Improving A1C and Getting Metabolically Healthy

The numbers are grim—less than 7% of people in the U.S. are metabolically healthy. This is a tragic health crisis that can easily be solved with simple lifestyle changes. This episode of Beginnings & Breakthroughs takes you through JJ's tips on balancing blood sugar and transforming your health to avoid being part of this devastating statistic.

JJ coaches community member Marsha Kaehne on how she can level up her metabolic health following the Sugar Impact Diet. Marsha discovered that “calories in, calories out” isn't always true, found that intermittent fasting gave her high energy, and started incorporating resistance training after spending too many hours on the elliptical machine focusing only on cardio.

Even with all the progress, Marsha's A1C levels are not where she wants them to be. JJ gives her tips on what affects metabolic health, plus how to enhance her fasts, avoid “fake” healthy foods at the grocery store, practice a protein-first approach with meals, exercise the right way for better blood sugar balance, and much more.

Working in a high-stress job as a nurse practitioner in mental health, Marsha also provides some insight on how she manages her stress levels to support her wellbeing, with additional tips from JJ.

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ATHE_Transcript_Ep 451_Marsha Kaehne
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Welcome to beginnings and breakthroughs. This is where I celebrate and coach people just like you, who are on a mission to heal their metabolisms, feel better, fast, and live their best lives. We will be walking through. What's worked for them and what they've discovered on their journeys, and then I'll coach them on their next best steps.
And if you're interested in being a guest, stay tuned and I'll be sharing how you can join me. All right. I will be right back with our awesome guest.
Beginnings and breakthroughs my new favorite podcast to do on the ask the health expert show. It is where I coach someone. Who's either just starting off on sugar, impact diet or Virgin diet, or one of my programs, or has been on one and now is ready to take it to the next step and we can celebrate their success.
[00:01:00] And I am, I really had a great time today with Marsha Kaehne. She is a nurse practitioner and she works in. Mental health. So big kudos to her. And I was really excited to be able to support her. And she's really been working on improving her hemoglobin A1C, getting her blood sugar better balance. So she's already started some things in the sugar impact diet and been doing a lot of research.
And now we've gone through what to do to take her to the next step. There's a lot of things in here that can be super useful. If you are looking for how to move into intermittent, fasting, how to have better blood sugar balance. What you should be doing in terms of exercise for better blood sugar balance.
If you're looking at how you improve your metabolic health. So we've gotten into all of that stuff. I'm super excited to share this with you, and if you would like to be up next, all you need to do is go to to apply to be on beginnings and breakthroughs. Stay with me. I'll be right back with Marsha.[00:02:00]
Marsha. I am super excited to spend this time with you today.
Marsha Kaehne: thank you. It's just my pleasure. I've so been so excited to visit
JJ Virgin: with you. All righty. So a couple people have literally like, have been coming on for the pre-interview stuff and they're like, I'm nervous. I'm like, what are you nervous about?
Come on. This is exciting. So I'd love to start with you know, how you found me and your, your journey so far and what you're looking to accomplish, and then we'll dig in. okay.
Marsha Kaehne: So wow. I, well, I'm a nurse practitioner, so, but I also is, am very interested in lifestyle management for health concerns.
I, one of my specialties for many years has been diabetes management, cuz I work for, I work in a tribal community and diabetes is extremely prevalent and just debilitating [00:03:00] to so many people's. To the extreme and, and very, very tragic. And so, you know, the idea of sugar is just profused within that.
And it's, there's just this, this is really a hard kind of a dichotomy between. The cheapness, the, you know, the inexpensive sugar and the promotion of sugar by manufacturers and the ease of just buying processed foods, especially when you have kind of a food desert as we refer to it up here. And then the, and then the terrible effects that that has on them.
So that's when I really became aware of sugar being such a. A detriment to, to our health. So just, I'm pretty much a type A extreme personality. So I'm constantly doing research and listening to podcasts and reading books and things like that. So trying to further my, you know, my scope of [00:04:00] practice and having.
Information available to me that is up to date. And that's why actually how I came across you was just looking at the latest and greatest and most up to date research available. And when I was reading your, I came across your books and the idea of the impact of sugar just really brought it to home home
and there was actually a lot of research within your writing and the things that I came across that was. Supportive of, of the concern for sugar in people's diets.
JJ Virgin: You are in a place. I mean, you've already done a lot of good. I was reading about you and but just think now, because it is, it's such a crisis, I was just on the phone with Dr.
Mark Heiman, who was saying, you know, it's now 7%, the latest research, 7% of the population's metabolically healthy. And I know that particularly in the tribal communities, that, that this is a big issue. And I know genetically too, like in genetically, there are certain ethnicities [00:05:00] that have a higher tendency towards insulin resistance.
So boy, this is great. I'm glad you've gotten go to extremes because this is definitely one to go to extremes on yeah. You know so you are looking to do some things for your own health. I see you now as like, as, as we go through to see the ripple effect of what you can have is gonna be amazing. So what are you, where are you now?
Where would you like to.
Marsha Kaehne: well, you know, I've always been or at least for the number of years, I guess I've considered myself kind of healthy in an average way. You know, I would never allow myself to get what would be technically or at least in my opinion, unhealthy, you know, I've never been. Like very obese and I've never had my lab work be, you know, really bad and to any extreme measures, but kinda borderline where I haven't been also ideal in many ways.
So it, and it's kind of. It it's [00:06:00] been hard a challenge for me because, you know, even if I say something like, well, I should really lose the weight. People go, oh, well, you don't need to lose weight or, you know, it's like, well, you're not a diabetic. Yeah. But my A1C is. It is 5.8 and that's not ideal. And you can run into a little bit of, I, I don't know if it's complacency or just where you kind of give yourself permission to say, well, it's not so bad, you know, give yourself a break and that's.
That can really be detrimental. And the more I've learned, the more I realized that even a little bit of a high A1C over the long haul has extremely negative effects on a person. And they're actually, I've heard like even dementia be referred to as type three diabetes, you know, where it's just, you know, you think about what it does.
So to your blood vessels. So working on The weight loss and. Getting my A1C lowered. And then also [00:07:00] part of this has really been, not just the behavior change, right. Cause you know, as a healthcare professional too, we're always so used to telling patients do this or don't do that exercise more, eat less, you know, if only you were better at math calories and calories out, you wouldn't have this problem and it's not true.
JJ Virgin: if it was true, it'd be very different situation,
Marsha Kaehne: right? Yeah. So I've really been, I guess, focused more on mindset.
JJ Virgin: Awesome. Well, you said a couple things that kind of jumped out at me and you know, you kind of, you said, and, and here's the thing. And I remember years ago I was on the Dr. Phil show for a couple years.
And what we discovered, I don't know if you've seen the, the studies that showed that obesity is contagious. Meaning that if you are overweight or obese, you tend to be like your friends mm-hmm . And even if they live across the country from you, but I think it's the very reason you just said, oh no, you're fine.
and some of that might be that if you start to make those changes and get healthy, then they [00:08:00] might feel like, well, if now I have to do it, or that she's gonna like, leave me be a move away from me. Right, right. Mm-hmm so I think there's that. And my bigger question is like, you know, oh, I'm fine. This is just fine.
But you said this important thing, I wanna be ideal. It's like, don't you deserve to be in your very best health. Yeah, like aren't you worth it? Absolutely. Isn't what you have to get done on this planet and the, the value bring aren't you like, you have to show up for yourself first, right? Mm-hmm and so that's the first thing I think we have to do when I queried my community a couple years ago.
And I said, if you're not where you wanna be in your health, why not? And the biggest thing that came out, which blew my mind, cause I thought they'd say, oh, sugar or gluten. Right. And they said, I don't feel worthy. I don't feel like I'm good enough to, to care about. And I was like, oh, that just breaks my heart.
So I think we have to start with, like, you need to show up for yourself first and it's not about, about it not being so bad. It's about how can you be your best you mm-hmm so that's where we start working [00:09:00] and. A really important concept. I think it's not out there enough because we know that, you know, your health can become a metabolic snowball and as things start to pile up, your blood sugar starts to rise.
You'll see it in the hemoglobin A1C that now it's elevated over time, which means now you're doing damage that yes can result in dementia, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, all sorts of stuff. But this metabolic snowball, as, as it starts to pick up more snows, it starts to pick up speed gets really hard to slow down and then some will go, okay, I wanna lose weight, but they they're so resistant.
They're so metabolically resistant because of what they've done over the years, you know, in the lack of muscle mass and the high blood sugar, that, that just doesn't work right away. And then they give. And they think, you know, they just think it's their age or genetics. It's not, it really is that idea of metabolic resistance.
It shows up as weight loss resistance. So the first thing to think about is you have to get healthy, to be able to lose weight. And when I say lose weight, I really mean lose waste, lose that visceral fat, you know, be [00:10:00] able to put on muscle. So we're gonna focus instead on, if, if all we spent the time now doing is looking at how do we really have you get.
Great blood sugar, a great hemoglobin A1C, have it down to five or below as our, as our number one focus. And then what are the things that you can do that will do that? You know, as effectively and efficiently as possible, like no one wants to work harder, spend more time getting the results, right.
Marsha Kaehne: Yes.
Yeah. What, what you're saying just really speaks to me, cuz I've been listening to a lot of your podcasts and and even in your books and one of the couple things that have really come to light for me has been the, kind of like a. Many many years of, of dieting I've been, you know, trying to do, you know, working on things that even the latest, you know, intermittent fasting, which I love by the way mm-hmm
And that has been a huge, huge benefit to me in many ways. I just feel like I have [00:11:00] more energy and, and just. Lots of good things with the intermittent fasting, but some aspects that I actually was not aware of and intend to really start working on just one of your last podcasts had to do with resistance training.
So, and the difference in the difference types of exercises, cuz me, you know, I get up in the morning and jump on my elliptical. Right? Mm-hmm and thinking I'm burning off some calories, I'm getting my heart rate up. I'm doing all this good stuff, but I'm really missing a big piece of the puzzle.
JJ Virgin: Yes. And if I had to prioritize.
Like if we had to choose between an elliptical and weight training, weight training wins every single time. And that's not to say, I don't want you to move more and especially, it's great if you can move after your evening meal. But to really change. Your metabolism. And especially as we age, it's why I insist that we, you know, I know it's very unpopular to talk about weighing these days, but I will, I will, I will fight that fight because we've gotta get over this idea that, you know, a [00:12:00] scale is associated with shame.
It's a me mean friend saying you blew it. A scale is a tool. just like a blood pressure cuffs, a tool, just like a continuous glucose monitors tool. So it starts with getting a scale that can give you your body fat percentage. And ideally also a visceral mm-hmm body fat, which now they have them Tanita makes one for under a hundred bucks.
So they now they used to be my first, one of those was $5,000. I used it on TV. It was like crazy. But now they're that, and that's great because what you measure and monitor, you can improve. So the first. Thing. And I'm gonna give you a couple things to, to look at that you're gonna start doing the number one thing is to have that scale and a tape measure, and I want you to weigh in daily, but use the tape measure weekly.
And every week you're gonna look at, you know, changes in visceral fat changes in body fat and lean body mass and your waist and hip daily. You're looking at weight. And the reason you look at weight daily is you wanna know if your weight jumps up two to three pounds in a day. [00:13:00] something you did not, you know, you didn't sit down and eat 12 pizza, something didn't work.
Like you ate something that created an inflammatory response and we wanna look back and go, what was that? So we can connect the dots. So that's the first piece of it, but what we really wanna focus on, if you want to really control your blood sugar, the first place that you do that is in your muscles.
okay. Right. And so that means one of the challenges is as we age, we get worse at building muscle. We get really good at losing it. And if you don't use it, you lose it. And in fact, doing cardio, but not doing resistance training, if you cut calories and do cardio, you don't do resistance training. That just exacerbates it.
It puts you in a much more of a catabolic state where you're gonna burn muscle and raise stress hormones. So I would rather see you say, okay, I'm gonna commit to resistance training. I'm gonna hit my four body parts and I've done a lot of videos. Like you can go on YouTube, you can see my social feeds on Instagram.
I talk a lot about the four, four areas of upper [00:14:00] body pushing upper body, pulling hips and thighs and power core, but hitting each of those body parts at least twice a week and preferably three times with a 48 hour rest. So you might do upper body one day, lower body and, and core the next and alternate, but you wanna really start to focus on building muscle.
Because muscle is our metabolic Spanx. It holds everything in tighter boosts your metabolism, and it's the first place we can start to restore blood sugar, good blood sugar tolerance and insulin sensitivity. So it's key. It's like super key people all look at losing weight. And the problem is we actually, if you have more muscle, you'll burn off fat, but you wanna hold onto weight.
That muscle that's the heavy weight you wanna lose the fluff. right. Right. So if you're just looking at a scale, you might look like you're getting better, but if you're losing weight by losing muscle and holding onto fat, you're making yourself worse. So we wanna make [00:15:00] sure that you're, you're holding onto and building muscle.
So that's step.
Marsha Kaehne: And I love that because. For so many years I've worked on, you know, like really not eating much, you know, just cuz some extreme dieting and then working out a lot, getting the, that, and it's exactly the wrong, you think you're doing the right thing, but you're doing the wrong thing. So that's where your information is so valuable.
JJ Virgin: So what's interesting too about that. And, and the nice thing is our bodies are forgiving. , you know, we can do all this stuff and We can repair it. But if you look at what happens chronically, when you massively restrict calories and then do a lot of cardio is you actually lose lean tissue and we wanna do everything we can to hold onto and build tissue build muscle.
It is the most important thing as we age is to have that muscle mass. It is super duper key. So. That's the first step and you gotta monitor it again. What you monitor and measure you can improve. So step one is using a body composition scale, [00:16:00] and then of course, step two is adding in resistance training.
And if you have to boot out some of the other to add in the resistance training, like in my perfect world, we're moving more every day, we're out, we're walking cetera, and then we're getting that resistance training in. So another question on that. How is your sleep?
Marsha Kaehne: I sleep pretty good. The biggest contributors you lack of sleep for me is just the stress, and it's job related.
JJ Virgin: yeah, yeah. Yeah. When I saw what you did for, for a job, I wanted to like , you know, much gratitude to you with having a son. Who's had a lot of mental health challenges. So so yes, Marsha's a mental health. Nurse practitioner. So mm-hmm, highly stressful job. What do you do to help you? You know, since you're not quitting your job and please don't quit your job as we need you but what do you do to help manage stress?
Marsha Kaehne: so the area that I work in and it's just per it's, , there's so much trauma [00:17:00] in this world and you. Trying to, trying to calm that down, trying to do some healing, help people work through that. And I do it's hard, it's it is it. You tend to carry stories home. And so I, one of the nice things at least for me is that I do have a bit of a commute for, I live about a half hour away from the reservation.
So driving in and driving home gives me time to do a little bit of mind to be set. It's a time where I listen to some positive, well, I listen to your podcast and I listen to other podcasts that, you know, kind of have you know, kind of change. My, my mindset, have a little bit of positive information or positive direction in them to, to kind of shift my energy.
JJ Virgin: So that's fantastic. I would highly recommend too. I did a podcast episode with Dr. Amy Apigian who runs the biology of trauma summit. And she is like one of the foremost experts in trauma [00:18:00] and how it's stored in your body. Highly recommend listening to that. And maybe even looking at learning some somatic experiencing or something else that you can shake it off.
Get it off. I know when my son mm-hmm was in the hospital. I just felt like, you know, when you see the animals that have to shake, so they release the trauma and. Go on their way. I was like, I had to go do high intensity interval training where I would sprint because I was like, I just had to get it off.
So it is really important cuz it's I had a great mentor early on who said better out than in, right, right. And they were talking about toxins, but gosh, of, of trauma can be the biggest. Toxin of all right. So a way to get that out. And then sleep, of course we know that even one poor night of sleep can impact your insulin sensitivity and your blood sugar.
so starting to track your sleep and looking at what you can do to really hit quality sleep is gonna be another important one. I use, I track with two things and I will admit that I [00:19:00] take the best score. , that's not the way to do it, but that's what I do. I cheat, but I have an aura ring and an apple watch.
I think probably the aura ring gives me better information. It's just, I don't always like what it says. But whether it's a Garmin, a Fitbit it's, you know, find something to help you because it will just make you aware. Sure. Sure. And you'll see what impact things have, and then you'll go, okay. I need to address, right.
I need to address that. Like my husband bought me a Kindle a couple years ago and it completely trashed my deep sleep. Cuz I used to just read a book before bed. Now all of a sudden I'm reading a Kindle and it was like, poof, I was like, I know better mm-hmm yeah, the light. They still did it. Right. So we do, you know, whatever you need to do to To help you really prioritize that sleep.
That's gonna be a huge one. Big, when I look at what do you need to do to have great blood sugar control? Obviously we're gonna talk food in a moment and sugar impact diet, but insulin resistance or a muscle creating more muscle, getting good [00:20:00] sleep. Managing stress are mission critical. food, of course is where it all starts.
And I know you said you had the sugar impact diet. I'm gonna give you a couple things that have that. I've kind of, I emphasize more than when I wrote the book, the book sugar impact diet I wrote after Virgin diet. Cuz when I wrote Virgin diet, the number one question people had after that was like, I can't quit sugar and I'm like, okay, all right, I'll have
But the book is really written. For people to help them identify where sugar sneaking in. And it's really not about eating no sugar, it's about knowing which to choose and which to lose and, and really realizing the impact these things are having on. Cuz I think for most of us, we're not going to the store and buying bags of sugar.
It is more that it's sneaking into things that we're eating. And a lot of times we think we're being healthy, like the Greek style yogurt with the fruit on the bottom, that's really like a, a Sunday or the raspberry vinegarette. You know, all these things that look like they're healthy. but they're actually like loaded with [00:21:00] sugar.
And so the first part of that book helps you identify where sugar could be sneaking in. Were there any surprises for you during that part? Yeah.
Marsha Kaehne: There were actually a lot of surprises that you mentioned salad dressing, and that was a huge one. Cuz I was thinking I was, you know, oh, I'm not having the French, I'm having the vinegarette.
That's gotta be healthy. Right. I. bought at the health food co-op after all, you know,
JJ Virgin: and I know, and what's sad about the health food stores is there's two items that are so damaging to our health. That show up all over the health food stores that are still posing as healthy ingredients. And so I wanna give 'em a shout out right now because they are the worst possible two things for you.
If you have insulin resistance, and if you have elevated blood sugar and you know, a larger waist size. And your, your triglycerides and HDL looked great. So that was good. Yeah. I was like, yay, go. You mm-hmm but you know, when you look at the different things that can indicate metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure higher waist [00:22:00] size for women it's, it's greater than 35 inches elevated hemoglobin A1C or fasting blood sugar.
So you didn't have that triglycerides, LDL or HCL issues, but you had the rest. So when you go to the health food store, they have canola oil all over the place. And canola oil is not a healthy. in fact, you know, I think a lot of the nutrition world we're kind of on a rant to get these damaged seed oils out of people's hands.
And if you look at a lot of the, the salad dressings out there that are pre-made, first of all, they're a lot more expensive than just getting some extra Virgin olive oil, which is what you should be doing, right. And either some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, which is the easiest way to do a salad dressing, you know, Himalayan sea salt.
Really high quality, extra Virgin olive oil. It's a supplement. Treat it like that. And then apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, both apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. By the way, [00:23:00] help. With insulin sensitivity. in fact, they had a study where they looked at vinegar and correlated it to Metformin because it was so effective.
So, okay. Apple cider vinegar, it's been used as like this, you know, weight loss tool for years and years and years. No one ever knew why. Well, the reality is it's because it helps with insulin sensitivity, lemon juice besides taking your sweet tooth away because it's sour can lower the blood sugar response to a.
So can cinnamon. So these are just therapeutic things you can do. Now. Canola oil is one and you'll see it in a lot of the salad dressings at health food stores. And it just, it makes me nuts cuz canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil. And you know, basically vegetable oils except for extra Virgin olive oil and avocado oil are, are generally rancid by the time you're getting them damaged seed oils.
So, and, and pro-inflammatory, so they go out the other one that shows up at the health food store that makes me nuts is [00:24:00] agave. Agave is the worst sweetener of all. I'm sure you've read about in the sugar impact diet. Cause I rant, I rant about artificial sweeteners in agave, but especially agave because it promotes insulin resistance.
And for years in the diabetic world, it was being promoted because it didn't raise blood sugar. It doesn't raise blood sugar because the only organ that can metabolize it is the liver. So it zooms down to the liver where if it can't be converted to glucose, then stored as glycogen starts making fat.
Basically the liver's probably full. So that's what it's doing. And along the way, it can raise blood pressure as well. And it's also the most aging sugar of all, but the reason it's used is it's super sweet. So you'll see agave syrup or you'll see things like apple juice concentrate, which is super high in fructose.
So that's the other one or crystalline fructose. We wanna stay away from those. Back over to diet. So some of the places that sugar sneaks in that people don't realize, again, dressings, dressings, marinades, sauces. Those tend to [00:25:00] be the biggies where things are hidden. And then of course, a bunch of the, you know, processed foods and chips and cereals and all that kind of stuff.
When you took the sugar impact quiz, what did you see as key things that you were noticing? You know, that sugar. Where it was impacting you?
Marsha Kaehne: Well, I went through my, I threw out, I can't tell you how many bags of food from my
JJ Virgin: house. And people feel so guilty. They're like, okay, what can I do with this? And I'm like, yeah, throw it away.
I mean, you know, what are you gonna say? Like now that you know that it's, it's something that's damaging and toxic for you? What would you do? Don't give it to somebody else. I don't know, bug killer? I don't know what to do with it, you know? Yeah.
Marsha Kaehne: But I just, yeah, no, I got rid of it and I did go through that kind of guilt process too, was like, this is, I just spent money on this or somebody there's people that could use food, but I don't wanna give them bad food.
Right. So, yeah.
JJ Virgin: So, but what were some of the things you threw away? [00:26:00] Oh
Marsha Kaehne: gosh. Lots of. Canned goods. So, you know, baked beans oh, oh, baked beans, candy beans. Yeah. Starchy things, you know, the noodles, the things like that. Salad dressings, the sauces. Mm-hmm . These, these, you know, and things that I actually thought that I was making good choices in.
I mean, truly, I, I knew baked beans were not prize the best choice, but there's certain like it was, I don't know, Memorial weekend or something, you're gonna have the picnicy food, right. Or something like that. And I was like, oh, these are still in the cupboard. And like, oh gosh, I didn't realize they're as bad as they are.
That they really are quite bad. And, but it was, it was truly the things that I, that, and I, I knew that, but the, the shocking part was that I had been intentional about buying what I thought was a healthy item only to find out by actually really looking at the label and comparing it to the list that's in your book [00:27:00] to find out that.
Wow. This is really not healthy at all. And the manufacturing companies are so sneaky and deceptive aren't they ,
JJ Virgin: it was just wrong. They'll put no sugar added on a product and they'll use apple juice concentrate so they can say it. And it's it. It is absolutely. I, I, it makes me very, very upset and I remember. When I first published that book, I went on a rant about Craisins , you know, and Craisins actually sent me a letter and they said, we are, you know, we don't have any more sugar than raisins.
I go, well, I don't like raisins either. Like they shouldn't be there either dried fruits, candy. Like, you know, mm-hmm so anyway, Craisins doesn't like me so, so I think that's important for people to hear because here's the thing it's, what's so frustrating is I I, what I see out in the world having done this now for 30 years is that people are trying really hard, you know, but they're, they're [00:28:00] being duped with misinformation.
They end up following the wrong set of rules and then it doesn't work. And then they figure it's their age or their.
Marsha Kaehne: well, even the labeling on the packages, you know, they'll have all these things that they, you know, like you said, no sugar added
JJ Virgin: or zero natural, all natural meat, all that, nothing yeah.
Marsha Kaehne: Or zero fat.
And there's, you know, things like that, but
JJ Virgin: zero fat means lots of sugar. right.
Marsha Kaehne: Right. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: All right. So now you've become label savvy. We are working on the, by the way, on a new swaps list, cuz I made swaps for both my books. My next book will be swap to drop and we are going to be working on new swaps list with labels, with new, you know, manufacturers, cuz there are some great things that have come out.
I mean there's a lot of good options out there. So I'm gonna give you just. Kind of a little updated version of what I want you to think [00:29:00] about with sugar impact diet. So the premise of sugar impact diet is that we have to retrain your taste bud, to appreciate natural sweetness and savory and spicy and sour.
And again, sour can take your sweet tooth away, but we do it over time. Like, if you go cold Turkey and you're used to being a sugar burner, which means you probably eat every couple hours. If you go too long without eating you're hangry when you lose weight, you don't lose it off your waist. Those are signs that someone is a sugar burner, which means their body can't even access stored fat for fuel.
And we wanna transition you over where you easily can use fat for fuel, which means you might be one of those people that goes, gosh, did I eat lunch? Which was never me by the. Like when it happened, I went, it happened I forgot if I ate or not. That's in it. Wasn't cuz I had dementia. It was because I really forgot because I just not hungry and that's where we wanna get to.
And so as you're building your plate, because in all my books, I, I talk about eating by the plate. I wanna give you something to think about here. Do you have an idea of what you want your ideal weight to.
Marsha Kaehne: You know, right now I'm looking at like 150. [00:30:00]
JJ Virgin: Okay. So if you want your ideal weight to be 150, and let's just say that we would like you to be 20% body fat and I'll do that.
And especially it's easy for math, which means that that's 120. Pounds of lean body mass. When you get on a body fat scale, you'll find two numbers that are super important. One is body fat percentage. So how many fat, how many pounds of fat you have, and then how much is lean body mass, which is everything else and of the lean body mass.
Obviously what you're improving is muscle. So what we're going for is 120 pounds of lean body mass. So your protein requirements to get there are gonna mean that you need at least 120 grams of protein, a. so, which may be more than what you're used to. And that means, you know, if you divide it between three meals, it's 40 grams a meal, it might be that you eat 30 in the morning and then you do 40 50, however you do it.
That would be what I call your baseline. And you know, if you're working out really hard [00:31:00] trying to build, I take it up from there. To more around a pound per. pound a gram per pound of the weight. You wanna be 150, so you can see that when we start to build your meals, I always start first with protein.
And what's interesting is we've been looking at all this research. You talked about intermittent fasting. I'm a huge fan of intermittent fasting and transitioning into it as you become a fat burner, cuz it really helps within some sensitivity, but there's some super cool research now showing. both what you eat when you eat so it's not just what you eat and when you eat, but it's also what you eat first, when you eat.
Okay. Right. And you think, well, I mean, I'm eating everything within half an hour, does it matter? It turns out it does. And if you start your meal with protein, you have a lower blood sugar response than if you start your meal with say starchy carbs. Okay. So what I'd like to teach people to [00:32:00] do is as you're building your plate or your loaded smoothie, the first thing you do is prioritize your protein.
Okay. Protein first, what, what's the protein I need, based on the protein, let's say that you did wild salmon. Well, you know, if you're eating wild salmon and you're having six to eight ounces of that, that you're getting some fat from that probably a. then you add in your non-starchy vegetables, because I want you eating five to 10 servings of non-starchy vegetables a day, and with a serving being cup, raw or half cup cooked.
And let's say that you made a big salad with olive oil, extra Virgin, olive oil, and some. Apple cider vinegar, and maybe there was a tablespoon of, of olive oil or, or two that could be, you know, one to two servings of fat right there. Right. And you know, you have three cups of salads, so you got three, three servings of non-starchy vegetables in there, which is great.
And then, and then you can decide at that point, since you've got your veggies, you've now. Fat. And I tell people like somewhere in the two to four fat servings and for, [00:33:00] for you and, and where you're looking to go, it's probably more like two, maybe three, but probably more around the two. Then if you want, it's a little bit of a slow, low carb.
And what's interesting is we can live. We have to have protein to survive. We have to have fat to survive. We need to have water to survive. We do not need carbs. We wanna eat the non-starchy vegetables for all the polyphenols, the phytochemicals in them. And then. I put in my starchy carb area, fruit and what I call like the, the least processed.
So things like squashes and tubers and and lentils and things like that. And use those sparingly. Right. Okay. One to two servings of fruit a day. Now, when you're going through the transition period on sugar impact diet, where we're really getting you to shift to be a fat burner, I actually take fructose out altogether and I take all fruit.
because fructose really blocks fat burning. And the more fruit you eat, the more fructose you eat, the better you get at at [00:34:00] converting at transporting fructose, getting it to the liver and making fat. So we want you to be bad at that. Not good at that. So, but once you're through that one to two servings of fruit today, especially berries great for all the phytochemicals in.
But a limited amount of those slow, low carbs, again, protein first, adding in the non-starchy vegetables, taking a check as to how much you've gotten fat between those two things. Seeing if you need any additional fat from say avocados or nuts and seeds. I like whole fats first and then potentially a little bit of slow, low carbs.
I tend to use my slow, low carbs, like a half of a barely ripe banana in my smoothie, or I'll do a little. Blueberries, you know, with my right after dinner, but I tend to leave it to a pretty limited amount of them. So I think this is where we need to be careful, especially with restoring insulin sensitivity.
And then let's talk your intermittent fasting. How are you doing that? What's your meal timing look like? Well,
Marsha Kaehne: I it's been a, it's been a process. And the [00:35:00] really positive thing is that I've been doing it together with my husband. So that is, I guess, key in being really successful with that, because I don't worry about, I'm like, okay, we're fasting.
So, you know, it's not like I have to cook for him . So it's very freeing, isn't it? It is. Yeah. And we've saved a lot of money
JJ Virgin: so, so it, so I, first of all, I got a shout out. It's fantastic. You're doing it with him. I always say that to my husband. I go, I don't know what I would do if I was like, with someone who you. Eight junk and wanted to snack all day. like, we'd have a problem. Yeah. So it's great you're doing it together. So what's your, like, like what's your typical day look like?
Are you, you know, with, in terms of meal timing and what you're doing? Okay.
Marsha Kaehne: So right now, and we've been doing this for literally. Months. So we stop eating on Sunday afternoon around three o'clock. We have like a Sunday, a Sunday dinner early, and then we don't then, then that's our bigger, [00:36:00] fast we actually do.
Most weeks that we rarely miss we actually do. Where we don't eat from Sunday afternoon and then all day, Monday, and then we don't eat till Tuesday. Wow.
JJ Virgin: That's fantastic. And, yeah. And here's the thing like we have you focusing protein when you're eating those days, when you're not eating, it's fine. You drop something called mTOR.
You clean out a lot of the cellular trash through autophagy and you get a really insulin sensitive. So it's fantastic. So that's advanced.
Marsha Kaehne: Yeah, what's been great about that is a couple things. One is we, we actually don't get hungry. It's we it's, we've done so much that it's not hard. It's not hard to do it.
And people look people, if you say something that you, oh, I haven't, I'm not eating or whatever. They're like, how can you not? Well, I'm not even hungry, cuz we've gotten. Our body's gotten used to it or something.
JJ Virgin: Right. But you didn't start there. And I think that's important for people to know. No, no, we didn't start one day.
Go. Let's just not eat tomorrow.
Marsha Kaehne: I, gosh, I was [00:37:00] like lightheaded and had cravings like crazy and the more we've done it that's just really just disappeared. I actually feel more energy, more focused, more clear slept better, all kinds of positive things from that. And so we've done that. We often do a one meal a day where we'll just have, you know, like almost it's kind of a 24 hour fast where we'll do a couple days a week.
We'll just have one meal a day. And then we usually, and maybe this is my downfall, but usually like today it's happens to be Friday, but we'll say, oh gosh, you know, it's been Friday. Let's have something special, you know, let's whatever. And then we're at home all day Saturday, and I feel like let's cook, let's have a nice breakfast.
And so, you know, sometimes I feel like I, I might really undo. I don't think we're really like doing all good. Well, let's
JJ Virgin: unpack that Marsha. [00:38:00] So, so when you say it's Friday and it's Saturday when you're, so walk me through like what a Friday Saturday looks like in terms of what you're eating and.
Marsha Kaehne: So we often go out on Friday nights and it's been, you know you know, of course, stressful jobs, long hours, you have this mentality that, oh gosh, I need to relax.
I deserve to relax. I need to enjoy life. I deserve to enjoy life. Let's do something special. We work really hard. We get to do something for us, you know, and spend that time together. Which is lovely. And. I tend, we, you can, oh, try to make some good choices, but then sometimes we don't so much. And
JJ Virgin: well what first look like let's, let's walk through it because here's the thing there's like this kind of like sheepishness et cetera.
First of all, let that go. Okay. And. You know, I think that we're always peeling the onion of health, like in the way I really like to [00:39:00] work on getting healthy is a, is a lifelong thing. Right? Sure. And I remember way back when, cause I've been into this since I was 12 and people are like, oh, you're a health nut. As if this is a bad thing, I'm like, But this is a lifelong thing and, you know, took it.
I think it we're best when we focus on one thing at a time and really looking at that and improving that. So maybe next it's, I'm gonna start resistance training. And after that, it's, I'm gonna use a continuous glucose monitor to really watch how these things impact me. And I'll tell you one of the things that can really be really helpful.
I I've been using I'm testing now, a different one. I used a Nutri sense, and now I'm testing. Levels of these continuous glucose monitors to, to see what these things really do to you. So you can see, gosh, what happens if I eat later at night? What happens if I have that extra thing? How much does it really impact me?
Cause I might be making a big deal out of nothing, or there might be a way better choice I could make. that wouldn't make us big of [00:40:00] a difference. So when you're kind of talking about this and dancing around it and not telling me
Marsha Kaehne: yeah. So, okay. So tell me
JJ Virgin: what exactly we're talking about.
Marsha Kaehne: Sure. So green mill pizza and a bottle of wine,
JJ Virgin: green mill pizza, and a bottle of wine.
Okay. So what's green meal pizza.
Marsha Kaehne: Well, lots of carbs so, you know, it's the crust The, you know, the sauce, whichever veggies, you know, green peppers or pepperoni
JJ Virgin: sausage. Is this somewhere you went out to, or is it one that you got at home? No, we, we go there. Okay. So a couple things to say about this.
Like first off, any gluten free or cauliflower style, crust pizza, places around you. no.
Marsha Kaehne: Well, I think you could, you could, I think that you could request not cauliflower, but I think you could request the gluten free.
JJ Virgin: So check and see. So here's a way to do [00:41:00] this. Cuz we still do pizza, but what we do are either gluten-free or cauliflower, crust mm-hmm and we've we have now, like we moved to Tampa, like I made it just part of my, you know, thing is I'm gonna
find the best ones here and test all of 'em. Right. And so we'll, we will have like family pizza night to test different ones, but we always start out too with a big salad and then you make sure that whatever you have for pizza, if they don't have like, you know, if you can get a protein based pizza pizza.
Great. But if not try having like a salad with some chicken on it and then have two pieces of pizza because. What's the difference between half a pizza and two pieces of pizza. Really? You just want the taste, right? So if you started with the salad with some protein on it and split the salad and had the, the pizza and got a gluten for your cauliflower crust, then you're, you're.
You're great. So easy enough to do wine. I did a podcast with, with Todd. [00:42:00] White from dry farm wines, who was a keto guy, his he and his business partners were paleo and keto. and discovering they drink wine and would blow up their blood sugar. And he discovered that in the us there's 87 or different additives, they can add to wine.
And a lot of 'em have sugar in 'em and it was blowing them up. But when they went and started drinking European wines, they didn't have the same challenge. And so he started this company, dry farm wine, where he orders and he lab tests, all these wines. One of the big things he showed me. Was, you know, it's the European wines tend to be a lot better.
And so that's the other thing that I do is I don't drink us wines anymore. Very rarely. I focus on getting the lower alcohol percentage, low sugar, European wines, and whenever possible, I just drink my dry farms and I take it to restaurants. So that's another one you can do. So those are easy. What I wanna look at is we want you to have an amazing life, have an amazing lifestyle, and then learn how to do these things, you know, so you can go out and go, okay.
You know, we worked [00:43:00] hard. What are we gonna do? And enjoy all of it and not have that little niggly thing in the back of you going, I shouldn't be doing this. Right. Right. Really enjoy full on. Enjoy it because you're, mm-hmm you're you're still doing something great for yourself. So does that sound doable?
That does sound doable. Yeah. And then what happens Saturday morning?
Marsha Kaehne: Oh yeah. Well we, you know it's, it's our downtime and oh gosh, usually Saturday morning. It's more relaxed and it would be, you know, most mornings we don't eat breakfast because we're either we're cuz we're intermittent fasting. But then Saturday is kind of a breakfast morning.
So that would be, you know, scrambled eggs or I'll make an, I'll make a quiche. I like to bake even, I don't know. Last Saturday I made. You know, bad me, i, you know, whatever, but I need apple coffee cake
JJ Virgin: [00:44:00] well, so I've got some amazing recipes. in the sugar impact diet cookbook, on my website, and then I've got friends.
Who've got amazing recipes. And so Diana Coolen is one. Who's just got incredible recipes. There's so why don't you make it your hobby? If you love to do that, to find healthy versions, because it's so much easier. Now there's almond flour and coconut flour, and allulose as a sweetener. There's so many different ways you can make, like we make keto dark chocolate ganache brownies that.
Unbelievable. they're so like, no one would know mm-hmm that we, you know, that they were any, like, you would never have a clue if we didn't tell you mm-hmm but we tell people cuz then they're like, oh my gosh, these have no sugar. So like there's so many things that you can do. I make a for, for Thanksgiving, I make a dairy free gluten free sugar, free pumpkin cheesecake that I would put up against any cheesecake out.
Wow. [00:45:00]
Marsha Kaehne: mm-hmm yeah, it's just that been cooking a certain style for my whole life. And so it is a big shift in, I know how to do this. This is easy. This is my go to. And you kinda keep it, make it fun that yeah. Change it up.
JJ Virgin: Make it fun. Yes.
Marsha Kaehne: Right? Yes. That does sound fun. Mm-hmm
JJ Virgin: cause this, I mean there, 10 years ago, 12 years ago, this was way more difficult.
Like you had to go find the coconut milk. You had to hunt into the Asian food aisle. And now there's like so many great things out there that you can make this all fun. Then you can go, you know what? I'm gonna make quiche, this is gonna be incredible. And I'm not gonna like, then I don't hafta feel a little guilty about it, cuz there's nothing in here.
That's a problem. Cool. Yeah. Deal. Very nice. All right deal. Because then it makes it very easy to do all of these things because honestly there's not a whole, I like you're doing amazing with the intermittent fasting. That is such a big deal for helping restore insulin sensitivity for triggering autophagy, which takes out the cellular [00:46:00] debris for activating stem cells to help you live longer.
So all sorts of great stuff there. and you know, just you've already exercising, so we're just changing what it is. And all we're doing with the cooking is just doing some swaps. It's just learning things. You're just used to doing it a certain way and we're just gonna shift some ingredients, not hard.
Marsha Kaehne: Nice. One of my big wins is that I haven't had any pop for four or five years now. And I used to drink a lot of pop. And thinking again, who wouldn't think that, you
JJ Virgin: know, I mean that, that's what they sold us. I know I was a diet Coke addict for years. Right.
Marsha Kaehne: Me too. And so, but then I did again, more research and you know, you're thinking, well, it's the American heart association, American diabetes associated would always say, can diabetes, social media always say, sure, drink diet pop.
And it's not gonna cause cancer you'd have to drink like a swimming pool full of. But the fact [00:47:00] is it? Well, maybe it won't cause cancer, but…
JJ Virgin: it's the Diabetes, a lot of other damage, the very thing they created it for, which was mm-hmm way for diabetics to have sweet is the very thing it causes problems with cuz it causes glucose intolerance.
So I just wanna give you one last thing. Cause we talked resistance training the body composition and monitoring visceral fat. we talked about shifting, focusing protein first and, and starting to play around now with different ingredients, which will be fun. And one tool that's gonna help you. There is.
Using a continuous glucose monitor, which will be easy for you to do because you're in the field. so, you know yes, but you know, they've always used these for diabetics. I actually think they're missing the mark. I think it's, it's super impactful. And again, I, I always go back to what you measure mantra you can improve when you see in real time, what happens.
When you eat a specific way and you went, okay, what if I went out, if I went out for pizza night, you can test it going, just eating [00:48:00] pizza the way you've been doing it and having, you know, a us wine switching over to having a salad with protein, and then having two pieces of a gluten free or a cauliflower crust and having a, you know, European wine and check the difference.
And again, lead first with the salad with protein. then have the, and, and just check the difference because you'll still have the same experience, but the blood pressure or the blood sugar difference should be marked. So it would be great to have that. I, I just went all, like literally went on a, all over the world trip to Dubai and the Maldives on a speaking thing was so cool, but I wore a CGM, so I could kind of just see the stuff that was going on.
It was really consistent all throughout except, and the only time it went sideways on me was I was at the buffet and they had Kiwi fruit and I'm like, Ooh, I love Kiwi fruit. And usually it's such a pain cuz it's got all that skin. And so I loaded a bowl of [00:49:00] it. And my, my blood sugar went poof! You know, flew away.
And I was like, wow. Wow. You know, and you think most of it's like, it's just fruit. And it's like, yeah, but it's a very, you know, these tropical fruits can be very problematic if you overload. I'm sure if I'd had a reasonable dose of it, but no, I had a big bowl. So it, you know, it really gives you helps you.
It's such a. Tool for helping you like really figure out what you can do. So I'd highly recommend that too. So weight training the body comp scale, the, the tracking your sleep, and then going protein first and the blood sugar monitor. Those are the things. Pick one, though. Don't start. Don't go on and do all five of these at once.
Make yourself nuts. Get the first one and then go to the next one. Okay. okay.
Marsha Kaehne: Okay. I have actually added more protein in and felt better with that by adding the, the shakes. Yeah, I
JJ Virgin: do the shakes and I also add in a scoop of collagen, my whole body collagen [00:50:00] too. And that then kicks it up even more. Cause there's 11 grams of protein in there and collagen besides like it's for, for.
Any one 40 plus everyone should be doing, collagen's gonna help with muscle mass, it's gonna help with hair, skin and nails. so it's super important. So I've been smuggling that into everything I can. So that's an easy way to just power up that and I use loaded smoothies. That's how I break my fast. So.
Whenever it happens to be, so it's an easy hack. All right. So what I'd love for, for you as you go through this is track it and then I'd love to come back and hear, hear what happened. Okay. Awesome. Okay. Sounds like a plan. Love any other last questions before we jump off?
Marsha Kaehne: Well, I think I'll put like a little plan together and speak.
I think getting a, I had not thought about getting a continuous glucose monitor. So changing it up and getting more training, you know, exercise that's focused on muscle. It would be a great [00:51:00] plan and yeah, so playing with some of these recipes. Cool.
JJ Virgin: All right. Fun. Fun, right? It's fun. Right? It's fun. All right, then go do it, have fun.
And I can't wait to hear what happens. Wonderful. I will
Marsha Kaehne: report back. All right. See? Yeah. Thanks.
JJ Virgin: All right. Thank you for tuning into another episode of ask the health experts, beginnings, and breakthroughs. And again, if you would like to be featured, just go to I do wanna remind you too, of the things we talked about today. Number one, get a body composition scale that looks at visceral fat.
You can go onto my website and under resources and we list the ones that I love. Number two. Was make sure that you are leading your diet on sugar impact diet. You're looking to control your blood sugar lead with protein first on your plate, build around that and use a continuous glucose monitor. Really see [00:52:00] what's working for you.
And what's not next thing is adding resistance training in. Next thing is monitoring your sleep. Remember what you monitor and measure you can improve. So those are some of the things that Marsha's gonna be working on. I'm looking forward to hearing her results. And again, if you'd like to join us, you know how to do it.
And if you've not yet subscribed, you don't wanna miss any juicy bits. So make sure you go to All right, I'll see you next time. Bye.


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