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Dr. Becky Campbell: (00:03)

Welcome to the Health Babes podcast with Dr. Becky Campbell and Krystal Hohn, where we talk everything health.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (00:13)

Hey everybody, welcome to the Health Babes podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Becky Campbell, with Dr. Krystal Hohn. Today we have Kate Deering on. Kate is really great at explaining metabolism, which is a word we’ve all heard. But we sometimes don’t really understand what it truly means, so she breaks down what it means. She breaks down what it looks like to have a slow metabolism, what exercise and diet do to the metabolism, and the best ways to support your metabolism. We talked a lot about proper carb intake, which I think is really important because everyone is so different. So we really hit that hard. And [discussed] the importance of glucose and how it affects your liver function. We talked about hydration and the best ways to stay hydrated. And [as a] side note, it’s not [about] drinking a ton of water. So I can’t wait for you to hear this episode. Let’s welcome Kate. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (01:09

Hey everybody. Let’s welcome Kate to our podcast. We’re so excited to have you. I first heard you on a different podcast, and I loved what you were saying, so I knew we had to have you on. So you talk a lot about metabolism. So how did you get involved in talking, learning, and teaching about metabolism? And what is your story with all this?

Kate Deering: (01:30)

Well, first of all, thanks for having me on. So I have a journey. It goes back about 12 years, when I was about 38. I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for about 25 years now. I was starting to experience a lot of perimenopausal issues, which I thought I would never experience because I was so fit and healthy. At the time, I was probably eating a semi-low-carb diet. I was exercising like a fiend. And I was just starting to feel fatigued. I was putting on a little weight, and my sleep was going. I was starting to have a few period issues that weren’t really in my history. I thought maybe this was, “Oh my God, this is what they talk about when you go to 40. Like, everything just goes to shit.” And I was like, “Well… ” And my thought was, I’ll just tighten everything up, and I’ll grind it out even more. And that just really didn’t work.

Kate Deering: (02:20)

At the time, I was studying at the Chek Institute with Paul Chek. I was in one of his workshops. One of the instructors at the time—a gentleman by the name of Dr. Ray Pete, who is basically a biochemist—goes down a different path in helping people understand their health. It’s something that is obvious, but it’s not in the fitness industry; it’s not how we relate to health. We relate to health [in terms of]: “We’re lean and fit,” and so forth. Dr. Pete gave a different explanation. His [explanation] was: “Well, you have a warm body, you sleep well, you don’t have period issues, and you have nice hair and skin. Basically, you don’t have to work out all the time to stay lean and fit. Your body is functioning optimally.”

Kate Deering: (03:02

And I was like, “Hmm.” One of the measurements he utilizes to monitor how well your metabolic rate is working is your basic basal temperature and your pulse. We should be around 98.6, and of course, I went home and measured mine, and I was like 96. And I’m like: “Oh, that’s interesting.” And it made sense because, for a lot of my history, I had been quite cold. And I always thought I was cold because I don’t have a lot of body fat. [But] really, that’s not why I was cold. I had basically driven myself into a lower metabolic rate, and my body was starting to compromise and adapt to the situation I put myself in. So that’s when all these light bells went on, and I started to study extensively all of his work and basically things like Dr. Borda Barns, Constance Martin, or anyone that was understanding hormones and overall: What does metabolism mean? What does that mean to me? And how can I work on it to improve my overall health? So that’s where I started. Then I essentially started utilizing that in my work. And I was finding that I was having a lot of trouble explaining all this to people because it is a little bit unwinding, trying to understand your health. And that’s why I decided to write a book and try to break it down into easier terms so people could get a better grasp of it. And that’s where the story began. I haven’t been doing that ever since.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (04:24)

Awesome. And if anybody follows you on Instagram, you put a lot of great information out, too. So just hearing you speak about metabolism and your story, [you’re] saying a lot of people don’t even know what metabolism is, right? So what exactly is that? You could break it down.

Kate Deering: (04:40)

Breaking it down. I think a lot of people just think it’s like burning calories. That’s what I always thought. And on some level, it is. But essentially, your metabolism is the sum of every metabolic process that goes on in your body. So when you have a well-running metabolism, you have good energy and good digestion, you’re free of PMS symptoms, you have a good sexual drive, and your skin and hair are healthy and strong. Basically, all the markers of health are working properly. But basically, it’s how well your body is turning the food you eat into energy, and a lot of processes go on in your body to do that. If there are breakdowns anywhere, then somewhere along the line, you might not be turning that food into energy very well. And then there are starting to be breaks in this system.

Kate Deering: (05:24)

So on some level, yes, it’s how well your body burns calories. But you can also burn a lot of calories and actually have a hypometabolic state or slow metabolism in the big picture. I can explain how that essentially works. When you look at metabolism, I always describe it in two ways. You have a healthy metabolism. That’s run by thyroid hormone, and that function. Then you have what I refer to as a ‘stressed metabolism.’ That’s run by other hormones, primarily cortisol and adrenaline. And those are driving it through an adaptive pathway. So yes, you’ll burn a lot of calories. But what essentially is happening is that you’re usually having a lot of stress in your life or stress going on, and your body is trying to keep up with that and adapt because maybe you’re just not even getting enough food or the right food in. It actually slows down all of your metabolic functions.

Kate Deering: (06:18)

So we can see those people. And I see them in two different ways. Some are really low weight and some are heavy in weight. But either way, they share a lot of the same symptoms. It could be really bad digestive systems, primarily. A lot of PMS stuff. Sleep issues are always happening. Energy issues, mood issues. And maybe they can’t put on muscle tissue or lose weight. All of those things can possibly be going on when there is dysfunction in that healthy metabolic rate. So I try to get them to switch it to start getting them out of that stress pathway and moving them over into that healthy metabolic space.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (06:53)

Yes. And I’ve even gone through times where I’d just lose weight all of a sudden or just gain weight all of a sudden. And I’m like, “I’m not doing anything different.” I know that when I first found out I had a thyroid issue, I was cold all the time, and my body temperature was low. I put on 30 pounds, and I’m like, “Wait a second, what’s this?” 

Kate Deering: (07:19)

Right. “What happened? This isn’t fun.” Yes, totally.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (07:21)

No, no.

Kate Deering: (07:22)

Yes, totally. And there are a lot of different variables that can always be moving with people. But yes, certainly thyroid function is a big one.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (07:29)

Yes. And people will say, “Well, I have a slow metabolism.” So if that’s a true statement, what does that look like?

Kate Deering: (07:38)

So I would say a slow metabolism is basically the opposite of everything that would be a good metabolism. Usually, that would look like constipation to a lot of women. They might actually suffer other issues like IBS and leaky gut. But they would also have diarrhea. That could also be a symptom. It depends on what other markers are happening with them. Most women are definitely experiencing PMS issues. They might experience infertility or a very low sexual drive. They could have a hard time putting on muscle or losing body fat. Their hair might be falling out. They might have dry skin or detoxification issues going on. Basically, all of the systems that manage how well your body works start slowing down. I always say [one of] the biggest ones I see—solely because it’s not vital for your survival—is digestion. We can all survive with really crappy digestion. It sucks, but we can survive. And also hormone function—yes, it sucks to have PMS [issues], infertility, and all of these things going on. But your body will still manage. You need heart, lung, and brain function, although you can definitely have brain fog during this period of time too. But those things are going to get the resources first before these other secondary survival mechanisms in your body get fuel.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (08:57)

Yes. And you talked about—like with a good metabolism—looking at body temperature and pulse, right? So can you talk a little bit more in detail?—because you hear “low pulse,” [so you think], “Okay, athletes.” So hit that a little bit, because I feel like this will be really good and interesting to a lot of people.

Kate Deering: (09:15)

Yes. And I was that person. I was an endurance athlete. I’d run marathons. I’ve done a hundred-mile bike ride, and I was proud of my low 50-plus pulse. Also, any endurance athlete I work with has a very low pulse. What we need to understand is that that is a marker for fitness, and fitness doesn’t always correlate to a high metabolism. And you see that. If you’ve ever experienced endurance athletes, they get sick, they have low libidos, and they also have other markers like high cholesterol. They can even have issues with losing body fat. But they all have a low pulse. And you even see people [who], when they get older, will have a low pulse. But that’s an adaptive mechanism of your body trying to create efficiency so that it conserves energy so that you can do that marathon run.

Kate Deering: (10:03)

It’s ideal for your body to slow down energy production when you’re doing something like running for four hours. Even after I went through this process, I would still go do endurance exercises and so forth. I would just monitor what would happen to me. My pulse would significantly drop, and my temperature would drop. It would almost be impossible for me to keep it up while doing these really active exercises. It would make sense because if it did, I would literally have to consume so much fuel the entire time I was doing the exercise. It’s just because it becomes really inefficient. A normal pulse for a good metabolism is usually between about 75 and 90 beats per minute; it’s not 50. But if you have that higher pulse and you try to run a lot, it’s not going to feel right. You’re not going to have a harder time doing it. So where your body says: Well, you want me to be better at this activity; we’re going to lower your temperature so you don’t utilize as much energy and your pulse so you can be more efficient and be able to do this without feeling like you’re going to die. So there’s this measure. Now, I’m not saying don’t do things that you love or any sort of cardiovascular activity, but don’t do it to improve your metabolic rate because you’re not going to.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (11:21)

Yes. I knew a triathlete [who was] overtraining to the 10th degree, and his pulse was 35 all the time. And I was like, “Are you alive? How is this possible?”

Kate Deering: (11:38)

Totally. I feel like if you’re like David Blaine and you’re going to sit in a box for 40 days or something and not eat or whatever, it is a survival adaptation to keep you alive so that you can perform that activity, which is super stressful. If you’re going to do an activity for six or seven hours, it’s really stressful on your system. Your body’s going to slow down all those metabolic functions so that you can utilize that energy to do your sport. So there are always these measures, and I always like to say, “Look at athletes that are runners.” So you can go look at a sprinter; what do they look like? They’re super muscular and lean, [with] good muscle tone. Their activity is 10 seconds [long]. It’s severely anaerobic, and basically, they can hold their breath the whole time, not going into that aerobic state where they’re going to start breaking things down.

Kate Deering: (12:31)

Now, as you look at the athletes as they continue—you go from the 800-meter runner, the one-miler, up to the marathoner—you’ll slowly see their bodies get smaller. They get thinner. Their body has adapted to that sport. And you’re never going to see a super muscular marathon runner—it’s just not going to happen—not if they’re an elite athlete. They’re going to be super, super thin. You can see the mechanisms that happen. Your body is like: I don’t need all that muscle, but we need less weight to go that long distance for a longer period of time. So again, we can look at that and go, “What body is healthy and probably can withstand more stress?”—not that running activity. And I assure you, it’s normally not the endurance athletes; they are actually more prone to sickness and so forth. It’s usually that sprint training [runner] and so forth that can kind of withstand the stress of other things.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (13:22)

And I saw in the same person a lot of GI stress because the body didn’t have time to help with digestion with all that going on. 

Kate Deering: (13:33)

Exactly. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (13:34)

Survival mode. 

Kate Deering: (13:34)

Oh yes. It’s a common thing I see. And it doesn’t even have to be an athlete; it can just be somebody who’s really stressed. Maybe they work too long, or they’ve got a hundred million things going on in their life. It always shows up in their GI system. And we know that GI function works best in that parasympathetic rest-digest state, not in that fight-or-flight stress state. In fact, when you get in that sympathetic state, basically it just says, “Shut digestion down.” It’s not essential. If you’re going to run from a bear, you don’t need to be breaking down dinner; you need to run.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (14:19)

Exactly. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (14:19)

You don’t need to stop to poop; you’re going to be dead.

Kate Deering: (14:09)

Right. That’s right. No time for that.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (14:11)

Get out there!

Kate Deering: (14:12)

Or the adrenaline shoots it, and you get it all out really quick. That can happen as well. But it’s not going to digest it properly because your digestion needs a considerable amount of energy to function properly. And people are functioning in such a high-stress state constantly in today’s world that the GI is never getting ample energy. And what do we tell everyone? “Well, just shove a bunch of fiber and water in there and try to hydrate it; maybe put some additional fat and lubricate.” I’m not saying those things can’t push things through, but it’s not energizing the GI system. It’s not putting it in the right state so it can function properly. You’re just bandaiding it, and you might get a better result, but you’re not fixing it. You have to change the environment, which is the health of your body, for it to function better. And that can take some time, some habit change, and you looking at your life and going, “Is my life functional for what I want to achieve health-wise?”

Dr. Becky Campbell: (15:14)

It’s so true. And people who are into things like marathons and triathlons, it’s really hard to talk them out of wanting to continue on with that. We’ve even had people who are doing anabolic steroids. Women come to us doing shows, and they want to get pregnant. I’m like, “Well, we’ve got to talk about some lifestyle choices.” And they’re just so addicted; it feels like whatever that is, they really don’t want to hear your answer that “you have to calm things down. You’ve got to take some of the stress off your body; learn how to turn on that parasympathetic nervous system.” So it can be difficult, for sure.

Kate Deering: (15:58)

Yes. And I was kind of that person because I was an athlete. I had this lean body, and that was always where my mindset was. And that path stopped working for me. The first instinct is to go harder. That’s my natural [inclination]. Then you’re like, “Well, that’s not working. Then you had to literally unwind the brain, which still wants to always go in the path it’s used to going. Even when things make sense to you, you’re like, “But that worked before.” It takes time because when you heal, it’s not immediate, right? I can put someone on a severely calorie-restrictive diet and tell you to go literally exercise your brains out. Eventually, you’re going to lose weight, right?

Kate Deering: (16:43)

It’s going to probably feel pretty crappy, especially in your later years. I mean, these are things you can do in your twenties and be like, “Yay, I did.” It still isn’t sustainable. But you can get that result pretty quickly. When you’re healing, your body has to learn a new path, and it needs that resting, non-stress time to kind of figure it out and adapt back in a positive way. And that doesn’t happen overnight. A lot of the reason is because we are still living our lives, right? I’m always like: “I wish everyone could just go to Bermuda for six months and live and heal and eat fruits and [get a] massage.” Do that. Like, that’s my protocol.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (17:27)

Yes, yes, exactly. You know, getting into all of this—even with the experience that I’ve had with metabolism early on in my years, before even getting into functional medicine and knowing what I know—I definitely went really low carb, and I paid for it, especially after [having] kids and that stress. So let’s get into foods that really support metabolism because I feel like there’s a lot of conflicting information, a lot of different points of view, and things like that. So let’s get into what really supports the metabolism. What do we need to be doing to nourish the body when it’s been in such a stressful state?

Kate Deering: (18:13)

Yes. That is a great question because it is super confusing out there. So from my perspective, coming from a bio-energetic viewpoint where it’s all about energy production, that’s the view I’m going to give you: What foods can we eat that are going to go through the digestive system easily utilized through the blood and going into the cell so that we can maximize how well our body’s producing ATP? What does that look like? The primary fuel for your body to produce the best and most efficient energy is always going to be carbohydrates. Those are going to be fruits, roots, and honey. I hate to say it, but even white sugar can be utilized as an energy source. I’m not saying everyone should go have it. But as an energy [source], it can be broken down quite easily. And some cooked vegetables. Those are going to be your primary sources of energy because they are fairly easy to digest.

Kate Deering: (19:08)

So when you come from a place of a body that is stressed—and it doesn’t matter if you’re underweight or overweight, your body can still be stressed—even if you have a lot of fuel in your body, it could still be underfueled energetically because your body is having a hard time converting your fuel into energy. Just because you’ve got a lot stored doesn’t mean there isn’t an energetic issue going on. So the primary thing we always look at is GI function. Everything that your body needs nutritionally and energetically goes to the GI system. That’s how you get it. And if that is under dysfunction, well, that’s the first thing that needs to be addressed. Because, again, we know that that system needs the proper energy to function properly, and if you’re just in chaos all the time, it’s not. It’s like having a broken leg and trying to run on it.

Kate Deering: (19:55)

So we have to give that system a break. And one way we can give it a break is by making the food as easy to digest as possible. Sometimes that means really cooking it. Cooking is like predigesting food. We surely [inaudible], we chew it. But we also take away foods that are going to be super hard for your body to break down. That can be a lot of raw vegetables because that is really hard for your system; there’s not a lot of energy from those foods, and they’re wrapped up in a lot of things that make it hard for your body to get to the nutrients and so forth. So it’s [about] removing some of those foods and adding in foods like fruits that have an abundance of good carbohydrates and tons of nutrients in them for your system. So that’s a primary thing that needs to happen: Getting enough good carbohydrates into your day.

Kate Deering: (20:38)

And of course, it doesn’t mean [you should] just eat all the carbohydrates you want. If you’re not eating a lot right now, slowly introduce them and space them throughout the day. So one of the main theories here is that your body goes under stress. And the thing that regulates and sends you into a stress response is dysregulated blood sugar. When blood sugar drops, your body is like, “Oh my God, we’re going to die! Release stress hormones to breakdown tissue to regulate blood sugar.” So if you’re eating pretty consistently throughout the day with an ample amount of carbohydrates, then your blood sugar is going to be regulated; it’s going to stay in a zone where your body feels safe and isn’t going to send out those warning signals. So that’s like eating small meals initially throughout the day with some sort of carbohydrates, and then we would balance it with some protein and fat so that things don’t rush into your system really quickly.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (21:31)

So a lot of balance, right?—balanced meals.

Kate Deering: (21:33)

Lots of balanced meals, yes. That can be different for everyone. Normally, somebody who’s starting the protocol may have a small, moderate amount of carbohydrates with ample protein. I’m sure you guys know that a lot of women don’t eat enough protein. So it’s [about] balancing that. It’s normally recommended to use animal protein over plant [protein] because animal protein is easier to digest and utilize through protein sources. Plant proteins are bound in some sort of fiber, and they’re harder for your body to assimilate and use. So we would usually use fish and eggs, dairy, organ meats, and broths—all of that is recommended—and then some sort of fat that goes along with it. Depending on the person, I have used anywhere from severely low fat with people depending on what’s going on in their system to really moderate mid-grade fat up to like 100 grams a day.

Kate Deering: (22:25)

So it can depend. But there are obviously lots of good things in fat—all your fat-soluble nutrients—[and] it does help with digestion and moving things into your system. So it is [about] finding out what works for the person as far as what their macronutrients are. But usually we’d use a combination of all those things throughout the day, just looking at: Are you regulating? How’s your energy? Do you have mood or energy drops throughout the day? When we know that you feel constant energy throughout the day—cool! That’s a good place to start, and then monitor your temperature and your pulse.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (23:00)

And sleeping too, right?

Kate Deering: (23:02)

Oh yes. That’s a huge marker. That’s something that just goes to crap as people get older. And that’s a big marker if your body’s under stress if you can’t get to sleep because sleeping is a high metabolic state. It takes quite a bit of energy for you to get into that deep sleep. So if you’re waking up all the time or can’t get to sleep, you probably should address some of these other things.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (23:25)

Yes. For me, I definitely require more protein and fat than I do carbs. It’s not that I don’t have anything against carbs. My body loves animal protein, mostly fat, and then some carbs, but not a big amount. So I think it is really important that you pointed out that it is really individual, depending on what’s going on in the body. And I sleep best when I eat that way too, because if I were to eat higher carbs, especially carbs alone, which I don’t like when people do that, I would not sleep well. So with our patients, we’re always like, “Okay, you need to make sure you’re having protein at your last meal” if they’re having sleeping issues. That almost always really helps them stay asleep because they don’t get that drop in blood sugar that wakes them up.

Kate Deering: (24:17)

Sure. And I always tell people too, “Look, what’s working for you today might not work for you in three months because your body’s always changing and adapting.” There are always little tweaks that have to occur, and that’s why it’s good to monitor. And probably what you teach is a general awareness of your body and what the markers are, because I think most people are not in their bodies any longer. They’re so busy outside, they have no idea. So when I start asking them things, they’re just like, “What do you mean?” I go, “How do you feel throughout the day?” “Hmm, I don’t know.” And I’m like, “Okay, well, there’s something.” So it allows them to see for themselves what is happening to them throughout the day.

Kate Deering: (25:00)

Then I can go: “Look, how well you eat during the day is going to reflect your sleep at night.” So, if you skip a meal or you have an intense workout and you don’t basically support that, then that’s going to result in some crappy sleep. So always know that [so as] to look back on your day and what you need to change, add, or whatever so that your sleep looks better to you. I always refer to it as a Jenga thing. It’s not consistent all the time, and when you understand how your body functions, it’s a lot easier to give yourself things to support it versus just going, “I don’t know what happened.” How many times have you been like, “I’ve been doing all the same things and something went wrong”?

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (25:41)

Mm-hmm, for sure. I know that for me too, with stress, when I have a lot on my load, which we all do, I do better with having some carbs with each meal to really give me that energy with good amounts of protein and fat. So that balance has really, really helped me throughout the years—big time; big time!—because I was very low carb and high fat in my twenties and thirties. I have really found that that balance has been… And when I say carb, I mean starchy tubers—not a lot of breads, candy, or sugar—and a lot of that kind of stuff. Food from the earth.

Kate Deering: (26:24)

Yes. Whole foods that are good for you. Absolutely.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (26:28)

So what are your thoughts on the keto diet?—of which I guess there are so many different versions of keto.

Kate Deering: (26:33)

Yes. There seem to be a lot of different versions. I think it’s definitely good for some things. People who maybe have seizures or epilepsy—definitely it’s shown that it can help these things. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (27:19)

Migraines.

Kate Deering: (27:24)

But from an energetic point of view, obviously, when you’re using fat as fuel and/or ketones, one thing that I like to address is the importance of your body producing carbon dioxide. Certainly not in the keto space—you don’t usually hear the words “carbon dioxide” mentioned. And why that’s important is because when your body is utilizing carbohydrates for energy over fat, you will produce double the amount of carbon dioxide. So why is carbon dioxide important? People think it’s just something we release through metabolism—the end product when you produce energy. And it is, but it’s super important because carbon dioxide is needed for gases to exchange at the cell level. So for you to get oxygen into the tissue, you have to have carbon dioxide coming out. So there’s that gas exchange in the tissues. So when we refer to breathing, we obviously breathe through the lungs, but you also have a gas exchange at the cell level, or cellular respiration. And it’s through respiration that we have an exchange. We want oxygen to get into the tissue so that we don’t have to go through a state of hypoxia. We want our tissues to be well-oxygenated. We don’t want oxygen to stay in the blood because that can do damage. So that exchange is quite important.

Kate Deering: (28:08)

When you utilize fat as fuel, carbon dioxide production is cut in half. That can actually result in a slightly lower metabolic rate over time. Now, the effects of ketones—even ketones don’t produce as much energy as glucose. And when someone has a high metabolic rate, they basically utilize glucose much faster. So it kind of burns through at a faster rate, even though fat might have more energy per gram. But when you are at that high metabolic rate, you will burn more and produce more carbon dioxide, which will facilitate that gas exchange and give your tissues more oxygen. If you are not producing carbon dioxide on a cell level, oxygen isn’t getting into your tissue. And you can literally produce a state of hypoxia even by oxygenating and pushing—trying to push oxygen into someone. I think we saw that—this is my opinion—during COVID when they were trying to vent everybody and killing them all because their bodies were in such a state of stress. They were producing tons of lactic acid and going to either ketoacidosis or lactic acidosis, where you’re not producing carbon dioxide. And they were just pushing them, and all that oxygen they were trying to push into their systems just wasn’t getting there. So what was the effect? Well, it didn’t end well for those people.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (29:28)

Yes. It’s such a good point. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (29:29)

It is. And what about glucose in the liver, specifically for hormone metabolism? How important is that? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Kate Deering: (29:39)

Yes. Well, the liver can utilize some fat, but you can’t use ketones as energy. Even with a ketogenic diet, when they say, “Well, your brain can use ketones,” which it can, your liver can’t use ketones, so it does need glucose. Your liver needs to be well-fueled to do all of its functions. It has, like, what? Five hundred different functions for detoxification. Yes, it’s like a king. So if it’s not well-fueled, then a lot of these functions aren’t going to work. Plus, your liver holds glycogen, and regardless of what you think about carbohydrates, you have to have some level of blood sugar or you die. You can’t have zero blood sugar; you have to have some. So your liver is your storage organ for managing your blood sugar levels. So it always releases some, especially during the night, to keep you regulated.

Kate Deering: (30:29)

Now some people will argue, “Well, you can have it fairly low and be totally fine,” and some will argue, “Well, maintain it in a resting state between 70 and 100. It kind of depends [on] your theories on that. But regardless, you need some. So even if you have the argument, “Well, you don’t need to ingest any because your body can make it”—and that is true; protein is the only macronutrient you absolutely need to ingest to live—for your body to make it, that comes at a cost. And if you’re not ingesting any, it has to break down tissue or ingested protein to make glucose. That only happens in a slight stress response. If we’re trying to get our body out of a stress response, then we have to try to utilize other resources. And some people totally feel better. Becky feels better on more fat than carbs, and so forth. So it is slightly individualized, but all I can say is that might change. It’s always: Be aware of how your body feels because it could just shift, and then pay attention to your symptoms to see if that’s always going to work for you.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (31:33)

Yes. And I make myself eat carbs even though I don’t really like carbs, which people would probably die if they were… “What do you mean?” But I just don’t; I don’t like sugar, and I don’t like sweets. I don’t like that stuff. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (31:48)

I do.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (31:48)

I don’t even like fruit. I have to literally force myself to eat it, but I do because I do believe that there’s a lot of benefit to it. So that’s my main carb source, like berries, or sometimes I will have something like cassava or whatever. Overall, my body—through time—has done well with higher protein [levels]. I do probably have a moderate amount of fat. I’m definitely not in ketosis. But yes, that’s just how I am personally. But yes, it really does vary. And I do think you should be taking in some carbs.

Kate Deering: (32:28)

And especially if you’re normally an athlete, right? There are good times to take it in, like post-workout, [when] your body is more insulin sensitive. That’s a great time to take it in. Usually, in the mornings, it’s a good time to take it in because you have slept and fasted all night long and probably your liver glycogen is depleted. So there are more optimal times for people. And it depends on how the body responds. So if you are utilizing a lot of protein as fuel, we know that you have to break it down. You have to go through glucogenesis to regulate and get that fuel. Your body is not going to use protein directly as energy; it has to convert it to glucose. Gluconeogenesis doesn’t happen unless it’s under a stress response.

Kate Deering: (33:10)

Your body will always prioritize glucose over the other ones. They can all be utilized during the day, and they are. But especially in a stressed state, it’s going to prioritize glucose unless you’re in a ketogenic state, and then it will use the ketones. But under stress, your body is always like: “Hey, we need more energy. We need more blood sugar; we’re utilizing it.” And that’s what it’s going to do. And that’s why most people, when they’re under stress, what do they crave? Sweet stuff.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (33:42)

Yes. Carbs.

Kate Deering: (33:45)

Yes. And there’s a reason for that, right? What I see is those that restrict it the most. And I did that. I would carb restrict, but then something super stressful would happen, or I would go run 20 miles. I would come back and want to eat a whole loaf of bread. It was just like I couldn’t stop. And I just thought, “Well, I just don’t have my willpower.” I’m like, “No. It doesn’t have anything to do with that. It’s your body telling you, ‘I need fuel,’ and ‘this is what I’m wanting. But if you had given me enough all the way through the day, I wouldn’t be having this effect.'”

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (34:21)

So those highs and lows, or those big cravings if you had a little bit… That’s how I found myself, too, if I restricted too much. And early on, especially just learning my patterns and stuff and learning so much, that balance is so important. And then you don’t have a lot of those swings and cravings, right?

Kate Deering: (34:41)

It’s totally true. Yes, that was my biggest thought. I was like, “I never thought I would not have a craving,” because I had them most of my adult life, and I just had to grind it out. Then, when I started eating more balanced meals throughout the day, I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing!” I could have that ice cream in my freezer for a month and just be like, “Eh, it’s fine.” 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (35:01)

“I forgot it was there.” 

Kate Deering: (35:03)

Totally. I’m not in the corner eating it all.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (35:05)

Yes. I was training for a marathon once—before I knew better—and I definitely ate a lot more carbs at that time. I would start with a green plantain and protein. And I was definitely liking sweet potatoes and all that more. Now I’m more into walking and weight training, so I just don’t feel that I need that as much as I did at that time. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever eat that. But yes, I think it definitely varies. It depends on your activity level, what type of activity you’re doing, and all of that. So, let’s switch gears a little bit because we talk about this all the time, and I loved—when I heard you on that other podcast—how you talked about water. People are always like: “Drink water! Drink water! Stay hydrated!” But I think a really good point is [when] drinking water alone, you tend to pee a lot, and then you’re actually kind of getting dehydrated. So you talk about doing it with minerals. Can you kind of go into that more?

Kate Deering: (36:07)

Yes, because there’s nowhere in your body where it’s just water. It’s always minerals and water; it’s always solute and solvent. So if you try to drink just tons and tons and tons of water with not a lot of minerals, or at least foods with minerals, all you’re going to do is sit in the toilet like 20 times a day. I see that with fitness people I work with, where they’re like, “I’m drinking my gallon of water.” I’m like, “How often are you going to the bathroom?” They’ll be like: “I don’t know—15 times a day, almost every hour.” I’m like, “Okay, you should be going about five-ish, six-ish times a day. You shouldn’t be going 12–15. You’re just peeing it all out of you. You’re not doing anything other than stressing your bladder.” I’m not saying don’t drink water, but if you do, yes, having it with some minerals is going to be more optimal for you.

Kate Deering: (36:53)

So personally, I combine some with either coconut water or orange juice, and I put a tab of salt in there. I think that coconut water and orange juice are super high in potassium; adding a little bit of sodium in there is super helpful. That’s why I also recommend milk because of its very high mineral content. And also because when we’ve actually studied post-exercise drinks as far as recovery, skim milk is the number one winner when it comes to recovery drinks because [it has] high minerals, not a ton of fat, good carbohydrates, and a decent amount of protein. That’s the one that they’ve utilized even over whole milk to actually show the best recovery rates. Milk is probably a whole other discussion. 

Kate Deering: (37:40)

But when it comes to minerals, again, what are we doing? We’re trying to give our body foods that are easy to assimilate and use, especially post-workout or even under stress. Your body will burn through minerals really quickly, and it can burn through glucose really quickly. So having something with both is going to be super beneficial to you. Another reason is, like, if you go to the hospital and you’re dehydrated and stressed, they give you an IV of saline, salt, and sugar in there. That’s normally what they’re giving you. It’s not just an IV of water to hydrate you; it’s all of those compounds. There’s a reason for that. So it makes no sense for us to just be guzzling tons of water. You can even see that when athletes have run long distances in hot weather and all they drank the entire time was water. They can give themselves a heart attack because they’ve created this mineral imbalance in their systems because they’re sweating all the salt out. So there is an understanding that water is good. Just do it with some minerals however you ingest it, and it’s going to be much more beneficial to you.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (38:46)

Yes. I do good with salt. And I know a trick with marathoners is that they put a salt packet under their tongue if they start feeling dehydrated. So yes.

Kate Deering: (38:58)

Totally, yes. Exactly. I had a friend who used to have salty potatoes with him—I guess carbs. They’d be super salty. And he could digest really well.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (39:10)

Just crunch on a tater right there.

Kate Deering: (39:12)

Yes. He was a cyclist, so he would have him in his pack. But that was one of the things that he would eat. He’d get tons of potassium, salt, and some carbohydrates. That’s how he worked. And endurance athletes like them are notorious for drinking chocolate milk. They’ll drink flat Coca-Cola because Coke has sugar and also has electrolytes in it. It’s not the healthiest route to go, but there are reasons why they are doing those things to keep themselves going.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (39:43)

Yes. An old trainer long ago told me: “Drink chocolate milk after your workout.” I was like, “Okay!” I wouldn’t do that now, personally, but I get the point. You want a fast-acting carb.

Kate Deering: (39:57)

Yes. Fast-acting carbs and minerals. And you get some easy-to-digest protein in there, and it is super effective.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (40:06)

Yes. So for listeners that are listening, they’re like, “I really want to heal my metabolism.” What are three or four takeaways you could give them [as] action steps to start incorporating?

Kate Deering: (40:18)

The first thing I’d always say is to find your baseline so that you’re not just going crazy out there. A lot of people do that; they hear these things, and they’re like, “Well, I’m just going to go drink a ton of milk and eat a bunch of fruit,” and then everything goes haywire. So one thing you have to remember is that whatever you’re doing, if you make an extreme change in diet, your body will see that as a stress. It’s too much and too quick. So the first thing you want to do is find your baseline. I like people to [keep a] food log. It gives you at least an understanding of what you’re ingesting. I use an app called Cronometer. You can go in there, put in your food, and then you can see how many calories you’re consuming and how much fat, protein, and carbs you’re consuming. There’s your baseline.

Kate Deering: (40:58)

From there, if you’re having a lot of these issues that we’ve discussed, it could be as slow as starting to incorporate some easy-to-digest carbohydrates into your diet. Maybe a little bit in each of your meals. Maybe a half cup of fruit in each of your meals, and just see how your body does. And make sure, along with it, you’re having some protein in each of your meals. So for a good baseline, I start with: It depends on where you come from. It could be anywhere from a one-to-one ratio of carbs to protein up to a one-to-four [ratio]. Certainly, people who are more athletic have four times as many carbohydrates to protein, so it depends. But getting some of these good carbohydrates into your diet would be a good start.

Kate Deering: (41:40)

The other thing is making sure you’re using animal proteins over vegetable proteins because you’re going to get nutrients from animal proteins that you will not get from vegetable proteins. So that is another way. So those are your meats, your fish, your shellfish, your organs, your dairy, your cheese, your eggs, and your bone broth; all of those are good sources. Having a little bit of protein in each meal is another good place. Always think: Carb/protein, carb/protein. That’s going to also help balance your blood sugar. At the same time, while you’re making these changes, continue to log them because that will help you see what you’re doing so you’re not just out there guessing.

Kate Deering: (42:19)

Actually, start taking your temperature and pulse. It’s a really good marker that you can take at home [and one that] you don’t have to go get a lab for. That will show you if you are progressing. So you want to take it first thing in the morning and then usually 20–30 minutes post-meal because food should raise your body temperature. What does it do? We eat it, break it down, use it as a cell, and produce heat; that’s one of the byproducts. So if your food is not doing that to you, then we have to ask why. And a lot of people do get colder once they eat, and it’s usually because they’re starting from a stressed state. If your body’s under stress, it can still produce heat, but it’s producing heat by breaking down your body. So if all of a sudden we stop that process by eating, you can get a cooler temperature. So [take your] morning temperature 20–30 minutes past meals and just monitor and see what your body’s doing. We need to get more in touch with these markers versus just using your weight because you can be really unhealthy and be low-weight, and you can be moderately overweight and actually be quite healthy. So it’s good to look at other things and pay attention to things like digestion, your sleep, your period, your mood, and your energy. All of those things will be markers that you are moving in the right direction.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (43:42)

I love that. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (43:43)

Yes. And I think those are really great points. We love things that people can do at home, things that they don’t have to go to a practitioner for. But I want to circle back real quick to the chocolate milk. I don’t want people to think the takeaway is to have chocolate milk, because you hear what you want to hear sometimes. Do you think—and this is my opinion, but I want to know yours—that maybe a hydrolyzed beef protein powder with some fruit smoothie would be a good post-workout meal because it’s already kind of pre-digested? I’m not really into protein powders all the time. I think real food is better, but I think that that might be an appropriate place to have something like that if you can make it a little higher glycemic. And you’re getting some protein in there too.

Kate Deering: (44:35)

My theories are all: Do what works for you. I can only tell you that when they looked at post-workout hydration, they showed that skim milk and, I think, probably chocolate milk were the better options. They’re not processed. Milk is obviously not processed. Obviously, some people don’t like milk; they think it creates problems. And for some people, it does. A lot of it can be because they have some GI dysfunction and are not breaking it down properly. Milk is, in my opinion, a very good food because it’s very high mineral, has a lot of nutrient in it. It’s easy for your body to break down as long as you’re not irritated by it. And it is a fat, carbon, and protein [food] altogether. So that is my experience with using it.

Kate Deering: (45:19)

Now, not everybody that I work with can utilize it, and some don’t do well with it at all. But I can usually get them into a place where they can utilize it better. So it just might be that we have to work through some other glitches before they get there. Some people do well with using a protein, a whey, or some other mix of protein and carbs post-workout. So it’s kind of like, “What works best for you?” And if milk doesn’t work for you and you’re using some other protein mix that seems to work for you right now, then go for that. Could it be that you might try to use something different? You could. But in my experience, I have utilized milkshakes, or maybe even a combo. Sometimes I’ll change it. It might be some Greek yogurt or some fruit. It could be different combos depending on how they respond. But for a lot of people, it works really well.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (46:06)

And you really reiterate bio-individuality too, because depending on what people are personally going through with their hormones, what’s going on in the gut, and the stress they have, there are a lot of different things you have to take into consideration. It’s not just like, “Everybody, this is the fixed plan, and here you go.” And I love how, when you talk about this stuff and when you talk about healing the metabolism, you really do go into detail about working with the individual. Not everybody is the same, and there are a lot of other factors that come in, and it’s important for us as functional docs to really take that into consideration.

Kate Deering: (46:49)

Yes. Everybody starts at a different spot, right? And a lot of people come in, and they’re like, “If I eat this food, I feel like garbage.” Okay. So that’s why it’s like: Don’t just read into this, because that’s, I think, what we’ve been kind of conditioned to do. We read a diet, and they’re like, “Well, I’m just going to do that diet and do everything it says for me to do” without even considering [other factors]. And the only thing we think about is, “Oh, I lost weight,” or “maybe my GI system… ” because you can eat a keto or carnivore-based diet, and your GI will usually get fixed because you’ve removed all the irritants. But the question is, can you add some of these things back in and still not have a reaction? So that’s the million-dollar question. But the thought process is that you’ve got to learn how to… That’s why I like really subjective markers because all of those things are signs of how your body’s doing.

Kate Deering: (47:39)

And if we start to understand that, then we can go, “Huh, when I did this, I didn’t sleep well.” Or, “When I did this, I crashed.” Or, “When I did this, my period wasn’t very good.” And then you can start to think for yourself: What do you need to do?—because I think that’s what we have to get back to. I know everybody’s like, “I don’t time to be my own doctor.” And I’m like, “But do you have time to be sick all the time?”

Dr. Becky Campbell: (48:01)

Right! Or to spend your time at the doctor because you weren’t proactive.

Kate Deering: (48:07)

Yes. So it’s not like you have to go and get a functional medicine degree or become an actual doctor. You just need to be aware. And when you start to tune into yourself, because I think your body is always telling you things, when you start to listen to that stuff, then you can make decisions for yourself that may make more sense to you. And you’ll get a better response.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (48:30)

Can you tell us about your book and where else people can find you?

Kate Deering: (48:34)

I’d love to. So my book is called How to Heal Your Metabolism. It kind of goes through all these theories. It’s going to give you an easy-to-understand, digestible form of where I’m coming from. It’ll explain the foods and why and give you an understanding of maybe why other things aren’t working and what things you should look for. So it does go through a lot of theories that I kind of try to debunk. So that is available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can get it online. You can go to my website and buy it there. My website is katedeering.com, and I have tons of information, [such as] blogs, on there. I have tons of video content on there. And then you can also find me on Instagram or Facebook: @KateDeeringFitness. Yes, that’s it.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (49:21)

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on and sharing all your knowledge. It’s always fun. I love having all different types of guests—you learn so much, we expand our knowledge, and we help more people—so we really appreciate you.

Kate Deering: (49:35)

Yes. Thank you. Thanks for having me on here today.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (49:41)

Thank you, guys, so much for listening to this episode. And if you love this episode, please leave a review. It only takes a couple of minutes, and you can find out more about us at drbeckycampbell.com. And you can follow us on Instagram at @HealthBabesPodcast, @DrBeckyCampbell, and @DrKrystalHohn. Have an amazing day!

Watch the Full Episode on the Health Babes Podcast YouTube Channel

The Health Babes Podcast

Watch the full episode on the Health Babes Podcast YouTube channel