On today’s episode, I’m going to be exploring the concept of keto with my good friend, Diane Sanfilippo.  We’ll talk about what keto is, who it’s potentially for, who it’s not for, and chat about her new book, Keto Quickstart, as a way to mindfully segue into a more keto based lifestyle.


exploring keto

We’re back with our 187th episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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Episode 187 Links:

Find Diane’s blog HERE.

Find Diane on Instagram HERE.

Grab your own copy of Keto Quickstart HERE.

Grab your own copy of Practical Paleo HERE.

Grab your own copy of 21 Day Sugar Detox HERE.

Episode 187 Sponsors and Featured Partners

  • Capilano Beeotic – 100% Australian Honey with natural prebiotics to support gut health, Click HERE to get your own!
  • Pride of Bristol Bay – Sustainable, hiqh-quality, nutritious, and wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon delivered right to your door!  Use the code “fedandfit” to get $40 off your first order!

Episode 187 Transcription

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Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast. I am your host, Cassy Joy Garcia. And today is a very special day for me, and for you! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: She’s been here before. I’m so excited; it’s always a wonderful conversation. Very enriching. I’m really excited to reintroduce you all to Diane Sanfilippo. To give you a quick background; she is the owner and founder of Balanced Bites, a certified nutrition consultant, and two-time New York Times’ bestselling author of Practical Paleo, the 21-Day Sugar Detox series, and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. She holds a BS from Syracuse University and is certified in holistic nutrition from Bauman College. Which is also where I attended! And then holistic lifestyle coaching from the Chek Institute; and Poliquin Biosignature Modulation. I hope I said that correctly.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, I’m nailing it! She writes for her popular health blog, BalancedBites.com, and is the cohost of the top rated weekly health podcast, the Balanced Bites podcast. It’s fabulous. It’s available for free from iTunes.

In 2016, Diane released an updated and expanded second edition of her runaway hit, Practical Paleo. Everyone needs this book. Which has sold over half a million copies, and spent a total of 97 weeks on the New York Times’ Bestsellers list. That is phenomenal. Her most recent book; oh, nope. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Her most-most recent book is the one we’re going to talk about today, because on January 1st, 2019, Diane will release Keto Quick Start. A beginner’s guide to whole foods ketogenic diet. She lives in San Francisco with her wonderful husband, Scott, and two fur babies. Welcome to the show, Diane.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hi, friend. Did we do this from the back of an Uber the last time I was on the show?

Cassy Joy: {laughs} I think we did.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: We recorded a travel tips episode.

Diane Sanfilippo: That was fun. It’s nice to be sitting somewhere cozy today, just in my little office here.

Cassy Joy: I know!

Diane Sanfilippo: Thanks for having me.

Cassy Joy: Thank you so much for coming on. I would love it; let’s just jump right into it. Because I’m holding your beautiful new book in my hands, and I told Diane that I wanted to save my gushing for the show. For when I pressed record. Because we chit-chatted a little bit beforehand, and I wasn’t going to give her a bit of it.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Y’all. I mean, she kind of; I love this book so much! I don’t know how to put it!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Are you speechless?

Cassy Joy: I’m literally speechless. That’s a problem for a podcaster. I’m speechless! It’s beautiful. The information in here; these are answers to questions that I can think anybody has had and has crossed their mind. My dad, for example, is doing keto right now and I just want to run to his house and put this in his hands and be like; please read this. This is what I want you to know. And I feel really safe sharing this information with him.

I told you from the beginning, but I’m thrilled for this book to be out in the world. Because I’m so excited for people to have you to learn from on this subject. So, that’s a part of my gushing. Could you tell us a little bit more about your story, Diane? How you got to where you are, and then why writing this resource in particular became something you felt called to do.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes, I can give you a little bit of background. Most people do know me for writing Practical Paleo. And lots of folks know me for the 21-Day Sugar Detox. And actually the 21-Day Sugar Detox, I created back in, I think it was originally 2010, I created that program. Then I wrote Practical Paleo after that.

So those were kind of the early days, foundations of what I was learning and teaching about nutrition. Very much avoiding processed, refined foods. Stripping out the sugar. And helping people to regulate blood sugar. Because I learned very early on that for me, that was probably the single most important thing. And as a positive side effect of that; balanced digestion and improved digestion kind of came along with that. Because I was obviously stripping out a lot of the stuff that was negatively impacting my digestion.

So, those were the things that I really struggled with. Blood sugar regulation and digestive health. And throughout my studies; and I know we went through the same program with Bauman College. And I attended here in Berkeley, California. I live in San Francisco now. I was taking a lot of additional course. Just kind of tacking onto what we were learning in our studies. And blood sugar regulation, digestive health, were literally always at the core of every protocol that I kept hearing for anything. Regardless of how far down the road you were with your health, it was always about getting blood sugar regulation in check, and getting your digestion in check.

So, those are the things I focused on very early on in my career. And was teaching seminars around the country at CrossFit gyms in I think late 2010 through 2013 or 2014, I can’t remember exactly when the last one was. With my podcast cohost and you know, our friend, Liz Wolfe. And I did write Practical Paleo to be an answer to people to not only the why behind the paleo diet, but the what in terms of meal plans. I wrote therapeutic meal plans for folks. But also the how, with lots of recipes.

So in that book, I really have a very comprehensive approach to addressing not only just basic health in general, but lots of different medical conditions. Because I think folks leave a doctor’s office oftentimes with a diagnosis, and not a lot of hope. And it’s this feeling of being disempowered. When really, you and I both know that pretty much any health condition. Or even just feeling a little tired. Even not having a diagnosed condition. We can always optimize and improve our health by choosing different foods.

So that’s first and foremost. And that’s really where Practical Paleo came from. But the interesting thing is, I was actually eating keto paleo when I wrote Practical Paleo. And a lot of people don’t know that, because in late 2010, not that many people were talking about keto. Rob Wolf was talking about low carb for a long time. A couple of other folks were out there; Jimmy Moore was one of them. And it was just a little; low-carb was kind of its own thing. But keto was this next level, and it just wasn’t heard. You know, people listening are like; yeah, I only heard about it in the last couple of years.

Well, I had a personal trainer friend who obviously new a little bit about the bodybuilding world and stuff like that. And folks in that world have known about keto for a long time. And as we learned about, way long ago in our nutrition studies, ketogenic diet was definitely something that was known for its neurological benefits. But many other benefits have risen to the surface. We’re learning about them now. And we can talk about that in a minute.

But I was eating this way almost a decade ago. I just didn’t talk about it. And over the last 10 years, I’ve kind of gone in and out of dabbling with it. Studying a little bit more, really digging in. And over the last few years, people have just asked about it a lot more. And a handful of you guys; so Cassy, and a few other really trusted friends and peers. I asked you guys. I was like; should I write a keto book? This is something I know a lot about. Not just in the science, but in practice. It’s something that I had done many times. And I can really teach people what to do and how to do it in a healthy balanced way with real food.

So people can thank you and a few other of my peers for saying; yes, Diane. Not only do we want you to write this book, we kind of need you to write this book. Because; I think you even said. I would like to give your book to my dad months and months and months ago. So that really did push me over the edge to say; ok, I will do it. I’ll sit down, and I’ll get my thoughts together on how I want to present this to people, and I’ll put it in a book, and I’ll do the thing.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I know. It’s crazy.

Cassy Joy: It’s the nicest favor you ever did me. Thanks, friend! {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} Check that off the list.

Cassy Joy: No more favors for 20 years. {laughs} I wrote a book.

Diane Sanfilippo: I wrote this for you! I should have dedicated it to your dad, really.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh.

Diane Sanfilippo: I never had a dedication in a book. Note to self; dedicate your next book.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} It’s such a whirlwind putting one of those things together.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s crazy.

Cassy Joy: Ok, that’s incredible. Could you give us a very brief overview; let’s say someone is listening and they’re like; what, I’ve heard keto everywhere. Could you please give us a brief rundown on what is ketosis, and who is best suited for this dietary approach?

Diane Sanfilippo: So, there are a lot of myths out there. So I’ll give you the basics and the real-real. Ketosis is a state of your metabolism. Oftentimes you’ll hear people say “Is that food keto or not.” A food can’t be keto or not. It can just maybe help your body get into ketosis or not.

And so to get your body into a state of ketosis requires a very low glucose intake; so carb intake. But that amount varies from person to person. Just like we talk about with so many things; there’s context for everything. So a more active person tends to be able to eat more carbohydrates and get into ketosis. And less active person pretty much can’t eat as many to get into ketosis.

Now, what does it mean being in ketosis? It means that instead of preferentially looking for glucose as a main fuel source for the body, your body is looking for ketones, which are a byproduct of fat metabolism. And there is really a lot of debate around whether or not people need to be in ketosis. And my sort of argument here; or note, is being in ketosis is not the only way to lose body fat. It’s a very, very common misconception that’s kind of cropped up since keto became really popular. It’s like; suddenly, people think eating this way is the only way to lose weight or lose body fat. I always talk about body fat, because we don’t want to lose muscle mass, we want to lose body fat. So it’s not just about weight.

But, the real key, and the reason why it’s so effective, and the reason why it’s a great approach for a lot of people is that there are so many people for whom lowering their fat intake, which has been the standard approach for many, many years. Folks who do a “macros” based program, or if it fits your macros. Those folks tend to be eating lower fat, higher carb.

For a lot of people, that’s fine. It works fine. They feel ok. They’re eating 5 or 6 times a day. But they’re fine with it. For a lot of other people, that’s extremely stressful. Getting hungry that many times a day does not feel good. And I’m going to talk a little bit about the emotional side of that.

But we both know, having worked with clients and folks that come through our programs. So many people would rather be able to eat maybe three times a day. Maybe two times a day and a snack. Maybe three times and a snack. But eating fewer times a day gives your body a chance to kind of rest in between. Sometimes it’s a lot easier for your digestion. And it feels less stressful, to not just constantly be hungry. To be able to go much longer between meals. And what that does is it also gives your body a chance to tap into your own stored body fat much more easily and much more comfortably.

So the folks I say it’s good for and not good for; if you’re somebody who has tried a lot of different things. If you have a lot of weight to lose, and you’re like; I keep trying things. I have even eaten paleo, and my cravings for sugar are still really there. If you feel like you’re just always feeling deprived eating other ways, and you have a significant amount of weight to lose. I think this is a great thing to consider.

I think for folks who are generally healthy, and do want to tweak a bit. We see this all the time. People are like; well, I’m eating paleo, but I’m eating whole bags of dried mango every day. {laughs} Some people go the route of the 21-Day Sugar Detox, and they find a lot of success with that. And actually, that was another motivation for writing this book. Folks who came through my sugar detox were like; what should I try next. Because I feel great, and people just want something to follow. I can talk about that too.

There are just a lot of different folks it can be helpful for. I think if anyone is curious, try it. Give it about three months. And just see how you feel from it. Because I do think that there’s a benefit to all of us to just learning how these different approaches feel for our bodies, and whether or not they work for us.

One of the really big benefits that I find eating keto, aside from the appetite control. I have a very healthy appetite.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: We have been together on many trips. I can eat. I can really eat. And that’s whether or not I’m training; I just have a really high appetite a lot of the time. And this really does help get my appetite; it’s not like I don’t eat or have an appetite at all. It just feels more normal, if that makes sense. And also, my mental clarity and sharpness and ability to kind of go all day without feeling like I desperately need a nap. That doesn’t mean if I don’t sleep well I don’t feel like I need a nap. But my mental clarity is so much better. My ability to kind of push through writing and all of that for much longer is way, way better. And I think a lot of people can benefit from that.

And I just want to throw out a note, too. If folks are dealing with metabolic issues; type 2 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, inflammatory issues, general fatigue, I really think this approach can be helpful. Because it gives you even a little more structure around the concept of paleo, the way that I approach it in the book. Because for some people, this idea of sort of free eating all of these different foods is actually too loose, and it doesn’t get them where they want to go in terms of how they want to feel.

And what that does is, just getting to that place where you feel differently, not eating as much sugar and carbs. You get to identify; oh, this is how I feel without the dried fruit, or so much fruit, or so many starchy foods. And I think just eating paleo, it’s hard for the average person to say; I’ll eat paleo, but I’ll avoid this, this, and this on top of that. Having this extra sort of; ok, I’m eating keto. Just feels like there’s more purpose behind it if that makes sense.

Cassy Joy: It makes a lot of sense.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s the psychology of it, I think.

Cassy Joy: It’s so true. And it’s interesting. And I think we may have talked about this briefly in the past. But you going back to the beginning days of paleo, I definitely followed what was essentially a keto paleo template back then. And I also found that when I want to just “be healthy”, I’m definitely doing that. This kind of an approach.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like a lower carb, paleo kind of thing, right? I mean, I know a lot of people who went paleo in the early days when we were really, about a decade ago, really digging into it. A lot of people ended in ketosis sort of by accident. And I think that was great for a ton of people; that’s why so many people probably saw such great benefits. I think it’s not great for some people who didn’t mean to do that, and then they’re not feeling good eating paleo because they accidentally went low carb. I think it is important to be conscientious and aware of what’s happening.

But the other side of this, too, is I used to feel like; why does everybody love a meal plan so much? I can’t imagine following a plan that someone else tells me, here’s what to eat every day. That sounds so rigid.

Cassy Joy: Restricted. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah! To me. But then I realized a couple of years ago; but I love following a fitness program that’s like; here’s what you do today. Here you go Diane. It’s on this piece of paper. Show up, and do this. And then you’ll be done, and then go home. And I realized that there’s a lot of freedom that comes; mental and emotional freedom, that comes from somebody else saying; here’s the thing. It’s proven. I know what I’m talking about. It will work if you do it.

I realized that I loved having that sort of peace of mind. That this program will work for me, if I do it. I have to be consistent. I have to do it as it’s written. Keep showing up for it every day. But I realized that that’s something that people really do benefit from. So there you go.

Cassy Joy: That’s a great analogy for it. I think you hit the nail on the head. Ok, I know that we kind of touched on it lightly. I know your approach, and your take on keto is a little bit different than what folks might find elsewhere in the world right now. Can you kind of detail some of your difference, especially as found in Keto Quick Start?

Diane Sanfilippo: OK, I can do my best. I don’t actually know what any specific people; I don’t know other people’s approach. Aside from; I’ve spoken to Leanne Vogel a few times. I had her on my podcast, and I’m going to be on hers sometime around when this airs, as well. And I think she and I are on a really similar wavelength in terms of customizing things, not being super rigid. And also not freaking out about green vegetables. Especially leafy greens.

But my approach is the same way that I approach health and nutrition, regardless of the “rules” or the name of the way of eating of any of that. I’m always going to give people real, whole foods, first. What you see in the recipes in Keto Quick Start are going to look really similar to the kinds of foods that I’ve always cooked and the kinds of recipes I’ve always made for people. They look like paleo meals, for the most part, with some cheese involved.

And I think the biggest difference; and this probably partially stems from my inability and inadequate skills as a baker. I’m not a baker. I’m not one of those people who can; and bless everyone who can. I’m not a hater. I just can’t do it. Convert cream cheese into bread somehow with the addition of two other things.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, I think it’s really cool that there are ways to do that. And I’m not being sarcastic. I’m not kidding. I think it’s amazing that people can do things like that. I don’t have it in me. I just don’t. To bake, in general. I don’t have that emotional fortitude to fail at it over and over again before I get it right. I just can’t.

So, that’s not how I approach keto. That’s not how I ate 10 years ago when I first did keto. I eat meat and vegetables. And when you see cheese in my recipes, it’s there the way that you would normally see cheese in your everyday life. It’s melted on a burger patty. It’s kind of as a garnish on a zoodle dish. And I think that’s a really big difference. I think a lot of people will see; and I’ve heard it called. I think this is maybe a different thing. I’m not really steeped in the “keto community” because I just do my own thing, and teach my own stuff. I don’t really get caught up in what other people are doing.

But I’ve heard the term “dirty keto”. And I feel like that approach, from what I understand. I may be saying this wrong. From what I understand, there is a camp of folks who think that really presenting keto as this meat and vegetable whole foods thing is a bit elitist. Like, some people think that’s being elitist. And I understand that thought process, to a degree. Because sometimes buying fresh real whole foods can be more expensive than something processed that happens to not have carbs.

But the reality is, and you and I both know this; from a nutrition and lowering inflammation standpoint, we always need to base our diet on real, whole foods. And that’s just the foundation. From there, we can micromanage if we want to, which foods we’re eating and which foods we’re not. But I think that’s something that in my book, not only is my approach just based on whole foods; which is always the same.

But I’m sorry, there’s one muffin recipe. There’s one pancake recipe, and it’s very similar to the one in Practical Paleo. And all of the treats in this book are not baked. {laughs} There’s a no-bake carrot cake ball bite thing that’s my favorite. And it’s based with nut butter and some collagen powder and stuff like that. There are some gummies, and there are some chocolate truffles, and things like that that are not baked. I don’t use a lot of flours.

I don’t use a ton of calorie-free sweeteners. I use a little bit of stevia extract. I found one brand that I absolutely love. It’s Now Foods better stevia. I love it, because it doesn’t have that funky after taste. And it’s a really great sweetener. You can just use a little bit. But, I don’t do the replacement thing. But you know that about me. I don’t do that really with paleo stuff.

Again, I’m not a hater. It’s just now how I eat. It’s not how I cook. So then it’s not what ends up in the book. And trust me, I will say; I was like, I’m going to try to make a tortilla. Or a crepe.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Nikki on my team; she was like, what happened to that tortilla you wanted to make? I was like, I’m just not that person. Listen, I can’t be good at everything, ok.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I can push myself only so far. I was like; I have my limits, and tortillas are it. I couldn’t figure it out. And I probably honestly tried twice. Maybe once. And I was like; nope! If I can’t figure it out quickly, I’m not that person.

Cassy Joy: Pull the rip cord. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally! So yeah. I think that’s the approach people are going to get. You’re going to see how to do this with real food. And honestly, a lot of people have told me; oh. This isn’t that different from what I do most of the time anyway. Like you said about kind of how you want to “reset” yourself. Or just; sometimes we catch ourselves. Like, oh, maybe I’ve been eating too many gluten free cookies. Or whatever it is. It’s just normal food. And I think I’m demystifying this experience of; oh, I can actually just eat a salad with protein? And that’s going to be promoting ketosis for my body. It’s just not that complicated.

And the biggest thing I see people do as a mistake is loading on tons of extra fat. There’s this really common misconception that we need to pile on lots of fat to get our body into ketosis, and that’s not true. We actually just need to limit the glucose. Our body will be in ketosis naturally, when it doesn’t have glucose available.

Cassy Joy: Which actually leads me into a question that I had. You note in the book that calories do count while on ketosis, and that is a misconception. Because when my; my poor parents. {laughs} I’m going to use them as an example. But I remember when my dad first started on pursuing ketosis, my mom did some light reading and a little research and of course didn’t ask her daughter. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: That little bit of information can be quite dangerous, right?

Cassy Joy: It can be dangerous. And when you’re the nutritionist in the family, you have to just kind of sit there until someone asks you a question.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yep.

Cassy Joy: But she made these; chopped up fresh zucchini, and summer squash, and then melted an entire thing of Kerrygold with it, with this dish. And she’s like; it’s keto! {laughing} Zucchini, swimming in butter! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Well, you’re right. Just a little tweak on that information. It’s very interesting.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well and to her credit, that dish won’t probably take you out of ketosis. Here’s the big myth I think people need to clear up.

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Diane Sanfilippo: Here’s the big myth I think people need to clear up. Being in ketosis does not immediately and automatically guarantee that you will burn stored body fat. Being in ketosis means that your body is looking for the byproduct of fat metabolism for its fuel. Now, if you’re eating enough or more fat in your diet that your body needs to fuel through the day; then guess what your body is not going to be doing? Tapping into what’s stored.

So, this is where that; and it’s not just about energy balance with calories. Because at the root of it, what calories do are send hormonal signals in the body. So I have to simplify it for the book. And it isn’t just about calories in, calories out. But if we have an energy excess in the body through the food we’ve taken in, we’ve created a state in our body where the hormone response to that food is not saying pull more from stores. Because it’s saying; oh, we have plenty in the blood stream. We have plenty coming through the digestion. We don’t need to pull from storage, because we’re hoarding right now. We don’t need anything else.

So this is where the upside of keto is for a lot of people. You know how when; and this is not for everyone. But for a lot of people, if you’re “dieting”, or you’re trying to trim back on what you’re eating a bit. If you are doing this in a way where you get hungry, you go from hungry to hangry really quickly. We’ve all been there. You really can’t even make it one full hour from your inkling of hunger to when you need to eat. That goes away.

When your body is in ketosis, you get hungry, and an hour later you’re still hungry. Maybe a tiny bit hungrier. Or maybe it actually dulls out about an hour later. And you can ride it for another hour, sometimes two. So I’m not saying be starving, go hungry. What I’m saying is; it’s going to feel really different. Getting your body adapted to using fat for fuel gives it the ability to tap into what’s stored much more easily. It’s not begging you for glucose in that moment where it gets hungry.

It’s actually flipping and it’s like great; we know how to use fat for fuel. That’s what we’re looking for. There’s not anything really circulating here, hunger has kicked in. Glucagon is dominant in your blood stream. Glucagon tells your body; looks for stored nutrients. And in this case, it’s stored body fat. We’re going to tap into what’s stored to fuel whatever is going on.

And chances are; and a lot of you have probably experienced this whether or not you were trying to be in ketosis. But there was a time in your life where that hour from getting hungry to being in hangry, kill all the things mode was happening. And then there’s a time when you got hungry, and then maybe you got distracted or it just kind of went away. And then you’re like; oh my gosh! A couple of hours later, I haven’t eaten. But you’re not in a hangry crazed state.

There’s a difference between getting distracted and not eating, but really your hunger dulling out because your body is able to use stored body fat. And that is a magic; I call that a magic moment. I don’t want people to just avoid eating because they’re thinking; I’m going to burn more body fat. But I’m sitting here starving and uncomfortable. It’s not that. But it is this benefit of; you can wait a little longer. That’s when you’re going to have that magic moment of your body actually pulling stored body fat.

And that’s why fasting can be really beneficial, and a little more comfortable when you’re naturally in ketosis. Because if you’re trying to fast while you’re eating a higher carb diet, it’s so uncomfortable. Because your blood sugar is not able to regulate as tightly, as comfortably, I should say. But when you’re able to burn body fat for fuel more easily, it just doesn’t feel the same. It’s just less stressful.

Cassy Joy: Oh that’s so interesting. Y’all get this book! {laughs} It’s so interesting.

Diane Sanfilippo: You’re like; I just got bowled over. What’s happening.

Cassy Joy: I love it!

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s a lot.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, but the way you have it laid out, it’s very approachable. And it’s easy to walk through. That’s so interesting. Ok, you’ve touched on it a little bit. But can you just very high level, 30,000-foot view, give somebody an idea of what to expect? And I know that you detail this in the book, into a lot of really helpful detail. But what can someone expect when they do go keto?

Diane Sanfilippo: So this is actually really similar to what happens when people go on the 21-Day Sugar Detox, for example. Or even, sometimes when people first go paleo, depending on what they’re eating. It can be uncomfortable. The first two days might not be. Usually around days 3 through 7 tend to be a bit uncomfortable. And over the course of the next few weeks, you will even out. Feel a little bit more regulated. And you start to feel better and more balanced.

And what I like people to keep in mind is, I give people two approaches to keto in this book. And the first one is sort of a template of how to build your plate without a lot of micromanaging of the numbers. Which I think is really important and helpful. And I’m sure you’ve had this experience, too. Sometimes, when you go to change your way of eating. If you’re changing the foods you’re choosing at the same time as you’re trying to limit certain things or the amounts, that’s too many things at once to be changing.

So I just like for people to start picking keto-friendly foods to start out. And then, after about a month, if you’re not seeing progress, that’s when you can start to micromanage, and you can look at this template that I have for your overall intake for the day.

But I think just realizing it’s going to be a little bit sticky. It’s going to feel a little bit uncomfortable in the beginning. And you’re just going to have to learn a lot of swaps for the things you’re eating now. Because if you go into it thinking; I’m just going to fit everything I’m currently eating into this keto thing. Or I’m going to make keto-friendly bread every day; it’s the same thing we saw with folks eating paleo, wanting to kind of paleofy everything. I really think learning how to make keto swaps; I have a whole two-page spread in the book on swaps. Learning how to swap things out; even breakfast cereal. Doing a matcha chia n’oatmeal. Learning how to do that versus maybe buying some premade “keto cereals”. This is where you’re really going to see success. But it does take some time.

I really like for people to just give themselves a bit of grace. Read through what to expect and what to do each of those weeks. I kind of have it done two weeks at a time, because I feel like the transitions that you experience; the first two weeks kind of feel this way. The next two weeks kind of feel this way.

So just a couple of things that people need to keep in mind within the first two weeks is obviously the foods that they’re eating and avoiding. They’re eating protein, fats, vegetables, etc., looking out for hidden sugars and hidden carbs. If there is something packaged that they’re eating. Making sure you have lots of snacks on hand that are keto friendly. Because this is the time when you’re not always that prepared. You don’t always have your meals ready.

Drinking plenty of water. This is a really big thing with keto. I love doing mineral water. You will lose water weight when you eat a keto diet, because carbohydrates, by their chemistry, hold a lot of water in them. So when we’re not eating them, we aren’t taking in as much water through our food. So we need to drink water. And we need to make sure we’re getting minerals/electrolytes in our food and our water. Potentially some supplementation. Some mineral rich sea salt. Maybe some extra magnesium. Those types of things.

I like for people to maybe scale back their exercise routine those first couple of weeks. Because I think being overly ambitious; especially if you do high intensity activity, it’s kind of just combining two potentially stressful things for your body. It’s an ok natural state to be in to get into ketosis. But, when it’s new for you, and you’re trying to go hard at CrossFit. I just think that’s a little bit of a disaster. You kind of want to even out before you ramp back up on your exercise.

And then once you get into weeks three and four; so you’re rounding out a month. I think it’s ok at that point to start to try and count. Because now you’re really eating low-carb veggies. You’re kind of keeping it in that range. And it’s a little easier to say; ok. Instead of, I was eating 200 grams of carbs a day. Now maybe I’m eating 50-60, and I want to aim for this total net carbs. Which I can explain. But it’s 30-40.

It’s just so much easier when you’re starting a lot closer. Like what you were talking about; when you sometimes might dial things in. It’s so much easier now than it would have been 10 years ago. Because it’s like you’re not that far. You’re just one ring outside that bullseye. So that becomes a lot easier. And again, the same thing with water. And this is when people can start to increase their exercise effort.

So I just kind of give folks a way to approach it every couple of weeks, and know what to expect. What I’ve noticed with every nutrition approach, or program that I create. When you know what to expect, it’s so much easier to get through some of the tough times. And I’m not saying that changing your nutrition won’t make you feel better. But there often is this time; whether it’s emotionally, where you’re like; I just want some bread. {laughs} And it feels stressful.

But a lot of times there can be this physical downturn for a little bit while your body is adjusting. And then you will feel better. And I want people to know that that’s expected. And it’s also going to change. It will take X amount of time, and then you’ll be feeling a lot better.

Cassy Joy: I love it. That makes it feel very approachable.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think if somebody gives you the roadmap, and they’re like; here’s what’s going to happen. This part is going to not be so comfortable. It’s just, ok. You know you can get through.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. It’s the fear of the unknown, which is really the major deterrent. Or, wondering if you’re the only one that feels this way.

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally.

Cassy Joy: And those are great notes. Especially your notes on what folks call the keto flu, I think is really valuable information. I have just a couple more questions for you; but you reminded me that I do want to ask you. Could you detail really quickly the importance of calculating net carbs for a food? Because this is something that has been a hot debate at a couple of different dinner tables. Someone talking about how kale, for example, was high carb. Do you mind reviewing that? {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Can I verbally explain the face-palm? That’s what I’m doing on video.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, so net carbohydrates. Really, what your body registers as carbs. And early on when I ate keto, I didn’t really do net carbs. I was like; that’s silly, it should really be total carbs. But I’ll tell you, I would go over the recommended total carbs for the day that I thought I was going to follow, and the reason was I was kind of sticking to the roughly 30 grams of net carbs.

Now, I say that because I need to put a number in the book. People need something on paper. But as I mentioned earlier; there are lots of folks for whom you’ll eat way more carbs than that and still be in ketosis. It is not a one-size fits all. This is a starting point. This book is the Keto Quick Start, so it’s like; just a jumping off point.

But the reason is that your body is going to have a totally different blood glucose impact from something that has fiber in it. We don’t digest and absorb fiber the way we do pure sugar or pure glucose. It’s just not the same impact. That being said, also even if you ate two or three cups of kale, again, that glycemic impact from the kale; it’s just not enough glucose to kick you out of ketosis. I don’t know anyone who is eating enough kale to kick them out of ketosis. If that’s you, please show me your blood test.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: But here’s the thing; I know it sounds funny, and we’re laughing and it’s very tongue in cheek.

Cassy Joy: Sorry!

Diane Sanfilippo: No. But here’s the thing; that’s why I wanted to write this book. Because people are scared. They’re scared of green leafy vegetables. They’re scared of lettuce. They’re scared of salad, or even carrots. I have carrots in recipes in this book; I’m like, watch out everyone! There’s carrots in this book!

And yeah, they’re a slightly higher carb vegetable. But watch what happens. Unless you’re eating an entire multiple pound bag of carrots, this green chicken chili that’s got carrots in it is not going to kick you out of ketosis. I think what people do is assign this yes-no; I can’t eat that, it’s too many carbs. Without realizing that the way your body processes it is just a lot more holistic than that.

And here’s a good note on that. There’s some candy out there that are saying 3 net carbs. But the total carbs might be 30 or 50. And the amount of fiber in there is so high. So they’re trying to tell you that this is only 3 net carbs, so you’ll be fine. But you will find a lot of people do get a blood sugar hit from that. And they’re not able to stay in ketosis eating something like that.

So I think we have to keep our head on straight about things like vegetables and realize when we’re eating green leafy vegetables, especially. But any vegetables, really. And I do have a keto foods list in the book that of course is color-coded, as I like to do. Where things in the bright green range, I consider them zero carb foods. And that’s because the impact you’re getting from them, it’s just so trace and so nominal that I’m like; go to town on your celery and your mushrooms and your leafy greens, broccoli rabe, sprouts, all your spices, your herbs. I love people adding tons of fresh herbs to their food. And then very low carb veggies. And I go up from there.

And then when you get to the moderate, you get to the high carb; you might still have a day where you have some plantain. You have a few bites of plantain. It’s not like you can never have it. It’s just that it’s going to be balanced throughout what you’re doing.

And I do talk about how to add carbs back in; how to balance that out in your week. If you’re having success with how you’re eating, and you’re feeling good, and there is one day. Maybe it’s the day where there’s family dinner, or whatever. And you just want to have the one thing that’s a little carbier; you can have it that day. It’s not going to ruin your keto life. It actually might make the whole thing more sustainable longer term, if you feel like there’s a bit of a mental break now and then.

I do have a caveat, that folks who have type 1 diabetes, or who are on any kind of blood sugar regulating medication, I don’t recommend that approach. Because that’s when you can run into the more dangerous state, or just dangerous in general. Because ketosis is not dangerous. But ketoacidosis often gets confused with ketosis.

And very simply, what ketoacidosis means is you have both high ketones and high glucose in your blood stream at once. This is an impossibility in a person who has normal pancreatic function. So if you can create insulin, your body will never allow ketones to be high when glucose is high. It just can’t happen. It’s like, it’s an actual impossibility. But this is why it’s known as a problem for diabetics, because if for some reason; let’s just say you’re in ketosis for a month as a type 1 diabetic. And you’re like; I really want that sugary thing. And you eat it. Your body is not equipped to quickly clear that glucose from your blood stream. Now you’re going to have high ketones and high glucose. And that’s where that diabetic ketoacidosis comes in.

So, I just want people to kind of chill out if that’s not you. And if it is you, know that that’s the case where; I’m really all about having the real thing if you’re going to have something sweetened. And to me, the real thing is usually the paleofied thing. But it’s like, the maple syrup. But if you are type 1 diabetic, that’s where the stuff like those granulated sugar replacers in your recipe that’s every now and then. It’s a birthday cake, or something like that. I don’t like for people to eat that every day. But I think that’s where there’s a place for that.

But I actually also would not necessarily recommend that a type 1 diabetic eats keto. I think you could eat every low carb to manage your blood sugar, and not necessarily go for ketosis. But, some will, and will enjoy it, and do great with it. But that’s my take on that.

So eat the kale. I think Leanne Vogel told me; she had a T-shirt made just for herself. And I was like; I would like one of those. It says; “I don’t count my kale.” And I was like, amen sister! So yeah. Tell your dad he can pile up the lemony kale. And he’ll be just fine. I promise. I promise.

Cassy Joy: Absolutely. Oh, I love it. This is so helpful. I have your keto; I looked away from the mike, because I was looking at your book. I have your keto food list in front of me.

Diane Sanfilippo: Isn’t it cute?

Cassy Joy: It’s so cute. There is so much information on these couple of pages. But it’s well organized, and so easy to navigate. Ok, Diane. Thank you so much for writing this book. Thank you for coming on the show to talk about it and share some of your incredible knowledge. Do you mind telling folks a little bit about where they can find it, and where maybe they can find you, in person, soon?

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, sure.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, so you can get the book wherever books are sold. Online, of course, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble. If you’re overseas, I like Book Depository. You can also find the book in Costco in the US, and in Target stores in the US. I will mention that if you’re buying it at Target, take it up to customer service, show them the price on the Amazon website. Wink, wink. You can always get them to price match things for you. So that’s a great way to get it immediately. Instant gratification, and get a price that’s kind of sweet.

Cassy Joy: I didn’t know that!

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s so good. But who is going to make that effort when it’s 10 cents on a soap? You know? But when it’s a bigger ticket item or a book, where you could potentially save 10 or 15 bucks. They often have it at the regular sticker price in the store. Which, listen, it’s $34.95. It is well worth it, if I do say so myself.

But I will be on tour, which this will be fun because you’ll be with me at a couple of these stops. Everyone is like; can she just come to all of them? I’m like, y’all can petition Cassy Joy. Don’t ask me.

Cassy Joy: Oh my! {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Really, they’re begging. Ok, so I’m going to rattle off cities. Just because if your listening and I’m coming to a city near you, I would absolutely love to meet you. So, where I’m headed. San Francisco, Orange County. Boca Raton. Dallas, Houston. Los Angeles. Seattle. Portland. Washington D.C. Charlotte, North Carolina. Las Vegas. Denver. Kansas City. And Phoenix. And Cassy will be with me in Boca, in Dallas and Houston, and in Phoenix at the very least. I think those handful of stops. And y’all are welcome to convince her to come to more! {laughs}

But I think that will be super fun. I have some more guests with me at other stops, which will be amazing, too. Some other authors, bloggers, some other folks that you guys may know.

And then you can find me on Instagram at Diane Sanfilippo. And I think that’s pretty much it. Balanced Bites podcast. Come listen over there, too.

Cassy Joy: Yay!

Diane Sanfilippo: Yay.

Cassy Joy: Good stuff everywhere. If you do not follow Diane and her work, you guys are in really, really good hands. It’s definitely worth going and finding her. Navigating, subscribing to the podcast. Following her on social media. She puts out; I mean, this book. Just a brief example, the quality of the content this woman puts out. It’s unbelievable. I’m sure you could tell from today’s episode. She put a lot of heart, a lot of knowledge, and a lot of research into what she puts out. Couldn’t recommend her work in every capacity enough.

Thank you so much, Diane, for coming on. I cannot wait to see you on your tour, and maybe join up {laughs}. Our grand plan once upon a time was to tour together, and then Diane stuck to her schedule and I didn’t stick to mine. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I barely kept it together, girl. So I do not fault you for it. I will not hold it against you, I will just pout about it. Because, it’s my selfish, “Let’s hang out!” But yeah, it’s awesome. I’m glad that you’ll be able to join me for a bunch of those. It will be really, really fun.

Cassy Joy: It will be really fun. I can’t wait to see y’all there. And as always, we’ll link to all of the works, and where you can preorder or order Keto Quick Start on Amazon right now, if you don’t have a store nearby. Thanks again, Diane for coming on. It was a real pleasure, highlight of the day.

Diane Sanfilippo: Thank you. Me too!

Cassy Joy: Aww! Hearts! Sunset heart hands! Have you seen that commercial? {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh my gosh.

Cassy Joy: I started watching TV again. Sorry, I digress. Thanks everybody for joining. As always, we’ll be back again next week.


About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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