This transcript is brought to you thanks to the hard work of Christine Specht.
Welcome to the Keto Woman podcast live from KetoFest!
[Cheers and applause]
You can hear that in the background, the lovely audience who have made the trek up the hill in this incredible heat and humidity. So, thank you so much for making the effort, and welcome Karen Ogilvie to the Keto Woman podcast. I have been trying to get you on the podcast for ages.
Yes. Delighted to be here.
So, thank you, thank you for joining me here today.
Thank you for having me. Yes, it’s been a long time coming. I think we’ve been trying to do this for two years now.
Absolutely. So, tell us a bit about you.
I’m a mum and a registered holistic nutritionist, working out of Ottawa, Canada. I’ve been working as, specifically, a low, very low carb registered holistic nutritionist for a year. Before that, I was working as a volunteer coaching people online, on how to reverse their diabetes and claim better health through a low carb lifestyle. At home, I have one little son, he’s 11 years old. And through him, I became interested in nutrition and that’s what brought me to keto. When he was three years old, he was diagnosed with autism and I was keen on helping him reduce some of his symptoms by following the recommended diet, which was gluten and casein free. Through that, I became more interested in exactly how nutrition affects our mental health and our general wellbeing. That’s what eventually brought me to keto, after my own diabetes and a-fib diagnosis.
So how’s it been working for him? What kind of changes have you seen and over what kind of time period?
With him, I didn’t find too much of a difference following specifically the diet that was recommended by his doctor, the gluten and casein free. What I did find was that when I eliminated sugar and grains, he had good results, and when I increased his fats, specifically his fats through animal fats such as high DHA omega three fatty acids, he had more impulse control and he had better focus.
Tell us a bit about how that works. I know it can really, with autism you need to try and keep things as stable and in routine as much as possible, is that right? I can imagine that swing in blood sugars being the exact opposite of what you need.
Everyone that has these ADHD behaviors will find a benefit from stabilizing their blood glucose, so that they don’t have the rise and the crash. With Freddie, I wasn’t specifically trying to help him with autism. He is proudly autistic, but some of his issues were stemming from the ADHD symptoms that he would have, so lack of focus and impulsivity. So by keeping his blood sugar stable, by removing refined sugar, and then helping him foster a better mood and better concentration by incorporating fish, fish oil, he found great improvement for those particular symptoms.
What kind of issues do you find that he faces, you face, as a family? I’ve seen some of your posts online and you just have to deal with different stereotypes and all sorts of things flying around about autism. Tell us a little bit more about that cause it sounds like it can be difficult sometimes. I see you getting heated.
It can be difficult sometimes. As I said, he’s proudly autistic and I catch him online sometimes. People don’t know that he’s 11 years old. I catch him trolling anti-vaccine people on YouTube.
He likes to educate them, doesn’t he?
He likes to educate them. He takes great offense to the idea that he somehow is disabled or injured because he’s proudly unique. He’s keen on that. He’s also very proud of his interests. He’s a math savant; he’s very interested in science. As I went back to school to learn about nutrition, he became very interested in learning, particularly about sugar. He’s a big fan of Gary Taubes. He likes to talk to people about the sugar in kids’ foods, fruit juices and fruit snacks and that sort of thing. He did a little demonstration for the kids at his school where he had all the different drinks that they would have in their lunch, like Gatorade or fruit juices, and then he would have the bags of the equivalent amount of teaspoons of sugar next to it.
That’s a good visual, isn’t it? You can see straight away just how much sugar you’re piling into your system.
Exactly. From something that would seem as innocuous as a fruit juice.
It’s supposed to be healthy.
Is it supposed to be healthy?
So, you got into keto as a byproduct of doing it for him. Just supporting him as a family, presumably.
Yes, doing it for him, I became interested in nutrition. So when I was called into my doctor’s office and was told that I was this far off of the full blown diabetes diagnosis, I had an A1C of 6.2 and a heart condition called atrial fibrillation. I wanted an alternative to what she was suggesting, which was just restrict calories and get a gastric bypass. So I wanted to explore doing a restricted carbohydrate diet. I had done that in the past, and I had good success but kind of strayed, because I’d be told that’s not healthy longterm, it’s not sustainable. So, I decided to give it one last effort before agreeing to having a very invasive surgical procedure. I’m still down 80 pounds and the doctor is very happy with the results, particularly for my A1C. Now I’m nowhere near being diabetic with an A1C of 5.0.
Good for you. Along the way, you discovered passion for this. You want to help other people, made it formal. Tell us a bit more about that.
When I decided that I wanted to try being low carb again, when I was considering surgery, between the time when I had done Atkins in the 90s and now, all these Facebook groups popped up. So, I decided I was going to find Atkins groups. But, I was surprised when I went searching on Facebook, that there were very few Atkins groups, but I kept on seeing all these groups that were called keto or ketogenic. Doing Atkins in the 90s, I knew what ketosis was, so I’m like Oh, I’ll just join one of these. So, I joined a small group of people that seemed to be really keen on learning the science behind the nutrition of low carb. Before I knew it, I had agreed to help run the group. It grew; I think there was 3000 when I took it over and now there is over 110,000 in the one group and I think about 115,000 in the other.
Just a few, then.
So just a few.
What are they called?
We have two main groups, one is Keto Science Alliance, that we have general discussion and nutritional science. Then, we have another one that’s specific for food and recipe discussion, that we call Nondenominational Keto, so all forms of very low carb are welcome there. We have people that eat very clean, more of a paleo style, very low carb. And then we have the people that are “if it fits in your macros” and carnivores, and vegetarians, even have a couple of vegans but they’re all pursuing better health through a ketogenic diet.
Keeping that focus in mind, not getting too judgmental about exactly how people do it, as long as they’re achieving the results they’re looking for.
That’s right. I know I have my own particular way of being keto. I prefer the paleo style where I restrict dairy and stick to whole foods, meat and vegetables mainly.
So tell us a bit about your keto. What does your everyday keto look like?
My everyday keto, I have sort of the Monday to Friday keto. I believe in the 80/20. So 80% of keto for me is lots of olive oil and avocado oil, healthy fats and saturated fats from meat and leafy green vegetables. On the weekends, I put on my mom hat and do baking for my son to have his crackers and cookies and muffins and that sort of thing. So we’ll have little keto-fied treats. That’s been a lot of fun learning how to do some baking, with all these new products that weren’t around when I was doing Atkins.
You aren’t a natural born baker, are you?
Not really, no. I’m just a cook at home or for my, for my son. But, the Keto baking’s been…
Does he enjoy it? Does he help you out?
He’s my food critic; he’s not really my assistant chef. So he’ll be brutally honest if a recipe is good or not good. He’s very particular because he’s sensitive. He’s very particular to certain sweeteners. So, he’ll tell me what he thinks.
And you are now a qualified nutritionist, is that your label? What’s your preferred label? I know there are different labels that go around.
I’m called a registered holistic nutritionist. So after running these Facebook groups for a couple of years, I decided that this is what I would like to do professionally. I went back to school, just as a general nutritionist course. I had the choice, I looked into going into university to becoming a dietician, but the problem with that is that I would become part of the college of dietitians in Ontario. They are still very much beholden to the food guide, which is very similar to the US food pyramid, healthy plates that you have in other countries. I couldn’t in good conscience do that because my preferred clientele would be somebody that is trying to control their diabetes through diet.
If you go down that route, you’re stuck, aren’t you? You have to recommend their guidelines.
You’re very stuck. You’re generally working in a hospital or under a doctor. I did have some dieticians in the course with me; they expressed a great deal of frustration that all they were doing with their degree was handing out Xerox copies of the same old diet of heart healthy grains and fruits and that wasn’t ideal for most of their patients. So, I decided to take the hippy-dippy course that’s a registered holistic nutritionist. We deal with nutrition mainly, but mind, body and spirit as well. So there’s lifestyle coaching with that.
You can color outside the lines. It doesn’t surprise me that you took that route; much more fitting for your character, I think.
Yeah, I think so. I think so. Yeah, and I did enjoy it. It was really interesting taking this course because it was general nutrition and being a holistic nutritionist, they believe very strongly in biochemical individuality so that what works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you and you address your client as a whole person. I’m not addressing just a symptom like you would in a hospital setting as a dietitian.
I love that approach, and presumably you’re looking at everything else that might be affecting whatever issue it is they have, sleep, stress.
Oh, everything. Their relationships, their sleep, their career. Yeah. All those things to try to help them live their best life and have their best health.
People tend to underestimate that. They often just, especially I guess if they’re looking at weight issues, always this blinkered vision really with just thinking about food. It’s got to be the food that’s the issue, without necessarily thinking so much about all the other things that have such impact.
It’s true! We hear it all the time. You know when you go to the doctors that if anyone who has a weight issue, they talk about it’s gluttony and sloth, right? Clearly you’re eating too much and moving too little, and I’ve found working with thousands of people over the last few years that it rarely has anything to do with either of those things.
They’re far from that. Yeah. We just get a bit sick of being told the way out.
I would love to open this up to you lot out there. Maybe you’ve got some questions for Karen. Come up to the mic and ask away, please.
They’re shy, it’s early.
Don’t make us put on our pretend voices. We did have this as a plan; it was an option. We figured first one of the day, searing heat, there might not be anybody there at all and we might have to put on pretend voices. Here we go. So, just tell us who you are and fire away.
I’m Jackie and I would like to know how you handle plateaus in weight loss, for a woman.
Well, it depends on how long the plateau is. In our group, we think plateaus are normal and healthy. People reach a certain level of homeostasis, and that is something that they can either choose to break through and if they choose that, they’re no longer happy at that particular weight. Then we start looking at things like their food journals, particularly with meal timing. I find that a lot of people that are having a plateau, it’s not so much what they’re eating, it’s how they’re eating and when they’re eating. So we try to switch up fasting schedules. For me, I find with women in particular, especially mothers, sleep is usually what’s missing. So what’s happening is that they are very fatigued and they’re trying to get their me time after the kids go to bed and they should be going to bed too. So, this is when night eating is happening. So I find that if we can get good sleep hygiene with these women that a lot of the issues that are coming with night eating, snacking, eating out of the window and also hormonal balance resolves itself.
Thank you. Here comes my favorite.
Hi, I’m Becky.
This was a perfect question; I had similar question with stalls. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight and certainly have a way to go, but there’s times that I’m pretty happy just having really good bloodwork, but you hear people talking about when we get this obese that our fat cells are dysfunctional or unhealthy. Is that unhealthy for us to continue to carry that weight or is there any research behind that?
There is research coming out of a lot of Nordic countries right now that actually as you age, maintaining the slightly overweight BMI and slightly overweight body fat percentage is actually healthier for longevity, that it is protective against disease. My only concern, if somebody is going to be maintaining a great deal of weight as we age is injury. It’s not a matter of that those health cells being damaging, they’re not disease causing, but it is good to maintain balance and flexibility. So ,with somebody like that, I would definitely be looking into, I’m finding some sort of physical activity to keep that person moving, to keep the joints healthy. But no, I really don’t see somebody maintaining a certain amount of body fat and as he gets older that being a bad thing.
Hi, I’m Marie. I have a question about hormonal changes. So as we, we age and we go through the menopause, is there things that we can be incorporating into our diet that can help us without artificial supplementation, if you will?
For just some people that they have black Cohosh, they’ll take certain herbal supplements. I don’t really specialize in, in the herbals thats an extra area of nutrition that I haven’t really gotten into yet. But, there are some nutritionists who, who do that, that specialize in natural alternatives to maintain hormonal balance. I also work with a nurse practitioner, and she specializes in bioidentical hormonal replacement therapy. And I know, Jennifer Kleiman, who is my podcast partner, has worked with her and has had fantastic results supplementing for her hormonal health.
Thanks. Are there any just general foods that are preferred for it?
General foods? Well, I’m usually, I’ll try to get them to limit the, the phytoestrogen, things like flax and soy if you’re going through that particular change because some people find those aggravating when they’re, when they’re going through these hormonal fluctuations. Honestly, just having a very low carb diet and staying away from foods that can have soy and soybean oil added really does help keep energy levels stable and make those changes seem more bearable.
Hi, my name is Madge. As people see your success in what you’re eating, they always want to know what you’re eating and I try to tell them, well, this is what I eat.
But, it might not be the best for you. So I wondered, as a holistic nutritionist, how do you decide how to start them off? Do you just go with the basic, keep it low carb or do you listen to them and say, well, maybe you want to try this or…?
If they’re just learning, then one thing that I really like is Dr. Westman’s “Page Four”. It’s very simple. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that, but you can, you can download it online. Dr. Eric Westman’s page four. So it keeps it very simple. It’s just meat, fat, vegetables. As a holistic nutritionist, because I’m treating the person as an individual, I go through a whole interview process where I, first of all, I had to figure out what they don’t like, you know, and a menu is not going to be very useful to something if I’ve got it full of tomatoes or something and they can’t eat it. And so, you know, we go through this whole interview process. I figure out what their primary health concerns are, their likes, their dislikes, their habits and we work from there and I give them a sample menu of, of things that I think that they would enjoy. After a couple of weeks, they’ll come back to me and we’ll discuss. It’s an ongoing conversation, discuss with them, what they did, like what they would like to try and how it was making them feel.
That’s great because so, so many of them are like, well, can I have that and I can’t have that. And I was like, no, I can’t have that.
Yes. Yeah. Well, every, everyone’s different. I mean, my husband is very much, just a low carb if it fits in your macros person. But if I eat some of his grain based, low carb wraps, I feel terrible.
So there’s no point in eating something that you don’t love, that you don’t enjoy, because the ketogenic diet is delicious. And there’s no point in eating something that’s going to make you feel sick. So, yeah.
Anyone else? Come on.
Hello, I’m Lynne. Are there any patients that come your way that they have an like, alternate medical condition that you’re like, alright, I can’t touch you. Right. Or like if they have like severe heart history or whatever that might be, what are some key things that you go, okay, you need to really go to a higher level.
If I have somebody that’s coming to me with, with a health concern and sometimes they don’t even know that they have a particular problem, but that is part of my job is to get them the proper referral to somebody who specializes in their particular health concern. So, oftentimes I’ll refer them to a doctor or a nurse practitioner or a counselor. Oftentimes, they’re coming to me and they, it becomes apparent that they may have some kind of disordered eating, or some kind of serious psychological issue like depression, or suicidal thoughts. So then it’s my responsibility to get them to the proper services that are out of my scope. So, I do prefer to work with somebody who has a doctor that’s willing to explore in my area of expertise, which is the low carb diets, and I work within the parameters that that doctor or nurse has set up.
Has that ever caused issues? Have you locked heads, as it were, with a client who’s come to you and they’re like, oh, I talked to my doctor and they said I couldn’t do what you’d been recommending. Have you had struggles like that?
Yeah, I mean, there are, there are some doctors that are still very much locked in. You know, the, the diet that we’ve been following since the 70s, 80s and 90s. Or, doctors that want their patients to go low-fat vegan. And I simply tell the person, well, you can get a second opinion from a different medical professional. I’ll never say that a doctor is wrong. Or, if somebody is very keen on following nutritional advice that is completely out of my area of expertise, like if they wanted to become a vegan, I would refer them out to a different nutritionist. It’s not my area of interest and it wouldn’t be worth their time or mine because this is the area that I’ve done all my research in.
That’s the kind of thing you need a specialist for, don’t you, because you really have to work hard to get everything you need. It’s possible, but it’s a challenge.
Yeah, it’s true that some people that I’ve worked with that you have to tailor their, their diet because they have serious health concerns. Like, they’ve had gastric bypass and what I would do for somebody that wanted to control their diabetes through diet would be to have them fast and then feast. But, I can’t do that with somebody that has a stomach the size of a hard boiled egg. So, I adjust things and work with the medical professional that they’ve been seeing, if possible.
Hi, I am Jeff Halverson, I’m with the Greater Boston Keto. So I guess my question, is how you decided where you wanted to get your credentials because I’m thinking of doing something similar, thanks.
With the school that I picked, I had choices, as I said. I looked into the university program to get a degree as a dietician, and it just, it wouldn’t have worked for what I wanted to do. I already been volunteering for a couple of years, coaching people in a very low carb diet. I had some options; it’s important to do your research. There are a lot of online courses right now that I see people getting credentials for, they call them credentials. There was one that I saw that a friend, a friend took and Amy paid good money into this, but the certification, when I looked into it myself, was pretty much meaningless. So, you really want to look into your state, your province, what sort of credentials you would need to have an alumni association, that’s important, and to be insured. So, there were a couple of schools in my city, in Ottawa, and I wanted to actually be physically in a classroom, that was important for the way that I learn. And I picked one because, actually the lady that owned that particular branch of the school, I had gone to high school with, so I did. I had the choice of one or two, and I went with the one that I knew and that had been established. So, I picked the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. They’ve been well established. They have a really good alumni association. So, why that’s important is that if I have a client who has a complaint about me, she could go to my alumni association. There’s a reporting body; we’re self-regulated in Ontario. So it’s important to have that reporting body for your client’s safety. And, it’s also important to have insurance. If you’re not part of one of these alumni associations, it’s very hard to protect yourself, with liability insurance.
Hi, I’m Scott, thank you so much. With these Facebook groups of over a hundred thousand members, first of all, that’s incredible. Congratulations. One thing I observe, is they exist for all different types of diets: the snake diet, high carb diet, the baby food diet, whatever, you name it. There’s always hundreds or a few thousand of members who are posting a lot, posting before and afters, clearly having success. Then there’s probably a ton of lurkers, you know, 60,000 people call it, who are just observing and learning. And then there’s the invisible graveyard of people who are not successful, who maybe have tried it and failed and stay in the group. So I’m curious how you kind of think about adherence, managing adherence with such a large group of people, making it easier to adhere. Or, if you just think about that as kind of not your responsibility, more sharing information and helping people who want to adhere.
We talk a lot in our admin group about protecting the novice experience. Once again, we keep it nondenominational keto; nobody is wrong, we’ll explain why, perhaps, something wouldn’t be a good idea for them. I’ve discussed it with my team quite a bit that when somebody starts a new diet, particularly when that’s as much of a drastic change from going from the SAD, Standard American Diet, to keto, you’ve got them for about three months on average, that that is the statistic. People will try a new diet, and within 12 weeks, they are gone. So, our idea is to protect that novice experience, that they have very positive results and also we make it so that they realize that this is an easier way to eat and that it is a healthful way to eat. So, when they do quit within 12 weeks, they will come back. So we do have a lot, I do see in our particular Facebook groups, a lot of people that they fall off the wagon for whatever reason, but because they had such a positive experience as a novice, they return. We do have very good participation rate in our group; in comparison to other ones, it’s about 70%. We’re very happy with that. That is one thing that I think we’ve done well.
Great. Well I believe we have a bit of a funny. A KetoFest funny story to share. I think it stems back from last year…
Yeah. Last year, last year. Yeah, I was telling Daisy, when we were talking in the kitchen that I was hoping this year would be less traumatic at Keto Fest. What happened last year, Daisy was, there was a prank that was played on me and I think it was meant for Daisy.
Yeah, I missed out, I didn’t, I didn’t know about this. It was all to do with the, the beach admin house. Yeah. The admin house was supposed to be a beach house.
[muffled giggles and “oh wow”]
So we get there and I’m thinking as we’re driving there, this doesn’t look like it’s close to the beach, but you know, maybe it’s somehow at the end of the garden or something? Didn’t look right. Get there. Cause I’m excited. You know, I love the beach and, all right, where’s the beach? Where’s the beach? That was the first thing as soon as I got there, it wasn’t there. So they, they changed the house, but my plan had been for all the admins to go for a midnight swim. I love that. I love, it’s a bit weird. I have a lake nearby, and I’ve been for midnights swims before and it’s great fun. I love it. So I had this plan that we were going to go for this midnight swim, but of course it all fell away because we weren’t by the beach. But unbeknownst to me…
No, see I was, I was not in the admin house. I was at the Holiday Inn and so was Richard Morris, and he had known about this admin house, there was supposed to be a beach and they were going for this midnight swim that didn’t happen. So we’d been working all day in RD86 in the kitchen and it was hot and we were tired. I got back to my hotel room and I had a shower and all of a sudden my phone goes, ding. And I look, and it’s Richard Morris, and I says, Hey, do you fancy a swim or you don’t want to come down to the pool with me? I’m like, Oh, yeah, sure, give me, give me a few minutes, I’ll meet you down there. He goes, no, no, no, no, I’m going to meet you in your room, which should have been, a tip for me. I’m thinking, he’s nice, he’s going to escort me down to the lobby. No. I’m like, well, give me, give me a few minutes. I’ll get into my suit. I get the knock on the door and I open it up and he’s standing there and he’s got his hands behind his back looking all proud, chest puffed out. And the first thing I think is, dear God, this man has walked down the hallway in wearing nothing but a black tee shirt.
And then I suddenly realized that no, he’s not naked from the waist down. Instead, he’s wearing the world’s smallest black Speedo with his black tee shirt. [laughter]
And he goes, okay, well, let’s, let’s go downstairs. I said, you can’t walk down through the lobby towards the pool in that. He’s like, why not? This is my suit. And just then he laughs and he’s got his hands on his back and he pulls out and he’s got decent swim trunks.
And, he says, no, I brought this for the beach swim that didn’t happen. And he turns around on his heels to go into my bathroom to get changed. And just then I see it as he’s walking away, on the back of his tiny Speedo, Australia written right across his bum. But I’m pretty sure that was meant for you on the beach.
I missed out. And of course, and of course in Australia, those are known as budgie smugglers, right?
I didn’t get a very close look. I went hysterically blind for a brief moment.
What I want to know is, is where they are this year? I mean, I’m staying in the Holiday Inn, perhaps we can do a replay. So as is customary, can we round up, please Karen, with a top tip.
Sleep. I think I touched on this earlier before. Sleep is so important for your hormonal balance. And I find that a lot of people that are struggling with night eating, myself included, I have a busy life. I’m a mother, a volunteer. I work, I’m on the Facebook groups all the time. And, a lot of times we try to claim some of that time for ourselves after, our children go to bed, and it’s quiet, but often when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually tired. So, try to get that, that eight hours every night. I’m better at preaching than practicing myself as we all are. Especially when it comes to sleep.
It does make a difference, doesn’t it? I seem to fall into my natural sleep pattern when I come to the States. I’m absolutely dreadful about staying up too late, and end up still online probably because yes, I was nodding over there. Probably one of the people who say Daisy, are you still doing online? Go to bed because it’s four o’clock in the morning or something my time. But of course when I shift back in time here, I’m waking up at six o’clock in the morning all bright and sparkly and getting to sleep at a good time at night and getting a good chunk of sleep. So, I do well when I’m here.
Well maybe I need to come to France to get better sleep.
Maybe we can do a swap.
Yeah, there we go.
Rangan Chatterjee talks as a podcast that I really enjoy listening to and he talks about the pillars of health and he maintains that sleep is the pillar that actually supports everything else.
And if you can get that solid foundation, the others will all stand up better.
It’s definitely, it’s easier to exercise if you’ve had a good night’s sleep, it’s easier to keep your, your blood sugar stable. I know, if any of you test your, your blood glucose in the morning, if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep, a fitful sleep, not enough sleep, you’ll find that your, your fasting blood glucose is much higher.
I’ve ordered, getting in on all these people with their self experimenting, I’ve ordered a CGM, so I’m going to see just how much my 4:00 AM late nights impacts my blood sugar and maybe that will be what I need along with people like Sandy telling me off to go to bed, might be what I need to, to get some sleep.
And even with somebody who’s had a nightmare, you can see it in the CGM. It’s really interesting.
Really interesting. Well thank you so much for sharing this Keto Fest live experience with me.
Thanks for having me on. No, I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time. I’m glad we could do it.
Nice. It’s so nice to spend time with you again, in general. Enjoy Keto Fest and thank you, my wonderful Keto Fest Lovelies out there for, for coming up here in this heat and sharing it with us. Thank you so much.
Start the discussion at www.ketogenicforums.com