Keto & Functional Medicine Approaches for Anxiety & Stress with Ali Miller

#389: Keto & Functional Medicine Approaches for Anxiety & Stress with Ali Miller

Diane Sanfilippo Featured, Paleo and Primal, Podcast Episodes 3 Comments

Keto & Functional Medicine Approaches for Anxiety & Stress with Ali MillerTopics

  1. News and updates from Diane [1:44]
    1. Keto Quick Start tour dates
    2. Balanced Bites Meals
  2. Something that I'm digging lately with our guest, Ali Miller [2:33]
  3. Ali's rebuttal to Jillian Michaels [8:18]
  4. Anxiety and the HPA axis [19:28]
  5. Advice on supplements and adaptogens [34:30]
  6. Mushroom supplements [42:13]
  7. Stress and keto [44:44]
  8. Finding the balance with the stress [49:30]
  9. Anxiety reducing techniques [56:14]

The episodes are also available in iTunes, Spotify & Stitcher.

 Show sponsors:
NTA | Podcast Sponsor | Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo





Keto & Functional Medicine Approaches for Anxiety & Stress with Ali Miller Keto & Functional Medicine Approaches for Anxiety & Stress with Ali Miller Keto & Functional Medicine Approaches for Anxiety & Stress with Ali Miller Keto & Functional Medicine Approaches for Anxiety & Stress with Ali Miller

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 389.

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, released on January 1, 2019. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids.

I’m the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class with my podcast partner in crime, Liz. And together, 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 and Facebook accounts 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: 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. Diane has been blending their MCT oil powder into her 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 their sister site, Equip Foods.

1. News and updates from Diane [1:44]

Diane Sanfilippo: A couple of quick updates for you guys from me. As of now, the bulk of the Keto Quick Start tour is officially wrapped up. I’ve got one more event coming at the end of March. Not exactly part of the main tour, but that will be happening March 27th in Phoenix. So I hope to see you there if you're in the Phoenix area.

And the other big update is Balanced Bites meals. If you guys have not had a chance to check them out, go to I would absolutely love for you to try them. People have been trying them and have been loving them. And it has been so much fun watching you guys eat these meals, enjoy them, have them as your kind of quick, in a pinch, I didn’t have time to cook today or something you want to take to work. Make sure you have a healthy meal. Super exciting for me. And I really appreciate all of your support so far on that. So thank you so much. And I hope that you give them a try soon.

2. Something that I’m digging lately with our guest, Ali Miller [2:33]

Diane Sanfilippo: Today I have Ali Miller on the show to chat about keto, some functional medicine approaches for anxiety, stress, and beyond. I first ran into Ali on Instagram, as maybe many of you did, when she posted a rebuttal to Jillian Michaels’ ridiculous take on the keto diet. Which was kind of insane.

But I’ll give you a little bit of background on Ali here. Ali Miller, RD, LD, CDE is registered and licensed dietician and certified diabetes educator with a contagious passion for food as medicine and developing clinical protocols and virtual programs using nutrients and food as a foundation of treatment.

Her food is medicine philosophy is supported by up to date scientific research for a functional approach to healing the body. Ali is a renowned expert in the ketogenic diet with over a decade of clinical results using a unique whole foods approach to a high-fat, low-carb protocol. Ali’s message has influenced millions through media with television segments, features in O, Women’s Health, and Prevention magazine; her award-winning podcast, Naturally Nourished, and within the medical community.

Ali’s expertise can be accessed through her website; Offering her blog, podcast, virtual learning, and access to her practice, Naturally Nourished. Welcome to the show, Ali! I’m so excited to have you here.

Ali Miller: I am stoked to be here.

Diane Sanfilippo: This is going to be so fun. So we always like to do an icebreaker with our guest just to help the listeners get to know you a little bit better. What’s one thing that you're currently digging? Whether it’s nutrition related, lifestyle, a book, an app, a treat, etc. What’s something that you're into lately?

Ali Miller: This week, I’m digging so hard this matcha gelatin pudding that I’m making. It has full-fat coconut milk. It’s basically a can of coconut milk, two teaspoons of matcha, ceremonial grade matcha, lime zest, lime juice, a little bit of lemon. So it’s like bright, citrusy notes. And then you blend it for a minute. You add the gelatin, let it bloom in the blender. So you don’t even have to cook it, which is amazing. And then you blend it again on high, and pour it in ramekins. And I top it with hemp seeds and blackberries.

It’s just like a really good midday pick-me-up that has helped me to not drink more caffeine and has that gut support and it’s been my jam.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. That sounds so good. You know what’s funny; something I’ve been into is chia pudding. Which is super similar. It’s got that gelatinous vibe to it; although it’s not gelatin. It’s so easy to make too. And I have a matcha chia pudding in Keto Quick Start. But it doesn’t have all that kind of kicked up citrus. That sounds really interesting. I’m all about the pop of bright citrus. That’s so funny, because that’s a super similar thing that I’ve been into.

I’ve actually been into doing it plain with vanilla and cinnamon with coconut milk. Same thing, coconut milk and then the chia seeds. Just kind of shake it up, and then the next morning you stir it. And then kind of heating some raspberries from frozen, so they get kind of broken down.

Ali Miller: Jammy? Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, kind of jammy. And then mixing it in. I really love that. So that’s really funny because it’s kind of a similar thing. I could probably add at least some collagen to the matcha chia n’oatmeal. I think it’s in the book. Anyway. That’s so cool. That sounds delicious. Is this something that you're putting in the book? Is it just a new recipe?

Ali Miller: Yeah. I’m in full blown recipe everything is; so many pieces of scribble paper in my kitchen.

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel you on that.

Ali Miller: But yeah. Usually good things are coming of it. And it’s kind of fun to keep the structure when you're in development mode. Because you have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Like, I never make turkey. It’s just one of those meats; I eat a lot of red meat. I eat a lot of wild caught fish. And bone in, skin on chicken thighs a lot.

Diane Sanfilippo: You're speaking my language.

Ali Miller: Right? Kindred spirits. But yeah, I’m making these turkey meatballs with ground macadamia nuts to bring up the fat profile. Stuff like that, that’s just kind of pushing outside the envelope. As you know, it’s fun with recipe development to do that. To make sure that you have enough diversity. And that kind of keeps you on your toes, too. I’m in the trenches for the Anti-Anxiety Diet Cookbook, which comes out in fall.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well thank you, then, for taking time during that. Because I know what that’s like. Whenever I’m in the thick of it, I tell my team; don’t schedule me for anything. If you need me, let me know. I feel like when the energy is there to do that work, I can’t have something on the schedule. So I appreciate you taking the time.

Diane Sanfilippo: So this is super exciting for me. A little bit self-indulgent of a call, of an interview. But we have lots of questions from our listeners. So before we dive into that, I’m just going to pause for a quick break from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Vital Choice wild seafood and organics. America’s leading purveyor of premium, sustainable seafood, and a certified B corporation. Their popular Vital Box program delivers top customer favorites directly to your door. Any mix of wild salmon, fish, and shellfish that you prefer. Vital Choice offers a wide range of wild seafood; from top shelf Alaskan salmon and halibut, to Portuguese sardines and mackerel. Plus, mouthwatering grass-fed meats and poultry. Be sure to save 15% on one regular order with the promo code BBPODCAST or get $15 off your first Vital Box with the promocode BBVITALBOX from now through the end of the year.

3. Ali’s rebuttal to Jillian Michaels [8:18]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So today we’re talking all things keto, functional medicine, approaches for anxiety and stress. And before we get into a bunch of questions; we got a lot of questions from our listeners over on Instagram. But before we get into that, I just want you to introduce yourself to our listeners. And I’m going to say that; admittedly, my introduction to you. I had seen you posting on Instagram, but probably my favorite introduction to you was pretty recently with the rebuttal to Jillian Michaels talking about keto.

Because I’m not the person who has the energy to do the point by point rebuttals anymore. I think I did a few things like that when I first started blogging, and then I quickly learned that I just don’t have it in me. Because I’m not a convincer. I’m not that person. Because people are like; how do I convince someone. I’m like; let me stop you right there. {laughs}

Ali Miller: Right. Change your energy patterns. Flow the other way.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m just not that person. I’m the one that’s going to keep marching to the beat of my own drum. And if there are people that want to follow me as their pied piper, come along. But I just can’t stop and explain myself. I don’t know why. I don’t know. I’ll do it in a book. I’ll do the explanation there. But when it comes to just the quick; ok, this thing just came out.

I totally, not only appreciated your rebuttal and response in general just existing. But I was like; yes. Yes. Yes. And this is what I would say. And this is what I would say. So that to me; I was just like; ok, thank you very much. Here you go, everyone. Go watch this video. This is the truth. So I really appreciated that. So that was how I really got to “know you”. Which wasn’t much. But so excited that you're here.

So give our listeners a little bit of background and I would love for you to actually also touch on the background of why you wanted to do that kind of rebuttal video.

Ali Miller: Yeah. So I have been practicing clinically for 10 years now. And I’m a registered dietician. I went to a naturopathic college of medicine, Bastyr University. So I kind of describe my practice as one leg on each bank of the river. So I have a part of the conventional, what we call, allopathic. Have rotated in hospitals, and learned the inner workings of how mainstream medicine works in general. And I have that safety seal of registered dieticians so that cardiologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, all these specialists feel safe in referring and working with patients within me and with synergy.

But then I have my naturopathic foundation. So I kind of marry this together with what is called functional integrative medicine. And the best way to describe it is that I work as a detective of the body with each client that I work with. So I get 90 minutes in an initial consultation to ask them questions that, when they leave that 90-minute session, they typically know more about their body and themselves than they did before they started the session.

I’ve really found that over these 10 years of experience that if stress or rumination or disconnect within our mind and our body; I call it HPA axis imbalance. You know, that hypothalamic pituitary adrenal, the fight or flight mechanisms in the body. If this is off, that is the Achilles heel of the body healing itself. The Achilles heel of wellness is anxiety.

Because I have found that if I’m addressing hormone imbalance, or leaky gut, or dysbiosis, that if stress is chronic and not managed, we’re going to get imbalance in these other worlds. So it’s kind of like a whack a mole game. So I put out the Anti-Anxiety Diet last fall as a way to really pull together all my elements of functional medicine and create this explanation that describes the chicken and egg relationship of both the entry points, and resolution points as drivers of stress management and mood stability.

Diane Sanfilippo: I took a lot of notes while you were talking. {laughs}

Ali Miller: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. So what made you; I know this isn’t the core of your work. But what made you decide to go ahead and do that rebuttal? I know you also have written about why celery juice may not be the great panacea for everyone.

Ali Miller: And I didn’t know that got really some serious heat.

Diane Sanfilippo: Heated?

Ali Miller: {laughs} There are some serious trolls that are celery advocates.

Diane Sanfilippo: I have to say; you’ve been practicing for a long time. But when I first started, when I was defending bacon. I was known as the bacon girl, and I was somebody who wrote this long; no, bacon is not killing you, blog post. And that was one of the things that just; I mean, went “viral” in a time when Instagram didn’t exist and Facebook was kind of a thing.

But sometimes it takes those posts to really get some traction. But yeah. Let’s talk about the Jillian Michaels one quickly. And then I do want to talk about celery juice! {laughs} But we can see what the questions were too.

Ali Miller: All the things. Yeah. The Jillian Michaels, and the celery thing. Both of them were just; it’s like, I can smile and nod my head when there’s ignorance being shared on a nutrition world when this is my area of expertise. Right? I can say; oh, ok. That’s cute. Or, aww.

But then there’s just a certain level of threshold when I have particular; it’s the 30th person that’s hit me up and said; “Is keto going to kill me?” Or in the celery juice case, I had an endocrinologist client of mine. I work with a lot of physicians as patients. And she emailed me about the celery juice. And I was like; oh, hell no. Right?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Ali Miller: So there’s just this threshold. Something within my fiery person that is like; ding, ding, ding! So I have to rebuttal.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, we’re kind of the same person. Because that was probably me with the bacon thing back in the day. I was like; alright, enough! With the bacon. I will write all the things down. So yeah.

Ali Miller: Yeah. So the Jillian Michaels thing literally happened. I had my team over on a Saturday morning, we were heading to the farmer’s market. And I watched her Shape Magazine, whatever, footage, on how the keto diet. I don’t even know the exact verbatim right now.

Diane Sanfilippo: By the way; Ali is using air quote while she says certain parts of this, because it’s like; let me just remind you. Jillian is saying what she maybe knows of the keto diet, or doesn’t’ know.

Ali Miller: Right. So when I started working as a dietician, I actually ran a physicians practice group for weight management and dysmetabolic syndrome. And dysmetabolic syndrome is a fancy term for diabetes, hypertension, or blood pressure, and cholesterol. So I’ve been using keto clinically for also 10 years. And I do a real food keto approach.

So, as anything grows in the industry, there’s always going to be the trickle effect of; now we have Slimfast buying in and making keto products. And I see it as a good thing for the movement of the community, because it’s becoming a common speak term. But there’s always going to be backlash. And this was just one of those classic backlash issues. And there was just too much information that it actually physically hurt me. {laughs}

I was like, all day at the market. My husband was like; dude, listen to this bluegrass band. Like, go pick out your brassicas. I was like; I can’t, I need to rebuttal Jillian! {laughs} If we’re going to have a good dinner tonight, I need to just get this out of my system. So it just hit a threshold mark of misinformation.

And I didn’t like how she used buzzwords; like nucleic acids, with no substance or foundation tied to it. Just to try to sound credible.

Diane Sanfilippo: It was rough.

Ali Miller: Yeah! So I just had to lay it down, and be like. Homegirl; you have no idea where you're coming from.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I listened to it, and I was cringing the whole time. Because I was like; she makes no sense whatsoever. And I was asked about it on a media appearance in; I don’t know where I was. I literally can’t remember where I was. But I was asked about it.

Ali Miller: One of those places.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And I had to just be kind of diplomatic because we just didn’t have time for the truth you know. And I just wasn’t in a place where I really wanted to throw down in the moment. But it was all I could do not to give an eyeroll, you know, because it was just so. A poorly constructed argument at best.

Ali Miller: And to be fair, there are people; it’s just like any term. Paleo, keto, vegan, whatever. There’s this concept behind it, and then there are ways that you actually implement or use the diet. And how you define it for yourself.

Like, my real food keto is much more liberalized. A lot of people on my feed, when they see my recipes, and such are like; oh, call the “keto police”! Because I actually don’t use any non-caloric sweeteners. I’m much more liberalized to your metabolic flexibility once you get fat adapted. I’m not scared and freaking out about carrot in a bone broth, coconut milk, full fat based soup where you use a half a cup of roasted carrots and you're getting a total; not even net carb impact of 7 grams of carbs in the portion.

So I don’t go by these rigid yes or no food lists. Ketosis is a metabolic state. And I think that as we’re moving as a community and a movement we need to understand that flexibility if we really want to allow people to use this as a lifestyle.

Diane Sanfilippo: Here, here! Exactly my approach. I’m with you. I had actually been following a keto diet about 10 years ago initially. So had done it myself, and then had worked with some folks on it for about that long. And just did not talk about it. And eventually, to your point about hitting the threshold and being like; alright. Now I’m going to give the rebuttal.

I made some videos a couple of years ago about keto, and the questions that came in, and the views on those videos were so high. And the amount of questions that came in; I was like, hold on. Stop. I’m not going to answer one-off questions, because you need context. You need the full answer. And so I wrote a book instead. Because the same approach. I do use some stevia; I have one that I like. It’s an organic version that’s an extract, and that’s pretty much it. I don’t use any of the other types. Mostly because I think they don’t taste good, first and foremost, and what’s the point if they don’t taste good.

But, with you on carrots. And the point should be metabolic flexibility. The point should not be, I’m in keto jail and if I mess up I’m here for longer, or whatever it is. I think people are losing the forest for the trees. They’re not really understanding the point of ketosis in terms of the benefits, so we can talk more about that. And also, if you're stuck there, and you're scared, to your point about anxiety. What’s the point of that?

Ali Miller: Right.

4. Anxiety and the HPA axis [19:28]

Diane Sanfilippo: So a couple of things you touched on I wanted to just kind of circle back on. Talking about the growth of the movement around keto leading to essentially the adulteration of the term, or the truth of it, or whatever. And I think that’s kind of a double edged sword. We have social media, and so many people sharing about it, which is awesome. But then there’s a lot of non-experts. Which is fine. I think it’s ok for something to be “of the community.”

And I really like that it’s kind of free market, because we’ve named it keto. Atkins is pretty much the same thing, it’s just a branded keto approach that has nuances that are not general. It’s specific to what he wanted folks to do. But now it’s kind of free market. So we use the term keto, because that’s the ketogenic state.

But it does get a bit adulterated in that sense where we’re not really paying attention to the reality of what it means, like you said. A food can’t be keto or not. That is not a thing. It can be maybe supporting you staying in ketosis, but the food itself doesn’t have an opinion. {laughing}

Ali Miller: Right. And I did a post on my top 5 favorite keto sweeteners. This is one where I got the backlash from the community, right?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Maple syrup.

Ali Miller: Because I listed dates. Yeah! Girl, I did. I said dates, raw unfiltered honey, banana, probably pumpkin, I don’t know, and another dried fruit or something. And everyone was like; what?! How can you stay in keto? I’m like, ok. Check out my avocado keto brownies. Everyone has one, right? It has two avocados, again. It has almond flour, 6 eggs. It has a quarter cup of ghee, half a cup of melted coconut oil. And you take four dates, you soak them in warm water, and you make a slurry out of them. And that’s what naturally sweetens it.

I’m really of the school of; if we’re using food as medicine, regardless of if metabolically we work with a low glycemic diet, or we transition into a state of nutritional ketosis, we need to start thinking about; first off, am I eating a food? {laughs} Real food greater than macros, right? Quality greater than macros, always. And if you have to eat a sweetener that is requiring a Breaking Bad lab in your garage to make, you need a gas mask and some chromatology; crazy extraction processes to make a ubiquitous white powder, that’s not going to play in my world of real food. And that’s just kind of how I do it.

Diane Sanfilippo: With you. With you. Ok, cool. And then a couple of things, and we’ll use this to kind of go into the questions; we have a lot of questions about anxiety and all of that. A couple of things that you touched on that I love, and I have definitely seen the same thing over the years. You talked about stress, and rumination, and disconnect. And really feeding into all of the HPA axis dysregulation that we see. Sometimes people call it adrenal fatigue. But the adrenal glands don’t really think for themselves. They’re getting signals from the HPA axis of what to do.

This concept of anxiety being at the root of so many problems for people, I feel like people are not going to self-identify always as having anxiety. But they do. And what’s so funny is people think I work a lot or lead a stressful life or that things I do are stressful. I’m actually not an overly anxious person most of the time. And I don’t then live in a disease state most of the time, either. Or have things that go unresolved.

And when I watch folks around me who live in this state of anxiety, meaning their current situation is such that they’re constantly somehow in fear of the future. Constantly feeling not in control of their own life and their own choices and what they’re doing. And what I love about this topic is that food is totally medicine. And also, there is so much personal development and self-awareness and self-knowledge that feeds into that.

So, I just think this is such an interesting topic to crack open, because it has so many different facets that people can start looking at. And I think eating the right foods is obviously going to give people a foundation, and also help them identify; ok, so what are some other things I can work on.

But I love this topic. I think it’s such a fantastic thing to focus on.

Ali Miller: Yeah, and like you said. I had a hard time when naming it, because a lot of people don’t want to claim; I’m using air quotes again. A lot of people don’t want to claim anxiety. The whole world of mental illness; maybe we don’t want to claim depression or anxiety, but we can easily assign feeling overstressed. Or we can say that we’re over-wired. Or we’re fatigued, and we feel apathetic or flat.

So, when we’re talking about this HPA axis, maybe just to unpack it a little bit for listeners. Like I said, it stands for hypothalamic pituitary adrenal. Obviously, I think that would be a hard book name, so the anti-anxiety diet works better. But the hypothalamus and pituitary are in the brain. The adrenal glands sit above the kidneys. We think of the adrenals as the star of the show of stress response in the body.

But, when we talk about the HPA axis, this is speaking to if we’re in a sympathetic fight or flight state. Or a parasympathetic rest/digest state. And what many listeners may not know is that in that parasympathetic state is not just optimized digestion and optimized circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. But also optimized metabolic and reproductive health. So it’s more grand than just fight or flight and rest and digest. It’s actually, I think more of a reactive versus regulatory mode.

So if you're running in chronic reactive state, all of your regulatory process is going to be imbalanced. So that could throw off your sexual hormones. You could be dealing with estrogen dominance because of HPA axis dysfunction. You could be dealing with hypothyroid because of HPA axis dysfunction. You could be dealing with IBS or IBD digestive disturbances because of HPA axis. And then the whole world of autoimmune disease because if we’re in chronic reactive mode, we’re firing out more inflammation chemicals. And we sometimes will target ourselves; our own vital organs, within that autoimmune pathology.

So harnessing this wild stallion of the brain, if you will, and really kind of mellowing out our though process. And purposefully and intentionally getting that pendulum swing back to regulatory function, I find to be so integral to whole body health.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes! I’m just smiling and swiveling in my chair. In Practical Paleo, I have, what’s it called? Like a see-saw diagram of excitatory versus inhibitory neurotransmitters and talking about stress response. And I think; we’ve talked about adrenal fatigue and all of that on this show many times. And I think what people don’t realize is; your thoughts about things control so much in terms of a physical manifestation of mental emotional stress.

And we’ve talked about it a lot of times, but I feel like, what I’ve learned over the past few years, even with personality types or tendencies, the way we handle expectations. Learning that the majority of folks in the world are Obligers; meaning they really respond more to getting things done when there is outside expectation. I think that comes with a really heavy burden of inherent potential for anxiety. When the way that you operate is based on other people’s expectations of you, it makes the locus of control so far outside of yourself in terms of what you're doing. And I think that primes you for anxiety.

It’s unfortunate, so I think that’s one of the reasons why this topic is so important to crack open. Because if the majority of folks out there have this leaning, it doesn’t mean nobody else has the potential for anxiety. But I feel like when I personally experience anxiety, it’s very acute and related to a specific situation of a book deadline, for example. And the rest of the time, it’s like; I will just quickly flip the switch and it’s not this constant of expectation of other people all the time.

And I think that really does drive things for a lot of folks. Anyway. All that being said, I wrote down all these notes in talking about personality, lifestyle, shoulds and shame, and all of that. And I think it all feeds in to the constitution of the person. Because I’m sure we’ve both seen people over the years who you're like; I can tell you what to eat, and it’s not going to matter if I can’t get your brain wired right.

Ali Miller: Absolutely. And there are foods that will work each of these entry points. I break down the book into removing inflammatory foods, resetting the microbiome, repairing gut lining, restoring micronutrients, like mood stabilizing minerals and B vitamins and amino acids and all of that. And the last two Rs are rebounding the adrenals and rebalancing neurotransmitters.

And like you said, in each of those areas, which are all different functional pathways of the body or areas of focus, we’ve seen studies that will show, for instance, there’s a research study that looks at a marker called LPS. It stands for lipopolysaccharide. And this is a marker that increases in our body when we have dysbiosis or a pathogen in our gut. And what LPS does is it literally drills holes in our gut lining.

And the idea is that in the body if you have bacterial overgrowth, LPS goes up, that allows your grand immune system within your white blood cells and such to deal with this pathogen or invader that the gut wasn’t able to remove. We’ve seen in research studies that LPS goes up in social anxiety. So they’ve done studies that literally show that just being uncomfortable in a room can drill holes in your gut. I mean, that’s a grand type of connection. But it’s legit.

Secretory IgA; we see all these things. So when I’m lecturing, and I’m doing tour and things like that, I’m always being proactive on doubling down on my L-glutamine, for example. And making sure that I travel with my collagen and gelatin and such. Because I want to make sure that I am proactively bubble wrapping my gut. Really, in theory. So that I’m not dealing with that stress response. Because if you get the holes in your gut, then that only drives more anxiety, because you make more epinephrine when the brain is dealing with the inflammation from the leaky gut. And it’s this totally wild chicken and egg, like I said, runaround of how this brain/body connection works. And it’s incredible that each person that reads the book, I hope, has a different “aha, this is me” moment.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yep.

Ali Miller: Because you're not going to all follow the Rs in the way that I wrote them. Some of you might have more neurotransmitter work to dig into. Some of you might have more biome work. Some of you might have more nutrient depletion pathways. And that’s awesome. I hope it speaks to different people in different ways.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m excited about this. I think this is so important. For everyone listening, who you feel like you’ve tried everything, I feel like this kind of approach is so important. Because when you just feel like you're slamming your head against the wall because you're not finding a root cause. I feel like this is just critical information for everybody to have.

Ali Miller: Thank you.

Diane Sanfilippo: And interesting on your point about the L-glutamine and the gelatin or collagen. I end up, if I feel like I’m anticipating stress, I’ll use magnesium or like a natural calm. I used to take; when I was on the road and I would teach seminars many years ago. I think I had a magnesium calcium supplement that I was taking, because I was just like; I need some minerals to help me just chill out. And I would not be drinking coffee in the morning. Because I wake up pretty wired anyway. And kind of taking that approach, too. Where I’m like; look, I know that my nervous system needs to chill the heck out. And constantly. That’s something I’ve learned just in practice over the last 5 to 10 years of; what could potentially stress me out. And how do I plan and prepare.

Inevitably, a media appearance, there’s always anxiety around it. But how do I just not plan something right after it. All the lifestyle factors that feed into helping me come through two months of on the road, and not falling apart in some kind of health crash.

Ali Miller: Crash.

Diane Sanfilippo: Exactly. And I think all of that is super important. Getting the food on track so you're supporting your body, as well as recognizing those lifestyle. Those little moments where you're like; here’s a decision I could make that would help me get through this. So I think that’s awesome.

Ali Miller: Yeah, and committing, that same sense. So what works for us, today, is going to work differently based on seasons, based on demand, based on so many factors. So, right. Maybe you're someone that loves high intensity exercise. But when you're doing more mental emotional stressors, that’s the time you need to mellow out and workout with cadence. You need to go for a walk. The last thing your body needs is to have a physiological running from a cheetah type response from your exercise after you’ve just been performing. Because that was mimicking that same stress response.

So, it is. It’s this kind of pulsing. And I try to navigate and identify for the reader how they can see these connections of; what’s overdrive. How do I get that pendulum, and pull it back to that parasympathetic state so does that mean you proactively incorporate breath work? Or you proactively switch to more of a vinyasa flow yoga. Whatever that is. Both reducing caffeine. How can you bring down the stimulants, and bring in the stress balancers, if you will? I think that’s all really important.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it. I think in a bubble, the experience of something that has the potential to be as stressful as a lot of travel and doing events and all of that, it’s an extreme example. But I think that people in their everyday lives really need to pay attention to this stuff. Just recognizing that you might be able to handle it all, because you're a mom, or you’ve got a job, and everything that you're balancing. But really identifying the effect of that on your body is so important.

5. Advice on supplements and adaptogens [34:40]

Diane Sanfilippo: So, let’s jump into some questions, and I’m sure we’ll have more to chat about. I could just do this without anybody else’s questions {laughs} the whole time. I just love having a conversation with somebody like-minded who has some different ideas to throw in. But let’s see. We’ve got a few good ones here.

So, here’s a question from Em on supplements. She says, “Do I need to ask my doctor before taking any? Can I take them long-term? What are the best to take or avoid? For example, I’ve been taking ashwagandha, but there’s so much online about it, and supplements in generally, that I’m overwhelmed.”

Ali Miller: I think that’s a great question. The unfortunate reality is, often when you ask your doctor about supplements, their answer is going to be that they’re not FDA regulated. And a lot of this is because the compounds in supplements cannot be patented, because they’re naturally occurring. It’s like the world of bioidentical hormones versus synthetic, if we’re talking about sexual hormone.

So that’s an unfortunate frustration. Not many physicians are well-versed in nutrition and diet, nor are they in the use of orthomolecular or high-dose nutrients and the biochemical responses to nutritional therapy. So that’s just something as a little bit of a disclaimer; you might feel disconnected from.

Now, if you're purchasing a supplement, you do want to look at products that are GMP, that’s going to look at the manufacturing processes. And a good supplement line will be third-party assessed for both potency and purity. So a party that doesn’t make financial gain to test to ensure there aren’t toxic metals, and to make sure that the noted active ingredient is present at the stated dosage. So that you can actually use it as a therapeutic tool.

In my clinic, I use nutritional supplements. I actually also, disclaimer, have a supplement line, Naturally Nourished. And I think they are fantastic tools, like I said, to bubble wrap and be proactive. And also can help to work to wean off of medications and can work to manage symptoms and disease states, truly. But it all comes down to what is the mechanism of action. What is the nutrition or the compound, and how does it work in the body?

Like ashwagandha being an adaptogen. Adaptogens generally, the concept of an adaptogen is something that is adapting to the body’s demand. It’s very difficult to take too high of a level of an adaptogen. Adaptogens also include things like maca, and cordyceps, and ginseng, and the ashwagandha that we mentioned.

So these herbs allow us to aid with stress resilience and stress tolerance. And rebound from stress demand without depleting the adrenal output. And I find them to be a really great strategy.

Now, some people with anxiety will respond to certain adaptogens a little bit too wirey. Because they get; especially ginseng. Ginseng is one of those that can create a pretty big revve of energy output. And so it’s important to be mindful of that.

But as far as where you should start; I tried to, in the book, I break down supplements into anti-inflammatory, into gut restoring probiotic tools and things like that. Gut lining support. So it really would depend on beyond anxiety what other symptoms you're managing.

So if you're dealing with dermatological conditions, I might recommend you work with berberine for 6 weeks and then you work with a probiotic that has a saccharomyces boulardii and a lacto and bifido blend of probiotics. Because those are the two strains that make GABA and serotonin.

So it’s kind of going to depend on what other things you have going on. But a really great across the board supplement that I like is L-theanine. L-theanine is what is in matcha tea, and I think a part of why it’s very buzz-worthy. We talk about nootropics, or compounds that help to influence our cognitive function, and our brain health, and our mood. And L-theanine is very cool in a sense that, it’s an amino acid. And it doesn’t drive one production pathway.

So it works on our alpha brain waves. It aids to express alpha brain waves. And these are what are seen raised in concentration, focus, meditation, REM cycles of sleep. So it allows us to have this very clear, alert, mellow. And we know that L-theanine can bring down neurotransmitters that are in excess. So if you have high serotonin or dopamine, those could be drivers of anxiety. And it can also aid with production of those that are low. So it has a very safe, like I said, kind of swinging ability to balance out neurotransmitters if you aren’t doing advanced testing. And a way to maintain alertness and clarity in the same sense of reducing the stress response.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. I’m a fan of adaptogens, too. Different types of herbs. I think it’s interesting, when people dabble in supplements; it’s like, we’ll try different things, and then how may of us have bottles and bottles of things that we started and didn’t use. I think some inevitably take time before you really start to feel the effects. But some that I end up buying over and over again, because I do feel like I’m getting some benefit from it. One in particular, I think it’s a blend from; I don’t know if it’s Gaia. It’s just a blend of adaptogens, that’s a stress response blend.

I like the idea of adaptogens, because unless we know exactly what’s happening, and we’re trying to sort of self-treat and self-support. Unless we see testing around what our cortisol is actually doing, I think adaptogens seem like a bit of a safe space. Because; ok, if you take something that doesn’t make you feel better, then you can know right away. But also, doing something like taking desiccated adrenals when you don’t know if that’s what you need; I think that’s a little bit more of; I don’t want to say dangerous, but potentially too intense without more support one on one from a practitioner like yourself or anybody in this space.

Ali Miller: Yeah, I absolutely agree. And when we’re working with glandulars, we really want to get a baseline assessment, and then know what’s going on. And if we’re testing the adrenals, not only do we want to look at a four-point cortisol assessment to see that cascade, but we also want to look at DHEA.

In the keto world, DHEA is a very important component in production of ketones, and often a limiting agent of why some people don’t get that “keto high.” And DHEA on the other end of the spectrum is seen to be elevated in women with PCOS, which is why keto diet can be very therapeutic. Because it metabolizes that down. But for someone that has low cortisol but high DHEA, I would still be hesitant to prescribe adrenal cortex. With someone that has low in both, then that would be an appropriate tool.

But regardless, I would use the adaptogen blends with someone that’s stressed and tired, or stressed and wired. And it’s a really safe tool to use that you can also pulse up or down based on if it’s a weekend at the farmer’s market, or it’s a high stress day at clinic. You can kind of adjust based on your body’s demand.

6. Mushroom supplements [42:13]

Diane Sanfilippo: So a couple of follow-ups on that. Do you like that idea of mushroom supplements, like cordyceps and all of that? I know there are some brands out there that do mushroom coffee, or things like that. I actually don’t know if it’s coffee with mushrooms, or if they just call it coffee. {laughs} I don’t know what it is.

Ali Miller: Yeah, like Rasa and Chaga and some of those; Four Sigmatics.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I don’t actually know if they’re doing both or they’re just calling it that.

Ali Miller: So, yeah, I think that’s great. The world of mushrooms is like a whole episode in itself.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, they’re super medicinal.

Ali Miller: Such interesting research. On an immunological level beyond, a lot of those blends will have; and that’s the cool thing about adaptogens is they’re multifactorial. So they both can help to harness that HPA access. But many of them also will help with beyond energy things like libido. And many adaptogens will help with immune function. Or have high antioxidant capacity.

So if we’re talking about cordyceps, which are kind of in the fungal world. It’s like that caterpillar mold deal. Which is interesting in itself. When we talk about ganoderma, or reishi mushroom, that is such a long used in traditional Chinese medicine mushroom that’s been use for immune health. And the beauty of these blends; I like that they’re being used appropriately, I feel, in the sense that they’re going to be steeped in hot water. Because you need heat to usually activate the extracts in a lot of mushrooms.

But I think even in people’s local farmer’s market, we’re seeing now venders. I have a guy that’s growing lion’s mane, which is awesome. For neurological health. I’ve had patients taking lion’s mane for MS and turkey tail for breast cancer. There’s a lot of promising research on turkey tail mushroom. It also works as adaptogen, helps the stress, but regulates the estrogen expression in the body. And there’s some good research that looks at it to be used as an adjuvant with tamoxifen.

So there’s just some cool stuff going on. I think when we use food as medicine, the cool thing is we’re working upstream versus downstream. And like I said, you get that multibeneficial versus the one targeted impact of a medication with the multiple side effects. So it’s kind of this opposing thing.

I think as long as we understand some levels of mechanism of action, and we have some guy that has some biochemical physiological background and understanding that we should be in pretty good shape using supplements as a strategy.

7. Stress and keto [44:44]

Diane Sanfilippo: Love it. Awesome. Ok, I wanted to go back to something else that you touched on, which was stress and keto. I get the question a lot around people who are testing for ketones, and either not seeing more or they’re just never getting fully there. And one of the things that I like to remind people about is the idea that stress is going to increase your blood sugar, because your body needs to pull to respond to the stress.

So, one of the reasons that I transition people slowly to keto is I think the lifestyle impact of going from zero to keto; {laughs} you know, going from high carb to keto in one week, saying you're going from 300 grams of carbs a day diet to 30 today to tomorrow; not only is that hugely stressful on the body, but just lifestyle wise. Just figuring out; what do I buy and what do I eat? I think it’s really hard. For somebody who is new.

If you're going from paleo to keto, I don’t think it’s that big of a stress or a stretch. But I think for the average person. And having a couple of weeks to transition does ease that stress. So you mentioned DHEA being critical to ketones and ketone production, and/or utilization. So, let’s talk a little bit more about that because we do have lots of folks who; I don’t know, suddenly they just think keto is the answer for everything. And I’m like; this is not the most important thing in the world for everyone to be in ketosis all of a sudden.

Ali Miller: Right!

Diane Sanfilippo: But it’s a useful tool. So let’s talk about why people need to get this stress response under control in order for “keto to work”, and also to really reap the benefits of it. Why all of that is so important together.

Ali Miller: Yeah, and you know keto for women, especially, can have beautiful hormonal influence that can, like I said, manage PCOS. Can help with infertility. But keto for women can also drive hypothalamic amenorrhea, or loss of your period. So it’s really important. What I often see in clinic is that a lot of people that go keto, especially if they’re a type A individual. Which, most people that are following some form of an aggressive plan are some level of type A. And they tend to lose their appetite. They get that keto high. Then they also try to make a dynamic exercise shift.

And they like to push their; because they’re like; oh, intermittent fasting is also awesome. So I’m going to time restrict. I’m going to do time restricted eating, at least 16/8s. Maybe I’ll do 18 hours, and they’ll clock watching, being all perfectionists. And then they’re slamming these keto coffees. It’s this trifecta of breaking the HPA axis.

Because ketosis enough, actually, the metabolic shift, biochemically speaking, of producing ketones reduces the free radical activity in the brain. It reduces oxidative stress, which is very favorable. Ketones also cross the blood brain barrier. And the mechanism in which ketones work to manage seizure activity with epilepsy is the same premise in which my book uses keto as a tool for antianxiety because these ketones actually upregulate GABA.

And GABA is a neuroinhibitory. Like a mellower outer for our brain and our body. So, ketones can have favorable influence on the HPA axis in that sense by upregulating GABA and reducing epinephrine. And epinephrine is the excitatory adrenaline in the body.

But, with that being said, if we use a ketogenic diet, like I said, with over-caffeinating, over-exercising, under-sleeping, and under-fueling, we are not going to have a good time in our body. And our body goes into high reactive versus regulatory mode going back to that HPA axis. And when it goes into that reactive mode, it shuts down production of sexual hormone. It starts to increase reverse T3, which puts the brakes on our thyroid. It’ starts to shunt out cortisol, and cortisol in itself is a glucocorticoid, like you said. So cortisol is going to create blood sugar increase in the body.

And then we also, with that epinephrine and chemical stress response beyond cortisol, the liver goes through gluconeogenesis at a more rapid pace. So we point blank; yes, when we’re stressed, we have a hard time using fat as fuel because the body is wired in this survival mode, and the fasting works against you when you're under stress, because the body is like; oh crap, I don’t know when Ali is going to feed me again, hold on tight body. It’s not going to go through that gentle autophagy and all these favorable things that we read about.

8. Finding the balance with the stress [49:30]

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m loving everything that you're saying, because on this tour, people are asking so much about fasting. And I’m like; listen. If you're new, I don’t want you fasting. Period.

Ali Miller: I totally agree.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s what I tell people! I’m like, can you just figure out the food first? Before you decide to pile on not eating, why don’t you figure out the eating part. Then we can get to that other part. And the way that I describe it. Tell me if you think this is a fair and accurate way to say it. I talk about keto as a hermetic stressor. It is a stressor to the body, but it has positive benefits. The same way exercise does. So in an environment where you can handle a stressor, and then also have the positive benefits of it, cool. Same thing with the exercise.

It’s almost like you don’t get to do the keto thing if you are just a disaster with your stress. Because, like you were saying, it’s sort of not going to work favorably for you if you're piling on all of these stressors that then each one can have benefits. But not if the landscape of what you're putting it onto is not already balanced in some way.

The way that I’ve described it to people, too, is if you know that the reason your body is out of balance is because of blood sugar dysregulation, or because you're probably taking in a lot more carbs than you feel good with, then great. Keto is going to help you because it’s going to reset that. But, if you're already like; total disaster in all these other ways it’s a stressor your body might not be able to handle right now.

Ali Miller: Yeah, absolutely. I think absolutely. It does have stress impact in the body, but then the pros, like I said, are that there is reduced oxidative stress. It is anti-inflammatory. It is a more clean burning fuel, as we know, than glucose is. So there are benefits to being fat adapted. But I make my clients; and I have a virtual food is medicine keto program, and in there I make them choose their level of restriction based on what they’re willing to give up. Meaning, their exercise obsession. Their type A personality, their overworking/under sleeping.

And if you're not going to fudge on that, then you can’t go hyper restrictive with your diet. Because you're only going to get more belly fat. You're only going to get more resistance. And you're going to be that person that’s saying; I did really great on keto, and now I’m waking up at 4 a.m. every morning. What’s up? It’s like, well. {laughs} Your HPA axis is annoyed. {laughs} And your body is hungry.

Diane Sanfilippo: I just; we could do this for like 6 episodes.

Ali Miller: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s just so important that people understand. So you also touched on eating keto, exercise, fasting, caffeine, and then let’s also add in anxiety, or just; you know, I think of anxiety in terms of, I don’t know. Maybe this is a little too out there. But I really do think anxiety is rooted in a sense that we are unsure about an outcome, and also how we control it or not. I think that when someone feels physically anxious, if you were to keep drilling down to what is causing that state.

It’s like a vibration. Like, there are people that you're around in a room, and you're like; I can’t. I will feel it, you know, from another person. I’m like; I can’t be around that person. Because they are vibrating. And it’s not in this high vibrational, ohm place. It’s in a; that’s affecting me.

Ali Miller: Wirey, yeah. It’s an electric current that’s not pleasant.

Diane Sanfilippo: Negative. Yeah, it’s a negative thing. And it’s this unsettled, not at ease situation. Because somebody is constantly worried about something that they are either not in control of or haven’t taken action, or haven’t taken responsibility for in some way. So I really do feel like all of these factors are so important when people are deciding whether or not to eat keto. Whether or not to fast. Whether or not caffeine is working for them. If they’re exercise decision right now is the right one, etc.

I just love this topic, because people always want to pick the one thing that they feel like they can control, and a lot of times that’s food. And I think it’s great that we can have food as medicine, and for the person who is working on getting all of those other things in control, then a book like yours where you're saying; ok, here’s what to eat to help your body be supported so that you can make that decision to go to yoga and do the different types of exercise. Anyway.

Ali Miller: And I think that’s where high-dose nutritional supplements can be a great tool, as well. When you're coming from a deep, dark place, and you literally need a leg up. I love magnesium bisglycinate as one of my favorite mood stabilizing minerals. If anyone is dealing with neuromuscular stress, we know magnesium has 300-plus functions in the body on an enzymatic level. And we know that magnesium gets depleted from stress response. And if you're dealing with clenching in the jaw. If you're dealing with irregular sleep. Again, that parasympathetic influence of the peristalsis of pumping of your GI tract. All of that is neuromuscular response.

So magnesium bisglycinate is going to be that one that hits there, versus a magnesium citrate that’s like a cheapo stool softener. But that’s a great; every night, you take a scoop of magnesium glycinate to harness that mellow, so that’s going to metabolize your cortisol as you sleep, and foundationally work while you're layering on the lifestyle stuff. Eating two to three cups of leafy greens for magnesium. You could do other things to layer. But to get out of the woods sometimes you need that leg up, and I think that’s an absolutely reasonable thing and can very well enhance your life quality.

And that’s the goal; feeling this thrive mode of being able to take things on without that rumination of; like you said, shoulding. Is this enough? And I think, unfortunately, the social media world and just blue light exposure. We know that hits our dopamine. And we know we’re all in this addict mode of; am I enough? How am I doing? Competitive nature. So being able to disconnect and reduce some of these lifestyle stressors is absolutely foundational. But sometimes not possible in the immediate. So those are sometimes more of the long-term goals, and you need the immediate tools of the food is medicine or nutrient focus.

9. Anxiety reducing techniques [56:14]

Diane Sanfilippo: OK, so here’s a question I want to throw at you from Sandra. “Techniques to practice to assist someone who has anxiety?” So we’ve talked a lot about food, but what are just a few tips on practical things that folks can do in their everyday life to help with anxiety?

Ali Miller: So one of my favorites is actually from Dr. Andrew Weil. It’s 4/7/8 breath. It’s actually been shown in studies to impact the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the largest nerve that goes from the brainstem to the colon, and it’s what really regulates this parasympathetic state.

So 4/7/8 breath is breathing in for 4 through your nose, holding for 7, and then exhaling with like a {shh} like a whooshing. Almost a white noise sound, for 8. So you're exhaling 2:1 ratio of inhale. Often under stress response, we tend to hyperventilate the inhale, or we shallow breathe, or catch ourselves not breathing at all.

But doing five cycles; truly, five cycles of 4/7/8 literally will adjust your heart rate. It will adjust a lot of these involuntary drivers of that excitatory anxious stress response. And really harness your brain and body. So that’s like my best lottery card ticket, I guess.

And the other things I really work on, aside from supplement and diet strategy and functional medicine tools would be perspective and mantra. So perspective; one of my favorite things to do, I call it surrender to the flow mentality. I remember when I was working in a hospital a diet tech, before I even went to Bastyr, and working another night job at this pizza shop, and in college. You go into woe is me moments, of like; god, I have so much to do. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

If you can just flip it and surrender to the flow; those dishes you have to do after you cook that meal. When you're ruminating in your head and being like; I don’t even know why I cook, it’s such a mess. This takes so long. You can just stop that mean girl right there, and take a moment, and surrender to the flow and be like; these dishes need to be done. Cue Beyoncé; dishes. And just reset. Just surrender to the flow. I create this chaos, and I am able to own it.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s where I live. I’m like; or they will get done when I get to them.

Ali Miller: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: They’ll still be there.

Ali Miller: And that’s totally fine too. This is my space, and I get to be in control. But I’m not going to beat up the process. Because that only makes it arduous. And it makes you internally unhappy. And that in itself is a stressor.

And you could do that by reframing. I talk to a lot of clients about imagining your internal self-speak as a cassette reel. You’ve been building the mean girl your entire life, and you only hear that mean voice. So you need to pause, rewind, and record over that BS. And enter in mantra that makes you feel empowered to take on your day. Because you're going to show up as a different person based on where that internal speak is.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m getting this idea that I need to start recording my voice as some mantras for people. {laughs} Be like; this is what I tell myself. If you would like to tell yourself the same thing.

Ali Miller: Yeah. Something as simple as; embrace the intensity. It’s like; here I am. I’m blessed to be able to do this. I’m going to embrace the intensity. Like; yeah this is intense. I’m not saying this is easy. But I’m going to embrace it because it’s an opportunity that I have to get this work out there.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it. Well, I want to be respectful of your time. I selfishly would love to keep talking to you for a couple more hours, but we will not be able to do that. I’m sure that our listeners will respond extremely favorably to this conversation, so we’ll have to consider seeing if we can get you back on the show.

So, Anti-anxiety, your first book. Antianxiety solution?

Ali Miller: Anti-Anxiety Diet.

Diane Sanfilippo: Sorry! That was the first book. Oh, so Anti-Anxiety Diet, and Anti-Anxiety Diet Cookbook.

Ali Miller: Cookbook, yes. I actually have a first book which is called Naturally Nourished; Food as Medicine for Optimal Health. And that was self-published, so it’s not really highly circulated. It’s on Amazon. And then the Anti-Anxiety Diet is my book-book. And that’s like a 300-page science heavy. But it provides application. Like I said; it has these entry points. And I have quizzes in each entry point so that you can identify. Do I need to dig into leaky gut? Do I need to dig into adrenals? And it gives you guidance on supplement strategy and also advanced labs, all of the things. And that chicken and egg deal. And that’s the Anti-Anxiety Diet.

It has 50 recipes, but then now we’re putting out the Anti-Anxiety Diet Cookbook. Which will be 90 recipes, and a picture cookbook deal. Versus the book is just black and white book read.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. So that comes out when? You said in the fall of this year?

Ali Miller: The cookbook should come out fall, yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. Well super exciting. Thank you so much for spending time talking with me today. I just think this topic is so important, and I’m really glad that you are a voice in this community, because I’m totally jiving with everything you're saying and I love it. So thank you so much.

Ali Miller: Oh thank you so much. It’s my pleasure. It’s been a fun conversation.

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. If you're interested in learning about holistic nutrition but don’t necessarily want to become a practitioner, check out their new Foundational Wellness course. To learn more about the NTA’s nutritional therapy programs, resources, and to enroll in their free course, Nutritional Therapy 101, visit

Diane Sanfilippo: Thanks again so much to my guest Ali. Everyone, you can find Ali at That’s it for this week. You can find me, Diane, at Don’t forget to join our email lists for free goodies and updates you don’t find anywhere else on our websites or even on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. We’ll see you next week.

Comments 3

  1. Podcast was okay but when she pronounced vagus nerve incorrectly, it really turned me off. As an RD who studied anatomy… you would think she would know how to pronounce one of the most important cranial nerves in our body – which is so linked to nutrition and the mind/gut connection.

    1. Post

      I hear you, sometimes people are just under a lot of stress and it’s not for lack of knowing a word but it sometimes just literally misfires from your brain. I’m sure lots of moms (especially new ones!) and those who’ve been under a lot of stress (like writing a book causes, which Ali was in the middle of!) can relate. I’ve been really unforgiving of that stuff in the past, but lately, I find that I’d appreciate it if I slipped and someone didn’t let it define me, either 🙂 cheers.

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