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Dr. Anna Cabeca returns to the show for a powerful and memorable conversation about menopause, healing after tragedy, and her new book, MenuPause.

Things get deeply personal in this episode: Dr. Anna talks about her experience with tragedy (her toddler son’s death) and dealing with PTSD and infertility, and you’ll hear some seriously life-changing insights that she has learned from her most difficult life experiences. She also reveals the reason why resetting your circadian rhythm is essential for healing, explains her experience with reversing early menopause despite being told she couldn’t have children, and much more!

Dr. Anna Cabeca, DO, OBGYN, FACOG has dedicated her career to helping women balance their hormones and heal their bodies, and knows that the hormonal fluctuation that precipitates menopause can be one of the hardest times for women, upending an otherwise normal and happy life. In MenuPause, Dr. Cabeca teaches women a new way of eating so they can take charge of their own health and continue to live their most fulfilling lives. 

TIMESTAMPS:

Dr. Cabeca’s story includes five unique eating plans to help with weight loss, improve mood, sleep and hot flashes. [01:22]

Anna left her medical practice because of burnout, after an especially traumatic time in her life. [04:42]

As she traveled the world, she met many leading scientists who expanded her knowledge of medicine. [09:25]

Endocrinology and gynecology are interrelated systems. [11:47]

After the trauma of the death of her toddler, Anna received the diagnosis that she was unable to become pregnant again, adding to her stress.  She did, however, have another baby. [13:15]

Healers and philosophers from all over the world gave Anna the same general knowledge that the organs hold all the energies in your body. [15:17]

After her travels brought her a new perspective, she changed the way she practiced medicine. [22:42]

Stress can mess up our adaptive hormones. Your cortisol goes up and oxytocin goes down. The more oxytocin, the better the body repairs itself. [25:05]

Her book, MenuPause presents five unique eating plans to break your weight loss plateau and improve mood, sleep, and hot flashes. [30:27]

Each of us is different and Dr. Anna personalizes the diet plans for each individual. [33:53]

In menopause, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and DHA all diminish. [38:40]

Brain fog is an inability to extract the necessary glucose to fuel the brain. [42:19]

What behaviors helped her heal from the PTSD she had after her child was killed. [45:19]

How does oxytocin promoting behaviors compare to dopamine triggers? [50:59]

LINKS:

​​QUOTES:

  • “There is magic in the pauses of our lives.” – Dr. Anna Cabeca 

LISTEN: 

Download episode audio by clicking the arrow in the top right corner of the player above

Check out each of these companies because they are absolutely awesome or they wouldn’t occupy this revered space. Seriously, Brad won’t promote anything he doesn’t absolutely love and use in daily life.

 

B.Rad Podcast

Brad (01:22):
Hey listeners, I am so pleased to present this powerful and memorable show with Dr. Anna Cabeca. She returns to the podcast. We talked a couple years ago about her previous book, Keto Green 16. She has a new book called Menupause: Five Unique Eating Plans to Break Your Weight Loss Plateau and improve mood, sleep, and hot flashes. And yes, we will get into the book in her unique approach to dietary intervention for health. But boy, you get more than your bargain for in this show right away. And she gets into an incredibly personal and mind blowing story of sustaining a terrible tragedy in her life, uh, dealing with PTSD, uh, hitting some dead ends and finding out that she was infertile and having the traditional diagnosis from some of the top physicians in the country. It caused her to go on a global travel odyssey to just find herself.

Brad (02:20):
She closed her her mainstream medical practice. She’s a board certified MD OB GYN. And so she just kinda went on this, this personal journey, uh, engaged with numerous, uh, mystical and, uh, alternative healers around the globe. They gave us these life changing insights and really this show is gonna rockier world. So, let’s hear this amazing personal journey that Dr Anna’s been on and then transition into some discussion about the content in not only her new book, but in her previous books, The Hormone Fix , Keto Green 16 and the new book MenuPause. And interestingly, she talks about five unique eating plans as you heard in the subtitle and these cross, the entire spectrum. So, uh, very rare to find a guest that is not pigeonholed into, Hey, here’s our carnivore, uh, promoter, here’s our plant-based person.

Brad (03:19):
Here’s our keto, here’s our primal. She goes the whole spectrum. So she has an actual, uh, carnivore ish, uh, test period in, in your, uh, in your diet to see how your body reacts and maybe gets some improvement in symptoms. And she also has a plant based progression where going to eliminate animal products, animal proteins, and go straight into the green stuff. And this just shows how incredibly personalized it is as you hear people often say, but she recommends going through a variety of different experiments. And so it’s really fresh take on a lot of things that we hear in the, health space. And boy, Dr. Anna’s something else you’re gonna love the show here. She is for the second time, the author of MenuPause. Dr. Anna. Cabeca Dr. Anna Cabeca we meet again? How nice. It’s been a while and here we have another momentous occasion, another book by Dr. Anna cranking them out. Um, despite your, I think in case listeners, wanna get refreshed, um, tell us about your, your practice your whole deal. And then we can, uh, lead into the, uh, the great occasion of the publication of MenuPause and that’s MenuPause, people. We are gonna talk about menopause, but the title is MenuPause. Very, very clever,

Anna (04:42):
Very clever. I know I love the title. I love the concept, and I think there are, there are magic, there is magic in the pauses of our lives. So, um, it’s a perfect, perfect title. And especially for women going through a seasonal transition that, um, we can look for that magic and really try to, to harness it when it can feel terrible and something no one wants to talk about. So a little bit about my story is I’m a board certified gynecologist and obstetrician. I trained at Emory University, and then I was in private practice as the National Health Service Core Scholar for over 15 years in Southeast Georgia, in St. Simon’s island, Georgia. And I did integrative women’s health and part of my own journey. I closed my practice in 2015, actually burnt out from my practice, being a single mom, taking care of my patients from around the world and, you know, pedal to the metal and dealing with under the surface post traumatic stress disorder and really just feeling it, you know, the consequences, especially as I was going through, I like to call my second menopause that transition time.

Anna (05:53):
It was, it was really problematic. And I, you know, that led me to discover what I teach and share about now online.

Brad (06:02):
So what’s the, the nature of the, the PTSD. In your example, you were working really hard single mom, having a high-powered practice and it was just overly stressful or,

Anna (06:14):
Yeah, when 2006, my toddler son died in a tragic accident, Brad, and, um, and I resuscitated him and, uh, he died at the hospital. And it, the hospital that I practiced at for however many years and that, um, was just, I mean, just trauma. And I don’t remember a lot that what happened. I, I remember bits and pieces, but I don’t remember very much actually about that time at all. And, you know, always thinking, okay, the grief and the tragedy and the trauma, and, you know, I was solo practice. I still had to work and figure that out. And as a result, my and my I, my, my husband and I, we wanted to try to have another baby. And it was determined that I was an early menopause. I had premature variant failure and I failed the highest doses of injectable meds. So it was trauma on trauma, trauma on trauma.

Anna (07:11):
And for anyone who’s struggled with fertility, or, and wasn’t able to get pregnant every time you see a negative pregnancy test or you get spotting from a period or whatever, it may be. It’s trauma, again, it’s loss again and again. And so that, that PTSD was under the surface and then not recognizing, or really understanding PTSD and the triggers. And, and that had taken us on a journey around the world. I closed my prac, well, actually a beautiful doctor out of Atlanta, Dr. Deborah Shepherd came and took over my practice for a year. And, um, I journeyed around the world and I felt like I had to keep the earth moving under my feet. And I love the Buddha saying everywhere you go, there you are. But it took me around the world to figure that one out. So, and as a result of that reverse the early menopause and had a beautiful baby at age 41, the child I was told I was not able to have.

Anna (08:05):
And, but yet the PTSD was under the surface and it wasn’t until like really recognizing how to heal from that trauma using multiple modalities. My keto green way that I talk about to empower physiology, empower all oxytocin over cortisol. And it’s hard. I mean, it’s a hard place to be when you wanna die every day. I mean, to try to think positive and have gratitude. And I mean, those, and you know, those physiologic changes are hard on your combating PTSD. I know I didn’t share this on your podcast and our other conversation. I feel like with the trauma, we out over the last two years with a pandemic increasing cortisol and decreasing oxytocin, encouraging isolation and disconnect it’s that it’s that PTSD. It’s that trauma it’s that cortisol, oxytocin disconnect that leads to divorces that leads to burnouts, that leads to, you know, inflammatory diseases of all kinds.

Brad (09:04):
Wow. Okay. That’s a pretty heavy start. Dr. Anna, thank you for starting us off. Now, did you take the round the world trip prior to having the medical success of being able to come pregnant? Is that the timeline here? So you just took off, you needed to get out, um, the, around the world trip. Did it have a lot of agenda or did you guys just, just roll

Anna (09:25):
Serendipitous? And I met healers from around the world and ancient mm-hmm ancient Andean and philosopher to an Indonesian healer to some of the world’s leading scientists, as crazy who I met on the journey, and I just thought like God’s hand was in it. And as a result of that, really the, this, I learned integrative therapies, I learned, I kept asking questions like from Peru learning about Maka. That’s when I ended up creating my mighty Maka. I really heard they say it, it helps with fertility and they call it the Peruvian Viagra, like who doesn’t wanna take that. Right. But in combination, it’s pretty darn awesome. I used, I gotta send you some of you,

Brad (10:12):
I just ordered some, I don’t know why I heard it from someone, so maybe it was, maybe it was, uh, listening to some of your stuff, but okay. I’m on board.

Anna (10:21):
It’s good. I’m gonna have to send you my Mighty Maka. It’s Maka with 30 superfood. The other, other foods I experience amazing. I mean, really Maka of itself has amazing, um, attributes. It has high arginine, which increases nitric oxide, which is how the Viagra works. So pretty cool.

Brad (10:40):
So prior to this odyssey, um, you were trained in traditional medical environment practicing in, in Western medicine, were you a dabbler in these kind of concepts or was this a total awakening, uh, to, to kind of blend all your different, um, your angles?

Anna (10:59):
Yeah, it was a definitely an awakening, but I am first generation American. I always like to say I grew up in the United Nations. My mom is from middle east and my dad’s Portuguese US Navy. He was older. So he did, he served in World War II, uh, as a young man and to both my parents were a little older and, um, and, but my mom was really, I mean, and an amazing cook. And my mom really did integrate food as medicine. Like she would say, you know, we need to rub olive oil on your tummy for this. We need dandelion for this. We need, you know, but she also was diabetic in her thirties and the standard American diet and the ADA approved diet, lots of fruits, which for a sugar addict, we love that. Right? We absolutely love that. And it, it, it, by age 52, she was undergoing heart surgery.

Anna (11:47):
And I’ll never forget this, Brad, because my mom mostly stayed at home, but she baked for the leading restaurants in our area. And, um, and it was the first, I remember the first time I came home and, and the house wasn’t smelling like something great was coming out of the oven and it was just empty. Mom. I was at 52, I was 16. She was undergoing heart surgery, cardiac bypass surgery. And I’ll never forget that. And, uh, she struggled for 15 more years and passed away prematurely at age 67, but diabetes, heart disease. That’s on both sides of my family. And, um, and it’s very interesting that menopause is a risk factor for diabetes. And if you had a hysterectomy and your ovaries removed research says your risk is even higher. So, I mean, it’s really interesting to look at the, um, the connection between endocrinology, right, and, and gynecology, but, and we were, you know, really have dissociated the two, but they’re interrelated. And this is where insulin resistance has come into play. So I saw this in my own family. And, um, and so, and I travel for me. I bought my first plane ticket at 13. My mom said, well, if you, you know, I wanted to travel to across the country to see my cousins. She goes, if you can buy your plane ticket, I’ll let you go. Then I started, I started traveling then 16. I did my first international flight. And, um, yeah, I’ve been traveling ever since that’s a meditation.

Brad (13:15):
Awesome. So, so when you return from this global odyssey, um, you had this unfortunate medical diagnosis, but how were you able to unwind that, reverse it, whatever you wanna talk about and, and become fertile?

Anna (13:29):
Yeah, I think there were several things. It certainly was using super foods, Alka, I, and letting go in spiritual work too. There was that part. And in Indonesia, I met this healer, um, in Ubud, Indonesia in Bali. And if you, I read, Eat, Love, Pray. I bet you it’s the same guy. I didn’t, hadn’t read the book at the time. I read it much later, but, um, I bet it was the same, same healer. Anyway, we were sitting out in the garden and chatting and he looked at me and he said, well, what’s, what’s on your mind? What are you, what are you worried about? And I said, well, I’m infertile. And my ovaries are shot. I mean, you know, I’d, I’d done and seen my own ultrasounds, right. I’d failed the highest dose of injectable meds. And he touched the top off of my head, Brad. I mean, this is, I’m a Western trained physician. Right. He touched the top of my head and he says, and I was painful. It doesn’t hurt at all now, but it was painful. And I go, oh my gosh, what does that mean? And he said, you worry too much. And I said, huh? He goes, your ovaries are fine. You worry too much. Hence the stress connected and I planted a seed.

Brad (14:39):
Whew.

Anna (14:40):
Uhhuh.

Brad (14:41):
So when you,

Anna (14:42):
Cause we don’t talk about reversing early, I mean I failed. Right.

Brad (14:45):
Right. So when you go back and mix with your MD peers, how does this stuff fly? I mean, this is crazy wacky stuff for the people that are towing that traditional line. I know we can, uh, you can go address, uh, a group of mystics who are gonna nod their heads and go, oh yes. The top of her head was, uh, but, um, how do you sell this to people that are kind of going, uh, who is this wacky lady? I mean, it’s nice. You have the credentials and you have been trained in Western medicine, but yeah, wait, that blend is, is, uh, is a tough one sometimes.

Anna (15:17):
Yeah. And it goes beyond that. Right? Different philosophers from an Andean philosopher to a native American shaman to an Indonesian healer all said the same thing, the organs hold energies and the breasts hold the energy of a relationships. The liver holds anger, the pancreas guilt, the kidney fear. Well, the kidneys, our adrenal gland sit right there, fight flight freeze. Right. And, um, and so they all, each of them different parts of the world, different philosophies had that same tenant of what these energies organs hold. It was enough to make me pause.

Brad (15:55):

Anna (15:57):
Like try to integrate this and think, okay, what is the underlying mechanism of action? How does energy get stagnant in hormones? Like we talk about testing and I am a hormone expert for sure. Mm-hmm but hormones are hard to test because they are energetic molecules. So why do, does energy stagnate in the breast? Why would it stagnate in the womb? Why would cancers right. Cancers result from where there is stagnant energy or improper communication? When one cell can’t turn its neighboring cell off, we get metastasis, that’s physiologic, but there’s an energy to that. That is yet to be assessed. So quantum physics, you know, energy medicine, these things have to be addressed for us to get, you know, more advanced in our medical world and traditional philosophies have a, have a,um, have a, maybe cutting edge on us on that.

Brad (16:48):
Why are they difficult to test, uh, hormones as energetic molecules?

Anna (16:53):
Yeah, because when we’re looking at we’re looking at them in the urine and the saliva and the blood and each of those areas tell us something different. If we can measure energetically too, that’s, that’s a key piece of it. And the reason is, too, because hormones are gonna pulse are going to react to our thoughts, to our actions, right? So they’re gonna be different. They’ll be at different levels circulating at different, especially like testosterone, for instance. Like I’ll tell my patients, I’m gonna check your blood labs first. Like at 10:00 AM in the morning, use your hormones the night before, come in fasting, no exercise to get this lab work done until after we’re done doing the lab up and you know, really relax and whatever it else may be, because we know with cortisol, you’re just slightly stressed that cortisol spiking well, and the same thing will happen to your glucose when cortisol goes up, glucose will go up. And so we wanna create the same kind of situation. Every time you test your hormones. And the same is true. Like for example, if I did a workout and then check my hormones, I’d get a different reading than if I didn’t. Mm-hmm so there’s an energy to that.

Brad (18:02):
So the, the variation in numbers over the course of even a day or a week is gonna be such that it’s difficult to make some traditional diagnosis,

Anna (18:12):
But they give a clue. And that’s why I always tell my patients, you know, we’re gonna look at blood, urine, saliva. I mean, we’re gonna look at every body fluid you have at one time or another. It’s gonna tell us something. And, um, and I think that’s really an important piece of it. That each body fluid will tell us something else. And so learning about that is, is critical. So we can wear monitors and, and monitor the physiology of a hormones throughout the day it’s it’s coming.

Brad (18:40):
So when the hand was placed on your head, by the spiritual healer, and you said that your ovaries were fine and you just worry too much, uh, how long did it take or what was the process for you to become a, a partial believer or a full believer going all the way back to when you had a, uh, a, you know, clean bill of health at, at some point, or I guess yeah. Favorable blood test. Did anything change on the, um, traditional medical front from, from your, your patient folder versus when you were diagnosed as infertile?

Anna (19:13):
Yeah. Well, definitely reversed menopause. I became pregnant spontaneously a few months later,

Brad (19:18):
A few months later,

Anna (19:20):
The child I was never going to have. Right.

Brad (19:23):
So whether you were a full believer or not now you’re a real believer because you’re pregnant, but what was going on in your mindset from that, that at first, uh, possibility of, of a different, uh, future,

Anna (19:36):
It was just how curious, you know, how odd, how curious, you know, mm-hmm because I had seen my ultra, my ovaries shriveled up I’m like, what is he?

Brad (19:44):
So what do you see? You’re actually seeing on an x-ray or something

Anna (19:47):
Ultrasound ultrasound. So when you’re like, when we’re doing injectable meds for infertility were giving high dose hormones to stimulate the ovaries to create more follicles. And so a menopausal ovaries, like an almond, a fertile ovaries, like a walnut.

Brad (20:05):
So you saw proof that, uh, they, they were, they weren’t, the medical diagnosis was correct. You had almonds instead of the walnut I had, excuse me, listeners, but yeah. Okay. Uh, so then,

Anna (20:17):
Yeah, and I failed round after round of injectable meds and my reproductive endocrinologist, one of the best in the country said your only option to have another child is egg donation. Okay. So that was like the end, right? From my standpoint, that was the end I’m 39, no, Chance 39 40 at that point, no chance to have another baby. And, you know, that’s, that was the diagnosis. That’s what, you know, belief is a big factor, right? The Biology of Belief. Great book.

Brad (20:51):
Yeah. Bruce was on my show and talking about those perception switches. So listeners, if you listen to both that, uh, previous comment by Dr. Anna is tying that in that, um, that this, this energetic aspect of the hormones can come from. I think you listed, you said, um, your, your actions, your thoughts, any type of input is going to have an influence. Same with the guy putting the hand on your head. You could have a instant, uh, you know, changing a perception in the cells throughout your body.

Anna (21:20):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. It’s fascinating. I was doing other things too, you know, the Mighty Maka, uh, ingredients and the, you know, praying and, you know, you know, I’d been on this healing journey and talking to people, so there are other aspects too, but you know, enough to make you go. Hmm.

Brad (21:41):
So did you have a glimmer of hope that maybe the diagnosis from one of the leading endocrinologists, OB GYNs in the country was, um, off base or were you resigned to that fact?

Anna (21:55):
I, um, I probably held internal hope. Like, you know, you know, God, if you wish this to happen, let it happen. And, um, and you know, I would say to my clients never give up hope. You never know. Right. You and out. And so I never look at, um, and it really did change how I practiced medicine. When I came back from my world journey, it was like, diagnoses are just a description of undergoing underlying symptoms. If we get down to the underlying symptoms, all of these diagnoses can go away and we can reverse them. And so I started practicing in that way and it made a difference. I went from doing two to three surgeries per week for GYN issues to two to three major surgeries per year. The body is powerful in healing itself.

Brad (22:42):
So how did your practice change,?did you change your signage? Did you say, uh, believe in possibility or, or, um, were you still practicing as a, a traditional OB GYN and seeing a similar type of patient clientele?

Anna (22:58):
Oh yeah. GYN, small town, Georgia Southeast Georgia, you know, wide range of patient base and bilingual bilingual. So, you know, um, a, a wide range of patients and, um, but a definitely started doing this integrative approach. I started looking at nutraceuticals and supplementation, and of course I’d already been doing biomedical hormones and using, um, even DHA and testosterone in my female patients, but really working on that too, and, and more in fertility and things like that. So I really had had another perspective. I just kept studying. And from there on triple boarded, right. Studied anti-aging or regenerative medicine, integrative medicine, and, uh, probably, and more functional medicine. I mean, all of these things. So I just kept, you know, I am a sponge for knowledge and especially world medicine continue to be fascinated by, uh, long held practices. And, you know, I will say, take what resonates and leave what doesn’t

Brad (23:58):
. And, and, um, if it resonates, then you’re correct that it’s, it it’s valid because it resonates or you make it resonate. Right?

Anna (24:06):
Yeah. I mean, I would try it, right. Like the concept. I had a patient for instance, um, who came in and she’s a nurse at, um, from way cross Georgia. And she came in to my practice in, in Brunswick and she had a third, she was on a third round of pancreatitis and she was, you know, the internist can’t figure out anything. I have no idea why I keep getting this pancreatitis. I was like, oh my gosh. And I just thought about one of the things I learned as I traveled around the world. I says, is there something you’re guilt, you’re feeling guilty over. And she just burst into tears, just burst into tears. I just held safe space for her, let her cry. And, uh, um, and then when I saw her for follow up a couple months later, she goes, Dr. Anna, thank you. Because I had to let something go and to deal with something. And I haven’t felt better in a decade. Thank you. And pancreatitis never came back, followed her for six more years till I closed my practice. Yeah.

Brad (25:05):
This is not your ever gynecologist, people. Oh my gosh. Who knows what you’re gonna get when you show up? Mm-hmm wow. Uh, you, before we go talk about the book and things, uh, you mentioned this, um, this, uh, comparison between oxytocin and cortisol. So maybe we could get some of those big picture insights about how stress can mess up a are, uh, optimizing our adaptive hormones and, and how that pattern works a little bit from overview.

Anna (25:33):
Yeah. And I think this is a really important thing that, again, if I hadn’t experienced this, I wouldn’t have known to look at this. And first thing is that when we’re stressed or have post traumatic stress, chronic everyday stress cortisol all goes up when cortisol goes up, oxytocin goes down the, you know, like you’re in stress, fight flight freeze mode, right? So you’re like, you’re not connecting in that mode. Anyone ever notice super stressed, not stopping to smell the roses. Are you and appreciate those around you too much? Well, and then when your cortisol’s up, you’re para ventricular nuclear area in your brain says, okay, cortisol, you are frying me out, right? That is that an, that steroid medicine that essentially, you know, is, is there to protect and, and save us, but it can too much too long is destructive. It’s catabolic. It breaks us down. It robs Peter to Paul. It takes your minerals, take your bone, take your muscles ages you faster than anything. So, um, cortisol, um, is shut down. But at same time, oxytocin is as well. So you’re in this dangerous space where cortisol is low and oxytocin is low. And what that feels like is disconnect. So

Brad (26:43):
The cortisol is low because it’s been, it’s become exhausted by chronic overproduction from all the stress

Anna (26:50):
Negatively fed back to suppress cortisol. Yeah.

Brad (26:55):
And oxytocin is commonly associated with, uh, bonding, uh, connection, all those things. So that’s kind of, it’s, it’s realm there.

Anna (27:03):
And it’s the biggest antiaging hormone, right? It’s the hormone of longevity, healthy marriages, having a pet, laughter connection community. We know from a study in Berkeley that looked at, um, muscle cell regeneration with oxytocin therapy, mean oxytocin increases muscle cell regeneration in the elderly. So this was a group of 70, 80 year olds that they had studied. And I think that’s powerful, the more oxytocin, the better your body repairs itself.

Brad (27:32):
Okay. So they’re both suppressed at what happens then

Anna (27:34):
That’s that I would say that’s the physiology of disconnect, the physiology of burnout, physiology of divorce. Yeah. Depression. You start going into a store and you think, oh my God, I see a friend that I’ve known forever, but I’m gonna pretend they don’t see me. You go, you deny, um, invitations to go out. You stay home alone and start being anti, you know, not socializing like you used to, you feel anhedonia, uh, lack of pleasure, lack of enjoyment

Brad (28:09):
As cortisol, also antagonize, uh, testosterone, estrogen, things like that as well.

Anna (28:16):
Yeah. When we will sacrifice all our reproductive hormones to make cortisol. And when that system is stressed out and suppressed, everything suffers. It’s, uh, hypothalamic depression, essentially.

Brad (28:31):
Um, and again, listeners, this cortisol, this fight or fight response is incredibly wonderful mechanism for survival and for peak performance. So we want that cortisol spike when we’re, uh, in the blocks for a sprint race or going up to the presentation and, and it gets all our systems functioning at a heightened level, right? Heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, everything. Um, but we wanna have that fight or fight response under tight regulation because it’s supposed to be for short term emergency use only. And that’s where we have a disconnect from, uh, our ancestral past so forth where, um, we’re just calling upon fight or flight. Every time we have a, a difficult conversation with a teenager or a head to the workplace and there’s dysfunction there. And then we go to the gym and we overexercise, and, and all those sort of things.

Anna (29:24):
Yeah. And cortisol wakes us up in the morning. It’s natural to spike in the morning that gets us up. We don’t want it spiking at 3:00 AM when it’s first getting a chance to rejuvenate itself, cuz it’s been, you know, suppressed or we’ve been burnout all day. And then at 3:00 AM it spikes? I mean, there’s all kinds of stuff that goes on physiologically. Resetting your circadian rhythm is essential to healing. I talk about this more in my journey in my first book, The Hormone Fix. And I really go into some of the physiology, the stress physiology and the other things that disrupt our hormones. I always say it takes more than hormones to fix our hormones.

Brad (29:58):
Right. We have to have some, I mention there with, um, someone putting their, their hand on your head and, and, and so forth. Uh, so you wrote the hormone fix, then you wrote The Keto Green plant based detox. Is that the title of the book?

Anna (30:12):
Uh, Keto Green 16. Yeah. An omnivore. There’s two plans in there. Two 16 day plans, one omnivore and one plant based.

Brad (30:20):
Okay. And now we have MenuPause. Yes. Uh, tell us about this latest, greatest book.

Anna (30:27):
Well, from working with thousands of patients online, thousands of people in my online community, I don’t have my brick and mortar anymore. I don’t have my clinic. So I consult, I do physician to physician consults and I, um, have my online girlfriend doctor community. So we’re working with women when they’re like stacked say, okay, this isn’t doesn’t seem to be working. And we’ve been following the keto green lifestyle. So talking about a healthy way for especially women, but I think women and men to do keto with our, you know, healthy fats, high quality protein, and fiber-rich foods and herbs and spices that are also supporting, um, mineral balance within our system and helping our body clear from an over acid load, which stress alone is gonna do that. So we need to incorporate the nutrition, the food, but also the lifestyle factors with intermitent fasting and no more snacking.

Anna (31:17):
So that’s pretty much like what we do in our community. And then, um, there’ll be people that come, they’ll say, well, I’m struggling with this or that or the other thing. And sometimes it’s for example, a client who has Hashimotos, I’m like, okay, let’s pause all night shades. And so the first plan came from that keto green extreme plan and another person’s been doing keto for a while and they’ve struggle with constipation. They struggle with some digestive issues. So of the second plans completely plant based. Let’s just pause all animal products, give you a break support, gastric motility support the, um, microbial diversity gut bacterial diversity in our gut. We know that’s associated with longevity and healthier immune systems. And so we’ll focus on that. And a third plan is a carnivore plan. My clients who have severe eczema, psoriasis or, or bloat when they eat greens, we’ve gotta pause that for a little bit, really add additional enzymatic support.

Anna (32:15):
And it’s a nose to tail plan that can help. And then I have a full six day cleanse and then sometimes people have been doing you keto for so long are following a very carb restricted plan for so long. We actually have to add carbohydrates back. And it is the favorite plan among my community. It’s the carb up plan and it’s incorporating some healthy root vegetables like sweet potato and, um, more fruit. So it’s and sometimes especially like my athletes or people who have been doing keto for a long time can feel better when they pause and add some carbohydrates back in,

Brad (32:54):
Oh my gosh, what a rare, guest we have, who’s a friend to all and not, uh, you know, fiercely defending her corner and her dogmatic approach. So this is super interesting that it’s that, uh, personalized because we hear that banter about people use that one liner like, Hey, it depends on personal preference, but here you are with these distinct plans. I mean, you can’t get more distinct than the green plan versus the, the carnivore ish plan. And I field a lot of feedback from people that are a little bit confused when we have these, uh, amazing explosion of, uh, the meat-based. You don’t need to eat plants. Uh, put those aside, you’ll get healthier. And then we have the plant-based community bigger and more vocal than ever. And so an an average person, um, I don’t know what, what what’s one to think. And, um, how might they like, especially engage with some of your recommendations in the book?

Anna (33:53):
Yeah, I think the biggest thing is that, you know, each of us is different. We are unique and it depends on what path we’ve been and on until now. And figuring that out is really key. There is a quiz and each chapter asks, okay, this plan may be best for you if, but I do recommend kind of, especially if you’re starting out, going through the plans in the order, and we’re doing that online in my girlfriend doctor, community on my, um, Facebook. So we, you know, to add community, but each person is different. One thing may work for you now, but it may not work for you six months from now, like clients who have come to me who have been doing, um, a straight keto, but weren’t doing keto green. They’re like, I’ve started gaining weight. I don’t feel good. I’m getting this rash.

Anna (34:39):
I’m like, okay, well let’s, let’s look and see what that’s going on. What do we need to pause? What do we need to add? What, what has to happen here? And I say pauses because exactly what you said, it’s not the strict dogma, this isn’t the one way you have to live for the rest of your life. And it’s important to know that there are seasons for a reason and intellectually. And, um, it’s scientifically, we know that there’s reasons for different vegetables and plants and you know, this and that and styles of eating, fasting and feasting. I’m all about the feasting actually. Mm-hmm

Brad (35:13):
Yeah, let’s talk about that a little more, cuz that seems to me a place where we can have some really good common ground and that, uh, the body needs that digestive downtime. We know about digestive circadian, rhythm research, getting really popular now and how important it is. And then the, the feast or famine pattern where you can kind of tap into the, uh, the assorted benefits of, we hear all about fasting and, uh, time restricted eating and how great it is to be in a fastest state. And then, uh, we also need nutrition and the athletic population needs to recover and perform. And I’ve tried to figure this out and, and dance around myself. But, um, the feast or, famine concept, in general, seems to be highly aligned with our ancestral and our genetic expectations for health as well, where we don’t have to constantly trickle in, um, the gas pump and, and, and squeeze a few pumps in throughout the day. But instead, you know, head to a feeding and then enjoy that meal and, uh, appreciate the, the act of more so than just being a, a constant, you know, vacuum cleaner, putting something in.

Anna (36:21):
Right. And that’s really stressful. And it, you know, when I, I I’ve listened to, oh, actually I saw something online crops, my feet, instead of the, the way to eat in menopause or something like that. I was like, oh, exciting. I can’t wait to see what they say. They’ve gotta be keto green. I’m sure. And, and it was, it’s like, start out your breakfast with a yogurt parfait with fruit and granola drizzled with honey. And I’m like, oh my God, the blood sugar’s gonna spike up two hours later, they’re gonna be hungry and craving. Oh, but they had a solution for that. So in two hours, they’re supposed to have a snack oh, and I’m like, that is distracting. We’d be become more insulin resistant. We are designed for fasting midlife and beyond. We are designed for fasting. We have to, we have to empower physiology.

Anna (37:06):
Glucogenesis in the brain is hormone dependent, estrogen, most likely a factor of progesterone, two being that progesterones progesterone or neuro peptide. And so, but what happens is that as our brain starts starving for fuel cuz our hormone levels are dropping. We get the brain fog, we get the anxiety, we get the depression, we get the mood swing. These are neurologic symptoms that are coming along the same time as your physician, your gynecologist is recommending birth control pills, ablation, or hysterectomy, right? So there’s the gynecologic issues along with the neurologic issues. So I call all this time period, age 35 to 55, a period of neuroendocrine vulnerability while our brain is starving for glucose. Even if it’s high levels in our blood, it’s unable to use it efficiently. And so if we switch to ketones, that is not hormone dependent. So what happens author of three best selling books? have hundreds of million of people online that follow me seven, eight years ago. I couldn’t, I couldn’t get outta bed. I was depressed. Stressed hormones were a mess, gaining weight, struggling all, all the way around. So this is the difference of what I, I proclaim to be the keto green lifestyle, the way we need to shift in transition in menopause to have a quality, um, second spring of our lives.

Brad (38:26):
So it’s particularly relevant to menopause to get, um, skilled at burning the alternative fuel source and get skilled at fasting. And why is that such a vulnerable time?

Anna (38:40):
Because of, uh, decline in progesterone and estrogen and um, and testosterone and DHA. So reproductive hormones are declining. Those are our anabolic hormones. And so we’re getting into, um, a catabolic state a lot quicker. And so we, um, are going to gain fat, be inflamed and be foggy brained. When we shift to ketos, we become more insulin sensitive as opposed to insulin resistant, we are able to manage our energy stores better. We support our mitochondria function and our neurocognition, we are like ketones. You know, that ketones for the brain is like jet fuel versus glucose, which would be regular gasoline. And so it’s a, it’s a different shift and it’s, it’s important at all stages of our lives. And the younger you are, the quicker you can get into ketosis, but it’s, I considered essential in the, in the per menopause menopause for mood, memory, metabolism, relationships, productivity.

Brad (39:45):
Yeah. I mean, it’s um, it’s nice. You convey the best way to do that. Is this, um, feast or famine strategy. In other words, the best way to get into ketone production is, um, through starvation or restriction of, uh, external calories. And I think that’s been lost in the, the keto craze of, uh, having these snacks on the shelf, these processed foods that say keto on it, and you can nibble on those all day and those people are missing the point. So, yep. Um, you know, the, the alternative or I guess the popularized approach is, Hey, eat, eat whatever food you want, just keep your carbs low. And you’ll, you’ll become a member of this wonderful club. But I think it’s, it’s better to, um, distinguish that this is a, a genetic attribute that’s driven by starvation mainly, but of course, since we don’t wanna starve, we’re trying to figure out a way to, to get these benefits of keto.

Anna (40:38):
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think that’s, that’s, you’re exactly right. Um, and one of the things I always tell my clients and I write about this is test dump, guess, I mean check urine ketones or breath, ketones or blood ketones, however you wanna check it, check urine pH I do that regularly because urine pH is a biomarker for help. And I have, you know, research shows that the more alkaline seven or greater urine pH is the less metabolic disease. And, and Dr. Perlmutter came out with his latest book, Drop Acid, talking about uric acid, the higher levels of uric acid, the slower, your metabolism, the higher risk of all disorders of aging, right that’s of storage mode. When your uric acid is high, there are certain cultures like mine, Middle Eastern, um, that do that really well. Right? We’re gonna go in, we can starve for a long time and be fine.

Anna (41:29):
We’re adapted that way. So we’ll build uric acid on high purine diets, like carnivore for instance. And so you’ve gotta shift, but also shifting to a higher urinary PHS clearing uric acid is associated with clearing releasing and lower levels of uric acid. So at incorporating that in to a healthy there’s unhealthy and healthy ketogenic diets, but to a healthy ketogenic diet, but plus lifestyle, the intermittent fasting. So Keto Green 16 is 16 hours of intermittent fasting. And, you know, and with menu pause, each of the five plans is six days, day seven can be a feasting day, can be a fasting day, can be an opportunity to learn what works for you and what does for you. And that’s, that’s the beauty of, of the five different plans in, in menu pause.

Brad (42:19):
So this online community, um, and your, your online practice, tell us how this works now that you, you don’t have your shop in, in this, uh, rural Georgia.

Anna (42:30):
Yeah. Yeah. So now I’m in Dallas, Texas. Oh. And, um, and so basically can follow me at, on Instagram and social media, but we have a girlfriend doctor membership club and there’s information on that at my website at Dr. anna.com. And that’s where I can get on live with people, you know, twice that we do live video. Like we’re talking now twice, some, and, uh, sometimes more frequently I’m able to answer questions, address issues and things that are coming up and empower, empower women, especially with some of my programs to be the CEO, have the knowledge of their own body and their physiology. And I think one part that we really miss especially having studied psychology too, as a, as a young woman, is that the mind and body is connected and physiology affects our behavior. Hence what I call the physiology of divorce that cortisol, oxytocin, disconnect, but behavior can also empower our physiology or destroy it. And so that wisdom is really important part of healing. So while we focus on, on food and exercise, there’s so much more, and that’s why there’s no one size fits all. And we have to explore what does our body need and clear the brain fog so that we can really listen.

Brad (43:50):
So the brain fog is an inability to extract the necessary glucose to fuel brain function, which, um, burns a lot of glucose. It’s a huge energy demand organ,. 20% of our daily calories, right, are just from the brain and the brain burns only glucose or in those rare circumstances. Ketones so it, it is a big deal, but is that the, we, we hear brain fog all the time and then people, uh, talk out a variety of, um, uh, driving factors. Mm-hmm . But is that, is that, um, a good way to explain it or what what’s, this, what’s this deal?

Anna (44:25):
That is a good way to explain it. Inflammation is another piece of that puzzle, right? The more insulin resistant, the more inflamed, the more insulin resistant, the higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. So it’s connected here and progesterone is a neuroprotective hormone. So when we are 35, our progesterone levels start to decline as women and men, they decline as well, much slower, but definitely so for women and that’s being our mother hormone. And so recognizing the impact of stress on protective hormones is important because again, uh, behavior can optimize physiology or destroy it. So perceived stress or real stress, like I had experienced with PTSD while over and over again, right. Until I compartmentalize, until I focused on the behaviors to increase oxytocin was that I wasn’t able to shift my physiology.

Brad (45:19):
Um, what do you, what do you mean by compartmentalize and how, and what behaviors specifically helped you heal?

Anna (45:26):
Yeah. One thing is, you know, think about just on an example on a daily basis, if you’re thinking a, about the pandemic or the war in Ukraine, and, um, you thinking about that and you’re worried about it all day it’s it’s right to think about concern and, and pray for and do what we can, but all day your physiology is in a fight or flight or free state. So say to yourself, okay, from eight to eight 15 today, I’m gonna think about it. Some action steps, write this down journal. And when thoughts come up throughout the day, like I did with the trauma that I experienced and I could live in that 24/7, but I couldn’t live. And so I compartmentalize. And so at eight to eight 15, that was my time to address that, to focus on that, to pray and think about it. But otherwise the thoughts were, would come up and I would, would tuck them away. I’ll deal with

Brad (46:15):
Reschedule for tomorrow

Anna (46:17):
Reschedule. Right?

Brad (46:18):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Let’s talk about COVID tomorrow. Thank you for that news headline. Love

Anna (46:22):
It. Exactly. You could say, okay. Maybe it’s just on Saturdays. We’ll think about that. Or Monday mornings, you know, let’s and really work on that because you have to understand what it’s doing for your physiology, how our thoughts create, you know, actions,

Brad (46:38):
I suppose you can compartmentalize the good things too, such as this is your hour for meditation, reflection, gratitude, outdoor experience, whatever it is. And during that time, it’s, that’s the central focus, right? You’re not, uh, um, out there walking in the woods, looking at your phone about the latest updates from Ukraine.

Anna (47:00):
Right, right. And that it’s really important to do that before I get out of the bed. Like how I start my day is, is with the practice of, of gratitude. And I think about where did I see love yesterday? Where am I loved? Where am I loving? Where could I have laughed at myself more? Where did I laugh? And there’s always a lot of answers to that. Laughter and love are oxytocin, um, increasing behavior. So I wanna focus on that. And then what I’m grateful for also in oxytocin, increasing a lowering cortisol, and we can lower cortisol. We can increase oxytocin when we’re working on it from a physiologic standpoint to reset our nervous system. And so those are practices that are, you know, part of my morning compartmentalization, if you’d like to say it that way, morning practice or morning ritual,

Brad (47:47):
Love it. I, I, of that research that, um, looking into a dog’s eyes is a strong, uh, prompter for oxytocin, instant oxytocin release, just engaging with that animal and the, you know, the unconditional love. They, they show their master all the time. And, um, so if I’m getting my dog out in the morning, I’m out in nature, I’m playing with the dog, I’m talking to the dog and you’re, you’re you’re right. You’re, you’re setting yourself up with these behaviors and, um, you know, making them

Anna (48:15):
Physiology.

Brad (48:15):
Yeah, yeah. Right. I, I guess, um, probably a fair amount of us can nod our head and understand, or have some, uh, you know, awareness of this. But then in, in day to day life, I feel like we’re victimized by the hyperconnectivity and all these forces that push us away from the, the power that we have to shift our physiology. We forget so easily. And then we get, you know, stuck into the, the patterns that, that create that, um, that imbalance, especially as you describe the, the, the high cortisol lifestyle that, that cortisol burnout and the corresponding drop in the adaptive hormones.

Anna (48:54):
Mm-hmm , it reminds me of, I had a patient who, um, when in Georgia and he had been in an accident, trained derailed, he was working and, uh, trained derailed, and he had that traumatic accident. And he’d heard about some of the work I did with oxytocin. And so he came to see, and he said, you know, I’m just feeling, you know, I know I love my wife. I don’t feel love for her. I mean, I do things with my child, but I don’t get any joy about any guy, because it’s just been this way. And that’s when I said, well, when, you know, when did it start? And he goes, gosh, you know, like about a, you know, several months after an accident that he’d had, and this had a traumatic brain injury, and he had PTSD around that. And that was so a, and that was aha moment.

Anna (49:36):
So that’s when we focused on initially did some supplemental oxytocin that I prescribed him, but also just the awareness that this is what’s happening, your physiology is affecting your behavior. And so addressing the things that you can improve those oxytocin in your life, like the intimacy with your wife, having fun and laughing, and the compartment, you know, and being aware that this was under, under the surface and then doing EMDR or emotional freedom technique to rewire the nervous system. And with that, and, um, supporting his physio physiology and adrenals, and that was, it just changed his life. But I think the biggest thing that changed it, certainly the, the temporary supplementation, everything helped, but just the awareness cuz he wasn’t broken, you know? Right. He wasn’t broken and um, he could feel again and it would just be a conscious, you know, practice to focus on all the good things and to really bring those in. And it it’s true. It changed his life, his relationship with his wife and daughter. And it was amazing. And I said before, I, I think, you know, we have horses. And I think when I, I remember, I think if I forget if it was one year or two years later, but he bought his daughter a horse too. And I mean just like engaging in life, right. Not giving up, which is where he was when I had seen him.

Brad (50:59):
Wow. How does the oxytocin promoting behaviors compare to what we often hear about these dopamine triggers and how we can easily OD on these pleasure seeking experiences?

Anna (51:14):
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s a good question. And I don’t know that I have a good answer for that. I always look at the oxytocin cortisol effect and then what is bringing you pleasure and what becomes a thrill like where are thrill C seeking pleasures? So there are oxytocin seeking behaviors, which aren’t very different than dopamine seeking behaviors, like, um, like sex, for instance, shopping, gambling, um, thrill seeking behaviors. And those are, you know, dopamine increases testosterone. So those are those hits that you can be getting from that, but in a different way, oxytocin affecting cortisol dopamine, uh, has some effect, but not like oxytocin does so a healing for healing physiologically that’s the oxytocin hormone, the practices that increase oxytocin.

Brad (52:06):
Yeah. I guess could be described as like the difference between instant gratification and longer term satisfaction, fulfillment, um, you know, the, the deeper meaning and significance things that give life more meaning and significance rather than these things that are over with quickly

Anna (52:25):
Mm-hmm and it’s, um, it’s interesting cuz you know, part of my healing journey, I studied Saint Ignatian, um, philosophy and the, the examine they call the spiritual examine and he talks about the spirit of discernment, um, the desolation versus the spirit of consolation. So the spirit of desolation when we’re feeling sad and even the saints have experiences, sad, depressed, unsure, uncertain, and the spirits of consolation where you have that sense of peace and reassurance and, and um, that sense for the long term that this is the best move and what St. Ignatius had his, he was a playboy knight, uh, before he, he converted essentially, but he was his Pplayboy knight and he would jost and you know, horseback and fight and do all these things and he got injured. So he was in the hospital for, for um, several months. And the only thing he had to read was the Bible. And he explained it this way. He says, when I would think about josting and all the women and all that, you know, fun, he goes, it would give me, uh, excitement for a short term. But when I thought about like the life of the saints and serving God and, and the love of Jesus and, you know, went on, he goes, and I feel love for the long term. And I, that resonated really well with me. What’s gonna give me pleasure in the instance versus pleasure for the long term mm-hmm

Brad (53:50):

Anna (53:52):
And what practices do that mm-hmm

Brad (53:53):
right. Yeah. Good thing to, to ask ourselves all the way along, including uh, oh boy, uh there’s you know, there’s a pin of ice cream waiting for me in the freezer. Now it has my name on it or, um, what, whatever, there’s so many endless examples.

Anna (54:08):
Yeah. And I think with day seven in menu pause, like when you have that, you can say, okay, well what’s gonna happen when I do this ice cream today, how do I feel the next day I’ve done? You know, does it shift your physiology? How do you feel? But clearing the brain fog, clearing your senses receptors, you know, with the hormone and balancing foods that I’ve put together. I mean then you have some clarity to be able to say, okay, I feel, I feel great or more likely I don’t feel great. I feel inflamed. Now my knees are sore again and well, good news is we can fix that. So it’s that experimentation.

Brad (54:45):
Wow. Dr. Anna, what does show? I’m so glad to connect with you again on, um, exciting new topics and really, uh, a lot of things to, um, to ponder. So the book menu pause at the time of this show, publicizing is hot off the press. You can get your copy, wherever books are sold right now. Um, I would recommend going back, I can binging on, um, hormone fix and, and keto greens. Um, we had a whole show about keto greens. So go listen to that. And then if we wanna connect with you and join this face, Facebook community. Tell us more about that.

Anna (55:21):
Yeah. So definitely come to my website at Dr. anna.com and we’ll be, um, we also have book bonuses on my book page on my site at Dr. anna.com/menupause. But when you go to my home site, you can see all of that. And, um, and so that’ll give you some additional book bonuses and, uh, cheat sheets and all kinds of good stuff. Plus we’ll send you an email inviting you into our online community. And I’m on Facebook at the girlfriend doctor on Instagram, at the, and doctor. That’s where I get to watch my grand baby. So I’m 55 with a 14 year old and a new grand baby. So I’m excited about that. My 25 year old had a baby just recently, I got to deliver her, Brad. I mean, highlight of my life. Yes. I

Brad (56:02):
Didn’t know that you were allowed to do that.

Anna (56:05):
Oh yeah. Yeah.

Brad (56:06):
You, you, you broke the rules.

Anna (56:08):
Yeah. Something that you

Brad (56:09):
Insisted. Sure. Right. Maybe it was done at home who knows people, but

Anna (56:13):
It was in a birthing center. There you

Brad (56:14):
Go. There you go.

Anna (56:16):
Birthing center.

Brad (56:17):
Wow. You’re, that’s a fantastic full circle. Thanks for those great stories, Dr. Anna, everyone. Thanks for listening. Da da, da, da. Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support. Please. Email podcast, Brad ventures.com with feedback, suggestions and questions for the Q and A shows. Subscribe to our email list to Brad kerns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bi-monthly newsletter edition with informative articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. You can also download several awesome free eBooks. When you subscribe to the email list, if you could go to the trouble to leave a five or five star review with apple podcasts or wherever else, you listen to the shows that would be super, incredibly awesome. It helps raise the profile of the B.rad podcast and attract new listeners. And did you know that you can share a show with a friend or loved one by just hitting a few buttons in your or player and firing off a text message? My awesome podcast player called Overcast allows you to actually record a sound bite excerpt from the episode you’re listening to and fire it off with a quick text message. Thank you so much for spreading the word and remember B.rad.

 

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