In today’s interview I get to speak with nutritionist specialising in the ketogenic diet, Maria Emmerich.
We talk about the best ways to start or get back into the ketogenic diet – for those of us who might have fallen off the wagon over the holidays!
Having experienced similar struggles with weight and health that a lot of us struggle with, she is keen to share her knowledge with others – as she believes, knowledge is power.
Maria explains how her ketogenic cleanse works and why it’s important to heal your mitochondria to put you on a path to success.
If you know someone who is interested in learning more about:
- How to start the ketogenic diet for the first time
- How to get back into a keto way of eating after stopping it
- What is a keto diet cleanse
Then this interview is for them.
So many of us are time poor and need easy to do solutions that are simple to incorporate into our busy lives.
I enjoyed this interview with Maria, who after 20 years on the ketogenic diet has many valuable tips to share to help make the process easier for anyone.
Especially after possibly putting on weight over Christmas or wanting to lose weight as a new years resolution.
Special thanks to Maria for joining me on the show.
Enjoy the episode!
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Find summarised highlights of what we talk about during the interview.
Use the clickable timestamp links to jump direct to those points in the audio file below:
[00:19] – Introducing, Maria Emmerich, a nutritionist who specializes in the ketogenic diet and exercise physiology. She is an international best-selling author of several keto recipe books and has a keen interest in brain neurotransmitters and how to help depression and anxiety.
[01:27] – Is the ketogenic cleanse the best way to begin for people wanting to adopt a keto diet after a heavy carb load so common over the Christmas period? Maria explains why she calls it a keto cleanse (focused on real food) and the misinformation out there about the necessity to focus on hitting certain fat percentages.
[02:39] – Maria also explains that she likes people to understand how to heal their mitochondria from the inside out, going beyond food and considering chemicals we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
[03:44] – Whether you are completely new to this lifestyle or are looking to get back on track after the holidays, the process is the same. As a first step Maria recommends getting rid of all the junk from the house.
[05:51] – What is a keto breakfast, what does it look like? Bacon and eggs come to mind for most people, but in Maria’s “The 30-day Ketogenic Cleanse” cookbook there is over a hundred delicious recipes to choose from. Including the very popular ketogenic breakfast chilli or the ramen. Since ketogenic people are less hungry, and tend to break their fast later in the day, the “breakfast” can often look more like lunch.
[07:50] – The keto cleanse program is dairy-free, but Maria uses different ingredients to give you that same mouth feel and flavour profile that dairy does, while at the same time making it easy for people. She offers a lot of slow cooker recipes, too.
[10:08] – While it is helpful to be surrounded with people who are doing this with you, if they are not, express what you are doing so that they can encourage you and be supportive.
[11:29] – People will have different goals going into this cleanse and Maria explains that the intermittent fasting is not essential.
[14:03] – This diet is great for weight loss and most people will lose 20-30 pounds within the first month. Most people entering the ketogenic diet will be eating a lot of dairy, nuts, cheese and butter; none of which is allowed on the cleanse and can hold people back from their weight loss goals. Maria explains that there is a lot that can go wrong if you do the ketogenic diet wrong.
[15:38] – Maintaining muscle mass is important and it is important to note that muscle weighs a lot. While this is not a high protein diet it is still necessary to get enough protein in, depending on your needs (~0.8 x lean mass).
BioHackers Lab Tip: Listen to Prof Stuart Phillips on how much protein is needed on a low carb/keto diet.
[16:31] – Maria shares some examples of her favourite keto lunches such as soups, hamburgers and chicken wings. There is so much variety in this diet, in fact Maria has 12 keto cookbooks out!
[18:07] – Should people focus on eating to satiety even for weight loss? While people should not focus on percentages, macros will be specific to an individual and are what people should be aiming for; 0.8 x lean mass for protein, carbs as close to zero as possible, eating fat depending on your goals. Maria shares tips on measuring ketones.
[20:21] – Adaptation period and changing fuel sources takes time. In the beginning there is the keto flu or what Maria calls the carb withdrawal; there is a lot of water loss that results from eliminating carbs. Maria explains that because this also means loss of electrolytes and energy loss/low mood it is important to be aware, increase our salt intake and maintain our potassium, sodium balance.
BioHackers Lab Tip: Listen to Dr James DiNicolantonio tips on how much salt is good for us.
[23:47] – The detox effect when going keto. Because toxins are stored in our fat cells they start to come out when we start losing weight. Keto rash can occur when we start purging toxic substances out of our system.
[25:08] – How is the keto process different for men vs women? Men tend to like it as there is a focus on meat. Maria recommends not pushing people into the diet, but instead leading by example.
[27:18] – Maria shares tips for dealing with sugar cravings. She believes food is love and she will have a keto desert everyday to help her stay on the diet (for 20 years) and not feel like she is on a diet. This is also where fat bombs come into play! Maria’s top tip: try a flour-less chocolate torte recipe as a great example of a keto treat.
BioHackers Lab Tip: Listen to Dr Jen Unwin on how to test if your addicted to sugar.
[30:11] – Is alcohol allowed on a keto cleanse? Maria explains how alcohol increases oestrogen by 300% and the beer-belly we get is actually an oestrogen belly (it also decreases the testosterone for up to 24hrs). It is not about the carbohydrates, it is more about how it affects our hormones that is problematic. Similarly, Maria is against other oestrogenic foods such as soy, chia, flax etc…
[32:06] – In terms of pre-made keto snacks, Maria advises to think twice about anything that comes pre-made out of a package.
[32:48] – In her book there is a whole section on what to order when you are out to eat. There are always options, and substitutions we can ask for. Just prepare yourself mentally when eating out with others! Maria travelled through Spain, Italy, France and found this very easy, with a bit more difficulty in Russia due to language barrier.
[37:20] – Good mitochondrial hacks Maria recommends consider trying are: cold therapy/ice showers/cryotherapy, grounding (there are grounding pads or mattresses you can buy), avoiding chemicals we are also bombarded with through make-up and other cosmetics etc…
[42:36] – For those people who are interested in learning more and following Maria find her on her blog mariamindbodyhealth.com where she has giveaways and shares recipes such as the chocolate torte recipe. She is also on Instagram, Twitter and has a couple of Facebook groups (main one is Keto-adapted.) Her book The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse: Reset Your Metabolism with 160 Tasty Whole-Food Recipes & Meal Plans is available on Amazon.