What do the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Johnny Cash, Black Sabbath, Neil Diamond, Metallica, Sheryl Crow, The Beastie Boys, Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran all have in common? Well if you guessed that they all make music you are partly right, this widely varied bunch of musicians have all worked with the award winning music producer Rick Rubin.
So what has Rick Rubin got to do with health and ketogenic diets? For 23 years Rick Rubin was a vegan for health reasons, but instead it left him 100 pounds overweight, fatigued and in so much pain that any activity was an effort. It was at this stage that he met Phil Maffetone who has been one of my favourite speakers at The Keto Summit so far, and bit by bit started to turn Rick Rubin’s health around, by improving his sleep and changing his diet to a nutrient dense high fat diet. Now at 53 he is healthier than he has ever been!
Phil Maffetone has been a physician and coach of elite athletes since the 1970’s and in this interview he does talk about how to optimise training for endurance events, but there was a lot of great take aways for the non athlete as well.
Some of my highlights of the Phil Maffetone interview was his description that there are only two types of cuisines available on earth, everybody has a choice between one of them.
Real food cuisine which can be wide and varied depending on the location and what is available, but it may include meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and possible some legumes and lentils, as well as generous amounts of good fats. Basically any food that has not gone through a factory and come out the other side in a packet is real food. It does not matter what you name your diet, it could be Paleo or Vegetarian and still be a real food diet, but if you include processed foods as part of these diets in many people it is going to lead to metabolic damage if you overindulge (which most people have).
Junk food cuisine, many of us think of junk food as take-away food, pies, hot dogs and candy but Phil Maffetone describes junk food as any food that has been processed in a factory, so this includes many foods that people consider “healthy” like cereals and breads (yes even whole grain which is basically a marketing trick as whole grain breads are still highly processed).
If you are already someone who struggles with weight, energy levels or other metabolic problems, it could be a good idea to do Phil Maffetone’s two week “Carbohydrate tolerance test”, or put another way how much you do not tolerate carbohydrates.
The two week test is where you eliminate all of the processed foods, sugars (even so called healthy natural sugars from fruits and honey), flour and just eat a real food diet. If you’re thinking that this is impossible because this is everything that I eat, then this could be part of the problem with your health, while making the transition maybe hard it actually gets very easy after a couple of weeks.
After two weeks many people start to have more energy than they have ever had before, they have less digestion issues are sleeping better and usually lose some weight. This is how you are meant to feel, and by adding back in the processed foods you not only disrupt your metabolism but you can be turning on gene expression that lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic health problems. From personal experience working with clients who are overweight it can be a good idea to turn the two week test into a four week experiment, because if you are insulin resistant it may take longer to switch into fat burning and experience these benefits.
The current diet for most people is burning sugar for energy, this is the same if you are eating a diet of junk food which includes lots of chocolate and McDonalds or if you are eating a “healthy” diet like the food pyramid teaches us, with lots of whole grain breads and pasta ….. Both of these groups of foods are broken down into simple sugars in the body, and as we become more insulin resistant these sugars get stored as fat in the form of triglycerides.
In the first week or two of changing your diet to a real food diet you will go through a transition period, you may be craving foods and feeling flat during this time, this is because you’re switching from burning carbohydrates as your fuel source to fats, and your body is not used to that. If you have a cheat meal once a week, or don’t commit fully to the two week period you will go back to square one, the longer it takes to start feeling energised and great, the more insulin resistant you are likely to be.
This type of eating will lead to lower blood pressure and insulin levels, and this is a good thing, but if you are on medications it is a good idea to track your levels each day so that you don’t go too low with blood sugar or blood pressure. If these levels drop too low the answer is not to add more carbohydrates back in, but talk to your doctor about reducing your medication as you no longer need such a high level, and eventually you maybe able to go off your medication altogether.
In case you don’t know who Jimmy Moore is he has a website called http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com/ and the longest running podcast on health, plus an author of the books Keto Clarity and Cholesterol Clarity (a must read for anyone with high cholesterol).
Jimmy started his health journey severely overweight after years of consuming the standard American diet, through his own trial and error and interviewing hundreds of experts on health and nutrition, Jimmy is now one the experts on the topic …. Not from working in a lab but going through this journey himself, and in this interview he talks about some the mistakes people can make when starting a ketogenic or low carb diet for weight loss.
The first step is to get educated, this could mean reading his book Keto Clarity (though he was not plugging that), getting a keto meal plan, reading websites and articles so that you have an understanding of how the keto lifestyle works. You don’t need to know the biochemical processes, but just understand some of the roadblocks or obstacles that you may encounter.
The first one is still eating too many carbohydrates, while a very active athlete might be able to eat 150 grams a day of carbohydrates, this is going to be a lot different for someone who is insulin resistant, overweight or inactive. Jimmy recommends starting at below 50 grams a day of carbohydrates and for some people lower, this means that you are going to get your carbohydrates from leafy green vegetables and not starchy vegetables like sweet potato or fruits.
The next common mistake that people can make is eating too much protein, a ketogenic diet is a moderate protein diet and if people focus just on not eating many carbohydrates they might be accidently getting too much protein. Through a process called gluconeogenesis your body can convert protein into glucose in the body, and this happens a lot more readily if you are overweight or insulin resistant. Gluconeogenesis switches off fat burning and allows your body to continue to get its energy from glucose because of the excess protein.
Too much stress, or not enough sleep is another obstacle to weight loss, and Jimmy has had a lot of personal experience with this, and continues to struggle with weight loss when his stress levels go up. Stress drives up cortisol, which in turn raises your insulin levels and this encourages your body to store excess fuel as fat. Managing your stress is a key to weight loss and I am always encouraging my clients to get enough sleep, practice meditation or breathing exercises to help manage this.
If you are managing stress and eating the right diet but still struggling with weight loss, it could also be due to nutritional deficiencies or mitochondrial dysfunction. Jimmy discusses various supplements that can help optimise fat burning. To work out exactly what is affecting your metabolism doing a Organic Acids Test can help identify if you are lacking carnitine, B vitamins, lipoic acid or CoQ10 which are all important for you to convert fats to energy.
There have been so many good interviews so far, these include Jason Fung, Dan Pardi, Tim Noakes and Dominic D’ Agostino, plus many that I have yet to see …. Which is why I purchased the Keto Summit program, so many great talks that I want to be able to watch ,but like with most people not enough time to watch them all.
If you purchase the Keto Summit you will have lifetime access, plus some great bonuses but there is only about 5 days left until the end of the summit, at the end of the summit there is going to be a price rise, so if you are thinking about purchasing the summit now is the time to do so.
Access the summit here https://www.planetnaturopath.com/KetoSummit and once you have purchased the summit you will have access to the members page and special bonuses.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen