Get a Free 7-day Fast & Easy Keto Meal Plan:
Vivica Menegaz is a certified whole-food nutritionist, blogger, published author and one of the leading voices advocating for a food-based approach to healing. Vivica was the first one to use the now popular expression “Keto Paleo” to describe her lifestyle and way of eating.
She is the founder of the “The Healing Foods Method’ – an 14 week online nutrition program where she works 1-on-1 with clients to turn their health around utilizing a therapeutic ketogenic diet for healing (keto paleo).
Tracing back to her Italian origins, Vivica is a passionate cook whose love of healing food has been shared with millions through her blog, “The Nourished Caveman.”
While living in Northern California, pursuing her self-sufficiency dreams and practice of nutrition, Vivica’s life came to a turning point when she discovered she was pre-diabetic. The nourishing Paleo foods she had been advocating we evidently not the whole solution to modern health problems. Fueled by this discovery, Vivica dove into research and found the ketogenic diet. It was love at the first bite.
Within the first couple of months, her blood glucose levels dropped, she shed excess weight, her brain fog cleared up and her energy levels skyrocketed. After a year of successful keto paleo lifestyle Vivica’s own health journey took another turn as she was now diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism. Again she had to rely on her studies and practical applications to resolve those challenges, and that is how she became the first holistic nutritionist to successfully utilize a ketogenic approach as the foundation to endocrine rebalancing.
Vivica’s therapeutic approach to food, lifestyle and supplementation, utilizes the healing power of foods and mindset, to address the incapacitating symptoms of many lifestyle-diseases that have plagued our modern lives.
She has made it her mission to help others reclaim their health and quality of life.
Vivica is also the author of 3 cookbooks: “The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook” 2015, together with 9 other bloggers, and “the big book of Fat Bombs” in 2016. Her latest book: “the Keto Paleo Kichen” was released in December 2017.
Hey Everybody. Welcome to another episode of Keto Chat. I am your host, Carole Freeman, certified nutritionist and now humorist and a certified clinical hypnotherapist as well. Excuse me again. Today I’m so thrilled to be bringing you, with her really cool background, Vivica Menegaz. Did I say it right? Oh my gosh, we met on a low carb cruise a couple of weeks ago, actually, so 2018. So let me just give you a quick little introduction.
Vivica is a certified technician in whole nutrition with four years of clinical practice. She originally from Italy. She grew up in a family of restaurants, learned to cook from professional chefs and soon discovered her passion for food. After moving to the U.S. she had a successful career as a food photographer, cool, and then decided to study nutrition, her true vocation. Last year she opened her own web-based practice, specializes in therapeutic ketogenic diets. And she’s a creator of the healing foods method, a 14 week course to transform health and lifestyle, focusing on metabolism and endocrine rebalance.
You may know her, as I originally did, from her blog, The Nourished Caveman. So we’re gonna talk all about how that came to be with delicious keto and paleo recipes. So, welcome, Vivica to the show. Thank you so much for being here.
Yeah, thank you. I knew that at the end of our talk on the cruise we were talking about doing the Vivica and Carole or Carole and Vivica comedy show.
Yeah, oh my gosh. Because you had some tech challenges with your presentation. You were one of the speakers of the conference and your presentation didn’t play nice with the computer that they had you working with. So you did an amazing job at working with the challenges you had with the tech there.
Yeah it sounds like mine became the involuntary comedy show. The slides were just like shew, shew. And [inaudible 00:02:25] were frantically pushing buttons trying to stop them.
You were doing the improv show for, “Surprise, it’s nutrition humor program.”
It was the last day. I think everybody was pretty tired so it maybe was a little comic relief.
Yeah. Well to start out with, I was just sharing with you how after hanging out with you for a week on the cruise, the light bulb went off for me that, oh, you were that same person. So I’ve been on the keto diet for three years now, and I remember the little blonde girl on Nourished Caveman website and it clicked in my brain. I was like, “Oh, she’s that same person. That’s who she is!”
Not so blonde anymore, as you can see.
Yeah. So I would love to hear the story of how that whole blog came to be. How did you transition from food photographer into starting a blog.
Well there’s actually a few things happen in between, but, I went from my career in photography, took a few years of hiatus where I traveled a lot. I lived in Brazil, I got married and then I moved back to the states full time. I moved away from Los Angeles and I moved to Northern California thanks to a friend who was a doctor chiropractic. She basically was trying really hard to convince me to study nutrition because she wanted me to work with her. And I was kinda in a place in my life where I didn’t wanna do photography anymore and I was looking for something else.
And so I was a resistant and then I was like, “Okay, let’s see if I can study nutrition.” So I started a course in nutrition and started working for her practice and that was really what she wanted me for because she was starting to move her practice from chiropractic to nutrition practice and she needed help with that. So I became a patient advocate and that was my first nutrition job. I was counseling patients on detoxes and diet changes and the reason why I started a blog is because everybody would always ask me, “What do we eat.” And I didn’t have books at the time, I didn’t have meal plans because we were doing more like a Weston Price, nutrient dense diet, not GAPS but more like the original teachings of Dr. Price about nutrient dense foods and started going into Paleo.
So that was how this funny name of my blog came about that nobody gets. It is the nutrient dense foods of Weston Price combined with the caveman-like ancestoral diet of paleo. So it’s an ancestoral diet with nutrient dense foods. And so I called it the Nourished Caveman because back in the day, it was about seven years ago, there was this big controversy between the Weston Price people and the paleo people, you remember, butting heads. And it was like, why do that? The two worlds can totally integrate into a beautiful concept and so that’s what my blog was gonna be.
That didn’t last long because I was only paleo for about a year and then when I discovered that I was pre-diabetic and I wasn’t as healthy as I thought, I was like, “Oh, paleo’s not working so good.” Yeah, I was eating fruit all the time and baking lots of stuff, lots of honey. We lived [inaudible 00:06:10] and whatnot, we had tons of local honey and local fruit trees and it didn’t work so good for me.
Oh, that’s really fascinating. I didn’t know that part of your backstory, that you were eating paleo and you were pre-diabetic. Did you have a family history, you have a past history of being overweight?
No, actually, I was pretty skinny all my life. I never had a weight problem. But, funny enough, it really tells you how under the surface of our bodies, so many different scenarios because I do have a family history of diabetes on my maternal grandfather’s side so I didn’t even connect it. I didn’t even think it was possible for some reason. But then, one day, I checked my blood sugars and I started tracking blood sugars and I was like, “Whoa, what is going on?” And I had gone from my usually 124 pounds or 127 pounds of weight, so being relatively thin, to just started gaining weight.
And, of course, everybody tells you, “You’re getting older, you’re gonna gain weight, it’s normal.” And I just kept getting bigger and bigger. But more than even just the weight was the inflammation and joint pain. My back was going out all the time. I had migraines still, even though I was doing nutrition and doing detox and detox and detox, my digestive system was way better but the hormones were still not there. And getting all these little hormonal things developing as you enter perimenopause. And i didn’t, at that time, understand how the whole endocrine system is connected, which it’s kinda my thing that I do now. So it really was a big slap in the face. That’s when I found keto and I was like, “Paleo’s not working for me just by itself.” So I had to add keto on top of what I was doing so it became what I call “Keto-Paleo” right now because it had to be the kind of keto that I believed in.
There are 15 million versions of keto, we all do kind of our own thing that works for us but that is what worked for me until now, at least.
Okay, so let’s pause right there and just kinda clarify for people. Because a lot of people ask me that. In fact just last night somebody says, “Well what’s the difference between paleo and keto?” And I know but I wanna hear your … this is your interview so let’s let you answer that. What’s the difference between keto and paleo?
Well, actually that’s a good question and I find it very simple to answer. For me, paleo means unprocessed foods and eating as close as possible, which, it’s not possible of course, but eating close to what our ancestoral diet would be. And that also means eliminating dairy for the most part. I do ghee still and sometimes butter. So I’m not one of the purists of paleo. I do use certain things that come in a box. I try to use as little as possible but I’ll have collagen powder or I’ll have my morning tea. Sometimes I’ll use [inaudible 00:09:43] as a morning tea. Those things maybe will not be 100% purist paleo but I also try to eat as clean as possible from the farmers market, all grass fed, grass finished and for me, that’s the paleo part. And I do not do dairy.
The keto part is really only macros. It’s macronutrient ratios because we can do keto eating Mcdonalds and you know all about it. There are so many different versions of what to eat on keto and why. But ketogenic just means restrict your carbs so you pop into ketosis and keto adapt possibly, hopefully. And that’s about it. So you can pretty much add ketogenic to any diet. You can be vegan-keto. Good luck doing that but …
Yeah, great. That’s an awesome explanation of that. And it’s interesting how people think they’re the same thing. And I’ve had so many people say, “well, I ate paleo, so I’m keto.” Or they say, “I eat whole 30, so I follow a keto diet.” I was like, “Oh, no.”
No. A lot of people think they’re doing keto and I get a lot of clients that come to me and they’re like, I’ve been doing keto for six months and then I look at what they’re eating and I’m like, “That’s not keto, sorry.” Let me tell you what keto is.
I love that you’re sharing your story too of how you were a normal body weight but developing diabetes and so many times, because I’m interviewing ladies for potential … to work with me. They talk about, “Well, my husband, he’s thin so he can eat whatever he wants.” Or “My kids are thin, they can eat whatever they want. They can get away with it.” And I say that, for people like that, and you, it’s actually harder because you have no idea what’s happening inside. The people that get fat, like me, we actually have an indicator on the outside that we can see and other people can see that something’s not healthy inside of us. Whereas people they aren’t as good at storing fat like that, they’re a ticking time bomb inside and they have no idea. And a lot of times their doctor won’t even check their blood sugar or A1C or things like that. And so things will be much more progressed in their disease before they even catch it or know that they have some changes they need to make. So I think it’s a rare person that can eat whatever and not have any health consequences, despite their body composition
Yeah, I don’t quite believe that either. And I think, even on the outside, it might look all good, if you scratch the surface. And also out perception, I think that our perception of what healthy is, it’s very specifically skewed in a way because I get so many people that I interview and they’re like … interview for possibly working together. And they’re like, “I’m pretty healthy, I just wanna lose weight” And then I’m asking them questions and their period are horrible, they’re having cramps, hemorrhaging, they’re on medication, thyroid medication, all this other stuff, maybe on a PPI, digestive stuff, but they’re like, “No, I’m generally healthy.” I was like, whoa. You really get used … things just become normal and then once you’re used to them, you kind of phase them out. This is a [inaudible 00:13:13] feel like we do that a lot. And we just don’t wanna realize that this is not optimal health.
That is so true. Same thing, I talk to people to and they’re like, “Oh, I’m really healthy except for …” And you’re right you make this really long list of all these things that they were just told is a normal part of getting older, right? 10 years ago my mom telling me that having stiff, achy joints when you wake up in the morning, welcome to your 40s honey, that’s just what happens. And one day after being keto for several months I was like, “Oh, no wait, my joints don’t have to be stiff and achy.” And all these other things that we’re told are a normal part of getting older, like you said with the … “Oh it’s your middle age, you’re gonna gain weight, just get used to it. Get some stretch pants, honey.” Right?
And by the way, I was super insulin resistant and it took me almost six months to be able to lower my insulin resistance. And one thing I get asked a lot, and I actually I’m gonna speak on this at some point in a video that I’m gonna do. But people are like, “How come you can eat keto and never get in ketosis?” And that’s one thing about measuring ketones, I can never have a high number of ketones just floating around. Even when I measure with the breath ketones, as far as burning and the actual activity, I am never in high ketosis. I know that the insulin is a part and also my liver, probably, is a part. But it’s quite interesting because I look healthy, I look fit and still I have super high insulin resistance.
My blood sugars took forever to … there was a lot of other people that I started on keto as I started on keto and they were doing great. Their blood sugars were dropping, they were losing weight super fast and, to me, it took such a long time to reset that and to go back to normal blood sugars and insulin sensitivity. I think it probably took about two years to heal that insulin resistance. Even though, again, on the outside I looked normal. But on in the inside, if you started measuring stuff and looking at stuff, it was a very different scenario. I know that … and also it takes time, it really takes time. Even with keto, everybody loves keto because they’re like, “Quick results, drop the weight!” It’s not necessarily always like that.
Okay, so who’s your … the people you’re working with, it sounds like you’re primarily working with women. Describe your ideal client.
Well, there is the ideal client and then there is the client that kind finds me and needs me the most. Sometimes it’s difficult because the people that come to me usually, it seems like they’ve tried keto and it didn’t work and they’ve tried almost everything else and they also worked with … I get a lot of patients that worked with normal doctors then endocrinologists then functional medicine doctor, sometimes even a nutritionalist or a dietitian which are different, but definitely not a keto trained nutritionalist. And they need to lose weight, they’re hyper-thyroid, their adrenals are all over the place, their sex hormones are all over the place, and they’re pretty much just coping but nobody can help them get better.
So they come to me because they find this interview or that thing or that blog post but what I do is, I guess I have the ability to see the whole picture for them and to understand. And this was kind of like my talk on the cruise, the kind of miserably failed talk on the cruise was about, how do we balance endocrine health, metabolism and healing through a therapeutic ketogenic diet. Because that’s kind of the main thing that I do in my practice, because my practice started out with … I used to focus on pre-diabetes because that’s what I did for myself and I knew how to do it, it was nice and effective and easy. But what I started seeing is that all these people that would come to me with pre-diabetic numbers, they also had really screwed up hormones. And they are 99% women, yes.
And so it was like, if I fix one thing but I don’t fix the other, and nothing really gets better. And I’m a bit of an obsessive person when it comes to resolving issues. I don’t like to do half done jobs. I had to go and pursue it. And, as always, the main motivator comes from your own healthy story, because that was my scenario as well, as a woman in perimenopause, my hormones started being all over the place and having all these issues. And so I kinda had to figure it out for myself.
And as I am a testament to the possibility of resolving such issues, and so are a lot of my patients, I know that there is hope and there are ways to do it and it is possible to lose weight and address your metabolism and preserve your hormone health or restore your hormonal health, especially thyroid, especially adrenals.
So what symptoms are people having that … if you made a list of the top five things that people complain about when they’re working with you, what are those? Probably, like you’re saying, most of them say they just need to lose some weight. And they think they’re healthy, right? What are the other things that are …
See, because the weight is mostly, kinda sadly, but it’s the motivator because we deal with that on the outside. We look in the mirror every day, we don’t fit in the clothes we wanna fit in, so when there is excess weight and we can lost weight, that’s the big motivator, I need to lose weight. And then the symptoms, a lot of the symptoms are exhaustion, that either you wake up in the morning and you just don’t wanna get out of bed, need coffee in order to function, that’s a big one. And then the two, three pm crash when people just can not function any more.
Also brain power is a big thing because a lot of people complain of fuzzy brain, foggy brain, when you have to work and … like, I’m a business owner, if my brain doesn’t work, my ship goes down. And I know a lot of women these days, they are more career oriented and they have high demand jobs, or just keeping track of a whole family and if you have kids, many kids and you have a job, keeping track of everything is very demanded. So a big symptom is brain fog and fuzzy thinking. And then there is constipation is another big one that comes and, of course, periods, totally bad periods. Debilitating periods. So when you’re in bed for two days and have to take pain killers or massive doses of Advil and ibuprofen and just hemorrhaging the whole time.
Those are all kinda symptoms that seem random but they’re all connected to the same thing.
Yeah, okay. So can you kinda give us a sneak-peak overview of what your healing foods method is? I know it’s top secret and people have to [inaudible 00:21:43] to get it but can you kinda …
No, it’s not very top secret. The program is based on the foundations of nutrition. So for me, in order for a person to lose weight, I am very clear with clients, I’m not a weight lost person, I wanna get you healthy. So if you wanna lose weight without being healthy, you can go get a lap band or go use pharmaceutical speed. I don’t do those things. I’m pretty brutal with them but if somebody wants to work with me, they need to get in that frame of mind that the body needs to be healthy first.
And so in order to get a person to start being healthier and healthier, the first thing we need to examine is toxicity in the body. So we really … I’m very thorough in history and trying to address all those different possibilities of where the root causes of the problem come from, where are they and then we go did. We really go kinda gardening for root causes.
I do it very slow and steady detox starting with a liver detox and then going into cellular detox. There are a lot of elements that are not commonly considered, like aside from the heavy metal toxicity that’s really standard knowledge but nowadays there is a lot more awareness of, for example, viruses and bacterial infections that are chronic and low grade. And they affect your glands and organs.
So, for example there has been a lot of connection with EBV virus and the thyroid and how do you clean that up? Is that even possible? I do that in my practice. So I’m definitely going to, after liver detoxes I go into cellular detoxes. Throughout this process I also do a very solid keto adaptation. I think there are amazing benefits in being keto adapted. Not a lot of people get properly keto adapted so it’s very important, also, to follow the steps and make sure that your body has the right conditions to keto adapt.
It’s harder than you think. People that just randomly do keto, especially women … and don’t forget, my target, my client is always women and usually over 40 years of age. And that’s when the hormones come in and really make it harder to do all this kind of work. That if you’re a 20 year old body builder male, it’s so much easier. Even a 30 year old male, even a 40 year old male because the hormonal picture is different.
So we go through all the steps in the program and then there is, of course, a very big focus on gut healing, so detoxification and then we look at the gut. We start looking at stress and the influence of stress on the body, all the different factors. And diet and lifestyle, of course. And kinda bring it all together and make sense of it all together. But the big focus for me is on endocrine rebalancing because that’s where … it’s also my field of expertise.
Oh, okay. Love for the endocrines. That was my big challenge after that car accident, everything just went haywire, all my endocrine glands just were not working right. Oh gosh, okay so let’s talk more about the blog. You were sharing with me about how the challenge now is, you’re known for this Nourished Caveman blog. And it was funny because I always thought, so why is this cute young girl having a caveman website, like she’s a cave woman? Right? So now I know the behind-the-scenes story of where the name of that came from. So what-
Mostly Italian so I guess there was like … I should have said something with woman but I wanted to keep it general at that point because I wanted to include everybody and that’s what it came out like. Me and English.
No, it’s great. It totally fits with what the goal of it was or the aim of it, right? So I didn’t ever … I’ve done probably every dietary approach out there but I never actually was paleo, right? So I skipped over that one. I went from … like before I did keto I was doing whole foods, all foods fit type of 80/20 rule, focusing on mostly real, whole foods but not restricting anything. So I never jumped on the paleo band wagon. So now I totally understand where the name comes from. And, in my schooling as well we had a big emphasis on Weston Price’s teachings so the nourished part of it totally makes sense because that a word that they use in that. And I’m very familiar with how the two … the fighting about the, “We’re right.”, “No, we’re right” And it’s just like, “No, let’s just take the best of all of it and combine it together too.
So anyway, what’s the future of your blog? Do you see yourself renaming it or are you just keeping going with it?
So yeah, this is a big conundrum right now and I’m actually been in this process of where to go with the blog. It’s been a big question for me because I know that it doesn’t reflect my identity or what I do completely anymore. But does reflect the way I eat and the way I want most of my patients to eat. So it will always be there for that. And I have been in meetings in the last few days, trying to see … create a new concept that reflects what I do better and where are we going from now. And I’m about to do an interview series as well. I’ve been doing interviews for a few years with experts on the blogs but I kind of … oh, hi kitty. [inaudible 00:28:17] kitty too. Mine usually scratches at the door when I’m doing interviews and drives me crazy.
Oh, man, I have three. I’d never get any peace if I shut the door.
I know, I have to but it’s loud out there but …
This is my co-host here, Penelope.
Yay, she’s cute.
She’s very grumpy but she also has to be next to me all the time. And there’s another one under the desk too.
Nice. Yeah, I’m surprise Gato is not here. I managed to lock him out.
But anyway, so there is going to be a certain expansion of identity going on and I am really excited. We have some concept floating in our head. But it’s definitely going to be something that reflects better. Of course the ketogenic aspect because, for me, is foundational. I’ve been keto myself for about four years. And when I first started keto there was not a lot of people that was talking about it. And now, the beauty is that it’s really exploded, it’s going more mainstream, there’s so much more research and experiments and people doing all kinds of versions of keto. So it’s really great. Although, on the other hand, I see a lot of really bad keto being done. So …
What do you mean by that? What do you see … tell me more about that.
I don’t know how it is in your experience but I always, like I just say, I always come from the foundation of health. Being a nutritionist, for me, health is the number one important thing. And even though I think that ketogenic has immense value, it is not an excuse to cut corners. And I see how a lot of people wanna just a ketogenic diet to cut corners and not do the proper work to get healthy, they just wanna drop weight fast or get cut fast.
And so they will just eat whatever and I don’t endorse that at all. There is the famous cherry turnover card up thing that … there is different circles of doing keto and one is body builders or people who are lifting, heaving lifting and they will be strict keto a week and then they’ll do the carb ups before lifting and they’ll do the carb ups with cherry turnovers. See, that is a very different world view from where I am because I believe in a sustainably healthy, consistent diet every day. Carb ups are not keto, are not. And then that’s the foundation that we build upon so to really get 100% of the benefits of a ketogenic diet I think it has to be done with the right foods that are nourishing and ancestoral.
Eat following your DNA, eat following your evolution and I’m also not a super big fan of the last, short 8000 years of agriculture and how that has changed the human experience in so many different levels. We’re not just talking dietary but also cognitive and socially, all those different things that came through agriculture. And then the latest developments with agriculture with GMO and pesticides, herbicides, amongst other things. There are a lot of implication. And if I call myself a holistic practitioner, I need to be able to look at all the implication that are part of the pictures of your health.
Nice, awesome. I wanna ask, then too, what … so there are women who need this healing that are normal body weight, right? And that’s not typically who I work with. I work with women who have typically 20, 50, 100 pounds to lose or more. So what, in your work, do you see the people or women of a normal body weight or a normal BMI, they need a different approach with keto, right? Because they’re gonna have to be, their body … if they go too low calorie, their hormones aren’t gonna be very happy at all. So what do you see that needs to be different for women who are trying to rebalance hormones, trying to get the benefits of a ketogenic diet but they’re a normal body weight? What’s different about that approach?
I think that there is … it’s kind of fortunate in a way when you do work with somebody has a normal body weight because a lot of the people that come that are like your clients that need to lose a large amount of weight, like 20, 30, 40 pounds, 50 pounds, 100 pounds. They are metabolically damaged and so they have this history of really bad diets. I’m sure you see that every day. Low fats, super extreme calorie restriction, up and down, sometimes it’s eating disorders, binging then fasting, purging. So there is all this metabolic damage where your metabolic rates are super low and you’re not able to burn any calories for energy. So there’s all that part that needs to be resolved but when you have somebody who doesn’t need to lose weight, then you can kinda skip ahead a bit and get to the real healing.
We don’t need to focus on how do we heal the metabolism, we need to start trying to be able to incorporate more calories and more movement and raise your metabolic rate and all those things that we would do for weight loss, but instead we can go straight into, okay we’re gonna get you super clean, really clean. And that sometimes is a big process in itself. I have several patients who are younger, in their early 30s, a normal weight, but have crazy hormonal dysfunctions due to major heavy metal toxicity and when the heavy metals are there your gut is always really compromised so then we need to focus on that gut healing and that takes months. So we need to first clean up heavy metals, then focus on the gut. So the work is kinda deeper. And this same scenario can very well happen in people that need to lose weight but there is that little benefit that when you’re not overweight, then we can really focus on healing.
Do you have to do special strategies to make sure they’re eating enough food? Because I know, for most people, when they get into a ketogenic diet, their appetite goes way down or goes away. And for women especially that don’t need to lose weight, how do you navigate that?
Well I think when … I use macros as a tool when we begin working together and I keep a very close eye, both on their macros and what they eat, the actual quality of the foods. But when there is no weight loss needed then we can transition faster into a more intuitive eating. And I’ve honestly only had one patient so far that was having issues with losing too much weight.
I find, personally, that it is very easy to maintain or gain weight on keto because you can eat fat. And fat is super calorie dense and so all you have to do is up your fat intake, which is not that hard. We know that there are lots of really delicious ways to eat fat. So I think it’s actually almost easier to gain weight on keto than lose it.
Okay, you get to indulge in all those delicious recipes and desserts on your blog, right, and in your cook books.
Yeah. I’m not a huge dessert fan, actually. I am a savory person. And because of the insulin issues, I also prefer that my clients … there are a lot of people that do like sweet fat bombs, keto desserts, and they specialize in all these amazing, indulgent, delicious keto desserts. I have a very controversial relationship with the sweet flavor. I think that we are not designed to have too much sweet flavor. And see, I’m European as well, and in America there is a very different mentality and a very different … I would almost call it imprinting. Americans are almost imprinted on sugar.
[inaudible 00:37:35] on sugar. And I’m from a generation that I grew up on liver and fried brains. You know? And we had … I remember the only treat that we ever had was when I was in boarding school with the nuns in Catholic school in Italy, we had those little tiny rolls of licorice that were like a spiral. Did you have them here? The wheels, licorice wheels?
I think I’ve seen them but it wasn’t very common, especially as children, children didn’t really like licorice.
Right, that’s the only thing I ever got. I never got candy, I never got candy bars. When I was a little older, we started having Mound bars that we call Bounty, and in fact, I think my first keto dessert I did for the blog …
… I loved it so much and I wanted to recreate it. Chocolate and coconut, mm. But I come from very, very different world where I was raised on foods, healthy, staple foods. There was in Italy, actually, I remember as a little kid when we really wanted a treat, my mom would make me a little bread, a panino, cut in half with the slab of butter this big on it and sugar, a little sprinkle of sugar on top. And that was your treat.
Oh, okay. How nice. No, I totally agree with you. I agree too that Americans are imprinted on sugar, I love that. It’s so true and that’s one of the approaches I have is that we need to move away from those sweet tastes and that’s one of the keys to helping people lose weight and keep it off is to move away from the need something sweet, all the time, all day long and you need a dessert with every meal or every day. Yeah.
Or instead of a meal. I see that with a lot of people and sometimes I don’t get exposed to too many habits here and see people like, okay, I’m just gonna not eat lunch so I can eat dessert. And it’s like, really? I feel sick. That’s what happens to my body. It I try to eat, for example, a keto sweet instead of a meal with meat and veggies, I feel sick and I crash anyways. It will spike my blood sugar, even if it’s keto, and then I’ll crash and feel nauseous and bloated and awkward.
Yeah, okay. So I’ve got one more question for you here. What are the top mistakes that you see people making when they’re trying to do keto on their own? Maybe top three or five mistakes that you see.
Well, I think the first one is that they eat too much fat or not enough fat.
So they don’t know how to regulate the fat for their caloric needs and also the quality of the fat they eat can be very questionable. And I think that really comes from this whole last 40 years of low fat that people have lost their relationship to fat and they don’t know even how to put fat into their diet. And it’s like, yeah, just cook with butter or just cook with ghee, cook with coconut oil, put lots of it in it. You don’t need to eat a stick of butter, you can put half a stick of butter and saute your steak in it and then pour it on top. There are ways to incorporate fat that are not artificial or not having to use fat bombs and stuff like that. So I feel like there is a learning curve that needs to come back about how to use fat. And also your actual need for dietary fat, especially when people are overweight.
We talked about it with Michelle Lindow on this presentation on the cruise and about measuring keto activity and some people say, “Oh, I’m not in ketosis unless I eat MCT oil, so I have to have two tablespoons of MTC oil so that my ketones go up. And then I feel like I’m in ketosis.” But, you know what, you might not test for any extra ketones but if you restrict your carbs you will be in ketosis. And how you’re gonna lose weight if you keep adding on fat? Then you never get the chance to burn your own fat for fuel. And then we go back, cycling back to the metabolic rate and how we actually are able to burn that fat for fuel. But the idea of, I’m just gonna eat a bunch of fat and I’m gonna be in ketosis, it’s a very superficial kinda misconception of how the ketogenic diet works at a deeper level in the body.
Okay, so number one mistake is wrong amount of fat.
And then the second is probably … well here I’m kind of debating between the wrong amount of protein and the wrong foods to eat. So I would say what foods they eat is probably number two mistake. Because people come and they’re eating cheese all day long and heavy cream and cheese and yogurt, but heavy on the dairy. And then, here is the cat, scratching at the door. You guys probably can’t hear it, luckily, but I can. So having really dairy heavy, and they say, “Well, that’s what i thought I had to do to be keto. I have to eat this much dairy, otherwise I’m not keto.” So that is probably the second mistake. Or eating poor quality fats or poor quality foods in general or having the excuse of eating whatever as long as it’s keto ratios. That’s number two mistake.
And then number three I think is related to protein. And again, it’s not enough protein and trying to … there has been a lot of talk very recently about protein and I was like, “That’s my new hashtag! Protein is the new fat.” I started putting it on Instagram. I’m like, “Protein is the new fat!”
That was great on the cruise, actually. We had Dr. Ted Namon’s talk was all about protein leveraging and then we had a protein panel the first evening that was really great, I got to sit on that. And if people are following along, Jimmy Moore and Dr. John Lamanski have a keto bio hacking MD podcast they’re doing and they’ve been hashing out this protein thing for a while and I’ve got an interview coming up with Dr. Lamanski, little sneak peak.
I can’t miss that one. I’m gonna watch it for sure. He’s pretty awesome.
Yeah, protein, you’re right is the hot topic in the keto world. So share your take on protein.
Yeah because it was so interesting to see how Jimmy did the high protein experiment and Dr. Lamanski and they had such different results. So I suddenly have a couple of patients who are doing that and I started doing keto-carnivore myself for the last week, 10 days. Not super straight, I’m just gonna be playing with it but I am a meat lover and I’m also O negative blood type so I know red meat, it’s my friend. And that’s one thing that I always strive to do in my practice, though, is anchor people on protein. And the macros I’ve calculated for my patients have always been higher in protein even when, two, three years ago, people were like, “No, you’ve gotta be 80% fat, protein has gotta be under 25% and the carbs have to be really restricted.” But I saw how difficult it was for a lot of people to switch into ketogenic and have such high fat, low protein because fat does not curb hunger, especially not at the beginning. But although we talked about it, you guys talked about it in the panel, about there are some people that feel full with fat and some people that don’t.
In my experience and I think this is probably related to hormones and this is [inaudible 00:46:23] hormones and your brain triggers. But I feel like most of my clients, they do better with protein as far as fullness factor, than they do with fat. I get very little people that can just eat fat and feel satisfied. So I always tended to give higher protein than the standard keto macros and transition and once they’re keto adapted, after you reach through keto adaptation, then we can really look at, what does it look like for you? What are your actual protein needs?
But I always anchor down in protein for my diets. I have the famous Vivica’s meatballs. And the snacks, clients coming into keto and be like, “I’m hungry. I don’t know what to do.” And they crash three pm. And I’m like, well, guess what? Beef jerky or a meatball. I have this one recipe for Thai meatballs that’s so delicious. It’s everybody’s favorite in my program. And it’s like, just make a batch of meatballs and take them with you and eat them when you start crashing. So it’s just red meat In a kind of accessible snacky way.
But no snacks with fat bombs, no snack with fat, no snack with collagen or peanut butter or nut butter. No. Meat. So they’re like preaching to the choir here because I love anchoring in protein. I think protein is your friend and maybe protein is not the new fat but I think it’s very important. Lately in some conversations with other practitioners and friends who are practitioners and do keto, I was talking about, protein is the macro nutrient. This is what we really, really, really need. And the fat, if we eat meat, fat is already in there, it’s kinda pre-packaged.
Sorry, I have to say this, last thing is, with all this vegan craziness going on and I am an animal lover. I have always had animals. I am a big nature lover, I am a big proponent of animal rights, yes. I think their needs to be a discrimination because we can not indiscriminately eat protein. So eating meat, even being a carnivore on a carnivore diet, especially being on a carnivore diet, does not mean that you’re gonna eat feed-lot beef. It means being conscientious, oh my gosh, English, conscientious about your choices. Thank you Carole. Because if that is your primary source of fuel then this is really what you put in your body, you need to be super aware of how that animal is raised and the conditions and everything. So you need to be super aware of making the best possible choice about your food.
And, yes, I deeply, firmly believe that beef is sustainable and raising cattle can be extremely sustainable. Not just sustainable but beneficial for the planet if it’s done the right way. And I started [inaudible 00:49:54] and [inaudible 00:49:55] and … God, what’s the other guy’s name, I always for get it.
Peter Ballerstedt? Do you know him?
He’s a …
Where is he? Is he in the states?
Yeah, he’s a researcher from Oregon and he goes out and lectures on … he’s a ruminant nutrition specialist. He has a PhD in that.
I’m gonna look him up. But the Savory Institute, for example, that’s another really big institution that’s coming up about sustainable beef raising and cattle raising. There are options and we can’t just be brainwashed because I feel like there is a whole agenda behind this vegan brainwashing. But that’s another conversation. We can have the Carole and Vivica comedy show about brainwashing behind vegan agenda.
We can brainwash in a good way.
Awesome, great. Thank you so much for sharing your protein perspective. That’s great information and, you’re right, people fear it way too much. I hear people, pretty much every day, they’re like, “I think I’m eating too much protein is probably why my keto’s not working.” I’m like, “Mm, probably not.” Yeah, so just kinda wrapping up, is there anything else that you were hoping I would ask about or that you wanna share about what you’re doing or passionate about?
I think we’ve covered it pretty good. Yeah, this protein thing I’m pretty passionate about. And it’s something that I’ve been wanting to talk about because with the whole vegan documentaries and interviews and doctors and things and people going vegan and they’re pretty belligerent about it. But I’ve been kinda mulling over it and not really come out publicly with my opinion. But I think it’s time to really express it. And I was really motivated, as well, but Dr. Johnny Boden, who had an awesome talk about vegan vs. meat. It’s time to talk about it. It’s really time to look at two sides of the picture and not just … there are different alternatives than being vegan for sustainability and animals. It’s not black or what but there are alternatives that are better for everybody, especially the planet.
Yeah. Love it, love it! Great. All right so I just have one closing question for you. If you knew today was your last day on the planet, the meteor’s coming at us, we’re all gonna die today, what’s gonna be your final meal?
Oh, my goodness. This is gonna be bad, okay, you wanna know my dirty secrets.
I wanna die of oyster indigestion.
Oh my gosh, that’s so funny. That’s not the bad I was thinking you were gonna go down. That’s hilarious. So you’re gonna have to come up here to Washington to do that.
Yes. But, yeah I’ve cut my seafood consumption quite a bit, especially on the Pacific here after Fukushima, it’s not idea. But, oh my goodness, I would love to just eat oysters until the comet hit.
Oh my gosh, I love that. That’s so great. Nobody’s ever answered that way.
Well, not cooked, okay. No, no, no, none of that wasteful thing of cooking them.
Yeah, don’t cook oysters. That’s just …
I’m starting to drool a little bit.
Oh my gosh. That’s so great. Well, Vivica, thank you so much for being here today. I’ve loved everything you’ve shared and getting to know you better and I just look forward to continuing this friendship and collaboration and seeing you in upcoming conferences and things like that. So, thank you so much. We’re gonna link your blog and your cook books. We’ll put those all down in the show notes there.
Yeah and if people wanna follow you on social media, what’s your favorite … where are you at on social media?
They can just Google either Vivica Menegaz and I’m all over the place. But also they can Google The Nourished Caveman, the blog will pop up and then I’m on everywhere, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, you name it. No SnapChat, I’m too old for that, sorry.
Nice. All right, we’ll link all that below there. So if you guys have enjoyed this interview, give us a thumbs up, subscribe, share it with your friends, too, sharing is caring. Thank you again for being here.
Thank you, Carole. It was awesome. Thank you so much for having me.
Thanks for watching, everyone. We’ll see you again next time.