The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #138 - Maria Emmerich
Maria Emmerich is a nutritionist who specializes in the ketogenic diet and exercise physiology. She struggled with her health and weight throughout childhood which led her to become such a passionate nutrition expert. “My goal is to help transform people’s lives and start living again!” Maria specializes in brain neurotransmitters and how food can increase mental wellness. Her expertise has sent her around the World speaking about ketogenic diets. She has also cooked with Halle Berry and writes for Halle’s website. You can find her at KetoMaria.com.
She spends the majority of her time with clients around the World via Skype with amazing results. She specializes in helping autoimmune disorders, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), heart disease, cholesterol issues, alopecia, hashimoto’s, cancer, epilepsy, seizures, depression and anxiety. You would be amazed at the amount of people get off medication with her guidance.
She is also an International Best Selling author of several books including “Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking” and “The 30 Day Ketogenic Cleanse“. She also authored 10 other books including several cookbooks and 3 nutritional guide books including the best-selling book “Keto.” Some of her readers include, Halle Berry, Valerie Bertinelli and Al Roker.
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11:20 - Maria's Personal Story
13:40 - pure protein days
14:35 - fat & insulin
15:25 - fat & Ketosis
16:55 - LMNT: For Fasting Or Low-Carb Diets Electrolytes Are Key For Relieving Hunger, Cramps, Headaches, Tiredness, And Dizziness. With No Sugar, Artificial Ingredients, Coloring, And Only 2 Grams Of Carbs Per Packet, Try LMNT For Complete And Total Hydration. For A Limited Time Go To Drinklmnt.Com/Melanieavalon To Get A Sample Pack For Only The Price Of Shipping!
19:40 - fast and effective weight loss
22:15 - 30 grams of fat
23:35 - intramuscular lipids
24:20 - macro & calorie counting
28:00 - satiation timeline
29:05 - eating fat to burn fat
30:50 - artificial sweeteners
32:15 - insulin release
32:55 - HOMA-IR
35:05 - a higher resting blood glucose
35:40 - testing insulin
39:10- the fat flux
39:45 - reverse insulin resistance
41:40 - eating low carb or low fat
42:30 - dairy foods
44:15 - ghee vs butter
44:45 - mCT oil
46:35 - exogenous ketones
48:00 - the literature on exogenous ketones
50:20 - blood ketones and long term ketogenic diets
51:50 - ample nutrition and iron
55:30 - nUTRISENSE: Get Your Own Personal Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) To See How Your Blood Sugar Responds 24/7 To Your Food, Fasting, And Exercise! The Nutrisense CGM Program Helps You Interpret The Data And Take Charge Of Your Metabolic Health! Learn More About Nutrisense In Melanie’s Interview With Founder Kara Collier At MelanieAalon.com/Nutrisense. Get $40 Off A CGM At nutrisense.io/melanie With The Code MelanieAvalon
59:35 - vitamin c
1:00:45 - organ meats
1:05:10 - maria's favorite recipes
1:07:45 - halle berry
1:10:45 - the best recipes for kids
1:14:15 - new recipes
1:16:40 - intermittent fasting
1:17:25 - "healthy at any size"
1:19:35 - keto college
Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, welcome back to the show. I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I'm about to have. It is a long time coming. So, a little backstory on all of this. When I first started getting involved or interested in the science of diet, it was after I went low carb and really experienced a profound effect on my entire health and wellbeing, when prior to that everything was just really about weight loss. But the first diet hack thing I did when I became really obsessed with all of that was, I was looking at all the different potential things to eat macronutrient wise. Carbs, fat, protein, and I realized that protein was basically the macronutrient that could support your body and most likely not become body fat. I win. This was probably a decade ago, but I went through a period where I was literally eating just protein, like lean protein and I was like, "Why is this not a thing?" I'm not necessarily recommending you do it to the extreme that I did and I'm sure we'll dive into a lot of this in today's conversation, but it was definitely something on my radar.
From there, I found the whole PSMF community, which was a group of people still today, who follow a protein centric, low-calorie diet. But with all of that I also found the world of Maria Emmerich, who is really, really big in the keto world, also her own manifestation and version of PSMF, Protein Sparing Modified Fast that we'll talk about. I've been dying to interview her. I've been following her work for years, such a fan. Then when I saw that she was on my friend, Cynthia Thurlow's show and found out they are friends, I was like, "Please, introduce me to Maria, so I can have her on the show." So, that's what's happening right now. I'm so honored, so grateful. Maria, thank you so much for being here.
Maria Emmerich: Well, thank you for reaching out and it sounds like we're kindred spirits and I'll definitely be subscribing to all your podcasts.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yay. No, I love everything that you do. I really feel you just get it. I was telling you before the call I recently watched you had an at-home, a webinar-type thing that people could go to in person. My assistant actually went to it or watch online. I watched online and I was just like, "Yes," because you and your husband, you guys really understand, I think, the science of everything that's going on and you're really, really good at dispelling myths, and really just explaining what's happening with everything. But to start things off, I'm sure a lot of my listeners are probably familiar with your work. But for those who are not, could you tell them a little bit about your personal story, what brought you to where you are today with writing all of your books? You have so many books. You have an amazing Instagram. Just what brought you to what you're doing today?
Maria Emmerich: Well, when I was 16 years old, I was literally twice my size. I wasn't feeling well. I was always one of the best athletes of school, but I was just one of the biggest athletes literally and I wasn't feeling well. I went to my family doctor and at that visit, she told me, I had something called PCOS, which is basically a type 2 diabetes that affects female fertility. She gave me an acid blocker, because I had severe acid reflux. She gave me an antidepressant, because I was pretty depressed and something for IBS. I left that doctor's visit at the young age of 16 with three prescription medications. She told me it was nothing I was doing wrong. It was just the cards that was dealt. But let me tell you, Melanie, I worked at a coffee shop, where before high school, I would go and make the scones, and the muffins and the cinnamon rolls. Then after school, I would go back to the coffee shop and we would close about 5 PM. Whatever didn't sell, I went home with. So, you can make darn sure. I would make extra cinnamon rolls, because I wanted to make sure that's what I had for dinner basically and I was living off of caffeine, sugar, and carbohydrates, and what causes PCOS is excess caffeine, sugar, and carbohydrates.
What happened was that very same week, I took my beautiful Golden Retriever to the vet, because she was losing patches of her hair. The first question the vet asked me was, "What are you feeding her?" It was a really big moment for me, because I was doing this on my own. My parents didn't come with me, I was really embarrassed. I didn't want to talk to my friends about how weird my period was, and all of that. But I also didn't want to live off of chicken breast and broccoli. I'm a foodie. I really like good tasty food. What I did was, I love to cook. I love to bake. I just started making some of my favorite things into these exotic creations. I have a protein-sparing cinnamon roll that people love. That's the type of stuff that I want to be able to have that type of thing. Yeah, I love filet mignon and that type of stuff. But at the time I was pretty picky. I just started doing that type of stuff. Weight loss was very difficult with PCOS. I called them my pure protein days, where I would have days that was pure protein. Now, it's called Protein-Sparing Modified Fast days. But that's how I really found success.
But then, I mean, we could talk about it later, but the whole keto community was like, "Oh, no. Too much protein turns into sugar." For a hot minute, I was like, "Oh, okay." I was like, "Okay, we have to lower the protein, higher the fat." I really respected these people and doctors that told me that and they're still out there screaming that message. But what's interesting, Melanie, they're not working with people. They're just out there throwing out their videos and their ideas. But when you actually work with clients, if you just let them eat all the fat, they gain weight, because there's only one place to go like you saw in the class?
Melanie Avalon: One of the biggest epiphanies I had about all of it was when I was contemplating, because people will say that fat doesn't release insulin, it's unlimited, when really the irony about that statement is, I think fat doesn't release much insulin, because it doesn't require much insulin to be stored. The irony about all of it is that people took that concept and they got the complete opposite. Literally, fat is very easily stored and that's the insulin connection. People took it to mean the opposite that, "Oh, it must not be easily stored."
Maria Emmerich: Well, on the Gary Taubes, but he's the one that threw us under the bus with that.
Melanie Avalon: There's definitely a lot of confusion out there. While we're talking about mind blown moments, when I was watching the recent webinar that you did, I had the biggest mindful moment and I shared it on the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Every time it even remotely comes up in conversation, I share this now. I don't know if people will be excited about it like I was. But the thing that was so fascinating to me was you talked about how people often think that we enter ketosis, because we run out of carbs, so, we can't burn carbs anymore, like, there's no fuel. But he was talking about how it's actually because we need carbs to burn fat in the Krebs cycle. When we run out of carbs, it's because we can't burn fat anymore. It was like, "Wow." I never realized that. That was just completely mind blowing to me.
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, and I think that's where a lot of people get hung up with this high idea of ketosis and higher ketone numbers, and they fall into this trap that will cause them to not see results, and they get really discouraged, and they're like, "Yeah, I tried the keto diet, and I gained weight on it, and it didn't work." People mistakenly think that they don't need any glucose, which they do. There are certain parts of your body that do need glucose. That's what enables us to be in ketosis. It's a whole cycle of people get into this trap, where they think that, "Okay, so, I don't have any glucose. So, I need a lot of fat for ketosis and stuff." In reality, most people have so much fat on their body that they don't need to eat the dietary fat. In fact, if they want to lose that body fat, then they do need to lower that dietary fat.
Melanie Avalon: On the Intermittent Fasting Podcast, people often ask us like, "What is my opinion of the best way to lose weight?" I don't want to say in a crash diet form, but basically, lose weight effectively in fast and I always say, "Some manifestation of PSMF." In my opinion, it is the best way to go. Maybe we can step back and actually give more definitions to that. But a follow-up question that people often ask me is, "Okay, but how much fat do I need?" How much fat do people actually need? If they're doing keto, but they're not doing a higher fat manifestation of it, can they just go fat free and do all protein or what's actually needed there with fat?
Maria Emmerich: Going fat free is almost impossible, because there's going to be-- I remember when I was a teenager buying chicken breasts and being like, "Why is there fat in chicken breast? It is supposed to be fat free." There's nothing like some fat and things and don't stress out, because you do want for a protein-sparing modified fast day. So, what that definition is, is where you lower the carbohydrates as much as possible, you hit your protein goal or go above and you keep fat at about 30 grams. 30 grams is that magic number, where you still can have hormone synthesis, you can still absorb fat soluble vitamins, and your gallbladder is not going to go caput. But it's egg whites, chicken breasts, it's really what you would think would be zero fat, you still get about 30 grams with-- I have a free calculator if you don't mind me plugging it.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, please. Please do.
Maria Emmerich: If you go to ketomaria.com, you'll find this free keto calculator on that site and it will give you your regular keto macro days and the protein-sparing days. We recommend to do protein sparing. It depends on how-- We've worked with people like Tyler, who needed to lose probably over 400 pounds. He could get away with more protein-sparing modified fast days, but we recommend about three days a week, hit that-- Some people only want to lose 10 pounds. In that case, you could probably get away with one or two a day-- a week. What I find interesting is, there's some keto people and doctors out there that say, "Protein-sparing modified fast is dangerous. It is going to kill you." It's like, "Oh, come on. You're telling people to eat nothing in a day." You will lose muscle mass. It is proven. You get no nutrients when you do that. When you do protein sparing, the most nutrient dense foods are animal protein. You're getting those nutrients and so you don't lose your hair and all of that. So, I just find it interesting that people-- I get a lot of hate mail about it, but if they want results, they're going to do it.
Melanie Avalon: The 30 grams of fat, do you find that naturally just happens eating the lean cuts of meat or people actually adding any fats to their meals when you practice?
Maria Emmerich: I write meal plans for protein sparing and I have a couple books out. You will get 30 grams without adding fat. You don't need to add mayo or butter. A very specific about my protein-sparing protocol is dairy free for a reason. But you wouldn't be adding tallow or lard to a steak, or you would be maybe broiling the fish rather than panfrying it in a skillet with butter, or some sort of oil. Even when you do that, you're still going to get that 30 grams of fat.
Melanie Avalon: Okay.
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, a tender-- I love a filet mignon. I have that every day after my run. A filet mignon is going to have some fat in it and that's one of the leanest cuts.
Melanie Avalon: Well, yeah, you're speaking to how you're trying to get the leanest chicken breast and how did it still have fat. But I think a lot of people don't realize is, maybe they think that the fat is always separate from the protein, so, you could like cut it away, but there's intramuscular lipids in the muscle that you can't cut that away. So, it's like you said to go completely fat free.
Maria Emmerich: When you do want some, because to make healthy hormones and to absorb fat soluble vitamins, you don't get a vitamin D deficiency and that type of stuff. There's vitamins A, D, and K. They're fat soluble. They need fat for absorption. Your gallbladder is a muscle. Just like you do bicep curls, you want to make sure to keep that gallbladder working. It's just when you go extremely low fat and you're just doing whey protein shakes, which I never recommend. That is where some people come into having issues.
Melanie Avalon: I have two questions. One, about the counting, I mentioned before how I went through my period of basically just eating chicken breasts. I wasn't counting anything. I wasn't counting calories, I wasn't even counting protein, fat. I was like, "This is the food I eat" and it worked really well. But perhaps, one of the most popular PSMF manifestations is Lyle McDonald's protocol and that whole community, I think they, it's like 500 calories. They count calories. It's much more intense and they go really long time. They go days and then they have this whole protocol. How is yours different from that as far as like--? I know, you just talked about how many days you can do it, but as far as how many days and actually counting calories? How does it manifest?
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, a protein-sparing modified fast day is about 800 calories of basically pure protein and that minimal amount of fat. I have a couple books I sent to you about keeping it at that ratio, like, the meal plans are meant-- But honestly people are like, "Maria, I'm so full. Do I have to eat all this protein?" I'm like, "Yes, it's really important." There's this pudding in there, this chocolate pudding that people are like, "Whoa, this is so good." They're like, "Are you sure this is one serving?" I'm like, "Yeah, you get to have the whole thing." They're like, "Wow, that's a lot of food." But protein, I tried to do these images on Instagram or Twitter, where I'm holding a big huge piece of sashimi, because we have fresh fish here. I'm holding this big piece of ahi. It's humongous. Then I hold two pats of butter in my hand and it's the same calories.
Not only that, the protein, the ahi has so many more nutrients than the sticks of butter, that little pats of butter dough. I like to eat. I don't want to eat two sticks-- two little pats of butter and say, "Oh, I'm done." I like that. I like to eat. I like that you can actually feel satiated and full. What's really fascinating is, I've talked to a lot of fitness competitors and bodybuilders. There something about when you have the absence of fat or minimal of fat, amount of fat, the satiation is so much more intense and faster than when you have a lot of protein and a lot of fat together. I don't know what the mechanism is with that, but there's something very satiating about lean proteins.
Melanie Avalon: The satiation thing is really fascinating, because I think a lot of people think fat is satiating, but I've looked at the studies and I'm trying to remember fat and satiation, I don't think the correlation is quite there. Protein is the one that seems to be the satiating factor.
Maria Emmerich: Yeah. When you're looking at gram for gram, in order to eat the same amount of fat to get the amount of protein you would get for satiation, protein wins. You just have to think about the amount of calories you need in that fat to get that satiation that you would get in the small amount of calories of protein to get that satiation. Does that make sense?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it does.
Maria Emmerich: Because fat is so caloric dense and to say that calories don't matter is ignorance. It really is.
Melanie Avalon: I agree. I agree so much. I've had Ted Naiman on the show. I think it was his book. He had the chart and it was this satiation timeline, basically the different macronutrients, and it was carbs are satiating in the short term, but not the long term. Fat, I think it was satiating in the short term, but not long term and then protein was both. [laughs] Protein was the way to go.
Maria Emmerich: Whatever you feel about nutrient or I should say satiation, you cannot deny that the nutrients are in the animal protein. Those lean proteins, that's where the nutrients are. Because there's a big argument like, "What's more important? Fat or protein, fat or protein?" When you look at where the nutrients are, it's not in the butter, it's not in the MCT oil, it's not in the tallow, it's not in the lard. It's in the actual steak, it's in the actual chicken, it's in the actual food. That's how our ancestors ate. They didn't get a damn butter churner out to add butter to their steak. When they eat a woolly mammoth, they just ate the whole woolly mammoth. They didn't add fat to it. But that's what we're being told that we have to do is add fat to our steak. Well, that's not really a natural way to eat, anyway.
Melanie Avalon: What about the idea that they say, "Well, you need to eat fat to teach yourself how to burn fat?" What do you think about that idea?
Maria Emmerich: I don't know who thought of that. It's ignorance. If you have a food addiction, let's start there. I think the thing is, we're ignoring the fact that most people have a food addiction. They need something instead of the sugar, instead of the carbohydrates, so they make fat bombs or that type of stuff to get them through the day. Instead of grabbing the Hershey Kiss, they grab the little chocolate fat bomb they made. You're just replacing it. If that's your way to get you off sugar, so be it. I'm not a judgy person. But to say that, you need to have that to train your body to burn fat is just ridiculous.
Melanie Avalon: You're saying how people sometimes go low fat like bodybuilders and stuff, then they're more satiated. It just makes sense to me that if you're eating fat, then maybe you're not unlocking some fat cells, because you're burning this dietary fat compared to, if you go low fat, then you're actually forcing your body to go open up some of those cells that you might not have tapped into. Then that's like opening a whole new floodgate of potential energy.
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, and I would say that the people that they think need to add fat to burn fat, they are discounting how brilliant your body is. Your body's really smart. It really, really is. People that you see in the Holocaust are really lean. It's not because they ate a bunch of fat to get lean, it was because that they were basically eating nothing. Your body knows how to burn body fat, if you let it.
Melanie Avalon: People will say, "If they're taking in sweeteners, artificial or stevia, or something like that, then oh, that's going to make you gain weight." But I've thought this so long and then you actually said it. I was like, "Oh, my goodness, I'm not alone." Because I thought about it. I'm like, "Well, if you're not taking in extra fuel, I don't see how adding stevia can make you gain weight." I don't see how that could literally happen.
Maria Emmerich: Well, first of all, we've tested it and if you use pure stevia, insulin doesn't rise. But it's the whole idea that I'll say like, stevia in the raw, that's a brand of stevia, and that has maltodextrin in it. It's not the stevia that's causing the insulin rise, it's the maltodextrin, which is a corn derivative, which is higher on the glycemic index than sugar. But so even if, let's say, pure stevia did, you're drinking zero calories. What the hell's the difference? Because if insulin went up, you're not drinking anything to store. But if you had a Bulletproof coffee with a bunch of stevia, maybe a chocolate stevia or something in there, and you had a bunch of fat in it, then yes, you are going to go into storage mode, because your insulin went up, and you're eating 500 calories of pure fat with no nutrients.
Melanie Avalon: I can see how you can make the argument that the insulin release makes it, so that you can't burn fat, but it can't make extra fat manifest out of nowhere. [laughs] I just don't know.
Maria Emmerich: We're just chasing the wrong thing, because people get all obsessed, if their insulin goes up when they have protein, or their glucose goes up with protein, or whatever it is. They're not looking at the right thing. That was the whole in the video, the HOMA-IR, and how to calculate that, and to really see if you're in trouble, because I do know some very influential keto people in the community that have a high Homa-IR, which is very dangerous. This one woman that a lot of you know, she has a Homa-IR of 20. It's not because she's eating too much carbohydrates or sugar, she eats none of that, but she's eating way too much fat.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, who are not familiar with HOMA-IR, what is the measurement for that and what's the range? If they want to figure it out themselves, how could they get it tested?
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, like a fasting insulin and a fasting glucose. It would be insulin times glucose divided by four or five. If the number's like two or less, you're okay. You are healthy. Where if the number is above that, then you're in trouble. It is just people are chasing a blood sugar. They were keto and they're doing Bulletproof coffee, and fat bombs, and all that. Their glucose was maybe 80. It was a really great number. But now, that they are doing protein sparing, they might see it go to 110, and they freak out, and they think is bad. They're just chasing the wrong number. That's why I want people to be aware like the fasting insulin, fasting glucose, find out the HOMA-IR. During the class, we're talking about a car like the RPMs. You are cruising along at 55 miles an hour and it seems your car is running great, but the RPMs are sitting at 20. That's not a good thing that your engine is working so hard. But let's say that you're cruising along at 85, the blood sugar is going up a bit, but your RPMs are at sitting at zero. That's what you want. Who cares if the blood sugar goes up a little bit?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because that is something that I think a lot of people see. Actually, for me, so I currently don't do low carb anymore. I do intermittent fasting during the day, and I do one meal a day, and then I eat super high protein, actually, super high carb from fruit but low fat, and I found that when I was keto, I actually did have higher resting blood sugar, higher 90s. Do you think there's any potential issue with a higher resting blood glucose? Is that glycating red blood cells, or do you think it's more like the spikes, or the area under the curve, or--? I know a lot of people in the keto world seem to report that they have higher resting blood sugars.
Maria Emmerich: Well, it depends. Because if it does go up in the morning, it's the dawn phenomenon and like a cortisol. But that's-- you do want that to wake up in the morning. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's the overall long term-- the long-term fasting glucose, the long-term fasting insulin, finding out what your A1c is, the HOMA-IR looking at the long term rather than the short-term numbers.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, basically, all the data. I don't know if this is still true, I need to check this, but I read that the reason that insulin is probably not going to be tested anytime in the near future as part of the standard panel has to do with the medical codes. It's not an easy setup to run it as a test for doctors, which is just upsetting. But another question about all the fat stuff. I love that you talk about this. People often say that, especially in the keto world that or I guess, it would only probably be in the keto world. But that is unlimited, because you won't store it. It'll just run through you. You've talked about fecal fat. What should we know about fecal fat?
Maria Emmerich: No matter what way we're eating, high fat, low fat, no matter what, when they test the fecal matter, only about 10% gets passed through you. No matter if you're high fat or low fat, it doesn't really matter. To prove our point, my husband always brings up the WOW Chips. Are you old enough to remember those?
Melanie Avalon: I don't think I had them. What was in them?
Maria Emmerich: Oh, my gosh, when I was in high school, there was something called WOW Chips. They had to have a label on them that it could cause anal leakage, because it contains a fat binding compound of--
Melanie Avalon: Like olestra?
Maria Emmerich: Yes, olestra. That's it, it was.
Melanie Avalon: It had olestra in them, in the chips?
Maria Emmerich: Yes, it did. This is a new thing back in mid-90s. If that would really be true, if we would just pass fat through us and we're eating copious amounts of fat, we would just be having diarrhea all the time. In reality, no matter if you eat high fat or not, fat has one place to go and it's right to the fat cells. Even when you are burning fat, this is how it works. It goes to the fat cells, and you get into the fat flux, and you are either in a negative fat flux or not. If you are in a negative fat flux, that's how you lose weight. But if you eat copious amounts of fat, you're not very active, you will gain weight that way. And sure, if you're getting off of cereal, and skimmed milk, and that crap, I am very proud of everybody. We're arguing about the wrong thing. Getting people off of processed foods is a win-win to me.
But what makes me sad as 99% of people jump onto keto, because they want to lose weight. Then they don't see the results, because they're doing Bulletproof coffee. Dave Asprey probably hates me, because I always make fun of it, but there's no nutrients in it. It's copious amounts of fat and people think they're still in this intermittent fasting mode, if they just drink a bunch of liquid calories, which they're not. Liquid calories are absorbed so quickly and coffee makes you less insulin sensitive, which is not a good thing. So, you get into this big issue, where people don't see results and then they tell their friend, "Oh, yeah, I gained weight on keto, this, and that." That's what makes me sad and that's why I'm here screaming the message like, "You don't need to eat a lot of dietary fat if you already have body fat to burn."
Melanie Avalon: It's so funny. I had Dave on the show. I'm trying to remember if we talked about his Bulletproof coffee even-- I'm going to have to go back and revisit it. But I agree. People adding copious amounts of fat. There's a lot of misconceptions surrounding all of it. The fat flux, quick question about it. Is that speaking to just the fat that you're eating or is it the cycle of the fat that you're eating and the fat that you're unlocking from your fat stores? What is the fat flux, exactly?
Maria Emmerich: That's exactly right. It's the dietary fat that you're eating plus your body fat. When you get into this flux, where you're taking in less dietary fat than what is needed to burn the body fat, that's the negative fat flux. But you're always in this flux mode. You can change it very quickly by what you eat. But most people need to lose body fat. The best way to reverse insulin resistance, some people are like, "Oh, you got to eat high fat to reverse insulin resistance." No. The best way to reverse insulin resistance is to shrink your fat cells and gain or maintain your muscle mass. The best way to do that is to eat lean proteins, low fat, low carb. But I do agree with you. Protein's not a good energy source. It's just not. I am an athlete. I run, I run marathons all that. I choose to use fat for my fuel instead of carbohydrates just because I am so metabolically damaged with PCOS in my background and stuff like that. I've just trained to be more of a fat burner. But you mentioned that you eat carbohydrates for your energy. You are going to choose one. My problem is introducing carbs to myself and most of my clients, that's when their sugar cravings come back.
Melanie Avalon: For me with the carbs, I don't think it would work for me if I wasn't doing the fasting, but the way it seems to work for me is, I do fasting every single day and I do a one-meal-a-day pattern like I mentioned. I preferentially eat, well, I really just ate fruit. I don't eat starches. This is all theories in my head, but the way I feel it's working for me is I am filling up my liver glycogen primarily with the fruit every night. Then during the day dipping into the fasted state, I'm probably burning fat in the Krebs cycle, I don't even know if I'm entering ketosis, but I do burn fat, and then I fill up again at night but because I'm not really taking in any excess fat dietary wise, it's very unlikely that I'll gain any fat from the meals that I'm eating, especially since carbs aren't easily turned into fat either. I found that it works well for me. The thing I always suggest is, try either low carb or low fat and not necessarily adding-- if you're doing low carb, not necessarily adding all the fat that's not really necessary.
Maria Emmerich: That's why usually when I work with clients, this morning, I was trying to explain how a lot of people think that avocado and nuts are this perfect keto food. In my mind, fat plus carbohydrates cause weight gain. That's what nuts and avocado are to me. They're not protein. They're a bunch of fat and they're a bunch of carbohydrates. That is why--
Melanie Avalon: And dairy.
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, absolutely. That causes weight gain.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. That's always been one of the first things I say. I'm like, "Are you eating nuts, are you eating dairy?" That's a place to start with as far as foods that are like you just said, priming you for a weight gain. Actually, while we're talking about it, what are your thoughts on dairy? What are your thoughts on low-fat dairy and why do you not include that either?
Maria Emmerich: I guess, I work with a lot of people with autoimmune issues. I think people don't realize, when they do have rheumatoid arthritis or Parkinson's, MS, Hashimoto's, Graves, a lot of these things are autoimmune issues. They are autoimmune issues, but even this eczema, they come to me because they want to clear up some problem they're having. A lot of times it is autoimmune. We poo-poo gluten in this keto community, but we never address dairy, which dairy is a more common allergen than gluten is. Yeah, when I deal with those types of people, cutting dairy is a big deal. Especially, low-fat dairy, too, that's going to cause the issue. Whey protein, I was like, "Why don't you like whey protein?" Well, first of all, it's so quickly absorbed into the bloodstream that it's going to cause a blood sugar issue, which is not good if you want to lose weight. If you're trying to gain a bunch of muscle, whatever, that's not who I'm working with. I'm working with people that want to lose weight. Dairy is very inflammatory, it's very common allergen. If someone's not having an autoimmune issue, they just want to lose weight, have them cut it out for a month and they usually like, "Oh, my gosh, I didn't realize how much better I feel without it." But maybe they can add it later on. I was one of the lucky ones that I'm able to add. I can use butter. I don't have an issue with that, but I don't focus my life on adding butter to a steak.
Melanie Avalon: Do you find a difference for people with ghee versus butter in the autoimmune issues?
Maria Emmerich: I don't know. There's no ghee one of the first things I would test with, but it often brings back rosacea, or eczema, or whatever trigger they want to stay away, or acne.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I'm really, really fascinated by MCTs. Okay, it is not exogenous ketones. We can talk about those as well. But C8 MCT oil, because I'm not so sure that it gets stored as fat. It seems to preferentially go to the liver and be burned. I did an experiment where I was eating my diet and I basically was doing protein, so, like low-fat protein, but I added an exuberant amount of C8 MCT oil. It made me lose weight. It didn't matter how much I added. Thousands of calories. I was just really fascinated. I've seen other people report that as well. Do you have any thoughts on MCT oil?
Maria Emmerich: I do. I think it's a refined oil that's not healthy for our body. To tell you the truth, it's not a pure fat like something that you'd find in a steak or something. It's very refined. It's not something that I use in my practice or as a tool. But that's interesting. It talks about not using the carnitine shuttle and stuff. I know, but-- I don't know. I guess, I've never used it for myself and I see it as-- I try to get everybody away from those refined oils.
Melanie Avalon: It's funny. That's one of the things that, especially when I went through my period when I was using it, that was haunting me, because I was like, "This is very refined." But I was doing it as an experiment and I was pretty shocked. I would basically just get really, really hot eating it. Like I said, my thoughts were, I was doing it to try to gain weight, because I could tend to have a sensitive digestive tract and I was like, "Well, this will just be easily absorbed calories, I can just add in all the calories," and then it just made me lose more weight. I was like, "Okay."
Maria Emmerich: Did you have any gut issues or loose stools?
Melanie Avalon: A little bit in the beginning, but I adapted pretty fast to it. But I know people do often have loose stools with it. So, exogenous ketones, what are your thoughts on those and people often wonder if they should take those?
Maria Emmerich: Well, again, let's be clear. 99% of people that may be listening or try exogenous ketones, they want to lose weight. When I use them, easily, I gained 10 pounds in a matter of a week. What's happening is when you use exogenous ketones, your body doesn't have to use as body fat to make ketones anymore. What I find really sad is, I went to one of their conferences and they are doing this "U-Rah-Rah. Eat the damn muffin and then just do some exogenous ketones and you'll be in ketosis." I think that's a super dangerous headspace to be in, because now you have high glucose and you have high ketones. I think that's just like a recipe for cancer, because cancer loves excess fuel. In that case, now you have high glucose and high ketones. People mistakenly think, "Oh, keto is a cure for cancer." That's not true.
There're many different types of cancers, most of them are hormonal. I just think they're a big waste of money and its sad how people jump on the bandwagon thinking it's going to help them, they're just looking for a quick fix, and there's really not. If my parents or grandparents had Alzheimer's or dementia, I'd probably invest in that. The problem is, I've used it with-- I have a lot of clients with epilepsy. One client in particular, I worked with his mother and he was non-verbal, 20 years old, and we used exogenous ketones. It helped, but she wouldn't sleep at night, because he wouldn't sleep at night. It was so energizing. It was just ridiculous. I think there's a Catch-22, if it's really good medical forum to use, but I guess, I would be desperate if I had a family member with Alzheimer's. I have that issue, but they just didn't want to do it.
Melanie Avalon: I as well. I just think it's a really, really potential metabolic huge issue, the excess fuel in the bloodstream. I recently did a really deep dive into the literature and I told myself, I was like, "I want approach this completely open minded, I'm going to see what are the studies say on exogenous ketones." I walked away from it. I mean the literature is just not there. There's not really studies fine-- Especially, when it comes to weight loss and even performance, there's just not really much clinical literature supporting it.
Maria Emmerich: No, so, that's why I'm so disheartened with the-- I know a couple people, where they're very maybe famous influencers on Instagram and stuff, and they've written keto books, and that companies, one of the companies in particular stole her before after pictures claiming that helped her to lose weight. I don't know if there was a lawsuit or what, but she was really upset about that.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. That'd be really frustrating.
Maria Emmerich: Yeah. Because you can't claim that it's like this miracle diet cure.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I was really surprised, because I love Rhonda Patrick and I listened to a lot of her stuff. But she recently was on Joe Rogan again, and was talking about experimenting with keto. She was talking about the importance of checking your ketones regularly, and making sure to keep them up and keep them high, and how she found that when she added fat, she could keep her blood ketones up high. I was just like, "No, I don't think this is the message." Because most people, I believe, the longer they're on a ketogenic diet, their blood ketones go down from the beginning.
Maria Emmerich: Right, because your mitochondria is much more efficient at using ketones for energy. I've been doing it for 25 years now. My ketones are very low. One, because I work out in a fasted state. So, I have less fuel around, because I'm using it for energy. Do I get depressed if I'm point three? No, absolutely not. The more fat you eat, the higher your ketones numbers are. The only reason I would care about a keto number is for epilepsy or seizures. It's been shown that higher ketones have been more beneficial to keep seizures away. However, I've had plenty of people with seizures use the protein-sparing modified fast approach, because here's my problem. I get people that want fertility help and they want to lose weight. They want to get rid of their seizures and they want to lose weight. It's like, "Well, okay, let's tackle the fertility issue first and then we'll lose weight." A lot of seizure patients have done the protein sparing and they find better results than what they found with higher fat diets.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Wow, that's incredible. Thank you for that work. When I saw that, because Rogen show was the biggest show, I was like, "Oh, no."
Maria Emmerich: I got to look it up.
Melanie Avalon: Another question about the nutrition. Oh, it's always a little bit frustrating to me when especially people like the vegan community will say that a carnivore diet or a keto diet doesn't provide ample nutrition. [giggles] When it really seems we talked about earlier that animal foods are very, very high in nutrition. But something that I read recently. I had Dr. Neal Barnard on this week and he's a really big advocate in the vegan world. But he was saying in his book and this was something that I hadn't read before, but I was curious your thoughts on it. He was saying, when it comes to iron, for example, heme and non-heme, non-heme iron from plants was better, because heme iron, he was saying that it's inflammatory, and that it just forces its way in, and the body doesn't really regulate it the way that it needs to compared to non-heme, where we really just take what we need. I'm bastardizing what he said. But basically, you're saying that basically, there's a problem for iron overload if we're eating iron from animal protein. I was wondering what your thoughts are on heme versus non-heme iron.
Maria Emmerich: You need to have my husband, Craig on next, because he's the scientist that you would really love to talk to. But this man that you talk to is very ignorant when it comes to nutrition, because all plants have anti-nutrients. The oxalates that are found in them bind to the calcium. They bind to the iron. You can't actually absorb it at all. He's saying completely opposite about how the heme iron is inflammatory. What happened was my kids never liked-- This is before we were carnivore in our family. My kids never liked vegetables. My parents were very judgmental. "Your kids don't eat vegetables. They are going to get sick. They're not getting the nutrients." Craig went and found these charts, which we ended up putting in our carnivore book about where the nutrients are. He compared kale, blueberries, all of these things that you would think are very high in nutrients compared to steak and organ meat. Over all counts, all nutrients, the steak blows the kale and the blueberries out of the water all other plants. Organ meats is the true superfood. Then diving deeper into it, finding out that all plants have these anti-nutrients in it such as oxalates.
And oxalates, they bind to nutrients, so you can't actually absorb them and cause more issues and not. People with kidney stones, it's usually an oxalate issue that's binding to calcium, and the calcium gets build up, and then the kidneys. When people start to really lower their carbohydrates or go carnivore, they might actually see the oxalates come out of their skin or I have styes in my eyes. It's the oxalates getting out. Those are the anti-nutrients that are found in plants. If you look at most plants like the modern pumpkin, I should say, our ancestor's pumpkin, it was poisonous. You couldn't even eat it, but we bred it to make it delicious. Now, we make pumpkin pie out of it. A tomato was found high in the Andes Mountains and was so bitter. Nobody would have ever eaten it, but we bred it to be delicious. We are breeding the hell out of the fruits and vegetables to make them actually not poisonous and make them tastier. They add more sugar to them. So, I don't know. It's cool that you reach out to these people, but I would have a hard time doing podcast .
Melanie Avalon: I tried to bring on people of just all different perspectives, but I was super nervous interviewing him, because in the vegan world, there's Dean Ornish, there's Michael Greger, Dr. Barnard. I was like, "Oh, my goodness." He's on all the documentaries like What the Hell? and Forks Over Knives and all that stuff. Yeah, I just found the part of his book. He says, "Meat has a form of iron called heme iron, which defies your attempts to regulate its absorption. It just barges into your body, whether you want it or not." I was like, "Okay, I have to look into that." But I could not agree more about the plant anti-nutrient thing. I think it's so important. For listeners, I had Sally Norton on the show. If they're interested in oxalates, definitely, definitely listen to that episode, because it's huge. I think it's a huge deal. What are your thoughts on vitamin C? I've actually heard that they haven't actually tested vitamin C and meat. It's just listed as not containing it, but it's because they've never actually--.
Maria Emmerich: Well, they have tested it and there is vitamin C in meat the less you cook. If you like a steak more rare than well done, you're going to absorb more vitamin C. What's very interesting is, there's something called the phagocytic index. The less sugar and carbohydrates you eat, the less vitamin C-- Your body competes for vitamin C and sugar. Sugar always wins your cells, okay? The less sugar that you eat to the less need for vitamin C goes up. The whole idea of scurvy, it doesn't happen when you're eating a carnivore diet. It happens when you're eating bread, and no nutrients, and a lot of carbohydrates. So, no, I think that's really-- We don't we haven't done a lot of research on the need for different vitamins and minerals when you're eating no sugar, no carbohydrates type of thing.
Melanie Avalon: That's so true. Yeah, the context of that could change things incredibly. How do you feel about organ meats?
Maria Emmerich: They are superfood. The true superfood I suggest everyone get their hands on some. All of them have different benefits like brain is high in X, liver's high in Y. Most people are afraid of it. My kid loves US Wellness Meats' Bologna, which is basically just like organ meats, and some beef, and spices. People when I say bologna, they're like, "Oh, my gosh, it's so unhealthy." But what's interesting is that's the true superfood and we've gotten away from it. My favorite organ meat is sweetbreads, which is neither sweet nor bread, but it's like the most tender chicken nugget you've ever had.
Melanie Avalon: I personally see massive benefits supplementing with kidney for my histamine issues. It's just a game changer. Game Changer. I struggle with anemia and I found that taking desiccated spleen has been the first thing that's really, really helped me out that way. So, yeah, I think there's a lot of power there. I think some of your recipes, don't you hide the organ meats in the recipes?
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, you're so awesome. I really appreciate you looking that up. But yeah, that's the thing. A lot of people are like, "Oh, I don't." I personally don't really love liver. I'm going to tell you the truth. I just don't. My mom does. Whenever she sees it my freezer, she's like, "Can I have this?" I'm like, "Yeah." But honestly, what I do is, I'll make my chili, and there's no beans in it, and I'll do a 4:1 ratio, where it's four beef to one pound of ground liver. You could just make pure hamburgers, nutrient dense meat patties, meat cookies, we call them. Yeah, it's easy to hide and whenever you make a ground beef-- When we make taco meat, I hide a little bit in there. It's the best multivitamin that you can give your kids.
Melanie Avalon: One thing I am haunted about all of it though, I think about this, because I as well. I really do love almost all foods. When it comes to meat, I crave all different meats and I really love it. But I do, like you were just talking about with people not liking liver. I bought raw liver and tried to eat it. It doesn't appeal to me and I wonder why that is because that seems intuitive. You think that we would naturally gravitate to the things that are nutritious for us. So, I take things like that in supplement form. Do you have any thoughts about that? Even people on carnivore diet sometimes don't like the organ meats like liver particularly.
Maria Emmerich: Like me, I don't, but maybe you could interview him. Dude wrote the book called The Dorito Effect. We're living in this world, where we're used to really tasty food. You like fruit, and fruit has been bred to be extra sweet and extra delicious. We found wild strawberries in our yard. They were about as big as my pinky finger, fingernail, and they were itty bitty, and they were fully ripe, and they're very tart. But now, we get these strawberries that are at Costco that are super huge, and super big, and super sweet, and we're just changing our palates. I'm not trying to pick on you, but we've changed everybody's palates. I grew up on Fruity Pebbles for breakfast and Cocoa Pebbles for dinner. I like sweet stuff. We've just changed our palates. What interesting is, my kids do like organ meat. But guess what? They were brought up on bone marrow, bone broth. I believe if we went back and changed our palates from the beginning, it would be different. Does that make sense?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it does. The thing I wonder about the liver is I wonder if maybe our body intuitively knows that there could be a toxicity issue with too much of the fat soluble vitamins, I don't know, though.
Maria Emmerich: I think you should ask Craig about it.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I know, I know. We have a Part 2. But I just have to say really quickly that your boys are the cutest thing and they just seem so kind. I look at the photos and I'm like, "Oh, you just seem like you have a really amazing family." So, it really shows through. You made my day. Thank you so much. So, listeners, go check out her Instagram and check out her boys. They're so adorable. But speaking of the recipes, so what are some of your favorite recipes? I'm dying to know. How did you come up with your bread, like people will just rave over your bread recipe-
Maria Emmerich: Thank you so much.
Melanie Avalon: -without a lot of experimentation?
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, and that's what makes me really sad is like, I worked so hard on these recipes and then people claim them as their own. I mean, more than anything, it saddens me, because I have worked really hard and it took me years to create it. I've been making it for decades now. It's funny, like someone messaged me on Instagram, they're like, "So and so said that they created the recipe." It hurts when people do that, but they've done it with all my-- I've done, I don't know. I'm trying to think of some other ones. I did a protein noodle lasagna, because I grew up with lasagna for my birthdays. So, yes, it has dairy in it. But that's my birthday treat type thing. Then Diet Doctor put it on his website and everybody calls it the Diet Doctor.
Melanie Avalon: No.
Maria Emmerich: I really think that the Diet Doctor writes recipes. No, he does not.
Melanie Avalon: I doubt it. No, he does not. [laughs] I'm so sorry.
Maria Emmerich: That's all right. But that may give a credit to him-- little things about-- But I just never did well with nuts or nut flours. That's what all the breads were made out of are like psyllium and all that. I just never did well with that type of stuff. I just really wanted to have bread. Just doing a lot of baking in my past with the coffee shop and stuff, meringues and all that, and everybody's like, "How do I get egg white protein powder?' I was like, "It's just dried egg whites. You can make it yourself, but it needs that structure to make it into a bread." I still make the original, where it's-- just whip the egg whites and add dried egg whites to it and some salt. And that turns into like the inside is the softest wonder bread you'd ever imagine. That's mind blowing. Then that opened it up to I've made tortillas with it. I've made pizza crust with it-- I'm looking at a tiramisu, where I use that to make the lady fingers, and then the filling is actually pure protein, too. There's no dairy in it. So, it's just experiment. I like just seeing what happens when you make different food. Have you ever made my hardboiled egg pudding?
Melanie Avalon: I haven't.
Maria Emmerich: Have you heard of it?
Melanie Avalon: I've seen it. Yeah. Is it good? Well, obviously.
Maria Emmerich: Well, I had the great pleasure to cook with Halle Berry multiple times when we worked together.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to ask you about that. Yeah. How did you start cooking for her, sorry, to go on a tangent?
Maria Emmerich: No, that's okay. I had no idea, but she was eating my recipes and using my books. I had no idea. All of a sudden, it was like, "Oh, my gosh, I love your recipes on Instagram." I'm like, "Um, Craig is this really Halle Berry?" She just reached out to do some things and we're continuing to work together, which is really cool. I just can't talk much about it. But I was like, "Okay, Halle, I want to do this video, where you make my pudding." She's like, "I'm not eating that." I was like, "Come on." She's like, "I do not want to eat eggs made into a pudding." What happened was, I kept this recipe a secret for probably 10 years, because it was just so weird. No, it wasn't 10 years, maybe it was 5. Because my son, when we first adopted the boys, my youngest was a very picky eater. He just did not like eggs of any form. My husband lost his job right after we adopted them. He lost his job two times that were very significant times in our life. But after we adopted the boys, we had absolutely no money. What's the cheapest keto food? Eggs, right? I was like, "Oh, man, I'm going to get this kid to eat egg somehow."
Threw 10 hardboiled eggs into a blender with a can of coconut milk, some cocoa powder, a little sweetener, vanilla, a little touch of cinnamon, and I blended that up. The better your blender is, the smoother the texture is. what I'm saying? People just go wild for it. People will make it in Australia all over the place. They are like, "This is amazing." Then I found, if you scramble the eggs, it makes it even better, because you don't get that sulfur type smell that you can get from hard boiled eggs. Then I made it to protein sparing, where I used egg whites instead of even just the carton just 100% egg whites. Then I used unsweetened like a box coconut milk rather than the canned stuff, which is really lean. We like that even better.
Melanie Avalon: Which cookbook is this one in?
Maria Emmerich: That one is in The Art of Fat Loss?
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah, for listeners, Maria's recipe books are insane. They're incredible. This is such a weird habit. But one of the things I like to do, I'm very intense with my routine of my life. Every single night in the beginning, when I'm winding down and I am having my one meal a day, in the beginning of it, I read books that I'm researching, and I take notes, and stuff like that. But then near the end of my meal, I like to just look at fun things and just have my pleasure reading. One of the things I love to do is look at keto recipes. I would look through your books and they're incredible. I mean, it's really amazing what you've done. You've covered everything. So, whatever people type of foods they naturally gravitate towards, you really do have a resource for them, and that's just so helpful. Especially for kids. what are your favorite recipes that parents can make for their kids?
Maria Emmerich: Well, thank you for reaching out. My favorite recipes for kids, I guess, my kids really love my Italian chili. They say, "It tastes like pizza in a bowl." They would eat that every night. Here's the thing. I'm a busy working mom. People always complain, "I don't have time to cook, Maria." I'm like, "You're not busier than I am. You're just not. I wrote more books last year, I consult clients all day, we homeschool our kids, come on." I make sure to have time to work out and I make sure to eat good food. What I do though is, I batch cook. When I make the Italian chili, I make 10 pounds of ground beef into chili, and then I just put it into-- I'll keep some in the fridge, but obviously, with a histamine issue, you wouldn't want to do this. But you could directly freeze it in portions and then eat it right from frozen. The Italian chili is a big one, the chocolate pudding is a really big one, because using the regular eggs and coconut milk, people really like that. Halle Berry said, it was the best chocolate mousse she's ever had in her life. The Wendy's Frosty, I grew up on Wendy's Frosty. I really liked the Wendy's Frosty and that's on my blog for free. Gosh, there's so many. I just wrote a Sugar-Free Kids book and Halle Berry wrote the foreword for that. There're flourless crepes in there. I did a whole chapter on holidays to how to make the holidays fun. I don't know. My goal is for people to not have an excuse to not try. I have a pop tart recipe. I want people to be like, "Oh, I couldn't live without a pop tart." Oh, I got a recipe for you.
Melanie Avalon: What about the ice creams that you make? Do they require an ice cream maker?
Maria Emmerich: No, actually, in the kid's book, they're all no churn, because I know that a lot of people don't want another gadget. I do have an ice cream maker, but I wanted to make sure that you could make them no churn, so I did that in the book. But on my website, I have a few, but they do use ice cream maker.
Melanie Avalon: Your newest cookbook is the Pure Protein cookbook. Isn't out, yet?
Maria Emmerich: It's on keto-adapted.com. That's the only place you can get it. People are like, "Is it on Amazon?" It's like, "No, it's a self-published book." Amazon takes all the money when they sell the books.
Melanie Avalon: How's it different from the other recipes in your other books?
Maria Emmerich: it's basically, protein-sparing modified fast recipes. It is. They're all protein. You get the 30 grams of fat a day and they're extremely low and carbohydrates to make sure they're all protein sparing. Where my other books, I have three protein sparing books right now and then the other ones have more keto ratios in there, where they're higher in protein, but they also have more fat in them. They're not so low and calorie either. Those three, the protein-sparing books are meant for weight loss.
Melanie Avalon: Speaking of ratios, what is the PE ratio in your cookbooks?
Maria Emmerich: Ah, you have to ask Craig that.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. [giggles]
Maria Emmerich: I'm the minimalist when it comes to all the gadgets, and all the terms, and all that. He's the one that loves gadgets, loves terms. The PE ratio, I believe Ted Nieman started that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I think it has to do with the ratio of, well, protein to energy. The ratio of protein to calories, that would be what the PE stands for. Is there any food you're trying to make your version of right now that you're trying to make that you haven't quite yet made your version of that you're trying to figure out?
Maria Emmerich: Well, I have many, many recipe testers. I would have to give them all a big hug to help me make sure, because, I'm like a dog. I could eat the same thing and it would never bother me. But I want to make sure everybody likes it and my kids-- I need other people's opinions. They give me their gosh, honest feedback and even their kids or spouses might not be keto. I like getting their feedback on if they like it or not. I just made a protein-sparing churro that definitely passed the test and that would be on my website and my YouTube video soon. And also, it's my husband's 50th birthday on Christmas Day and we don't really eat cake. Like I told you, we don't do almond flours and stuff. So, I'm making a flourless red velvet cake.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to ask you, I love red velvet cake.
Maria Emmerich: Certainly, red velvet, because I have red velvet, or Nutella, or a hot chocolate cake with-- Yeah, maybe I'll do red velvet for his birthday and then I'll save the other ones-- Because I personally would like red velvet. But the red velvet cake, the cake will be basically pure protein, but then I'll give two options. I'll do the traditional cream cheese frosting and then I'll do the protein sparing. Have you done the Bûche de Noël? Did you see that.
Melanie Avalon: I didn't know.
Maria Emmerich: I made a Bûche de Noël that was purely protein sparing. The frosting is quite easy to make. It's just egg whites. People make that with regular sugar all the time. It's like an egg frosting is called, I think. It's just egg whites, and then you add natural sweetener to that, and you basically whip it over a double boiler, where-- I just have a pot of water underneath it, and that helps heat it, and it makes this really great frosting, and it worked perfect for the Bûche de Noël.
Melanie Avalon: Because normally the keto frostings are fat based, so it's a protein-sparing frosting?
Maria Emmerich: Yep.
Melanie Avalon: Oh. Oh, that's a winner.
Maria Emmerich: Two days ago, yeah. The whole cake is basically all protein. There's no fat in it, really. [giggles]
Melanie Avalon: Fantastic. I do just want to ask one question for my audience specifically. A lot of my audience does practice intermittent fasting. If they're doing that and combining it with your recipes, can they just do their normal fasting windows, but in their eating window be eating these recipes?
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, I intermittent fast still. I always have. I've opened it more to at 18:6 now just because I am so active. People on social media are mean and they call me "anorexic." So, I'm trying to maybe gain a little bit.
Melanie Avalon: I have had the exact same thing. So, I identify with you on that and I'm sorry that you're experiencing that.
Maria Emmerich: People called me "thunder thighs" when I was younger, and it hurt then, and it hurts now, too. I can't please anybody. Just stop being so damn judgmental. That's what I need to say.
Melanie Avalon: I cannot agree more. I'm going to get on a soapbox right now. One of the things that I get a little bit, I just don't like the way it's manifested in today's society is the 'healthy at any size movement.' I have so many thoughts about it. I think it should be "love yourself at any size," but I don't think it's necessarily healthy at any size, because I think they're sizes people are usually not healthy at. Then on top of that, it's biased and that it's healthy at any size if you're overweight, but the people who are underweight that doesn't apply to that side of the spectrum. I just have a lot of thoughts. [laughs]
Maria Emmerich: A man is doing a documentary. The last documentary he did, Halle Berry was in it. He reached out for me to be in it. It's basically, it's a dark Anthony Bourdain type of a documentary, but he wants to talk about that. He wants to talk about how in Hollywood, because he has lost about, I think, 150 pounds now, but it was really hard for him to lose weight in Hollywood, because now, people are basically saying, "Healthy at any size." It's like I was not healthy fat. But that's what they're trying to tell me is, "Okay and healthy, and it's more accepted to be heavy." It's really hard how he's explaining it, but it's basically just what you said. I'm excited to be part of it, I hope nobody hates me about it, but he just wants to get the truth out about how you can eat good food and be healthy.
Melanie Avalon: I cannot agree more. I think it creates this situation where people might be overweight and not feeling healthy in their bodies. But they feel almost bad if they want to lose weight, because then they feel they're not subscribing to accepting themselves.
Maria Emmerich: That's yeah. Yeah, he was dealing with that. He was bad, because he wanted to lose weight.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, which just I don't know. I think we should change it to "love yourself at every size" and that there should be complete freedom and agency to make dietary and lifestyle changes to find the body that you most thrive in. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Was there anything we didn't touch on that you'd like to get out there about all of your work?
Maria Emmerich: I can't keep up with clients. I started basically, a keto college a couple years back, and I help people become successful keto coaches. If somebody does want to become a keto or carnivore coach, I have a perfect program for them and it's all business in a box. They don't have to worry about starting a website or anything afterwards. I have them all set up. I paid for the website for them, they can brand it themselves, and make it just like they need to. All they do is supply the support and the phone consults, and they're all set to go. But I want people to know the truth about keto, and how it can change, and how to help people get healthy without the fat bombs, and all of that.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for doing all that. And also, thank you so much. For listeners, if you'd like to sign up for everything Maria just talked about with the keto coach or get any of her fabulous books, which I cannot recommend enough, you can go to melanieavalon.com/ketoadapted. Then the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON will get you a discount. Thank you so much for that. Again, for listeners, everything will be in the show notes. You can check there for more resources. Actually, the last question that I asked every single guest on this show and it's just because I realized more and more each day how important mindset is. So, what is something that you're grateful for?
Maria Emmerich: I'm really grateful and it might sound stupid, but I'm grateful for the hardships that I've had before. When we were adopting our children, my husband lost his job and we couldn't pay for our house, so we ended up losing our house and we sold our cars, because we couldn't afford those either. I basically had to ride my bike to the library to write, because we didn't have anything. I remember people saying, "everything happens for a reason." I was just so incredibly sad, because we were trying to adopt and when you are in the midst of adoption, and you have a job loss, I didn't have insurance with my job. I was a rock-climbing guide at the time. Everything goes back to square one. We lost every penny we put into the adoption to, like, all $20,000 was flushed down the toilet.
I'm really grateful for all that, because first of all, you said how much you love my boys and how happy they are. Ha, man, I remember my mom. My mom saying, "Maria, your babies weren't born yet." She was right. Man, these kids are the coolest kids I could ever wish for. I'm really blessed. I still live very simply, I cut my own hair, my purse's $20. I don't live outside my means, because I know I could go away in any second, and I don't want to be worried about where my next meal is coming from again. So, I'm grateful for those downtimes, because I can be grateful for what I have today, if that makes sense.
Melanie Avalon: No, no, thank you so much for sharing that, and that really all comes through in all of your work. Like I said, especially with social media and everything, and we're inundated with so much content and resources-- sources, I think people need to be discerning and who they really follow and look to for content and for inspiration. Just whenever I see your work, it's like, bang on with a science, it's changing people's lives with the recipes, and then the vibe that you get-- I'm going to start crying. The vibe you give off is just so amazing. So, it's really, really an honor to connect with you and I can't thank you enough for your work. This has been wonderful.
Maria Emmerich: You're so sweet hard, because with Instagram, I get so emotionally involved like, "Oh, my gosh, nobody liked my post or whatever." Like you said, there's so much content out there. You know what? Someone says like, "Sometimes people don't comment, but they see it." You know what I'm saying?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, completely. So, well, thank you. This was wonderful. Love to stay in touch.
Maria Emmerich: Yeah, let's stay in touch and seriously, have Craig on. He can be your science, man.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. That'd be great. That'd be wonderful. Yay.
Maria Emmerich: Well, have a great day, my friend.
Melanie Avalon: You, too. Enjoy the rest of your day.
Maria Emmerich: Bye, doll.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.