Dr. Anna Cabeca And Ashley James
- What Keto-Green is
- What makes urine pH acidic
- What keto alkaline is
- The cortisol-oxytocin disconnect
- Importance of fasting
As an obstetrician and gynecologist trained with the best in the country, Dr. Anna Cabeca was baffled when she experienced premature menopause. That’s what led Dr. Anna to find the root cause and solutions for her premature menopause. Keto-Green 16 is not just any diet, it is also a health community that aims to boost oxytocin. Men too can do the Keto-Green 16 diet as the Keto-Green 16 book has a chapter on men’s health. Dr. Anna shares with us today the importance of testing urine pH and fasting. She also gives us some of the 16 foods from her book.
Hello, true health seeker and welcome to another exciting episode of Learn True Health podcast. I’m very excited for you to learn from Dr. Anna Cabeca today. She is giving us amazing bonuses. She talks about it in the interview, and I want to make sure you have this link. Go to learntruehealth.com/ketogreen. That’s learntruehealth.com/ketogreen. Of course, that link is going to be in the show notes of today’s podcast as well. Go to that link, and she gives you all kinds of awesome bonuses, digital downloads, really cool guides, recipes. Everything she talks about, she gives you all these great free bonuses she gives you, and then it also allows you to pre-order her book, which is launching right now.
I think her program is fantastic because she focuses on nutrifiying the body, alkalizing the body with mineral-rich antioxidant-rich foods. I absolutely love her way of measuring the body stress levels and measuring the body’s alkalinity levels to make sure that you are supporting your body in being out of a disease creating state, and in a healing and restorative state all while achieving healthy hormone levels, metabolism levels, and your weight loss goals as well. She really nails it. I think nutrition is key, using food as medicine is key, and she teaches you how to do that, but also how to measure your success along the way to make sure you’re on the right track, which is so great.
I know you’re going to love today’s interview. Please go to learntruehealth.com/ketogreen to get all the information, all the bonuses, and everything that she talks about in today’s interview. Share this with all of your female friends, although men will learn a thing or two from today’s interview. So men, stick around, but please, share this episode with all of your female friends. It’s never too early or too late to support your body’s ability to heal itself and create healthy hormone levels. Enjoy today’s interview.
[00:02:21] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 427. I am so excited for today’s guest. We have back on the show, Dr. Anna Cabeca. Dr. Anna was here on the show in episode 326, so it’s almost been 100 episodes since you were on the show, and so much has happened. Welcome back.
[00:02:52] Dr. Anna Cabeca: It’s so good to be back with you, Ashley. We’ve been big fans. I had told you my daughter, Amira, who we just brought back from the Netherlands where she was studying, turned me on to your podcast in the first place.
[00:03:05] Ashley James: It’s so cool. I love it. I love how this works. I love how podcasting works because it connects us in such a unique way and allows us to really be together as a community. Your message, you help women to balance their hormones, and this is such a relevant topic because so many women now in their 30s and 40s are going through premenopause. Back in the day, it used to be the 50s or 60s, and we’re just seeing this huge, huge spike in women really being out of balance with their hormones so much so that their body just says, “Alright, we’re depleted. I guess we’re just going to go into that next stage of our life.” Way sooner than it’s supposed to, and that affects our vitality, that affects our bone density, that affects our longevity, it affects the quality of our life on so many levels.
You help women to regain that balance and to regain their health in every system of their body. I’m such a fan of the work that you do because you are all about using food as medicine to balance the body. Today you’re coming back to share about your latest book. It’s been about a year since you’ve been on the show, and since then, you’ve written a new book. I’m so excited. Tell us about your new book that’s coming out.
[00:04:48] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yeah. Thank you. My first book was The Hormone Fix, and it’s all about really working on our major hormones because it takes more than hormones to fix our hormones. I launched that out on February 26 and introduced it to your audience in that last podcast. Now, Keto-Green 16, which is my next book is releasing May 5th, and it really is like a kick-butt plan to get results very quickly in 16 days, and uplevel so that we really push our system to uplevel itself. So to become even more efficient, more energized, slimmed-down those stubborn pounds, and get out of a metabolic plateau or metabolic stall that we often hit when we have hormone imbalance issues.
[00:05:39] Ashley James: Take us back to after you launched, a year ago after you launched your book. I mean, that’s such a big feat to have launched a book, busy promoting it, and you’re also a busy doctor, and then turn around and write another book. Was there a specific aha moment when you said, “Okay, this is the next book I’m writing.” Did you have a, “Oh, this is exactly what I need to do now,” moment?
[00:06:05] Dr. Anna Cabeca: It evolved as I was in the process after I had written The Hormone Fix and was working with more clients online going through the programs. I wanted to take it to the next level. There is so much in The Hormone Fix beyond what we eat. There is how we manage cortisol, how we manage oxytocin hormone disruptors. For Keto-Green 16, I wanted to simplify it to say, “Okay, here’s the basics.” You don’t need necessarily all the reasons and science why I’m recommending this, although I’ve got some in there, of course, can’t help it. But here’s the plan that really works and we’re going to uplevel it, push it to a higher level that is doable, and quicker, and simpler.
I have beautiful recipes in The Hormone Fix, and lots of great information, and a great plan, but in Keto-Green 16, I trimmed it down to 16 key ingredients to make shopping easier, 16 key ingredient types. I pushed our fasting window. I was recommending 13 to 15, starting out 13 to 16, so I really push everyone to 16-hour intermittent fasting. Also, there are some other fun things around the number 16—16-minute exercise routine, 16 days. There is some good stuff here. I just wanted to simplify it, make it easier for people, but plus also bring the men into the picture. Make it so men can adapt it for them, and there’s a whole chapter on men’s health in their men’s health and men’s sexual health, and really get everyone doing it together.
My vision with Keto-Green 16, because the community is a big boost to oxytocin, a healthy community, the more we can be a healthy community, boost our oxytocin. My goal also with Keto-Green 16, you don’t have to do it alone. Do it with your work teams. Do it with your virtual communities now as we’re creating virtual communities. Do it as part of a corporate health program, 16 days. First 16 days of every month. I mean, let’s do this together. Let’s bring food in together. Let’s talk about this together.
[00:08:23] Ashley James: Very interesting that you did a whole chapter on men. Statistically, men don’t go to a doctor for regular check-ups as much as women do. That statistically, men wait until it’s really bad or their wives drag them in. Now, we do have male listeners, and they’re the proactive ones. They’re the black sheep. But statistically, the majority of men out there don’t really hone in on their health and practice preventive medicine.
You mentioned sexual health, and I think that ED, erectile dysfunction, is when men go, “Wait a sec, there’s something wrong.” Because erectile dysfunction can be caused by numerous things. It’s sort of like the canary in the coal mine, and it’s saying, “Hey, you might be headed for heart disease, diabetes. If you don’t handle it now, you’re going to be in a grave soon.” ED is something that shows that they have significant health issues that they might have been ignoring. When men can’t perform, that’s when they take action. So you have a chapter on how they can reverse ED and gain control of their health, is that correct?
[00:09:41] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Absolutely, absolutely. I’ve worked with men. I always tell the men that come to see me, the men that are listening in general that are proactive of their health, but I tell the men that come to see me, “You know, you really are a strong male when you come to see a gynecologist for answers.” It’s true because very often, I’m working with their wives or their significant other, and they’re like, “You know what, she’s doing great, and I’m falling behind.” or “I see what you’ve done for such and such and such and such, so I want help too.” Men who came into my practice on their own, and it is about that. It is about getting to the underlying, underlying reason why we’re having problems to begin with.
It’s not symptom treatment when you come to my medical office. It’s not symptom treatment. It’s getting to the underlying reason you’re having the symptoms and fixing that, and that’s what’s taken me on this journey, Ashley. I mean, this is really what’s taking me on this journey is that I kept looking for the underlying, underlying reason to what my problems were: my weight gain, my obesity, my depression, my trauma, my infertility, my premature menopause. I mean, just name it. I could probably keep going. I have a long list but I have none of that anymore. Yes, I am infertile because now at age 53, I am finally really menopausal and delivered my last baby at 41.
A lot shifted. A lot’s really shifted as we get to the underlying reason why we’re having these problems to begin with. For me, there was no good solution available. My doctor’s bag was empty. I had to create solutions that worked.
[00:11:20] Ashley James: We did go over your bio in the last interview, but for those who haven’t heard it, you were a doctor and you had health issues, and you were looking around going, “Wait a second. I wasn’t taught how to heal my body. What’s going on? Can you give us a little bit of an insight into the aha moments you had as you began to heal yourself using food, and that’s not something that is taught to doctors.
[00:11:52] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Right, yeah. It’s definitely food has been a part of it. Absolutely. I would say it’s not just about what we eat, and that’s why diets–93% of diets fail, right? Because it’s not just about what we eat, when we eat, where we eat, who we’re eating with, and what we eat ate. All of the things have to do with how we’re going to do, and so true. For me, I was 39 years old. I was running my medical practice, a medical spa. I was a National Health Service Corps scholar, and I practiced here in southeast Georgia—rural area—for payback in a community–a shrimping village–that I had.
As a result of trauma, really, I was plunged into early menopause, and I failed the highest doses of infertility treatments, the highest doses of recommended injectable. I pushed the limit. I trained at Emory University with the best reproductive endocrinologist in the country, in my opinion, and I had no ovarian response. I was 39 years old as an OBGYN, told I would never be able to have another baby again. We were devastated. Then to be diagnosed with early menopause.
I had severe depression. When I got out of bed in the morning, it hurt to put my feet on the floor. I ached. I can remember that. I just ached everywhere. My hair was falling out, just name it. I was basically given the option of antidepressants because of course, I was depressed. That was what was recommended. As well as I was offered egg donation as an option for my infertility. That wasn’t the answer that my husband and I wanted to go with at the time, and it really took me on a journey around the world.
I left my medical practice for a year, I took a sabbatical. An angel, I call her an angel. Dr. Deborah Shepherd came as an answer to a prayer and took over my medical practice for that year enabling me to do this. I had two daughters, one 6 and one 9 or 7 and 10. They’re just turning 7 and 10 at that time. We traveled around the world. I homeschooled them for a year.
[00:14:18] Ashley James: I love it.
[00:14:19] Dr. Anna Cabeca: That was entertaining. I am not the homeschool mom. Right now, kids are home, and I am glad Ava Marie. Homeschooling is not for me. But it took me on a journey around the world to discover all different types of medicine: traditional, Eastern, Western, I spoke with some of the best scientists in the world, and I met some of the most amazing indigenous healers, and none of it was planned. Anyway, none of it was my plan. I’ll say it was God’s plan, but as a result, I reversed my infertility, reversed my early menopause, became pregnant, and delivered a healthy baby girl at age 41. That was the beauty of it.
As a result of trauma, as a result of PTSD, the underlying consequences of PTSD, especially as we enter this perimenopausal stage, I call it a period of neuroendocrine vulnerability. I’ve really dug into this a lot since our last conversation and since writing The Hormone Fix. I’ve really dug into this neuroendocrine vulnerability because more is coming up about it now as we’re starting to image the female brain. There’s some great neuropsychiatrist and brain researchers looking at the female brain, really, for the first time in history, honestly, in the way that it’s needed to be done. We’re finding out some interesting things.
As a result of my PTSD and this trauma, a consequence to that was what I call in my book the cortisol-oxytocin disconnect. In other words, a hormonal disconnect, a burnout. You no longer feel love, you no longer feel connected, you feel isolated and dissociated. It doesn’t matter how many people around you love you. You don’t feel it. As a result, my relationship went through a divorce, and then he had a traumatic brain injury. So then, I was both a single mom and dad to my kids. Then at age 48, I went through the second period of early menopause with the brain fog and I had teenagers. One in elementary school, one in middle school, and one in high school. I had irritability, brain fog. I mean, some of that we can deal with, but the worst part was gaining weight.
I gained 20 pounds. My patients would say, “Without doing anything different?” And when they would tell me that, “I mean, really.” I’d be like, “Really. Really you’re not doing anything different.” Sure, you’re doing something different. No, but it happened to me. Really, I wasn’t doing anything different. I gained 20 pounds overnight, and it’s very fascinating how that happened. That’s what took me into my journey of discovering the keto alkaline, which I now called it my Keto-Green way. Getting my body into ketosis, but adding the alkalinizers on to increase hormone balance, and also using my urine pH as a measure of how well I’m doing because stress creates an acidic urine pH. Too much of an acidic or inflammatory diet creates an acidic urinary pH.
Using that to guide me and to develop this program to really fine-tune the dietary component plus the lifestyle component that improves our physiology. Doing that combination, getting into ketosis on a regular basis through intermittent fasting and low glycemic diet plus healthy fats, as well as, those alkaline components really make a difference. It’s been a fascinating journey, honestly. It really has been fascinating as kind of hacking the midlife physiology.
[00:18:17] Ashley James: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Especially like you said, this is really being studied for the first time. When we look at the history of medicine, women’s health and women’s brain health has not been explored, especially the way that they’re exploring it now. So this is very, very exciting. Urine pH test strips. There’s a brand I love. I can’t remember the name, but I’ll link it in the show notes. Do you sell them, or do you have a brand that you love? The ones that I get, you can use to test your saliva and your urine.
[00:18:54] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Okay. I’ve got one better for you because urine pH really makes a difference. I actually created urine pH test strips with ketone pads on them. They’re called the Keto-pH Test Strips. I’ll give you a link to those. We want to check the urine. Salivary is good and it’s interesting to check too. It will also relate to what you eat, but urine is kind of, “Okay, what’s the end product? At the end of this moment, what’s the result here?” You can fine-tune your day based on your urine pH. Say, for example, you check your urine pH in the morning. Now, I want that to be alkaline, but what’s very interesting, the more you push your body into ketosis after periods of fasting, for instance, you’re going to be acidic, so you really have to balance up the alkalinizers and the practices that increase the alkalinity.
I’ll share a story with you. Urine pH testing and urine testing for ketones, Let me tell you, urine is another vital sign. Urine pH testing is absolutely another vital sign. As we are exposed to a lot of stressful thoughts and situations right now, I think it’s more important than ever to be checking urine pH—more important than ever to be checking urine pH because that really helps us fine-tune what we’re doing and even our thoughts. I was just on a consult call with a client of mine. She lives up in Rhode Island, and she said over the last week, she was doing everything. She was really trying to get alkaline, and the news every night, and she was feeling stressed, and she goes, “Well then, we had a virtual Skype birthday party with my two-year-old grandbaby. With my next urination, I couldn’t wait to check, and lo and behold I was so alkaline. I was so alkaline.” She knows. Oxytocin shifts your pH, shifts your physiology.
We have focused so much on the wrong things. We focused just on the wrong things. We would ask, “Why would this healthy eater, this vegetarian, or this vegan, or this really healthy athlete, and very conscientious about nutrition, why would she get cancer? Why would she get inflammation? Why would she be struggling with this or autoimmune disease?” Really, it’s more than about what we eat. Figuring out what our physiology is, I love it. It’s like getting your Nancy Drew on and you’re just discovering. Okay. “Well, when I interact with so-and-so I’m acidic right away.” I mean I can tell you, I could have told you that, but having my urine pH prove it to me, that’s pretty fun.
[00:21:40] Ashley James: That is so funny. I was just watching a TV show where a police officer was wearing a Fitbit-like thing that monitored his stress levels. Every time a sergeant walked up to him it’d start beeping. It’s funny to think that we could measure our stress levels in such an easy way, such an easy way every time you urinate. I was going to ask when’s the best time you test, but through your story, you’re sharing you could test anytime throughout the day. Should we, as an experiment, test every time we pee, or only in the mornings, or what’s the best way to go about testing our pH to balance as good feedback?
[00:22:33] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yeah, all throughout the day. It’s so fun to do, honestly. I know it sounds terrible, and most of my clients, when I run my programs, are like, “Oh, do I really have to?” I’m like, “Yes, yes. You have to, and I promise you, you will love doing it at the end.” This client, she’s been with me for three years, she’s like, “Oh my God. I couldn’t wait to test my urine pH.” I knew that. I felt so much better. That’s the beauty of it. With my urine pH test strip, there’s 100 in a container, there’s 50 in a separate foil so they stay fresh because humidity and light affects them. It’s inexpensive. It’s like $12 or $13 for 100 tests.
Check at least three to four times a day especially getting started. Your first pee in the morning, I’d love for everyone to wake up with a urine pH of seven. I would love that. That just makes me happy just thinking about everyone waking up with a urine pH of 7. An alkaline urine pH is more associated with healthier bones, decreased risk of inflammatory conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and cancer. If we can monitor this, again, because it’s not just about what we eat, it’s how we manage stress. Also, Ashley, what’s really fascinating is I have a terrible dairy sensitivity. I discovered all this as I figured stuff out. Let me step back a second and tell you how I recognized that cortisol in my urine pH, I mean, I never learned that.
[00:23:59] Ashley James: In medical school, this is something they don’t teach?
[00:24:02] Dr. Anna Cabeca: No, I didn’t. No, I never learned that. We look at urine for ketones. There’s a pH pad on our urine test strips, like our 11-count urine test strips, but we’re looking at ketones. That’s on there too, but typically, we’re looking for white blood cells and nitrites for a urine infection or bilirubin in our urine. There are a few different things that we look at in our urine. It’s like, “Okay, well you’re not too far on this side and you’re not too far on this side. I guess it’s not a flag.”
When I started really recognizing that when I get into ketosis through my ketogenic diet, I was getting inflamed, and irritated, and kind of angry, and cranky. I called it going keto crazy. That’s where I recognized, “Okay, I’m just too acidic.” Check my urine pH. It was as acidic as the urine pH paper would read. That’s when I’m like, “Okay, add in the alkalinizers like kale, kale soup, collard, collard greens, chard, Swiss chard, and also beet greens, not the beets, but the beet greens.” I’ve got some great recipes in my books for those. Very alkalinizing and so mineral-rich, and I kept piling those into my diet until I would start to see some alkalinity, and as well adding apple cider vinegar, and increasing my Mighty Maca Plus, and incorporating some additional herbs and spices to help with alkalinity as well.
Then the mornings I walked on the beach, I was more likely to be alkaline all day. I started to test that, and certainly, the mornings I take my gratitude journaling, the mornings I walked on the beach, the more alkaline all day. The mornings I woke up late, and hurried, and rushed my kids off to the school bus, and ended up driving them to school because I missed the bus with them, certainly, much more acidic all day. That was a big aha moment for me. Even when I was thinking. “Oh my god. I have the stressful situation that I have to address at the office or in my personal life,” that created more acidic urine pH.
As I started discovering this in myself, and treating, and coaching other women to discover this for them also. Find out what makes them more alkaline, what makes them more acidic, and we just started doing this. I’ve been doing this for six years now. Food sensitivities, I can tell right away if I’ve been given something with dairy. I’m incredibly dairy sensitive, so for example, a pesto sauce has some parmesan in it, I will be acidic the next morning. That sensitive. It can help us figure out that food sensitivity too, the inflammation. At least that’s what I’ve been playing with that because I haven’t read that anywhere. It’s pretty interesting.
[00:26:55] Ashley James: Are there ever times when our urine should be acidic? Like, “Oh, that’s a good thing it’s acidic.” Because it means that it’s getting rid of something.
[00:27:07] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Definitely after our workouts. Lactic acid is secreted in our blood, certainly, and we’ll become more acidic. When we’re dehydrated we’re more acidic. Definitely, after an intensive workout, we’re more acidic and you’ll see that.
[00:27:21] Ashley James: Any other times other than that? That’s good to know about dehydration because I think that the majority of people walking around are dehydrated and they don’t know it. That’s good to know. If they can’t dial in their pH urine, maybe try increasing their water intake after a workout. Are there ever any other times in which we would expect or we would want to see a urine pH that is acidic?
[00:27:55] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Not that we’d want to see it acidic, not that I can think of.
[00:28:03] Ashley James: When we’re first entering ketosis, or when we’re fasting, or when we’re burning fat, all of that?
[00:28:12] Dr. Anna Cabeca: We don’t want to see it. We really want to see it more alkaline, but we will definitely. This is something my community has Q’d me in on. All of them was get alkaline first, then push into ketosis. Many women, once they’re in ketosis, have a really hard time regaining that alkalinity, but the combination is powerful. The combination is so powerful, so certainly, when we’re fasting, we’re going to be acidic. Don’t stress about it, but if you can hydrate more, add some minerals to your water, anything that we can do to nourish our bodies while we’re fasting, that’s awesome. I’ve also done some dry fast. Very acidic during those for sure.
[00:28:51] Ashley James: Can you explain the biochemistry of what it means to be alkaline or acidic in our pH? What is present to make it acidic, or what’s the body not doing well? Is it too much hydrogen? Not enough carbon? What’s going on that’s causing acidity?
[00:29:13] Dr. Anna Cabeca: This is very interesting. When I’m looking at urine pH, because we’re not talking about blood pH when we’re talking about acidity and alkalinity, at least I’m not. Sometimes you’ll hear the alkaline myth, “It doesn’t matter, your blood pH stays stable no matter what.” It does, for the most part, unless you’re really sick. If I had a client coming into my emergency room and they were really sick. I would put a needle in their radial artery, not the vein, the artery, and draw it on arterial blood gas. Now, we’re going to measure that pH, and that pH has to be so close to 7.4. It’s just slightly alkaline, and if it’s a little high, a little low, that person’s really sick.
Most commonly, they’re coming in acidotic. In that case, the first thing we do, we’ll give them IV bicarb. We’re going to give them something like baking soda, not IV, but we give them bicarbonate IV to alkalinize them. We’re going to get them an alkalinizer like baking soda is very alkaline. Half a teaspoon of baking soda in some water, drink that down, you’ll have some alkaline urine pH. There’s that shift on physiology, but our blood pH is going to stay really stable. How does it stay really stable? It robs Peter to pay Paul, so if we’re fasting, we’re going to get our minerals from our bone, from our muscle, from ourselves. We’re going to rob Peter to pay Paul essentially to keep that blood pH super stable.
Consider the urine like a thermometer is telling you, “A little bit cold, a little bit hot. Okay. You’re too cold. Let’s warm you up a little bit. Let’s get more alkaline.” When we’re looking at this across the kidneys, when we are stressed, cortisol increases hydrogen ion secretion across the renal tubules, so we see that as a more acidic urine pH—power of hydrogen. We’ll see that. We’ll see that. When we’re more inflamed, more malnourished, or eating very high sugar inflammatory foods, also when we have high glucose, we’re also going to push out cortisol, so we’ll see more of an acidic urine pH. It really has to do with the ions across the cell membranes. I mean, sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium. I mean, we look at all the different minerals going across the cell membranes as well.
Looking at that from, again, the underlying, underlying reason why we’re not feeling good, we always go back to the cellular level. That’s how it guides us. The physiology guides us.
[00:32:12] Ashley James: Interesting what you said about baking soda. Is it because we’re deficient in something that baking soda provides? Like we’re having a deficiency in sodium? Does it mop up something? I mean, is this something we should all be supplementing with, or is it just a stopgap, and what we really need to do is eat greens because they’re so alkalizing?
[00:32:39] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Really, we should eat more greens because they’re alkalinizing and give us fiber, but bicarb for a short term anyway, what bicarb does it just helps with the alkalization. The abbreviation for bicarb is HCO3, not that that really matters, but it’s a byproduct of our metabolism. It’s more alkalinizing to our body. Not 100% sure how that works with sodium, and potassium, and chloride—the other electrolytes—but it does help with the pH balance. Our body will produce it naturally. The body will make bicarb as a byproduct or basically carbon dioxide. It’s essentially a form of CO2 gas. When we look at the cell exchange, the membrane exchange, you have sodium, potassium, chloride exchanging over the membrane. When we take sodium bicarb orally, we’re giving this alkalinizer, these highly-charged alkaline molecules, essentially, that quickly we’ll see that by-product in our urine.
[00:33:58] Ashley James: Did you have an aha moment around testing urine pH? How did you come across that piece of information? Because you must have started testing yourself first, right?
[00:34:12] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. So just in studying functional medicine from early 2000, one of the things that we’ve learned when we’re detoxing our bodies, eating more alkaline foods like our tenet is 80% alkaline, 20% acidic, really want to look and check your urine pH so that it’s alkaline. So there, it was all about food. That’s when I really had pushed that with my clients and my patients as part of our detox regimen in hormone balancing. But now, here I was, gaining that weight at age 48. What I used to do wasn’t working any longer. That’s when I went strictly ketogenic, but at that point, I had stopped testing myself because I’ve been pretty much on a healthy regimen for a while.
During that time, I was like, “I’m feeling crazy, keto crazy. Why is keto not feeling good like it does for my male counterparts?” That’s when I just said, “Okay, well let me just check my urine and see what’s going on.” I mean it makes sense that I’d be a little bit more acidic, but not as acidic as I was. The aha was that once I really pushed those alkalinizers on board, and I was alkaline and in ketosis, or how I had an alkaline urine pH and in ketosis at the same time, and I felt so much better. I had the clarity, I felt energized. I call it energized enlightenment. I felt peace. I told you I had three kids in three different schools, and yet, nothing in my external environment changed, but I felt peace. I was able to respond instead of react. I was at home in my body again, and the weight just came off.
[00:35:50] Ashley James: You knew you were on to something.
[00:35:56] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yes, yes. I knew I was on to something. When I discovered that for myself, that’s when I brought in some of my most difficult patients/friends that were part of my medical practice and my community. I brought them in, I said, “Once a week for eight weeks this is what you’re going to do. Exactly what I’ve been doing. You’re going to get keto green. You’re going to follow this.” I wrote out a menu plan, I created a regimen, gave them a checklist—a to-do list, made them do questionnaires. I put all of that in my book, The Hormone Fix, and like, “You’re going to do this with me. You’re going to do bone broth in between for some evenings,” I made this whole regimen.
That’s basically my plan in The Hormone Fix. Every one of them felt better. Everyone who had been at a metabolic stall lost that stubborn weight and just, again, symptom scores dropped by—gosh, in that group—over 70% to 80% within a few weeks. That’s what’s really beautiful, and that’s what we see. What we’ve seen now with Keto-Green 16 in the 16-day intense plan that I’ve created, again, it’s work, it’s a discipline and a practice, but it definitely works. We’ve seen as much as a 90% decrease in symptom scores in 16 days. We’ve seen some really beautiful stuff.
[00:37:11] Ashley James: Have you published any of these, or are you planning on doing clinical studies, or getting it out there to the scientific community?
[00:37:22] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yes, definitely. I’ve written about a couple of the studies in my book Keto-Green 16, and we will be publishing some of these clinical trials that we’ve been doing. So my Keto-Green 16, we have a pilot clinic near the University of Gainesville in Florida, Dr. Angeli Akey’s clinic. She’s been running group medical visits for the 16-day plan for my Keto-Green 16 plan. We were playing with it as I was making the menus and recipes. I couldn’t give the recipes from the book, of course, so I had approval from the publisher and had some Galley copies to use.
We finally have been able to do that, but even with the rough guidelines, we’ve had amazing success. With Keto-Green 16, another group is running through it right now. We’re gathering results, gathering research. We’ve seen an improvement in diastolic blood pressures, improvement in resting pulse rate, and again, up to 90% improvement in symptoms, and definitely an improvement in hemoglobin A1cs. We are going to publish this data when I have time. We’re getting, ideally, some interns or residents to eventually help me with the research.
[00:38:48] Ashley James: Cool. If there are any listeners out there that this is their specialty, then contact Dr. Anna. We got to get you some more interns, some more residents so we can get this out there.
[00:39:03] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Definitely. There are residents who have a requirement like we did at Emory to do research, so I welcome it. I definitely would like someone to write up this stuff.
[00:39:13] Ashley James: Very cool. So you picked number 16, why is that: 16 days, 16 food, 16-minute exercise? Is there any science behind it? What’s up with the number 16?
[00:39:33] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Definitely. And 16-hour intermittent fasting. The number 16, in general, is a good number. There are not many 16-day plans. I actually don’t know of any other 16-day plans out there, so that makes it new. A colleague of mine just said, “You know what, if you’re used to doing 10-day plans, you’re used to doing for two weeks or 21 days, having a different number really is like, ‘Okay, this is new. I can commit to this. This is something that’s different.’” I didn’t even realize that until recently, but the number 16 is about beginnings. About beginnings and completing/finishing. Also 16, sweet 16, it’s just a beautiful number. There has been research that showed within 16 days, we can really see some scientific results, some good scientific results. As well as 16-hour intermittent fasting. That’s part of the 16 plan, so 16-hour intermittent fasting. Ideally, between dinner, the night before, eaten by 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM and breaking fast 16-hours later with a Keto-Green meal, typically between 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM.
[00:40:39] Ashley James: That’s totally doable. That’s very easy. I’ve done the one meal a day intermittent fasting. I’ve done water-only fasting. I’ve done where you just have breakfast then you have dinner, playing around with it, but just basically having dinner that’s between 6:00 PM & 7:00 PM and then not eating until 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM. I think some people do that by accident, so that’s pretty easy. Should people not do something more intense? Is there a reason for that, or is this a minimum like 16-hour intermittent fasting minimum? But could people do 20-hour, 22-hour if they wanted to do one meal a day, or do you see evidence to suggest we shouldn’t do that?
[00:41:27] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Well, I think that in general, if you’re a type 1 diabetic on insulin or a type 2 diabetic that’s poorly controlled, you need to be under your doctor’s supervision to do this, and if you’re pregnant, or breastfeeding. Although, I definitely have taken care of many moms that inadvertently were hyperemesis that fasted for extended periods of time, so healthy, healthy babies. But we can’t recommend that, so I would say not without your doctor’s guidance. Each of us is different. So if you have issues, but the person is like, “Oh, I have to eat very often, very frequently because I get low blood sugar.” I address that in the book. We can definitely get you intermittent fasting. It’s about blood sugar stabilization.
Ashley, what’s really fascinating and fun is that as part of creating the recipes for Keto-Green 16, I discovered and started using over a year ago the FreeStyle Libre, which is a 14-day blood sugar monitor. It’s a sensor that goes in your arm. It’s technically only for diabetics, but any doctor can prescribe it for you. It goes in your arm. It just taps in. It’s just a filament that’s in there. There’s no needle in your arm or anything just in your triceps area. It stays in there for 14 days and reads your blood sugar—essentially interstitial sugar levels, glucose levels—around the clock. As I created the meals, as I worked with intermittent fasting, as I pushed the limits, created the combinations of food so that it doesn’t spike your blood sugar at all.
What that means, you’re not going to get a peak in blood sugar, and you’re not going to get that deep valley—that low blood sugar that’s causing the hypoglycemic reaction because the meals are really well-balanced. Then I teach those principles too like combine your healthy fat, good high-quality protein, and lots of greens, and low carbohydrate greens, so that you get good fiber in there, which also helps with blood sugar stability.
[00:43:36] Ashley James: I love it. I interviewed Dr. William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly. He’s a cardiologist that believes the key to healing the heart and preventing heart disease is balancing blood sugar. He said in our interview that 100% of the adult population should own a glucometer. It shouldn’t be an issue of whether you’re diabetic or not. We should all use a glucometer an hour or two after each meal to see, “Was that a good meal for me or not? Is my body responding well to that or not?” And to use it as a guide just like you’re talking about using pH as a guide, also using a glucometer as a guide.
You’re saying, we can wear one if we get our doctor to prescribe it, we can wear one for 14 days. That would be fantastic if we wrote everything down that we ate, did a food mood journal, write down our sleep, our stress, our water intake, and our food, and how we feel throughout the day emotionally and also physically. Then look at what the monitor says, and go. “Oh, those times I’m stressed. What’s my pH urine doing? What’s my blood glucose doing? Oh, those times I didn’t get enough sleep. Wow. That really affected my blood glucose. Oh, the times that I ate,” like you said, “the parmesan in the pasta. It’s amazing when I eat pasta without parmesan versus with parmesan how much does that make a difference.”
Just dialing it in and figuring out that our blood sugar can be affected by more than just eating a doughnut. It could be affected by stress, sleep, and food sensitivities. Also, some people can’t handle grains, some people can’t handle whole grains. Some people can’t handle legumes or beans, some people can. Some people do better on the green keto, and they’ll see that, they’ll see that in the numbers. That feedback that you get when you see, like you said, your urine pH go up, your urine pH go to a healthy alkaline level, and your blood sugar blood glucose go to a healthy level. That’s the feedback that allows us to say, “Hey, it is really working.”
I feel as though many women who’ve dieted many times have a distrust of their body, and it’s like the mindset. Even though, let’s say, they buy your book, which we can pre-order right now. Keto-Green 16, we can pre-order it. I know it’s going to be out on audible, I’m excited for that. You’re recording it, it’s going to be your voice, which is super exciting, just like your last book. But I feel like women and men who have been on many diets don’t trust their body especially if they’re in their 30s and 40s and they’re premenopausal, we feel like our bodies have betrayed us.
I’ve met a lot of people, I myself have been through this. The mindset, having to heal the mindset around my body, but the feeling that our body’s betraying us, or the little voice in the back of your head says, “You know, this works for other people but it’s not going to work for me.” We could be on the diet for a few days, let’s say the Keto-Green 16 diet. We could be on it for a few days, and that little voice is going, “It’s not going to work for me, it’s going to work for other people.” But then to get the external results of watching blood glucose normalize, of watching pH come into a healthy level. The little tests that we can do at home would help to affirm that we’re on the right path.
If they’re going in the wrong direction, then we can go, “Okay, there’s something here to uncover,” like you said, like Nancy Drew. There’s something here to uncover, and figure out, and decipher about my health, but it’s giving us extra feedback externally that will allow us to dial in our health. Are there any other tests at home that we could do to help us see that we’re on the right path? Maybe something we could journal or something we could see that goes, “Oh, yes. I know this is working for me. I know I’m gaining health because of these results.”
[00:48:13] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yeah, absolutely. I definitely have loved wearing the 14-day monitor. Anyway, we can just check finger sticks of blood sugar too. That’s helpful as well. But it was really another interesting point, before we leave, the monitor. What I didn’t know was that when I did my boxing, my high-intensity boxing workouts, and they’re an hour and a half or so, that my blood sugar would go up to 150, it went 200, and that’s fasting because I’ll eat after my workouts. So that blew my mind. Because I check urine pH and ketones, I check with my Keto-pH urine test strips, I was like, “After this great workout, why am I not in ketosis? Certainly, I’m definitely acidic. Why am I not in ketosis after I’ve just worked out so hard? Surely I’m using fats at this point, right? Especially I was in ketosis before I went.”
That blew my mind to see, “Oh, yeah. That makes sense though because our muscles release glycogen so that we have glycogen for fuel and for energy during our workouts.” I thought that our body’s so brilliant, so that was beautiful to see and a surprise for me, but it absolutely makes sense. I wouldn’t have realized that unless I was wearing my 24-hour monitor. That was fun. Then, of course, urine pH and ketone testing because if we’re not testing we’re guessing, and that’s a really big thing too. Just things, observation like observing, doing your weight. As much as we don’t like to, I encourage people in the 16-day plan, do weights day because sometimes we eat a food sensitivity, and that’s going to make us heavier despite doing everything right, and we have to decipher that for ourselves.
[00:50:03] Ashley James: If you all of a sudden gained 5 pounds in 24 hours, that’s not fat, it’s inflammation and water. I use the scale every day because I’ve caught foods that all of a sudden I’m five pounds more or seven pounds more, I’m like “Well, that’s water.” Then I cut out that food, three days later it’s all gone. I know that I had to put that on the list of the foods that my body doesn’t tolerate. So it’s really interesting. We have to make sure that we’re emotionally—I don’t know. We don’t want to get triggered because I feel like some people, whatever the scale says, they’ll end up doing some self-harm like going off their diet completely, or bingeing, or anorexia—starving themselves, or depriving themselves.
We have to understand that the scale is feedback not for fat because women lose weight very slowly. A quarter-pound a week, half a pound a week, if you’re like really, really trying, that’s fat. If you start losing pounds, that’s water and inflammation. If you start gaining pounds very quickly, that’s likely water and inflammation. I mean, it could be other things like constipation, but we just need to understand that if it goes up really fast or down really fast, it’s probably either dehydration, or losing inflammation, or gaining inflammation. We have to check in with ourselves emotionally to make sure that we don’t take the numbers on the scale and then do self-harm as a result.
[00:51:56] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Right. The numbers on the scale should not determine our mood.
[00:51:59] Ashley James: Right, or our behavior. We should use it to correct behavior in a positive way, but not in a self-harm way.
[00:52:10] Dr. Anna Cabeca: I agree. It’s information-gathering. So, definitely, I have clients that are like, “Nope, I’ll never use the scale. I just feel how my clothes fit, how my rings fit,” and that’s perfect too. That’s absolutely perfect too. If you know the scale’s a trigger, don’t use it, but I want you to be observant. I want you to discover what works for you, and what doesn’t work for you. The same thing with how hydrated are you. When you use the bathroom, is your urine clear? That’s just a simple look. Look and see. When you’re having bowel movements, do they look like dark brown bananas? That’s a good thing. That’s what we want, okay. That’s good. Little self-assessments like that are really beneficial. And our energy level.
In my books, in The Hormone Fix, I have questionnaires for medical symptoms, toxicity questionnaire, hormone symptom questionnaire, and a checklist on a daily basis. I have clients start out with choosing and saying their cheer word—a word that makes them smile when they think about it and say it. That’s a cheer word. I have them do gratitude journal on this checklist, what are you grateful for? Write it down. Then check your pH, check your urine ketones. Have you done your alkalinizing drink? What movement have you had? Bowel movement and physical movement.
Those factors that help guide us through making sure I’m doing the best I can do for me during a day, and I know when I get away from doing that. I’ve created this checklist years ago now, but when I get away from doing it on a regular basis, like now with kind of all this stuff over the last couple weeks, it does make a difference. I’m like, “Yeah, I got to go back to doing my checklist.” How many hours am I sleeping at night? How much water am I drinking? Movement every day and just checking in with myself in this way. That’s helpful. That’s been really helpful for me for sure.
[00:54:16] Ashley James: What’s the relationship between insulin, and cortisol, and our other hormones that we need to be aware of? Many people say, “Well, I’m not diabetic,” but insulin, even if we’re not diabetic, or pre-diabetic, or have metabolic syndrome, insulin still is a hormone that we want to keep in balance. Could you explain cortisol? For those who don’t know what cortisol is, could you just explain insulin and cortisol, and the relationship between those two, and how they affect the rest of our hormones?
[00:57:46] Ashley James: You’re not lying. This is exactly what happens. I can’t tell you how many people, and I’ve been doing health coaching for several years, and how many clients have told me that their numbers continue to get worse year after year, and their MD said, “Come back next year, you’ll be diabetic then, and then we’ll get you on XYZ drug. But you’re borderline right now.” None of them were given guidance besides, “Well, maybe see a dietitian,” and the dietitian told them like what they can and can’t eat at McDonald’s. I mean, it was just ridiculous the ignorance, and it’s focused on the system.
The system is focused on wait to get sick and then get on a drug. If your blood numbers, if your lab results are moving in the wrong direction but you aren’t sick enough to get on a drug, they have nothing for you. They have no resources for you because they’re not trained in medical school how to correct the body. These diseases are caused by our diet. Why are doctors not trained in this? It drives me up the wall. The majority of deaths and diseases in the United States are caused by diet. Why are we waiting to get sick, and then throwing drugs at the problem when the problem is the diet.
So I love that you’re teaching us how to correct the problem with a healing diet and then how to monitor our own health. Of course, see a doctor, see a great physician, see a functional medicine practitioner, or Naturopaths. You see a doctor that actually has dedicated their life to studying how food affects the body. We should all have a doctor like that and use food to heal the body and use the pH test strips and the glucometers so that we can dial in our health.
I love that when we’re in our 50s, be like you. Your body thinks you’re 30. You’ve got wonderful A1c hemoglobin levels. Now, does this way of eating, this very cleansing way of eating, does it also increase insulin sensitivity? See this is the question, I’ve heard from some experts that if you eat a diet with oils and high fat that you don’t increase insulin sensitivity. I’d love for your input. Have you seen that people on your protocol get insulin sensitivity? You can see it in labs, and then if they were to go back to eating, I’m not saying eating the standard American diet, but if they were to go back to eating let’s say potatoes, or brown rice, or they incorporate some more carbohydrates, does their blood sugar spike up again, or do you see that they have achieved insulin sensitivity and so they’re more balanced?
[01:01:08] Dr. Anna Cabeca: That’s a great question. Well there are many ways to do a ketogenic diet, right? There’s keto dirty and there’s keto clean, which is Keto-Green. You can be ketogenic and eating all day, essentially, eating fats all day, you know what I mean? Then you really can get into ketosis that way, but that’s not ideal. That’s why especially for perimenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal women it’s that we are more insulin resistant. We are designed to conserve energy, to be the last ones to eat. I think in my household they’d like me to serve them and then eat.
So our body is designed for that, and the more insulin resistant we are, the more hot flashes we have, the more problems we have with diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The more likely we have inflammation, aches and pains, and lower quality of life. That’s the more insulin resistant. Hot flash is a big, big issue in these clients. What we’ll see very quickly as we shift to be more insulin sensitive through intermittent fasting and no more snacking, there’s none of these three meals, three snacks. That is just not a care. Eight-hour feeding windows, or even four-hour feeding windows. I’m like, “No, no. We don’t do that.”
We break fast and then we don’t eat again until our next meal, and no snacking. We hydrate in between because if we’re drinking all our fluids we’re supposed to be with our meals, we’re diluting our digestive enzyme that’s meant to break down the food. I mean, that’s just pure chemistry. We’re also flushing through partially digested food is one of the reasons why probably many people have [sebum 01:02:50]. So free refills with your meals, that’s destructive. I absolutely see an improvement in insulin sensitivity with my Keto-Green plan 100%, and even with myself because I have been traveling.
Came back from Portland the other day, I was wearing my monitor still as I’m playing with some feasting recipes. I wanted some dark chocolate, didn’t have any, but I had some dates in the house. I had five or six dates, which typically, three is my limit because that’s like my full carb count on three dates, but I had six dates. My blood sugar went up to 200, no lie, but it was only up there like for not even a few minutes. My interstitial glucose went up to around 180 or 200. I was shocked. I was like that was just six dates, but it was right back down again. I mean, insulin did the job it needed to do. I was pretty [inaudible 01:03:46] to see that. I was like, “Darn, darn.”
[01:03:49] Ashley James: No, that’s good. That’s actually great. That’s what your body’s supposed to do.
[01:03:55] Dr. Anna Cabeca: That information it’s exactly what it supposed to do, yes. No low either. It didn’t go way low to get that hypoglycemic as if I’d had simple carbs.
[01:04:04] Ashley James: Yeah. You ate five or five or six dates. They’re very, very high in sugar, but the sugar’s natural. It’s a fruit. It’s very concentrated. It’s like a superfood, but you don’t want to do it too excess. Every time I see dates in the store I’m like, “If I buy them we’re probably going to binge them.” They’re so good.
[01:04:26] Dr. Anna Cabeca: So bad. [Inaudible]… in baking.
[01:04:29] Ashley James: What I think I’m going to do the next time I buy dates is I’ll prepackage them in little reusable Ziploc bags. I’ll go, “Okay, here’s three at a time,” or something. Because you grab a bag of dates and then all of a sudden you realize you ate 10. They’re very sweet. With dates though it caused your blood sugar to go up, and then you saw it immediately go back down, and that means you have insulin sensitivity. Because insulin resistance means it stays high for a really long period of time, and that’s what causes the damage. This is my understanding, and please feel free to add more information.
That the longer we have high sugar, as the sugars high, so you’re sure was high for a very short period of time, and then it got back. It got into the cell because the insulin brought it into the cells. It left the bloodstream, and then your cells were able to turn it to energy, and that’s exactly what they’re supposed to do, but if the insulin receptors are not working correctly with insulin, then the blood sugar stays outside of the cell. So the cells are starving and we are having high blood sugar for a longer period of time in the blood on the outside, and that causes inflammation and damage to the cardiovascular system and to our brain, which is what Dr. Ayman is seeing.
That high blood sugar is causing dementia and causing basically holes in the brain, in the cardiovascular system of the brain. The culprit is the insulin resistance, and of course, the bad diet, which causes it. But you’re seeing that your Keto-Green way is balancing insulin sensitivity, bringing back insulin sensitivity, and balancing blood sugar, and it’s also affecting the cortisol and the oxytocin. I’d love to hear more about what you’re seeing in these hormones as they’re balancing.
[01:06:35] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yeah, well I agree with you 100%. A big part on blood sugar in the brain, which is so eye-opening to me, is that gluconeogenesis and the brain, ability for the brain to use glucose for fuel, is an estrogen-dependent phenomenon. So as our hormones start to decline, especially progesterone—when progesterone starts to decline and now in this time of stress high cortisol, I mean progesterone is needed to make cortisol. It’s also higher up on the food chain, so to speak than estrogen and testosterone. So as our body is pushing to make our stress hormones, we’re also depleting our reproductive hormones even more.
In the case of estrogen needed to be on board for gluconeogenesis in the brain, the brain fog, the dementia, the memory loss, the some timers—my patients would sometimes call it some timers. “I have some timers, Dr. Anna. What should I do?” I had experienced that, but ketones are not estrogen-dependent, so that is why getting Keto-Green is really mandatory for really every woman over 40, and periodically. We bump into ketosis and then we have a couple of feast days and we bump out. We want that metabolic flexibility, that’s just part of life and living. That’s okay, but we need to use ketones for fueling the brain to eliminate that starvation mode despite having an abundance of glucose, which is they are causing damage and oxidation.
[01:08:08] Ashley James: Now, could we get the same results if we ate, let’s say, a whole food plant-based diet where we were eating 9-12 cups of a variety of vegetables a day, and then doing intermittent fasting or water only fasting three days a week or something where our body’s going into ketosis because we’re not eating for three days, or eating very, very little like drinking broth or something. Our body goes into ketosis naturally because we’re fasting, and then we come out of it, and we eat lots and lots of vegetables. Instead of eating high fat, could we get the same results by eating plants, and then fasting, and going back and forth between the two, or is there something magic in eating high fat as well?
[01:09:03] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Really, we need the flexibility, Ashley. In my program, I encourage extended fasting as well. I’m absolutely encouraging it because we want our body to make its ketones, not just from the fat we’re eating. We want to encourage that, and there’s a place for fasting. Before I make a major decision, I fast for three days. I make sure I’m Keto-Green for sure, but I’ll certainly do an extended fasting, and that makes a difference in our lives. It really does, especially the older we get. We get that clarity, we really get that alertness, and really, if we’re doing it right, we are even more energized. I have in Keto-Green 16 because I have a lot of clients, for personal reasons, they’re vegans or vegetarians. I don’t judge.
I created a plan to help them get Keto-Green and be a vegetarian or vegan. I want them to have enough protein, enough healthy fats, and to incorporate principles so that they can experience the same benefits. Because of this whole inflammatory factor, many of my vegetarian clients breathing way too many carbohydrates, and their hemoglobin A1cs were unacceptable. In this way, through lifestyle, through intermittent fasting, through low carbohydrate protein sources, increasing healthy fats, and spacing the meals, that helps them improve insulin sensitivity. Certainly, with my plant-based eaters, extended fasting is very doable and desirable as well. For me too, at least once a month, I’m doing three days of fasting.
[01:10:54] Ashley James: I love it. I think I shared this in our last interview, but for those that didn’t hear it, I had a very interesting experience with the ketogenic diet. I feel like I eating way healthier than the dirty keto, but I wasn’t eating as clean as the Keto-Green. We were eating vegetables like kale, but I feel like we were eating more meat. It felt almost close to an Atkins diet, which I think a lot of people accidentally do. When they’re trying to achieve Keto, they end up going Atkins. It’s not about the 24-ounce steak on your plate with some butter. That’s not ketogenic. It was doctor-led.
We, my husband and I, did it for three months. Weekly meeting with a Naturopath, testing our blood ketones and testing everything and our blood sugar. Every week we’d adjust the diet based on what our results were, and she also would hook us up to this machine that would test to make sure that we’re not losing muscle mass. Then we had our labs done. My husband had kidney damage so bad he had to be put on two medications. My liver became so inflamed that I went for an ultrasound, and they said my liver was very inflamed. All my liver enzymes were through the roof. My doctor said that if it didn’t start to go down she wanted me to get a liver biopsy. It was really scary to see that a diet, which was doctor-led, could cause so much damage.
It took us over a year to get my husband healthy enough, to heal his kidneys so that he could get off of those two medications. I did a lot of work to heal my liver. It took me a while. It made me shy of the ketogenic diet. Looking at it, I see, “Okay, yeah. You know what, it was probably more meat and definitely not enough vegetables.” I feel like you’re diet, Keto-Green, there should be a different name for it. We could disassociate your diet from the Atkins, keto dirty diet that a lot of people out there are doing.
Now, my husband and I were not doing cheese because both of us are dairy sensitive. But we were doing a lot of bacon, a lot of ghee. We were doing a lot of nuts, and a lot of coconut oil, and a little bit of kale, and a lot of bulletproof coffee—a ton of bulletproof coffee. Very acidic foods besides the kale, very acidic. I’m sure if we had tested our pH, which man that was missing. Because if we had tested our pH, we would have seen early on, “Hey, something is unhealthy here.” We might have been able to course-correct and not do that damage.
I want to share my experience to help the listeners know that just any keto diet is not okay. That there’s a significant risk if you do the dirty keto or Atkins. Have you seen this in your clinic? Have you seen people have really unhealthy results from a keto diet that isn’t your version, which is incredibly alkalizing?
[01:14:48] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yeah, absolutely. I hear from clients all the time that, “I tried keto before, and I hit a wall. I tried keto before, I didn’t feel good.” I mean that’s what it was for me, I didn’t feel good. The inflammatory markers can definitely increase in keto. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it, and that’s how it is. Especially men have 10 times as much testosterone as women. That’s very protective. We are more fragile when it comes to this, so we have that alkaline piece. I can’t emphasize it enough. Plus the choice of foods, the menus, the recipes. In Keto-Green 16, 16 key ingredient types for hormone balancing, for good protein sources, for digestion, and just name it.
It’s really designed to be very balanced, healthy, and get results at the same time. Absolutely. There are women who all have had so many significant problems. In fact, I just had this testimonial that came in today, let me see if I can find it real quick, that was from one of my clients in my Magic Menopause program. I have a 10-day Breeze Through Menopause program. She said, “I’ve been having hot flashes for three years. My OB-GYN put me on a medication normally used to treat depression but was also known to help hot flashes. The medication helped ease the intensity but not get rid of them. I decided to try the Breeze Through Menopause program. On my fourth day, I noticed I didn’t have any hot flashes. I was so excited but thought it was a fluke. I completed the program one month ago, and I followed The Hormone Fix. I have not had a hot flash since. Doing regular keto made me feel terrible, but your way just made the difference,” Donna.
[01:16:43] Ashley James: I just wish there was a different name. We need to erase dirty keto from our mind and Atkins, just erase it.
[01:16:58] Dr. Anna Cabeca: When we’re talking about ketogenic it’s the creation of ketones, but when we think of a ketogenic diet—high-fat, bacon, and butter—we think about that keto dirty diet. But getting our body into ketosis gives us so many benefits, it really does. A high energy source. We’ll have to come up with another name. For now, it’s Keto-Green, Keto-Green 16.
[01:17:25] Ashley James: I love it. I love it. Can you tell us some of the 16 foods that are in the Keto-Green 16 book?
[01:17:32] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yes. Certainly healthy meats like grass-fed beef and bison, wild-caught fish like salmon or a white fish. Those are great choices. Avocado gets its own category. I just think it’s so great.
[01:17:46] Ashley James: I have an avocado every day. It’s so great.
[01:17:50] Dr. Anna Cabeca: So good, so good. My heart hurts for people with avocado sensitivities. They’re so good. Also, that’s very rare, but every once in a while, I come across someone.
[01:18:00] Ashley James: My son is allergic to avocado. If he avocado just touches his food he gets asthma. He has a severe allergy. There was a California roll or something and I took the avocado out but there is trace amounts, and he immediately got asthma. He’s so allergic to avocado, which is really sad. It’s so sad because he used to love it. He just developed the allergy, just boom, all of a sudden. I eat an avocado every day. I just love it. I can feel for the people who have avocado sensitivities. I definitely want to finish your list, but just tell us, why is avocado such a superfood?
[01:18:40] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Healthy fats, minerals, nutrients. It’s just one of that. I don’t know. It’s really this protective fruit, really. Just from the fatty nature that it has and it’s rich in phytonutrients. I don’t know. It’s just one of those delicious superfoods.
[01:19:05] Ashley James: It has fiber. It’s also the satiety factor. I can have an avocado and that’s it. I’ll eat up avocado maybe with some greens or some sauerkraut because I’m really busy. I’ll just throw it on some greens like a salad, and boom, four, five, six hours later I’m good. I don’t have to eat. It’s really wonderful for that satiety.
[01:19:35] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Because it has that healthy fat in there too, and that it’s creamy. When you’re eating it, it’s creamy and delicious typically. That’s a nice sensation when we’re eating it too. Putting a little bit of avocado into your smoothies makes them so creamy, and making some great desserts like key lime pie with avocado. I’ve come up with some great recipes.
[01:19:59] Ashley James: Are you kidding me? Is that is one of your recipes?
[01:20:02] Dr. Anna Cabeca: So good. Yes, that is one of my recipes. That’s one of my favorite recipes. It’s either in The Hormone Fix or Keto-Green 16. It’s probably in The Hormone Fix. If not, it’s one of my bonus recipes. Key Lime Avocado Pie, let me tell you. We found some really great ways to use avocado. Then you mentioned sauerkraut. Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, kimchi, that’s one of the sixteen. Some of them are categories. Cruciferous vegetables because we need that for healthy hormone metabolism, and lots of good fiber so cabbage, broccoli. You can mix and match. You can substitute any cruciferous vegetable for the other, but they’re all so good for us and for hormone balancing. Those are some of them.
Added in a couple of fruits for digestive enzymes to use as part of our evening meal, but if it keeps us from getting into ketosis, I recommend that we eliminate it. Papaya, mango, and pineapple. Again, just the not overly ripe, just ripe, just right so that it’s not too much sugar. A little bit goes a long way, and it really does help at the end of a meal, adding a little bit of digestive support, plus it’s a fresh fruit for dessert. We get a little bit of that in there in the plan, but yet if it’s too much to keep us out of ketosis, we just eliminate it temporarily. Those are some, and then of course, onions.
The concept between the greens and the different ingredients, we want things that are going to support our detoxification in our metabolism that have methylators, sulfurators. Rich ingredients to help with, again, hormone balance and decrease inflammation in our system also help with elimination. Many people on a ketogenic diet have a lot of trouble with constipation. Everyone really needs to have a bowel movement a day. That’s part of it too, part of a plan.
[01:22:14] Ashley James: How many grams of fiber are on your program would you say per day?
[01:22:20] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Well, in carbs in general, I didn’t separate fiber grams but about 40 grams of carbs.
[01:22:27] Ashley James: On your program, people have at least one bowel movement a day?
[01:22:35] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Mm-hmm.
[01:22:37] Ashley James: That’s much different from the dirty keto, which is very constipating.
[01:22:43] Dr. Anna Cabeca: It’s the other things like the instructions to drink in between your meals, not with your meals. To really chew your food until it dissolves in your mouth versus swallowing half-eaten bites of food, which I know I’ve done. Also, intermittent fasting can really help. Plus, if we need to, probiotics, magnesium, vitamin C because I instruct, if you’re getting constipated, you have to do these things. Increase your oil, adding extra olive oil can be beneficial to help with that too or omega-3 supplementing. But we have to have bowel movements every day. That’s definitely one of the objectives.
[01:23:23] Ashley James: How do you handle the keto flu? In the first three, four days of doing the ketogenic diet, people feel flu-like symptoms. They feel pretty crappy because their body’s been depending on glucose. It’s run out of all the glucose in the muscles and in the liver, and now it’s just starting to turn over into making ketones for fuel. But somewhere around there, as we’re being deplete in glucose, we haven’t quite yet got the ketones up. We’re feeling pretty crappy. How is it that your program lessens that?
[01:24:02] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Because of the alkalinity factor. I really push towards getting alkaline first. Getting alkaline first, hydrating really well, and then we don’t get keto flu or keto crazy as a result of it. Nope, not at all. I have worked with clients. They’re like, “Oh, I just went right into ketosis.” I’m like, “Well, you didn’t follow instructions. Let’s do this. Stop what you’re doing and let’s backtrack.” It does, it makes a difference. We don’t want anything that’s going to create more free radicals or inflammation. Granted, keto flu, it will eventually come to an end at some point or another, but that’s not what this is about. It’s not. I want healthy from step one. I want to feel good from step two. I mean, I want to feel good right away. Why would I do it? Why would I do it again, and again, and again? That’s my… [inaudible 01:25:02].
[01:25:03] Ashley James: Yeah, absolutely. You don’t want to feel sick while you’re eating to get healthy. What the heck? If you’re feeling sick, there’s something wrong. That’s your body saying there’s something wrong. So you’re saying that when people get the keto flu it’s because they’re acidic and they’re dehydrated.
[01:25:20] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Right, right.
[01:25:22] Ashley James: Very interesting. Would that be the same? Would you say that people should get alkaline and hydrated before they start a three-day water fast? That would be the same concept that we should go into it.
[01:25:34] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Absolutely.
[01:25:35] Ashley James: My friend, who eats a whole food plant-based diet, we both do, she eats probably 12 cups of green vegetables a day, at least, or drinks them. She makes a smoothie that’s kind of insane. She fills the Vitamix with all kinds of wonderful greens. It’s great. She pushes her Vitamix to the limit. She recently went on a five-day fast, water-only fast. I did a fast recently too. We were both expecting to feel some weakness. Imagine yourself, because every time we fast is usually when we’re sick in bed like, I’m too sick to eat, right? Most people don’t go, “I’m just not going to eat for a few days and see what happens.”
What we noticed is that we had more energy, not less. That we didn’t get shaky, we didn’t get weak. We actually were more motivated. She said, “I can’t believe it. I am doing things around the house.” She listed off everything. It was 11:00 in the morning. She listed up 20 things. She goes, “It’s not even noon yet. I did more in a half a day than I normally do in an entire week.” She just noticed that emotionally, her motivation went through the roof. That’s really, really exciting that this idea of getting the body alkaline, and then getting into a ketogenic state, whether we’re fasting or eating the Keto-Green diet, would improve our mood, improve our mental clarity, but also improve our motivation, and our drive to do things in life. Have you seen that as well in your clinic?
[01:27:25] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Absolutely, absolutely. In my own life, are you kidding me? It’s like oh my gosh. I’m looking at my room right now. I’m like, yeah, I need about a three-day fast. That’s why I fast before I do any major decision to really gain that clarity. I always joke, and I’ve said this on stage. At that point I was 48, I had brain fog, mental fatigue, I was making some really bad decisions. I was making some really bad decisions. I mean, I was even engaged to the wrong person, let me tell you. I made some bad decisions, and that’s brain fog. We can’t have that. There’s just so, so many references to fasting, biblically certainly, and in so many religions around the world.
I really believe the reason is that higher spiritual connection, that clarity that removes all the clutter, takes off the ceiling, takes off the roof so to speak, and really have that higher level of connection. That’s why it’s this energized enlightenment that we experience with the Keto-Green plan. Getting alkaline and in ketosis at the same time, it changes our electromagnetic energy, changes our physiology. It raises our vibration without a doubt, and that’s where we want to be. If we’re going to do it, it takes a little bit more tweaking to get Keto-Green, but it raises our vibration. It feels so much better.
The same with fasting. Again, as you discovered, actually, once you get through day two, because our ghrelin hormone is so high on day two, it gets easier. It just gets easier.
[01:29:02] Ashley James: I love it. Oh yeah, the ghrelin hormone. Aren’t there three hormones that affect hunger?
[01:29:13] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yes. There’s leptin which is that we’re satiated, and there’s ghrelin, which is like the gremlin, the hunger hormone, and that makes us feel hungry. There are a few others, but adiponectin is another one that affects our appetite and also our metabolism. As we get older, that one goes down as well. I really believe that’s tied to a different biologic clock than our reproductive clock hence that 5, 10, 20-pound weight gain without doing anything different. It has a lot to do with the adiponectin hormone. Those are the three major ones that I deal with in really working through this program. There are actually 13 hormones that I talked about in Keto-Green 16 just for awareness that it’s complex, and the plan I created addresses every one of them.
[01:30:09] Ashley James: Have you ever tested those three hormones that affect hunger and satiety in patients before and after doing your program?
[01:30:19] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Only adiponectin so far, not really leptin and ghrelin. I think that is really pulsatile so I think it’s hard to test, and not so sure on the results with adiponectin. In the couple clients, testing myself and testing a couple of their colleagues, we see a little bit of an improvement, but not much. We didn’t really see moving the needle significantly with that, but we definitely have seen the scale move in our hemoglobin A1c improve.
[01:30:50] Ashley James: I had my levels tested a few years ago. My entire adult life I’ve been dieting. I’ve been dieting for health, I’ve been dieting for weight loss, and I’ve been working on healing my body my entire adult life. In my 20s I was incredibly sick. It was in my late 20s that I started to turn my life around. I was able to heal type 2 diabetes, chronic adrenal fatigue, chronic infections for which I needed monthly antibiotics for, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and infertility. I was very sick, so using food and supplements to fill in the gaps, I navigated. I had to go, “Okay, this works, this doesn’t work.” I had to keep shifting my diet and finding. I’d go three steps up, one step back, and I just keep going.
My whole 30s has been about healing my body. I have to look at it from every angle because health isn’t just physical, it’s emotional, and spiritual as well, and mental. I had to look at, well, what’s going on emotionally and mentally that am I overeating? Why don’t I feel full at times? Why is my plate bigger than other people’s plates? Is it that my metabolism is different, are my hormones different? What’s going on? Is that emotionally I’m doing something? I found that no matter what, I just never felt full. I never felt satiated. Even if I ate a full meal, I always felt there was something missing.
So I did emotional work, I did mental work. I’m very happy for the personal growth. I put years into growing as a person. Then I came across these hormones about satiety and hunger. I had to also work on my relationship with hunger. When I start to feel hungry what emotions come up for me? There’s this fear response. What’s going on there? Is this part of our ancient neurology to be afraid of starvation, or is this something that I have for my childhood? I did a lot of personal work, but I also went and got these hormones tested, and sure enough, they were so out of whack.
They were so out of whack my doctor, she’s a Naturopath, and she goes, “No wonder. No wonder you feel the way you feel.” She explained it. “Your brain thinks you’re a 90-pound starving person. Your brain is getting the wrong signals from your body. Your brain is saying, “Quick, we need more nutrients. We’re starving, we’re starving, we’re starving.” I’ve been fighting, I was fighting against these hormones because everything was out of balance. Everything interplays with each other, and you’ve described this, but this whole endocrine system is not compartmentalized. They’re all affecting the cortisol, and oxytocin, and the insulin, and all of our sex hormones. They all play off of each other and affect each other. Of course, everything I was eating was affecting them, and here I was fighting with food to figure out, what’s going on? Why am I always hungry? Why am I never satiated?
Switching to eating a whole food plant-based diet, for me, it’s like it turned something on in my brain. Maybe it was all the fiber, maybe it was the alkalizing, maybe it was all the vegetables, maybe it was cutting out processed food, maybe it was all of them. But I feel satiated. It’s past 1:00 PM here. I haven’t had breakfast. I haven’t had lunch. I feel fine. I feel great. If I feel hungry, it comes and goes really fast, and the panic in my body doesn’t happen. I’d love to go back and get my three hormones tested again just to show, but I could feel it in my body. I’ve shifted something big, and I’ve been doing this eating more alkaline for the last two years now, and I just really feel that eating the way you described where you’re eating getting healthy fats like avocados. If you eat meat that you make sure it’s the cleanest meat possible. If you fish, you’re getting the wild-caught. You’re eating really clean, no processed foods, and you’re getting tons of vegetables, and you’re focusing on alkalizing your body.
I felt so desperate for so many years, and I felt I was suffering for so many years. Then just the light bulb went on when I switched into eating this way. It’s just so healing. It’s so healing. My body’s now coming back into balance. I’d love to see more research done on those three hormones, but I can tell you that I feel it. You must see it with your clients because you said, they’re getting tremendous results with balancing their weight and balancing their hormones. I’d love to hear about the feedback of how their relationship with food changed emotionally.
[01:36:20] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Oh my gosh. That’s such a big topic. I feel like I wrote this book for women like you, for women like me, for those of us that have been a slave to our physiology, that’s been screwed up because we were just doing the wrong stuff. We thought we were doing right, but we’re doing the wrong stuff. There’s that physiologic imprinting, so to speak, the habits that are formed. Like I said, I used to go to bed thinking about food and wake up thinking about food. I was a slave to hunger. My mom was a baker growing up. I could drink syrup, basically. I had such a sweet tooth. I love it, I love it.
That hormone ghrelin, that’s a really big one. That hunger hormone is a really big one for women and men to override, but it is possible. That’s where the healthy fats are so necessary, and that’s where blood sugar stabilization is so necessary, that’s where the combination of foods, and ingredients, and when and how we’re eating is so important to master because physiologically, it honors our physiology, and we’re in control, and no longer feel like we’re in a battle with willpower. Because willpower is not an issue anymore, it’s just like okay. We’re not a slave to a habit, or physiology, or the ghrelin hormone, or the hunger hormones, or becoming leptin resistant. We never feel satisfied. Oh my gosh. Did you ever see the Hamilton musical, Ashley?
[01:37:47] Ashley James: I haven’t. I haven’t. It’s not here in Seattle.
[01:37:50] Dr. Anna Cabeca: So good, so good, but there’s a song in there, I will never be satisfied. You just got to listen to the soundtrack. It’s a great song. I mean, that should be my theme song, seriously.
[01:37:59] Ashley James: Okay, I’ll check it out.
[01:38:02] Dr. Anna Cabeca: You’ll have to listen to it. It’s great. It really is very interesting how our hormones can drive us versus us drive our hormones. I lecture on hormones all over the world, you know that. I lecture on testosterone and estrogen, and one of my big peeves with some of these testosterone clinics is that look, testosterone can increase your novelty-seeking behavior. Can create divorces, can create affairs because you’re upleveling the testosterone into super physiologic zones, and that affects mental reasoning, without a doubt. Behavior affects physiology, and physiology is affected by behavior.
In the plans, and I laid it out in The Hormone Fix in really good detail. I just kind of blended it in Keto-Green 16 by creating a lifestyle, creating patterns, creating behaviors that empower our physiology like intermittent fasting, like no more snacking, like feeling satisfied enough out of a meal with the combination of foods that we’ve eaten to not have that hunger in between meals. A little bit of hunger is okay. We recognize that. A little bit, right? A reasonable amount. It’s okay to say, okay I’m not overstuffed at a meal, not to be completely full or overstuffed at a meal either. To start to dial those things in. That’s okay too. It’s listening to our body and empowering our physiology.
I was totally a slave to my physiology with willpower, and hunger, and binge eating, and struggling for decades of my life. It was only over the last decade and a little bit that I’ve been liberated from that.
[01:39:47] Ashley James: I love it. We can use food as medicine to heal our body. I’ve interviewed four or five cardiologists now. All of them use slightly different diets, and they all get great results at healing the heart, but the one that has the hands-down best results with healing heart disease, and reversing—even four blockages in the heart—reversing heart disease, and angina, and high blood pressure, is Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. His diet is very low fat, although, he says you can have a handful of nuts and seeds a day. There are zero oil and zero animals or animal products in his diet. It’s tons of vegetables, and I mean tons of vegetables, whole grains, and potatoes, but mostly vegetables.
He sees very rapidly clogs in the heart clear up. He’s got people, basically, off of death’s door. That’s a very specific diet. That diet would not be optimal for healing hormones. You’ve talked about hormones need fat, but if someone has heart disease and they’re on death’s door, go do that diet because he’s published studies and shown that that diet is incredibly healing for the heart. If we’ve got hormone imbalance and we don’t have heart disease, then this diet is shown to be healing. There’s no one diet that fixes everyone. That would be ludicrous to think that we could put everyone in one diet and be perfect because everyone’s got different health problems. We have to triage.
[01:41:38] Dr. Anna Cabeca: On that note too, men and women are different, right? Men have 10 times as much testosterone as women. They have bigger muscle mass than we do, bigger bone mass than we do. There are differences between men and women. The menopausal women need something different for sure, not just for hormone imbalance, but for cardiovascular protection. We need healthy hormone levels, healthy estrogen, healthy progesterone, healthy DHEA. We need as much testosterone as we can get circulating for healthy bones. This is really important. We know statin medications lower cholesterol, lower our testosterone levels.
We look at this, but it’s not just what we eat. This is where it’s not just about the diet, it’s not just about what we eat. The when, the with who, the other aspects of what we’re eating and what we eat ate become really critically important. Timing of meals, intermittent fasting, no more snacking. These principles give us more flexibility too in what we’re eating so we can fine-tune it for us. But ultimately, we have to test not guess. In the case of the cardiologist, monitoring the patient so we’re seeing improvement. We have to do as much of that as we can. We have to self-monitor as much as possible. How am I feeling? How does this resonate with me? What results am I getting? How’s my urine pH test? Everyone’s going to go get some urine pH and ketone test strips right now.
[01:43:08] Ashley James: You’re going to give us the link. We’ll put it in the show notes.
[01:43:13] Dr. Anna Cabeca: It’s so important. By figuring that out, discovering what works for us and what doesn’t work for us I think that’s critical. It’s not just about following a diet plan, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle within what we know works for us. Within our fasting regimen, I’ll say, 80% Keto-Green regimen and then another 10% feasting regimen so that we’re having, we’re experiencing life, we’re laughing, we’re playing, we’re doing more of the things that really are as if not more important than what we’re eating. I love that there are different things, different ways for people to explore and play, and ultimately, to see and decide what works best for them.
It can be different over time. What I did in my 30s and early 40s, I mean, it stopped working when I hit 48. Despite not doing anything different, the scale moved. The brain fog, came on, and all that stuff. The timing too and maybe different stress levels in our life too. We have to do different things as well. That’s important to realize.
[01:44:28] Ashley James: Your message is really relevant now because the whole world is stressed out. In the next year, we’re going to see women’s health decline across the board because stress affects hormones, and hormone imbalance affects women’s entire life. It affects our brain, our ability to function, it’s very significant. Your message is very relevant right now and for the coming year. Stress is always going to be there, we’ve got to do things to mitigate stress. But using the pH test strips for example and going, “Oh wow. Okay. I’ve got to do something to balance my stress because I was watching the news yesterday, and my pH has gone down, that my acidity has gone up.” For those people that don’t know, like you said, 7 is good pH in the AM, but some of us don’t remember it from high school science. Can you talk about the pH scale, and what’s good, and what’s not good?
[01:45:42] Dr. Anna Cabeca: In general, our pH scale is 0 to 14, so the lower the number the more acidic we are. When we think of acidity, I always like to think of acidity like New York City—industrial, a lot of concrete, kind of inflammatory. Alkalinity, all the way at the other end of the scale, from 7 to 14 that’s on the alkaline side. Think of the Amazon jungle. Think lush, greenery, think of being outside, enjoying yourself, a waterfall in the background. I mean, it just sounds lovely. So that’s more alkalinity. Again, our blood pH stays around 7.4. Different parts of our body have different pHs. Our stomach is very, very acidic, and the vaginal pH is acidic to kill off sperm and bacteria. It’s naturally acidic. It gets more alkaline as we get older. The skin has a lower acid pH, and again, it’s part of our defense mechanism.
Then different areas are more alkaline, which is so fascinating to me how the body is so interconnected, and yet there are organelles running at different pHs. Pretty cool. How it can shift based on what we’re experiencing, but urinary-wise, again, emphasizing we want to see that urine pH at 7.4-7.5 above that in general, but most people when they start checking, they’re at a urine pH of 5 or 6. A lot of shifting has to be done. Now, I forgot your question.
[01:47:29] Ashley James: You answered most of it. It was, explain the pH scale for those who don’t know it. You did beautifully and brought in the analogy of New York City versus the Amazon jungle, 1 to 7 being acidic or New York City, 7 to 14 being alkaline. A 7 is sort of the middle, right? But neutral.
[01:47:51] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Neutral. Seven is neutral.
[01:47:53] Ashley James: Then upwards towards 14 is the Amazon jungle. That we don’t want to alkalize our stomach acid, for example. Don’t take a bunch of baking soda right before a meal. We don’t want to alkalize our stomach acid. We actually want to support the acidity of our stomach acid to help us have healthy digestion, and that’s a whole other topic because most heartburn is caused by too little stomach acid not too much. I’ve had several guests talk about that on the show, pH in different parts of the body, very interesting, but the pH that we can learn from is our urine.
What numbers are really good to see throughout the day? You said if we had a 7 in the morning, our first-morning pee, if it’s a 7 that’s great, but throughout the day, it would be different, right? What are good parameters to see throughout the day?
[01:48:51] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Definitely depending on your activity level. To really maintain it, 7, 7.5, or 7 to 8 throughout the day, at least above 6.5. Now granted though, after a workout, after a hard run, anything like that, after a stressful situation, you’re going to be more acidic. After a good workout, you’re going to rehydrate, have a good Keto-Green shake, something like that. So you want to really work to optimize so that you run a urine pH 7 to higher. Now, if you’re going to bed acidic and waking up acidic, you’re probably not sleeping well. Your body’s probably not repairing itself well while you’re sleeping. So if we can shift to get alkaline before we get to sleep, and then ideally wake up alkaline.
Now it can take a lot of time for some people, especially if you have high blood sugar or other chronic inflammatory conditions, but don’t give up, be persistent, continue to see what works for you and what doesn’t. We can supplement with additional minerals like magnesium at bedtime and even hormones, certainly, like progesterone. During this time of stress, adding progesterone, if we’re over 40, at bedtime on a cyclical basis can be very beneficial for us too, because again, stress will produce cortisol, which we rob progesterone to make so to speak.
There may be some additional hormones that we can use or adrenal adaptogens like my Mighty Maca Plus. One of the reasons I created it with the combination of ingredients was to add those alkalinizers, so think chlorella, spirulina, and maca is an adaptogenic alkaline root. There’s turmeric in there so we can make a turmeric tonic, a turmeric tea. We can add some green tea during the day. That’s also an alkaline tea. Adding some of those, that’s like 30 superfoods in my Maca Plus, Ashley. It’s a good combination.
[01:50:52] Ashley James: I love it. I love your Mighty Maca Plus.
[01:50:55] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Thank you.
[01:50:56] Ashley James: I’m sorry. I totally interrupted you because I’m so excited. It tastes so good, and my body buzzes in a good way. If you eat a really great kale salad your body’s just buzzing. It’s like, woo, your body’s so excited. My body gets so excited when I drink your Mighty Maca Plus. It’s refreshing, it tastes delicious, and I don’t drink coffee anymore, but it would be a great replacement for coffee. It feels so good. Actually, I ran out, and I’m like, “Oh man. I could totally go for some right now,” because it is so delicious.
[01:51:31] Dr. Anna Cabeca: I’m going to send you some.
[01:51:33] Ashley James: I love some. I totally recommend listeners buy and try it. It’s delicious. Try replacing your coffee or your tea with it because the maca has natural caffeine, but it wasn’t overstimulating. I could totally fall asleep at night, and I’m very sensitive to caffeine. If I were to have chocolate, like a little bit of dark chocolate at 4:00 PM, I can’t sleep. That’s how sensitive I am to caffeine. Your drink, I could drink it during the morning. I even had some in the afternoon, and I totally was able to get into sleep, so I found it to be very gentle, but my body buzzed. I love it. It’s so delicious.
You talked all about your journey, and how you discovered the ingredients, and formulated it in episode 326, so listeners can go back and check that out. That is awesome.
[01:52:30] Dr. Anna Cabeca: That’s awesome. We’ll give your audience a free trial too. We have now four single pack, so a four-day trial of it. Just give it a try, taste it, because the biggest fear factor with greens is the taste, right?
[01:52:44] Ashley James: It tastes amazing.
[01:52:45] Dr. Anna Cabeca: It looks like fear factor, but it does taste.
[01:52:48] Ashley James: No, it has almost a little bit of a mint flavor to it. At least that’s what I perceive, but I thought it was delicious. It was very refreshing. It tastes very refreshing. I enjoy it tremendously. That’s fantastic. So we’ll get the link to that and put it in the show notes, so listeners can check out your four-day trial as well. That’s wonderful. Before we wrap up, I wanted to cover this last topic. You talk about cortisol, oxytocin, and how you can get to the point. So for those who don’t know what these two hormones are, cortisol—the stress hormone, oxytocin is the feel-good love hormone. If you hug someone for 30 seconds you get a boost of oxytocin.
I had a friend that would count as we hugged because she’s like, “We got to get the oxytocin. Let’s count to 30 together and hug each other,” so it always stuck in my mind. Cuddling your animal, your dog, or cat, or your children, or your husband, or wife, or whatever. You got to cuddle for more than a five-second hug. It’s got to be a long hug and then you get this oxytocin, but you were talking about how we can get disconnected. Women live in the state of cortisol to the point of burnout, but we can get disconnected where we don’t feel oxytocin, where we’re not feeling the joy in life, we’re not feeling the satisfaction. Even to the point where we’re not just feeling the love for our family or for ourselves.
Suicide is on the rise. It is very scary especially in the generation, I believe, ages 10 to 24 it went up over 50% in the last few years. It’s the number two cause of death in that generational cohort. So suicide is on the rise. I imagine if someone has a cortisol-oxytocin disconnect, especially for veterans who come back from the war. They have a tremendous amount of cortisol, and you’re talking about this disconnect. Can you explain how that works in the body that we have a disconnect, or where we can’t feel our oxytocin, and how can we correct it?
[01:55:05] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Yes, absolutely. Because I’ve lived it, and I am definitely worried about our society too with the social isolation add that into the hormonal, physiologic disconnect that we’ll be experiencing if we don’t take these practices to heart. That’s why I’m so passionate about getting this message out, Ashley. This cortisol-oxytocin disconnect is when cortisol goes high, oxytocin goes low. There’s that, okay, if cortisol is high and I’m fighting an enemy, you don’t need to love your enemy. Okay, God, I know what you said. Love your enemy. There’s a reason for that practice, right? There’s some philosophy behind that statement because I mean, hate it affects our liver, it affects our detoxification organ. I mean, it really does. Cortisol goes up, oxytocin goes down, and then when cortisol is up for a long enough period of time, it’s like frying out our nervous system.
So the constant hits of oxytocin, the news in the morning, and the afternoon at night, or daily, and just fear. Fearful thoughts, real or perceived fear, is going to affect our cortisol levels. So when cortisol is up for a long enough period of time, it’s basically frying our nervous system, but our brain is smart enough not to let that happen. So a command center in the brain called the paraventricular nucleus turns and shuts down that cortisol, so it’s like putting the brakes on cortisol. So all of a sudden, now cortisol is low and oxytocin is low at the same time. So you feel disconnected like, “I know I love my husband, I don’t feel love for him. I know I love my work, I don’t feel love for work. I know I love to paint, I just don’t ever pick up the paintbrush anymore.” Whatever it is. The activities I love to do I’ve stopped doing. Also, you stop going out, stop taking social engagements, stop interacting, more and more isolated, and that’s a physiologic disconnect.
Now what’s really interesting is there was a recent article published at the end of 2019 that looked at soybean oil because soybean oil has been used in so many food manufacturing businesses, and frying, and this [that 01:57:16] and the other. Well apparently, soybean oil can affect our oxytocin receptor site too. That’s pretty crazy, right? That’s just really crazy. So kind of getting a generation hit from both ways between we’re in a war against a virus right now and how we eat. By getting Keto-Green, getting the ketosis part creates insulin sensitivity. The green part manages cortisol and empowers oxytocin. That getting alkaline part is learning not just about how we need to nourish our body but the activities and lifestyles that temper cortisol and increase oxytocin. That’s where we really honor and empower our physiology. We have the mental clarity, the joy, and the passion to do it.
[01:58:08] Ashley James: I love it. We all could use less cortisol and more oxytocin.
[01:58:15] Dr. Anna Cabeca: More oxytocin, yes, yes, yes. Laughter increases oxytocin.
[01:58:21] Ashley James: Now, I’ve heard that during fasting we have a spike in cortisol. Have you seen this?
[01:58:27] Dr. Anna Cabeca: I haven’t measured it, but yes, I’ve heard that.
[01:58:31] Ashley James: We get all these great health benefits from fasting, and so the increase in cortisol is, I guess, part of that. It doesn’t create negative outcomes.
[01:58:47] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Not for short duration. I don’t believe so, no. I’m not 100% sure why physiologically we do have a spike of cortisol, unless that’s to get glucose like a spike in glucose as well. So increased cortisol, increase glucose to just squeeze any of that out through fasting, that kind of life-saving mechanism. But I agree, I don’t think it’s detrimental in the short term. It’s when it’s on persistently, that’s the issue.
[01:59:21] Ashley James: Right. We want cortisol to be there. If all of a sudden a boulder’s in our way when we’re driving or something, we have to react quickly. If we have to react quickly, we want the stress hormone to help us stay alive, and then we want it to turn off, and turn the feel-good oxytocin back on. Fasting, although has been around forever, it was taboo for so long in the United States. I feel just since 2012 we’re just starting to study it. All the studies are coming out. It’s starting to become more acceptable to study. It’s becoming more acceptable for doctors to prescribe it. The next 10 years is going to be very interesting to see all the results that come out from intermittent fasting, and from water-only fasting, and from one meal a day, all these different things. Of course, there have been studies here and there, but really, just in the last 10 years, we’re starting to see a spike in acceptability within the medical field. So it’s very exciting.
We’ll see more information come to light about cortisol’s role and how fasting affects the different hormones. Because we have to get over this idea, and I think we’ve just been marketed too that we need to eat three meals a day. It was really good marketing for the food industry to make lots of money. Look at what our ancestors did. Our ancestors went long periods of time without food, and our grandparents would eat breakfast, and then work in the fields, and not eat lunch, and come home, and then eat dinner, and that was normal. So it’s normal for us to not snack like you said. No snacking between meals.
[02:01:15] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Right. Absolutely. No snacking between meals. Even for religions, over the centuries, fasting is part of it. We’re in the spirit of Lent right now. So there’s extended fasting, and the Orthodox Church, they fast over 200 days a year, the Christian Orthodox Church and Greek Orthodox. I mean, there’s so many different fasting like on Sunday, you don’t eat until after Communion. Little things like that have been built into cultures, and it just amazes me because I’m like, “Ah, they must have had a good reason for that.” I always think of this season of Lent. This is usually when harvest is low anyway and people are already seasonal affective disorder. So fasting is really powerful to clear up the mind, to elevate the spirit, to have that higher time of connection.
It’s interesting how things have adapted to these principles and put them in place in many different ways, in many different societies. I love it. I just want science to look at women and men differently. So we study and we publish women and men differently, and that’s the biggest thing that was part of my journey, part of understanding how some things can work in men but not women. Certainly, for men doing my plan, they get amazing results.
I had this one guy, we call him Big Bill. He met up with me in Gainesville when I was down leading, just kicking off this next group of clients, 30 people going through the group medical visit for Keto-Green 16. He said, “I’ve been struggling with this, that, and the other thing, but I’m all-in to do this. Anything I need to know because I’m 250-pound male versus many of the women that are in the group. I said, “Yeah, you got to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. You’re going to measure. I don’t want you to feel like you’re starving. I want you to eat.” And laid it out for him.
I just heard back from him yesterday. He’s like, “I have already lost seven pounds, and I’m just feeling so great.” I’m like, “Yeah, that sucks,” because men get better results quicker. It’s just not fair. They have more testosterone. That’s part of it. They’re also black and white. “Okay, she told me to do this. I’m doing it.” There’s no gray. I even have the grey zone. I’m like, “Oh well, we’re going to have that glass of wine tonight,” or whatever the reason is to have a glass of wine. I can probably find a lot of them. We’ll find the grey zones, and men are black and white. I think for this, this is where the self-discovery part for women comes in, then you really know, you know. “Okay, this is what this is doing for me, or this is what I have to do in order to feel this way and to get this result.” That helps us as women do what we need to do. At least for me anyway.
[02:04:16] Ashley James: I love it, I love it. Let us know about all the ways we can work with you. You mentioned that you have some online classes, and people can work with you online. Just walk us through all the different ways we can learn from you.
[02:04:30] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Definitely join me at my website at drannacabeca.com. I’ve got tons of research there, but I have my online communities. I have a group called Magic Menopause, and I have my Keto-Green Community, a private community group on Facebook. I’m always showing up in Instagram, but really, it’s in my online groups, and through connecting with my office, and joining in one of my programs is probably the best way to work with me.
[02:04:58] Ashley James: Brilliant. It’s been such a pleasure having you on the show. Man, we could talk for hours and hours. This is wonderful. Definitely, I recommend listeners check out your book. All the links to everything that Dr. Anna Cabeca does is going to be in the show notes of today’s podcast at learntruehealth.com. Keto-Green 16, get the book on pre-order now. The link will be in the show notes. The audible, I’m so excited, is going to be by Dr. Anna Cabeca, so you’ll hear her wonderful voice instead of a voice actor, I love it. I love it when doctors do that.
Is there anything you’d like to say to wrap up today’s interviews? Is there anything you want to make sure that the listener is left with? Maybe some homework or something about mindset. I just want to make sure that we wrap this up in a pretty bow for the listener so they understand they can heal their body with food.
[02:05:52] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Oh, yes. Go back to that time where here I was, a board-certified gynecologist and obstetrician, trained at one of the best institutions in our country, and my doctor’s bag was empty. It was a pretty hopeless bleak situation, especially when you’re working with some of the best in the field. Honestly, it’s great if you’ve worked with the best of the best, but listen to your body, and don’t give up hope. You know you can be better tomorrow than you are today, I guarantee it. Finding the wisdom that’s inherent to our body, removing the clutter, it makes a difference. I will tell you, I stand behind it. Get Keto-Green and just feel the difference.
[02:06:34] Ashley James: Wonderful. Get alkaline, try some fasting, get Keto-Green. I like that you said remove the clutter because that’s exactly what I felt like when I started doing fasting. It really removed the clutter inside so that I could move the clutter outside. That’s exactly how I felt. That’s really cool. Awesome. It’s been such a pleasure having you on the show. Of course, you’re welcome back every time you come up with a book. Your track record is once a year, so let’s see how many books you can get out every year. You’re welcome back every year.
[02:07:07] Dr. Anna Cabeca: Thank you. Thank you, thank you. I look forward to talking with you again, Ashley. Thanks so much.
[02:07:14] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today’s episode with Dr. Anna Cabeca. Please, go to learntruehealth.com/ketogreen. That’s learntruehealth.com/ketogreen to get all of the awesome bonuses, and downloads, and free recipes, and ebooks, and everything that Dr. Anna talked about today. Go to that link.
In the show notes of today’s podcast, there’ll be other links that you can go to. Dr. Anna has her Mighty Maca. She’s got a sample pack that you can get, and also you could put in your information and it will spit out your exact macros and a meal planner for you that’s personalized to your lifestyle. So check out those links as well in the show notes of today’s podcast, but for sure right now, go to learntruehealth.com/ketogreen to access all the bonuses before they go away because I know it’s a limited time. I know that they’re only going to be up for a while while she’s launching her new book.
Awesome. I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day, and thank you so much for being an amazing listener of Learn True Health podcast.
Get Connected With Dr. Anna Cabeca!
Books by Dr. Anna Cabeca
What’s Happening To My Hormones (Free E-book)
Breeze Through Menopause Masterclass (Free class by Dr. Anna Cabeca)