Posts tagged diet
Keto Part 2
Bacon tasting at PRESS, St. Helena, CA

Bacon tasting at PRESS, St. Helena, CA

So now you that you've read my last post, Keto Part 1, and have a little bit of background info on the ketogenic diet, I'd like to share a bit about my personal keto journey.

I had been hearing/reading/learning about the ketogenic diet for years from some of the leading scientists and doctors in the field including Dom D'Agostino, Peter Attia, Stephen Phinney, Jeff Volek and Robb Wolf.  The scientific process behind the diet fascinated me - still does - and its benefits became too tempting to resist trying for myself.  So, I made the leap and jumped on the keto bandwagon.

This leap, I must profess, was more a short hop then a surging one.  My starting point was advantageous, as my diet was already very clean, paleo-esque, and with a relatively low carbohydrate profile, most of those carbs coming from starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, other root vegetables, and a tasty low-sugar cocktail here and there.  Because of this, I was able to avoid the headaches, grouchiness and fatigue associated with transitioning to the ketogenic diet, also referred to as the "keto flu".  For most, this flu lasts about a week or two, and basically is the period of transition for the body as it shifts from using carbohydrates for fuel, to fats.

What I did have to get used to, was getting an adequate and pretty high amount of fat into my diet.  I have no problem with dairy, and this made it a bit easier.  I ate gobs of butter and added heavy cream and sour cream to fill in the gaps.  I ate all the fat surrounding the pork chops Fatima made - off my own, hers and my nine-year-old daughter's as well.  Side note, if you are going to eat animal fats like this, be sure you are getting them from grass-fed, pasture raised sources of meat because toxins are stored in fat, including your own...but that conversation is for another post)!  I could have easily sustained the Mexican economy solely on my consumption of avocados, was eating spoonfuls of coconut oil and poured olive oil or MCT oil on everything.  Side note: MCT oil enhances the flavor of just about anything you put it on, especially sushi (thank you Ben Greenfield for the tip).

Macadamia nut bread

Macadamia nut bread

Bacon & avocado roll-ups

Bacon & avocado roll-ups

Fat, fat and more fat.  You get the idea.  

I also ate as many non-starchy vegetables and fermented foods as possible to ensure I was getting in enough micronutrients and good bugs.  Fatima tripled her time in the kitchen (it's amazing she got anything else done) figuring out how to make my favorite foods "keto-friendly" - and boy did she do a good job.  Macadamia nut breads, fat bombs, and low carb desserts kept my diet quite varied and interesting.  Within a few days, my ketone blood-prick monitor registered that I had indeed arrived in keto-land.

How did I feel?  In a nutshell, INCREDIBLE.  I had tons of energy, my mind felt sharper then ever and my body quickly shed any bit of fat I had been holding onto.  I was already lean, but eating this way propelled me into a whole other level of leanness.  For me, this was merely a side benefit.  The most fascinating and rewarding thing I experienced - and one I became slightly addicted to - was the effect fueling primarily with fats had on my brain.  I had not felt as focused and clear in as long as I can remember.  

As a highly active, fitness oriented person, I knew I would need to somehow begin cycling in carbohydrates to replenish my glycogen stores and keep my hormones balanced.  There are different ways to do this, and the frequency and depth with which to do so vary greatly from person to person.  I had to play around quite a bit to figure out what would work for my body composition and level of activity. So, once I had fully transitioned to becoming a fat burner, I began to experiment.  

Experiment 1, Carb Backloading.  I used this strategy 1x/week.  I ate in usual keto fashion until dinner time.  For dinner, I ate a lower fat, much higher carb meal.  My carb intake on those days was somewhere between 100 and 150 grams.  I didn't keep exact count, but basically, ate carbs to satiety.  I always made sure I scheduled my heavy training days for the days I knew I'd be carbing-up in the evenings.

Experiment 2, Carb Saturdays.  Another method of refueling with carbs is to chose a day to bag the keto diet, and eat carbs all day long.  Naturally, I chose Saturdays so I could enjoy pancakes, pasta, pizza, oh, and on of my favorite dishes, feijoada (the delicious Brazilian national dish of black beans, all kinds of meats and rice, my mother in laws specialty).  I threw this into my repertoire once every 2-3 weeks.

Another side note:  Of the two strategies, I definitely prefer carb backloading.  I find my body works much better fueled with fats during the day, and carbs at night with regards to digestion, energy balance and getting a better night's sleep.

I kept this dog and pony show up for about a year and it was fantastic for me - almost the entire time.  Why almost?  Well, eventually, I began to feel a little less vibrant - I wasn't firing the way I was used to and there was a little less pep in my step.  I found myself naturally waking up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning and feeling like I didn't need the extra few hours of sleep, but felt my nervous system was rev'ed up and my family was bearing the brunt of it.  My ladies (Fatima and Solé) report that I was grumpier then usual and less patient.  I started to feel like I was getting a little too lean as well - a little sunken and cadaver-like.  My body and mind were overstressed.  This all happened in combination with the launching of a new business (hi), and the enormous amount of stress associated with that endeavor...and of course the normal stresses of being a human being of this time, in NYC.


It has been about 6 months since I decided I needed some space from my keto-relationship.  I still practice carb-backloading, saving all my carb-rich foods for dinner time, but am not focusing on eating keto during the first part of the day.  I admit, my mind is not as clear or sharp as it was, but after weighing out all the pros and cons, for now, this is the right thing for me.  I use the ketogenic diet strategically now - when I know I'll need to be extra clear and sharp mentally, as an adjunct to a detox program, or when I need to lean out a bit for photoshoots.  

The takeaway from all this, is to listen to your body.  It needs different things at different times.  This may be the most important thing to be aware of for your continued quest towards your greatest health.  This relates to all aspects and modalities of health - training, breathing, sleeping, stress-management and of course diet.  Ask me what I am doing in another 6 or 8 months.  I can almost guarantee it will be at least slightly different.

Detoxing through Intermittent Fasting

Bowl by Brickett Davda

Bowl by Brickett Davda

Did you know that our amazing bodies are naturally designed to self-detox down all the way to the cellular level?  Did you also know that we have the ability to help ignite that detoxing process?  It involves timing meals - or fasting and a few specific foods to help move the process along.  

Why is it important to make sure our bodies are properly detoxing on a regular basis?  No matter how hard we try to practice clean living, modern life overloads us with toxins we can’t avoid.  I am talking about pesticides, EMFs, dirty electricity, pollution, cigarette smoke, chemical ridden skin care, sugar laden diets, an overload of stress, lack of sleep, lack of full body, full range, all-day movement…I can go on, but I think you get the picture.  Our toxic load and lifestyles won’t allow us to shed weight, wreak all sorts of havoc in our guts and ultimately push the aging process into hyper-drive,

How can we help our bodies naturally and deeply detox and slow the aging process down?  Let's take a look at intermittent fasting.

Perhaps you’ve heard or read about it already.  For those of you unfamiliar…simply put…it is a way of eating that consciously alternates periods of eating and not eating and can be done in several ways.  It can really assist in weight loss and fat burning and boasts a number of incredible therapeutic benefits as well. 

Fasting can help improve neutral connections in the hippocampus part of the brain, the area associated with memory, mood and motivation, and has neuron protecting qualities.  For similar reasons, it is also helpful for those recovering from brain injury.  It also promotes mental acuity and focus.

Periods of fasting stimulate cells to cannibalize.  This process, known as autophagy, or “self” (auto) “eat (phagy), is the body’s natural ability to clean out detox and recycle cells that are no longer functioning properly.  Through this function, your body can boost the immune system, prevent diseases related to aging as well as cardiovascular diseases, increase insulin sensitivity, and boost energy.  According to studies, fasting can even prevent or slow the progression of cancer. 

There are several ways to intermittent fast.  Some people chose to eat only during an eight-hour window. For example, you can eat from 12 pm to 8 pm, then fast from 8 pm to 12pm.  Another, more advanced form of intermittent fasting would be fasting for 24-36 hours once or twice a week.

Can anyone fast?  In my experience, it’s not for everyone and not all the time.  In general, pregnant women, and women dealing with fertility issues should probably stay away from fasting.  Gut issues, blood sugar imbalances, sleep issues, adrenal problems and a history of eating disorders are also conditions in which I would suggest avoid fasting.  Ultimately, if you have any chronic health condition or any doubts, clear it with your doctor before trying.

What are some tools to use while fasting to help the detoxing process along?  There are several foods can that help ignite the detoxing process.  Some of these foods are almonds, walnuts, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, coffee, green tea, butter, cream, lentils, mushrooms, garlic, red wine, dark chocolate, and chia seeds. 

Supplementing with hemp oil is one of the most powerful tools to combine with fasting.  It acts as a catalyst, stimulating the endocannabinoid system, bringing the body into a balanced state and allowing it to heal itself.  For more information about hemp oil and its incredible benefits during fasting and otherwise, look up hemp or CBD oil on, or  If you are looking for a resource, let me know!

I am launching an intro to intermittent fasting guide with accompanying meal plan.  It is geared towards those getting started and experiments with different types of intermittent fasting.  It's 5 days long, includes a meal plan designed to fire up the benefits of fasting, recipes, tips and tricks, bonuses, daily motivation and accountability reminders and access to coaching by me throughout the 5 days.  If you are interested, contact me.

What should we be feeding our kids?

So many of the clients we work with hire us to for help with diet.  In the maze of information and misinformation, we work together to figure out what works best for them as individuals...their personal make-up and lifestyle.  In the end, what we find is as one person in a family makes healthier choices, the rest of the family benefits as well.  Health is contagious.  This is the case not only for diet, but for movement, mental conditioning and overall happiness as well.  

When we see an exception to this phenomenon, it is almost always with regards to the children in the family.  Poor kiddos!  Part of this is because as parents we try to avoid any and all drama with our kids.  If the child seems happy with "organic" cereal out of a cardboard box, and thick gooey processed fruits and veggies squeezed out of a tube, we let them be.  The other part is that parents tend to catastrophize the situation.  Here's an example.  Your child won't eat the healthy meal you serve and will be hungry and possibly starve.  They won't grow and develop as they should.  They'll be smaller then the rest of the kids, not as smart, never get into college, get a job, make friends or find a partner.  AND, they will be grumpy and hangry in the meanwhile, making your life completely miserable.  Better to give them the not-so-great food they love and call it a day.  I am definitely not pointing any fingers here...I can totally relate!

The quality of food we feed our children is especially apparent in restaurants.  Have you ever taken a good look at kids menus?  The usual selection consists of pizza, mac and cheese, pasta with butter, grilled cheese and the occasional chicken "fingers".  Sometimes there is even the added bonus of juice or chocolate milk and a dessert of some sort included in the offering, at no extra cost to you, no immediate cost that is.  

The question is, how important is it to get children off the carbohydrate/sugar/nutrient-wasteland of a diet they've grown so accustomed to?  And if it is something worth doing, what in particular do they need, and how the heck do we get them to actually enjoy eating healthy foods?  

First, why this IS important?  On a universal level, our children are our legacies.  We pass our torches on to them.  Children truly "are the world" (flashback to 1985).  They are the future of humanity.  From this perspective, we need to equip them with the healthiest, strongest bodies, sharpest minds, kindest and most compassionate hearts and we possibly can.   

Historically, there was never any difference between the adult and the children's food, there was only the plants foraged, the fruits gathered and the meat hunted.  By feeding our children out of boxes and tubes, they have become disconnected with food, where it actually comes from, how it is grown.  This is a detriment to our already ailing environment.  This also potentially leads to a poor relationship with food in general, emotional eating rather then relating with food as an earth given gift, as nourishing, as medicine.  

It is critical for our kids to get certain nutrients out of their diets, even more so than adults.   Their development depends on it.

What do kids need the most?  Here I turn to someone I admire, trust greatly, and have personally been a patient of, Chris Kresser, one of the most intelligent functional medicine doctors out there.  

  • Fat soluble vitamins such as A, D and K2, which can be found in organ meats, cold-water fatty fish and dairy, egg yolks, Natto (Japanese fermented soy).
  • Choline and glycine found in eggs, bone broth, fattier and collagen rich cuts of meat (brisket, oxtail).
  • Iodine from sea vegetables (particularly kelp) and dairy (not from milk itself, but from the agent used to sterilize the containers that hold milk).
  • EPA and DHA from cold-water fatty fish.
  • Zinc, iron and copper, once again from organ meats and shellfish.
  • Calcium from dairy, bone-in fish and dark leafy green vegetables.
  • Phytonutrients, a variety of them from fresh fruits and vegetables, along with their fiber.
  • Protein, the foundation for the development of muscles, tissues, and all the body's support systems.


Finally, how do we get our kids to eat these foods and actually enjoy them?  Here are some simple tips.

  1. Be an example.  Kids do as we do, far before they do purely what we say.  If we are eating these foods ourselves, not only are we feeding ourselves the nutrients our bodies need, but setting an example and stimulating curiosity.  Make room for questions and tastes.
  2. Make small changes.  Start with making foods your kids already know and love, but healthier versions of them.
  3. Don't force your kids to eat anything or to finish what's on their plates and don't offer substitutions.  Prepare healthy foods and put them out on the table and be patient.  The kids won't go hungry and will eventually come around.  
  4. Add first, take away later.  Resist the temptation to immediately clean the pantry out of everything your kids love.  Make healthy snacks available and accessible so that they are encouraged to try them on their own.
  5. Try and try again and again and again.  It can take 10+ times, and often months for your little one's taste buds to adjust.  Often times rejection of a food as more to do with texture than taste.  Try different iterations of a food.  For example, if your kids don't like mashed sweet potatoes, try them roasted.
  6. Make it fun...a family project, experiment, or game.  Involve your kids in menu planning and cooking. Set aside your inner OCD (this one i especially hard for me) and within limits, let them be inventive.  Create "fun" plates with foods they can eat with their fingers.  Make smiley faces out of the food on their plates.  Jazz veggies up with healthy sauces to dip into or add butter.  (Butter or oil helps make the  nutrients in vegetables more bioavailable by the way).
  7. Make sure your kids are hungry.  Steer them away from snack too close to mealtimes.
  8. The earlier you start the better.  Partially due to our own laziness, we never cooked anything special for our daughter.  She always ate exactly what we ate.  She knows no different and is always eager to try new things.  The result is a very broad and sophisticated palate.  Don't get us wrong, she won't pass up a cookie or piece of chocolate cake if their offered, but will happily gobble up raw oysters and a steamed artichoke with melted butter if that is what we are eating.  (Our meal accompanied by a dirty martini, hers, sparkling water with lemon).

Need some coaching?  We are happy to help!  Give us a holler.

Your Basic Guide to Fats and Oils

Fats and oils are hot topics these days.  If you grew up in my generation (70's child), vegetable oils were good and butter and animal fats were bad.  End of story.  Government and mass food industry supported guidelines warned us that any animal derived fat was a no-no and low fat and fat-free were the way to go.  The truth behind this propaganda, greed-fueled and unsubstantiated by science, became public information only a few years ago.  So now what?  What kinds of fats and oils should we be ingesting?

It's a complicated story.  We learned a lot by reading Cate Shanahan's book, Deep Nutrition.  It is chock full of information - and definitely a dense read.  Here is a summary of what we learned.  

1. Why are vegetable/seed oils so toxic?

Vegetable oils are loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids, also known as PUFAs.  These PUFAs are highly unstable.  When exposed to heat and chemical stress they rapidly breakdown and transforming into free-radical promoting molecules, potentially causing major cell damage.  What do I mean by cell damage?  

These oils are inflammatory, irritating the gut lining and impairing digestion by reducing the ability to produce stomach acid.

They create oxidative stress in the body, leading to neuro degenerative diseases.  When heated, these oils exponentially amplify naturally occurring oxidation, so that the body has a hard time fighting it.  They also limit nitric oxide signaling which slows brain functioning.  

Vegetable and seed oils can cause gene mutation.  There are studies linking them to autism and organ malfunction.

Having a problem with circulation?  It could be due to vegetable and seed oils.  They can cause cardiovascular dysfunction, erectile dysfunction (yikes), migraines and also stifles the body's ability to recover from brain injury.

In a nut shell, they are aging accelerators.  I don't know anyone who wants that!

Increases genomic instability (causing gene mutation).

2. Does it matter how the oils are processed?  What if they are expeller-pressed?

Yes, it matters, but when it comes to vegetable and seed oils, expeller-pressed does not mean safe.  Expeller pressed suggests "gently extracted", but in reality, it only means the oils were first mechanically extracted.  The next part of the process usually involves refining, bleaching and deodorizing, rendering the oil oxidized.

3. What the heck should we eat and cook with and what should we avoid?

Here's a short list taken right off of Dr. Shanahan's website.


And lastly, some tips!

  • Look for extra virgin, cold pressed oils.  For olive oils, specifically made in California, look for the Califonia Olive Oil Council Seal.  
  • For extra virgin olive oil, look for a harvest date.  They are best used within 18 months from harvest.
  • When cooking with high heat, stir frequently.
  • Also for high heat cooking, certain oil combinations are ideal.  Butter and olive oil protect each other.  Sesame and peanut oil are good combinations as well.  Sesame oil is high in PUFA's but is also incredibly packed with antioxidants.  Peanut oil protects the PUFA's from oxidizing.

At our signature retreats, we show you EXACTLY how to put all of this together and use some of the oils suggested.  Join us in beautiful Mallorca in September and experience the taste of authentic, traditionally made Spanish olive oil.  We will be visiting a biodynamic extra virgin olive oil mill! 

 As always, please reach out with questions and comments!