Jonathan: Hey everybody, Jonathan Bailor back and I am very, very excited about today’s show. I know I always say that, but I am especially excited for today’s show because I just met this amazing woman. I say amazing because I think somehow we got separated at birth, because I got connected with her. She’s a PhD in holistic nutrition. She has a Clinical Nutrition Certification and she is a Registered Clinical Nutritionist. She’s got Masters in Business Administration, she’s a BA in psychology.
And most importantly, I signed up for her, you know, her e-mail program here and I have never seen — ever — an e-mail that resonated with me more than the very first e-mail I got from her, which just jumps right into the science, right into the stats and breaks down the fact that dieting, just starving yourself, fails. This has been proven to fail more than 95 percent of the time, yet it is a twenty billion dollar industry based on failed approaches, and she is committed to getting the science out there and letting food be your medicine. So, I couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to Lisa Best. Lisa, welcome to the show.
Lisa: So happy to be here.
Jonathan: Lisa, let’s start from the very beginning here, because I want to understand what led you on this path of evidence based nutrition and using food as healing. So how did you go from little Lisa to the superwoman you are today?
Lisa Best & Natural Health
Lisa: Well, living in nature and natural health is just a part of our family culture. We live out on an exotic animal farm in rural North Carolina in a log cabin that my husband built thirty-five years ago. We use solar power, we have our own organic garden every year. We raise organic chicken eggs and, at one point, we had up to two hundred exotic animals on the farm.
Being involved with animals in life, in nature, is just a big part of who we are. We even had educational groups come out to teach them about how to interact with nature and animals. I homeschooled my children here for part of my life and a part of their lives, and just being in nature and finding natural and easy ways to heal the body is just part of what we do. But, ironically, I did not start this way.
Again, you read my bio, I started with an MBA. I was a financial planner and an investment advisor. When my two older kids were born, I realized that I wanted to be home and I wanted to have an active part in their life and in their growth. So I switched to real estate investing and I spent twenty years buying and selling properties and fixing them up and renting them out.
Then in 2008, there was this little economic crash that happened that totally devastated the real estate market. I took that as a sign from the Universe that it was time to follow my passion and go back to school and get my degrees in natural health.
I’m an old hippie, I have always loved natural health. I meditated and took yoga classes. I’ve been a runner. I used to hang out at all the health food stores in the ’70s, so it’s nothing new so my kids joke at me constantly. My office is absolutely filled to the top with books and research papers and health reports from health magazines about ways to be healthy naturally. So it was just a natural event to move back in to or to make a career out of what my passion already was.
Jonathan: Lisa, you’re definitely living on passion and I can tell because the information you put out resonates with truth and with sincerity. And sometimes the truth can be, to paraphrase Al Gore, inconvenient. It seems like we have been given a lot of misinformation, if we just look at the failure rate of what we’ve been doing.
So two questions, Lisa, based on your education, your experience and just your insight. Why is it that in the face of this 95 plus percent failure rate, 108 plus million people trying to diet, not succeeding, exponentially rising rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, there are still — there are still supposed health care professionals that are just telling people to diet harder?
Lisa: Well, I agree with your initial analysis that we must have been separated at birth because when I read the information that you’ve written about dieting, it was like, “Oh my goodness! This is exactly the book I would have written if I had the time to write a book yet on dieting.”
But this issue is also extremely pertinent for me because I have struggled with weight my entire life and when I went back to study nutrition, I lost 65 pounds as a result of instituting a diet very similar to the one you’re recommending: natural, raw, whole, organic, non-GMO, non-processed foods.
So, I think the problem is — and I’m totally in agreement with you — that the processed food industry and its existence now is creating foods that are not real foods. They’re not live, they don’t generate nutrition and the obesity rates and the illness rates of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are directly related to the dietary input that we’re putting in.
Jonathan: Lisa– Oh, go ahead, no keep going, keep going.
Lisa: I was just going to say, so, the misinformation out there is the conflict of interest in business. And again, having a career and understanding capitalism and business interests, I think that there are food companies and food production companies that were very quick to jump on the idea of producing fast, easy-to-fix foods for people in both restaurants and in packaged foods.
In the business model, they have really responded to what we have asked them to do: create something that’s quick and easy. And quality of food was never the focus, so it’s going to take a movement from people like you and me to get companies to start producing foods that are healthy. But they’re not motivated to do it now. The demand right now is for cheap, quick and fast.
Jonathan: Lisa, I am right there with you and I’m also encouraged because it does seem like the industry will respond if the demand is there. Look at gluten-free, for example. Regardless of the scientific — or lack thereof — validity of certain gluten-free products, the point I’m making is, the idea of gluten-free was foreign in the mainstream ten years ago. Now, if you get on an airplane, you can specify gluten-free. And I don’t know how big the industry for gluten-free things are, but it seems to just have sprung up overnight. It does seem like there is hope if we can drive the demand; what do you think?
Lisa: There’s definitely hope. Again, being an old hippie in the ’70s, I remember when there was one natural food store in a hundred mile radius and now, even in my small area, we have one and in larger cities there will be eight or ten in a several block radius. So that’s telling you that people are wising up, people are understanding that if we don’t eat better and get the right fuel in our bodies for growth and healing, we’re just going to wind up being sick and fat.
So I think it is a slow process, but I’m very optimistic that people are wising up. I’m finding in my practice — I also do health coaching by phone or on Skype — and when I talk with clients who are dealing with health issues, I find that the ones that are the most motivated to make the changes towards healthy food are the ones who are already in pain, the ones who are already experiencing high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. And my goal or my passion is to make it so that we don’t have to get to that level of degradation of the system before we make these changes in diet to restore our health and wellness.
Jonathan: Speaking of degradation of the system, one group of individuals who –I so often hear that they’ve started to switch to this whole food, nutrient dense, high quality plants, high quality animals based lifestyle, but they’re still not necessarily seeing the results they want or at least not as quickly as they want.
This is especially females who are in in the pre- or post- or in the midst of menopause. Do you have any insights into additional things or an explanation as to why this seems to be a uniquely challenging time period in one’s life to achieve the health outcomes we want?
Lisa: Being in that demographic myself, I certainly do. When you hit the hormonal fluctuations of perimenopause and menopause, everything goes bananas. At that point, I personally started working with an alternative physician to help me figure out the hormonal imbalances. Thyroid, adrenals, and reproductive hormones are fluctuating and as each of those fluctuates it influences the others and weight loss becomes absolutely to a standstill, or at least it did for me.
What I would suggest to those people is to start looking at finding a good alternative physician who can help them work out any hormonal imbalances that may be going on. And then, by all means, it is still essential to stick with the very healthy, whole, raw diet as well.
But one thing that some of us over fifty have to realize is, with age comes a change in the body, so you really can’t logically expect the body to respond the same way it did when we were twenty, you know. We have to adapt to that except that we may not be exactly the same. Although I still run sprints and lift weights and do yoga and do all the things that I did at a younger age, I just do it at a little bit slower pace.
Jonathan: Lisa, once again, the separation from birth. You’re going stream of consciousness right now and you just said sprints, weightlifting and yoga. Those are my three favorite forms of exercise and three of the most effective. So I love that, Lisa, and I love that you brought up the points you did about that time period in life.
Because one of the — certainly there are some challenges associated with it — but one of the amazing things I’ve seen is that it is during that time period where individuals see just head-on that this can’t be about just eating less and exercising more.
I cannot tell you how many brilliant women, people like you with PhDs, advanced degrees and there’s no lack of intelligence or drive — they are like, “Jonathan, I’m eating twelve hundred calories per day and I swear to God, I’m eating twelve hundred calories per day and I’m gaining fat. There has to be something else going on here.”
And it’s almost like you get that level of frustration where it enables you to break free from these myths and calorie dogma and finally see that truth and then hopefully pass it on to future generations. What do you think?
Lisa: Well, I’m in total agreement and it is true, especially as you get older, that if you don’t balance the thyroid–If the thyroid’s not working and metabolism is not being told what to do properly, there is no way you’re going to lose weight. I got over two hundred pounds with that exact same problem. No matter what I ate, I would — I cut down to seven hundred calories a day and would not lose weight, so I know exactly what you’re talking about.
But what I had to do was exactly what your plan suggests, quite brilliantly I would add — add calories; add good, whole, nutritious foods that are giving your body the nutrients it needs and then also exercise and get those hormones balanced, because it’s virtually impossible to lose weight as an older person if your metabolism is dysfunctional.
Jonathan: Lisa, in our conversation before the call, it was very clear to me that you’re a very caring individual. And also hearing your history of being a hippie, I can imagine that you have a very big heart. I need your advice and hopefully this is advice for the listeners as well.
There are many, many people in the world who simply say, “Eat less,” like, just eat less, you’re not trying hard enough, eat less. And I say to these individuals, I say, here we have brilliant people. We have brilliant people who are eating a thousand calories per day and are not seeing the results they want. Are you, Calorie Counter Advocates, truly saying that these people just need to eat six hundred calories per day? How–?
It almost makes me angry, because it’s such a — it’s like looking at someone who has been afflicted with some sort of a terrible disease and just being like, “Try harder to get healthy, what’s wrong with you?” How do we react to these individuals that seem so steeped in the conventional calorie dogma?
Lisa: Oh my goodness, it’s not just calories, it’s everything. It’s approach to statins, it’s approach to diabetes. It’s everything. So weight loss is just one of the many factors that I get so frustrated about and the conflicting — and what I feel is incorrect — information that’s out there. But pertaining to weight loss especially, the evidence just does not support that low calorie diets work.
I know personally that metabolism and thyroid function drops up to 50 percent everytime you cut calories. So you’re constantly diminishing the effectiveness of your thyroid every time you cut calories. Your body thinks you’re starving to death. That’s just the mechanism that helps humans survive for millions of years. When food’s not there, everything shuts down so your body doesn’t die. So, it’s only logical that if you continually cut calories, the metabolism keeps dropping and dropping and dropping and it becomes harder and harder to lose weight in the future.
The system just doesn’t work and going back to a diet that is nutritious, whole, natural, organic foods makes so much more sense and you’re not hungry all the time and weight loss may be slower than if you completely cut calories for a long time but it works. I mean, I’m living proof. I’ve lost sixty-five pounds that way.
Jonathan: And when you say you’ve lost sixty-five pounds that way, Lisa, are you consistently hungry, cold and tired, or are you maintaining that weight loss, eating regularly and having an enjoyable, sustainable life?
Lisa: I eat regularly, all the time. But see, regularly for me is not mainstream. Regular for me is a nice portion, four to six ounces of healthy lean protein, over a half a plate of leafy green vegetables, raw vegetables, raw fats and avocados. I don’t eat that many grains because I’m sensitive to gluten. But I know there are seven billion people on this planet with seven billion diets, meaning foods that will work for them. So there are some foods that are helpful and healing to me that are toxic and poison to you. So in my case I don’t — I can’t — eat a lot of grains but there are vegetarians and people that rely on them, so I’m not trying to make a judgment about one food being better than the other. They’re all– Each of us is an individual. But I would certainly recommend not cutting out all the calories and trying to live on a decreased calorie diet, it just doesn’t work.
Jonathan: Lisa, this is literally gold and I so appreciate you sharing this message and I know you have actually a bunch of cool resources that individuals can take advantage of to get more of this information and get this information on a daily basis. So, what’s next for you and your consultancy and where can folks learn more about you?
Lisa: Well, I was so concerned about the conflicting information that is out there about health and I had so many resources from prestigious major U. S. universities that are just not getting out there into the mainstream that I developed an app called Health Tip of The Day, which is available for iPhone and also for Android and which provides one daily piece of information that you can use to naturally and easily to increase your health.
I find that over the long term small, easy steps towards health is a much more productive way to make lifelong changes than trying to start some radical program that you get frustrated with and drop. So I thought having that access on the phone would make it very easy for people to see the information that I found. Probably 75 percent of the tips are based on research and the rest are based on successful clinical protocols that I’ve found people use to, say, reduce diabetes or to help with cancer treatments.
So the app is one way. I also write a weekly e-zine called Help Tips Weekly and my website is healing with holistic nutrition.com. I would love for people to contact me if you have suggestions of information you’d like to have or if you would like to have some health coaching, I’m available for that as well.
Jonathan: Listeners, again, Lisa is — Lisa we’ve got to get together in person at some point because this Healthy Tip of The Day–Listeners you’ll be familiar with our Slim Is Simple health tips that we released a while back and they’re– If you like those, you’re going to love Lisa’s tips because they’re not tips like, “Eat one less saltine cracker and over the next twenty years you’ll lose twenty pounds. ”They’re like facts. They’re like little bits of science. They’re like little science bytes which are wonderful and I love them. So, Lisa, again, what’s the name of that app?
Lisa: Health Tip of the Day.
Jonathan: Brilliant and again the website where folks can learn more about you?
Lisa: Is healing with holistic nutrition.
Jonathan: Well, Lisa Best, MBA, PhD, CCN, thank you so much for joining us today and for dedicating your life not only to human betterment but also just to getting the truth out there which is awesome. So thank you so much.
Lisa: Thank you so much for having me.
Jonathan: Listeners, I hope you enjoyed this wonderful conversation with today’s guest, Lisa Best. Again, be sure to check out healingwithholisticnutrition.com where you can get information on Lisa’s app and e-zine which is awesome, simple science and we can never have too much of that.
So remember, this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. Chat with you soon.