Risa Groux – The FoodFrame Method

Content by: Risa Groux

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Stu: This week, I’m excited to welcome Risa Groux to the podcast. Risa is a functional nutritionist and certified autoimmune coach. She has a focus on the root causes of her client’s health concerns and treats them naturally through proper testing and subsequent dietary and supplement treatment. In this episode, we discussed the best way to tailor your diet to your health status, the optimal place to start when wanting to address health issues, and dig deep into her dietary methodology called FoodFrame. Over to Risa…

Audio Version

Some questions asked during this episode:

  • How can we determine the best diet for our body?
  • What can we expect from your book ‘FoodFrame?
  • Where should we start when wanting to heal?

Get more of Risa Groux:

If you enjoyed this, then we think you’ll enjoy these interviews:

Megan Lyons – Adrenal Dysfunction: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments
Elise Museles – Healing Your Relationship With Food
Dr Steven Gundry – Understanding & Addressing Low Energy


The views expressed on this podcast are the personal views of the host and guest speakers and not the views of Bega Cheese Limited or 180 Nutrition Pty Ltd. In addition, the views expressed should not be taken or relied upon as medical advice. Listeners should speak to their doctor to obtain medical advice.

Disclaimer: The transcript below has not been proofread and some words may be mis-transcribed.

Full Transcript

Stu

(00:03)

Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of The Health Sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness, and human performance in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve a long-lasting health. Now, I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do.

(00:23)

Before we get into the show today, you might not know that we make products too. That’s right. We are into whole food nutrition and have a range of superfoods and natural supplements to help support your day. If you are curious, want to find out more, just jump over to our website, that is 180nutrition.com.au, and take a look. Okay, back to the show.

(00:44)

This week I’m excited to welcome Risa Groux to the podcast. Risa is a functional nutritionist and certified autoimmune coach. She has a focus on the root causes of her client’s health concerns and treats them naturally through proper testing and subsequent dietary and supplement treatment. In this episode, we discussed the best way to tailor your diet to your health status, the optimal place to start when wanting to address health issues, and dig deep into her dietary methodology called FoodFrame. Over to Risa.

(01:19)

Hey guys, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition and I am delighted to welcome Risa Groux to the podcast. Risa, how are you?

Risa

(01:26)

I’m doing great, thanks. Thanks for having me.

Stu

(01:29)

Oh, look, I’m really keen to delve in and listen to some of your learnings, I guess, for want of a better word this morning, because I know that you’ve covered a lot in the terms of health and wellness, and human performance at a whole. But, first up, for all of our listeners that may not be familiar with you or your work, I’d love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself, please.

Risa

(01:52)

Sure. I am a functional nutritionist, which means I’ve been trained in functional medicine, so I do a lot of testing with extensive blood work and stool testing with everyone I work with in my office. I work from everyone from professional athletes to adults, kids, anybody with health issues. I do a lot of gut, or a lot of gut issues, blood sugar dysregulation, thyroid dysregulation, hormones, random… I’m usually the last stop when they come to see me after they’ve called the doctors and they still have this nagging cough or whatever it might be, a major health issue.

(02:30)

And I will continue to go to the end of the earth to find the cure or the source, the root cause of it. So that’s what I do. I have a private practice in Newport Beach, California. I work remotely. And I’ve been doing this for a couple decades and I absolutely love watching people heal. I feel very lucky to be able to have that opportunity.

Stu

(02:51)

Fantastic. And it is such a very interesting space as well, because we’ve been podcasting for a long time, one of the early adopters in the podcast space, and at that time, gut health was just a woo-woo word, and it was brushed under the carpet, and adrenal fatigue, and all of these terms that are becoming way more commonplace today. And essentially gut health, which has almost become the cornerstone of health now is in quite a different place to where it started. So I’m kind of keen, what drove you to become so passionate in this area and want to help as many people as you can with the knowledge that you’re accumulating?

Risa

(03:38)

I guess the very backstory, the initial story, was my complicated relationship with food.

Stu

(03:44)

Right.

Risa

(03:45)

Growing up as a kid, all the women in my family were always on a diet. There was, “These foods were good and these foods were bad,” and I thought, “The bad foods taste pretty good to me, I don’t understand. Why are these bad and why are some foods good?” And they were always trying to lose about 10 pounds. It was just this constant restriction. And so I really grew up with this not healthy relationship with food and restricting myself all the time, even though I never really had a weight problem. So I really started to dig into the science of food and what we should be eating.

(04:21)

And then when I became a nutritionist and I studied, I realized that when I first started, I would just say, “Okay, everybody eats exactly like this.” And then I realized, not everybody is the same. Not everybody’s thriving on this particular way, eating lifestyle. So, I developed my methodology. It came after many years of working with people, called FoodFrame, which is my methodology that is, people should be eating according to what their current health status is, because if they have some root causes, that’s the way they should be eating to addressing those root causes of whatever’s happening for them. So if you’ve got chronic bloating, I wouldn’t recommend you be on the vegan diet-

Stu

(05:05)

No.

Risa

(05:05)

… because your main source of protein is going to be plant, beans, right?

Stu

(05:10)

Yeah.

Risa

(05:11)

And beans are really, really high in FODMAPs and they’re really high in lectins, and that is just going to crush you. You’re going to be debilitated. So everybody should be eating very differently. And so that’s really how I came to where I am today, and I’m fascinated by the science of this. This is something that was always a mystery, and I feel like we kind of figured it out. We kind of figured out, how do we lose weight? How do we optimize health? And the two foundational issues I work on with everybody, because I realize that they either optimize health or they hinder your health, are systemic inflammation, that’s the driver of disease, and gut health. And if you’ve got two in balance, you’re generally pretty good. You’re going to prevent disease more than most.

Stu

(06:00)

How easy is it then using modern day techniques to be able to determine the health of your gut? Because again, that term leaky gut came up, and again, poo-poo, there’s no such thing as leaky gut. But then with the rise of food allergies and sensitivities with everything that’s happening, I think, with the, perhaps a compromised digestive system, leads us to believe that some doctors still don’t even consider anything in that realm, but then might start thinking along other pharmacological interventions. So if I came to you and I’m bloating and I just feel lethargic and I’m reacting to other foods, where would we start and what testing protocols might you recommend?

Risa

(06:48)

Yeah, great question because typically when you go to a GI or general internist, you’re going to get maybe four markers on a test to see if you have maybe Giardia or a couple of things they’re going to test you for. But I do a very extensive stool test, so I’m looking for 86 markers. So I’m looking for pathogens, I’m looking for bugs or worms, parasites. I’m looking for the good guys and the bad guys because some people can have just too much overgrowth of bad bacteria, and we have what we call dysbiosis, an imbalance of both good and bad gut bacteria.

(07:27)

H. pylori is very, very common, and that’s not always tested. It’s hardly ever tested, and it’s very common, it’s very communicable, so most people have it. The question is, how high are the levels if you have it, and when do you treat it? So I test for that. I test for virulence factors that affect H. pylori that show how severe your case is if you do have it at all. Then I look at things like, are you making your own pancreatic enzymes? Because sometimes you just give somebody a digestive enzyme and they’re good to go.

(08:01)

I’m looking at if there’s blood in your stool. I’m looking at steatocrit to see if you have any fat malabsorption, because sometimes it’s just that, it’s people who, maybe they’ve removed their gallbladder, they don’t have the ability to break down their fats, maybe their bile is just very coagulated and they need to de-coagulate it. And then we look at B-glucuronidase, which can affect female hormones. So everything has to do with each other. So I do an extensive test, and that stool test, it’s like gold, because it really tells you almost every single thing you need to know. It is rare that I need to do any additional testing because that usually is the one. So I love that stool test that we do.

Stu

(08:48)

So if I’m coming to you and I’ve had a test and the results have come back and it shows that you’ve got a compromised digestive system, so we’re going to need to work on the gut, maybe as you mentioned before, there’s an overgrowth of the bad guys and not enough of the good guys. Where would we start from a dietary intervention? Because you mentioned previously that maybe the plant-based diets, because they’ve got an abundance of fiber in there as well, may not be the best place to start if you’ve got a delicate digestive system. But with all of the gamut of different dietary interventions out there, from veganism to carnivorism and everything in between, and all of the influencers online who now of course are experts in any given diet, it’s just so confusing. Have you found… Is there perhaps a certain type of diet, a way of eating or particular ingredients that you’ve found to be the most beneficial for this scenario?

Risa

(09:44)

Yeah, so if you’re bloated, if you have chronic bloating, it’s usually two things, one or both, two things. One is lack of digestive enzymes, so you cannot break down your food. You’re eating this food and you’re probably not chewing it 20 to 30 times each bite because nobody does, including me, right? And so we’re counting on that acid in the stomach. We have hydrochloric acid which break down our protein. We have pancreatic enzymes that break down our fat and our carbohydrates. And if you are deficient in those things, which many people are, especially age 45 or above, but lots of things can contribute. Stress is a huge one. Antibiotic use is another one. So there’s lots of reasons why we don’t create our own digestive enzymes.

(10:28)

As we age, we produce and we excrete less and less. So that’s a huge one. So depending on your age, depending on your symptoms, if you’re having some heartburn or acid reflux, for sure I’m going to give you a digestive enzyme. Unless there’s an ulcer, I’m not going to give you some hydrochloric acid, but generally people just do immediately better with a, I have a digestive enzyme that I produce called Enzyme Max that has pancreatic enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and ox bile to help break down fats. So that’s a very complete one. Sometimes people will just take one, pancreatic enzymes, for instance, and they don’t have hydrochloric acid, so they’re still having those symptoms. So if you’re giving them a good digestive enzyme, that can usually solve that.

(11:10)

But if it’s still chronic bloating, and it’s usually paired with either chronic constipation or chronic diarrhea, I’m more leaning towards SIBO. That’s small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and that’s when I’ll be able to see it in their stool test as well. I’ll be able to see certain types of bad bacteria. I’ll see an overgrowth of that. I look at a marker called methanol bacteria, say, and that is the methane gas production. SIBO’s a little bit more complicated than that, but this is usually a pretty foolproof test versus just a regular breath test for SIBO, which can be very inaccurate, and a blood test doesn’t really show any accurate results as well. But I’m also looking for zonulin, which is an enzyme that is only found in the intestinal lining when there is leaky gut. So that’s a huge marker for me to say, “Is there leaky gut?”

(12:03)

Because when you have holes in your intestinal lining, remember, we only have one layer of epithelial cells in the intestinal lining. We have seven on the outside layer. So when you have holes in that intestinal lining, there are things, it could be stress, it could be toxins, it could be food particles, undigested proteins, it could be organ malfunctions. Bread, sugar, dairy, and alcohol all go through the intestinal lining and they poke holes because it’s very fragile. You kill the villi, you poke holes, that’s when we have leaky gut or intestinal permeability, and that’s when those things go in through the blood system and the body goes, “Who are you? You’re the enemy. You came in through the back door and our own defense system starts to create antibodies to attack.” So that creates food sensitivities and inflammation.

(12:47)

We do this enough, then we’ll eventually most likely get an autoimmune disease and we’ll start collecting them like we do anything else. But that’s one of the things I did at the very beginning of my practice. I used to test everybody for food allergies. When I realized that’s not the problem, that’s the result. I’m looking to see, are there holes in the intestinal lining? We’re not all born with these food sensitivities, right? So I’m working on the integrity of the intestinal lining, the inflammation in the intestinal lining. Calprotectin is another marker that tells us about inflammation in the intestinal lining. Well, that’s huge. So if we do have a lot of overgrowth of bad bacteria, we’re going to have probably some leaky gut and some inflammation. So I’m going to quell that inflammation while helping to heal that gut.

Stu

(13:35)

Yeah, well, there’s a lot to unpack there. And I’ve been through the rounds back in the day with SIBO treatment and I was offered two paths. So you can have the pharmacological path or we can have the natural path. And I was told at the time, “We don’t see a great deal of success at this time with the natural. The antibiotic path will be much, much quicker.” And so where do you stand on that? Because I know that everything changes and what’s right for me may not be right for you.

Risa

(14:13)

SIBO is tough. So really there are three modalities that you can use to approach SIBO. All of them are pretty much 70 to 80% successful. I have been very fortunate in my office to have a pretty high success rate with SIBO, but it’s not a quick fix. So SIBO, one of the ways that you can treat SIBO is through an antibiotic, [inaudible 00:14:42] or Xifaxan, and those are two… They’re not terribly hard on the gut compared to other antibiotics. They’re still an antibiotic, so they’re still going to wipe out your good gut bacteria, but they’re not extraordinarily harsh.

(14:54)

So if somebody is really, really, really bad with SIBO, I mean, I see cases that have gone on for years and years and years, it will typically not work completely, but if you do a round of that, let’s say 10 days or 12 days is usually the protocol, then you do that and then I would hop onto a natural protocol. Or you can just bypass that altogether and do a natural protocol. And the natural protocol looks like a supplement protocol that I use to kill those bacterias. I also will feed the good gut health. We do two weeks on, one week off, two weeks on, one week off, and then two weeks on. So in that week off, I’m feeding the good guys and then in the two weeks I’m killing the bad guys. And we may have to do that, typically I would say, maybe 85% of the time, one round works.

Stu

(15:45)

Right.

Risa

(15:46)

But if you have a severe case, I’m going to do two and maybe on rare occasions I’m going to do three. And I match that with a low FODMAP diet. So FODMAPs are, it’s an acronym standing for fermented oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, and in English, those are different types of carbohydrates that basically absorb water. It’ll create gas, and that’s why we bloat, right? And it could cause also that chronic diarrhea, that chronic constipation. So I’m going to give that person low FODMAP foods for 30 to 90 days.

Stu

(16:25)

Right.

Risa

(16:26)

Typically that’s all it takes. If you’re young and you have a mild case, 30 days, you’re pretty good to go. And you can start that low FODMAP protocol anytime you want. So six years later, you’re starting to have bloating, go on a low FODMAP protocol, see if that works without even dealing with the supplements. But I pair the supplements with the low FODMAP diet. And then the third protocol or modality is a liquid diet. This is not the one I recommend. I’ve used it a few times in my office with very severe cases, but it is not usually the favorite one because it is just… It’s called the elemental diet, and it’s just a protein that you are drinking throughout the day. That’s it. And it really is recommended for at least 21 days. So it is effective, but who can do that? It’s a very difficult thing to do.

Stu

(17:21)

And are there any mainstream perhaps supplements or products that are particularly supportive of that? And when I’m talking about mainstream products, I’m thinking about supplements like L-glutamine that have been shown or talked to be able to support the integrity of the gut lining, broths, collagens, things like everyday staples that are starting to become more popular.

Risa

(17:49)

Yeah, I’m a huge fan of L-glutamine. I have Gut Reboot, which is another product that I make that I love, and I use that as my main one for addressing leaky gut. I use it myself. I had it this morning. I have it all the time because it’s got L-glutamine, slippery elm, marshmallow root, zinc, carnosine, aloe, all these things that help heal the gut. So I’m a huge fan of L-glutamine. I’m a huge fan of bone broth if it’s done correctly. Fowl has to be cooked for 24 hours, and beef is 48 hours. So if it’s gelatinous at room temperature, it’s got the three amino acids, proline, arginine, and glutamine to help heal the gut.

(18:29)

And collagen, I’m an enormous fan of collagen. I’m all about collagen. I have my own collagens that are super clean, and they come from New Zealand actually, is where the bones come from. But I’m big on collagen because there’s so much science that shows that those amino acids are what helps to heal that intestinal lining. So those are all terrific healing agents that you can all get. You can make them at home and drink them, but I am a… That’s not going to address the killing. It’s not going to address the overgrowth. So while it will heal, it’s not going to address the issue.

Stu

(19:12)

Okay. And what are your thoughts on alcohol? At a time perhaps when we’re trying to heal the gut, many of our listeners are going to be in that group that have got busy lives and busy families and they come home wired and tired and stressed, don’t have a great deal of time, but always like to sit down with a glass of wine just to try and unwind at the end of the day. Is alcohol problematic when we’ve got compromised gut as we’ve been discussing?

Risa

(19:41)

Absolutely. So it’s in that class of inflammatory foods, plus the fact that it has, wine especially, has a lot of sulfites and sulfates in it. It’s not my favorite. It spikes blood sugar levels. There are some new wines out there, which I’m so grateful for. I’m not a wine drinker personally, but I have a million people that I work with who have that glass of wine or two when they come home. So there are cleaner wines that don’t spike blood sugar levels as much, but I favor more things like tequila, which is highly less processed and some vodkas and some scotches or whiskeys, things like that. Those will be better than beer for sure. Beer is gluten, beer is just… It’s high in carbohydrates. It’s going to spike your blood sugar level, it’s going to poke holes in your intestinal lining. It’s really one of the worst beverages out there. And wine is not my favorite as well, as I was mentioning for those reasons. So it’s not a helper.

Stu

(20:49)

No.

Risa

(20:49)

And I’m a big fan of living, right? Life is for the living. So we have to find this balance. So I would say maybe do a tequila or maybe take a break and only do it on the weekends or find another way to bring down your cortisol, whether it’s going for a walk or meditating or reading or hugging or something like that, that will bring down your cortisol from a very stressed day. Stress is not going to help the intestinal lining either-

Stu

(21:17)

No.

Risa

(21:17)

… amongst everything else, right? But yeah, so that I’m not a big fan. So I have these categories of food for sport and food for survival. That is for sure food for sport. So we want to have some sport, right, occasionally, so that would be my occasional.

Stu

(21:34)

Okay. No, that’s good to know. I think a lot of people out there will be rushing over to the bottle shop to buy their tequila for tonight.

Risa

(21:41)

Yeah.

Stu

(21:43)

You mentioned gluten, and again, this is the one word that comes up so many times in the conversations. We have a lot of active listeners who participate in, whether it be strength training, endurance training, but really, really like to get out and hit the gym, hit the pavement, get the steps in, and perhaps they’re not adverse to this low carbohydrate, or supposedly wonderful low carbohydrate, way of eating that everybody seems to be an advocate for these days. If, even from an athletic perspective, our listeners wanted to fuel themselves outside of… Or perhaps fuel themselves with the usual staples of bread, pasta, all of which contain gluten, is there an upside to consuming these? Are they bad for everybody?

Risa

(22:42)

Yeah, so this is, again, that leads back to one size fits all. If you are a heavy weightlifter or you are a runner, you are burning. You are burning lots of calories and you need energy. If you don’t have storage, if you don’t have fat storage, that’s basically our carbohydrates that we’re storing, and we’re using them for when we need them. If you don’t have a big storage, then you have to supply a new supply every time you want to have endurance. So I used to work with a woman who was a elite athlete. She was a 100-mile runner and she competed and she did not have any fat storage. I mean, she would run a marathon every morning just for a little jog, right?

Stu

(23:35)

Wow. Yeah.

Risa

(23:35)

So she needed more carbohydrates for sure. So it depends what your body composition is and how much you are using. So elite athletes like that… I’ve worked with professional hockey players who are just burning and they need lots of carbs. Now what kind of carbs, is the question. Sure, they’re going to burn through pasta and all that stuff, but it’s going to supply them with some carbohydrates. I’d love to see their blood sugar and their insulin to see how they’re processing that before I would recommend a blanket statement. But I know that I work with people who are elite athletes and they need… Their better source is going to be sweet potatoes, yams, rice, quinoa, things like that that are a little bit less processed than the pasta and the bread.

(24:28)

Now, there are some breads that you can get and you can do gluten-free, but there are gluten-free carbohydrates that are accessible to everybody. So those are things, the purple potatoes, which are really high in antioxidants, so it’s a great source of carbohydrates. And vegetables, remember, have carbohydrates. So I’m all about protein, fat, and fiber for everybody. And your carbohydrates are going to come from your fiber basically, and so choose your fiber wisely. So I would tend to go more for those kind of carbs than I would for the processed cookies, carbs, and all the processed stuff they give runners and things like that. Just eat real food. I know a lot of people, if they’re running a marathon, they’ll eat a banana, which is great. It’s got some carbohydrates, it’s got some blood sugar, I mean, some sugar, fructose, but it also has fiber, so it slows down that spike.

(25:24)

What you’re trying to prevent is a spike in blood sugar. So even if you’re an elite athlete and you’re surviving on carbs and you might be stick thin, you still might have a blood sugar dysregulation. So I’d have to look at labs to see, but that is something that I would recommend is eating real food. Nuts are a great source of carbs as well. You don’t want too many because… It’s great fat, but you just don’t want too many. But it would really depend upon the person and their activity. I’ve worked with Freddy Couples, who’s one of our all-time greatest golfers that we’ve seen. He does a lot of walking, but he didn’t do a lot of high intensity, so he didn’t need that many carbs. He did better, his performance was better when he had less carbohydrates.

Stu

(26:14)

Okay. Yeah, interesting. That’s good to know. So tell me a little bit about Foodframe. So your book Foodframe, what can we expect? Because I mentioned before that in this time where everybody has access to the internet and social media and there are advocates for every sort of diet and food has become very much a religion and there are arguments for both camps. And you mentioned that perhaps all of the camps or dietary camps are good for you or for somebody at some stage in your life, and perhaps it isn’t best to ignore or exonerate one over the other. So if I was confused about food and I had a copy of Foodframe, what would I expect after reading it?

Risa

(27:01)

So Foodframe basically highlights six different diet types. So it really covers who is it best for and who wouldn’t really thrive on this. It explains it in great detail and then it tells you, it’s got lists of foods to enjoy and foods to avoid. And I did that because just like everybody else, I used to buy the latest and greatest new diet book out there or new food philosophy and I’d be like, “I’m doing this. I’m totally doing this.” And so I would do it and I’d be like, “Nothing’s happening.” I can’t tell how many times I, me included, I went on keto and I thought, “Oh, I’m going to just thrive.” And I just did not do that great on keto. [inaudible 00:27:46] I realized, well, most women don’t, and people who have a lot of stress don’t really thrive. Men thrive much better on keto. I couldn’t even get into ketosis. I had to have exogenous nutrients to get into ketosis.

(27:58)

So not every diet type is right for every person, and that’s why I created FoodFrame, because I see it. And so if somebody comes into my office, I mean, I’m working with somebody right now, she came in exhausted, she’s gained all this weight, she’s read the latest vegan diet, saw the latest vegan food, video, or movie, and I said, “This is all wrong for you.” She was having chronic bloating, same thing. I switched her diet, she’s lost all this weight, and her clarity is so much better, her brain clarity, her energy, she’s exercising every day. She doesn’t have any fatigue. I mean, it’s crazy when you just make a little tweak according to what best suits you, right? Even when I was writing my book, my agent was saying that publishers don’t want to talk about all different diet types, they want one philosophy, they want one religion, right? And sell that religion. I’m like, “That’s not what’s good for people.”

Stu

(28:55)

That’s right.

Risa

(28:56)

So it’s really crazy that because it works for you, that’s awesome, it’s really awesome. And I think a lot of those books work for a large sect of people, which is awesome. But the other people are like, “Well, what’s wrong with me,” right? And it’s not that they’re flawed, they’re just not… It’s like, you can’t go into a store and buy a shirt that’s one size, it doesn’t fit everybody, right?

Stu

(29:20)

Totally. And I love that philosophy because typically the majority of the health books out there come about from the author’s discovery with a dietary intervention that has worked for them and has fixed their problems. And so, “I’m going to write a book. It fixed my problems, here we go.” And lo and behold, it doesn’t fix my problems.

Risa

(29:40)

Exactly. It does fit some, but not everyone.

Stu

(29:41)

It does fit… What-

Risa

(29:42)

So that’s… Yeah.

Stu

(29:47)

Tell me just a little bit about female success on keto then. Because I have been hearing a lot of people that have adopted keto, female friends that have adopted keto, and it just hasn’t worked. And you’ve been reading about hormones and the like, and fasting maybe that doesn’t work so well for females as well, so I’d be very interested to hear your perspective on it.

Risa

(30:12)

Yeah, it’s funny. I was at a convention maybe last year, a functional medicine convention and somebody very knowledgeable and had just published a book was just all about fasting. And she had great information and it was all good, and all the studies were correct and all the impact was correct. And I raised my hand and I said, “Well, what about people who have blood sugar dysregulation? If they have low blood sugar…” And she goes, “Oh yeah, those people shouldn’t do it.” And I thought…

Stu

(30:43)

Right.

Risa

(30:43)

Well, of course they can’t do it because it’s not for them. So fasting is great for somebody who needs blood sugar balance. So somebody who has diabetes or insulin resistance or pre-diabetic or they’re climbing up on there, maybe they’re more sedentary, maybe they eat some carbs, that would be good for them to do intermittent fasting. But not, if you have low blood sugar, I mean, I’ve had people come in my office and they’re like, “I’m so dizzy.” I’m like, “Of course you are, you are hypoglycemic, you cannot do intermittent fasting.” If you’re dizzy at all when you stand up, those are typically blood sugar dysregulation signs, could be blood pressure as well, so it’s not always, but it’s usually, and so I would say to that person, “You need to eat every two to three hours. Have some protein, some fats, some nuts or protein, something, because you can’t go too long without… Your blood sugars just drop too much.”

(31:47)

Then for keto, occasionally I see women that it works for. For people, keto’s covered on my book along with keto, paleo, autoimmune protocol, low lectin, vegetarian, and low FODMAT. And then I go extensively into my detox and the way of eating on my detox. But for somebody with keto, if there’s a cancer diagnosis, sugar feeds cancer cells, so I am going to suggest keto. If there’s major, if you’ve got type 2 diabetes and you’re fully, your A1C is seven or eight, I’m going to say, “Let’s try keto if you can do it.” And they’ll usually respond with that, but slowly. You put a guy on keto, nine times out of 10, they’re just going to drop weight. But also, if you don’t have a gallbladder, you are not, I would not recommend keto.

Stu

(32:51)

High fat diet’s not going to work so well for you.

Risa

(32:54)

Exactly. It’s going to really mess you up. If your sciatica on a stool test is not good or if your bile is very coagulated, we’ve got to fix that before you start doing a lot of making fat 75 to 85% of your calories.

Stu

(33:13)

Yeah, that’s good to know. Skipping breakfast. So oftentimes I’ll hear that, “I’m just not hungry in the morning, so I won’t eat till lunchtime.” And while some people almost proclaim this as a badge of honor, when I look at their health, maybe they’re carrying way too much weight. I’m thinking, “I wonder if… Is that a good thing?” Should I be waking up and should I be hungry? Is that an indication that perhaps my metabolism is working more efficiently than it should be because I wake up in the morning, I’m ravenous. I have to eat, and I eat a big, big, big breakfast. But then I have many other friends that just, “I’m not even hungry. If I don’t eat, then it’s not a concern to me.” Where do you stand on skipping breakfast?

Risa

(34:04)

Yeah, so breakfast is a great meal. I think it breaks your fast, and I think what you do for breakfast, if it’s pancakes, I’m not… It’s going to… Blood sugars. And unfortunately, a lot of our breakfast choices are high sugar, which is crazy. So I’m not a big fan of that. So given that, if we’re talking about a protein, fat type of breakfast, I think people innately, some people are not breakfast eaters. So I don’t have an issue if you want to wait till noon. Again, if you’re low glycemic, I’m going to not suggest that. I’m going to say, “Have a couple of almonds before you go to the gym, or have some almond butter with a piece of celery or a hard-boiled egg or half an avocado before you get to the gym or something so that you’re not…” But if you’re thriving and you’re not eating for that period of time and you don’t get to food till noon, I’m okay with that.

(35:01)

Unless what we’re eating at noon is a pizza with a side of fries, then I’m not okay with that. So given the fact, I mean, assuming that you’re eating real food, protein, fat, and fiber, and you’re just not hungry, there are also… I test people for ghrelin, and ghrelin is the hormone that our brain makes to tell us that we’re hungry, and leptin is our hormone that tells us we’re full. Sometimes peoples’ ghrelin can be dysregulated. So that is, if it’s a real issue and they’re just not hungry, they’ve lost their appetite, then I’m going to look into that. There are some people who don’t really eat until dinner time. They just aren’t hungry. So that’s a case where I feel like, if you’re exercising and you’re eating well, you should be hungry, right?

Stu

(35:49)

Yeah. You’d think so.

Risa

(35:52)

If you’re not hungry in the morning, you should be hungry soon.

Stu

(35:53)

Yeah, definitely. No, that make sense. So we’re kind of coming up on time, but I’ve got a couple of questions. First one is daily habits and practices, and this could be outside of diet that you see quite frequently that people are doing unbeknown to them that are negatively impacting their health. And that could be mobile phones in the early hours of the morning, so disrupting their sleep and then that would impact perhaps their mood the next day, their food choices the next day, everything like that. Or fasting, you said fasting hard and fast and prolonged fasting, again, there are camps for both of those. But I’m interested in these habits or daily practices that are becoming more popular that people are, again, putting their hand up saying, “Yeah, I’m really pleased to be doing this.” But you might think in the back of your mind, “I’d be wary.”

Risa

(36:53)

Yeah. Sleep is huge for me. I’m just like, sleep, it’s when we repair, it’s when we take inventory, it’s when we clean things out. It’s just, your body needs sleep. It’s just not negotiable, right? We need sleep, but we need proper sleep and everybody needs a different amount of sleep. Now, if you’re having 10 hours or more, something’s probably going on, right? But if you’re having less than, I mean, most guys can live with six hours of sleep, but I say, if you can do six hours of sleep four days a week and try and get seven to eight hours a couple of times or more a week, that would be great. I work with a lot of men who just pop out of bed at 4:30 or 5:00, and they’re wide open and their eyes are wide open, they’re ready to go.

(37:37)

So I’m looking at their adrenals, and when we age, our sleep schedules change a bit, our adrenals change. So, and sleeping through the night is a huge thing. So if you’re waking up in the middle of the night, it’s usually adrenals or it could be blood sugar. If you’re waking up sweating, it could be hormones or liver detoxifying. So I’m looking at all those, which I usually can see in a blood test. So sleep is huge. Water, hydration, I cannot tell you how many people are dehydrated. We drink everything but water. I don’t know why, when you walk down the beverage aisle in the market, why do we need so many choices? I’m not sure.

(38:13)

We just really actually need water. Occasionally I’ll get people in my office who just don’t even drink water. They drink everything else but water. I’m just always amazed by that. So hydration, and correct hydration is really important because here in the US, the water systems, our public water systems are just so polluted, so it’s really important to drink clean water because it’s a great source of toxins if you’re not. And then fun. Fun is really important. We are working, working, working, working, working, and our sense of fun is, “Let’s go out and trash our bodies and have six drinks and eat a pizza.” And yeah, that’s probably fun, but it’s not healthy fun.

Stu

(39:00)

No.

Risa

(39:01)

And it’s not to say you can’t go out and have a drink or two, but we tend to overdo that. So fun is unplugging, laughing, and interacting, and doing things that bring us joy and pleasure. It doesn’t have to be spending money. It could be anything, just anything. So I can tell you the virtues, you probably know them all, for meditation. I’ve been trained in transcendental meditation. I am not a big meditation person. I’ve tried to put it into my rituals. It just, for me, my head just ends up going, and maybe that’s the point of why I should be meditating, but it isn’t the way I bring my adrenals down.

(39:44)

I’m much better in a bathtub or reading a book or I’m going for a walk, things like that. So you don’t always have to do it that way, but you do have to focus on your adrenals. We have way too much simulation between… The phone is just a huge thing for us with all the stimulation, the texting, and the emails, and you’re on your computer, and the emails are… Everything’s popping. So it’s way too much for the system in the adrenal gland. So hugging your adrenals and loving your adrenals, those are all pretty key.

Stu

(40:14)

Yeah, I like it. Definitely overstimulated. I saw a really interesting post on social media the other day, and it was essentially talking to a group of teenagers who were wearing T-shirts that said, bring back the ’80s. And the comment was, in this world, take away your mobile phone, take away your internet, go back to the ’80s, stand at a bus stop and stare at your feet for two hours while you wait for the bus to come, because that’s what we used to do.

Risa

(40:44)

Right. And that’s when you’re creating.

Stu

(40:45)

That’s right. That’s right. That’s right.

Risa

(40:48)

Yeah, it’s really… That’s what I’m saying about the adrenals, is you just have to stand at a bus stop and look at our shoes. And you never hear kids say they’re bored.

Stu

(40:57)

No.

Risa

(40:57)

So yeah, that’s really important. And the other one that I miss that it’s really a given, and I’m sure your whole audience does anyway, is move your body, right?

Stu

(41:05)

Yeah, definitely.

Risa

(41:05)

I don’t care, you don’t have to be a marathon runner, but you can hula-hoop in your underwear at home. I don’t care what you do, but just get into your body and move it and get the blood flowing. And it helps with mental and physical and gut and, I mean, I can’t find anything it doesn’t benefit.

Stu

(41:23)

Absolutely. No, I agree with you a hundred percent. Last question, your personal non-negotiables. So you clearly have a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of health. Are there any… Or what are the non-negotiables that you do each and every day that you will not forgo for anything to ensure that you crush that day?

Risa

(41:45)

Yeah. I don’t eat any processed food. And when I say that, I mean I eat healthier processed food, but I don’t eat any… I mean, I could walk down aisles in a market and I don’t eat any of it. I mean, I do not want chemicals in my body. Now I get them because I travel and I go to restaurants and it’s just… I stayed at an Airbnb and all the chemicals that were in that house was just amazing to me. But I don’t use chemicals in my home. I drink clean water, and I cook. I cook. And if I could really encourage people to make one change in their life, it’s cook.

Stu

(42:28)

Yes.

Risa

(42:28)

Cook real food, food without labels. I do a lot of cooking when I’m home.

Stu

(42:33)

Brilliant.

Risa

(42:34)

So I travel a lot, unfortunately, but I bring a lot of food with me and I do as best as I can. So chemicals are a big non-negotiable for me. You won’t find those in my cleaning products or any of my beauty products or anything like that.

Stu

(42:47)

Brilliant.

Risa

(42:49)

Sodas and all that kind of stuff, I don’t do any of that. That’s totally non-negotiable. And I move my body, maybe not every single solitary day, but regularly. I absolutely move my body. And as I’m getting older, I’m lifting more weights, because that is integral for aging. And I don’t do gluten unless I’m in Italy. That’s the only place I’ll do gluten, but I don’t eat any gluten at all.

Stu

(43:19)

Great. Well, I think you’re walking the walk and talking the talk, so it’s clearly working. It’s funny you mentioned chemicals, and we made a business trip to the States last year, and we had a week in Chicago and we booked an Airbnb, and we went into the Airbnb and in every single room, there were two or three of these plug-in fragrance things in the wall, and I opened the front door and it felt like somebody had smacked me over the head with a baseball bat. And boy, that stuff doesn’t go away.

(43:56)

We pulled these things out the wall and just put them in a box and opened the windows and opened the doors. And this was in Chicago, so it was cold. Coming from Australia, it was five degrees or something crazy. And we just stood there with the doors open for hours and hours and hours, and we were there for the entire week, and we came away from there, and everything that we owned smelt of this particular fragrance, it was so insidious, and it just interrupted so many systems, I feel, in the body. And I wonder how many people are doing that-

Risa

(44:29)

Everywhere.

Stu

(44:29)

… unbeknown.

Risa

(44:29)

It’s in every taxi, it’s an every Uber. And when I get into those cars, I ask them very nicely to please remove that. I try to tell them if they’re open, if I get the sense that they’re open, “Those are a lot of chemicals. You shouldn’t probably be breathing those.”

Stu

(44:44)

I know.

Risa

(44:46)

It’s horrible. It’s everywhere. I mean, literally everywhere. So this is the demise, is these chemicals that are-

Stu

(44:59)

Well, that’s right. And I think people typically picture consuming chemicals, but there are other ways that we consume chemicals, right? And they can be airborne from fragrances or healthcare products. Transdermally, we can spread them on, whether it’s toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer. Boy, we’re going to be pickled.

Risa

(45:22)

Yeah. And here in the US, this is a new number and I’m sad to report it, but the FDA has approved 86,000 chemicals. 86,000.

Stu

(45:31)

Wow.

Risa

(45:31)

And it’s approved about 2,000 a year. We’re more than any other country on the entire planet, which is really sad, so we have to be diligent. And as you said, we get them through what we’re ingesting, whether we’re drinking it or eating it, what we’re putting on our skin and what we’re breathing. So there are pollutants everywhere. Our water is polluted. It’s really bad. I mean, if you think about the cancer rates that are increasing, and look at the labels of these foods that… It’s just, we’re poisoning our children, and it’s unconscionable. But at that Airbnb that I stayed at, which was a beautiful home, but the shampoos, the conditioners, the body washes, I just couldn’t do it. And on the soaps, everywhere. And then the laundry, I did my laundry there because I was desperate, I was on the road for three weeks and they had Tide Pods, and I went, “Oh, I’ll just try it.” I had to put it back in the next day because I could not wear my clothes. It smelled so bad, I just put it back in with water. And it still wasn’t [inaudible 00:46:35].

Stu

(46:35)

I know, I know. Well, we actually ended up washing our clothes in apple cider vinegar. We put that in the washing machine, so kind of wacky, but I felt better for it.

Risa

(46:44)

Oh, for sure. That’s what I would do if I had that. So it’s really… That’s where we can take action right away, is make sure your chemicals are not in your food. Make sure they’re not in your cleaning products. Makeup. There’s a wonderful app called EWG, the Environmental Working Group. I’m a huge fan of their work, and you can go on their app and scan all your makeup, all your beauty supply, everything, food, and they tell you how toxic it is.

Stu

(47:11)

Right.

Risa

(47:12)

That’s why I’m a big fan of detoxing. The average American woman comes in contact with over 200 toxins just before she’s left the bathroom each morning.

Stu

(47:21)

My word.

Risa

(47:22)

So our liver has to process those and it becomes congested. So it’s really important to clean out those toxins in our system.

Stu

(47:32)

Wonderful. Boy, oh, boy. Lots to talk about. So what’s next for you? What have you got lined up this year?

Risa

(47:41)

I’m doing some TV stuff, and we’re pitching a new book idea, so stay tuned.

Stu

(47:48)

Fantastic. And for all of our listeners that want to find out more about you, they want to read your book, they want to dive into the podcasts and the blog contents and social media, where can I send them?

Risa

(47:59)

Yeah, you can send them to my website. And social media is the same thing, at risagrouxnutrition. It’s R-I-S-A-G-R-O-U-X Nutrition. I have an online course about thyroid, which we didn’t even jump into, but I was able to reverse my Hashimoto’s, and I know the struggle of living with Hashimoto’s and an underperforming thyroid, so I have addressed that in great detail in my course Achieving Optimal Thyroid Wellness and all social media is risagrouxnutrtition.com.

Stu

(48:32)

Fantastic. Thank you so… Well, hopefully, perhaps Hashimoto’s and thyroid could be a conversation in the future, but for now, I will put all of those links in the show notes. And Risa, I really appreciate your time today. It’s been a fantastic conversation. I think I’ve learned loads. So thank you again.

Risa

(48:52)

So good. Well, great to talk to you too, Stu. Thank you so much for having me.

Stu

(48:53)

Thank you. Bye-Bye.

Risa

(48:53)

Bye-Bye.

 

 

 

 

Risa Groux

This podcast features Risa Groux. She is a functional nutritionist and certified autoimmune coach. She has a focus on the root causes of her client's health concerns and treats them naturally through proper testing and subsequent dietary and supplement treatment. Whether you want to lose weight, address health concerns, increase... Read More
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