Why a high fat diet is good for you and how to start eating more fat with Leanne Vogel or Healthful Pursuit

Get your copy of The Keto Beginning ($25): 17 chapters, 147 pages + over 70 high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein, dairy-, gluten-, sugar-, grain-, legume-free recipes – this is the lifestyle change that empowers your body + mind to achieve the state of health you’ve been searching for.

With your copy of The Keto Beginning Healthy Habit Solutions will gift you a complimentary entry of the Kickstart Guide mini e-course. Simply forward a copy of your purchase receipt to Support@HealthyHabitSoltuions.com with your name and email.

Or listen to the interview here


Get your copy of The Keto Beginning ($25): 17 chapters, 147 pages + over 70 high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein, dairy-, gluten-, sugar-, grain-, legume-free recipes – this is the lifestyle change that empowers your body + mind to achieve the state of health you’ve been searching for.

With your copy of The Keto Beginning Healthy Habit Solutions will gift you a complimentary entry of the Kickstart Guide mini e-course. Simply forward a copy of your purchase receipt to Support@HealthyHabitSoltuions.com with your name and email.


Why a high fat diet is good for you

Welcome. My name is Maya. I’m behavioral register dietitian and founder at Healthy Habits Solutions. I am super excited today to have a guest with me, her name is Leanne Vogel. She’s a holistic nutritionist and founder of Healthful Pursuit. She was one of those divine findings that I myself months ago was looking for a resource around balancing my hormones. I came across Healthful Pursuit and found Leanne, and bought her Keto Beginning, which is now on our website. I’m bringing her today here to talk about high fat. If you’re one of my clients know that we go on the direction of high fat and we incorporate more fat and less sugar. You start to notice weight loss; you start to notice more of balanced mind. I love the way that Leanne presents the whole higher fat world. Welcome Leanne, thanks for being here with us today.

Leanne:           Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. I love the fats, so let’s just like dive right in.

Maya:              Awesome. Tell me a little bit about your book. Why high fat? Why did you go high fat?

Leanne:           It’s a really awesome question… Okay, rewind about 15 years. I had a very, very unhealthy relationship with food. I counted everything, I restricted everything and that was my world. In order to heal myself, I became vegan and I thought that that was kind of the way to go about it. Then I started creating more food rolls and it just wasn’t for me and I was still craving food.

Then I switched to eating meats but all the lean meats, like low fat, low fat. Because fat makes you fat, right. That’s what we know, like that’s what we’re taught. Fat makes you fat, so don’t eat the fat. My hormones, ever since I can remember, were really low. Like estrogen below 10 constantly. I think that was a combination of food restriction for a really long time and birth control usage, and just the environment that we live in today.

Over the last three years or so, I’ve been working really, really hard to get my hormones back online. I met with a nutritionist, or rather, a natural path, that said, “Well, have you looked into low carbohydrates?” And I said, “Yeah, I’m a nutritionist I know the low carbs, like that’s not good for you and it’s way too high protein. I don’t want to be eating Atkins Bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That was the way that I thought of low carbohydrates. I left that meeting and, just like you said, the divine finding.

Literally the next day, I was going on Instagram and the person that I really look up to used the hashtag “Keto”. I was like what is a Keto? What is this? I did some research and it turns out there was a low carbohydrate high fat thing where protein was kept at a moderate level. I was like, “Okay, that’s something I can get behind, but like I don’t understand you eat fat and you lose weight and your hormones are better?” I don’t even understand.

I did a bunch more digging. I started eating this way just to kind of see what it was like. Within the first 30 days I kept a journal. Every day I said how I’m feeling, what I’m eating, what’s going on. After the 30 days I’m like, wow, I have something here. I feel better than I’ve ever felt. Like you said, my mind works so much better. My cravings are reduced. There’s something here.” I paneled my readers at healthfulpursuit.com, I said, “I found this new thing. What do you think about this? Do you want me to talk about it more?” They phoned me and they were like, “Yes, yes please talk about it.” I put together the guide that I used for the first 30 days of eating this way and put it out there. It kind of like blew up and a lot of people are eating more fat which is phenomenal.

That was a little bit of a background about how I came to that. It’s definitely evolved over the last year and a half. I’m learning more and more about how we can use fats to improve our health. It’s not so much removing all carbohydrates and increasing all of what’s fat. It’s really looking at, I would say it’s like the food pyramid. At least here in Canada we have like this food pyramid. Fats are like up at the top where you just don’t eat. It’s kind of like flipping it around. It’s not so much of removal of all carbohydrates and eat all fats, it’s just looking at our plate in a different way than we have been previously.

Maya:              The 30 days you journaled is in the Keto Beginning, right?

Leanne:           Exactly. That is the first 30 days that I tracked everything that I ate, how I felt. The Keto Beginning is a document of, this is exactly how I felt and how my clients feel. It took me about six months to put together. There’s a lot of added stuff in there as I was picking on more information or working with clients and it all kind of came in to the Keto Beginning. Really guiding people, regardless of what you do with your carbohydrates or protein, let’s just be okay with eating more fat. Because fat is the precursor of all of our hormones especially for ladies. If your hormones are offline, the first place to look is your fat and your cholesterol, because cholesterol is the beginning of the waterfall of all the other hormones that make up your body. If you don’t have fat, if your cholesterol isn’t high enough and whoever says that, if your cholesterol is not high enough, then you’re not going to be able to convert that cholesterol into actual hormones for your body. That in of itself just eating more fat is huge.

Maya:              I couldn’t agree more. I’m going to put a link for everyone at the bottom of the page for the Keto Beginning, so you’ll get that and  we’ll talk about that more in a minute. They’ve heard it from me, Leanne, I want to hear it from you. Really it’s almost revolutionary for most people… why eat an egg yolk? Isn’t coconut oil bad? We talked about the hormone cascade and everything, but what do you say to that question?

Leanne:           Yeah, you bet. First, it’s almost beneficial to know what your body does with carbohydrates, because often times people say, “Okay, for instance, this package of food says fat free so it must be really good for me. It’s like of you look at it over it and it’s like 50 grams of carbs in one serving, so what are those carbs doing? If it’s fats free, what are those carbs doing?

When you eat carbohydrates, our body converts it into glucose. By increasing our glucose, glucose is used for energy in our bodies, and that’s where a lot of the times you hear of like sugar burners versus fat burners. If you’re eating carbohydrates, your body is converting into glucose and then to use this energy. And if there’s too much glucose, because your body can only hold maybe 200 or 300 grams of carbs in a day depending on your body, then it will convert into fat. That was like a huge “aha” moment for me. It’s like “Oh, okay, so if I eat so many carbs it converts to fat and directly impacts our triglycerides.”

Often times if I’m working with clients and we’re looking at their blood work and it’s like their triglycerides are over 100. Like 70 is ideal, but over 100, like, “Hi, how are you feeling, are you eating carbs, like a lot of them?” By knowing that, then we look at carbohydrate intake, if anything your body can only store it as fat for sure. But with fats, our body in the form of low carbohydrate high fat, our body’s transitioning to being fat fueled and fat burning. We are using our fat as energy. Our body fat as well as the fat that we’re eating to fuel us. Our body can hold oodles and oodles of energy so much more than carbohydrates.

When it comes to your fat choices like you mentioned egg yolks and coconut oils. I mean for egg yolks that’s like vitamin A. I think a big vitamin A shot. I’ve got to say I have never met with a client that has had level of Vitamin A. Everyone is deficient in vitamin A. It’s like magnesium. For egg yolks especially, that is where the nutrients are. I even tell my clients, “If you get the free range like happy little hens and their chickens, I would say like soft cook it and have that yolk be runny because then all those nutrients aren’t being damaged by the heat. You have things like all your B vitamins are in the egg yolk. That’s really where the nutrients are. I often say, instead of looking at your plate as “how little can I have in this meal to sustain me until my snack”. It’s like how many nutrients can I possible pack into this meal to the point where I don’t blow up. I’m thinking egg whites, yeah, sure they provide protein but that’s about it. Nutrients and how we flourish is in that egg yolk and with coconut oil.

In school we learnt, okay, so anytime there was a question about what food will help your hair, help your nails grow. It was either – the answer was – either coconut oil or avocado or beef liver or chicken liver. If you put any of those on there you were bound to get the answer right, just based on that. I eat those three things every single day because they have so many nutrients in them. Interestingly enough those are all pretty high fat items, so that’s a lot where the nutrients are. The vitamins A, D, K, E like all of the fat soluble vitamins need fat in order to be assimilated in our body. If we’re eating a salad and using fats for dressing, a lot of the nutrients that are in that salad aren’t even being able to be used in our body because there’s not fat to mix along with it. You’ve got to have fat; you just got to have it.

How to start a high fat style of eating

Maya:              I’m smiling just now that you got … obviously it’s great information, because of how excited you are and how passionate you are, knowing this is what you love. I completely agree. These symptoms that you experience that I watched clients experience are, including myself, the satiety increase as you end up eating less you’re more satisfied and it’s kind of this like healthy habits is more about … it’s a habit and behavior change so it’s very much a … it’s thinking differently. It’s all about, wow, okay, let’s just start with this week. Do the whole egg this week every single morning. Prove to yourself; show it to yourself to take that one little step. The next question for you is, if someone is to … coming from high triglycerides and high carbohydrate diet, what is the easiest way to start?

Leanne:           Yes, if you’re just looking at I just want to increase my fat, that’s all I want to do?

Maya:              Yes.

Leanne:           The first thing I recommend is get comfortable with the thing like coconut oil because it’s totally available most places. You can get it practically every store now, so it’s easy to get. You don’t have to search for it. You just go to the store, pick it up and get comfortable with cooking with it. If you have tea at night before bed, blend it up with some coconut oil. See how that feels for you. Start with a teaspoon, work up to a table spoon. Get the unrefined coconut oil. It’s going to smell like coconut so get used to what sorts of foods you like to cook it with. For me, gosh, I’ll cook anything with it. Some people are picky like I don’t want it touching my meat because it’s going to taste like coconut. That’s totally fine, I don’t care. How do you like it? Do you like it sautéed with broccoli or do you like to melt it and add some nutritional yeast and put it on steamed vegetables. Just getting comfortable with one fat, I find is okay.

Start researching, what does fat do in your body. A really good book that I like is, “Why We Get Fat?” I have it on my bookshelf, oh yeah by Gary Taubes. It’s a good read and after that you’re like, “Wow, cool. I have a pretty good relationship with fat.” I wrote a blog post “10 Scientific Reasons Why I’m Not Afraid of Eating Fat” and start too really like bust through the fears that you have around it, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a fear that we’ve positioned on ourselves to be like “don’t eat the fat”. I say start off with one sort of fat, get comfortable with that. Once you have moved on and you’re like, “Yeah, I’m totally rocking the coconut oil.” Whole food sources like eggs, that’s awesome. Like you said, start with cooking the whole egg and be okay with that, and just like baby step it.

Then you get into like if you want to start going low carbohydrates, a great place to start is going gluten free, and like naturally gluten free. Instead of swapping regular bread for gluten free bread, trying to shift to not bread, where those processed foods. It’s a process but when it comes to fat, what I tell with a lot of my clients is, research so that you feel comfortable with it. Just do one small thing at a time and get comfortable with it and figure out what you like and don’t like. Maybe you hate coconut oil, and that’s okay. There are other options like beef, tallow which I love or even like a good quality olive oil and you can kind of go from there.

Maya:              Love it, love it. Writing all that down so that I can make sure we’ve put it under this video. Awesome! That’s the whole reason that we added the – which I’m so excited to add The Keto Beginning to Healthy Habits Solutions as a healthy habit solution really because if you are wanting to go higher fat and looking to go higher fat, it’s just Leanne gives you meal plans and recipes and things that you can just go in and say, “You know what, I’m going to taste this, this week,” or “I’m going to do this, this week. You can kind of dip your toes in the water instead of … if you’re like me, a previous dieter, just holding your nose and diving in, in the deep end. You can sit on the edge and dip your toes in and see what you think.

Leanne:           Yeah, the dipping of the toes is totally, totally important with anything you do. Gosh, I remember the first day I chose to eat high fat, I put a can of full fat coconut milk, a full fat coconut milk. I had never bought this before, ever. I put it in the fridge and then I opened it up the morning and then I drained out all the liquid. It was like full on fat creaminess. I put in some berries in the can and I mashed it around and I ate it. I was like, “okay this tastes really good.” Okay so it tastes good, I like it. I’m a little bit guilty. Why am I guilty? Oh because there’s fat in it. Work through this, you’ve just read an article where fat … and working through that. At the end of the can I was like okay, this needs to be like a daily thing. I really enjoyed that can of coconut milk. Yeah it was just, that was a huge transition for me sitting down and eating like a whole can of full fat coconut milk and I felt great so tapping into actually how you feel is important.

Maya:              Yeah. That inner voice, that intuition, that little guide that true sense of us is, that’s why I knew it was right when I stumbled upon your work. I always craved a lot of fat and it was like, okay maybe we should just go with that.

Leanne:           Totally. I remember when I was a runner, I was running like crazy which probably wasn’t a good choice, but hey whatever. I met with a dietitian because it was offered through my work and I was like sure whatever. I was eating coconut oil before every race. Like two to three tablespoons. It’s just what I craved. She was like you really got to stop that. It’s causing a lot of issues for your running. I stopped and looking back at my numbers, like it totally affected my performance and so like you, I think I always craved fat but it was like no, no, no Leanne. I don’t trust that intuition. That’s not right, but you got to listen to your body because your body wants to be healthy. It doesn’t want to be overweight. It doesn’t want to have health issues. It wants to flourish, so listen.

Busy? Stressed out? What to do when you feel overwhelm to make the change to high fat

Maya:              Right. We have so many of those shoulds and coulds and woulds and well I know too much about this and I was told not to eat this. You and I we’re just tools but our body knows all. I put a note down as a question I wanted to ask and there was not really a segway but it’s coming up more it sounds like your work, and it’s definitely coming up more in my work. Not only my work but in my body and it sounds like yours too. There’s this epidemic I believe, at least of … what would you tell the stressed out older worked woman on fat and hormones in something that is this fast paced world. What would you tell her?

Leanne:           Make space. You gotta make space.

Maya:              Make space.

Leanne:           Seriously, like it’s crazy because I work with so many women that are in that area where it’s like I have kids, I have husbands which is basically like another child most of the time. Sorry Kevin I love you. And work and then you’re trying to be healthy and you’re going to the gym and then you’re like, okay I want to do this whole intuitive thing and I want to like eat fat and all this stuff so I’ll just add on a layer of extra stuff. It’s like no, no like stress … in my next book there’s a title that says stress is stopping you from being awesome.

Maya:              Yep.

Leanne:           It throws a wrench in everything. If you’re driving down the highway and there’s a big tree in the middle and you just can’t get through, that’s the stress tree. You just can’t even move. My suggestion to all my clients is like let’s go through your life and pick out things that just are eating out time that aren’t allowing you to move forward. Yeah that can be difficult and that can take months to remove peacefully and gracefully but if you are trying to get your health back in order you need to make space in order to do that. Just piling it on is not going to help things and will probably lead to more stress and overwhelm because if you’re coming at your life as, oh I’m totally stressed and there’s all these things and now I have to eat healthy, you’re not creating that space to really allow your body to heal.

When it comes to hormones, I always imagine … I use waterfalls a lot in analogies. Maybe I need to go jump off a waterfall or something but I always imagine adrenals being at the top of a waterfall that cascades down to your thyroid and your sex hormones. If you’re overly stressed and your adrenals are just running on hyperactive drive, it is going to affect your sex hormones and your thyroid and your ability to lose weight. All of those things. But until you fix that adrenal at the top of the waterfall, it is not going to fix your underlying hormone stuff right? Because your adrenals are what’s causing it and so I can’t even tell you how many women I work with and it’s like they’re just totally in panic.

I’ve been there too where it’s just like you can feel them just vibrating. Then they’re trying to add in all these extra things. It’s like we need to cut out some things and rework things and look at your life in a different perspective so that we can cut out a wedge where we can put in more healthy balanced behavior. Otherwise it’s just going to feed to the cycle and you’re just going to be harming yourself and stressing yourself out even more. That’s probably not the answer that people want to hear. But what supplements do I take? What do I eat?

Maya:              Just give me the magic pills.

Leanne:           Yeah I just need the magic pill. But it’s usually not that. It’s usually like how can we transition your life a little bit to make that little piece of, like a wedge, where we can put in some health behaviors.

Maya:              Yeah, oh so true. Make space. That’s perfect.

Leanne:           Yeah.

Coming soon… Fat Fueled

Maya:              I love it. Thank you so much. Okay the Keto Beginning, I’m going to put a link to. It’s obviously on our website now and it is a solution. It’s a fantastic tool and it’s only 25 dollars. It’s an e-book and you get it instantaneously. There’s a link to that. It tells you all about what it is. There’s so many golden nuggets in it and I’m actually really excited Leanne for Fat Fuel that’s coming up. Can you, are allowed to give us a tidbit?

Leanne:           Heck yeah I’m my own boss. I can do whatever I want. Love it! So yeah Fat Fuels is my next program and, very similar to the Keto Beginning. Like with the Keto Beginning you get access to our exclusive Facebook group and there’s about 2,000 mostly women in the group. There’s a couple guys that come and go but like Fat Fuels you’ll get access to a Facebook group and within the book it’s going to talk a lot more about our relationship with our bodies in relation to eating high fat.

What I’m finding with that diet mentality is that we often get lost in, well you know I have to hit my macros and I have to eat more fat, and fat fat, but I really am craving a sweet potato. How to be okay with our bodies right now and how we are right now and accepting that and being okay with, I would love to eat more fat to maybe lose some weight but I’m okay with where I’m at right now, and dancing between the lines of eating high fat and aiming for being fat fueled which is using fat as energy as well as being okay with our bodies and transitioning between the two in a healthy relationship instead of forcing ourselves to go to a place that our bodies don’t want. Nothing good ever came from hatred and it’s often that I meet with clients one on one, or I chat with the Healthful Pursuit community and they’re like, if I was just 20 pounds lighter. I just hate the way my body is right now. If you’re working on place of hate, nothing good is going to come from that.

How can we be okay with where we’re at right now, use fat to fuel us, and within Fat Fuels I go through three different profiles. It’s often that the keto community … and I’m just painting it with a very wide brush. I’m not saying that everyone does this, but it’s like if you are not eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrates and eating more than 150 grams of fat, you are not keto. I like to start the conversation around, I think that there’s three different profiles that a person can follow in order to be ketogenic for them and be high fat for them. You can still be fat fueled in different areas.

There’s like the full keto where you’re eating a certain way, and then I’m calling the fat adaptive burner, so they’re eating a different way. Then there’s the daily fat burner. There’s three different buckets that you can try out and see, like what works for you and what responds best to your body. Then a whole bunch of chapters and Q and & and I answered practically everything that anyone has ever asked about eating high fat to me is in this book. Literally. Then it goes through 65 recipes, brand new recipes as well as a meal plan for another four weeks of eating fat fueled regardless of which profile you choose to follow.

Maya:              Awesome. Oh that sounds incredible. I can’t wait! It’s all … if you don’t see the link to it below it’s because it’s not out yet but when you see it there you’ll be the first to know in Healthy Habits. I promise. Very cool. Leanne, thank you! Thank you so much for what you do and all the knowledge you bring and your community. I’m so grateful for you.

Leanne:           Aw thank you! Thank you for having me. This was so great.

Maya:              Absolutely.

Leanne:           You’re so great to chat with.

Maya:              Anything else that you want to tell the Healthy Habits community at all?

Leanne:           Oh geez. Go out and enjoy the sun if it’s sunny out today. Even if it’s not stand in front of a window. I often do that when I get overwhelmed and stuff. If it’s winter time I’ll just find a sunny area and stand in front of the window and soak it up. You know, for people that work out or anything like that I find it even more beneficial. It takes like two seconds and just like reconnect. I enjoy doing that and that’s what I’m going to do right after this call is go stand in the sun for a little bit. So a little bit of homework for everyone.

Maya:              Love it! Leanne thank you so much!


Get your copy of The Keto Beginning ($25): 17 chapters, 147 pages + over 70 high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein, dairy-, gluten-, sugar-, grain-, legume-free recipes – this is the lifestyle change that empowers your body + mind to achieve the state of health you’ve been searching for.

With your copy of The Keto Beginning Healthy Habit Solutions will gift you a complimentary entry of the Kickstart Guide mini e-course. Simply forward a copy of your purchase receipt to Support@HealthyHabitSoltuions.com with your name and email.