Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Kimberly Snyder (00:17):
Welcome to the Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder. My goal is to help you develop a holistic lifestyle based on our Four Cornerstone philosophy: food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. This holistic approach will help you feel good, which I define as being connected to your most authentic, highest self, and this is the place from which your energy, confidence, creativity, true power, and true beauty will start to explode. Every week, we provide you with interviews from top experts in their field or a solocast from yours truly to support you in living your most beautiful, healthy, and joyful life. I’m your host, Kimberly Snyder. Founder of Solluna, New York Times best-selling author, and holistic wellness, nutrition, and meditation teacher. Let’s get started.
Dr. Gundry (01:09):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Here’s a question I hear almost daily, “Dr. Gundry, should I try the keto diet?” Well, as you’ll hear in today’s episode, there is one big problem with most versions of the keto diet, and it’s not necessarily what’s in the keto diet, but what most people leave out of a ketogenic diet. It’s not just the keto folks either. In fact, just 5% of the US population gets enough of this important nutrient from their diet, which is too bad because when you combine this super nutrient with a true keto diet, it can actually help you transform your metabolism, strengthen your microbiome, balance your hormones, and help you lose weight. I’m talking, of course, about fiber.
Now, on today’s episode, I’m chatting with Naomi Whittel, the New York Times best-selling author of Glow15. She’s got a brand new book out called High Fiber Keto, all about how to make the keto diet work for you. Naomi and I will discuss how a modified keto diet can help you lose weight, shrink body fat, improve blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and even more. Naomi, thanks so much for coming on The Dr. Gundry Podcast.
Naomi Whittel (02:40):
Dr. Gundry, I’m absolutely delighted to be here with you. Thank you for having me.
Dr. Gundry (02:45):
Well, this is going to be fun. So I want to start with a big picture for our audience and listeners. Why keto? For those of you who don’t know, and everybody has probably heard of keto, give us the basics. Why should we even consider a ketogenic diet?
Naomi Whittel (03:01):
That’s a great question, and it’s one that I never considered personally until a couple of years ago, about three years ago when my body had gotten to a place where the inflammation I was experiencing was starting to really impact my day. Meaning, I have suffered throughout my life through different autoimmune disorders such as eczema, and I have to always be very careful about the foods that I would eat. Now that I’m in my mid 40s, I got to that place where literally, I’d wake up in the morning and my joints would be hurting. I would have stomach upset, and I’ve been in the health and wellness industry for my entire career. So I had to do something, and it had to be extreme.
So I had been introduced to the ketogenic diet many years before when I was taking care of a translator that actually worked for me. I worked with a lot of indigenous people around the world, and one of my translators from off the coast of Panama, this tribe of people that ingests tons of cacao every day, and they have these unbelievable heart health, all sorts of benefits to their wellbeing, and I have been working with them for many years on cacao. Anyhow, my translator was diagnosed with colon cancer, and I brought him and his wife to live with us here in Florida. My network of experts and doctors recommended that we put him on a ketogenic diet. So that was my first experience into it, and it was very effective.
Then, a couple years later, I’m a mother of four. My second child has experienced various seizures throughout his nine years of life, and so my good friend, Dr. Joseph Maroon, who’s a neurosurgeon out of Pittsburgh, Dr. Maroon said, “Naomi, you’ve got to get your son on a ketogenic diet, which I did. In fact, he loved it, and he was eating… and he’s still is on it. He eats sardines. He eats olives. I mean, he has a really interesting palate, and he feels good on a ketogenic diet.
So a couple years ago, I felt like I’ve got to make a change for myself, and that’s when I started to explore ketogenics for me personally to reduce my inflammation. So for any of you, our listeners, that are wondering like, “Is this something that’s good for me?” Everybody’s heard about it. The questions that I would ask myself would be, “Are you looking to reduce inflammation in your body? Are you looking potentially to lose weight? Are you looking to improve the way that your entire metabolism works?” because I believe, Dr. Gundry, when we look at the amount of overweight and obesity in our country, and we look at how we’re dealing with the virus right now, I think it has everything to do with the way our metabolism functions. I think the ketogenic diet is superb for improving our metabolic health.
Dr. Gundry (06:28):
Yeah. I think that’s a very, very good point. In fact, I’ll add to the story about this is a great treatment for seizure disorders. I recently saw a young man who’s actually 20 years old, but has had intractable seizures all his life, cannot go to school, and he was brought to me by his mother. We put him on the ketogenic diet, and he’s now down to about two seizures a month.
Naomi Whittel (07:05):
Dr. Gundry (07:06):
He’s pretty much off his seizure medications, and he’s now actually back in school for the first time in a number of years, and it’s been…
Naomi Whittel (07:17):
Dr. Gundry (07:18):
It’s only taken six months.
Naomi Whittel (07:19):
Dr. Gundry (07:22):
His mother is a nurse, and it’s been such an amazing turn around that… The sad thing is this is a 20-year-old young man. No one, not one of his neurologists, not one of his pediatricians had ever mentioned a ketogenic diet despite the fact that Johns Hopkins invented this in 1905. So it’s been around for 150 years. Yeah. So this is not a modern, buzzy diet. This has been around forever. So since this is kind of… I have a ketogenic chapter in all of my books, and I’m a big fan of it for cancer and obviously, for seizures. We use it for metabolic inflexibility as well. So take us through since we’ve never actually talked about this on any of the podcasts. What the heck is a ketogenic diet? I mean, what does that mean?
Naomi Whittel (08:22):
Right. Oh, great question, and I just want to give you a shout-out for, in my mind, really saving that young man’s life because it’s not as though the other medical experts don’t know about ketogenics. To your point, 1905. But it’s having the courage to step outside of the conventional mindset and embrace other forms of science that is maybe just against some part of the mainstream mindset. So that’s incredible, and I really appreciate you for being that person and having the audience that you do. It’s wonderful, and we need so much more of it.
I was born in Switzerland, and I grew up in the UK. So I ate very differently than… and I have always eaten differently than the average American here. So for me, getting into the ketogenic diet in the most simple form, I would simply say that it’s a reduction in carbohydrates. I like to keep it very, very simple. I don’t get into net carbs or anything like that. I just say basically getting your carbohydrate intake to 50 grams or less, and having a majority of the food that’s on your plate be good quality fats. Whatever that might be. Then, what I’ve learned over time, and we’re going to talk more about this, is what needs to be adjusted. I’m really speaking from my personal experience, and then also, I’ve done some clinical studies on it before I came out with my book, High Fiber Keto, to verify and confirm that it wasn’t just me and my body.
Dr. Gundry (10:14):
You list some of the biggest mistakes people make on trying a keto diet. Can you talk about a few and why these are so problematic because I see it all the time? But take it away.
Naomi Whittel (10:28):
Well, I can probably speak to them because I’m sure I made each and every one of them along the way. But when I first got into the ketogenic lifestyle, really, for me, it was… I had come to that point, as I mentioned to you, where my body wasn’t working for me the way that I need it to. Being a mother of four and a CEO, and I was doing a tremendous amount of travel at that time, I had to make a change. What I discovered was that what worked for me before wasn’t going to work for me now, and I had actually become carbohydrate-intolerant. You spoke about metabolic inflexibility, right? So it’s the same thing. I wasn’t able to tolerate the kind of carbohydrates that I had eaten my whole life. Being English and French, and having a French mother, I can tell you I ate a lot of carbohydrates throughout all of it. My dad is a chemist, and he would always be making all of our breads at home. So we did a lot of carbohydrate inhaling.
Anyhow, the biggest mistake that I have made, and that I’ve seen other people making, and that I learned about when I started the ketogenic diet by interviewing 80 global experts on the topic, and I interviewed you for my free docuseries, The Real Skinny on Fat, is that a lot of times, people think they’re in ketosis, but they’re actually not. So you’re consuming more carbohydrates. You’re consuming a lot more fat, and you’re not benefiting from these beautiful ketones that should be really being utilized throughout your body. You’re not producing enough. You’re not utilizing them effectively, and you’re not burning your own body fat. You’re still burning the glucose. So that’s the number one biggest mistake that I see.
Dr. Gundry (12:35):
Yeah. I will echo that. We actually, with our patients in their blood work, measure ketones, and we actually measure free fatty acids, fasting free fatty acids. The vast majority of people who I see who tell me that they are in ketosis and following a ketogenic diet, in fact, are not, and so you’re correct. That’s been one of… The number of people who actually are achieving ketosis, at least in my practice, is a handful, and you’re right. That’s one of the biggest, I think, mistakes out there that most people aren’t in ketosis who are following what they think is a ketogenic diet. Great.
Naomi Whittel (13:25):
Dr. Gundry (13:26):
What else? What’s the other mistake?
Naomi Whittel (13:30):
Okay. Another really big mistake that I find lots of people share is that basically, it’s a… Okay. It’s this idea of, “The ketogenic diet is so difficult. I have to give up everything I love. I’m never going to be able to do that. I don’t have the will power.” So the biggest mistake is the thought process of it’s about depriving yourself because actually, it’s the exact opposite, Dr. Gundry. What happens when your body starts going into nutritional ketosis is the cravings that you had in the past start to go away.
The brain energy that you get, the feelings of wellbeing, the way your body functions, all of that starts to improve, and it becomes so much easier during an average day to function well, to keep a clear mind, to feel the energy in your body, to not be obsessing over when you’re going to be eating some more food. Your blood sugar is balanced. There are so many great things that happen. So I think that people have it all wrong when it comes to the ketogenic diet, and it’s not about saying no. It’s just about embracing this natural and very easy way to eat, and giving yourself enough time to get there. I think that’s the biggest mistake because most people will never try it because they think it’s just too hard, and it’s not.
Dr. Gundry (15:05):
Okay. So that brings us to most people will never try it. Why is there so much controversy do you think out there about a ketogenic diet?
Naomi Whittel (15:16):
It is so counter-intuitive to the mainstream thought process. It’s like what I was mentioning too just before, how you’re willing with your intellect, with your medical training to step outside of this one box. We have been so brainwashed in our country to embrace a certain food pyramid, whatever it may be, and it’s hard to think differently. When you’re switching from being a carbohydrate, a sugar burner to being a body fat burner, that’s a big transition, and it takes a bit of time. For example, carbohydrates have a lot more water in those molecules than a fat molecule does. So you have to work with your mineral levels, with your electrolytes. You have to become hydrated because you’re going through these major shifts in fuel source.
It’s like driving… Let’s say you’ve been driving an old, rusty Ford around using general gas. Now, all of a sudden, it’s like, “Okay. We’re going to jump in our Tesla, and we’re going to start going and driving at a much faster pace, and then we’re going to come home. We’re going to plug our Tesla in, and it’s going to recharge at night while we sleep, and we’re going to keep going.” It’s such a different way of doing things, and I think that’s the main reason.
Dr. Gundry (16:46):
What do you say to most physicians who say, “Oh my gosh, you can’t eat 80% fat. Most of it, bacon,” and we’ll get to bacon in a little bit, “You’re going to have the worst cholesterol profile in the entire world, and this is horrible?”
Naomi Whittel (17:09):
So I’ll say two things. Number one, when I heard all of that and I knew that I wanted to get into nutritional ketosis and do this, it’s why I interviewed 80 experts such as you, right, because I come from a family of scientists. My grandfather is a plankton physicist. He wrote the whole history of physics in France for the French government. My father is a chemist. I told you. Everybody is in the world of science. So if I’m going to try to change my diet, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t fooling myself. So that was number one, and then number two, I get my blood work done constantly. So over the past several years, I can show you, and I’m happy to. I always show people exactly where my cholesterol profiles are, exactly where all of my metabolic markers are, how reduced my inflammation is, and how much fat. I eat bacon almost every day.
Dr. Gundry (18:12):
Yeah, I know. I know you’re a big of bacon, and we’re going to get there, but I want to… I don’t want to distract from really I think why your book is so important to the keto conversation. You and I, I think, both know that the traditional keto diet is nearly devoid of fiber, and let’s be honest. Bacon doesn’t have any fiber.
Naomi Whittel (18:44):
Dr. Gundry (18:45):
One of the things that I preach as you know is we have to have soluble and insoluble fibers for our gut microbiome to eat, number one.
Naomi Whittel (19:00):
Dr. Gundry (19:01):
The products of the gut microbiome eating fiber are, in my humble opinion, essential to our wellbeing in so many ways, particularly to our mental wellbeing. In my upcoming book, The Energy Paradox, we go deep into those guys producing postbiotics. Okay, so…
Naomi Whittel (19:26):
I love it.
Dr. Gundry (19:28):
So why did you… Why High Fiber Keto? In a way, it sounds like, “Well, wait a minute. That’s a contradiction of terms. Why am I going to eat sugar molecules on a ketogenic diet?” So help us out with that.
Naomi Whittel (19:44):
Right. So it’s very simple. Nine out of 10 of us are not getting enough fiber in our diet, and I wasn’t planning to write a book on keto. For me, this is a very personal choice that I make to eat a ketogenic diet. My first book, Glow15, is on autophagy, right? Which is a completely different thing, but autophagy is basically, very simply, “auto” meaning self, “phagy” meaning to eat. It’s the self-eating process. Yoshinori Ohsumi, who I had the privilege of interviewing, he won the Nobel Prize for his research around autophagy, and it’s something that goes on in our body.
As I was writing that book, I was starting to eat the ketogenic way, and I just felt so deeply compelled to find the best tools for myself and my body now that I’m entering the latter part of my 40s and understanding that as a woman, I’m going to be going through really, what is like a health crisis now that I’m in perimenopause and as I go into menopause, and how do I deal with the hormonal changes like you were mentioning on your mental health. How do I deal with it on my energy levels? I feel so strongly that eating a high-fat diet is so beneficial, but I know that the missing link for me was that I wasn’t getting enough fiber because before that, I was getting plenty of fiber. So I started to really analyze how I could bring fiber and still stay ketogenic. So benefit from the ketones and get the fiber.
I worked with some incredible PhDs who were willing to… at Jacksonville University who were really willing to explore this with me. So we started on the three of us. So it was two PhDs and myself, and we started doing the High Fiber Keto program ourselves. We were testing our blood every day, and we recognized, “Okay. You can actually bring fiber in. You can bring these powerful little prebiotics that your gut microbiome is so excited. It’s their favorite food. You can feed your gut its favorite food and get all the benefits of the ketones.” I was like, “Okay. We’ve got something going here,” and that’s what really got me inspired. So maybe it was just my personal quest for good health, and then wanting to share that with as many people as possible.
Dr. Gundry (22:40):
Well, do you think there is a downside of not having fiber in a ketogenic diet?
Naomi Whittel (22:48):
I do. Absolutely.
Dr. Gundry (22:52):
What would that be?
Naomi Whittel (22:54):
I mean, for me, it’s about immunity. Like you mentioned, it’s about the microbiome. It’s about the micro benefits that you get. We have to understand the micronutrients, the power of these micronutrients. What I’m mostly well-known for, Dr. Gundry, as a social entrepreneur in the health and wellness space is my… Not that I discovered things, but what I do is because I travel typically around the globe, I curate or I find different ingredients.
So 10 years ago, I brought resveratrol, which is a polyphenol, and you talk about it, resveratrol really as one activator and a whole beautiful molecule into the US market, and I created an understanding with millions of people about the power of resveratrol with my previous brand, ReserveAge, or I was in Southeast Asia where the women were ingesting so much collagen, and so that was 15 years ago. A decade ago, I brought collagen in really as a beauty ingestible. So for me, it’s like we need to do things in the ways that work for our bodies. When I look at different cultures, so many of them are getting enough fiber, but we are not. So how do we bring that into whatever it is we’re doing?
Dr. Gundry (24:41):
What’s your take on… Most people, when they hear the word “fiber,” they think of wheat bran or bran muffin, and you and I know that in fact, that is actually not the sort of fiber we’re supposed to be ingesting.
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So how do you propose that we get people to understand, “Okay. Where is the good fiber that we’re supposed to be eating?” I know it’s in your book, so take us through a little bit of that.
Naomi Whittel (26:31):
Sure. So on the front of my book, I’m juggling a couple of beautiful artichokes. If I were to take my computer with me right now into my kitchen and you would come to me into my kitchen, you’d see I have a bowl full of artichokes. The cover we actually wanted to do, which the publisher said no to, I was in a bed of 500 artichokes, right? So artichokes are a great source of fiber, and what most people need is somewhere… You can go up from here, but on average, somewhere between 25 and 35 grams of fiber.
What I love about artichokes is they are so filled with fiber. You’re getting 8, 9, 10 grams of fiber in one artichoke, and they’re delicious, and they’re great to eat. So in my book, I have artichoke heart smoothies and all sorts of various things, but you can get your fiber from so many other great sources. If it’s a cruciferous vegetable, you can get it from those. I don’t even know 50 different recipes of ways to get your fiber in while staying in ketosis. So it’s not hard to get fiber. You just have to have the right sources, the right types of plants, which I have outlined on there, and then you’re literally feeding your body all of its favorite… Well, you’re feeding your microbiome all of its favorite foods.
Dr. Gundry (28:05):
Yeah. I think we should be clear. A lot of people still haven’t quite grasped this that these sorts of fibers, we can’t digest, and they will not be absorbed, but they’re really critical for the functioning of the gut microbiome. You’re feeding them.
Naomi Whittel (28:30):
Dr. Gundry (28:31):
Part of the problem with the Western diet is that with our processed and all of the processed foods, we totally strip the fiber out of everything. So these poor guys have nothing to eat, and one of the theories that I talk about in The Energy Paradox is there’s a fascinating new theory, which I agree with. It’s actually your gut microbiome and their food needs that actually stimulates hunger and that the reason we’re now always hungry is that we are not giving these guys anything to eat, and they’re constantly sending messages up to our brain going, “What the heck? We’re starving to death down here. Go get some more food.” There are some phenomenal work out of China on this, and so anyhow.
Naomi Whittel (29:31):
It’s the most fascinating topic to me. When I understood that our bodies, our microbiome, that whole beautiful world that goes on has preferences of what kind of food it wants, I was like, “Oh, I have never taken into consideration your needs.” But to your point, like what you were just saying, how powerful of a concept is that to think that we’re being controlled, as we know, by our microbiome. So give them what they want, and then in return, you ultimately get what you want. So it’s just phenomenal.
Dr. Gundry (30:18):
Yeah. You take care of them, they’ll take care of you like I’ve said in all of my books. Very true. All right. Let’s get back to bacon. I know it’s a staple food of the keto diet for a lot of people. So can I just go out to Costco and buy a massive pack of bacon and just have a pound of bacon every day?
Naomi Whittel (30:42):
Please do not do that. Please don’t.
Dr. Gundry (30:44):
Oh, but I got to follow your rules. I got to have bacon. Come on.
Naomi Whittel (30:50):
Yeah. The thing about the ketogenic diet is you do have to be extraordinarily careful of where you source your fat from, right? So I started with this concept of good fat. I believe in good fats. I developed a food brand base called Simply GoodFats because I couldn’t find enough of the good fats that I wanted. So it’s like if you’re getting your good fats, you need to make sure that you’re getting them from a good source, a clean source. So making sure that the bacon is organic. It’s not that easy to find, but you’ve got to stick to the cleanest source that you can get of the meats because don’t forget, our bodies, when it stores any sort of fat, you’re also storing those pollutants that that animal has ingested.
So I’m really, really, really, really particular about where I source my meats from. I’m also a huge believer in shopping at your local farmers’ market. Now, a lot of people are on the East Coast right now, and obviously, it’s difficult with the social distancing, and a lot of markets are closed, and it’s that time of year. But if you can buy your food locally, it makes all the difference. You can go to the farms or you can go to your farmers’ market. It’s more cost-effective, and it’s way better quality.
Dr. Gundry (32:26):
For people who particularly aren’t in areas that have a lot of farmers’ market, are there good online sources? Do you talk about them in the book?
Naomi Whittel (32:38):
I don’t mention them that much in the book, but I would tell you like Thrive Market I think is a very good online source.
Dr. Gundry (32:47):
Right, right. Yeah. Yup.
Naomi Whittel (32:50):
I shop at Whole Foods some of the time. I think Trader Joe’s, you can find great things. If Costco has the organic forms. I just really think with the ketogenic diet, you’ve got to be extra careful with the fact that you are eating potentially a lot of meat or you are eating a lot of different sources of fat. I like a lot of the coconut fats. I eat certain nuts. You can’t eat too many because you have to be cognizant of what are the best types of fuel from the good fats, but always paying attention.
Dr. Gundry (33:27):
Okay, so speaking of fuel. So take our listeners and viewers through your program. What does a typical day look like?
Naomi Whittel (33:38):
What does a typical day look like?
Dr. Gundry (33:38):
Naomi Whittel (33:40):
Okay. So on High Fiber Keto, a typical day will look like… Basically, it depends on the individual, but two to three meals a day. So my first book, Glow15, as I mentioned, is about autophagy. You active autophagy when you sleep at night, when you intermittent fast. So a lot of times, people don’t have their first meal, and they have the second and the third meal. But in this book, it’s three meals a day, and each of the meals are ketogenic where you’re getting your fiber. So you’re getting up to 25 to 35 grams of fiber, and the program is 22 days.
So what I did is I did this clinical study at Jacksonville University, and we did it on a group of participants who… All were experiencing metabolic syndrome. So they all had metabolic inflexibility, and they all had the actual factors relating to metabolic syndrome. So the circumference of their midsection… excess visceral fat. They had high blood sugar, high blood pressure. Their triglycerides were off, and even their inflammatory markers were out. We took them, during these 22 days, and we had them meet a high fiber ketogenic diet. Then, we were testing them every day to see how long it took for them to get into ketosis.
Everybody in the clinical study that ate the way we have outlined in my book, High Fiber Keto, everybody benefited. So 91% of them lost weight. Every single one of them improved their metabolic function. It was unbelievable. Not everybody got into nutritional ketosis, and that’s the interesting thing. Some people can get into it in 7 to 14 days. Others, it just takes longer. So the typical day in the book also talks a lot about simple movement. So things like twitching, things like shaking your legs up and down.
I brought a lot of new, exciting science to the forefront of this book because I was working with a whole bunch of really fascinating PhDs, and most of them were women in my age group in their late 40s and all the way up to their early 60s. So these women were all focused on, “How do we benefit from balancing our hormones? How do we get rid of that excess body fat?” There was a very high level of encouragement around this program, which is why we got it down to just 22 days. It’s not about saying no to anything. It’s just about saying yes to the good fats, and then incorporating the fibers.
Dr. Gundry (36:59):
I want to back up on what you just said. I think you’re saying that some people, it’s going to take a week, two weeks, maybe more to actually get into ketosis.
Naomi Whittel (37:13):
Dr. Gundry (37:13):
I think that’s a very, very good observation, and it’s actually… It’s one of the mistakes that Dr. Atkins made. I had the privilege of actually working with his nurse and his ghostwriter when I did my first book for Random House years ago. So I had access to really his thought processes, and one of the things that he didn’t know was that just by eating a high-fat diet, most of us are so metabolically inflexible. For some people, if the word “pre-diabetes” works for you, that’s fine with me. Insulin-resistance, that’s fine with me.
Naomi Whittel (37:58):
Dr. Gundry (37:58):
He could not get people into ketosis. Although, he assumed that just eating a high-fat diet would put you into ketosis. I go into this ad nauseam in the new book, The Energy Paradox, and I’ve written about it in all my books. As long as your insulin levels are high, you cannot access fat that’s stored in your body, and you cannot generate free fatty acids. That was one of his biggest mistakes, and I think that’s still one of the biggest mistakes that people trying a ketogenic diet don’t realize that. Guess what? You’re not going to be in ketosis tomorrow. I still think that that’s why the Atkins flu or the ketogenic blues is a real thing.
Naomi Whittel (38:51):
Right. Without a doubt.
Dr. Gundry (38:53):
Have you in your work discovered any tricks to help people through this period?
Naomi Whittel (39:00):
Yeah. That’s what we really focused heavily on in our clinical study because… That’s why a lot of people get turned off of it, or they get scared, or whatever it may be, and that’s real. Trying to adjust, as we mentioned before, from being that old-fashioned Ford, rusty Ford to this unbelievably energy-efficient Tesla, renewable energy, renewed energy is not easy. So when we look at, to your point, people starting to try to get into ketosis, what’s happening is the hydration and the mineral content is such a big thing. So people think, “Oh, I should never salt my food. Sodium is not good.” But actually, it’s the opposite here. You have to make sure you’re getting enough sodium. You have to make sure you’re getting enough of your minerals.
So I use an electrolyte powder. I put it into my drinks every day, my water, or if I’m exercising, which I… I exercise four times a week. I add it right into… I have a special collagen, very clean protein that I make and I drink. I have it right here actually because I’m drinking another one today because I trained hard this morning. But I think the most important thing and best way to protect yourself from keto flu is to, number one, get your electrolytes. Get enough sodium so that your minerals are staying balanced and you’re not becoming dehydrated. That’s number one, and then number two, that you are actually eating enough food because fat is so much more dense. You can get overwhelmed by that at the beginning, and you’re not actually feeding your body enough. So those are the two things that I observed and that our PhDs really stressed.
Dr. Gundry (41:12):
What was the most surprising thing you learned when researching this book or maybe all of this?
Naomi Whittel (41:19):
Yeah. The most surprising thing I learned was from an unbelievable dietitian, Beth Zubek. I don’t know if you know her, but she’s been in the world of ketogenics for 35 years, and she’s worked in a hospital setting primarily with children that were going through seizures. So she has gotten maybe more people than anyone into ketosis. Beth Zubek.
Dr. Gundry (41:50):
Oh, yeah. I know who you’re talking about. Yeah. Sorry.
Naomi Whittel (41:52):
Yeah. She’s such a cool woman. So what surprised me the most was she told me that with every meal that she eats, she always makes sure that some of the food on her plate are fermented. So we think about the prebiotics. We think about the benefits to our microbiome. When she herself personally had her ketone levels about… I think she was saying like a 2.1…
Dr. Gundry (41:52):
Naomi Whittel (42:29):
2.1 or 1.8. Somewhere in there. That her hot flashes went away completely. So her symptoms of menopause were completely reduced, and as soon as her ketone production would go down or she wouldn’t be in such a deep place of ketosis, then they would come back. That really surprised me. In addition to what the ketogenic diet can do for your brain health and for your mood, your mood state, and how it can help to modulate your mood, and how it can reduce anxiety, those were really surprising things that I learned. Dominic D’Agostino was starting to do research on the anxiety side of those things, and I got really surprised and excited by those findings.
Dr. Gundry (43:21):
All right. So I talked about this. I answered this question in my podcast episode number 12, but here’s a really good question that I want you to address. Do you think we should… This is so good. Do you think we should be in ketosis day in and day out 365 days a year?
Naomi Whittel (43:43):
I love your question. So I asked that question to a lot of the researchers as well. Just like when I personally was young, I was not carbohydrate-intolerant. As I’ve gotten older, my needs of what I put into my body are different. Now, I believe that what we put into our mouth is so important for our wellbeing and for the way that we live. That can change over time, and I know that it does. What I want now and what I need now is different than what I needed in my 30s. It’s going to be different in a decade from now. That is for sure.
So what I can say is that for me personally, these three years have been the best… These have been the best years of my life in the way that I feel physically. I am in the best shape of my life. I have more energy than I ever have had in the past. My brain fog is gone. I don’t suffer from the same level of anxiety that I did when I was younger, and my autoimmune conditions are really at an all time low because my inflammatory process is so low.
I have stayed in a ketogenic state the majority of those three years. I went to West Africa, to Cameroon because I was searching out this amazing SpiceFruit that they ingest every day in Cameroon. This beautiful SpiceFruit balances their insulin, and it’s like they make this soup every day. So while I was in Cameroon, I couldn’t find all of my ketogenic foods. So I went off a little bit, and I regretted it. Right? I didn’t feel good. So I’ve been in this for 365 days times primarily three, and it feels great.
I know a lot of experts will say you should go off of it, and that’s a good thing. My personal feeling is I can stay consistently on it for many years, and I keep getting more and more benefits. The data that I’ve been exposed to says that there is nothing wrong with staying on it for many years. I will also tell you that my nine-year-old child has been on it for many, many years, and he is doing extraordinarily well with that. So that’s a halfway answer. The best I could do there.
Dr. Gundry (46:43):
That’s all right. That’s all right. You’re new almost neighbor Mark Sisson who’s now in Miami and your northern neighbor Joseph Mercola would definitely…
Naomi Whittel (46:57):
He’s in Miami. Yes, he is. Both my buddies.
Dr. Gundry (46:59):
Would disagree with you that we got to break ketosis.
Naomi Whittel (47:02):
I had that.
Dr. Gundry (47:05):
I’ve written about that as well, but I agree. In epilepsy, this is a different ball game because interesting, this young man, the two seizures he had last month is when he went off with some buddies, and he had some pizza and some pasta. Then, he had a seizure, which was interesting. Yeah.
Naomi Whittel (47:31):
Yeah. No, it’s really interesting what you’re saying, Dr. Gundry, because Joe Mercola, I’ve spent time with him. I’ve spent time with him at his home. When I look at his body and his health, he’s so remarkably intelligent and so consistently searching out new data and so forth. But the way his body works, and the way that his body detoxifies, and maybe the way that he can ingest carbohydrates is different than my body, for example. The same goes for Mark. They’re men, and men are different, obviously, as we know than women. So I think for women, all I can say is that when we’re going through different stages of our lives and our bodies are so sensitive to the hormonal changes, there’s something that is really truly nourishing and nurturing about eating a high-fat diet.
I think when we start ingesting carbohydrates, and then craving more carbohydrates, and as a woman, our body fat levels are typically higher than you as a man, and so having to work with those dynamics, and also the way that the female brain is so incredibly different than the male brain, and the complexities that come with it. I really think for women, it’s a different scenario than it is for men, and that’s what I also really get into in this book. We only studied women, and what was also interesting, Dr. Gundry, is that in the world of science, so much science is not done on women. Historically, it wasn’t because it’s so much more complex to have to manage the menstrual cycle. We’re seeing it now there is more science that’s being done in women, and it’s mandated, and the laws have changed. But at the end of the day, the female body is so much more of a mystery, and so I just think each person really needs to make these decisions for themselves.
Dr. Gundry (49:55):
All right. Great answer. So on that note, I got to let you go. It was great having you on the show today. Where do people find out more about you? Oh, I know they know all about you, but how do we find you?
Naomi Whittel (50:11):
Dr. Gundry, this book, High Fiber Keto, it’s on Amazon. You can go to naomiw.com. I have it there. I’m just, at this moment in time, so happy to be able to be on your podcast and for you to be doing the amazing, amazing, amazing work that you do. It’s just a total privilege. Thank you for having me.
Dr. Gundry (50:35):
Well, I really appreciate you coming on the show. Like I was telling you off camera, I got your book not from you, but I actually bought it, and I said, “Oh my gosh, we got to have her on the show.” So good for you. Good for you.
Naomi Whittel (50:48):
Thank you so much.
Dr. Gundry (50:49):
It’s a really good book, folks, so go get it. All right. I hope I’ll talk to you in the near future, and keep up the good work. You’re right. Get your fiber in your keto. Please, if you’re going to eat bacon, get some humanely-raised pastured pork.
Naomi Whittel (51:08):
Dr. Gundry (51:09):
Please, please, please. All right.
Naomi Whittel (51:09):
Dr. Gundry (51:11):
We’ll let you go. Thanks.
Naomi Whittel (51:12):
Dr. Gundry (51:13):
It’s time for our audience question. A.S. on YouTube asked, “What do you eat when someone has salicylate intolerance and histamine intolerance?” That’s actually a really good question. I found with my patients who have some salicylate and/or histamine intolerance that the more we change their gut microbiome with my program or other programs and the more you actually stop leaky gut, you retrain your immune system to have increasing tolerance for most of the things that you are, right now, intolerant to, and that includes salicylate, and that includes foods that have or incite histamine.
So I’ve been actually very delighted to see a large number of my patients who came in with these intolerances, and for that matter, other intolerances that the more we actually work on getting their gut microbiome as a diverse community, the more we seal their leaky gut. Then, these things naturally subside, and it’s actually been really exciting because I… 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed that any of this was possible, but it is. I’ve seen it. We measure it. So I hope that answers your question.
Now, it’s time for the review of the week. This week’s review comes from Dylana Enzo on YouTube who said, “Three years after changing to Dr. Gundry’s diet, my arthritis is almost gone, including neuropathy. I lost over 60 pounds without exercise. I had COVID-19 and recovered after 48 hours of high temperature. I don’t think I would have recovered as quickly had I not changed my diet. I know my immune system is working as my symptoms of auto-immune disease disappear. When I cheat with sugar, my symptoms come back quickly. I love Dr. Gundry. You are an angel from heaven, in my life anyway. Virtual hugs to you all day every day. 68 years young on no meds.”
Well, thank you very much. I’m going to add a postscript to your story. I have a woman who’s 85 years old, a snowbird. She and her husband. She follows me. He poo-poos me. I’ve kept her vitamin D level above a hundred for as long as I’ve known her, which is about five years now. He doesn’t do any of this. He doesn’t eat the way she does. They both caught COVID at the end of March. For her, it lasted 48 hours. She said it was just a… It felt like a little cold. He wound up in the ICU for 45 days. He just got released from the hospital two weeks ago. She said, “We, for most of the time, didn’t think he was going to make it.”
The first thing he said when they got together was, “You were right. I’m going to listen to whatever you want to do.” I think that’s a striking example of what I’ve been saying from day one. You have to arm yourself to protect yourself from whatever the assault is, and she’s just… Thank you, Dylana for telling us this because you’ve taken control of your life, and that’s just the exciting thing. This is why I do this, and this is why I’m here every week to talk to you. You have the power to change things starting today. With the threats around us right now, today is the day to start. So thanks very much for writing that. You’re an inspiration, and that’s why I do this. So we’ll see you next week.
Disclaimer. On The Dr. Gundry Podcast, we provide a venue for discussion, and the views expressed by my guest do not necessarily reflect my own.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcast. If you want to watch each episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/drgundry because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.