Carole Freeman: Hey there. Welcome to another episode of Keto Chat. This is Carole Freeman or Keto Carole. This is a very special episode because this is a recording of my talk that I did recently at KetoCon 2017. I just wanted to share that talk with you. I hope you enjoy, all right.
Jimmy: All right. Our last speaker of KetoCon, the very last singular speaker, we’ll have a couple of panels after lunch, but the last speaker is coming up next. Her name is Carole Freeman. She’s going to answer a question that’s probably on the minds of a lot of people. How many of you in here still have carb cravings, sugar cravings, you got to have the potato chips, you got to have the sugar every once in a while? Be honest. Come on. I’m looking. I’m looking. I see, yeah, I see you back there, ma’am. You don’t have to raise your hands and be a witness to it but yes, we still have those from time to time. Keto-adaptation should fix most of that but Carole’s going to explain why maybe there’s some other things going on that you can work on.
Is Carole ready? I don’t see her. Carole. She’s getting … I see her getting wired over there. She’s like this right now. Sorry, Carole. I didn’t mean to embarrass you like that. Everybody look over that way. Hi, Carole. Look at her. She’s waving. Everybody had a good time at KetoCon this year? How many of you are coming back to KetoCon in 2018? Scream it loud. We are promising to be bigger, better, faster, stronger, all that stuff that Bionic Man does. Ladies and gentlemen, Carole Freeman.
Carole Freeman: Hey, Jimmy.
Jimmy: Go, go, go. Get them.
Carole Freeman: Thank you. Oh, man, where’s the clicker? Hey, what’s up KetoCon? Are you guys having fun? You learn a lot? You like the swag bags you guys got? Well, I’ve got something to add to your swag bag so stick around in the end, don’t bug out early for lunch because I’ll tell you at the end how I’m going to give … what I’m going to give you and how to get it. Who am I? If you don’t know where you’re at right now, my name is Carole Freeman. Oh, look, I’ve got letters after my name. I have the six figures of student loan debt to prove it too. In Washington State, I’m a credentialed healthcare provider. I’m a certified nutritionist and a certified clinical hypnotherapist.
Before we talk about carb and sugar cravings, I’m going to share with you my journey to the keto train, how did I get on this keto journey with you all. Now, I’m in Texas. I had to throw in at least one you all in here. This car accident was a pivotal moment in my life, but before we talk about that, I’m going to go back just a little bit before that. I’ve always been really passionate about helping people transform their body and mind with nutrition. I spent a lot of time at Bastyr University, I got my undergrad in nutrition there and I did a specialized double master’s program of both nutrition and clinical health psychology because I know that what’s going on in your mind is almost as important as what you’re eating.
I learned my nutrition program there. We learned about whole foods and don’t fear fat which is really great and unique in nutrition education but my psychology part of that, we learned, as far as diets and helping people lose weight, we learned this approach called health at every size. The basics, this boils down to diets just don’t work because people are just going to lose it and gain it all back and by putting people on restricted diets, all that’s going to do is cause them to have eating disorders and just feel really bad about themselves because one more diet failed.
Instead of putting people on diets, what you should do is follow approaches like mindful eating and intuitive eating. These are approaches that say that you should just eat whatever you want, whatever your body craves, as long as you do it in a way that’s not judgmental and each piece of that cake that you’re eating, you should just do it with full awareness and no guilt at all. Then, you should do things like adopt the 80/20 rule. Anybody heard of the 80/20 rule? That is a rule that basically says that if 80% of the time you’re eating a really healthy balanced diet, that 20% of the time, you can eat whatever and it won’t make any difference. I came out of school believing and embracing that we should just give up on trying to put people on diets and just help them learn to love themselves.
This is how that worked for me. I’m on the right in case you can’t tell. The 80/20 rule when it comes to food is kind of like an 80/20 rule in marriage, right? Like, if 80% of the time you’re faithful, like Monday through Friday and then about Saturday afternoon, you’re kind of like, “Hey honey, I got to go hit the clubs and I got a Tinder date but we have great marriage,” doesn’t work, right? March 4th 2014, that pivotal moment in my life. I was the last car in a long line of cars and I was hit by a distracted driver. She was going approximately 35 miles an hour, did not even touch her brake. For God’s sakes, people, stop texting and driving, looking at Facebook, taking video while you’re driving. Just stop.
Now, the initial impact, you can see, just destroyed the back of my car but what it did inside the car there, you can’t tell from this photo but I’m actually in the car there laid out completely flat because that first impact broke the seat of my car. The second impact then was my car being shoved into the SUV in front of me which resulted in my legs crashing into the dash. You can’t tell, right? This is an old car. There were no airbags in this car whatsoever. Here’s a 10-day time lapse photo of my legs after that car accident. I developed something called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS for short.
Now, not many people have heard of this. If you’ve heard of it, raise your hand. You know this is a completely debilitating chronic progressive pain syndrome. The pain scale that doctors use, the pain from this syndrome is at the highest end of pain known to man. It’s characterized by extreme swelling and it doesn’t go away, it just gets worse. I spent about three months being bedridden from this. Oh, but wait, there’s more. About eight months after the accident is when the symptoms of my brain injury became so severe that I was again bedridden for another three months. The symptom list is extremely long. I went to doctor after doctor after doctor. They didn’t have any hope for me. They don’t know it was wrong. First, they want to tell me I’m depressed, maybe a fibromyalgia, so I turned to Dr. Google.
I started looking through research articles and I discovered that I had something called post-traumatic hypopituitarism, so PTHP. I thought I might have some hope at that point but I still couldn’t get any resolution because this is a time when we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Well, not the doctors I was seeing, they didn’t know anything about keto then. I turned back to my own core beliefs. I’m desperate. I’m stuck in bed, I’ve been disabled for a year and a half, what do I know? Since I truly believe if we give our bodies what it really needs, we can heal but what do I know that can help heal my brain?
Then, I remembered in grad school, one of my professors had talked very briefly about a ketogenic diet that something that treated epilepsy. I thought, “Well, epilepsy is something that’s not quite working right in the brain and since the ketogenic diet works for that, perhaps that might be something that would help me.” I found Dr. Peter Attia’s blog where he was doing experiments on himself with a ketogenic diet and I started get really hopeful. I thought maybe I can get out of bed again but I also knew that took time to adapt. Keep in mind, I’m coming from this background and belief that I’m going to put myself on this diet, I’m going to fail and I’m going to get an eating disorder and feel really bad about myself.
I committed secretly to following this diet but it would only took a few days for not only the symptoms of my brain injury to subside but for the pain in my legs to go away which again, this is a syndrome that nobody recovers from. Just inside out, my body changed. Reduction in inflammation, the migraines that I was having that were lasting for six days were gone, the pain and swelling, the sleep, the digestion, just everything got so much better. Oh, and my body changed too. I lost about 60 pounds in six months and 10 inches off my waist. I no longer qualified for the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. This fixed my problem that I was having as working as a fat nutritionist.
Needless to say, I’ve become extremely passionate about this. I finally had the final piece of the toolbox to help people really be able to transform their body and their mind. I’ve been guest expert on various podcast and speaking events and, oh, hey look, KetoCon, we should go there some time, right? I’ve transformed my practice, a hundred percent of what I do is a ketogenic diet, I have comprehensive programs that help people with both the psychological side of behavior change for a keto diet and then nutrition part, as well as healthcare practitioner training as well.
Let’s talk now about sugar and carb cravings which is one of the things I really address with my clients, is you’ve got to nip this in the bud, you got to understand where they come from and then you have to know how to actually get rid of them. This is the normal route that people go when they start on keto or even when they’re following keto. If you identify with any of these as I go through these, just raise your hand and nod.
A lot of times, when people start out on keto, they’re afraid of letting go of all their former high carb favorite foods. They want to know, “Well, what can I eat when I have a craving,” or they think, “Well, I was craving chocolate so I just made this keto-dessert,” or, “When I have a craving, I just have a fat bomb and then the craving goes away,” or the denial piece where people just say, “I need something sweet in order to stick to this diet. I just couldn’t do it. If I couldn’t, have my desserts,” or the other part of denial is, “Well, I don’t really have cravings but I just put a little stevia in my coffee every day.”
Now, I’m here to tell you that these are actually huge mistakes. These are things people do thinking they’re getting rid of the cravings or fixing their cravings but really, all of these things increase. They stoke the fire of cravings. Cravings are really complex actually. I’m just going to break them down into kind of two categories. One of those is hormonal and the other is psychological. Keto actually addresses most of the hormonal problems or things that cause us to have cravings in the first place. We get off that blood sugar rollercoaster where you’re hungry every two to three hours, we unlock our fat stores so we’ve got a nice steady supply of energy, it also works at healing insulin and leptin resistance, and the ketones in general reduce our appetite too. Keto takes care of a lot of that.
What we’re left with though is the psychological side of it which we often think of as emotional or stress eating or just falling back into old habits. Frankly, this really is the hardest part of sticking with keto. This is the hardest part of making it sustainable. When they say that keto isn’t sustainable, it’s not because the food is not good. We know that, right? The food is delicious. It’s addressing the psychological side of it. It really comes from a part of the brain that doesn’t have any logical reason. It’s not … Willpower doesn’t have any power over it.
What are cravings? They’re really a continuum, so desire and want. If it’s stronger, then that’s a craving. The other end of that spectrum is addiction. They all have the same underpinnings, the same wiring in our brain. It’s all based or mostly based on this chemical on our brain called dopamine. You’ve heard of dopamine, right? Dopamine is often thought of as the addiction chemical or the reward chemical. It’s actually a learning chemical in the brain. It’s just like a Scooby Snack to our brain. How in the cartoon, like whenever they wanted Scooby to do something, they’d offer him a Scooby Snack. It’s the same thing in your brain, this dopamine.
The whole goal of it is to put your behavior in autopilot. Anything that’s perceived to be beneficial to our bodies for our survival as a human, and eating is a big one of those things, then we get a little Scooby Snack reward for that behavior. The brain not only remembers the weight and gives you a Scooby Snack for that, it also memorizes everything in that whole pattern, the whole chain of events that happen leading up to you eating that whatever thing. I lost my train of thought. I can’t believe it. Give me a Scooby Snack, somebody.
Everything you do, the whole desire of this is to put this on autopilot and make it an automatic thing. The more frequently you do a pattern, the more hardwired it gets. The more Scooby Snacks you’ve gotten for that behavior, the more hardwired it get, so more autopilot, the less control you have over that behavior. Because your brain is memorizing everything that happened around that, from the place you were, how you were feeling, your physical feelings and the behavior itself, dopamine starts before just with the anticipation of getting that food or like carb or sugar thing. That’s where the craving comes from, is that dopamine that starts to come on board and the anticipation of getting that reward.
That’s what’s causing the craving, because your body has done this enough times, you’ve gone through this habit loop, you get off work and you’re really stressed and so you want to have a little glass of wine or a shot of whiskey and then you have dinner and then you have cookies and ice cream afterwards. You’ve done that so many times that just walking in the door after work starts the dopamine release. Your brain is like, “Yay, yay, yay, we’re going to get to have all these goodie things later tonight.” That’s where the craving starts and you get stuck in that loop and you feel like you have no willpower. Why am I back in this pattern again? It’s the way our brains are designed.
Sugar, I’m going to argue, is actually the most addictive substance that we put in our bodies. Now, when you live in a society where it’s like, “Oh, it’s just sugar, it’s just empty calories, it’s not that big of a deal,” but the reason, one of the reasons it’s so addictive is because of the ease of use, right? Remember how he said that your bodies, your brain is remembering everything about that pattern? Every place you’ve ever used sugar, especially frequently, every emotion that you’ve ever used sugar for, every stressful situation, driving your car at work, Friday in the break room at work, all of those places caused cravings. Because it’s so easy to use, it’s so prevalent and you just used it in so many different ways, you have all these triggers for that craving and that reward and it makes it even harder to get off than any other drug.
The thing is that any kind of sweet thing will actually trigger that craving. Let me tell you a story about some raccoon. Now, I bought my first condo maybe about 12 years or so ago. The first night, I’m out on my balcony at dusk and I’m like, “Wow, this is really nice. It’s a shared courtyard area between all the condos.” I’m just looking down below and I see this pack of beady eyes running across the courtyard and I’m, “What did I get myself into? It’s a pack of wild animals coming through the courtyard here and I just moved in.” I see my neighbor down below and she’s walking out with trays of cat food, trays and trays of cat food and all the raccoon come and just start chowing down.
I’m asking her with, “What are you doing? Why are you feeding the raccoons?” She says, “Well, there was this … The first night we moved in, there was this cute little raccoon and he looks so hungry and I just put out a little cat food for him. I thought it will just make him go away. The next night, it comes back with three of his friends so I put out a little more food. Then, as soon, there’s a whole pack of them coming and I thought gosh, this is crazy, I can’t afford to feed all these raccoons. Then, I stopped feeding them but they didn’t stop coming, they just started scratching down my door and my glass and I was so afraid. Now, I can’t not feed them.”
Your cravings are just like raccoon. They are. If you feed them, they come back and they bring their friends. If you think that you’re fixing your craving or I ate this and it got rid of my craving, all you’re doing is reinforcing it. You’re giving your brain another Scooby Snack with a different thing but you’re saying keep coming back tomorrow because I’m going to feed you some more cat food. Stop feeding the raccoons. Now, at first, yes, they’re going to scratch in your door, they’re going to throw a fit, they’re going to want to come in and they’re going to want that food but eventually, right, if she stopped feeding them, eventually, they would go away. They’d stop coming to find somebody else to go knock on their door.
Now, what can actually stimulate craving is any sensory input. Now, our food marketing people, they know this. Any smell, sight, touch, even sound, think about popcorn popping, sorry to do that to you guys, I had to, even the sound can cause that craving, right? The thing is that our brain can’t tell the difference between what we imagine and what’s really happening as well. I’m going to do a little experiment here with you. If you feel comfortable enough now, close your eyes but you’re welcome to keep your eyes open as well. Just imagine that in front of you is a big juicy lemon. Just notice that yellow, bumpy, waxy skin, you’ve got a knife and you’re going to cut out a big wedge of that lemon. As you do, some of the juice squirts in your eye, you take that wedge, place it in your mouth and just bite down on that lemon.
Now, what just happened right then? Come back, open your eyes if you closed your eyes. Did your mouth water like just a couple of seconds that I’m leading you through that? Now, if I told you, all right now, make your mouth water, you have no conscious control over that, right, but your body thought what’s going to happen, you’re imagining it and it responded as if it was really happening. Now, you might feel like it’s hopeless. Just thinking about food makes me have cravings and stimulates an insulin response. We didn’t even get into that but don’t worry, there is hope. You have to know the behind the scenes so you can actually know how to get rid of them. I’m going to give you the 10 rules that I have my clients follow that give them the power over their cravings. This is also a sneak peek of the book that I’ve got coming out soon.
Ten rules. Number one, get into ketosis as fast as possible. We know that decreases cravings and appetite. Now, this is going to require modulating protein and carbs to your own personal tolerance and so I don’t have any magic formula to give you on this because every one of us is different and unique. Number two is notice and then avoid the things that cause cravings. For me, in the beginning, this was … I couldn’t go through the bakery of the grocery store, I had to stop watching cooking shows, stop looking at Pinterest and fantasizing about all the recipes and things like that that I’m going to make. For you, it’s going to be different things. Another one, a common one too is like going to Costco on the sampling day. That one as well can stimulate a lot of appetite and cravings.
My number three rule is no sweeteners of any kind. Now, I encourage you to do this for at least 30 to 60 days just to reset your taste buds because I know a lot of people are like, “But, never, no.” No. Your brain … Here’s another trick about your brain, is it doesn’t like to think about anything forever so just challenge it too, well, just for 30 days, I’m going to give it up. Then, you might find later you just don’t even have those cravings, you don’t need those but no sweeteners of any kind, not even the keto-friendly ones just to move away. Stop feeding the raccoons. Then, later, if you want to put a little snack out for them once in a while, it’s okay.
Number four rule is to make your meals fast and easy. Here’s a example of a 30-second meal that I pulled together. This from my Instagram account. By the way, all my food photos from here are my Instagram. Pastrami and Swiss cheese, like that fast and easy. Now, why do I say you need to do it fast and easy? Because if you’re spending 40 to 60 minutes preparing a meal, that entire time, you’re seeing the food, you’re smelling the food, you’re tasting the food, right? You’re just ramping up appetite and cravings. The faster your meals can be, especially in the beginning, you get that foundational skill and then you move away from focusing your entire life on food.
My number five rule then is to stay away from these non-keto foods. These are things like the typical things that people think of when they go on a diet like the diet shakes and the bars. This is because, for one, they’ve got those sweeteners in it and two, really highly processed refined foods will cause … they stimulate the appetite more than real foods. Number five rule, instead of known non-keto foods that could just be … eat real food.
Number six, you’re going to need to track and weigh and measure. Now, a lot of people like to follow like lazy keto where they’re just avoiding certain foods and not eating other things and eating only these but really to get honest with yourself, you need to track and weigh and measure in order to find out where your personal carb tolerance is. This goes back to my rule number one, to make sure you’re actually getting into ketosis, you need to figure out where you’re at.
Number seven is really important, having a really big why. Now, this is not just a really big reason like getting out of bed and recovering my brain and getting rid of pain in my legs but also staying in touch with how you felt before. Beyond the scale, so how many times in the past have you got on a diet whether your only focus was a certain pant size or certain number pounds you wanted to lose? How quickly did you go back to your old eating habits when that number didn’t move as much as you wanted that week? You gave up. Oh, this is not working. I worked so hard. I deserve a treat. You just go back to those old way.
If you have really big reasons why you’re doing this, and all of us do, health, brain health, all the speakers this weekend gave you a long list of reasons why to do this, have that as your … make a list of it. Literally, make a list of it. Not only have that list but stay in touch with that list. Notice every day how much better you felt them before because people, I’ve seen people forget how bad they felt before and then they just give up as well. Have a reason bigger than the scale.
No nuts and seeds, the number eight rule. All of you have probably experienced this. Nuts and seeds are really easy to overeat. I have people take a break from that in the beginning like at least 30 days, reframe that because they’re just really easy to overeat, especially the way that we have those in our society, right? You can buy them in … Did you guys see the pili nuts and how hard it is to get one pili nut out of the shell? That’s how nuts and seeds are in nature but we get to buy them pre-shelled then we can eat as much as we want. Just imagine, if you had to buy the pili nuts already in the big nut thing, you wouldn’t get very many of them, would you? Just take a break from the nuts and seeds and that’ll dramatically reduce your cravings too.
Number nine, more salt. I hope every one of you know you need at least one teaspoon of added salt per day, probably two or three teaspoons every day. If you haven’t read Dr. James DiNicolantonio’s book The Salt Fix, go grab a copy of that. I did an interview on my YouTube series Keto Chat with him. The book is really great. Salt actually can curb your cravings. There’s science behind that too that he’s got in the book. If you need an emergency fix when you’re having a craving, just put a little salt in a shot of water and take that.
Number 10, a lot of people struggle but what about wine? We’ve got a great option here for wine but in the beginning, you want to avoid alcohol. Number 10, if you’re struggling with cravings, whether you’re just starting on keto or you’ve been doing it a while, sugar cravings at all, take a vacation from alcohol. Now, there’s three reasons for this. One is that when you’ve been drinking, you’re more likely to eat non-keto foods. Also, research shows that you’ll eat about 30% more. If you’ve been drinking, you will consume 30% more calories following alcohol consumption than if you hadn’t drank at all.
Then, the third reason is actually a biochemical reason. There’s a shared enzyme in the body, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, that’s going to be on the quiz later so, that your body needs for both alcohol detox and fat metabolism. In the beginning, there’s not enough of it to go around to do both. It’ll really suppress ketosis but also give you a really nasty hangover as well so stay away from alcohol. Then, when you bring it back in, talk to the dry farm wines people about getting the no carbs, no sugar.
All right. Thank you so much. You’ll also get your reward. I’m going to give you your Scooby Snack now for listening. I’m going to give you an 18-minute hypnosis recording. It’s specifically for cravings. If, right now, you’re struggling with carb and sugar cravings and you just need something to get over that hump, right, you need a bridge to go to get rid of the raccoons when they’re scratching at your door, so this is an 18-minute hypnosis recording, I call it My Cravings Crusher. It’s specifically designed to get rid of any sugar or carb cravings or anything that’s really kind of derailing you.
I see a lot of you, it’s a really good idea. Take your phone out, take a photo of this because right now, you’re going to want to go to lunch but take a photo. When you get back home or your hotel tonight, you’re looking through your photos of the event, go and download. You just sign up here, all you need is your name and e-mail address at ketocarole.com/ketocon. My name has an E on the end. That’s my gift to you, your reward for listening to me. I really appreciate it. Thank you all and have a great conference. Oh, we have time for some questions.
Female: With regards to kicking your cravings by not having any sweeteners and how many of the accepted, generally accepted sweeteners on keto are not sugar but they still stimulate that craving, is there a place in a ketogenic diet for somebody to, in your opinion, to have sweets that are not causing a rise in blood sugar and keep that under control without being addicted to sweets?
Carole Freeman: Yes, yeah, absolutely.
Female: I’m confused about that.
Carole Freeman: This is going to vary, just like so many other things on a ketogenic diet, this is going to vary from person to person. We’ve got the lab tests that say erythritol and stevia don’t cause a blood glucose rise and they don’t cause an insulin response, therefore, they’re keto-friendly but for some people, just that sweet taste, because they’re so far down that continuum of getting so many rewards for just having something sweet, for them it may not be keto-friendly for them. I always encourage people to just do like a vacation from something, reset 30 or 60 days, and then try it again after that.
Most important is your own reaction, your own symptoms that you have. The homeworks that I tell people to look for is if you reintroduce that and all of a sudden now you have cravings that come back with a vengeance, your appetite is stimulated and then you’re obsessively thinking about that food again, like if you wake up the next day and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to have X, Y, Z,” those are all signs that it doesn’t work for you. It might be that you just need some more time with some more brain healing and insulin resistance reversal and all that.
Try it again another 30 or 60 days but always look at your own individual results. Don’t just go by some list of something somewhere that says like, “This fits for everybody and so therefore, it’s got to work for me.” Does that make sense?
Female: It does. Thank you.
Carole Freeman: Hi.
Female: Do you have any recommendations for how do you get back into the right mindset when you do give in to cravings and how do you get back at it?
Carole Freeman: Yeah. I mean, that’s a whole other topic that I love to talk about because your brain gets primed. You take that vacation from the suite and then your brain is primed for that hit and the reward that your brain gets, it gives it 10,000 times more Scooby Snacks the first treat or treat cheat that you have. It makes it even harder than probably the first time that you were getting on track with keto. A lot of it feels like why do I have less willpower but it’s actually the brain chemistry that’s going on with that. There’s a lot of things you can do. Relook at that list of why, recommit to keto, reach out to your community, have a solid community of people that you’re working with.
The hypnosis that I’m giving you as well is a really great thing for that as well because that can help squash that as well. The brain really likes things where you make a commitment like you pick a specific date and that’s your date I’m going to get back on track. There’s other techniques of that too, like making sure your environment is clean, like getting rid of all those triggers in your environment. There’s other subtle things you can do as well of changing those patterns. If you cheated in a certain place, an environment in a sequence, change that pattern up. If you have a habit of getting off of work and doing whatever, like change that pattern so that even before you walk in the door, you don’t trigger that first piece in that whole habit routine. You do something a little different.
Maybe you get home from work and before you even walk in the door, you just take a walk. Then, you walk in a … This is silly. It sounds silly but just walk in a different door in your house. It will totally rewire that pattern as well. There’s lots of things but yeah.
Jimmy: Carole Freeman, thank you very much.
Carole Freeman: Thank you, Jimmy.