Healing Autoimmunity By Adding More Healthy Real Food Fats with Jen Fisch: 5
I am talking all things keto with Jen Fisch, creative director, blogger, mom, and author. You may know Jen from the online space as Keto in The City, where she shares easy and low carb recipes on Instagram, her blog, as well as in her books.
Tune in to hear about Jen’s health journey and how her keto lifestyle began. Jen was diagnosed with two different autoimmune diseases that were fighting her body from the inside out. She then began searching for an anti-inflammatory diet. What started off with Atkins and low sugar and ended up being keto. Once she started eating better quality foods, she realized her sleep improved. It’s really trial and error with keto, and not all “keto snacks” are good snacks which we talk a lot about today.
Finding what ingredients and whole foods work best for your own body is what's important. From sugars to bone broth and packaged keto foods, Jen shares her history with what worked for her body and what didn’t. Again, everyone is so different!
We also talk about transition foods, hidden ingredients, and preferred sweeteners, as well as plants. All of these topics and more in this episode.
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Cheryl McColgan: Welcome, everyone. I'm here with Jen of Keto in The City. Thanks for joining us today, Jen.
Jen Fisch: Yeah, super excited, great to talk to you.
Cheryl McColgan: Me too. So part of the show, and since you're one of the very first interviews on the Heal Nourish Grow podcast, one of my goals is to really just share with people practical tips and knowledge, and you've been now living the keto lifestyle for quite a while and have experimented with many styles of eating over the years, similar to me. So if you could just maybe tell everybody first, how you got into keto, and a little bit about your history and background with that.
Battling Autoimmune Diseases
Jen Fisch: Yeah, sure. So yeah, it has been a long story of trying to figure out what works. But basically, over 20 years ago, I came down with two autoimmune disorders within six months of each other. So psoriasis first and then psoriatic arthritis six months later. And so I struggled with that for many years. Eventually, I went to a doctor who was an MD, but who was actually an acupuncture doctor, and he was the first one that recommended I cut sugar out of my diet. Before that, I had never even thought about the connection between the food that I was eating and how I was feeling, and none of my other doctors had ever mentioned it. So that is what turned the light on for me. That was about 15 years ago and I started on Atkins from there because that was popular at the time.
I remember going straight from that appointment to a bookstore, just sat on the ground of the bookstore, looking through this Atkins book, and I was looking at the list of foods that I could eat, and I was like, “Okay, I think I can do this.” And so I tried that, it actually helped a lot. And so that was the beginning, and then from there, I just kept exploring good options, and then finally landed on keto five years ago. I had never heard the word “keto” before, but I was just doing research and came across a couple of things and really discovered that the added healthy fat element along with the low carb was the perfect… At least for me, the perfect combination of a way of eating that I could sustain.
Cheryl McColgan: So since you mentioned that after your doctor… First of all, kudos to your doctor at that point in time for actually saying something could be related to nutrition, right?
Jen Fisch: I know. He's still the only doctor I've gone to that has really believed in it.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, well, thank goodness for him 'cause he got you on to the right path. But what I wanted to hear maybe a little bit more about, is you mentioned that you started off with Atkins 'cause that was what was popular 15 years ago, or what could be found. And then you said you found keto later, and that the healthy fats helped progress. So maybe if you could say some of the changes or things that you noticed in your beginning, which… Anybody who's done this for a while, you know your keto that you did in the very beginning looks pretty different after you go down the road. So maybe you could just add a little more depth to that and maybe what you noticed differently, especially in relation to your autoimmune diseases when you made the switch to keto and maybe a little bit higher fat.
Jen Fisch: Yeah, the biggest difference is when I was doing more Atkins low-carb is, I was always hungry. I could eat three pieces of chicken or salmon or something and still be hungry. And so I remember, that was what was hard about sustaining it for me is I didn't like that feeling. And that's why eventually, during that time, I had left the low-carb for a while and was trying to figure out something else. And so the keto, in the beginning, there wasn't any packaged foods really that were keto when I first started, that was five years ago. People didn't even… Most people hadn't even heard of the word “keto” then, it's crazy how much it's grown since then. And so I was really focused on eating real foods, which I think was great, I think that's obviously the optimal way.
I was using a lot more… I was probably using a lot more dairy products in the beginning of my keto than I am now, but that helped me be able to enjoy it. So the heavy creams or the cream cheeses or the… I put MCT oil on everything when I first started. Now, I don't do that more. But those were some of the things in the beginning at least that I was like, “Oh, I can see how this makes you feel more full.” Or anytime I wanted something, I would just eat an avocado, like keeping it pretty simple. But it definitely has transitioned over the years to understanding like, “Oh, maybe I don't need that much fat, like I don't have to drink butter coffee every single day.” But I was super excited about butter coffee in the beginning and all of that. So it's definitely changed, but that was how I kicked it off and realized like, “Whoa, I just ate a fairly small meal but packed with healthy fats and now I feel satisfied.” So I don't have to eat three pieces of chicken, I could just eat one now or whatever.
How Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Works/Anti Inflammatory Diet
Cheryl McColgan: Right. And because your autoimmune is psoriatic arthritis, and then the psoriasis, which is, my understanding of this, mainly a skin condition, do you feel like… To me, it almost seems like there's a logical connection between more healthy fats and it being better for your skin and stuff. So can you talk about how you first noticed the changes in both of those conditions as you started to eat that way?
Jen Fisch: Yeah, I think… So both of them… Yeah, they both attack your body from the inside, but one represents it more on your skin; and one represents it by deteriorating joints. And so for me, it was all about trying to find an anti-inflammatory way of eating. And so along with cutting out sugar, there were some other things along the way that I discovered that were also… Eating real food is a lot less inflammatory than eating a bunch of packaged foods. So that was important, eating a high quality of food. So trying to buy organic things or grass-fed things or whatever, even though they're more expensive, it was important to me because I was trying to kill inflammation. And if I was eating keto but still eating lower quality food, then I would still be adding inflammation into my body. So I focused on that a lot. Pretty instantly, I would say within week or two, in terms of if you have visible psoriasis, which I did at the time, they noticeably get lighter in color, less angry-looking, things like that. So there were some fairly immediate reactions that my body took at least when I switched over to this.
Medication for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
And then it's not like I'm cured, I still take medication. My way of eating is a part of my healthy lifestyle. I always wanna make sure, 'cause a lot of people write to me thinking that if this has cured my condition, which it hasn't, it's just one of the controllables, that I can't really control if my body is going to respond to a medication or not, but I can control what I eat to help my name process along.
Cheryl McColgan: Right. And since you mentioned “healthy lifestyle,” if you have been to Heal Nourish Grow or other people that have been around my site, it's not only focused on keto nutrition, which it is because I think that's a big part of feeling well, and to steal a phrase from Dr. Ken Berry, “the proper human diet,” because it's just what we've been evolved to eat. So I think part of… Especially when you have a disease process, what you put in your body as far as nutrition is just one thing, and that's where the heal and the nourish and the grow part all comes together. So did you find that, for example, did you start implementing anything else around sleep or stress management, or what were some of the other healthy lifestyle type things that you mentioned that you used to help with your autoimmune disorders?
Jen Fisch: Yeah, well, one of my favorite benefits of keto was the better-quality sleep. That was another thing that I feel like most people notice really early on into their keto. If they're new to keto, they start it, within a couple of weeks, I feel like, you do notice the better-quality sleep. I used to be really restless at night and just couldn't fall asleep for like an hour or two hours or whatever, just like my body trying to come down, I guess, from the day. And once I started keto, I don't have that problem at all, not anymore. When it's time to go to bed, I go to bed and I fall asleep, which has been great, and that's really helpful. I usually stay up late working. I'm a creative director at an ad agency, I'm a single mom, I have all the keto stuff going on, so I have a lot going on. So that really helps me a lot to be able to recover at night.
Stress management, I'm pretty good, I'm not really a person who gets super stressed, so that's probably good. The one piece I could definitely be better at, especially in 2020, now 2021, is the exercise piece of it. Now that I work from home, I feel like I just sit in front of the computer all day, so I need to be better about that part. But yeah, overall, I just think looking at it as a complete lifestyle and how it can help in all of those ways is the best way to look at it. And to look at it as a long-term lifestyle versus a short-term “try to lose weight really quick” or whatever that might be.
Cheryl McColgan: No, I love that 'cause that's what I try to help people with all the time. I think a big part of making a lifestyle change like this is mindset, right? So if you look at it as you just wanna lose 20 pounds so you can go on vacation or something, that's gonna make it a lot harder to sustain long-term. Whereas if you really look at it… And you have probably more reason than a lot of people to do it because of your previous health issues, and I have previous health issues as well, which is part of the reason I'm very committed to it. It almost makes it, I think, almost easier when you have that mindset about it, as opposed to a weight-loss mindset about it. Would you have anything else to add to that?
Jen Fisch: Yeah, no, I agree. Whenever people ask me, “How come you have been on keto for five years or whatever?” I'm like, “Well, I have my why.” My why is I wanna feel good, and I know I feel better when I eat this way. So it makes it… I mean, I'm not gonna say it just makes it easy all the time, but it makes it a lot easier 'cause it's attached to me knowing that I can function better as a mom, I can function better as a person, I will physically feel better, mentally feel better. So yeah, that's just a much, at least for me, a more powerful connection to just keep going.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, completely agree. And since you mentioned your daughter, I think it is your daughter, right?
Jen Fisch: Mm-hmm.
Keto and Teenagers
Cheryl McColgan: I remember… Like I said, I've listened to previous interviews. One of the things that I think people find challenging about keto or some… One of the things that I've heard people say to me is like, “Oh, I can't do keto because my kids will never eat that way,” or, “I don't wanna make three or four meals.” And I know that in one of the interviews I heard with you before, you talked about your daughter and your approach with your way of eating with her. Can you share a little bit more about that? And I'm sure it's probably evolved now, 'cause I think she's pretty much a full-on teenager now at this point, right?
Jen Fisch: Yeah, she's 16 now. But yeah, when I started this whole journey, she was like 11 or 10 or whatever, and I just made her… That was my goal with keto cooking. That was the fun, creative challenge for me. It was like, “Okay, I wanna start eating this way, but I'm not gonna make her separate meals.” I'm gonna make meals that she would enjoy and I would enjoy and that fit this lifestyle. And when we go out to eat or she goes to a friend's house or whatever, she can eat whatever she wants, but I wanna cook low-carb keto meals at home. And so she's been my taste-tester for all of my recipes, and so I always decide that if she likes it, then anybody can like it. And I get so many messages from people saying, “My non-keto husband, this is his favorite meal,” or whatever it might be, and those are always my favorite comments because you don't have to think about keto food as a different way of eating.
Everybody eats steak and vegetables, or fish and vegetables, or whatever it might be. It doesn't need to be super complicated. Now they have cauliflower rice everywhere, so it's really easy to make those swap-outs. I mean if you absolutely wanna make one additional side for your family, but you don't have to make a whole different meal, which is something that I've always loved. And for me, I just keep my home keto and then outside in the world, if she wants to pick something else, she can. But it hasn't been a problem, and the food is delicious. I mean most kids love keto food, especially those stuff that has cheese on it or whatever it might be, you get to eat great stuff, so I don't think that should be a big issue, and I don't think people should feel like they have to cook whole, separate meals for their family.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, I totally agree. I always just… I'll just be honest, I always think that's a cop out. You really just don't wanna give up your bread and pasta is what it is, or they don't think they can because they just haven't experienced it yet, right? But I think it goes back to what you're saying, once you experience how amazing you can feel without that stuff, it makes it… And again, if you have your why, whatever that is, and again with mindset, with people, I wish they'd say, “So I can run around with my grandkids in several years.” Make it something that's more tangible instead of just trying to look good in a swimsuit or something. And then I think it makes all of those decisions a little bit easier. Not super easy, like you said, but at least it's on the right track.
Jen Fisch: Yeah, agree, agree.
Cheryl McColgan: And so you mentioned your recipes, and so just in case, I don't know who wouldn't have heard of you by now, but just in case they didn't, tell us about your cookbooks, because I think at last count you had at least five. I don't know if there's more on the horizon or what you have up your sleeve, but maybe you could chat a little bit about that and how… I'm assuming since you're a creative person and a creative director, it was a natural progression for you to make cookbooks.
Jen Fisch: Nothing I honestly ever thought about doing, but when they approached me for the first one, which was The Five Ingredient book, that was probably three years ago. So when they called me, I honestly thought they were calling me to review other cookbooks. So I was like, “Wait, what are you asking me? Yeah sure, send them to me. I'll read them.” They're like, “No, I want you to write one.” And I was like, “Really?” So it was not something that I was set up to do or expecting to do. But yeah, cooking was my favorite piece at the beginning of my keto journey, was being able to try to figure out recipes where I could still eat all the flavors that I like. I'm the least picky eater, I like to eat everything. “So how can I take these flavors and try to make something keto-friendly?” So that was really fun, the five-ingredient one.
I honestly never expected anyone to buy it, I thought maybe my mom and my friends would buy it, but I could just say when I was 80 years old, “Hey, I wrote a cookbook one day,” or whatever. But it ended up doing really well. And it's really crazy because now it's in all these other languages that I never know about, so people… Recently, a woman tagged me in a Russian book, and I was like, “Is that my book?” And she's like, “Yeah.” So it's cool how it's made its way into a whole bunch of different countries now and taken on different looks and whatever. So that's cool. And then, yes, I wrote a couple more after that. My most recent one was an instant pot book, keto in an Instant. So instant pot wasn't something that I hadn't really played around with until maybe a year and a half, two years ago.
And so that was another fun way because I'm all about easy. So there's really nothing easier than throwing everything in an instant pot and walking away and coming back 20 minutes later, and it's already cooked something amazing. So I love that one. That one is probably my favorite right now 'cause every recipe has a picture, which I didn't get to do in my first few books.
Cheryl McColgan: Oh, interesting.
Jen Fisch: For production cost reasons, they kept the photos minimal, but this one has a photo for every recipe, which I know a lot of people like, to see what it's supposed to turn out like. So I was excited about that.
Making Keto Sustainable
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, for sure. And I think one of the things, and again, making keto sustainable and fun. And particularly, if you're cooking a lot of the meals yourself, which it definitely is better and easier to do if you can. But having the plating and things too, where they always used to say, you eat first with your eyes. And so that's no different with keto, right? Like, “How can I plate this to make it look really beautiful even though I don't have three sides?” Or whatever it is to go with it?
Jen Fisch: Totally. Yeah, I agree. I'm a visual person too, so that was exciting for me. Yeah, and I know a lot of people don't love to cook, it's maybe not their favorite thing. It's not like you change your eating lifestyle and instantly become somebody who wants to become a chef or whatever. So I've always thought that was really important too, is keeping the ingredients super simple, making them ingredients that you can find at any grocery store because I live in Los Angeles, so I have access to every grocery store, but not everyone is in that situation. So just making really simple, easy things that you could find. Simple things you probably already have or probably already eat, nothing crazy, and that's why the five ingredient book, I think has been so popular, is because it's just super, it doesn't get any easier than five main ingredients, which sometimes people be like, “There's seven ingredients that's on here.” I'm like, “Well, that's salt and pepper, those don't count, basic pantry things don't count.” But five main ingredients. Really easy for anybody to make,
Cheryl McColgan Right. And yeah, I haven't tried it yet, I keep saying I'm gonna do a trial of it for at least a few days. And I think, one of your points about the berries and the salads and stuff like that, I think I could much more easily do a trial of it in the winter, like sometime soon before spring hits, because I still do have that craving for just like a good salad, even though some people might argue that you don't really even need that. So it's just interesting.
Jen Fisch: I love salad too. I like the crunch of it. Like I like fresh. Yeah, so I would have a hard time. But I'm sure if you do it for like a month or so if I needed to, like do a reset, but it's great, I think no matter what the lifestyle is, I'm glad that people are finding ways to feel better and healthy, and I someone, who doesn't think the same thing works for everyone. So like finding what works for you, but also is sustainable for you I think is amazing.
Dairy and Keto
Cheryl McColgan: And to go back to that one final point about finding what works for you. Have you found that… I mean, as we were talking about, first you found Atkins and then you found keto and you found a higher fat helped. I think you also mentioned that maybe you do less dairy now, have there been other tweaks that you found along the way that help you feel better? And again, like it's different for everybody, but I think just sharing what has worked for you or what has worked for others that you know of might help people just give them a new idea of something to try if they haven't optimized their experience yet.
Jen Fisch: Yeah, so I still eat dairy, I just eat a lot less of it. So like I put almond milk in my coffee now. I don't put the half and half or the heavy cream anymore, which I used to, which is delicious, but I just cut back on some of that. I cut back on… I still try to be mostly gluten free. I definitely do eat like low-carb tortillas and some of those kinds of things that are not gluten free. But I know the more gluten free I am the better I feel. When I wasn't eating low carb before keto, I was gluten free for like eight months 'cause I was having a lot of like… They thought maybe I had Crohn's or some other autoimmune thing. And so I was like, that's how I went, I was like, “I need to go back to food, I need to go back to like what I'm eating,” and so I know that that's something for me.
I discovered throughout keto, that nightshades are not my friend, and so trying not… I used to eat a lot, like I would eat like grape tomatoes as like a snack. I love them so much. But then I realized like a half hour later, my hands would like ache. And so I think for me at least, trying to simplify the way that I was eating allowed some of those things that were bothering me to be able to come up to the surface more and be easier to identify versus just like, “I just feel inflamed.” Being able to be like, “Okay, now I'm on keto, I've gotten rid of that baseline inflammation, so now I can really discover what those little things here and there that are bothering me and tweak along the way.” So it doesn't mean I never eat a tomato, I do but I am definitely not gonna eat tomato soup every day or like whatever that might be, and so I can be more mindful about that.
Or if I do eat it, and I can be like, “Okay, yeah, hands still hurt afterwards. Okay, still a thing.” So just being able to like recognize that and go from there. Otherwise, I can't think of any like major… I think when a lot of the keto snacks started coming out, it was really easy to wanna like eat all of them or like try them all or whatever. And I've moved away from the majority of them at this point and just stuck to real food, with a couple of exceptions, I love my ChocZero.
Cheryl McColgan: Same.
Jen Fisch: I'm not giving that up. This is not… This is a packaged food I guess, but I've become obsessed with bone broth during my keto journey, I love bone broth so much. So some of those pieces I've like added more into as I've gone along.
Keto Packaged Foods
Cheryl McColgan: Now, since you mentioned the packaged foods and the keto stuff, you're right how many more things there are out nowadays. And not to say that you can never… I still have this idea in my head that's like a treat should still be a treat, right? So like when I was eating healthy, the way I considered healthy to be before, like I still wouldn't eat a doughnut every day, I might eat it like once every couple of weeks or so, or I don't have dessert every night. You know what I mean? Although the ChocZero does make that hard to not have dessert every night.
Jen Fisch: Especially in the holidays, they had like so many goodies, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is getting bad.”
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, I mean they do have a great product. Are there other… Because I do think initially when people are transitioning, that it is nice that there are those kinds of foods that can help, I am totally with you that I just think the way to feel optimal is to eat whole, real foods, but sometimes in that transition phase you might need a little help. So are there other things that you've experimented with over time that you could recommend to people that don't seem to bother your… That inflame you or anything like that, but they're still like more of a convenience thing?
Jen Fisch: The conveniences? I mean, I think, one, you have to be careful with them, but nuts are like a really great convenience food, right? I mean, that's like…
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, and that's the whole food.
Jen Fisch: Yeah, it's a real food but you could get them at the 7-Eleven or like if you're on a road trip, you can find them really easily, so that's one that I would always go to, whether it was like macadamia nuts or sunflower seeds or just something 'cause sometimes you just wanna like snack on something. Now I think it's easier 'cause now you can find more, like moon cheese or pork rinds or that kinda stuff. I always would go to Starbucks, well I go to Starbucks like every day, and they have string cheese or guacamole packs or the hard-boiled eggs, different things that you could find like if you're in a bind, where you can be like, “Okay, I can grab that and I'll be fine.” I think are the best ones.
I'm not a big like shake person in terms of like protein shakes or like the on-the-go shakes. I know there are quite a few now and there's definitely some that are keto friendly. I guess, I would always look at keto on a package now and question it. I would definitely read what's in it because now that it's become like a buzzword, I feel like they just plaster it on a lot of stuff.
Why Most Keto Packaged Foods Aren't That Great
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, totally, totally agree with that one. And even if it's technically keto-friendly, some of the ingredients are just… I definitely know my bias, I definitely err on the side of real whole foods, but some of the ingredients when I just feel I'm like, “Nope, not putting that in my body, I just don't think it's gonna be a good thing.”
Jen Fisch: Yeah, And sometimes, until you try it, you don't know what it's gonna… Or how it's gonna make you feel, most of them don't make you feel so good afterwards. So yeah, you will probably learn your lesson real quick.
Cheryl McColgan: Oh, yeah, my husband in particular has that as like chicory root fiber and that inulin fiber and stuff, his system does not like that. I mean, I almost feel your…
Jen Fisch: I have a story about chicory root fiber.
Cheryl McColgan: Tell us.
Jen Fisch: Because I ate an ice cream that had it in it. I didn't know it had it in it, I was just trying a new keto ice cream. And so I ate a good amount of it and then I waited, I don't know, I was just watching TV, but all of a sudden my face went numb.
Cheryl McColgan: Oh my gosh. Wow.
Jen Fisch: And it was like tingling and felt… I was like, “What is happening to me?” And one of my friends, he actually helps develop foods, and he had told me before, “Don't eat anything with chicory root in it,” or whatever. And I looked at the back and I was like, “It's gotta be the chicory root.”
Cheryl McColgan: Oh my gosh. So do you think that was an immune response or is that just like something that's well known that anybody has that kinda response?
Jen Fisch: I've never heard any… I mean that if someone else has had that response to chicory root, please DM me, I wanna know about it. But I should Google it. I didn't, but I was just like, “What is happening to me?” And I just threw the ice cream away. I was like, “Okay, that's not gonna be something I'm gonna eat again.” I don't think it was an immune thing. It was just obviously my body, maybe I hadn't had it before and it just definitely didn't like it, whatever it was.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, well, you're not alone. I can tell I know at least one other person that has that experience. And sometimes for me, I don't ever… I've never had the frozen face or the tingly face thing but I have had a lot of different gastrointestinal…
Jen Fisch: Stomach issues, yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: We'll leave it at that. It's definitely not a good thing. Like I would say, “If you are gonna try those types of things, make sure you're at home for a while.”
Jen Fisch: Like the Maltitol candies and all those sugar alcohols, those are nasty.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah. Well, I'm glad you brought that up because that probably is a good tip, a practical tip for people to be looking for. And it's one of the things I'm pretty passionate about, is preferred sweeteners. And so if you can just like expand on that a little bit and maybe tell us what your favorite sweeteners are and what seems to do the best for like your immune functioning kinda thing?
Jen Fisch: Yeah, I mean, stevia and monk fruit I like, at home, I mostly use erythritol when I do baking, I don't mind the cooling factor, I know some people don't like it, it doesn't bother me. So that's mostly what I bake with, but allulose definitely has come on in the last couple years, it's in a lot of the packaged things now, I would say. I don't cook with it, but I don't mind it. I know it's in a lot of things. Other than that, I used to use Xylitol back in the day, in the beginning. I don't mind that either. I know it's not good for people with pets, I don't have any animals, but just the fact that it's not good for pets, I don't use it in my recipes just in case people who are following them use it. So those are the main ones for me.
Anything else with like some crazy name I typically stay away from. And I think even something like an allulose, it takes a lot of… Not a lot but it takes understanding to understand like how it's calculated in macros and things like that. So it usually throws people off when it has to show up as sugar or whatever. So just something to look for. I think most brands that use it do a pretty good job of explaining on the package, but I know that's something when it first came out a lot of people had questions on.
Keto Sweeteners and Blood Sugar
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, and one of the things that I've seen some research on, it's just interesting about allulose in particular, is that it there's a couple studies that show that it actually takes glucose out of your body with it as it's being metabolized. So it might be like arguably the best one for people that are using keto for blood sugar management issues like diabetes, or just borderline high, but allulose might be one of their better options for that. Same thing with them. Oh, there's that. It's a supplement that starts with a B. It's like an herbal metformin. Can you think of… I can't think…berberine.
Jen Fisch: Oh, I don't know about that one.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, that's also pretty interesting too. And I've heard a couple of like really good docs talk about those. So for people that have serious blood sugar issues, definitely lean towards the ones that you just mentioned. And I would say… I would add to that, if you're doing it for blood sugar, maybe allulose could be your best bet. But obviously, do your own research and Google, but at some point, I am gonna write about the sweeteners 'cause it's amazing to me how many really bad ones there are out there in products that are called “sugar free” or “keto friendly,” but they actually raise your blood sugar almost just as much as real sugar.
Jen Fisch: Wow, yeah, I think that is a good learning for people. And they're not always easy to find. I mean, I think they're getting easier at some grocery stores. But definitely the first couple years I was keto, you had to order it online. I couldn't find it in the grocery store or whatever. And then I think people will see coconut sugar or these that are used in other healthy recipes or whatever, I think maybe they can use that. So it's definitely something people need to be educated on, for sure, just to be careful about what they use. But once you find something… I don't really mix a whole bunch of different sweeteners, once I found what I liked, I just stick with it.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, and that's a good tip too. It's just finding what agrees with you, and then you always have a fallback or something that you know is going to make you feel okay, unlike the chicory and stuff.
Jen Fisch: Yeah. See, I didn't know until about today.
Cheryl McColgan: That's funny. Well, for…
Jen Fisch: Now, I'll look for it.
Plants and Mental Health
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, now you know to look for it. Well, so that people that are watching on video will see… And this is totally un-keto related 'cause I've already taken enough of your time, but I just like giving a little bit of flavor of obviously what else is going on in your life besides keto and writing cookbooks, I mean, all food-related. But I'm looking at your living room, and you have some really beautiful plants back there. And I'm also a plant fanatic, and I think a lot of people during this whole lockdown and covid thing, I've been seeing a lot of new plant moms out there, so as for a different topic, maybe just tell us about your favorite plant in that room 'cause they're all so pretty.
Jen Fisch: Well, the one over here, actually, it was a funny story 'cause my… So when I went to work every day, back when we went to the office, I worked in downtown LA, and I was at the downtown LA Whole Foods, which has a really pretty little flower area like most Whole Foods do. And they had that plant, and I don't know that much about plants. I didn't know what it was called or whatever, but I was with one of my co-workers, and she's like, “That's a corn plant,” I think is what she called it, and I was like, “I don't know what it is about that plant but I love that plant.” And so I was like, “I wanna buy it.” And so I guess it had just come in, and one of… The guy who works on flowers was like, “This is my new favorite plant.”
I was like, “Well, can I buy it from you?” So he was like, “Yeah.” So I hauled it around in my car that whole day and then had to drive it home, which is like an hour in LA traffic. And I had it in the front seat, holding it so it didn't fall over. So that was my impulse-buy plant. So I managed… That was probably two years ago or so. So I managed to keep it alive, which is nice. I have big windows in the front of my house, so they get plenty of sunshine. And it's definitely been me figuring out how much to water them, how much not to water them or whatever. But they seem to be doing pretty well these days, so. The other one right behind it actually was also a Whole Foods purchase. Something about going to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, 'cause they have them right by the entrance. I always like impulse-buy plants, so.
Cheryl McColgan: Well, much like figuring out what works for us and what we're eating, the same thing with plants, right?
Jen Fisch: I know. I have one right behind my laptop here, it has doubled in size in the last few months, so every once in a while, the leaves come into my view.
Cheryl McColgan: Awesome, love it.
Jen Fisch: But I like it. Yeah, it's nice to see that I don't kill… I feel like I used to kill every plant. I wasn't a great plant person, so I'm always proud when they actually grow.
Cheryl McColgan: Awesome. Well, Jen, can you tell everybody, before we sign off for today, where they can find you online, what's the best way to reach you, all of your websites, all of the social media goodness.
Jen Fisch: Sure, yeah. So my Instagram is ketointhecity_, so there's a little underscore at the end there. And then my website's ketointhecity.com. I post tons of recipes on there, at least a couple every week. And then I send emails too with different recipes and newsletters, you can always sign up for that. But those are the best places to hang out with me. I'm also on Twitter and Facebook and all those. But I spend the most time, probably… I've been really focusing on my blog during quarantine just 'cause we have a little bit more time, and making sure I'm getting people recipes and info that they need. So that's one spot that I've definitely been working on as part of my like, “How can I learn more during this quarantine period?”
Cheryl McColgan: Well, and when you're not commuting an hour each way in LA traffic, right? You could suddenly have more time in your day.
Jen Fisch: I know, I'm like, “Wow, I have no mileage on my car.” Any stress that I… I actually didn't stress out too much during traffic unless I was late trying to get somewhere to pick up my daughter. That's the most stressful part. On the way to work, I'd be like, “I'll just listen to music.” On the way home from work, I'd always be like, “Oh my God, I have to get there!” So that's really nice to not have to deal with that anymore. I love it.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, that's awesome.
Jen Fisch: Even after quarantine now, I'm gonna work from home, so I'm excited about that.
Cheryl McColgan: Oh, that's fantastic. Well, Jen, I just wanna thank you again so much for coming and sharing all your knowledge. And people can find your recipes and your cookbooks, like you mentioned. Any final last keto thought or a bit of advice or anything that we didn't touch on that you wanna say?
Jen Fisch: I think for most people… I think people are really hard on themselves a lot, especially when experimenting with a new way of eating and getting the hang of it, and sometimes you can get overwhelmed by all of the macros or testing or all of the different things that they see online. And I just wanna be here for people and just… Don't get stressed out by it, just start switching out things that you're eating, enjoy the process, ask questions. I'm always available to answer people's questions too. So I would say, just be kind to yourself and just allow yourself to have a transitional period, and remember why you wanna feel better and just keep connecting it back to that.
Cheryl McColgan: Great advice all around. And thank you again so much for taking the time to join us today. I really appreciate it.
Jen Fisch: Yeah, it was great chatting with you. Thanks, everyone.
Cheryl McColgan: Bye, Jen.
Jen Fisch: Bye.