This transcript is brought to you thanks to the hard work of April Ihly.
Welcome Emmy, to the Keto Woman podcast. How are you doing today?
I’m great. Thanks for having me.
It’s a pleasure. You were telling me just before we started recording that you were in New York for the weekend by the sounds of it, or just yesterday maybe? You were driving back this morning.
It was just yesterday. I’ve actually been there the last three weekends for three separate occasions. The blessing and the curse of living driving distance from the city.
And can I ask why? Something exciting?
This week was my best friend’s 24th birthday party. Last night we went out in Brooklyn, went to a couple cool bars, it was very fun. And, last week I was seeing the ballet.
Wow, what did you go see?
It was actually a combination of three contemporary pieces performed by the New York City ballet and they were all fantastic.
Wow, that’s really exciting. I went to New York for the very first time last year after Ketofest. I really enjoyed it. It was hot though. Really, really hot. I still had my dreadful cankles at Ketofest, which I have never, ever had before in my life, but both Kim and I just got the most horrendous swollen ankles.
New York in the summer just smells like hot garbage, so I’m sure that was pleasant.
Exactly. The first afternoon, we walked something like, something outrageous, like 20 miles. Louise has one of these, you know, things that measures it on her Apple watch or something, so she was telling us at the end of every day how many steps we’d done and stuff. It was just insane. But there you go. It was great fun. I have a feeling that New York would be best either in the spring or the autumn. Little bit less heat.
The northeast in the autumn is incredible. It’s the best time of year to visit.
It’s my favorite time of year, so I imagine it would be really nice. That’s on my list. New York in the autumn.
Well, you’ve got people to visit.
Exactly. It’s one of those things that I watched a series, now, which series was it? It was one of the Marvel ones. Luke Cage. I watched it after being in New York so there were all these places that I saw in the filming that were, I want to go there. I want to go there, I want to go and see that place.
You have to come back, come back and visit.
One of them, was it Morningside Heights park?
Morningside Park I think is a thing. It sounds right.
It just looked like the most amazing park. I wanted to go there.
A lot of beautiful parks hiding in New York.
Up quite high, looked like it had amazing view. So anyway, rambling.
Yes. Yeah, really good at rambling.
Tell me about you. That’s why we’re here, to hear about you.
All right. Well, I think a lot of people in the Keto community know me as Carl Franklin’s daughter. It’s funny, actually a lot of people in a lot of communities know me as Carl Franklin’s daughter, but I am my own person. I am 23. I live in southeastern Connecticut. I am a college graduate from Rhode Island School of Design. Currently working, designing submarines for the United States Navy.
Oh yeah. It sounds a lot cooler than it is, but that’s all I can say about it. I live here in southeastern Connecticut, very close by, to my dad, and have lived here most of my life, except for school. I’ve been Keto off and on since my junior year of college. We can dive into that journey. Currently have been Keto consistently since the new year. But again, flexibility and off and on has kind of been my Keto journey, so I’m excited to talk about that also. But as far as myself, I’m an artist and designer, a maker. I enjoy spending most of my free time with my friends, which sounds totally cheesy and corny, but I’m a social butterfly and that’s generally how I like to spend my free time. And, apparently going to and from New York City all the time. That’s been my February so far.
It strikes me that spending time with friends in New York would be a really fun thing to do.
It’s a very fun thing to do. It’s fun because living so close to New York, because people who I’ve met from all over the country and all over the world actually, a lot of people eventually find themselves in New York so they will let me know. And, for me it’s just, I can hop on a train and be in the city in three hours. Actually, a couple of weekends ago I was there because when I was an au pair in Italy, my host family, I became really close with them and they were visiting the states couple of weeks ago. I took the train and spent the weekend in Manhattan doing touristy things with them and spending time with them, which was really nice. It’s good to have that in my pocket. People are like, oh I’m going to be in New York. It’s like, I live there, close enough. It’s really handy.
It’s true isn’t it? If you land in America, the chances are New York’s going to be on your list of places to visit.
Absolutely. It’s helpful for me because I don’t have to travel far to meet people and they don’t have to feel like they have to visit southeastern Connecticut to have an American vacation.
I remember now actually, you just triggered my memory about the time you spent in Italy. I can remember seeing the posts from Carl about when he came to visit you and some of the yummy things you got to eat.
Oh my God, I ate so many yummy things in Italy. I did not maintain ketogenic lifestyle while I was there, but I had a lot of very yummy Keto friendly foods, and when dad came to visit me, we went, we stopped at this incredible like store that was full of smoked meats of various varieties.
I can imagine that exciting your dad.
Oh my God, he still talks about it all the time. It was like the highlight of his visit.
It was, it was meat heaven, and it was just.. So we were in Sienna, which is this tiny little medieval city, an hour outside of Florence. We were just walking through the street and we saw they had a boar’s head outside the store. For people who have never been to Tuscany and aren’t familiar, wild boar is actually a staple food. They’re pests. They hunt them and they eat them. You have to do a lot to prepare the meat because it’s very gamey.
It’s the same. It’s the same here in France. They hunt them around here and I see them actually. Quite often when I’m coming home in the evening, I see families of them crossing the road and the little piglets, they’re really cute.
I know, little baby ones. They’re so cute. They eat the grapes so they don’t like that.
Ah, naughty piggies.
I was there for the grape harvest. And you can see, they said, see this is where the cinghiale got the grapes. And I’m like, oh no. But then we just eat them and they’re delicious. We’re walking down the street and we see the boars head and I’m like, oh, there’s the cinghiale. We saw hanging meats in the window, which is not uncommon,. They’re hanging meats all over Italy. They’re very good at that, cured meats. We walked in and the place was just like unbelievable. Covered in cheeses and meat, and wine bottles everywhere. It was overwhelmingly exciting and we’d kind of decided we wanted something to, a little snack to get us through to dinner and oh my God it was… It’s interesting. I’m standing in there and I had been studying Italian for the last three months. He visited me my very last week there. We’re standing there and we’re in a small village. They speak enough English to sell stuff but no more than that.
The perfect amount.
Exactly, exactly. That’s pretty much where a lot of, in the small towns like, you want to buy? And I was like, yes. And then that’s kind of how that works communication-wise. But since I had some three months of conversational Italian, I was kind of standing there translating between my dad and the guys. We ordered a tray of just a spread of meats and cheeses and we shared a quarter bottle of red wine and olives. Oh my God. It was unreal. It really was the… He’s nodding. He’s sitting over there and he’s smiling to himself and nodding. It was really the highlight of his trip, you know? I’m like, oh, the architecture, and he’s like, those smoked meats were so good. They really were.
Meat and cheese and wine.
Meat and cheese and wine.
There’s something about the synergy between them though. Especially cheese and red wine. One just compliments the other. If you combine them properly, they really enhance the flavors of each other.
It was a very solid afternoon.
We were properly nourished. You can’t find anything really like that around here. Just this, like, tiny mom and pop, almost like a deli, but so specific and so good.
Yeah, just the good stuff.
Yeah, just the good stuff. That’s the name of my shop.
The Keto good stuff.
My, yeah, my Keto shop. Just the good stuff. That’s what I’ll call it. I love that.
Guaranteed to make you happy.
Oh yeah. We ate so much good food over there. Lots of wild boar and fresh green veggies from the garden and everything doused in olive oil. Everything. I was actually there for the olive harvest, which was so cool for me. I was there for the grape harvest and the olive harvest.
Yeah, seriously. Turns out, autumn is also the best time to visit Tuscany and nobody’s surprised, autumn’s the best time of year always. Not that I’m biased or anything. I was there for the grape harvest, which was the beginning of fall, which was so fun. You know, the whole family and the vineyard picking grapes and we ate a lot of grape foods. The grape harvest was a lot more cultural, you know, about the family coming together. But the olive harvest was exciting because first of all, I’d never picked olives before. And then the exciting thing is the next day you get fresh olive oil and trying the olive oils from all over the region; also in comparing them. The family who I stayed with, they worked for the Antinori wine family. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them. They own a lot of different vineyards all over Tuscany. All over the world, really but mainly in Tuscany. On their estates they also have olive trees. The two are very complimentary in terms of the climate and how they’re planted and how they absorb water. I learned a lot over there, It was fun, you know, trying all the different olive oils from all the different estates and comparing it to our olive oil and oh my God, I could have, just like, had it by the glass. It was so good. I had never been a big olive oil fan before, but something about that fresh, peppery with salts and, oh it was so good.
I bet there’s a world of difference, actually .
Such a huge difference.
I imagine part of it is the whole experience goes into the flavor as well.
I bet if you bring some of that back with you, it’s not going to taste the same at home as it did there.
That’s what I thought. But my host, she shipped me five liters of olive oil and it was still phenomenal. It was really good.
Well, and I guess also because, and there’s something very, very evocative about taste and smell, aroma, isn’t there? Because, you’ve had that experience.
I imagine as soon as you open that bottle those smells and that flavor, it will just take you right back to that experience anyway.
Oh, I’m sure. I’m sure that the two are very closely tied.
It’s nice because it’s immediate as well. I mean the thing with harvesting grapes is that you’re not going to be able to get to taste that as the end product for quite a while afterwards, but the olives literally like you say, you can be tasting what you harvested the next day, yeah.
It was very cool. A cool process, too for harvesting olives, for anybody who’s ever harvested olives.
They do it with nets. They put nets down, shake the trees.
Yeah, so the trees are planted on a hill and then we put a giant net all the way around under the tree, and then there was this mechanism that was kind of like a vibrating claw that they would just like stick up in the branches, and it would vibrate, and the olives all just fell to the ground.
They use those with fruit trees in the UK as well, literally just shakes the hell out of them.
Yeah. Just shakes them off and then I was picking them off the branches and I was like, what do, what do I do with them? She’s like, oh, just throw it on the ground. Then at the end we kind of took the net and maneuvered it into the basket. I was trying to pick the leaves out, but it turns out that the leaves are actually what give it that, like, little bit of peppery bite.
Oh that’s interesting. So it’s an important part of the process.
It’s what makes some of the oil green, depending on the shade of the olive oil, and a little bit spicy almost. It was kinda cool. There’s an art to how many leaves you leave in. It’s her family’s property so it wasn’t quite so meticulous. We just didn’t pick all of them out. But you know I’m very meticulous as a person, so I’m picking the leaves out and she’s like, no, no, just throw them in the basket. I was like, okay, you know, whatever you say.
And I can see why there’s that variety. I suppose when you were saying that it marries up with wine very well it’s the same thing, isn’t it? So you know, the region, the soil, the climate that year. So I can imagine a harvest one year tastes completely different next year and so on. I need to go to Tuscany for an olive oil tasting.
Yeah, I think that that is really the Keto vacation of our dreams, right? Go to Tuscany during olive oil season.
I have been there, long, long, long time ago. Back when I was 19 I think, I went on an Interrailing trip. I don’t even know if you can still get the tickets. Possibly, but it was something that a lot of people did between finishing their A levels and going off to university. You could buy a ticket for, I think it was two months, an Interrailing ticket, which gave you access to all the trains in Europe, basically. You could go anywhere you like on most of the trains. It was brilliant and we predominantly just went to France and Italy, but it was fantastic. I really enjoyed it.
Being over there I realized how easy it is to travel around Europe, once you’re in Europe. I took Ryanair to Barcelona for the weekend. Just casually went to Barcelona for the weekend, and it was like 20 euros to take a plane to Barcelona. We were talking and she’s like, you’ve never been to London? I was like, of course I’ve never been to London, what do you mean? I live in southeastern Connecticut. I don’t often jet off to London and she’s like, oh, well, you know, we’ll look at tickets. We could maybe go for your birthday. It’s like, oh, just casually go to London for my birthday. It was like a foreign concept to me.
Exactly. And it’s relatively small, Europe. I think I was chatting about this with Christine last week, just talking about how everything’s tiny, really. I mean, I can get from the top to the bottom of France. It would be a long day to drive, but I could do it. The same in the UK. We’re all these small countries put together and we don’t have the same concept of distance as you do. So we’re sort of always really in awe when we come over to America it’s like, wow, everything’s so far away from each other. Whereas yes, like you say in Europe, you can just country hop in hours.
Well, I feel that we have that sort of sense in New England where you can kind of drive through several states in one day and it’s not that big a deal. I’ve taken day trips to Vermont and it’s a haul, it’s a few hours in the car, but it’s really not that big a deal. Actually the purpose of my trip to Barcelona was that I was visiting friends in the south of France, you know, as you do. I flew into Barcelona because it was closer than flying into Paris and then I took a bus, you know, just took a bus from Barcelona to the south of France. Which just sounds so ridiculous to me, being here. But then again, it probably sounds ridiculous to a lot of people when I tell them that, oh, you know, I just got back from New York City, just drove back this morning just for the day, I was over there. So it’s interesting the perspective that we have based on where we live.
Yes. I’m not sure how long it takes to get to Barcelona from here, but I’ve got a funny feeling it can be done from where I live because I’m in the southwest, so I’m a good way down. I’ve got a feeling I could get to Barcelona in about six hours in the car.
So where are you in France?
It’s classified as the southwest, but it’s more like just over half the way down. I’m about five to six hours south of Paris, almost sort of straight down, really halfway between Limoges Toulouse and directly in from Bordeaux, so fairly central. Even though it’s classified as the southwest, I’m sort of – the southwest is one of the biggest areas. It snake’s quite a long way down and I’m up at the top.
That’s cool. Yeah, it was a visiting friends and they live outside Toulouse.
Right, yes. I’m about two hours above Toulouse.
Very cool. Small world.
Not far away at all.
Well, if I had known that I would’ve kept on the bus and come to see you
Exactly, you could have surprised me like Richard Morris did the other day.
He surprised you. Just popped by.
Yeah. You know as you do. When in Europe we’ll go and surprise Daisy .
That’s perfect. Love it.
Let’s go back to where you were, where you mentioned earlier and what led you to start thinking about Keto. I mean, I’m sure you were influenced by your dad, but you know, what led you to thinking that might be a good idea?
That’s a great question. Actually, the first time I heard about Keto was from Mark and Karen, co-hosts of the Keto Families podcasts, for those who don’t know what I mean when I say Mark and Karen. They’re actually, they’ve been very close family friends and really, you know, bonus parents to me for a while now. And actually it wasn’t that summer, but basically all throughout high school I was their go-to babysitter and they have a lot of kids.
They do, don’t they?
They do, they really do.
Big old family.
I’ve kind of been around to see their littlest two to grow up. I think I was at their house, watching their little ones while they were out going to a doctor’s appointment when Mark had cancer. They came back and they filled me in on the cancer business, but then they were also like, we’re going on this diet, Mark’s read a lot about it, it’s supposed to help stop the spreading of cancer. They said it’s called the ketogenic diet and it’s very, very low carb, and you put yourself into a state of nutritional ketosis. I heard ketosis and thought back to my AP biology days and I was like, ketoacidosis, that’s so bad for your body. This sounds crazy. I don’t trust it. And they were like, no, there’s a lot of research Emmy, like pipe down, and I’m like, ok but I’m nervous about it for you. Can you really stop the spread of cancer with diet? It seemed a little hokey. Karen was like, I’m doing it too, to be supportive and we’re just not going to eat carbs. We’re keeping it below 20 grams, which sounded like absolutely insane. Impossible. Like setting themselves up for failure. I was like, all right, you know what, whatever you have to do to help you get through cancer, I’ll support you as long as you’re being safe and healthy and whatnot. That was my very first exposure to as kind of like, you guys are crazy. Then, you know, my dad told me he was also going to start this way of eating, as a way of curing his type two diabetes. I didn’t even know he had type two diabetes. He was like, oh, by the way, I have type two diabetes and also I’m going to stop eating carbohydrates. And I was like, okay, sure.
That’s quite a good combination, isn’t it? A good way to tell you, I have type two diabetes, but I also have a way to fix it, so don’t worry.
Yeah, I mean, in hindsight, absolutely. The best sort of news – slash – response that you’d want to hear from your parent who – I think it’s interesting, the way that parents and my parents, especially, even into adulthood – shields me from their own difficulties. I think that’s kind of the natural parent instinct. So he’s casually, by the way, I have type two diabetes, but don’t worry, don’t worry, I’m going to stop eating carbohydrates. I’m like, all right, kind of again, like…
…oh you’re going on the crazy cancer diet.
Yeah, the crazy cancer diet, right? I was like, alright, and he’s like, oh, I’m going to do a podcast too. And I was like, who’s going to listen to that?
Famous last words.
I know, which is, in hindsight, hilarious.
Yeah, what’s it, like, quarter of a million people a month I would bet.
Yeah, oh It’s ridiculous. So he’s like, yeah, I’m going to do a podcast. He’s laughing at me. He’s like so I’m going to do a podcast with my friend Richard Morris to document the journey. So I was like, I don’t know who’s going to listen to that, but you know, keeping yourself accountable, keeping a record, all of this is, like, good things. So I’m a very generally, almost sometimes blindly supportive person. I’m like, whatever you gotta do to get healthy and feel good about yourself. Right. I was like, I’m on board, but still had no, you know, for me this was the, the cancer diet, the diabetes diet. And that’s like, I had no interest, no, I didn’t even think about applying it to my own life. So that’s kind of where I was at still for a little while, which is interesting because where I was in my own life was overweight and out of shape. Not so much that I was pre-diabetic or really concerned about my health, but definitely feeling concerned about my appearance and energy. And I had, basically from the time I was three years old until I graduated from high school, I had been a dancer. So while I was a dancer, I was exercising like, a crazy, ridiculous amount. Like I dunno, I probably spent during rehearsal months, like 16 hours in the studio a week. Every day after school I’d have class and then rehearsal and then Saturdays all day rehearsal. I was just, I was constantly moving.
Hmm. That’s a lot of energy you’re burning up there, isn’t it?
Absolutely. So while I was dancing, I never once growing up really felt any need or desire to restrict my diet in any sort of way. I was pretty much, I was never like a really skinny kid, but I was always kind of a healthy, average body weight. I could kind of get away with like, eating three bowls of cereal after school and then dancing for five hours. What happened when I stopped dancing for five hours and went to college, where I had an unlimited meal plan, which is like the kiss of death. Like, the intention of the unlimited meal plan was that so students at RISD wouldn’t work ourselves so hard that we forgot to eat and starve to death because that’s totally kind of the…that’s not a problem I’ve ever had really, but definitely a thing that could happen. It’s a very high stress environment, the freshman year at RISD. But, I had an unlimited meal plan, had never ever had to think about what I was eating in terms of staying in shape. But I also didn’t, you know, never went to the gym. It wasn’t really an option to maintain the level of exercise that I was getting because I had no interest in joining a gym or going to the gym.
Well it’s not exercise, is it? When you’re doing something that you want to do because you enjoy it, it’s not exercise. So how do you replace that?
Exactly. I never thought of dancing for exercise. I was dancing to dance and I didn’t even realize what good shape I was in until I got really, really out of shape. which is basically my freshman year story. A classic tale of the freshman fifteen-plus pounds, we’re talking. Yeah, I really put a lot of weight on, lost a lot of strength that I had.
Yes, of course. That’s the other thing when you stop exercising.
It was interesting. Going out of chronological order, but it’s interesting, the first time I attempted and was successfully Keto it was, six months or so. I actually got back to my high school weight, but I was still bigger than I was in high school. Not realizing just how freaking strong I used to be. So it was interesting. It was kind of like the, you know, you always say like muscle weighs more than fat to make yourself feel better. But it’s kind of my first example of my own body demonstrating that to me, where I was like, oh yeah, muscle’s dense. Like I, I guess I believe it now that it’s happening to me. Freshman year I got really overweight, continued all through sophomore year. I didn’t really gain any more weight after sophomore year, but I was, for numbers, I was about 160 in high school, wearing a size six. Again, I know this is very US-centric, but 160 pounds wearing about a size US six. Four or six, pretty slim good shape. At the end of freshman year I was probably weighing in around 190, maybe 200, wearing a size 12. Number-wise, gained 30, 40 pounds. But then when you factor in the muscle loss, even more.
You must have really felt that because it’s not just a case of gaining weight, but it’s that sliding scale of not being so physically active anymore, as well. You’ve got the two things that hit you at the same time. Must’ve just made you feel really sluggish.
Oh, so sluggish. And then on top of that, I was in a really intensive program at school, so I was not sleeping much, if at all. I was pulling at least one all nighter a week. Pretty much just fueling myself on sugar in all of its various forms. Lots of sugary cereal. One thing I would do my freshman year was, they had a waffle maker that was out all day, so I’d make a waffle. They didn’t have pure maple syrup and I’m a snob, so I would put ice cream on it instead.
I always used to like ice cream and waffles. Perfect.
You know it’s delicious. And we have ways of doing it now in the Keto world.
Oh completely, yeah, you can Keto-fy that easy.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Such a terrible life we live. So that was kind of where I was at. That was my transition from, you know, totally healthy and fit, at least on the outside. You know, I don’t know what my insides were doing when I was eating three bowls of sugary cereal and then dancing five hours. I’m sure – I was young – but I’m sure it was not sustainable long-term. I mean, we know what that can look like.
And so, what made you connect the dots then between, you know, this diet that you’d seen your dad and Mark and Karen doing, but hadn’t associated with anything that would suit you. But, obviously there was a switch there at some point.
So it was my junior year and my dad had been Keto for probably six months, I would say, maybe even less. I mean, anybody who’s met him knows he loves to talk about it. We were sitting and chatting about it one night and he’s telling me about not just his success with his weight loss, but, well first of all, curing, reversing his type two diabetes was like, huge for me. You know, just seeing that it was improving his health, his physical health. And actually, Mark and Karen, at that point, Mark had beat cancer. So I was like, why are you still, you know, you don’t have cancer anymore. Karen, you were supporting Mark through cancer. And they’re like, we feel great and also we want to support your dad because we love him a lot and we want him to be around a long time.
I was like, yeah, yeah, those are all good points. Excellent points. Oh, they’re just such good people. I’m biased, but they’re also objectively great people. So, one night dad and I were talking and he’s telling me about all his success. The weight loss, the diabetes, bringing down his blood sugar, his A1c, just the increase in energy, in confidence. And ,you know, I kind of took a look at myself and realized that I had been overweight for two solid years. That was a kind of a quick transition for me. But, I was overweight for two years, had not really had any success eating in moderation. Everything in moderation, you know, that was never on the table for me.
No, I can’t do that either. I am not a moderator.
No, no, God no, me either.
Not when it comes to things like that anyway.
No, and, and you know, for me, I would say the biggest appeal beyond weight loss, I’ll be honest, I was feeling unhappy with my body. That was a huge appeal for me was losing weight. But the promise of control and losing the cravings, that, for me, was like the biggest draw. You know, the, if you can get through the first week and a half, you will have complete control over the choices you make about the food that you’re eating and what you put in your body. That was huge for me and that’s what I think, has sustained me and my interest in eating Keto. I think I’m still a little on the overweight side, but generally a pretty healthy body weight. For me, that’s huge because in the back and forth that I’ve had over the last couple of years between Keto and not Keto, whenever I dip back into not Keto, I completely spiral. Spiral out of control, get back into binge eating. You know, I’m not munching on carrots in moderation. Like I am full blown ice cream Sundae digging in.
It’s all or nothing, isn’t it?
I do it less frequently now, but when it’s happened to me, I’m exactly the same way. As soon as I tip over, that’s it. It is a free fall and it’s almost like I have to push it as far as I can. I end up pushing it so far until I feel so bad, so awful. It’s like I have to push myself to the absolute limit until I say no more, no more. And it is a relief to go back to Keto and that’s just in the space of a few days.
Absolutely. That is, yeah, I completely devolve. The first time I started doing Keto I lost like 50 pounds and I haven’t hit that low marker since, in terms of body weight. But I felt really good, really strong. I started taking yoga classes and at the end of the yoga class I just felt like strong and flexible in a way that I hadn’t felt really since I had been doing ballet.
Those are the important things, aren’t they? Those are the important feelings to get back and the kind of thing that sustains you. You know, weight loss is the biggest thing that sucks people into this way of eating, I’ve seen. Most people, if they’re honest, that’s why they start. But it’s not what keeps them. What keeps them, and it’s all down to the individual and what their issues are, but what keeps you are those other benefits. You always think weight loss is the big thing. That’s what’s most important to me. It’s not. It’s the other things.
Absolutely. It’s totally the thing that drew me in and I will freely admit that, as superficial as that sounds. You know, I wanted to look thin again.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It doesn’t matter what gets you. And it’s also something that just shows how your mind is working when you were in that place, because the way you’re eating affects your brain. It affects the way you look at yourself, your self esteem and you feel awful and all you can think about is, my life is going to be better if I can be thin. But that changes when you start feeling better. When you start feeding your brain and making it feel well again, you start appreciating different things and you don’t think that way anymore.
Yeah. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you feel like crap. Like, it’s hard to feel good about the way you look, the way you carry yourself through the world, the way you present yourself, when you just feel sick and tired all the time. Like, if you are feeling sick and tired, you’re gonna feel like crap and then you’re going to feel like you look like crap. It’s just, it’s a cycle. But I completely agree. It’s all of the other things combined that had sustained me, that have brought me back in. But I definitely would say that my Keto journey has been a lot of that like, strict Keto for several months. I tip over and I have to push myself into feeling sick and garbage-y. The first time it took a long time for me to come back to Keto. Basically took not only regaining all the weight but the bad habits. It started off kind of slow. Like, I was just with the cheat days, you know when you’re like, oh well I’m already going out for ice cream tonight with my friends so I might as well eat a breakfast sandwich. I might as well have pasta for dinner and…Which is such a toxic way of thinking, but when you are craving those carbs, you can make that justification to yourself so easily. You know, you’re totally just lying to yourself and you kind of know it, but you’re like, I might as well. The first time I fell off the wagon, it took several tries to get back into it. I would be three days Keto and then give in. That happened on and off several times. Part of it was, I went back to college. It’s exhausting being tired and stressed and exhausted and depressed and trying to take care of yourself. You know that if you take care of yourself, you will feel less exhausted and overwhelmed and depressed.
It’s hard to do.
I think anybody who’s struggled with any of those things, which is most people, know how hard it is to break out of that cycle.
Well that’s the thing. That is the problem. It’s a cycle and I can remember talking to my counselor about this, who I saw regularly for a while. He would just talk about this cycle with negativity and self critic and different things that were going round in my head, mentally, but what I came to realize, that when I spiraled down – and I never thought it would be the case for me, but – the easiest way to break out that cycle became for me to deal with the food. And I never would have thought I could do that because I’ve always been basically out of control when it comes to food. Like you mentioned earlier, it’s that the food has control of you. But, it was the easiest and quickest way to get back on track because I knew a few days of white knuckling it – and almost anyone can do that. You can muster up the resolve you need for a few days just to get through. And that is the advantage of having been there. I know it’s not ideal to fall off the wagon. You know, nobody’s going to say it is. But, the advantage with having been Keto, the advantage with falling off is that you know, you can get back on again and you know you’re going to feel better. So you know that if you can just get through those first few days, things will start picking up a little bit. Once you’ve got the first week or two behind you, you know, that’s it. You’re plain sailing again.
Yeah, I would say my Keto journey now, I’ve been fat adapted, I’ll say three times. So the first time I was strict Keto about six months, that was maybe the longest. And then when I fell off, I fell off hard and it took over a year to come back. And then finally I realized that I was getting to be where I was before I started the first time. Not just physically, but the whole shebang, you know, feeling terrible about myself and lethargic. I had gotten through college, so this is within the last couple of years, year or so. And finally I said to my dad, I was like, I need to come to your house and just immerse myself in Keto for a week. It’s like, if I can get through that week, I know I can stick to it, but I need, like Keto bootcamp, I need like eggs and bacon in the morning, and could you be that person for me?
And that support system is very important.
Absolutely. I think that a lot of the difficulties that a lot of people have to do this on their own, you know, whether they don’t have the support of their family or you know, they’re the black sheep who’s making different meals for themselves and they feel a lack of coherency with the rest of their family. You know, so much of eating and food is cultural and ritualistic, so it’s hard to feel like the odd man out. I think that’s part of, I would say, Keto from a young person’s perspective, to kind of dip into that. It’s hard as a young person to deviate from the norm and not care about it so much. Not care what other people are thinking. So even something as simple as going to a restaurant and ordering a burger without a bun, which is like no more effort for anyone. It’s really not that weird. But I know that when I first started Keto when I was 20, I was feeling a little more self conscious about that sort of thing. Whereas now I’m like, oh yeah, you know, bread is evil, whatever, leave it off my bun. I don’t want it, you know, give me bacon. But I think a lot of young people, my little sister, she’s 16, and when you’re 16, like you just want to fly under the radar as much as possible, like pass off being normal because nobody feels normal when they’re 16, even the most normal of us. So I think that part of it, for me, getting over that comes with age and part of it comes with experience. But I would definitely say age has a big role to play in that. But I can imagine that it would be especially hard for kids. Kids are ruthless. Other kids. I mean all kids, I think, have a little bit of ruthlessness to them. But I remember even feeling self conscious about the leftovers I would bring in.
So is that the problem that you found, that was the reason you came off in the first place? Because thinking timing wise, that first six months when you first started Keto, you were at college then?
And so, well two things really. So the first thing, I’m assuming that’s why you fell off. It was that whole fitting in thing that you’ve, that you’ve just been talking about. Or, was it something different?
Actually, no. My friends actually, once they saw I was losing weight. Pretty much, that’s it. As soon as they saw that I was losing weight, they were all like pretty supportive. Yeah. That’s all it takes. Right?
That’s the upside, I guess. What was it like at college, you know, I mean, how from a practical point of view, you know, how easy was it to do? What kind of things could you eat? I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know what your setup was. Were you cooking for yourself or was it meals that were catered?
Actually was very easy because I was, my junior and senior year of college, junior year is when I started this. I was completely living on my own. I had an apartment so I had an oven and a stove top. I had no meal plan. so I was doing all my own grocery shopping, so it was actually very easy for me because I could completely control what I was eating. I was the only person cooking for myself. Actually, I would say there were two things. Two factors that contributed to me falling off the wagon. I will say that the first one was coming home and moving back in with parents. Not my dad, my mom and my Stepdad, who, at the time were not supportive of the Ketogenic diet. Not that they were trying to tell me what I should and shouldn’t eat, but they were not as understanding. And my mom, actually, I think she thought I had an eating disorder because of how quickly I lost weight my junior year. So I think she was, you know, from a mother’s perspective, feeling protective of me and you know, making sure I was eating enough. And of course I was not eating as much because I was fat adapted and kind of naturally fell into a pattern of intermittent fasting, which totally freaked her out. And the other side of it actually is that my mom is a Jocelyn certified diabetes nurse educator. So it’s interesting having both of my biological parents very active in the treatment of diabetes but in very, very different ways.
Yes. Very, very different approach. Yes. So one’s in the, type two diabetes is a progressive, we’ll manage camp, we’ll manage this progressive disorder. And the other is in, no thanks, we’re going to reverse type two diabetes.
Yes, that was interesting, you know, kind of being, I would say in the middle of that, you know, of both schools of thought.
But how did that impact, I mean surely what was happening with your dad and he had the statistics there. That must’ve influenced the way your mom was thinking about type two diabetes and did it affect the way she works?
Interesting. I don’t think so.
I mean the proof really is in the pudding.
I know, you would think. Yeah, I don’t think so. She still maintains that it’s not sustainable long term and that carbs in moderation are important for balanced diet. She still maintains that. I think since she realized I was not starving myself, she became less critical of the choices I was making, and more supportive and more adaptable. My stepdad does most of our cooking. So now, living at home still, they’re very adaptable and you know, try to understand. They’ll make more leafy vegetables as a side, and a lot of his cooking that had, you know, recipes that had sugar in it, like, for Asian style cooking, he’s made without. So they are, you know, at least I would say they are buying into low carb as a lifestyle. They still don’t really understand high fat, but they’re trying their best. But I would say that the biggest thing actually was that I was walking through the world as a skinny person again. And when you are a skinny person, people do things like ask you to go get ice cream with them because skinny people are allowed to eat ice cream. You know? It’s like, oh, like why do you need to be so strict about your diet? Like you lost the weight, you look great. You can afford an ice cream. I mean, I didn’t, I think at the time, understand how that would throw me off in such a huge way.
But I think that’s understandable. What you’re learning about there is addiction, and it’s just that societally, it’s not seen that way. It’s not seen the same way as alcohol or drugs or gambling.
No, absolutely. Yeah. Same fricking deal.
It has the same hold. But you don’t see somebody trying to persuade an alcoholic to have a glass of wine. You know you’ve quit the alcohol, you’re feeling better now. Yeah. You know, come on. Just you need to have a glass of wine. It’s, you know, that’s normal. Get back to it. One would be fine.
You’re really going to live the rest of your life without eating ice cream? That was like one of the biggest, really, like that’s absurd.
And I do understand that.
Oh, I completely understand.
Because the feelings that I have myself, it’s like can I really?
When you’re an ice cream eater you cannot imagine your life without ice cream. So I understood. But I think, I think that was it. In hindsight looking back, I think it was that I was a skinny person again and skinny people get to eat junk food because they can get away with it. And a lot of my friends from home are naturally very thin and athletic. And since growing up I could also get away with, you know, we would get together and stay up all night eating junk food and we looked great still the next day. And then the difference was that as soon as I stopped dancing 16 hours a week, I am not naturally predisposed to be thin and athletic eating junk food and they’re all like, well, just go for a run. And I’m like, oh, I frigging hate running. Like I don’t want to go for, I don’t want to punish myself for eating ice cream when I know that I could just pass up eating ice cream and still feel really good.
Well, and get your dad. Or, go round to Carrie’s and have some of hers.
I mean, yeah, well now.
Now she’s living round the corner.
Actually, 4th of July, I was at a 4th of July party and everybody wanted to go out to Dairy Queen and get an ice cream. I was driving a group of my friends. They were all drunk. Actually. I was the designated driver. And so I said, we’re making a pit stop. And I drove to the gas station and bought myself a pint of Halo Top so I can have something to nibble on. And Halo Top is really not all that great anyway, but there’s so many substitutions for everything. It’s really not a life without ice cream. This dramatic, painful life that I live, restricting myself to all of the delicious foods that I can totally eat and feel good eating.
And so how do you see yourself going forward? I mean, I’ve said this myself, I’ve heard so many people say, I wish I’d known about Keto, you know, when I was 20 or well, you know, whatever age. I wish I’d known about it then. You know, and of course everything is amazing with hindsight, but that’s where you are and you know about it. How do you see yourself going forward?
I think for me it was huge learning about this at the time that I did. I think, I mean, given my genetics predisposed to pre-diabetes, type two diabetes. I was already on that path and really had no way that I knew how to solve that other than like just exercising the crap out of myself, which I didn’t have the time, energy or interest in doing. It was kind of one of those like, oh well I, you know, I guess I know how I can fix this. I love it when people who are clearly sick with either pre-diabetes or diabetes, overweight…I’ll tell them I’m doing Keto and they’re like, well, you know, everything in moderation. I’m like, yeah, how’s that working for you? Because it doesn’t, like, you are lecturing me about everything in moderation, but it doesn’t seem like you yourself have a lot of control over what’s happening to your body. That just makes me sad when they say that to me. Like, come over to our side, like, I have the answers. So, I am grateful that I was able to learn about this early in my life before. I know that I have the tools to prevent that for myself, whereas beforehand I did not, and I was headed that way. God knows when that would have happened but…
It’s good to do the experimentation that you have and the falling off the wagon and getting back on it when you’re still metabolically flexible. That’s the time to do it. If you’re going to get all that behind you, learn from it, learn what kind Keto works for you, what it does for you.
My journey has totally been one of experimentation and and pushing also, you know, my metabolic flexibility. But I have also, you know… The times that I have been Keto and fallen off and been Keto and fallen off, the time when I’ve been fallen off has gotten shorter and shorter. You know, the first time I really fell off, it took over a year to get back on. The second time, it took like three months and by the end of the three months I was like, no. I noticed at work I had less focus. I never, like, when I’m in Ketosis I never have this metabolic clarity moment of your brain on ketones. Like I know that some people are like, oh, don’t you just have the mental clarity and when I’m in it, I never feel that. But I felt it when I didn’t have that and I was like, wow, I am like, not on. I’m a person who likes to be on top of my stuff and I was not on top of it. I was having, you know, spacing out in meetings and so I very quickly, you know, I mean I guess three months is not very quickly but quickly enough. Quicker than the last time. And I’m like, yeah, I’ve had enough, back on it.
A good tip actually, and I’ve done this myself, if you find yourself in that place when you have a particularly low moment, make a video of yourself. I did that one day when I’d eaten a load of, I’m not sure what, but some kind of wheat based product, which of all the carby things, it’s the kind of thing that will completely make my brain go sideways. And I had anxiety, I was twitchy. I was, I know what I’ll do, I’ll record myself. And I think actually I’d meant to send a message to my sister or something. So I think it wasn’t actually a conscious decision that I’m going to record myself to remind myself later. It was actually me doing something else, but then I use that video. I kept that video and it is a scary thing to watch. I was twitching, I was crying. And, I was talking about what I was feeling and yeah, I’ve eaten this stuff and I feel like crap and, and it is frightening to watch.
Wow that’s such a good tip.
It’s a really good reminder. Really good.
Yeah. It’s like, what are those PSA videos like? You’re not yourself when you’re on drugs. Like, it’s like that. You’re not yourself when you’re on carbs. I have less and less tolerance for feeling like that than I did when I first fell off.
I think it hits you harder and it hits you faster as well. You get so used to feeling good and you get fat adapted and your body heals and everything’s working as it’s supposed to do. Then you start throwing some poison at it and it reacts really quickly.
Not a good place to be in. But at the same time, we know how to get back to feeling good and every time I just remind myself, like, if you can get through three days, you’re back on it and it’s easy. You know, once you get over that little hump. You can do anything for three days.
That’s it. That’s absolutely it. It’s just kicking that addiction again. It’s been wonderful talking to you.
It’s been wonderful talking to you, too.
I’ve really enjoyed it, hearing from the other Franklin.
The other Franklin, Franklinette
Maybe you could share a top tip with us.
I would say that my top tip, probably gonna have to revolve around this idea of getting back on the horse. I know I talked a lot about that. As somebody who has historically been getting off and getting back on. My tip would just be to take the time to invest in yourself. Being really intentional about the choices that I’m making and being intentional about doing it for myself and for the purpose of feeling good. I think that’s hard to do with a lot of things. You know, taking time for yourself is hard to do. But I think when it comes to getting back on the horse, treating it as an act of self care. I know that’s a buzzword that we all talk about. Self care. Like if you take a bath with a lush bath bomb, you’re suddenly gonna be a new person.
Oh no, those, I cannot stand the smell. Honestly, I’m less sensitive now to smell but it used to be any kind of smell like that would just give me an instant migraine. If there was a lush store, I’d have to cross the road and just walk as far away from… If I walked through a lush cloud. That was it, instant migraine. I can’t stand the place.
All right, so that was a bad example but…
No, because it works for you. But I know exactly what you mean. I really like that, though. I like the association. If you can make, instead of looking at a way of eating as being something that restrictive or something that you have to do to achieve something, whether it be weight loss or whatever it is, rather than it having that kind of negative connotation is to associate it with feeling good, so I’m going to eat this way because it makes me feel good.
Yeah. Taking care of yourself.
And remembering all those things that are good and positive and have that association.
It’s hard when you’re feeling crappy. When you’re feeling crappy and you feel like you’re punishing yourself. If you come at it with that sort of punishing, oh, I’ve been cheating and I’m lazy and I’m feeling crappy about how I look and how I feel. If you come at it from a punitive approach, of course it’s not going to stick. If you come at it from a healing approach, you know, an intentional step toward feeling good. That’s when I’ve had the most success getting back on the horse, is approaching it as something I’m doing for myself to take care of myself. I think it was Brenda Zorn who said, and I’m probably editing out an f-bomb, but she said it takes a fierce self love. I think that eating in a way that is going to make you feel good on the inside and the outside, it’s not always easy, but approaching it from a standpoint of self care and self love has been my most successful approach. So that’s my tip. Get back on the horse as an act of self care.
Because you’re worth it.
Which product was it? What was the advert, that tag line, because you’re worth it? I can’t remember who it was, what product it was.
Sounds like Special K or Dove or something like that.
Yeah, probably. Which would be really ironic wouldn’t it?
I know, it would be hilarious.
You need to Keto “because you’re worth it”. It probably was Special K. I’m going to have to get on Google afterwards and find out because that would be super ironic. [Editor’s note – it was actually L’Oréal!] But it’s true, isn’t it? Yeah. You know, you do this for the right reasons.
Well it’s been a blast. Thank you very much for talking to me today.
Thank you for having me.