Libido & The Pill with Dr. Jolene Brighten, and Keto & Counting Carbs

#386: Libido & The Pill with Dr. Jolene Brighten, and Keto & Counting Carbs

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Libido & The Pill with Dr. Jolene Brighten, and Keto & Counting CarbsTopics

  1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:10]
    1. Diane's sinuses
    2. Keto Quick Start tour dates
    3. Balanced Bites Meals
    4. Maui vacation in December
    5. Baby Making and Beyond
    6. Liz travel plans
  2. Dr. Jolene Brighten part five: Libido and the pill [12:31]
  3. Listener question about starting keto and counting carbs [26:03]
  4. Favorite business tool [34:55]

Find Dr. Brighten here-

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Libido & The Pill with Dr. Jolene Brighten, and Keto & Counting Carbs Libido & The Pill with Dr. Jolene Brighten, and Keto & Counting Carbs Libido & The Pill with Dr. Jolene Brighten, and Keto & Counting Carbs Libido & The Pill with Dr. Jolene Brighten, and Keto & Counting Carbs

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 386.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and the 21-Day Sugar Detox. My newest book, Keto Quick Start, just released on January 1. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids.

Liz Wolfe: I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a lake in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City.

We’re the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we’ve been bringing you this award-winning podcast for more than 7 years. We’re here to share our take on modern healthy living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at or watch the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram account for our weekly calls for questions. You can ask us anything in the comments.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal.

The NTA’s nutritional therapy practitioner program and fully online nutritional therapy consultant program empower graduates with the education and skills needed to launch a successful, fulfilling career in holistic nutrition. Registration is now open for February classes, and you can learn more and save your seat by going to Don’t forget to check out the NTA’s annual conference, Roots, happening March 1 through 3 in Portland, Oregon. It’s one of the most empowering and educational holistic nutritional events of the year, and all are welcome.

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:10]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Hi Diane!

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s up?

Liz Wolfe: It’s been a while.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m back!

Liz Wolfe: You're back. You’ve been on tour. So what’s going on? What’s going on with you?

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m here for a minute. Well, first I wanted to address something that apparently has been popping up in some past episodes, since it was winter here in San Francisco, and the air had been pretty dry. And I don’t know if it’s going to happen on this episode, too. And I talked about this on our Facebook page.

But I’ve been sniffling a bunch because the air is kind of dry. We haven’t put the humidifier on during the day. And Scott, my husband, who edits our podcast. Thanks honey! He was like; honey, it kind of sounds like something is going on. Like you have a drug problem or something with all of this sniffling. And I was like; I should probably just say something about it on the show. I have sinus issues. We keep saying every year we’re going to go to an ENT. I just can’t get air through my nose. It’s on the list. But this is one of those things where I feel like, even not having kids, I put myself on the bottom of the list of things to take care of in this regard.

So anyway, sinus issues, you guys. {laughs} I don’t know what else to say about it. But if you’ve heard it, and you're like; what is going on with her? That’s really it.

Liz Wolfe: I’ve never noticed.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well he notices that stuff when he’s editing, because he’s probably like; I can’t edit this out. So, anyway. It is what it is. But if you are having sinus issues this winter, I’m with you. What else?

So tour stops. Next up, the original air date for this show is going to be February 7th. So the next stops will be DC, Charlotte, Vegas, Denver, and Kansas City with you. Yay!

Liz Wolfe: Yay!

Diane Sanfilippo: And then Phoenix.

Liz Wolfe: Are you going to stay with me? I forgot.

Diane Sanfilippo: TBD.

Liz Wolfe: TBD.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: I’ve got a basement.

Diane Sanfilippo: How many rooms are in your castle? I feel like my house could fit inside of a corner of your house.

Liz Wolfe: You could have probably bought one of the largest places in Kansas City for the price of an apartment in San Francisco. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s so gross. But I love it here.

Liz Wolfe: It’s ok. Location is so great.

Diane Sanfilippo: I do love it here. TBD. But it’s possible, and it’s possible not. And it’s not personal if I don’t.

Liz Wolfe: I think you should. And I have a really nice Jenn Air stove that the previous owners put in. {laughs} You would really like cooking in my kitchen. Just saying.

Diane Sanfilippo: We shall see.

Liz Wolfe: Ok.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s also a matter of logistics. If I’m doing a morning show and need to get there early, then sometimes I like staying super close to where I need to be so I don’t have to stress about it the next day. So that’s my super practical whatever approach.

Anyway. Phoenix at the end of March will be super fun. That will be; we’re there because of the Beautycounter conference. So Cassy Joy is going to kind of MC for me. And I’ve got some fun guests coming. So Cristina Curp is going to be with me in DC. I don’t know if I have someone with me yet in Charlotte. My husband will be in Vegas. Emily Schromm is going to be with me in Denver. You’ll obviously be in Kansas City.

My special guests are kind of MCing and asking the questions of me in the beginning, and then are there obviously to answer questions alongside me if they’re unrelated to keto specifically. So it’s been super fun so far. I love getting to meet you guys. Thanks to everyone who has been coming out on the tour.

And other updates; Balanced Bites meals; so, obviously we record these a little bit ahead. Hopefully by now they are launched and you're receiving them. I’m super excited about it. The first 10 meals are all keto. The next 10 that will be coming up soon are all paleo, and some of those are also keto. You guys will see on the website a way to figure out which are which.

I don’t know if this is available yet, according to this air date. We’re starting with these set boxes because I want to be able to get your feedback on which meals are kind of your favorites, and then we will eventually have a way to customize your boxes. They will be a little bit more expensive to customize, just because we can be more predictive if we have a set group of meals in the box.

But for now, they’re all being sold 10 to a box. That could be a lunch every day for 2 weeks that you take to work. Or it could be one weeks’ worth, and two people are sharing it. Whatever. I’m super excited about it. I can’t wait to give you guys more details on that. But, more details coming soon. All real food, made by people not machines. Anyway.

And then the only other thing I wanted to shout out this week was the Fairmont Kea Lani, for anybody who was following along when Scott and I went to Maui back in December, we are working on a blog post to give you guys a recap and review of our experience. But a lot of you guys were asking, first of all, where we stayed and what we thought of it. We absolutely had a fantastic time there. They were really accommodating. Really great with our dietary concerns. Even to the point of putting it in their main computer at the resort, so any time we would dine somewhere, they would be able to go back to it and see. And I thought that was really great.

They do have a kid friendly side, and an adult only side. I thought that was really helpful, too, for those who want to bring their kids and have a great experience that way. And those of us who are not families with kids to have a great experience, as well. Anyway, I jus wanted to give them a quick shout out. If you guys are looking for a place to stay in Maui, we really enjoyed our stay there. And of course, we had a little fridge. I got to keep some food in the room, and all of that. Which is always helpful for us, too.

What is going on over by the lake? Other than the fact that you are bundled in; it’s not even a blanket scarf. It’s just a full-on actual blanket.

Liz Wolfe: It’s like freaking freezing in here, Mr. Wigglesworth.

Diane Sanfilippo: Is it a slanket?

Liz Wolfe: No. It’s kind of an itchy blanket, unfortunately. I had my puffy coat on but it was too swishy to record a podcast in. I think it’s the fact that it was super duper cold this weekend when the Chiefs lost to the stupid Patriots in the AFC championship. We don’t have to go into that, except for the fact that the coin toss for overtime in football is freaking dumb. But moving on.

I feel like it’s been super frigid, and then it will get kind of warmer, like 35-40 degrees, and it will rain. So it’s got this moisture in the air. And then it will go back down to single digits. So it just makes it; I swear, bone chilling.

And I know when we were doing the farm thing, it was really tough on the animals to have this wet weather, and then back into super cold, and then back into wet. It just really gets you to your core, I feel like. So I’m bundled up over here.

There’s not a whole lot going on over here. Meg and I are still loading content into Baby Making and Beyond. We’ve finished with our beta group, which is really, really awesome. We got some really good feedback. And now all of our beta testers are going to have access to the new content about fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum that we’ve loaded up. And we will open up Baby Making and Beyond, I think hopefully mid-February is what we’re looking at.

Another thing that’s probably going to shock you as much as it shocked me, I have quite a bit of travel coming up the next couple of months. I’m not a traveler, at all. But my husband and I are kind of thinking about maybe having another kid at some point in the future before I turn 40 {laughs}. So sometime in the next 5 years.

But we were definitely kind of like; you know, we need to go do some stuff. Because if the second kid; if we’re able to have another kid, of course. If we’re lucky enough to be able to do that, if it’s anything like the first, I’m not going to be leaving the house for like 4 years. So we decided we were going to Disney on an upcoming trip. And then my husband and I are going to Florida again, just the two of us, in April. And in between there I’ve got a nice girls’ trip in March to Phoenix, tacked right onto the beginning of the trip to Phoenix for the Beautycounter conference. Potentially the Kentucky Derby in May.

So we just kind of filled the calendar with stuff that we should have done when we were child-free, and just didn’t. So that should be fun. Kind of looking forward to it, since I get to do it with my family and my husband knows a lot about airplanes. So I get less nervous flying on airplanes when he’s actually there with me.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I don’t like doing my whole tour situation without my husband. Because it’s just such a bummer. But I’m definitely ok to be traveling. I don’t know what it is. I think part of it is that I get away from what feels heavy with responsibility when I’m home. It’s sort of like; this is all I have to do, is do the thing that I’m scheduled for today, and that’s it. It’s like I don’t feel that tethering to all the additional responsibilities, I think. It’s liberating for me. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: It should be good. And I’ve really only done work travel over the last; I mean, even decade. We would go out on the road, which was always fun to mix business with friendship.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: And then after that, of course, a lot of Beautycounter travel over the last couple of years. Which again is business plus friendship. But I haven’t done a whole lot of traveling with my family. So we’ll see how it goes.

I got a new umbrella-type stroller for the moms out there. It’s the Uppababy minu, and it’s actually really awesome. It folds; it doesn’t fold in half, it folds into fourths. And it folds with one hand. So it’s kind of amazing.

Diane Sanfilippo: That sounds very Mary Poppins.

Liz Wolfe: It’s actually really cool, and I’m going to do a video of it at some point. It’s not a cheap stroller, but I’ve waited a really, really long time to get this stroller. {laughs} So I’m like; even though my kid is 4, and probably doesn’t need strollers anymore, I’m going to just do it. Because this is the stuff that I spend money on now that we’re not buying bales of hay {laughs} and mending fences constantly. That stuff got expensive. So that’s it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it.

2. Dr. Jolene Brighten part five: Libido and the pill [12:31]

Liz Wolfe: Next up, we have our final segment with Dr. Jolene Brighten. Today she will be talking about how the pill can affect your libido, and your fertility. So have a listen.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, we are back. Don’t cry; this is our fifth and final installment of our five-part series with Dr. Jolene Brighten. So be sure you go back and listen to the previous four episodes we did with clips, and of course, the full episodes we have with Dr. Jolene in our archives.

So for this last segment, I would love to hear you talk a bit about how the pill can affect libido and fertility. Really important topics.

Dr. Jolene Brighten: Mm-hmm. Time for the sexy talk. {laughs} So I actually joke in Beyond the Pill that the real way the pill actually works is that it crashes your libido. So then you don’t even want to have sex. You can’t get pregnant; yay! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Dr. Jolene Brighten: You know, orgasms are really important in women’s health, and they’re an important measurement. Libido is an important marker of your health. And I say that, because so often women will be dismissed when they’re complaining about a low libido. The tide is turning, for sure. But for a long time, it used to be, the story went; oh, libido is just a nice benefit for women. They’re not really interested in sex. That’s also, once upon a time, when we thought the clitoris was just a little button that sat above our urethra.

Now we understand; whoa! It’s this ginormous internal structure. And whoa, orgasms actually release antiaging hormones, and help women. They can help regulate your cycle. Really cool stuff.

So when it comes to the pill; any of the hormonal birth control can do this, because when you are exposing yourself to the levels of hormones you need to stop the brain from talking to the ovaries, your body, always being smart, has your back, secretes hormone binding globulin. And that binds up those hormones, so that way you're not getting over exposure with that.

Now the issue with birth control that I outline all in the liver chapter of my book is that it actually has been shown in the research to change the genetic expression of that protein. So what does that mean? It means that at the genetic level, it is training your liver to secrete sex hormone binding globulin. And some of the researchers are questioning if it ever comes back down.

And they had women come off of birth control, and they measured their sex hormone binding globulin compared to women who had never taken it, and those levels were well above women who had never taken it. So this is a really important thing to understand.

Now, clinically, I have worked with women. We are able; because yay, epigenetics. Because what you eat and how you think. And by the way, if you're not processing your anger, that’s going to be hard on your liver as well. All of this comes into play, that you can actually shift those genetics again. And no, I’m not measuring people’s genetics. I’m measuring their sex hormone binding globulin, and finding that women are unable to get that back down until they start on some of my protocols.

Now, why that matters is that sex hormone binding globulin grabs onto your testosterone. So, we talked on another episode, testosterone is involved in mood. And everybody always thinks about testosterone when it comes to libido. And with that, if you have this binding protein grabbing onto your testosterone, then you're not going to use it. But not to mention all of your other hormones are also involved in your libido, as well. There’s lots of hormones in your body that are working for you. But just looking at the testosterone piece alone, that’s a reason why women lose their libido on birth control. They come off and they’re like; wait, I thought it was going to get better. It never got better.

Now, if you're wondering right now; don’t I have to at least want to be interested in sex to be able to make a baby? Yes. {laughs} So here’s the thing. Whether or not you want to have a baby; that is your call. I know right now I’m talking to Diane. You have zero; I have one and I’m done. I’m like; {laughs} that was it. And life before children was definitely a different story. So mad respect to women on whatever they want to choose. But wherever you're at in the spectrum, you need to be ovulating. So as long as you're in your fertile years, we need to be releasing an egg. Because that is how we make our progesterone. Also involved in your libido.

Without actually releasing an egg, we don’t form the corpus luteum. Without that, you don’t make your progesterone. Now, not only are you not in the mood, but you are also feeling really frazzled and anxious, and you can’t get to sleep. You get in bed at night, and you're like; don’t touch me. Don’t look at me. {laughs} And that’s your hormones. So be gentle with yourself.

Now, when it comes to fertility; this is like the most heated area. I think up there with mood when you talk about birth control. Because doctors will sometimes stomp their feet like a toddler. I say that because we’re talking about kids. And be like; no! It has no impact on a woman’s fertility! Maybe. Maybe it does. Maybe certain women. And instead of being so adamant.

I was laughing the other day because I was reading this; I have this children’s philosophy book that I read with my son. And there’s this little picture with this little caption that was like; “Many of the things that were once believed to be true in medicine have now been shown to be false.” And I just cracked up. I had to share it on Instagram. Because I’m like; this is what I talk about. Can we just be humble? Can we just stay curious? Can we just understand that we just discovered new anatomic structures in the body yesterday, and we’ve been dissecting it forever? We have to have more humility. That’s how science works. If you want to be a true scientist, then you have to go in being willing to prove yourself wrong, as well.

So when it comes to the fertility conversation; there are women who get pregnant. They’re like; I got off, I got pregnant. Please don’t do that, if you're listening to this. There was just a study that came out; everybody take a breath. I’m not judging you. There was a study that came out showing if women got pregnant within 6 months of discontinuing birth control, their baby was at higher risk for a childhood cancer.

Look. If you did birth control and you did not know this; I did not know this until this study came out, which is exactly what we need to be happening here. But know that today and tomorrow is always an opportunity to do better. We are not going to sit here and judge ourselves. I just want to say that, because I know a lot of women. I’ll talk about that, and then they’ll come to me and they’re like; so you're telling me I hurt my baby? No. Hell no! You're a mama. You would not hurt your baby. That is not what you were signing up to do. In fact, I would venture to guess that your doctor said; just get off the pill. You’ll be fine. Have a baby.

There’s also the issue with nutrient depletions. Which we’ve talked about on other episodes. So if you're a woman, and you're thinking, “I want to get pregnant,” you need to start a prenatal now. Especially if you're on hormonal birth control. The trouble is that hormonal birth control depletes folate and B12.

Now, notice I said folate. Don’t be taking folic acid. That stuff is junk, and you ain’t junk. So take the good stuff; folate. With that, when you do get pregnant, by the time you find out, you already needed that folate and that B12. And if you're a woman on continuous hormonal birth control, you may not even find out until you are into your second trimester. And that’s scary business.

So that’s why I say; every woman, if you are taking hormonal birth control, please be on a multivitamin or a prenatal, so that you can safeguard. Because whoops; it does happen. These contraceptives are not 100% effective. And if your body is gung-ho on baby making; nature will find a way. So make sure that you are keeping it safe with being on that prenatal or that multivitamin.

Now the other thing that’s really interesting that we’ve seen; post-pill amenorrhea has been something that’s been documented since the 70s. That is, a woman comes off of hormonal birth control and she loses her period altogether. There are people who argue; well that only happens if you had an irregular period, or you had issues before you got on birth control.

True; those are the women who are higher risk. However, I was somebody who had clockwork; I always knew when my period was coming. Because it was wicked painful, it was super heavy. And that’s why I was so grateful for the pill. I wish someone had just talked to me about; maybe you should love your liver, Dr. Brighten. {laughs} My little girl self; could you have just told me that you were estrogen dominant. That’s what was going on there.

But with that, I had regular periods. And I make these jokes; I come from a big Hispanic family. All you have to do is look at a Latina and we’re going to get pregnant. That’s it; you just look at us {laughs} and we’ll get pregnant. So with that, I do not have a family history of PCOS. Do not have a family history of infertility. I came off of birth control and I lost my period. And for the first time in my life, I had zero period. It was after a decade.

I started developing cystic acne, and my doctor said to me; well, you probably had PCOS all along. I happen to be in medical school, studying PCOS and how you diagnose it, and I was like; hold up. No. No, no, no. I did not. And then he told me I was misremembering my periods. I’m like; no, I was scared of them. {laughs} You don’t understand.

And that’s how it goes in women’s medicine. Oh, I need to fit you in this box that makes sense for me, instead of being like; ok, this is interesting. What’s going on here? So I’ve seen other women who have a very similar experience, as well. Where they come off the pill, and now their period has gone missing.

The really cool thing is that I took my protocols from my clinic, I put them in this book, and I’ve tested them out in a DIY online program with women. We’ve had women who had regular periods, gone on the pill. Sometimes just a year on the pill. And they come off, and they’re being told their infertile. They’ll never have a baby. We have women that have gotten their period back after four years; after 10 years. And that is just doing the diet, lifestyle, and supplementation piece. And these are women; we always celebrate. These are women whose doctors said; the only way you're going to get pregnant is you're going to have a reproductive endocrinologist step in and take over the whole process for you. And they’ve been able to conceive naturally.

Now, I’ve been talking a lot about this. I’m going to say one more thing here. There is early research that’s come out showing that long-term use of hormonal birth control; so 10 years or more, is associated with a downregulation in receptors in the endometrial tissue. So the lining of your uterus. And I go into all of this in my book and why this is important.

But just the real quick takeaway form that is; reproductive endocrinologists have been observing this. We are very, very far off from getting all the research that we need to understand this. But when a woman comes off of hormonal birth control; which, PS, anybody who wants to criticize this, I also want to say this is the exact mechanism of why they think women have lower risk of endometrial cancer while on hormonal birth control. It thins the lining, and it downregulates these receptors.

So, what can happen is you can start ovulating when you come off the pill, but you will not be able to maintain that pregnancy because there is not soft, cushiony endometrium for that baby to implant into. So this is what reproductive endocrinologists are start to question; ok, is this why women cannot maintain a pregnancy when they come off of hormonal birth control?

Again, we are really early in the research. And I don’t have an exact answer of; how do you get those receptors upregulated again? How do you rebuild that endometrium? Except to say that we know that diet, exercise, drinking water, going to sleep, loving up your body with some good nutrients. That is always winning in the research.

One of the side effects of women that are trying to get pregnant is that they get a lot healthier. So do that, and start on that, and stay tuned. {laughs} Because when the research comes out, I’m going to read it. I’m going to share it with you. But that’s kind of my broad, sweeping, the ways that it can impact your libido, impact your fertility long-term. And again; women deserve to know. What are the possibilities in terms of taking that pill? Before that pop that pill, can we just please give her the information so at the end of the day, she feels that she made the best decision for herself. And she enters into that with the agreement that I understand what is possible and what the potential is here.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. Thank you so much for taking the time to share all of this with us. Your new book, Beyond the Pill, is phenomenal. Women are going to be so empowered with the information in this book. And I know that they will just love whether they are a mom of a woman, or a young girl who this information will be helpful for them. Whether they’ve come off the pill, whether they’re on the pill. No matter what.

And for someone like me, who took the pill for 10 years 10 years ago; there’s information for me to kind of empower myself and do better for myself every day. So it’s really great for all of us. So thank you so much, first of all for writing the book, for taking the time. And thank you for joining me for these clips for our listeners.

Dr. Jolene Brighten: Yes, well I love your tribe, and I so appreciate the time that I got to spend with you.

Diane Sanfilippo: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Perfect Keto. Dr. Anthony Gustin and his teams have created a line of supplements that are super clean and effective, no matter what your dietary needs. I’ve been blending their MCT oil powder into my matcha latte lately. Not only are MCTs; medium chain triglycerides; a premium source of your body’s preferred type of energy, and help to fuel your brain and body, but there’s also no added taste. It makes your coffee or matcha wonderfully creamy. Check them out at and use the code BALANCED for 20% off at Perfect Keto; and you can also use that code their sister site, Equip Foods. I love their collagen. And I actually also love their pre-workout in the blackberry lemon flavor. Check them out at

3. Listener question about starting keto and counting carbs [26:03]

Liz Wolfe: Today, we are going to chat about keto. Little question about keto. Do you think we have somebody that runs this podcast that likes to talk about keto?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I think the listeners like to talk about it.

Liz Wolfe: I think indeed. And luckily you're here to answer questions about it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m here. With jazz hands. Ta-da! Let’s talk about it!

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Since I just had a blueberry smoothie, probably not qualified. Alrighty. Sarah asks, “Keto question. I’m interested in starting keto for weight loss and mental clarity/focus. I’m not usually a meal tracker, and I found a lot of freedom in not tracking my food. But if I want to start keto and do it right, I feel like I might need to track for at least a short period of time at the beginning. So my question is; when starting keto, should I be starting with eating a super low number of carbs, or maybe ramp down?”

I think she probably means ramp down slowly.

“If I immediately start low, what would be a good number? For reference, I’m an Abstainer, an Obliger, and an Enneagram 2.”

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Love that. Love that. It’s so important! It really does change how information is absorbed.

Diane Sanfilippo: It does.

Liz Wolfe: Depending on your personality type. I love that.

Diane Sanfilippo: It does. And rewinding back 7 years, don’t you wish we had had that information on every question. To be like; now here’s how we can answer this to be most effective for you.

Liz Wolfe: My personality framework that I’m going to design is going to be; are you a resister or a listener? {laughs} Because for me, I resisted all of this type of stuff; personality typing, for a really long time.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s a classic 6. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: For real. It’s so interesting.

Diane Sanfilippo: Classic peg! {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Classic 6! Don’t ever leave me. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: SNL for life.

Liz Wolfe: Because I’ll find you!

Diane Sanfilippo: I will find you. I say that to Scott all the time.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} OK. So, this is a good question. I’ve been getting this question a lot. And for those of you who don’t know the whole Abstainer, Obliger thing, that’s a Gretchen Rubin reference. You can check out her work. I love her podcast; Happier with Gretchen Rubin. And Enneagram, you go to We can link to that in the show notes.

But, this question is actually a really common one. And I think it’s a great question for somebody who is looking to use keto as something where you're just trying to tweak what’s going on with your health. Especially if it’s mental clarity and focus. That’s something that, for me, is one of the biggest benefits of getting the excess carbs that I really don’t need out of my diet. And this isn’t true for everyone. But if what you're eating; if you don’t have that mental clarity and focus.

And you know, one of the ways I can describe how this feels. Over time, I can’t remember the last time I felt it because it’s been a while now that I’ve been eating keto again. But I remember, I used to get in the car. And I think I talked about this on the podcast. But I used to get in the car with Scott, and we’d be running errands. And I remember, I’d get out of the car and I’d be like; I feel like I’m in a daze the whole time. And I didn’t know if it was just I hadn’t slept enough the night before. Because sometimes I did sleep enough the night before. I just didn’t feel as sharp and as present as I thought I should all the time. And that’s kind of that mental clarity/focus issue.

And obviously, also being able to focus on a project or something that you're writing. And that was actually; it was such a great. I don’t want to call it a side effect of going in and writing this book. But it did force me to come back to keto, something I have done for almost a decade on and off. And it actually helped me write the book. I don’t know; just a better timeline. I was really on point with what I was doing with the writing for this book.

So I just wanted to give you guys a background on; keto can really help people who are struggling with that mental clarity and focus. Because for a lot of folks, that excess carb amount is just getting in the way. Maybe it’s pushing your blood sugar all over the place. Or maybe the insulin response is just causing that brain fog for you. So that all being said; for somebody who is just looking to have that benefit, I actually do think that starting with just eating the foods that are kind of on my keto foods list. Where you're eating either zero, low carb, or very low carb foods. And not counting anything. Is the best way to start.

So here’s my Obliger. I’m going to tell you what to do. {laughs} And actually, in Keto Quick Start, this is what I tell you to do for the first two weeks. Eat from the foods that are on the keto foods list, leaning towards that zero, very low, and low carb foods. Stay away from some of the higher carb foods. I mean, they’re on the list so I can show you how many carbs are in them. But lean towards those green shaded boxes. And don’t count anything for at least two weeks. And see how you feel.

Because if you feel great, and you're having improvement, and you're seeing an improved quality of your mental focus and clarity and all of that without counting and tracking, I don’t think you need to count and track. Because for a lot of us, very naturally, our body can get into ketosis without counting. And I think it’s a really big misconception that you have to eat X number of grams of carbs to get into ketosis. Because it’s just not true.

There’s a different number range for every person, depending on your metabolism/muscle mass. Depending on your activity level. There are a bunch of different factors that are going to affect whether it takes 20 grams of carbs or 50 grams of carbs, or even 75 grams of carbs for each individual person to get into ketosis.

So in the book, I have people focus on this 30 grams of net carbs range, which is actually going to be more like 40 or 50 total grams of carbs. And for somebody who is eating vegetables, crunchy vegetables, leafy vegetables, etc. Mostly avoiding fruit, except maybe a little bit of berries here and there, and avoiding starchy foods. You're going to come out in that range. You don’t need to micromanage it for the most part, at that point.

If you do that for 2 weeks, and you're like; you know what? I don’t feel better yet. Then I have you start counting and tracking just the carbs. You don’t need to count and track everything you're eating. And just see where you're falling. And then try and scale it back a little bit. And give yourself; I would say at least a week at a time at different carb count ranges. So if you go to the 30, and you're like; ok, I feel really good here. Do that for a few weeks, see how you feel. If you don’t feel great, and you want to rebalance and add a little bit more, you can do that and see how you do.

You can test and see if you're in ketosis when you are eating 40 or 50 grams of carbs. You very well may be. It’s not a magic; if you eat this number of carbs, you will be in ketosis. It’s not that. If you're eating 20-30 grams, it’s almost impossible for you not to be in ketosis. I mean, your body just does not have another choice at that point.

But that’s what I would say. Take those two weeks, don’t count and micromanage. See how you're doing. Then you can move on. Then there are more details on how to kind of move on after that. But I would definitely not say; start at 20. Which a lot of people tell people. A lot of random internet groups are trying to force people to all eat only 20 grams of carbs in a day, and I just think that’s more extreme than it needs to be. 30 grams of net carbs, honestly, when you're eating vegetables, it’s not that hard to kind of stay in that range.

I’ve been saying this on my tour, but I would argue that the average American, if they stripped out refined foods, pasta, bread, flour-based things, and they stripped out sweetened things, a lot of them would actually not be eating that many carbs from vegetables. The amount of carbs that most people are eating from vegetables is really, really low. So, it’s not as hard as you would think to get down there.

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4. Favorite business tool [34:55]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Let’s do a fun little segment here on our; it’s our favorite something. But it’s not our favorite food, or our favorite treat. Or even our favorite reality TV show.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Vanderpump Rules is back, by the way.

Diane Sanfilippo: Obsessed.

Liz Wolfe: Obsessed. Although I have to say; god, people must think I watch so much TV. I swear to you I don’t. I watch Vanderpump Rules once a week, and usually there’s one other show in the rotation, right? And then Chiefs games when they’re on. But also we finished Marvelous Ms. Mazel, and now we’re watching Peaky Blinders. Have you watched that?

Diane Sanfilippo: I haven’t seen either, but I’ll add them to the list.

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh. Watch Peaky Blinders. Please watch Peaky Blinders.

Diane Sanfilippo: Is it scary?

Liz Wolfe: No. It’s so good. I don’t know if it’s like BBC and Netflix. I don’t know. It’s got; I don’t even know how to say his name. Cillian Murphy.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok.

Liz Wolfe: He’s phenomenal.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. Added to the list. Noted.

Liz Wolfe: Music is good, acting is good. Everything about it is good. Ok. So.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: We’re not going to talk about any of that. We’re going to talk about our favorite business tool.

Diane Sanfilippo: You sound unconvinced about being excited.

Liz Wolfe: No, I’m actually really excited to share my favorites.

Diane Sanfilippo: OK, tell me.

Liz Wolfe: Actually, I have two. So this is kind of a dual business and friendship tool. But Voxer; the Voxer app, is so great. It’s amazing for business purposes, and it’s also awesome if you, like me, have a group of friends. Nobody lives in the same place anymore. And you can just talk to your friends all day long and keep in touch. It’s been so huge. But you can also touch base with people that you're working with. You can text or send a voice message with all the annoying complications of your phone misinterpreting what you’ve said, or you having to record something and then upload it to whatever the cloud is and what not. It’s like a walkie talkie. So that’s awesome.

And my favorite, 100% business tool, is Slack. It’s been really, really great for the projects that I’ve worked on over the last couple of years. And my friend Diane, diteawellness, she’s awesome. And she’s my operations manager and we use that with our research team for Baby Making and Beyond. It’s perfect for me. I need something probably a little bit less robust than what you use, Diane. But still with a ton of capabilities. So it’s been great.

Diane Sanfilippo: I did not know that that’s how you pronounce the name of her business.

Liz Wolfe: I hope it is. {laughs} I hope I got it right. She hasn’t corrected me.

Diane Sanfilippo: I have no idea.

Liz Wolfe: It’s probably Di-tea. No, it’s Ditea. I think it’s Diteawellness.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think I was saying Di-tea. Just in my own head, you know. Like when you read a book and you're like; I was pronouncing whatever. Names from Harry Potter wrong.

Liz Wolfe: Like the word unison. I always used to pronounce that different in my head than you're actually supposed to say it. I get it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Interesting. I’m with you on Voxer. It was purely because of Beautycounter that I got on the Voxer train. I use it sometimes with my team. Team Balanced Bites. But not as much. Mostly for talking to Beautycounter folks, and then you and Cassy. Just other friends that I feel like talking to.

The cool think about Voxer too, is if it’s after somebody recorded. So there are two cool things about it. And these are not sponsored, we just love these apps. One cool thing is that what’s different about spending a voice memo this way versus through like through the iPhone app for messaging is that you can listen in real time, and respond back in real time. But it gives you the opportunity to let the other person speak versus being on the phone, where I can do what I tend to do, which is interrupt people.

Which, listen. If you're from New Jersey, that’s how you talk. It’s not; I have found myself…

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} It’s how I talk; in interruptions.

Diane Sanfilippo: No, that’s the only way you can have a conversation, is if you're constantly interrupting each other. It’s just how people have a conversation there.

Liz Wolfe: That’s so funny.

Diane Sanfilippo: New Jersey people, please comment. Northeast Italian; I mean, constantly now over the past few years I’m like; oh my gosh. I’m sorry. I interrupt my husband all the time. I just; word vomit.

Anyway. I love that you can do that, and just let the other person finish and then you go. But also, if their message was recorded ahead of time, you can two or three times fast-forward it, which is so fun and also perfect, because a lot of times it’s likes a stream of consciousness, and we speak very slowly when we’re in a stream of consciousness. And if you just fast-forward it, it’s just much more effective.

Anyway. So the other tool that I’ve been really loving lately, although my team might not believe this. Because I’m the worst at actually following up with it. But it’s Asana. Which is a task and project management tool. We used to use Basecamp. But I don’t think Basecamp; I loved Basecamp for tracking message threads. I felt like it was way more effective than email for tracking message threads. And I don’t love the way Asana handles message threads. However, I think it handles tasks really, really well.

And I think for most teams and projects, being task oriented is super important. Deadlines and tasks. Everything that we’re doing, even if it was a message, it’s kind of like; hey, I need you to review this thing. Sometimes there is just a conversation to be had. But most of the time, if my team needs something from me, it’s a task. I need to actually do something; even if it’s just; hey read this and approve it.

Anyway. Asana. I love it. I think we resisted it for a while, because years ago they didn’t have file hosting, and we really, really needed that. And then I guess in the last few years there brought it in. So we’ve been using it for about a year now. I think we’re getting better at using it. Admittedly, my to-do list is always filled with tons of red dates, which means they’re past due. It’s the nature of the beast when you're a Rebel, and the boss, I guess. Hopefully my team’s to-do list don’t quite look as red as mine. But yeah, we love it.

So if you're starting a small business, and you're looking for different tools, and you want to know what we use, those are some of our favorites. I don’t know; just thought that would be helpful for folks to hear about.

Liz Wolfe: Alright, that’s it for this week. You can find me, Liz, at and you can find Diane at Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

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