In this episode I talk with Robin Switzer, CEO of KetoCon. Robin found keto after years a of a dysfunctional relationship with food and dieting. Keto helped her overcome food addiction, get rid of the extra weight she was carrying and led her to a new life’s purpose.
We also discuss the excitement of KetoCon being back this year after the pandemic hiatus. Learn more about the speakers, panels, sessions and why you want to be in attendance. My partners Vitamix and Kalorik are generously donating kitchen tools to be used at the event as well as items that we’re giving away. Be sure to attend my cooking demonstration on Saturday at 3:30 to have a chance to win a Kalorik Maxx Air Fryer Grill or a Vitamix blender!
Listen to the interview to learn more about Robin’s story as well as learning more about what you can learn at KetoCon. Use code healnourishgrow at checkout to get a great discount on your KetoCon ticket.
Watch the episode with Robin on YouTube
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CONNECT WITH ROBIN
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Automated transcript, please forgive the errors.
Cheryl McColgan: Hello everyone, welcome back to the heel nourish grow podcast. Today, I am joined by Robin Switzer, who owns and manages her own production company, and also happens to the CEO of KetoCon. I read the introduction, but first, before we really talk about any of that stuff, the whole reason that Robin got involved in this space is because of some previous health issues and things of her own. Robin, I’m going let you take it away and so you can kinda share some of your background and how you got into eating low carb and how keto and eventually running KetoCon evolved for you.
Robin Switzer: Sure. Well, first, thank you. Thank you for having me, thank you for the opportunity to share the story. To talk a little bit about KetoCon. I found the keto diet left as a result of many, many years of struggling with what I understand now to be metal dysfunction, but it was all really a result of just not being able to properly manage the time and take the process was to be given as this.
I grew up in the early 60s. And that was the invention of TV dinners. And it was really cool if you were eating something that could go in the oven, Crimea be a full meal, but it was a combination of that and the convenience, which families deleted as well, process cereals and process courts and gopi Jewish home. So there were a lot of processed credits for every day of the week, every holiday, pretty much all the time, it was a tradition to go for bikes on Sunday morning, it was… Every holiday had sub-sorted, process car, and even Passover, when everyone else was eating bread, we were eating flats of Matzo as a replacement for it, which for anybody that doesn’t know, it’s just really all the ingredients that go into bread, except it doesn’t rise.
Robin Switzer: My life started off like that, and I was thinking the other day after I had done the podcast recording, I was remembering times where as a kid, I was always hungry. I remember just sitting at the family table, the left to always went to me, I just think I was born that way. I was a small baby, and I was just always hoping that led to over years and years ahead addiction and sugar addiction, and then the after effects of that type of life to where the long-term effect of that kind of lifestyle.
By my early 20s is really starting to rear its head, it was clear I had problems., Weight turned into an obsession and I was on a diet all of the time. My memory of it was when I came in, my parents take me weight watchers when I was 11. Looking back on those times, I wasn’t overweight, but I thought it was. So I had all of that mental stuff going on too, and then over the years, in my early 20s and pregnancies and just growing older, it just snowballed.
Metabolic Dysfunction and Metabolic Syndrome
Robin Switzer: All of the symptoms of metabolic dysfunction were there, but I don’t think people really understood. The doctor didn’t understand how to diagnose it, they just saw the symptoms I was having. In my 20s and 30s, I was always like 20, 25 pounds overweight, and never went away. Basically I lost and gained the same 25 pounds over and over again. I’ve done it all, I’m sure that I have probably done every diet, including the dangerous ones. Pills, liquid fasting proteins for a super long time are both things I’ve tried. I did a lot of stupid things, but that brought me to on the flip on it in a good way. That obsession that I’ve had, food and weight loss fitness, it just kind of evolved into a passion for trying to understand it all, and so it did serve a purpose. I think it was in the early r2010 2011. I started getting really serious about trying to figure out what was going on with me, I realized, Oh, I knew it had something to do with food, because I was one of those people that just felt better, I didn’t need anything at all.
Robin Switzer: So that made perfect sense. So it was food-related, and I just kept on going down the rabbit hole of trying to find what would work and what wouldn’t work for me, I tried doing a low carb diet and everything clicked. So in those days, things started to fall in place for me, so I did that for several years. But I still wasn’t really dealing with the good addiction side.
Travel and Stress
Through those years, I was an executive at the bank and I was traveling a lot. I was managing a large team of salespeople, and I was trying to kind of balance all of that with how I felt physically. And during those years, and I always had this interest, like I said, his passion for trying to understand it, I’ll put all the pieces together, and it was probably about 2014 or 2015 where I found the ketogenic diet, and that really put things into perspective for me in a much more clear… So what was missing, and all the other comment was the higher fat content, and so just sticking to whole real foods, so the food addiction side of me was I was looking for a way to create something that was a trigger food in a low-carb way, which never been worked for because I’d still having cravings.
Robin Switzer: So when I started doing keto and eating all real food, everything made sense. So looking back on it, now, I understand insulin levels would be regulated by looters regulated, and I started feeling better, so… Then in gosh, 2015, I was in a Facebook group for a keto Facebook group, and I saw an ad for a program manager, which I had no idea what was at the time, I was like, I said it was managed team to a people were in the country in the financial services space.
Taking over KetoCon
But my curiosity really got the best of me, so I figured that I don’t have the skill set to the appropriate manager. I’ll see what they’re doing. At the time, there was a company called key evangelist, and they had multiple podcasts and these huge Facebook groups and websites and all kinds of stuff going on, and so I refused that. And interested in having this conversation. And the owner at the time was praised, he and I talked, and I just… When I got on the phone, I said to my husband, there is something here and I have to do, this is by the errand out of the house and self-sufficient.
Robin Switzer: And I said, I’m gonna take a chance. I wanted to jump ship at the bank, and I want to take a year to see what I can do with this. I still really have no idea what I was doing. And so a month later, I was on an American just like, Oh wow. I would never evict someone else to do this, it was really her idea, and there was no promise for success. There was no promise for compensation because he didn’t have any money, the company was making money at that point.
So we were gonna build this, Peter, and I was all about it. I was like, This is how I’m gonna turn what has happened to the abortive, been experiencing all these years into something good. So a few months later, we decided we would do an event called Pica, which was a way for us to bring all of these people that we had on all these different social media calls together to celebrate what we had found, how it was improving our health, and we really didn’t know what it would turn into, but we wanted to try and pull this off really strong designer for these people to know each other, just meet each other, to form these communities because in those days, he was just starting to…
Keto was Still New
Robin Switzer: Just starting to grow just in keto become more popular, and it was for you to go into a restaurant and be able to order a burger or you even hear the word he talked about was a… But that changed over the years. So any way, we wanted to put a of this together and we did a whole… And we’re building some other brands under the cancels umbrella, and we did the first event in 2016 was all… But we pulled it off, and it was such a huge success for us and we all felt so fulfilled and it just energized by the community that we decided, dimethyl, we’re building all these other brands under the batter and we did an event in 2017. And then again, in sorrow, starting 2017, we did 17, 18 and 19. We’re planning for 2020 and we all know what happened in 2020. So that was a huge financial disaster for the kinase, and Brian came to me and he said, You know, I can’t do this, I can’t keep this up anymore, because I have kids just the core, you know how kids getting ready to go into college and we can’t make it.
Robin Switzer: I already walked away from me a really lucrative banker and I wasn’t wet branding up, so I said, Okay, but I really wanna keep moving, so we put together on a track and I wired everything from him and starting from ground zero. And that’s what I would do it for the past two years.
Cheryl McColgan: Has a lot… Well, covid kind of messed up a lot of things for sure, but for me, go into more discussion about the show, just to give people some… ’cause this is… This podcast, I did not brand it as specifically keto for a reason, because I wanna try to lure people to the dark side without them being scared away first, so I was wondering if you could just revisit for a little bit, and thankfully, this has been so long ago that you don’t have to think about this so much anymore, about what were some of the… You shared about the food addiction, which sounds like that was a huge part of what was happening, but were there other symptoms that you were experiencing that subsequently resolved or got a lot better once you went to the keto way of eating, ’cause I’m sure… The food addiction one is huge enough by itself, but quite often people have some other symptoms and things before they go to this way of eating right.
Keto and Depression
Robin Switzer: Now, there are so many of them. First of all, the depression that results from dysregulated blood sugar is really huge, and I experienced that from a very young age until I was in my 40s, I didn’t put the pieces together, I didn’t understand what was happening, but I have very high highs and very low lows, the food addiction part was big, they… From a female perspective, I had all cuts of hormonal problems, my first pregnancy, my first tribe was in a half pounds, my second prac China, 10 pounds. Wow. So a huge babies. And I was quite large, I was close to 200 pounds. Wolters gained a lot of weight during crisis, and then after having children, going through perimenopause was rural until until a fire, all of his A… And then even going through menopause, as though even though I had already resolved on these issues, so there were a lot of symptoms, I think the most damaging one was the depression.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, I would agree with you. ’cause my personal experience with that. My whole adult life, I’ve been on and off and a depressants for depression, and nothing ever really worked. Actually, for people out there that don’t know this already, my background’s in Psychology, and one of the things that the research shows that exercise is really the most effective tool that we have up to this point for depression, so if you’re struggling, definitely get out in the sunshine and move your body. But I would say for me, I think it was… I grew up, I was a little girl in the early 70s, and then into the 80s, it’s all the low fat creates, and I was very… I always thought that I was doing the next right thing, and I was a vegetarian for many years and all these things, but I think the fat component of it that you mentioned before, it’s really huge, because when you start, your brain is mostly fat, and when you start eating healthy fats and really nourishing your body in that way, I think it really helps the hormonal balance come back into a really even place and the lack of the highs and lows with the blood sugar all the time, so…
Keto for Mental Health
Cheryl McColgan: I would agree with you, that’s a huge one, and there is some more research, I was just listening to the interview recently, I think this guy’s name is Chris, I can’t think of the last name, but I’ll put it in the show notes, but he is really starting to do some things with a keto diet intervention and depression, schizophrenia and those kinds of things, and is finding some really excellent success with it, so I think that’s a whole new direction. We’ll be going here soon.
Robin Switzer: Yeah, I agree. When you were talking about the blood, so the Healthy Fast… One of the things that took me a lot, all this incoming information all the time in our labors, and it’s really hard… I understand the confusion. It’s really hard to understand what to do, right, what to do and what’s right, it’s not me. I didn’t understand the importance of the source of the fat and the quality of the fat.
So I didn’t understand the importance of the quality and the source of a fat, but I also didn’t understand the importance of insulin regulation, and that in order to regulate my blood sugar, I had to lower the amount of sugar and take from all sources. I also had to lower carbs significantly. .Some people can get away with eating a lot of natural carbs, and still stay in ketosis. I can’t, so I had to figure all that out along the way.
Robin Switzer: Yes, thank you. Yes. He’s actually speaking at KetoCon. I’m super excited about it because he comes from a very respected position and he’s been doing a lot of research, and so I think people will learn a lot from him.
Cheryl McColgan: Leah, I can’t wait. And that’s the point in where I should say, I’m finally getting to go this year, I’m so excited about that, ’cause now you guys are back in person, live in Austin for KetoCon, so now is maybe a good time, Robin, for you to share a little bit more about… You said you took this leap of faith because of your passion for keto and really wanting… And by the way, I think that community is a hugely underrated part of success in whether it’s weight loss or any kind of new lifestyle, and there are so many studies on this that proves that that’s the case, that we’re better off when we have a partner or some accountability or something like this, but for some reason, people still underestimate the value of that… Can you share in what ways the community is coming together, there’s a be education, there’s gonna be all kinds of things, but maybe share about some of the things and anything that happens to be new this year for people that have already gone… What can they expect now that you’re back in person… Sure.
Robin Switzer: And this year, we’re in Austin July 8th to 10th. We have a record number of everything happening this year, and we’re just completely blown away and thankful that things are coming together like this, but we have 75 speakers, and I know I can’t even say that La… And that’s a combination of… We’re doing four different panels this year, and we report stages, so there’s a keynote stage, there’s brick to break out east too large greenish four-stage is running pretty much the entire three days of even the panels.
that were running on Friday, there’s a medical panel with seven medical professionals that will be sharing a bit about what they do, how they incorporate local ketogenic diets and their practices, how they work with people, and excused. Then we’ll open it up for audience questions. And on Saturday, we do a fitness pal, the same format with fitness professionals, fitness experts, and then on Sunday, we do a success stories panel, which is a group of individuals that are invited to attend the event as speakers to share their personal transformation stories. And this could be weight loss, addressing metabolic disease, it could be addressing type diabetes, it could be addressing any host of conditions that have been helped by this change in diet-wise, and then now the keto cone is something that’s been requested is a carpal.
KetoCon Carnivore Diet Panel
Robin Switzer: So there are a lot of people in this space that find healing with the ketogenic diet and lifestyle, but still have remaining gut issues, we’re still having any armies and they use a meat-based carnivore diet like an elimination protocol, so they eliminate everything except for the most nutrient students, and they do this for a period of time to increase the amount peeling…
There’s a large percentage of people who are finding this way of eating a subset of the EEC diet or the subset of the ketogenic community, there’s a lot of percentage of them that are finding this really, really helpful. Even we are doing KetoCon Sunday as well. So we’re super excited about that. KetoCon will have, I think we’re at 125 vendors. We had space for a lot more than that, but we ended up with vendors who needed a lot more of the geography of the shareware have about 125, and there’s everything from food product manufacturers, technology provider, software providers, fitness equipment, supplements, there’s a few medical professionals that also have a brand that will be represented as an exhibitor, so for instance, Dr. Menace, her girlfriend, Dr. Brand will be exhibiting a kind to Pennington, who is the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, she’ll have a booth icons, there’s several of them that will also be represented.
Robin Switzer: So show runs on Friday, Saturday from 80 am control 60 PA. During that time, there will be speakers on all of those stages I mentioned before and panels, and then at the end of the day, we also have a dedicated 90 minutes or so of exhibitor hall activities, so the Exeter Hall is open all day, every day, but towards the end of the day, they’ll be no speakers on one stages, and then the exhibitor will we do all giveaways and activities on these dorsolateral floor. Then in addition to that, we’ve added a networking in, which is a place for speakers to connect one-on-one or 120 with their followers, so it’s built into the schedule where specific speakers will be in the networking area and they’re gonna be doing… Takeaway is in a picture is not in Santa, and then most nearer to would be the demo area, so we’ve never done this before, but we’ve created a demo area where it would be a stage and a very small, a small stage in 20 x 30 or so space where we’ll be doing cooking demos and also other types of demos, but specifically for you, you’ll be doing that a cooking demo.
Robin Switzer: And we’re super excited about that. I really appreciate your involvement and being willing to do it, so running brands, and we’re really excited to have you join us.
KetoCon Cooking Demo
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, I am too. And just for people that don’t know, the part of that cooking demo will be some rescues for my new cookbook that I’m still not quite allowed to share the name of the well to soon. So we’ll be doing a couple of different things from that, I’ll have some books there, the brands that I’m working with have generously agreed to do a giveaway, so we’re gonna have something from Vitamix and a very high quality air fire from caloric. So I think you’ll have some incentive to come watch me cook and chat with you for a little woman, if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, you can go to the website and use healers, check out for 50 off anything rather with… If people aren’t able to join us in person this year is just too far, are you doing anything virtually at this point, or is that a consideration for the future…
Robin Switzer: It is a consideration for the future, we may… And we have done this in the past, offer virtual ticket, which is access to the presentations that we record, however, I honestly… Poco is a person experience, and it’s really difficult to put a price tag on just the presentation material because learning is… That’s a huge component of this event, but the experience side of meeting these speakers, of meeting the people you know online, of being part of this community, in person… To me, that’s where all the value is. Some of these speakers are new to the space, so you wouldn’t really find the material online anywhere else, but many of the others are… So an answer to your question, I don’t know, media still trying to decide. We do record the speaker presentations, I’m just trying to decide if we will offer a virtual ticket for that is here, there’s a lot of cost associated with doing that, so that’s also what we didn’t do a virtual attendee ticket because there’s just no way to experience pecuniary when so much of it is experiential, so… Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: And as a… Sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but I was just gonna say, as a person who I used to produce conferences all over the world is my job and attend many of them. And I was just gonna say, I couldn’t agree with you more, because the aspect of being in person, we can get a lot of business done over Zoom and over calls and things, but there really is nothing like that experience of meeting your tribe, meeting your people in person, to your point, like you said, getting to some of these people I’ve known online, I think of kind of like friends in my head, in five or six years, I’ve never met this person face-to-face.
And so I think that that’s one of the aspects of attending conferences in person, again, if you are able to do that is just really invaluable, and so I just would like to say encourage everybody, it’s fun, it’s three days, if you are an introvert and you need a little break, you just peace out for a neuro and then come back, but it’s definitely worth exploring. If you have any interest in this lifestyle, which actually, Robin, would you say for somebody who hasn’t taken this on yet or they’re just a beginner, would you recommend them approaching the conference in a different way, or do you feel like they’ll feel overwhelmed, what can you imagine a beginner, just trying to learn about this lifestyle, what would the KetoCon look like for them?
Is the Conference Good for Beginners?
Robin Switzer: Now, I agree in the sense it might be a little overwhelming just because the number of people that will be there, but truly, if you can get past your hesitation to be an art group like that, the people are really welcoming, the brains that are there, although there are a few large companies? The major of the brand, they were started by people like you and I who found this way of life and they found a need for something for themselves, and they developed it and it turned into their business is your crisis becomes your calling. That’s why this event is even her company is because of my crisis becoming icons, the vectors are very supportive, the speakers are incredibly support, so this isn’t an event where some logo up on the stage… Come off the stage. You never see them again. Speakers hang around, the speakers are walking around KetoCon, or they’re meeting their followers, and there are not people who are unapproachable. I didn’t share this with you before, but 99% of the speakers that come to Kiowa personally invited. There’s a handful of people who contacted me, but the majority of that were personally invited because I know them from past events.
Robin Switzer: Their goal, their purpose in all of this is to make sure that as many people as possible know how they can take the keto diet and work on all these problems that they have. So for someone who’s just beginning keto, I would say soak up as much information as you can, then take it home and pick a few things that you can use to start making changes, and that’s really… That’s the most important part, that you come to KetoCon and find a few things that at home that makes sense to you, that you can take home and implement easily. The food product manufacturers, they’ve all been thoroughly vetted, so there’s nothing at logo that I would give to my grand honor the HIF. You’re new to this, you can feel confident that your best interests are being looked out for, this is much more than just an event, this is much more in a… Just a business, this is how I live my life, and my family’s involved in ruins business, so it’s really important to me, so if my name is on it, then I’m only gonna deliver something that I would share with my own personal
Cheryl McColgan: Family, and I can appreciate that because I feel the same way about a lot of keto products, you’re probably in the same position where I have people reaching out and they’re like, Oh, can we send you this or we can we send you that, and then I go look at the ingredients, and I’m like, I would never eat this, so I’m not gonna come… It’s got some garbage sweaters and people know I’m obsessed with the whole sweetener situation, but it’s got maltodextrin and in circles basically the cheapest and some of the worst zero calorie sweeteners. So anyway, I’ve always appreciated that about KetoCon, and I think that when you find good people that are running something, obviously that is why you have so many people supporting it and so many really good thought leaders and speakers and people involved in the space that are… In a position to represent your brand very well, I think so. Anyway, that’s something I always appreciated about keto Conwell. Thank you.
0:32:25.7 Robin Switzer: I really appreciate that. And it takes a year to do all of this, and a lot of selenide, blood, sweat and tears go and keep sure that this is something that I can feel. Great, I appreciate you recognizing it, it goes unrecognized, casts, taken for granted, and that’s okay, because at the end of the day, I still have to look…
Cheryl McColgan: Softened, that’s the most important thing. So, Robin, to finish this up, so I think first of all, whether you know it’s virtual or not, get on their mailing list so that you know what’s happened, you never know when they’re gonna bring maybe a new event to a different part of the country or offer you other great tips on the keto lifestyle deals, sales, that sort of thing. So Rob, can you just share all the best places for people to connect with you, where they can buy tickets and any other information that’s relevant to sort of the logistics of she… In Austin? Sure.
Robin Switzer: Well, the website is KetoCon.org, that one’s easy. If you’re looking for tickets when you clip, when you go to KetoCon.org, there’s a little get tickets fucking on the upper raking corner of the home page that take you to a page where you can see all the different ticket options, we are… Victims are sold out, but you still have 30 tickets and one-day tickets, you can purchase a One-Day ticket for Friday or a day, they’re both the same pre, and then there is a just coming to ticket if you only wanna come to the expo Sunday.
So there’s plenty of different ticket options on social media, you can find us at KetoCon Facebook, and I think that’s it. Is that sort… Then of the things I also wanted to mention, if you want to, if you can’t join us, or if you can, regardless… We do have a YouTube KetoCon and the presentations from 2078 and 19 are available for free, so you can get an idea of the kind of speakers that we do bring to the show. You can also go to our website, there is a speaker tab for KetoCon that gives you all of the speakers are and their profiles and bios, and there’s also the schedule, so if you are trying to decide what sessions to attend. If you can only come for one day, you could look at the schedule and see which day is the best for you, so there’s loads of options, making it as easy as possible to decide when to be at Ketocon.
Cheryl McColgan: The KetoCon website is very organized and you won’t have trouble finding anything, so be sure to visit. And Robin, I just wanna thank you for taking the time to join me today. I remember what it’s like during this crunch time of this show, so you’re almost to the finish line! But I appreciate you taking the time to share KetoCon and your story this my listeners. I hope to see some of you guys there, you can meet Robin, you can meet all these other just wonderful, lovely speakers and participants that we have this year. Anyway, thanks again for your time, Robin.
Robin Switzer: Thank you.