah. It’s going to be disease. It’s going to smell. Right? Our cells have expiration dates, too. And when we’re not getting autophagy, you get this toxic buildup that leads to cancer. So with fasting, especially a longer fast, you get this max autophagy effect. And that’s why Dr. Thomas Seafried says you could reduce risk of cancer by 95%. It’s like cleaning out all these expired groceries. And the question I always get asked is, all right, how long do I have to fast to get this autophagy? Right? Well, that was my next am I supposed to increase to 18? It depends on the person. For most people, it’s going to start around that 16 hours mark. So it’s starting to get turned on there. But if you exercise or are very active during the 16 hours, you’ll get there faster. So maybe some days you increase it to 18 and you’ll get a little bit more autophagy. Because I would say around the 16 hours mark is where it’s starting to get turned on. Okay. Yeah. I will try this. There you go, on a mission now. More espresso with monk fruit. Damn it. Okay. What are some of the most common challenges or potential side effects of doing the keto, and how do you address them? Are there any? Yeah, the side effects are if you go into it too fast, let’s say your carbs are 300 grams, and you heard me say you have to drop it to below 50. So you go from 300 to 50 in one day, there’s going to be some side effects, because what happens is you’re going to dramatically drop insulin, which is good, but you lose all this water weight. Yeah, it’s a shock. You lose all this water weight, and then you lose all these electrolytes, and there’s something called the keto flu. And that’s exactly what happens. So you feel like you have the flu, so you feel sick for like a few days. You don’t have to do that, though. I don’t recommend that. So that’s why I say gradual decrease. So that is one thing right there. Make sure it’s a slow decrease and keep your electrolytes up. Starting day one, just chuck some electrolytes. Chuck some electrolytes. Yeah, exactly. Put in your coffee. Put some salt in your coffee. You could do that. Sometimes I do that too. That’s one way or one side effect, I should say. The second one is a lot of people’s liver, I call the liver the soccer mom, because soccer moms do everything like the liver. Yeah, because it’s true. If you use it, but it’s true. The liver does so many things, and one of those main things is that it produces bile, which breaks down fat. And when we eat more fat on keto and you can’t break it down, you get diarrhea, you get loose stool, you get these digestive issues and you blame it on keto. But it’s because you didn’t support the liver. So how do you support the liver? You eat more bitter. So I always say bitters for the liver. So coffee is a bitter. So you’re already doing that. Arugula, apple cider vinegar, ginger, ginger, tea, milk thistle, bitters every day will support that liver to produce bile. So you can start breaking down the fat and that will help you feel a lot better, especially if you’re having digestive issues. That’s good to know. A fun fact. Yeah, fun fact. It works really well. I am drinking some of it, but I didn’t know I had those major yeah, coffee is great for the liver. Yeah. Who would have thought? What are the biggest roadblocks, or some of the biggest roadblocks for people when they’re starting this diet, their environment, they’re going to see their friends and family will tell them, hey, you’re doing keto, you’re going to have heart attack, you’re going to kill yourself. It’s so bad for you to eat all that fat. Your environment is the biggest roadblock. So it’s important to have a community, have a coach who’s going to support you along the way. And the more you understand it, the more competent you have, the more confident you’re going to be in those conversations. So they’re not going to influence you. Your conviction is going to be stronger than their conviction. So I think it’s important to have a tribe, have a community, have a coach, because there’s going to be those bumpy roads. I have found that not even with keto, but anytime you make a change in your life, I’m sure you’ve seen this, when you change, you become a threat to people in your life who are not changing. Oh, yeah, right. That’s an overall it’s like it happens all the time. Yeah. When you grow as a person or change, and then you start putting boundaries and all of that. People don’t like it. They don’t like it? Yeah. For many reasons, because it puts points of mirror to them and what they’re not changing, and they miss their old drinking buddy or whatever it is. So it’s easier for them to bring you back to their vibration, we’ll call it, versus it is for them to change. So, yeah, that’s the biggest thing. It’s the comments that people make. That’s why it’s important not to do it alone, to have a community that’s going to support you like anything else. That’s right. Yeah. How sustainable is the keto diet? Well, I think you already answered this question. I was going to ask if it’s a lifelong thing, but you’re suggesting that it shouldn’t be. No, I don’t recommend it be a lifelong thing. No. Or it could be a lifelong, but not consecutively. I do recommend that my overall goal is to be metabolically flexible, burn sugar, burn fat, go back and forth. Most people need to do keto because they’ve been too much of a sugar burner. They need to switch some of the bandwidth around and get to the fat burning pathway. But, yeah, it’s a lifestyle. So this keto flex lifestyle going in and out forever, that’s the goal. You want to be so metabolically healthy that you can do that? That is the goal, yeah. Well, I definitely learned a lot in this conversation, and I’m pretty sure we can keep talking for, like, another hour maybe. I’m going to have to bring you back. Yeah. Round two. I’m going to give you a last question, or not last question, but I would like for you to give our audience a last piece of advice or recommendation for some that may be thinking about starting this keto diet or they want to learn more, understand it more. What would be your recommendation? I would say not even as it relates to keto, but just as it relates to getting healthy. It is our responsibility. It’s your responsibility to be healthy, my responsibility to be healthy. And if you treat your health casually, you’re going to end up a casualty. The stats out there with disease, it’s awful. Michelle, one in three women are diagnosed with cancer in America right now. For men, one in 260 percent of American adults are diabetic or pre diabetic. And by the year 2032, they’re projecting that one in two children are going to be born in the autism spectrum. Okay. Harvard is projecting that by the year 2030, half of the population will be obese. And why? It’s horrible. These are terrible stats. Right. The best advice I could give your audience is to believe that your body is self healing. Believe in the innate intelligence. I believe in God, so I believe God built my body to be self healing. And we could substitute that word, God, for Mother Nature, love the universe, but the body is built to be self healing. Whether you believe that to be true or believe that not to be true. Either way, you’re right. Where do you want to direct your bandwidth? And the placebo effect is very powerful, and a lot of people don’t you know all about the placebo effect. Right? I’ve been lecturing on the placebo effect and the nocebo effect, and a lot of people don’t know where it originated. It originated in World War II. A doctor named Dr. Henry Beecher was working with us. Soldiers, and these soldiers were getting bombed. They had their limbs blown off, they had bullet wounds. They were going into the medical tent where Dr. Beecher was, and he was giving these soldiers morphine so they could stabilize the soldier. They don’t go into shock, they keep them alive, transfer them to the hospital and save their life. And one of these days that they were doing the morphine injections, they ran out of morphine. So the nurse there didn’t know what to do. She was freaking out. So she put saline solution in the needle, told the doctor, Beecher that she’s giving him saline solution. So he had the belief he had saline solution. He told the soldier, I’m giving you saline, I’m giving you morphine. And the soldier believed that, and they survived and the war ended, and Harvard wanted to know what happened, and that’s where they studied that, and that’s where the placebo effect came. Right? That’s how powerful it is to believe. So I would tell your audience, Believe you can do it. Take responsibility. Don’t treat your health casually. Once you upgrade your health, starting with that mental health, everything else upgrades in your life, your relationship, your finances, your business, everything you’re seeking starts with the mental health and the physical health. Yeah, and the mindset, which is what we were talking. And everything it took a domino effect. Everything affects everything. It’s all connected. That’s how we’re going to close the interview. And I have a gift for you. We can’t forget the gift. We have Keto Flex for Michelle. Chapter twelve is all about how to do it for women, by the way. Really? Yeah. That’s your chapter. Sticky note on that one. Yeah, I love it. Well, now you give me some more homework. I’m going to follow up with you. Please, I’m sure I’m going to follow up with you and have well, thank you so much. Thank you for coming. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. This is something that I’m definitely going to look into it, and I’m hoping that our audience enjoyed this interview and they enjoyed all the content. So thank you again. Thank you, Michelle. It was awesome. I appreciate it. Thank you, everyone. 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