I live in South Carolina where fried chicken and sweet tea are diet staples. I live in a small town where chasing a better state of health makes one look… odd.
I can only imagine how Jimmy Moore looks in the heart of Spartanburg, SC, the author of two health books and the host of the longest running podcast on iTunes. Cholesterol Clarity is his first book, written with co-author Dr. Eric Westman and his popular podcast is Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Show. At the time I’ll publish this blog, Jimmy will have aired his 834th podcast.
His latest book is Keto Clarity, Your Definitive Guide To The Benefits of a Low-Carb, High Fat Diet, also co-authored with Dr. Eric Westman. It released last week and it has been met with high praises. But what is keto? And won’t a high fat diet make you die of a heart attack?
To answer any questions about eating fats and heart health, please read Cholesterol Clarity first. It’s the eye opener everyone needs to understand the role fats play in one’s health. And it will appease any fat phobia you might have. Maybe you’ll even let yourself enjoy butter and egg yolk and bacon again.
Keto, short for ketosis, is “a metabolic state that happens when you consume a vey low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet that causes your body to switch from using glucose as its primary source of fuel to running on ketones. Ketones themselves are produced when the body burns fat, and they’re primarily used as an alternative fuel source when glucose isn’t available.” (p. 32)
This means your body could use its own stored body fat to run instead of using the glucose from the blueberry bagel and Venti Iced mocha latte you had for breakfast. (BTW, your body can’t burn all the sugar from this breakfast example and will store the excess as… you guessed it, body fat.)
So eating a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet is conducive to losing fat. That’s the big surprise in Keto Clarity for many who follow the Standard American Diet (the food plate): fat helps you burn fat and sugars (carbohydrate) help you store fat. Of course, I’m simplifying. To understand all the benefits of ketosis, grab the book as soon as you can.
I find myself blessed to live in the same state as Jimmy Moore and I didn’t hesitate to contact him to request an interview with him. I was thrilled when he said, “of course!” I drove to Spartanburg on a rainy Thursday and met Jimmy and his lovely wife Christine at their home.
This interview was conducted solely for my own pleasure but I’m willing to share.
CS: What was the inciting incident that led you to turn your health around?
JM: “Actually, it was a series of incidents. I was a substitute teacher for a 6th grade English class and one kid shouted from the back of the class, “Man, Mr. Moore is really fat!” I laughed with the class, but I was really hurt. The second incident was at our Church Fall Festival where there was a climbing wall. Kids were climbing up and down like Spiderman and so were a few adults. I wanted to try.
“Please understand I was over 400 pounds and very tall. I hadn’t realized the physicality – the cognitive dissonance of where I was in my state of health and physicality and the reality were too far apart. I twisted my ankle and by now, everybody was watching. I couldn’t do it.
“The third incentive was when I wanted to weigh myself. No scale could weigh me. I went to the new Gold Gym and that scale could go up to 500 pounds. When I stepped on and I saw a 4, my heart sank. I thought I was 330. I was 410. I was shaken and it was very humbling. This was also the year my brother had a series of series of heart episodes.
“The last thing is when my mother in law gave me a diet book for Christmas. The author was Dr. Atkins. I started on my low-carb journey and I saw results very quickly.”
(Jimmy’s success with a low-carb diet spurred his curiosity and he delved into the subject without looking back. He has had all the experts on the subject, from nutritionist to doctors to researchers on Livin’ La Vida Low Carb.)
CS: In Keto Clarity, you talk about macronutrients ratio and how it’s different for everyone, according to one’s sensitivity to carbs. How does one goes about finding the perfect ratio?
JM: Everybody loves macronutrient ratio, but stop, I tell ya. I’m not a fan of calculating a ratio because it sets a calorie goal. Eat to satiety. To find your flexibility, you have to do those tests: carb tolerance and protein threshold. Eat enough fat to be satiated. If you’re getting hungry too soon, it’s a sign you’re not eating enough fat. Get a gluco-meter and test your blood glucose levels.”
CS: I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for a couple weeks now and sometimes I stopped what I’m doing to get a snack. Now I’m wondering if I’m eating a snack because I need a mental break or because I’m hungry. Emotional eating is one of my problem.
JM: “You might not be eating enough at meals. If you bumped up the fat at each meal, it should prevent being hungry a couple hours later. A ketogenic diet can help calm the mind also, it helps with brain fog.”
CS: About training on ketosis. Everywhere one can see what a pre-workout and post workout meal should be. When is the best time to train for a fat loss goal?
JM: “Whenever I exercised, I always did it in a fasted state. The ketones will sustain you. When you’re done, there’s no need to rush to eat. No need to eat half a sweet potato, it’s not necessary. If you want to be in ketosis, maybe bumped up the protein a little bit cause that’ll give you the gluconeogenesis that’ll help with the muscle repair. Training will give you more flexibility in the quatity of food you can eat.
“To fuel your workout, your body will use your stored body fat, instead of burning a pre-workout meal. And don’t measure your blood glucose right after a workout because it’ll be high. When you release stored body fat, it also releases blood glucose in your system. It’s a temporary state. Wait a couple of hours and your blood sugar levels will be back to normal again.”
(Gluco-neo-genesis is a concept discussed in Keto Clarity: if protein is eaten too high a quantity, the liver will transform the excess into glucose. To stay in ketosis, it’s important to find your own protein tolerance.)
CS: What do you do when you travel? My fear is to not find the right foods and be so hungry, I’ll fall off the wagon.
JM: “When I fly, I eat before I leave and I fast until I get there. When I drive, I bring a cooler and carry my Kerrygold butter with me.”
CS: Are you and Christine in sync in terms of meal? My husband and I are not. He likes to eat right before going to bed and I can’t.
JM: “We hardly ever eat together because our metabolism are different. Eating by the clock can be a challenge on a ketogenic diet. It’s socially awkward to not eat with your people, at family gatherings and such. But you can always say you’re not hungry and you’ve just eaten. “
CS: Do you have any regret?
JM: “I regret I never challenged conventional wisdom before 32. Why did it take me that long to do something that went against the grain, pun intended. Some people are highly intelligent but you get to their diet and lifestyle choices, they are idiot. I was idiotic for all those years and I regret when I was a teenager and early twenties, I didn’t grab this bull by the horn sooner, but I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given since.
“Right now, I’m at a weight I’m not happy about – honest – oh, I’ve caused it by writing a book in the last two months. It’s good stress – to write a book – but it’s stress that will impact you nonetheless. I try to stay real about those things. I don’t regret writing books: I know I’m open to criticism – don’t care about that. I’m much better at the weight I’m now than when I was 410 pounds, eating 1500 grams of carbs a day. I will never be that guy again. If my story can help encourage other people, you may not be perfect… Being real really keeps that regret from being something that bogs me down.
CS: I’m pretty sure I speak for everyone who follow you when I say people appreciate your authenticity. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
JM: “When I hear people say their lives was changed by some podcast they heard, or something they read in a blog or a book. I’m not a medical doctor, I don’t have a phd, a md, a rd, there’s no d after my name. That is validation. Even if I’m not in the perfect state myself, the fact that the information I’m providing helps people in their pursuit of health is a sweet gratification. This is my motivation and I won’t stop doing it. God forbid if I ever get sick and in the hospital, I’ll still go, “Welcome to the Livin La Vida Low Care Show!””
CS: You carry the torch for the low carb lifestyle and that puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders.
JM: “It used to bug me that I had to be perfect but knowing my background and where I am now, I’ve gotten away from the weight number and focussed on health, because thinness doesn’t equal health.”
I had a great conversation with Jimmy and Christine and I thank them for welcoming me into their home. Have I raised your curiosity about what a Ketogenic Diet can do for you? Here are a few benefits:
- Mental Clarity
- Sounder, more restful sleep
- Stabilized blood sugar and restored insulin sensitivity
- Lowered inflammation levels
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduced triglycerides
- Use of body fat as a fuel source
- Eliminated heartburn
- Slowed aging due to reduction in free radical production
- and so much more… (p. 37)
Keto Clarity is available on Amazon in hard-cover, on the kindle or as an audio book.