Introduction to the Heal Nourish Grow Podcast with Cheryl McColgan: 1
Welcome to the very first episode of the Heal Nourish Grow Podcast. I am your host, Cheryl McColgan. I am the Founder of Heal Nourish Grow an ultimate wellness, advanced nutrition, and healthy lifestyle site. My intention is to share experiences and insight through unique content that will help you transform and live your best life.
I have been in the health and wellness space for over 25 years and I'm excited to bring my expertise and knowledge to this show. This has been a passion project of mine for quite some time and thrilled for it to finally be hitting the airwaves. Tune in every Wednesday to hear from me as well as my educated and extremely informative guests on topics such as keto and low carb nutrition, eating well, healing, fasting, the psychology behind it all, and most importantly our overall wellness.
While I personally have some strong opinions on what constitutes the best diet for overall health, I also want to this to be a resource as a flexible dieting lifestyle podcast offering new ways to approach how you eat while learning more about nutrition in general.
We are going to be unpacking a lot in these episodes! From finding your why to hearing from experts in the health space, to exploring your own goals, you're sure to find something that will improve your day-to-day experience. We also will be getting into several lifestyles such as keto, low carb, and finding which plan will work best for you and your body and why at the very least reducing sugar in your diet is so important to health.
I am thrilled to have you here and cannot wait to hear your thoughts on this kickoff episode.
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Heal Nourish Grow Podcast Introduction
Hey, everyone, I'm Cheryl McColgan founder of Heal Nourish Grow and I'm coming to you from my little studio under the stairs, which is kind of a funny story. We bought this house and this is actually a gun safe, which we have no use for. So over the pandemic, it became the perfect little podcast studio because my office is actually right next to my husband's upstairs and he's on the phone all day talking and I do a lot of writing. So I had to figure out different places in the house to go to do the things that I need to do.
But anyway, that is not why you came here today, right? You're thinking Heal Nourish Grow podcast, the description intrigued me, how can I learn? What can I do? What is this all about? So anyway, I'll just give you a little bit of background about me so you know why I'm doing this podcast. I hope you'll stick around to hear all of the wonderful guests that I have planned. I already have multiple episodes recorded.
I've been podcasting actually, over the years for a while and I'm an avid podcast listener myself. So I know how it is, when you find a new podcast, you like it, and you kind of want to binge it a little. And that's what we're all used to now, right? With Netflix and Amazon Prime and all those streaming services. We're used to being able to have a lot of episodes on demand. So I wanted to start with a few so that you get a sense of what we're going to do here. It might change a little over time, because I've been wanting to do this for a long time.
I was trying to talk myself out of it because there's always a challenge when you go into new space for podcasting. There, there are a lot of different, what's the word I'm looking for? There is a lot of competition, if that's the word, it's not even competition, because everybody's got a slightly different voice. And everybody's got a slightly different reason for doing what they do and a slightly different angle. But I wanted to talk myself out of it because there are already so many podcasts about health and wellness. And also in the low carb and keto space, there are tons of podcasts. So I just wasn't sure. But I decided that first of all, I didn't want to attach the podcast to keto or low carb necessarily exclusively. And that's for a couple of reasons.
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Cheryl McColgan Background
I have been in the health and wellness space for over 25 years now. And that has encompassed a lot of different types of modalities. I'm a certified yoga instructor, I've had over 4000 hours of teaching over 1000 hours of training, and meditation. My educational background is in psychology and I've been coaching and helping people in some way with their health and wellness now for like I said, over 25 years.
So I feel like there is a lot that I can cover on this podcast. I mostly work with people now about how they’re eating and trying to lose weight. But weight loss encompasses a lot of different things. Losing weight, or getting your health back or finding ultimate wellness, as I like to call it, is a challenge. it's not just about what you eat, it's not just about your diet, there are lots of factors involved when you are trying to make these changes. So creating new habits, you have to be able to sleep well you have to be able to manage your stress and all of those things can really affect your overall wellness and weight loss if that's your goal.
What I thought I would do is allow myself the freedom to really talk to a lot of different people in the health space a lot about fitness, wellness, stress reduction, weight loss, fasting and of course we're going to talk about nutrition because that's what I'm super passionate about. If you didn't know me in the past I've basically done it all as far as diet.
I grew up on a farm so I've always been very whole-foods based but over the years it's looked very different. I grew up when the low-fat craze was exactly what everybody thought was the healthiest thing and so didn't eat fat for many many years. Then I was a vegetarian for seven years and then I've had in and outs with various things but I would never call what I was eating the standard American diet totally. I've definitely had times in my life where I've eaten more junk food or not been totally focused on really nourishing myself in the best way. Most recently, the last six years was when I first started going lower-carb and then it'll be five years in January 2022 that I've been keto. That does not mean that I think everybody has to go to that extreme or that level.
Is Low Carb or Keto Right for Everyone?
That's why I didn't want to make this podcast all about that because I think we can discuss nutrition and what's the best way to nourish your body without necessarily putting a big name on it. What I do now, five years into keto six years into low carb is definitely very different than what I did in the beginning. And it kind of looks different depending on how I'm feeling and what my goals at the time are.
That's what I am a big proponent of every time I work with somebody, every time I'm talking to people about whether it's fasting, whether it's keto, whether it's meditation, whether it's getting a handle on stress on sleep it’s about what are your goals?
Your goals are the biggest thing that will determine what you should be doing on a day-to-day basis.
And so that answer is not the same for everybody. So I might be keto 99% of the time for example, I'm going to a wedding this weekend. And I personally, I don't really go “off-plan” or have cheat meals or anything like that. That's just me, it's not that I think it's wrong or bad. Again, it's depending on your goals, right? But for me, my goals are to stay very healthy. I have a lot of cancer in my family and I've had some previous health issues myself. So for me, it doesn't really serve my goals to do those types of things. And I've strongly identified my why, which is one of the things that I will be talking about in this podcast and teaching you how you find what your why is. Because once you find a strong why, making these changes in your life, whether it's your diet, whether it's your sleep, whatever it is, once you identify a strong why it is so much easier to hit those goals and to make those changes. And so that's what we'll be talking about a lot.
Low Carb and Keto Nutrition, How Healthy is the Keto Diet?
Of course, we're gonna talk about nutrition, like I said, but to get back to the wedding example. So this weekend, when I go to the wedding, I will eat low carb the whole time keto, meat and vegetable like I always do, because that's what makes me feel the best. But if the wedding cake comes and it's chocolate, I will probably have a bite. And if it's really delicious, I might have more than one bite. And that doesn't bother me. But again, I'm in a different place in my health journey than others.
If you're just starting low-carb or just starting keto, I highly recommend that you stick to it pretty strongly for the first 12 weeks because that will make your transition so much easier. Then you'll be metabolically flexible, and you can do some of these things, like occasionally have more carbs if that suits your goals. Sometimes that might be a little outside of your goals. And all that is to say, hat it's just very different for everybody. If you know yourself and you know if you go down that slippery slope and you have one piece of cake that you're not gonna be able to stop and then the next day, you're gonna eat garbage all day and then the next day, you're like, “oh, I screwed it up, I might as well starting on Monday” and then next thing you know, it's January of next year, and you're making a new resolution. That's maybe the type of person that you want to stick to it pretty closely all the time and not take those little derailments.
But that doesn't mean if you do take a derailment you’re out of luck. It's no big deal, you just start again the next day. So those are the kinds of things that we'll be talking about on this podcast. I will be interviewing a lot of experts in the field.
Keto Success Stories
I’ve also have interviewed multiple, just kind of “everyday” people, I don't want to call them everyday. I mean, they’re all people, right? But I mean, they’re not scientists, not experts, not thought leaders in the space. Just people that have been doing low carb or keto for a while or have changed their diet and some other significant way. They're going to share their stories and tell you tips and tricks about how they made the changes how it's affected their life how they make it sustainable for themselves.
One of the things I wanted to do when I started this podcast was to talk to people that have been doing low carb or keto for quite a long time. So not people that have just tried it and decided it wasn't for them. And by the way, if that's you, that's totally fine! But I would I would like to argue that most people don't give it enough of a chance to really determine if it's going to give them benefits and if it's going to help them reach their goals. Pus the way that people approach things sometimes or the way that they do it might not make them feel good. But if they made some slight adjustments, it could really make all the difference. And that's where sometimes it's helpful to work with a keto coach or have somebody holding you accountable so that you can try different things and make tweaks and really find a version of ultimate wellness and of eating well to find something that makes you feel good and actually works for you and helps heal your body.
So I hope that's not too broad of a topic for a podcast, but it will be all different kinds of things.
How to Create Better Habits
How to make changes, focusing on habits that's one thing I've really had been focused on for myself and with people that I work with over the years. It's a topic that I've written about a lot and I have videos on my YouTube channel about habits and creating habits and how to make those changes.
We'll also talk about fasting. That is another thing that I am a big proponent of and I'm very passionate about, and I won't go into too much detail here, but again, I mentioned how I had had some previous health issues and that there's a lot of cancer in my family. Based on the research that I've done and based on the fact that the Nobel Prize for autophagy was awarded 2016.
What is Autophagy?
Autophagy is basically your body's cellular cleanup process. It happens most strongly when you're not eating. So not to scare you away, but I will share with you that fasting is not scary! I think we're finally, to a place where people have heard enough about it that they don't automatically think that something's wrong with you if you choose to do extended fasts or intermittent fasting.
I'm a big fan of intermittent fasting every day where you don't eat for several hours. It actually gives your body a chance to have some autophagy.
Autophagy and Fasting
Autophagy is on a continuum. So it's happening all the time, but it happens most strongly when you're not eating. So if you can not eat for 12 hours, or 14 hours or 16 hours, without any food that gives your body and your digestive system a chance to rest and heal. It gives autophagy a chance to kick in more strongly.
If weight loss is a goal, fasting can potentially reduce your calories. Even if you don't need to lose weight, you can still fast! The key is you just need to meet your energy needs during the time that you are actually eating. So that's another topic that we'll definitely be approaching quite a bit in this podcast.
Heal Nourish Grow Podcast Guests
I have a couple of really interesting people for the first few episodes. There are some people that I really respect in the low carb, keto space and health space.
Some people, like I mentioned, are just kind of “everyday” people that have just made some significant changes in their lives. One person that I spoke to is a type one diabetic and she uses low carb to manage it and that's how before insulin, that was the only option, right? But it can actually make some profound changes in the way that you manage your health.
Another very interesting conversation was I talked to another lady who's started on low carb because her son has, I believe, autism or ADHD, it's been so long since I recorded it. But basically, her son has had significant improvement in his condition from them going low carb. So there's a lot of reasons why you might want to try keto or low carb eating.
Again, I didn't want to call the podcast a keto podcast exclusively. I wanted the chance to share it with people in a way that's not scary, and share it with people that aren't already doing it so that you know about it, and so that you can choose if it might be right for you. And if not, I think you'll still get plenty of good tips, tricks, information from people about how they've changed their lives, how they've implemented new habits, other things that they've done in their life to lose weight or feel better, that does not include what they're eating right or a specific type of diet. So that is my goal.
So let me go back a little bit. I gave you some of my background briefly during this little introduction. I didn't make an outline because I just wanted to introduce the show give you a sense of who I am, how I speak what I'm about what and I'm passionate about. I didn’t want to make it too regimented or structured for this first initial one, because there will be probably plenty of that down the road when I approach a specific topic. I'll obviously have an outline so that I actually cover all the points that I want to cover without getting on a tangent too much.
But to go back, like I said, I grew up on a farm. We were very whole foods based and we did not have a lot of money. So everything that we ate, we grew on our farm or got very locally. And it was a different time, right? So this is in the 70s I'm about to you know, obviously blow how old I am right here.
I was used to whole foods and so that was not foreign to me, fortunately. My dad was part of the running boom and he got really into health and fitness himself as a young man. He had me when I think he was 25 when he had me. When I was about five my earliest memories were I would be taking water down to my dad at the end of the road because he's out running back and forth on this rural route that was by our farm. And so you know, there was no garbage food in the house. There were some of the first health food stores I was our little treat to get a kind of chewy, like fruit bars that wasn't even candy, no cereals, no sugar drinks, nothing like that. So I feel very fortunate in that regard.
Then when I became a teenager, and like most teenagers and had a car and had a job and had some money, I ate a bunch of garbage because I never been exposed to it and so it was all very new to me. Luckily I was very active and played sports, so I could get away with that for a while. When I got out of my house and was a young adult, I think because of the exposure of my dad from running, I started running and I was a runner for 17 years until basically my knees told me I had to quit. So I got away with a lot of bad what I'm calling “bad” because I mean, should we really call any specific food bad? That's a topic for another day but I think there are foods that you probably shouldn't eat. But calling something bad is probably not the best idea mentally. So I would have desserts would have a lot of carbs and have a lot of pasta and stuff. That was what was known to be the right thing at the time if you're an endurance athlete. But fortunately, because I was very active, I didn't have to worry too much.
There were definitely times in my life where I put on some weight though. It was generally around stress for sure. I mentioned that I had surgery, I had fibroids and had a partial hysterectomy. Then years later had a lot of pain. I'm making a very long story pretty short, hopefully here, but I had like three subsequent surgeries because what happened was the fibroids implanted all over my abdomen, I had l16 tumors and they thought I had cancer for a while. That was a pretty big wake-up call.
What is Good Health?
Like I said, I would have considered myself a very healthy person up to that point and a runner. Like I said, ate mostly whole foods, definitely ate some garbage in there and definitely ate a lot of carbs. But I would have considered myself a pretty healthy person up to that point. So once that happened, a lot of things shifted in my life.
I had started doing yoga when I was in college and had done that on and off over the years, mostly at home. Then during this time when I had the surgeries and when I subsequently had to quit running, I got a lot more into yoga. I ended up going to yoga teacher training and teaching for many years publicly, I do some private stuff now, but I don't really teach publicly anymore.
So you can start to see how all my whole life has kind of been about this health journey for me and figuring things out and learning what works and what doesn't didn't work.
Along the way, partially in relation to yoga and partially in relation to a book that I read that was introduced to me by my dad, because he was always he was pretty much similarly in pursuit of all kinds of health stuff through his whole life. Which is why it was particularly painful when he got cancer but I don’t want to go into that too much right now.
I read the book, The China Study, which is basically based on a lot of epidemiological data. The more that you're around this podcast, you'll learn that epidemiology is not very good research. I had the opportunity to learn more about what good research is when I went to grad school for clinical psychology. I did not finish, unfortunately, but the training that I did have while I was there, I did counseling, I did a lot of work in the lab, my minor is in addiction studies. So I've worked with people that have these kinds of issues.
Is Over Eating an Addiction?
We're finally starting to see some overeating kind of behaviors as really more of a true addiction than we originally thought. So I'm just trying to pull this all together for you so that you have some idea of how I ended up where I am now. So the vegetarian thing eventually went by the wayside, fortunately. I did it for seven years. I did not feel very good on that. Quite often you will hear that people will do it for a long time. And then, they quit feeling good. They're no longer thriving.
Is Vegan or Vegetarian Healthy?
I think a lot of people when they first change to being vegan or being vegetarian, they might be eating a lot more healthful foods than they were before. They might be eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. And that's a debate whether that's even, “healthful food,” right? But that's a topic for another day.
Anyway, they change their diet. So initially, say they're eating a bunch of garbage before…a lot of McDonald's a lot of junk foods and Fritos and chips, all that kind of stuff. They give that up and they start eating more whole foods, fruit and vegetables, they're going to feel pretty good probably for a while, and a lot of people do. Then as the years go on, the body starts to get depleted in B12, which is only available in animal foods. Maybe they don't pay as much attention to protein as they should. Pretty soon they're not feeling well and they're looking very gaunt and maybe thin, but not healthy, not muscular, not vibrant, hair's falling out, all that kind of stuff.
That's what can happen when you don't pay attention to really fueling your body in a way that is consistent with the way that we evolved and the way that we should be eating. I realize that some people have ethical reasons why they don't want to eat animals or they just love animals. They feel so bad about it, but you've really just got to be extra careful with your nutrition if that's the case.
Vegetarian to Almost Carnivore
So eventually, I wasn't feeling that great. I had started a new, very demanding job, got divorced and I was traveling a lot. So it was definitely was easier for me to eat meat on occasion and that’s how it started. Pretty soon, I was feeling so much better. I was off to the races, eating meat again fully. I was lucky because I did not really have any issues with that. I've always had very strong digestion.
When I started eating meat again, I think my body was ready for it. Ididn't have a lot of issues bringing that back in. However, what did happen during that time, I mentioned I was traveling a lot, and I was working a very demanding job where I was under a lot of stress.
I put on a bunch of weight. That's really when I started looking around more. I also mentioned that my dad had cancer. So that's where I started poking around een more and really trying to take a deep dive into what is the proper way to eat and what might make me feel better and what can possibly help me avoid cancer in the future.
Cancer, Keto and Fasting
It's not an easy answer, because we really don't know all of that yet and I don't know if we ever will. What I found along the way was the Nobel Prize for autophagy and that's again, a cellular cleanup process. Autophagy gets rid of misfolded proteins, you might get rid of cells that have mutated that could possibly cause cancer. So I thought that's pretty simple because I had done it before.
Through my years and years in yoga it’s a very common thing to fast. There's actually quite a lot of research on fasting due to Ramadan. So during Ramadan, people don't eat from dawn until dusk. There's quite a lot of research on that it shows wonderful health improvements.
You know, we always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which is wrong. That was brought to us by the food and cereal industry! I have never really been that hungry in the morning. But I'd always kind of forced myself because we’ve had that pounded into our heads, right?
Once I got on to this idea that no, it's actually okay and even healthy for your body to go periods without food fasting was one of the things I found at that time. The other thing that I found when I was poking around about cancer and eating meat again was that I ran into keto. At the time, there was still there was some information out there. However, it wasn't nearly as trendy or well known as it is now.
Now, it's more demonized than anything else because people don't understand it or people have this certain view of it. That is just really incorrect. Why don't we chat about that since I got onto that subject.
So if you're still listening to this and you're thinking, ok well, I don't really want to go keto, I like bread too much, I'm never gonna do that. That's totally fine. But I do just want to throw this out there too. Keto is often on the list of the worst diets. It's been on that list, I think it's US News and World Reports or something like that.
And yet, here we are on the same list Mediterranean is purported as one of the best diets. So I think what it is and I heard this phrase lately…I completely agree with this, and I've said it before, but I heard it again recently and I thought, I gotta keep using that, because it's so true! Keto has a marketing problem.
As a marketer, I can totally appreciate that. Because the marketing problem is this, people think that we're just sitting around eating bacon and butter and drinking extra oil all day and all this and not to say that some people don't do that, because maybe they do. But if you really compare keto to the Mediterranean diet, it is pretty darn similar with the exception of grains. On keto, you're really not eating any grains, but grains are not good for most people anyway.
How Did We Get to “Healthy Whole Grains” Anyway?
If you ever decide to read more about our food system, there's a book called Big Fat Surprise. It basically describes all of the ways that we got to where we are now with our food system, the food pyramid, how saturated fat got demonized and sugar became okay to eat.
We ended up having a lot of processed products. As I mentioned, back in the 90s, with the low fat craze, they basically took all the fat out of products and replaced it with sugar. So we've gone from a place where people, I believe it's something like 200 years ago, the average American was eating two pounds of sugar a year. Now we're at 153 pounds of sugar a year which is absolutely insane.
Wrapping Up What’s to Come
I covered a whole bunch of stuff that probably can be unpacked in more detail at a later date. I hope this was enough to give you a sense of the type of things that we'll be talking about. I am always open to suggestions. Basically, anything that fits in the buckets Heal, Nourish or Grow, is stuff that we can talk about here. That's the reason that I originally chose that name. That's my passion. That's what I'm all about.
I've been helping people for years in some regard with their health and wellness journey and with coaching, all that kind of stuff. So it's just a way for me to be able I started the website, to be able to cover the kind of topics that I'm passionate about, without pigeonholing it into just being keto, or just being low carb, or just being about yoga, or any of those things.
It's really about everything that is your whole wellness journey.
It's not just what you put in your mouth. You've got to have all of your ducks in a row, like working on your stress and working on your sleep. So those are all of the topics that we will cover here. They're all the topics that are on my website now.
How You Can Help the Heal Nourish Grow Podcast
Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast, I can't wait for you to hear the guests that I have! I would also absolutely love it and adore you forever if you would pop over to iTunes and leave a review about the podcast.
What happens when you have a new podcast is that the more reviews that you get really quickly, the higher your show moves up on the list and the more chance you have of being found by others. For keto podcasts and health and wellness podcasts there is a lot of competition! I just want to help as many people as I can so the more people that can find me, the more we'll be able to talk about and the more really cool guests that I'll be able to have on and I would just really love it if you could do that for me.
Giveaway for Heal Nourish Grow Podcast Review
I will actually be giving away some kind of prize…I haven't decided yet. It'll be at least somewhat compelling. So if you leave a review, please take a screenshot and email it to me at podcast at HealNourishGrow.com. Once we're a month into the podcast, I'll give away the first gift. I’ll probably continue to do that throughout the podcast because I think if you take the time out of your day, to show HealNourishGrow a little love to support the work that I do, I just want to be able to, give a little something back at some point beyond just all the content that I put out for free.
It's nice that when people take time out of their day to be kind and leave a review, they get a chance at something that's a little fun.Plus who doesn't need a little extra kindness in their life right now, right?
We're all having real struggles in our own way during this crazy time with the pandemic. That's why I decided to just push forward with this even though like I said before, I kind of tried to talk myself out to it. But, I feel like I have a different voice. I have information that I can share that would possibly help people. I just might as well put it out there.
So anyway, again, if you could subscribe and leave a review I'd really appreciate it. I will talk to you again soon. The plan right now is a new episode every Wednesday.
Guided Meditations by Heal Nourish Grow?
Oh, also, if you could let me know…I had an idea when I couldn't sleep last night, which I hate! I normally I sleep well but I've had all these deadlines lately and nd I'm excited about putting out this podcast and finally launching it.
I used to do guided meditations in my class and people really enjoyed them. So one of the things I thought about was in addition to having a regular episode each week, that maybe once a week or once every two weeks I would do a separate smaller episode, where it's a five-minute guided meditation.
Also, at some point, I have taught people about meditation a lot in the past and people overcomplicate it. I think I have a really easy way to explain it to you and to help you understand why you should do it every day so if that sounds like something I should add to the podcast, please let me know.
If there is interest I will do it because I've done in the past and my only concern with that is I personally, well, you know it's weird when you hear your own voice sometimes. You're not a fan. But my students in the past always loved it and said that they enjoyed it. So if that's something that you would like, let me know and I will add that to the podcast.