July 30, 2017 by Leanne Vogel July 27, 2018
Interview with Ryan Lowery, President of the Applied Science and Performance Institute currently completing his PhD in Health and Human Performance at Concordia University, chatting about problems with dairy and keto, utilizing a cyclical ketogenic practice using protein, and overcoming keto struggles.
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
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Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 44 of The Keto Diet Podcast. Today we’re chatting about problems with dairy and keto, cyclical ketogenic practice using protein instead of carbs, and overcoming keto struggles and so much more, so stay tuned.
Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com and this is The Keto Diet Podcast where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low carb high fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar burning state to becoming fat burning machines.
All listeners of the podcast receive a free seven-day keto meal plan complete with a shopping list and everything you need to chow down on keto for seven whole days. Download your free copy at HealthfulPursuit.com/ketomeal. The link will also be in the show notes for today’s episode. Perfect if your daily keto meals have become a bit lackluster, if you’re new to keto and a bit lost when it comes to eating what and how much, or thrive on being guided on what to do and when to do it. Again, that’s healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. Let’s get this party started.
Hey, guys. Happy Sunday. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e44. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode. Let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
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Two announcements that I have for you guys today and two things that our guest and I speak about. The first one is I’m going to KetoCon September 1st to the 3rd in Austin. It’s a conference all about keto. If you haven’t heard about it, you must get a ticket if you’re in the area or maybe you’re traveling through Austin around that time. You can go to ketocon.org to get more information about that.
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Our guest today, his name is Ryan P. Lowery. He’s a 2014 National Champion baseball player. Earned his MS and BS in Exercise Physiology and Exercise and Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa. Ryan is currently the President of Applied Science and Performance Institute and is completing his PhD in Health and Human Performance at Concordia University. Over his career, Ryan has published over 100 papers, abstracts and book chapters on human performance and sports nutrition and is heavily focused on the impact of ketogenic diets and exogenous ketones on performance, cognitive function, and longevity. Ryan has received the Exercise Science Scholar of the Year Award and SCA Award for Outstanding Presentation of the Year Award and most recently, the National AAHPERD Exercise Science Major of the Year Award.
Ryan and his business partner, Dr. Jacob Wilson are launching their book, The Ketogenic Bible this August, which focuses on the science and practical application behind the ketogenic diet, exogenous ketones, and all of their potential applications. Ryan and I have been friends on social media for quite some time, and he’s just such a kind guy. I always thought that because he is very scientific that it’d be really challenging to speak to him because a lot of scientific people are and they speak in a whole bunch of garbly goop that nobody can understand, and that makes the podcast really inaccessible. What I love about Ryan is that he takes very complex ideas and makes them super simple so that we can actually understand what he’s saying and how to apply it to our own life.
Without further ado, let’s cut over to the interview.
Hey, Ryan. How’s it going today?
Ryan Lowery: Hey, Leanne. It’s going great. How are you?
Leanne Vogel: I’m super awesome. I’m so happy to have you on the show. This is so great.
Ryan Lowery: Thank you. I’m super, super excited. I love, love everything that you guys are doing. I’m a big fan of The Keto Diet book you just put out in the podcast. It’s an honor to be on.
Leanne Vogel: That’s awesome. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself if people don’t know how freaking awesome you actually are.
Ryan Lowery: Thank you. Well, my name is Ryan Lowery. Right now, I’m the President and Co-Founder of something known as the Applied Science and Performance Institute here in Tampa, Florida. My background is I got my Masters in Exercise and Nutrition Science. I’ve always been an athlete that’s been concerned with exercise and nutrition and how to optimize really my body but my overall sense of health, so to speak. I got introduced to this field with my now business partner, Dr. Jacob Wilson. We were formally in academics, so we did a lot of different research on exercise, nutrition, supplements.
About six or seven years ago, we got introduced to Dr. Dominic D’Agostino who’s one of the leading researchers in ketogenic dieting. We got fascinated by how Dominic was able to be so jacked. He’s such an amazing guy. All he was eating was sardines, MCT oil. He would fast for half a day. It was just amazing to us how someone was able to accomplish. He introduced us to this concept of the ketogenic diet.
Jacob and I for the past six years really took and looked at this, can really … can really rely primarily on fats as fuel for an athlete, and then how can you take that information and then translate it to people who need it the most like people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy? For the past five years, we’ve really been studying this concepts of ketogenic dieting, ketosis and even more recently, exogenous ketones here at ASPI.
Leanne Vogel: Very awesome. When you first got started with the ketogenic diet and researching that, if you can remember, what were some mind-blowing things that you were like, “What? That actually happens?” Because I know that when I first got introduced to keto, I was like, “Sorry. What did you just say?” I kept experiencing all these things I didn’t think was possible.
Ryan Lowery: Yeah, no, it’s amazing. When we first started, there weren’t as many resources as there are now. That’s one of the most amazing things, like your podcast and the blog and everything, those weren’t as popular back then, we were going blind into it. When Dom was like, “Hey, you know what, I eat sardines for breakfast and then I have coffee with some coconut oil in it. Then I just have a meal at night.” I was like, “What is this diet that you’re eating? What is going on here?”
We jumped full in. Jacob and I were like, “You know what? If we’re going to study this, if we’re going to research it, we have to put ourselves through it.” The first time I did a ketogenic diet, it blew my mind because being a former athlete, I was one of those people who ate every two hours. I thought that I was going to shrivel up and my muscles were going to shrink if I didn’t eat every two hours. My metabolism was going to slow but all of a sudden, I realized I’m only eating two or three meals a day and I’m incorporating in things that I neglected in the past like butter and heavy cream and things like that. I was like, “This is actually amazing that I’m so full and I feel so great and alert all the time, that I don’t have to eat every two hours or three hours, even four hours.” That for me was so liberating and allowed me to just be like, “Wow.” It opened my eyes to this whole new aspect of ketosis.
Leanne Vogel: You mentioned the full fat cream and I don’t even know if that’s the right way to say cream because I don’t eat dairy, all the dairy stuff. Do you find in your research or in your practice and things that you’ve seen that dairy can be detrimental to a person’s progress on keto? What are your thoughts on dairy and keto?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah, no, that’s a really good point. I don’t really consume heavy cream anymore because of that. I find personally with myself and in a lot of the studies we found with a lot of the subjects that have incorporated the ketogenic diet, a lot of people seem to struggle with dairy. A high amount of cheese or all these different kinds of cream, the minute that they cut back on those or they cut them out, it’s like an instant change for them. They feel way better. Their ketones actually seem to go up higher. That could be due to the lactose that’s in a lot of these dairy products. Yeah, I definitely recommend that. That’s something we talk about a lot is for people who are starting out on the ketogenic diet, just be aware of that.
If you’re struggling or if you’re hitting this plateau, maybe take a look at your diet and go, “Hey. Maybe I cut out some of these cheeses because that could be what’s driving a lot of maybe the problems or the plateaus that I’m seeing in my weight loss or something along my journey.”
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. It’s so true. When you tell somebody who’s eating a pretty standard American diet to increase their fat, they increase dairy because that’s really the only fat they’re eating. I’ve seen some crazy stuff with dairy, people making pizza crust out of dairy and then putting more cheese on that. I’m blown away and then they wonder why they have inflammation or their joints are tight, puffy eyes or not being able to lose weight. Yeah. That’s so poignant.
Do you see other problems with keto? Maybe mistakes that people are making on keto?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. This is actually funny. The first time, we did a modified ketogenic diet, the first time I really tried it. I am addicted to sweets. I love sweets.
Leanne Vogel: Me, too.
Ryan Lowery: I grew up eating horribly, absolutely horribly. I would have cake and Oreos and cookies all the time. I was able to get away with it because I played sports, I was so active all the time. I’m like, “Well, maybe I’m not playing baseball anymore,” so I cut back on those. The first time I did the ketogenic diet, it was a lot of cream. I did heavy cream, protein powder and I’d make something called keto mousse. It was just this heavy cream and protein powder and MCT oil. I literally ate that four times a day. I did it for about a week. I realized, I’m like, “Wow. This isn’t that good. I feel horrible. I don’t know what Dom’s talking about with this ketogenic diet thing.” I was like, “What the heck’s going on?”
Eventually, I realized. I’m like, “Well, I’m missing out on a ton of other nutrients. This whole heavy cream thing every meal probably isn’t ideal.” I think one of the biggest challenges that I see for people early on is that unless they truly have someone, have a resource to guide them through the process and say, “Hey. You can eat this, this, this, and this and this.” There’s all these different swaps that you can utilize for your favorite high-carbohydrate foods. A lot of people feel like, “I don’t know what I can eat. I’m just going to eat the same thing every single meal.” Unfortunately, that can be a big problem and lead to some complications. I think of options – in your book, I opened it up and I make them every weekend with my mom or someone. I always love these new recipes.
I’m like, “How do people look at this diet and go, ‘It’s restrictive.’?” When you see all these amazing recipes that are possible, if you just open up your mind and get a little creative with it.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. Also, not getting too overwhelmed with complicated things. I’m not a complicated recipe person. I usually just add meat and fat and vegetables to a pan and that’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also that variety is really important.
Ryan Lowery: Yes.
Leanne Vogel: If I ate broccoli every day, all day for the last three years that I’ve been keto, I don’t know … I wouldn’t be happy. That variety and also looking at the nutrients. It doesn’t have to be all different meals. I think people get so overwhelmed with, “How do I make variety in every single meal?” It can also just be the ingredients that you’re using, I find that’s really simple. A stew made 500 different ways.
Ryan Lowery: Exactly. Absolutely right. Small changes like that can mean a world of a difference. Like, “Okay. I can make this.” I’m the same way. I’m very simple. If I’m making a recipe, I just don’t want to spend an hour doing it. It’s like, “How can I do this? I’m going to cook up dinner, how do I fry something up in coconut oil or do some type of meat and vegetable.” 99% of the time, that’s usually how I eat.
Leanne Vogel: More of my interview with Ryan Lowery after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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Totally. How was your keto approach changed over the years? We chatted about you removing dairy. Do you ever play with cyclical ketosis at all?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. Right now, I’ve incorporated more of an intermittent fasting. I refer to it as intermittent eating because I think some people get scared at the word “fast.”
Leanne Vogel: That’s brilliant. I love that.
Ryan Lowery: I call it intermittent eating. It’s basically I usually don’t eat. I probably won’t have my first meal here for unless for another three hours which will be roughly around two o’clock in the afternoon, my time. I usually have a nice salad or something for lunch and then I have dinner. I’m incorporating intermittent fasting. It’s been a huge, huge help for me with just traveling and working a lot. I do do on the weekends, I do something … it’s kind of a cyclic approach, I do a protein bump is what I call it. I basically lower fat, bump up carbohydrates slightly, but I usually just bump up my protein because the foods that I love are usually high in protein. I love making all these different recipes that have a bunch of different protein components.
I usually just do a higher protein day, and I find it works great. It resets my metabolism, I fill out, my muscles tend to fill out more; I just feel better going into the next week. That’s how it’s evolved for me rather than being seven days strict, each and every day, the same exact thing. I’m just playing around with a couple of different things and being more flexible with it.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. I call that a protein up. I do that sometimes. Sometimes, I do carb ups. Sometimes, I do protein ups. It also goes with my cycle. When I’m ovulating, I find that protein ups feel better where I’m just eating a ton of protein and I lower the fat. Hey, that’s so cool that you’re doing that, and something I talked about in the book, too of some people want that variety. They don’t want to rely on carbs so they do the proteins and they find they feel so much better. That’s really cool that you found that as well.
Ryan Lowery: Yeah, definitely.
Leanne Vogel: What kind of projects are you working on right now? Are there any pieces of research or projects that you’re working on that you think that the average person will be super interested in?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. We just published our first paper on ketogenic dieting and resistance training. A lot of people don’t think that you can gain as much muscle on a ketogenic diet. We took people and trained them for 10 weeks and at the end of the 10 weeks, we found that those who are on a standard American diet and those who are on a ketogenic diet were able to gain just as much muscle as the ones that are on the standard American diet yet they lost more fat over the 10 weeks. That was really cool. A lot of people are concerned about the muscle. I actually think it’s incredibly healthy and important for muscle with being on a ketogenic diet.
One of our most recent studies, we’re doing a study right now on longevity but we did do a study on an extreme cyclic ketogenic diet. Basically, what we did was we had one group who were keto all seven days, and then we had another group that was keto five days a week, but then they just let it go on the weekend, they went back to a standard American diet. What we found was that both of these groups were in a caloric deficit so they were eating a lower amount of calories. The cyclic group, who just let it all go on the weekends, they both lost the same amount of weight, but the cyclic group actually tended to lose more muscle and didn’t lose as much fat as the ketogenic dieting group. The reason that I think is because they weren’t able to get back into ketosis. They were never truly keto adapted prior to starting this cyclic approach. They were never able to get back into ketosis until the end of the week.
Basically, what our conclusions were, one, until you’re keto adapted, you should be careful about playing around with huge, huge carb ups for multiple days at a time. I know you recommend a cyclic approach and I’m a big fan of it. I just think it needs to be controlled in a sense that people shouldn’t carb up for three or four or five days. That’s what our research showed is just be … keeping in context, I think could be very good for your metabolism and your insulin sensitivity but just be careful with extreme, extreme carb ups. Don’t go to the buffet on your carb up day, just be careful with it.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. I know when I first started the carb up thing, I was doing carb back loading. I was lifting a lot. I was doing the back loading thing and in carb back loading, you can basically eat cherry turnovers and do all the things and you’ll get muscles. I was like, “Heck, yeah. This girl’s going to eat cherry turnovers.” I felt like death. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was like my body didn’t know whether I was burning fat or burning carbs, it just felt like hot garbage all of the time. I think I was carbing up too much with too many carbs.
Also, eating sugar and grains and just didn’t make my body feel good. I think there’s a piece to the carb up, a cyclical piece that really is tied into diet culture is when, I don’t know if you see this as well, specifically when people have been doing a diet for a really long time and finally, somebody gives them “permission” to eat carbs again. They go a little hog wild because they haven’t had it in so long. I think that that’s a natural reaction, too. It’s just realizing like, “Oh shoot, I don’t feel so good when I do that. I probably shouldn’t do that again or make a choice to feel like garbage.” That’s what I did for a couple of months until I realized that it wasn’t serving me. Now, my carb up is I don’t know, an apple as opposed to cherry turnovers and ice cream. That’s really good advice.
To go back to the research that you’re doing with the training and such, did these people also include women? Was it just men?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. We actually had one study with purely just men, the resistance training one, but we did do a follow up study with men and women. It was really, really interesting because we usually don’t do a lot of resistance training studies with women, there’s not a lot in the literature, but I think we need way more of it because it’s absolutely, absolutely needed. We found incredible results with women as well. You mentioned before about their cycles. We found something really interesting, which I know some researchers are actually starting to look at but we did see that some of the women who were irregular started to normalize. In the beginning, it was irregular. They were like, “What’s going on?”
As the study progressed, over time, they became a lot more regular. For some of these women, it was incredible because they hadn’t been that way in years. That was really exciting to see and I really hope that we see a lot more research in that area as well.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, completely. I hope we do, too because as somebody who had amenorrhea for eight years and used the ketogenic diet to get it back, there’s not enough support. If you go to any doctor, I’ve been to basically every doctor in Canada about amenorrhea, none of them recommended that I eat fat. That wasn’t a thing – lower your carbohydrates, eat more fat. It’s just so frustrating and even the fact that you’re seeing it in your own research of women benefiting from normalizing their cycles or their hormones by eating this way, I think that there’s a lot of fear-mongering out there with the ketogenic diet and women. Do you see that, or have you seen, rather that the ketogenic diet needs to be adjusted for women? Do you see where there’s areas where women might have to pay more attention to or not?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. I definitely think, and I think a lot of it is individualized on an individual basis, and that’s something men and women, it’s definitely individualized. For women, as far as the variety in the diets, I think that’s super important to making sure that they’re getting in a lot of the essential vitamins and minerals that sometimes these guys who go crazy, hardcore keto can get away with. Women can’t because their hormones, they rely on it. I do think there definitely needs to be some tweaking with that. Again, it’s an individual approach.
Leanne Vogel: Completely. Let’s chat about exogenous ketones a bit and working out and how to use them. I’ve been getting so many questions about this. I feel like I’ve talked about it maybe too much on the podcast but every time we come out with a new episode, people have more questions when it comes to ketone supplementation so I’d love your thoughts on it.
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. We’ve actually been doing a lot of research on exogenous ketones. They’re really a fascinating fuel source in essence. I’ve never come across a supplement that’s so diverse as exogenous ketones because everyone looks at them as a fuel source, that’s one aspect. They really are this different fuel source but a lot of the research that’s being done at our lab and then also our collaborators, Dr. Angela Poff and Dr. Dom at USF, if you look at ketones, not only do they help with … are they acting on different inflammation markers, but they’re also singling molecules. That’s something that’s really, really crazy and really neat for things like longevity. What I mean by that is, ketones are something known as HDAC inhibitors. It’s an intimidating word. If you think about a switch board and all these lights are on as we’re … say, our age.
As we grow older, some of those lights and some of those panels start to turn off and that’s the typical, normal aging process. Well, one of the reasons that they turn off is because of these things known as HDACs. HDACs come along and they jump onto the switch board and they shut it off. Well, ketones are bodyguards for that switch board and they prevent these HDACs from jumping on board and turning off a lot of these genes and different signaling molecules. We’ve seen in our lab and a lot of different research that BHB, one of the primary ketones is a very strong HDAC inhibitor. That could potentially have a lot of implications for longevity and quality of life as we age. I think there is a huge, huge story there, a huge potential for ketones themselves.
Leanne Vogel: That’s so cool because oftentimes, when people are talking about exogenous ketone usage, they’re strictly focused on weight loss or boosting ketones to just have higher ketones. I love that you’re saying there’s so much more to it than getting the supplement for weight loss or to just boost your ketones. You can go to your friends and be like, “I have a 3.4, what are you?”
Ryan Lowery: Yeah.
Leanne Vogel: It’s so much more than that.
Ryan Lowery: Yeah, ketone wars.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. It’s on. My husband and I, I feel so bad for him. He’s been eating keto now for probably a solid seven months. In fact, he read my book and that’s when he was like, “Wow. Actually, I want to give this a try.” I’m like, “Dude, I’ve been sitting here for two and a half years doing this, so thanks.” But he doesn’t register as high amount of ketones as I do, I can get away with quite a few carbs and still have higher ketones than him. It’s just really interesting how it doesn’t really matter. He experiences the same benefits that I do.
I’d love to chat a little bit more about other health benefits if you know of any with the supplementation outside of the standard, “Take it. You’ll lose weight.”
Ryan Lowery: Weight loss with ketones, it’s definitely possible from a sense of one, we know that ketones improve insulin sensitivity. We’ve actually done a study in animals where we took animals and we gave them exogenous ketones and we saw an increase in something known as brown fat. Brown fat’s the type of fat that we really want, white fat is not the fat that we want. White fat is what we typically see with obesity and people who are overweight. They tend to have a lot of white fat, but brown fat is what we call thermogenically active fat, so it helps burn calories. We saw that ketones increased brown fat. There is potential there but like you said, Leanne, I think it’s important to look at a lot of the other things. We talked about HDAC. Everyone seems to at least be understanding there is a cognitive component.
Potentially increasing alertness and focus and energy and things like that is a huge piece. The muscle sparing effects is one of the things that intrigues me the most is, we’ve actually done another study with animals. We took them and we gave them exogenous ketones and we saw that things like muscle protein synthesis, which is what you see elevated when you eat a certain amount of protein or certain amino acids, when you gave BHB, you actually saw that muscle protein synthesis goes up. Ketones themselves seem to spare or prevent the breakdown of certain amino acids like important ones like leucine, which can be very important for again, anti-aging or just someone who’s looking to preserve their muscle mass as they go along in life.
There are so many other benefits. Each day, I’m getting more and more alert and people emailing me and colleagues reaching out about studies that are going on. It’s just fascinating, not only in healthy populations, what’s going on, but even in the realm of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and everything that’s going on there is just absolutely fascinating and incredible of what can happen when you really introduce this alternative fuel source, which is ketones.
Leanne Vogel: This may be a silly question but I’m sure everyone’s wondering. How do you know what sort of fat you have? Is there a way to tell in the way that your … your body composition? Is there a test? How do you know?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. Belly fat, the typical fat that you see like the visceral fat that you see on your body, all that’s typically white fat. Babies for instance, babies have a high amount of brown fat. We can’t really measure in adults how much brown fat we have. People who are typically lean, and we all have those friends or family members who can really eat anything and they’ll be at the party and they’ll be eating all this cake and stuff and they’re still lean. You’re like, “This is so frustrating.” Those people probably have a high amount of brown fat and they’re probably very insulin-sensitive. We find that ketones themselves seem to help both of those aspects of brown fat and insulin sensitivity.
Leanne Vogel: Amazing. We’re chatting about the benefits of ketone especially exogenous ketones. Can you achieve the same things that we’re just talking about without the supplementation? If you follow a strict “ketogenic diet” can’t you generate enough ketones and then you don’t need to supplement?
Ryan Lowery: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that’s one of the biggest things that people look for. I always tell people, the key is first getting your diet in check. When I talk to anyone about ketosis, I say, “Listen, it’s a ketogenic lifestyle. It’s not a quick fix. It’s not this quick thing that you do for three days and then you’re off of it.” I said, I like to look at it as incorporate a lifestyle, with that comes ketogenic diet, cutting out all these refined grains and sugar, exercise, even if it’s just walking 30 minutes twice or three times a day, that’s a very important piece. Then if you want to introduce exogenous ketones into the mix as well, there’s a perfect triangle or a three-pillared approach to really optimizing this concept of ketogenic lifestyle.
Leanne Vogel: Awesome. We’re chatting about grains and removing these things and exercising more even if it’s just walking. I love walking, it’s probably my favorite activity. Now that I have purple hair, which I just did, I know that the sun is going to ruin it, so I’ve got to come up with a plan because I don’t want to wreck my hair.
More of my interview with Ryan Lowery after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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Where do you see people struggling when it comes to the ketogenic diet? Are there certain areas where you see time and time again more people are just not failing but just having a really hard time adopting to the ketogenic lifestyle? I didn’t. It was like, “Wow. I can eat more fat,” and the next day, that’s what I did. I find a lot of people do have issue with it. Where do you see that struggle coming from?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. I think the biggest thing that I see is people bailing out too early on the keto adaptation period. The way I tell people and the way I explain to it to a lot of people is … Listen. For instance, if you’re 30 years old and you take someone, and a lot of times, you’ll have friends or colleagues go, “You know what? I tried that for two days and I just felt horrible. I went back and I had a piece of cake,” or something. I’m like, “Listen, for 30 years of your life, your body has been relying on a primary source of fuel known as glucose.” I said, “You can’t expect it to turn around and in one to two days, completely just turn around and go, ‘Hey. Now I’m ready to completely run on fat and ketones. I’m good to go.’”
I said, “It’s going to take some time to adapt. If you really want to commit to this lifestyle, you got to give it time. If you do it right, it can be done pretty quick but just give it some time.” I always just try and give people the best tools to get over that hump and incorporating in things like intermittent eating and electrolyte supplementation which I think is huge during the adaptation period, getting people proper electrolytes so that way, they can fight through. “Hey, you’re no longer providing all this sugar to your body, which you probably did before.” Once you’re able to really utilize and take in and optimize your diet to utilize fat and ketones as fuel, you’re just going to be better off, way better off.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. Spoken like a champ. It’s so true because when I went keto, I was already paleo. It’s really just about, “Okay. Well now, I don’t eat sweet potatoes or maple syrup.” That’s pretty easy. I was already eating a lot of fat, it was just about switching it out. If you’re coming from a place of where I was 10 years ago to go keto, oh my gosh. And I think there’s also that all or nothing mentality of, “Nope. I’m committing to it. I don’t care,” and I think that always sets people up to fail. Always.
Ryan Lowery: Yeah, no and I love that idea because I tell people that a lot. I say, “Alright. Well, if you’re really committed to this, why don’t we start by just doing this?” People who are paleo, it’s a very easy switch to then go, “Okay. Let me just cut out this, this, and this, and now, I’m really ketogenic.” Versus the people like you or I … 10 years ago, you’d think I was crazy. I’d have to stop eating all the fast food that I used to eat and all the candy bars and ice cream at night. I would have had no idea how to do it. Eventually, over time, I realized, “All right. I’m going to switch to this similar thing. I’m going to switch to paleo and go low-carb.” Then it’s a very easy transition and just go, “Okay. Let me knock this out. Bump this fat up and I’m ketogenic.”
Leanne Vogel: Yeah.
Ryan Lowery: Yeah, I agree.
Leanne Vogel: I think that we would have been food buddies back in the day because everything you just said about all the fast food, and oh my gosh, the food that I ate. I don’t know about you, but I never connected the two. I thought that the food that I ate had zero impact on anything, I just thought it was food. I had a dream last night I think about cinnamon toast crunch. Do you ever remember that cereal? It was one of my favorite cereals.
Ryan Lowery: Yes.
Leanne Vogel: I would put it in a bowl like how you would eat cereal but instead of adding milk, I would add sweetened Craisins, dried cranberries that had sugar and chocolate chips. I would eat that with a spoon for breakfast. That was my breakfast up until I was maybe 19.
Ryan Lowery: Every morning and my mom would look at me, at some point, she’d look at me and be like, “You’re gross. What are you doing?” Every morning, I used to have cream of wheat but I used to put at least three tablespoons of sugar in it. It became like soup. It was so sugary.
Leanne Vogel: Sugary syrup.
Ryan Lowery: This sweet soup. Looking back, I’m like, “That was really disgusting,” what I did but I was addicted to eating so much sugar.
Leanne Vogel: Yes.
Ryan Lowery: At that time, it was crazy.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. When you think of just the progression of where you came from and where you are now, it didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t like the sugar soup to the broccoli and ground beef that you had for dinner last night. The satiation that comes from that, it becomes such a natural behavior. If I’m hungry, I just drink more water. If it’s actually because I’m not hungry or I’ll have bone broth and I’ll add some salt in it. These are just natural things where it’s like, “I’m feeling hungry. Is it because I’m thirsty?” Just checking in with yourself and asking yourself some questions.
I know even 10 years ago, when I just started studying nutrition, it was mind-blowing to think that all the things that we put in our body actually make a difference in not only our body composition, but also the way we show up in the world with our mind and our behaviors and the way we treat people. Even our confidence, I found that eating keto, because my brain is a lot smoother, I always say I feel like I have a smooth brain whereas before, it was all chunky and I couldn’t understand what was happening. I’m able to make better decisions also.
Ryan Lowery: Yeah, no absolutely. I love that and hat resonated with me, the check in with yourself because I think so often that people eat. In this, I am a very big person, I do this a lot, I’ll check in with myself. I go, “Am I really eating because I’m hungry or am I eating because I’m super stressed out? We just had an intense meeting. I’ve a lot of work to do.” I’m like, “I’m really about to go eat this because I’m stressed out. Let me just go grab a water and put some electrolytes or some flavoring or even, like you said, bone broth in it,” and I’m fine. Really checking in and getting in tune with your body, it’s one of the most amazing things. It’s been a game changer, like you said, from my life, not only just physically with my body composition but mentally, socially, emotionally.
How I interact with friends and family, it’s just been an absolute game changer to be able to not be so confined and constricted by needing to eat every hour or two hours. Like you said, in a smooth brain. Don’t really have any brain fog but just being in this calm, cool and collective mindset where I am just in a better overall place mentally and emotionally as well.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. I don’t know because you have a sweet tooth, I know for me, sometimes I eat the sugar. The next day or even as I’m eating it, I’m feeling my brain. There’s no way to describe it unless you’ve experienced it, of just feeling totally off and then the next day, you’re emotional and you’re biting off people’s heads. You’re just not fun to be around and it’s a really good glimpse to, “Wow. I used to be like this all of the time.” I was trying to manage all of these feelings while also maintaining a job and a marriage. It’s insane when you go back and you start to eat that way. Was there any, if you remember, any steps that you took to get in touch with your body? Did it happen because you were eating ketogenic?
I know for me, it definitely helped when I ate keto because then I didn’t have all those crazy emotions and all the things happening. I could actually get in touch with your body. Was there a certain thing that you did or things that you do in order to stay in touch?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. I think it developed over time but I implemented … one of the things that’s helped me tremendously, I’ve implemented a ketogenic diet and daily meditation together and for me, that’s just helped me so much. From a psychological perspective, that’s what really helped me take a step back because I’m originally from New Jersey and the New York area. Everything there is hyper all the time, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up and the New York mentality. I think just taking a step back and going, “You know what? It’s okay if I don’t do this in the next 30 seconds. If I just take some time, reflect on it. Realize, okay, the world won’t end if I don’t get to this email or I don’t get to this thing in 30 seconds. Let me just take some time to reflect on it.”
That transferred into my eating habits, my exercise habits, and my daily routine to really get in tune with my body and go, “Okay. Rather than rush through life and rush through my day to day, take some time. Reflect, go on walks. Listen to podcasts. Listen to books. Meditate, eat well.” All of a sudden, that just became this whole body process. I’m just super in tune with it now and able to really take everything to a whole another level, which has been a real game changer.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, agreed. Let’s spend the next couple of minutes, I can’t believe we’ve already been chatting for this long, to chat about your book. Tell me about your book.
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. Dr. Jacob Wilson and I, we wrote a book that’s coming out in mid-August. It’s called The Ketogenic Bible. Basically, what we wanted to do is just provide this ultimate resource for a lot of the science that has happened in the past and is happening now in the current day. In this book, we talk about the history of ketogenic dieting all the way back to before the 1900s when it was introduced. Why it got faded out in the early 1900s and then how it has since resurrected and now it’s booming. Then we talk about a lot of the different applications. We mention everything from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s to exercise and performance to even cancer. It’s just amazing to see we’re so blessed and have such amazing friends and collaborators that are doing a lot of the work in these areas.
Like our friends at USF doing all the cancer research with ketogenic dieting and then we also touch on exogenous ketones because no one’s really ventured down that area. We’ve been doing a ton of research in looking into what are exogenous ketones? What can they do? What can’t they do? We’ve talked a lot about it today. Really just taking a deep dive into this whole concept of what is a ketogenic diet? What applications can it be applied for? Where do exogenous ketones fit into that equation? That’s really this resource that we tried to put together for everyone.
Leanne Vogel: That is awesome. Who do you feel like the books is good for? You just covered so much ground. Who did you write this book for?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. We really tried to make it as wide as possible. The reason is we use a lot of analogies in there and I love analogies like the switch board analogy with HDAC inhibitors. Really taking complex scientific topics and trying to break them down to this simplest terms. Not taking away from the science but really making them understandable and that’s something that Jacob and I pride ourselves on and we try and do each and every day is there’s so much amazing science out in the world. Even on ketogenic dieting and exogenous ketones, but the problem is that so many scientists speak over people’s heads. They try and use these complex terms and make it sound super scientific. When in reality, it can be broken down simply and explained a lot better. That’s what we really tried to do.
Leanne Vogel: That is awesome. I can’t wait to read it. I’m so excited for you, Ryan. Where can people find more from you if they want to follow along on your journey?
Ryan Lowery: Yeah. I post a lot on Instagram. It’s @ryanplowery. I post a lot there and Facebook, if you want to add me, it’s Ryan Lowery. Jacob’s is the Muscle PhD. We post a lot of different content. We do it a lot with infographics, trying to get these complex terms and information out to the audience and out to people in a quick, easy, understandable manner. I feel like in today’s world, not only is their time limited but they just want to digest information as quickly as possible. It’s just been trying to capture that and get as much information out to the world as we possibly can, just trying to really help people change their lives ultimately.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. Thank you for doing the work that you do because there needs to be a lot of us talking about this. The more of us that are talking about it, the more people that can be helped because of the information that we’re sharing. Thank you so much for contributing to the conversation from one keto person to another, totally.
Ryan Lowery: Well, thank you. Thank you so much. What you’ve done and your work and I’ve literally told everyone about The Keto Diet book. Everyone that I know listens to the podcast. I’m very, very excited because we really need more people, like you said, getting this information out there. You’re so charismatic and such a positive spin on thing, and one of my biggest things is this: beyond just ketogenic dieting, beyond just ketosis, we live in a world right now that’s so filled with negative thoughts and a negative environment. You see news and media outlets putting that out. One of my biggest things that I tell people is we need more people to really make positivity louder and make the world a better place.
That’s going to take people like us and everyone listening to go out and spread more positive things, spread more positive news, more positive things on nutrition and exercise and just daily life. I’ve loved following you and seeing you do that every single day. Thank you for that and being an inspiration and a positive light for me every single day.
Leanne Vogel: That’s so sweet, Ryan. Look at us. Thanks so much for coming on the show. Guys, the show notes and full transcript for today’s episode will be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e44. I’ll include a link to go preorder The Ketogenic Bible because, awesome! Thanks again for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.
That does it for another episode of The Keto Diet Podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit where you’ll find daily keto eats and other fun things. Check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides and other cool things over at healthfulpursuit.com/shop. I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.
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HI! I’M LEANNE
Nutrition educator + keto enthusiast. I want to live in a world where every woman loves her body, nourishing fats are enjoyed at every meal, and the word “restriction” isn’t in the dictionary.